November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

Today is 11/11. What a mathematical day! (As some of you know, Tammy and I were married on 08/08/08 at 8:08–so I don’t take numbers for granted.)

I also don’t take these prompts for granted. For instance, today’s prompt is to write a deep thought or observational poem related to your theme. The poem can be long and persuasive–or short and profound. Think about your theme. And then, think about your theme some more. And some more–until you find some deep thought or make an observation that others may or may not have considered.

“Where did all the monsters go?”

In the movies, the monsters, whether King Kong or
the Phantom, always chase after the pretty girls,
which makes me wonder if loneliness is really
so strong as to turn both man and beast against the
happiness and beauty of this world forever.


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72 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

  1. Lynne

    If the Shoe Fits

    Shoppers trample a worker
    to death on Black Friday,
    terrorists wreak another
    horrific massacre, this time
    in India, people shout out
    "drill baby drill," polar bears
    drown, children starve
    while billionaire ceo’s steal
    government money, our money,
    buy private jets, mansions, and
    luxuries nearly incomprehensible.

    Meanwhile, honeybee populations
    decrease, big corporations pour
    poisons and filth into our rivers
    and oceans, rain forests are in
    grave danger, wildlife populations
    diminish, some to the point of
    extinction, our air is foul.

    We poison our earth just as
    we annihilate dandelions,
    yet the real weeds walk among us.

  2. Taylor Graham


    The tabby without claws has disappeared.
    Doesn’t he like your new house
    with a cozy basket on the Woodsman hearth?

    Is he making his way by instinct,
    by stars he never learned to know, back
    to the place he first called home?

    Indoor cats don’t give their nine lives up
    to the hazard to dogs and traffic,
    to owl talon and coyote jaw. To hunger.

    Is home the four safe walls
    you woke up to, this morning, or your hope
    of a lucky promise for tomorrow?

  3. Terri Vega

    Day 11:

    I remember falling from my mother’s
    drying body
    to the ground. The earth was warmed by
    summer’s light.

    Laying on the soil nature had its
    way with me
    and covered my shell with earthly

    The world around me became dark I
    felt winter’s breath
    gliding its ice above me as I
    hid swaddled in the dirt

    Warmth began to permeate
    my inner being
    I wanted to live and to grow and I
    unfurled the life within me

    A tender sprout of green rose
    up and into day’s light
    I grew tall and strong – a beautiful flower –
    in my prime

    As days grew shorter I felt myself
    Knowing my days were approaching end I
    released my seed and mothered my own

  4. Tyger

    I Have Waited So Long

    I have waited so long
    for this change
    that in my heart hides
    a primal scream
    Like a bow wound too tightly
    I want to snap
    We now have one season
    one term
    One opportunity
    to prove we can do it right
    What if we fail?
    I am like a swimmer who
    with rescue near
    throws her arms up in gratitude
    whereupon she promptly drowns

  5. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    Sunning herself on stone
    Elegent and sleek
    Stretching her wings
    Ever so slightly
    To flaunt the glitter
    Of the sun and her colours
    Mixing for breathtaking
    Two beauties,
    Adderbolt and Gaia
    Vain and bragging
    Shamelessly about their

    Where is the beauty now?

  6. Monica Martin

    (and now, deep thoughts…)

    As we move in together,
    we are conscious of
    the struggles we face,
    yet we are confident enough
    to believe we can make it work.

  7. Rodney C. Walmer

    Thank you Michelle. I feel so bad, I have been sooo busy, I can’t keep up. I honestly thought I was so far behind that no one was even reading my work.

    Here is my poem for today. Sorry it’s so late.

     Same Day, Different Tune

    She sits at the window
    day after day
    watching the same cars pass
    Does she know
    If, so, what could she say
    what could she ask

    To her,
    is one day different then the next
    does the blur
    of the days passing
    leave her perplexed

    Does she somehow hope
    of surpassing
    what’s been before
    or does she cope
    by simply dreaming of
    what’s on the other side of that door. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 11/13/08 Observational poem about my dog.

  8. lynn rose

    " After all this time "
    I never would of thought this 26 years ago,
    that I would just leave without really
    knowing why. Yes, I don’t love you anymore, an
    I haven’t for a very long time. You just let
    me leave. Without trying to make me stay.
    I thought you would of least cared one more time.
    I know I hurt you in so many, many ways. I don’t
    really know why. I just had no more love to give. It
    just left me along with all my emotions and feelings.
    I never would of expected this, the way I use to care,
    I loved you without even thinking, with every breath
    I took you were there. How does something like this
    happen and where does it go. I have so many questions
    that can not be answered. You are gone now, we are apart.
    But there will always be a place for you in my heart.
    goodbye now, and have a great life, I hope you find the
    love you want and have a new wife.

  9. Iris Deurmyer


    Only when your gone do we think of you
    You are ignored til needed
    Then panic sets in and everyone begins
    Running here and there
    Searching for you in any available spot
    Til his last breath man obsesses
    And if he can’t find you he dies
    Crying your name as he finally cherishes you
    Water, Water, water…

  10. Kateri Woody

    Joker Prose Poem (I am lacking titles this month.. oops)

    He can cry too, you know. He can do more than just hate and laugh and kill. Haunted green eyes fall still from their roving, their information collecting and collect saline tears instead. A pathetic mockery of sea water pools into little microcosms that slide down his angular face, his misery a star fish washed into an enclosure and left to feed only on itself. He cries for lost time, for lost memories that he doesn’t know he had, washed in and up to his consciousness from that black pit behind his childhood aspirations leaving him gasping for breath like he’s been socked in the gut by Billy Borstine again – the class bully in fourth grade he forgot existed until he had the time to collect the pieces of himself over a deflated rubber chicken. Toxic emotions ooze from his face and drip off his chin, expression distraught and taut in a schooled way that he taught himself never to look… He can do more than exist to be the foil to a broken man dressed like a bat. He can, he can. Just like Tinkerbell can exist just by the belief that she does.

  11. k weber


    You with
    your Michigan:
    you left
    cars unrented
    and slept in
    stereo; woke
    to find
    your voice

    Met you
    in the middle
    of a night, unseen
    but imagined
    and the harbinger
    of anxiety

    Long distance
    you find yourself
    lost in swells
    of people,
    the mail
    piles taller
    but you
    with your fore-
    sight put all
    these things
    in a song

  12. Nancy Posey

    I should have attributed my title:
    “Memory is insubstantial. Things keep
    replacing it. Your batch of snapshots will
    both fix and ruin your memory. . . . You can’t
    remember anything from your trip except
    the wretched collection of snapshots.”
    Annie Dillard, “To Fashion a Text,” 1988

  13. Billy Angel

    When My Parents Argued

    I ran out
    into the cold

    night, hid
    behind the house,

    listened to
    the dark under

    muted stars.
    Thoughts cleared

    in sobs
    of visible breath.

  14. Iain D. Kemp

    Unfortunately Ringo doesn’t really do "Deep", so this is as good as it gets….

    Dear Moosehead,

    I do not resign, I do not lay
    down my sword. Instead I
    renew my vigour. I may well
    call a truce on those women folk
    of yours, if they will but do the
    same. I am perplexed. Another
    man in the home might, you’d think
    add courage to my cause but how
    am I to feel when Greek Jimmy,
    my cousin from Atlanta, appears
    on my doorstep, dressed in red and
    white shouting: GO BRAVES!
    SOB! I shoulda kicked his ass down
    the stairs and into the street. Sure,
    he’s family (sorta) but we must all
    rally together at this time of crisis
    and make his Brave lovin’ ass as
    miserable as is humanly possible.
    I know I can count on you… better
    tell your cousin to stay away for a
    while. That Greek is a real Fox for the
    ladies. Pick us up at seven will ya?

    Yours in profound shock

    Ringo the Howler

  15. Iain D. Kemp

    Sorry I’m late with this, I had migraine yesterday. Still at least it’ll be posted on the correct date…

    At the elenth hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month….lest we forget…

    Cats, Poetry & Death #14

    Armistice Day

    In Flanders fields there were no Cats
    Upon the Somme they stalked no rats
    Only blood and poppies bloomed
    Only men and boys were doomed

    McCrae and Owens words so proud
    Lay covered with Death’s dark shroud
    Millions of corpses lie beneath them
    For reasons known to better men

    A war to end all wars they said
    And ever more to honour the dead
    At this Eleventh hour on this Eleventh day
    At memorials across the land we pray

    Never again echo the prayers of men
    But wars are fought time and again
    Against our nature, against our will
    For Heavens sake, we fight one still!

    No, no felines came to offer muse
    In a war that surely all would lose
    As Wilfred Owens gave his last breath
    No Cats, just Poetry and Death


  16. PSC in CT

    Wow! I am SO close to being caught up that I have finally taken some time to read (this day’s entries anyway)! I only just completed my first draft for the 11th — but Robert hasn’t put out the prompt for the 12th yet, either — so it’s all good.

    There are so many good ones, I can’t hit them all, but wanted to comment on a few:

    Bruce – Loved the thought behind the Savage Breast poem — especially the last stanza.
    Judy R — Your poems capture so very well the myriad of emotions — and physical impacts — of such a tragedy. I am so sorry for your loss. Keep writing — it really does help.
    Nancy P. — I really liked your memory poem — it describes SO WELL my own feelings & experiences on the topic. I also enjoyed Phenomenon (I think there IS a name for it — but my memory is insubstantial! ;-) )
    Shann P — The contrast between desire and duty (piano and meatloaf — very nice!
    Juanita/Spidey — Your reinterpreted fairy tales were very well done!
    Heather — your lesson #11 — so true! (My mother always said, "Be careful what you wish for.")
    Rachel G — Your ghosts and tea — I like it! — reminded me of a friend who swears she’s had similar experiences.
    Kate B — Your sphinx’s riddles — very interesting!

    Thanks everyone for some enjoyable & thought provoking reads. It was nice to actually get to do this and I hope (if I can avoid falling behind!) to get back to do the same for days 1 – 10 — maybe?!) Thanks again!

  17. Don Swearingen

    Veteran’s day today. Low fog and then it’s sunny.
    Much will be said today, but only a mote
    Said by politicians, dripping with honey
    Will mean anything but, "I want your vote".
    The memories of times apart
    When we wanted to be together.
    The memories of my bursting heart
    When you were there, a feather
    Flying about in abandon and joy.
    Now, the dreary time without you
    Grows long. I try every ploy
    To keep my mind away, but the only way that I can cope
    Is waiting out the time and holding on to hope.

  18. Spidey

    fairy tales
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    in my world
    Rapunzel is a cold calculating beauty,
    a Lilith with mesmerizing eyes capable
    of causing young virile men to scale
    sheer castle walls like a pack of dogs,
    driven by a secret hidden scent,
    her vampire teeth at the ready.

    in my world
    Cinderella is not so forgiving
    in her slippers of polished glass,
    while behind her a bewildered Prince
    slicks back his hair with
    womanizing hands that
    beg to be taken back.

    in my world
    Snow White is a jezebel
    with motives as transparent as
    a spider trapped in amber,
    locked inside a battle of wills
    ‘gainst a stepmother raising daughters
    in a harsh, patriarchal world.

    in my world
    Sleeping Beauty is a fading beauty
    queen, afraid of growing old alone
    ready to settle, feigning sleep,
    awaiting rescue by Prince or Pauper,
    white horse or abandoned car,
    open or closed fist.

    in my world
    Ariel is a bedsore street junkie
    on a dirty mattress five flights up,
    her once stunning mermaid tail now
    covered in roaches and vomit,
    trying to forget why she ran
    away from home in the first place.

    in my world
    Mulan and Jasmine met a conference and
    fell madly in love, leaning heavily on vows
    they took seriously together years ago,
    in the face of jaded family & jilted friends,
    convinced that fairytale endings never
    happen once upon anyone’s dream.

  19. kate

    Nothing momentous

    Moment to moment
    her rage at having to shower first,
    the cicada that flew in
    while I listened to him read
    how the kids squealed ran to the couch
    while it bumped out of control
    about the room, I told him
    to grab a towel and throw it
    over the bug, the calm
    and the magical buzzing hum
    when his hand hovered over it.
    He threw the bug and towel outside
    and slammed the door.
    The little notes she writes now she can
    to mume I love you, you love me
    to mume I love you but not when you get angry.

  20. Billy Angel

    When My Parents Argued

    I ran out into the night,
    hid behind the house
    and listened to the dark
    under mute stars. It was
    crisp. Thoughts cleared
    in my visible breath.

  21. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    Hello all! I know I’ve been behind on my prompts, but I’ve just come back from my year 6 students camp and I am exhausted!!! I’ll ccatch up tomorrow once I’ve some sleep, but the prompts look great!

  22. Shann Palmer

    annoying repost

    Change (to Tony Hoagland)

    On a toy piano or tiny trumpet,
    I will play any song you request
    each note fraught with dancing
    angels, arms linked, who high kick
    the story of creation in fifty-three steps
    to steal the light, gladden your heart.

    No, I must weave a bitter meatloaf,
    fingers akimbo, frantic with the small
    truth of breadcrumbs that bind us
    pen to paper under green desk lamps
    full with quicksilver where we wrestle
    our dark laughter and turn sad.

    The tin drum is fat and round, it plays
    the same steady rhythm even if we don’t.

  23. Shann Palmer

    Change (to Tony Hoagland)

    On a toy piano or tiny trumpet,
    I will play any song you request,
    each note fraught with dancing
    angels, arms linked, who high kick
    the story of creation in fifty-three steps
    to steal the light, gladden your heart.

    No, I must weave a bitter meatloaf,
    fingers akimbo, frantic with the small
    truth of breadcrumbs that bind us
    pen to paper under green desk lamps
    full with quicksilver, where we wrestle
    in our dark laughter and turn sad.

    The tin drum is round and sound, it plays
    the same steady rhythm even without us.

  24. Nancy Posey


    Has anyone come up with a name for
    the phenomenon that occurs when you
    learn something new, then—voila—
    it’s everywhere? In high school, we’d
    learn new vocabulary words, some
    we thought the teacher must have
    invented herself to stump us, until
    suddenly they were everywhere we
    looked. Today I finished one book and
    then started another, in both, chaos
    theory mentioned at length. I study
    battered wife syndrome, then behind
    me on the train, I overhear two
    colleagues talking about—you
    guessed it—battered wife syndrome.
    Even “The Girl from Ipanema” never
    plays just once in awhile; instead,
    the busker on saxophone below
    my hotel window, the torch singer
    in the piano bar down the street, the
    elevator music all partake in this
    strange phenomenon.yet unnamed .

    Nancy Posey

  25. Bruce Niedt

    Thanks, Jane. I liked yours a lot too – spare but with strong imagery and understated emotion.
    I’m really impressed with the quality of poetry that’s coming out of this month’s prompts, but Robert had a stroke of genius in asking us to "go deep" in our themes. Some really strong stuff has emerged.
    Judy R., that is a harrowing and emotionally raw poem – you take us through the stages of grief right along with you – heartbreaking and effective.

  26. Jane penland hoover

    Bruce, this is delicious – I want to read again – feel the ancient call to ungnarl –
    – somehow the poem keeps turning back and drawing forth at the same time. very strong and exciting piece to me

  27. A.C. Leming

    Must say this was dashed off in a hurry. Not the best day for writing. The offering really needs more work, but my brain’s already turned off for the day. Will have to wait until the next draft to say what I wanted it to…

    Irimi – to enter without thought of retreat

    A triangle lasts eight seconds

    Tonight we learned to enter each other’s space,
    chest to chest, breast to ribs, one arm wrapped
    tight around the other’s neck. The first
    hand placed on the biceps of the other arm,
    whose hand ends up on the opponent’s forehead.
    Push and pull with equality as your exhalation
    causes him to sink, tap out and yield.

    An observer would cringe at the overtly
    sexual nature of the next exercise. A man
    entering a woman’s open guard, his hips
    between her legs. When wrapped around
    his waist, those legs form a closed guard,
    which pulls him into the triangle lock, just
    practiced while standing. When executed

    properly, it cuts off the blood supply to the
    head in eight seconds. After years of training,
    no one thinks in terms of sexes on the mat. We
    are kyu, students of the martial science our
    Sensei teaches in erudite terms. We cease to
    have definitive boundaries, except to think
    what to do to his space when he invades mine.

  28. Bruce Niedt

    Savage Breast

    Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
    To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. –William Congreve (1670-1729)

    But how? What empirical data
    did Congreve possess? (He knew nothing
    of molecular structure.) Did he actually
    witness the melting of a boulder
    while playing a Bach violin sonata?
    Did an oak’s limbs ungnarl and reach
    down to him as he sang an air by Byrd?

    And what about that “savage breast” –
    (so often misquoted as beast”)
    did he mean the breast of a savage
    (he knew about American Indians,
    I’m sure) or the breast of any of us,
    on days when it needs intensive soothing?

    It’s ironic that this form of art
    with its ancient roots in nature
    (think of heartbeat or birdsong)
    would be seen to return to the source
    and transmogrify it somehow.

    It’s odd that the very thing we create –
    a symphony, a ballad, a jazz riff,
    a rock song – would turn back on itself,
    cleave to our hearts, call out the savage
    in all of us, that beast in our breast,
    and ask it to dance.

  29. Nancy Posey

    November 11, 2008

    Memory Is Insubstantial

    How can I trust anything as flimsy
    as memory, that fickle muse? She
    torments me with songs looping over
    and over unbidden, never lyrics that
    inspire or intrigue, instead ubiquitous
    as “The Girl from Ipanema”or inane
    as the little known latter verses of
    “What DoYou Do With a Drunken Sailor?”
    Yet she dangles just out of my grasp
    those things I need: the address of
    Luigino’s, where we planned to meet ,
    the answer to Sunday’s crossword,
    where I put those damned keys.

    She makes my childhood recollections
    suspect. The same moments that still
    sting with humiliation left other witnesses
    without a trace. Were those perfect days
    I held for years like fragile bird eggs
    just fractured figments distorted too by time?
    Even when I try to write them down, the
    words escape me, floating just out of reach,
    beyond my grasp. I’d probably just forget
    what they meant or where I laid them down.

    Nancy Posey
    Finally back home where I can get my prompts early!

  30. Peggy Goetz

    Today’s prompt, to think about the theme and think again in order to make and observation that others might not have come up with, is a tough one. This is a tough one! But here is what I came up with.

    Knocking on the Floor Boards

    My children seem to be
    racking up years much faster
    than I am, no longer considered
    young adults, knocking on the
    floorboards of middle age, while
    here I am still in middle age, well
    perhaps I’ve crossed over, perhaps
    but senior citizen doesn’t seem to
    fit. At this rate my children will
    get their senior citizen movie
    rates before I’ve really settled
    in here. And I wonder
    what comes after senior
    citizen. I certainly hope it’s
    not decrepitude.

    Nov. 11, 2008

  31. SaraV


    We wait
    We hope
    We wonder
    When will it come?
    This great fulfilling
    Wondrous emotion
    Then one day,
    When our mind is floating
    Like a feather on the sea
    No ties, no expectations
    You look out the window
    And nature hits you in
    That sweet spot
    You light up
    All that you have
    Been waiting for, comes alive
    Nerve endings, pleasure centers
    Sparking and dancing
    And it’s just the sunlight skittering
    Across the pond
    Or the snakey shake of a great egret
    Hunting bluegill
    But you are touched, moved
    And the smile comes
    The inner warmth
    The light bursts forth
    And you realize that
    The joy has been there all along
    You just had to let it in

  32. Ronda Eller

    (i’m not entirely set on the title I’ve given this one yet… but I’ll use it for now) :)

    reflexive thought

    i score
    the winning goal
    with ease, i solve
    baffling mysteries
    as if they never were,
    teleport from anything
    that fails
    to appease me,
    stomp out danger
    with a clear,

    i dream
    in technicolour–
    where life
    is sheer adventure;
    in worlds all
    my own

    then, when i arise,
    i strap on the chains,
    wrestle into the weight
    yesterday’s bindings,
    the ones that re-present
    my same unsolved problems…

    because I know what comes
    with little effort
    fades easily and
    is too soon

    Ronda Eller 2008

  33. RJay Slais


    October was draped over a wrinkled forearm
    knowing November, still folded, sits inside the dresser

    ready to wear, while December’s thick wallet
    is hidden in a back pocket like a secret list.

    Today, a wide river fell from the sky.
    Field boots made heavy, a bucket of mud,

    every step through the forest slowed down
    the path followed as each day before.

    Into the clearing, silver spider webs cling
    to head hair around both ears, a spider,
    legs on the lobe, whispers “it is time”.

    Avoiding all the surrounding sinuosity,
    a vein is purged, the curving needle has hit
    the switch; in the distance, a light begins to glow.

  34. Michelle H.

    Judy – so sorry for your lost, your poem was powerful.
    Earl – enjoyed all your offerings today.
    Patti – enjoyed all yours as well but your 1st was my favorite.
    Sara – I loved hue-less!! I believe it is my favorite today!
    Thanks everyone for sharing, as always it’s been a pleasure!

  35. S Scott Whitaker

    High School Highway, Fall

    There are more transformations in the course of seven minutes
    than Orpheus or Hermes
    could have possibly fit into a lifetime of stories.

  36. Sara McNulty


    If color were not alive,
    cream soda and pink
    lemonade would
    look the same;
    fruit not ripened
    would be picked
    before its time, and
    how would you
    know if a pickle
    was pickled? There
    would be no phenomenon
    called blue skies,
    nor lemon pies,
    nor brown eyes,
    nor hair dyes.
    You would be blank
    with envy; colorless
    with rage, every
    season–an empty page.
    But the saddest fact
    of all would be the
    absence of what
    we call a rainbow.

  37. SusanB

    Well, guys, finally after sucking the marrow out of my own bones to form the words, I have come up with my theme poem. Next to the ones already posted…it feels shallow and childish…but it really is my theme..been on the edge enough times to finally know how to appreciate LIFE.

    Robert, congratulations on being married for four months. My best wishes for many happy months for you and your bride, to come.

    My husband is a mathy and I wasl always a math-phobe…but he fixed me. I still can’t do the math very well, but I understand why it’s there. And, more importantly, I know where all you mathys are coming from…what I don’t know is WHY :)
    Here’s my burnt offering:


    A gift to be cherished
    Blessed Be
    All of life
    Even those microbes
    On Poetic Asides PAD Challenge
    Who can argue for their own survival
    Justify their existence
    Even call to question, ours
    To life

    New babies
    Grannies and Grandads
    Birds and fish
    Middle-Aged boomers
    Teeners and ‘tweeners
    To life

    The messiness of it
    The grandeur of it
    The smell of it
    The ALL of it
    Even the mosquitos
    Have a place
    at the table of life
    As much as we would like them
    Not to

    Again I raise my glass
    TO LIFE!

  38. Paul W.Hankins


    our November
    is the eleventh month
    and time has one foot in the grave
    and numb to its own chill
    as silver rain falls from gray

    and leaves its beads
    about the cars
    leaving in lines,
    it passengers reading
    the side mirrors,
    looking for yesterday,
    born prematurely into
    what will be December.

    For the roaming –
    Gregorian –
    novem meant nine
    and this would have been good:

    we could have been born –
    Cesarean –
    from the hourglass,
    its hips too narrow to bear children,
    its delivers its children into
    cradles of chaos,
    gilded with grief,
    suckling sadness
    from a mother indifferent.

  39. Judy Roney

    Seeking Despair

    Anger would alert
    Every cell every sinew
    To attention
    Tightening churning sending
    Adrenaline to overrun
    To harm

    But the mind turns it’s back
    To know
    I would have to act
    Action is unwanted
    But comes as a gift
    With the rage unleashed

    Depression my friend
    Allows my soul to rest
    Familiar friend
    Curls me up
    Lets me subsist in my loss.

  40. Earl Parsons

    Day 11 for LL&L:

    How Can It Be

    How can it be
    That You have been around
    Since the beginning of time
    And so many don’t know You

    How can it be
    That You created everything
    From the smallest microbe
    To the immenseness of space

    How can it be
    That we know so little about You
    Even though You’ve written so much
    Through the hands of Your servants

    How can it be
    That You had so much love
    That You sacrificed Your Son
    To save even the most vile of men

    How can it be
    That You are willing to forgive us
    No matter what we’ve done
    All we need to do is ask

    How can it be
    That You would give us eternity
    Just for believing in Jesus Christ
    For believing with a child’s mind

    How can it be
    That Heaven cannot be described
    Because it is so beautiful
    That no language has the words

    How can it be
    After all the evil man has done
    After we turned our backs on You
    That You have not turned away from us

    How can it be

    I don’t know

  41. Earl Parsons

    Day 11 for SS:

    A Mysterious Miracle

    I beginning to believe
    Although I cannot prove
    Nor can the most knowledgeable scientist
    That this mysterious miracle
    Encased by my skull
    Will never be explained
    Nor understood
    In the least
    By man
    Even in the hereafter
    So why bother to try
    I’ll just admit
    And concede
    That it’s all in my head

  42. Cheryl Chambers

    Neal Sits Cross Legged

    Neal woke at 4:30 precisely like a surgeon wondering
    whose operation questioned his judgment. Without
    omnipotent feelings Neal would hole up, resigned
    to a life of ingratitude. He knew this to be
    a mixed bag of blessings he slung over his shoulder
    and left out at the curb every Sunday night.
    Thank God for his pedestrian counterparts,
    the anti-Neals, the oppositional Henryes,
    making the world spin, little ant-like deities
    but Neal is spinning his web and withering away
    from lack of human contact, praying he doesn’t mirror
    his Father despite the absence of stargazing.
    Is it any wonder Neal broods over snippets
    and phrases like "did you mean" and "would you
    rather" and "je ne sais quoi, Isabella." It is
    simply state of being, not of action, overused
    and pleading with a higher Power to make some
    thing occur without the use of force whipping
    the wooden door open. It is simply Neal sitting cross
    legged, a form of to be, simple and sincere.

  43. Earl Parsons

    Before I work on today’s challenge, I would like to honor our veterans with something I wrote shortly after I retired from the Air Force. I hope you like it and I hope all of you will thank a veteran today. It’s because of their sacrifice that we have the freedom we enjoy every day. May God bless them all.

    Thank God

    Thank God for the brave
    The willing of heart
    Who face any foe
    And pay any price
    Thank God for the brave
    Standing strong in defense
    Forward on to the battle
    Freedom’s victory in sight

    Thank God for the willing
    Freely choosing to serve
    Proudly wearing the colors
    Of America’s best
    Thank God for the willing
    Walking into harm’s way
    Putting country over self
    Standing up to the test

    Thank God for the courage
    Given women and men
    Knowing death may transpire
    They fight nonetheless
    Thank God for the courage
    Reserved for so few
    Those willing to give
    Their lives for the rest

    Thank God for the promise
    Of victory’s day
    If He leads our battle
    Our war has been won
    Thank God for the promise
    Blood shed not in vain
    A sacrifice for freedom
    As was for God’s Son

  44. Steve LaVoie

    Sorry I have not posted the past two prompts, haven’t had internet the past couple of days, so I will try to get caught up today.

    Did you ever think?

    Did you ever think about the
    Way that we all need food, shelter,
    And water, and how we all

    Have the same color blood flowing
    Through our bodies, and that we
    All just want to be happy, or that we

    Have all looked at the sky and wondered
    Why here, why now, and that we also all
    Hurt ourselves one way or another?

    We are all living and dying, we all have
    The same big homeland, and we all love something
    Be it trouble, power, money, sex, movies, television,

    Freedom, food, travel, or companionship.
    And all of you, or at least most of you,
    Are glad this overly sappy poem is over.

  45. patti williams

    How bad is the storm
    She asked as the lightning
    Lit up the room,
    The thunder so loud
    Her voice could barely be heard.
    All I know is that it’s
    Rolling in pretty fast and
    Judging by the size of this thing
    It might be here to stay
    For a while.
    The best thing to do
    Is stay inside awhile
    At least until the worst
    Of it has blown through.
    Then we’ll fix everything
    Back up and again,
    Make it like it was before.
    But for now my advice is to hide.
    This one could be bigger than us.
    I’m just saying, I’ve never seen
    Anything like it.

    I know. But could we stop
    Talking about it?
    I’d rather pretend we
    Don’t know the truth.
    I sleep so much better
    That way.


    Sometimes it rains, pours,
    It just does.
    I think it’s nature’s way
    Of washing
    The dust off of everything
    So we can begin again.


    Outside Looking In

    I feel a sense of
    With our little family
    The likes of which
    I’ve never felt before.
    Outsiders looking in
    Saw it through our window
    But living inside
    I always thought it
    Was more of a show
    Than a reality.
    My soul is at peace now,
    My love steady,
    My arms,
    Starving for their embrace.

  46. Judy Roney

    I Didn’t Know

    I didn’t know
    that grief feels a lot like terror
    that I would always be on alert
    waiting for the next blow
    which always comes
    but never announces it’s imminence.

    I didn’t know
    that loss feels a lot like fear
    that though unafraid, the sensations
    of fear are constant
    that adrenaline rushes would
    come even in the dead of night.

    I didn’t know
    that there would be physical symptoms
    accompanying my anguish
    chest constricted forcing air out,
    that I would work to get my next breath…
    hyperventilation, headaches, digestive disorders
    weight gain, ringing in the ears, mind racing
    stone rigid muscles, heart palpations
    forgetfulness, stuttering, slurring of words
    tingling in arms and feet, dry eyes, sinus problems
    horse, sore throat, weakened voice, yawning
    gulping, involuntary sounds of grief
    loss of memory, long term and short
    insomnia or sleeping for days
    deep dark depressions, suicidal thoughts.

    I didn’t know
    that sensations from loosing a loved one
    is very similar to being drunk, or
    having Alzheimer’s, or other dementias
    that sometimes I would have to
    remember how to walk or take a bath
    sometimes I would forget my husband’s name
    or what I like to eat
    that I would search for my cigarettes
    even though I haven’t smoked for 25 years

    I didn’t know
    that I would begin to question
    what before was dogma
    unquestionable things like
    my very existence on earth
    question my faith and search for answers
    anywhere I could find them.

    I didn’t know
    that loosing a child is like helplessness
    and hopelessness rolled into one
    hitting walls, locked doors, iron curtains,
    firewalls and the final entrance would simply
    be a vacuum instead of answers

    I didn’t know
    that the death of my son would be
    the death of me, my life, my hopes
    that I would become a robot
    to get through my days
    that I would suffer, feel shame
    guilt, anger, the fringes of insanity;
    that I wouldn’t know what to do
    with this all encompassing sadness.

    I didn’t know
    that when my son died I would
    have daydreams and nightmares and every
    single waking moment would be a moment
    when my son was dead or when he died
    ..all over again.

    I didn’t know
    that grief feels like being in a painting
    bright colors, strange elements, unknown symbols
    that nothing would look real or seem important
    surreal would be a word I would try to explain
    because it is my life

    I didn’t know
    that death means an endless march
    of the mind around one subject
    that my whole world, every item
    would revolve around one issue
    that if it doesn’t relate to that subject
    it will eventually.

    I didn’t know
    that loosing Brian would mean
    that I would spend each day trying
    to understand and recreate his existence
    and then unbidden… his death.
    I have become a writer, a painter
    I want to sculpt his face, his hair, and his life
    I want to create
    him again.

    I didn’t know
    creativity would help me bridge the gap
    would help me organize my shattered life
    help me recover from life altering pain
    that catharsis for me is pen in hand
    notebook open and writing…anything
    all of the words that exist for that day.
    that I would write down one thought in a
    thousand and want to get down the whole,
    that words would be what I would seek
    to explain me to them and to myself and
    to look for the hope of unearthing an answer.

    I didn’t know
    until now.

  47. Peggy Goetz

    So much good writing! I keep wanting to comment on individual poems and then get lost in the volume. I am enjoying reading here daily, and even more than daily. Today’s prompt is a challenging one. I thought all my poems were deep and profound! LOL

  48. Jane penland hoover

    In the Shadow of Illness

    You are there
    behind your blue focus
    eyes staring
    face immobile
    mind paused
    swollen vessels
    aspirating to flow free.

    I am here
    holding at the door
    fearful in this place
    unsure of silence
    eyes blinking…

    yours or mine I wonder
    then close the gap between.

    Beneath taunt wrap of skin
    our smiles
    wanting to break forth
    enfold the other
    move to stroke and grasp
    entirety beyond
    this day’s shadows.

  49. Michelle H.

    Rod – I liked your poem from yesterday! Hey, I was a math major in a former life (my husband got his degree in math, how we met – a couple of geeks) although I changed my major over time. I think we have that book. I love fractals! – Michelle

  50. Rodney C. Walmer

    Wow, Robert, I did not know that about you. I also am very interested in math, and how it relates to life and the world. I have a suggestion, that you may enjoy. A book called Chaos, I believe the author was James Glick. It shows math in everything, leaf’s, trees, etc. Using a lot of fractal theory, but within the chaos, there is an order, that only math can create.


  51. Margaret

    Cultural Stereotypes

    To be an American is to
    travel to Europe
    with one small carry-on bag
    of drip dry clothing.

    To be an American is to
    wonder why everyone in Paris
    doesn’t speak English.

    To be an American is to
    complain loudly in English
    about the small portions in
    that cafe on the Left Bank.

    To be an American is to
    wonder how far a kilometer is,
    how much a kilogram weighs,
    and what the temperature is
    in "real units."

    To be an American is to
    have your ancestors come
    from someplace else, then
    not be able to speak
    the language when you
    go back to visit.

    To be an American is to
    have your belly hang
    over your pants because
    you’ve gained 10 pounds
    since Labor Day.

    To be an American is to
    be the new kid in town,
    the one whose grandparents
    you don’t know,
    whose great grandparents
    aren’t buried in the churchyard,
    the one the teacher can’t
    compare to his mother.

    To be an American is to
    be able to go to school,
    and to have them come
    after you if you don’t
    show up.

    To be an American is to
    be able to buy anything you want,
    provided you have the money.

    To be an American is to
    believe that everyone is
    equal before the law,
    even if it doesn’t quite
    work out in practice.

    To be an American is to
    elect your president, then to
    complain loudly when a dispute
    goes to the Supreme Court
    instead of having a riot
    and shooting your opponents.

    To be an American is to
    be anything you can imagine,
    even President, provided
    you have the talent.

  52. Lori

    Difficult Position

    Avoid talking to me when
    I am tired
    Or angry
    Or sick
    If you don’t want your head bit off
    Stay away
    When people I love are in trouble
    Or scared
    Or frustrated.
    You don’t want to talk to me now.
    Unless you are a nurse.
    Then it is your job.

  53. Connie

    The Domino Effect

    When we think of the domino effect,
    we think of a succession of usually unpleasant events
    resulting from the previous ones,
    amounting to one big disaster.

    But when Domino Topplers topple dominoes,
    each stone is the desired size and color
    in its precise place, falling at the right time
    producing an extraordinary
    work of art, science and beauty—
    a blaze of color, movement and sound
    in which the resulting pictures, symbols and expression
    declare a beautiful message or important thought.
    When dominoes topple
    happiness, joy and excitement abound.

    The Master Builder promises His people that
    all things work together for their good.
    When He pieces the people and events of our lives together,
    it may feel like the result will be one big disastrous mess
    but God has something else in mind—
    science, art and beauty
    joy, excitement, fulfillment
    a meaningful message—
    For God so loved the world…

  54. Kate Berne Miller


    What ghosts linger between here and gone
    who moves in the dark between dusk and dawn
    what walks the road between youth and old age
    how far is the distance between familiar and strange
    who lives in the borderlands, neither wild nor tame
    what ferries me each night from sleep to dream
    what holds us apart when we’re skin to skin
    how thin the veil between life and death?

    Kate Berne Miller

  55. Rachel Green


    She listened to the noises
    she sheltered from the smell
    she watched the ghosts parading past
    but never went to Hell.

    She touched the bones of people
    who climbed from coffins damp
    conversed with ghouls and ogres
    who asked to share her lamp

    And though they tried to scare her,
    dripped blood upon her bed,
    they never tried to hurt her
    but made her tea, instead.

  56. SusanB

    ODE TO THE (Big, Ever-Loving,

    Themes have always tripped me up
    Never really heard the word,
    Except, in song titles
    (think Lara’s Theme, Theme from Moon River)
    before my first year in high school,

    And even then, as a youngster,
    Forever asking:
    “What does that song mean?”
    Pestering mom and dad and aunts and teachers
    “What does that mean?”
    Never realizing I was looking for the THEME

    Dr. Ross introduced us to “themes”
    We thought, not a good introducer, he
    With his PhD, frustrated; teaching high school
    So high in the ethers with his lofty
    (probably Ivy League)
    that he flunked forty-four kids in English
    without so much as a blink!
    Welcome to 9th grade

    In answer to my question:
    “I have NEVER flunked English before, so
    his reply was terse, not without wit
    errrhmmm…ahh ah err…he said with his characteristic stutter,
    “You flunked yourself, Miss.”

    Today, I cherish him still
    as my very best English teacher
    For not a word went by, that he did not question
    The purpose, meaning, context;
    Even using “the” too much, too close together
    Pesky article,
    Lost points


    New to town
    Writer’s group
    aptly named RED HERRING
    entered excited and ready
    Reading my new story about the miscarriage
    Barely disguised truth and passion
    was met with
    Jeers, harshness and a clarion call
    "Where’s the theme?!!!"

    Admittedly, I had a lot to learn about
    character development
    scene changing
    and overly-zealous experienced writers
    who may or may not have suffered
    DEstructive criticism for their own work

    Oh, of course,
    I realize now, in my old age
    Yep, only six years from sixty!
    (How’d that happen!)
    What a bloody theme is!

    Dysfunction may not be curable,
    but it is maleable and
    by gum, I will malle-ate it into
    some damn fine writing :)

    Having got that out of my system, now on to the prompt!

  57. Rachel


    The depressed,

    L Laugh
    A at
    U unfelt
    G glee,
    H hiding their desire to flee,

    for who wants to see

    C Cry,
    R Retched tears stored up from
    Y years of wanting to die?

    And Christians are the

    W worst –
    O owning everything
    R rightfully God’s,
    S showing straight-faced strength
    T they think they ought to have,

    but don’t,
    for the victory is

    H His.
    I Incredibly given, but
    S solely His.

  58. Heather

    Lesson# 11: Hope

    She did her best to end it all
    Started smoking,
    Stopped eating,
    Refused to sleep
    Lit another
    Capri menthol,
    Inhaled as deeply as possible
    This breath
    Would stop
    Her heart

    She drank
    Not the good stuff,
    Banana Banshees,
    White Russians,
    Shitty wine
    She lived on fortune cookies by the
    Ten pound load
    (Do you know how many fortune cookies that is??)
    She ate bread
    With lots of butter
    Danced with old men
    Got rides home,
    No strings attached
    Her shoes were worn out
    She glued the soles
    Back on
    And patched up
    Her favorite sweater
    That kept getting snagged
    On her fake
    Diamond ring
    The roots
    Of her hair didn’t match
    Her locks anymore
    But her nails
    Still looked good
    From her last manicure
    Except for the one that caught fire
    In the port-a-potty
    While she was squatting,
    Cigarette poised,
    Dropping to rest
    On her ring finger
    Acrylic burning through to
    her nail bed
    She had a hearty
    One more thing to hide
    What the hell?
    She didn’t care

    She did her best to end it all
    Started smoking,
    Stopped eating,
    Refused to sleep
    Lit another
    Capri menthol,
    Inhaled as deeply as possible
    This breath
    Would stop
    Her heart

    Lesson#11: We Don’t Always Hope For the Right Things