Editors Blog

2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

For today’s prompt, write a life event poem. By life event poem, I mean a poem that takes place at or describes a life event, such as a wedding, birth, death, graduation, etc. There are so many possibilities.

Here’s my attempt:


Every year, you come;
every year, I go
and do something stupid
to myself. Maybe I’ll
think twice before getting
out of bed when you come
visiting me this year.



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397 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. Jolanta.Stephens

    Life Begins Today!

    No celebratory day
    No candles, cake or gifts
    Just another
    Dull regular day
    Same routine
    Same life
    Same people
    But today
    Like every other day
    Life begins!
    Yes life will begin again

  2. AC Leming


    We flew too close
    and now we’ll see
    what is on the other side.
    what is through the looking glass —
    the black depths of space
    will turn us inside out,
    outside in and we will know then
    what we can’t know now.

  3. jendorf13

    My Life Her Life
    She came and grew
    and before we knew
    she flew so far away

    We greet and tweet
    and meet in the middle

    I miss the hug of my bug
    who’s flown farthest away

  4. Marcia Gaye

    April 19, 2012
    A “Life Event” Poem

    Events of the Day

    A Tuesday
    The editor’s yes
    A Saturday
    The contract
    A Friday
    The galleys
    A Sunday
    The launch
    A Wednesday
    A signing
    Maybe a Monday
    A Pulitzer
    A Thursday
    A good day
    To begin again.

  5. po

    waiting to breathe

    when born I
    couldn’t breathe
    nurse carried
    me over her
    shoulder all night
    morning she was
    exhausted but happy
    “she couldn’t breathe,”
    she told my Mom
    some babies don’t
    learn to breathe
    properly and only
    breathe shallowly
    the rest of their
    each meditation
    begins with
    the breath as
    will my last
    day and by
    then maybe
    I can take
    a deep breath

  6. Arrvada

    My First Death
    I see my life divided
    Between births and deaths
    Significant events
    That reshape and redesign
    The being I have been
    And who I shall become
    My first death I was seventeen
    I was reborn
    From pain and fear and sorrow
    Killed and murdered
    My innocence and faith destroyed
    Those I trusted betrayed
    Cut me through with lies
    I died that day
    Burned by them
    And was reborn
    With all new fears
    All new terrors
    Like any abandoned babe
    Wanting to scream, to cry
    Having no one to hold me
    To comfort me
    My mother killed me
    Leaving me without a home
    Making me see
    The life I had lived
    Was nothing but lies
    My first life was over
    And I started all over again

  7. ellanytdavve

    Long after

    Long after I put you
    in the ground,
    my brother, mother, father,
    grand mother,
    still I miss you
    every day.
    Wish I’d said goodbye better
    or longer or clearer or
    just not at all.
    Long after I stayed on
    to finish the lessons and
    give you credit,
    long after there’s days
    I wish to join you for a bit
    and kiss your lovely face.

  8. mschied

    Note to self


    Write speech
    Pick out dress and shoes to match
    Make sure the gown is not wrinkled

    Give speech
    Shake hands many times
    Do not trip walking across stage in high heels

    Day after:

  9. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Mental Illness: a Life Changing Event

    Imagine for a while awaking in a room
    not your own almost every day of your life
    because at age sixteen you were diagnosed
    with a mental illness.

    Neither your parents nor you understood
    that your year-long teen-unit stay could
    not heal you and medications must now
    control the illness.

    Close to forty years after that life event
    not a single “new” medications has been
    able to cure you nor do much to mitigate
    how MI effects you.

    What’s there to salvage from those years
    you’ve spent moving between hospitals
    and nursing homes while meaningful life
    still evades you?

    Here and there you make a new friend
    to share the boredom of repetitive group
    therapies like how to maintain hygiene
    when you don’t care.

    But you can still flash your amazing grin
    and the light in your eyes seems to come
    from heaven and for a few moments your
    life is worth living.

  10. Jamal Abboud

    The bridge

    Men in black crossed the bridge
    Carrying a wrecked body in a shaky casket.
    It is to be settled in a clearing beyond the ridge,
    That it may decay in time that may fit

    The calm river mirrored their doss;
    A lone bird skimmed over the water beneath the bridge,
    And circles of rhythm rippled the trifle loss.
    Kids clustered scared behind the hedge,
    Then romped playfully along the bridge.

    A gull perched on a fence,
    While an old man was staring into water,
    Searching for juvenile life in the depth,
    Under the surface that reflected his years of stress.
    Two jittery lovers were obsessed about love myth,
    Hugged, kissed, flattered, and laughed a little less.

    The ostentatious steel form carried them all,
    In rusty silence.
    It coexisted with their conviviality and whinge;
    It will witness their passage and tragic fall
    Not a mere coincidence,
    That brought to the scene the marvelous bridge.

  11. Jaywig

    Day 19 – a life event


    I wonder what that good nun thought
    on being notified about the court
    and how her marriage was almost
    null and void.
    I bet she was most uncharitably annoyed.

    “Good Lord,” she would have started with
    “I thought such separation was a myth.
    Please recant this summons now
    for I have never broken my vows.

    And how, Dear Lord, can
    cancellation be so easy
    as to simply exist in a court’s
    decree nisi?”

    While I, all unknowing, awaited the letter
    I knew would make me feel a lot better
    this poor soul with exactly the same name
    would have struggled to pray for a life
    without blame.

    So think before you untie that knot
    whose copybook you might unwittingly blot.
    And spare some concern for those same-name others
    who may be God’s Sisters, or even Mothers!

  12. randalljweiss

    “Her Bra”

    She offered herself to me, but
    I felt like a thief that night. Not quite
    a professional heist, fumbling key
    and setting off the alarm.
    She left before my parents were due home,
    leaving her bra as a memento. Evidence.
    We didn’t speak at school the next day.

  13. ceeess

    August 13, 2004 Waking

    White satin matches the colour
    your skin reflects, you in repose
    against the pillow, hands
    clasped over your diaphragm.
    If your eyes would open, you’d see
    flowers spread around the room,
    friends and family gathered, each
    small circle of conversation is
    about you today.

    We’re remembering you as
    you were, hoping that each uttered
    memory will erase the picture
    we see now as you lie there still, eyes
    closed, mouth hinting smile, you
    not there, that twinkle lost
    behind the closed eyelids
    of death, your blue eyes gone
    blank, your skin the colour
    of white satin.

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 19, 2012

  14. mlcastejon

    “A new world”

    Tiny, like a shoe box
    with a whole brand new world within.
    Grey, days outside
    with a rainbow to find out
    Cold, the rain was chasing us
    we hold a blanket to share.

    That was our first apartment
    six years so far
    collecting memories since then
    I’m not going to stop.

  15. Pat Carroll Marcantel

    ”When a Heart is Broken”

    Meant to last a long lifetime,
    hearts are made so strong and yet,
    We never know just how much
    pain and disappointment each can
    bear. I knew a heart that was so big,
    it loaded early with friends and laughter.
    It treasured family and wanted more of
    work and love and true, pure joy. That
    heart learned early to trust in the Savior,
    the One who delivered him from early pain,
    and now has ushered him in to eternal joy
    and peace. This Patrick wishes for all those
    souls he ever knew or ever hoped to know.

  16. omavi

    “… Even Perfection Falls Apart”

    Never imagined it would end like this
    Love always seems to overcome
    But this chasm much too deep
    Affection still going strong
    But this chapter of life was not
    Meant to last past this
    Even though the music still plays
    Our ears have become deaf to it
    Inebriated chases through days
    No attention paid to the meaningful things
    Eyes lock in silent embraces
    Whilst on the periphery
    Everything was falling
    Epic failures recognized
    So drunk on this that even those
    Were missed
    So not the two roads bonded
    Forked forever and shatter
    Is the dream
    Walking away
    Silent tears the only
    Remembrance of this thing
    Judges and lawyers become the definition
    Of what will be

  17. PSC in CT

    Playing catch-up, so… haikus! ;-) (Will put out on my blog with pics.)

    abandoned, empty
    fledglings having spread their wings
    taken to the sky


    first blossom gifted
    surpassingly beautiful
    sweet innocent love

  18. Sally Jadlow

    Life Cycles


    I cradle new life,
    fresh scent,
    unused fingers,
    innocent face.
    Pray for a full life
    to be well lived.

    From there,
    I travel to nursing home;
    tiptoe into patient’s room
    reeking of death.
    Gnarled hands cross
    barely moving chest.
    Pray for this one
    who draws near
    his last breath
    on this side.

  19. gtabasso


    Sacred day, I take off work to spend alone.
    Everyone should get this holiday
    to thank our mothers and celebrate.
    Most years, alone, I have gone
    to Chicago to write on the boardwalk
    with Starbucks coffee and a book,
    wind and sun. I’ve waited for someone
    to come home. I have begged and cried;
    gone to Amish Country to taste wines;
    walked a long way from a bar
    after my friends left me, cops giving a lift
    the last mile or two; watched the frosting slide
    from the cake and ice cream melt,
    but I keep celebrating. This year,
    I begged a friend to spend $100
    to see Apassionata, a story with horses,
    in Detroit. I pay my way, as usual.
    Who takes care of me?
    Who blesses my coming

  20. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net


    Sometimes the bough breaks.

    The finger of God
    reaching toward Adam
    does not touch him.

    The desert at sunset is dry.

    The pool of water
    does not take away the pain,
    and the baby-girl does not turn inside.

    We wait too long.

    On the third day,
    her mother is cut open
    to bring forth her body.

    But that is not enough for life.

    She breathes muddy water
    into her fragile lungs
    and lies still.

    She’s waiting to heal.


    A woman
    breathes the breath of life
    into the baby.

    The newborn baby-girl awakens!

    After two minutes,
    once again her heart is beating
    like a little bird’s.

    For four days, she sleeps without a name.

    Then, an angel-like-a-girl-child
    comes down from heaven
    into her mother’s dream.

    Her name is Stefania.

    Jane Beal

  21. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Home Alone

    Suddenly —
    now —
    I live alone
    as of shortly after lunch today
    though I didn’t know it then.

    Another fall
    and he’s back in hospital
    after one night and a morning
    here with me.

    I was with him,
    helped him collapse
    gradually to the ground
    and so, no injury
    this time. (Nor the last.)

    Twice in three days
    is too much —
    the buckling of legs
    that just stop working.
    No loss of consciousness, just
    inability to stand.
    Sudden. Total. What if
    I had not been there?

    And I can’t lift him.
    All I could do
    was put a pillow under his head
    and call the ambulance

    While he was away
    yesterday and the day before
    I shifted furniture
    to make the place safer:
    things he could grab and hold,
    strong enough to support him.
    I guess it was just as well.
    He used one to lean on
    while I helped him down
    slowly to the floor.

    I put clean sheets on the bed.
    His last night home
    was comfortable.

    I bought some more Zero Coke
    because he likes it.
    But he didn’t even have
    one glass last night.
    He was so tired,
    and went to bed early.

    ‘So nice,’ he said this morning,
    ‘To be in my own bed
    in my own home.’
    But lately it’s been hard for him,
    I know.
    So much weakness,
    so much pain.

    So much more I wanted to do here
    to make this place
    beautiful, and kind to him.
    Now, how empty
    such improvements seem
    for me alone.

      1. seingraham

        Ah Rosemary – that is sad news indeed ; wonderful that you were there for him but how hard for both of you, this latest transition … you’ll be in my thoughts as I send good wishes your way often

  22. SharieO

    The Rest of the Story

    You left me early one morning
    Just the way you said you would
    How did you know the ending
    Of your own story beforehand

    After a short and tempestuous trip
    Together that seemed much longer
    Than the eighteen years it was
    You left just as I was getting started

    You loved your five week old namesake
    I know you did from your eyes
    That watched him and me too
    As we tried to breech our distance

    Life has taken me farther
    Than your forty year journey
    And I try to write the script
    As it may have turned out

    In my version of our story
    We grew closer and forgot
    The bad stuff from back then
    Happily ever after as father and daughter

  23. tunesmiff


    Twenty minutes ago
    The doctor said, “A son!”
    How was I to know

    Twenty minutes ago
    How quickly you would grow,
    How quickly you would crawl-walk-run?

    Twenty minutes ago
    The doctor said, “A son!”

  24. Lynn Burton

    Lost and Found

    An independent nature keeps her feet
    planted on the ground, but somwhere her mind
    has wandered and untimely death she’ll meet,
    not to make it home, but return in pine.
    Unfortunately, this she couldn’t cheat.

  25. Tanjamaltija

    A Memory

    Wedding bells. Plans. Happiness.
    Ultrasound and Doppler scans,
    Why did she die?

    Surprise party – eternity ring.
    Glow, share, rejoice.
    Why did she die?

    Life, love and laughter.
    Hopes, wishes, dreams.
    Why did she die?

    Pink booties, scented candles, musical mobile.
    Heirloom eiderdown, lace curtains, nursery furniture.
    Why did she die?

    Drab days
    Vacant stare
    Empty cot
    Meaningless existence
    Endless days –
    Infinite emptiness.

    Why did she die
    Never to be born?

  26. Lana Walker

    Please mommy

    Please mommy
    can we?

    Please please

    Isn’t it

    Please mommy

    Please mommy
    can we
    keep the

  27. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Some PA poets routinely post late,
    Not many up to say, “Great”!
    Choosing a.m. comments instead,
    By our time gone to bed,
    To all who are still up . . .

    You! I celebrate! :)

  28. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Large family gathering,
    Had an intense thrill in the air,
    Celebrating all at once,
    Highlighting so many in the group!

    One niece had a local high school graduation,
    Another niece graduating from college, nearby!
    Male family member’s birthday on the exact day,
    An engagement announcement along with,
    Father’s Day!

    Words on the cake were as small,
    As could be,
    To fit everyone in,
    Happy occasion was held,
    In the almost finished condo,
    Giving it the first chance to feel like home,
    It rapidly filled with guests, family,
    Celebrants and all the relatives,
    Who were dressed in their classy style!

    An unexpected arrival,
    No one saw coming,
    Just the week before,
    Showed up as some family members,
    Were sailing on the bay,
    On a lovely Saturday afternoon!

    Watching the sky,
    A burst of smoke rose quickly upward!
    As all eyes surveyed the location,
    With terror, they realized that,
    The main family house,
    Was dead center in high and wild flames!

    Word went out to the family quickly,
    Special items had to be removed,
    Luckily people were able to join together,
    Pulling paintings off the wall,
    Finding the old silver,
    Locating the antique jewelry,
    House ended up a near miss of the fire,
    Yet the smell of smoke was overpowering!

    The aging matriarch,
    Holder of the family’s history,
    Experienced the most dreaded fear,
    In her heart,
    Just imagining,
    How close she came to losing everything,
    She treasured,
    After years of keeping her precious items,
    Close to her at all times.
    Determined to have her memory remain
    In the age old special family pieces,
    Long after her life was over!

    During the full celebrations,
    She tired quickly and looked paler still,
    Hardly a warm and welcoming smile,
    Or acknowledgement,
    She had been scared to death!
    Clearly trying her best to be brave,
    Celebrating all in one evening!

    Three weeks later,
    A day after another celebration,
    The Fourth of July,
    She died unexpectedly.
    At the family lake house,
    It came as a complete surprise!

    As each family member expressed their sorrow,
    Coming together for her service,
    So grateful,
    They had held the gathering and giant celebration,
    Not a month before,
    When she had been surrounded
    By those who loved her,
    Despite the earlier fire,
    Valuing much more than her things!

    Looking back, she had been the only one,
    Not mentioned on the large served dessert,
    Yet she had always been,
    The one who always held them all together,
    And the one who always,
    Put that special icing on the cake . . .

    Just being herself!!

  29. PassionateQuill

    began with the heart swelling notes of
    Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance rising
    from the depths of the orchestra pit
    a single moment that had
    years of her life, nights of papers, all nighters
    now blurred like the faces filling the auditorium
    completely unaware of how uncertain she was
    that these years, had adequately prepared her
    while she moved across the stage confidently
    every step softly swinging the gold tassel
    against a satin smooth cherry cap
    she hoped she had gained, enough, for it had all cost so

  30. claudsy

    I could have sworn that I posted this this morning. Here goes again.

    Shattered Glass and Mental Mirrors
    Fractured images greeted me
    With wide-open eyes that day,
    Leaving behind panic, dismay,
    Never thoughts of revelry.

    Beyond doctors and onto life,
    I built myself a future,
    Complete plan to fight any strife,
    To cut losses and suture

    Together paths for new learning
    Canes, dogs, all necessary
    For work within limits churning
    With needs that I not tarry.

    Years passed, moving toward this place
    I come to with verse’s words,
    Telling tales of things done and faced
    This group of kindest souls, this space.

    © Claudette J. Young 2012

  31. De Jackson


    We hold our births and our deaths (be
    -ginning, end) sacred and we celebrate

    the innate ability to last another year
    with tiny fires. We blow candles and sing

    songs and bestow gifts or we coo, and
    ogle the new or we gather grief to say

    goodbye. What of the middle? The quiet
    sigh, the peaceful day when nothing

    changes, the soft way the blue of the
    sky rearranges my heart? What of the

    now, this breath, these words spilled,
    this moment willed into submission,

    bowed. What of the graduation of no
    -thing, the funeral of flower, the whil-

    -ing of hour, the marriage of spirit and joy
    and song? Do we miss these, all along?

    1. eljulia

      i opened my computer today to find this poem front and center waiting for me. After a tough weekend of mourning the loss of my sister, this was a beautiful reminder that there is more still here to celebrate. Thank you.

  32. seingraham

    As if It Was Yesterday

    I remember our first date
    How we went to that Ann Margret movie
    How I wasn’t over my last boyfriend
    How my parents were so pleased
    You were such a catch … in university
    becoming an engineer

    I wanted to talk myself out of you
    So why did I tremble when you held my hand
    You were so annoying, I recall thinking
    But I don’t remember why I thought that
    Probably because you weren’t
    The boyfriend who treated me so badly
    Left behind … isn’t that always the way

    Still – I remember glancing at you
    In the darkened theatre and thinking
    Hmm – a Robert Redford profile …
    I’ll be damned – and those eyes … lashes so long
    They scratched your glasses …
    It was hard not to fall into those eyes

    By the end of the evening, I wrote in my journal
    “I don’t like him much at all but he kisses great
    and I just know I’ll end up marrying him …”
    Here we are: married forty-two years, after
    going out almost five years before that
    You joke about robbing the cradle and I let you
    Honestly? I can’t imagine my life without
    You in it …

  33. cam45237

    Even Now

    I hear the chimes on the back porch sing
    As I push the screen door open and I am
    In your apple, sugar, flour, butter apron.

    Eighteen hours through the turnpike night
    I never crossed the threshold,
    I paced outside the home,
    Holding my heart inside hollowed ribs
    With clenched hands, clenched arms, and closing throat

    I stepped up to the handle.
    Walked the longest yards with you.
    Then walked away.

    I hear the grumble of the motor
    And the chain’s flat clink
    From a calculated distance.

    I couldn’t see you in a coffin.
    I wont see you in a grave.

  34. deedeekm

    john john saluted
    in his little coat and shoes
    as the horses walked sedately
    I had measles and watched
    as black and white images
    played over and over
    my friend from school
    cried all day
    big brother drafted
    never coming home
    I watched the news
    as images of kill ratio
    played over and over
    older and wiser
    or at least so I thought
    cried like a baby
    when John Lennon shot
    into the atmosphere
    giving peace a chance
    wasn’t someone’s cup of tea
    and the radio played it
    over and over
    like the challenger later
    headed for the stars
    and made it to heaven
    before our very eyes
    in technicolor repeated
    over and over
    and all I could think was
    how it would be to lose a
    loved one over and over
    until nine eleven
    when the worst of the worst
    the unthinkable
    was thought by someone and
    thought became deed
    and we realized we
    were not invulnerable
    and even then in
    our arrogance we fought
    about what kind of tribute
    to erect to the fallen
    over and over
    you would think we would
    learn but the lessons keep coming
    and the wheel keeps turning
    but over and over
    we grieve and
    don’t change

  35. Linda Voit


    We keep inching toward the double glass doors
    right out in the open. We don’t even try
    to hide. The security guy barely looks
    and the attendant just smiles
    and waves. Our get-away car idles
    under the awning, so close. Now
    we are between the doors, sure
    they will stop us, but they don’t.
    And we are out. We put you
    in your car seat for the first time
    and literally just drive away
    like we know what we are doing.
    But deep down, we cannot believe
    our luck.

    Linda Voit

  36. drwasy

    This, a Life Event: or, When Cancer Invades a Child

    This, the seashore:
    scallop shells, soft
    serves swirled high
    in cake cones, sunburn,
    swimming pool, your son
    splashes, then wades out
    shivering; his stomach

    This, the sudden cry:
    splits the night,
    breaks the dream,
    tomorrow’s scavenge
    hunt of shells and sea
    glass broken, tumbled
    tears that contain

    This, the hospital:
    hushed murmurs,
    latexed fingers prod,
    prick, neat white coats,
    white cells dry up,
    tubes tether your son
    to machines, to

    This, a life event:
    an event that alters,
    an event that mutates,
    crushes and bends
    futures. God is not
    at the sea shore, not
    at hospital; God plays in

    Not my child, but a friend’s. I cannot fathom. Peace, LindaS-W

  37. cstewart

    Alters Shine

    I felt the bone chilling emptiness, but like numbness,
    Heaven can wait,
    You had not come home and I knew,
    And a band of angels wrapped up in my heart,
    You were not coming home again.
    Will take me through the lonely night
    After much searching for you the sergeant said
    Through the cold of the day
    Whoever had been driving your car was a victim of a homicide,
    And I know I know,
    Heaven can wait,
    And the sergeant in LA said, was he an athlete?
    And all I got is time until the end of time,
    And the sergeant in LA said, was his designed ring silver?
    And the melody’s gonna make me fly
    And the sergeant in La said, was he tan?
    Without pain, without tears,
    And the sergeant in LA said: well, maybe you better come down
    And I know that I been released
    And I went down to the LA morgue at USC medical center
    But I don’t know to where
    At the end of a long, white hall, maybe 60 feet, a silver gurney,
    And nobody’s gonna tell me now
    Someone was lying with a white sheet pulled shoulder height,
    And I don’t really care
    And I walked what seemed to be the last walk I would ever want to walk,
    Oh no, no
    Until I could see your handsome face, facing up without sight –
    with a tiny trickle of blood someone had forgotten at the crevice of your lip
    I got a ticket to paradise, never gonna let it slip away,
    I walked forward the last five feet and saw a ball of white light from your
    body hit my chest ,
    I got a ticket to paradise, never gonna let it slip away
    All anxiety left, all bewilderment, all tension and pain dissipated
    I got a ticket to paradise, if I had it any sooner you know,
    I wiped the trickle of blood from the left crevice of your lip
    You know I never would have run away from my home,
    I sensed the compassion of the medical people around me, standing back;
    Heaven can wait,
    Their kindness made me feel like a visiting angel that had completed something,
    And all I got is time until the end of time,
    And upstairs, I signed your official death certificate that said “gunshot wound
    to the head,” and I accepted with love all that you could give, your final gift of light –

    And I won’t look back, I won’t look back –
    Let the alters shine,
    Let the alters shine.

  38. Miss R.

    Goodbye, Graduation

    The ceremony was dull,
    With everyone distracted by
    The heat, and some consumed with
    The contents of the flasks they hid
    Inside their tuxedo jackets.
    No one cared too much about the
    Accomplishments celebrated.

    I never danced, because I don’t,
    And the food was fine, but I would
    Probably have rather stayed home
    To eat comfortably in the kitchen,
    Trading Cinderella’s shoes
    (Which pinched) and restrictive gown
    For my ratty jeans and bare feet.

    I spent far too much on the dress
    Considering I only
    Wore it once, and now it hangs
    Lifeless and sterile in the back
    Of the closet, shunned by the clothes
    Who know they are plainer but
    More practical and better loved.

    At least the whole affair is done,
    And high school becomes a memory
    That grows sweeter as I forget
    The details, filling them in
    With the optimistic colors
    Of my imagination.
    Good riddance, graduation.

  39. Michael Grove

    So Very

    There’ll be a time when things
    become so very clear.
    You realize how much
    she is so very dear.
    You get down on your knees.
    Ask, “Will you marry me please?”
    You want her for all time
    so very near.

    By Michael Grove

  40. lionmother

    My Wedding Day

    It started squashed into my
    mother’s tiny room
    alone dressing in the
    short skirted jacketed
    ivory wool lace dress
    so perfect for the
    toned down ceremony
    in the rabbi’s study
    me screaming due
    to a run in my
    special white lace
    stockings with the
    satin shoes and
    no one paying attention
    to the bride as each
    rushed around readying
    our house for the guests
    then the ride to Brooklyn
    not special in my parent’s
    car and finally the ceremony
    in front of family and friends
    where the ancient Hebrew words
    brought me to tears and more
    worry about mascara running
    those words binding me to you
    for all these years like the strong
    thread used for my dress which
    hangs in my closet still.

  41. eljulia


    carried my breakfast around with me
    till half past one
    nothing seeming right smelling right
    tasting right
    I find it keeps sinking in for me
    this newness of you not here to talk to
    I don’t know how to feel what to feel and so
    I just don’t.
    can’t find a reason to keep walking
    even just smile
    and it’s forty days and counting
    since you’re gone.

    1. Linda Voit

      This is amazing. Bravo. I can only admire your ability to write something this well at such a time. It just feels like I’m somehow reading grief — the details, the heavyness, the cadence. This is just a great poem.

  42. Marjory MT

    DAY of PLAY at the BAY
    ( Childhood – what memories)

    Remembered island of my youth,
    with a small, salty bay,
    rocks for jumping to and fro,
    seaweed, shells, gulls souring.
    castles at low tide building.

    Small penincula appearing
    as a mountain above the bay
    crowned with stately pines,
    cradling hidden nooks,
    treaures buried in a brook.

    A place to dream of castles,
    pirate sailing ships,
    rocketing to the moon
    danceing like Peter Pan,
    exploring a foreign land.

    Gathering childhood memories
    While dancing ring around the rosey,
    Producing daisy crowns,
    Racing toy cars and a truck
    Getting dirty in the muck.

  43. KristiOhio

    Life Interrupted

    I had already named you
    and picked out a delicate,
    pink-ruffled dress
    for your hospital photo.

    I didn’t realize how
    well it would match
    the miniature pink coffin
    that became your cradle.
    I wanted my arms
    to be your first cradle.

    My blood was your blood.
    My breath was yours also –
    until you didn’t need it anymore.

    1. ely the eel


      I’m nearly sixty-eight,
      and he wants an event?
      One event?
      I know, I know,
      what would our friend Walt do?
      He’d write and write and write,
      and they’d all be great,
      and they’d all be interesting,
      and we’d all read them
      and we’d all have ink envy…again.

      I mean, I have lots of stories, so
      that’s no problem, and
      it’s too late now to worry about
      too much exposure.
      I could write about going through
      A windshield…twice.
      Not the same windshield, but still.
      I could go on about the day my
      mother died, or about when I met
      her on the night I died, nine years later,
      the day she sent me back.
      I could ruminate on the choice to
      move to a foreign country,
      when we settled in California.
      Then there’s the first real job that became
      the only job, a career you’d say.
      If homage was the goal,
      it would have to be the creative writing class
      in the desert.

      Ultimately, there is no choice, not really.
      Well, maybe a choice – between weddings –
      the big, emotional first one at halftime of
      the Packer game, in front of family,
      in the family home, with Alice the Springer mix
      as flower girl, or
      the second one, fifteen years later, making her
      a June Bride at last.
      I think it has to be number two.
      After all, we knew what we were getting,
      after fourteen wonderful years of marriage.
      (no, my math’s ok, and that’s a pretty good percentage)

      Our wedding redux was due to
      A very orthodox Orthodox priest,
      who refused to acknowledge
      our matrimony as legitimate, leaving us
      in not good standing in the church.
      Our monthly membership dues, however,
      were always in good stead, all checks cashed.
      So be it.
      I won’t bore you with the details,
      nor about the counseling sessions,
      (after fifteen years!),
      or about how he said we’d have a child
      even though I was fixed, and then we did,
      in an odd manner.
      I’ll save that for another prompt.

      1. Linda Voit

        Wow! Now you have a poem for the day and an entire mine for digging up even more! and a piece that will keep us looking for the next poems that might reveal what an “odd manner” is or more about a 1/2 time wedding or. . .


  44. Kendall A. Bell

    An event to remember

    You tell me that you’re working late on a
    random Thursday in a typical, non-descript
    week, and I’m supposed to have immediate recall.

    You tell me to write on the calendar the
    days that I’m working late, and I’ve barely
    memorized my schedule for the next work week.

    You tell me I need to make lists so that I can
    actually accomplish things throughout the week.
    Things like:
    Let the dog out.
    Don’t leave the laundry in the washing machine.
    Bring milk home. Don’t forget the bananas.

    Yet, every time someone asks when our anniversary
    is, your eyes glaze and your head turns to me,
    and I always respond, “April 26th”.

  45. DanielAri


    and Alice’s daughter was three or four,
    singing “Jack and Jill went up the hill.”
    We were driving someplace, and Alice
    at the wheel paused Lily’s song to say
    “’Broke his crown’ means he broke his
    head open.” I said, “Now why did you
    need to clarify that?” Alice had to laugh,
    abashed. She said she had no idea why;
    and before I knew it, I had gone back
    three or four years to when I saw Lily
    for the first time, crown first, pushing
    person from person into the dim, warm
    strangeness of this world. How, how,
    how?! I can’t imagine even now as she
    rolls her eyes when Alice tells her “Be
    home by six at the latest.” One person
    comes out of another person, crown-
    first into the mystery. I’d like to believe
    leaving is the same, that I’ll push head-
    first through some threshold that was
    always there, though I never noticed—
    pop—into a new sphere exponentially
    beyond my ken just to gaze and gaze
    around and around until I can connect
    sensations with meanings and start to
    sink into the pattern—but let me not
    take it for granted, again. I said to Lily:
    “You came in with nothing but eyes
    and skin, and the first thing they did
    was put a tiny knit hat on your crown.”


  46. RASlater


    It has not happened yet
    This moment that I am longing for
    It may never come
    But I hold on to hope
    Even when it seems dim
    To retire from the daily grind
    And focus on other things instead
    Like reading, writing, poetry
    But I have not made my millions
    Nor the lottery won
    So each morning I rise
    Long before the sun
    To tend to others chores
    In order to earn a dollar
    For all the bills to be paid
    Only to come home too tired
    To have any fun
    Except to rehash and remember
    All the thoughts that ran through my mind
    While my body was busy
    And try to capture all that I can
    In the written word
    Before my battery dies

  47. maggzee


    Orange blossoms and
    Impossible sun
    Pointed to his furry cheek
    Handed me Lorca
    With a rose
    And growled
    Un beso.

    Twenty nearly threefold past
    Rose dried dead
    Book yellow. Tattered.
    The kiss

    Long gone.

  48. Jane Shlensky


    It could have been a sadness
    we both carried in our hearts,
    a might-have-been love story
    foiled by politics, ignorance,
    international intrigue.

    I, somewhere with a friend, might
    tell of a man I once loved, whose
    government held him fast, of
    promises we would not make,
    knowing better.

    He might, an old man over tea,
    tell his son to love as he once
    loved me, the American who went
    away, after we had found home
    in one another.

    “Once upon a cold war,” we might
    have begun, the details eroding
    over time, always ending with a wistfulness
    born of hope carried too long in the pocket
    of loss.

    So when I saw his tired face, coming
    through Customs, his eyes searching
    for me, smiling, gladness flooded me,
    knowing our story would be on-going,
    rewritten every day, new.

  49. competitivewriter

    Two poems here. The first I just threw together since I’m pressed for time today. The second I wrote in the first 24 hours after my daughter was born.

    The blue line

    It appeared
    The first time
    Highly anticipated
    we felt excited
    and inspired

    It appeared
    The next time
    Highly unexpected
    we felt slighted
    and tired

    Averie’s Poem
    As threads of golden sunlight weave through the window shade
    I think about the love and care with which you were gently made
    Knitted and constructed by a master craftsman, whose art adorns
    The heavens, whose touch made the day you were born.

    Your outline, a million times, His fingertips did trace
    Now mine, for the first time, run along your face.
    A dawn I’ll always remember, when my hands cradled you
    Your delivery was miraculous as I guided you through.
    Peaceful and perfect, you came into this world

    I placed you on mommy’s chest. She loves her little girl
    Keep on dreaming little one, in this dark room I see your glow
    It’s in your mother’s eyes, and that spark will only grow
    From flakes of the morning’s sunrise to flames of fiery love
    Rivaled only by the creator of the stars that shine above

    This hospital is heaven as I watch you sleep for hours
    And your family comes to visit with love, hugs, and flowers
    I’m so gracious for this precious soul with whom I am so blessed
    It’s a feeling that only my soul’s secret language can express
    Your pitter-patter heart is resting against mine,
    It’s fragile as butterfly, it’s serenity defined
    I know what angels smell like, as I breathe you in
    I know what paradise feels like, as I stroke your skin
    One thing I know for certain as I count your skinny toes
    You are a unique person, your identity is your own

    I’ve loved you from that first instant, and I always will
    No matter what life throws at us, no matter what hills
    We have to climb or valleys we’re forced to stride
    Your Father never leaves, your daddy’s by your side
    I can’t wait to watch you grow, to laugh, to run, to play,
    But I don’t want to leave this room, I don’t want to end this day

  50. Jane Shlensky


    When I was born, my mother’s heart
    stopped. A speedy C-section saved me,
    while doctors strove to bring her back.
    Our destinies seemed linked in near
    misses from the start, and we were
    close, a seedling rooted into the parent
    like a limb and not a separate tree.
    Lucky, we thought.

    We knew those symptoms. Why
    had she kept them quiet for months,
    blaming old age? I had the fix:
    a mother-daughter healthcare day,
    with lunch between, knowledge
    always better than ignorance.

    Within two hours of one another,
    her colon cancer and my tumor
    were scheduled for surgery.
    Lunch was a solemn affair,
    followed by shopping for stretchy
    recovery clothes, neither of us
    ready yet to ask if we had found
    the door to the beginning, to say
    we almost died together once
    and here we are again, facing
    an arrow we had dodged,
    amazed that it has been
    perpetually winging, waiting
    for us to come full circle.

  51. Arike

    Pre-marital counselling

    Pastor, do you also do pre-divorce counselling?
    We can’t afford a therapist, y’see?
    We’re wondering how God-fearing people…

    Y’said He was very understanding
    Mr. Pastor. Last Sunday. I even figured
    I should be praying for my enemies

    Yes, my wife prayed for me as well
    I was touched. Look, I understand
    Ye’re busy chastisin’ those bent ones

    What do you mean hypocrisy?
    There’s forgivable mistakes and
    Then there’s stuff that stains souls

    I won’t stand for you calling me a sinner, Sir
    We’re doing everything by the book here
    We’re thinking of the kids, putting aside differences…

    Well, of course I promised, but
    We got tired of each other, it happens.
    Don’t make me as bad as someone who-

    Beam in my own eye? Point at myself?
    I don’t hold with mystical riddles
    Look, can you come over Thursday night?

    Well, it’s not like they can get married in church
    Y’telling them to love and trust each other before they
    Sign a piece of only-just legal paper at the city hall?


    1. KristiOhio

      I like the lines:
      “There’s forgivable mistakes and
      Then there’s stuff that stains souls”

      I have never heard it put that way before. It makes me think of venial and mortal sins.

  52. cumberlandcarol@live.com

    Another Year

    One birthday
    after another,
    a friend latched out,
    hurt me,
    unaware I was born,
    years ago, that day.

    In frustration,
    I cried,
    “Lord, please
    make next
    birthday much better,
    with no bitter weeping.”

    My step-son called.
    They’d visit August 7th,
    Surprised he chose
    my special day.
    God answered.
    Best birthday gift, ever!

  53. wolfbolz

    A Bullet Came A Calling

    When I was young and went to war,
    a bullet came a calling.
    I don’t know why it sought us out,
    there’s pain in this recalling.

    It is the sweat that I can feel
    long after all the faces disappeared.
    It was the heat
    and all the thousand shades of green.
    It was the rain, the river, and the shore,
    it was the jungle birds and blood,
    it was that convoluted quest called war.

    Pete had just had breakfast,
    powdered eggs and ham,
    heated by that stove too long
    until the yellow turned to gray.
    He was singing loudly,
    the birds joined in it seemed.
    It was the Rolling Stones he sang
    from Aftermath that day

    And then a crack of sound not loud,
    but sharper than the jungle noise rang out.
    His face exploded toward me,
    smiling still and mouthing “Paint it black”.
    The world went silent,
    The jungle, hushed and dumb.

    I grabbed him as he fell.
    And then a second crack,
    a whip within the wilderness was heard.
    his neck blew out
    and with it came a demon carved in lead,
    made holy by the blood and bone it held.
    I swear I saw it as it pierced my face,
    as Pete became a part of me forever.

    A bullet came a calling
    and it found us both that day,
    when I was young and went to war
    and Peter went away.

  54. alotus_poetry


    the softness
    of my heart
    after knowing
    that you were
    truly gone

    the thorny rose bush
    you once posed next to,
    the way your nimble
    limbs climbed over chairs
    and couches as if
    they were mountains

    how you held me
    in dreams–
    my wings gathered
    wisps of mountain clouds
    I thought I’d never reach

    will I ever see you again?
    visiting your spirit
    at the lake
    the sky and water
    the same endless bruised-gray

  55. Annette Mickelson

    Here’s mine:

    I drank the last swallow of my coffee;

    dark and strong with a hint of sugar,

    mellowed with a splash of cream.

    Glancing at the clock,

    I set aside my book

    and got dressed.

    Dark slacks and a charcoal sweater.

    No mascara to run and puddle.

    Sunglasses to hide behind.

    Standing in the park,

    I listen to birds sing

    and voices speak.

    I take deep breaths and stare

    at his mother.

    How is she holding up?

    I can’t see her eyes behind huge sunglasses.

    Others address and welcome me.

    I hear whispering – “his first wife” –

    I want to leave;

    to nurse my pain


  56. posmic

    The Funeral

    My grandpa was made of wax,
    but my eyes kept telling me
    I saw his chest rise and fall.

    His hair was parted on
    the wrong side; my grandma
    quietly fixed it for him.

    The youth leader for their church
    wanted to talk to me because
    I was a youth then myself,

    but I wanted to help my mom
    (my dad wouldn’t hold her hand—why?)
    and my grandma, who smiled, hosted,

    asked if anyone else would like coffee.
    It was all fine. I don’t remember
    grieving that day. It was all so artificial,

    Grandpa with spots of blush; I felt
    the strangest desire to pare off a piece
    of my fingernail, something of myself,

    put it in there by his side, before
    they closed the lid and we all went
    home to live life without him.

  57. zevd2001

    At home they told me all about you
    before I read your book. It was
    on the table,. by accident. Of course
    my father was looking it over. How

    could he know that I heard about it
    at the Seminary. My teacher said something
    from the book, as if you were
    one of the sages, just a name
    of a student of a venerable rabbi . . . I giggled
    to myself. All the girls talked about him

    a genius. Anyone who was matched to you
    was fortunate. At the books, a scholar of standing . . .
    you know that I always washed the dishes
    when the boys came by. You were never there

    the boys said you were going
    over a troublesome passage. You didn’t have time
    for fun and games. You know,
    I took some of my father’s books to examine
    things I didn’t understand, too, when

    he wasn’t home. Other boys came
    to pick up clothes, my father’s
    alterations . . . He did that, too.
    He taught me how to mend.
    Were you surprised that I sewed
    your wedding suit. My father gave me
    your measurements. I was surprised that

    you were that tall. Your mother said
    it was a perfect fit, no need for adjustments . . .
    later on, with the children you had
    your point of view, sometimes, but
    it always worked out. I couldn’t know

    everything about you. All at once
    I looked at you the day before. You were strong
    carrying the sofa out of the house
    to save it from the fire. My father was worried
    I told him if that’s the man, now I know,
    he’s a man. It was good
    there was some material left, enough
    for the trousers. That was just the beginning

    where didn’t you go, where didn’t we, carrying
    the burdens and mending the souls. Me, at home,
    you listening to everybody’s troubles . . . then
    the knocks at the door, If it was good enough for
    the children, when they came to me,
    I might spare you the aggravation. How many happy homes
    of Israel bear my stamp of approval. You married their children

    and their grandchildren. There are more
    things I could tell you if there was time,
    Make sure to find someone who knows
    to listen, to be with you. If you would be so kind,
    close my eyes, I have to go now.

    Zev Davis

  58. Domino


    Carved from life
    the lines on her face
    so familiar, yet once
    these cheeks were smooth
    and young.

    A young lady
    smiling at her beau.
    A young mother
    holding her newborn babe
    and then her daughter’s babies too.

    How the years must have flown,
    the summers and gardens
    all blending into one another,
    each year’s crop of apple-scented
    roses on the gate
    dropping their petals
    in the heat.

    I’ll miss you forever.

  59. Sara McNulty

    April 19, 2012 – Day 19
    LIfe Event poem

    Trauma In The Time Of Moving

    Lure of new life reels
    you in slowly, cautiously.
    After all, you are no longer
    a young adventurer
    seeking thrills, knowing chills
    will not interfere with the immortal
    you, popping pills, motorcycle
    roaring up steep hills, and down
    dead-end roads.

    A house grips you
    in firm roots, your branches
    only as strong as the trunk
    which has sunk you into
    a morass of mortgage
    payments, and familiar
    comforts of sameness,
    a paralysis of mind
    and movement, married
    to fear of a new frontier.

    You make a decision. Exultation
    overcomes uncertainty, an incision
    cuts through fibers of fixedness.
    Boxes packed, your skin sings
    of plans and plantings a new
    home brings. Truck pulls away,
    old house swept clean. You arrive
    `cross country, and through lush
    greenery, open the door
    on the threshold of your new life.

  60. Andrea B

    Love Deafness

    I want love deafness,
    to go back to simple popsicle
    on hot pavement times,
    making wild perfumes
    out of easy flowers

    where white gypsum rocks
    were our sidewalk chalk.

    I squint
    and find this wasn’t a time,
    but a one-time token
    flipped in a grassless yard
    where mud wasn’t for pies
    but for hiding the dirt.

    Flowerbeds uncovered
    show broken stemmed ghosts
    that made their way to

    and attached themselves
    to little ones

    who grew into old ones
    with large knuckles and
    bulbous noses.

    Through hopscotch frames,
    I see it was the ghosts who made
    these men demons, who taught
    them their I’ll-always-love you wishes,
    how to blow I-really-do-mean-it kisses

    ghost-like moments that find you
    firing guards,

    Time ascends into a siren
    and you find yourself aching
    for love deafness.

  61. just Lynne

    the white room stuffed with plastic folding tables
    the director at his laptop studying the stats
    the four of us silent, only our hungry eyes growl
    and the slamming of cold palms against the timers
    clicking of plastic squares in those red velvet bags
    searching for the best double letter triple word bingo
    scribbling scores, crossing off hurried alphabet lists
    my partner has his already typed
    the steady veteran
    I don’t know all the rules
    my partner laughs that I think ap is legal
    fighting back an eyeroll, he lectures me
    “A-P-P” as he types it in the second laptop
    with the verdict – I am wrong
    withdraw my tiles
    resume to quickly shuffling tiles in permutations
    I’m no good at mental math
    then the finish
    stuffing our leftover tiles in the holes
    somehow my “qi” won it
    though he slipped by a fabricated word

    as we confirm our tallies
    he tries to smile
    his face blushing as bright as his colorful tie
    “You just beat the highest-rated player in Ohio”
    he congratulates me
    “Pretty impressive since your rating is 500
    mine 1801″
    he calculates the odds of a loser like me
    beating him
    I’m a bit stunned
    the highlight of my two-tournament Scrabble career
    now I might as well retire

  62. hurtin-heart

                 I miss you dad
    This old place that once was you’re home
    is now so empty with you gone.
    The routines i had become so familiar with
    are no longer for me anymore.
    Yet still i find myself in the night
    getting up to check on you.
    Only to find and empty bed
    where once lay you.
    Each morning i get up as i look on the porch,my heart sinks
    when i see you’re favorite rocking chair empty.
    And not you in it rocking back and forth.
    I know by now though you should be about settled in you’re new home so i won’t keep you very long.
    Since springtime is you’re favorite time of year, i started missing you more and wishing you were here. 
    You would be proud of your roses this year,if only you could see them yourself.
    The colors are so bright and beautiful, and lovely fragrances
    fills the air.
    And your dog brownie sometimes still looks for you.
    I know he misses you too.
    I know you’re probally busy and i’ve took up a lot of you time so i won’t keep you.
    But will you tell everyone i love and miss them and my dog biddy too. And dad,i love and miss you too.
    Samantha Tinney

  63. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo: In honor of that childhood favorite, “Opposites Day”, take an existing poem and write its opposite, so to speak. I used Auden’s well-known “Funeral Blues” as the poem to rework:

    The Wicked Witch’s Funeral

    Rewind the clocks, turn on the phone,
    Make the dog bark by removing his bone,
    Pound the pianos and bang on the drum,
    Hang decorations, let the partyers come.

    Let the jet planes scream and streak overhead,
    Spreading the message, “Thank God she is dead.”
    Put bright red bows round the necks of the doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear sparkly white gloves.

    She was our cracked compass, our famines and wars,
    Our workplace layoffs and our hard Sunday chores,
    Our dark noon, bright midnight, dead silence and noise,
    We’d hate her forever, but now sorrows are joys.

    We want the stars back, put them up in the sky,
    Unpack the moon and hang the sun high,
    Refill the ocean and replant the wood,
    Everything in the world now just looks so darned good.

  64. JRSimmang

    On and On Ad Nauseum

    My bed, a refuge.
    Here, the covers make of me a
    second flesh,
    protecting me from the harsh winds
    and blistering suns.
    For my life, as long as my breath can remember,
    I have been a mole,
    scrounging around my sheets,
    abounding on the bed,
    wallowing the darkness that darkness can allow.
    Constant people, mirrors of people,
    floating by my face,
    checking the tubes, hollow veins of my body,
    haunting my dreams, awake and asleep.
    My nighttime terrors, confused by my daytime horrors,
    convinced me it did not matter when my eyes were closed.
    Today, my fingers feel out for my legs,
    my shriveled excuses for legs.
    I could be lucky to feel.
    I could be lucky to feel anything,
    a needle prick, a hint at cold, the flesh of a woman,
    and respond with my flesh, controlling my fear and pain and private convulsion,
    and controlling hers as well.
    But, that,
    may never be again.

    I sigh. My breath a rattling revulsion,
    my brain asea without a propeller,
    my fingers…
    my legs…
    She comes in now, her deft hands plowing through my vitals.
    She nods and grabs on to my ankles and pulls my feet
    hard to the floor.
    She tells me it’s time to walk.
    She is kind. Her eyes telling me she cares, though
    I am revolting.
    She leans in close, rose water and essence filling my once
    useful nostrils.
    She tells me not to be afraid.
    Yet, I know not how.
    My flesh stings, singeing stings, melting stings, a malificient
    She leans in again, whispering a triumphant fanfare, her shampoo
    dousing me in sunlight.
    What am I to do now?
    What is my expectation?
    Who am I do dissappoint such an angel?
    My body, though it aches, screams louder to be upright.
    My bed, once coddling, now appears to be little more than
    a box of nails, the open maw of a beatial antagonist.
    I have suffered enough.
    I thrust my shoulders heavenward,
    heaving my spoiled body toward this emissary of kindness.
    Though my flesh is covered in the memory of flame,
    her hands catch me in ash.
    I am up, and the world spins for the first time in years.

    1. ina

      I’m teaching a unit on death and dying in a medical ethics course and this is really a wonderful illustration of the sort of insight and empathy I’m hoping the students will develop. Just wonderful

  65. Walt Wojtanik


    All sign pointed to the obvious.
    A planned pregnancy taking
    an unplanned detour. The look
    on her face showed no trace of belief;
    no relief was forthcoming from the bearer
    of ridiculous news. In his view
    the pregnancy was “ectopic”;
    a term neither had heard until the word
    cut a swatch out of our hearts.
    No family starts with a tubal pregnancy.
    Options were given, alternatives proposed
    but both of our ears were closed
    to the possibility. Recommendation
    was easy for him to say. Terminate. Today!
    We went off to think, (me, tempted to return
    to drink and drown) but she knew.
    Mothers always know. She had less faith
    in first impressions then she had in second opinions.
    No babies were aborted that day.
    Trusting in a mother’s instict and the power
    of clasped hands we took our stand.
    Rash decisions make no provision for error.
    The terror would have been in choosing
    on the side of caution and not emotion.
    Now, we can only smile. Next May,
    we get to walk our “tubal pregnancy”
    (AKA, our daughter Melissa) down the aisle.

    1. JanetRuth

      WOW! I have goose-bumps!So glad ‘mother’ trusted her instincts! Melissa is a good name(our second daughter) I also had an ectopic pregnancy…the twin Matthew, our only son might have had, but the tube ruptured…ouch:)

  66. Nancy Posey

    Shotgun Wedding

    The bride swooned, not from happiness
    but the butterfly kicks of the embryo
    inside her, the hormones that left her
    sleepy then nauseous, then tearful
    in shifts without warning.

    The lump in the throat of the groom
    arose not at the sight of his bride—
    her white dress snug already—
    but the vision of his future,
    hurtling too fast toward him.

    Her father’s face burned as he gripped
    her arm, unnerved not by imaginings
    of his only daughter on her honeymoon
    but of that night, those nights before.

    Her mother ‘s thoughts rushed ahead
    to baby showers, tatted booties,
    tiny pin-tucked Christening gowns
    spun like Rapunzel’s gold from straw.
    Her tears came from her secret:
    her wishes, though too soon,
    at last were coming true.

  67. Walt Wojtanik

    27 I DOS

    For twenty-seven years it’s been confirmed,
    every year we’ve yearned for the promise
    each tomorrow offered, knowing
    that any glowing recommendation
    had been left off of our joint application.
    But you’ve put up with me, and I, you
    through twenty-six years of mutual
    nuptials. Twenty-seven on the 27th.
    Not all slices of Heaven to be sure,
    no pure walk down a pristine runner;
    it was a wonder we’ve lasted as long.
    But, we’ve become stronger the longer
    we’ve been together, whether by choice
    or design. The Divine Plan for this
    woman and man joined at the lip
    for twenty-seven years of
    I “most certainly” dos!

  68. eljulia


    and I’m memorizing you
    now that I know you’re gone
    your jewelry on the dresser
    family photos in the hall
    and I’m memorizing your smile
    in all the things you loved
    old memories in scrapbooks
    rainbows on the wall
    and I don’t know how I’ll take it
    can’t be sure how I’ll survive
    so I’m memorizing you
    in what
    you’ve left

  69. laurie kolp

    Don’t Listen

    I don’t want to write this poem
    I don’t want to say a thing
    To hell with a life event
    And an engagement ring

    I don’t want to tell you
    It wasn’t the first
    And how one was shunned
    For an unquenchable thirst

    I don’t want you to know
    It flew from finger to bush
    When I crash-landed, yes
    Hit the ground with a swoosh

    I don’t want to bore you
    Or rehash it again
    The broken tooth
    And stitched-up chin

    I don’t want to forget
    The small price paid
    When God intervened-
    The best mistake I ever made

  70. dextrousdigits

    The Day We Said Goodbye

    Weeks lead up to the day.
    Dad announced that we would be moving to California
    He and mom began packing boxes
    Naturally all the kitchen appliances
    and my dad’s tools got packed.
    All five of us, picked our favorite clothes
    as if we were packing bags for a plane trip.

    But what I remember was
    what we left behind
    and the journey.

    I loved the wooden swing that Dad had built.
    Four of us could sit in and swing
    on those warm nights in Kansas.
    But dad said, “there wasn’t room to take it”
    I couldn’t understand how we could leave what he had made.
    “Don’t worry, the swing isn’t important,
    it is knowing how to make the swing.
    I can make another.”

    Edison was a kitten, dad reported had followed
    him for 40 minutes walking to the stream
    on a fishing trip. He had felt sorry for it and
    stuck it in the pocket of his woodsman flannel shirt
    carrying Edison with him all day.
    Why can’t we take Edison to California?
    “Edison was a gift to us,
    now we share the gift with the Meeks,
    our neighbors. This is Edison’s home and
    dragging him away would be selfish.
    Sometimes, you have to move on
    but you must make sure that everything
    and everyone is taken care of”

    The day came when we had our last swing time,
    each petted and hugged Edison. I handed him
    to Janet Meeks, my next door friend. I hugged her
    her mother, dad and even her older brother.
    We piled into the car,
    Dad started the engine,
    slowly pulled the trailer down the street,
    the Meeks walked a bit down the street
    then we were all waving and shouting

    The five day trip was full of diary queen
    and vegetable stand stops
    motels, car games
    the names of highways, towns, souvenirs
    and magnificent scenery.
    no matter what you leave behind,
    there is another adventure down the road.

  71. foodpoet

    Life Event

    Livy doesn’t consider the day a trifle.
    I pull on the gauntlets, hunt up and down the rooms,
    Find her cowering behind the bookcase, trying to
    Evade, hide pretend that it will go away.

    Eventually I detract her from my shelf of poetry, knocking away
    Verlaine, Collins and other assorted volumes. She clings to
    Elliott trying to claw back into poetry.
    Nothing helps her of course as I pull stuff her into the carrier and
    Take her to the vet.


    1. cam45237

      I love the idea of clinging to Eliot and clawing her way back to poetry. Made me smile for both the image and for the cleverness that came up with it.

  72. Brian Slusher


    My first day as a teacher
    I unlocked my room to find
    two empty glass display cases
    and a box of broken crayons.

    Later I was told the cases
    belonged to Miss Alley
    who walked out after her
    students had a cake fight.
    She never came back.

    I had nothing, no inspiring
    posters of thoughtful kittens
    or bracing slogans to cover
    the off-white bricks, no clue
    where to start the work.

    I took a stub of Purple Heart,
    sheets of derelict paper
    and made a sign, one large
    letter at a time: WHAT IS

    I borrowed some tape
    and stuck it up. Kids were
    arriving in two days. What
    was stored in those cases?
    I sat at my desk and waited.

    1. laurie kolp

      I took over a job like that… while I was still a student teacher (in the same grade). It was close to graduation in Dec (way too many years ago), so I was considered a full-time sub until January. It was very difficult to step right in.

  73. Jackie Casey

    “Moving Beyond Death”

    5:00 PM. I left him, naked on a hospital potty chair, unaware; his mind paused. No need for modesty.
    Nurse not bothering to pull the curtain, I resented her. His death; my death; his shame; my shame.
    Not concerned with modesty, Death has his own problems shutting the body down. Persistent, he cares not for appearances. I have seen him and know this is true. As a cop, he already knew the dark angel well. He had seen him at work many times.
    2:30 AM. the nurse calls: “He wants you to come.” Snow and tears. Tears and snow. The twisting country road turns dangerously close to a precipice; its winding, slick blackness puts me in a trance. It snakes and invites. Meeting Death here would be so easy.

    “Just hold my hand; rub my back for a little while. That is all I really want or need.”

    5:30 AM. “I don’t know what I would have done without you. You are excused.”

    Father, forgive them for they know not…”excused”. Excused for sixty-three years of his company since
    age 12? That is many years of forgiveness; of being ‘excused’. It is done. It is over. Excused, forgiven; exhausted…Now I must put one foot in front of the other…
    On my way home, I stop at a roadside diner; new and white and shining in our little mountain town. Out of character for me, but something that cop of mine would love to do had I been the one dying.
    I never met a cop that did not love an all-night diner. The interior is blinding, incandescent, cold and ugly like that of an interrogation room. I am scrutinized in the cafe’s lineup. I cringe and squint and shade my eyes with both hands, trying to see who, out there, is accusing me. I hear the charge: “Guilty!” I look guilty and forlorn. I must be guilty. I am sentenced to survival and the scrambled eggs turn to chalk and stick-in-my-throat.

  74. De Jackson


    Had a belly full
    of boy
    and a brother
    at the Pentagon
    the day the towers

    were among those
    who watched in
    terrible technicolor
    to see what
    would happen next
    gasping without breath
    when the second one
    disappeared before our
    very eyes
    for the phone to ring
    watching the screen
    unable to move as
    ash rained down over
    these two
    erased places
    my son
    will never

  75. taylor graham


    From the grassy field, this early
    morning, a honk-clattering of wild geese.
    I count five long necks erect
    above foxtails, on alert; five beaks
    pointed south.

    Two pairs, and the one lone goose.
    The clattering grows louder,
    and from the valley comes an answer,
    two more geese on approach.
    Another pair.

    The count remains uneven. I’ve seen
    the solitary goose standing
    at the edge of pavement on a curve,
    under spreading liveoaks.

    That clattering communal cry –
    Are they gathering for the long flight?
    Is the single bird still calling
    for its mate? Who cares for goose-
    grief, anyway?

  76. Mike Bayles

    First Drive with Friends

    License acquired
    now in hand,
    I take my friends
    for a drive
    in my mom’s Mustang.
    With tight grip on the wheel
    a day’s at hand
    while I take us down
    Division street.
    Once familiar,
    it looks like something new
    since I am driving,
    I am,
    with a show of adulthood
    taking my turn
    to show my skills
    to show my manhood,
    this ritual,
    to the taunts and teasing
    (By now I should know they wouldn’t make it easy.),
    and for the moment
    when I am stuck at a stop sign,
    engine revving
    when they had put it neutral,
    and I didn’t know.
    It is vanity
    when I dare not admit
    that I am embarrassed.

  77. dextrousdigits

    The Road Frequently Walked

    I rolled the Front Wheeled Walker out of the department.
    turned a sharp left,
    walked past ICU 2, pulling my FWW
    to the employee elevator.
    When the doors opened
    David from Central Supply,
    Cheryl from ultrasound,
    Michael from Bio-Med exited
    I greeted each with a “Good morning”
    The basement Corridor was as empty as I felt.
    I rolled the walker down to the mail room.
    Moans of the engines, just to the right cried.
    I dropped off the letters.

    I stood in this familiar room
    with the copy machine,
    stacks of copy paper waiting their turn,
    mail slots for all the departments,
    the Metered Postage Machine
    then the tears sprinkled my face
    and I also moaned with the engines
    because Nadine and her cart were missing.

    I stood there for several minutes
    flooded with video clips
    from my first day at the hospital 18 years ago
    when this pixie grandmother accidentally rolled
    her cart filled with mail over my foot
    and said, “you have to watch your feet, my eye sight
    isn’t what it used to be” to last week at her desk
    where she proudly introduced me to a couple of her
    new wiggle head pens gifts for her collection from
    Willow, her grand-daughter, who the previous month
    had gone river rafting with Nadine for her 79th birthday.
    I realized that I would never come into this room
    without feeling her presence and seeing her impish smile.

    As I pulled my walker down the corridor,
    I could see her little American Flag pin and
    feel her walking next to me,
    me pulling my walker, her pulling her cart, “Spot”
    Nadine was walking by my side
    I remembered her laughter,
    her teasing, her mischief,
    her frequently calling colleagues, “Turkey”
    which I’m sure was a term of endearment,
    her black eye and the stories she told about it,
    her presence every where in the hospital.
    I could see Nadine’s Nook,
    her desk holders full of flowers and decorative pens
    those which were hip and cool with sunglasses
    probably to protect their eyes from her sunshine
    or the beam of mischief from her eyes,
    those little animals and Disney creatures that
    were tiny like Nadine, but never small.

    As I was walked into the elevator,
    I found myself singing the old song,
    You’ll never walk alone.

  78. cindishipley


    When my father died
    the green and black fluids
    drained from his body.
    The smell of rotting lard.
    I shook him to keep
    him breathing, but they said
    “let him go”.
    He went cold as a doorknob
    or the metal post of his bed.

    I called him
    on my cellphone,
    no answer.

    I went to his house
    and put his clothes on.

    The ashes came.

    I put my arms
    in them, up to my elbows,
    feeling for bones.
    There were none big enough
    to satisfy my hunger.

  79. Mike Bayles

    First Drive with Friends

    License acquired
    now in hand,
    I take my friends
    for a drive
    in my mom’s Mustang.
    With tight grip on the wheel
    a day’s at hand
    while I take us down
    Division street.
    Once familiar,
    it looks like something new
    since I am driving,
    I am,
    with a show of adulthood
    taking my turn
    to show my skills
    to show my manhood,
    this ritual,
    to the taunts and teasing
    (I should have known they wouldn’t make it easy.),
    and for the moment
    when I was stuck at a stop sign,
    engine revving
    when they had put it neutral,
    and I didn’t know.
    It was vanity
    when I dared not admit
    that I was embarrassed.

  80. Katrin

    It was a simple dress,
    but I had traced and snipped,
    pinned, stitched, pressed a
    complex Simplicity,
    a putting together of the end,
    the beginning

    A pink-checked calico, trimmed,
    just below the still-waiting
    potential of bodice,
    with a lacey chain of white daisies—
    quite a statement for a
    toothpick tomboy

    And now I was ready to
    celebrate the leaving,
    announce the arrival,
    accompanied by twelve-year-old

    My graduating class of seven, a
    record-breaking number, walked
    across the old schoolhouse stage,
    letting gradeschool bump along
    behind us, ready, almost, for
    our next uncertain strides

  81. Joseph Harker


    “Go ahead, accuse me of just singing about places
    with scrappy boys’ faces, have general run of the town.”

    – Rufus Wainwright

    Sometimes you have to cross oceans to get there,
    wherever the arms of shame cannot embrace you.
    Shame is too comfortable,
    and so is fear: of falling, of burning, of something
    Un-Nameable. Sometimes you have to rely on
    the curvature of the Earth to hide you
    beneath its sloping horizon.

    But when you arrive, you are
    once more someone who nobody knows.
    Walking the boulevards full of elegant gestures,
    lining your eyes, letting your voice lift and plummet
    with the gentleness of a summer monarch:
    far from home, no one will pray for you or
    wonder if it’s just a phase. Here, they’ve never seen
    your silken caterpillar shape.

    And when the parade comes along, all rainbow
    serpent and musical chatter, be sure to be caught
    by the undertow. Shake hands;
    kiss cheeks; embrace. Bits of cocoon
    cling to your back until you find the courage
    to beat your wings: and courage comes easy
    when no one you know is watching.

    You can wave a prismatic flag and shout chants
    in languages that aren’t yours,
    dance in the streets without stepping on the toes
    of those who pity you, those stung by this
    metamorphosis which seemed so sudden.
    Now you can say: your tribe came to the Bastille,
    stormed its walls too, stripped off
    cloaks of woven hesitations and walked with glory.

    Defining a sin ought to be a sin:
    and its antonym will be compassion. After that
    first march, you will soar home to where you
    crawled from. Keep this piece of yourself close:
    not to hide it but to dare anyone
    to excise it. Wear it like an outcoming jewel:
    remember it as the last inch of fire.

  82. Mike Bayles

    Cousin’s Wedding

    It is expected
    to marry
    right after high school
    in a church
    to the girl who lives down the road.
    It is expected
    to declare undying love
    before a congregation
    of friend and families,
    before pastor and God,
    as he readies himself
    to take over the farm,
    the exchange of rings
    bound by a kiss.
    At the reception,
    the union is celebrated
    with the ringing of glasses
    and another kiss for show,
    with the anticipation
    of forever more,
    leading to later conversations
    and speculations
    of children, yet to come.

  83. Marianv


    Six times my body answered that command
    Six times my body parted to let out
    A red-faced squalling infant.
    Wonder overcame
    the exertions of my body
    And to this day remains
    Remembrance of miracles –
    The sheer incredibility of it all
    Life begetting life. What Hand
    Touches and what Breath breathes
    Invisible and unknown, how and when?
    A mystery remains, but what we see
    And touch is real – a whole new life begins
    “Parents” is the word they call us now
    and always will be , linked, in a sacred, unsaid vow.

  84. Walt Wojtanik


    Minding your own;
    owning all your distant thoughts.
    Just a short drive to where
    your comfort lies. Your eyes
    open fully for the first time;
    taking stock in sobriety,
    not false piety in demeanor.
    Senses are keener, more atuned.
    Having given up drinking
    for thinking with a clear head.
    Bright lights highlight your focus,
    avoidance is not forthcoming,
    and a numbing sensation runs
    rampant; nerve endings sending
    signals faster than the brain can process.
    The rest flashes before your eyes;
    it was wise to wait for the second reel.

    1. JanetRuth

      for you and others…
      I Carved something today…

      For each of you
      I’ve never met
      Or held or touched
      Face to face

      But on deeper plains
      Heart to heart
      And soul to soul
      I carve a place

      For each of you
      I’ve never cherished
      Eye to eye
      …but tear on tear

      I carve a rare
      And sacred place
      Within my heart
      To hold you near

  85. De Jackson


    Her son is dead
    and there’s a
    in my belly
    just days
    from being born.

    We stand numb,
    sentences stumble
    in fragments, hands
    flutter, don’t know
    what to do but pat,
    hold, clutch, cling.

    We sit in rows,
    drenched in salt
    and grief and

    We rise and
    let him go,
    of yellow balloons
    falling slowly
    to the sky
    and you,
    my belly balloon
    safe now
    to do the

  86. Beth Rodgers


    Transient as ever
    Permanence defies logic.

    While first jobs seem so
    Painstakingly magical
    The world in which we live
    Forces the hand of change
    When many would rather establish a
    Stranglehold on the passage of time.

    Much in life embraces
    Such as love

    Yet one
    Or more jobs later
    Permanence begins to seem
    For naught
    And a carefree nature must begin
    To take shape.

  87. Marjory MT


    We four and no more,
    A week down by the sea
    Sisters building new memories.

    Relaxing under a summer sky,
    we four remembering
    so many year,
    places, things we shared.
    Homes we lived in,
    Games we played.
    Schools attended.
    Churches where we worshiped

    Sitting by a fireplace,
    we four remembering talking, laughing,
    singing songs from way back when.
    Cooking childhood recipies,
    Sharing kitchen chores.

    Walking the sandy beach,
    we four remembering
    Parents who have gone to rest,
    Lessons they taught us,
    Camping in the mountains
    Guiggling in old green tents
    Under star-lite sky.

    Sharing a week down by the sea,
    We four sisters

  88. Yolee

    The Diary Monologue

    Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Friends for Life was trapped in
    my head when I took the Howard train uptown today.
    Despite humidity that stuck like skin on your Durango leather
    seats during the summer summit, the car swarmed with perky
    people. I rode on my feet, gripping the overhead bar. A bee
    and a sunflower got on, paid the fare, and stopped in front
    of me. The song flew away like a bird tired of idling
    in an unchanged place.

    The bee leaned in to kiss his sunflower on the cheek; her
    blonde hair dangled on his shoulder. His wing whispered
    across her chin. Theirs was lingua franca one could not learn
    taking summer classes at the city college. I wanted to dab
    my finger on the illusion their kiss left in its wake, gloss
    memory with it. Later, on the porch swing, under the sky’s
    claret flames, the song fluttered back in. Your absence
    scattered burnt pictures across my heart.

  89. Angie K

    The Cane

    They say there’s a first time for everything. But must there be?
    There is a first time to breathe, to walk, to eat, to slumber…
    but what about a first time for NOT? If the body decides to rebel, what then?
    I suppose that can be part of “everything.”

    Seven years ago, I learned to use a cane. Just in case.
    I folded the cane then carried it along. Just in case.
    MS could rob me of balance, leave me grasping an empty space.
    So I went along and brought my cane… you know, there’s a first time for everything.

    After a first time comes a second and third, then too many to count.
    I breathe, I eat, I slumber, but…
    when I walk, I use a cane. And we bring along a wheelchair. Just in case.
    They say there’s a first time for everything.

    1. dandelionwine

      Angie, my mom has “just in cased” with MS for years as well– cane, wheelchair. My dad put a power lift chair on the stairs but she doesn’t use it– it’s just in case. Thank you for putting this to words. My thoughts are with you.

  90. Willy


    It was a “damn the torpedoes…” snap
    of the mind; a door-shutting surge of
    decision. Wrong is wrong. Evil is

    worse. Neither is acceptable. That
    truth imbued this former coward, a
    once quaking minion, to leap above

    heads of superiors, shouting their
    names and actions , to the gods and all
    people below, of betrayed trust, lies,

    stolen goods and holdings, even lives
    of some, so they could furnish their own
    extravagant existence at no

    personal expense. The price of such
    ignorance was paid, instead by those
    who had trusted and believed in them.

    The means were justified: lives were saved,
    preserved; the guilty were found to be
    so, and they paid, not ever dearly

    enough, in disease; divorce; death at
    the hand of systems they helped create,
    then taint; at the hand of the dog they

    kicked; in the prisons they had laughed at
    and thought too good for their ilk; at the
    base of their self-created altars

    of greed and debauchery; at the
    hand of a Power no person should
    ever try to second-guess. Truth reigns.

    1. JanetRuth

      Connie if you’re confused I don’t blame you:) Above comment was Intended for Marie’s story…But the hilariously ironic thing is that it worked here too:0 :) mine were ‘poked’ into being as well…and they still need the occasional ‘poke’! thank-you Connie, for the smiles and memories.

  91. Connie Peters

    Daughter’s Birth

    It was sixteen below in Craig, Colorado.
    Three days after Christmas.
    You made your entrance
    and your dad and doctor
    almost missed it.
    One night in the hospital,
    I stared into your deep, shiny eyes
    and I knew we’d be friends.
    We brought you home in a Christmas stocking.

    Son’s Birth

    It was eight days past your due date.
    Three days after Easter.
    We scheduled the task at midnight.
    It was like knitting needle.
    One poke and you came in a hurry.
    You’ve been that way ever since—
    hard to start and hard to stop.
    It’s time for another poke,
    to be birthed into the world.

    1. posmic

      My son had a knitting needle, too — you’re talking about the amnio hook, right? It was weird how simple that process was — like how you describe it. I also like the detail about the Christmas stocking.

  92. Marie Elena


    Some of you have already seen this on my Facebook page. If you need a true-story chuckle and don’t mind that this is not a poem, read on …


    Okay, so my Aunt Peg (my mom’s identical twin sister) is in the hospital.

    Today, Mom went to visit Aunt Peg. As she was leaving, Aunt Peg’s nurse (Dave) saw who he thought was his patient (Aunt Peg) walking down the hall in a raincoat. He shouted at her, “Mrs. Powers!” and my mom turned around. He ran up to her and said, “You can’t leave. Come on. Let’s go back to your room.” Mom, being the obedient sweetheart she is, walked with him back to Aunt Peg’s room. Nurse Dave then saw Aunt Peg lying dutifully in her bed, and did a double take. After he apologized, he went about his business with other patients.

    Meanwhile, Mom came out of the room, went up to the unit clerk and asked, “Where are the elevators?” The unit clerk, who had just seen Dave escort her back into the room, told her she couldn’t leave and had to go back to her room. This time, Mom argued that she was there to visit her sister, but the unit clerk didn’t buy it. She escorted Mom her back to “her” room, and, just like Nurse Dave, saw Aunt Peg lying in the bed.

    My cousin commented that it’s a good thing Aunt Peg hadn’t been taken downstairs for some procedure! They might have hooked my poor Mom up to all sorts of stuff! Ah, those Dunn Twins! They’ve still got it! :D

  93. Marjory MT


    A day of soft spring rain.
    I traveled the rainwet highway
    bathed in sunlight.
    watching a rainbow race in front of me.

    It skipped along with me
    as the highway wound
    through hills and meadows green.

    Chasing that rainbow
    I mused about the rainbow’s end
    and fantasied pots of gold.

    Then, as if in answer to my thoughts,
    the rain wet road reflected back to me
    the rainbow’s glow –
    It and I became as one,
    I was at the rainbow’s end.

  94. Paoos69

    Marriage and After

    After a “yes” and “no” rigmarole
    My life out of control
    It was meant to be, so
    I got married
    And across the seas got carried

    The marriage rites in my hometown
    I all smiles and some frowns
    Stood on stage
    Greeting friends and family
    Each deserving a clichéd simile

    The weather was hot, hot, very hot
    I and my husband put on the spot
    All personal plans on hold or gone
    Clinging to threadbare hope
    Life seemed like a TV soap

    For honeymoon to my husband’s hometown we went
    With his house there, there was no rent
    Of course no privacy either
    The whole neighborhood stared, curious
    Were we really married, they were dubious

    Finally, we flew to the USA
    The land of opportunity they say
    Have lived here for the past twenty years
    Through joy and sorrow
    Yet yearning a new tomorrow

  95. Michelle Hed

    Middle School

    My heart hurts
    wrapped in barbed wire
    and bleeding red tears
    for the compassionate girl
    who is teased, called names
    and given no respect
    by the kids on the bus
    because she is beautifully unique,
    in her style, her interest,
    and she doesn’t
    understand the meanness
    of others as
    her self-esteem plummets
    and her tears cascade
    and I wrap my arms
    around her
    and try to lift
    her tears from the ground.

  96. JanetRuth


    We buried her today
    Beneath skies dull and gray
    But dirt can never seal away
    The echo of her laughter

    Dirt holds her lifeless shell
    For she has bid farewell
    But it can never quell
    The echo of her laughter

    Oft in the tears I weep
    I smile in spite of grief
    For I will ever keep
    The echo of her laughter

    © Janet Martin

    Don’t you find that?
    whether Time or life has stolen away a loved one…
    isn’t that what lingers?
    the echo of their laughter…

    1. Marie Elena

      Oh, Beautiful Friend, this is so lovely. And yes, “the echo of their laughter” lingers and soothes, and brings smiles to the faces of those of us left to wait.

      Your poetry always, always rings true with my spirit.

      1. Marie Elena

        In my kitchen I have “Live life well, and love with a pure heart.” My little Sophie always points to it and says, “lalalalala?” She knows it has lots of “l” sounds, and wants me to read it to her. Again. ( :D )

        Love the message and flow of it.

  97. RJ Clarken


    Dad says, “You don’t need a ‘Hallmark,’
    or growth measured by a wall mark,
    but rather, if you really care,
    you’ll find a way to just be there.

    “The milestones come but then they pass
    from birth through graduation class,
    and soon the kids’ rooms will be ‘spare,’
    so find a way to just be there.

    “A lifetime’s what we celebrate,
    not some event-specific date
    because ‘one day’ seems quite unfair…
    so find a way to just be there.”

    Although I love each special date,
    he’s right: we should commemorate
    the times together that we share,
    so Dad, please know I’m always there.


  98. Marie Elena

    Khara and Hannah:

    Just want to say that I if there was an award for those who have grown the most poetically in the years I have participated in this challenge, it would be a tie for the two of you (IMHO). Even though I’ve always admired your work, you are blowing me away this year.

    Write on, ladies.

  99. HannaAnna

    Happiest Day

    Today is the happiest day of my life
    Church bells ringing
    The most beautiful white dress
    like that of an angel’s
    Everyone I love will be there
    to celebrate it with us
    And the man I love will become mine

    But the best part is what he and I will share alone….
    our wedding night

  100. Walt Wojtanik

    IT’S A BOY!

    Five times those words resonanted,
    celebrated births of the newest
    versions of you on earth. Five times
    those words were heard,
    but only four of them stuck;
    one plucked away in the first
    hours of life. No consoling can heal
    the emprty feeling you must have felt,
    leaving a welt on your heart that you carried
    much longer than you were allowed to carry him.
    Your first born; your beautiful boy.

  101. Imaginalchemy

    “Those Terrible, Inevitable Words”

    It had to happen sometime.
    And maybe others don’t notice it.
    But there comes a day,
    After so many budding years
    Of Daddy swinging you about in his arms,
    Or playing in the mud in the garden out back
    Or just narrating your heroic tales of make-believe…
    And then one day Mommy or Daddy says
    Those words, those terrible, inevitable words:
    “Honey, you’re getting too old for that.”
    That’s when you know
    Innocence has decided to travel elsewhere.
    Real life is clawing its way in at the edges,
    And all of a sudden, the child is nowhere to be found.
    Only the awkward prototype of an adult
    Is left in its place.

  102. uneven steven

    I spent the morning with myself

    no blurring music or babel
    to distract
    and it was not easy
    until I found a rhythm
    and comfort in the washing
    of my feet,
    the casual enlightenment
    of inspection –
    new hairs sprouting
    yet again
    in unexpected places,
    the past and future
    with me, as always,
    of course,
    but in their proper place –
    the box of pictures taken down
    from the shelf
    needing to be organized,
    the busy clamoring of children
    outside the door
    just about ready
    to come

  103. Mystical-Poet

    Upon Death

    Upon death’s barren shore when the hourglass of life’s stour battle
    has stilled, may my spirits fervent quest triumph in ascension
    please O’ frail body release me to plunge upward undistracted,
    focused on the task at hand
    let sights and thoughts breath events of new existence
    vibrations rhythmically pull me forward
    like the soft touch of a guiding angels hand
    stepping into the light I am, become
    the sun, the wind, the everlasting sky
    footprints now invisible but essence prevails
    I feel no pain as the sense of being alone dissipates 
    O’ to lose the permanence of touch and dance among the stars
    O’ to cross the vast gulf, endless boundaries of time
    I step into the grandest portal
    only forward nothing left behind
    the universal song beckons like the piper’s flute
    the promise of life answered by death’s immortal soul
    I ride destiny’s beam of spiritual quintessence enraptured
    by cosmos sweet serenity and death’s enigmatical puissance

    ~ Randy Bell ~

  104. Walt Wojtanik


    Oklahoma City, Waco,
    Columbine all come to mind,
    when this day rolls around.
    Memories abound for those families,
    our country and the world.
    Destructive death in the single breath
    of lives well lived or hardly started.
    We stand broken hearted for those
    souls who seek their comfort
    in our remembrances, Chances are
    we will keep them all in touch
    in as much as we cherish the victims.
    The cowardly culprits ceased their own pain,
    inflicting as much mutual destruction
    on the innocent and unsuspecting.
    On this day, in every way…
    you remain our conscience. Rest well.

  105. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Born Again

    When you slipped from this place you didn’t go the way you had promised
    kicking and screaming, not wanting to leave, rather
    you slid down a beam of light into the arms of those who waited

    How I missed you! Instantly, the emptiness grew to overpowering
    until the moment of her birth – small and feisty – screaming and kicking
    she entered the here and now with such a rush of “Here I am world!”

    Watching her grow, I am amazed at the similarities, even though age
    has not touched her being – she laughs with that same wicked glint,
    a spin of the head, a look and my heart stops – Momma, is that you?

    1. mich

      Oh my goodness – “a beam of light” and the emptiness grew to overpowering” – gives voice to feelings often overlooked. Thank you, Linda for the insight and words I never found to express.

  106. Nancy Posey

    I had to get a little personal with this one. My parents have been remarried for 23 years now–together for a total of 49 years. We may have to have another celebration in a year of so:

    Golden Anniversary

    We noted but ignored their reluctance to celebrate
    this milestone date—fifty years after their wedding,
    two teenagers on her parents’ lawn, surrounded
    by friends and family, the rain clouds kept away,
    taken as a sign of portent. Not without storms,
    though, the marriage foundered after years,
    with us, their children, almost grown, unprepared
    as our solid center listed starboard, then broke
    apart before the silver candelabras tarnished.

    Not content to wait, accept, resolved, like sprites
    or imps we orchestrated family occasions
    neither could avoid, calling on the wits or skills
    that one possessed the other lacked—until,
    beyond our wildest dreams or deepest hopes,
    they chose to love again. We learned from them
    forgiveness, acceptance, contentment, love—
    those abstract terms demanding flesh and bone.
    How could they then refuse to celebrate
    at our insistence their golden anniversary,
    the one that conjured us into existence, joined
    by hosts of friends and kins, some who had stood
    beside them all those years ago; others—like us—
    believing after all that fairytales come true.
    The sign we hung above the door: Fifty years
    together—forty-two happy– Who can say more?

    1. Walt Wojtanik

      Those celebrations are cherished gifts, Nancy. My folk would have been married 61 on Saturday. It’s hard to imagine those numbers. Being on this earth that long boggles the mind. Being married that long, I couldn’t imagine. Good for your family and your folks.

  107. emmajordan

    Christmas Gift

    I’d taken a nap in late afternoon
    to escape
    because you’d come in to cook your Christmas dinner.
    I slept a few hours
    deep dreamless sleep
    When I woke I could smell chicken
    cooked to long.
    Not wanting to, I got out of bed
    turned off the oven, looked at the clock.
    You must have fallen asleep, so dinner was put away
    for whenever you would wake.
    There was evening,
    and there was morning,
    the last day.

    Morning, I got up and looked in the kitchen
    You’d not been in.
    You must not be feeling well. I sighed.
    I’d better go out and check if you need anything.
    Put on shoes, go out the back door, walk through
    the beautiful snow to your apartment in back.
    Amazing snow, so heavy, peaceful, it felt good.
    I saw him sitting on the couch
    diet coke in hand, remote on his lap,
    absent eyes staring at nothing.
    Back through the fresh snow
    walking in my own footprints
    up the back steps
    into the house.
    Kids 20 and 21 looking at me.
    Dad’s dead.
    Called 911.
    Called one son staying over in the next city.
    His reply,
    “Well, it’s over.”
    Yes, it’s over for us
    and beginning for us.
    What do we do with this new life handed us
    this new beginning
    this life without terror?
    Looking through the phone book,
    I chose a funeral home.
    There was evening
    and there was morning,
    the first day.

  108. Jerry Walraven

    “Welcome to my World”

    On the second of May
    I will turn 193
    since I count my time
    in Mercurial Years
    in my small protest
    this idea
    that the number of times
    I’ve ridden this Earth
    as it spins around the Sun
    has anything to do
    with who I am

  109. Ber

    Where are my brain cells gone

    I have been studying all year
    Getting myself into gear
    Trying to make sense of it all

    But as much as I try
    I ask myself why
    And how will I remember
    I do each assignment
    The best that I can
    Sometimes I wish I had powers of super woman

    As time ticks on and the exams come so close
    I feel like I am coming down with a dose
    But sure it is only tiredness
    That is kicking in
    For Freud has done my poor head in

    As has Piaget, Kohlberg and Vygotsky too
    As has Margaret Donaldson and David alkind
    And Harry Harlows experiment
    Poor monkeys on my mind

    Erikson social emotional development
    Where is mine?
    The social development is hung on the line
    My psychology is suffering as is my mental health
    I wonder will I remember
    All these theorists and their life spent

    Social studies is statistics and community based
    Of other ways of living
    Of other cultural based
    Wonders and knowledge they fill my mind
    If I look at these books any more
    I think I will go blind

    Cognitive, social emotional and language development
    Psychology and the brain
    And structures of the mind
    Say a prayer I will remember
    All of these combined

    As I sit my exams tomorrow and next week
    The out looks not good
    My knees feel all weak
    Ah no point in worrying
    I might be fine
    Sure I have someone to study
    I have David alkind

    1. PKP

      Oooh Ber
      Surely you will remember
      That is what your rich
      Libraried subconscious is for..
      Waiting for you in large print
      All you’ve read and studied


  110. PKP


    We liked film
    And music and
    We always thought
    It would be high drama
    Waves crashing
    Against jagged rocks
    Power spraying salted
    Crescendoed climax
    Rising to tremble the
    Instead – how strange
    This quiet room – palm
    On chest feeling for
    Those final
    Three beats
    And then the stillness
    Until familiarity
    Flooded like sunshine
    And I smiled
    How much you always
    Enjoyed a unique
    unexpected unpredictable
    Great job…

  111. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Damn! That was close and I thought
    we had them. I’m sure your living in Queens
    puts the hex on us. You’re a jinx, that’s what
    you are. You and those crazy women! Tonight
    will be different, you’ll see – for a start I’m gonna
    gag you so you can’t shout no more stupid stuff!
    The victory will be ours. Hey! I found the program
    from my first ever game – I was nine years old
    when my old man took me to the Cathedral for
    the first time. Only good thing the drunken,
    no good Sonofabitch ever did apart from leaving
    me and Momma in peace! Yeah! It was against
    the Sox and we won! 4 -2, I’ll never forget that day.
    The day my life-long love of the Yankees began.
    I remember the guy two rows back caught a
    fly ball & gave to me! Still got it, along with all the
    ones I’ve caught. 17 over the years. Well, better go,
    I got something in my eye. Pick ya up at 6 – bring money
    for dogs and beer, wear the right jersey and shut the *%$# up!

    Yours reminiscing about way back when

    Ringo the Howler

  112. PKP

    Blue Paper

    And so it comes to
    Two signatures
    On the bottom
    Side by side
    Supreme Court
    Final Judgment
    Wrapped up in
    Blue paper
    around translucent
    onion skinned

  113. PowerUnit

    You walked through the door
    and our eyes met.
    Our smiles locked in a sweet kiss across
    the old wooden sanctuary
    riddled with the maze of shiny pews
    and shiny, smiling well-wishers.
    Your father’s arm held you tight
    yet offered you as a gift,
    clinging to a possession he no longer owned.
    I didn’t notice the people,
    I don’t remember the name of the man in the grey suite
    who talked a lot while we waited to embrace.
    I don’t remember which of our friends did or didn’t show,
    which ones paid homage,
    or which ones drank too much the night before.
    I don’t remember what our cake looked like,
    where we sat in the hall,
    who spoke or what we served for food.
    I have forgotten most of
    what I considered unimportant in my life,
    but I do remember you.

  114. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Coming of Age

    For 46 years,
    the struggle raged
    inside and out,
    the demons within
    devoured all the goodness
    and undermined all the hopes;
    the critics, bullies and false friends outside
    belittled the efforts
    and degraded the dreams,
    all amounting to a seemingly never ending battle
    for some sense of self worth.

    A spark had been nursed,
    embers glowed deep in the dark,
    once more returned to long abandoned art,
    poetry came forth but no longer dark,
    no longer full of pain and sorrow,
    but still the demons lurked
    and the critics knocked.

    Then came the day, the glorious day,
    when a sword was thrust through the black heart
    of the Sad Monster that dwelt within,
    the phobias and anguish of long years were cast aside
    people looked on in awe, in wonder:
    “Who are you?” they asked “What have you done?”
    and the answer was simple,
    a purpose had been found,
    a cause, a vocation,
    a farewell to long felt stress;
    a re-birth that brought joy and fulfillment
    and up went the cry
    “I am not afraid anymore!”

    Turning 47 and starting life as if for the first time,
    is its own burden,
    but laughter, joy and at long last,
    true happiness, make the burden a pleasure to bear;
    the time may be short, shorter than desired,
    but the heart is light,
    the mind is clear,
    the soul is free,
    the demons are gone, destroyed,
    shyness cast aside, fear thrown to the four winds,
    self-doubt replaced with self-esteem
    and praise from without
    at last for who, what and why
    and it all started with a simple phrase:
    I want to teach.
    That was soon to be followed by a Jimmy Cagney-esque scream:
    I’m on top of the world, ma!


    1. Marie Elena


      WOW, WOW, WOW!

      Thank you for this, Iain! We need more teachers in the world like you, and more poetry in the world like yours. Welcome back!

      (And as an aside, my dad [an awesome, caring, strong teacher] lost his own dad when he was a little boy. Dad loves James Cagney movies, in part because he looks nearly exactly like the father he lost.)

    2. emmajordan

      What a wonderful expression of found strength and resolution. I am working toward being in a place where I can say “All that was done to me, then changed me, is understood, dealt with, allowing me to be unafraid and ready for adventure.” Thank you for sharing the overcoming of this struggle, and for the wondrous last three lines. You may have given me a little of your courage.

  115. Benjamin Thomas

    Still Quietness

    It’s almost been a month
    since I’ve last seen you…
    In a casket, coated with make up
    Dressed in silence and your favorite
    beige suit. I won’t lie, it was quite burdensome
    to see death reigning over your mortal body
    feigning a smile splayed across your face

    For as long as my soul has known
    You’ve always been a busy man
    But here, you’re forever settled
    laid silent, in still quietness
    In this, Dad, rest in peace

    1. PKP

      Benjamin…you will touch the faces of all our fathers but here in your beautiful offering ….
      He lives here through you…as he rests…smiling his own smile just for you… Thank you for a beautiful

  116. Bonnee


    I hold your whining
    wailing head, and kiss
    your new-born face. I
    touch my fingers to your
    face and touch your
    sparsely coated head.
    My hand shelters your
    big bright eyes from the
    new bright lights of the world.
    Nothing gives me more
    pleasure than you being
    in this world.

    1. emmajordan

      Bonnee, there is nothing sweeter than a newborn. How I treasured them as babes, had fun with them as toddlers, laughed with them as teens, and as adults, more than just loving them, I like them.

  117. Margot Suydam

    The Last Time We Talked

    It was an early balmy
    Mother’s Day celebration—
    I traveled to Pawtucket
    not to take in the minor
    leagues, but to spend lunch

    with you. Warm for May,
    we leave our jackets
    we favor Chinese food,
    take a table by a window
    overlooking the empty

    parking lot. In silence,
    we sit, chew over options,
    grunting our food orders,
    to the waiting person.
    There is little we need

    to say so I read fortunes
    from the placemat, gaze
    up at the travel calendar
    hanging over your head.
    You align the chopsticks.

    1. emmajordan

      I understand the place, and it being warm in May, warm enough to take off jackets. Hello from a former Newporter.

      As for the poem, wow, the ending sounds like my mother and I. Thank you, Margot.

  118. MiskMask

    A Life After Death

    She was the last to leave the church. She watched the others depart
    one by one, some were weeping, some consoling those fogged with grief,
    but now she sat alone on a thin-legged wooden chair, her hands placed neatly
    on her lap, her fingers clasps together like an intricate Chinese puzzle.

    Patiently, sitting just as her mother had taught her in respect of a holy place
    and God. No whispering, no fidgeting, no scratching, no wiggling and no giggling.
    Quietly she waited, all alone except for a small wooden oblong box
    with a framed school photo of herself that was encircled with sickly

    scented lilies. She listened to the chirp of birds lingering as an echo
    along the stone floor of the church, the sound of cars in the distance,
    and she thought she heard children playing, too. Yet here she waited,
    sitting, looking at the altar, the candles smothered and smouldering,

    and she grew increasingly impatient, restless and annoyed that
    the bright light hadn’t led her out of here yet. She kicked the chair
    with her foot, and she grinned – loving the sound of that echoing thump.
    Again a bit harder, the sound bounced a base beat through the church.

    Again, and again, day after week after month and year, more and more again.

        1. PKP


  119. Walt Wojtanik


    An unfilled vacancy, left empty
    longings are few and far between,
    but memories will linger.
    A finger pressed against silent lips,
    brought to my own and returned;
    the kiss of death. Your heart beats
    within me, but no longer for you.
    I hold you close, one last time
    feeling your lifelessness against
    my chest; Not feeling anything.
    One last shared sensation.
    Death becomes your final expression.
    You’re gone.

    Those who know and remember, today was the day three years ago during the 2009 PAD
    that I lost a very important part of me from this life. She lives in my heart, my memory and my poetry. Robert, you picked a great prompt for this morning; very apropos.

    1. Marie Elena

      FADE TO AUBURN (a dodoitsu)

      Sometimes we are touched deeply
      by those we don’t even know
      but through powerful words of
      one who deeply loved.

      Walt, I’m so sorry that I let this date get by me this year. This month is flying by, but it is no excuse. Warm smiles to you, sweet friend.

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        You have much to celebrate this week. You didn’t forget, you continue to live which it the greatest homage we can offer. That one thought will keep her alive in spirit, and her smile will bless us all in its brilliance. Thank you my friend.

        And to all my friends, it fills my heart knowing the depth of your compassion. It is very comforting and nurturing. Beautiful hearts, all!

    2. Marie Elena

      Khara and Hannah:

      Just want to say that I if there was an award for those who have grown the most poetically in the years I have participated in this challenge, it would be a tie for the two of you (IMHO). Even though I’ve always admired your work, you are blowing me away this year.

      Write on, ladies.

      1. Linda.H

        So true, Marie Elena.

        I always love Hannah’s wording. So beautiful.

        And to think Khara went from the Joker to this work. All I can say is, “Holy Stanzas, Batman! They always give a “POW-BAM-WOW!” (And if I my memory tricks me and it wasn’t Khara who wrote the joker poems the first year then Holy time wharp, Batman! I’m too young for senior moments :)

    3. PKP

      Walt, you had me at the title moved to tears…exquisite, searing, as always…love…

      Yes, the prompt is bitter-sweetly synchronistic…..
      Thank you and she for another wonderful poem…

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        JR, thanks for the thoughts and prayers. For reasons I explain below, the moment I saw your name show up at PA/PB I had a constant reminder and it helped ease a lot of the uneasiness of the situation. It told me it was more than OK to continue writing her poems. You didn’t know. But I like to think you helped from the onset. :)

  120. mich

    First Kiss
    Apprehension and desire
    a candle flickering just below my heart
    My eyes met yours
    and saw you felt the same way
    This was more than a first kiss
    Destiny fulfilled, a whole future
    resting on whether sparks flew
    Our lips touched
    Gently caressed my soul
    like a fleece blanket on a chilly night
    And all the lights in the world went out
    Except for the one light
    Us melting together
    Sharing one flame.
    – Lyn Michaud

  121. Khara H.

    “Pleased to meet you”

    I know already someday
    you will see me festooned in white lilies and that night
    cradle me in your bones,

    touch me gently with your teeth
    and taste that I am become flesh of your flesh–that in time
    we will grow old and fade into rot

    but a beautiful rot
    passed down through generations, glittering in a daughter’s daughter
    and when new souls murmur

    she look
    like one of them greats just spat her out
    they will mean you
    and your sycamore limbs

    that wrap me finger and flesh
    into you. But today I will only shake your hand
    and smile.

  122. uneven steven

    It’s your birthday

    and I slide open
    the door
    of your single purple poof
    hiding that redhot
    red skin
    birthday suit
    in the too too hot shower
    my lit candle sparking
    in the spray
    of turning
    ski sloping shoulders
    slaloming hips
    the fresh powdered oh
    of steaming wet lips
    pursing –
    your long lingering wish
    almost as surprising
    as my trick candle sputtering
    back to life again

    Wrote this a couple weeks ago as an alternative to a hallmark card. As before, no fudging have to write a fresh one today that’s the challenge….

  123. Khara H.

    Laying you to rest

    I bet you
    pictured us
    cradling you
    in potting soil,

    nestled deep
    in the vining
    of a butterfly

    or pussy willow
    bush. But
    instead we
    grind you

    to dust
    and don’t
    know where
    to put you

    but in
    some foreign
    bits of you

    like breath.
    And we
    know you

    would, perhaps,
    be happy

    to know
    in the end
    you are still

    1. emmajordan

      I love how you have said so much with so few words. What beauty in those words, reverence.
      “bits of you

      like breath.” and

      “in the end
      you are still
      everywhere.” Both so beautiful.