April PAD Challenge: Day 16

I don’t want to alarm you, but today’s challenge was a bit of a challenge for me this morning. Hopefully, you won’t struggle as much as I did. But even if you do, that’s why it’s called a challenge, I guess. Plus, we’re like only trying to get our rough drafts done in April anyway. Then, we can revise and/or toss stuff in May and beyond, right? Right.

Oh yeah, the prompt for the day. Well, it’s something I’m calling the “Alfred Hitchcock” poem, because I want you to write a poem that has a twist near the end. For instance, write a poem about talking to your best friend and then let us know at the end that your best friend is actually a sock puppet on your left hand–maybe even add to the intrigue by making your arch nemesis your right hand.

Of course, there are lots of ways to approach this one. What gave me trouble was figuring out how to do the twist at the end. Finally, what helped me was to think of how I wanted the poem to end and write to that ending–using an indirect route, of course.

(Note: I just began and ended that paragraph with “of course.”)

And with that, here’s my poem for the day:

“A call late at night”

Hey, baby. I’m guessing you’re asleep;
I hope that you are. I’m so thankful
for you and sorry I have to whisper.

You’re always so good to me, and I
wish you were here now. But if you
wake up and hear this message, please
don’t call me back, because I’m hiding:

I think someone is in my house.


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194 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 16

  1. Carol Bachofner

    Why sometimes these prompts don’t seem to "take" is a mystery. Maybe I ought to have written about THAT. Sigh. I’ll try again.

    Paradoxical Intention

    I thought I wouldn’t miss you,
    the way you caused me pain, left me
    drained time after time, arguing
    that you were in charge. You managed
    to stop me from enjoying even a day
    at the beach, a sunny Mother’s Day,
    a walk through the Ho Rain Forest.
    Because of you there was always drama
    looming, ready to appear without warning.
    You couldn’t stop yourself. I paid
    for your bad temper, your impulsive nature.
    But then I see a young woman
    with a big belly, and remember how we were
    in the old days, ripe with our girls.
    I put my hand over the place
    where they cut you out of me. To save me,
    yes. Then I long to feel movement,
    the wriggle of life inside, the babes
    you sheltered for me. I give thanks.

  2. S.E. Ingraham

    Dr. Healgood

    Mainly he listened but also, he’d discuss
    Options and treatments and, if I was well
    All manner of other, unrelated things;
    In fact, it seemed no subject was taboo
    Between us – he even shared things about himself
    An occurrence so rare as to be unheard of
    In the psychiatric field. I believe
    The way he treated me
    – more like a person than a patient –
    Is a major reason I enjoyed
    Long periods of sanity under his care
    I came to think of him as a trusted friend
    In addition to being my shrink;
    The first such medical professional in whom
    I had complete confidence
    In over four decades of mental health consumerism.
    Mental health consumerism
    – One of the many euphemisms
    used to describe things such as:
    – being bopped in and out of various Ha Ha Hilton wards
    -sampling myriad psychotropic drugs
    – trying and/or training countless witch doctors
    – ditto the assortment of therapies
    – ‘lectricity aka ECT aka electro shock therapy
    More than forty years of being in
    And out of the ‘bin, as I fondly refer to it
    And when not actually ‘in’ the bin
    Being forever an ‘out-patient’
    All of these up close and personal
    Dealings with the many facets of
    The Mental Health Care System
    Combine to lend me a unique
    Perspective from which to expound
    Confidently about my favourite
    Imagine a doctor so dedicated, that
    No matter where he was in the world,
    Every night he would check his
    E-mail in case, as he put it, I needed
    Him…and if, as it happened more often
    Than I care to remember, I did?
    Need him? He replied. Immediately.
    I have e-mails from Paris and Tokyo
    And Sydney and…well
    You get the idea
    For the first time ever
    I trusted a doctor so implicitly
    I gave my family access to him
    And him to my family,
    Without either of them having
    To consult me
    It is an unfortunate reality
    But many psychiatric patients allow
    Themselves to get beyond the pale
    Before they seek treatment
    And while their family members are
    Desperate to help them
    Their hands are usually tied
    I decided to unshackle
    Both my family and my doctor
    This was HUGE
    Something that rarely happens
    Without legal intervention
    But then, he inspired that kind of trust
    I remember talking to him
    About the hereafter;
    He an optimistic atheist,
    Was on the verge of giving
    Unitarianism (my faith) a shot
    He was one of the few people
    I’d met who didn’t look blank
    When I said I was a Unitarian;
    In fact, he went straight
    To a book in his office library,
    A book about Servetus,
    He loaned it to me on the spot
    I loved him for that
    Loved him for knowing
    About Michael Servetus
    And loved him more for
    Loaning me, a lowly patient,
    His gold-edged volume of essays
    Without giving it a second thought
    When I protested,
    He looked at me like I was crazy
    Well, maybe not crazy
    – but he said simply
    He knew I would take
    Good care of it
    Then, out one evening
    Quite by chance
    I l learned he was dead
    It was at a folk concert
    I wasn’t even
    Supposed to be attending;
    Someone had given me their ticket
    Because they couldn’t go
    So a last minute decision,
    A fill-in where I just happened to end up
    Seated next to a receptionist from the hospital
    And as fate would have it, at intermission,
    I was working on a puzzle that
    I’d last worked on at my doctor’s office –
    Some crazy Escheresque thing
    That was nigh on impossible
    I joked to the receptionist about
    How my doctor had saved me from
    Having to keep at it
    At my last appointment
    When he called me
    From the waiting room
    “Oh,” she asked. “Who is it you see?”
    I didn’t know she worked
    In the Psychiatric department.
    When I told her, I remember
    The expression on her face
    Didn’t change at all
    And the way she lobbed
    The information at me
    Carried so little inflection,
    I was sure I’d misheard her
    “Oh,” she said.
    “You know he’s dead, huh?”
    There must have been something
    In my face that alerted her;
    I started repeating his name
    And insisting she must have him
    Confused with someone else.
    First she looked deep into my eyes.
    Then there was a
    Subtle shift in her eyes
    Which I now know was pity
    There was so much noise in my head,
    I could barely make out the details
    As she told me where she worked
    And confirmed
    That we were indeed speaking
    Of the same person.
    I guess she helped me get up
    From the floor
    After I’d dropped
    To my knees,
    Offered to drive me home.
    I do remember feeling
    As if someone
    Had kicked me
    In the stomach. Hard.
    The timing of his death was
    Between my
    Regularly scheduled appointments,
    Once a month, just then
    I struggled futilely to
    Remember our last appointment
    Had he seemed
    Ill, run-down, over-tired…?
    Dead – the information
    Seemed so surreal;
    It was almost beyond my ken
    He was exactly the
    Same age as me
    – not really young
    But not even middle-aged –
    At least by today’s standards
    I know I drove myself
    Home but don’t
    Remember doing it
    Or much else
    Between then and
    Several days later
    When I attended his funeral
    Talk about feeling
    Utterly bereft
    The huge church was
    Packed to the rafters
    As they say;
    They had to put extra chairs
    In the foyer
    Or whatever they call
    That part of the church
    Where people hang
    Their coats
    Of course it
    Was very sad,
    But at first I thought
    Maybe it would be bearable;
    The church was very liberal
    Anyone can be married
    Or buried from there,
    Much like my own
    But – and I’m not sure
    When this realization
    First happened
    Sometime during the service
    Things started to go very wrong –
    At least for me
    First, I’ve never been at a service
    Where there was so much
    Open sobbing
    Stoic doctors and nurses alike
    Were weeping,
    The tears pouring unchecked
    Down their faces
    (I admittedly was of their number
    But being a psychiatric patient
    That didn’t strike me as particularly odd,
    Especially as a number of things
    Started to click into place.)
    Second, the service was
    Extremely religious,
    With lots of talk of
    His soul rising up
    To be with the Lord
    And the like;
    I wondered if any of
    The people who’d
    Arranged the thing
    Had even known him
    I found myself hoping my
    Thoughts couldn’t be heard
    Because inside I was
    Screaming loudly,
    “C’mon people –
    He was an atheist!”
    So – there was that –
    The excessive religiosity
    And the extravagant
    Expressions of grief,
    Especially by the medical community
    In general
    Something seemed off
    And at first;
    I just couldn’t put
    My finger on it
    Then, one of his best friends,
    Another doctor,
    Prominent in the community –
    Although why that should matter
    I’ve no idea
    But I overhead it mentioned
    More than once –
    Began his eulogy
    Well, well, well –
    First bereft, then betrayed
    The eulogizer wasn’t more
    Than a sentence
    Into his beautifully written
    Wonderfully spoken piece
    When it became all too clear
    To me
    My dearest doctor,
    The man I trusted
    More than almost
    Anyone else in the
    World practically
    Beyond all
    Imaginings really
    This wonderful, intelligent,
    Compassionate doctor
    Hadn’t just died,
    Wasn’t just dead
    As if that weren’t
    Heart-breaking enough
    No – it became
    Quickly apparent
    That the good doctor had
    Taken his own life
    Killed himself,
    Committed suicide,
    Shuffled off this
    Mortal coil on purpose
    How could this be?
    “…unable in his own pain,
    could not reach out…”
    This man, who
    Countless times had
    Talked me out of
    Taking my own life,
    Had made me see I
    Had any number
    Of reasons to live
    Had kept me
    Hanging on
    If only by the
    Slimmest of threads
    Then, with reasons
    Only he could know,
    Cut his own
    Tenuous thread
    No, no and
    No again
    This did
    Not compute
    That this man
    Who had managed
    To persuade
    So many
    That life
    Is worth living
    In the final analysis
    Could not
    Persuade himself.


  3. Laurie Kolp

    Who Done It?

    "I will find the killer,"
    the detective did say.
    Then he went out
    in search of clues,
    fingerprints and DNA.
    He asked questions
    to all the people
    that were there that horrible day.
    Hours and hours,
    days and days,
    then weeks and months
    did go by.
    Not a lead did he get,
    so his boss made him quit,
    and took over the case,
    retracing each step,
    calling on witnesses.
    Soon he did find
    the murderer to be
    that detective, himself-
    how he lost his mind!

  4. LindaTK

    Day 16
    Twist at End

    A new day dawns
    Sweet scent of lilacs
    Sunshine filtering
    through newly formed leaves
    Birds singing morning songs
    I stretch, yawn
    Greet the day
    Step outside to inhale
    the clean air
    My husband left me
    for another man

  5. Karen Masteller

    Something was amiss…
    My heart raced to bursting…
    My head whirled…
    Fear crow-hopped through my brain…
    My palms dampened…my knuckles whitened…

    That shot of dental Novocain laced with epinephrine…
    Never again!

  6. Sue Bench

    Cindy’s Neighbor

    Cindy’s in her backyard,
    looking at the spring flowers poking up.
    The neighbor is out too.
    Funny, she’s lived there for 6 years,
    and never spoken to Cindy once.
    Yet it looks like she’s walking this way!

    “Hi! I’m Linda,
    I’m soooo sorry that we’ve never met before.
    What’s your name?
    I’m really sorry,
    I’m just always so busy.
    I should have come over before.”

    Cindy tells her name,
    Says “nice to meet you.”
    They both turn to walk to their houses.
    Suddenly Linda calls back,
    “Oh, Cindy,
    Just one little thing.
    A big limb from your tree
    has fallen onto my yard.
    You need to give me $50
    So that I can have it chopped up
    And hauled away.
    So sorry that we had to meet
    Under such bad circumstances.”

    Cindy’s speechless!

  7. Linda Hofke

    To Tonja Root:

    Often I post and never have time to go back into a day to read more. I just read your response to post. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I am just starting out….began writing on April 1. I hope, with practice, I can develop as a writer, whether it be as a job or just for me. IT feels good to write.

    By the way, I like your stuff. Congrats on Bouncy Ball being a highlight and Short was fantastic. Says much with a few words. Belief and Truth is also outstanding. Have you been writing long?

  8. Judy Roney

    The stewardess was blonde, blue-eyed,
    buxomy and gorgeous,everything
    that would make the men on the flight sit up
    and pay attention. Some obviously stared
    others more subtle,like my husband, who
    caught glimpses as she passed by.
    I leaned over and offered to introduce him
    to her. My husband turned red and stuttered
    I told him that I knew Jeannette from
    grammar school. We were best friends
    in 3rd and 4th grade when her name was John.

  9. Justin M. Howe

    Love Poem, or, Anxious Dreams

    “I love you.” she whispers
    “I love you more.” I whisper back
    “Yeah, you’re right.” she smiles
    It’s dark, but the smile is in her voice
    her smell
    “Why do you stay?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “When will you go?”
    “Probably soon.”

    I lay awake
    I hear her smile
    I see her

    Her mangled body lying in a ditch
    She’s with a much better looking man
    The windshield shattered with the impact
    He pleases her

    Baby, I wish you’d come home soon.

    -Justin M. Howe

  10. priya


    that last one i sent was meant for the insult poem (day 15) i accidentally put it here.

    Here’s the poem for this prompt:

    The end of the world is here
    There will never be any
    More Happiness – only Fear
    And Responsibility.
    All the fun of childhood
    Will forever disappear…
    I’m turning ten this year.

  11. priya

    There is nothing that
    smells quite as sweet,
    as the smell of your
    rotten stinking feet.
    It made me gasp and
    gawk and groap,
    for the air
    that is not there,
    must be somewhere
    who knows where

  12. Kate

    Things that Make Me Panic.

    Yogurt containers with foil lids. Side effects of prescription drugs. People that drive too fast, weaving in and out of traffic on the freeway like they’re in a video game. Driving on icy roads. Driving in blizzards. Sleeping in tents on mountains during electrical storms. Glass elevators in tall buildings. Elevators that go to floors not requested or that stop between floors. Airports. Airplanes. Airplanes on the ground. The noise of airplanes overhead. Flying in airplanes. Thinking of flying in airplanes. Dreaming of airplanes. Watching movies about airplanes. Eleven barking pit bulls in the beat-up station wagon parked next to me at the mall. The fear that you will become bored and leave me for someone else.

  13. Raven


    locked inside this oubliette
    filled with martyrs and daemons and pain
    choking on the bilious rush
    chained in locked down this stain
    bruised fragile
    picking up
    odds sounds from up above
    clenching wrenching
    twisting up
    bitterly contained
    a mesmorising violence
    the struggle to break free
    the soul bursts forth
    a pop a groan
    clawing up and out and through
    a newly sprouted see
    reaches up
    towards the sky

    TK Kietero

  14. samantha altman


    I despise the way you look at me,
    I hate it when you stare,
    I can’t stand the way you talk to me,
    You’re a breath of toxic air.

    Why are you so ignorant,
    Why are you so mean,
    If you were a bar of soap,
    I would never want to be clean.

    You piss me off,
    You make me tense,
    I can’t understand
    Why you’re so dense.

    I hate you, can’t stand you,
    I shatter when I’m around you.
    But the thing that makes it terrible
    Is that I really do love you.

  15. Rebecca

    Kyle read his message out loud to us
    "Totally forgot! Stink."
    Of course he feels bad
    Thursday night belongs to us.
    "Herb usually calls. Lol."
    Probably has a lot on his mind.
    "Anyway, i am super tired."
    I can see it… house music blaring…
    DJing keeps him up so late.

    "I went out with my mom last night."

  16. Sarah

    Upwards she scales the wall
    to find a place
    to lie in wait
    for her next
    unsuspecting victim
    who’ll feed her thirst for blood
    then suddenly, without warning,
    one falls into her snare
    working quickly she snatches it
    wrapping it tightly
    before enjoying her feast.
    One less fly to bug me today
    so I guess I’ll let her stay
    for at least another day.

  17. Lin Neiswender

    Appearances are Dddeceiving

    Cccool baby, groovy, hip
    The cccold made him stutter
    His bbberet slid on Donald Trump hair
    Nnnot staying in place too well
    Wwwhy you might ask does he babble on
    In ttthat bizarre, old-fashioned way
    He’s tttruly triple-play crazied
    In his lllost in the sixties way
    You’d nnnever guess he has millions
    Sssocked away

  18. Bonnie


    The willows sway softly in the breeze,
    The flowers turn their faces up toward the sun
    Drinking in the morning rays.
    Butterflies flit from blossom to blossom
    Collecting the sweet nectar inside
    The sound of the gardener’s tools
    Beating out a rhythm all their own,
    Add to the peaceful sound of the garden.
    Minute after minute, and hour upon hour,
    The gardener continues in silence.
    For the work must be finished;
    Tomorrow’s ceremony depends on its completion.
    The arrival of such an important man
    Requires much care. . .or so they say.
    To the gardener everyone is the same
    Doctor, lawyer, priest, or pauper
    It doesn’t matter.
    He always gives them his best.
    So he continues; never pausing to rest.
    The guest of honor will arrive at 1 pm,
    And as always everything will be done to perfection.
    As he works he has a smile of satisfaction,
    Without him the ceremony would not be possible.
    And yet none of the group tomorrow even knows his name.
    But that’s okay
    For one day he may offer his services to some of them as well.
    At last he is finished.
    Stepping back he admires his work.
    Corners perfectly square.
    Exactly six feet deep.
    The grave digger picks up his tools, satisfied.
    All is ready for the guest of honor.

  19. jane


    Power suit pressed
    She steps into the limo
    Another day
    Of decisions

    Multi-million dollar company
    Thousands of lives
    Depend on
    Her decisions

    Phone calls
    All demand

    In her office
    At the end of the day
    Bottom left drawer

    Holds the answers
    She pulls out the Magic 8 Ball
    Shakes it and then again
    To make her decisions

    “My sources say yes”

    * * * * * *

  20. Lydia

    Twist poem

    The hamster died,
    so off to the petstore they went,
    to get a new pet,
    a new family friend.
    Mom said get something small,
    something that wont bite,
    a friendly animal
    for all of us to enjoy.
    They were kind to call Mom
    from the petstore to approve their choice.
    No hamster, gerbil, rabbit family are we,
    they said, Mom, can we buy a rat,
    its a sociable pet to complete our family.
    Now, Mom who used to fear spiders and mice,
    has a rat in her home,
    a pet to her children that is quite friendly,
    but the sight of his tail always reminds her,
    she is doing this for the children,
    it is a love greater than for the rat,
    who appreciates the loving home that
    hes found himself in.
    But why does the Mom always ask her son
    to put me down and back in my cage.
    I will make her love me
    the rat thinks, as he ponders escape.

  21. AlaskanRC

    Not my best attempt.

    A Different Type of Friend

    I got a friend,
    that always makes me feel better
    when I’m down.
    He never makes fun of me
    over the problems I share.
    I can cry on his shoulder
    with out him ever saying
    a word to another soul.
    His eyes silently tell me that
    he’ll always be there.
    He can’t speak in words
    for he a horse but between
    us words aren’t needed.

  22. M Schied

    Wrong way

    I stride breathlessly through the transparent entrance
    Straight to the granite barrier
    that will provide my ticket to paradise
    A paycheck later, my feet tripping up the escalator
    I run the gauntlet of beeping wands and luggage x-rays,
    until my final destination looms in front
    ghostly on the pitch black tarmac
    Won’t your eyes light up when I arrive
    a premature birthday surprise
    I calm my jittery nerves with peanuts and champagne
    right before the cell phone light goes off,
    I place the grey box by my ear
    to hear you say,
    "Honey, I’m home"

  23. Darla Smith

    My Friend

    Let me tell you about my friend,
    who is kind, loving and loyal.
    The moment he came into my life,
    my future started looking brighter.
    His eyes are a piercing green,
    his silky hair is raven black.
    He shares my bed every night,
    nestled close against my side.
    I’ve given control of my heart,
    to my beautiful cat Blackie.

  24. Phyllis Elswick

    I sat down on the bench
    Breathing a sigh of relief
    Tired from all the hustle and bustle
    Thinking it is finally over
    Thinking what have I done
    Where am I going
    What am I doing
    Mommie, let’s go again,
    The little voice giggled
    This is so much fun

  25. Charlene P. Age 10

    You never shut up
    You never stop eating junk-food
    You never ever listen to me
    You never pay attention to others

    You always chatter a lot
    You always ignore "rabbit food"
    You always go "La la la!"
    You always ignore others

    You need adult supervision,

  26. lyn

    His legs carry him forward, self-assured bow-legged strut
    Seeking the path to paradise
    His icy sliver eyes gaze deep into the soul
    Thirsty for salvation
    His smile quirks upward on the left
    Eager for the trip to heaven
    His body hard sinew tight, flushed with heat, dewed with restraint
    Hungry for a swim in milk and honey
    He stood at the altar of commitment
    A willing sacrifice to ecstasy
    And I wish he’d fallen in love with me

  27. Janice Neaveill

    Good Sense

    My grandpa finds water lines
    by walking over the ground, eyes closed
    dropping a stone wherever he feels the pulse
    of it. He digs a ditch. My grandpa can witch
    water, an ancient seduction reduced
    by pipes, he finds those pipes beating
    in the earth, tons carried at top speed and once

    he found the only artesian
    spring in the whole state, so they built
    a church on it. He doesn’t believe
    in "Jesus Christ Church of the Artesian Spring"
    about what the creator means, or that humans
    could know a God exists
    unseen in heaven. If heaven
    was underground I know
    he could dig ditch
    to where he sensed
    God’s beating heart.

  28. Amanda Caldwell


    A night dark as tar and a road curving between the trees,
    almost too dim to make out the lines in the headlights.
    A girl appears, walking along the side, hand outstretched
    in silent supplication. A halo picks out her hair
    in the beams, making her glow almost translucent.
    A stop, near involuntary, your car, your heart.
    Doesn’t she know you could have killed her,
    standing out in the woods on a night like this,
    dressed all in black but for one white scarf
    wound tightly around her neck? A tiny *chunk*
    in the stillness is the door opening,
    a slither of cloth on leather, and she is beside you,
    beckoning you on with a sad smile,
    and the door closes almost soundlessly.
    You follow the directions of her whispered voice
    and pale pointing hand to a small house
    in the middle of middle class, a neat house, a tidy house,
    where a mother and father could raise two kids
    and a dog, where everything could be normal,
    everything happy. She slips out as quietly
    as she slipped in, but her scarf — her white scarf
    snags, on seemingly nothing, and trails, slips, uncoils,
    drifts down to the seat beside you. You call,
    but she’s gone, into the darkness of the lane.
    You bolt from the car, pulling the scarf after you,
    a wisp in your hands, the fabric sheer and untactile,
    and run up the path to the front door, your steps
    too loud on the gravel, your eyes darting behind you
    to make sure no one is following in the cover of the sound.
    You knock, nervously out of rhythm, and creak
    go hinges as the door cracks open. A face peers out,
    a man in middle age and nighttime clothes,
    quizzical and disturbed. “Yes?” he asks, and you hold up
    your offering: the scarf, the long white scarf.
    “I had a girl in my car,” you stammer, and he whips out
    a hand. “Oh, there it is,” he says. “My daughter said
    she left it on your seat. Thanks for giving her a lift.”

  29. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    I take a deep breath
    And with one last hurrah
    I hit the last note
    Giving it my all
    Giving my heart and soul
    Into the ending
    Errupting into silence
    I open my eyes
    The record store customers
    Snigger behind their hands
    I remove the headphones
    And proceed to the checkout.

  30. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    New Departure of the Prodigal

    Gone again! Another five years
    or more, before the next time.
    Or maybe there won’t be a next time.
    He goes, I stay; who knows?

    He has taken his big body
    made fat by booze and chocolate
    and sedentary living,
    eagerly off after one last hug.

    He has taken his white laptop
    and the slim black mobile phone.
    No more calls to America at 2am.
    and we get back our dining table.

    He has taken both old sleeping-bags,
    patched and heavy and way old-fashioned,
    30-year relics of him and his brother as kids.
    I didn’t say no, but I wish he’d left me one.

    He fixed the things around the house
    that weren’t working: electrical items,
    carpentry jobs, the way we do the budget,
    the irritating noise from the back of the fridge.

    And he pointed out the lies
    with which I’ve surrounded myself
    and those that I’ve been telling.
    He left me with many questions
    to ask myself, and a new desire to ask.

    I’m weepy. My head spins and jangles
    after the car drives off with a cheery toot.
    ‘Where’s the smudge stick?’ his stepfather says,
    ‘Let’s get all that crap out of the house!’

    © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2008

  31. Mike Barzacchini

    It’s not brain surgery

    I can’t believe
    They don’t
    Put me under.
    All that cutting
    And slicing.
    So close to
    My brain.
    I saw the
    But I’m not
    Just another
    Butcher with
    A sharp
    I hate haircuts!

  32. Sara Diane Doyle

    Trying to catch up, this one was hard only in that I wanted to find a twist that was unique (because I have this complex about doing things differently!) Hope you like it…

    Ice Chest

    In the seat beside me
    sits a little red and white cooler—
    packed with ice. I hope it is enough
    for our long journey.
    At the end of the day
    I only wish for a smile
    or at least
    that the heart the cooler carries
    will take to its new home.

  33. Hope Greene

    The Incorruptible Ms. Staquen

    That’s a perfect crease in your bleached linen pants
    not a speck of grease has touched your hands
    even though it’s finger food on offer
    without plates. What blank face have you bought
    today off which eminently reassuring peddler
    of perfection? I merely ask, with respect, since
    Sometimes it’s the thing you least expect
    when you live your life (while it lasts)
    in stunning black and white. And that’s
    the shame of the garden tonight, the white gloved right-hand
    band attempting to play a zydeco
    five fingers short. Needs a left, don’t it?
    But what would be the gain to point it
    Out to you that a lovely shade of gray is coming up to bite you in the ass?
    Oh, wait…it IS an ass (donkey, that is) and
    He’s crashed this party not to bite, but, it would seem,
    To take a whizz.

  34. Gene McParland from Long Island

    Here’s my poem with a twist at the end:

    The Monument in the Garden

    An ancient Dragon gate, tempered green by age,
    half opens upon flowered gardens of past delights.
    Long neglected by the gardener’s hands,
    it now blossoms forth with a symmetry
    of its own design.

    A amorphous flowing of living colors
    covers once clearly defined borders,
    and then cascading over the sides
    of a stagnate green garden pool.

    Marble, stone, and metal sculptures now serve
    as homes for calling birds and much simpler life;
    vines caress the once smooth features.

    Morning light meanders across garden beds,
    creating streamlets of flowing light.
    Where formal pathways once were laid out,
    naturalness and spirit now have free reign.
    The gods of War have finished their games.
    Now Nature re-claims the crumbling remains.

    One sole spot remains strangely unchanged.
    There a monument stands
    Etched on its front
    a silent warning
    which none can now read:

    “Beware Man”

    -Gene McParland-
    North Babylon, NY

  35. Gratia Karmes

    A poem for the "Alfred Hitchcock" Theme:

    Everything scares me–
    I can’t even have a Stepehen King novel
    left on the back of the toilet.
    I might read it!
    I might live it!

    I attempted to buy a scary book
    about space aliens (the real ones)
    and double bagged it, before I threw it, unread
    deep into a dumpster.

    Even Ghostbusters is
    kind of a frightening movie, to me.

    I read an article about arms coming out of walls-
    apparently this psychic woman knew she was psychic when she
    began to see them.
    Now I am a bit nervous around walls. Great.

    Once I knew a woman
    whose husband put a nylon stocking over his head
    and barged into the shower, terrifying her.
    She divorced him, of course.

    Well, dang, wouldn’t you know it?
    I’ve gone a written a poem about "rambling",
    which was yesterday’s topic.

    I was afraid of that.

  36. Susan Bell

    (The poem I posted for this originally was a reworking of an old one. A friend said I needed to make a note of that, or she would. Instead, I am posting a new one. So there, smart alec.)

    The Stalker

    Just because I follow you everywhere,
    you get upset and yell. Why do you yell?
    You know you love the attention, as I watch
    every move you make. I’ll show you who’s
    boss around here. Before long, you will
    be on your knees, begging for my

    You will crave my attention, long for it.
    I know you better than you know yourself,
    better than anyone else knows you. I miss
    nothing. I see everything. And when you
    least expect it, I will pounce

    and lay down on your lap, kneading my
    way to purr bliss.

  37. Kimberlee Thompso


    Oh, once I had womanish dreams
    of flowers and chocolates.
    Gone, turned to ashes.
    Perhaps I was a foolish romantic,
    living in grandiose fantasies,
    but I did it all for you.
    To keep you safe.
    Some say I gambled
    far too much,
    some say not enough.
    The earth, the air –
    I tried to rule them all
    to make this, our new world.
    Ah, perhaps I did fail,
    but I dared.
    Mayhap you will forget me,
    Mayhap you shall laugh;
    Now I can do little but to ask –
    call me “Donald,” not “Rummy.”

  38. Sheryl Kay Oder

    Originally I posted this on the wrong day, so I am posting it again so it will be in the right context.


    She joined me for overnights
    in the little backyard house
    my daddy fixed up for me.

    We listened to music together
    as I whispered momentous
    secrets in her ear.

    I would poke her awake
    thinking I heard a prowler
    In the night.

    She protested not at all–
    not one growl.
    not one bark.

  39. Sarah


    Bruce was my first crush,
    back when I had a thing
    for radioactive blue-eyed men
    with tortured souls.
    I ached for him as he wandered, rootless,
    hitch-hiking–something I thought
    only naughty people did.
    I was five–a bit too young
    to stand back and admire
    the pathos of a life on the run.
    Oh, Bruce, I loved him so.
    But when he was angry,
    he became a different person.
    They called him The Incredible Hulk.

  40. Dee IKJ

    My brother Gary had two horses
    I had none of my own.

    I loved his horses and to them I would talk
    I had none of my own.

    One day I found this beautiful white horse
    He was mine all mine.

    Mane and tail flying in the wind he would run
    He was mine all mine.

    Tall and strong and the most beautiful
    He was mine all mine.

    On his back I would climb and off we would go
    He was mine all mine.

    As we rode with the wind, a change came about
    He was mine all mine.

    Then my beautiful white horse was no more
    I had none of my own.

    He turned into a pogo stick horse and
    I had none of my own.

    True story I use to have this dream repeatedly for many years as a child and even into my adult hood.

  41. Jennifer Fagala

    In honor of "Lamb to the Slaughter" – Robert Dahl

    She sewed
    He read
    She served
    He drank
    She cleaned
    He watched TV

    this is how it was
    with no thank you
    or if you please

    So one day nice and dreary
    He slept peacefully weary
    She snuck up behind
    found strength on a dime
    and felled him with a

    a lamb chop
    which she promptly fed to police

  42. Tonya Root

    Yoli – Thanks! Good to make someone laugh!

    Karen – I really connected with your poem. My mom has always been my best editor!

    Devon – Excellent. What a fantastic way to bring home your point.


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