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. sara gwen

    loony spaces

                            between your cartoon
                                                    panels is
                      where i catch my breath

  2. Karen Legg

    Gained and Lost, Lost and Found

    My opal ring fell off my finger and is now
    somewhere between bedtime and this morning.
    My fingers are small and cold – fall is coming –
    and my pinky aches with emptiness.
    The ring hadn’t fit me all the years
    I layered on fat and depression thick,
    getting love from chocolate and the kids
    while he wrote his fantasies and books.

    Then his fantasies and other talents
    came to a stuttering stop. We didn’t survive
    and I lost him and forty pounds, found space
    for cheer and poetry. I grew down into
    my rings, my hair, my self image, and knew
    that fitting into my own space is love.

  3. Kyhaara

    The spaces between us grow wider
    And wider; are we still friends,
    Or just two people who remember
    The good times, but wish to part ways
    And make new times with other people.
    You and I are in different circles now.
    The space will soon become too far.

  4. Walt Wojtanik


    Can you hear me?
    In the remote reaches
    as you float. By your tin can,
    suspended, upended.

    Unfriended, can you hear me?
    God’s love is with you
    as the sequence commences; left
    defenseless, floating; most peculiar.

    Check ignition; can you hear me?
    Put your helmet on. Are the stars
    looking different far above the world?
    Planet Earth is blue, is there

    something we can do? Can you hear me?
    Is there something wrong?
    Your circuit must be dead.
    This is ground control,

    can you hear me, Major Tom?
    Can you hear me?

  5. sara gwen

    Make Your Own Space
          My place has space to spare so long
                as you push things around enough
                      to fit in like you belong.

          Buttoncat, don’t judge anything by her:
                she makes it her own space.
                      It’s all hers.
          Behind the door is space for hanging
                coat, shirt, whatever
                      over mine.
          I wouldn’t advise setting your glass
                on that stretch of edge space
                      unstable as it looks.
          I’ve still got all the books she left
                along with a few of my own.
                      Make your own space.
          In most margins, there’s still space
                between attempts to state theorems
                      that might remain unproven.
          My jeans do have a little space
                if I suck it in tight, but
                      I could lose a few.
          In the bed there’s occasionally space
                for anyone who won’t mind a squeeze:
                      you might want to call ahead.
          Yeah, it’s like a cast for a broken leg
                that everyone’s already signed.
                      Just write over it.
          But not there. I always make sure
                there’s enough room left
                      for moonlight.

  6. Daniel Ari

    "For Paul"

    By 2050,
    I hope people have
    their priorities
    organized around
    satisfaction. Not
    wild consumption or
    ostentation or
    satisfaction. I
    hope all living things
    have enough to live
    and thrive, which means I
    hope nobody wants
    much more than they need.
    If humans can learn
    sharing by the year
    2050, we’ll
    be in a good place.


  7. ann

    Thanksgiving Eve

    I took out my grandmother’s rolling pin,
    the wood soft with a sheen like gold–
    and I tried, yes I did, to roll
    out the pie dough. But it cracked,
    crumbled into bits of flour,
    salt, and Crisco. My sleeves
    were stained. My temper flared
    even as the kitchen filled
    with oven heat and ghosts of
    women who could make a pie;
    no-nonsense women who wouldn’t waste
    a Thanksgiving eve in wallows of self-pity,
    flour on the floor, pumpkin in a can.
    And they certainly wouldn’t pull
    out the box of store-bought dough,
    tucked away just in case,
    and quickly unroll it into the pans.

  8. ideurmyer

    Sharing the Night

    Afghanistan is 7 time zones away
    While I eat lunch, nightime surrounds you
    When you were small you had to travel
    2000 miles to spend summers with your dad
    We made a pact then to look for the Big Dipper
    And gaze up knowing we both saw the same
    We would wave at the moon and say goodnight
    Now I see the sun and think of you
    While you search in the north for the stars
    Same orb beckons me whenever I retire
    Makes the space between us bearable somehow

  9. sara gwen

    No Space
                There’s no space in my brain.
                            For any more
                don’t wait around. Unless I drain,
                there no space. In my brain
                no vacancies remain
                            for poems in store.
                There’s no space in my brain
                            for any more.

                There’s no space in my head.
                            For any new
                don’t listen in. As I’ve said,
                there’s no space. In my head
                it’s all clogged up instead
                            with poems done to.
                There’s no space in my head
                            for any new.

                There’s no space in my file.
                            For any other,
                delete. I’ve such a pile,
                there’s no space. In my file
                for poetry, the current style
                            setting: smother!
                There’s no space in my file
                            for any other.
                Now there’s no place in my time.
                            For even this,
                no. For any further rhyme
                now there’s no place. In my time,
                writing’d been the prime
                            thing not to miss.
                Now there’s no place in my time
                            for even this.

  10. Sheila Deeth

    The truth lies in-between.
    A frozen leaf-let clings, ice-rimed
    Bejeweled, its amber hidden deep inside.

    Beneath the silvered sky
    Attached to heaven’s bough by frailest
    Web, wind-whispered promises don’t lie.

    The truth is then and now
    And when and how and ever tries
    To tell eternal science in wondrous signs.

  11. MiskMask

    In Another Place

    A darkened nether world,
    a Hades sort of place
    a narrow gap, a honey trap,
    are concealed in this spooky space.

    Every object lost, misplaced,
    scampers there to hide
    like a secret bookcase
    where my access is denied

    Once a week it’s pushed aside
    missing objects vacuumed up
    an aspirin, a key, a paper cup,
    bits of potpourri , where dusty
    fur balls prefer to reside

    I do so hate that sofa.

  12. sara gwen

    In Empty Space
                      He stretches out the north over empty space,
                      and hangs the earth on nothing.
                                        —Job 26:7
          In empty space a breath’s indefinite
          miasma traces out the deficit
          of vacuum left abandoned, there to fade
          into a shallow stillness, vapors grayed
          to wisps of dreaming ghostly delicate.

          A random wind picks up. Thoughts hesitate
          to move, as if their voice might germinate
          the emptiness, might have their nature laid
                                        in empty space.

          Yet is not void the prime prerequisite,
          the hole from which one speaks to excavate
          creation? Is that not how poems get made?
          The poet hangs her World in nothing’s shade
          as north her voices stretch out, desolate
                                        in empty space.

  13. Linda Cosgriff

    I’m still working on this one so don’t judge it too harshly; I wanted to get it in before the deadline.

    I Am Not A Performance Poet

    I am not a performance poet
    I cannot get up on a stage
    and shout with rage at the world
    or make you laugh
    I need a page before me
    from which I can recite
    I need to say it right

    I am not a performance poet
    I’ve no Mike Garry accent
    or the gift of slick presenting
    I can’t hold you fixed on my face
    while I yell into space
    I can’t stun you with my funny
    or my left-wing sentiments

    I am not a performance poet
    I cannot write that peculiar rhythm
    that says ‘I know that you are with me
    I will fill your expectation
    with my stylized recitation
    though the words and poets change
    the rhythm stays the same’

    I am not a performance poet
    so shy as I am
    I cannot be a Swagger Manc
    and draw your gaze
    I’d rather be in that space
    ‘tween thought and ink
    You perform; I’d rather think

    I am not a performance poet
    Of that you surely have no doubt
    I don’t lie when I declare
    there’s nothing worse
    than sweating here before you
    I am not a performance poet
    You’ve heard me: you know it

  14. Karen H. Phillips

    Thanks to Robert’s insistence on form yesterday, I’ve fallen in love with the shadorma (nice one, today, De).

    Robert, loved "spiraling like an accident."

    Day 24
    Write a spaces poem.

    1. Not enough space (shadorma)

    My kitchen
    is big enough all
    other days.
    But the day
    before Thanksgiving, it’s not.
    Two ovens would help.

    2. Indefinite (shadorma)

    Our son wants
    to know when I’ll be
    able to
    restart our
    modem. So I yell because
    my poem needs space.

  15. Claudette

    Day 24 – Spaces


    Simple small gaps;
    Astonishing things they are,
    Which separate one word from another.
    They create an opportunity to mean something.
    We seldom note their presence, though always
    Their absence from pages read,
    Cause us unrest.

  16. Taylor Graham


    The water came through, river
    through bedroom and cellar, changing
    every dimension.

    They shoveled mud
    that lay in rich brown velvet folds
    on pine-plank floor.

    They threw out moldy books
    and called themselves lucky to be
    alive. Their futuristic plans.

    What is the fifth dimension
    after time?
    Every so often she’d walk out

    and gaze into distance,
    beyond the placid river, brown
    as churned hope.

  17. Mariya Koleva

    MiskMask – yeah, me too *ROFL* Imagine my shock when I visited your blog the first time! However, I overcame it. The news about RJ comes fresh today, so I’m still coping with it 🙂 huge fun – me speculating … HAHAHA

  18. MiskMask

    Oh Elizabeth … that poor little chicken. I don’t understand why it makes me laugh so.That poor little critter is squished, squashed, and smooshed from every which way. Poor little chicken.

  19. sara gwen

    No Space Left
                      Woe to you who add house to house and
                      join field to field till no space is left
                      and you live alone in the land.
                                        —Isaiah 5:8
          No space is left for me to try to fill
          inside your solitude. Time’s standing still
          there, stuck in line as if it too had grown
          too much for you to squeeze into your zone,
          that place where even room for living’s nil.

          Your only default’s love. I said, "I will
          erase that emptiness," but lack the skill
          to meet the scheduled hour. I should’ve known
                                  no space is left.

          Too bad you hadn’t time for me to kill.
          Doing yourself in so young must’ve taken skill
          you must take pride in. So then, let’s postpone
          collaborating. You’ll do fine alone,
          left on your own, packed stone on stone until
                                  no space is left.

  20. gambo


    could you understand
    that a one night stand
    is not my game
    ‘cos its not the same
    as what i feel
    ‘cos its for real
    how could it be
    that you are not for me?
    i look into your eyes
    they’re as vast as the skies
    the expression on your face
    just as a blank space
    but you came into my life
    with all sorts of lies
    just to lay me down
    and leave me with a frown
    am not gonna cry
    I’ll hold my head up high
    you tore my heart apart
    now its left for me to start

  21. de jackson

    Space Bar

    Drinks on the house!
    just open a Tab
    my Shift’s almost over,
    but the cocktails are fab
    and I’ll Return tomorrow
    same time, same station.

    Option: Escape
    or just lose Control
    Command your muse
    to Enter Sleep mode
    the Caps Lock is off today
    and the mice will play.

    Force Quit. Restart. Repeat.

  22. Elizabeth Johnson

    Aaaaand – the continued adventures of Benedict:


    He had no space to stand
    and so he walked,
    moving forward,
    pressing fervently on
    to the other side,
    his eyes on the prize,
    that land of greener
    grass and bigger coops,
    onward and forward
    he pressed: wings
    outstretched, feet
    propelled by hard-
    boiled stubbornness,
    tail feathers proudly
    waving a cadence as
    he hurried and scurried,
    leaving behind nonexistent
    space in search of his
    final frontier, and yet –

    his attempts were scrambled
    once again as the space came
    crushing down on him in the
    form of human feet, crushing
    him into a space smaller than
    a crumbled-up hard-boiled egg.

  23. Candace Armstrong


    Surrounded by plenty he has come to disdain,
    the young man marvels at his own heart beat:
    the simple, strong rhythm backdrop
    for the melody of his life touching others,
    like clouds in his inner space,
    and the dissonant screech of collision.


  24. G.K. Asante

    A piece for the spaces between…


    I am the record of switch-bladed children,
    lurking in the murmur of tenements
    that rise each morning underneath their fingers.
    A dead equinox leaving elders blind
    at oblivious temples to paper prophets.

    Maybe I am
    the geometry of broken trailers
    ripe with bombast and seekers of stars
    “without so much blackness all around.”

    Perhaps I am
    unspoken stones who dare to fill
    the hollow jar of dry mouths throwing
    themselves at every veil they accuse.

    Or am I
    the rust in bloom between each disappearing page,
    index disintegrated by paladins
    on visceral roads to pave antiquated veins?

    By each assembly I come, and fall.
    I string along the legend of clocks
    who promise nothing, covet everything,
    and after, my substance is smoothed away
    with the next silence of leaves.

  25. Elizabeth Johnson

    Wow, some AMAZING poeming today by everyone! Finally got on for today, and I think my brain has gone on vacation along with my body. Then again, it’s awfully hard to find inspiration when you’re sitting next to your MIL who’s talking non-stop. And so, for today:


    empty rhyme
    where thoughts should appear,
    a space bar,
    no rhythm,
    tethered to reality

  26. RJ Clarken

    Misk – ‘numpties’? What a great word! I have to remember that! Thanks for the nice words. ☼

    I’ll try to come back later to read and comment, but it’s hard (today) because the kids are on 1/2 day and are home already – and I have to clean, cook and bake.

    So…if I don’t get back here later (which I still hope to do!) Happy Thanksgiving! Or Happy _______. (You can fill in the space.) ♥

  27. Mariya Koleva

    AC Fleming – thanks a lot, your words warm my heart and I go directly to NaNoWriMo, as I am just 8k from the 50k 😉
    Good night to all at this side of the Atlantic and a nice day before the longish holiday to all across.

  28. RJ Clarken

    At Spacely Sprockets

    “Jetson! You’re fired!” he screamed,
    quite steamed.
    Poor George was just some schnook
    who took
    the brunt of Spacely’s raves.
    George caves
    until he somehow saves
    Spacely Sprockets from doom.
    Then his job, he’d resume
    with other ‘high-tech’ slaves.

  29. pamela


    Time we share in small spaces,
    become vast areas of discontent.
    Gazes are now glares like death,
    sitting on my armchair as the quilted
    patterns turn moldy with the years.

    Distance is essential frozen in a cave.
    Like the fossil of a trilobite squirming,
    to be released in the future.

    Changing the floral wallpaper into
    bricks piled one by one,
    with mortar that sloshes from side
    to side when touched by a razor.

    Smoothness captures radiance
    and sadness and flings it back
    in your direction,
    Space is wasted on anguish.

  30. Kit Cooley

    “Always room for one more”

    Even though we are not there,
    we know there is an empty chair
    for each of us at family table,
    when gathering all the clan that’s able
    to come from far off city and town,
    and pass the plates of victuals round,
    remember those who will not be
    with our dear friends and family.

  31. MiskMask

    Chev, that’s a lovely ending with you listening to your daughter.

    RJ, I’ve have a few encounters with numpties of that sort also. I always wonder if they’d do the same if their mother was in the car.

    Nancy J, Sundown has a lovely ending, just like a good day should have.

    Genevieve, really good that one. I’ll go with the youngster.

    Nancy, Oh my. Space Walker is so touching and so sweet. I loved it.

    Salvatore, REMEMBERING FAMILY touched me quite deeply. Our loved ones really do leave a chasm when they pass away.

    RJ, Your Doctor Scare! What a hoot. Totally cracked me up.

    Vivienne, so true about Space far enough to breathe. Gosh, so true.

    de, Span is quite simply beautiful. So few words that say so much, eh?

    Pearl, and happy Thanksgiving to you also.

  32. Pam Winters

    Kent State Parking Lot

    When people left the scene you could tell who was hurt
    by whose cars were still there, whose book bags. You could tell
    who was dead by who was still there. Forty years later,
    you know the dead by who is not there, by spaces. Lighted posts,
    at trip-you height, marking slots in the parking lot
    that will never hold cars; names in their corners;
    attempts to carry on. On May mornings, hurrying to finals,
    does some Kent girl drive in circles, see the break in the pattern
    of fenders, then curse Allison for dying there,
    then self-correct and curse the Guard or the government?
    The living stand side by side with the ghosts. Someone
    is assigned to pull in there, every day, carefully,
    for a year or four. Allison and her friends
    aren’t going anywhere.

  33. sara gwen

    my usual

                                        storm            fugue
              wasted                                         back

  34. Vicki Wilke

    My Brother’s Space

    stolen by violence that jolted
    you, paralyzed to linger
    twelve days
    in our hovering…

    there’s a space at the table,
    we save your chair
    for the air
    that would surround you

    there’s a space
    in our laughter,
    where you boomed
    with yours

    there’s a space in photos,
    where your crinkly eyes
    and smile
    are only ghostly imaginings

    there’s a space
    in each day to come,
    where your voice
    is too distant
    to be heard

    there’s a space
    on a knee,
    where your babies
    can’t bounce
    and pull your whiskers

    there’s a space
    in the memories,
    we make today
    that ache for your presence

    there’s a space
    in our anger,
    for the injustice,
    for his freedom

    there’s a space
    in the celestial,
    where you’re healed
    and we long to be

    there’s a question,
    in this space,
    do I still have a brother?

  35. MiskMask

    Keep Your Distance – Give Me Space

    Feed a fever and starve a cold,
    or is it the other way around.
    Keep your distance. You’ve been told.
    Feed a fever and starve a cold.
    There’s only one cure from days of old
    and that’s hot rum, oh yum, I’ve found.
    Feed a fever and starve a cold,
    or is it the other way around.

  36. Walt Wojtanik


    It is such a soothing sound,
    a whistle like a whisper
    that bounces in my cranium.
    Plenty of room to maneuver,
    with nary an obstacle
    to circumvent. To prevent
    any damage to my poetic lobe,
    I keep it safely in it’s cage.
    If it gets enraged, I’m poeming
    for days. Just don’t feed it
    after midnight. There it is again.
    It is a soothing sound.
    Thank God for the wind.