April PAD Challenge: Day 3

The response has been so amazing that I now have all my blog comment notifications filtered into a folder in my Outlook. Isn’t that great?!? Something else that is great is that once we finish today’s poem, we’ll have made it 10% through the challenge (that’s right, I threw out a statistic on a poetry blog). With a long distance running background, I learned a long time ago the value of breaking up large tasks into smaller tasks to give the sense of movement and accomplishment. So yay! We’re getting there–one poem at a time.

(Note: If you’re not already, I’d suggest you sign up for the free updates–over on the top left-hand side of this page–either via email or RSS. If you’re not sure what RSS is, then you probably want to go with the email option. Then, you’ll be notified whenever I post a new prompt, interview, or rambling attempt at answering a poetry-related question on Poetic Asides.)


Today’s prompt: Take the phrase “The problem with (blank)” and replace the “(blank)” with a word or phrase. Make this the title of your poem and then write a poem to fit with or juxtapose against that title. For instance, you could have poems with the titles of “The problem with government,” “The problem with advanced mathematics,” or “The problem with bipolar penguins.” You know the drill: have fun, be creative. (You’re all already doing such an amazing job that Tammy and I are trying to figure out logistical ways of getting the poems down to 5-a-day for the guest judges. Keep it up!)

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“The problem with getting older”

Where to start? How about losing
my memory so that I can’t
remember how bad things were
at twenty, fifteen, five?
Plus, there are expectations
never fully realized. Canceled
plans and Duran Duran sounding
worse with each new reunion.
New pains and allergies emerge
at the same time as I realize
odds are they’ll only get worse.
I catch myself unconsciously
becoming suspicious of teens
and talking about politics.
I count calories and read
articles covering the best
diets for avoiding diabetes
and mental health issues.
When I’m not busy getting old,
I remember my youth (the new
version): racing around the track,
two laps in less than two minutes–
wind in my hair, legs burning, and
only the finish line in my way.

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

1,175 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 3

  1. JL Smither

    The Problem with Poetry

    The problem
    with poetry
    is that everyone writes it
    and nobody reads it. Much better
    to write a novel, for sure,
    or plays and short stories.
    Or a movie script, video games,
    a TV series, hell, even a comic
    book, because no one
    will read a poem.

  2. LindaTK

    Day 3:
    The Problem with Daylight Savings (Free Verse)

    The problem with “Daylight Savings”
    is that it creates more problems.
    Some states disregard it.
    The rest of the world ignores it.
    Two days each year that cause
    lost productivity as a result of sleep disturbances.
    “Falling Back” results in potential injuries.
    “Springing Ahead” results in further potential injuries.
    Its original purpose has long been forgotten.
    Its usefulness outdated.
    It’s a habit we should break.

  3. Lissa

    The Problem with Shadows

    The inherent oxymoron
    of their flat modeling,
    a deceptive breadth
    faceting contours
    some chiaroscuro volume trick
    a murky presage
    stretching paranoia.

  4. Linda H.

    I don’T know why mine didn’t post before. Posting again.


    The problem with you
    is that you want to shape me
    like a boy forms modelling clay,
    like an artists chisels a sculpture,
    like a baker kneads his dough,
    step by step
    until the intended outcome
    is achieved.

    The problem with me
    is that I still care enough
    about you to bend,
    like the branches of
    a weeping willow in a
    wind storm, just one step
    away from breaking in
    the storm of your hands.

  5. Amanda Caldwell

    The problem with babies

    The problem with babies
    is how needy they are.
    They don’t want to let you
    write a poem,
    or have a snack,
    or pee.
    They think it’s all about them,
    whatever their wish at the moment:
    a feed,
    a cuddle,
    a look at their truck
    or a kiss on their toe.
    And the real trouble is,
    they never stop needing you,
    do they?
    Even on your deathbed,
    it’s all about them,
    what they’ll feel,
    how they’ll fend,
    when you’re gone.

  6. Karen Perry

    the problem with your left arm

    is that your right arm notices
    its independence and laughs
    at its foolish attempts to be
    just as perfect as, say, a
    hummingbird glancing sideways
    at nectar that has just been
    freshly brewed and hung
    outside and, rising to the
    task, lands effortlessly
    at just the right opening.

  7. K.E. Ogden

    K.E. Ogden
    April 3, 2009
    Prompt: "The problem with (blank)"


    It is too difficult to cup into a single hand.
    It is purple and blue and white and yellow all at once.
    It is the scar at the corners if each of my eyes.
    It is the company each time I see my father.
    It is the prelude to log trucks sliding along the blacktop.
    It is the murderer of my first tomato garden.
    It is quick.
    It is saint, salvation, scar, scabrous.
    It is quiet in the corner.

  8. Stacey Cornwell

    The problem with giving up
    Is that you lose all hope
    Of anything ever being better
    How then are you supposed to cope?

    With the problems on hand
    When they come to a head
    It won’t get any easier
    If you just hide under the bed

    So don’t just give in
    To the turmoil of the day
    You need to stand tall
    To keep the fear away

  9. Ivy Merwine

    The problem with a blank is
    that you have to fill it in.
    The clouds gather and I feel
    a storm coming on in my brain.
    Too many choices fill my mind.
    Reaching out I try to grab one
    only for my eye to see another brighter one.
    It keeps raining. I keep leaping down
    the muddy path from one idea to another examining and observing them like different colored leaves
    on a variety of trees. I keep following the path
    of ideas and find myself shortly at the end.
    I glance around.
    I’m back at the beginning with a blank to fill.

  10. Melissa Rossetti

    2. The problem with promises
    Are good intentions good enough when
    Promises spoken, casually uttered, haphazardly disregarded
    Eventually become broken?
    You meant what you said …at the time
    Well that’s fine but the weight of a word spoken
    Is a serious responsibility.
    Words have power and it’s your responsibility to wield them wisely, mindful of repercussions.
    The trust placed by an unsuspecting soul upon the fragile
    Crumbling foundation of a faux promise
    Will eventually fall and shatter extracting a shoulder shrug from you…
    Creating a devastating fault line between us that only one of us, the trusting, foolish, one will
    Be upset about.

    didn’t appear to post all those long days ago

  11. R. SANTER

    The Problem with Hair

    I’m yearning for a certain flavor of courage to return.
    You know the kind: drag-racing before dawn on the out
    skirts of town with you unfurled wild and long.
    Or the screw you–I’ll wear my skirt as damn
    short as I want with arms
    crossed and headband as gauntlet.
    It’s that white-knuckled, sharp-tongued, full
    blown threshhold of adulthood where the rocket
    of defiance and self-absorption lays down
    a launching pad for ethics.
    But for now, I coach my son
    to not call you grey, but silver.

    What is it with most of the heads
    belonging to women my age?
    So many bottled shades of Spring
    Honey, Frivolous Fawn, Chocolate
    Kiss. At what juncture
    did these sisters of revolution get down on their knees
    before the artifice of Crowning-Glory-Dyed
    to pray for a temporary injunction?
    Since first silver tendrils
    at my temples, I’ve been lured
    to bleach, streak, glaze, highlight away the evidence,
    pumping my bloodstream with toxins, absorbing a new agony:
    the Root Days.

    How old would old be
    if we didn’t know how old old was? Look
    it’s not that I’m provincial about dyeing you.
    I’m always renewed by the sight
    of occasional cranial blossoms–
    of Manic Panic Turquoise
    or Punky Professional Green–
    a sacrifice of shaft that liberates.
    But when crow’s feet tango
    with tresses of Amber Radiance
    or Forbidden Blonde–a fat
    toothy industry grins.
    Your silvering rejuvenates my core:
    new political act.

  12. Lytton Bell

    The problem with “nice” guys

    is that their wants and desires are
    so mitigated by politeness and reason
    that just when you would really appreciate
    his tongue diving into your mouth
    he is busy analyzing why
    premature intimacy is harmful to the formation of
    a durable, long-term commitment
    AND he is probably still stuck in some 1950’s morality ponzi scheme
    where sexual women are all whores…and
    who wants that guy?

    However, there is a worse problem with bad boys
    who can smell blood in the water from miles away
    and have no qualms about fucking you
    in the movie theater, under a trench coat
    even when every seat is packed and
    it’s opening night, but
    that’s about all he wants from you –
    and the girl sitting next to you, and your mom, and
    your best friend, and your kids too, if he can get to them

    And why aren’t there any guys in-between?
    Who can be slutty and emotionally available
    and decent and faithful all at the same time?
    And what’s a lonely, horny girl to choose
    between a cold fish
    or a hot shark?

    Maybe she’ll swim off
    in search of Atlantis
    the flash from her shimmery mermaid’s tail
    dazzling them both blind in her wake

  13. Daunette Lemard-Reid

    The Problem With structure

    Wake up
    Go to bed
    Same time every day

    Keep things in order

    Eat meals on schedule

    Use proper terms
    To express each emotion

    These children need structure
    To make sense of their day

    Knowing what to expect
    Each moment of each day
    Keeps them from panic, fear, and meltdowns

    Yes, it may help us to finish each day
    But the problem with this is

    There’s no spontaneity


  14. PriscillaAnne Tennant Herrington


    The problem with the youth of today
    is that I am no longer young.

    The problem with the environment
    is we who are in it.

    The problem with God
    is, he’s on everyone’s side.

    The trouble with contests
    is, those who don’t win are losers.

    ©Priscilla Anne Tennant Herrington

  15. Madeline Tasky Sharples

    The problem with being geographically incompatible

    is it’s impossible to get together
    with friends I want to see.
    They live in the north side of town
    and I live in the south.
    Now that doesn’t mean one section
    is better than the other.
    I live right near the beach,
    I can walk there from my house
    and walk out on the pier
    to watch the fishermen
    reeling in their catch
    or cutting bait.
    We also have a resplendent array
    of boutiques and restaurants
    anything one could possible want.
    So, I wonder why do these so-called friends of mine
    find it so hard to drive 10 miles
    to come to my part of town?
    It makes me crazy. I feel cheated.
    I’m willing to go up there – actually almost all the time.
    All I’m asking for is a little give and take,
    a little fairness in the friendship game.
    Well maybe it’s not the drive that deters them,
    Maybe it’s me.
    Maybe it’s not geography after all.
    They might think she’s only worth seeing
    if she’ll make the trip up here.
    Okay, now I’m getting maudlin. Get over it.
    Either I’ll see them or I won’t
    on my terms or theirs.
    Or I’ll get a new set of friends
    who will make nary a whimper
    about those 10 measly miles
    as we catch one wave
    after another.

  16. Barbara Young

    The Problem With Dreams

    I woke, dazed as Dorothy.
    to the same dim room
    I saw this morning,
    dull flowered curtains drawn to ward light,
    worn clothing piled by clean
    gray hairs drifting from beneath the chest.
    The cats are shedding.
    You are shedding.
    I am shedding
    dreams as I shuffle down the hall.

    I had a dream.
    "I had a dream," I say out loud,
    testing sound cement for memory.
    "I had a dream."
    The still air in the hallway waits to hear.
    But the air here
    __was not in the dream.
    that air was different
    and it made me feel different
    and I noticed that, but
    __I thought it was the way the light
    __cascaded from the ten thousand rocks
    __ pool beside my feet.
    This still air was not in my dream, you were,
    I want to tell you you were in my dream.
    You were there and said
    "this reminds me…"
    You were there, but different as a platypus or phalarope.
    You never finished.
    Reminds you. What?

    You aren’t in the abatoir.
    (I slaughter words, you said, and laughed.
    and I laughed, too.
    We played that way. You built a desk of two filing cabinets and
    a hollowcore door. Called your typewriter hummingbird.)
    You aren’t in the abatoir, but you left your scent behind.
    I want to tell you you were in my dream.
    I leave a thumbprint in the dust for you to find some day,
    And I wonder
    if I ever noticed dust in dreams.

  17. Sonia L. Russell

    The Problem With Joy (Second Posting)
    By Sonia L. Russell

    The problem with joy is it’s overrated
    Quite clearly manipulated
    It’s not realistic at all!

    Honestly, how can one be truly happy?
    The idea’s extremely sappy
    It is absurd, who has the gall?

    I mean, consider this life we are living
    Are we really worth forgiving,
    For the many times that we fall?

    But alas happiness is such a comfort
    A smile is always a good fit
    But a frown really seems so small

    The problem with joy is that it’s contagious
    One feels totally outrageous
    Like walking the edge of a wall

    My joy I would happily share with others
    All of my sisters and brothers
    My joy came with Jesus’ call

  18. lynn paden

    ‘the problem with . ."

    the problem with jim carrey
    playing curly
    is that he’s too tall,
    and too thin,
    and no matter how many
    doughnuts he
    shovels down his gullet
    he won’t have the
    childlike charm
    that was the way
    of curly . . .

    and the problem with you is me.

    the problem with shelving
    and listening to music
    is that people always seem
    to ask the hardest questions
    when you’re in the middle
    of the drum solo
    in "radar love"
    and you can’t find
    the pause button
    and all they want
    is a twilight book
    that you didn’t have anyway . .

    and the problem with you is me.

    the problem with disposable
    training pants
    is either the baby can’t feel
    that he’s wet
    or, when he gets too wet,
    the pants drag in the middle
    leaving a trail of . .um . rain .
    and making him look
    like the appliance mover
    with perpetual butt cheek
    and the swagger of
    john wayne . .

    and the problem with you is me.

    almost all of these problems
    can be overcome
    with patience,
    a little tolerance
    and a bit of love

    but unfortunately
    i think
    that i’ve tried your patience,
    outrun your tolerance
    and . . .

    please. don’t say the love’s gone . . .

    even though even though
    even though i know . . . .

    i never deserved it anyway . . .

  19. Kathryn Hessler

    Problems, solutions, combinations!

    The Problem with writing and also part of the joy,
    Is that it can change without intention from what you intended.

    A poem can seem almost ready, as recently happened to me,
    But then something says, “no, no” that is just not to be.

    So, I start by editing a line, a word or two I wasn’t happy with,
    And then soon I’ve added stanzas, ideas, and it’s still not quite it.

    Another problem with writing that also isn’t necessarily one,
    Is to find an end to a story or a poem, a way to leave them—

    The characters, the ideas, the plot, the feelings, I mean.
    To say “adieu” in a way that rings true and works for you.

    And then there’s the willingness to share when it’s done
    To say, “yes, I wrote this and it’s part of me I want shone.”

    It may have been hard emotionally and/or technically to write,
    Hard to read or imagine being read, serious and/or fun.

    Later, I also imagine the wandering problem of publishing.
    I’m already thinking now some earnings for wording I would like!

    Anyway, the many problems I have or you have with writing,
    I also think aren’t necessarily always problems or at least not only.

    Linked with the writing itself, with what’s real and what’s us,
    And with living, they’re like other talk, laughter, or living.

    They’re part of life, love, and giving, possibility, curiosity, frustrations, feelings, needs.
    Worrisome, deep, sad, angry, happy, some some might call “sexy,” fun, exciting, or a-jumble, it seems!

  20. Diane Truswell

    Re-Posting Due to error in title:

    The Problem With Being Strong

    The problem with being strong
    is that many people may admire you
    but the rest want to shoot you down.
    Why, I never understood. How could
    someone you’ve barely met hate
    you so fast despite no interaction?
    My longtime therapist friend said
    it was because I emanate power —
    nothing I say or do, but something
    people feel in my presence.

    And the truth — they are jealous first
    then resentful, then do everything
    they can to knock you over
    like a large Portuguese Waterdog
    avidly declaring dominance over
    a tiny Toy Fox Terrier.

    But, power and strength are not
    the only traits that inspire this
    behavior — include beauty
    intelligence, talent, celebrity
    status, and anything else
    that makes people think
    you stand out. Look at
    Michael Phelps, the worlds best
    swimmer. He has many admirers
    and followers, but he has had
    to learn the hard way
    that there those who hate him.
    Not for what he has, but for
    what they don’t have.

  21. Eben Atwater

    The Problem With Cats

    The problem with cats
    let me count the ways.
    Just don’t ask them this question,
    for rhetorically or otherwise
    in no other mind is a cat so perfect
    as in its own.
    Humans are suckers for their shtick;
    yes, we’re door or can openers with legs,
    yet when they come a rubbing on our legs
    we purr with thanks,
    roll on our bellies
    and switch our tails,
    daring them to pay more attention.

  22. Daniel Paicopulos

    The Problem With eBay

    Step right up,
    come a little closer.
    We have what you’re looking for,
    and what you’re
    not looking for,
    right here,
    right now.
    Anyone can play.
    Everyone’s a winner.

    We got your arts, and
    your books,and
    motorcycles too.
    Need a watch, or some stamps?
    How about some shoes?

    Forget NexTag,
    catch the fever instead.
    Snipe at will,
    join the thrill,
    buy now before
    you’ll soon be dead.

    Doesn’t matter if
    you need it,
    only that you win.
    No cash to lose,
    simply PayPal to use,

    So your sweetie
    screams and yells.
    So they threaten
    you with harm.
    Win an amulet or potion,
    one to soothe and
    one to charm.

    Toss your books,
    lose your easel,
    hug your monitor all day.
    If you friends
    give up the ghost,
    find some new pals on eBay.

  23. Michael Roy

    “The problem with Life”

    The problem with life is its uncertainty
    Every moment is shrouded with mystery
    Why are we here and where should we go
    Do we move forward or do we hide from what we do not know

    Time stops for no one
    Stopping is not an option.
    We must move forward in this game of life
    For who knows what the final prize will be

  24. Raven Zu

    The problem with furry thieves.

    Delicious chicken roast
    Yummy leftovers
    Countertop temptation
    Furryness investigates…
    Deed discovered.
    Cries of dismay greeted by
    Chicken-fuelled purr.

  25. Maureen Hurley

    Does writing in your head count?

    The problem with time is that
    I’ve no time for poetry,
    but poetry has found me
    wanting, a wanton for time.

    Driving up Highway 101 at 7 AM
    my mind rambled in its own inner tangle
    as I raced up the road on a roan mare
    (a red Honda Civic), the wheels
    droning a chant of distance and
    a longing for the farthest shore
    but a profound lack of sleep
    left me between worlds
    between fast lanes and long lines
    a RSS ticker tape of words
    whirring through my head
    all poetry in the moment
    but I was an armchair tourist
    lost in the calligraphy of distraction
    of time and distance and road
    but there was no film in the camera.

    A four car pile-up in the outskirts of Santa Rosa
    had me memorizing billboards and signs.
    From beneath the trick rig, I saw a junkyard,
    a row of tractors, rusted and yellow
    a slag heap. sprouting green renewal.
    Within city limits, a dun horse grazed
    by the cyclone fence, her breath,
    small mist rising from the wet grass.
    In the corner by the shipping containers,
    an aged white pony, lost in thought,
    shifted weight from one hip to the other,
    was he writing poems in his head too?


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.