2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

For today’s prompt, write a spaces poem. Your poem could involve white space, outer space, inner space, a parking space, the space between one day and the next, or something other type of spacing. Allow yourself enough space to play around.

Here’s my attempt:

“From one space to the next”

First, there is a girl who haunts this playground
on rainy days. Today, she finds a dead
blue jay and buries it with some wood chips.

Several men wearing fluorescent vests
gather around the flat bed of a truck;
none of them notice me when I depart.

The girl finds a blue feather to insert
into the new grave. She bends down and calls
me over. She asks me to say something.

I want to say something important–more
than I’ve ever wanted anything, but
I can’t find the words. Stunned, I find my car.

Leaves flutter from the roof as I drive back
to my home. Only yesterday, they fell
from their trees spiraling like accidents.


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(Use the #novpad hashtag to tweet your November challenge progress.)


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147 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

  1. S.E.Ingraham

    Out of Time and Space

    On the days that are good
    She awakens with the sunrise
    And time stretches before her
    Like a lazy, contented cat

    She finds herself easing into
    The hours with coffee
    And reading, taking the dog
    For a leisurely walk

    Inhaling the neighbourhood
    Taking in changes in the season
    By checking out a nearby lake
    She sets her mood to a work mode

    But on those when she struggles
    Up out of sleep, the sun
    Already high in the sky
    The day falls ahead of her

    Like a chunk of empty space
    She has come to think of as a white
    Hole, as vacuum-like as its dark
    Counter-point in the universe

    Nothing holds any appeal
    Indecision rules all; she thinks
    She wants to sleep, or maybe, she
    Wants to die, she is in a bad space.

  2. Yoly

    Of a Partially Smeared Journal

    The old ramparts in my womb have thinned
    with the new you, even as possibilities widen.

    You will cry into a space built
    for your sound-
    another will swell by your laughter.

    There are gaps within gaps in the house:
    soon they will meet the girl that will feed them.

  3. Sam Nielson

    Winter Sunset Over Boa Ogoi
    (Bear River Massacre Site)

    Standing on an overlook
    Of the river bottoms
    That run way too wide
    For the river, mist rises up
    Where warm springs run in.
    The grip of cold tighens
    To where each breath
    Seems to hang caught
    Tight in the throat.

    The river runs as time,
    Dark eddies, slow and slushy,
    In lazy s’s between purple willows.
    Juniper, dark in snow on the hills
    Remember everything.
    Shy grey sagebrush peeks in,
    Yellowed grasses push up
    The snow like razor stubble
    It is quiet and as expected.

    The sun glares out red
    Fury on white hills.
    Red-tint snow,
    Red-tint time ticks on.
    The red splits, to orange,
    Some towards purple.
    Under the fading color,
    Sun seeks warmth, finds
    Fear in death.

  4. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Space Between Friends
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Our communion has been broken.
    No one likes to travel the road of life alone
    but nowadays, it’s just easier to avoid you,
    avoid filling up these empty spaces
    with wadded up newspaper and despair
    that we were genetically hardwired for.
    It’s not like either of us have anything
    to mail to one another anymore.

    What’s a little space between Friends?

    I read once how sea lions are opportunists
    like the rest of us, and will always sleep
    piled up against one another for comfort
    and companionship, no matter how much
    extra room there is on the beach or rocks.

    Clearly that is no longer us.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  5. Michelle Hed

    Insert Foot Into Mouth (A poor Limerick)

    There exists spaces within my head
    and when they erupt, I best be dead.
    For when they leave my mouth,
    my feet start heading south.
    Did I just insult the guy she wed?

  6. annell livingston

    An Enchanted Space
    The wind blows across the mesa,
    The sagebrush shivers,
    But the sun shines bright,
    Dark clouds hang above Taos mountain,

    The mountains exist in shadows,
    Shiny black ravens,
    Practice ariels above,
    Dark shadows crawl
    Across the sunny path.

    Signs define spaces along the road,
    32 degrees and freezing,
    Double Arches three miles ahead,
    Yuletide Greetings spelled out in red.

    Winter is the time to hunker down,
    The bears dream of spring
    There is little snow this year,
    Global warming it appears.

    There are not many cars on the street,
    The town is still sleeping,
    Seasons Greetings,
    The wind blows the last leaves from the trees.

    Scattered across the empty road.
    Your mood colors the landscape,
    Creates dark spaces between each word.

    Count the deaths along the way,
    Marked with handmade crosses.
    In the cold canyon,
    Yesterday’s snow remains in dark spaces.

    There are no people,
    You can see
    A picture drawn in loneliness,

    The road winds through,
    The narrow space of the canyon,
    Pine trees, too many to assign number,
    As we climb the pass,
    We now look down on the tops of tall trees.
    It is an enchanted space.

  7. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    ‘This is the resting place of the king’ he said
    and I thought he meant tomb, last resting place.
    But no, it was where the king used to break his journey
    when he travelled between the edges of his realm.
    It was long unused; there were weeds and long grass
    on some of the paths. But the pool, open to the sky
    inside its deep, rectangular stone walls, was still peaceful
    and kept some beauty. You could see how a space like this
    would have nurtured the busy king, given him time
    to replenish his stores of energy, his sense of self.

    Those three long visits to Bali were something like that for me,
    or I think so now, looking back — time out from the everyday;
    beautiful, peaceful spaces in my busy life, my responsibilities.
    And they remain so, always accessible though seldom used.
    There are weeds and long grass obscuring some paths
    but they can still be cleared away with comparative ease.

    I remember, at the the resting place of the king,
    a thin old man, hunched double, crawling like a spider
    and grinning happily. Su explained, cripples were hidden
    away from tourist centres, but this was a quiet spot
    little visited. He could find a living here, minding the garden.
    Even so, it was hard to comprehend that happy face.
    ‘All his needs are met,’ said my friend. And I looked around
    at the old stone walls, the carved seats, the sunlight,
    the straggling strands of bougainevillea, and thought:
    This is one whose whole life is lived in regenerative spaces.

  8. alana sherman

    A Tourist Needs A Map

    Yellow light streams
    through stained glass
    cicadas hum in afternoon heat
    the nave is cool.
    In this place stillness reigns
    and we are all visitors
    in this country
    trying to make our way
    through unfamiliar neighborhoods,
    occasionally along a wrong avenue.
    We are alone, sometimes lonely
    and need a moment
    to sit quietly and reflect
    on what is right and wrong
    with our lives, to think about
    the gifts we have, the ones
    we carry. Even a minute
    by yourself in a quiet space
    lets you hear your own heartbeat.
    We are tourists
    who need to find the map
    within us, the true souvenirs.

  9. Arash

    Memories of Bone

    Orson Welles rose to meet me in a dream like the black
    key under her fingertip; she who never heard the shrieks
    of taut tendons trembling inside the wooden tomb.
    She plays while the ghosts hovering over the wooden seats
    look to be heard
    inside memories of bone.

  10. Arash

    Memories of Bone

    Orson Welles rose to meet me in a dream like the black
    key under her fingertip; she who never heard the shrieks
    of taut tendons trembling inside the wooden tomb.
    She plays while the ghosts hovering over the wooden seats
    look to be heard
    inside memories of bone.

  11. Terri French

    Closed in Spaces

    I am not one for closed in spaces;
    Perhaps I should clarify:
    I can sit in a closet in the dark
    by myself and be perfectly fine,
    but put me in a room full of people–
    any size room– and I begin to break out
    in a cold sweat.

    I don’t care to rub elbows, nor
    do I want to be close enough
    for you to spit upon me as you speak;
    I need breathing room and if I were
    fortunate enough to possess wings
    I’d need the room to spread them
    so I could fly away.

  12. Justine Hemmestad

    I tried to give you space,
    I know you need it to grow,
    To expand in knowledge as much as you can.
    So I give you space,
    Though my heart aches,
    I give you the space you need
    To find the justice that’s already yours.
    I give you space to proclaim your acclimation of justice,
    Your righteous state of being.
    The space I have to give you is linear space,
    Space of time and of understanding.
    The Space I give you is the space you need to know that
    You’re bigger than words, wiser than your oppressors, and more dignified
    Than your own image of yourself.
    To know this doesn’t require the good words that people say around you,
    But the good thoughts you have about yourself.

  13. Jeanne Rogers

    November 24, 2010

    Going Over

    One breath.
    The thin veil
    is one translucent breath,
    a gossamer sway
    of oxygenated rhythm;
    the exhalation
    a short drift
    over a line
    drawn by faith.

  14. Jeanne Rogers

    November 24, 2010

    Going Over

    One breath.
    The thin veil
    is one translucent breath,
    a gossamer sway
    of oxygenated rhythm;
    the exhalation
    a short drift
    over a line
    drawn by faith.

  15. Bruce Niedt

    The combination of a busy, busy week and relative lack of inspiration has kept me from writing – or reading – much this week. Wish i had more time to read everyone’s stuff. Walt, your concrete poems lately really catch the eye!
    Here’s a limerick, just to keep me in the game:

    Tyner’s Challenge

    These new regulations are bunk,
    airport searches put me in a funk.
    You may plan to erase
    all my personal space
    but I’m warning you: don’t touch my junk!

  16. Patti Williams

    From my place
    I can see it coming.
    The wind has picked up
    And as I write
    From my desk I see
    The grey blue line of clouds
    And know the cold
    Is blowing in.
    The warm night gone,
    As the sun slowly rises,
    Cold morning air begins
    To chill the world.
    Behind me my puppy dreams
    Snuggled up in bed,
    Unaware of the changes
    Outside our room.

  17. sara gwen

    No Space Redux
                There’s no space in my gut.
                            For any beyond
                this last bite, thanks, but
                there’s no space. In my gut
                bulges all Thanksgiving’s gluey glut
                            for which my mouth’s too clearly fond.
                There’s no space in my gut
                            for any beyond.

  18. Walt Wojtanik


    The air is clear up here.
    Crisp and cold. I’m not
    completely sold on the city.

    The lights are pretty,
    but the crowds converge.
    They surge with a shared pulse.

    Pushing, convulsing;
    a repulsive pace, a race
    to the end of the year.

    But, the air is clear up here.
    Sure, my glasses fog, and the dog
    doesn’t stay out for very long.

    And everyone in town has a song
    they sing to bring in the season,
    never forgetting the reason to celebrate.

    And it’s never too late
    to get on my good side, but you can’t hide
    from the guy with the twinkling eyes.

    The air is clear up here. The skies
    are bright with the brilliance
    the Northern Lights provide.

    Take a break and step outside,
    and abide by the peace on earth.
    It is worth every last breath.

    There’s plenty up here, you bet,
    and plenty of room to get it.
    Release, concede, take the time to breathe.

    The air is clear up here,
    and my reindeer and I can’t get enough.
    It’s not that tough. I am Santa.

  19. Jian Ko

    The use of space

    A shadow;
    you can scare
    you can shelter
    but you’re not solid

    Like the tide
    come and go
    what grip have you got?
    except for that pull

    mayhaps at times,
    you’re the best place to hide
    but I know I can’t stay
    and you, you know.

  20. Buddah Moskowitz

    Space is an Illusion

    Space is an illusion

    because not only is the glass
    always full
    (it is half water and half air),

    but the glass is connected
    to the air
    that is connected to you
    and to me
    and to everything .

    The illusion is that
    such false divisions
    even exist at all:

    what separates
    the property from the boundary
    the inside from the outside?

    Nothing can exist
    because everything
    is connected
    to everything else.

    The Buddha knew it
    and so did the Christ,
    and sometimes
    so do I.

    So, why then
    do I keep swimming

    trying to stand
    from everything else?

  21. Melissa "Missy" McEwen

    For this prompt about space, I tried another form, the ghazal.

    Saturday Night Loving

    Saturday nights, I say, are meant for loving.
    You say it’s meant for dancing & dancing is loving.

    The Deejays don’t play slow songs anymore.
    They play everything but songs made for loving.

    & the spaces between some dancers are canyon wide.
    Too far away (music’s too loud) to hear words of loving.

    & the ones that are close-dancing aren’t slow
    dancing at all, just fast dancing –close– loving

    the music more than the ones they’re with, seems
    that way to me; but what do I know about loving?

    Don’t want to waste my Saturday night doing the
    goddamn boogaloo. What is better than loving?

    Even if it’s a stranger I’m dancing with, I’m going to
    want to be held close. Always in the mood for loving.

    I’d want to rest my head on his chest like a lover. I’d want
    him to hold me like he means it, like he’s been loving

    me my whole life, though he doesn’t know my name’s Melissa.
    & for the length of the song, I’m the only woman he’s loving.

  22. Sara McNulty

    Space is

    Having room to breathe
    Giving a thought, pause
    A blank in which to write
    a science fiction novel
    about deep, outer, or gaps
    in the universe.
    A span of short attention
    or the extended wingspread
    of a free flying bird.

  23. de jackson


    The lines are getting blurry again, clos
    -ing in too tight. Even on blank page

    there isn’t enough room to breathe, be
    -lieve in herself. She inhales anyway,

    realizes her greatest fear isn’t fail
    -ure, but mediocrity. Floating in that

    space between decent and divine, toe
    -ing the line but never fully diving in;

    restless in her own skin, wondering how man
    -y words die daily as she wishes them away.

    Pays her pound of flesh in ink, thinks any
    -thing but this, selling her soul for a phrase.

    Then the pen clicks just right and black blank
    -ets white as she doodles awhile, and smiles.

  24. Judy Roney


    I’m in a house one third the size of the home
    we had before the downsizing. Just one row
    of kitchen cabinets, no extra cubby holes,
    and a master closet tiny enough to make
    me feel what it must be like to be harbored

    in a submarine. The breakthrough for me
    is the realization that I’m fine without all
    that space, without all that stuff. I feel
    lighter,more organized, and have less mind

    muddle. Without storage, each acquisition
    means a well thought out decision about where
    it will go and what I will have to give up
    to make space for it. I have to admit
    less space is freeing.

  25. Linda Goin

    Creating a Fractal, 1989

    You were too irregular
    for me to describe
    in traditional Euclidean
    geometric language,
    yet I knew
    you would have red hair,
    freckles and soft skin.

    Your space-filling curves
    filled my womb
    with simplicity
    and recursive renditions
    like frost crystals
    or a snow flake,
    oak leaves or ferns
    in a landscape filled
    with Brownian trees,
    a complete system
    of blood vessels,
    river networks
    that erode mountains
    and make the sun
    appear brighter, sooner.

  26. Sara V

    Robert and Chev, very very nice!
    I’m too much of a Star Trek fan to get much further than this…


    Space, the final
    Frontier where cow
    Boys and girls
    Can hitch their
    Dreams to a star and glide through
    The stardust with spurs a jangling

  27. Janet Rice Carnahan


    When a woman has a thought,
    Before she considers action,
    If there are many people,
    In her life,
    There is a space left open,
    For any number of things,
    Demanding husband,
    Cranky child,
    Overbearing neighbors,
    Expectant parents,
    Frantic friends calling,

    A moment’s mess,
    Pets drooling and,
    Piled high laundry,
    Not to mention dishes,
    Permission slip signing,
    Clothes cleaned and ready,
    Even plants that have had,
    No recent attention.

    In this space between her,
    Thoughts and action,
    Her flow going here to there,
    Can be interrupted,
    At any time,
    No real reason,
    Often no rhyme!

    Just because she is needed,
    By those who assume,
    She has nothing more to do,
    Then to tie their shoes,
    When they can,
    Wash their clothes,
    When he can,
    Do the dishes,
    When they all can,
    And about that pet?
    Everyone CAN!

    Yet she has learned,
    That the space between,
    Allows her the moment,
    To be there with them,
    To be the glue,
    The core stuff,
    The proverbial hub,
    Of the family wheel!
    Keeping it all together,
    So they can continue their lives,
    Running around in circles,
    Looking for the shoes to tie,
    Finding what clothes to wear,
    Having clean dishes to use,
    Where the fresh food is,
    And as they scurry by,
    Where the pampered pet is,
    To quickly pat them as they hurry,
    On with what is so important to them.

    When life evolves, shifts and changes,
    A woman will still save that space between,
    Her thoughts and actions,
    Just in case,
    They still need her.

    All were so loved!
    For their time here!
    All animals have finished their lives,
    Kids are grown now,
    Standing more independent than ever!
    Having Thanksgiving,
    With their father’s family,
    This year,
    Not anywhere near!

    She will see them at Christmas,
    Which, is a long space,
    Between now and then!
    Yet she grins,

    Her quiet space,
    And time,
    Is here now,
    With her gentle husband,
    A stunning private view of the ocean,
    With peaceful long moments,
    Of complete gratitude and stillness,
    Not even a restless mind,
    Would try to fill!

    The only reminder of life outside,
    Filling this sacred space,
    Are the soft sounds of wind chimes,
    Responding to the breezes,
    Sparkling their song!
    In the space between here . . .

    And the sea!

  28. Mary Kling

    Personal Space

    Some people do not understand
    the necessity of personal space.
    One woman comes to mind.
    She was a substitute teacher

    when I was a teacher, and was
    very short. I always wondered
    if her shortness had something
    to do with it. When she talked to

    someone it always looked like
    what she was saying to them
    was confidential as she stood
    ten inches from their face. This

    drove me crazy when it was me..
    I would constantly back up, try
    to keep a suitable social distance.
    But if I backed up, she would walk

    toward me. Sometimes I would stick
    my foot out in the way so she could
    not move closer, but this was awkward.
    Obviously her definition of suitable space

    was different than mine. On top of this
    she had body odor, and her clothes smelled
    of perspiration, so when she moved close
    it was unpleasant for more than one reason.

    She was a good substitute teacher though.
    I appreciated that, didn’t want to alienate her,
    but always wondered why her idea of space
    was so different than that of other people.

  29. Jackie Schicker

    Space Boy

    It seems when we are younger
    Everyone wants to count the stars
    Yet you changed my outlook on everything
    And so you and I would count the spaces
    The inky blank and black portions of sky
    That separated one light from another
    Only you my marvelous space boy, could imagine
    How to count a space that never ends
    And so here you and I lie together
    Counting not the stars, but each single glorious space

  30. Marian O'Brien Paul


    A dust mote, our turbulent world.
    Set spinning in space, our galaxy:
    but one indiscernible note amidst
    symphonic music of the universe.

    Lest, on that scale, an individual
    human seems infinitesimal, focus
    inward on the unexplored expanse
    hidden within. Listen to the song.