Editors Blog

WD Poetic Form Challenge: The Bop

What better way to follow up The Big 10 challenge than with The Bop!

This form, developed by Afaa Michael Weaver, incorporates several elements, including a refrain, problems, resolutions, and more. Click here to learn how to write The Bop.

As in
previous challenges, the poet who writes The Bop that I like best will be
featured in a future issue of Writer’s
Digest
magazine (most likely the October issue). Poets should
paste their poems in the comments below; I will not accept submissions by any
other means–or attached to any other posts.

Click
here to read the general rules for the WD Poetic Form
Challenge
.

The deadline for The Bop challenge is May 30,
2011, at 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time).
That means you have roughly 18 days to bop away. Now get poeming!

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94 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: The Bop

  1. M.A. Dobson

    SIGNALING

    Acting out stories, my mother lived be-
    tween the lines; paging through old fairy tales
    I can find her there, eyes flashing, peering
    down hallways, alternately courting my
    night terrors and distracting me from them

    When the light gets less bright you can see

    All those winged things she freed, flitting about
    on walls in silhouette, hands dancing
    and the glass box I filled with lightning bugs
    as she glided through the ancient trees, blink-
    ing on and off like one herself, elec-
    tric, her very breath luciferous
    I tracked her glowing lantern in the dark
    and panicked when she made it disappear

    When the light gets less bright you can see

    This was the key to her, this chasing fear
    she located just above my breastbone
    placing her hand there, her head to one side
    as she followed the mad flight of my heart
    to that place I did not want to go, saying
    This is how I know you belong to me

    When the light gets less bright you can see

  2. Jane Shlensky

    Legacy

    His father coined the phrase and liked it well,
    applying it both to accidents of nature
    and events of his own making.
    A flawed man, he knew that change
    was all he could rely on, and that
    most change was the hurting kind, for

    “Nothing ever always is.”

    His father bequeathed him humor and love,
    but the oft-repeated phrase stood sentinel in his life,
    a great show-stopper for all the final curtains he would claim.
    When storms crashed, floods swelled, sickness surged;
    when he broke his girlfriend’s heart, worried his mom,
    quit college and jobs, and all proverbial parties were over;
    when Cassandra-like he foresaw sunsets in every dawn and
    endings in every beginning, he repeated his father’s phrase,

    “Nothing ever always is.”

    If change is a constant stream, then we are inevitably buoyed
    by hope, transformed by love. Now a father himself, a flawed man,
    he sees his father’s glad face in new light and knows he can survive
    the fleeting worst by enjoying the fleeting best
    of his wife and daughter’s laughter and sweet smiling dreams,
    wiping their tears and quelling their fears by assuring them,

    “Nothing ever always is.”

  3. Sara Ramsdell

    What We Found

    We didn’t pay attention when we
    had the chance– we couldn’t afford
    to lose you and so lacked the funds. Forced
    now to settle the accumulated debt,
    our souls hang inside out
    seeking some sort of glimmer in the detritus.

    We keep hearing no one ought to live like that.

    Maybe the unthinkable behind your door
    wasn’t yours. You lived in it but
    were not of it. In the moments it takes
    to open the refrigerator door, clean the floor,
    drop the junk mail in a basket, you were
    meditating, spirit transported to higher realms.
    You designed celestial bridges while
    we took out the dog and the trash.

    We keep hearing no one ought to live like that.

    We’re disgusted, humbled, washing obligatory
    dishes out back for a meal we never ate
    while, fully enlightened, you’ve passed across.
    We stand here amidst all you left behind–
    what means nothing to you now. Silent
    under the stars, we listen for reason.

    We keep hearing no one ought to live like that.

  4. Nancy Posey

    Piano lessons (bop)

    Each week my mother made me ride the bus
    to Mrs. Miller’s house, a scary old Victorian–
    the woman and the house–to learn to play
    piano on her upright Wurlitzer, a sacrifice
    she made, I knew, two dollars from her pay 
    for washing other people’s clothes, but

    I longed to play by ear, by heart.

    I struggled through the scales, 
    chromatic, pentatonic, never the blues,
    first C, then G, then A,
    arpeggios up and down the keys,
    careful lest she rap my knuckles
    with the ruler always held in her clawed hands.
    Back straight, fingers curved, poised
    over the ivory keys, I played each note.

    but I longed to play by ear, by heart.

    My mother’s cajoling, nagging, pleading
    kept me at the bench at home,
    She oversaw my practice of those inane tunes–
    "Here we go up a row to a birthday party"
    while my fingers itch, aching to play
    boogie-boogie, rock and roll, the blues.

    I longed to play by ear, by heart.

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Space: A Bop

    Traveling into space and away from his wife appeals to him,
    saddled to a rocket ship headed above the horizon,
    a star-hopping glimmer in his heart that he will be made new,
    achieving for the planet what we most wish to believe of ourselves:
    that we are not dead in the water of the blue planet,
    but moving toward some brightly shining future.

    Each new day leads to what we were, for futures exist in the past.

    Imagine his dismay at learning that when one travels into outer space,
    he journeys ever more deeply into the past of the universe.
    Looking forward to embracing some blinking star, he must
    reach backward in time to a star already dead, a blackened
    cinder or breathless gas, extinguished centuries ago. Ghostly
    radiance still speeds across the thermosphere for light years
    to where he stands gazing, dazzled and bereft. Mourning
    a feeling, he suddenly concludes that his marriage is over.

    Each new day leads to what we were, for futures exist in the past.

    The pictures of their wedding faces, their smiling years together,
    stare at him from sundry frames, recording past moments of light that
    he accepted as his future, the idea of wedded bliss glowing hotter
    than his desire to live it, his imagination projecting unrealized ideals.
    He lifts his hands to photographic warmth, not to the woman herself,
    visualizing chunks of clay orbiting one another in a darkened sky.

    Each new day leads to what we were, for futures exist in the past.

  6. Dare Gaither

    Patchwork Pugilist

    He stands defiant, seeking a threat
    still living in a past where home meant
    hitting the ground running to survive.
    Clenched fists hide fear
    thorn-pierced palms still bleed
    in sacred suffering unhealed by time.

    Stepping through his ring of fire
    together we slay shadows of dead dragons

    How many punches thrown
    before I say “no mas”
    leaving him alone in his pain
    as so many have done before
    fulfilling his prophecy
    of abandonment and betrayal
    accepting my own legacy of pain
    borne by thorn-pierced hands?

    Stepping through his ring of fire
    together we slay shadows of dead dragons

    Taking a breath I try again
    seeing in his tortured eyes
    the struggle of a soul
    chained to ghosts
    forever lost in ancient wars
    fighting to be free.

    Stepping through his ring of fire
    Together we slay shadows of dead dragons

  7. lolamouse (Sheri T)

    Stole the cash from Mama’s purse
    To buy the test after school
    Along with a candy bar, nail polish, and lip gloss
    To look casual, you know, like she did this all the time
    Cut her morning classes to pee in peace
    After Mama went off to work

    Who’s gonna save them
    Now that they’re here?

    Wrapped the bad news in toilet paper
    Hid it in the trash
    Passed her boyfriend a note
    He hung his head and slammed the dirty cafeteria table
    Later he offered to marry her
    If she wanted
    Or give her the money
    To do something else

    Who’s gonna save them
    Now that they’re here?

    She tried to keep her head up and walk tall
    They called her "whore" and "baby killer"
    Pushed pamphlets at her with pictures she didn’t want to see
    She told herself she’d come back another day
    But she never did
    The sting of Mama’s hand across her face hurt the worst

    Who’s gonna save them
    Now that they’re here?

  8. Autumn N. Hall

    Oh Brother, Where Art Thy Priorities?

    Oh, it’s not just that he doesn’t know
    where the moon rises in his own yard.
    He opts to discard other cards in blissful ignorance
    like the level of CO2 in our atmosphere, the circumstance
    and number of U.S. military killed so far this year,
    the long-term smear effect of oil spills on coastal environments.

    In his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

    It’s not that he was privileged to be born white,
    physically fit, good looking, talented and intelligent
    to college-educated parents who took out loans
    (when he was jonesin’ for a private school) on top of tools
    like home-cooked meals, NOVA, books, and music lessons in a house heated with love.
    He is a “self-made man” who, push to shove, “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps”
    (a difficult feat for feet which were never laced up neat in combat boots),
    and, to boot, he “works his bread-winning ass off” to rest on laurels in that upper 10%—

    in his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

    Top Shelf scotch-on-the-rocks while he rocks twin infant daughters,
    or rather jostles them in growing agitation at their fuss, cannot soothe;
    no wake-up call, that both his parents sleep in their own graves.
    So what might save him from himself? Perhaps a blow to his own health
    or a further crash of stocks would shock him into awareness beyond self.
    Defibrillation paddles standing by, but I do not hold out much hope for his predicament.

    In his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

  9. Elizabeth Johnson

    Getting down to the wire… today’s poem expressed itself as a bop, so here it is:

    HANDS

    They waltz along familiar keys with
    graceful collision and passionate whispers
    gently caressing those eighty-eight notes,
    dancing out words from twenty-six letters,
    choosing the colors to abstract their world,
    watercolor phrases, free verse melodies:

    I am my hands.

    Captivating sunlight, composing a home,
    crafting a well-worn house into coziness,
    carving smiles with curtains and canvas;
    stirring love into homemade suppertimes,
    laughter into cake batter and cookie dough,
    life into canned soups and boxed macaroni;
    arranging, composing, harmonizing each room
    a lyrical refuge from discord, a haven:

    I am my hands.

    Fingertips, knuckles, thumbs and palms,
    each their own royalty, each individual
    part of the whole the voice of my soul;
    embracing-caressing-grasping-holding-
    waltzing-composing-talking-folding-
    constructing-writing-playing-creating-

    I am my hands.

  10. Faryn Black

    THE GLOW OF ARTIFICIAL BRILLIANCE

    Eidetic and didactic, he bamboozles
    with the razzle dazzle of a well-thumbed
    thesaurus. But ask him for an original thought
    and he flicker-fades in the glow
    of artificial brilliance. A polystyrene cynosure,
    crumbling under the weight of illuminated expectation.

    Because he lives in the light, he can only dream of darkness.

    Misanthropic for the dim bulbs who fail
    to shield their eyes at his luminescence, he howls
    lycanthropically at the arc sodium moon. Sleep-stupid
    and deprived, he rails against his inequitable
    lack of equity. Edison, or somebody, deliberately disrupted
    circadian rhythms and now he bangs his drums all night,
    like simian fists upon so much hirsute chest. Hoarding
    over-caffeinated representations of self worth.

    Because he lives in the light, he can only dream of darkness.

    Setting torches to the kindling of his rage. His inner
    bed-wetting arsonist crows with glee as the embers find
    purchase; a growing conflagration casting shadows
    as it consumes. He dances naked to the rhythm
    of self-praise. Lobbing sticks and ululating at those
    who fail to recognize how worthy he is.

    Because he lives in the light, he can only dream of darkness.

  11. Sara V

    Hi Robert! This was fun!
    Wow, lots of beautiful poems–Nancy, De and Dare you guys gave me goosebumps!

    The Write Stuff

    It was an idea bright and new
    Write a novel, it will be fun
    Feel the words flowing
    Imagine the joy increasing
    But it was work, hiking a hidden path
    Filled with frustration, boredom and procrastination

    Pen to paper, fingers to keys, that’s how the work is done

    The words didn’t flow
    An idea would grow and give
    The illusion the path was found
    Fingers flying, hope renewed
    Then like a hose that’s cut
    The idea drains away and
    Words are typed just
    To fill the blankness

    Pen to paper, fingers to keys, that’s how the work is done

    Keep the faith, push past regret
    Past the worry, and pursue
    The end will come, just not
    When you choose or
    Think, or wish, or force it to
    Today, I typed that final line, now it’s time to revise

    Pen to paper, fingers to keys, that’s how the work is done

  12. M.A. Dobson

    STEPPED IN IT

    It starts off so indelibly right.
    While on a trail in dappled morning light,
    a deer startled by your fleet approach
    takes flight in front of you and for a moment,
    as part of the herd, antelopes on the run,
    you don’t look down; you do not look at all.

    You do not notice till you’ve stepped in it.

    Something about the way your foot slides through
    and you’re suddenly askew makes you think
    banana peel, though you’ve never slipped on one
    (your pratfalls tend more to the figurative),
    but then the smell hits you, a true assault,
    certified organic, distinctly canine,
    not a new boutique blend either, golden-
    doodle, no, this is mangy mongrel stuff.

    You do not notice till you’ve stepped in it.

    So much for your eight-mile run through the fields.
    It’s quiet now, no crashing sounds; the deer
    long gone and you, my dear, no antelope—
    not for a while anyway; your ankle’s sprained,
    the marathon training will have to wait;
    but on the bright side, you can break that date.

    You do not notice till you’ve stepped in it.

  13. Taylor Graham

    EDGE OF WILDWOOD

    Beyond the gate, an arch of rocks
    as if thrown down from sky
    to make shelter underground. A low
    path sneaks inside. At dawn
    the fox slipped from her den –
    I caught her shadow in passing.

    I listen for fox-cry in the night

    and in the half-light, calling all her tribe.
    This morning I drive asphalt,
    watching for what streaks across –
    a deer, a vision. Fox-kit tire-treaded
    into pavement center-line.
    Highway standard: drag the carcass
    off the road. The crew will shovel
    it into their truck.

    I listen for fox-cry in the night

    and find a new lamb gone – lifted away
    by the great horned owl? Another
    killed by coyote. This is life.
    The arch of rocks is empty.
    Your sister (cancer) and an uncle.
    Celebrate the lives, rejoice and mourn.

    I listen for fox-cry in the night.

  14. Dare Gaither

    Inevitable

    Slipping through uninvited
    hidden in the Autumn breeze
    a chill surprises bare arms
    basking in short sleeves
    turning beads of sweat
    into goosebumps.

    The last familiar moment passes
    Inevitably
    A new journey begins

    Change sneaks up
    quietly from behind.
    Squinting eyes no longer
    see the words
    obscured by darkness.
    Looking up from the page I
    reach for the lamp asking,
    When did the light fade?

    The last familiar moment passes
    Inevitably
    A new journey begins

    Events unfold
    ever-emerging
    each breath
    seeking the next.
    Welcoming what comes,
    I must let go.

    The last familiar moment passes
    Inevitably
    A new journey begins

  15. Lynn Burton

    I wrote a Bop during the April PAD challenge. Here’s that attempt; will come back with another.

    Get Out of My Head

    I left the door wide open without much
    thought as to what I was getting into.
    You blew in and knocked the hinges right off
    my heart. A whirlwind of emotions stirred,
    drenching me in an unconscious pool of
    mindless games and wounds that flow deep within.

    I wish you’d get out of my head.

    Clouds formed, and there was never a reason
    for us to continue on this damned path
    of hopeless wonder and abandonment.
    It’s hard to fathom what we were thinking.
    Shadows crawl out of hearts filled with deceit
    and leave an ominous black mark that winds
    itself around your soul. Seek shelter from
    the storm brewing. The storm in me and you.

    I wish you’d get out of my head.

    Alone, a quiet stillness claims the dark,
    shatters the fog that once surrounded me
    and the tight grip that held my heart captive.
    I open my eyes to the light and see
    a new day, a new tomorrow, a breath
    away from you. I shut the door and say…

    I wish you’d get out of my head.

  16. Katie Dixon

    "Voices in Circles"

    It was quite close to the beginning
    of time that people started saying
    the younger generations had lost
    all sense or respect or manners.
    Perhaps, though, all years are stuck in
    the righteous soil of their own upbringing.

    And we lose our voices in the negotiations.

    They all say: Let me tell you how
    it is, or at least how it should be, or
    how it will be when we’re done.
    It does not matter if I don’t know
    your side or their side or even
    my own side when I know I’m right.
    And then we can talk in circles,
    like children stuck on a merry go round.

    And we lose our voices in the negotiations.

    I hold my own tongue moderately
    behind the teeth biting my lip.
    I belong to my own youthful peers,
    quick to claim their own step above
    the younger ones who try to talk in faster
    circles and take their spot at ruling the world.

    And we lose our voices in the negotiations.

  17. Daniel Ari

    Echoing Michael Grove’s piece:

    "Dwelling in distractions"

    Here’s the agreement: your interest in rocks
    makes you a geologist who can help us (all)
    pull money out of the stones, sort those to keep,
    those to drill, those to cement for foundations.
    The progressing world will use you and feed you
    and your family on your interest in rocks.

    We need to change fundamentally.

    For me, it’s words, these liquid crystals
    that catch the light of generations, but
    the days I typed crazed letters all morning
    then sat in cafes to scrawl poems longhand,
    I have sold eight hours at a time to mine
    synonyms for purchase, spend, join, have,
    get, now, new, save, you, must, need, own—
    and my daily bread arrives like nepenthe.

    We need to change fundamentally.

    This mythology of do what you love and
    money will follow has stopped the discussion
    about whether money must be loved at all.
    You can wake up some late nights and think,
    damn it, I love rocks. Why am I not sleeping
    camped on the mountainside right now?

    We need to change fundamentally.

    DA

  18. Autumn N. Hall

    He Made Me An Offer I Can’t Refuse

    In moon wane’s hour in my own bed I woke,
    a sickening twist of fear worming my gut,
    its eating keenly felt but source unknown;
    and sitting up, I pinched away all dreams.
    With eyes now wide in fright, I searched the dark
    until I saw a cigarette’s coal spark—

    Death, posing in my corner, in a pinstriped gangster suit.

    As he inhaled, the glow crept up the slim
    cigarette holder he held in his hand
    and lit his handsome face—so elegant,
    so young, and not a trace of worry there.
    His hair was black and swept back with pomade
    beneath a classic hat which hid his eyes,
    this Wise Guy with Chicago in his stance,
    such that I knew him true with just one glance:

    Death, posing in my corner, in a pinstriped gangster suit.

    This recognition oddly quelled my angst.
    I thought, “Oh, its just you” and so relaxed
    to settle back into my still-warm sheets
    and peace of knowing he watched over me.
    My visitor, assured I’d not forget
    him, tipped his head and simply said, “Not yet.”

    Death, posing in my corner in a pinstriped gangster suit.

  19. Tracy Davidson

    The Darkness

    My birthday’s coming.
    Might not seem like a problem
    but it’s the first since my mum died
    and I don’t feel much like
    celebrating, though I feel
    I’d like to get hammered.

    How do you get your life back on track?

    She suffered, my god how she suffered,
    and so did we who witnessed it.
    Two years of our lives taken up
    with hospital appointments, treatments,
    sickness, misery, despair.
    But it’s that final night that haunts me,
    those last few hours struggling for breath,
    then lungs stopped, chest rattled, she was gone.

    How do you get your life back on track?

    I’ve tried to put those memories aside,
    to focus on the good times,
    back when she was healthy and happy.
    But the bad times intrude,
    force their way into my consciousness
    and the blackness claims me again.

    How do you get your life back on track?

  20. Nancy

    I love this! I just let all my poetry peeps know about it. Thanks for coming up with this cool contest.

    P.S. I love all the information on your blog. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Katie Dixon

    "Listening to They"

    One chapter down. Well,
    One semi-decent chapter
    and a couple of halves
    of some that aren’t that great.
    Oh and titles! The chapters have
    titles, but the book itself still lacking.

    They say we’ll all write terrible first novels.

    Mainly I’ve got characters. And,
    only the main ones at that. They’re
    growing, simmering, marinating
    in bad mixed metaphors. I keep
    waiting for them to do something.
    Or for something to happen to them.
    It’d probably be best if something could
    happen to them while they do things.

    They say we’ll all write terrible first novels.

    Like they say, the characters need to happen
    to the story. Then, hopefully, I might have
    a story strong enough shed the bad metaphors.
    And, I could stick it all away in a drawer, like
    they are always advising. They say let it
    grow, simmer, marinate while you’re not looking.

    They say we’ll all write terrible first novels.

  22. Sally Jadlow

    Husband Bop

    He doesn’t notice a new dress anymore
    or a different hairdo. He comes home,
    looks through the mail, and asks,
    “What’s for dinner?”
    Then goes to the couch
    to preside over the remote.

    And I wonder, what are husbands good for?

    In front of the TV, he woofs down dinner
    as if he hadn’t eaten in days.
    He burps, lays back, surfs the channels
    until he’s found the darkest or dullest
    program. Slowly his eyelids droop.
    Sleep takes over like a misty fog
    until I try to take the remote from his hand.
    He awakes with a start and says, “I was watching that.”

    And I wonder, what are husbands good for?

    I can choose to leave
    in search of a true soul-mate,
    stand up and scream at the top of my lungs
    as if that would do any good,
    or sit beside him resigned to the fact
    things will never change.

    And I wonder, what are husbands good for?

  23. de jackson

    From the Top
    (a Bop)

    I jigged, you jogged. And somewhere
    in there we both got bogged down
    in the endless details. Lines got
    blurred and the rhythm of the
    whole thing got hopelessly derailed.
    Whaddaya say?
    Let’s take it again from the top.

    I don’t want your roses or your empty
    promises or the words you pressed
    between the sheets. I don’t need you
    to complete my sentences or my
    existence. I can no longer taste
    my own tears or concern myself
    with what’s left at the bottom of your
    bottle. But I love you, so
    let’s take it again from the top.

    Keep your regrets and your blame
    games and your unspilled heart. Throw
    the score sheet across this hazy horizon.
    See that fading amber sun? It’s our last
    chance at truth. Drop the mask,
    take my hand and
    let’s take it again from the top.

  24. cynthia stewart

    Coming Up Fast:

    The river’s rising, gonna’ to be flooding again,
    The river’s rising, here coming up the wind,
    The river’s rising, put up the furniture,
    The river’s rising, this is the overture,
    The river’s rising, gonna’ be faster rapids.
    The river’s rising, pick up all the kids,

    Call the water company, get a measurement.
    How far over flood stage has the river went?

    Call Uncle Kenny, say we’re coming over,
    Turn off the gas, get the boat to maneuver,
    Pull out the car, put it up on the ridge,
    Take all the groceries out of the fridge,
    Go get the cats and the dog by the barn,
    Let the chickens up in the loft, come to no harm,
    Load the pigs into the truck, run them up,
    Get Blondie by the rope and call giddie up,

    Call the water company, get a measurement.
    How far over flood stage has the river went?

    The water’s took down the bridge now,
    It was getting mighty rickety anyhow,
    On the muddy, black surface, shining,
    You can see the stars wobbling, defining,
    The hearts of those who’ve had to leave,
    Feeling lost and naked like Adam and Eve.

    Call the water company, get a measurement.
    How far over flood stage has the river went?

    Cynthia Stewart

  25. mike Maher.

    Here is my attempt. I hope it finds you all well.

    "To the Appeal Tribunal"

    I have the scars to prove it,
    at least I have that one scar above my lip
    and scars are proof of both healing and not healing.
    I have not run the 26 miles to Athens,
    but I have left tracks of my existence everywhere.
    Hear my simple request.

    This is the part where you smile and say we’ll see.

    So much has gone wrong
    and yet so much is not yet destroyed.
    I miss the old phones you could hang up
    and if you regretted it quickly enough
    you could pick it back up
    and she would still be there,
    sometimes she wouldn’t even know.
    Just this once, give me something for the financial insecurity diagnosis.

    This is the part where you smile and say we’ll see.

    After today is not tomorrow but another today.
    Fear often leaves as soon as it is diagnosed,
    shadows eliminated by more light or no light at all.
    I wait for a response from you, the appeal tribunal,
    but I wait with the apathetic optimism
    of hoping but not expecting.

    This is the part where you smile and say we’ll see.

  26. Taylor Graham

    FUNDAMENTAL THINGS

    I’d give you an eagle-scout badge
    for every new procedure
    on your eyes – retinal detachment,
    membrane peel – what you get
    for chasing thunder birds, spending
    your vision mountain-high

    as time goes by.

    How long does love last?
    Your old compatriot of forest days,
    after his stroke, woke up in hospital
    asking, “What is the price of a bushel
    of pelicans?” Your medications
    give you strange dreams, condor-wings
    at the top of stairs. You startle awake,
    think I’m telling you goodbye

    as time goes by.

    At last, our aged cat seeks you out.
    “She’ll find any warm lap in the woods.”
    Sometimes, sitting on our deck,
    you wander unfamiliar landscapes
    flashed on the back of your eye, upside-
    down and in reverse. “My love and I”

    as time goes by.

  27. Kristi Peifer

    Puzzling

    He is rocking in the corner.
    He doesn’t have a chair,
    nor does he need one. His mouth
    opens in a silent pleading,
    screaming for help without words
    in a manner most puzzling.

    Not every puzzle is meant to be solved.

    It wasn’t always this way.
    Once there were first words and
    pretend play,
    chased away by confusion,
    frustration, fear, reticence.
    What about the puzzle?
    The pieces are all over the floor now,
    scattered in too many different directions.

    Not every puzzle is meant to be solved.

    Days are different now.
    Normality is all relative.
    First words and pretend play are back,
    making a fashionably late entrance.
    The puzzle is put away for now.
    We have other games to play. You know,

    not every puzzle is meant to be solved.

  28. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    BOP THAT CLOCK

    Hands moving forward on the big clock time
    Things that moved in rhythm now just rhyme
    Up the stairs climbing pushing air like a mime
    Up the stairs climbing pushing air like a mime
    Wake up with a start straight up in the bed
    Heart stopped, heart pounds, fed on the dread

    Shake it off – Shake if off – Keep moving on.

    Hands moving, hands moving seconds at a time
    Want to stop the hour glass pour back sand’s climb
    Want to stop the hour glass pour back sand’s climb
    Sagging, slogging, physicality
    Twirling, sparkling, sizzling, sensuality
    Things that moved in rhythm, now just rhyme
    Ache to make each second count not mark time
    Up the stairs, up the stairs, pushing air like a mime

    Shake it off – Shake if off – Keep moving on.

    Hands moving, hands moving, flying over time
    Dancing, prancing, hip jut, lip pout, jazzing on the climb
    Breathe deep- Breathe deep – Drop all that dread
    Clear the webs – Clear the webs – Clear the webs from your head
    Turn it, touch it, burn the candle – burn the candle – two ended flame
    Long as you feel it – Feel it – You still in the game.

    Shake it off – Shake it off – Keep moving on.

  29. Priscilla Krause

    Things in Mirrors

    I did not see it coming. Was I sitting or standing?
    When my life was handed to me in pieces with tattered ends.
    Reflections of a life I did not recognize as mine.
    I will make it something new from here on out,
    but from here finding the way out will not be easy.
    There are walls. Did I build them myself?

    They will say she was quiet and kept to herself.

    Walls that work to hide the world form me
    the world hidden by walls of one way glass.
    It seems shiny from the inside, seeing reflections only.
    But I can hear beyond what I cannot see.
    I know there is more beyond the reflection of one way glass,
    maybe there are people watching already from the other side.
    In the reflections I see a rope, I never knew held me down.
    Now what held me back will set me free, I will leave it all behind.

    They will say she was quiet and kept to herself.

    I will weight the rope with my regret and my sad reflections.
    I will cast the end over the walls of one way glass.
    Scale the walls I built myself, I will breathe in the chances beyond.
    I will leave the broken pieces with tattered ends that were handed to me.
    I will make anew of a life that was never quite what it seemed
    from the outside looking in through the walls of one way glass.

    They will say she was quiet and kept to herself.

    Priscilla Krause

  30. M.A. Dobson

    I reposted a slightly revised version of my Bop, and finally got the line breaks right. If anyone else is having trouble keeping stanzas intact while posting, try saving your poem/document as a pdf, and paste it in that way — worked for me! I’m wondering if this might also work for concrete forms.

    Thanks so much for your comment, Melissa!

  31. M.A. Dobson

    THE RING

    As she slept, dreaming of porcupine quills re-
    placing her hair, sprouting from her face and neck,
    the ring she had taken from her finger that day
    (she kept meaning to have it resized)
    and left by the side of the pool near her shoes
    so she wouldn’t lose it, remained where it was.

    The things out of place are merely where they are.

    Of encounters with porcupines there was but one
    and it was many years ago, although
    it came to her in early snow: she was
    on top of the mountain, last run of the day,
    when the spiny creature shuffled from the trees.
    They were alone in a quiet that was dream-
    like, her skis catching an intractable edge
    that brought her to a half-light thick of woods.

    The things out of place are merely where they are.

    In the morning, running her hands over
    her smooth crown, still with its strange phantom feel,
    she remembered the dream as she remembered
    the ring (taking it off and putting it down),
    not with alarm or distress but relief
    that it was hers, even lost, even shorn.

    The things out of place are merely where they are.

  32. Andrew Kreider

    Flood plain

    They are flushing the hydrants today
    Splashing giant rainbows in the spring air.
    You cannot escape the sound of water.
    Outside the Middle School is a great lake
    Where the drains are plugged. Two young boys are there
    Staring intently like they are asking

    What will be left when the waters recede?

    On the radio they are talking to
    Farmers in the Mississippi delta,
    Poor folk in poor houses, watching the floods
    Rising and talking about faith in God
    And how they don’t have the money to move,
    While engineers are playing Morton’s Fork
    Between the devil and the deep blue sea
    And admitting that no one really knows

    What will be left when the waters recede.

    The boys lose interest and wander away
    To dig in the sand of the ball diamond.
    I change stations and hear an old preacher
    Talking about God shutting Noah in
    The Ark. And I think, Good for Noah, but
    What about the rest of us? Does he want

    What will be left when the waters recede?

  33. Megan

    Alone

    Alone in the morning
    in dimming moonlight as the sun blanks
    out the night of stars and dreams of you
    I sip coffee wake the mind if not the heart
    and face forward feet walk numb
    into another memoryless day

    Memories fade you cannot

    I gather myself together
    to face the memory loss
    walk into your room your single cell life
    hold your hand
    watch your blank face
    I read to you, who once read to me
    together alone
    again we face the emptiness

    Memories fade you cannot

    There is no solution
    to the decay of time
    daily I will refresh my soul
    with coffee and poetry
    face my inner dread
    at losing more of you over and over

    Memories fade you cannot

  34. Melissa Hager

    Whoa, MA. Glad you got your poem posted because it is powerful. That’s wild that you can’t put in that space for your refrain, but you could separate the stanzas. Maybe your computer doesn’t like to do the Bop~!

    But still, Dare, your much appreciated suggestion does not work on my laptop for ‘concreteness.’ Thank you for trying. I tried with much help in the PAD and pushed every button known to God and man (OK, not really!) and still couldn’t get spacing.

    "For Better or For Worse" – thanks for the reminder, Nancy.

  35. Joseph Beckman

    What better way to follow up The Big 10 challenge than with The Bop!

    This form, developed by Afaa Michael Weaver
    .
    .
    True Love
    .
    .
    each moment I reach and
    tear at her arm, each time that
    I reach, I give up with alarm how
    my loving attempt is a poor view
    of self. How my attempt to be
    loving, loves only myself,
    .
    as the sun comes around and burns me again.
    .
    I scream at the kid; he means
    him no harm, but you dare cross
    my son, I mean you some harm
    as it matters not what others
    might do, I see only my son
    and I can’t see you. My blindness
    it blinds my future and past, it blinds
    me to others hearts’ true love at last,
    .
    as the sun comes around and burns me again.
    .
    so many times ‘round the mercurial
    sun, the layers of onion come slowly
    undone, leaves only the core of my
    time here on earth, true loving kindness
    it leaves but a dearth. Tears for myself
    tears for the earth, evaporate for good,
    .
    as the sun comes around and burns me again.
    .
    Joseph Beckman

  36. Sara McNulty

    Pick a Card (for Bop challenge)

    The kind of love that inhabits
    all your senses, swelling
    chambers of the heart, came
    only once for her. He was married,
    unhappy, and was planning escape
    when the children were older.

    Belief in happiness allows hope

    Tension tight-roped on her wired
    nerves. He sought a lawyer, began
    the tangled trials of separation.
    She waited. He became ill.
    Devastating diagnosis of kidney
    cancer required experimental
    drugs, administered in another state.
    He would not allow her to visit; she lacked

    Belief in happiness allows hope

    the guts to force his hand. Communication
    grew less frequent, then stopped. The love
    she felt twisted her trust. In thirty years
    following, she did not date, yet built
    a busy life of traveling, Broadway shows,
    exhibits, and dinners with friends.
    She lives alone, but she is not lonely.

    Belief in happiness allows hope

  37. Sara McNulty

    Blinders (for Bop challenge)

    From the beginning of their marriage
    he compromised the security,
    and sanctity of home. Juggling bills,
    gas jumping over electric, resulting
    in shut down of power, leaving
    my sister to sit in darkness.

    Love attaches blinders to blot hurt

    Birth of children surely would change
    a negligent husband to responsible
    father, fitting himself to the flow
    of life’s priorities. Tailoring failed.
    He continued to put himself first,
    sweet talking, baiting and hooking
    all the bigger fish in his small pond
    of a mind. My sister choked

    Love attached blinders to blot hurt

    on clam-like silence, mouth clenched
    too tightly to confide, mind paralyzed
    to change. I might have cracked
    her eggshell, smashed the sealed box
    of her life, and opened the blind eye
    she turned, but I knew she knew, and stayed.

    Love attaches blinders to blot hurt

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