November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

Good morning. Here we are. Another PAD challenge. Feels like it was just a few weeks ago we were doing one, but I guess it hasn’t been since April. This time around I’m going to be throwing out a prompt (and my attempt at a poem) each day, but we’re going to do it with a focus on having a chapbook’s worth of poems at the end of the month.

So, with that said, I’m going to give a little more room than normal on following the prompts–and the prompts themselves may at times feel a little spacious. This is to give you the ability to write a collection of poems around a particular theme, which means, yes, I want you to give a little thought to the theme you’d like to explore through the month of November. For instance, your theme could be political poems, poems about motherhood, nature poems, food poems, animal poems, poems about your life, poems about a particular medical condition, poems about whatever, etc.

You probably don’t want to make your theme too specific, but having some sort of focus will be helpful, I think. My theme will be to write poems having to do with monsters. I’m not sure if it will be just horror movie monsters or if I’ll mix in real life monsters as well, but that’s the theme I’m choosing for myself.

So before moving on, think a little about what theme you’d like to write about. You can include it with your poem today–or leave it a mystery for other writers to guess at. Totally your call. Here, I’ll wait while you think of a theme.


Okay, you’ve got your theme (even if that theme is just to write a bunch of disjointed poems). At the end of the month, I may be asking you to collect your poems together from this challenge and send me your chapbooks so that I can try to pick a Best Chapbook Award. If I do this, the winner probably won’t be announced until Groundhog Day. But I’ll give more information on this idea as the month unfolds.

Let’s get into today’s prompt. For today’s prompt, I want you to look at your theme and write a “hook” poem. This is a poem intended to hook your reader on your theme. Think about the beginning of poems like “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “Howl.” This poem gets right into the meat of your theme, and pulls the reader along. Think of a dramatic situation involving your theme and start there (in medias res). Totally.

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“The Hook”

She screamed as she closed the door,
so that the annoyed boy could not ignore.

He walked over to her side of the car,
only to realize he’d tried going too far

earlier in their Lovers Lane evening spat
when she grew so anxious to leave that

she made him curse her under his breath–
now realizing how close he was to death.


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104 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

  1. Lynne

    I’m starting late, but I’m determined to write to every day’s prompt from Robert. Having trouble posting this, so I hope it does not show up multiple times. Apologies if it does.

    golden yellow crown
    overnight becomes white fluff
    dandelion death

    Lynne Nelsen
    November 2008

  2. Penny Henderson

    I’ve heard it called
    "the Web of Life.’
    Fragile threads of warp and woof
    seem tougher in community.
    Under and over in random paths,
    the rocks and trees and people
    weave through water, soil and air…
    touch and connect.

  3. Kathy Kehrli

    Well, as you can all see, I’m majorly behind. However, I’m going to attend to play major catch-up and still complete this challenge. Here’s my first…

    I. The Grim Prognosis

    This afternoon my father died.
    Tonight I was told,
    “Of patients who come in like this,
    Only 10% ever walk out alive.”
    Dr. P.—whom I later dubbed The Miracle Worker—
    Ended his prognosis with:
    “I think your dad’s going to be one of them.”
    Like a cell phone conversation
    Played out under poor reception,
    The intermediate words
    Registered on my auditory nerve
    In fits and spurts,
    Between a cognitive dance of
    Is he alive or dead?
    “Full cardiac arrest …”
    “Blood started flowing beautifully …”
    “Then his heart stopped again …”
    This afternoon my father died.
    Tonight, just barely, he lives.

  4. Shannon Rayne

    To be edited and filled out later. Theme: dance

    Girls Night Out

    The martinis
    with expectation.

    The dance floor
    the shine
    on my new shoes
    for this occasion.

    This is not
    a dance club. It
    is a butcher shop
    with tits and ass
    on special.

  5. Taylor Graham


    My dog’s a rustle in cold dark.
    I glimpse then lose the ghost-green glow
    of light-stick on her collar
    floating two feet above-ground
    through the black November woods.
    I find my own way by flash-
    light, the deputy behind me
    Somewhere in uncanny night
    an old man has a shotgun.
    They say he’s a danger
    to no one
    but himself.

  6. Tyger Valverde


    I watched him fall
    into a crowd hushed with disbelief
    Five seconds before the melee started
    A hundred Thousand men and women
    looking for a marksman
    We screamed with outrage
    and then with terror
    when our hope, our champion
    bled in his frightened wife’s arms
    We came so far
    as a nation so close to redemption
    Where was the goddammed security?
    I came up screaming and fighting
    tossing blankets and pillow
    and wept with relief:
    It was only a nightmare

  7. Monica Martin

    We’ve finally decided
    it will happen next summer.
    In July, we will move in
    together. Our relationship
    will move to the next level
    as we start our new life.
    We’re both nervous, excited,
    and anxious for

  8. Billy Angel


    My nephew who I haven’t seen
    since he was twelve, heard he’d
    been in the army, married a French
    girl–our ancestors were Huguenots–
    lived in Europe, he’s almost thirty now,
    but I found a Taylor Winfield in San Diego,
    and he answered my email at one of those
    search engines, said he was doing okay,
    left a phone number, it was disconnected,
    so I sent another message, telling him
    there must have been a mistake, thinking
    all along that maybe it wasn’t him, just
    some wiseacre with nothing else to do,
    but mostly I worried he wasn’t really
    alright, probably hadn’t been since
    his father died, and his mom remarried
    a couple a times and died a few years
    later under hush circumstances, no,
    the young man couldn’t be sane
    after all that, none of us were
    to begin with, but I don’t know
    which is worse, the possibility
    it’s him or a misguided prankster,
    and I still don’t know where he is
    but I left another message:
    I miss your father, too.

  9. Karen H. Phillips

    I’m right here with you, Pamela!

    How to Be Late for Lunch
    (How I Lost Track of Time in the Landscapes of Impressionism)

    I spent the morning at the art museum,
    lingered long over Renoir and Monet,
    the Doge’s Palace scintillating in
    brush-daubed sunlight,
    pinks and blues and yellows blazing.
    Saw myself in the woman absorbed in her book
    seated in the cool shade at the
    vineyards at Cagnes,
    felt in cheery company with Hassam’s Poppies.

    I limited myself to only one gallery,
    Landscapes of Impressionism,
    on loan from Brooklyn.
    How I walked that famous bridge last fall
    from Brooklyn to Manhattan,
    but never knew these paintings hung nearby?
    I obsessed over details of light and leaf,
    shade and water.
    Minutes ticked away,
    unknown to me.

    I scribbled madly,
    filled a clothbound yellow notebook
    with descriptions and reflections.

    Shocked when my husband phoned
    “The time is what?”
    I dashed through the
    must-see Western collection upstairs
    before hoofing it,
    sweating in the July sun,
    through the plaza of Denver‘s
    Civic Center Park
    to meet our patient friends.

  10. PSC in CT

    New to this website & community, I am coming late to the table, and hoping I am still allowed to join in the fun!
    I have been scrambling to play catch up — so I can get to the day 7 celebration.

    For now, here is my PAD DAY 1 entry: “The Hook”

    Do the Math

    Seventy-seven point eight
    (average years ‘til you’re dun)
    One hundred and five (if you’re lucky)
    Or just seventeen (if you’re un-)
    (margin of error – 99% –
    plus or minus one)

  11. janey

    "Lymphoma", he said.
    "I’m afraid it’s not good."

    And so I began to make arrangements;
    write letters to the kids,
    clear up the paper clutter,
    organize financial information

    and then I went to the cancer
    center for my first chemo treatment.

    "Something just doesn’t seem right", he said.
    "Before we start this, let’s try one more thing.
    We don’t usually biopsy lymph nodes –
    diffcult to tell which ones are
    and which ones aren’t.
    But there’s that one –
    the one that showed up "hot"
    the one that I think we can biopsy."

    So we did.
    No lymphoma
    but instead…

    Well… maybe not wonderful
    but better.
    Definitely better.

    And so it begins…

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

  12. Euphrates

    Starting late, but I didn’t get the memo until late. :)
    My theme: Alternative Relationships – Loving Outside the Lines

    First poem in the series:
    Outside The Lines

    The child presses down, etching along the outline
    Creating a crayon boundary to keep his scribbles
    Within acceptable lines of a pre-fabricated picture,
    Because coloring outside the lines brings criticism
    And no one knows what his pictures mean
    When he creates with a blank page

    The adult makes decisions based on “what is best”,
    Creating a life that conforms to society’s boundaries
    Within acceptable paradigms and approved forms
    Because rocking the boat brings ostracism
    And no one wants you if you’re different
    From what everyone else expects.

    But life erases the carefully prepared outlines
    And knocks down the fences
    That conform to expectations
    Because sleepwalking through life isn’t living
    And our hearts can’t soar in beauty
    Without venturing outside the lines

  13. Iris Deurmyer

    Two Parts Hydrogen to One Part Oxygen

    Teal blue is the Mediterranean
    I feel your waves nibbling my toes
    Transparent is the water in my glass
    Devoid of minerals or taste
    I shower in a foamy spray
    Warm and sensous in its appeal
    After swimming in a chlorine pool
    I am slave to your presence
    They say 2/3 of me is water
    Probably most of it is on my brain.

  14. A.C. Leming

    I too am a late arrival. I’m attempting the NaNoWriMo at the same time, and may be setting myself up for failure. I’ll finish one of these challenges, at least.


    The three aspects of Ma
    that you need to remember:

    The distance between your
    weapon and the opponent;

    The distance between your
    opponent’s weapon and you;

    and the distance between
    you and your opponent.

    That ratio will never change.
    Your arm is so long. Your

    opponent’s leg is so long.
    And optimal Ma – distance,

    space – is finite. You can
    only attack effectively from

    a certain distance. That is
    combat. That is life. That is Ma.

  15. VS Bryant

    The Love Song

    It starts off with the sweetest melody
    a soft tune, soothing, yet blinding for all to see.

    Slowly the bass glides in on the scene
    power and seductive, the perfect fiend.

    Every note, every tune wrapping all around you
    soft and slow, fast and hard, the perfect song made for two.

  16. VS Bryant

    The Love Song

    It starts off with the sweetest melody
    a soft tune, soothing, yet blinding for all to see.

    Slowly the bass glides in on the scene
    power and seductive, the perfect fiend.

    Every note, every tune wrapping all around you
    soft and slow, fast and hard, the perfect song made for two.

  17. Diane T.

    The Hook

    When I think of the hook I think of my mother
    a proud fisher woman chased after by the fish.
    Exuberant, successful, lucky that is my mother
    on her 93nd revolution of the sun in the year 2008.
    As the end of the calendar approaches, so does
    the end of her life — will she make it to 2009?
    November, the month of her husband’s death
    the birth of her first great grandchild
    the month I feel a hint of what will come.

  18. Victoria Hendricks


    Blocks from my warm house, on corner under bridge,
    woman stands with green sign, "Pregnant. Need help."
    Curls flutter in chill wind. She smiles. I assess belly
    under loose shirt, soften, reach for purse, open wallet.
    Light glints off beer can in string bag. I shut wallet,
    purse, hide behind shut window, shut heart, mind.
    Shut. Shut. I wonder if I have did the wrong thing.

  19. Jane penland hoover

    Forbidden Separation

    Breathing machine
    holding him to life
    noise pulsing
    pushing – swoosh –
    air in – pause –
    whoosh – air out –
    and again
    his chest rose and fell
    to the will of that machine.

    In this gripping rhythm
    I began
    my breath to his
    in – out – in – out
    anything to remain
    disavow the sounds
    inflating separation.

  20. Gizele Griffiths

    Hope I’m not too late to join the November challenge. Just noticing the prompt this morning. My chosen theme is animals and nature in general, and mostly directed to children.


    The earth it never tires,
    Of spinning round and round,
    Like all the other planets,
    That out in space are found.

    The oceans they evaporate,
    Creating clouds of rain,
    That hover in the atmosphere,
    Then fall back down again.

    The wind it dries up all the rain,
    And scatters seeds around,
    And sometimes it will whistle,
    A cold and piercing sound.

    The sun he is consistent
    In sending rays of light,
    His warmth he keeps emitting,
    All day and all the night.

    The stars create a twinkle
    In darkened skies beyond,
    And shooting stars go streaking,
    For us to wish upon.

    The moon it palely glows
    In crescent shapes and round,
    Causing tides to fall and rise,
    Wherever tides are found.

    These cycles they just happen,
    For years and years on end
    Continuing for eons,
    A universal trend.

    Copyright © Gizele Griffiths 2008

  21. lynn rose

    Way, way, inside
    I shutter to think about what I have done.
    I did this to someone too.

    A thing that was once precise and so dear.
    I let it go and didn’t see how it would
    change me.

    I took it with no regret and cast it to
    the side, Oh well, its gone and I am free
    just to be.

  22. corinne

    Hey everyone, nice to see some familiar names and some new ones too! I was moving on the weekend and my internet provider didn’t get the work order or some such thing, so I was offline and will be until Wednesday. Have internet at work though.

    Breathtaking work here! Looking forward to the month.

    My theme will be about loss – how people/animals – beings to love, come through my life and there is such impermanence to it all. Not sure how it will shape up but it seems to be a theme that is very much with me.

    We met
    And the bright new moments of maybe
    made everything sparkly, slo-mo, vivid
    and giddy.

    The moments of maybe not came later
    and more frequently,
    Until they became moments of not
    stretched together and bound together by animosity.

    That was 17 years ago now, and
    I remember how it felt when it ended:
    like a bottomless pit, all that mattered
    when, today, I cannot recall your last name.

  23. Lee


    "I think she’s long-winded and shallow," he
    commented in disgust.
    "Too many words and not enough substance. Her
    writing tends to be overly romantic, and her
    subjects, trite."

    "Maybe she has vulnerability issues," someone
    else suggested.
    "Maybe her words seem to dance around the
    point because she has difficulty letting
    the reader in."

    "Vulnerability issues?" he laughed.
    "There’s nothing there to hide. She’s an open
    book – a dull, boring open book."

    And so for the next 2 hours he tore the author
    apart, telling us why he considered her a waste of
    good paper and a waste of his time.

    As we were leaving, he invited me for a drink.
    "Your comments were extremely thoughtful," he
    smiled, opening the door for me. "…even if they
    were way off base." He grinned at his own humor.
    "I enjoyed your opinons even if I DID
    disagree with them. It’s hard to hold an honest
    discussion with anyone these days, let alone with
    someone as intelligent as you."

    I smiled back over my shoulder at him, trying to
    decide when would be the best time to
    tell him that I was the author that he
    just spent 2 hours censuring.

    – – – – –

  24. Don Swearingen

    Last Time in This Time

    Tonight we change them once again
    To satisfy the whims of Good Old Ben,
    Who first proposed this change to give more afternoon
    And save more candles while we’re waiting for the moon.
    This in a time when the world depended less upon the clock,
    And more upon the sunrise, and the crowing of the cock.
    Thought more of when the frost and coldness came,
    Or when the snow was gone and winter tame.
    So now we twist those hands to find a minute more of light,
    And seek to hold it back; the edges of the night
    For just a moment more of play, or work
    Or anything, besides the black and smoth’ring murk
    The night brings. And leaves us fearful in the dark.
    And leaves us fearful in the dark.

  25. Amanda

    Echoes of her screams haunt me still
    I couldn’t save her
    My eyes water as I revisit the memory
    I held her hands to my face
    Promised it would be all right
    An inferno blazed around us
    How could I dare to hope for such things?
    The heat kept intensifying, worse than a desert summer’s day
    I felt the rescue worker grab me from behind
    I tried to tell him that she was there
    She needed his help too
    I fought
    Kicked and screamed
    As he dragged me away
    I lost my grip on her
    And the blazing fire claimed her soul

  26. Spidey

    ok, here’s my own attempt at a HOOK poem as requested by Robert.

    room 429
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    she stepped out from under the overhang and into the downpour,
    relieved at the chance to ditch ghosts four stories up,
    their faces vapor-locked against glass, peering from room 429.

    she had come to the big city on business, hoping to catch the eye
    of all the right people and further advance her career. instead,
    she caught the affections of a young supernatural in room 429.

    she first felt it’s presence when the keycard swiped the door,
    felt it riffle curiously through her things like an invite when she
    laid open her suitcase at the foot of the bed in room 429.

    she thought on her mother, their line of shared gifts –
    apparitions with dancecards lining the halls
    awaiting messiahs outside room 429.

    she sensed the entity’s childlike loneliness, attaching itself
    like an unwanted pet to the back of her wool skirt,
    dragging across carpet in sheer desperation inside room 429.

    she empathized at first, until the weight of it all began popping
    rivets surrounding her heart, filling lungs with radon
    ‘til her hands pushed opened the heavy door of 429.

    she fumbled her way past shadowy figures, glad for
    the knowledge of spirits and their aversion to water,
    eager to unhinge from the haunting in room 429.

    she stepped out from under the overhang and into the downpour,
    relieved at the chance to ditch ghosts four stories up,
    their faces vapor-locked against glass, peering from room 429.

  27. SaraV

    Bright orange dragon claw
    Caught the edge and tipped the bowl
    Spilling yellow crumbles in the dark sand
    He opened his maw
    Pink. gooey with threads of spit
    And shoveled up a scoop
    Of powdery bits
    Whipped his tail at a perceived threat
    Then munched ’til he’d filled his gullet
    Swaggered off to a shady tree
    Where he could easily oversee
    His kingdom of other scaly beasties

  28. Susan M. Bell

    OK, here we go again right. This is going to be tough as I am also signed up with, trying to write an entire novel in one month. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

    This is a very rough draft. Just jotted it down, and will probably work on it some more later. I think it has potential.

    What kind of curveball?

    What kind of curveball will life throw
    at me today? What kind of mini catastrophe
    will head my way? Will I be able to handle
    everything the way I usually do, or will
    it all come crumbling down around me,
    forcing me to dig my way out? I’ve done
    it before, made it through closed and bolted
    doors to the other side. Can I do it again?

    What kind of curveball will life throw
    at me today, and will I be able to

    swing away?

  29. Kate Berne Miller

    Daylight Savings

    Tonight the dogs come prancing in from early darkness
    all wet fur and wood smoke. She stands a long time in
    the gusting rain, listening to the rustle of maple leaves
    as they fall from the trees. Behind her the dogs’ tags rattle
    as they shake themselves dry. Turning back inside, she pulls
    the door shut against the low hoot of owls, a somber conversation outside the porch light’s yellow spill.

    Kate Berne Miller

  30. Rodney C. Walmer

    Ok, I have no idea what a chap book is, but I’m in. I will just have to wing it, as I am buried in paperwork for work.

    Here’s my hook. I hope.

    Hooked on Poetry

    Ever see a poem about poems
    random poems written
    with no actual themes to call home
    well, once bitten
    the urge takes a hold of the very inside of me
    forcing my hand,
    in what must be told, I can only hope brilliantly
    difficult to understand
    unless you’re a poet
    there is much life of demands
    there’s another urge,
    but’ I’ll for go it
    to complete this task
    of a hook
    easily masked
    with poetry
    by a book
    that may never be. . .

    Rodney C. Walmer 11/2/08 Hook poem prompt, not my best work, but time is short for me.

  31. Sara McNulty


    Please sign on the dotted
    line in blue ink, official
    color, background drop
    of stars on our flag; the shade
    of my eyes–envied by little
    sister; the jeans I no longer
    wear skin tight, like a teen
    might, while watching with joy,
    the total of those blue states
    swell. I’m buoyed. Makes me
    want to dance in a pair of
    blue suede shoes as I listen to
    the root of all music–the blues.

  32. jared david

    just found this this site, wrote this yesterday morning, i’ll continue with the same theme

    you are alone,
    you are surrounded,
    you are suffocating,
    you’re being drowned,
    time is up,
    there’s too much left,
    that was your worst,
    you lost your best,
    you don’t know where to go,
    you’re not where you should be,
    you not prepared,
    you prepared for the wrong thing,
    there are monsters in the closet,
    there’s no one in the house,
    you are hidden from the world,
    you’ve been found out,
    you are exalted,
    you have been forsaken,
    you stand defiant,
    you succumb to your demons,
    the spotlight is on you,
    your lost in the darkness,
    you must care for your home,
    you are homeless,
    the ground is far away,
    your in an enclosed space,
    you don’t accept responsibility,
    you don’t know your place—

    and you,
    like everyone here,
    are too afraid,
    to admit your fears.

  33. Lori

    Time management

    I have twelve minutes to write this poem
    then I have to be at work four hours early.

    We’re desperate, my boss says
    while I’m still cleaning the blood off my shirt
    from the last one we saved.

    I didn’t do the calculations, until now,
    that a sixteen hour shift followed by
    a 6 hour school day
    makes for one tired nurse.

    I just answered "ok" because
    I was still hearing the thanks in the mother’s voice
    for helping her son.

  34. Terri Vega

    I decided to go with "Herbs" for a theme. I’m really bad at naming my actual poems, though, so this one is still nameless.

    -the hook-

    Foods ring pungent in my watering mouth
    fresh as melting sun and living fire.
    Sick bodies are guided back to bloom or
    granted merciful passage into summerlands.
    Apparel liberated from a lackluster life
    rereleased into a world of effulgent hue.
    Witness to the sight of flowing fields that dance a tempoed waltz in the wind
    they sing in their garments – the bells of mother’s ball.
    Bearing alms that are gathered by diverse desire
    defenseless immolation scattered to aspirations of imagination.
    Generations, heirloom spirit sprawls the boundless sphere,
    antics of delicate stature camouflage wellborn privilege;
    worshipped by some unnoticed by others
    rooted in the soil of human animation.

  35. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    Raping Humanity

    1000 people watched in a stadium.
    Watched a 13 year old who was raped.
    They watched her be stoned for adultery.
    They attended but they watched.
    Did militants have guns pointed at them to do that?
    Did even one stand up and say, "Hey, maybe this is a bad idea?"
    The tear rolls down my cheek for her.
    I have much work to do for humanity.
    I have much work to do for you.

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  36. kate

    Defrosting the freezer

    Me first
    no I’m first
    and I’m second.
    If you don’t let me go next
    I won’t help you with the computer.
    It’s constant this squabbling
    they all want to be first
    have the longest turn
    be the winner.

    She brandishes the scraper
    but can’t bear the snow on her hands
    for too long.
    Each boy would do the whole thing
    if I let them,
    the fascination of ice in the tropics,
    the challenge to chisel carefully
    to remove the top section
    intact, in one perfect sheet.

  37. S.E.Ingraham

    The theme of my chapbook is sanity and insanity; the losing and acquiring of both – the thin membrane that separates the sane from the insane…my working title for the chapbook is the same as this first poem’s

    Tearing a Hole in the Universe

    It was surprisingly soundless
    When the rip occurred
    in the edge of the universe
    A hole large enough to let a small child
    Slip through unnoticed and gone
    But the shrieks and keening surrounding
    That happenstance more than made up
    For the original quiet

    Things of this nature, so beyond the imaginings
    Of the average person, beg the question
    Why – why him – why us- why did this happen at all
    He was just here and so healthy, robust really
    And now? He’s gone. How can this be?
    What master of the universe would let this occur?

    There’s no stitching up that gaping hole
    But folks will play elaborate games of leap-frog
    And other fancy footwork, anything to avoid
    That pitfall, knowing how fickle that awful maw
    Can be; if it would open up a child-sized space
    And yawning, casually as all get out, take the tyke
    Then damn the parents, damn them all

    Mommy stares off into space not realizing
    She is searching for the rip herself
    It would not take much seeking for her to find
    Her own slight gap and simply slip on through
    Daddy’s writing his child letters on Facebook and crying
    As he pushes post and send, hoping that the ether will
    Propel his messages through some lull in reason
    Through the tear in their universe,
    Pleading for any connection
    He fights to stay alive and figure out the sane.


  38. EKSwitaj

    What the Dickens?

    deep wood & nets
    shadowing stage
    quieter than all
    of Tokyo surrounds
    this pub where I order
    Red Hook from home & listen
    to your poems & mine
    & this is before
    I love you &
    we wander
    Shinjuku too afraid
    of each other
    to find a love hotel

    I’m writing about pubs and bars where I’ve spent time. The title here is, in fact, the name of one.

  39. Bruce Niedt

    I guess I’m one of the few who took "hook" quite literally. I’m thinking of a music theme for my chapbook, and I went with the musical definition of "hook" then turned it around into a metaphor:

    The Hook

    It’s that song I keep hearing
    on the radio at home, in the car,
    at the supermarket and work,
    that one with the great hook.
    I take its bait by humming along,
    and after half-a-dozen times,
    it’s sparking through my brain,
    impossible to shake out.
    I flap around like a trout
    pulled out of my stream
    helplessly singing the melody
    through a hooked mouth.

  40. Jolanta Laurinaitis


    Last breath rasping
    Crashing through the
    Massacred remains
    Corpses littering
    The flattened undergrowth

    Adderbolt watches.

    Hovering above the horizon.

    Ready to receive.

  41. Callan

    When I Consider How My Saturdays Are Spent

    The way the smoke curls around my fingers –
    in a living room, half-lit, drunk, spinning –
    upward and onward, the way I’m grinning –
    with Daylight Savings, it only lingers –
    the same hour lived twice, the laughter, hers,
    and hers, and now his, and his, beginning –
    intoxicated, awareness thinning –
    and the night now attending us; it cures:

    The year will die soon, now halfway to June
    and escape and departure, and worry
    wait to envelop me; my last year here,
    the phases all sighing by like the moon’s,
    every bit as lengthy as it’s blurry –
    mutter the mantra: there’s nothing to fear.

  42. Michelle H.


    November has opened her doors once again
    And all are invited to waltz right in
    Trees quite naked and gardens lay bare, but beware, for
    Underneath the dimming light of day
    Roaring winds from the arctic north may douse the
    Embers of autumns grasp and close the doors of Novembers’ past

  43. Paul W.Hankins


    She looked to thirty
    remembering it to be
    one of the colder months
    with days that gave way to winter,
    when the ground went cold enough
    to hold itself,
    if not to bear flowers,
    it meant not to be broken;
    burials would wait
    for warmth to return.

    Canvas tarps
    with pvc skeletons
    crowned the brown folding chairs,
    straight, solemn rows, leg to leg,
    even those set up in anticipation,
    for the attendees without reservation,
    and everything she could not see
    was green and stretched across
    frames that formed squares
    long and deep.

    The longest part
    of a pre-winter day,
    is the path of a car,
    headed back to the main road,
    true north to home
    folding the program
    wondering what her own name
    would look like in italics.

  44. Mary K

    In Remembrance

    I remember Jerry from college speech class
    who gave a talk about his brother Gene,
    captured by the Pathet Lao, then held in captivity
    until he attempted an escape with others,
    was recaptured and tortured. He was seen
    alive later but never made it to freedom.
    This is the only speech I remember from class.

    I hadn’t thought about Jerry for decades,
    but he came to mind last week, a phantom
    from the past, and I decided to try to find
    something out about Jerry or Gene
    who in the mid- 60’s was MIA in Vietnam.
    I hoped I would find that he had come home.

    I discovered that my college classmate Jerry
    had gone to Laos after the war to search
    for his brother Gene, but never found him,
    though there were live sightings until the 1990’s.
    Jerry has remained an advocate for his brother
    for more than forty years, still considers Gene
    his mentor, has authored a book about him.

    Gene’s memory will live on through Jerry’s book,
    through Jerry’s speech which undoubtedly he
    has long ago forgotten and now, for me, because
    I have written this poem.

  45. Sara McNulty


    Some say that yellow is the
    color of the sun, but on a beach
    when morning spreads the
    curtains of night open, a pale
    lemon emerges. As day wears
    on the sun sweetens to lemon
    meringue filling awaiting afternoon,
    when the hue deepens to a fresh
    fruit lemon. Only as evening stages
    an entrance does the sun discard
    all traces of lemon and exit
    as a fiery orange blaze.

  46. Earl Parsons

    I’m a little confused as to which path to take. I may write two at the same time, or I may find a way to combine them. We’ll see. By the way, thanks Iain.

    Life, Liberty and the Lord

    “O beautiful, for patriot dream
    That sees, beyond the years
    Thine alabaster cities gleam,
    Undimmed by human tears
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee.
    And crown thy good
    With brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea.”

    America the Beautiful
    Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
    My Country, ‘Tis of thee
    God Bless America
    The Star-Spangled Banner
    God Bless the USA

    A country grounded in freedom
    A nation of liberty
    A beacon on a hill
    Blessed by God


  47. satia

    Since I alluded to it above and it is in keeping with the "theme" on which I have settled (at least for now), here is the alphapoem I wrote.

    Violent, the world shifts.
    Everything moves and I
    Reach for the wall,
    Toppling a lamp as
    I land unharmed, then
    Get up slowly
    Only to fall again.

  48. Iain D. Kemp

    And here you go… Whether you await with baited breath or are Oh! NO please not this…. Can’t with live him…can’t live without… HEEEERES RINGO!!!

    Dear Moosehead,

    So… Now is the Winter of
    our discontent and no I do not
    mean the Hockey season you
    no good SOB! You take, like
    one week’s vacation in Florida
    and suddenly my so-called wife,
    your sister and you Mother be
    moving back in with me and I
    don’t know if its pay day or
    thanksgiving my head is so upsidedown!
    Damn! You should have more respect
    for a friend who’s now is paying double
    for heat’n’light and your cousin won’t
    come clean no more cos she says its you
    that needs the help. Lord what is it with the
    women in your family that they gotta have
    it down for me. Now you know I ain’t got
    nuffin personal ‘gainst them Rangers, just it’s
    such a long time ‘til spring training.
    So any ways I got us some three back from
    ice-side for Friday. Pickya up at seven:
    bring money for dogs and beer ( its the least you can do).

    Yours cold and grouchy

    Ringo the Howler

  49. Earl Parsons

    Synaptic Sensations

    No schedule
    No warning
    Not even a subtle introduction
    They come out from hiding
    To tickle my brain
    And tease me with memories
    Of things far gone
    Some not so far

    No telling what
    No telling when
    No telling why
    They just jump out at me

    Sometimes vague
    Sometimes crystal clear
    Sometimes frightening
    Sometimes warm and fuzzy

    A few will stick around
    To relive things in my brain
    While others flash and go
    Never to return

    Is God messing with me
    Or Satan playing games
    Or both

    Synaptic sensations
    Tricks of the mind
    What’s next

  50. Sara Diane Doyle

    looks like you all are off to a good start. I’m busy with a novel this month, so I won’t be joining you–but I’ll be stopping by to see how things are shapping up.

    Robert–a theme? Can you get more evil?? I never write by theme and so for the poetry project I’m having my teens do, we decided to write by themes. And turns out I hate writing by theme. I’d way rather write my poems and then group by themes as they arise rather than try. But that’s just me :)

    Have fun!

  51. Sheryl Kay Oder

    Scattershot, she…

    Sits Mary-wise at Jesus’ feet:
    turning God-ward in daily conversation,
    snatching portions of His Word for renewal of her mind,
    listening to Moody radio for continuing sustenance,
    worshiping with others on Sunday,
    attending small group on Friday ready to participate..

    Considers Martha-wise her many responsibilities:
    The family must be fed, so she shops for food.
    The bills must be paid, so she consults Microsoft Money.
    Her mother visits doctors, so she accompanies her.
    Clutter must be removed, so she is often in motion.
    Then there is dusting, laundry, and dishes, and she does what she can.

    “Organizes” Cathy-wise and knows:
    her birthday book goes unconsulted,
    her Uncalendar® sits ignored,
    her phone book with its blank labels waits for attention,
    her many cleaning products grow dusty with disuse,
    books purchased with enthusiasm remain unread..

    Delights Emily-wise in word pictures:
    playing “Word Tag” on blank paper,
    flinging words there, hoping for cleanup later,
    giving voice to silly, joyful humor,
    attempting at least part of another PAD challenge,
    grasping for form from scattershot thoughts.

    If I use my scattershot life as a theme, I should not lack for poetic ideas.

    Speaking of Word Tag, that is the title of a poem I wrote several years ago. Frankly, I have shared so many of my poems with friends online, most of them could be thus already considered "published," so I might as well share this one with you.

    Word Tag

    How they t






    from my mind─

    these words─

    Like unruly children

    quickly running to recess.

    I want them to play a game with rules.

    "No", they say, SPORTING on the page;

    "Come be our playmate.

    "Don’t line us up in S










    I try so hard to tag them

    As they scurry

    Left and right

    Before my eyes.

  52. Shann Palmer


    made like a bed
    it happens daily-
    fluffed up and smooth,
    everything in its place,
    or difficult, moody,
    pulling your hope chest
    out into the street.

    You never know,
    even if you plan-
    God laughs
    Buddha laughs,
    the flutes fall
    and you’re covered
    in champagne or shit.

  53. Tony Iovino

    Tree Line

    beyond the tree line
    encircling this fallow field
    shadows deepen to forbidding veil.

    movement, the wind
    murmuring goodbyes to summer
    or a sentient hunter?

    the wood, respite
    from the searing sun
    or evil’s camouflage?

    forest resolves to trees,
    shadows receding from the travelers,
    dread floating just beyond vision’s end

    Should we flee, or follow this path?

  54. Steve LaVoie

    Well I don’t really have a theme for my chapbook, unless you count mixing themes as a theme itself, but I didn’t wanna play hooky on my first day here so I figured I write a "mix" poem for my hook:


    The senior citizen slips away
    In the middle of a dream about
    His younger days, content that he
    Never wasted a single one

    While 5 houses down
    The young man stares into
    His reflection and wonders
    Where his life went and why
    Appearence equals personal worth

    Three blocks away
    The woman begs
    The man who beats her
    Physically and mentally
    To take her back
    Because all the other guys
    Are too ugly for her

    While in the alley behind that house
    The dog looks for shelter form the pouring rain
    As the insomniac nearby dances around like
    He just won the lottery

    While in an apartment not too far away
    A lone figure perpares a grand stew
    And smiles all the while

  55. Heather

    Lesson #1: Trust

    She arrived
    Hoping for the best
    Dependent for the first time
    On them
    To be kind,

    She arrived
    Needing to know about
    The Universe,
    Mostly she wanted to know about God
    Dependent on them
    To share
    Their ideologies,
    Praying for them to be

    She arrived
    Needing more than they had to give
    More than they were willing to give
    And she never understood how
    And nurturing
    Could have escaped
    Without her ever having seen them

    She arrived
    Wondering how a hand
    Could be so heavy
    How words could be
    So angry
    Couldn’t imagine what she had done
    To incite such rage
    Why did they bring her here
    If she wasn’t wanted
    In the first place
    She arrived
    Heart open,
    Ready to learn
    About life,
    Mostly she wanted to know about God
    To find the good
    In all
    Unfortunately she learned
    Lesson # 1:
    Do Not Trust

  56. Judy Roney


    Too many times I’ve thought
    I can’t stand it, I can’t be here
    can’t stand the pain of this loss.

    I always hang on, my
    grip tenuous and iron steel
    by turns as I hold on
    to that which is going or

    gone. I value the resolve that takes
    me forward when what I want is
    blissful sleep. The solution

    comes to me gradually, seeps
    into consciousness with the dusky
    evening light. My legacy, those
    who walked before me,
    the ones who walk with me on
    this same tender path.

  57. patti williams

    The Three in the Tree

    The water
    Left it’s home in the Sea,
    Pouring over the land and the people.
    Running or swimming
    Only brought death closer, faster.

    But three little boys,
    Already without the luxury of
    Mommies or Daddies
    Found themselves clinging
    To the same tree,
    To the same savior.
    The Sisters that looked
    After them all perished
    With the other orphans
    Tied to their waists
    They didn’t want to
    Lose the precious souls
    Left In their care.
    Despite their prayers
    And watchful eyes, they
    Left the Island together
    As the water proved to be
    No match for their ropes.

    But the three in the tree
    Rescued by the survivors
    Remembered very little, except that
    The water
    Left it’s home in the Sea,
    Pouring over the land and the people.
    And running or swimming
    Only brought death closer, faster.

  58. patti williams

    Hello everyone! The theme for my new chapbook will be ‘Survival’ … this may take different forms … but that is where I’m going … or at least the direction I’m traveling today. As most of you know, The Great Storm was the United State’s deadliest disaster. The thing is, the survivors rebuilt, and will again now that Ike has done his bit of damage. Because life is, well, surviving the storms. (I think I just stumbled upon my title … WOOHOO!) So, without further delay, a poem from my latest Chapbook, "Life: Surviving the Storms."

    The Great Storm

    The city thrived,
    The port a booming global
    Market place.
    The year of 1900 for Galvestonians
    Was moneyed.

    That is until the skies darkened
    And the winds blew until
    The ocean fell on top of
    The unknowing people,
    Drowning their dreams,
    Their wives, their children.

    The bodies left for the living
    Could be smelled from miles away
    Until they were taken out to
    Sea for a burial in the same waters
    That stole their lives.
    But as the gulf currents washed the lost
    Back upon to the beaches again,
    The call was made to burn
    The remains of their loves
    In the funeral pyres.
    The men drank free whiskey
    Given to them by the
    Same officials
    Igniting the timbers
    That would transform the devastated
    Into small piles of ashes and dust.

    The seawall was later constructed,
    The survivors rebuilt their houses and lives
    Forever in honor of the 6000 souls
    Lost to the
    Great Storm
    On the 8th day of September, 1900
    When the winds blew until
    The ocean fell upon the people,
    Almost washing our
    Beautiful Galveston Island away.

  59. Matt Guenette


    The stuff of legends: Jules upstairs shouting, incredulous—The horror! The horror!—at the blowout diaper so out blown there’s muddy rivulets down baby’s legs, over baby’s shoulders, even in baby’s hair, (I don’t see any method at all, sir) which is more like fuzz actually, so his head is a baby bird’s, except turded upon, a pea-green, green-bean, carrot-strained, soupy colored mustardy funk, pee-mixed and pee-mashed, the high chair streaked and besharded, the diaper be-splattered and beshat, a Rorschach stink blot test, baby’s backside skunk streaked with butt-plankton, a surrealist manifesto of dung, a foul-splashed action painting, a poop-Pollock.

  60. Peggy Goetz

    You really made it tough by having us think of a topic FIRST! Sorry I will just have to let them flow and see what topic forms! I am new to posting the poems here and hope I can keep up. So many comments and poems!! Good work!

    Small Change

    Like a gun blast out of the dark
    it blew her world open
    a dripping wound, everything
    she loved hanging in silent
    bloody shreds. So small
    a thing, not even a whole
    sheet of paper, less than
    half a teaspoon of ink,
    a few words that changed

    Nov. 1, 2008

  61. satia

    Rachel, thank you. I’ve been asked to write more about my vertigo lately so as soon as I read Robert’s suggestions to find a theme that immeiadately occurred to me. And when I read his further suggestion "medical condition" I knew I was being nudged in a particular direction.

    I also have to say that I recently tried my hand at an "alphapoem" and was not pleased with the results. I commend you for doing a far superior job with the form than I.

  62. satia

    In Search of Metaphor:
    Ways to Describe Vertigo

    Imagine you’re on a boat
    you have your sea legs
    but the ocean is rough
    and the ship shifts
    so that you lose your balance.

    I’ve been on this carousel
    Called Earth
    For over forty years
    And I don’t understand
    Why can’t you feel the spinning?

    I am not drunk.
    Thank you for asking.

    at the touch of your lips
    my cells fall away
    and I hold tighter

    My bed is a flying carpet
    Dipping and swaying
    Dreams filled with falling
    I crash awake only to fall again.

    Shush please,
    I’m listening to my feet
    And feeling the wall
    For a plumb line.
    No time to listen
    To your line.
    Give me your number
    I’ll give a call
    When I’m feeling steady.

    I’ll lean on you
    Don’t lean on me
    Unless you want to fall

    It’s like you’re walking on water
    Just got off an amusement park ride
    Had too much to drink, room spinning
    Only worse because it never ends
    And sometimes there’s nobody there
    To catch you when you fall again.

  63. Kateri Woody

    The wing clipped lark cannot sing
    without inspiration from her surroundings.
    Unable to fly, gracelessly glued
    to the dark whetted bough
    there is no inspiration left in the bleak
    landscape she sees every day of her listless life.

    This branch so close to the ground
    is the highest that she’ll ever go
    and she has succumbed to this existence.

  64. AnnNoE

    I keep trying to post. Maybe this will work. Not that anyone will know if it doesn’t. :)

    I’m going to put together a chapbook of lanternes about life. Here’s the first: It’s the title, the theme and the first poem.

    A Book
    of Lanternes –
    Thoughts on Paper

  65. LKHarris-Kolp

    Broken Dreams

    She was young
    and in love,
    not a care in the world she had.

    Getting married
    straight from college,
    can’t be all that bad.

    Beautiful dress,
    cakes and flowers,
    fulfilled her dreams, made her glad.

    Then it happened,
    the debt, the lies
    began to make her sad.

    She tried and tried
    to make it work,
    wanting her marriage so bad.

    The final straw-
    no diploma, no job;
    he’d deceived her with the life they had.

    So she closed the door
    on marriage, on hope
    and started over with dreams not sad.

    Laurie K.

  66. k weber

    wow. i am blown away with everyone’s words. vivid all the way around. all these fresh perspectives hanging around in one place. i love this. and it’s nice to see a lot of the same folks from the April PAD Challenge here again!

    i’ve worked on another poem today, because i imagine there will be days out of town this month AND my theme entails writing more than 30 poems at last count. so here is to another, and perhaps one more for today :]

    all and all

    all the blood
    was in my head
    and the room
    was the color
    of cats

    and when i
    opened my voice
    the mouth babbled
    before my eyes
    bubbled over

    all it took
    to shake me
    was that week
    you said we should
    go backward

    and then i
    broke in to bits
    my little selves
    scattered every
    wrong way

    all my words
    went stale, my brain
    fell flat while i
    was supposed
    to move forward

  67. Iain D. Kemp

    Heather – I’m blushing. Liked yours too and they are all excellent today. Be warned: I will NOT do politics this month but I’m still gonna de 30 Dear Mooseheads…back later with Ringo!

    OOH! & nice to see some new names!


  68. Larina Warnock

    Before the Diagnosis

    Moments of miraculous remission
    remain unrecognized beneath strangely solid
    shadows of symptoms that creep out
    like many-legged creatures in the night,
    creatures casting miniscule shadows of their own
    while scavenging those things I leave
    alone—elusive temperatures that can’t be
    taken, momentarily blurred vision, muscles
    that go spastic without reason—things that vanish
    just long enough for me to believe the insects
    crept away and won’t return. Something-not-quite-
    right is just a temporary hindrance until it spans
    months and years like the shadow of a moon
    frozen in crescent state. I could berate
    myself for ignoring the signs, but truth be told
    it’s safer to hold ignorance with both hands
    than try to understand why illness eats at all.

  69. Connie

    Poetry, Novels and Dominoes

    Right now in Woerden, The Netherlands,
    domino builders, on a fourteen-day countdown
    to Domino Day, are attempting to break
    ten world records, including the biggest stones,
    highest climb, longest wall, and the most
    dominoes toppled, which they themselves set
    in 2006—4,079,381 dominoes. As I begin
    tapping away on my keys, they are on their knees,
    frantically pushing for the finish of eight weeks
    of strategically placing 4.5 million stones.
    As each day passes individuals wonder if their part
    will be knocked over early, like what happened when
    the infamous 2005 sparrow got in and knocked down
    23,000 dominoes four days before the event.
    Or when the time comes, will the stones simply stall out?
    Or will they topple properly, to the thrill of
    thousands present and the 85 million TV viewers?
    Each, “Incredible!” “Genius!” “Spectacular!”
    “Brilliant!” “Ooh”and “Aaah!” is worth each back pain,
    temper flare, frustration and penny spent. It’s November first
    and this month I’m to write a novel and a chap book.
    I feel nervous, like the domino builders must feel.
    Will the plot end too early or fizzle out?
    Will my poems be painting with words
    as domino building is art in motion?
    November fourteenth, the domino builders
    will know. I won’t until the thirtieth.
    Here’s to poetry, novels and dominoes.

  70. Iain D. Kemp

    I shall continue a theme I started back in April and have left alone since them. Hence this is #4…

    Cats, Poetry & Death # 4

    The chimney-place is used anew

    The hard Winter rain lashes my windows
    as the first fire of the season crackles
    warmth and cheer across the room,
    across my soul. The wicked wind whips the
    shutters and bends the palms. I watch the dark sky
    blend into the even darker sea and smile for
    the times they are now changing.

    The cats are snug now, battles won and lost;
    all scores settled as the blazing logs lull them
    into a sleep nigh on hibernation that will break only
    as stomachs rumble and nature calls. Nature is
    calling outside on All Saints day the short lived
    Autumn is bid farewell and Winter arrives, not
    so much welcomed as begrudgingly accepted

    One season’s death becomes another’s birth just
    as the Wicken new year renounces the old. Pipe
    smoke and Dickens fill my nostrils and my mind
    and I am conjured to a time of coaches, top boots
    and four-in-hand. My muse idles in the background
    enthralled for the time as the great man’s words wash away
    any that I could ‘umbly, so very, very ‘umbly offer in their stead.

    Content beneath a blanket, cosied by the felines I dream
    I see a peace and a gentle time made romantic by the
    mixture of olive-wood and briar smoke. The sun has faded away
    far earlier it seems than ever before and I am lost to the night
    and quiet longing to tell the world of where my soul has been
    and where still it may go led ever by my heart. The fire sparks
    and the cats purr on in ignorant bliss


  71. Rachel

    J Justifying,
    E encouraging me to be
    S something largely more than me.
    U unable and ill, He loves me
    S still.

    O Often I’m crying,
    F fearful and dying.

    N No one sees this pain, I’m
    A abused again, and
    Z zealous not for the things of God,
    A acting out no christian desire and
    R running to the fire, but He
    E ever weeps for me
    T trading my soul for
    H His

  72. Margaret Fieland

    Discovering America

    Columbus was right about the winds,
    convinced his men
    not to mutiny, found land,
    sailed all the way back
    across the Atlantic,
    founded a colony,
    but it sure wasn’t India.

    Was he bummed when he realized
    the scholars were right, the world
    was a bigger place than he’d thought?
    Did he complain about
    that darned continent,
    America, plopped in the middle
    of what should have been an empty sea?

    He miscalculated the circumference
    of the earth.

    If he’d had his numbers right, he’d never
    have set sail, and none of us
    would be reading this poem.

  73. Yvonne Garcia

    Trust that it will

    When I die, my dear
    surrender me to the pyre
    let it return me to the dust
    of my mother and her mother
    and her mother before that.
    Take me to the Hoh River
    to the rain forest, release
    me to the sands where tribal women
    once gathered water while their children
    played on the edge of time.

    When the day comes, my love
    carry my life deep within
    memories of mountains
    and moose, of misty fjords
    and pink flamingos, of Sunday
    mornings and hot lemonades.
    See me in the unruly sheets,
    the unchanged toilet paper roll,
    the kitchen disaster discovered
    after a good meal.

    When the moment comes, my dear
    — and trust that it will —
    like the subtle shifting into spring
    after the cold rains of winter,
    welcome the sun’s warmth
    on your chest, the chickadee’s
    song to your heart and smile
    at the wonder and beauty
    which surrounds you.

    * Inspired by Christina Rosseti’s “Song”

  74. RJay Slais

    While breaking new ground, it is inevitable that one will spread some particles from their endeavor throughout the rest of the house. All that is created will follow us home, whether on a boot, carried in on the wind, or held behind one’s eyes to be seen in a different light that begins with tomorrow’s sunrise.


    Light of November fade.
    Sap has evaporated,
    the flitter of leafwing
    trembles in flight

    to settle soft
    under a bone-twigged bush.
    Freeze-dried earth
    is prepped to shut;

    ants have entered
    their place of benightedness,
    frost has curled
    the fingers of grass,

    long leg wasps are hidden
    beneath the shutters,
    stingers sheathed for the season.
    Gray hairs undone,

    the snow will soon gather
    to whiten the roof
    while the river still flows
    despite crystals of ice,

    the sloughs and sluices
    that fancy the edge;
    onset the quietude
    of tomorrow reveal.

  75. Cheryl Chambers

    Cheryl Falls For Neal

    It starts with one key, leading into a few
    rooms. Each contains a possibility. Each
    sees itself a gem. Slim hallways connect them,
    narrow walls separate them. It can or cannot
    continue indefinitely; it might stop like a hope
    tomorrow, each step a footfall, a beat, for
    Neal’s heart. He doesn’t exist with you yet but
    how she savors each word and glimpse,
    each flash like a photograph into his house.
    She’s stalking him now. She’ll keep finding him.

  76. Edward John DiMaio

    Deformed shafts of brass crowned with

    Mutilated blobs of lead

    Lodged deep in my bones.

    Each a word or action

    taken with out consideration.

    The car has sped away

    Tinted window closes as

    Smoke dances from the barrel.

    I fall to the street

    momentarily unaware that

    I am the driver the shooter and the shot.
    Edward DiMaio

  77. Miguel de Matos

    "Scents, Science and Family"

    Whether it be that nostalgic scent of sea
    That pierces your nostrils
    Or the smell of coffee and bagels by the
    Kitchen table, wife and kids munching away;
    You always know when it’s morning,

    When it’s time to get up…
    Or not quite just yet, we cry
    Burrowed in the sheets,
    Covered, Shielded from
    All the hustle and bustle
    Of getting the car,
    Of driving the kids to school,
    Going to work,
    Umph, big queues of cars:
    Hooting away with their horns.

    But you always know when it’s morning,
    Whether it be that nostalgic scent of sea
    Or the smell of coffee and bagels,
    You always know when it’s morning,
    The gayest time of the day.

  78. Nancy Posey

    Amy Vanderbilt, the Lost Chapters

    Never ask for a divorce by phone. Most
    consider rude, as well, breaking up
    by email or text message. You should
    never make your children wait outside
    in the parlor, when you visit a bordello.

    Suicide notes should be legible, left
    in a place they are likely to be found.
    If your parents have the wherewithal
    to pay your way through school, have
    the decency not to drop your courses,
    keeping the refund check for beer.

    Nancy Posey

  79. Max Babi

    The Ephemeral Hook

    Eye contact was absolutely no problem with her
    Perhaps an imp-like boy’s soul took asylum with her

    Her words dripped honey, exotic, highly aromatic
    Her voice cooed with instant intimacy, automatic

    When the devil’s nefarious designs rose inside her
    She always coaxed and cajoled me, to be with her

    With a mask of naivete and innocence schoogirlish
    Betrayal came riding waves of morality, so churlish

    Chess moves like evil patterns hidden in a soul
    Can ruin a life, leaving it desolate like a bowl.

    (c) Max Babi

  80. k weber

    what timing! i recently started tossing ideas around for a new chapbook. i just haven’t made the time to put all the pieces together. the ideas… there… the scribbled outlines… scattered, but in process… the poems… getting there very slowly. so wow… the fire under my bum and my thumb i needed to put this into action. thanks, poetic asides!

    The red waves

    skimming to London
    watered down
    a drink, swelled
    a Bostonian heart

    in New York City
    skinny-legged, kicked
    fins, sang the wet
    throat of Cincinnati

    floated the bus
    to Chicago: salty
    months spent fresh,
    drowning out history

    curls breathed,
    lapped the wind
    and licked cities
    in trickled rain

    once the waves stilled
    in bed and the sheets
    were cool until wide-
    eyed morning

  81. Nancy Posey

    This is a first shot. The idea of the "hook" gave Mac Davis the idea for the song he sang way back when. More later:


    “Baby, baby, don’t get hooked on me,” Mac Davis sang,
    as the forty-five spun round and round on the turntable
    as we sat on the red shag carpet of my bedroom floor.
    We couldn’t help ourselves, falling in love with songs
    that said the worst possible words a sixteen-year-old
    girl could hear. If we refused to believe he’d just use
    us then set us free, then why put the poster on the wall
    proclaiming, “If you love something set it free”?

    When we heard Donnie sing, “Go away, little girl,” we knew
    he must be talking to someone else, someone less alluring
    than the two of us, in blue jeans, halter tops, shag haircuts.
    We’d never go for that kind of boys, the ones who’d kiss
    and tell, the ones who’d kiss and leave. When Stephen
    Stills sang “love the one you’re with,” we knew we could
    be that girl and the one he loved too, making him forget
    Crosby, Nash, and Young, and all the groupies too.

    At sixteen, we were not so far away from dorm rooms,
    eight-track players blasting “Muskrat Love” or something
    even more inane, when we would heard America singing—
    not Walt Whitman’s but our own—“Sister Golden Hair”
    and know at last why he had never called. Of course, he’s
    one poor correspondent, but at least no one could tell
    us that for years now we were never on his mind.

    Nancy Posey

  82. Heather

    The noise took my breath away
    Twisting metal, grinding, so close to me,
    Windows shattering,
    The loudest booms and hardest impacts
    I could imagine
    White light everywhere
    All of it in the calmest
    Slow motion

    With the first blow,
    I was sure I lost my eye
    My bones broke and crushed
    I saw eight instead of one
    The second and third blows
    Took my jaws
    And crossed them
    I figured my teeth were gone

    Surgery and recovery
    Was difficult,
    But full
    And I am
    Truly blessed to have survived
    Hitting an 18 wheeler
    Head on