2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

Today is 11/11/11, so today’s prompt is to write a poem involving math and/or numbers (I realize the higher you go in math the more abstract it gets). Anyway, have fun poeming today, because we won’t get to all meet up here again on 11/11/11 for another 100 years.

Here’s my attempt:

“11 Ways to Write a Poem”

One, find a metaphor hiding behind
a school bus. Two, tell the truth, or three, lie.
Four, paint a picture with words. Five, haiku.
Six, remind your readers you have the blues
in confessional voice. Seven, write form
poems that explain you’re a thunderstorm
of bad intent. For eight, experiment.
Nine, apologize for meanings not meant.
Ten, remind your readers apologist
poetry ain’t your thing. Then, make a list.


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273 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

  1. vsbryant1


    Never again in 100 years
    12 days before my birthday

    11/11/11 = 6
    11/23/11 = 10

    Divided in 1/2 = 8
    Then there’s 4
    Next comes 2
    Break that apart 1 sees you

    No idea what any of these means, I just like numbers that eventually goes back to 1
    And wanted everyone to know my birthday was is 12 days

  2. alana sherman

    Day 11

    Catching Up

    Days 6 & 8
    10, 11, 12
    not done.

    Days 14, 16,
    18, 19, 20
    not done.

    all the rsst
    except for 25 & 26
    done…poems accomplished.

    Skipping around-
    it’s a little bit
    like hopscotch

    Wait…this is # 11.
    How many left?
    15!! I’m 1/2 way finished.

    This is like some
    time and motion problem
    haunting me from 9th grade

    If a train leav a station
    at 2pm on Nov. 1st
    and another train leaves

    from the west coast
    going as fast as it can,
    Will I ever catch up?

  3. Joseph Harker

    Into Ezeiza

    From the air, the Plata’s muddy mouth,
    spread with a long ahh, seems to stretch into its own sea.
    My statistics are practical ones: too wide to swim,
    too long to row. So we cross by plane, looking down at
    rumpled tannic water; and though there are
    blue-black cables looping down its banks,
    the Plata’s thick clouds will not be defeated. Here are
    things I know:

    thirteen million souls, give or take;
    four pesos to the dollar, more or less;
    five hundred colonial years of practice. Or nearly. We are
    imprecise in the face of grandeur, and I am also
    difficult to impress. So when
    the slow bristled quilt of the city unrolls beneath us,
    it is something to say

    I am lost for numbers. It is necessary instead
    to rely on the press of shape and color:
    terra cotta tiled roofs as populous as ants,
    jacarandas finishing in countless flecks of spring evening fog,
    asphalt onramps making Q’s on these pages of unending,
    indecipherable text. A mathematical mind
    serves no purpose when sunken into this glory
    that takes hold of you with tall fingers (apartment blocks,
    tipas, towers) and gently drags. We come
    low over the poorer barrios for our landing:

    they will charge one hundred forty dollars
    upon entry. I will pay it gladly: and after that, I will
    forswear all numbers
    in favor of being lost in the snarling Platense tide,
    in favor of moving and wandering,
    halfway down into the light.

  4. Nikolas Varek

    Ode to ÷2

    My life is sad and lonely;
    I’m not sure what to do.
    Whatever stands before me
    is promptly sliced in two.

    I might merely be clumsy;
    perhaps I have a curse.
    But when I follow something,
    it’s less, and therefore worse.

    A pair turns solitary
    yet I performed no tricks.
    A dozen eggs are swiftly
    cut down to merely six.

    You’re sad about eight planets?
    With me, there’s only four.
    Enjoy your seven wonders,
    as 3.5’s a bore.

    Can’t drive down Route 66;
    I’m stuck with 33.
    And 20/20 vision
    is just 10/10 for me.

    I’m destined to be lonely;
    There’s nothing I can do.
    My only consolation:
    at least I still halve you.

  5. Judy Roney

    A Day to Remember

    Eleven, Eleven, Eleven
    at eleven:eleven a.m.
    A day I won’t repeat
    in my lifetime.
    Only look back on,
    remember where I was.

    I was beside my husband
    while he slept, checking
    for fever or any change,
    wondering if I’d notice
    something important,
    something that went awry.

    This day has become
    a day I want to forget.
    The day after his surgery.
    The day we heard cancer
    applied to our life.

  6. Celestialdrmr

    November Snow

    day of
    November a
    snowflake fell on my
    cheek, looking up, counting
    a galaxy of glittering dancers,
    falling to remind me, count
    your blessings dear
    before they

  7. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Thirty Pieces of Silver
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    When I was seven, my family would drive miles across the desert flats of northern Arizona to various destinations. It was on these outings that I would beg my father to sing. You must understand he was an intensely private man, so on the rare occasions that he would oblige me, it was considerably a big deal. I loved the sound of his singing voice, the tone of which was not at all like his regular speaking voice. My father was not a large man, but when he sang, it was a surprising deep baritone pitch that you’d swore was coming from someone the size of a grizzly bear. Four of us crammed in a tinny Datsun pickup, I would lay my head against my father’s right shoulder as he drove and just let the song reverberate deep within his lungs across my young face. It had a beautiful warmth that made me feel safe and protected and incredibly proud.

    His song repertoire was not extensive, (“Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart”) but the conviction with what he sang acapella more than made up for it. My favorite by far was an old gospel tune, not for the lyrics per se, but more for the way it sounded whenever he sang it. I imagined my father on a grand darkened stage somewhere, a spotlight baking his balding head, his voice echoing serious and forlorn…. “Thirty pieces of silver, Thirty shekels of shame, was the price paid for Jesus, on the cross he was slain.”

    Fifteen years later, I would marry a man who would likewise, sing solely for me.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  8. Sibella

    This Fellow Who Thinks I Doubt My Poems Too Much

    He says
    If you have 50 poems, you have a book.
    Is this based on my age—
    a poem per year? Is it
    some numerology thing
    or publisher’s tradition?

    Of those 50, what if
    17 should never have been born,
    20 need intensive revision,
    4 reveal my need for psychotherapy,
    1 is accidentally plagiarized?

    I’d settle for 8 decent ones right now,
    8 finished ones.
    Or 5.
    Or 2.

    Pamela Murray Winters

  9. Anita Murphy

    A Child

    Gentle with his persistent smile
    Born eleven, eleven, eighty eight
    Divide by eight and
    remember the day, his birthday
    eleven, eleven, eleven.
    A birthday for my son and
    a remembered day
    Free to enjoy
    Eleven, eleven, eleven
    How do I? So many sons
    Celebrate his birthday and remember none
    A contradiction in my brain to
    celebrate a birthday and remember death.

  10. RJ Clarken

    The Square Root of Misinterpretation

    A dividend’s the derriere
    of ‘divids.’ And if you should care

    a logarithm’s known to be
    a beat that’s kept by every tree.

    A tangent is a dude whose hide
    had nada SPF applied.

    Trinomials are folks who claim
    three monikers (that word means ‘name.’)

    And triangles one calls ‘oblique’
    are gifted with a great physique.

    An ordered pair, is pre-arranged
    with math or marriage vows exchanged.

    Radius? Objective, see?
    Subjective case is Radiwe.

    If you find math is not a plus,
    …please stay polite. Don’t abacus.


  11. NomiWrites

    Zeroes and Ones

    They say large numbers become meaningless
    Commas and zeroes traipse across the page
    A trillion has more of them than a billion
    More of nothing leads to so much more

    My life is measured in tiny numbers
    Hours in a day, minutes in an hour
    But time cannot be marked down
    Only lived through
    Zeroes and ones across the days I have known

    The moment we met cannot be found on any calendar
    I carry it around within me
    A one to hold against all the zeroes

    Zeroes return
    The time between phone calls
    Billions of empty moments
    Zeroes waiting to become a one with the ring of a phone

    The day after the wedding
    Waking next to the person
    I had agreed to spend the next billion trillion days with
    The empty feeling that life had gone awry
    And I was grasping at zeroes

    So many zeroes on the day we broke up
    Billions and trillions of seconds
    Filled with the nothingness of being alone

    A line of portholes parades along the side of the ship
    Plane window zeroes run from pilot to tail
    Travel takes you to other places
    But you are always the one who arrives
    Carrying your zeroes with you

    We communicate in ones and zeroes
    Binary on and off
    Carry our messages as if they had substance

    The leap from zero to one
    From zygote to fetus
    Requires mystery and the unknown hidden only in the void

    When zeroes get together, they really aren’t there
    A line of ones gets longer, points in space
    The coming together of the forces inherent in the void
    Two ones merge, but never become two
    Their product, their progeny
    Is still a one, emerging from the void
    There is no such thing as two
    Two separate ones are still ones, and two merged ones are one

  12. annell

    The Journey in Numbers

    On the first day

    I will prepare

    Gather all I need

    Two, one, three

    Make a plan

    Six, four, five

    The second day

    Will be for dreaming

    On the third

    I begin on the trail

    Three, two, one

    Enjoying each step

    Five, four, six

    On the fourth day

    I will check my map

    The fifth will find me

    In a new place

    One, one, two

    All will glitter around me

    Six, four, five

    The sixth day

    A list of all I see

    The seventh

    I will rest in tall grasses

    Scatter the numbers before me

    Put them in order

    Give thanks

    For the journey thus far

    One, two, three

    Four, five, six

  13. Deb Fennell

    Seven Down
    I was on a roll. A poem a day.
    Then. What happened?
    I had seven all written.
    Was it eleven-eleven-eleven?
    I got off track before that.
    Seven days. That is my limit.
    Then I get distracted.
    Now I am writing five all at once.
    Which way is better I wonder?
    One a day, slow and steady.
    Or a manic episode of five in a row.
    Math would say it does not matter.
    As long as seven and five make twelve
    instead of eleven.
    Prove your truth.
    Get the answer.
    Why did I decide I like English
    Better than math, anyway?

  14. JoBella

    A Numbers Sestina

    Some things are meant for only one
    Couples are required to be two
    A triangle has angles, three
    Fingers on a hand are four
    Add a thumb for a fist, five
    Half a dozen is a carton of six

    Hotdog buns with two missing is six
    A sun for our earth, just one
    A bill with Lincoln, that’s five
    Buckle my shoe, say two
    Knock on the door, say four
    Wheels on a tricycle, three

    Legs on a tripod, three
    Pick up sticks, that’s six
    A double date would be four
    A lonely number, that’s one
    A pair of shoes, that’s two
    Golden rings at Christmas, five

    Arms on a starfish, five
    A couple plus me, that’s three
    Socks for the shoes would be two
    A pack of soda would have six
    Me? Well, there’s only one
    Sides of a square would be four

    My arms and legs make four
    Toes in a half pedicure are five
    The first is called number one
    Singers in a trio, three
    Legs on an insect, six
    Sleeves on a shirt, two

    Legs on pants, there are two
    Legs on dogs, there are four
    A guitar with strings, count six
    Rhymes with hive, that’s five
    Goldilocks and the bears, three
    The first, the best, it’s one

    Three people and six cookies, they’d each get two
    Turn a dollar into quarters, you’d have four
    Gimme five, take two, you ‘re left with three

  15. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Morbid Math

    That’s what my son-in-law called it.
    I’d asked his advice about
    which life insurance I should buy.

    Having reached the venerable age
    of seventy, I discovered
    my life insurance payout decreased.

    I didn’t die soon enough, I guess.
    Since it’s “term life,”
    I still pay half but only get one tenth.

    What’s worse, those cemetery plots
    I have already paid for
    are located five hundred miles away.

    The expression, “Buyer’s remorse,”
    seems remarkably apt
    in these particular circumstances.

    In jest, I’ve told my family members
    and friends, “I own the plot.
    Just drape my remains across the top.”

    Otherwise, they’ll pay for the grave
    to be opened. But I suspect
    some law likely prevents my solution.

    I didn’t think of cremation when
    I was grave shopping.
    In my family, no one’s done it yet.

    But now I wonder if my remains
    could just be heated up
    and sprinkled over that location.

    Probably not. Not much profit there
    for burial purveyors.
    They’d round up all their lawyers.

    Thus, my quandary. Should I buy
    insurance, a burial plan,
    or auction off a couple grave sites?

  16. seingraham

    Numerical Elegance

    “Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics – I can assure you mine are still greater.”
    Albert Einstein

    Reading and writing and arithmetic – two out of three’s not bad
    At least that’s how I used to think about it, especially
    As the two – reading and writing – were ever so rewarding
    And arithmetic – way back then – was so not

    Conditioned to think I was math-challenged by dint of gender
    “Girls can’t do math – but it doesn’t matter …”
    I happily ignored the need for Algebra, Trig, and Geometry etc.
    Until I married my engineer husband and even then
    As much as I admired his prowess – I didn’t want it for myself

    Occasionally, my love would try to persuade me to appreciate
    What he calls the elegance of mathematics, but my aversion
    Was deep-seated and it wasn’t until we had children – both girls
    That I decided to take a hard look at my knee-jerk reaction
    To all things numerical – especially as our first born proved
    To have a natural aptitude for anything mathematical …

    Unfortunately, my math phobia was passed to our youngest
    A fact I didn’t realize until long after the fact
    Fortunately for her, once she realized practical applications
    For formulae and logistics, she overcame her fear
    Enough to get a degree and become a financial advisor
    Her life is all about numbers actually, and actuarially

    For my part, I found, and find, myself becoming increasingly fascinated
    By numbers that coincide with art – things like the Fibonacci sequence
    Or DaVinci’s take on the Vitruvian man, or the Pythagorean idea …
    Not to mention what math means to poets – given the importance
    Of rhyme and meter, stress and flow, stanzas and free-verse
    No matter how slight or great – all of it can be traced back
    To numerical as well as artistic foundations

    I may never fully embrace pure math but I will admit now
    There is a certain elegance to numbers I’ve come to admire

  17. Iain Douglas Kemp


    Twelve reasons to love you
    Eleven reasons to hate you
    Ten reasons to judge you
    Nine reasons to forgive you
    Eight reasons to help you
    Seven reasons to abandon you
    Six reasons to forget you
    Five reasons to remember you
    Four reasons to laugh for you
    Three reasons to cry for you
    Two reasons to live for you
    One reason to die for you


  18. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 11 11-11-2011
    Write a numbers or math poem.

    How Useful Numbers

    Book in the Bible
    Way to identify an athlete on court or playing field
    Population census
    Amount added to recipe
    Distance to nearest mall
    What’s owed for utilities
    Dollars in bank account
    Ounces in the box, chips in a serving
    How many cats curled in a chair
    Place settings for Thanksgiving table
    Sweet potatoes counted for candied yams
    Bills due by end of week
    Days this laptop can carry on
    Minutes left to do to-do list for today
    Items on said to-do list
    People that matter most to me on earth

  19. Michelle Hed


    Time has ceased to exist –
    I no longer count minutes, hours, days or years
    but live only in the moment.

    Eventually time will resume
    but that time is not today
    and right now,
    I glory in the liberation of
    timeless living.

  20. Mary Mansfield

    Seven Snapshots

    One kiss.

    Two hearts.

    Three whispered words.

    Four delighted grandparents.

    Five years of deployments, waiting, and homecomings.

    Six men in black in a somber parade with a flag-draped casket.

    Seven rifles, each fired three times, a final salute to the hero of her heart.


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