2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

Before you jump into today’s prompt, please check out this WD Poetic Form Challenge: Tanka post. Every month or so, I offer a poetic form challenge that usually has a quick turnaround time, but the winning poem and poet is featured in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. And it’s completely free to participate! Click to continue.

For today’s prompt, write an unlucky poem. Today is Friday the 13th, and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to wax poetic about anything and everything unlucky.

Here’s my attempt:

“Lovesick B.”

My baby said yes
when I was saying no;
she said speed up
when I was going slow;
my girl wanted space
when I finally had room;
she swept me away
and handed me the broom.


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325 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 13

  1. De Jackson

    Non Bon

    Your ship came in today
            you say,
    Your voyage begins
            without delay.

    I saw the deck,
    I smell the sea.

    Lucky you.
                                 Unlucky me.

  2. Jaywig

    Day 13 – unlucky

    1. that bloated kangaroo
    beside the freeway
    victim of dusk and speeding
    2. the white cat stretched
    taut on skinny branches
    sent flying by irate
    3. passionfruit vine I
    continue to pull off
    the bushes it uses
    for life support
    4. the stinky-bug nursery
    disturbed when compost bin lid
    is lifted
    5. the foxtail bush
    overwhelmed by rampant
    grevillea growth
    6. old webs and sentinel
    spiders I sweep
    from eaves
    7. the magpie that just had to
    grab one more morsel
    off the tarred road
    and became carrion
    8. the fox that tried to
    cross the road lit by
    9. the multitudes of children
    in the Congo catching
    10. people born on islands
    being swallowed by the sea
    11. my favourite footy team
    beaten tonight
    12. women and children
    sold and stolen
    for sex
    13. the number thirteen

  3. Ber

    Should of stayed in Bed

    If luck was something to be had
    I no this day will turn out bad
    For its Friday the 13th you see
    It is never that good for me

    I wake up and bang my head
    Off the knob on the bed
    As my feet hit the floor
    He lets out a snore
    The noise it makes me jump of my skin

    He turns around happy
    Smiling he grins
    I look at him with one of my looks
    His eyes closed tight
    Together like hooks

    As I look to myself in the mirror
    I feel like a dog’s dinner
    Washing my face to refresh my mind
    Oh no here it comes
    I pull down the blind

    Stepping my way down the stairs
    Feeling the nerves the hairs on my neck
    What will happen now?
    I proclaim
    It’s all looking good
    When bang goes the door
    I feel myself jump
    A mile off the floor

    On I go everything is going fine
    Until I put the washing on the line
    Then snap it goes
    Its all on the ground
    The dog is rolling around in it
    While I standing shouting at him
    Having a lunatic fit

    So I sit and sob at the table
    I try to gather myself
    What more can happen?
    He is still up in bed napping
    So as I attempt to join the outside world

    I walk along I am doing fine
    I am proud
    When out of no where as I turn to see
    A car drives by a massive puddle
    Drowning me
    I am wet, fed up
    Beyond despair
    My new hair do
    Is replaces with dirty curly hair

  4. PKP

    Tom “Luck-Of-The-Draw”

    He wandered through
    His life, from boyhood
    Picked last for every team
    holes sprung in candy filled
    pockets from a suddenly unsewn seam
    smilingly he wandered through
    boyhood to the dawning march of
    hapless years as a pimple sprouting teen
    packing on waddled poundage from tiny plated salads
    while all about him clear skinned youths ran pizza-stuffed sinewed lean
    His mother smiled kindly said it was nothing ” just the luck of the so-called draw”
    He tended to agree until at forty-four finally smiling at the altar
    His Maggie Bridey handcuffed, and carried as she nearly reached him, caught in the long arms of the law
    All this before the town assembled in their fineried shining best
    Tom Luck- Of -The -Draw stopped his gentle smiling, pulled a pearl handed gun pressed against his chest
    “I’m sorry ” he mouthed to his mother in her pale blue shantung suit sitting in first row
    Of course to no one but him the tepid misfired click came as no surprise to all there in the Tom-wayed know
    Yet, he turned, awakened – his life transformed as a suddenly inspired model of good natured resiliency
    Straightened back his shoulders, took one, then two steps forward, tripped on a camera wire he did not see
    And lurched onto the unforgiving paving stones – as an egg shell cracked his whacked hard hapless head
    Doc Williams, who into this world announced his birth so long ago, knelt to pronounce Tom stone cold dead

  5. De Jackson

    Of All the Luck

    I accidentally walked
    under a ladder on my
    way to your house to
    -day but then I found
    a penny (heads)and
    I’m quite sure mama
    always said they can
    -cel each other out. So
    here I am on my way
    to you with absolutel
    -ly no dumb luck at all.

    1. De Jackson

      Aaack. Pllllllt. “Of all the luck,” indeed. Typo. Here it is, corrected:

      Of All the Luck

      I accidentally walked
      under a ladder on my
      way to your house to
      -day but then I found
      a penny (heads) and
      I’m quite sure mama
      always said they can
      -cel each other out. So
      here I am on my way
      to you with absolute
      -ly no dumb luck at all.

  6. RJ Clarken

    Luck Defenestration

    “It is bad luck to fall out of a thirteenth story window on Friday.” ~American Proverb

    “I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?” ~Jean Cocteau

    I wish my team would win. (It won’t.)
    I wish you’d leave, but no you don’t.
    I wonder why those I abhor
    in final seconds, somehow score.

    I interviewed. A new career?
    Nope! Didn’t get the job, I hear.
    I wonder why those I abhor
    in final seconds, somehow score.

    Some get the guy or girl (or cat)
    but I get zilch. What’s up with that?
    I wonder why those I abhor
    in final seconds, somehow score.

    I’d be the one to rearrange
    the desk chairs on Titanic. Strange?
    Well, not for me. I’d do that chore
    but just for once, I’d like to score.


  7. Jane Shlensky

    Surviving Luck

    “Make your own luck”—
    we all remembered his saying,
    as he debunked black cats,
    ladders, rings around the moon,
    and Fridays landing on thirteen.
    We reminisced about how
    our worst decisions became
    comedies of errors and bright
    good fortune, if only we could
    survive them, then we dropped
    handfuls of soil into his grave,
    trying not to stumble on uneven
    ground back to our cars and
    lucky lives. Nobody wanted
    the recipe he used to make
    this last batch of luck.

  8. Nancy Posey


    Not one to admit her superstitions,
    she still circumvented ladders,
    shuddered at a black cat’s crossing,
    stockpiled four-leaf clovers,
    pressed inside the pages of her books,
    as if they might ward off disasters
    she had come to dread. Unexpected
    joy left her wary, waiting for sorrow
    to come in its wake. Each gift,
    she felt, left her more open to loss,
    until she found a love so true
    he taught her to see her own beauty
    reflected even in a broken mirror.

  9. cindishipley

    The heat beats down on the back of my
    head and salty perspiration from my
    upper lip drips into my mouth.
    I hug my son’s gun, I kiss it; hot
    hard steel, with the smell of
    strangely sweet oil.
    This tall and thick machine
    will guard my son. My grief
    is loud inside me. My son sighs in
    remorse for my sadness.

  10. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Well Mon brave, a serious amount of
    green was earnt yesterday and here we are at
    last. Lucky old me! Home opener weekend and the harpies
    out of town! Yep! the only unlucky people this weekend are
    Jimmy the Greek, the good people of Atlanta and those
    no-good As who are gonna get their butts kicked all the
    way back to Anaheim! I’m short and to the point this fine
    Friday 13th my Queens-dwelling friend as we need to get the
    dogs and beer in early. Pick ya up at 12 – my shout for the

    Yours turning round three times and spitting

    Ringo the Howler

  11. amelia louise

    Saw a penny,
    Picked it up,
    Got run over by a truck.
    Blew a dandelion for a wish.
    Ended up becoming a fish.
    Tried to wish upon a star.
    Now I’m behind bars.
    As luck would have it,
    I can’t find,
    A break of any kind!

  12. MiskMask


    A shower of salt
    thrown over my left shoulder
    Four tiny black paws
    A cat meows at my feet
    I don’t believe in bad luck

    A Tanka for the Poetic Form Challenge

  13. JanetRuth

    She had to admit
    this one had her stuck
    she’s not paraskevidekatriaphobic
    she just doesn’t believe in ‘luck’


    Finally she worked up the nerve to call…
    Buying the biggest ficus tree she could find
    she carried it up two flights of stairs
    to your apartment.
    The lady across the hall called ‘hey’
    Don’t you know? He moved…


    We all waited
    Breath baited
    This was the moment
    It was all about!
    The winner is…
    Lights flicker and fizz…
    and just like that
    the power went out


    There’s no hope in a rabbit’s foot
    or in number sevens
    and there’s no such thing as luck…
    I looked down as I spoke
    Wishing I wasn’t broke…
    …hey, look, I found a buck!


    Lucky for you
    I have a bad memory


    I remember too late
    what I forget…
    Now, I wish I could forget
    What I hate to remember…


    The money tree
    in our back-yard
    musta’ got frost-bitten
    and bitten hard


    For better of worse
    Be it blessed or cursed
    For the rest of your life
    I am your wife

    If it weren’t for bad luck
    We’d have no luck, you say
    Well babe, I plan to make you
    the happiest unlucky man today


  14. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Not strictly just about bad luck, but, well you’ll see why I had to write it….it’s been a funny old week!

    As Luck Would Have It

    The week has had more than its share
    of ups and downs
    of bad luck
    good luck
    and what the ____! luck

    Monday saw a prime teaching contract cancelled
    Monday saw a private client no longer able to take classes
    Monday saw the loss of a favourite tie-pin

    Tuesday saw the contract re-instated
    Tuesday saw a new client cancel this week’s class (her first!)

    Wednesday saw an empty classroom and a mind full of doubts
    Wednesday saw the car fail its annual road-worthiness test
    Wednesday saw the beloved tie-pin found again

    Thursday saw the outlay of too much cash to fix the car
    Thursday saw a narrow escape on a pedestrian crossing

    Friday saw the chance of a new stable client
    Friday saw the car pass its re-test
    Friday saw, with not an ounce of luck involved,
    the weekend just around the corner
    and not, as luck would have it, a minute too soon!


  15. LoriP

    Pattern Luck

    People have all kinds of superstitions
    about how it’s bad luck to change.
    Like athletes wearing the same underwear,
    we go about a routine we’ve developed,
    not because it makes sense
    but because it worked once.
    And you don’t want to mess with fate.
    But what if you do change?
    Would something terrible happen?
    Or would your life become a little more efficient
    and a little less dull?

  16. Andrew Kreider

    The one that got away

    ?y deqr ?qry Qnn,
    as luck zould hqve it
    I hqve procured the only
    typezriter here in Berlin
    to send you this ?essqge.

    I ?iss you so.
    You hqve bezitched ?y heqrt
    qnd hqve become ?y aueen qnd ?y ?use.
    Noz, zith qll the weql of ?y zqr? soul
    I qsk you hu?bly: Zill you ?qrry ?e…

    Qll ?y love, Qndrez

  17. RJ Clarken

    Who Cares?!

    “Some people are so fond of bad luck they run halfway to meet it.” ~Douglas William Jerrold

    If not for bad luck, I’d have none,
    since Karma makes her big end run
    around my hopes and dreams and prayers.
    My good luck fairy shrugs. “Who cares?!”

    A mirror breaking, comets, bats,
    the number thirteen, damned black cats,
    and daggers, empty rocking chairs…
    my good luck fairy nods. “Who cares?!”

    Inside my house, umbrellas go
    from closed to open, and although
    I take precautions, I despair.
    My good luck fairy laughs. “Who cares?!”

    I need an amulet to ward
    off stuff like moon eclipses, stored
    and waiting for me, like nightmares.
    My good luck fairy winks. “Who cares?!”


  18. Walt Wojtanik


    Hearts converge at a moment
    and yet the feeling is distant,
    despite instant connections.

    It reflects on the condition
    of the unconditional, merely
    a positional juxtapostion

    of spirits and soulful touches
    of imagined hands. It stands to reason,
    it would be more pleasing

    to be closerthanthisclose,
    but the most that can be hoped for
    is coping with the chasm of distance.

  19. emmajordan

    No Luck at All

    At 17 we dated,
    then we did not.
    Why, when I had never loved like that?
    We dated for a day at 24 or 25,
    a day I did not want.
    Sometimes I would get that rare visit
    or call,
    once a letter,
    but I rebuffed again and again.
    Then I married
    a man from church
    a man who was very attentive and had sparkling eyes.
    Fast forward 10 years.
    I went to the counselor at church
    in fear
    I cannot remember what I told her.
    She said she could not help
    I needed someone with more education
    more knowledge
    a therapist,
    Puzzled, I put that suggestion away.
    He would never allow that.
    Another 5 years
    I was frantic
    fear relentless
    panic all around.
    I found the therapist
    and went.
    She talked with me
    the children
    and interviewed him.
    Puzzling because it was
    not the kind of thing he would do
    No, there was never anything wrong
    with him.
    Always someone else’s fault
    at work
    at church
    the kids
    but most often mine.
    She talked with him for an hour
    a full hour
    then spoke with me the next week.
    He was a sick man she said,
    one who would never be well.
    Diagnosis sociopath.
    There was no hope for him
    and frighteningly,
    for me.
    We could divorce
    but I would never be free
    she said
    unless he found someone else
    to victimize
    or died.
    What kind of luck was this?
    I refused the only man I’d loved
    married a man I thought was good
    now trapped
    till death do us part.
    Trying planning
    to get away
    but never could work it out.
    He always watched so thoroughly
    it was creepy and
    I felt threatened.
    The man I loved at 17 found me.
    I had been searching for him, too,
    finally admitting to myself
    the love had never died
    He was married.
    Another blow to the head and heart.
    Luck? There is no such thing.
    A December death
    finding that man I’d married
    lived under
    been so afraid of
    for more than 20 years
    seated on the couch,
    an empty shell.
    I could not stop staring at the
    gray skin
    unseeing eyes
    fearing he would sit up
    and say
    it was all a joke.
    I stared through the police and paramedics
    wanting medicine bottles
    calling the morgue for me.
    They were so kind
    but did not understand.
    Thinking I was in shock
    they kept suggesting I go out of the room
    until they were finished.
    I went into the living room
    where the kids were wondering what happens next
    all of us finding it hard to believe
    it was over.
    Did my luck finally change?
    No, I decided.
    Luck is a myth.
    My mistakes and decisions
    and inability to act on my own
    a remnant of childhood,
    were the things responsible for the way
    my life was.
    No luck, nothing lucky.
    It just was what it was.
    Now, I was equipped by life
    to make strong decisions.
    Still fearful,
    yes, terribly afraid,
    learning to be free of his grip.
    I am going forward

    1. Imaginalchemy

      My goodness, this one left me with chills…but it is an interesting debate, if luck plays any part in the course of our lives or if everything we do stems from our decisions and actions alone. Very gripping, thought-provoking story

  20. PKP

    In the town of Luckless
    starcrossed lovers come to meet
    in paths of sudden streetcars
    pedestrians change routes to cross the street
    the Lotto machine lies in dusty disrepair
    in forty-two years not one winner wandered there
    it wasn’t always this way indeed began first as Fortunes’ Fame
    settled by unrushed gold seekers who smilingly tickled fate with such a name

  21. MiskMask


    On Friday the 13th she took every
    precaution. Avoiding
    black cats,
    cracked mirrors,
    and spilled salt
    was a tradition.
    All these ominous,
    fixations just gave her
    heart palpitations.
    The poor fearful girl
    was paraskavedekatriaphobic,
    although goodness knows
    she’d never tried
    to pronounce it.

  22. Hannah


    Secretly etched
    above the clouds,
    Hebraic symbols glow
    stars grow
    and splatter indelibly
    the darkened canvas of sky.
    Do I feel a calling,
    a drawing,
    a deep inner longing?
    “Yes,” is my reply,
    from before time,
    pulling me
    forever forward.
    Thought sifting,
    I’ve found
    that each “unlucky”
    has just been an
    “un”-der lying
    learning moment
    of every lucky day;
    with purpose,
    bursting stars
    scripted in the silk of sky.

    © H.G. @ P.A. 4/13/12

      1. Hannah

        Thank you, Jaywig! I’ve decided to change that to “silken sky,” on my blog and found an amazing image to go with this, by “chance,” on photobucket! Such fun, playing at words!

    1. Imaginalchemy

      Ah, the “un”-derlying hope that accompanies misfortune…maybe there is more to the larger picture than the small moments of bad luck. This is gorgeous writing, Hannah

  23. PKP

    A Family Affair

    They never watched a single number
    roll to the upside right
    they never picked the fellow with
    the fists to win the fight
    they surrendered looking
    in fields for four-leafed happy clover
    and when a penny sparkled
    up for them the head side would be over
    each man, each woman, child even
    Donald the family coddled bandannaed shot down duck
    fell uncannily consistently persistent on the offside of all luck

    1. Imaginalchemy

      I love the line “Donald the family coddled bandannaed shot down duck,” it’s as much fun to say aloud as to read. Let’s hope this family is due for some good luck soon 🙂

  24. Imaginalchemy

    “The Brigade of the WD Poets; or An Ode to the PAD”

    The Poets all awoke with the misfortune to find
    The poems were all gone! Not one rhyme in their minds!
    A chicken-scratched note, to highlight their bad luck,
    Stated, “All of your poetry I have gleefully plucked!
    If you want it back, you’ll have to come and get me!”
    And it was signed by that irritating Imaginalchemy.

    So off they all went, hell-bent to reclaim
    Their good fortune and poetry to immortalize their names.
    By sea, the siren captains Michelle Hed, Just Lynne and Khara
    Steered the vessels the Ina, the Hannah, and the Marie Elena
    Followed by the whale-riders JanetRuth and PKP,
    Pulling behind them water skiiers Marjory MT and Catherine Lee.

    A thundering of hooves from a horse-riding assault
    Came Robert Brewer, Jaywing, PowerUnit, and Walt.
    Benjamin Thomas and Ber flew hijacked spaceships
    Commandeered by Iain Douglas Kemp and Buddha Moskowitz

    Then came an array of feathered hang-gliders
    With Claudsy, Nimue, and Shannon Lockard as riders
    Uneven Steven and De Jackson astride a pterodactyl
    On Pegasus-back came Emmajordan and PassionateQuill
    And J. Lynne Sheridan and Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Commanded a power-punching kangaroo parade
    To knock down the walls of Imaginalchemy’s haven
    Helped by iron-plated rhinos led by Jerry Walraven
    Earl Parsons, Laurie Kolp, Foodpoet and Sarite
    Summoned fire to rain down from the air to smite

    In legion stormed the rest: Maxie2 and Yolee,
    PCS in CT, RJ Clarken and Nancy Posey,
    Anders Bylund, Arike, Ely the eel and Bonnee,
    MiskMask, Domino, Posmic and Lady Maggie
    And all the other poets (whose names I didn’t say,
    But if I listed everyone, it would take all day)
    At the end of this determined march into Hell
    On Oliphants tramped Michael Grove and Mystical-Poet Randy Bell

    Down came the doors, the frames and the walls
    “We’ve come for our poetry!” the Poets all called.
    They expected a battle, but found instead
    That Imaginalchemy was, unluckily for the jerk, dead.

    Again a note on the prone corpse’s back
    Said, “So sorry you mounted a pointless attack,
    But all of this drama must now be stopping,
    For I have been crushed under all the name-dropping.”

    1. Imaginalchemy

      This is my small way of saying thank you to everyone here for indulging my writing and making all the nice comments…btw, I know it’s Jaywig, I do! I don’t know how that extra “n” snuck in there! I’m sorry for typos.
      Glad you all enjoy the poem 🙂

    2. PKP

      Hope I am not stopped by the “posting too quickly” police….


  25. just Lynne

    at a Christian concert downtown
    they passed out
    fliers about a Christian music fest
    a few hours away
    took the flier
    stood in line for a hot pretzel

    a man
    before me in line
    talking up the festival
    notices my flier
    asks me if I’ll go

    nonchalant reply
    “no, I always go to the big one
    I figure if you’re going to go
    to a music festival
    you might as well go to the best one
    the biggest festival in the country
    I always go there”

    him undaunted
    “but this one’s only a few hours away
    great bands
    nearly as big as the other
    as many days and nearly as popular
    15,000 fans is nothing to sneeze at”
    opens the flier to wow me
    with the schedule

    I look down, unimpressed
    “i might go down for one night.
    i like Anberlin”

    he tells me
    he’s the director of the festival
    I try to hold back the pink
    forming on my cheeks

    but I won’t back down now
    “I’ll have to check my schedule.
    i might check out Anberlin that night”

    lucky for me
    the man turns and slips away
    before i admit
    anberlin is my favorite band
    i think i need to stop
    making fun of that festival
    it sounds great
    when i run into him there
    what will say?

    because it’s just my luck
    i’d run into him
    while waiting in line for a pretzel

  26. Jerry Walraven

    “If it weren’t for bad luck”

    Bad luck brought me here,
    following this crooked line
    from Misery
    and Michigan
    to this day,
    when the Sun angles in
    and reflects off of
    blue sky drawings
    of kittens and pups
    and rainbows
    and raindrops
    and smiling suns.
    This turned over glass,
    this spilled life
    found me here
    where I no longer
    think of luck
    or worry
    of its

  27. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Picked up a penny,
    Held it under the full moon,
    Donated a dime,
    Gave it up too soon!
    Danced on a dollar,
    Quickly lost the tune,
    Quieted a quarter,
    On the first of June,
    Nudged on a nickel,
    Breaking through an old cocoon,
    Put away a pound,
    Hidden in a bank,
    No one else had found,
    Had nobody to thank!
    I yielded every yen,
    Rounded every ruby,
    It was very Zen,
    Yet unlucky as could be!
    When you’re collecting money,
    It isn’t always quite a joke,
    You’d be better off hugging your honey,
    Then ending a poem . . .


      1. Janet Rice Carnahan

        Thank you, Pearl, Marie Elena and Sara . . . appreciate your kind words and the smiles! Gotta have those smiles! 🙂 You just too sweet!

  28. lady maggie

    Friday, the 13th
            The threat to life (of love’s capricious dart,
            its poison proving meant’s not good enough
            unless both think so) is (not up to snuff
            no matter how much sacrificed) to start
            (there was a job, there was a place) to chart
            a course (and all the other legal stuff
            required of you to immigrate) to tough
            it out together, then fall far apart.
            It kills a man.   Then kills him back to back
            again until the man’s past all unknown
            and yet again until the man’s lost track
            and even yet again damned to his own
            dark hell.   All voided out.   All lost.   All black.
            Unwanted.   Turned away from.   That alone.

    1. Imaginalchemy

      Powerful words and imagery…something about “meant’s not good enough unless both think so” is very striking to me; maybe that’s all love can ever be, is just when two people believe it is worth it?

  29. cam45237


    I’ve wasted days in many ways
    And searched the world over
    I never found a lucky charm
    Not a single four leaf clove.r

    I came across a rabbit’s foot
    And I began to grab it
    When I remembered that the token
    Wasn’t lucky for the rabbit.

    I had a plate of pork fried rice
    Then cracked the fortune cookie
    “Hard work is its own reward”
    …But it’s more fun playing hooky.

    This horseshoe came from off the foot
    Of the horse who set the pace
    But he threw the shoe and stumbled
    And of course he lost the race.

    Bending down I searched the ground
    And found a lucky penny
    But I’d purloined a copper coin
    And not the Horn of Plenty.

    I’m tired of fruitless searching
    And I no longer give a #@&*
    I’m giving up this vain pursuit
    And making my own luck.

  30. Arike


    Please leave a message after the tone
    A message is rarely left
    I, as owner of this number
    Promise not to disregard it
    I will listen carefully
    To what you tell me in a stutter
    A long monologue
    I can’t call you back
    You’ll forget to leave a number
    Makes you nervous, a recording
    Or I’ll listen to your phone
    Going click-beep-beep-beep
    And delete the message, irritated
    Why did you bother to call, then?


    Through the window two brown eyes
    I do not growl, but I can
    I haven’t decided you’re a friend
    Ring the doorbell, I dare you to try
    I’ll bark until my master comes
    He’ll send you away when he’s done
    I, I get to guard his house at night


    crack in the pavement
    hole in the tree
    stalk without flower
    a shambling walk to a

    wounded animal
    alcohol like blood
    in your veins on your clothes
    a vapour over you
    attracting predators

    no wallet no salary no food
    im sorry anna no i cant take this
    no wife no kids no home
    Antwerp central
    King’s hall for a citizen
    Old ghost passing through this station
    Marble arches up four storeys
    In a public building, this city
    Bragged to its inhabitants
    Monarchy and nobility afterthoughts
    In black brocade and lacy froths
    Urban palaces for mastercraftsmen
    The guild houses huddle over the market
    Sometimes it’s good to remember
    Modernity was three centuries old
    Before we first shouted hurrah for a king

    100% Privileged
    No friction to stop you
    Smooth slide up for your star
    Well-oiled, you think, you work
    So hard you got there all on your own
    Unnoticed all those open doors
    Undiscriminated, you white rich
    Creature of no suffering
    Insufferable how you complain
    Brag to friends you’ve made it
    It’s the random injustice you never
    Met that makes you elite
    Education is an option, jobs
    Aplenty, you’re welcome
    Everywhere you go so you don’t notice
    Everyone else outside looking in
    On what you have
    The point of a glass ceiling: it’s invisible


    No light to shed
    Shine no beams here
    Don’t light our grief

    A breath withheld
    A sound unmade
    A mouth closed now

    A lash flickers
    Swish of a robe
    Feathers rustle

    Fresh air comes in
    Bandages folded
    An empty shelf

    Someone took him
    He’s been stolen
    Where could he be

    Who would dare to
    It was sabbath
    It was Pesach

    Do not fear, but
    He’s no dead man
    Not anymore


    Two layers of epidermis engage, press, send
    Pressure receptors deeper in the skin firing
    The brain cries out that substance has been met
    Crossing signals; the mouth releases only breath

    A high whine when fingertips meet – what?
    Slick slide of still-bleeding wound?
    The prickle of an uneven clot?
    A bobble of uneven skin, raw flesh?
    Space where body was supposed to be?

    Unknown if he could see through the hole
    Did he really put his hand in that side?

    Eyewitnesses are dead
    Replicating events difficult

    We probably know the type of nail ca. 30 AD
    The standard issue spear for a Roman soldier
    What death, resurrection would do – physically
    Thomas knows


    I’m a madman, so regrettable
    Traitor, traitor, traitor, history says

    I expected a king and a conqueror
    David, smiting Romans, I never got

    I could kill you, I decided then
    Grab you, beat you, kill you, they will

    I don’t care, you should have been who
    Strong man, leader, Lion, who I wanted

    I had never meant to go so
    Far beyond the hurt I felt and hate


    It had paved the way for all those
    Fearing, plotting, powerhungry and scared

    Now you’re dead but they don’t weep who
    Called you rabbi, Peter, Mary, the rest

    So delusional, think you God, the
    Son of man and speak in tongues, insane!

    I can’t see what I believed so
    Long I gave up everthing, so useless

    I sow blood in a field bought from
    Money payed for blood, the silverlings

    He lies here, man without peace, whose
    Name is traitor, traitor, traitor now

    In the shadow

    World beneath the willow
    Where the ground’s a darker green
    The grass hushes to a softer whisper
    Because the breeze doesn’t quite reach
    Where the sun cannot attack you
    The whine of the bees just stops
    You lie softly sleeping, though
    Your math’s just halfway done

    10 april: Forest, n., collection of trees

    Young trees whisper in the breeze, no, atmosphere
    Rustling, a storm of excited voices
    Limbs reaching up and snapping together
    Leaves open to the light, veins
    Curling into symbols of sound

    Veins in a leaf on a branch in a tree
    Words in a book in a hand of a human
    Makes a
    Story in a head for a prize for a man
    Or woman? Today anyway

    It’s the teenager
    Telling the adult

    You did well, keep it up, so we’ll have
    Books in our hands like leaves on a tree
    Next year? Different books
    Stories don’t stop being told
    To a forest of vocal young primates

    11 april: spring

    Earth heats and humans pop up
    Park full of coats and strange souls in T-shirts
    The grass has barely woken up
    Half-crawled out of the mud, fresh green
    Stamped flat beneath determined feet
    Of prancing children and dancing cows
    No really, it was on the six o’ clock

    An agenda heavy with events drops
    On the mat. Too cold for the beach
    So people go cultural
    Reading a book is so last season
    Art fair, ethnic potluck
    Outside, but bring your coat

    Lean against a wall out of the wind
    Close your eyelids, a sunny orange
    Not long now, summer, the flap of a pigeon
    Nearly pooing on your head is almost a seagull

    Something knew

    Something cold made of wires
    In a room full of metal boxes
    Holds all the little files
    A nest of blind birds
    Flying out each year
    To you

    Something knew in there that
    You hadn’t filled out form… number?
    It’s virtual and empty so
    A gaping maw gobbles up
    Your right to a discount
    Bye, rent

    Something followed on that
    A generated letter informing
    You of a fait accompli
    Just an afterthought
    To the machine

    Something grew out of that
    Change in the program a full
    Year after you file a complaint
    A glacier, this cold box
    Telling you your rights

    Anatomy 13

    Fumble fingers
    Two left feet
    Hair-attracting eyes
    Gravity-defying hair
    Numb tongue, raw throat
    Sneeze-itch nose
    Overproductive tear-ducts
    Dry lips, splotchy cheeks
    Stiff neck and sore shoulders
    Wall-hitting elbows, knees
    Bad-timing bladder
    Sense of balance on vacation
    Ears in need of aid
    Bump-into-me backside
    Hello-table-corner hips
    Coffee-covered torso
    Friday’s body is bad of luck

  31. uneven steven

    The page a day
    calendar quote
    which I’ve kept on my wall
    for years, keeps telling
    me there are three kinds of luck-
    one I’ve translated as breeding stock,
    genetic, who the hell are these people
    I’ve grown up with my whole life
    kind of thing,
    is the kind you make yourself
    through your “thoughts, words and deeds”,
    oh, thank god for that one,
    the third one, however, is “heaven luck”,
    the one that’s been stuck in my mind like an itchy
    scab for years, I mean who knows,
    I tear down that stupid yellow sheet
    and the whole wall collapses,
    or worse, I spill coffee, have to take an extra laundry trip
    and voila, end up prematurely mortuaryified –
    I keep thinking, stalks of wheat
    if they could,
    would they curse the scythe,
    and if our reaper were like a real guy
    would I, should we, curse him, thank him,
    pity him, is that “cool book” I never read,
    the Tibetan book of the dead,
    like some kind of etiquette guide
    and why is it that every time I pause in my work
    I look up and see that “heaven luck” again
    and what did I want myself to learn when I put
    that damn thing up –
    that if I didn’t have bad luck
    that I would really
    be dead
    or dying
    from having
    no luck
    at all …

  32. Walt Wojtanik


    I hardly play the lottery.
    I’m never that lucky,
    players far as the I could see,
    my odds and chances are sucky.

    To me it’s just a get rich scheme,
    and I’m not the guy getting richer.
    for just a dollar and a dream,
    the government is the winner.

  33. Walt Wojtanik


    I wrecked my car.
    An unscheduled encounter
    with an inebriated idiot.
    Miracle that I walked unscathed.
    Broken rib, collar bone,
    two fracture vertebrae,
    broken leg and torn ICL.
    The poor bastard died;
    he had a bad day
    and I wrecked my damn car.

  34. uneven steven

    My most important memory

    and the words that seem like magic
    no longer whispering unexpectedly
    from behind my right ear-

    I so wanted to convey to you
    without greek myths or

    the hospital, my seeing you
    seeing me –
    our first long look of recognition

    and the only line of my poem

    the taut cord between us
    and someone always placing in my hands
    a smiling scissors

    I guess this would kind of qualify as an unlucky poem and luckily i get to do some of these at work – uh i think. Will do another more directly related to the topic if I get lucky this morning and have the time… but not in a fired kind of way .. unless that keeps me from dying in a tragic fire at work… kind of reminds me of a chinese tale of what we consider lucky and unlucky….

    1. Joseph Harker

      Steven, I just want to mention that I’ve been reading your work all month, and it’s very impressive stuff… been almost too busy to read or even write at all, but in the minutes I scrape together to skim, your pieces always stand out. Keep up the excellent writing, please! 🙂

      1. uneven steven

        Thank you very much for the kind comments. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this stimulating challenge and look forward to the next couple of weeks. Can’t guarantee “professionalism” in all of them though, often write tired and I usually try and wait before allowing others to see…. so if some don’t make sense probably not you 🙂


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