2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

OMG! We’re already 60% of the way through November? C’est impossible! Even if you’re just now learning about this challenge, it’s not too late to jump in, but time is definitely running out. That said…

For today’s prompt, write an “it’s too late” poem. Nobody likes a quitter, but sometimes you have to “know when to hold them, know when to fold them…” There are times when it’s just too late, and today is the day to write that poem–before it’s too late, of course.

Here’s my attempt:


My mouth is sometimes a cloth
that wipes clean smudges and similes
like metaphors found on glass.
The past is the past, but my eyes
trigger the memories she nearly
forgot, and her smile runs across
my heart beats like line breaks
in poems I should’ve written
before she left, though maybe
I did, and they still didn’t work,
and my mouth is sometimes a cloth
that wipes clean the jagged edges
cutting black holes in my past.
Or maybe my mouth is a mouth,
and my mind just catches fire.


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Write the Life Poetic…

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376 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

  1. vsbryant1

    It’s Too Late

    It’s too late to say you love, that bridge has burned
    It’s too late to say you care, you’ve destroyed all that was earned
    It’s too late to say you need me, no that I’m battered and lying on the floor
    It’s too late to say you want me, when you’re already walking out the door

    It’s too late to ask for forgiveness, I have nothing left to give
    It’s too late to ask for my heart, it no longer beats, it only gasp
    It’s too late to ask for second chances, I’m still fighting through the pain of number five

    It’s too late
    And it’s over
    It’s too late
    And I’m done
    It’s too late
    I am stronger
    It’s too late
    I’m not a quitter, but I know when to run

  2. KathyintheWallowas

    too late

    having stomped on that opportunity
    til the glass shards shattered in full
    community with the sand and gum
    wrappers on the ground, I hereby
    declare it officially entirely too late
    for the illusions to run full tilt into
    my arms or yours or anyone’s. and
    yet, years later, there’s a chance
    to walk into life just as if nothing
    every happened, to live in this
    moment like nothing could be
    too late, and to remember that
    chance over and over and then again.

  3. Lovely Annie

    “No Place”

    No Place

    There is no place
    for this-

    soft release of my
    own self into arms
    that hold
    and just hold,

    small curl into his space
    to be seen
    to be free,

    yielding of skin
    with fear that
    has finally softened,

    as my focus melts
    his eyes and
    now I can only
    see my own.

    No, there is no place
    for this-
    lock up

    cracked and shadowed
    sanctuary of

    within me
    between us

    And I wonder
    in sadness
    in fear, in anger

    If this time

    Is the time

    to go.


  4. Benjamin Thomas

    Enduring Autumn’s Decline: The last leaf

    Knavish and brash

    resisting this change of hue

    contemplating, oppugn

    from ascended view

    enduring Autumns decline

    perpending this relentless cascade

    defiantly withstanding

    was it for this I was made?

    reflecting on the tree

    that conceived me

    of the branches that bore me

    of the limbs that nurtured me

    and bestowed life

    of the roots that upheld me

    and constantly sustained me

    to bring me to this

    horrid moment of truth

    severed from the tide of life

    broken from our organic bond

    released and cast to the earth

    a dried, crumbled misery

    a senseless withering away

  5. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    A Funny Thing Happened
    On the Way to the Party…

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    over the sound of
    the shower full bore,
    she called out to
    her tardy husband.

    “There’s casserole
    on the stove, and
    beer in the ice box,
    but for heaven’s sake
    stay out of the pie!”

    “ummm….too late,”
    he replied, wiping
    his mouth clean, then
    flattening pie surface
    with the back of his spoon.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  6. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Thoughts Occasioned by Attending a Funeral

    I went to a funeral for someone I didn’t know,
    the mother of someone I scarcely knew better,
    yet as the coffin was closed, I almost cried.

    When two of the woman’s children spread the pall
    across the casket top, my fingers could feel
    my granddaughter’s flower-embroidered death cloth.

    She lay in one of two coffins sitting
    side-by-side in the aisle, my daughter and I
    smoothing the palls above her and her brother.

    Now, we’re nearing Advent, but I recall
    a crown-of-thorns shadow three decades old
    cast upon my mother’s coffin shroud.

    Memory-swept, I found myself watching
    the priest blessing the white baptismal garb
    placed atop my baby daughter’s casket.

    Caught in that tide of thought, I was a child
    kneeling beside a rose-smothered coffin
    that held my freckle-faced little brother.

    What I recall when my father died is his head
    lying straight upon the silken pillow –
    his head that listed in life from a crooked spine.

    Today’s funeral done, my almost-tears dried
    I, being old, began to wonder about
    what memories my own funeral will generate.

  7. PSC in CT

    “If Not Now, When?”

    Once, this seemed so right,
    charmed, fairy tale enchanted; but,
    what was once magic, now muddled
    by misgivings; promissory rings
    (one on her finger, two biding
    with the ring bearer) proclaim
    only past perfect intentions;
    we dissemblers conceal uncertainty
    beneath shrouds of counterfeit joy,
    while this precept (so flawlessly final)
    ransacks our fretful ruminations:

    “…let them speak now
    or forever hold their peace…”

  8. zevd2001


    I watch the clock. I know
    you’re coming and time’s running out. If only
    I knew a way to break
    the bottle’s neck, to hold back the sand from

    flowing, yet
    it’s clear as the grains fall
    when you enter the door. All the reasons
    are gone, yet

    the bittersweet days in the sun
    watching the shadows cross the line, we
    crossed the line between what
    we wanted, and what
    we can never have. It’s over

    our footsteps carried us on the beach
    to a place that neither the sand nor the sun
    could rest easily. The day is gone,
    the night closes out, and nothing is left of
    what might have been forever.

    Zev Davis

  9. Judy Roney


    Marshmallow Santas are my heart’s desire.
    Christmas music makes a lie out of disappointments.
    We cheat cancer like a con man, shaking hands
    with the enemy when he’s cut down with lasers.
    It’s too late to get a foothold on slippery
    slopes too steep, too deep, and complicated,
    like health, mortality or faith, and who
    He is. Delusion is a grifter taking up room
    and board in this slop house of a greasy spoon.
    This health guru cooks fried chicken and bakes
    cheesecake, promises to get a grip before he kills
    us all. He’s unaware of deceptive practices.
    He only wants us to be happy and we love him for it.

  10. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 18 11-18-2011
    Write an “It’s too late” poem.

    The Early Late Show, Served with No Regrets

    Most would say it’s too late to be up,
    but I’m not most.
    I’m sitting in a theater filled with giddy girls
    and wondering women,
    sipping a peppermint mocha,
    letting the smiling beauty next to me
    snap a phone photo of the two of us.
    We’ve just come from Chili’s, party of nine,
    filling a row of Theater Six in a sixteen-plex.
    Driving an hour and a half to Marietta is pittance
    for the pleasure of my twenty-something daughter’s company,
    seeing how she is among her friends,
    remembering how we’ve read the books together
    and shared the movies,
    as we while away the minutes till the previews
    splash the screen and then grown women scream,
    (not me, I’m no “Twi-Hard,” just a mom looking
    for those mom-daughter bonding moments)
    partly shrieking for Team Jacob, partly for Team Edward, partly about the blood,
    as Part 1 Breaking Dawn begins.
    Tomorrow I’ll feel a little midnight-premiere lag,
    and I’ll carry home and always the preciousness
    of sharing time you can’t get back,
    because it’s then too late.

  11. iainspapa

    Timing Is Everyth– ‘kay, bye.

    I prob’ly shouldn’a hadda oughta
    Waited quite so long
    But you looked pretty busy with your friend
    I bought the band a round of brews
    To play your favorite song
    But couldn’t catch your eye until the end
    I tried to ask you anyway,
    “Um, would you like to dance?”
    You started to get up, then heard your phone.
    You smiled and said, “One second?”
    I said, “Babe, you missed your chance!
    This train done left the– why am I alone?”


  12. Mary Mansfield

    On Aging

    Silver hair,
    Crow’s feet, sagging breasts,
    Time’s brutal
    March goes on
    Carving away my youth, too
    Late to reverse course.

    Echoes of Regret

    Looking back,
    The unfought battle
    For his heart
    Haunts my thoughts.
    Worlds have turned, yet I still cling
    To yesterday’s ghost.

    Love’s Lost Cause

    Attempt to keep me,
    To prevent
    Without realizing that
    I left years ago.

  13. JanetRuth

    I have no idea how to insert comments beneath the poetry where I wish I could so i will simply thank everyone for the smiles, out-right laughter, sighs, the oh my’s, the wow’s, the ‘wish I’d written this’ all equaling very entertaining and thought-provoking poetry! thank-you!

  14. Cara Holman

    Fall Leaves

    When the last leaf falls
    it’s too late
    to call back summer
    or bemoan your fate.

    When the last leaf falls
    the fun’s all done
    and the rest of the year
    is on the run.

    When the last leaf falls
    you’d better move on
    and accept that summer
    is dead and gone.

    — Cara Holman

  15. Bruce Niedt

    Public Display

    Suddenly she got that sinking feeling
    as soon as she hit the key “send”,
    realized too late what she had done –
    surely her career would now end.

    It was meant as a personal e-mail,
    but it went out company-wide,
    and now no hole was deep enough
    for her to crawl in and hide.

    But the story has a happy ending,
    she wasn’t headed for a fall:
    Everyone’s nickname really was “Baby”,
    and she really did love them all.

  16. ely the eel

    Still Getting It Done

    It’s too late for perfection
    but not for forgiveness.
    It’s too late for Broadway
    but not for aliveness.

    Too old to climb mountains?
    Scale the kingdom inside you.
    Can’t see distant vistas?
    Check the beauty beside you.

    There’s a thousand good reasons,
    really easy to find,
    why it’s too late for better.
    Of course, it’s all in the mind.

    With no time for withholds,
    one must rise above them,
    find people who need you,
    find time to love them.

    It’s too late for childhood,
    of that there’s no doubt,
    so listen to children,
    learn what life’s all about.

    If one’s done their best,
    they should be pleased,
    let their goodness spread outward,
    their magic released.

    One’s time is limited.
    Heed your inner voice.
    Continue getting it done.
    It’s always your choice.

  17. De Jackson

    Split Second

    It was something about the way the
    moon gloomed down at them and the

    sway of the breeze and the mournful
    trees and the slant of his half eaten

    smile; some nuance in his fingers as
    they forgot to reach for hers, the lost

    and terrible silence in her soul and
    the burning in her heart to tumble

    words into his lap like tears, the
    fears that incarcerated her tongue

    and one cold and cracked fact:
    that some thing slight at center

    had clicked and time had ticked
    (and written)
    them off.


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