2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

It’s a two-for-Tuesday prompt today. Here are the prompts:

  1. Write a stacking poem. The poem could be about stacking objects. Or it could be about stacking ideas, stacking the deck, stacking the odds against something happening, etc.
  2. Write an unstacking poem. Just the opposite of the first prompt. Unstack objects or tear down the obstacles stacked in your way, etc.

Here’s my attempt:

“Flights to Dayton”

Forget the distance from here to there;
pay no heed to the reasons why it won’t work;
ignore the impulse to never try;
listen only to the sound of your heart as you think maybe;
then, make it happen.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

(Tweet your progress on Twitter at #novpad hashtag. Also tweet poetic on Tuesdays at #poettues and throughout the week at #poettalk hashtags.)


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17 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. S.E.Ingraham

    Hmm – I take it this was one of the days that got "wiped"? Reposting now
    for "stacking"

    Hoarding as a Disease

    Seeing the shows on TV
    Where they show people
    Who live with stacks of things
    Piled so high; magazines
    And newspapers for example

    They only have tunnel-like
    Hallways in their houses
    To get around through
    They hoard stuff so much
    They cannot bring themselves

    To throw one thing out
    It makes me very nervous
    Being a packrat of sorts myself
    With everything my kids
    Ever wrote or drew or glued
    Still in boxes stacked downstairs

    Our basement is for sure
    Uninhabitable, a storage bin
    I tell myself but it does have
    Three bedrooms and a finished
    Rec-room and that’s a bit much

    Still, I cannot bring myself to pitch
    Any of those stacks anywhere
    Maybe I’m not so much
    On the verge of hoarding as
    Fully invested in being lazy.



    Dismantling a Life

    We didn’t expect to be so sad
    Taking apart his office this way
    We knew we would be doing
    It soon anyhow; he was retiring
    Next year, but now, he was leaving
    Early, due to a falling out with
    Management – not the first time
    He has had to leave a place
    Over a matter of principle
    And not the least of the reasons
    I love this man, but I am aching
    For him over this move – I feel
    Badly about the way he has been
    Treated here in his final place
    Of employment, know they have
    Made a colossal mistake and wish
    They were ballsy enough to say so

    It has been difficult enough for him
    To ease into retirement, to rush
    Into it prematurely and in anger
    Is not ideal and worries me; he
    Does not need more reasons
    To be bitter, although he does seem
    To be taking this latest blow much
    Better than I am, perhaps I am
    Projecting my own anger on him
    Maybe this is for the best – if he
    Has to go, he will, there won’t be
    Any more indecision, maybe it’s
    A good thing – yes – maybe it is.

  2. Yoly

    Blizzard of 79

    Winter came mantle by mantle.

    Mami was not verbally pleased that Rosario’s car

    battery rendered useless; he should have gone

    home soon as the radio man announced 7 feet

    of snow chomped at the scenery and 10

    more was on the way.

    The window didn’t care what mama thought.

    It was going to stack reasons why my first

    boyfriend should stay overnight.

    Though I liked the idea that a boy,

    would sleep two curtains away, a small

    voice insisted: don’t heap your turning

    point over his dirty forks. He’s not for you.

    Papi was in the same pickle. He closed

    the bodega. His customers locked their guts

    in steam heated apartments. He didn’t come

    home for two weeks. Mami did not bother

    with words regarding that displeasure.

    It was also New Years Eve. One more holiday,

    another decade and great conditions to weather

    one load at a time.

  3. AC Leming


    dropped off on the doorstep for a better life.
    Pressure’s off, she’s on the way.
    adopted in the womb.
    Four & Five,
    Oops and Oops again.

  4. Kyhaara


    It starts of small, at a reasonable level
    And it isn’t much of a problem
    Until the teachers gather in their coven
    And talk amongst themselves.
    “They need more!” the agree unanimously,
    Promptly assigning more the next day
    It stacks, and stacks, and stacks.
    The papers devour your desk,
    Making it seem like winter,
    Except you’re sweating like it’s summer.

  5. Lauren Dixon

    Stacking Life

    You start out really good and healthy,
    then as time goes by things start to
    go in the reverse direction when
    suddenly you find yourself
    teetering on pylons in
    high heels trying to
    keep balancing
    so you won’t
    to illness


    He shows up every weekend
    on the rocky shores of Sausalito
    to entertain tourists, to challenge
    his acuity in cairn building,
    collecting stones he’s touched
    many times before, stacks them
    in different precarious ways,
    they look like they’ll collapse
    at any moment, he puts his
    hat out for alms and receives
    them for his life’s work.

  6. ideurmyer

    Checklist for Us

    My eldest son is only a decade older than you
    You are of a different culture and race
    You have never married while I am divorced
    No children versus my two sons, one grandchild
    We have the same hopes and dreams
    And our hearts seem intwined
    Time is man’s division, not God’s
    I live alone and you are solo too
    Four checks in each column, pro and con
    We have today so lets enjoy it

  7. ideurmyer

    My eldest son is only a decade older than you
    You are of a different culture and race
    You have never married while I am divorced
    No children versus my two sons, one grandchild
    We have the same hopes and dreams
    And our hearts seem intwined
    Time is man’s division, not God’s
    I live alone and you are solo too
    Four checks in each column, pro and con

  8. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    30 years in the making
    she doesn’t know why
    she does what she does.
    box upon crate
    crate upon totes
    plastic bags stuffed
    into leftover crevices,
    for a rainy day.

    all she knows is
    she can’t resist sales
    and curbside bargains,
    and broken doesn’t mean
    it’ll never get fixed.
    patience and resourcefulness
    are virtues she hoards,
    even if nobody else
    is listening.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  9. Sam Nielson

    Life or Death or Somewhere In Between.

    Life is curious to us. We spend our time
    Running for the necessities to keep us alive
    We measure our time or age sometimes
    In years, but often with markers
    Less useful but more personal
    Like how long a bottle of
    Shampoo lasts us or a
    Smile of watermelon
    Or even

    By the
    Surgical operations
    We endure, those scars
    Evidence of our battle in the
    War we call life. We ache
    And groan, limp along with
    Hip pain and obsessions of mindless
    Things, the number and type of ailments
    Dictating our mortality, our age, our language,

    In youth the muscles wishfully try to grow
    In middle ages the ‘spread’ grows
    In later years the muscle simply
    Grows old. We try to keep our
    Minds from growing older
    Without us, but in the
    End our thoughts
    Simply fail
    And form.

  10. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Here is my unstacking poem:


    Mendra’s drawings I threw away.
    ‘We’ll go back another day,
    and get some better ones,” I said.
    Three months later Mendra was dead,
    and we never returned that way.

    In gifted drawings he’d portray
    the things he had no speech to say
    from his deaf-mute, silenced head.
    Mendra’s drawings

    that he made for my kids in play
    and in love, on our final day,
    scribbled on scraps of a note-pad,
    turned out to be all that we had
    of the friend whom death took away …
    Mendra’s drawings.

    And as the stacking one has disappeared, here that is too:

    Piled Colour

    I remember processions of women
    winding their way on narrow roads
    to the temple.
    Their sarongs were edged with gold,
    their kebayas lacey.
    I remember the deep colours:
    vivid pinks, magentas,
    inspired by hibiscus and bougainevillea.

    And on their heads
    high, conical, towers of offerings:
    round trays of food and flowers
    in colours to match or outdo
    the kebayas and sarongs —
    piled to impossible heights,
    and tapering
    to the tiniest points at the top.

    Every offering,
    every portion of every layer,
    was an intricate work of art
    created lovingly
    without hurry.
    And without hurry
    they walked to the temple
    straight-backed, with gently swaying hips.

    The serenity
    of those petal-soft faces
    completes me still
    as I gaze in recollection.
    Watching the processions pass,
    not with fanfare but simply
    as day-to-day life,
    day-to-day life becomes enough.

  11. Susanne Barrett

    Quite late as I double-up to catch up:

    I built this house of cards
    with utmost care–
    the foundation a solid premise,
    the characters intriguing yet slightly-flawed,
    the style spare yet oddly enticing,
    the plot propelling action seamlessly,
    the dialog sharp and wise,
    often bordering on real wit,
    the organization clear, the allusions deft.

    I stack carefully,
    one element atop the next,
    holding my breath lest
    one unconscious sigh
    sends all tumbling flat,
    leaving a mess to be cleaned up
    in the morning.

  12. Bruce Niedt

    Re-posting after the Great PAD Purge. Still can’t figure out how to indent here, by the way. Help, Sara!

    We learn this skill early
    as toddlers: to put things
    on top of things
    and see how high they’ll go.
    Alphabet blocks, Legos,
    books and card houses,
    even the game of Jenga,
    captivate us like little
    towers of Babel. Our mission
    is to build to the sky.
    Even speed becomes a goal –
    stacking plastic cups
    in little pyramids and back again
    in less than ten seconds.
    But as we get older, stacks
    get more serious. Some of us
    live in stacks above each other,
    where we pile our paperwork
    and chores, appointments,
    bills and tax forms, and
    begin to build a wobbly wall.
    We do everything we can
    to keep it all from
    crashing down.

  13. alana sherman

    Stacked Against Me

    The universe is against me—
    I wait for the Perseids, the Leonids,
    the Geminids—Whatever the season
    that night is always overcast.
    When I have money in the bank—
    plumbing fails, I lose my glasses, a deer
    lands on my car. If a deadline is looming
    my computer crashes. Plan a BBQ?
    It will rain. I never win anything.
    Sometimes I think I will change my name
    to Halekaluni Brekkenshregger, fool
    my dark cloud into following
    some other poor shmoe. Who am I kidding—
    that tree won’t fall in the forest,
    It will come down on my roof.