2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 2

And just like that, we’re already into our first “Two for Tuesday” prompt in which I give two options for the prompt. You can choose either of the two prompts or even write both if you feel up to it. We got off to a great start yesterday. Let’s keep at it.

Here are today’s prompts:

  1. Write a “ready to start” poem. Yesterday’s poem closed the door or turned the page on the past events. Time to start looking forward.
  2. Write a “not ready” poem, or even “never ready” poem. Sometimes, we’re just not ready for the things that come our way. 

Ready or not, time to write a poem.

Here’s my attempt:

“Like Orson Welles and stuff”

We followed the path and elbowed our ways
to the front. Our whole lives seemed held in this
moment. We saw the clouds. We saw the light
strike the earth and give birth to this giant
robot. We weren’t prepared to turn and run.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

(Share your November PAD Chapbook Challenge updates on Twitter using the #novpad hashtag.)

*****

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195 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 2

  1. ideurmyer

    Poised on the preipice of retirement
    I shudder as I recall a lifetime of hope
    and preparation for this day.
    Last year’s calendar is discarded in trash
    while new one lies on my desk.
    Sleep eludes me as the memories of more active days
    makes me smile.
    At least another year. Then maybe, just maybe, idleness will beckon me.
    Currently I have a planner to fill and appoinments to keep,
    bills to pay, phone calls to make.

  2. ideurmyer

    Poised on the preipice of retirement
    I shudder as I recall a lifetime of hope
    and preparation for this day.
    Last year’s calendar is discarded in trash
    while new one lies on my desk.
    Sleep eludes me as the memories of more active days
    makes me smile.
    At least another year. Then maybe, just maybe, idleness will beckon me.
    Currently I have a planner to fill and appoinments to keep,
    bills to pay, phone calls to make.

  3. ideurmyer

    Poised on the preipice of retirement
    I shudder as I recall a lifetime of hope
    and preparation for this day.
    Last year’s calendar is discarded in trash
    while new one lies on my desk.
    Sleep eludes me as the memories of more active days
    makes me smile.
    At least another year. Then maybe, just maybe, idleness will beckon me.
    Currently I have a planner to fill and appoinments to keep,
    bills to pay, phone calls to make.

  4. alana sherman

    Ever Ready vs. Never Ready

    We are taking a trip.
    You packed a week before.
    Your bags hulk like centurions
    at the front door.
    Me, I’m molasses—
    if we leave on Saturday
    I don’t pack until Friday night.
    You grump around the house muttering,
    "Why aren’t you packed?
    When will you be set to go?"
    I’m doing laundries at 3 am.
    Our plane will leave at six tomorrow night.
    I’m like a kid on the way to the dentist.
    I can’t decide what to pack.
    Can we go right after breakfast? No.
    I still have my desk to clear.
    A poem I’m working on.
    You’d think after forty
    years we’d have worked this out,
    but I never want to leave
    until I absolutely have to.
    We’d sleep at the airport
    if it were up to you.

  5. Diana R. Wilson

    Never Ready

    I don’t really fit in here
    All muddled and unpolished
    Like an ass at a horse show
    Bramble tail and hacked off mane

    Always with hope in my heart
    I cast my words into the void
    Only to be ruthlessly mashed
    Each time I realize that I am never quite ready

  6. Diana R. Wilson

    Doesn’t Fit

    I don’t really fit in here
    All muddled and unpolished
    Like an ass at a horse show
    Bramble tail and hacked off mane

    Always with hope in my heart
    I cast my words into the void
    Only to be ruthlessly mashed
    Each time I realize that I am never quite ready

    -Diana R. Wilson-

  7. Debra Elliott

    My 2 for Tuesday poems:
    I have chosen to write both about marriage:

    Ready to Start

    I’m ready to start my new life,
    today I became your wife…
    We vowed to love and honor
    cherish one another.

    I’m Not Ready to Start

    I’m not ready to start the divorce proceedings,
    today I caught you cheating…
    we disavowed our love and honor
    we hated one another.

    ©2010DAE

  8. Monica Martin

    Ready to Start:
    I am ready to start,
    get this show on the road.
    Pack up the car,
    start then engine,
    let’s go, go, go!

    Not Ready:
    I always put off
    to the last minute
    getting ready, as if,
    subconsciously, I
    don’t really want to go.

  9. Lavinia Kumar

    CUMBAYA

    Someone’s singing, Lord, kum bay ya
    flowers, trees along the rail-trail path
    behind tall walls and iron gates dogs bark
    and why are there two blue china mugs
    in the small square window in the white
    stone house where we are ready to start
    to climb the Pichincha together
    before the next eruption, the path
    upward rocky, cold, so we are not
    able to sing or even talk
    in the thin air above Cumbaya
    but we can see the sacred mountain
    Cotopaxi, a white snow temple
    Hear me praying, Lord, kum bay ya
    the rain, the rain, we need you now.

  10. Sam Nielson

    Go- No Go, Houston

    Sitting in this seat so high
    Atop a few million
    Foot-pounds of rocket thrust
    Makes one pause.
    Blood slows in heart beats.

    In space few sources give heat.
    Cold reigns. But neither cold
    Nor heat has any mass so
    They stay impersonal.

    This little Apollo capsule
    Perches like a sparrow atop
    A redwood, counting sun-ray,
    Before it has really learned
    To fly, though a dozen years
    Of life runs spent just
    Getting to the top.

  11. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    misfire
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    he was ready
    she was not
    he in the back seat
    she still in front
    condom in his pocket
    pants undone
    face buried in her compact
    touch-up run
    "what’s the hold up?"
    he rants on.
    "game’s not over"
    she cons ron,
    opens the door
    and she is gone!

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  12. Khara E House

    Renaissance

    This new life rising from avocado.
    Sea floor beginning in toasted skin. Peeling
    like sapphire moons from the fall hiding
    off the horizon, drifting. High
    as the globule’s entry saddens the sun,
    hazarding her wine façade, flashing.

    Soul crashing, fresh bodies reel
    beneath the dragon call. Vibrant, pure,
    tangerine membrane rinding, pouring
    against the salmon sky, fading sudden.
    Eager, as the sapling sentry
    waiting for his true nativity.

  13. Michelle Hed

    Kindergarten

    She has changed her outfit seven times,
    She has practiced her nursery rhymes.

    She had learned her ABC’s
    She can count to a hundred and three.

    She is now snug in bed,
    A story about school is being read.

    She is ready or so she thinks
    Tomorrow is the day, time for forty-winks.

  14. Iain D. Kemp

    Cats Poetry & Death #44

    Best Foot Forward

    the poets is ready
    or at least so he claims
    buoyed up by encouragement
    cheered on by colleagues
    the time has come to leave
    the shelter of the garret behind
    and step into the world

    the cat cares not for accolades
    nor praise sitting atop the printer
    pawing at the sheets of paper
    churning out from its mouth
    neither has he concern for ego
    the poet may die a death
    a thousand deaths
    he shall not care
    not so long as there is
    food in the dish

    the poet is nervous now
    the script is prepared
    the date is set
    the publicity posted
    and questions and doubts
    flood the mind – will they come?
    will they listen? will they stay?
    will they applaud?
    will he die?

    the cat content with the belly full
    the poet has but butterflies
    as the hour approaches
    hoping the voice holds up
    hoping for success
    and death to be held at bay
    leaving the garret
    taking the stage
    reading live

    Cats, Poetry & Death #45
    Change of Heart

    Years of self-loathing
    washed away
    by a new found confidence
    positive thinking replacing
    all the negativity
    there are goals to reach
    there are cats to feed
    there is poetry to write
    and heaven can wait

    Iain

  15. Yoly

    Not Ready to Go

    Sometimes we hold love
    like it is a nubin
    too small for the size
    of our thoughts.

    Rumors weave through
    christian vows.

    I drift to a dream
    in a paddle boat
    with you in it.

    We let silence proof read
    the fine print of engaging
    when auras need new batteries.

    We ferment in the noir of night
    until the great robbery
    when sunlight snares
    the beeswing.

    Out of the simmer
    of sleep, we reach plum
    acuity, ready to be
    married another 16 years
    or so.

  16. Elizabeth Oakley

    1 Forever Begins

    Dressed in off-white
    trying to fool
    no one, six years
    leading up to this day
    a new beginning

    His oldest daughter
    stands beside me
    accepting of my entry
    into her father’s heart
    and her family

    His son ready
    to have me
    another mom to trust
    when life seems unbearable
    memorable traditions lost

    His little girl
    already dancing for
    forever to happen soon
    when the music begins
    the pews filled

    A song of
    forever begins playing
    leading me down the
    aisle to my future
    and forever begins

    2 Covers Over My Head

    An adrenaline surges
    another day of
    anger and resentment and
    jealousy are predicted, as
    I tackle this

    Role of stepmother
    it makes me
    want to throw the
    squawking alarm across the
    room to shut

    Out the existence
    and my fears
    that today will be
    worse, so I pull
    the covers back

    Over my head
    and accept this
    is what I cannot
    do today, or any
    day, another day

  17. Marian O'Brien Paul

    A Senior Reminisces

    Not ready for life to be done
    Don’t seasons repeat ad infinitum?
    Wasn’t it just yesterday I donned
    the blue shimmer of a silken gown,
    a white gardenia corsage pinned on
    my shoulder, elbow in beau’s hand,
    guided to his car, our carriage bound
    for the musical magic of senior prom?

    Decades turned gardenia petals brown
    then crumbled them to dust, but I’m
    not ready yet for life to be done.

    Marian O’Brien Paul

  18. Lauren Dixon

    My previous entry was not correct-so here is my re-write…

    Ready to Start Packing

    I am ready to move on,
    to actually move from
    the view of San Francisco
    Bay to places undecided,
    places with maybe a bit
    too much rain, or not
    enough water, or too many
    people.

    I am ready to stop feeling
    the underlying angst and
    tension of having two
    places to live. Two
    mortgages, two insurance
    policies, two of everything.
    Always questioning,
    which one is home?

    I am ready to have one
    of everything. Less equals
    more. I am ready for less.
    Less worry, less illness,
    due to stress,
    less driving back and forth,
    less noise, that even a
    view of the water could
    not alleviate.

    I am still waiting after two
    years, but I will be ready
    when someone comes
    to love that place like we did.
    Ready like a gunshot.

  19. Lauren Dixon

    Ready to Start Packing

    I am ready to move on,
    to actually move from
    the view of San Francisco
    Bay to places undecided,
    places with maybe a bit
    too much rain, or not
    enough water, or too many
    people.

    I am ready to stop feeling
    the underlying angst and
    tension of having two
    places to live. Two
    mortgages, two insurance
    policies, two of everything.
    Aways questioning,
    which one is home?

    I am ready to have one
    of everything. More equals
    less. I am ready for less.
    Less worry, less illness,
    due to stress,
    less driving back and forth,
    less noise, that even a
    view of the water could
    not alleviate.

    I am still waiting after two
    years, but I will be ready
    when someone comes
    to love that place like we did.
    Ready like a gunshot.

  20. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

    FIRST DAY

    She was up before the birds
    Dressed, sitting on the stairs
    Impatiently waiting for breakfast.

    Gulping down her juice,
    Slurping up the cereal,
    She would have won the race
    Had there been one.

    She strikes a foot-tapping stance,
    Waiting with lunch box,
    School bag and a look that says,
    “Will you hurry up, PLEASE!”

    Out the door, she flies
    Down the long driveway
    Into the open doors of the big yellow bus.

    MIDDAY

    The call comes as a shock.
    Everything is OK – but –
    She needs to hear your voice.

    Sobs transmit through space.
    Grab your heart. Make you tear up.
    She misses you –
    She-of-the-tapping-foot.

    Calmly, you explain how it works –
    She stays for a bit longer,
    The bus comes to pick her up,
    You’ll be waiting with open arms.

    Sniffling an “OK,” the line goes dead.
    You pull the apron strings tighter
    Not ready to let go.

  21. Ptrick Slattery

    Ready or Not…

    Here comes another war.
    They need your grandson today.
    They’re taking him away.
    Well, they can’t say where,
    It is supposed to be a surprise.
    Boom! I bombed you.

    They’re fighting the bad guys
    Of course. You can spot one
    By the color of his horse
    Or his hat. Watch his eyes
    When he looks at you, if they’re
    Crossed put a bullet between ‘em.
    That will straighten him right out,
    The lilly livered lout.

    Remember the words of William Shakespeare.
    And these words too:
    All the world is a play, and you’re in it,
    Ready or not…

  22. Christiane Brossi

    Ready or Not Ready

    Deep inside
    The reed bends and struggles
    It cannot give up its fine fight
    Against the wind that threatens
    To uproot it and shoot it out
    Of its desired post.

    The wind insists in its flight
    And with a chuckle
    It continues its journey
    Bending and clearing
    Winning or not. Cycling.

  23. Dennis Wright

    Ready to Start

    First we could open the door,
    see the sunlight a river flow,
    over the step, spill on the floor,
    then straight to fire’s hearth.

    Or we might open the eye
    to the wind that rubs the sill,
    like your hands when they lie
    on my shoulder then touch my heart.

    Here we may join together
    in a life in poetry.
    Here we may join together,
    in a heart’s song.

    Not Ready to Start

    Falling out of love is
    not at all like falling.
    We dizzily fall in love
    yet not so leaving.

    Instead we just let go
    with but empty remaining.
    Winter winds storm outside,
    find a way to our longing.

  24. Kim Yvonne King

    Jim

    He inhaled morning frost with two cups of black coffee
    poured from a dented green thermos his wife had filled.
    He coughed, gnarled fingers holding the yellowed butt
    of his third cigarette, the first two crushed into paper maggots
    by pointed boots and kicked into steaming manure.
    The horses snorted and stamped, impatiently
    waiting for his bowed creaking knees to straighten
    and cross the barn. “Hell, I’m coming, you fat glue sticks!”

  25. Jeanne Rogers

    Hopefully I’ll get caught up with posting tomorrow.

    Thank you, Robert, for the opportunity to participate in the PAD chapbook challenge again. I enjoyed the Day One poems, and love seeing the names of so many I recognize from the 2009 challenge.

    Congratulations again to Nancy Posey for her "Let the Lady Speak" collection–I, too, will be buying a copy of that chapbook.

    Hello again to Walt, Nancy, Daniel, Marie-Elizabeth, Sara, Taylor, Bruce, Joseph, Salvatore, Iain, RJ, Connie, Marie Elena, Khara–you guys sure make it hard to keep up with the reading here!

  26. Jeanne Rogers

    November 2, 2010

    Ready or Not

    When I was a child
    we would play “hide and seek”
    after dark, after street lights opened
    to the night and our voices echoed
    from places counted and hidden.
    A light pole created a perfect spot
    to hide in plain sight—if you laid straight
    and still in the shadow on the back side,
    behind the light.
    Sometimes, two of us would line up
    in the shadow, in the darkest darkness,
    unafraid of being found, unafraid
    of what might be moving toward us in the night.

    I’d forgotten the flip side of darkness,
    how it can be my friend if I lie
    straight and still in the shadow, the light
    sometimes hiding a darker truth.

  27. Taylor Graham

    TO THE OWNER OF THE MATTRESS ON THE HILL

    How did you get it there, behind freeway
    fence, in the shelter of that immense yard sign:
    White for Councilman? On the leeside
    of a weedy hill with a view of McMansions
    climbing in tiers
    what used to be pasture. A serviceable
    mattress in a restful floral print, not yet
    worn threadbare. It hasn’t survived
    an unroofed winter – how long have you
    been sleeping under stars?

    Have you voted for Mr. White?
    Do you think he’ll help you to a job
    and proper bedroom?
    Win or lose, after the election
    his sign will disappear.
    Will you be ready to do without
    its shelter?

  28. shann palmer

    Distance

    Though I’m not her,
    or them, I can wait,
    hold onto something
    I created
    what we are
    out of a sense of loss.

    When you are silent
    it leads me to believe
    you are angry,
    to piece patterns
    into whole cloth
    is insufficient.

    Memory is kind
    to what we were, I toast
    who we could have been
    if necessity hadn’t
    muddied the waters
    where we walked.

  29. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    I Was So Ready

    He bounced in the door, grinning.
    ‘Would you like to go to Fiji?’
    All his friends and their wives
    were going to Fiji that year.
    ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘Anywhere.’
    I’d never been out of Australia.

    Then he came home
    with tickets for Bali instead.
    He’d dreamed of Bali
    since he was a little boy
    reading old travel books
    that his grandfather had.

    ‘Fine by me,’ I said.
    ‘Anywhere you like.
    What will we do with the kids?’
    He looked at me
    as if I’d gone mad.
    ‘We’ll take them with us, of course!’

    The plane trip was fun.
    We flew Garuda.
    Everyone was in holiday mood,
    the stewards and hostesses
    happy too. Lots of kids on board.
    Nobody minded them running about.

    When we arrived I was shocked.
    A tiny little airport, a few palms,
    and soldiers standing by, with guns.
    The taxi wound though narrow lanes.
    The heat felt solid. How long before
    I could get my stockings off?

    We walked past reception
    through a door in a wall
    and into a wide courtyard.
    A profusion of bougainevillea
    half hid, half revealed
    the two-storey thatched huts.

    A man lounged at the bar
    looking as if he lived there.
    I heard him order a gin sling
    in a Pommy accent.
    ‘It’s like something out of
    Somerset Maugham,’ I whispered.

    Our hut had a ceiling fan
    and a green tiled bath and basin.
    A shy young waiter appeared
    with a tray of welcoming drinks.
    He was slim and golden.
    Just like that, I fell in love.

  30. Tracy Davidson

    I have both a ‘ready to start’ poem and a ‘not ready’ poem. These reflect my conflicting state of mind at the moment, as my mum passed away a few weeks ago. I’m hoping writing about it will prove therapeutic. Though I promise I’ll try and write something more upbeat in future.

    Moving On

    Time to start living again.
    Time to take down the sympathy cards,
    lift the brake that’s kept
    our lives on hold.

    She wouldn’t have wanted us to dwell
    on the loss of her.
    She’d want us to remember
    the life of her, the good times
    we enjoyed together,
    the times before she was ill.

    And so we shall. Our lives go on,
    and because we hold her
    close to our hearts,
    part of her will go on as well.

    Not Moving On

    It’s hard…
    putting one foot in front of the other,
    plodding on, trying to keep moving
    because you fear if you stop,
    even for a minute, you’ll never
    get started again.

    It’s hard…
    breathing, with your chest constricted,
    the weight of grief and loss
    almost more than you can bear.

    It’s hard…
    keeping your stomach under control,
    the tension making it roll
    and writhe, waves of spasms and cramps,
    a tight band around your core.

    It’s hard…
    sleeping, alone with your thoughts in the dark,
    no distractions from the dismal truth
    that she is gone.

    It’s hard.

  31. Judy Roney

    Forward
    I’m ready to start my life here in Tampa.
    In a city instead of the countryside,
    a subdivision surrounded by like houses,
    people that form a melting pot, small lawns,
    cobble stone driveways, and all amenities
    a close bike ride away.

    This change is easier now after my trek
    to the mountain house where a few months
    away was like a time of enlightenment.
    It’s easier to see things for what they are,
    to see what is important, instead
    of comparisons and remembrances.
    My desires lie in the future now,
    I’m ready to move on.

  32. Walt Wojtanik

    READY? NO!

    I don’t know why I’m the guy that
    always works right to the point
    of no return. It’s not that I yearn
    for the excitement or challenge,
    (although they do entice) it’s nice
    to think that my efforts are rewarded,
    by the smiles am I awarded.
    But, I aim to please, for these are the times
    that try my soul. I need to get it right,
    right up to the night I take flight.
    When I’m getting past the last details,
    it never fails that I forget things in urgency,
    (but, I always carry extras, in case of emergency).
    And I hold this reverent spark tucked
    into my parka that fuels me, drives me,
    and keeps my ever loving heart pulsing.
    Each child knows that ember burns within them
    every December, for as long as I remember,
    they’ve made my job worth doing on that night.
    Like I’ve said, I need to get it right,
    right up to the night I take flight.
    I don’t know why I’m the guy that
    always works right up to the point
    of no return. It’s just the way I roll.
    Ready? No! But, I’m in control. I am Santa.

  33. Kyhaara

    Graduate’s Prayer:

    Lord, please help me I’m not ready to go
    To university; when will I know?
    I cannot just point a finger and say,
    “I’ll go to this one,” and afterwards pray,
    “Lord, if I’m wrong please tell me apropos.”

    I understand that my spirit will grow,
    As it did when I changed schools long ago,
    But I don’t know which is the correct way.
    Lord, please help.

    I am still waiting for you, God, to show
    Me that I have no reason to feel woe.
    Every night at the end of the day,
    I get on my knees and to you, Lord, I pray,
    “Do not leave me alone, I’m lost and so,
    Lord, please help!

  34. Tish

    Thanks, Amy! As a poet I live to read/listen to other poets – can’t get enough…I’m in love with both sides of the mic.

    Vonnie, we must have twin mirrors!

  35. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Leaving Bali

    I wasn’t ready yet to leave
    the tiny island, nor to grieve
    so heartbrokenly and so long
    as I knew I must. It was wrong,
    I said. Indeed, I still believe
    I wasn’t ready.

    For all my mourning, no reprieve
    was possible; I had to leave
    the colour, the fragrance, the song.
    I wasn’t ready

    to farewell new friends: either give
    them a last goodbye, or deceive
    them and me with, ‘It won’t be long.’
    My companion told me, ‘Be strong!’
    How optimistic, how naive —
    I wasn’t ready.

  36. Laura Hohlwein

    Ready to take my head off and throw it in the street
    Ready to have the next pickup run over it
    Ready to headless grope and find what is in there
    Metal yellow serrated
    golden razor

    my hands bleed
    and my life begins to bleed
    rivulets i will set sail on
    down this is not a poem
    its just a headache
    that is everywhere

    don’t know what to do.

    …only publishing this as i want to get something up everyday.
    not a poem. . not a good day. i’m ready to have it over with.

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