April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Today’s prompt requires that you do a little snooping. That’s right: I want you to write a “snooping” poem today. Basically, you need to write a poem that incorporates a bit of overheard dialogue (can be in real life or off the television) or even a quote taken from a news story online (if you happen to be a hermit).

If you’re not a recluse, then venture out to places where people are: grocery stores, malls, college campuses, cinemas, airports, post offices, etc. This is the perfect excuse for you to be among the people. And once among the people, don’t worry about socializing; instead, listen until you have something that makes you want to write.

Here’s my poem for the day (with quoted material snatched from co-workers this morning–used in an entirely different context, of course):

“The Pickpockets”

We gathered late at night
and looked over our collections:

a few wallets, some watches,
a very moving memoir

about a man who changed his life
while conquering his fears

by accepting the fact
all people have flaws.

We could definitely relate,
but when Sally’s turned out pockets

once again revealed only lint,
one of us yelled out,

“She hasn’t been trying, has she?”
Then, we set in upon her–

knowing what must be cut loose
to strengthen the pack.


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175 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. S.E. Ingraham

    Dollar Store Drama

    So there I was hey
    Just minding my business
    Having a regular good time
    At the Dollar Store
    Man but I love these stores
    With their shelves crammed
    Full with tacky knock-offs
    Scented candles, wrapping paper,
    Exercise equipment, art supplies
    A regular riot of merchandise
    And all of it for about a buck
    Yeah – calling them Dollar stores
    Is a bit of a come on these days
    Still it’s the cheapest place around
    To get most everything
    So, like I was saying
    It was just a regular day
    I am puttering around
    near the back
    Looking for some of those
    little draw-string bags
    You know the ones; cloth, solid coloured
    We used them for our marbles
    when we were kids
    Wow, that’s dating me for sure
    Anyhow, there’s this bunch of teens
    in front of the bag shelf
    So I ask them to please excuse me
    and they do
    And wouldn’t you know it
    They’re scooping up the same bags I’m after
    Must be doing a school project
    Or something
    I’m thinking ‘cause they’re picking up
    every size there is
    “How many bags do you need, ma’am?”
    One kid asks me
    He makes like he’s ready to hand me some
    His voice is so soft; I have to strain to hear him
    I only need about five,
    Just enough to put some left-over flower seeds in
    For my neighbours’, you know?
    We always swap our extras every year
    “No problemo,” He is smiling, his teeth very white.
    He peels off a half-dozen of the size I point to,
    hands them over.
    I notice, as I take them
    The forked tongue
    of an angry-looking dragon
    Snaking over
    the back of his hand
    I look up at the tall teen
    and watch him watching me
    His eyes are dark,
    almost black, expressionless;
    his smile doesn’t touch those eyes
    Hmm – alrighty then
    Time to go – I start making my way
    to the front of the store.
    Still, I can’t help
    over-hearing the group.
    I’m only catching bits and
    pieces of their conversation but
    reluctantly, I find myself
    slowing down enough to listen.
    “Yo – what d’ya think Snake? Trouble?”
    “The old lady? Not a chance…”
    “So, like – fuck – you got enough dimes yet? Man I wanna just book.”
    “Slow up lil’ fool – you know we gotta wait for Large. He be here when he be here – ”
    “Yeah but – “
    “Yeah but nothin’- you want I should bust a cap in your skinny ass bro’?”
    “Aw – Snake – chill man – you know I was just…hey man – that old broad is still – ”
    The store grows silent
    The gang is no longer
    engaged in snappy repartee
    I realize we,
    they and me
    are the only would-be
    customers in the shop
    I am now hugely interested
    in some gardening gloves
    way up high on a shelf
    near where I’ve been
    standing, listening.
    Without thinking,
    I pull the box of gloves
    tumbling down
    “Oh my God,” I say;
    I trust I sound
    distressed and
    feeble-minded ,to boot.
    I also try to paste
    what I hope passes for
    some sort of
    guilty expression on
    my face
    (Not such a stretch
    actually – I’m starting to sweat
    and do feel guilty about
    something, I’m just
    not sure what.)
    I shove gloves back
    into the box
    all willy-nilly
    peeking at the front
    the whole time
    as if worried the owner
    might catch me out
    or something.
    Of course, I’m still
    really straining
    to hear the boys
    at the back.
    “Shit man,” I think it was
    Dragon-hand, or Snake,
    “That broad’s a retarded fool, she is.”
    Then – lots of guffaws and chuckles –
    If I wasn’t starting to suspect
    something entirely different,
    I’d have thought
    they were just some
    boys enjoying a dirty joke.
    At the checkout,
    the poor little Asian man
    shakes so hard he can hardly
    take my money
    “Sir,” I speak softly,too softly I think
    maybe he doesn’t hear me at first;
    he doesn’t look up.
    “Sir, do you know what’s going on
    at the back of your store?”
    I am practically whispering, facing the mall
    away from the interior of the store.
    “Every day, same thing” he sighs,
    looking out at nothing, I’m sure,
    but facing the mall also.
    “Drugs?”It seems an inane thing to have to ask
    But necessary to clarify still
    I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck, see
    I know what the boys in the back are doing
    Them with their bags and their smart talk
    “Drugs,” he sounds so defeated.
    “No big deal. They take some bags.
    Then they go after while. Nobody usually come when they here.”
    I just stare at the top of his head
    for a few moments.
    Finally he looks up at me.
    His eyes are pleading.
    “You have a nice day now?”
    It is more a question
    than a benediction
    “Would you like me to get security?”
    I practically hiss at him,
    furious that he would give into
    these hoodlums so easily.
    He smiles sadly at me,
    “No missus, security make no difference. They no come no more anyhow.”
    “Really?” I am, to say the least, flabbergasted.
    “This the way it work,” he says to me with
    such resignation, it makes my stomach ache.
    “I’m so sorry,” I say, uselessly.
    I can feel my eyes tearing
    as I leave the store.
    This is not supposed to be
    the way it works I think.
    Not where I come from, anyhow.
    And where I come from,
    is right here.
    I am getting madder by the minute.
    So, I find myself thinking,
    let me see if I can see how else it works.
    Tucking my purchase deep in my handbag,
    I grab the escalator to
    the second floor of the mall
    I don’t ride it – no – my adrenalin is running
    too high for that
    I take it, hopping two steps at a time,
    as if climbing a staircase
    Without really formulating a plan,
    I have a plan
    At the top, just as I’d hoped – a bench
    A bench, right where I can sit and observe,
    Through the glass walls of the upper level,
    The Dollar Store’s comings and goings
    After thirty minutes, of inactivity
    I am desperately wishing
    I’d thought to grab a coffee
    On the way to said bench when
    Bingo – the small group of boys
    – young men really
    Drift out of the Dollar Store
    and start down the mall.
    With what I hope is
    stealth-like efficiency,
    I switch to the other side
    of the upper level
    where I can track the motley crew’s
    progress through the
    busy shopping complex.
    They don’t go far, stop abruptly
    right at the corner of the food court,
    and gather round
    the temporary tattoo palace.
    Some of them lean against the kiosk;
    most are barely talking.
    It seems as if they are mainly
    just looking around,
    people watching.
    To passersby, I’m sure they look like
    any of a number of mall-rats;
    sullen teenagers, skipping school
    ho-hum, ho-hum, same old same old.
    When they don’t move from the tattoo kiosk
    for more than twenty minutes,
    it occurs to me that they are
    waiting for someone.
    Omigod – I’m having an epiphany…
    “Brilliant Sherlock,” I mutter to myself.
    I hope this brain wave hasn’t washed
    Over me too late.
    All this time I’ve been fuming about
    the look in the shop-keeper’s eyes
    and his defeatist attitude when
    he assumed that “this was just the way things work”
    there’s been something niggling away
    at the back of my aging brain.
    Finally, it has worked its way through
    to the frontal lobe, I guess.
    For the love of Pete, I know someone
    who helps ensure that
    this is not the way things work
    Not at all
    I flip open my cell phone,
    keeping my eyes fixed on the group
    as I speed-dial my friend,
    using a number I really
    never thought I’d use but one
    I’m absurdly delighted to have at hand.
    Two rings and, “Detective Mike Jamison”
    a familiar gruff voice is in my ear;
    my name, I’m sure, shows up on his caller ID
    “Hey you – what’s up?”
    He knows I’m not
    calling to chat
    His voice is all business
    “Maybe nothing,”
    I am suddenly uncertain,
    but plow ahead,
    quickly outlining
    the details of my morning.
    “Okay” Mike sounds even more serious
    if that’s possible,
    “Just a sec – “
    I hear him tell his partner
    to put the cherry up
    and head for the mall.
    Then he’s back on the blower.
    “This is what I want you to do,”
    Mike sounds positively grim now.
    “You have to promise me, okay?”
    “Yeah, right – whatever you say – of course,”
    What the hell, I am thinking.
    “I want you to stay on the second level, turn right around
    and go back the way you came, exit the mall and go home. “
    He pauses, waiting, I’m guessing for me to agree.
    “Hey!” He practically barks at me.
    “I’m not kidding! Where did you leave your car?”
    “It’s – it’s down at the Bay entrance…”
    I am stuttering, for crying out loud.
    Why is he mad at me, for Christ’s sake?
    I’m one of the good guys, aren’t I?
    “This might get ugly, fast,”
    He must realize how harsh he sounds,
    “Just promise me you’ll go home, okay?”
    I sigh, “You’re the boss Mike, you know that.”
    “Good girl,” He might as well be patting me
    on the head. Good dog.
    Oh well, I haven’t actually promised him anything.
    Checking to see that the boys are still clumped
    near the tattoo kiosk
    I risk leaving briefly and duck into a nearby store.
    In less than three minutes,
    I reappear
    I’m wearing a new blue, hooded sweatshirt; hood up,
    and sporting a new pair of wrap-around sunglasses.
    The nice saleslady has agreed
    to stow my handbag
    and my coat while I, ostensibly,
    finish shopping in the mall.
    I buy a copy of a newspaper,
    sit back down on a bench
    and get ready to watch.
    Peeking over the paper
    I start to get antsy.
    A humongous guy I don’t
    recognize from earlier
    has arrived and the group
    is very animated
    I wonder if this is
    the aforementioned “Large”.
    I also wonder
    where the hell the cops are.
    The big guy and Dragon-hand
    seem to be arguing;
    lots of hand gesturing
    and head wagging and such;
    they kept shifting from
    foot to foot,
    kinda the way boxers do
    when they’re getting ready
    to throw a punch.
    I see two more guys come
    around the corner by the bank;
    then all hell breaks loose
    I know, I know
    it’s just an expression
    And a clichéd one at that
    But if you were there
    You would’ve said
    the same thing
    The two guys coming
    around the corner
    start yelling something
    maybe at the group,
    it’s hard to tell.
    Then Dragon-hand and the Big guy
    take out guns, big guns,
    automatic weapons, I’m guessing.
    The yelling guys draw guns too
    and they crouch down and keep yelling
    A good thing too the crouching, I mean
    ‘cause the spray from the AK47’s or whatever
    would’ve made Swiss cheese of both of them.
    Meanwhile, both Dragon-hand and the Big guy
    get this silly-ass look on their faces and go down
    Wham – just like that
    Flat on their faces – down
    From the other direction,
    through the Food Court
    comes Detective Jamison and his partner
    and just like on TV
    they are yelling, “Get down, everybody get down!”
    Their guns are drawn and I realize
    that it is likely the two of them
    that felled Dragon-hand and the other guy.
    The rest of the group are panicked
    And again, just like you see on TV
    they’re on their knees,
    hands clasped behind their heads
    And cops, both in uniform and out
    Are showing up from everywhere
    Arresting everyone in sight
    EMS workers arrive and haul
    away the injured drug dealers –
    It looks like they might live to stand trial.
    Not wanting to draw attention to myself
    I stay still, watching
    until everyone involved leaves.
    Then, weary beyond belief,
    I pick up my stuff
    Trek back to my car,
    and finally head home.
    Mike calls that night,
    I figure to thank me for the tip
    “I thought I told you to go home,”
    He sounds tired but not really angry.
    “You’re really good Mike,” I tell him.
    I am as impressed that he made me,
    as they say on Law and Order
    as I am that he got the bad guys.
    “That’s why they pay me the big bucks,” he says.
    I guess, I think, as I put the phone down.


  2. Sarah

    They talk about
    finding true love
    some day
    but wonder why
    they have to put up
    with crazies along the way
    it’s all in where you look
    I’d like to say
    the good guys are out there
    but you have to look deeper
    then the dimples inside of
    their chins.

  3. LindaTK

    Day 21

    A humid day in April
    Hopewell, Virginia
    We three girls were searching
    for movies for a girls’ night.
    A commotion in the front of the store
    made us all stop and turn our heads.
    The commotion was around a woman
    and her son having entered the store,
    out of breath and excited.
    The boy…“You shoulda seen it!”
    The mother… “It was unbelievable!”
    The boy… “Cars were stacked on top of cars and all over the parking lot!”
    The mother… “Traffic is backed up for miles!”
    The boy… “Dad ran out of the mall, grabbed me out of the truck and ran back inside!”
    The mother… “I have lived here all my life and never seen one!”
    The boy… “We were lucky! A lot of other people got hurt!”

  4. Kate


    You say “I’m thirsty.”
    I take a swallow of the cool
    amber drink and kiss you
    slowly, carefully, letting a taste
    of the liquid slip between
    your lips, mingling in our mouths.
    Nice, you say, and smile.
    I kiss you again.

  5. Charlene, Age 10


    Oh, Juliet was played by a boy
    Throughout the play
    Monologueing all the time
    In the end KISSING….
    A boy kissing a boy!
    Creepy on SO many levels

    Ew ew ew ew
    Ew ew ew ew
    Ew ew ew ew

    I also heard that
    Nuclear is pronounced
    Noo-clee-ar not

    Etcetera is pronounced
    Et-set-ura not

    It just freaks me mum out!

    The end!

  6. Carol A Stephen

    The Eavesdropper

    "I didn’t mean to listen."
    But you did, anyway.

    Heard him say,
    "You’re a smart girl."

    A conversation out of time
    and out of place.

    One man and two women:
    a recipe for pain.

    Afterwards, you listen again.

  7. Justin M. Howe

    I usually refrain from explaining my poems, but there’s a guy I work with that punctuates his stories and anecdotes with ‘here’s the thing’. He always puffs his chest out or points at you to make sure that the thing he is announcing is just too good to miss. So, I’ve witnessed him do this to others as well as myself, so I’m counting it as ‘snooping.’ So there….

    ‘Cause Here’s the Thing

    All you have to do is look interested
    I’ll babble on about things that might
    seem uninteresting to you,
    And I’ll be completely oblivious.

    ‘Cause here’s the thing,
    Nobody’s more interesting than me
    I’m in to everything you’re not.
    I’ll interrupt interesting conversations
    you’re having with someone else

    ‘Cause here’s the thing,
    I never learned social grace
    I was too wrapped up in myself
    to notice there are rules
    Social rules that one learns by doing
    ‘cept I never do it, so don’t blame me

    ‘Cause here’s the thing,
    You’ll only know me for a short while,
    And in that time some nugget of wisdom
    or truth may sneak out of my mouth
    It might take you a while to figure out

    ‘Cause here’s the thing,
    Something I say will stick in your head
    And as you roll it around in there, a
    light bulb will come on
    And you’ll actually learn something from
    the experience

    -Justin M. Howe

  8. M. Schied

    "The situation is hopeless"

    They stood looking upon
    the carcasses in front of them

    It was a war zone, the path of a hurricane
    Everywhere lay debris, bits of half-chewed flesh still hanging on the bone
    What had once been the means of sustenance
    lay mangled in putrid pasty mash, with globs of sickly orange mixed in for effect

    Bits of blood-colored droplets splattered the pristine white cover
    and what was once gleaming silver
    now shone dully, obscured by the settling dust

    The criminals lay in cages, deprived of their meal that day
    as punishment, nay, retribution for the dashed hopes
    of the family
    as their bellies growled contentedly after the carnage
    their salivating smiles belying their repentant looks

    They would repeat the atrocity in a heartbeat.

    "The situation is hopeless"
    said one observer, trying to piece together a semblance
    of order amidst the chaos

    but it was futile

    as the clean-up process began,
    more than one glare was tossed to the guilty
    more than one sigh mourned the loss of such magnificence

    That was the year we had pizza for Thanksgiving.

  9. Sue Bench

    No Tea on the Face, Please!

    Yummy strawberry decaf tea.
    The girls drink at the table,
    while their mom and I hover
    around the counter.

    ‘Mom, did I eat clean?’

    ‘Well, honey…
    please wipe the table’

    ‘But mom, did I keep my face clean?’
    She lifts her little face up
    for inspection.

    Mom sighs,
    ‘yes honey, your face is clean!
    Please though, go get a napkin
    and wipe up what you spilled.’

    I turn around and look.
    She has spilled at least a
    half cup of tea on the table.
    Her face though,
    is beautifully clean.

  10. Linda Hofke

    Revised Draft

    Take Two

    Human nature is fairly predictable.
    People have their own quips and quirks,
    distinctive personalities,
    so much so that one can often
    play out a scene in his mind
    before it actually takes place.
    But every once in a while,
    to our surprise,
    a character steps out
    of his given role,
    like the school bully
    who helps a defenseless bird
    fallen from it’s mother’s nest
    or the overdemanding
    expressing his gratitude
    and giving you due credit
    in front of the entire team.
    And you think to yourself,
    "I am in the wrong film
    or what???!"
    Then after the shock
    has rolled past and
    you’ve finally managed
    to write the next line,
    the reel snaps back into place
    and the old classic begins anew
    before you can direct it otherwise.

  11. Judy Roney

    He said, "I met my hero today"
    He saw Derek Brooks at the airport
    "Mr. Brooks", he tells him, "you
    are my hero on the field and off."

    This man who saw his hero today,
    made it through life
    without a father but became the best of
    fathers, the best of husband.
    Perhaps knowing what not to do was
    his great lesson.

    He saw his hero today and I saw mine.
    I told him, "I met my hero today, too."
    I meet him every morning on the lanai
    for coffee and talk, every night for
    sharing and giving. I’ve always wanted
    to tell you," you are my hero, to your
    family and those whose lives you touch."

  12. Lyn

    two girls in short-short skirts
    wearing high-high heels
    race against the traffic light
    on the pedestrian crossing
    heels clicking, one almost yells
    "I hope someone notices me"

  13. Tad Richards

    The short wave
    started working
    after midnight last night
    in short bursts

    I went for Verve
    Simon apologized
    punched the guitarist
    no votes for
    Davy Crockett?

    She says Butchie makes love
    like Casanova
    money like
    is she crazy that way?

    Wait till Tom gets back
    after that
    I’ll change my vote
    I can’t change the channel
    and I can’t respond

    at least it’s
    other voices
    at last I get a break
    from the ones I hear
    in my teeth

  14. Sara Diane Doyle

    playing catch-up. This one was fun, something I used to do all the time. And thanks to my little four-year-old friend (and her grandmother) for suppling me with the quotes I used!


    “I want a piece of quiet,”
    you order, just like you order
    a turkey sandwich on rye.
    So I’ll try to pull out
    the piece of quiet, right next
    to the slice of serenity.
    But my body resists the lock
    of stillness—my toes tap,
    my fingers drum, I click my pen
    in time with the music
    I hear in my head.
    When you look up, I freeze,
    waiting for another reprimand.
    But you smile and wink,
    “Oh, I love the sound of you.”

  15. Raven

    sweet little pixie
    tiny frail petite
    whispers of her brother
    as she takes her seat
    staying close to baby
    sharing all she knows
    easy does it
    only heaven shows

    by TK Kietero

  16. Darla Smith


    Normally I’m not a nosy person,
    but sometimes I can’t help but snoop.
    The other day I couldn’t resist,
    listening in on your private conversation.
    You were telling your friend about,
    how you’re cheating behind my back.
    I even heard you laughing because,
    you believed I would never find out.
    You may think that you’re very clever,
    but here real soon you will realize,
    how a scorned woman gets revenge.

  17. Amanda Caldwell

    Flight Attending

    Tons of metal in the sky
    cradling human souls,
    defying expectation only through the skill
    of one or two.
    The lesser of two middling choices
    becomes their last meal.

    Scarred by combat,
    reluctant to try,
    trying to forget,
    straining to remember,
    his choice is set.

    One woman’s help,
    the tower’s guidance,
    and a reliance on those spoken
    words of faith:

    I just want to tell you both good luck
    and we’re all counting on you.

  18. Jay Sizemore

    Actually a lot of the lines here were taken from people’s conversations that I overheard, but I didn’t want to put them all in quotations cause I thought that would ruin the flow. Anyway, hope you like this.

    Vampire slayer

    I wish there was a way
    to stop killing myself,
    to stop making these nooses
    from enjambed lines,
    to stop putting my head
    inside this plastic bag
    of poisonous stanzas shaped
    like my crumbling mind,
    to stop loading these chambers
    with hollow point words
    meant to leave a hole
    in my skull
    the size of God.

    I’m no longer a vampire.

    No longer do I drink
    from the bloody fountain
    of my own insomnia,
    the moon’s red face
    an open mouth in the sky,
    a drain for the stars
    swimming like sperm
    into the egg
    of my inspiration.
    People no longer have to ask,
    “Is he dead?” or “Are you dead?”

    They just know.

    I cannot approve the return
    of such suicidal gazes,
    so much sadness
    from despondent glances
    that it cracks the mirrors of mothers
    including my own.

    I remember the year
    I got her a record player
    for her birthday,
    an old time radio
    locked in a cabinet
    of dusty fingerprints and sounds
    that reminded me
    of Bruce Springsteen’s
    raspy voice singing “Nebraska”.

    Now, the needle is gone.

    I’ve gotta get a new job.
    I’ve gotta get a new life.
    I’ve gotta find my way
    out of this coffin
    of waking dark
    encasing my heart
    beneath the bark
    of this weeping willow
    I have allowed myself
    to become.

    The roots run deep.

    Follow me
    out of this hollow grave,
    dirty your hands
    in the rain softened ground
    of my depression.
    Just make sure
    you’re not wearing
    a clean white shirt.

  19. k weber

    mystery prize

    we are being
    led on a leash

    all the way
    to the back

    of our cracker-
    jack mailboxes

    sniffing through
    the sweet

    and finding
    it’s just nuts

    we are waiting
    for the check

    that balances
    out distress; the economy

    has gone
    broke or broken

    this supposed
    free money, dangled

    hopes and paper
    above the masses

    "is it the key
    to controlling
    all of mankind?"

    we are fish
    bound to find
    the hook, wormless

    the price
    of lives and gas
    is a series:

    games greater
    than equal-to
    and less-than signs

    let us wait
    patient as dominoes
    for the finger

    to tip us right

  20. Maureen


    “You are not even in the picture.”
    What picture?
    It could be a photo –
    a family photo
    but she has a different father to the others
    (a result of her mother’s affair)
    so she couldn’t be in the photo
    because she is only half
    half daughter
    half sister
    half human
    living half a life
    a ghost somewhere in the background.
    Perhaps if she is quiet enough
    and hides behind her mother’s skirt
    no-one will even notice her.
    Perhaps she will just disappear.

    © Maureen Sexton

  21. Linda Hofke

    Overhead my daughter and her friend speaking about her normally serious (never smiles!) teacher and how she was actually human for 5 minutes. My daughter said, Ja. Ich dachte, bin ich in falscher Film oder was? (Yeah, I thought I am in the wrong film or what?) And this from a 9-year old. I had to laugh.
    this is a quickly written rough draft (since I am 4 prompts behind!)

    Take Two

    Human nature is fairly predictable.
    People have their own quips and quirks,
    Distinctive personalities,
    So much so that one can often
    Play out of scene in his mind
    Before it actually takes place.
    But every once in a while,
    To our surprise,
    A character steps out
    Of his given role,
    Like the school bully
    Who helps a defenseless bird
    Fallen from it’s mother’s nest
    Or the family comedian
    Who suddenly speaks
    Deep meaningful words
    Out of the blue
    Or even the overdemanding
    expressing his gratitude
    and giving you due credits
    in front of the entire team,
    And you think to yourself,
    "I am in the wrong film
    Or what???!"
    Then after the shock
    Has rolled past you and
    You’ve finally managed
    To write the next line,
    The reel snaps back into place
    And the old classic begins anew
    Before you can direct it otherwise.

  22. AlaskanRC

    There’s nothing like dancing.
    Such a beautiful form of expression,
    in all its many styles and fashions.
    Slow dancing elegant and sweet.
    While fast dancing can be a hard beat to keep.
    Innocent, sweet, dangerous, beautiful,
    Sensuous, and erotic…all depends on
    Those keeping the beat and the way others
    Choose to interpret what they see.
    One interpretation can create a whole
    Knew meaning far from the original.
    “Who knew that belly dancing was originally
    a ritual preparation for childbirth.”

  23. Yoli

    This is my favorite one of your poems, Robert.

    Here is my late entry, as usual. My place of employment closed it’s doors this week, so I’m a little discombobulated from being newly unemployed. Wish me luck!


    “What we were looking for was something solid.”
    That is what he said.

    “Let’s give it a nice new finish.”
    That is what she said.

    What you may or may not expect is neither here nor there.
    He and she passionately kissed, hugged lovingly, then walked away.

  24. TaunaLen

    She Used to Work Here

    “…she’s no longer with the company.”
    given up a life of contact
    for a life of solitude
    prefers silence to companionship

    Is that possible?
    Can one be happy locked away
    the quiet life of a hermit
    Leaving the voices behind

    a quite romantic idea
    returning to the simple life
    no arguments, no conflict
    no relationships requiring effort

    I need a measure of alone time
    function well when I can escape
    into a cocoon of my own
    But there is loneliness there

    that soon becomes unbearable
    my heart cries out to connect
    to know and be known
    “…is she any different?”

    TLS, April 2008

  25. Chris Granholm Jr.

    "Where have you been?"

    She looked at me
    With pleading eyes
    "Where have you been?"
    She asked between sobs and sighs
    Guilt written on my face
    There was no room for lies
    Everytime I do this to her
    I see that a part of her dies
    Long ago I adored this girl
    Isn’t it funny how time flies
    I used to want to be with her
    Instead of hanging with the guys
    Now the time approaches
    When she won’t care about where’s or why’s
    Lord knows that on me
    She has wasted too many tries
    This could very well be
    The last of her cries
    Cause if I hurt her again
    She’ll leave me with no good-byes

  26. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    911 – Are you sure?

    It was much too loud
    To be a cat
    So I went to check it out
    Imagine my surprise
    To see an alligator
    Running the house about!

    All I thought was
    And on the phone I got
    To call the trusted
    Folks I knew
    Those guys at 911!

    “What’s going on?”
    She asked so calm
    To which I did reply,
    “There’s a gator in
    my kitchen here
    Hurry quick and send a guy!!”

    “It’s HUGE,” I said.
    “What’s huge? Four foot?”
    I’d like to strangle her,
    You think I’m going to
    Measure it
    Or become its new dinner?

    “I don’t know!” I yelled.
    You silly girl.
    “I only saw the first half of it…”
    You make me go back in there
    I’m going to tell you
    Just to shove it!

    “You sure it couldn’t be
    An iguana or large…”
    “OH, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!
    Just half of it I saw back there
    Behind the freezer
    There’s more to show!

    When they finally came
    To catch this critter
    Imagine our surprise
    An eight foot gator
    female they caught.
    Iguana? No, twice the size!

  27. LBC

    Misplaced Complaints

    "I am so tired of hearing my mother
    complain about the price of gas."
    Who cares what a gallon costs?
    Not me.
    Why doesn’t my mother complain about my quiz grades?
    Who cares?
    I would,
    If my mother did.

  28. Susan Reichert


    I heard him say, “Stop, wait.”
    Then his voice trailed off
    as he ran the opposite way.

    Out for a daily walk you
    pass a lot of people and
    if you will listen as you go
    along you will hear lots of
    sounds some of which are
    disjointed conversations,
    like the woman who
    passed by saying “there
    was blue”, and then she
    was gone and you could
    not hear the rest or the
    little girl speaking to her
    daddy saying “ apple was”
    and that was that.

    Listen next time and
    see what conversations
    you can hear.

    April 21
    Day 21

  29. Diane

    Elizabeth, I’m glad you’re doing well.
    The most interesting things I’ve overheard are the ramblings of a 3 year-old to a teen aged sibling. The toddler speaks first in each; the teen’s speech is indented:


    Can you get in this box?
    I’m too big; I won’t fit.
    Are you gonna fit tomorrow?
    Well, I will be big tomorrow!
    When you guys are little like me.
    How big will you be"
    Oh, just 16 to 40.
    16 to 40 what?
    16 to 40 feet.
    That’s what it says on my watch.
    That’s what I’ll be tomorrow.
    (Tomorrow will be here too soon…)



    I want some of those things in the jar.
    Jelly beans?
    Yeah, can I have one?
    Oh, are they for someone else?
    Who are they for?
    Oh, can I eat one for you?

  30. Khara House

    :I seemed to hear you say …:

    it only makes sense,
    doesn’t it? It does
    it crosses my mind to share
    the secret I heard
    in the ladies’ room
    but ladies don’t eavesdrop and tell.
    They talk about who
    will be the next president
    and lisp out phrases
    regarding democrat asses
    and nice pieces of elephant;
    and one mumbles a joke
    about Beowulf teaching poor social skills
    and I laugh and unveil
    my secret ear.

  31. samantha altman


    The wonders of an
    overjoyed parent.
    Rummaging the shelves
    for that something special.
    That something to turn the
    kiddie’s frown upside down.
    “Goosebumps”, “Warriors”, even
    “The Sisters Grimm”.
    Giving gifts of knowledge,
    Gifts of lazy fun.
    The love of a parent
    Is obviously apparent.

  32. Mike Padg

    Parting Ways

    Summer is almost here,
    meaning another semester is almost gone.
    Semesters are like measurements,
    They calculate time spent
    in learning institutions.
    Some semesters are fun,
    some semesters are drum,
    but the worst kind of sememster
    is the one
    that counts down the days
    ’til friendships end.

  33. Barbara Torke

    My trip to Phoenix was a disaster
    I got this present for you in Sedona
    This little bead of a bone cat that sleeps
    Trimmed in rough polymer paint
    With whiskers of black and cheeks of peach
    a little old 96 year old woman makes these.
    You can do with it what ever you want
    I just used the string to get it to you
    My daughter was mean
    Said I was repeating myself
    Said I couldn’t watch her children
    I’m not trustworthy
    I finally told her
    “Bite me”

  34. Laural

    The ballot box

    I wondered then
    If my advisor
    Would support me
    In the club election.
    It seemed so important
    That she should, then.

    I knew her handwriting
    When I saw it on the ballot
    And of course, she voted
    For my friend who worked
    For another advisor,
    Not for me.

    I told myself,
    That’s what you get for snooping
    Where your nose didn’t belong.
    But a chip of ice
    Wouldn’t melt in my mind
    Even for years afterward.

    Today, would I read
    Ballots looking for
    The pain of sureness?
    I think I’d hesitate
    A lot longer and
    Think about the cost
    Of the ice if my
    Suspicions were

  35. tim

    ‘thank you mommy’
    the toddler’s voice carried
    as he stepped onto the escalator
    she helped take that first step
    on the moving machinery
    that either enthralled or frightened children
    i hoped for my wife to hear the same words
    as she had before
    when ours were toddlers
    and she helped them take their first steps

  36. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    A Conversation

    It’s a library. Voices are low.
    We set up in the children’s section.
    Andrew has his briefcase of books
    and his funny storytelling hat.
    I’m in my purple Goddess gown,
    a fairy costume on this occasion.
    Our chairs face a bunch of beanbags
    pushed together, brightly patched.

    We’re early, no audience yet,
    but in one beanbag two boys
    cluster together. One’s little,
    maybe five. His brother, about 11,
    reads to him very quietly
    from a big flat book they both hold.
    I can see from here it’s mostly pictures,
    colours sprawling all over the pages.

    This conversation is not in words,
    though words are being spoken,
    It’s in the older boy’s tenderness,
    cradling the little brother who cuddles up
    into his curved side under the sheltering arm.
    It’s in the younger one’s trust
    as he wriggles himself into place
    then rests in the warm, safe moment.

    © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2008

  37. Michelle Cooper

    Mail Box Day

    Today I Flew To My Mail Box
    This Is A Time When I Walk
    With A Hip Hop

    I Opened My Mail Box And
    I Found A Letter, I Found A Letter,
    A Letter That Was Addressed To Me

    But…But…But…Who Opened
    My Letter, My Letter I Found
    A Letter That Was Addressed To Me

    I Tipped To Every Mail Box
    I Sniffed For A Lingering Scent
    I Pulled On Every Mail Box
    Hoping To Find A New Finger Print
    I Snooped To Hide But Slipped On
    Dog Poop With Little To No Pride
    I Ran Home Stinking And Forgetting
    My Letter But Leaving My Shoes Outside

    Sorry For The 21 Day Delay
    H. Michelle Cooper

  38. Devon Brenner


    He spends his days developing
    theories of of geometic topology, his nights
    playing video poker and occaisionally
    his wife coaxes him to step
    out of the darkness to pour wine for guests
    he won’t look directly in the eye.

    “I’d do that,” he says of walking
    the length of the Appalachian trail,
    not to prove himself against the distance
    or immerse himself in wildness, but
    for the routine, to get up each morning
    knowing you will walk thirty miles,
    the only way is forward.

  39. Shana

    the more we take
    the less we become,
    she said
    or wait, was it a he?
    OK, so it was a car
    but I got a distinct “she” vibe

    but, back to the message
    that’s something deep
    something interesting,
    something I’d like to think deeply ab-
    oh, hang on, light changed …

  40. KP

    “We’ll have some kind of opening something. Something will happen.”

    Something doesn’t tell me anything.
    Something could be one thing or nothing.
    The world is full of somethings.
    But please give me something, anything.
    Everything is a something.
    And something could be anything.
    So please give me something that’s not anything.
    And I’ll be able to figure out what the heck that something is.
    It could be everything.

    Something will happen?
    I know something will happen!
    But that something could be anything.
    That something is everything.
    If that something is nothing, that’s something.
    I need to know if that something will be nothing.
    I need to know if that something will be one thing or another thing.
    I need to know if that something could be everything.

  41. Terri

    First of all, glad to hear your surgery went well Elizabeth. God speed!

    Voice Purge

    “You ain’t nothin’ but a punk ass boy!”
    was only a portion of the venom I heard spewed
    into the cellphone of a large teenage girl
    wearing lime green sweat pants;
    I shook my head in disgust and dismay as I
    loaded my groceries into my car’s trunk;
    What an abuse of the English language
    (not to mention the “punk ass boy’s ears);
    I sometimes wish I could mute the world.

    The next day I went on a nature trail walk
    all by my lonesome,
    I wore no ipod, I didn’t even hum to myself;
    Purging myself from the human voice.

    I heard many voices in many languages
    but, fortunately, none of them human;
    The baritone croak of bull frogs,
    various chirps, twitters and trills
    of jays, finches, wood thrush and the like,
    The rush and surge of water cascading
    over river rocks,
    the plop of lazy snapping turtles
    rolling off their nap-time logs.

    My ears were soothed by the foreign whispers
    from wind to oak leaf;
    Purged from even my own thoughts.

    I returned to my car and started the engine,
    catching myself before I reached to turn on the radio;
    I needed to stop by Kroger for a half gallon of milk
    but I wasn’t yet ready to hear even a kind
    “Thank you. Have a nice day!”
    The milk could wait ’til tomorrow.

  42. peggy verdi


    100 bulbs arrived that autumn
    gifts from another world,
    daffodils to bloom in spring
    as they have each year since.
    A yellow and white explosion
    of blossoms, rarely weeded, tended,
    colors that endure the cold, ice, snow
    of winters, survive, say: ‘still here, still here’.
    Reminders of my best girlfriend,
    (yes, I still say girl even though we’re women),
    a sign of friendship spanning
    the country, California to Vermont.

    Peggy Verdi PAD #20 LOVE

  43. Sarah

    I was only out around people once yesterday, and that was before I knew what the prompt was, so I didn’t really have my listening ears on. I had to pick something I heard on TV, but it was fun to put a new spin on it.

    Heart Attack

    It comes in the guise of a backache,
    a fist in the spine, steel and fire.
    Pian steals your breath, radiates
    through your chest, down your arms,
    a heavy ghost sitting on you.
    A man in scrubs and a white coat
    tells you, "You’re under arrest."

  44. Lisa McMahan

    Stop Thief!

    Bag full of goodies
    frozen chocolate treats
    put in the freezer to be enjoyed
    later in the work day.
    As the afternoon passes
    my temptation wins out.
    Barring interruption
    I sneak into the fridge
    to steal the object of my watering mouth.
    Returning to my desk
    encountered by the eye
    of my every move.
    Moments pass,
    a rustling of the bag
    draws my attention to the office kitchen;
    the old lady, my nemesis, my boss
    strolls by guiltily
    holding something in her hand.
    NO! Not Again!
    She’s not only a snoop;
    she’s a thief as well.

  45. Lori

    I am a day late, but here it is anyway. Off to look at today’s prompt. :-)

    Snatches of conversation
    running through my mind,
    interesting images
    play games with the words,
    twisting terribly together.

    "Somewhere in Revelation…
    There were people in a box
    in Boston but I’ve never
    smoked pot in my life.
    I’m never doing that again.
    I had the same response.
    The kids were like Aaaaaa!
    I never thought it would happen.
    They tried for ten years and I
    had given up. Were there games?
    That was creepy. Some sequels
    are better than the original.
    I had the same response.
    I love purple. There was pink
    everywhere and I wondered,
    Should I come down? He stole
    one already you know.
    You’re being nice,
    she’ll say something even worse.
    I’m a good liar. I’m very talented.
    That’ll come in handy.
    I had the same response.
    Somewhere in Revelation…"

    Snatches of conversation
    dancing through my brain,
    interesting images
    creating adventures with words,
    twisting terribly together.

  46. Tiffany B

    Change in Status
    Should I ask? Do I get to know?
    If you are or are not, I suppose, I, well,
    shouldn’t butt in. Because things like this-
    they’re so fluid. How can I trust,
    a line of text, a line of code
    on your Facebook page, it can’t be you coming out.
    "it’s complicated" does it mean
    "I’m not ready to tell my friends I’m gay"
    That might not be an option Facebook offers.
    Maybe it’s just a joke
    for nosey people like me.

  47. Lorien Vidal

    "It’s pretty much over…"

    The beginning of the end of an ordeal miles long
    To sing a song of sorrow for her tomorrows don’t belong
    To someone so dear & near and too close to the ending
    Now the pains you keep inside is a voice that you’re pretending
    It’s almost over, roll me over, play a song

  48. IleanaCarmina

    Do You Know What You Really Need?

    There are so many things I don’t know and
    Sometimes it gives me such
    Thrills to think what’s out there
    But I never go out there
    I like to think of an invisible hand
    Holding me down because then it’s
    Someone else’s doing that causes
    All my own undoing
    Do I really need these distractions?
    Money poured into a cauldron of trivial soup
    And I spend all my time stirring
    Stirring stirring
    With my eyes on the horizon and
    My hands moving, stirring, doing
    But my legs don’t move
    Maybe they need another quarter
    Because there are no closed doors here
    I live in a house without frame
    All windows and doors open with skylights
    In my encompassing roof
    These are my footprints
    I am here all the time
    I don’t know if I need to
    Just burn the place down

  49. Carol -Amherst, Mass

    "People don’t make any sense around here"

    Well of course they don’t!
    What do you think this is?
    I think not
    Evidently, people used to make sense
    Until silly Eve ate that darned apple
    What was she thinking?

    Crunch.. and no sooner had
    the juice run down her chin
    that her clothes
    fell off, or rather
    she noticed that she had no clothes on
    whereas before she had never noticed

    Now she had to worry about
    darned cellulite and saddlebags
    and Adam
    running around
    with other babes in the garden
    because now he was a lying cheat

    People don’t make any sense around here

  50. Monica Martin

    Congrats Elizabeth! Hope your recovery is quick! :o)

    "He came by again today,
    Wanting nine thousand."
    What on Earth could
    He need that money for?
    I think drugs; G thinks
    gambling. Maybe we’re
    both wrong and it’s

  51. ck

    (Day 21 post)

    Tense Issues

    Do you mind if I come in and work?
    I have tense issues.
    Are you teaching now?
    I have tense issues and really need help.

    Yes, I see.
    Let’s look at that first paragraph.
    You just jump in
    Rather than ease into it,

    Sometimes I do just jump in,
    Spill it all out.
    I don’t know how to “ease in.”
    I have tense issues.

    Well, rather than start abruptly with
    “This is what I’m saying,”
    Begin broadly,
    Eeeeeeeaase in.

    Oh, okay, ease in.
    But I gotta run back to the dorm
    See you in a few minutes?
    Will you still be here?

    But agreement, do you understand agreement?
    You know, you use “mothers” here
    but how did “mother” become plural?
    When did “mother” become plural?

    I thought I understood,
    But maybe I don’t understand.
    Maybe I can just run back to the dorm for a minute.
    Will you still be here?

    Yes, you have agreement issues.
    Which makes it sound really awkward.
    Isn’t that a run-on sentence?
    And tense again, isn’t that really awkward?

    Yes, I have tense issues.
    Will you still be here at four?
    I have to run back to the dorm,
    Just for a minute.

  52. Lorraine Hart

    Feelin’ Guruvy

    She lined her eyes with Kohl and peacock blue,
    painted her mouth as a bruised flower
    black Cleopatra wig shifting as she
    scratched absently and took a long pull
    on an ever-present Marlboro,
    She had chosen to wear a saffron kaftan,
    pale imitation of central star
    around which the world could
    tie their orbit,
    to the mirror she practices
    the voices of old bone and stones,
    "I’m becoming quite the spiritual guru," she said
    to everyone in particular

  53. Christa R. Shelton


    It seems hard to be a parent
    Making hard decisions each day
    I imagine it’s especially challenging
    when there is more than one
    Always teetering on trying to be fair to each
    I wonder if this was the dilemma of the woman at the outlet mall
    Her son screaming accusations of favoritism at her
    as they walked through the corridor
    All he wanted was one baseball cap he protested
    as the mother walked nonchalantly
    He pointed out all the other items bestowed on
    the seemingly favored child with no qualms by her
    There are always five sides to a story
    so I’m sure there was more than meets the eye
    I just got a small glimpse into their lives
    as I free and childless walked quietly by

  54. Rodney C. Walmer

    Why Can’t I

    But, why can’t I stay home with dad
    “Because I said No”
    I promise not to drive him mad
    I don’t want to go
    Grandma’s so boring
    Besides, when she gets mad
    she starts ignoring
    Why can’t I stay home with dad
    He’s more fun
    I promise not to be bad
    anyway, I’m not the only one
    Dora, Misery and Wojo
    get on his nerves
    I don’t want to go
    If I promise to be good
    I’ll bet if you ask him he would
    Go ask him, betcha’ he’ll say yes
    I won’t just be good, I’ll be the very best . . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 4/22/08 conversation heard between my wife and daughter. Mostly my
    daughter as you can tell. I made the words rhyme, but that’s the gist of the conversation, almost
    word for word.

  55. Rodney C. Walmer

    Thank you Michelle, turns out it’s illegal to donate any beds in NYC due to the major bedbug problem here. Shame, since the bed is almost new.


  56. Teri Coyne

    Check Please

    When asked how he did it he said
    "I had to check my fear at the door."

    That is not to be confused
    with checking your coat in a resteraunt
    or your bags at the airport

    Nor should you think
    that checking your fear at the door
    means it waits quietly for you
    to return

    remember this:
    fear is a locksmith
    fear is a detective’s one way mirror
    and you are the suspect it is watching
    fear is the umbrella stand at the door
    you trip over
    even when it is not raining
    fear is the child
    who refuses to be left

    next time you check your fear
    at the door
    check again

  57. A.C. Leming

    Connie, I thought your poem was about a gay man at first. Very inspriing. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. Both my parents were teachers, and my older sisters taught us younger ones to read before we were in school.

  58. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    A Secret Internet Affair

    The two whisper urgently
    About her predicament
    About how he types covertly
    Not letting his eyes slide
    From the luminescent glare
    Of the screen.
    She types sneakily
    Not letting her eyes
    Meet those of others
    They whisper to each other
    As quickly and quietly
    As they can
    A forbidden love
    They brings no ease
    They live in a virtual world
    That does nto allow
    For reality.
    She laments at how
    He looks on
    At his wife
    Wondering what
    She is smiling at.
    Perhaps it is a photo of a holiday long past.
    Perhaps it is of happier times.
    Perhaps, just perhaps
    It is of him.

  59. Linda Hofke

    HI everyone! I get my prompts late, so I have just received this one and read the poems listed. Amazing stuff. This challenge is amazing. I am not a poet. This was, sort of, an experiment for me. Trying something new. I have learned that writing a poem is easy. Writing a GOOD poem is not so easy. I think I’ve managed to write 3 goods ones out of 18 so far.

    Bill Kirk, Snoopeazzi Field Day is so true. We all do it. That is how I found out the other year that an acquaintance was having her fourth child….from the pool man instead f her husband. In 2 weeks, the whole town knew.

    Debra Elliot, I love your poems. Take it with a grain of salt…great stuff.

    Elizabeth, those pain killers have only made you stronger. Your poems today are tops!

    And Alfred, you have me wishing I had a bath tub. If I’ve given poetry a try, why not spaghetti. :-)

    I’m going to go eavesdrop now so I have some inspiration.

    Thanks for letting me take part!

  60. Shirley T.

    I wasn’t home to eavesdrop on the TV today, and the conversations I heard I was involved in. So the only snippet I
    actually overheard was, "You can keep him. We have plenty."
    And I just couldn’t get serious~

    The Wallflower’s Revenge

    She’s dressed with care,
    Even done her hair,
    Fairly sure she looks her best;
    Yet she stands aside
    And tries to hide,
    Not mingling with the rest.
    The other girls are chatting,
    Eyelashes are batting,
    As the group of boys around them grows;
    But she just stands there fretting,
    She feels her palms are sweating,
    Tensing up from head right to her toes.
    Oh it’s worse than she had feared.
    Those girls all think she’s weird,
    And they know she hasn’t got a date.
    Golly how her mom insisted,
    Still she should have resisted,
    Darn it all! She has to meet her fate.
    She looks up at the door,
    Good grief! Here comes one more,
    The awful loser she cannot abide.
    Oh wow, he’s lame for sure,
    But he’s coming ‘cross the floor!
    And walking up to be right by her side!
    Worse, Sweet Sue is passing by,
    And stopping to say hi,
    Sue leans to whisper so gently,
    Dearie, don’t be sad
    or feel too awfully bad~
    "You can keep him, we have plenty."
    Uh oh, suddenly she sees red,
    It all explodes inside her head!
    She doesn’t even see who’s in the room.
    She goes on the attack,
    Her crumpled fist draws back,
    Poor Sweet Sue goes down with a BOOM!
    [Exit stage left]

    And after that I too make my exit.


  61. Cathy Sapunor

    Oops … too late on Monday night to be allowed to type anything serious!

    The word "stomp" in my post of a couple of minutes ago should be "stop."

    As in, I had better stop now before I make any more typos.

  62. Cathy Sapunor

    Spss. Spss. Spss.

    That’s how I would spell it,
    that funny noise my brother used to make
    when pretending to make the small talk
    of bridge club ladies in our living room
    while we kids, banished to the back of the house,
    giggled and played extremely loud games, solely for
    the purpose of annoying Mom’s guests.
    "You be quiet down there!" she’d call to the four of us as we energetically re-enacted The Creature From the Black Lagoon on the upper and lower bunks of the bed.
    "Knock it off. Do I have to come back there
    and speak to you myself?!"
    Little she or the ladies said was of interest to us
    but we did stomp romping occasionally to listen for familiar words (like our names, and those of our friends) to see who might be in trouble, ha ha.
    Mostly, though, we just got
    "your bid"
    and "these sandwiches are wonderful"
    and the rare but
    delicious "damn."

  63. Barbara Ehrentreu

    You know if I had been able to see this during the day I would have listened more closely to my office mates. I think this is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge.

    Secrets in the office

    Kevin said "There’s free coffee today"
    but I hung back continuing my calls
    maybe not believing him.
    I figured I’d go see about that and
    sure enough it was free.

    I filled the cup with hazelnut and
    decaf and it got me through the

    At lunch the new company in the
    cafeteria caused such excitement
    I felt like a little kid about to enter
    MacDonalds for the first time.
    A man behind me asked his friend
    about the grllled portobellos. Were
    they mushrooms. He’d never seen
    mushrooms like these.

    I used the plastic tongs provided
    for each separate salad item
    dangling floppy brown slices into
    my clear plastic salad container on
    top of field greens with cucumbers
    and zucchini and long asparagus
    pieces grilled too.

    Lunch in the office and my
    friend and I talk
    about the pope, letting our
    conversation meander around
    pope issues and she brings up
    abuse by priests and how the
    pope wants to move on.

    Rolling in and out of the topic
    she asks me a question
    did I have a dark secret in my
    past. And I honestly told her
    my story – not by a priest
    No fourteen year old Jewish
    girl knew a priest in those
    days, but by a trusted family
    friend, a psychologist, a pillar
    of his community.

    She tells me her story by a
    trusted parent while drunk,
    not abuse, but a beating
    and I glance at my friend’s
    eyes and see the darkness
    laid over her innocence
    and think about all the
    innocents who donned
    that shadow and how it
    lived inside of us
    overshadowing ambition
    and undercutting our

    She says I had to let it go
    and to say he was an "asshole"
    So I said it and we both said
    it and cracked a smile.

  64. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Elizabeth, I’m so happy that you enjoyed our comments. Your poems are so beautiful and they reflect the joy you have in seeing your surroundings. Recovery is always long and difficult, but it is a slow process and you have helped it with your writing. I’m praying you can go back to your old life soon.


  65. Essa Bostone


    Oh mannn,
    I should be studying
    So I said to her
    You have got to stop now
    And he was like wow
    I can’t believe that
    You’re kidding, right?

    And God said to me…
    While I was asleep last night
    You won’t believe
    So coffee? Next week?
    Don’t forget!

    It was one big circus
    Dragging my ass
    Not working anymore hours
    This is NOT what I signed up for
    Can’t find the time
    I said “I quit!”

    Honey-baked ham
    Pound of prosciutto
    Middle-sized container of potato salad
    Yes and some of that sausage

    Hey you got a new horn
    Wheredja get it?
    What page are we on?
    Who can tell the difference?

    Make mine mocha latte
    Yes, whole milk
    Yes whipped cream
    And yes, I need a lid,

    She was like “No wayyy!”
    I was like
    Soo embarrassed

  66. Renee Goularte

    You’re Not My Friend Anymore

    The good morning song
    is interrupted by fatal words
    proclaiming the dissolution
    of friendship between
    one five year old and another.
    In Kindergarten, solidarity
    is a tenuous proposition
    hinging on simple acts:
    the reclaiming of an offered toy
    a decline to share fruit roll ups
    or the choice to sit next to
    someone else.

  67. Anahbird

    Did something crawl into you too

    You watch
    The bird
    On the wind
    High above the world
    Looking down
    On the ones it passed
    On it’s way up.
    You see the butterfly
    Emerging from it cocoon
    And taking flight
    And the caterpillar
    Crawling into its nest
    Of silken fibers
    Ready for its transformation
    And you see the worm
    Chewing its way
    Into the heart
    Of the peach
    Hiding, destroying, corrupting
    And you
    You are that worm
    Or did something
    Crawl into you too?

  68. Corinne

    Holy cow, everyone!! There’s some amazing stuff here!!

    Alfred, I laughed out loud. Have been struck in many other ways too many times to recount.

    "You need a trip to Vegas. I’d love
    to get you into trouble,"
    she said, in that
    smug voice we all take out when
    we’ve been somewhere
    someone else hasn’t.
    As though life would not be complete until then,
    all efforts have fallen short.

    Not thinking that her fun might not
    be your fun.
    Just dangling a secret
    Where no temptation to hear it exists.

    We’re odd, like that.

  69. Callan Bignoli-Zale

    "It is the most miserable place
    in the world to live,"

    the ghost in the room next door
    shouts out at three a.m.,
    and as soon as I’m awake enough
    to think critically,
    I wonder what he means by this.

    Is he talking about
    this nasty old building we’re in –
    replete with its mice
    and its grime and its faucets that
    require inhuman strength to turn
    and its rattling heaters
    still blowing full-blast in April?

    Or does he mean this city,
    this hellhole that was actually
    just frozen over for
    five whole months but is now
    getting so damn humid
    that it’s still unbearable
    on a whole new level?

    Or maybe he feels
    like nothing is worse
    than just living in…
    well, life.
    But could living in death
    be that much better?
    He’d know. I wouldn’t,

    and as I lay here sweat-swaddled
    in the too-warm night,
    I think about walking next door
    and politely knocking before
    calling out to question,
    "Is everything alright?"

    Then I figure he’s already
    slipped back to sleep,
    dreaming of earthy smells
    and the squiggle of worms
    and the depthless darkness
    he’d come to think of as home.

  70. A.C. Leming

    I had to pull out my anatomy books for this eavesdropped conversation at Tai Chi this am.


    "She has osteoprosis real bad.
    And had to go to the emergency room.
    She couldn’t breathe and coughed so hard."

    She has to have x-rays to see
    if her vertebrae survived the trauma
    of her costals heaving, expanding, putting

    pressure on her transverse processes.
    The ribs’ shockwaves too much for the demi-
    facets to handle. Are they broken? Shattered?

    Will her bones return to dust?

  71. Robin Morris

    At the Haymarket Cafe

    "When you’re old enough,"
    he addresses the baby held in a woman
    (his grandmother’s?) arms, "we’re going to move to Russia."

    "Will that be better?"

    "We’ll be rich. A hundred thousand new multi-millionaires
    a day." The pretty 20-something across the table
    stares at the baby, pays the pony-tailed man little mind.

    "I speak Russian and play the piano.
    I’m trying to find a place where I feel safe."

  72. Lynn

    The Conversation Observation

    "You what?"
    "How could you?"
    "What did he say?"

    "I would have curled up right there!"
    "It’s tempting, I must admit."

    "For Heaven’s sake!"
    "Are you out of your mind?"
    "Rescue yourself for a change!"

    "I am officially having a bad day!"
    "That’s why I hate Mondays!"

  73. patti williams

    Now we have a name for our poem, and words, sorry about my earlier failure. Working through it …


    Two little boys
    Running up the stairs,
    Headed up to play cars,
    Do some pretending,
    Unaware anyone, especially me, was listening.

    “Dude, your mom is awesome!”
    “Yeah, she really is.”

    My son, in that moment,
    Gave me such a pat on the back
    One I will take as often as it is offered.

    He said, yeah, she’s great,
    And we love her.

    Me, the one working with
    A mess I like to call ‘family’,
    Me, the one doing the best I can.
    I just got , well, I got:


    And as a Mom,
    Doing the best I can
    With what I have to work with,

    That’s all I can ask for
    And more.

  74. Mike Barzacchini

    Lunch at Moretti’s, a one-act play

    “You’ve made my day,” the waitress said.
    “That will be $25,” replied the customer.
    “What for?”
    “For making your day,” he replied.
    “You’re funny. Hey did you pick up your credit card?”
    “I think so.”
    “You’d better,” she laughed. “Or it’s mine.”
    “You wouldn’t get far. Maybe Wal-Mart.”
    “Believe me, I can do a lot of damage at Wal-Mart.”
    “Wow,” the customer said as the waitress walked away.
    “I want to marry her. And I would, if I wasn’t already married.”

  75. Bruce Niedt

    Robert, I picked a news quote, not because I’m a hermit, but because nothing I overheard today inspired me like this quote from Sen. Obama (whom I greatly respect, so don’t mind me, Barack supporters, if I poke a little fun at him and the political world at large).


    Someone accosts the candidate
    in the diner with a salvo of political questions.
    He doesn’t want to be bothered.
    “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” he pleads.

    He’s having the candidate’s breakfast:
    ham on the side, some egg –
    you’ve got a little on your face, there, candidate –
    no, on the left corner of your mouth – yeah, you got it.

    Get used to this breakfast, sir, because if and when
    you land in that big elliptical office,
    you’ll find the force of your convictions
    grilled to the limit – pressed and steamed,
    crispy-crimped. You’ll have to concede, back-pedal,
    renege, redefine. Yes, candidate you’ll have to
    waffle almost every day.

  76. Joannie Stangeland

    People at work and on the bus and even in the produce section of the supermarket were quiet today. It took me a long time to overhear anything–and then I hit the jackpot and heard two. I couldn’t combine them, so here are two attempts.

    First Sight

    "I was adopting a greyhound,"
    lean and worn and ready
    for me to walk on a red leash
    and scratch behind the ears
    and there he was, all legs
    and so very thin–almost
    a sadness, and he could just
    fit into the back seat
    of my little car, the window
    cracked enough for his nose
    and I managed to squeeze
    in a sack of dog food, too.

    Dealer’s Choice

    It wasn’t in the cards, but they liked
    to push their luck, roll their own,
    tempt their fate and snap their fingers
    as though losing was just another
    way to win. They drew straws
    and diagrams. They flirted
    with Fridays and some days the law.
    It was a walk in the park,
    a piece of cake, just enough risk.
    "Like they would ever get caught,
    but who knows?"

  77. Sheryl Kay Oder

    Messed Up

    She’s cute,
    but weird
    and uneducated.
    Desperate, too, I guess.

    I tried to help
    put her bike on the bus,
    but she yelled,
    “ I don’t need no help.”

    She is petite and struggled
    with that bike,
    but when I reached for it
    she glared at me.

    OK I got back on the bus.
    You would think I would
    know enough to stop talking,
    but she was cute, as I said.

    “I’m trying to start a conversation
    and she’ll say, Do you have a dollar?”
    Does she want help or not.
    Some way to meet a cute girl.

    “I got it all messed up.”

  78. Ang

    Hey, What’s Up?
    No more Hellos
    How are yous
    No fine thanks, and you?
    Did you hear?
    Not have you noticed
    Then he said
    She said
    No more great weather we’re having
    That stinks
    That sucks
    No more that’s a shame
    And I’m,like,
    Not then I noticed
    Because do we ever notice anymore
    Or does the world revolve
    Around us
    Instead of beside us
    Are we a part of the world
    Or drifting along

  79. Rox

    (There were so many strange snippets I overheard today it seemed as if a number of them should be incorporated. None of them are from the same conversation; almost none of them are from the same person. Go figure.)

    (And Elizabeth – glad you’re recovering well!)

    Coming Together

    Gleeful Guy starts gathering them around.
    “Com ‘ere, come ‘ere, come ‘ere…”
    “See how comfortable these chairs are
    when you *first* sit in them?”
    He spins, leans back,
    gleaming at the gathering cubical lemmings.
    “Are you kidding?”
    a nerdy lemming responds
    bumping Gleeful Guy aside
    to maniacally type away.
    “Check out this video of a pole dancing class
    that ends in a chick fight!”
    “I’ve got one now,”
    says the Blonde, sliding between them,
    easily taking over. Then she
    frowns, stares, sighs.
    “Okay; that’s impossible.”
    “Did you forget something…again?”
    Pole Dancing Guy, dripping with sarcasm.
    “She’s just twitterpated,” Gleeful Guy jumps in
    thinking he’s chivalrous.
    “Poor thing,” Disdainful Dame says
    arms folded,
    entranced by the whole thing anyway.
    “Where is everybody?” the Boss’s voice rings out.
    “I got an urgent message.”
    Workers scatter like cockroaches,
    under sudden, harsh,
    unexpected light,
    while a distant voice says
    “What do you mean you’re going on vacation?”

  80. Marcus Smith

    "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

    I slid into a barstool at Morton’s between a large man nursing a scotch – neat – and an older woman to my left complaining about how cold she felt despite the staggering heat outside.
    "You’re sitting under the a/c vent," the scotch man said, "It’s blowing directly down onto you."
    "Oh, thank you," she replied swirling her Reidel stemware half filled – the appropriate pour – of expensive red wine."
    "I thought it was too much wine, but I do love it, drinking wine that is."
    There were two empty barstools to her left and she slid down into the corner although I got the impression from her coy gaze
    that she moved hesitantly despite the cold air. She tried to strike up a conversation but I was there to snoop, to observe
    so I provided one word answers to her grammatical volleys.
    Just as I thought I would have to give in and focus more attention on Caryn – “with a c and a y” she told me – an older gentleman, about 70, rolled in and planted himself between us.
    Saved by the barfly I thought as the bartender brought him a Sam Adams without any words taking place. I went back to my eavesdropping, as I followed Jennifer the bartender with my eyes as she mixed martinis, answered the phone and directed traffic in her 4 by 10 foot vessel fronted by a gorgeous mahogany bar and anchored to the rear by an impressive collection of your usual suspects mixed with top shelf superstars.
    "You’re smoking a cigar," said the older guy to Caryn – “with a c and a y” – "I love cigars – I had to give them up 20 years ago, although I do cheat and have one once in awhile."
    "Oh yes," the 50ish grandmother in waiting replied (I overheard earlier that he had 12 grandchildren and she was still waiting for her first) “I love a good cigar and when it burns down low I like to put it out and chew on it."
    The older gentleman said something but I couldn’t hear him.
    I was too busy thinking about what Freud said about the cigar being a substitute for something else and coupled with her comment about chewing I grabbed my crotch and winced. Jennifer the bartender must have noticed because she stopped in front of me looking concerned, then leaned over and asked if everything was OK.
    "Yes," I said, "a moment ago I simply forgot that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

  81. SaraV

    Elizabeth–welcome back! So glad that you are recovering well–very impressive set of poems!

    Robert–loved your poem and yesterday’s too. I don’t envy your job of picking highlights–all the poems are improving! Thank you so much for this challenge, I’m really enjoying it. Although this is not one of my best. . .


    She asked, she tasted
    She wrinkled her nose
    "No roasted vegetables?"
    "I’ll try those"
    Again unsatisfactory

    Bam Bam behind the counter
    Looked bored and unhappy
    And just as I was going
    To place my order
    She pointed again
    What is that?
    Roasted vegetables with very hot spice
    She wanted a small container of those
    Weighed and priced
    Then she looked at the sticker
    "This isn’t Shrimp Salad!"
    No, Bam Bam replied
    It isn’t. Sorry for the mistake
    She turned to me for support
    Bam Bam is a nice person
    I didn’t want to partake
    Of the snippy fest she was having
    But when she said
    "Six dollars was too much
    for roasted vegetables!"
    It made me laugh
    And Bam Bam apologized again
    I wanted to say "it’s an honest mistake"
    I wanted to tell her give him a break
    Instead Bam bam turned away and all
    I could do was get my two pounds of
    Ham and go
    But it bothered me all the way home
    My lack of courage
    My lack of voice
    It’s the little things
    Like guilt pebbles
    That stack up and weigh on my heart
    How many times I stayed silent
    When I wanted to speak my part

  82. Bonnie


    The door creaked open, the light broke through
    To interrupt my sleep
    And through the crack two little boys
    Were trying hard to keep
    Quiet as they peered in
    To see if I might be awake
    But still I lay there quietly
    To see what action they would take
    I told them plain the night before
    "I must work tomorrow night
    So be as quiet as you can”
    "Sure", they said, "Alright"
    Now, the one says to his brother
    "Do you think she’s slept enough?"
    "I think so," came the reply
    "Look, the sun is getting up"
    “I can’t tell if her eyes are closed
    The blanket is pulled over her head
    Maybe I should try and take it off,
    She really should get out of bed”
    Then I pulled back the cover
    And into my bed they did leap
    “Great! You’re awake now, Nanny
    It’s no fun here when you are asleep.”

  83. Sally DiUlus

    PAD #21 Snoop Poem

    “Where People Watch Every Move”©
    April 21, 2008

    What must it be like
    Encased in four walls
    Two men in a cell
    Prescribed boundaries
    Defined paces
    Running from wall to wall
    No straight jackets here,
    No pads,
    Just clear thick Plexi-glass.
    Where people watch every move
    And men in white jackets
    Criticize displayed inconsistencies.
    One cannot leave until their time is done.
    “Let”, “No let” us really
    What it must be like.
    Heightened stress – – the challenge to beat the system
    One man cries out demanding attention.
    What is his intention?
    He’s fumbling over the word, “Stroke.”
    And I heard another say, Fancy “footwork
    Is super important; the one who scores, serves.”
    And this morning the newscaster announced on television,
    Just today, “He was shopping in London today for new shoes.”
    The challenge is to not be “Squash”ed, but to face the public
    And take a bow.
    Sally DiUlus sdiulus@cefe.org

    (My daughter’s Squash teacher showed a dvd during class where David Palmer and Jonathan Power played in a Squash Match. It was fast and one of them, I can’t remember which consistently had tantrums throughout his game.)

    Welcome back Elizabeth… Your Love poem is quite beautiful and 1970, hmmm that reminds me of…

    Iain – Your bottom falling out Poem was exquisite.

    I appreciate everyone’s continued contributions. Participating in this poetry blog has given me such a longing to read more works from each artist. Thank you all for contributing and thank you Robert for hosting and contributing also. Blessings to one and all!

  84. Kevin

    Montreal Wins!

    "Why can’t they just die,"
    is what I heard,
    a whisper really,
    mockingbird tattle
    of a fan not thrilled.
    Game seven, final lap,
    stretched out supine,
    begging seven Gods
    for the end in sight.
    "Why can’t they just die?"
    I heard it twice,
    an ave sent to heaven
    on a whim.
    And then, a final
    parting shot,
    a holler to the heavens,
    if you will,
    "Die, Boston, Die!"
    And then,
    when all was said and done,
    they did.

  85. Carol Brian

    Walking the Stanford "Dish" Trail

    “It’s paved.
    Except for the time
    I stepped on a snake,
    it’s completely safe.”

    I could picture the
    doctor/amateur historian,
    who’s research indicates that
    John Wilkes Booth shot
    an already dying man,
    nose in a book stepping on
    the aforementioned reptile.

    He doesn’t seem the type
    to scamper back in fright. No.
    He would have examined it closely
    maybe poked it with his book
    before it slid away.

    Carol Brian

  86. Liza


    I was in the car
    with my Mom to run an errand
    while my two young nephews
    sat in the backseat.

    Connor, the oldest,
    was letting me know
    he watched the Hulk movie
    so I said I watched Superman.

    Connor, with a smile,
    said "Superman has muscles,
    but the Hulk has muscles too.
    The Hulk could beat Superman."

  87. Carla Cherry

    Living Out Loud

    Two women were talking
    I never use birth control
    one says

    not only do I wonder
    after her motive
    and why I am allowed to hear
    how many children she has

    are they educationally

    do they roam the street
    with red
    or yellow rags
    hanging from their pockets

    will there come a day
    when one of hers
    harms mine

    I turn away
    and stare
    at the polish
    on my Pay-less

  88. Virginia Snowden

    4/21/08 –


    I watched them from the corner of my eyes
    Looking pass the wall, peeping through the blinds

    I watched them even though they had no clue
    I spied on their conversation until I turned blue

    I watched them as they strolled innocently down the street
    I followed slowly, walking softly upon my feet

    I watched them on the porch as they played their little game
    I moved in a little closer knowing it would ease the pain

    I watched them all day never knowing they were secretly watching me
    The small little kitten with the scared up little knee

  89. Mario Jaime

    She Could’ve Used a Friend

    She was bawling, how could I not eavesdrop!
    Kleenex in one hand, cell-phone the other
    I stood wondering. Why did her heart pop?
    Was it someone that hurt her? Her brother?

    She was asking her friend, "What was that book?"
    Something about having a better life
    I’m in front of the self-help shelf, I look
    I turn around, see her face: red with strife

    She neared my aisle, and I was so scared
    Should I give her room? Should I handle it?
    She left. Me, never knowing how she fared
    I could’ve helped her, now I’ve got regret

    (And so I don’t feel like I’m cheating, I’m going to start writing poems for all the previous prompts, too.)

    The First Time My Heart Really Smiled (prompt #1)

    And by that, I mean genuine smile
    Probably only first in while
    ‘Twas the very first time I talked to you
    We laughed nice laughs and I didn’t feel blue
    I felt so good, I let my smile stretch
    Hidden dimples, no longer of a wretch

  90. Cheryl Wray

    Everyone’s poems are so good today. I thought this one was harder than usual. Did any of you?

    Elizabeth–so great to see you back. your poems are great!

    Here’s my attempt…

    "Rude Awakening"

    The words from the pulpit
    seared my heart,
    and I promised myself (and God) that I’d do better.

    I’d feel joy,
    shower love,
    reserve judgment,
    think twice,
    reach out.

    Then, mere hours later, I overheard these words:
    "I like God, just not his fan club."

    And realized
    that it’s as hard as I thought it was.

  91. Matthew

    "Did I steal your seat?"
    The lady asked the other.
    The Other had come out
    from the back of the clinic
    and the Lady thought
    she cries.
    I stole her seat.
    The Other shook her head
    tears in her eyes
    and sat elsewhere.

  92. Linda

    “Hon, have a dime?’

    She hiked up sagging hose,
    pink lines snaking up brown arms,
    and as she bent over
    her skirt bunched in the back

    and her mouth split open
    into a snaggled-tooth grin
    and a crooked cackle that floated
    over the low roar of vendors

    hawking, “turkey wings
    two bucks each” and “get your
    dry roasteds here.” The man,
    austere in grey pinstripes,

    black wingtips, and a frown,
    stepped ‘round her cairns
    of blue plastic and brown paper
    and rolling malt empties,

    shaking his head with a “no money,
    sorry”, fingering his back pocket
    as he stood in line for a Mary
    Mervis roast beef special.

  93. Jane Penland Hoover

    Evening Walkers

    “He wants you to pet him,”
    The walker said
    As she overtook
    The old gentleman
    On the pond-side path.

    “Bet him?”
    Stopped silent in his stance
    Supporting cane leaning
    Hands shaking hold.

    “No, pet him,”
    She tried again
    Tugging at the leash
    Legs squeezed as
    The dog closed round

    Interfering eavesdropping
    Writer self I am
    Rushed to rescue
    And record this
    Awkward scene.

    Excited by my squatting low
    The wet nose muzzled me
    As she reversed the wrap

    “No, I never met you before,”
    The old man boomed,
    Pointed his stick toward
    The wagging tail
    “May I
    Pet your dog?”

    Jane Penland Hoover
    April 21, 2008

  94. Tonya Root

    Elizabeth – So glad that you are back and that your surgery went well. Happy recovery!

    Alfred – love it! Definitely made me laugh and I had to read to my husband who also enjoyed.

    Kimberly – Ah! I love your poem. My daughter is half hispanic and one of my goals is to one day live in a Spanish speaking country and for her (and me!) to be able to learn the language in full – (rather than our stumbling attempts.)

  95. Lyn Sedwick

    We caught it in the nick of time

    And that’s always good, it being
    Sort of like a kid when you are
    Lining them up to leave the house
    And one has to go to the bathroom,
    Or get a knapsack, or something…
    Giving you the chance to forget
    About it, but the idea of the nick
    Of time seems to be like the place
    Behind your knee, the elbow of
    A tongs, where something small
    And spherical would fit, comfortably,
    And easily be caught, but if it were
    Bigger than that, you’d have to go in
    A completely different direction
    Now wouldn’t you?

    Lyn Sedwick

  96. Elizabeth Keggi

    Hello, again, everybody, and thanks for your welcome back. Today is not such a good today, and it’s difficult to overhear anything when you’re asleep or puttering around the place. So here’s a snippet based on a NPR story about one of the candidates for Mayor of London.

    But I Didn’t Inhale

    So tell me, Lord Poshness,
    You who would seek to be the
    Next Mayor of London, what about
    The allegations that you did
    Cocaine back in the 80’s?
    "All I’ll say is that–
    I sneezed."

  97. Jane Penland Hoover

    Light Reading

    Eyes closed, in a trance
    Candlelight flickering
    Opposite her
    Lucy sat cross-legged
    On her chair
    "You’re going to write," she intoned
    "You’re reading the wrong one," the other spat
    Recorder snapped to off
    Candles blown, crystals packed
    "No. You are the one,“
    Lucy whispered softly
    Opening the door.

    ©Jane Penland Hoover

  98. Deb Hill

    April 21,2008 day 21

    A Friendship Overheard

    “Hurry up!” one said to the other
    “What’s taking so long.”

    Friendship is patience.

    She moves her hands back and forth,
    “I can’ get it to work!”

    Friendship is explaining

    “Come on will be late.”

    Friendship is encouragement

    “I’m not going till I finish!”

    Friendship is understanding

    “Okay, let me try.”

    Friendship is compromise

    “The seat did it on it’s own.”

    Friendship is sharing

    “Oh my gosh!” – laughter explodes –
    “Try p-u-s-hing the handle”

    Friendship is ah-oh moments

    “Oops . . . I thought it was automatic.”

    Friendship is laughing till your sides hurt.

  99. Tonya Root


    “I borrowed her the money,”
    she said.
    “That’s not right,”
    he said.
    I awaited his grammar correction.
    “She should pay you if you
    borrowed her the money.”
    I had to stifle my laugh.

  100. Sara McNulty

    Behind the Register

    Lines form at all the cashiers.
    Naturally my friend and I
    Pick the wrong one

    We’re next but the young cashier
    Is busy flirting with the male cashier
    To her right

    The merchandise sits on the
    Counter like a purchase mistake
    That no one wants

    “Ooh, I just got a paper cut.
    Do you think it’s going to bleed?”
    She asks the male,

    Batting her eyelashes. Her nails are
    Bent over the tops of her fingers
    Like my dog’s claws

    “Well, they don’t always bleed,”
    He says. She lifts the afflicted finger
    In the air and

    Bravely rings up our purchase
    All the while pushing at the
    Cut. “Oh I know

    It’s going to bleed and I hate
    Blood. “If it bleeds,” he says,
    “You can leave early.”

    She smiles and deftly places the aging
    Item in a bag, staples the receipt, and
    Hopes for blood.

  101. Jane Penland Hoover

    First Driving Lesson

    She is
    Fifteen today
    Learner permit in hand
    “But it’s raining outside Mom,”
    She says. I pass her keys
    “Yes, it does that
    Let’s go.”

    ©Jane Penland Hoover

  102. Jane Penland Hoover


    a springtime egg hunt
    the childcare center
    wide open windows
    yard’s expanse of grass
    a mom and big sister
    intent on helping
    their little one
    gather the most eggs
    and how Mary Lou
    took each egg they handed her
    ran straight to one friend
    and then another
    filled all their baskets
    such happy colors

    ©Jane Penland Hoover

  103. Susan M. Bell

    (OK, I tried to post this earlier, but the site went down. Let’s try this again. I have three poems for today. Hope no one minds that. One of them, Voices in the Door, is not only inspired by today’s prompt, but also by something one of my dotcomrades posted on Shelfari a few months ago. It has been dancing around in my head and finally found a place to land. Thanks Robert.)

    The Voices in the Door

    I try not to eavesdrop, but it is so hard. They
    are always there, the voices in the door. No one
    else hears them. They say I am crazy. But when
    I put my ear to the wood, I clearly hear them
    speaking. They whisper ever so softly. Sometimes
    I hear my name. What do they want from me? I
    stand listening for hours at a time, trying to catch
    stray pieces of conversation. “We will…” That’s
    all I hear. Something more; there has to be
    something more. “Come to…” Snippets of what?
    Orders? Requests? Statements? I tap on the wood,
    trying to get their attention. They don’t seem to
    listen, only speak. I don’t think they know I’m
    here. “Now is the time.” Time for what? Should
    I really be listening to the voices in the door?

    Overheard Conversation/Mom and My Brother

    “Did you try to see him?” I heard her ask,
    and I think she was nervous. “Once. He
    chased me away with a shotgun. Told me to
    get off his property.” I’d heard them talk before
    about my brother’s real father, not the name
    on the birth certificate, but the husband
    of her sister. They were divorced now, and
    he lived on a small patch of land in a small
    trailer. “Did he know who you were?” I don’t
    know if they even remembered I was in the
    back seat. “Yeah. I told him. He didn’t care.”
    I sat in silence, like I had so many times as
    a kid. “Well, you tried.” But here I was, an
    adult and still sitting on the outside, “Yeah.
    I tried at least. All I can do,” listening in.

    Outside Looking In

    We were together for the first time in over
    20 years, just before Mom died. I stood
    outside of the group, listening to my brothers
    talk about years gone by. I didn’t belong here.
    “Remember that gold bicycle?” Someone asked.
    They laughed at a memory I couldn’t share.
    Before my time. Many years before my birth.
    “How about that time…” I tuned out. Bits of
    conversation filtered through, but I paid no
    attention. My brothers stood in the kitchen laughing
    about the past. Their wives sat in the living room,
    talking amongst themselves. I stood against the
    wall, not belonging in either group, knowing when
    it was all over, the one thing we had in common
    would be gone, and we’d never speak again.

  104. Dee IKJ

    Snoop 04-21-08

    Reporters can be said to snoop
    that’s the way the get the scoop

    Days gone by there was the party line
    you could hear many a secret oh so fine.

    Christmas presents hid away
    one little look not to far to stray.

    Letter in the mail what does it say
    just hold it to the light that’s the way

    Baby on the way
    boy or girl who’s to say

    Is the cake done yet, take a look
    never one to go by the book.

    What’s the ending I do not know
    Just turn to the last page there you go.

  105. Jeanette J. McAdoo


    She walked through the store something wasn’t right,
    Constantly looking around as though not to be caught.
    Around the corner quietly as I might,
    My presence unknown I saw what I should not.

    I told the cashier as to what went on,
    She descreetly alerted security to watch her.
    She walked out the door security caught the con,
    Merchandise poketed in her fake fur.

  106. mjdills

    “Is this the right place?”
    “Shall we ask someone?”
    “I don’t see his name.”
    They stood next to the elevator
    Scanning the listings.
    I heard them before I saw them;
    Turning down the steps as they came into view.
    My inclination is to help.
    But I’m in a rush
    To get the car
    My flip flops flapping.
    We make eye contact and he looks away quickly.
    She stares earnestly at the little plastic letters
    On the black board.
    I slip by them and open the door to the heat and the dust.
    “Excuse me,” he calls out,
    “Do you speak English?”
    “We’re looking for a doctor,” she says.
    I retrace my steps.
    “I can help you,” I say.

  107. Iain D. Kemp

    Kimberly, como se dice por ahí,de puta madre, tia!

    Corinne, happened to me: Love poem, 10CC, I’m not in love. Turned it around, Go Girl!!

    Kateri, the joker rules!

  108. LaShawn M. Wanak

    Okay…technically, I was at the table when this took place, but I was in another conversation, so I guess it still qualifies as ‘snooping…’
    $20 bucks an hour

    "They had us in rooms,
    Couldn’t do nothing
    We’d watch TV, read books
    and they always took blood…"

    she stretched out her arm
    to show the track marks
    tiny bruises speckled
    like moldy grapes

    "We couldn’t do anything
    they wanted to track
    how the medicine went through
    our bodies
    constantly taking samples
    our arms, legs…"

    She let her sleeve fall.

    "Was it worth it?" someone asked
    She tilted her head.

    "Well, I got a hundred fifty bucks."

    She rose from the table,
    swayed slightly
    catching herself with a
    pinpricked hand.
    "I’d probably do it again,"
    she told us,
    tugging down the hem
    of her floral dress.

  109. JL Smither

    Flo’s Quake

    Flo Fite felt the ground shake
    while sitting in her car in front of Perkins restaurant
    at 5:30 in the morning. “I didn’t know what was going on,”
    she said, “but it didn’t scare me. I’m used to anything
    happening early in the morning,”

    which made the rest of us wonder
    what this 69-year-old woman does on a normal early morning
    that makes her so willing
    to accept the unexpected.
    Maybe she works the overnight shift at Perkins
    and sees people everyday stumble in
    still drunk or drunk again.
    Or maybe she was waiting for someone,
    although we still don’t know
    if he came or what’s so odd about him
    that she can expect anything to happen.

    Or maybe the Perkins parking lot
    is where Flo Fite communes with her god,
    maybe the sunrise is her call to service,
    maybe her chapel is a 2001 Chevy Cavalier,
    and maybe she’s witnessed so many miracles so early in the morning
    that a simple earth tremor is no longer enough to scare her.

  110. Kateri Woody

    "he boy clearly is more worried
    about the backhand his
    gelatinous familial matriarch possesses
    than he is of me; an intrepid
    spy just so lucky to bear witness
    to America’s working class
    and their spawn that knows their place."

    Is how the end of the first stanza is supposed to read. The possesses makes it all the more clear, sorry!

  111. Kateri Woody

    (I’ve only got ten more Joker poems to go, and you throw me something like this… fantastic. xD. Hrm…)

    Lost and Found

    "Where did you find that,"
    I hear the corpulent,
    ethnic woman behind me sputter
    indignantly at her quaking
    rail thin child,
    who is shaking so hard in fear
    that I can feel the low key
    vibrations of his baby teeth
    crunching and disintegrating with
    every tremble;
    the boy clearly is more worried
    about the backhand his
    gelatinous familial matriarch
    than he is of me; an intrepid
    spy just so lucky to bear witness
    to America’s working class
    and their spawn that knows their place.

    "Give me that, Boy,"
    I am just so fascinated by the nappy headed
    boy, quivering and pleading as
    he hands over the knife I so carelessly
    discarded – covered in blood
    lying on the subway floor –
    to his mother, the woman made of all jowls
    and fat stuffed rolls
    so full to bursting
    with her own self-image and importance
    that she cannot see the smile on my face,
    not that she was paying attention
    to anything besides the way her son
    had been crawling along the grimy floor,
    making her look bad to all of the
    invisible spectators in the railway car.

    She screeches, loud and low,
    a tremulous sound like that of the rusted
    subway car’s brakes on an acid trip
    of epic proportions, and this woman
    of equal proportions is falling from
    her high horse, actually worried
    that the blood on the blade belongs
    to someone close by, I can tell by
    the sputtering rambles spilling
    forth with lines of spittle
    frothing hot from her mouth.

    (Note: I really… uh don’t know where this came from. I’m really not this sadistic or judgmental in real life. Thought I ought to put that out there.)

  112. Joe

    Out of Control

    My heart sank at the news
    I overheard in the hall –
    Layoffs of one third the staff.
    it’s happened before,
    it’ll happen again.
    My God, maybe even up to one-half.

    That’s the latest rumour
    to make the rounds.
    Let’s see, four in the last
    eight weeks.
    One should either take in stride
    or stay home, hidden
    under the sheets.

    If you took all the gossip
    you heard every day
    and sold it just for the thrill.
    There’d never be layoffs,
    only huge payoffs
    down at the rumour mill.

  113. Laurie Kolp

    The Desperate Mom

    I sit and wait for my kids,
    And I see her walk across the lot.
    Her eyes are roaming everywhere,
    Searching for a spot.
    She is dressed to the hilt,
    And not a hair’s misplaced.
    Her nails have been manicured,
    There’s a new look on her face.
    She walks up to the president,
    Of the PTA
    And stands and waits beside her,
    Hands on hips the right way.
    She smiles and laughs,
    Pretending to be real,
    But deep inside,
    She’s out of pride-
    Her shoe just lost a heel.

  114. Carol -Amherst, Mass

    I tried to post this but to no avail. Hope it doesnt duplicate.

    I love everyone’s poems, and especially Alfred’s ‘Listening to Life". The ending was perfect. Made me smile. – Carol

  115. Marcos Cabrera

    From Window to Window

    Yes, I have been around doing some digging.
    All my search is about poetry writing
    and I am telling you, I am surprise
    there is no measurement, there is no rhyme
    and consequently, there is no sculpting.
    I am wandering if I’ll see something
    like a Sonnet, Sestina or Quatrain,
    or maybe some other form to portrait
    the word and the art in one pot brewing.

    I have the newest style, as you can tell
    in twenty lines that from my thought they swell.

    In every window out there I am looking
    for any type of traditionalism
    though, all places are packed with modernism,
    the same is true for Spanish and English.
    Into many books I am exploring
    only to find a lot of frustration
    from Spanish to English translations
    without taste and with incorrect meanings.
    In poetry we need a lot of snooping.

  116. Lin Neiswender


    I wish I had a lock
    On my life, a sure direction,
    A lodestar, a pinnacle, a transfiguration
    Something to guide me,
    Something to shoot for,
    Yearn for, even bleed for
    Anything rather than this endless wavering
    Back and forth, up and down
    Upside and inside and all around
    Then I hear you say, conversation winding down,
    "I’ll be there tomorrow,
    All I do is plug in your address,
    The GPS does the rest"
    I go to hang up the phone thinking
    Is that all there is to it
    If so, where is mine?

  117. Corinne

    Debra, sorry to hear it. People mean well, don’t they, but in the end, it’s so hard to let go of things. That sounds very painful.

    On a lighter note, Robert, I’m feeling a little resentful of you just now, since I read your poem, I have the "Gotta Pick a Pocket or Two" song from the musical Oliver! in my head ALL MORNING!

    The day of the "there is no connection" I ended up with an unrelated Simply Red song in my head, too. :)

    I’m working on mine. My office mate is a real character, I pretty much have an ongoing commentary of her inner life all day to deal with every day, but today it’s seeming more interesting and less annoying, as I try to feel like what it would be to hear some of the sentences out of context!


  118. Alison

    I’m going to form my own line,
    she says and smirks to her pal.

    I stand there, waiting,
    wondering if she’ll step in front of me,

    They taste better than my sandwich.

  119. ann malaspina

    The Pope’s in Town

    "Where are my papers?"
    asked the lady with the wild eyes
    who came to court with a sitting stool
    to make sure her son, his many voices
    making chaos in his head, gets a fair hearing.
    But it’s never fair,
    not for her golden-hair boy,
    held at Rikers for brandishing a knife
    at a Starbucks in Midtown;
    not for her,
    and the class she’ll almost certainly fail
    because she can’t keep her notes straight,
    or finish the tests,
    or keep track of papers.

    Nor is it fair, during this glorious
    springtime in Manhattan,
    (did you hear the Pope was in town?)
    the magnolia trees blooming on Fifth Avenue,
    the crowds wildly waving flags
    for the man in white,
    who has a surprising look of delight
    on his stern face,
    that she must go home without her son.
    "Where are my papers?" she asks the lawyer,
    who tries to be patient,
    knowing she can’t save her son, nor can he.

  120. Nancy

    What a Week

    Don’t they think we know anything?
    These kids say four-twenty like it’s
    Some secret code known only to Gen-Y.
    The snickers they think go undetected
    Why, I haven’t gone to work on four-
    Twenty since Columbine; I haven’t flown
    Since before nine-eleven,
    Since Katie was born.
    They may find amusement in that
    Holiday that Hallmark forgot,
    National Pot Smoking Day,
    But those of us who catalog
    These things think of
    Hitler’s birthday, Waco,
    Columbine. Knowing the eerie
    Play of anniversaries, we hold
    Our breaths—
    At least one day until Earth Day arrives.
    When our world goes green,
    We don’t plan to dry it and
    Keep it in a Ziploc.

  121. Nancy

    Elevator Talk

    Are we going up or down?
    All the way up? I guess
    I’ll ride anyway; after all
    it is Monday.
    Get on! Get on! Hurry up!
    You’re wondering why
    I called you here. . .

    Normally, I’ll only take
    the elevator if I’m going up
    and more than one floor.
    I take the stairs then log it
    as my daily exercise. Is it
    fair to count when I’m
    going down?

    These elevators scare me anyway;
    I always wondered: If I’m on an
    elevator that starts to fall,
    if I begin to jump up and down,
    do I have a fifty-fifty chance
    of being up when it hits
    and surviving?

  122. Kimberly K

    Fabulous Elizabeth. Isn’t it wonderful how community works.
    This challenge has been great for me for many reasons but the two biggest are:
    i am writing everyday
    i am letting my writing be seen.

    And now for today’s challenge (the site won’t let me put the spanish in italics, so you will just have to figure it out.)

    Quien sabe?
    Who knows?
    I pick up a bit here
    a bit there
    (Isn’t that what Tonto said
    just about every week
    to the Lone Ranger?)
    what else did she say?
    Quien sabe?

    Poco a poco
    Little by little
    living in Mexico
    has gotten through my
    stiff United States
    psyche so I can
    be happy
    poco a poco.

    Ni modo.
    No dice
    it translates in my
    Spanish English
    English Spanish
    but what they mean is:
    oh well
    that’s how it is
    ni modo

    Poco a poco
    we pack to leave
    Quien sabe
    when we shall return
    Ni modo
    this not knowing.

  123. Debra Elliott

    My poem for today is based on my conversations I have had with my friends today about my mil:(not sure is this cheating?)

    Take It With a Grain of Salt

    "Just take it with a grain of salt and move on", she said to me.
    She was talking about my family….
    The things that are taking place,
    I shouldn’t have to face….
    "Just take it with a grain of salt and move on", she said again.
    I’m not sure I even can…
    "The devil is having a field day right now but the Lord will prevail."
    "Remember God is in control and you will not fail."

  124. Debra Elliott

    Thank you for asking…
    Not too well. My hubby got to go see her Saturday, then his siblings had a birthday party for her yesterday and did not invite us. It’s a mess….I guess that’s why I have been writing a lot about family.

  125. Margaret Fieland

    Playing Favorites

    The voices sound like
    water tumbling over rocks,
    murmurs at the edge
    of understanding,
    half-heard phrases,
    then, clearly,
    there is a connection.
    Words formed into sentences,
    into paragraphs,
    sounds striking the eardrum
    loud enough to be heard.

  126. Beth Browne

    Ok, so you now know that I hang out with a bunch of weirdos.

    The Properties of Imaginary Space

    Balloons in pink and green
    rest still by the fronds of time
    the emergent behavior of aliens
    is not that of predation
    in the constrained dynamics
    of the way things are.

    But the conversation moves on
    and those in its wake
    blink and wonder
    when the coffee will be drunk
    and whether the square root
    of negative one is of any consequence
    to the niche we fill.

  127. Emily Blakely

    Elizabeth, welcome back! You made catch-up look soo-oo easy.

    “The Arrival”

    Fatigue enveloping
    doctor and nurses
    from the early morning
    arrival, our first grandchild.

    Relieved we all were
    that mother and baby
    both made it through;
    either, we could have lost.

    We stood at the window
    gazing in wonder
    at the bundle
    snugly wrapped in blue.

    Hearing one say,
    “He has his mother’s look,”
    we smiled inside because
    it definitely was his father’s he took.

  128. Alfred J Bruey

    Listening to Life

    As I passed by the
    corner booth in the
    all-night diner I heard
    the girl say "be sure to
    be on time" and he said
    "I will be but you be sure
    to have the bathtub filled
    with spaghetti" and for the
    first time in my life I realized
    that adventures I didn’t understand
    were going on all around me.

  129. John H Maloney

    Glad to hear that the surgery went well, Elizabeth. Hope you have a speedy recovery :)

    Stepped away

    "Excuse me" she said
    as she slipped out the door.
    She knew that she just
    couldn’t take any more
    of the veiled implications
    and outright lies,
    although they didn’t
    come as any surprise.
    All the baseless assumptions
    made at her expense,
    with no coming
    to her defense.
    Tired of seeing
    her life put on display,
    her only recourse
    was to just get away.

  130. Bill Kirk

    Snooperazzi Field Day
    By Bill Kirk

    You’ve heard the stories
    Of the sleazebag paparazzi
    Who chase people, hound people,
    Getting in their faces for the sake of
    A fast buck paid by gossip mongers
    Who actually think that the public
    Is really interested in catching
    The first glimpse of a celebrity’s
    Something new—baby, booty,
    Body part exposed—

    Be the first on your block to
    Hear or see a private snippet
    And be then first to tell the story.
    Now that’s what I’m talking about—
    That’s news worth living for, waiting for, paying for.

    Wouldn’t it be an awful lot easier
    To be a casual snoop?
    In fact, you don’t really even have to snoop at all.
    It’s a snooperazzi field day,
    What with all the cell phones being used—
    And I mean everywhere.

    “Jimmy just broke up with Sally.”

    “Yeah, too bad. They been together
    three whole weeks, too.”

    “Oh, and did you hear that
    John’s got to go in for
    a colonoscopy next week?”

    “Yeah, and he is really bummed about all that
    Prep stuff and sitting on the john—“Ha!
    That’s funny. Get it? John on the john?”

    “Oh, yeah, that, too. John’s bummed. Ha!”

    “Yeah, I had one of those once.
    At least you don’t have to do
    the enema stuff any more.”

    “Hey, just a sec. I gotta look in the next stall
    for some toilet paper.
    Man, I hate it when this happens!”

    “OK. Gotta run. I’ll check you later.”

    “Oh, crap! I can’t believe
    I’m goin’ in after that phone!”

    “Hey, buddy. Any paper towels
    down there by your sink? Nothing here either.”

    “Well, No time to wash ‘em now any way.
    Guess I’ll wash twice the next time. Ha!”

    “ ‘Scuse me, Ma’am.
    Can you hold this cell phone for me.
    I gotta run my card through
    To pay for these groceries.”

    “Yeah. You, too, Ma’am. Have a great day.”

  131. Michelle H.

    The Diary

    “Oh I’ve got to go write about my day in my diary”
    Said my daughter
    “No one can ever read this!”
    She said with emphasis

    Hmm, I wonder what she’s writing
    I wonder should I look
    The next time she’s at school
    Should I go get that book?

    She’s only ten
    What could it hurt
    But would it be right?
    I could go peeking this very night.

    Oh what a quandary
    What is a mother to do?
    I must protect her
    Knowledge is power, am I askew?

    My love for her is the excuse
    That’s the one I will use
    Just one tiny peek
    Oh, I am so weak.

    I’ve got it, I know what to do
    I’ll wait until tomorrow.
    How easy is this, the day will be new
    What a relief, sweet dreams, adieu.

    April 21, 2008
    © Michelle H.

  132. Earl Parsons

    Out and About

    Out and about on a normal day
    I can’t help but notice certain people
    Whether driving, in line, or just passing by
    They prove that we are a peculiar lot indeed
    We humans, that is
    For instance
    We drive slow in the fast lane
    Go against the arrows in parking lots
    Walk three abreast in a two wide aisle
    Glare with disdain when others want by
    We can’t decide what’s to eat or drink
    Until we’re at the front of the line
    Holding everyone else at bay
    Why’s the menu posted anyway?
    We live with our cell phones at our ears
    Wasting words one after another
    And saying much of nothing
    Just to keep our brains stimulated
    We want to be different from everyone else
    So we tattoo and color and wear strange clothes
    Thus we end up looking like other groups of
    Individuals doing their own thing together
    We are a peculiar lot, indeed
    We humans, that is
    And most of us think we’re normal
    Think again, my friend
    And take notes
    The next time you’re out and about

  133. Iain D. Kemp

    Second attempt…

    At the Coffee shop.

    So, uninspired and unimpressed by
    that which I had written
    I popped across the street to get a cup of Joe
    (to take away).
    Well, it’s a funky modern sort of place
    with designer seats and art, that I don’t get,
    strewn across the walls.
    And I heard this one guy say how he liked the stools
    but his companion thought they clashed with his tie.
    “Switch on the cigarette machine, darling”
    shouted a business man across the room
    (they have a lock-out now so kids can’t use them).
    The waitress obliged and her colleague asked who
    was having de-caff. The guy on the mobile phone
    pointed at the tie that didn’t match the décor.
    I thought, well yes, we know that, there’s no need to go
    on about it but then saw that it was him.
    With the de-caff I mean.
    A couple of guys were already on the hard stuff!
    Must have finished early for the day…
    Me? Oh! I just ordered a black coffee
    “Can I get that to go?”
    And I did and did. Go I mean.
    (All of which took place in Spanish).

  134. Connie

    The Twenty-six at Forty-three

    I snatched some
    much needed time
    to go to the library
    sit in silence
    and finish a picture-book manuscript,
    ABC’s of the Bible. While I worked,
    a couple sat at the next table,
    talking in hushed whispers.
    Their conversation, so interesting,
    I tried my hardest to look engrossed in my work,
    not paying them a bit of attention.
    It must have worked, because they talked freely
    and I could hear every word.
    “So, you’re coming out of the closet?” she asked, with a laugh.
    He chuckled nervously, “Yes, after all of these years.
    I’m 43, and own my own successful business.”
    “And you fooled all of those around you?”
    “Yes, it was easy most of the time.
    I played the tough guy in highschool
    with the devil-may-care attitude.
    My poor grades were why I went into business.
    That turned out to be a good thing.
    I had my secretary do most of the correspondence,
    and at home, my wife took care of all the paper work.
    The hardest was when the kids were learning to read.
    I wanted so badly to help them, but I couldn’t give myself away.
    What would they think of their father if they knew he couldn’t read?”
    “Why do you want to learn now?”
    “My oldest daughter is expecting her first.”
    She laughed good-naturedly. “Congratulations, Gramps!”
    “Can you have me reading before my grandchild reads?”
    “Certainly,” she said. “We’ll meet every weekend.
    You’ll be reading in no time. By the way,
    read to your grandchild regularly and
    have fun with it so he or she
    won’t be coming to someone like me.”
    As I looked at the ABC manuscript,
    I marveled at the power of 26 letters,
    and wondered what it would be like
    to not be able to read until you were 43.

    Amazing poems, Elizabeth. Glad to hear you’re doing so well.
    I enjoyed yesterday’s poems, everyone.

  135. Karen

    I forgot to note that although I overheard my quote from a political candidate’s wife, I wrote the poem as if it were an Everyman/woman sort of candidate, not with a particular person in mind. Hope that showed.

  136. halfmoon_mollie

    Overheard on the morning bus ride

    So I put it up
    on the website
    it’s all stuff
    I wrote years ago
    except for the
    two newest
    my attempt
    to sound like
    Merle Haggard

    Merle was not
    always the icon
    he is now
    he must have been
    my age once

    Maybe he will hear it
    do you suppose
    Merle ever goes

  137. Rodney C. Walmer

    Retirement Woes

    He said he was retired
    worked for the city for over 20 years
    He had the freedom he desired
    now, his life was in full gear
    collecting a nice pension
    but, oh the cost of health care
    certainly added a new dimension
    to the income what was no longer there

    He complained about Blue Cross/Blue Shield
    maintained that the cost was just unreal
    claiming every month a new deduction
    was eroding his monthly check
    leading to it’s destruction

    That’s when she arrived
    a former school safety officer
    who had survived
    there was little any could offer her
    as she described
    a cost of living raise of Two dollars
    when the took what they gave ten fold
    charging her Twenty dollars more for healthcare
    She said, these days, the dollar is so hard to hold
    now they dare, to take more for my healthcare

    They discussed it some more
    as I headed for the door
    I had decided
    I had enough to worry about
    besides it would be 8 more years for me
    these worries, I could do without
    as, in plenty of time, in their shoes I would be. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 4/21/08 Prompt #21 a poem about a conversation. I hope this qualifies.

  138. Iain D. Kemp

    As its already late afternoon, I won´t have time to people watch (pity it’s my favourite hobby!) But I heard this phrase 25 years ago on a train passing through Holland to Germany. It was the end of the conversation and I had no context to put it in and it’s always stayed with me, wondering. Kinda makes it perfect, don’t ya think? I’ve put in quotes when it appears.

    When the bottom falls out…

    It could have been a market.
    The bottom falls out of those…

    And I once had a pair of jeans
    that the behind wore through, although…?

    Or a suitcase in the attic
    hiding forgotten heirlooms and treasure?

    Maybe a relationship that didn’t
    work out in the end?

    With a broken heart that left
    A bottomless pit of despair…

    I’d like to think it was expensive
    a priceless Ming vase, perhaps?

    But maybe just a carrier bag from
    the local village store

    T’would be disappointing but
    replaceable, you’d think?

    Likewise I imagine (for the lady was
    quite posh with a plumy voice)

    That hers came from Harrods,
    don’t you know? Very chic!

    But alas this five and twenty year on
    I only have no doubt, that

    She… “had one of those
    but the bottom dropped out”

  139. Michelle H.

    Rodney – I don’t know if you have this out there but here we have "freecycle" an online website/email thing for giving things away free. It’s specific to your area (county). Also you could try "craigslist" I think they might be all over the country. For selling things. Another avenue might be any local shelters you have might be interested. Good luck! Michelle

  140. Marin

    The Bus

    If water and fire existed as one,
    and the winds blew north and south,
    he thought out loud on a crowded bus;
    and a man beside him barked at the phone,
    “I said, Jerry, I can‘t talk right now, I’m in
    a meeting. And he said, fine call me back later.”

    If the earth swelled to twice its size
    and the oceans faded away,
    he thought to himself alone among many;
    and a woman said to the person beside her,
    “It’s a VW Beetle, and it’s Turbo; which is the
    most expensive one by the way.”

    Where would all the people go,
    and how would they be fed,
    he thought as the crowds dwindled away;
    and the bus driver said,
    “Let the people out,
    let them out first.”

  141. Rodney C. Walmer

    I have to confess this one’s got me. I am not sure what to write for it. I will come up with something though. Maybe the rising cost of medicare that was discussed where I had my oil changed this morning. Or my attempt to donate my daughters old bed, since no one wants it, shame since it’s almost new.

  142. Don Swearingen

    The Plot Begins to Unravel

    I tell you I didn’t! I thought I did.
    I remember my hands around her neck
    Squeezing her throat, her fluttering eyelids.
    Infuriated at the dreck
    She’d made me write, the slop
    I’d splattered on the paper
    Scratched out as poetry, tip-top
    But only good to make a taper
    To light a candle to mourn
    Her. I wish I’d never been born.

  143. Heather

    “Something’s going to happen”
    She doesn’t know
    If it’s good or bad
    But something’s going to happen
    She’s really feeling sad

    “Hold it”
    She’s got to get this call
    “Just a minute”
    It’s her kids
    Her husband
    Even the dog

    She’s got to catch herself
    Before they see her fall

    He’s on the phone

    Picking, tearing away at her Soul
    He’s angry
    Forcing to get control

    “They were really looking forward to seeing you”
    “What are you DOING?”
    “You need to come home!!!!!”

    She knows what he really means
    She’s deafened by his screams

    His fits of rage
    Getting in her face
    Are becoming commonplace

    She’s heard
    More apologies
    Than she can stand

    “Something’s going to happen”
    She doesn’t know
    If it’s good or bad
    But something’s going to happen
    She’s really feeling sad

    She doesn’t know
    What to do

    So for now
    She’ll just go home

    With her head

  144. Karen



    She—the spouse—the one most likely to defend him:
    “Anybody concerned about America
    Shows passion about issues.”
    The candidate stood for integrity.
    The candidate told the truth.
    His wife kept a modest profile,
    supporting him through the campaign.
    He answered questions with candor.
    He spoke with spirit.
    The media picked their favorites,
    Their darling stories—sometimes slams,
    Sometimes praises.
    Was he among the features of the day?
    Did he figure in the fray?
    Did they wear a veneer of character away
    From this candidate?
    Did internet chains of libel
    Bring his run to ruin?
    Did he win?
    Did the rest of us?

  145. patti williams

    This is untitled and unfinished but will get to that in May! I’ve got to work so wanted to at least post this little bit.

    (so far, untitled)

    Two little boys
    Running up the stairs:
    “Hey, your mom is awesome!”
    “Yeah, she really is.”

    I can’t stop smiling.

  146. Elizabeth Keggi

    Days 17-20 Poems

    I don’t mean to be depressing or anything, but perhaps the pain medication brings out the darker view of life. Still, I wrote these all over the course of two days while also contemplating my slow recovery ahead of me. The gardens and the ravine outside my window have provided much inspiration. EKK

    Day 17 prompt: Write in the third person

    The Hunt

    Light creeps through the valley
    Meandering dusk, treading a careful
    Path between the trees and settling
    On the hastas and ferns with a peculiar glow.

    The sky is fading orange and purple until
    Only a peach-pink streak remains.
    The birds grow quiet now, waiting for
    The owl to declare its territory.

    The owl now flaps her wings and settles
    At the top of the tallest tree in the ravine.
    The sky is gray now, with only the brightest stars
    Poking through. The trees are a block of shadows.

    The night hangs like a tapestry.
    Crickets sing below, the stars humming
    Above, and rabbits, silent as the foxes
    Nibble on the dewy grass.

    Elizabeth K. Keggi


    Day 18 Prompt: “There is no connection”

    The Garden

    There is no connection
    between the near miss of the dragonfly
    and the little blister on your index finger
    later that afternoon.

    There is no connection
    between the bumblebee that brushed your hand
    and the fever that swept you up that night.

    The butterfly that landed on your outstretched finger
    does not bestow good luck for three years.
    The mosquito you nailed before it could suck your blood
    will not wreck your karma for three generations.

    There is no connection, no revenge, no reward.
    The garden is impersonal somehow,
    filled with beauty and sweet aromas
    and with the marvelous machinery
    of every little insect.

    Elizabeth K. Keggi


    Day 19 Prompt: Memory of yourself you do not remember


    As the movers shuffled in and out
    We were struck by their lack of intelligence
    In the matter of packing the truck just so.
    My mother and I stepped aside outside the door
    to let them pass with a dresser in their grip.
    I nearly stumbled into the garden.
    “Ma’am,” said one of them as they paused,
    “I don’t know if you know this,
    but that’s marijuana you’re growing there.”
    Later that day, they dropped the piano.

    Elizabeth K. Keggi


    Day 20 Prompt: Love poem

    Roses, I thought, but, no—

    No, I shall give you a lilac bush.
    It starts little and can grow for generations.
    It blooms just once a year, but, oh,
    The fragrance of those tiny petals
    Caught by the June night—thick air,
    Three-dimensional scent to wrap you,
    Inhabit you, plague you with memories
    Of last June—or was it the one before last?
    The lilacs recall it all. I loved you once,
    And the lilacs will tell you so
    Every June, every year, just as I am
    Condemned to remember you.

    Elizabeth K. Keggi

  147. Elizabeth Keggi

    Before I post a thing, I must say a huge THANK YOU for all your good wishes!!! I am floored, and I had a good cry about it, because of all your goodwill. It must have helped, because the surgery went much better than expected, and I recovering well. I can’t go back to work for 4-5 weeks, so the process is slow. But just reading all your comments -and the poems for me, no less!!! – have kept my spirits up. And I’m all fired up to get back to the poetry challenge.

    Thank you so very much.