2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 28

For today’s prompt, write a problem poem. The poem could be about a problem the narrator is suffering through, or someone else’s problem. Or a math problem.

Here’s my attempt:

“Still Burning”

And that’s a problem
because I don’t have any water
to put out the flames
or a flue
for the smoke
shooting out my mouth
without a way
to take it back.


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287 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 28

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    horns of dilemma
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    the problem, you see
    is trust
    and whether this love seed
    can grow a sweet meadow of red poppies
    to flutter and sway under the
    house blessings of full sun
    or else
    wilt, then oxidize into tiny rust flakes
    only to blow away like fine powder
    on the whims of a cool evening breeze,
    forever lost.
    how can such seed be meted out
    without margin of fear or constant worry
    this questionable prince,
    these horns of dilemma.

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Yolee

    Nobody Knows

    They are the oldest boys on earth still coexisting
    with their mom and dad. Within the cellar
    of their hearts, they’ve stored up dry bones
    and fling fiercely at anyone who draws near,
    including, especially at each other. Advice
    given become coins that roll in the gutter.
    One was named after a prophet, the other,
    a king from the good book. Both sold their
    names to personalized tabloids. The return
    is on an IOU crumbled next to spare change.

  3. po

    Miranda Who?

    You have the right to remain silent.
    You have the right to remain.
    You have the right to.
    You have the right.
    You have the.
    You have.
    Silent remain.
    Silent remain to.
    Silent remain to right.
    Silent remain to right the.
    Silent remain to right the have.
    Silent remain to right the have you.

  4. gtabasso


    Two years later, you still are my problem —
    man-child who gets under my skin,
    sexy, crazy and sweet.
    I still receive the collection calls
    and subpeonas for back taxes and court cases,
    the bills in my mailbox you’ve never paid
    a day on, a penny toward,
    your messages of loneliness, the ache
    for a friend. I call you a baby and narcissist.
    You call me a bully. Nothing’s changed.
    I get sucked in, and we talk
    but I know better than to get near you.
    It was enough to hear you speak
    of psychotropic drugs in Michigan woods
    with black magicians and a nude woman
    posing as Isis on the altar with her phallus.
    But, you were the one who suffered
    PTSD after me? I made you feel like a failure?
    Like something you are.
    And, I know, I am the one with the problem
    because I still love you and have not let go.

  5. ceeess

    The universal they, the problem of their opposing lists

    fill our heads with lists to live by
    plan ahead, consider possible parallel
    universes, existence of alternative
    intelligence, vibrations deep in the stone
    consider contingencies, it may rain

    live life one day at a time, always
    in the here and now, no thought
    of what may happen tomorrow, fiddle
    let the ants take care of contingencies

    live today as your last allotted hours
    the pleasures of the small, forget
    past lives, and know tomorrow
    no tomorrow.

    spend your moments breathless
    dreams stretched to every horizon
    awash in all possibility of blue
    never trying to find a rhyme with orange.

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 28, 2012

  6. Jaywig

    Day 28 – a problem poem

    We no longer live
    in a problem-free house.
    The video machine
    chokes on the video
    and then declares itself
    obsolete. The slimline
    cigar-case DVD player’s
    instruction booklet is
    incomprehensible, and
    meanwhile my laptop
    is failing to hold on
    to wireless waves,
    confusing Windows
    and us. Well, we
    no longer live in
    a problem-free world.
    But I’m not going to
    get into that. Too

  7. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Problem Solving

    The teacher told us to pick a problem,
    any problem (like a card from a deck)
    and then try to solve it, brainstorming
    every possible solution we could think
    of, even the absurdest ones, so we did.

    Once we had a hefty list, the next step
    was to take our pens and cross out all
    the wildest ones, like jump off a roof,
    skip town on the bus, or use a fat stick
    to beat up the source of our problem.

    Then when we had only two or three
    solutions left, we were to seek flaws
    we might have missed before settling
    on the one we thought best to solve
    the problem, writing an essay on it.

    The most efficient way to problem
    solve that end assignment, you may
    have guessed: better to be a teacher
    except then you have another problem,
    you’ve a giant stack of papers to read.

  8. claudsy

    What Price Time

    Forcing life into minutes and hours,
    Taking life from the living,
    Becoming machines, wound up
    For the pleasure of someone else.
    Can we not function except to
    Sweep hands and crystal faces?
    Are we mindless with this labyrinth,
    Marking existence with clicks and clangs?

    © Claudette J. Young

  9. cstewart


    Now we do not say “problem”…
    We say “challenge”.
    Someone has challenges
    He is full of challenges
    She is facing a great challenge.
    But challenges still present –
    A lot of problems.

  10. Paoos69

    Problems Solved Unsolved

    So many from sunrise to down
    Sometimes a headache
    About what to make for lunch
    Sometimes a toothache
    Always some food for thought
    A prerequisite for life

    Growing up it was about what to play
    About friends and studies
    About parents’ reprimanding
    The older I got
    The problems changed
    To social constraints
    Staying out late and types of wear

    After marriage there were two parties
    To care for and cater
    A husband to manage
    And in-laws to pester
    Then came children
    My very own
    Diapers and late nights
    Were just the start of the drone

    Now the children are fast growing up
    Their school and activities time usurp
    Soon I will worry about an empty nest
    A load lifted with a heavy chest
    Then there will be problems anew
    That will needless to say ensue
    But why treat these things as problems?
    Why not just elements of life?
    Then a happier life it will be
    If these things in a new light I see

  11. LCaramanna


    Those two precious days
    At the end of the week
    Without an alarm,
    Without a fashion statement,
    Without a drive to work.
    Two precious days with time to
    Sleep a little later,
    Linger over breakfast,
    Walk the dog a little slower,
    Wear favorite sweats and sneakers,
    Breathe deep and procrastinate.
    Oh, precious weekend!
    If only time would stand still
    On Saturday night,
    There would be no Monday morning blues.

  12. cam45237

    AP Exam

    I wrestled with the question:
    Is this poetry?
    This scientific formula that purports
    To explain our very existence?
    I’m coming down on the side of yes
    It’s both universal and

  13. Genevieve Fitzgerald


    I asked you to take my hand

    But you can put your tongue in my mouth
    Or poke at the plank in my eye;

    Or you can shove my whole arm
    Heart balking
    Into wounds that make me tremble

    Just don’t turn your back because I
    don’t move my feet.

  14. JRSimmang

    Movies and Vampires

    My heart no longer pumps my blood,
    a sanguine memory become an
    egregious pool of iron dust.

    I cannot remember the time when I began my
    journey into the night.
    I can guess, and only guess, the year.
    It was a time before pictures,
    a time before cars,
    a time before confusion.
    Oftentimes, I catch myself, imprisoned in my tomb,
    playing my reveries against the silver screen
    behind my eyes.
    Roosevelt, Day, Guiness,
    names long forgotten,
    but still thriving within my soul.
    Soul, ha.
    To say I have a soul is to say I would
    need to be near a god.
    I remember the first sting.
    Sunlight on my poor flesh, singeing
    my thoughts and turning me into the shadows.

    His name- Duncan.
    His occupation- unknown.
    His age- unknown.
    His crime- betrayal.
    He lured me into the hazy world of gambling,
    dragged me out drunk,
    and feasted upon my neck.

    I awoke in the cemetery,
    melodramatic I realize,
    for it was the only place where no one would look for me.
    I can only assume I was placed here on pangs of death.
    I stumbled into the midmorning,
    I could tell by the filtered light from the crypt’s tall windows,
    and fell back into my coffin.
    I had never before felt such pain.

    This flesh is the flesh that burns under the
    heat of a noonday sun.
    This is not the flesh that glistens.

    Shortly after the night of my descent
    I found my strength returning to me, 100 fold.
    I was not aware of the time I spent
    outside the rotating hands of my pocket watch.
    I was not aware of the smells
    and glorious sights of the passers-by.
    All I had found was that the morning had
    become my silent villain,
    my aggressor afloat in a world I could not reach.

    Three days I spent in silent agony,
    my breaths drawn out in rattling shakes
    until there was none left,
    my eyesight blinking in and out until
    the blades of grass three hundred yards away
    could be distinguished from the
    verdant hopes of younglings.

    My arms swelled,
    my history gradually
    dripped off my pages.
    My nose developed a keen awareness
    and that’s when I could hear it,
    the steady rhythm,
    the pit-pat pit-pat of the
    ready heart.

    I had become the stuff of nightmares.
    I had become a demon.

    I could not bring myself to become human again,
    knowing that my appetite grew for the mortal ichor.
    Rats sufficed for a time,
    though they hardly sated my craving.
    They were easy to find under the bridges of Knottingham Street.

    Duncan discovered my corpse on the edge of death and dying.
    He took me up and carried me through the echoes of the night.
    Upon his couch, I sipped my first of human blood.

    For three months, I feasted,
    sloppily at first, striking out at women as they
    walked unaccompanied through the city thoroughfares.
    They were my favorite,
    their supple flesh yielding as a sapling under by embrace.
    They would only yell for a moment, entranced by my
    newfound glory.
    They were easy.
    And plentiful.

    Upon the 23rd of November,
    during a nightly round,
    I saw something that shook my immortal core.
    Her name was Emily.
    And she would be mine.

    Her estates covered a vast lot of 60 acres, most of which was covered
    with the perfect adolescent essence
    of a girl in her prime.
    I could not stay away.
    I was drawn to the power of her woman.

    I would walk nightly to her gates,
    watching her form move languidly into the moon chill.
    I would smell her on the wind.
    I would salivate and ache to taste her.

    The women in the streets did nothing to soothe my carnal desires.
    I would drink and remain hungry.

    At night, I stole away, unhindered by the unholy winter wind.
    Her curtains were undrawn,
    and she, a siren of beauty,
    stood in her nightgown on the secluded loft outside her room.
    Her perfection beckoned.
    How could I remain in the solitude of the streets
    knowing she has invited me forth?

    I went to her while she slept.
    Her neck tasted like rose water and satin wonder.
    Her blood was wine on my tongue.
    She did not cry.
    She did not struggle.
    She whispered in my ear,
    “You have released me.”
    She died in my arms, never to reawaken as did I so many months ago.

    My love.

    As I sit in this dim theatre,
    trying to create new memories,
    I am reminded of the past.
    This flesh burns in the sunlight, though how I wish it would sparkle.
    The cross burns into my flesh, though I wish I could worship.
    Blood is my poison, though I wish I could drink.
    I cannot become a part of this world,
    and it is in this world I will be a part of forever.

  15. Benjamin Thomas

    The Problem with Kids

    The problem with kids is that 
    They often come without a manual. 

    The problem with kids is that 
    they’re so adorably wicked
    bite-size cuties. 

    The problem with kids is
    that they’re many times insufferable
    and yet so approachable. 

    The problem with kids is that
    They don’t normally come with extended warranty

    The problem with kids is that they 
    can be insidiously inconvenient and constant botheration. 

    The problem with kids is that 
    they’re so precious you’re temporarily 
    deluded to birth another

    The problem with kids is that they’re 
    notoriously naughty always on the most wanted mommies and daddies list. 

    The problem with kids is that they 
    grow up to be just like us. 

  16. competitivewriter

    Math Problems

    a train leaves Denver at 8 going 80 miles an hour another leaves Boston at 3 going 90
    one carries a man headed to his lover the other has a daughter trying to flee
    what are the odds their dreams are achieved?

    if Mary had a dozen friends, but the you take away seven
    (because she slept with Susan’s husband Kevin)
    how much dignity does she have left?

    if there was a pen with ink that would never dry and infinite paper too
    how many words would it take for this poet to express his love to you?

  17. Nancy Posey

    No Problem

    I say thank you; you say
    No problem.
    All I want to hear from you, 
    young man, is 
    You’re welcome.

    I didn’t plan to cause
    you problems,
    allowing you to do
    your job, asking me
    Paper or plastic,
    parceling out my purchases
    into the mesh bags
    I brought along,

    or stopping to allow you
    to hold the door for me, 
    my arms loaded with bags,
    a sweet reminder
    that you probably think
    I am a senior citizen,
    even though I declined
    the discount when you asked.

    No problem, son?
    You have no idea
    the problems floating 
    through the atmosphere. 
    If you did, you’d daydream
    of heading home, taking off
    your tie and apron, 
    hitting the books, one 
    certain path toward facing
    problems more daunting 
    than me. Instead, you’re already
    thinking ahead to locking out,
    meeting friends for wings
    beer, putting all problems
    completely our of mind.

  18. omavi

    Helper’s Burdens

    There is only so much
    Strength than these muscles
    Can exert before sinews snap
    Only so much a mind
    Can take before it finally
    Crashes and burns and breaks
    Soul can only absorb so much
    As the cup runneth over
    And no more compassion
    Or understanding
    Nothing else lives in
    This hollow shell
    Only so much time
    One person can lift
    Another’s spirit

  19. zevd2001

    Sometimes I feel like a matador
    with my briefcase in hand, a cape, as it were,
    the rest of the world before me . . . like beasts

    roaming about an enclosure, not knowing
    where they are going, shifting about
    from side to side, moving, never clear
    what they understand, if
    they understand . I face their anguish

    playing upon their emotions
    upon their emotions, without a sword
    directing their footsteps, leading them
    where they might lie
    lie on green pastures in peace
    and lovingkindness.

    Zev Davis

  20. Khara H.

    <Ode to Willie: A composite of many men known

    Willie Johnson sits on the old porch swing looking out like a king over Progress Avenue,
    looking out at the world sprawled before his feet filled with cracks and
    —as he liked to say in that knowing tone—brimmed with blood. Walking by
    you hear his knobby knees crack with the breeze, the creak of wind or rust
    gliding him first up then slowly back down—or maybe it is rheumatism—to the perch
    alongside old Sammy Davis, Jr.—that, the neighbor women tell you, there is the oldest,
    dyingest dog you ever seen not curl up and wither like a weed—and if you catch his eye
    old Willie might say to you to come: come sit for a spell: come ease your bones:
    come milk your worry: come bleed some tongue on me, he might say.

    Willie Johnson oughta shut his mouth. Willie Johnson oughta hold his tongue.
    Willie Johnson oughta go inside and leave them troubles of the world alone.

    Ask him, and Willie Johnson—whose real name, they say, is something like William Lee,
    but all the ladies call him Bill (except on Sundays when they wash their mouths with psalms)—
    will tell you what life used to be: will tell you revelations and revolutions unfurling,
    rolling down your spine like water. Ole Willie know what’s going do-own, he’ll say,
    stretching the bubbling oh for a country mile. Down the street. Down the line.
    Down at the bottom of an old dry well—and who can tell, he’ll say, when I’ll done seen it all.

    Willie Johnson will tell you he ain’t scared of nuffin.

    Willie Johnson looks death in the eye and laughs. Staring down the barrel
    of a young man’s gun he knows how to just lean back and sink into his swing,
    holds his breath for hours. Hold out ‘til that young man is gone and the street lights come on
    and all the world—suddenly—everybody wanna know Willie Johnson,
    the man who goes down so silently.

  21. lionmother

    Our Problem
    We dance around it
    pretending it doesn’t
    exist as if we were
    living together as true
    husband and wife and
    not the roommates we
    have become
    when I lay beside you
    my hand accidentally
    touches your arm and
    remembered pleasure
    seeps through my brain
    and rests in places no
    longer watered by love
    places that left in their
    current environment will
    surely turn to desert
    and you seem oblivious
    to this gradual disintegration
    as I wonder what the arms
    of those unmet will feel like
    yet still I cling to the useless
    feelings I now must carry
    around like stones each day

  22. Tracy Davidson

    The Problem Is April’s Nearly Over

    No more daily prompts
    to challenge and tease,
    to drive us all crazy
    as we desperately
    try to come up with
    something, anything,
    to write.

    And once April is over
    the wait begins,
    we count down
    to November…
    only one hundred
    and eighty four
    days to go.

  23. alotus_poetry


    There isn’t a problem when a caress
    is motivated by love rather than by
    something that is uncalled for
    like a bruise, a slap across the face,
    or a broken arm as I tried to hold myself
    away from you. You look at me with those eyes,
    a demon mask that commanded discipline
    and obedience that left me sobbing
    coldly, adding another layer to my years
    of putting up with your lack of substance.
    You think that I am easily scalded
    by your physical strength, but I was hurt
    even more when you didn’t say
    that you loved me, that I am nothing
    to you but a tool that could turn
    back time again and again. Who is to say
    that I have no claim over my own body,
    my own thoughts when I am only fighting myself
    to get over falling in love with the Prince Charming
    part of you? Even now as my body swells
    in so many shades of olive and violet,
    I carry on my own broken pride
    as if a mother holds onto her son
    before his last breath. Because just when you fall
    into your own misstep is when I will walk
    out the door and not ever look back.

  24. De Jackson

    First World Problems

    I spilled my entire
    venti-half-caff-double-foam latte
    on my skinny jeans while trying
    to answer an email on my iPhone.
    The stupid AT&T service still
    doesn’t work over here, and I
    messed up my French mani trying to
    send it. It took like 10 minutes to
    get through the bank drive-thru,
    and my convertible is making that
    little ping sound again. Hey, are
    you hungry? I haven’t had a bite
    since brunch. Spago has that
    bottled water I like; you wanna
    meet me over there? I’m starving.


  25. PassionateQuill


    6 rounds blazed from the muzzle
    fired in short succession it’s
    estimated the shots entered the
    subject from approximately 15 feet
    hot lead tearing through the target
    penetrating in a tight cluster
    brass cartridges litter the area
    what you ask is the problem?
    there’s no problem at all
    this is just target practice

  26. seingraham

    Putting Problems in Perspective

    Oh No,

    Not the internet is down again
    Not all the phone circuits are busy
    Not the cost of gas is on the rise
    Not the money we have invested took a hit
    Not my doctor’s appointment has to be rescheduled
    Not even the wrong person got elected

    No, not really if I consider …

    I live in a country where:

    I may vote, even though I am a woman
    I may practice, or not, the religion of my choice – three billion of the earth’s children may not. Period.
    I have a roof over my head – more than that – I own my house
    My sexuality – legally – is not an issue in this country


    I have more than enough to eat – fifty percent of the world suffers from malnutrition
    I own a computer and am college educated – fully ninety-nine percent of the world have neither computer nor post-secondary education


    Unlike the million who will not survive this week, fate willing, I have more good health than illness and in my country, access to universal healthcare
    I have never experienced battle, the loneliness of being imprisoned, torture, and as I mentioned – hunger pangs, and that makes me different than 500 million other people on this planet
    If I combine food, shelter and clothes – all of which I have in abundance – I am wealthier than seventy-five percent of the world
    The very fact that I have any money – a few dollars in my wallet, change on my dresser, never mind some in the bank – puts me amongst the world’s wealthiest eight percent!

    And for me, while not the most dramatic or shocking perhaps, one of the saddest statistics, since I can read this message – as can you – that makes both of us more blessed than over two BILLION people in the world that cannot read at all.

    Problems? Let me re-evaluate my thoughts on that …
    No – nothing I can’t handle.


  27. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net


    To be hungry! Yet unable to fly—
    a fledgling finch in the nest, wings fluttering!

    How soon will the world be yours—
    the sky, all your dominion, the earth, your horn of plenty!

    Remember, little one, your first mother who fed you
    from her own mouth, from her belly

    everyday, without tiring, so you would live
    to call this spring your own.

    Jane Beal

  28. deedeekm

    I have a problem with time
    it is linear and I am not
    I rebound from what caught my attention
    five seconds ago
    and bounce back to the present
    with a smack that shakes
    me to my toes
    and leaves me confused
    seduced by a shiny thought
    then ducking back into the shadow
    to dream about yesterday’s double
    entendre to ponder
    but then the commercial breaks
    and my attention spans the synapses
    and sparks are flying
    because emotions ran rough-shod
    over logic I am not cognizant of
    any reason for this other
    than I just can’t keep the thought
    train on the tracks
    and there are cracks that I refuse to step on
    as I procrastinate the dates fly by
    as calendar pages ripped and tossed
    and crossed to yes another year
    they come with frequency
    conflicted but still I sit
    and write
    when I should be

  29. Sharon

    The End

    One plus one is two
    and yet life never adds up
    the way you want it to.
    You say it’s all white
    when I know it’s truly blue.
    Problems stem from your white lies
    and me saying what’s true.
    You won’t listen to me
    so why should I listen to you?
    And your insistence,
    and this you do,
    that if I don’t agree
    then I don’t have clue!
    After all this time together
    through my head this flew,
    there is no point in all of this
    and in the sand a line I drew.
    Honey, we’re over
    Baby, I’m done, we’re through.

  30. AC Leming

    Two for today. I’m working backwards to post this month… : )

    Rogue Moon

    hungers for Earth
    flings itself in her cold seas
    sets them both on fire

    A Mirror For Observers

    is useless if they are too blind to see
    sparks fly whenever we enter the same room.

    We orbit each other, eyes glazed with lust.
    We fight the attraction which flushes our faces
    and tightens our guts with need.

    And still we fall.

  31. Brian Slusher

    “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

    She strolls into the hardware
    like she’s any nobody
    but we all know she wrote
    that goddam book, 30 million
    copies sold and she picks up
    drywall screws and smiles

    and refuses to tell
    what happened to that
    brazen girl: did she end up
    an optometrist?
    A lesbian biker?
    Perhaps she married
    a lawyer like her daddy
    and dwindled away, sipping
    gin and humming absently.

    Miss Nelle pays in cash
    and waves, and all
    Monroeville wants
    to squeeze her like a lemon
    or tear her open like an
    overdo present.

  32. RASlater

    Bad Days & Good Days

    For some reason I’ll never understand
    I have good days
    When the hormones work right
    And then I have bad days
    When they just plain don’t
    There is no reason I see
    For me to be this sad
    I’ve tried all day to cheer myself
    Even my patient partner has tried
    And yet the depression persists
    Draped around me like a wet blanket
    Not warm or even cold
    Just wet…heavy and suffocating
    I try to think on the good
    Of Him, cookies and love
    But instead the bad sneaks in
    The people I miss
    The people I will miss
    The bills coming due
    The food pantry becoming bare
    So I do what I know works
    I sit down and resort to poetry
    It might not solve anything
    It usually doesn’t
    Except for peace that comes
    In the venting
    I might not feel happier
    But I feel better
    Just for the telling
    There is magic here
    Whether Godly or myself
    I do not know
    It does not matter

  33. Dan Collins

    two crows

    in my birdbath this morning 

    there was a big black crow


    about everything

    he plunged his head 

    in the water

    and shook his wings 

    in the air

    then he flew off

    crows are always complaining
    that’s the problem with crows

  34. Dan Collins

    two crows

    in my birdbath this morning 

    there was a big black crow


    about everything

    he plunged his head 

    in the water

    and shook his wings 

    in the air

    then he flew off

    crows are always complaining
    that’s the problem with crows

  35. tunesmiff


    You’re damned if you do,
    And damned if you don’t;
    Your choices are few;
    You’re damned if you do,
    I might, but will you?
    You’re damned if you won’t.
    You’re damned if you do;
    And damned if you don’t.

  36. Arrvada

    I look ahead and see
    Problems like a storm
    Rushing toward me
    To engulf and swallow me
    They loom, so big
    So complete
    They paralyze me
    Scare me, humiliate me
    I face them when I want to run
    These problems from which
    I cannot hide
    They scare me
    And all I can do is
    I wait for them to reach me
    to embrace me, wrap me
    they will win or I will
    until the storm hits
    I will not know if I will

  37. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Turn left,
    Sit still.
    Glance high,

    Seek out.
    Look within,
    No doubt!
    Do begin.
    Live life,
    Go for peace,
    Bring in strife!
    Now release.

    Can you guide?
    I need quality thought!
    No, I hide!
    But poem is sought!

    I have a problem,
    Writing today,
    You are here,
    But you won’t say!
    It won’t be useful,
    Don’t stay away!

    Sorry . . .
    Out to play!
    Too perfect a day,

    You confuse,
    Your very muse,
    Who came to amuse!

    Next time,
    Today, no rhyme!
    I’m gone . . .

    You lose!

  38. Joseph Harker

    Up in the Attic

    Tucked under a quilt of suns lies this genetic fact:
    drop a pink-feather lure in front of me and I’ll bite. I won’t
    let go. That’s a piece of knowledge I sweep under the rug,

    nestled in any fabric heavy enough to muffle it. Because
    I want to be the kind of person who says I don’t need;
    designated driver, pass on grass, keep the snake in its cage.

    Keep a padlock on that little square door, let all the old
    bric-a-brac of family history gather cobwebs. One bit of DNA,
    switched on, waiting for the gateway drug: I’ve watched it

    kill too many people I know. But the only truth is–
    and this I keep hidden too, I keep it wrapped in old blue
    tissue paper, shapeless and talking to all the other secrets–

    what feels good, and what doesn’t. And I can tell people,
    must be squirrels, when things whisper around under
    these flame-eared gables. Every bit of what we know

    about ourselves wears an armor of lies. I’m keeping my
    fingers crossed. I’m peeking between the slats and lifting
    the corners of coverlets, one at a time, holding my breath.

  39. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem about space or spaces, with the intent of bringing a personal element or experience into it. I’ve only had one MRI so far in my life, and while it made me uncomfortable, I didn’t have a panic attack like some people have reported. Still, I put myself in the shoes (or hospital booties, if you will) of someone who had such an experience. This villanelle came out sounding somewhat Poe-like, I think.


    We’ll find your problem soon, the doctor said,
    You’ll get an MRI so we can trace
    what’s wrong with you – it could be in your head.

    He told me to lie down upon this bed,
    and soon it slid into a tunneled space,
    We’ll find your problem soon, the doctor said.

    Supine, I was enclosed, I felt the dread
    creep in on me. My heart began to race –
    What’s wrong with me? It could be in my head.

    I was entombed, my lungs felt filled with lead,
    my breath was short. You must lie still, in case
    we find your problem soon,
    the doctor said.

    A tumor in the brain? My fears were fed –
    inside this loud cocoon, they’d find the place
    that’s wrong with me – it could be in my head.

    At last I was exhumed, back from the dead;
    Their pictures were the verdict I must face.
    We found your problem, son, the doctor said;
    There’s nothing wrong with you – it’s in your head.

  40. Walt Wojtanik


    A man in space has enough of a place
    to spread his wings and soar.
    And what’s more, that floating tin can
    can make a man feel closed in.
    But within there sits an aviator,
    an aeronautic navigator on his flight plan.
    If there should arise a big surprise in his nose cone
    don’t bother the guys in Houston.
    ‘Cause Flyboy, you’re on your own.

  41. Walt Wojtanik


    So much to do; so little time,
    I sleep in later and don’t get to rhyme
    until after five. (After a night like last
    just glad to be alive). But Saturday brings
    a whole new mindset and take it easy
    is advice that I adhere to. So I finally
    find my poet’s legs well after consuming
    my morning eggs, and let the grass grow
    one more day. This poet just came out to play!
    No Problem!


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