2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6

I hope everyone took advantage of Daylight Savings Time to get an extra hour of sleep last night. I know I did. Also, a quick note, because some have asked: Poets are more than welcome to jump in and start poeming along, even if they’re a day or week late to the party. The more the merrier, and you’ll still be just as qualified to send a chapbook in December. So get poeming!

For today’s prompt, write an addict poem. There are lots of possible addictions out there–some of them serious and some of them not so much. For instance, there are times when I think I’m addicted to work and pop (“pop” is what we call soda or cola in Ohio, where I was raised). Anyway, I realize today’s prompt might stir up some skeletons for some folks. For instance, I doubt I would’ve ever written my poem today without this prompt to prompt me.

Here’s my attempt:

“In the blood”

At family gatherings on my mother’s side,
I was always someone else to everyone.
You look exactly like Tommy, they’d say, meaning
my uncle Tom, who laid carpet for a living
and who raced hot rods at Kil-Kare on the weekends.
He was the spitting image of my Grandpa Fox,
a car guy himself. Even Grandma Dorothy–
near the end–mistook me for Tommy. Come closer,
she’d say, let me have one more kiss from you, Tommy.
The last time I saw him was at my mother’s house.
We’d heard through the grapevine he was into drugs now,
but he gave Mom a story of how he wanted
to turn things around (and maybe he did). First thing
he said when he saw Ben was, He looks like Robert,
which of course meant he looked like everyone else,
though I admit I’m not into cars, though I do
love to race. Like Ben, I was fast on my feet and
sometimes with my mouth. We had a good last dinner
with Uncle Tom. Over the weeks afterward, Mom
noticed things missing until finally she had
to call in the police, because her van vanished
with him behind the wheel. Every so often,
we’ll get word that he’s moved in with someone before
getting booted out. But still, when I travel to
Goodland, Indiana, on Labor Day weekend,
I hear the same thing: You look so much like Tommy.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

And tweet poetic about the challenge and poetry in general using the #novpad hashtag.


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300 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6

  1. sidewalkdiva

    suicide in slow motion

    you aren’t the same person I once knew
    depression hangs thick in your halls
    you medicate from early light
    just to make it through the day

    i long for the magic bus
    that will wait impossibly
    for you to board
    that will carry you
    to another way

  2. RJ Clarken

    Schweddy Balls

    I have a new addiction: it’s Schweddy Balls.
    I finally bought a pint and ate it all up
    but you know, it’s hard to find, which really galls
    ‘cause I crave more of this than a pint or cup.
    Rum balls and malt balls swim in rummy ice cream.
    It has a weird name, but no flavor comes close.
    Ben & Jerry’s do right with this yummy theme.
    It’s a true addiction, if you’d diagnose.
    I don’t care. I’m off to get more. Adios!


    (Note: the form is Novelinee.)

  3. vsbryant1

    Addicted to Him

    Addicted to the pain I can’t escape
    To the way he looke at me
    To the way he says my name

    Dying on the inside from all the pain
    Letting it eat at me, slowly killing me completely
    Driving me insane

    Addicted to a love I thought was the greatest thing
    Holding on to the memory or the fantasy of love’s perfect ring

    This drug is destroying me, but still I can’t leave the rain
    I inhale it, sniff it, popl it, shot it into my veins
    Addicted to him on the verge of death
    God help me…so my soul can rest…

  4. JoBella


    I desire to be a person who is dependent on God
    Devoted to the divine
    An enthusiast for the gospel
    A follower of Christ

    Not just in word, but in deed
    A practitioner
    A true believer
    A lover of all that is good
    All that is God

    I desire to be a disciple
    Enslaved by love
    Inclined toward God’s heart
    Persuaded that nothing can sever
    Me from Him


  5. PSC in CT


    We three sisters, born years apart,
    span nearly a generation in time
    (several miscarriages occurring
    between us – brothers
    never meant to be ours)

    We three share the same lineage,
    similar histories, identical house,
    yard & neighborhood, and yet,
    our respective childhoods
    remain distant, dissimilar, distinct

    First born remembers
    never bringing home friends
    for fear of what they might find:
    the old man, injured, or drunk, perhaps,
    passed out in a stupor – on any given day

    Middle child recalls
    despising Dad’s taunting and teasing,
    his pickled, pie-eyed humor, un-funny;
    gait frighteningly unsteady, as he stum-
    bled off to bed, most weekends & holidays

    Little sister recollects
    a responsible father, maker of dinner, washer of
    dishes, driver to school, vegetable gardener;
    she vehemently denies the designation,
    takes offense at the appellation: “alcoholic”

  6. Jay Sizemore

    Twelfth Step

    Does she lace her shampoo
    with opiates? Imbibing that scent
    of lavender and tree blossoms,
    flourishes into intoxication,
    a need to stay close,
    to traverse the scent-scape
    along her neck line
    like a newborn mammal
    searching for nourishment.

    Sleepless nights await me
    in her absence, withdrawal
    manifested in sweat-soaked sheets,
    twisted knots of thoughts
    that won’t stop tangling
    behind my eyes, like vines
    of thorny ivy that grow
    with supernatural speed.

    I need her to feel calm,
    to quiet that tide of volcanic magma
    that swells beneath my skin,
    to speak the words to my hands
    that make them still, a soft
    brushing of lips against flesh
    that kisses away all harm.

    Her eyes are the windows
    through which I crawl,
    to hide away from this world
    that wishes for my failure,
    a castle with walls of gold
    mined from broken promises
    and forged into a home
    that can never be sold
    as long as the door stays open.

  7. Glory

    Addicted Too . . .

    thick, dark chocolate,
    spiced with mint or
    sandwiched with cream.

    Orange delight,
    almond pasted
    with velvet smoothness.

    All meltingly decadent,
    on eager tongue.
    Pleasure replete – by chocolate

  8. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Powered by Java
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Pretty much my whole damn life
    has been powered by “java”
    (the cigarette of the coffee bean underworld).
    It started about age seven,
    romancing me from behind
    my father’s newspaper
    with it’s sweet aroma,
    all sugary and creamy brown.
    But Mother was quick to
    crush that romance,
    “You’re too young,” she said,
    “It’ll stunt your growth.”
    By age twelve
    I became a walking breathalyzer,
    able to detect alcohol, mints,
    and java breath.
    “You’re a natural!” my Grandfather teased.
    By the time sweet sixteen rolled around,
    I was already in the back seat
    with Juan Valdez and his gourmet beans,
    his everything Columbian on my lips day & night.
    Try as I might, I couldn’t stop.
    “Better take care,” warned my Doctor.
    By thirty, my habit had grown
    to double-shot espresso’s,
    doughnuts and Starbucks stock.
    It didn’t matter.
    Birthdays, Holidays, Vacations, Everydays
    was all about mochas, lattes, & cappuccinos.
    On the morning of my sleep-deprived fiftieth,
    my beloved said “You’re too jittery, better go have a looksee.”
    After a battery of tests
    (followed by a 20-cup-a-day confessional)
    the Doctor concluded, “You have a nasty Caffeine addiction to break.”
    Ten more years ensued of gums, patches, and special filters
    until I finally broke it’s supernatural hold over me.
    Well, better let me rephrase that,
    until the Earl of Grey came to town…..

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  9. writejowrite

    In My Blood

    I smell you, I taste you
    Like berries on a vine
    I drink in the essence that is you
    I can’t get enough
    Night comes but I can’t sleep
    No need to wake me
    Waiting for you
    Like food to the hungry
    Like water to the thirsty
    Like love to the lonely
    I shake with the lack of you
    I cry from desperation
    My addiction knows no end
    You are cruel to leave me wanting
    You are cruel, but I’m still waiting…

  10. vperson

    A Donut’s Veracity

    Come, delight yourself in me
    Sink your teeth into my doughy flesh
    Chew your way through
    My icing to ecstasy

    You know you want to
    Beside, it’s just once

    Just today

    You can start your diet

    One glazed ring is not going to hurt;
    You take the fish oil pills
    like an algebraic equation.
    Both sides will cancel each other out:
    Fish oil pills negate Krispy Kreme donuts

    Calories in, calories out? What kind of voodoo math is that?
    Beside, you only have so many days when
    You can eat me.
    After the surgery, it’s goodbye
    We will never meet again;
    no more savoring each bite of
    fried goodness,
    no more sugar orgasm
    no more food of the gods

    So go ahead:
    Ravage me
    You may be sorry later but
    It’s all sugar now, sweetie.

  11. JujYFru1T


    Three years ago you stole my heart
    I’ve been trying to retrieve it ever since
    You have more hearts than anyone
    could ever want
    Why do you need mine?
    Not that I want it back
    This longing has plugged the hole so well
    I’d probably feel empty without it
    Now my heart wouldn’t fit inside me
    the way it used to, I’m sure
    You’ve left your marks all over it
    but you have no idea
    Not an inkling
    of how your name is seared into my forehead
    because you’re living rent-free in my brain
    You have no idea
    how I hate to love you
    how you lurk in (nearly) everything I write
    It’s bad enough that you stole my heart
    The least you could do
    is give me back my originality

  12. foodpoet

    Family Ties

    Family addictions are
    Endless and corrosive.
    Dad drank to avoid endless pain.

    This ripples into today.
    I still cork the bottle after
    A single glass
    Afraid that the feel, taste
    On the tongue, mind
    Would grow to consume me.

    It took 30 years
    Before I would buy
    More than one bottle
    At a time
    Sure that I would
    Only want

    I now only wish I had more
    Time to share with you.

  13. foodpoet

    Addicted to words
    Drawn to write verse
    Day after day
    I toil a 9 to 5 shackled job
    Counting time down to
    The evening and release of words

    untitled for now

  14. Iain Douglas Kemp

    The Thirst

    The craving never ceases
    the search for more
    and more
    and more
    there can be no end
    there can be no cessation
    there must never be any let up
    there must never be an end
    to the fulfillment
    to the ingestion
    to the thirst
    for knowledge


  15. onemanbandwidth


    If you were a toddler struck by a hit and run driver

    I would leave you on the side of the road

    If you were a Nobel Peace Laureate

    I’d lock you in a cage

    If you were a blind human rights lawyer

    I’d beat you and confine you to home

    If you were a performance artist I’d disappear you

    If you were a sleek new train

    I’d derail you on a bridge into a rain-drenched night

    If you were a school I’d shake your flimsy walls

    Until they fell into the deep mud

    And if you were a mother it is there I would

    Suffocate your only child

    See what you make me do?

  16. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 6 11-6-2011

    Write an addict poem.

    Through the Wrapper

    I could smell the pungent darkness.
    Inhaling again, I swept the bar
    into my buggy.

    A bargain at three dollars,
    still, it wasn’t 72 or even 70 per cent,
    but a mere six-oh.

    Bad choice–my addiction to cheap
    beat out my addiction
    to the best dark chocolate.

  17. seingraham

    Unabashed Bibliophile

    Even as I try to down-size
    With a view to moving
    Into a much smaller place
    I find it almost impossible
    To sort through and toss
    Any of our hundreds,
    Perhaps thousands – of books

    Equally am I unable, it seems
    To resist the lure of bookstores
    All types – local private ones
    That I feel a responsibility
    To support; chains that,
    Let’s face it, are just too enticing
    With their stacks in the windows
    and deals galore
    And let’s not even talk about
    The places that sell the gently used …

    All my life I’ve suffered,
    —if you can call it suffering,
    it seems so pleasurable —
    From an addiction to books
    All types and sizes – from tiny to huge;
    Hard cover to paperback –
    Everything about them excites me,
    There is nothing to equal a book
    The smell of the paper and ink;
    The sound when you riffle the pages
    or crack the spine
    The feel of hefting one,
    or any number of tomes
    Is it any wonder I count them
    Amongst my dearest friends
    And cannot imagine parting
    With any one of them?

  18. pblacksaw

    Beloved Thou Art Gone

    Hot tears break and burn
    thoughts of bitter things
    Solitude smothers
    empty broken vows
    Is it love that I have known
    Lonesome nightingales sing


    I did read over the rules again today but I still haven’t a clue as to where we will send our manuscript? and is it a printed copy or will it be sent via e-mail? .. please don’t think me addled… but the rules don’t say or at least my addled eyes didn’t see it.. and yes I am new to this whole thing..

  19. pblacksaw

    Beloved Thou Art Gone

    Hot tears break and burn
    thoughts of bitter things
    Solitude smothers
    empty broken vows
    Is it love that I have known
    Lonesome nightingales sing


    I did read over the rules again today but I still haven’t a clue as to where we will send our manuscript? and is it a printed copy or will it be sent via e-mail? .. please don’t think me addled.. lol.. but the rules don’t say or at least my addled eyes didn’t see it.. and yes I am new to this whole thing..

  20. Celestialdrmr

    Personality Psychosis of the M-I-L

    On the phone
    At the door
    Each function
    Not sanctioned by her
    Nor invited
    In your ear
    In your hair
    Creeping deep in the gut
    Does not matter where
    Gossiping, intruding
    Coveting lives
    As long as it’s not hers
    Queen Amoeba
    Consumes all that is familiar,
    Putrid contagion
    Refusing the soil
    The world Will arm
    Themselves with herbs
    Glorious day that will be your last.

  21. Celestialdrmr

    Busy Addiction
    From first glimpse of sun
    Eyes open
    Tick, tick, tick, tick
    Like a time bomb
    Ready set…….i’m off
    Without a blink
    Here, there, everywhere
    No stopping
    No time for food
    Well, maybe some caffeine
    Have to focus
    Have to do this and that,
    Such a thrill
    To mark each task off
    Oh, there’s more, Let’s go
    No sitting down,
    No thank you, really
    Why can’t you see?
    Family Work School Friends
    And thinking about that committee,
    Making a difference
    Feeling the thrill
    Sleep is overrated,
    Holidays, no exception to the rule
    Cleaning, baking, hosting
    Nope, still not allowed to sit,
    You sit, you sleep
    Sleep doesn’t accomplish
    Sleep won’t appraise
    Just, gets in the way,
    Possessed of being motivated
    While those that sit and gab
    About their thoughts,
    What should and should not be
    Life gives choices
    Once you’ve ignited
    The drive, no way
    To stop it,
    so here I go
    finish this line

  22. NomiWrites

    Yesterday’s poem on too much TV would also work here


    I’m not a hoarder, people tell me,
    Yet I know
    How hard it is to lift even one piece of paper
    And move it from here to there
    Especially if there is the garbage

    I don’t have a closet overflowing with clothes
    Yet I know
    How important it is to have that new coffeemaker
    That makes just one cup
    To sit alongside the one that makes 10 cups and
    The one that makes enough for a meeting I’ll never hold

    I easily toss out yesterday’s newspaper
    Yet I know
    How old mail clings to your soul
    Rejection letters, love letters, even bills
    Archaeology of a life
    A history so easily forgotten

    The amount of stuff that has passed through my hands
    Into someone else’s life
    Can fill several dump trucks of hopes and dreams

    The dream was never in the thing
    The dream floats formless, beyond possessions
    Whether I have that gossamer dress or the coral lipstick
    I still have my dreams
    And, oddly, they never are about stuff

  23. Tracy Davidson

    The Cure

    He says he can’t help himself,
    that he’s a sex addict,
    at the mercy of urges
    he cannot control
    or be held accountable for.

    I say I can help him with that.
    He smiles in relief,
    thinking I’ve bought
    his pitiful excuse,
    thinking I’ve forgiven him.

    I reach for the garden shears…

  24. Sibella

    Everyone’s Favorite Drunk

    So many things we celebrate:
    His wit, his laugh, his Famous Grouse.
    So many things we tolerate.

    His wit, his laugh, his Famous Grouse
    he’ll share with us on holidays,
    in Monday coffee, in a Coke.

    In Monday coffee, in his Coke.
    In surreptitious lunchtime sips.
    His Thermos always at his side.

    The Grouse lives in the bottom drawer.
    His desk is always organized.
    He’s always careful, on the clock.

    Above his desk, so organized,
    A clock we gave him, face inscribed:
    I count only happy hours.

    It took so long to realize.
    He never was a stumblebum,
    just everybody’s office pal.

    He got it done, he even shone.
    His eyes were maybe sometimes red.
    We held hands as we walked the edge.

    The note about the wake made clear:
    We all could laugh without it, still.

    Off hours, regrets: What might have served
    to save him from his final fate?
    So much that we still celebrate.
    So much we learned to tolerate.

    Pamela Murray Winters

  25. justastatistic-poet

    In shadows dwell senses alive,
    Casting blinded burning eyes,
    Silence lilting lonely leaves,
    By moonlight faded fortune weaves,
    Your bewitching eyes they drew me near,
    Soul soaring as you appear,
    In darkness in love I entered you,
    When finished I’d cry and you cried too,
    My heart seared my soul burned through,
    My life and more I gave for you,
    Taught you to read and write and count,
    And paid your debts though growing mount,
    I tried so hard to habits break,
    Your life I knew so much at stake,
    But though you loved me to the core,
    There was stuff you needed more,
    Oh sweet damaged darling stay,
    Instead slip further further away,
    Now hopeless raging wretched I be,
    Addiction… stole… my… love… from… me…..

  26. Mariya Koleva

    I was away w/out I-net or PC for 3 days, so I come in a bit late, but here it is: an addict poem
    this sun above will always shine
    and we will be forever glued
    to gaze at its beginnings
    and its endings,
    without a thought to miss
    just one or two
    as I’m addicted hopelessly to you.

    © 2011 Mariya Koleva

  27. PKP

    The Real Deal

    They use it as anything goes
    For boyfriends and Oreos
    Shopping and reality shows
    Mani’s and pedi’s, music from Bose
    They use it as anything goes
    Though boyfriends, cookies,
    Shopping, mani’s, pedi’s and blaring the Bose
    Laugh light the innocents the stench still far from their nose

  28. ina

    What he wanted

    Each breath writes on
    the air that all he wants
    is one more breath,
    one more moment,
    but each breath grows
    feebler though the want never
    does and eventually
    there is the last breath
    and then no breath at all.

  29. Buddah Moskowitz

    (it’s still before midnight on the West Coast, so here you go)

    A Predictable Headache

    She is a beautiful,
    tragic corpse
    these days,

    but I can recall
    halcyon days
    just her and me

    riding the highways
    no map
    no empty pockets.

    We just kept calling
    out to each other
    and we kept answering
    “sure, why not?’

    It was only after
    many, many nights

    did I sense her

    and the part of her
    that came alive
    from my touch
    became perfunctory

    a dull routine
    a predictable

    I said goodbye
    and divorced her
    very publicly
    to help gird my decision

    and while some doubted
    her sway over me,

    I knew the truth,

    and I still visit her
    in the liquor aisle
    of the grocery

    almost smug
    at my 21 years
    of sobriety,

    but still
    afraid to
    step back into
    her embrace.


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