2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 29

For today’s prompt, write a next steps poem. This might be a good opportunity to try writing a list poem. Or it might be a good time to write about your future plans. It might even be a good chance for you to write about spiral staircases. Who knows?

Here’s my attempt:

“You are where you belong”

I sat on the steps and watched as the clouds
drifted west to east, and I thought of you
alone in your basement trying to live.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

*****

If you’re looking for next steps on what to do after November 30 for this challenge, click here AND check out the blog on December 1 when I do my 2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge next steps post.

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99 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 29

  1. AC Leming

    NEXT STEP

    Purge the rage,
    cold as ice.

    Empty the heart
    of sorrow.

    Melt the snow
    packed within it’s chambers.

    Let healing take hold.
    Let smiles replace wary looks.

    Leave the memories behind,
    far enough to break their destructive hold.

  2. Yoly

    Note to Popular Kids
    (Found in a High School Locker)

    Being alone isn’t always a choice one
    makes, like picking mandarins instead
    of tangerines from a stand. We can try
    to replenish what’s missing together.

    If you think I’m strange, don’t operate
    out of the ordinary when I walk by, unless
    your actions can slice through clay.

    If the vibrations of my sound are still
    warm, try to linger in it: we might
    be humming the same melody.

    I would love to be invited to lunch
    or be your social network friend
    to whittle at my prejudices,
    even if I won’t join the clique.

    My clothes are not a reflection
    of my worth. Otherwise, my old jeans
    and t-shirts would be sewn by
    seeds of love.

    Forget the invite to lunch, hello and a smile
    would let some light put a badge on my day.

  3. Jeanne Rogers

    November 29, 2010

    Coffeehouse Rosary

    Latte,
    mocha,
    cappuccino,
    breve,
    chai,
    hot chocolate.
    Steamer,
    spiced cider,
    shot in the dark.
    Drip coffee,
    espresso,
    doppio.
    Americano.
    Frappe,
    Italian soda,
    smoothie,
    tea.

    Close your eyes to unspoken prayer,
    incantations of caffeine, response
    and repetition of spoons’ invocatory song.
    Breathe vanilla, dark chocolate, warm milk,
    spices, scent of coffee beans exploding.
    Gather here, amid the murmur
    of souls at rest, writers at work.

    Speak now:
    Latte,
    mocha,
    cappuccino,
    breve,
    chai,
    hot chocolate.
    Steamer,
    spiced cider,
    shot in the dark.
    Drip coffee,
    espresso,
    doppio.
    Americano.
    Frappe,
    Italian soda,
    smoothie,
    tea.

  4. Sam Nielson

    Next Step

    Some days I feel that
    A rubik’s cube best
    Describes my living.
    I do the same as you.
    I spend too much time
    And effort for tasks like
    Reading, swimming.
    Brushing my teeth, eating,
    Breathing, dressing, traveling
    To work and keeping
    Other people working.

    If I could just take the next
    Step and do away with some
    Of that repetitive routine
    I’d have much more time
    To make a mark in life.
    That repetition is only good
    For so much time before
    You must redo it. My life
    Differs from yours only
    In the 6 rubik colors and the
    Pseudo-endless permutations.

  5. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The Next Logical Step
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Four months salary for a diamond ring, surely it was the next logical step in a whole conga line of logisticals. They’d been together for awhile now and she had proven herself worthy of his love and attentiveness. She had stood by him through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, and through more girlfriends than he had a right at. The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to be with her. The happier he felt about this stage of his life, the more he wanted to make it permanent. It was time to close the deal, pop the big question, and tell all their friends, just as soon as County could release him, now that he was out of isolation.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  6. Bruce Niedt

    The Next Room

    I’ve been standing on the threshold
    of a darkened room for ages,
    pondering when to take the next step.
    I could just plunge on like one of those idiots
    in a horror movie, looking for his girlfriend
    or a lost cat, all alone even though he knows
    there’s a monster about. The only monster
    I have to worry about is uncertainty,
    as I teeter in the doorway, deciding when
    it will be best to step through and make
    that ultimate career change, retirement.
    The lights are dim but it looks lovely in there.
    Still, I just don’t know –
    someone may have to push me from behind.

  7. Lee Pursewarden

    The Next Step

    is tell her I love her, buy her a gun, teach her to shoot
    plan the escape
    teach her Greek
    identify the constellations

    The next step is
    to order a pizza & wings for delivery
    cut up the credit cards, empty the bank account
    to buy the Farm, or steal lobsters from the harbor

    The next step is
    call her up at midnight with a hardon & a bourbon
    become a vegetarian, then an alcoholic
    go to 12-step meetings & leave at 9
    join a monastary & do phone sex at night

    The Next step is
    to follow her car to the ghetto
    parse her poems for metric anomalies

    The next step is
    to visit her sister for sibling sex
    ask her husband for a date, then don’t show up
    kidnap her children

    The next step is
    to bury the body
    ignore the lawyers with their briefs in their hands
    to read the Bible

    The next step is
    to read poems about her in open mics in a rock club
    get drunk & go home alone.

  8. Daniel Ari

    “Three Giant Steps To Bed”
    –a song

    I’ve got sixteen thousand things to do
    between tomorrow and today.
    Some of them will fall through
    the cracks—that’s usually the way
    it goes when there’s ten things at a time
    with a hundred cliffs to climb
    plus parachuting back home to say

    “Good night, good night.
    Sleep tight my cozy family.
    Warm light, warm light:
    it fills the bulbs of you and me.
    Tomorrow is a bubbling stream
    when you awake from berry dreams
    so good night my furry family
    Good night.”

    There’s a checklist gassed and ready,
    to-do trains at the station,
    and a few out of three is a pretty
    decent ratio—so no frustration—
    stepping forward on the track,
    two strides forward, one hop back,
    and a couple pirouettes for decoration, so

    good night, good night.
    You’re my delight, my cozy family.
    Warm light, warm light:
    it fills the bulbs of you and me.
    Tomorrow is a splashing stream
    when you wake from soda dreams,
    so good night my little family,
    good night.

    DA

  9. alana sherman

    What’s Next

    I am tired of time spent making studies
    of sunsets from the porch.
    I long for the danger of the amaryllis—
    bursting stamen and pistil dripping with pollen,
    green leaves spearing upward.
    My head is muddled with comfort,
    easy bubbles of robin’s song in the quickening dark,
    matte days when summer’s dress of leaves
    changes into a filigree of twigs
    clearly drawn against the pale sky fading to pink.
    Here I am unmoving except to
    the rhythms of acceptable boundaries,
    The breeze is nothing but a memory of childhood
    and lives pressed around me.
    Hard-edged with desire I want to be
    sun, breeze, tall grass cutting through firm ground.
    I will break the glass, bruise the flower.

  10. Susanne Barrett

    THE HOUR CHIMES
    My grandmoter’s mantel clock
    ticks the minutes, chimes the hours–
    murmuring flickers of memory,
    glimmerings of possibility:
    eyes freezing with anger
    so well-deserved,
    lips stuttering truths
    I don’t want to hear,
    nose wrinkling in disdain
    over some forgotten faux-pas,
    fingers reaching, wiping away
    cascading tears he caused,
    arms encircling, holding close
    to the point of entrapment,
    feet finally wandering home
    after long months of absence.

    The hour chimes, groaning thick with decades,
    waking me from restless dreams, dreary sleep.

  11. Tracy Davidson

    When I Am 70

    I will:

    blow my pension in Vegas;

    find myself a toy boy;

    wear mismatched socks with sandals;

    moan about the youth of today;

    still insist that LOL means lots of love;

    turn the volume of my telly up
    to annoy the neighbours
    and pretend to be deaf
    when they complain;

    park at awkward angles
    to stop others parking next to me;

    spend ages at the till
    pretending to have difficulty
    finding the exact change
    while everyone in line behind me
    huffs and puffs in frustration.

    In short Gran, when I’m 70,
    I’m going to be just like you.

  12. MiskMask

    STEPPING ASIDE

    She’d seen more than her parents
    ever wanted. Death and two wars
    that ravaged this green and gentle
    country that she loved.

    She’d seen more than most could
    imagine, and had her parents known,
    they might have thought twice
    before bringing her into this world.

    But they didn’t, and here she stood.
    The weight of her old bones
    leaning on two walking sticks.
    She’s here to pay some bills.

    This used to be a time of chatting,
    nods and smiles as old friends
    queued at the post office
    collecting their weekly sums.

    Now a group of teenagers
    pushing one another as they laugh,
    their language fouls the air, and
    it makes her cheeks blush pink.

    She feels frightened and
    she feels small but mostly
    she feels very old and frail.
    She steps aside so they can pass.

  13. Tracy Davidson

    The 39,000 Steps

    I dreamt of a staircase
    that led from the ground
    right up to the sky
    and way out of sight.

    I dreamt you were waiting
    for me at the top,
    so I started climbing,
    two steps at a time.

    I dreamt I climbed for hours,
    but the strange thing was
    the higher I climbed
    the further away you got.

    I dreamt your voice calling
    my name, urging me on,
    wanting me to join you
    in the heavens above.

    I dreamt of your face fading
    away into the distance
    and knew I couldn’t reach you,
    however far I climbed.

    I woke, my aching head
    lying on a damp pillow,
    tears still leaking from my eyes
    and wished the pain would stop.

  14. Janet Rice Carnahan

    WHAT’S NEXT?

    Who knows?
    Go outside,
    Before you,
    Sunburn your nose!
    Which way to go?
    Come inside,
    Go down below,
    If you care to hide!
    Step quickly,
    If you choose,
    Otherwise you’ll,
    Lose your shoes!
    Climb up here,
    To see awesome heights,
    Have no fear,
    There are great sights!
    Grab the telescope,
    Aim it high,
    See? You can cope,
    Don’t deny,
    You can do,
    Whatever you try!
    Feel it,
    You can touch the sky!
    You’ve stepped into,
    Mighty big shoes,
    Here’s a crown,
    You can’t lose!
    You’re a winner,
    Not a clown,
    Just take your time,
    When you must,

    Step down!

  15. Jackie Schicker

    College Plans

    There’s the list of the schools
    And the deadlines creeping up on me
    But at last I am content with fate
    I know my next steps are being declared
    In a room full of scholars deciding.
    Deciding if I should be allowed into their club
    But my next steps when the deadlines cease
    Are going to be truly marvelous
    I am going to live a happy life
    And that over rides all of the other options
    Things will be good and I love knowing that again

  16. Walt Wojtanik

    WALKING THE TALK

                                                           Step 1 – My life had become unmanageable,
                                                           it was unimaginable that until I admitted,
                                                           I was powerless to quit it.
                                                      Step 2 – I needed to forgo my vanity,
                                                      and believe that only a Power greater
                                                      than I could restore me to sanity.
                                                 Step 3 – As I have come to understand the Power
                                                 that made me, now I dare to turn my
                                                 will and life over to His care.
                                            Step 4 – The hardest part of the story
                                            was taking a moral inventory as searching
                                            and fearless to make it somewhat painless.
                                       Step 5 – Admitting to myself is one thing, and
                                       also to another human being. Letting God make me
                                       strong allowed me to say the exact nature all my wrongs.
                                  Step 6 – My character was defective, and yet
                                  I over-protected. But I prayed
                                  for God to take the defects away.
                             Step 7 – Humility was foreign to me, but was key
                             in asking God to help prevent
                             my succumbing to my shortcomings
                        Step 8 – To all I had injured or wronged
                        through my failings, I offer amends
                        to my loved ones prevailing.
                   Step 9 – I’ve made my amends
                   directly to people wherever serious,
                   except when to do so would be injurious.
              Step 10 – Accounting for me is
              an on going struggle, and I admit to my faults
              when I fall into trouble.
         Step 11 – Through prayer and meditation I try to make
         conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of
         His will for me, and the power to carry that out
    Step 12 – Having had an awakening in a spiritual way from walking in these steps, I attempt to carry the word to others with addictions, and to live these principles in all of my transgressions.

  17. Sara McNulty

    Take A Step (Limerick)

    He was scared to take the next step
    He might prove to be inept
    So he gave up the chance
    To learn how to dance
    Now everyone calls him a shlep.

  18. Sara McNulty

    One Step Up, Two Back (Triolet)

    She did not take the proper steps
    and go through correct channels.
    She tried reasoning with Human Resource reps.
    She did not take the proper steps,
    not realizing she was out of her depth
    for admininstration oversaw this panel.
    She did not take the proper steps
    and go through correct channels.

  19. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    It falls within the "list poem" category but I don’t know about the step category. But here goes anyway…

    Allergies (a list poem)

    On Monday, I couldn’t stop sneezing
    On Tuesday, I got red, itchy eyes
    On Wednesday, I started wheezing
    On Thursday, I thought I would die
    On Friday, I developed bronchitis
    On Saturday, I wasn’t getting any better
    On Sunday, my allergies killed me
    The bastards got away with murder

    (c) jh 11/29/10

  20. Genevieve Fitzgerald

    next step (a tanka)

    The next step
    Takes you over the border
    Though you might
    Never know it
    The grass grows green on both sides
    And bends in the wind

  21. Melissa "Missy" McEwen

    "Sarah, I Don’t Ever Get No Rest"
    for Junior aka James aka Dad

    First, stop by Eartha May’s and get
    the sausages and boiled peanuts
    she brought back for me when
    she went to visit Snow and nem
    in Georgia.

    Next, go to Minnie’s and
    go round back and get me some-a
    those tomatoes from her garden.
    She said I could take whatever
    I want – peppers, tomatoes, but
    I just want the tomatoes. I got enough
    peppers.

    Then, run by Sav-Mo’ and get butter. Cabot.
    Unsalted. Stop & Shop sometimes don’t have it.
    And since Sav-Mo’ don’t got the brand
    of flour I want, go by Stop & Shop, too,
    to get it. You know the one.

    Faye said she got a bag of old
    clothes she wants to give me.
    I don’t know why she won’t
    throw it away or give it to
    The Salvation Army. I don’t want that.
    But I told her you’d come by
    and get it. I told her to tell Scotty
    to drop it off, but she said
    he needs his rest.

    And, oh, don’t forget you
    hafta drop me off at the
    convalescent home to see mama.
    Minnie gon’ bring me back
    but I don’t know for sure yet
    so I might call you to come
    pick me up.

  22. Walt Wojtanik

    ONE SMALL STEP

    American astronaut,
    Reaching for the stars, landing on the
    Moon, to walk the lunar surface. "One
    Small step for man…"
    Transmitted back to earth,
    Reaching many homes on television.
    Over the course of time, the landing has
    Never lost its
    Great allure. One giant leap for mankind.

  23. Walt Wojtanik

    NO NEXT STEP

    She carried herself as gracefully as a dancer,
    and with each step of her sad ballet, this prancer
    brought joy into every heart she touched. It enhanced her
    outlook greatly, but sadly they could provide no answer.
    Her music stopped playing the day she succumbed to cancer.

  24. Sara V

    My List

    Making my list
    Checking it twice
    Kindness, love
    No avarice
    Cookies, joys
    Christmas songs
    Green toys
    Friends, family
    Decking the tree
    Fudge, Turkey
    Apple pie
    Hugs, kisses
    Hello, good-bye
    Stuffers for Stockings
    Lots of laughings
    Christmas card
    Avoiding lard
    Each and every
    Year
    Creating memories
    To unwrap
    Next December

  25. Karen Legg

    30 poems 30 days

    After you read the announcement,
    search your conscience: will you?
    It’s like saying you’ll diet
    or call your mother every Sunday.
    You’re going to need some help
    or some guilt to make it through.

    There’s the guy who makes the prompts-
    but he doesn’t know you,
    and he has to go on even if you’re
    face down in the mud. The other
    poet-soldiers don’t even have
    your email address. You’re on

    your own for courage or persistence.
    You might try letting people know.
    Your kids, but they’ll love you anyway;
    your workmates – they might rag you
    if they know you’ve flagged. Hang up
    every poem on the end of your cubicle.

    Then just start. There are signposts
    and kisses and pretty poetry all along the way.
    Give out some atta-poets, get a few your-
    self, and pretty soon – do they say 20 days? –
    it’s a habit, an itch, almost more than
    a daily cigarette or scotch. Step, step, step.

    I print the poems on pastel paper
    and post them for anyone to read.
    I hope there’s something worthwhile there;
    but I know there’s something worth
    the while I’ve spent, O in my poetic soul,
    in poetic meditation, in my self.

  26. gambo

    BRACING UP

    IN THE COURSE OF RECOURSE
    I SEE NO BOUNDARIES
    EVERYTHIN BECOMES A RESOURCE
    ALL SITUATIONS ARE OPPORTUNITIES
    LUXURY & COMFORT BECOME NECESSITIES
    I PUT ON THE GEAR OF REFORM
    AND SEPARATE FACTS FROM FICTION
    IT MAY SEEM CRAZY TO SOME
    I ONLY LOOK INSIDE TO FIND CONVICTION
    I REPLAY MY MISTAKES FROM THE PAST
    AND WEIGH IN MY STRENGTHS
    I FIND MY WILL AT LAST
    FOR WEAKNESS CAN’T QUENCH MY THIRST
    SUCCESS IS LIKE A LADDER
    SINCE THE WAY UP IS DOWN
    I TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME
    I COMMIT TO A DAILY PLANNER (try anyways)
    FOR PLANNING IS MY FUTURE GUIDE
    "FAILURE TO PLAN EQUALS PLANNING TO FAIL"
    AND "ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY"
    BUT IT WAS BUILT EVENTUALLY
    I CARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE SAY (or think)
    FOR THEY ONLY FEAR WHAT I’D BECOME ACTUALLY

    repost. fixed some errors

  27. gambo

    BRACING UP

    IN THE COURSE OF RECOURSE
    I SEE NO BOUNDARIES
    EVERYTHIN BECOMES A RESOURCE
    ALL SITUATIONS ARE OPPORTUNITIES
    LUXURY & COMFORT BECOME NECESSITIES
    I PUT ON THE GEAR OF REFORM
    AND SEPARATE FACTS FROM FICTION
    IT MAY SEEM CRAZY TO SOME
    I ONLY LOOK INSIDE TO FIND CONVICTION
    LIFE FI REPLAY MY ROM THE PAST
    AND WEIGH IN MY STRENGTHS
    I FIND YOUR WILL AT LAST
    FOR WEAKNESS CAN’T QUENCH MY THIRST
    SUCCESS IS LIKE A LADDER
    SINCE THE WAY UP IS DOWN
    I TAKE ONE STEP @ A TIME
    COMMIT TO A DAILY PLANNER (try anyways)
    FOR PLANNING IS MY FUTURE GUIDE
    "FAILURE TO PLAN EQUALS PLANNING TO FAIL"
    AND "ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY"
    BUT IT WAS BUILT EVENTUALLY
    I CARE NOT WHAT PEOPLE SAY (or think)
    FOR THEY ONLY FEAR WHAT I’D BECOME ACTUALLY

  28. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Steps

    “I’m on the first step . . .”
    our father hollowed his voice.
    “I’m on the second step . . .”
    a note slower, deeper, nearer,
    “I’m on the third step . . .”
    we children supposed to be
    abed, our mattress-jumping
    halted, our mirth smothered,
    “I’m on the sixth step . . .”
    tugging blankets chin-ward
    bubbling giggles escaping
    “I’m on the eighth step . . .”
    this game we played fraught
    with mock terror and delight
    “I’m on the tenth step . . .”
    “I’m in the hall. I’m right
    outside your door. The knob
    is turning . . . I GOT’cha!”

    Door bursting open
    laughter exploding
    pillows sailing the air
    our father was home.

  29. Pat Jourdan

    Christmas List

    Daffodil bulbs still in a paper bag,
    forty Christmas cards
    tissue paper rustling
    against the splatter of rain on the windows.
    And, from everywhere,
    names and addresses,
    reeling in past loyalties
    and heaving us all into next year.
    I sit down and write the list
    of Christmas shopping,
    plan on getting th first bus out,
    with this list of names,
    the precious flotsam and jetsam of a life.

  30. Kyhaara

    Next:
    descending
    into certain madness
    as school begins to claim my
    soul for its own; by this, I mean
    applying for university and scholarships,
    not to mention that I still have all my school work
    to contend with. Who knows if I’ll survive? The future.

  31. Pam Winters

    Having been unable to get onto this site all day, I got the prompt second-hand–and then misremembered it. So this is actually merely a poem with steps in it. It’s a haibun I had to write for a class tonight, so I’m double-dipping. :^)

    On Not Seeing Lands End

    I love to follow the map to the end; you can’t get lost, can you? Alone, plan-less, in San Francisco, I sought the place where Maude, suffragette-dressed and holding a painted sign for Peace, falls through the earth. At ten, I saw Harold and Maude, first run; it stayed with me. Sutro Baths at Lands End, cold, nearly deserted. I made my way down levels. Somewhere, I startled a dog. Where the stone ruins of the baths stood, I interrupted a trysting couple. All fled, and the air carried a slight, chill warning. Vastness of ocean, too big to take in. Looking down, I found where they’d filled Maude’s escape hatch, sometime after filming. Not quite walking into a movie, but walking beside it. Cozy. I headed waterward–and stopped. Far short of the edge. See: when you’re me, when you’ve handled the knife, me, when Glaxo makes your stepping stones…this far, no further. Not because I’d leap, not now. Not because the monster, this biochemical snake at the base of my spine, will spring up and pull me in. No, if there were a misstep, a plummet, no one would believe how happy I’d been, standing there, alone but for the ghosts of Maude and Harold and hawkish Uncle Victor and the echoes of fucking and barking, happy. Truth: I don’t remember seeing Lands End half as much as I remember seeing my limits. I wish I could go to the edge. Still, I hold a memory:

    momentary joy
    like Maude’s yellow umbrella
    springing up from stone

  32. bc

    The next step seems obvious
    After a list of mistakes…

    First, you dated an idiot
    Second, you dated your best friend’s ex-boyfriend
    Third, you married your ex-best friend’s idiot ex-boyfriend
    Then fourthly, you had twins with your ex-best friend’s idiot ex-boyfriend
    Fifthly, you got cheated on by your ex-best friend’s idiot ex-boyfriend
    Sixthly, you divorced your ex-best friend’s idiot ex-boyfriend
    Seventhly, you started dating another idiot
    Eighthly, you went back to your ex-best friend’s idiot ex-boyfriend/your idiot ex-husband
    Ninthly, you paid for your idiot ex-husband’s new truck only to have him leave you again
    So tenth and finally, you started dating another idiot
    and I can’t help but wonder if you’ve noticed the pattern?

  33. Linda Cosgriff

    Wikidleaks

    Let’s talk about our friends
    Let’s insult our friends
    Let’s spy on our friends

    Let’s offend every citizen
    Offend every government
    Of every ally we have

    Let’s talk one way to this side
    Another way to that side
    So we can see off the side we don’t like

    Let’s help China lose face
    Muddy the Mid-East
    Make the world a more dangerous place

    Let’s forego the need to know
    For the right to know all
    While we’re at it, let’s start the next war

  34. pamela

    my footsteps

    I approach things,
    in a structured fashion
    One small increment at a time

    Though I want to rush at life
    In wide gaited strides
    Reality keeps me
    Reserved
    Cautious
    Poised

    All the while,
    I want to ramble
    Whirl around
    Fly off the mountain’s top
    Dance in the streets in silly outfits
    Sing on a bus going into town

    It’s just not my style
    So, I’ll continue on my path
    Taking one step at a time

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