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WD Poetic Form Challenge: The Bop

Categories: Poetry News, WD Poetic Form Challenge.

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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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

94 Responses to WD Poetic Form Challenge: The Bop

  1. MA
    I have had luck with simply putting periods in where I need a return/break
    like this
    .
    to get the
    .
    separation I need
    .
    .
    or even two lines

    Joseph Beckman

  2. M.A. Dobson says:

    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

  3. 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.”

  4. Sara Ramsdell says:

    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.

  5. Nancy Posey says:

    Touch screen keyboards, my downfall. Fingers itched. The "smart spelling kept changing it when I wasn’t looking.

  6. Nancy Posey says:

    Itches, not itch

  7. Nancy Posey says:

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Dare Gaither says:

    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

  10. 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?

  11. Autumn N. Hall says:

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Faryn Black says:

    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.

  14. Sara V says:

    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

  15. Forgot to say I loved the paper balls poem. :)

  16. BTW, Jacqueline, you are no dork! Anyone who writes with such lightness of being is a gift to us all. Loved your voice on Buddah’s virtualpoetryreading site.

  17. M.A. Dobson says:

    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.

  18. Taylor Graham says:

    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.

  19. Dare Gaither says:

    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

  20. Lynn Burton says:

    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.

  21. Katie Dixon says:

    "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.

  22. Daniel Ari says:

    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

  23. Autumn N. Hall says:

    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.

  24. Tracy Davidson says:

    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?

  25. Nancy says:

    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!

  26. Katie Dixon says:

    "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.

  27. Sally Jadlow says:

    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?

  28. de jackson says:

    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.

  29. 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

  30. M.A. Dobson says:

    Taylor Graham: that is really lovely.

  31. mike Maher. says:

    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.

  32. Taylor Graham says:

    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.

  33. Kristi Peifer says:

    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.

  34. 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.

  35. Oooh, MA. That’s a thought! I’ll try that if a concrete moment presents itself.

  36. Priscilla Krause says:

    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

  37. M.A. Dobson says:

    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!

  38. M.A. Dobson says:

    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.

  39. 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?

  40. Megan says:

    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

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. Sara McNulty says:

    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

  44. Sara McNulty says:

    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

  45. Miskmask says:

    Robert, I’ve tweaked my Bop, and I hope you’ll reconsider this version above my previously posted one. Thanks! :)

    REVELATIONS IN A PENCIL

    A yellow stick of lead swaddled by her fingers,
    creative flow dependant on a mitred rubber tip,
    a faithful friend, a nub smudging depths, digging
    and discovering, uncovering abstractions
    that masquerade as memories, recollections
    waltzing about in pretty pairs as facts. That’s why

    her pencil is a confessional.

    And there you’ll see in the muddled distance
    twinkling stars burning like brassy embers
    and a girl smothering their light with a flurry of
    wishes. She also believes that wishes hide
    in the smouldering wick of a candle, that they
    reveal themselves only on birthdays. She puffs
    away at the flickering flame, her efforts
    a hurricane’s fury fuelling her hopes. That’s why

    her pencil is a confessional.

    And while other children race after their kites
    spiralling through air and reaching for clouds,
    she tugs and she drags her memories aloft
    in a dirigible attached to the strings of her heart.
    Those fanciful notions, they said, so preposterous
    now speak with a voice through her yellow pencil. That’s why

    her pencil is a confessional.

  46. MiskMask says:

    Nancy, I really like your poem. It’s so sweet and so perfect. I’d swear that you used a pair of needles to knit it all together.

  47. Nancy Posey says:

    For Better or for Worse

    She wasn’t sure when the jazz turned into blues,
    but when she found the house too quiet, too sad,
    with just the two of them, filled with everything
    they’d thought they craved, they rattled around
    within four walls, avoiding bumping into one
    another, passing too close in the halls.

    But she had vowed for better or for worse.

    He struck a course of laissez-faire, content
    with status quo. She alternated back and forth
    between avoidance and confrontation, between
    the path of least resistance and full-frontal love.
    She tried seduction, gourmet cooking, self-help
    books and sexy lingerie, but he took naps, watched
    hours and hours of TV and she took weekend trips
    with girlfriends, long cold showers, Prozac.

    But she had vowed for better or for worse.

    She finally convinced herself, I can’t change him;
    I’ll work on me. Right then she made her mind up:
    no self-pity, no humiliation, groveling, sneaking
    around, looking for evidence of God-knows-what.
    Relying on her mind—what first drew him to her–
    she simply loved him, kept on loving, waiting. After all,

    She had vowed for better or for worse.

  48. MiskMask says:

    REVELATIONS IN A PENCIL

    A yellow stick of lead swaddled by her fingers,
    creative flow dependant on a mitred rubber tip,
    a faithful friend, a nub smudging depths, digging
    and discovering, uncovering abstractions
    that masquerade as memories, recollections
    waltzing about in pretty pairs as facts.

    Her pencil is a confessional.

    And there you’ll see in the muddled distance
    twinkling stars burning like brassy embers
    and a girl smothering their light with a flurry of
    wishes. She knows that wishes don’t hide
    in the wick of a smoking candle, revealing
    themselves only on birthdays and yet she puffs
    away at the flickering flame, her efforts
    a hurricane’s fury pummelling her hopes.

    Her pencil is a confessional.

    And while other children race after their kites
    spiralling through air and reaching for clouds,
    she tugs and she drags her memories aloft
    in a dirigible attached to the strings of her heart.
    Those fanciful notions, they said, so preposterous
    now speak with a voice through her yellow pencil.

    Her pencil is a confessional.

  49. Writer’s Block

    in this neighborhood, poems don’t show their face
    even if you write in lower case, invent a form
    or clad yourself in naughty underwear, they are too scared
    like wimpy vampires, they shy away from the light of day
    don’t bother knocking on their doors
    like closeted whores, they refuse to come out

    paper balls indeed

    what made inspiration run out on you?
    you, the jilted lover, the dumpee, starving for poetry
    infertile fingers stuck in 9-to-5
    half alive with a dozen ideas that won’t make the page
    an outrage, really
    like frightened children, poems back away from you
    triolets, sonnets, haikus
    play an exhausting game of hide and go seek

    paper balls indeed

    go on a donkey ride from New York to Brazil
    take a poetry pill
    un-wrinkle your brain and retrieve the ideas that you tossed
    recycle your thoughts
    chances are you will end up with
    a basketful of poems

    paper balls indeed

    (c) jh 5/15/11

    I liked this phrase "paper balls" since I saw Robert’s poem a while back, and I wanted to write a piece on it. I like saying it out loud too. I’m a dork. =)

  50. M.A. Dobson says:

    Oh well; I tried! The stanzas looked correct in preview form, but the line spacing changed when I posted. My bop got bopped.

  51. M.A. Dobson says:

    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 her hair 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.

  52. Daniel Ari says:

    "Wool coat with briers"

    Pick up a shovel. Put it down for a cigarette.
    Fuel the car at dawn, and it sits until sunset.
    You see me trying in the hailstorm of million-
    dollar ideas to build the zigzag south wall
    of my mausoleum. But the blackberries are ripe.
    It’s tongue versus thorn as shadows grow wide.

    I got some hitches in my giddyup.

    You say you’ve noticed. When I barked
    in your ear, just playing. When I dropped
    eggs from the top of the grocery list.
    When I left off gathering fire kindling
    to spend the day looking into the river, then
    tried to explain as you huddled under the covers
    why I had to look into the river, tried to talk you
    from your isolated cuddle, and got us both bluer.

    I got some hitches in my giddyup.

    All my back and forth. All these waves.
    If I could just make the third U-turn on my way
    without laying on the horn, pounding the wheel,
    and just say, “Even rivers and vines and hills
    flip youies.” This is the fabric I’ve got to wear.
    Cozy old coat with the occasional brier.

    I got some hitches in my giddyup.

    DA

  53. M.A. Dobson says:

    Thanks, Melissa; I work on a Mac using Word. I’ll try typing it in directly as you suggest, once it’s revised, if it ever comes together. Not quite boppin’ yet.

  54. Dare Gaither says:

    Melissa,
    Have you tried manually inserting a non-breaking space
    for each blank space you need? I use Open Office software
    (from http://www.openoffice.org) and to insert a non-breaking space
    I just type Ctrl+Shift+Space for each blank space I need:

                             Like This                       Then This
                                                and This

    I hope you can find a way to make it work…concrete is fun!

  55. Laurie Kolp says:

    Breaking through Curtain Walls

    Hands of peaks and valleys pale
    slushy feet long for grass and sun.
    A whirlybird in a swivel chair,
    its sweaty seat like chewed-up gum.
    I talk, no snaps; furry ears perk up.
    I am alone, I want to run.

    Isolation is the wall I’ve built.

    As a child I spent lonely sprees
    safe within my castle door. Yellow
    curtains offered sunshine, bright
    comfort. Crisp and clean tranquility
    when all around was war. Branching
    out I tripped on roots time and
    time again. Like a ricochet I shied
    away, dying with each backwards step.

    Isolation is the wall I’ve built.

    I drank and ate and sexed myself,
    eroding secrets termites to my soul.
    Until I raised my arms, asked for help.
    Levitating pesky ghosts, letting go–
    no longer fueled by fear. Now when left
    all by myself, my God is with me near.

    Isolation is the wall I’ve built.

  56. rmpWritings says:

    ____
    stranded

    just because the tide has left us
    high and dry on muddy sand
    we are far from stranded
    the water is only 50 meters out
    we can push the boat that far
    I can push the boat that far

    "we’re stranded," he says.

    seriously, look there’s another boat
    right out there on the waters
    and yet another with people aboard
    it is easy enough to pull up the anchor
    worse comes to worse
    we could abandon our vessel
    swim our way out to join the others
    i am sure they would take us on

    "we’re stranded," he says.

    stepping forward i shake my head at his persistence
    his hand reaches out resting on my arm
    he turns me to meet his intense mischievous gaze
    his unspoken words ring loudly in his eyes
    i glance back at the anchor then smiling
    turn to get lost in the murky waters of his eyes

    "we’re stranded," i say.
    ____
    for more on the inspiration behind this poem, check out the Original Post.
    ____

  57. M.A., You might want to type it in the window instead of pasting. Your word processor may not be compatible. Are you using Word or Notepad?

    I still cannot create concrete poetry though…

  58. Dare Gaither says:

    Coming Together

    Their words stand at my front door
    dressed in business suits,
    polished shoes squeaking as they wait.
    I peek through the window
    wondering who they are
    carefully unlatching my lock.

    Understanding runs barefoot
    chasing butterflies in the sun

    Briefcases open,
    they show their wares.
    I search through my basket
    seeking symbols that match.
    Narrowed eyes question
    hidden meanings.
    Fear magnifies
    the space between us.

    Understanding runs barefoot
    chasing butterflies in the sun

    Laughter floats on a breeze
    through the back window.
    Leaving briefcases and baskets,
    together we look outside.
    Sipping lemonade on the back porch,
    we share the scent of lavender.

    Understanding runs barefoot
    chasing butterflies in the sun

  59. If You Close Your Eyes, it’s Gone

    At first it was all I thought of
    the urge to pick the scab
    to finger its crusting edge
    to tear the skin to smooth
    my hands were drawn to the scar
    a magnet to its mate.

    Leave it alone to heal.

    Each morning the blood new
    the pain sharply awakened
    the lesion growing larger
    the pain no less intense
    so I look for distractions
    obstacles to my thinking
    piles of paper to sift
    instead of picking skin.

    Leave it alone to heal.

    Until a child asks bluntly
    “What’s that on your face?”
    I come up with some lame excuse
    some fairy tale meant to suffice
    with truth and fiction blurring
    through ivory make up.

    Leave it alone to heal.

  60. Another draft:

    the most important signs of spring

    like children we want to know. why. what for. a
    cat prowls the yard waiting. sprawls on the deck.
    a groundhog climbs into a flowerpot unexpectedly coming
    face to face with the tom. why does the groundhog back away.
    what is a cat for. how does the groundhog know what the cat
    is for. is it for unexpectedness. is it for anything.

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

    and although outside it is warm and the forecast
    says 28 degrees there is a greyness in the air that
    matches this small grey-and-white cat calmly sitting,
    calmly watching perhaps for the groundhog or for the
    most important sign of spring for a cat: the sound
    of parent birds flitting to the nest and small
    cries of hunger. music to a cat’s ears, the waiting,
    accepting the unexpected, anticipating the expected.

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

    there is little reason this cat exists. an accident of nature
    a cell taken in to the DNA of an organism which changed
    that organism forever. it did not become tiger, it did not
    become puma. remained small. smaller than most groundhogs.
    the reason for a screwdriver is clear. the reason for cat
    is not. a turn or twist in thinking. but what is a thought for.

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

  61. M.A. Dobson says:

    Hey all, I can’t seem to paste in my poem without the spacing getting all weird; is there a trick to it? I had the same trouble last month, and finally decided to forget about stanzas. But the Bop needs its Bops and I can’t figure out how to work it. Any help would be appreciated! Probably good that I couldn’t post tonight as my Bop needs some Shop! :-]

  62. Elderly Woman Needing Rescue

    Exhausted, I try to ease aching joints,
    settling grocery bags on the sidewalk,
    pressing my spine against the spokes
    of the iron fence between the bus stop
    and a parking lot for those fortunate,
    or unfortunate, enough to own a car.

    If I can just get home and raise my feet . . .

    On a chill May wind, wan smoke drifts
    along the street. My eyes find no origin.
    My jacket collar, a futile barrier against
    the sudden cold; my hunched shoulders
    fuel no warmth. Again the opaque cloud
    seeps above asphalt and retreats. Like
    fog, my tired brain thinks, my recognition
    slow. My bones need an empty bus seat.

    If I can just get home and raise my feet . . .

    I shift my weight against the ache, eyes
    on the viaduct from which a Number 6
    double-long bus must emerge, bending
    its accordion shape for the sharp curve
    before lumbering to a lurching stop, this
    mythical beast finally come to rescue me.

    If I can just get home, and raise my feet . . .

  63. re-named…

    friend-ship

    sticks and stones may break my bones
    but a good surgeon can put me back together
    your damaging words, on the other hand,
    are like falling icicles after a winter storm
    revealing an ice-coated heart
    that no sun can warm

    this friend-ship has sunk

    i remember you in corners
    you and your gobble-gobble friends
    spreading gossip like germs
    you would think hygiene would be in your genes
    gossip makes ugly of the pretty too
    wasted years on you
    my feet often sore from walking down
    the same narrow street

    this friend-ship has sunk

    recovery efforts have all proved fruitless
    like a casualty of war, I lower my head in defeat
    so much rain has fallen since
    blame the pain on my osteopenic bones
    and my paper thick skin
    civility is all that’s left

    this friend-ship has sunk

    (c) 5/14/11

  64. namesake

    sticks and stones may break my bones
    but a good surgeon can put me back together
    your damaging words, on the other hand,
    are like falling icicles after a winter storm
    revealing an ice-coated heart
    that no sun can warm

    this friend-ship has sunk

    i remember you in corners
    you and your gobble-gobble friends
    spreading gossip like germs
    you would think hygiene would be in your genes
    gossip makes ugly of the pretty too
    wasted years on you
    my feet often sore from walking down
    the same narrow street

    this friend-ship has sunk

    recovery efforts have all proved fruitless
    like a casualty of war, I lower my head in defeat
    so much rain has fallen since
    blame the pain on my osteopenic bones
    and my paper thick skin
    civility is all that’s left

    this friend-ship has sunk

  65. Rose Anna Hines says:

    What an interesting new form. This site is certainly
    S—t—-r–e——t–c—h——ing me.

    Here’s my first attempt
    maybe I’ll get to a second.

    PRO GRAS TINATION

    Facing the mean monster
    the foreboding taunting task
    retreat to the familiar,
    the easy, repetitive hypnotic movement
    the thing you know you can do
    so you don’t plummet and fracture your face

    Hold on to the soft blanket
    Suckle on supple safe breast
    Don’t walk, run, dance, explore, jump
    Crawl in unbroken certain loop

    The child once curious
    laughed with giggles at each surprise
    Inquisitive taste buds explored
    all eyes could see and hands could touch.
    Probing mind pried open every crevice
    Until scared parents yelled,
    "NO"
    "Don’t you might get hurt"

    Hold on to the soft blanket
    Suckle on supple safe breast
    Don’t walk, run, dance, explore, jump
    Crawl in unbroken certain loop

    The Merry-go-round
    has animals frozen in time
    they never bite
    Movement goes soothingly up and down in constant circle
    Nursery Rhyme lullaby music
    Perhaps tomorrow, I will venture out to try, It’s a Small World

    Hold on to the soft blanket
    Suckle on supple safe breast
    Don’t walk, run, dance, explore, jump
    Crawl in unbroken certain loop

  66. Amen, Connie! Well said!

    And Vivienne, I’m glad I’m not the only one to suffer bad tea! The water really does make a difference. I actually make it in a large pot, not a mug. I serve it iced.

  67. Shannon, amazing (yet terrifying) piece.

  68. When All Else Fails

    So much insanity in the world.
    Wars, crime, abuse, poverty.
    Questions arise: what’s real, what’s worth fighting for?
    Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Does it even matter?
    Are you wrong for believing in right?
    Shall we all just give up and hide?

    When all else fails, love God and others.

    So much confusion
    about how to handle life’s problems.
    Ah, we all mean well but…
    so we fight and demand and isolate and ignore
    and condescend, and minimize and quash and quail
    and we grab what we can while we’re here.
    And maybe we’ll remember our humanity
    and toss a few crumbs, a few coins, a few answers.

    When all else fails, love God and others.

    God simplified living into ten commandments.
    But even that’s hard to put into practice.
    So He sent His Son as an example,
    who simplified the ten even further.
    Those who don’t believe in God
    can still focus on the loving others part.

    When all else fails, love God and others.

  69. Melissa Hager, I sympathised with your libation poem: every time we’ve moved house (a lot) we’ve had to change the brand of tea to suit the local water. It also helps to brew it in a teapot rather than a mug.

  70. the most important signs of spring

    like children we want to know. why. what for. a
    cat prowls the yard waiting. sprawls on the deck.
    a groundhog climbs into a flowerpot unexpectedly coming
    face to face with the tom. why does the groundhog back away.
    what is a cat for. how does the groundhog know what the cat
    is for. is it for unexpectedness. is it for anything.

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

    and although outside it is warm and the forecast
    says 28 degrees there is a grayness in the air that
    matches this small grey-and-white cat calmly sitting
    calmly watching for the groundhog or for the
    most important sign of spring: for a cat the sound
    of parent birds flitting to the nest and small
    cries of hunger. music to a cat’s ears, the waiting,
    accepting the unexpected, anticipating the expected.

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

    there is little reason this cat exists. an accident of nature
    a cell taken in to the DNA of an organism which changed
    that organism forever. it did not become tiger, it did not
    become puma. it remained small. small as most groundhogs.
    the reason for a screwdriver is clear. the reason for cat
    is not. a turn or twist in thinking. but what is a thought for

    please explain: what is a screwdriver for? what is a cat for?

  71. Thinking Really Doesn’t

    Just because we are talking
    Doesn’t mean we understand
    Just because our mouths are moving
    Doesn’t mean we give a damn
    Just because you think you know me
    Don’t mean you know who I am
    Thinking really doesn’t make it so

    Just in time I hear you crying
    So I pull my hanky out
    I can wipe your tears away
    Before you concrete up your doubt
    Tears are kind of like a lubricant
    They’re better than any word
    They’ll make me think I’ve been reprieved
    Though I know that that’s absurd
    Thinking really doesn’t make it so

    I guess we could pretend we know
    What each of us has sought
    That’s better than ignoring all
    The signs that we’ve been taught
    I’d rather have your heart in mine
    Than some empty, distant thought.
    Thinking really doesn’t make it so

    © 2011 Chuck Puckett

  72. Tara Tyler says:

    You get sooooo many responses! How do you choose?
    Here is my little offer:

    Life’s Not Fair

    I have to move a million miles.
    My dad finally got a job.
    My mom said it won’t be so bad,
    But I hear her crying at night.
    My dog can’t even come with us.
    I don’t want to move away.

    Why can’t things stay the same?

    A new neighborhood.
    A new school and new rules.
    So many questions and worries.
    What will the kids be like?
    Will they be nice? Will they like me?
    Will I like them?
    I have friends. I don’t need new ones.
    Life is so unfair.

    Why can’t things stay the same?

    My best friend reminds me
    Of when we first met.
    How she was once the new kid.
    She felt the same as I do now.
    Then I came over and showed her around.
    She says I’ll find someone there like me.

    Why can’t things stay the same?

  73. Corinne Dixon says:

    Robert, your poem on the original challenge is brilliant! I’ll be back to read these, and may take a stab on it myself.

  74. Mike Bayles says:

    Waiting for the Rain

    Every rising sun
    brings the relentless sun
    passing overhead
    over wisps of clouds
    never enough
    to bring the rain

    while I hope for a change in weather.

    Crops wither in despair
    in parched soil
    every day drier
    dried by sun and arid winds
    unforgiving
    causing grief
    when every day
    I seek relief

    while I hope for a change in weather.

    Dark clouds threaten
    but give rise to hopes
    of “Can it be, can it be?”
    A downpour comes,
    as if nature cries for itself,
    an answer divine

    while I hope for a change in weather.

  75. Mike Bayles says:

    Waiting for the Rain

    Every rising sun
    brings the relentless sun
    passing overhead
    over wisps of clouds
    never enough
    to bring the rain

    while I hope for a change in weather.

    Crops wither in despair
    in parched soil
    every day drier
    dried by sun and arid winds
    unforgiving
    causing grief
    when every day
    I seek relief

    when I hope for a change in weather.

    Dark clouds threaten
    but give rise to hopes
    of “Can it be, can it be?”
    A downpour comes,
    as if nature cries for itself,
    an answer divine,

    when I hope for a change in weather.

  76. Rachel Green says:

    Cousin Gaynor

    The wedding album is available online
    for guests to peruse
    and choose a shot or two to remember how fine
    the day or a nice one of themselves
    that shows them at their best
    the rest they put aside.

    Another time. Another place. I know your name
    but I don’t recall your face.

    Aunt Ada’s sixtieth. You were there as well.
    A fading bruise
    was news to me but then I rarely talk to folk. I tell
    you of my latest book –
    I got the cover art today
    I say but I can see
    you’re just being polite.
    Perhaps you’re right.

    Another time. Another place. I know your name
    but I don’t recall your face.

    Wet met a final time when Jimmy died.
    He was an uncle
    on my mother’s I hadn’t seen for years. I cried
    enough to give good grace
    and took a photograph of you
    and did a tin-hat image search
    to match the name I knew from long ago
    when I was just a child. You know.

    Another time. Another place. I know your name
    but I don’t recall your face.

  77. Jacob delaRosa says:

    Recovery

    I say it with my tense shirking shoulders
    While my coarse tongue softly arches backwards
    Rubbing the top of my tired palet raw.
    She hears it with a knowing eye, stone cold
    Surprised then accepting what has been chained
    Called tame, and left to fester in plain sight.

    Should I not be the last to die, what then?

    Both my father and my mother’s father
    Lived when the plague of this land was virile
    Somehow they survived, their cells now sickled
    And I, with the same sickness am weary
    Immune, but mutated and anemic.
    Oh how I would gladly bleed myself dry
    To know the end of days, but this I fear:
    Will it take another four-hundred years?

    Should I not be the last to die, what then?

    Perhaps there is no scalpal sharp enough
    But we cannot leave well enough alone
    When the past shows well enough left alone
    Can grow wheels and take us all for a ride.
    We’ve seen the road it follows, bleak and grim
    And most of us have gotten off, but still,

    Should I not be the last to die, what then?

  78. Make that "Unencumbered Slumber".

  79. UNIMCUMBERED SLUMBER

    The weather forecast delivers as predicted;
    a wicked downpour, torrential and damaging.
    All the while, I keep managing to sleep.
    It is a deep doze, nearly comatose is my brain
    as the rain continues. It appreas she brought friends.
    The lightning flashes and the rumbles never end.

    Thunder rattles my windows, but it does not disturb my slumber.

    Oddly, insomnia escapes me when the rains came.
    The same can be said of my apnea, I wonder
    if the hum of the thunder plays into my slumber?
    Does the electricity cause static that makes it cling
    within the ring of its timpani; a "drum" laden symphony
    that pacifies my eyes allowing them to not be breached?
    Does the lightning beseech my heart to remain still
    until the thrill of thunder’s wonder subsides?

    Thunder rattles my windows, but it does not disturb my slumber

    and therein lies my answer. Is it right every night
    to pray for the rain that offers my tired strain a respite?
    For the hypnotic roll takes full control as I lay in a heap,
    awash in dream filled sleep, unfettered and undisturbed.
    But, the silence of the night supplies a fright that says I will lay here,
    awake all night. It is then, the forecasters call for rain with thunder.

    Thunder rattles my windows, but it does not disturb my slumber.

  80. "A Fine Libation"

    My tea used to get compared to Grandmas’
    On both sides of our family
    Black as coal and sweet as honey
    Then, a new house, new water with iron
    So heavy it gave the skillet a run for its money
    - Tea wasn’t good anymore

    Treat a batch of tea right and
    You’ll have a fine libation

    Whole house filter changed twice a month
    A filter on the kitchen sink
    Boiled it longer, reduced the sugar
    Boiled it less, added more sugar
    With a bit of honey to boot
    Glass containers, Koolaid plastic pitchers (yuck!)
    Stirred with wooden spoon and then metallic
    Nothing could revive my liquid gold

    Treat a batch of tea right and
    You’ll have a fine libation

    Carefully steeped with the right amount of sweet
    Praying for tea one could stand
    Mother’s Day had me scampering for a container
    When on a crystal pitcher my eyes did land
    Transferring the liquid into its fancy new digs
    I knew it would be a sensation

    Treat a batch of tea right and
    You’ll have a fine libation

  81. Bop: Childhood Lost

    Hiding beneath the blankets
    waiting for night to pass
    by counting footsteps, counting breaths, counting creaks,
    sounds of stairs being traversed
    just in case it wasn’t the last time
    he entered her room without permission.

    A childhood lost in one night.

    Small fingers clenched around
    the bat by her side, concealed,
    she’s ready to strike if she needs to.
    Moon eyes glowing in the dark
    dreading an eclipse; not ready to endure
    the shadows creeping in the night.
    Hoping for the sun to rise and
    erase the cold with its warmth.

    A childhood lost in one night.

    Sleepless nights lead to daylight determination
    to escape, evade, break away.
    Befriending anyone who has a place she can stay.
    She waits for the years to pass
    by counting months, counting days, counting hours,
    sounds of the sun rising on her freedom.

    A childhood lost in one night.

  82. According to women, when to use knives

    Women got to know when to use knives, when to slip metal
    through their common-law men, metal words will do but knives
    work best when he come home too late too wet,
    those beggar eyes, yes, slippery lips, he is speaking without words
    clutching at house keys, glass bottle against thigh and groin
    and her in her tee-shirt, common and cold, and clutching at – what?

    what newspapers leave out.

    What I got? These women wanna know, words clicking down throats,
    snapped off by sore molars, three a.m. cigarettes, cigars if he left ‘em,
    if he did, he come home, call her baby – thief – bitch -
    Close them wolf eyes, men always do. Didn’t he get worlds?
    Life with a girl who smile when she told, when she ain’t.
    She stays with him when bud’s got him against the walls and the law.
    What I got but a man? She know, she know. Left without words
    and his words without love but that’s

    what newspapers leave out.

    Woman in kitchen, man is dead.
    Morning headlines, a day, two, three later.
    The official report they think they got, and her mug
    shot: wide, dog eyes, cigarette lips.
    Woman of women who know what they got, words
    refuse to forget – on slippery nights they cure what common cold,

    but newspapers leave out.

  83. Kris K says:

    Will Someone Be There

    Out playing in the field, in a hole, he slipped
    Deep, down, falling, dark in the crypt
    Lost and alone, too startled for fear
    Would there ever be anyone who would draw near
    His cry is deadened by the walls of dirt
    Beyond wondering if any bones were hurt

    If only he could hear, “I’m hanging on, I am here”

    Years later, he lived in that dark, desperate hole
    Only now it was his history taking its toll
    The muck and the mire, the feelings strangling
    Collapsed in despair, no longer dangling
    The filth it was piling, every sense consumed
    Emotions awry, is there hope in his doom
    Lost in nothingness, did anyone know
    Would anyone care if he is stuck below

    If only he could hear, “I’m hanging on, I am here”

    Circumstances, physical, emotional, the same
    Desperation, aloneness perpetuate the game
    Everyone needs a rope to take hold
    A friend, a helper, someone who’ll enfold
    Out of the ground he once was pulled
    Emotions are rampant, he is still bulled

    If only he could hear, “I’m hanging on, I am here”

  84. Viv – love the rhythm, the words, everything. Made me want to get up and start "bopping" around with it!

  85. Fated Affliction

    So many angry words
    Are shouted through tears into
    Ears of innocence in miniature mortal,
    Through portals, to the core of
    Metamorphosing young, warping development,
    Predicting perseveration of debasement.

    Toxic tyranny begets years of torment…

    A son cries in fear
    As bellowing frightens and confuses,
    And father abuses the one who nurtures,
    Who’s the only protection, till she
    Needs protecting, not able to shelter
    Her young from witnessing ugliness
    From growing and learning
    What a family is and how it lives

    Toxic tyranny begets years of torment…

    Teenage boy coercing girl, reliving
    Lessons learned in home schooling
    From first teacher, man of anger,
    Molded in his image, growing to be
    Fashioned in father’s form
    No escaping prevalent storms within.

    Toxic tyranny begets years of torment…

    G. K. Bostic – 5/12/11

  86. inspiration comes when
     
     
    ideas bubble and surface
    easily at the beginning
    cursive lead slides across
    the page, filling in
    the white space          but
    then turns to vapor.
     
    would’ve came back for you
    i just needed time to do what i had to do
     
    i watched the sun
    walk on the sky
    dissolving clouds with rays
    but she wasn’t there
    left alone with the
    moon, not even the
    twinkle of Venus helped
    uncover her hiding place.
     
    would’ve came back for you
    I just needed time to do what I had to do
     
    i would search forever
    if i thought she
    was hiding from me
    last time she came
    after I sat down
    to write a poem.
     
    would’ve came back for you
    i just needed time to do what I had to do
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    *the song excerpt comes from “Aston Martin Music” by Rick Ross.

  87. Bopping Mad

    To bop or not to bop
    that is the problem.
    The heart wants to dance
    but the head says I can’t
    and the body just says ouch.
    I need to stay here on the couch.

    Feet tap-tap-tapping
    heart knock-knock-knocking

    Fifty years ago
    dancing was all I wanted
    Saturday nights rocking
    with such athletic bopping.
    Now, stiff of joint
    and short of breath
    the most I can do
    is a couple of steps.

    Feet tap-tap-tapping
    heart knock-knock-knocking

    So what can I do
    when the music makes me dance?
    I can shut my eyes
    and twirl away -
    in my head I dip and sway -
    grateful for the chance.

    toes tap-tap-tapping
    mind rock-rock-rocking.

  88. Evelyn N. Alfred
    flashes: a bop for bix b.
     
    he hungered for the notes
    playing before he could see the keys
    mother bird chewed them for him
    while he regurgitated beauty
    fingertips savoring the song
    without knowing the recipe.
     
    the hungry and the hanged, the damaged and the done
    striving along this spinning rock, tumbling past the sun
     
    without knowing the recipe
    he learned how to taste the tune
    adding brown sugar, nutmeg,
    and horn lines
    but couldn’t bake an unfamiliar harmony
    cooling his heart,  sinking the middle
    to what effect?
    is a fallen cake ruined?
     
    the hungry and the hanged, the damaged and the done
    striving along this spinning rock, tumbling past the sun
     
    is a fallen cake ruined?
    forced to flash up the treble
    singed in chicago winds.
    south side speakeasies
    intoxicated his ballads
    he hungered for the notes.
     
    the hungry and the hanged, the damaged and the done
    striving along this spinning rock, tumbling past the sun
     
     
     
     
     
     
    The song excerpt comes from “God Bless Our Dead Marines” by A Silver Mt. Zion
     

  89. Christine, I haven’t been sending you direct messages on Twitter. You may be receiving tweets, and the only way to stop those is to quit following me, which is pretty easy to do. However, I can’t do that for you. Only you have the power to say who you are or are not following.

  90. Here’s a revision of one from the November PAD challenge. Robert, it hasn’t been "published" anywhere other than here and my personal blog. I may try to write a fresh one, but thought this one might let some of you crack a smile…

    Chicken on the Run

    Like the world’s greatest inventors
    he found ninety-nine ways to do it wrong
    before discovering the one way to do it right,
    the embodiment of that old adage to
    try and try again, keep on keeping on,
    until finally the shell of success is cracked.

    Plucky little chicken on the run.

    He seemed not to care how often he was
    flattened by the tires of a poultry truck, or
    squished flat on the sidewalk like an egg that
    had splattered and shattered on the ground,
    how often he was lost and forlorn amidst chaos
    of whizzing cars and legs and flashing red lights,
    dazed and dizzied, disoriented by disorder,
    doomed by the zoom of traffic around him.

    Plucky little chicken on the run.

    Like an inventor, he kept on clucking, playing
    chicken with the cars and the crowds, trying
    to sneak unseen across the street, unflappable
    even in failure; he kept trying and trying again
    until finally! he cracked the birdbrained mystery
    of how to cross to the other side of the street.

    Plucky little chicken on the run.

  91. Distractions

    All of the great truths are not always
    written where they should be.
    These are the answers we seek.
    Perhaps, we are too busy to find
    out where the answers exist,
    or we make ourselves too busy to look.

    Surrounded by distractions,
    we move simply with reactions.

    It is the questions that are not
    also written where we can read them.
    We ask so many questions.
    Never the wrong ones.
    Perhaps, not the right ones either.
    We watch what they want us to watch
    and read what they want us to read
    and we don’t know which questions to ask.

    Surrounded by distractions,
    we move simply with reactions.

    We are to busy seeking answers to someone
    else’s questions and following their agenda.
    Who are they anyway?
    We must look at ourselves in their mirror and break glass.
    We are not supposed to know
    either the answers or the questions.

    Surrounded by distractions,
    we move simply with reactions.

    By Michael Grove
    Copyright 5/12/2011

  92. Christine says:

    Could you please tell me how to stop the direct messages on twitter? I messaged you on twitter and you said there was a link to where to stop the direct messages, but there was only a link to these posts and absolutely NO where to stop the dm’s. I’d like them to stop now as they are not useful to me. Please help.

    Thanks

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