2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

For today’s prompt, write a poem about something before your time. Maybe it’s a certain time in history. Or a type of music. Or a story that was shared by friends or family–before your time.

Here’s my attempt:

“A Stroll Through Oakland Cemetery”

Each mausoleum and tombstone
hides away countless stories. From
Margaret Mitchell’s epic love
story to the master golfer
Bobby Jones, this one cemetery
holds its share of celebritites,
but also the first Atlanta
mayor, Moses Formwalt, who served
one year before he then became
a deputy–only to get
killed while he was transporting
a prisoner, or poor Agnes
Wooding, who was buried right here
before the land was sold by her
husband, A.W., to the city.


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517 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

  1. Kayla

    November 21, 1987

    It was November 21, 1987. I was five years old with two loving parents
    and a brother fifteen years my senior. Succumbed to the warmth of my bed
    I lie there sound asleep. Innocent and careful, I begin to take in the sound
    of adult voices. I now hear my mother weep. The ceiling fan light in the
    living room is to blame for the partially lit hallway leading to my bedroom.
    In lieu of the side table lamp she usually resorts to. I slowly tip toe down
    the carpeted hallway, half-lit but mostly vague, as I try hard not to awaken
    anyone else asleep right now. I walk over tom y mom as she sits so motionless.
    Tears emerging from her eyes and gliding down her weary face. She focuses in
    on my face then stares into the emptiness of space. Seemingly but obviously
    confused and perplexed by something not yet known to me. As I get a better look
    at the officer he continues effortlessly to occupy our front door. With
    his campaign style hat and state trooper attire neatly pressed and black boots
    not in the least bit rugged. My eyes met his for a brief moment then turned to
    mama once again. Her tears not slowing but enduring.

    “What happened, Mama?”

    Upheld with strength she looks down at me. Worried. Cautious. As
    if battling someone or something deep within.

    “Your daddy was killed in an accident”

    And with that said I do not recall what happened next or
    even what my thoughts were right then nor afterwards. Childlike innocence
    and raw to it all. I understand now that I was too young to even try to comprehend
    the gravity of what had happened. And just how that night, or more
    precisely should I say, the decisions people made followed by
    the actions people took that would forever have an impact on the
    rest of my life.

    Twenty-four years later and now a mother to two young and
    beautiful daughters…

    I vow to work my best as my mother did all that time ago. To nurture them.
    To teach them and to discipline them. And to protect them.

    Against the dangers of Drinking and Driving…….

  2. Natalija


    Gas-lit streets
    a horse-drawn carriage
    one might long for
    another disparage

    corsets and petticoats
    parasols and tophats
    afternoon tea
    with pastries so fancy

    a walk so brisk
    along cobblestone streets
    in the moonlight of yore
    no time as before

    parchment and quill
    a love concealed
    ne’er to be revealed
    with wax it is sealed.

  3. ina


    Today I am Madrone
    and it is the June of 1967.
    Madrone and mother,
    bonding over seasickness and
    their escape from broken countries
    to the new world.
    Later, they shared postcards and
    visits, but then one day,
    Madrone was gone, and mother
    never would tell me what happened.
    I would ask my father, but
    he is six years dead, dead
    that is unless he’s just left this
    linoleum white room to pick up some ice cream,
    and did you pass him on the stairs, dear,
    so you could pick a flavor? I didn’t,
    but I don’t tell her that, and in a
    few more moments, he’ll be gone.
    Tomorrow, I might be myself
    but the days that I wear someone
    else’s face come more and more
    often. I listen before entering
    the white room, hoping to
    catch a whiff of who I am today,
    to find out if I exist, or if I’m not yet born,
    or not even hoped for.
    The days pass, moving more rapidly
    through time and space. It’s only
    a matter of time
    before I cease to be, before I’m
    a stranger, and after that,
    only her death can make me
    my mother’s daughter again.

  4. bclay

    Cave Paintings of
    an earlier Picasso

    imprinted impressive
    images of silhouettes
    of aurochs, and animals
    older than lost ages of ice.
    Beasts extinct and immortal
    hidden in cold canvas crevices,
    displayed in forgotten museums
    of a modernity thought impossible
    for a period not previously known so
    advanced. Either staggering shamanic
    channeling as such charcoal chiaroscuro
    realist ritualization, or did hunter-gatherers
    hunger for food of more spiritual satisfaction?
    Attempting to en-capture the ethereal anima of
    animals, and powers of soul they felt to be slowly
    retreating to darkest and deepest cavern of psyche.
    Drawn to and upon forsaken underworlds underneath
    overpowering dawning of that human conception of “I”-
    which undermined our former connectedness with nature.
    Cave paintings of an earlier Picasso in negative signatures
    of hematite hued hand-prints, in ochre and echo of goodbye.

  5. Rosangela

    Another Life

    It’s autumn and the full moon is out
    we are all dancing and singing
    around the bonfire.
    Long skirts flying in a colorful swirl
    around the blue and yellow,
    red and orange hit
    that give us life.

    The sound of the crackling wood
    startles my heart every now and then,
    and we all laugh while
    banjo, guitar and djembe drum
    mix together in an ode to existence.

    A log cabin, hot drinks, hot hearts
    make us alive, and young forever.

    I truly miss that rhythm
    and the dance, and the fire
    the cool people, the smiles.

    That place and that time
    behind the door
    where I have never been.

    Just before.

  6. Marcia Gaye

    [Very similar to one written last year, but dissimilar enough, I think.]

    Photo circa 1945

    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Of a teenage boy on the hood of a car
    Poised, posed, ready for a ride
    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Their smiles bright as they decide
    Wondering if they’ll travel far.
    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Of a teenage boy on the hood of a car.

  7. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 5

    Write a poem about something before your time.


    We gathered round the piano
    and sang as my mother played the songs
    from her and Dad’s time:
    Deep Purple
    Beautiful Doll
    Pretty Baby
    so many lovely melodies and rollicking tunes,
    with my mom harmonizing as my dad and I
    sang melody.
    Love songs, so familiar a fabric to life
    I could never understand
    when my friends gave me quizzical looks
    when I hummed or vocalized.

  8. StephanieRosieG


    Ysadora hates Pancho Villa.
    She’s never met him, but last week
    several skinny men with rusty guns
    clomped into the back yard as she
    pulled weeds from her meager garden . . .
    they demanded the scrawny chickens
    housed in their patchwork coop
    and the slim pickings still in her hands
    and when she hesitated, they shouted
    that it was Pancho Villa who would
    save her from this sad peasant life
    that it was his victory she was feeding,
    and so they took what they wanted
    despite her protests, but in so doing,
    gave her a name to despise, a mantra
    to chant as she rubbed her hands
    over her starving belly in the days and
    weeks to come: Pinche Pancho Villa.

  9. Egnar T. Seinnhoj

    Dearborn Street

    A minister, a playboy and a mercenary
    of love ride the same trolley together,
    awkwardly gazing and silently
    judging one another
    with different definitions
    of missionary.
    Cable car wheels roll with eyes past
    The Everleigh Club. I feel a sinking smile
    crawling from my eyelids
    to the guttered street. Pleasure winks
    at me with silence- but it burns holes
    in every pocket until there is nothing to take.
    What would such love be like? Empty
    or a taste to form an appetite?
    With nothing signaling to go
    I’d like to believe
    In the clicks of heels and carnal faults
    of freedom. I’d like to believe
    in Minna.

  10. Golden Rule

    The Wiley College Great Debaters (They defeated University of Southern California in National Championship)

    Dreaming dreams and seeing visions
    Hopeful thoughts and great ambitions
    Crystal clear moments a portrait of hope
    Believing in the unseen because faith intervened
    So they walked by faith and not by sight
    In the battle of words they overcame their plight
    In 1935, there stood Gods’ Brides
    Three African American students
    from Wiley College
    Who fought their White opponents with their minds
    and their vast range of knowledge.
    Fearless but often under attack
    But against all odds they persevered
    And carried the African American race on their back.

  11. LCaramanna

    Swing Time

    Swing time came before my time,
    with Glenn Miller In The Mood
    to sit under the apple tree
    near Tuxedo Junction
    as the Chattanooga Choo Choo
    whistled long and low into the Indian Summer
    on Blueberry Hill.
    Lucky for me,
    my mother played the oldies on the stereo in the living room
    and together we cut a rug
    to Pennsylvania 65000,
    her string of pearls around my neck
    swinging to the jitterbug beat
    that to this day sets my feet in motion
    to the swing of Glenn Miller’s Big Band sound.
    ‘Though it was before my time,
    the music of that time continues to make me swing.

  12. gtabasso

    Before I was Conceived

    There was a good Catholic
    suburban girl who had a chance.
    Not too smart or pretty or talented.
    She had friends, a good family
    a yellow dress, a brother named Dennis,
    and a choice.

    Her best friend said,
    “My boyfriend has a cousin
    who just got out of prison.
    He’s handsome and looking
    to meet a nice girl, settle down.”

    So, this greaser in leather
    and pointy shoes meets her —
    bad boy, someone to save
    (it runs in the family;
    we see the good in them).

    He pops her cherry and a baby’s on the way.
    He pressures her for an abortion.
    Her parents hate his guts,
    tell her to have the baby and live with them,
    but she’s in love; so, at six months
    she hides the bump and travels
    down the aisle of a church wearing white.

    The rest is one long fight,
    memories of broken bones
    and bruises, flesh connecting with walls,
    and me being the reason
    they stayed together,
    the cause of it all.

  13. unscriptedlife

    Today’s inspiration: the Earth and when it was first created.

    Pure beauty.
    The unaltered landscape.

    Those who lived here, loved here.
    Every tree, plant and animal living in harmony.
    One complimenting another.
    None overtaking the rest.

    Anyone who stepped onto the landscape
    Left it the way they found it.
    Resources thrived, never abused.
    Land respected.

    Life sustaining itself,
    No one ending the cycle.
    The grass, water, sky,
    A creation made to bless.

  14. Benjamin Thomas

    The Origin of Poetry?

    a vessel in the potter’s hand
    tailored to his pleasure
    conformed to his demand
    how does it so sooth?
    this revelation and fruition of muse?
    such poetical device
    such delicacy of word
    such contrivance of heart
    begotten two-winged bird
    flown throughout the ages
    by quill, pens, and pages
    a literary contagious art
    who can tell, from hence did it start?

  15. Kendall A. Bell

    When I was your age…

    As the spring makes its way back,
    the familiar sound of the Mr. Softee
    truck returns, bringing back memories
    of children on my old, dead end road
    running, screaming and scattering back
    to their houses to beg their parents
    for money to buy something – anything,
    as if the ice cream truck wouldn’t be
    back again for the entire summer.

    Most of the time, the truck would come
    during dinner time, and I’d still have
    a heaping pile of something nasty on my
    plate that I had no intention of finishing,
    like carrots.

    I would ask for a dollar from my father,
    and he’d share the same story each time
    about how, when he was a kid, a quarter
    would buy an ice cream cone for him,
    his two brothers and two sisters.

    I’d hear about the cold Minnesota winters
    and a refresher about how he had to quit
    school after his father died of tuberculosis
    and join the Air Force.

    My mother would tell me that her mother
    never gave her or her brothers and sisters
    any special treats and mostly screamed and
    cursed at her, occasionally getting violent
    enough to throw knives at her.

    All I wanted was a dollar.

    Instead, I was given a history lesson about
    a time I cared very little about, since I was
    roughly eight years old and didn’t really
    believe that they shared beds with their
    siblings or were hit with window opening rods
    by sinister nuns who beat insolent children.

    All I wanted was that dollar before the truck
    pulled away and I was stuck lamenting another missed
    opportunity at having a Chip Candy Crunch bar.

    It was met with my father’s inevitable groan, a
    reach in the pocket and a quick grab from me
    as I sprinted out to that magical, musical truck
    while he once again told my mother,
    “He doesn’t know how good he’s got it.”

  16. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    He sits astride the cannon. He is five.
    At that time, I was not even alive.
    This is my favourite picture of him:
    such a joyous child, with so much to give.

    His head is high; the wide, delighted grin
    is echoed more restrainedly by the man
    and the older boy, father and brother
    sitting smiling behind him on the gun.

    Their heads lean towards him. He does not see
    their protective attitudes; family
    he remembers as undemonstrative,
    and himself repressed, but here he looks free.

    His eyes are crinkled behind the round specs.
    There’s a pride in the way his head’s thrown back —
    a little-boy smugness: he’s in the front,
    his chubby bare legs stuck out straight as sticks.

    Now he’s my husband. He is eighty-three,
    and the laughing child is still there to see
    with that same spontaneous joy in life
    as he smiles at me … as he smiles at me.

    Accompanying photos at http://passionatecrone.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/himself.html

  17. Dan Collins

    I’ve Been Wondering About Mayan TV News

    What do you think will happen on Friday, December twenty first, two thousand and twelve?
    That’s the day that the Long Count ends and was “supposed” to start over.
    Instead, it will come screeching to a halt – the cogs of history themselves!

    Calculations, observations, I understand if they were just tired and said: “Enough!”
    Maybe they just wanted a break; got sidetracked with war, famine
    or plague? Or was it white noise and such fluff?

    Did it just get too murky for the seers?
    Heck, even now, right now! if I flip
    channels – I would hardly believe my ears.

    No wonder they couldn’t do more –
    There’s no need to worry
    about what’s in store.

    What’s done, fore-soothe?
    – only the

  18. Melissa Hager

    ‘Ere I Knew Ye

    A smokin’ fiend ye be.
    Glurgin’ down ye liquor
    Doin’ Lord knows what!
    Hangin’ with a sorry lot.

    What possessed ye to
    Find favour with me?
    To give up wild nights
    Without a big fight?

    Whatever your reasons
    I’ll be glad to take ‘em.
    Life was not much fun
    ‘Ere I knew ye.

  19. hurtin-heart

    In a small town in bethleham
    To a virgin,a babe was born.
    Three kings bearing gifts traveled afar
    Following the brightest star
    To see the baby boy lying in a manger
    For word had spread the babe was special
    For he was the child of GOD!
    Born for a purpose yet at the time unseen
    But as the years passed and he grew into a man
    his purpose became clear for all to see.
    For 25 years he walked the earth
    saving the souls of all who would believe.
    He was a man of GOD,perfect,unlike you and me.
    He was loved and hated by many
    and forsaken also,yet on his journeys
    Though he suffered greatly,He never forsake us
    Nor did he forsake his father.
    Then came the final day when the true purpose
    of his birth was for all the world to hear and see.
    On a cross with a crown of thorns
    He was nailed between two thieves.
    Jesus gave his life as the final sacrafice
    So that we could be free from sin
    Through his blood. The blood of Jesus Christ.
    Oh..how GOD must have cried that day.
    Samantha Tinney

  20. Walt Wojtanik


    A hard working immigrant
    new to America and her ways.
    A great influx of Eastern Europeans
    with the means to make a life.
    In search for a wife, Jozef
    met a family with an eldest daughter
    who caught his eye. A marriage arranged
    and they managed well. A daughter came
    quickly and soon after Tuberculosis
    and the prognosis was not good.
    Widower, father of a four year old
    made a bold move to marry her sister
    who cared for the two of them
    in his wife’s sickness. His second wife,
    spent her life raising her “niece”
    and two children of their own.
    Another branch on my family tree,
    my rapidly uncovered genealogy.

  21. KarenWalcott

    Old King Henry
    What a right royal bastard you were
    You stained the Tudor dynasty, the dynasty
    You worked so hard to protect.
    You were nothing more than a right royal
    Brat. So many people died so that you could
    have your own way. How could you
    Treat your eldest daughter like that? How could you
    Threaten to put her to death unless she publicly
    Avowed her mother as a liar and a whore?
    Do you know the damage you did to that poor, scared woman?
    You bloodied Mary. You didn’t have to kill Anne Boleyn.
    You no longer loved her, but did she have to die so that
    Your next marriage would be free from rumors of bigamy and
    Adultery? Who told you that other people simply existed to be used and discarded
    by you? What of Mary’s mother? Katherine of Aragon was a woman who loved you
    faithfully for over 20 years and you sent her to one dank castle after another until
    her precarious health failed her.
    Did you miss the many friends that you sent to the scaffold?
    Did you miss your friend, Sir Thomas More? Did you miss Cardinal
    Fisher, your mother’s own confessor? I wonder what your parents felt
    When they say your reign from the other side? Your father probably
    Wept for the fortune that you squandered on your sick love of
    Palaces and fine clothing, while your mother probably wept for her
    Kin that you murdered. Really Henry, not even animals kill their
    Own littermates. Were you surprised by how history unfolded?
    Did you weep when your precious son died at fifteen? Did you
    Finally pity Mary when you saw what you had created? Were you
    Proud of Elizabeth? Or were you angry that she didn’t continue the
    Tudor line? Old King Henry, what a right royal bastard you were.

  22. PassionateQuill

    Before your time

    we danced to the warm sounds of the
    Beetles, Monkeys, and Carpenters
    spun from worn vinyl records

    before your time…

    bell bottoms, mini skirts, and hot pants
    swung from our hips, high above
    tawny brown boots laced knee high

    before your time…

    we drank in the fresh night air
    from the back of racing motorcycles
    and in rows at the drive in theater

    before your time…

  23. Mary Mansfield

    Only in the Movies

    Those classic leading men
    Understood a few things
    The younger generation
    Seems to have forgotten,
    The importance of being
    Unapologetically male…
    The cut of his suit just right
    And complete comprehension
    Of the purpose of a belt,
    No piercings or tattoos
    Flaunted for all to see.
    Strong and firmly in control,
    Oozing charm and fedora cool,
    Martini and cigarette in hand,
    With a great appreciation
    For the luscious curves
    Of a real woman.

  24. periwinkle


    September 1935 a quiet wedding
    took place on a large wrap around
    porch, parents and two best friends
    as witnesses. Husband and wife.

    Spring 1936 a dark haired baby
    girl, birthed at home, a midwife
    in attendance. Exhausted, weak
    a young mother cradles her baby.

    December, 1936, another baby
    girl, chubby, brown-eyed cutie.
    Same midwife, same bed, the
    young mother smiles, Proud.

    March, 1937, miscarriage
    January 1938, miscarriage
    July 1938, miscarriage
    October 1938, miscarriage

    Young mother,

    Next two years no
    pregnancies, maybe
    an intervention from
    above. She is stronger
    For Now.

    Fall 1941, another birth,
    a raven- haired baby girl.
    In a hospital, born breech
    Mother never forgets the pain.

    1942, 1943,
    a miscarriage
    a miscarriage
    no more babies
    the doctor says.

    1944, two pregnancies
    …two abortions
    Mother’s health
    mental and physical

    1945, another baby
    girl, blue eyes, chesnut
    brown hair skinny little
    peanut. “I am done,

    Hysterectomy before she
    leaves the hospital. I was
    the last to be born. I am
    the child that almost wasn’t.

    1. De Jackson

      periwinkle, this is POWERFUL. If it’s autobiographical, I’m so glad for that last stanza. Your words tumbled, pushed into my heart like all those babies. Heartbreaking, and wholly felt. Thank you.

  25. Jane Shlensky

    Antebellum Home on Historic Registry Burns to Ground

    Thursday evening, Hawkins Plantation’s mansion Wellstead was destroyed in a fire that consumed the eighteenth century structure before responders could extinguish the flames.
    A tourist stop for a century, Wellstead drew school groups and history buffs, its rolling lawns and old growth oaks hung with Spanish moss enchanting to all who visited. Originally, the ‘big house’ of Hawkins Plantation, it was home to the William Jefferson Hawkins family, owners of more than two hundred slaves, although no slave cabins exist today at the site. Surviving are three chimneys of original brick which stand like the fingers of a hand pointing to heaven, (from which the domicile surely looks down) marking the spot where this lovely old land mark stood. In recent years, the mansion had served as museum and gift shop. It is believed that the fire began in the canteen, in operation for only one month. A memorial is planned for July 4, during the annual freedom picnic, tickets $4 per person. All proceeds will go to the Historic Preservation Society for their work in reclaiming and reframing the past to educate the future.

  26. Bruce Niedt

    First of all thanks to Maureen Thorson at NaPoWriMo for featuring my blog and Day 4 poem!

    Today’s dual prompt is to write a baseball poem, so combined with Robert’s prompt, it begs a poem about an event in baseball history. This is one of the game’s sadder moments:

    Polo Grounds, August 16, 1920

    As you lay on the ground, Ray,
    on that terrible afternoon,
    blood oozed from your ear.

    Mays had delivered his submarine pitch,
    hurling the muddy, stained baseball
    through the twilight from mound to plate.
    They say you didn’t even see the ball,
    which is why you didn’t move as the pitch
    cut in on you. When Mays heard the crack,
    and the ball squibbed back to him,
    he thought he’d heard the bat, not your skull,
    and he threw to first for the putout.
    You managed to stumble to your feet,
    then collapsed again, and they rushed you
    to the hospital, where you died hours later.
    They all took off their caps for you,
    Ray Chapman, as you passed through
    this game into the next.

    Before you left for the road trip from Cleveland
    to New York, you and your young wife took a look
    at the new house being built for you.
    She was expecting your first child,
    and you told her you would retire soon
    to raise your family, and join the family business.
    If only they had helmets back then,
    you would have had the chance.

  27. traci

    Feather Beds, pillows
    Early Rise Smiles at breakfast
    Off to work we go
    End of day pleasure seeking
    Fabric cut, sewn – it is a Quilt!

  28. Nimue

    Before Me

    I see her often.
    but never really notice
    how gracefully she conducts
    the business of random things
    around her – people included.
    I hear him often
    but never really notice
    how diligently he goes on
    with routine stuff in life –
    his and ours too alike.
    I find them together
    talking mostly of us,
    other people, other things,
    in the mentioned order
    and I wonder,
    How was it, when parents had
    all time to talk, just about themselves ?
    I wonder, but question not.
    Their smiles, I understand yet not.

  29. Linda Voit

    Before my big entrance

    Exactly 1656 years before I am born,
    Saint Barbara, the patroness of those
    who seek protection from lightening,
    explosives and sudden death,
    is martyred.

    Exactly 343 years before I am born,
    38 colonists from Berkeley Parish, England
    disembark in Virginia
    and give thanks.

    Exactly 81 years before I am born,
    the first edition of the Los Angeles Times
    is published.

    Exactly 44 years before I am born,
    Woodrow Wilson sets sail
    for World War I peace talks
    in Versailles.

    Exactly 25 years before I am born,
    The Dandy Comic is published,
    one of the first to use speech balloons.

    Exactly 17 years before I am born,
    the US Senate, 65 to 7, approves
    US participation
    in the United Nations.

    No surprise then – I like storms and gratitude,
    journalism, publishing, Europe, comics,
    speech bubbles and the United Nations.

    Linda Voit

  30. Michael Grove

    He Made It

    He had climbed
    the highest mountain he could see.
    He rested
    in the shade of an old tree.
    He witnessed
    all the turmoil and great strife.
    He wanted
    love and happiness in life.
    He found it
    when he practiced sacrifice.
    He spoke once
    only after thinking twice.
    He lived in
    a glass house while they threw rocks.
    He never
    closed a door or locked the locks.
    He treated
    everyone so very nice.
    He made it
    to eternal paradise.

    By Michael Grove

  31. cam45237

    The End of the Line
    Some centuries, some scores of years gone by,
    Clan Cameron raged across the Grey Atlantic,
    And settled on the Rocky Coast of Maine,
    Their faces fierce, their bodies bound, their women wild,
    Tartan-clad, indigo-inked ,
    Naked of knee and nether.

    Sons of the Hounds Come Here!
    And Get Blood!
    The Clan Call echoes past the pine woods,
    Blows past Mount Hunger Ridge, past northern peaks,
    And the dark Arcadian forests,
    Out beyond the Bay of Fundy,
    Across the cold and open waters ,
    Past Scotland new and Scotland old.

    And at the end of Time’s cruel spiral,
    The greatest of their granddaughters,
    Sits pale on a tuffet,
    A timid soul, and wan.

  32. emmajordan

    The sepia toned photograph is puzzling
    Girl child standing in a dance pose
    Dressed in tulle and slippers
    She sort of smiles
    Through brown ringlet curls

    She is too tall
    Too large boned
    Her smile is not genuine
    Posed only
    For a camera for mother

    I know who she is
    This girl child
    Just from the face body attitude
    My grandmother stern even then
    Pretending to be a young girl

  33. Margot Suydam

    Past Time

    Far-a-way smack of ball on bat
    the crackling voice on the radio
    no cow bells nor bleacher yells

    just the lull of a Sunday game
    spread wide through the dark
    driving us home to Hoboken

    I dream up those first leg-striped
    boys, who once divided the park
    into diamonds, playing for fathers

    mothers setting early dinner tables
    in one packed row house or another
    their ears always keen to the street.

  34. seingraham

    Boccaccio’s Ghost

    It’s not late, or at least
    Not very—a full harvest
    Moon, in all her peach
    Glory has barely crested
    The horizon—but, as I
    Begin to cruise the smaller
    Passageways up here
    I know he walks with me

    Every evening at some point
    I feel his presence as if,
    Like an old friend, he has
    Just stepped from his house
    And, matching his steps to mine
    Begins to stroll also

    In a tenth century village
    There are many nooks
    And darkened spaces,
    Many spirits for that matter
    But perhaps you only meet
    The one most helpful to you

    I have come here
    With a crisis of faith of sorts
    Oh no—not a religious crisis;
    I long ago learned to let that go
    At least, for the most part

    No, here, to this medieval village
    High atop one of Tuscany’s
    Famed hills, steeped deeply
    In antiquity, and the intoxicating scent
    Of olive groves and Chianti wine vines
    I’ve brought my indecision
    About my creativity

    Toted along like battered baggage
    I have carried these questions
    Everywhere without understanding
    I was waiting for the perfect
    Place to lay my burden down
    Unzip the luggage

    Letting my life questions
    Tumble about freely
    Wondering whether
    I should stay the course,
    Maintain whatever
    Status quo it is I seem
    To have set for myself
    When oft’ I find I am
    Despairing of its ever
    Being the right action for me
    This writing thing I do

    I wasn’t here but several nights
    Before Giovanni Boccaccio
    Began to walk with me,
    At first in companionable silence
    Then, an occasional comment
    About his own doubts
    While writing the Decameron
    He thought he knew in his heart
    It was the right thing to do
    But still, doubts plagued him
    Even unto his death …
    Even then

    I find myself musing about
    This great writer’s uncertainties
    And wonder at them
    With something akin to shock
    How was it he did not know,
    I wonder, how amazing
    His ideas were—were?
    Are …
    Even now

    After a week or so
    of listening to me moan
    Boccaccio is chuckling
    in the dusk
    He knows I will come
    To comprehend;
    I will continue to write
    without ever knowing
    if it is great
    Or even good work
    And that the writing
    is the thing

    He promises me it will
    Not always seem enough
    But ultimately?
    It will be …
    It will.


      1. cam45237

        oops again – I meant to post the above comment by my poem. But then I got caught up in your poem and wanted to tell you how much I love the image of Boccaccio chucklng in the Dust and the whole crisis of faith idea that writers always struggle with. Though maybe I would make it “chianti vines” instead of “chianti wine vines”

    1. PSC in CT

      Ahhh… this is excellent, Sharon! 🙂 Glad you found “… the perfect place to lay [your] burden down” and happy I was in the room when you “unzip[ped] the luggage”! 🙂

      And thanks, cam for pointing me back here to catch it. 🙂

  35. Andrea B

    Parade Charade

    “We don’t see things as they are,
    we see them as we are.”
    – Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

    My parade is full
    of marching bands
    with second hands
    and dusty white
    five finger gloves.

    forewarning cones,
    make way behind
    for sirened trucks
    with beguiling whirrs
    and the turnout coats
    upon them.

    Elephant feet fall heavy
    from arthritic knees
    as they travel
    nose to tail
    above pink
    candy clouds.

    My parade is
    a shade of
    May that
    harbors ivory

  36. ely the eel


    I have a storage unit that costs a bundle,
    monthly bills higher than the value of the stuff inside.
    Who’s to judge, really?
    Certainly not me.
    One man’s version of “Hoarders”,
    another’s treasure trove.
    There’s that dining room table,
    left over from the life of my granny-in-law.
    No idea how old it is, but we’ve had it for forty years.
    We’ll never use it, but who could part with it?
    There’s stories etched into the legs, tales
    and conversations absorbed by the top,
    truths and lies told around lunch and supper.
    There’s that cabinet, a commode I think it’s called,
    doesn’t go with anything, but it’s not going anywhere soon.
    It sat in someone’s hallway,
    listening to stories, some of them excuses, others alibis.
    Then there’s that big bag of black and white photos.
    My mother took them all, high school friends and army pals,
    And I don’t know a one of them.
    I could regale you with my love for my mother,
    tell you how she died too young, only thirty-eight in ‘58,
    before your time, I’ll bet, most of you.
    Maybe she planned to write on the backs of those photos.
    Maybe she thought she had plenty of time.
    She didn’t.
    Still, I just can’t toss that bag, just look at it every so often.
    No one to give it to, either, but the dumpster doesn’t seem a fit end.
    I can imagine the stories behind those faces, the war and all.
    If they could sing, we’d hear the Andrews Sisters, backed by Glenn Miller.
    Someone besides me will throw all this stuff away,
    Some future semi-star of some sort of reality show.
    They’ll bitch and groan, wonder why anyone would keep such junk.
    Of course they will.
    This will all have been too early for them, before their time.

    1. LCaramanna

      I love this poem – especially your references to the conversations the furniture overheard and the stories behind the faces in the photographs. Garage sales always make me sad because I don’t know how people can discard such pieces of personal history. I am glad your treasures are safely stored.

  37. Sharon

    Grandfather Peralta

    I never knew you, Grandpa.
    Your life ended long before
    my mother met my father,
    yet because of Mom’s fond
    memories of life with you,
    you are as real as anyone
    I’ve ever known.
    I see you herding sheep
    in the high Arizona mountains,
    bringing them into the fold.
    I see you laughing with your children.
    I see you running for sheriff
    and serving faithfully after
    you were elected.

    I see you worn out,
    not with age, but with work,
    struggling to feed your family
    of fourteen children from two dead wives
    killed by time and childbirth,
    and hard labor.
    Your legacy is alive though Mom is gone
    and so is the man she married,
    he who was like you,
    hard working,
    hard living,
    hard loving,
    and now

  38. posmic

    Before My Time

    Two rocks talked to each other,
    and they didn’t talk about me.
    Instead, they mulled over how to
    smash together, form new worlds,
    maybe decorate them with a stream
    or two, a smear of redbud for color
    each spring. They thought about
    spring, and streams, and maybe
    horses on a hillside. (If they got
    that far.) But I was not in the
    picture nor even in the picture
    of the picture, the grand scheme,
    being at that point still dust
    somewhere, not yet solid,
    not yet worth so much as
    a mention, not even by rocks.

  39. MiskMask


    I have a cookery book, copyright 1893,
    called Mother Hubbard’s Modern Cupboard,
    and the contents are a giggle to read.
    Learn to butcher and hang old mutton,
    ready when the woolly smell’s long departed.
    Veal it seems can easily go wrong
    and is best reserved for bisques and jelly.
    Pork you’ll learn is good and strong
    but savour the head or belly as favoured.
    There’s geese and duck and pigeon,
    squabs and plovers and chicken,
    pluck and prick and chucked into a pot
    with onions, broth, and vegetables
    maybe the kitchen sink and a chair.
    And the final chapter’s just for miners,
    equipment they’ll need like an iron pot,
    a gridiron, frying pan and something
    called a Poor Man’s Jack,
    to which I simply say

  40. mlcastejon


    Letting my fingers run on your picture
    my mind flies guessing your thoughts
    living the feelings you had inside
    making the dreams you denied
    until I ended up pitying your loss.

    Your night came before
    you could enjoy any dawn.

  41. zevd2001


    I’m here already, now
    things are fine. You wouldn’t believe
    what it’s like . . . electricity everywhere
    you go, and telephones. In the all the stores
    whatever you want. I know what they say

    about Warsaw, but all the cities here
    are like Warsaw. Ah,
    I’m wasting my time with all this
    foolishness. You know what
    I told you at the railway station . . .
    it was enough that they sent me

    to the coal mines. Still,
    how else would I know about Germany,
    someone who had the brightest
    girl in town, and me, a baker that
    carries his pans. Here, from place to place

    all I can think about is you. Tell your father
    not to worry. I haven’t forgotten
    what my father taught me. Even here
    we can live as we do, there. I know that . . .

    this is the time
    for us to leave to build,
    come quickly, come soon.

    Zev Davis

  42. Domino


    I still hear pencils scratching
    in the class I loved, “Macabre
    Lit,” taught by Mr. James Baird.
    Who would have thought our small school
    was big enough to let us
    read the darker side of the
    great names of literature.

    The dusky mysteries un-
    folded before our young minds:
    Mike Hammer and The Maltese
    Falcon and gothic treasures
    like Jane Eyre and Lovecraft’s in-
    tensity and that Never-
    more-raven haunted my dreams.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  43. Katrin

    I wasn’t there
    when my great grandmother
    took her first step,
    her mother and grandmother
    exclaiming in their lilt

    Maybe the he’s were there,
    maybe not, but somehow their
    great great granddaughter
    can still hear it,
    the tiny step on the flagstone
    floor in a modest house in Scotland,
    her earliest footfall on the
    path towards,
    in particular,

  44. PSC in CT

    Hmmm… recent discovery of “feathered dinosaurs” set my mind to wandering down some odd trails today. Too much on my plate, at present, to write a longer piece, but maybe I’ll pocket that thought for another day.

    For now – it’s haiku time! 😉

    Former scaly beast
    intriguing feathers appear
    fancy takes to flight

  45. Yolee

    La Tierra de Leyendas (The Land of Legends)

    Papi ran away from home when he was 14. It wasn’t the last time he decided not to return
    to his address. But at 14 he ate guayaba, (guava) mango, jobo (hog plum)
    and quenepas (soapberry) from unsupervised trees. His bed, made of banana leaves,
    had to be gathered every evening upon what became his mountain for 2 weeks in a town
    its people dubbed: La Tierra de Leyendas. Every morning he collected dreams tangled
    on the barbwire fence his father built with words. He would imagine returning home
    to a father who would run to greet his boy like the prodigal son, except the ring
    his father would give him would be made of tobacco stained kisses.
    But Papi’s spirit receded little by little, until he became an orphan with living parents.
    Though he went back his father’s house, he never made it home.

      1. Yolee

        Thank you kindly, Michele.
        Maria Elena, it is Yoly. Thank you for remembering. I tried many times to log on under Yoly but could not. I wasn’t able to play in November’s poem-a-day. I finally opted to register under Yolee. I’ve missed you and the other wonderful poets here and look forward to participating and reading fantastic work here.
        Thank you very much, DeJackson.
        I’m humbled that this is loved. 🙂

  46. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Tomato Soup Cake
    For Momma

    Back when metal scraps where
    collected to benefit
    the boys over there,
    during times of leg makeup and seamed stockings,
    as blackout curtains shut in the light,
    and faith shut out the fear,
    my mother learned to economize.

    No eggs – no problem!
    Grabbing a can of tomato soup,
    some flour, soda, raisins,
    stirring in some cinnamon and cloves
    to add a bit of spice to the concoction,
    she would create a treat any
    Yankee doodle sailor would come home to.


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