2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

For today’s prompt, write a “forget what they say” poem. To do this, you could take a familiar saying and spin it on its head. Or comfort someone who’s being told they can’t do something. Or have the narrator of the poem pledge not to listen to the crowd. Or forget what I’ve said here, and do it your own way.

Here’s my attempt:

“Finding a place in line”

We are no better, but we are no worse
than anybody else. We all have blood
beating in our veins. We all wake troubled
or ready to start the day–unless we’re
confused, though even then, we get at it:
one leg, then the other, or we just wear
the same clothes, because we have our reasons.
I tell you this not to embarrass us–
look as we hide–but to remind we are
not gods, though sometimes we can’t help but feel.


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(Tweet your progress on Twitter with the #novpad hashtag.)


Learn how to publish your poetry!
Use the 2011 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer (yes, the same one who puts on these challenges). The 2011 Poet’s Market is loaded with listings for poetry publications, publishers, contests, and more.

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158 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

  1. alana sherman

    Forget What They Say

    I am surrounded by the ugliest art
    I have ever seen, though the audience
    is beautiful. It’s all noise and youth
    at this gathering in a gallery off a back alley
    in the seediest part of town.

    Here it is the listeners
    who are fascinating. Is there room
    for me here next to the guy in orange
    cape and tights?
    SUPERPOET is emblazoned across his chest.
    “What is poetry?” I ask myself
    for the millionth time as I watch
    the featured reader—a girl in a black dress.
    Her head is shaved, she sits against
    the wall with a sad look—she says nothing
    but listens to the words in her head
    but doesn’t share them. Someone once said
    all poets are liars so maybe poetry without words
    is simply a logical outcome. The only poems
    I hear tonight are the words in my head.
    At last, she hums, breathes a sigh,
    smiles a little smile, pleased with her work.
    Everyone applauds as the poet bows
    and exits the stage.

  2. Mike Barzacchini

    Forget what they say
    about failure

    Even the gray squirrel
    hustling for walnuts
    in our backyard knows
    there’s nothing you
    can do about yesterday.

    Snow or rain?
    Tomorrow’s unknown.
    It’s what you make
    of the now that matters.
    Sun shines. Keep moving.

  3. Michelle Hed


    Forget to do your homework
    Or clear your dishes from the table but
    Ready for the movies or
    Going shopping to the mall
    Every single fun event
    There is no forgetting at all!

  4. Khara E House

    Never believe them

    When they say you cannot fly, you can fly.
    You can climb these roofs and leap and soar.
    Your legs will not break. You will not shatter
    like glass. The dragons of your dreams are real.
    You will slay them. You will not be burned.

    You will heal. You can crack like leaves
    and sing like feathers drifting, roam like mist
    and fade into the stars. When they lie you will lie.
    You will sink to your knees. You will fall and crumble.
    Chasing worms. Like fate. Nothing will touch you.
    The world will fall at your feet.

  5. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Forget What They Say

    Take my advice: forget what they say.
    As a matter of fact, who are “they”?
    Why give credence to anonymous
    wisdom purveyors who are too timid
    to self-identify? Are they afraid we
    will seek them out for punishment
    when their wisdom nuggets tarnish
    like fool’s gold? Worse, why quote
    “them,” if we can’t locate credible
    credentials to verify they even exist?

    No if you’re bright, you’ll see I am
    right, and just to prove it, I am not
    afraid to tell you exactly who I am.

  6. Sam Nielson

    I Say, Ars Poetica

    Forget what they say.
    It is yours to keep close
    Or let out tender into
    The raw world.

    These little poem children
    Conceived, nurtured and crafted
    In raw belief, must learn
    To stand on their own feet.

    Or if too tender to survive
    The harshness of the sun
    Keep them calm and carefully
    On the lined shelves of a book.

    I say, it is yours to do as you wish,
    But then, I, by definition, form
    Part of they. So don’t listen,
    Forget what I say.


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