November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

Wow! As many of you have noted, I’ve been super pleased with the quality of the poems written so far. Y’all’re swinging for the fences with your efforts this month. Very, very cool!

For today’s prompt, I want you to write a “By the Numbers” poem. That is, I want you to write a poem that somehow incorporates numbers. Sure, this might’ve made more sense on 11/11 when a few of us got talking about math and numbers and such–but, hey, who says poetry has to make sense? (Or numbers for that matter?)

Make numbers a large part of the poem or small part, but make sure they get factored in somehow. With this group, I’m sure some really cool stuff will emerge.

Here’s my attempt for the day:


There are four oceans,
seven continents,
and hundreds of islands on this planet,
but I always return to you with my atomic breath,
my swinging tail lined with plates.

For just as there is only one Godzilla,
there is also only one Japan.


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73 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

  1. Lynne

    Six fan palms popped up from
    the ground in an empty space
    where the old oak tree had provided
    shelter for wood ducks, owls, and all
    manner of birds for decades. They
    encircled the empty space as if in
    homage to the majesty of the felled tree.

    I smiled at this spectacle of nature
    and reached for my camera.
    As I looked through the lense,
    a man came into the picture armed
    with insecticide. I took only one photo
    before he sprayed toxic mist on
    each palm. As I wrestled with the
    raison d’être of the obliteration
    he moved on to the dandelions

  2. Kathy Kehrli

    XIII. Reality Defying

    I read an article the other day.
    118 days—
    That’s how long one teen lived
    Without a heart.
    “It was like I was a fake person,
    Like I didn’t really exist.
    I was just here,” she said
    Of the ordeal.
    It kind of downgraded my dad’s
    Cardiac comeback
    To minor miracle.
    Then again, when talking artificial living,
    Time takes on
    Einsteinian relativity.
    Several minutes or 118 days,
    You’re clinically dead.
    It still defies reality.

  3. Carol


    TETRAD SD51E 27th Oct 2008

    1 robin
    Approx 4 house sparrows heard in a hedge
    Circa 40 starlings flying as a tight-packed flock
    4 mistlethrush
    Circa 200 corvids rise and filter:
    60+ jackdaws squeaky-call towards leaf-topped oaks
    100+ rooks re-group like ghouls on a skeletal tree
    the crows start feeding again in the next field
    12 mallard in a flooded field
    1 male wigeon joining them
    1 moorhen
    14 lapwings in subdued hue
    2 rabbits
    2 buzzard and 3 kestrels hunting over sodden fields
    8 woodpigeon (seen in 2’s and 3’s)
    14 collared dove in a balding sycamore
    1 sun-soaked rainbow well defined against a heavy grey sky.

  4. Penny Henderson

    Day #13 By the numbers

    12 eggs in a dozen,
    3 feet in a yard,
    4 yards in a dozen?

    52 weeks in a year,
    7 days each,
    7 years to an itch.

    shouldn’t play
    with numbers.

  5. Iris Deurmyer

    I am glad I checked each day to see if mine had posted. I remember posting in the top ten of this one and mine is not there. I have had 3 days where I have had to go back and submit again. I do not know why sometimes I send them and they go right in, and sometimes I have to "save comment" at least 3 times. Anyway I have to rewrite this one because I did not save it. I am trying to save all of them in my documents for editing and a future chapbook. Why oh why is this the one I did not save. I even researached #s. Oh well, here goes for something different

    Numerical Wonder

    I met you on the first,
    You kissed me on the second.
    Third day we stayed up talking til dawn
    On the fourth day you met my son
    On the fifth day you sent me flowers
    Day six we stayed apart
    Day seven we cooked at your apt.
    Day eight we awoke late
    By day nine you were mine.

  6. lynn rose

    " Four "

    Four years, I have given my life
    and still I am not his wife.
    Four years, I find myself in tears
    instead of cheers.
    Four years, I am losting him instead
    of winning and I find myself not grinning
    He controls my mood 24/7 and I am not
    doing this anymore.

  7. Monica Martin

    All of these are so brilliant! Excellent jobs, everyone.

    Two car garage,
    one front door.
    Two staircases-
    one leads to the basement
    the other, upstairs
    to the three bedrooms.
    Two and a half bathrooms
    accompany the bedrooms.
    Welcome home.

  8. Juanita Snyder

    (well apparently my muse thought it fitting to outfit me with no less than 2 poems for this particular excersize, so what the hell?! –spidey)

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    holding his breath
    Tom carefully tugged at
    the mangled left glove,
    starting with the smallest digit,
    who despite it’s tender young
    age, decided to be a big pinky
    and just suck it up.
    the next one over
    surprisingly hurt the least,
    in spite of all the blood,
    a boxer knocked silly
    but still in contention.
    Tom was surprised however, at
    finding out just how big a baby
    the middle finger turned out to be.
    true, it had received a few
    blood splatters from its close
    proximity to finger two, but
    I mean, really!
    was all that screaming and
    panic really that necessary?!
    as the largest digit on the
    bloc, he really ought to
    set a much better example!
    now the index hurt like a mutha
    as it left the glove of the accident,
    badly bruised and throbbing,
    gashed open, knuckle to cuticle,
    blood pumping out with every pulse.
    By all reason it shoulda been out cold,
    dead, sayonara, dangling by a thread,
    but the way it held on, clinging bravely
    to the palm of Tom’s hand for dear life
    swelled him with such pride, and
    when it looked up at Tom, smiled
    weakly and still dared to attempt a
    slight wiggle room salute in spite of
    all those life-threatening injuries,
    Tom became giddy and nearly fainted.
    oh and Mr. Index Finger?
    (or “Sarge” as Tom liked to call him)
    those years of military training
    were finally put to good use.
    Besides thumbing rides or giving kudos,
    Sarge had them sound off every morning
    at reverie: one-two-three-four
    and now continued to fight to keep them
    calm and focused, as he waved
    the medics over for Tom
    now lying in the ditch.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  9. Juanita Snyder

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    a 3 minute blast means the sea level has changed and
    you have less than 15 to move inland to higher ground!
    other times a good ground-shaking may well be
    the only warning you have, so choose wisely!
    a wall of water can shoot up to 100 ft high in minutes
    depending on locale, quake strength, and
    80 years of history over Pacific waters.
    tune in to NOAA weather radio for further info
    and wait for the ALL CLEAR from local officials,
    as mother nature didn’t get the memo about the
    official national warning system buoy
    a few miles out.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  10. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    Right by the Numbers

    I was told there are 30
    Human Rights,
    So I went to see
    If they
    Existed in fact.

    And so I looked…
    Which made me wonder…

    Could you ever quantify
    A right
    To the same degree
    You can
    Measure its denial?

    And so I wondered…
    Which made me look…

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  11. SaraV

    I wasn’t too thrilled with my last effort–This one is better



    One eye peering up
    From beneath tea tinted depths
    One eye seeking down
    Lunch is one beak away
    One eye waiting
    For the two food bowls
    Teetering in the food lady’s hands
    One eye tilted to the sky watching
    Jet planes fly by
    One eye blinking at the sun
    After emerging from the shade
    Watching for scaly competition
    And doing twenty pushups
    To assert first eating rights
    One pair of eyes dipping up and down
    Synchronized with the other pair of Ibis eyes
    One bite, two bites, three bites, four
    Time to take a drink before
    One pair of eyes rushes the bowl
    And scampers in daring any other critter
    To try to take one bite
    One pair of eyes watching
    From behind tinted glass
    And savoring the
    Of it all

  12. AC Leming

    I swear I pasted this and saw it on here yesterday!

    16 numbers

    My waiter flits between nine tables
    on a Friday lunch shift, black eye
    half-healed from some unknown
    accident. I never worked this end
    of a restaurant, so can only imagine
    the panic a two top’s misplaced
    credit card produces. Frantic search
    until it’s discovered perched atop
    a stack of menus, the black on black
    indecipherable in the dim light.

  13. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    The Numbers of Global Warming

    2030 is the year
    That Glacier National Park
    Will have no Glaciers
    40000 square kilometers
    Of Arctic sea ice
    Between 15% and 37%
    Of animal and plant
    Species will die.
    6000 species of dragonfly
    250 million years of life
    Outliving the plesiosaurs
    Wars, and religions
    But with 1 in 3
    Now extinct
    How long will they
    Live beyond
    Gaia’s death?

  14. SaraV

    Loved the two dogs poem–can totally relate!


    One body of water
    A pond deep and cool
    One day to count
    Is it two, four or twenty
    Yellow and/or orange billed wonders
    Arguing over the food dish?
    40 whistling wings lift off
    At any noise, or human appearance
    Two sable necked geese
    Protecting their crumbles
    Charging across the hard-packed dirt
    Intimidating even the bravest bird
    Two teenage ibis asserting themselves
    As next in line at the feed bowl
    Then roosting vultures like above
    The twinkling pond
    Three enormous iguanas
    Shaking their skin flaps
    And bobbing their heads mechanically
    Clearly stating this is mine, back off
    Two eyes watching in wonder
    As the scene unfolds
    One set of lips lifting in a smile
    At the innumerable joys
    Found at one pond

  15. Rodney C. Walmer

    Time and Who

    An amoeba lives a day or two
    a fly, but a few
    so short a life
    so much to do

    One must wonder
    but, if they only knew
    certainly, no time to ponder
    with all they must do

    If there was just a way
    to go back, relive each day
    science fiction,
    some might say

    Certainly, not the fly
    to whom
    on the seventh day must die
    Facing doom
    The laws of physics
    he might choose to defy. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 11/14/08 Numbers poem

  16. Karen H. Phillips

    Kudos, Michelle & Nancy! Earl, your poems get better all the time.

    Great prompt, Robert.

    Jules Breton, French (1827-1906)
    The End of the Working Day, 1886-87

    Three Women

    Three young women trudge in from the fields
    at sunset.
    Golden-pink light illuminates tall white
    flowering plants and the silhouettes of
    the women
    as they move away from the light.
    The second woman
    carries a heavy burlap sack that
    bends her shoulders
    The woman behind her mimicks her
    movement and stance,
    but the woman in the rear
    seems to bear
    a heavier burden.
    The leader looks over her
    shoulder, with
    a contemplative expression.
    Why does she carry two shovels
    and a water jug,
    while the other two women
    tote the heavy bags?
    Behind the women,
    two men remain in the work field.
    One kneels,
    another stands.
    They continue to dig the harvest.
    The beautiful light belies
    the heavy labor,
    glorifying the earthiness of what
    these five farm workers
    do with their hands
    and lives
    every day.

  17. Mary K


    One day is all I have
    one moment, one hour
    this moment, this hour
    live right now.

    One life is all I have
    one chance, one path,
    my choice, to get it right,
    live right now.

    One day, one life
    this moment, one path
    this hour, my choice
    live right now.

  18. Billy Angel

    Waiting For Spring, November 13, 2008

    The trees are black and bare,
    unmoved by the cold wind.
    Days of change came, left
    nothing untouched. I think

    of the game of statue we
    played as children, running
    from the person who was
    it. If touched, you froze

    no matter how awkward
    and difficult it was
    to remain in place
    without moving

    until someone charmed
    set you free
    to start the game
    all over again.

  19. kate

    Just a little one as I’ve been to the monthly spoken word nite! I read a couple in the open mic including the kids and cats poem from last weekend (day 7?)


    Let’s have you in the shower
    by the time I count to three,
    two and a half
    two and three quarters
    ‘say three Mum
    say three.’
    I don’t want to say three
    I want to see you move
    I want to say hooray
    well done
    what a good boy,
    I want to keep a hold
    on my temper.

  20. Kate Berne Miller


    Thousands of spawning Dog salmon have returned at once, all attempting to swim up the same small steam, so solidly packed you could walk across on their backs. Instinct drives the overflow up onto the beach to die.

    Hundreds of Bald Eagles, their white heads glowing in the fog, line the banks of the stream, ripping the pungent carcasses with beak and talons.

    Dozens of crows hop along the beach picking at the remains, their tracks like graffiti in the sand.

    One Raven, black against the blue dome of the Russian Orthodox Church, calls out in its rolling rattle, speaking in tongues.

    Kate Berne Miller

  21. Shann Palmer


    Every room is deliberately staged,
    as if the house is for sale, waiting

    to be judged by strangers who want
    angels on each shelf, fairies here
    and there, rocks weighted with words
    such as balance, faith, and peace.

    It is more a photograph than home,
    piano never played, candles still unlit

    Even books are left askew by design,
    titles to impress rather than illuminate,
    dark woolen shawls artfully tossed,
    reed diffusers of lavender and rain.

    This is a place of catalogs and malls,
    personality dictated by fashion, lifeless.

  22. Kate Berne Miller

    Total Hip Replacement

    I’m hip.
    I’m a cool cat hipster.
    I’m a right-sided, left-brained
    newly revised

    I’m hip.
    I’m a dislocated
    drilled out
    titanium and cobalt-chrome
    inserted and cemented

    I’m hip.
    I wear a thirteen inch
    Frankenstein scar
    tattooed across my right hip
    stapled back together
    smooth as train tracks
    going nowhere fast.

    I’m hip.
    I’m bionic.
    I’ve got me one
    super strong
    shiny new
    ball and socket
    Totally Replaced Hip —
    I’m hip.

    Kate Berne Miller

  23. Kateri Woody

    "My favorite line from the movie clue,"
    I postulate mostly to myself, putting
    the pointy end of the knife blade
    against my mouth in a peculiar pose
    of thoughtfulness, "Has to be that one about
    one plus two plus two plus one.
    The numerology just tickles my proverbial
    pickle." The girl on the other end
    of my 1911 revolver(stolen from Two-face ironically)
    didn’t quite get the joke
    and it made me frown, sadness
    spilling across my features before
    being replaced by an effortless fallacy
    of happiness as I continue to explicate,
    "But it always turned out, in every ending,
    for there were three, that none
    of the guests can count to six. Ironic,
    really, the numbers present in the movie,
    but that last one is always unaccounted
    for. And just because Mister Green
    goes home to sleep with his fictitious
    wife and Mrs. Peacock really is a cock
    doesn’t make their ineptitude
    any less amusing." I purr and press
    the muzzle of the gun beneath her ear.
    She’s not enjoying this as much as I am,
    no of course not. None of them really do,
    but I tarry on, carry on, something else on.
    Because there’s one last bullet in my
    chamber, "and I hope to God you can
    count better than that Butler turned
    Boddy, because darling there might
    not be anything left for your brain."
    But then again there’s always that
    fact, that little tiddly bit of information,
    that I couldn’t even pass high school
    math. But she doesn’t need to know
    that I think that there might
    be six minus one minus two minus one
    bullet left in my lifted weapon.

  24. Bruce Niedt

    Love Counts

    If 1 is the loneliest number,
    then it takes 2 for tea.
    3 times a lady saw me in the bar
    and said at last, 4 strong winds
    blew me your way. What are the chances?
    5 to one, baby, I said, one in five.
    Let’s take my car, get our kicks on Route 66,
    turn down 7 Bridges Road. I know a place
    we can party 8 days a week.
    Who needs Love Potion #9
    when we’ve got the 10 Commandments
    of Love? We’ll cross the desert to Vegas,
    and I’ll be cool as the dudes in Oceans 11,
    all the way through the 12 days of Christmas.

  25. Taylor Graham


    Dawn. November 13th, 6:15 a.m.
    Three dark-eyed juncos, one brown towhee
    hunched against the chill.
    A white-breasted nuthatch walking
    down the deck-post – wait, here comes
    another, that makes two acrobats
    of bird-dom. There, a swagger –
    white-crowned sparrow – and the juncos
    disappear. One oak titmouse tips his tuft.
    How many birds now? It’s like
    tabulating daylight. Is that
    a flutter in the depths of pyracantha?
    Too dim to see if it’s a bird –
    a spotted towhee? – to add to a
    winter’s count of hunger.

  26. S Scott Whitaker


    The hunt landed twenty seven mallards
    And four bucks, and three does,
    The fish and turtles number two and thirty.
    Between seven men, three boys, and two porters
    They catalogued the entire island’s game
    Save for the wild hogs, which they didn’t shoot,
    Only because the hotel keeper insisted
    The beasts tasted better in deep fall
    After they had eaten two weeks of onion
    And wild yams. The party stayed three days.

    One hundred years later the island is lost
    To mosquitoes, green flies, and fowl.
    The wild hogs drowned, and like the hotels
    And houses can only be found in small
    Polished bits, when a storm pushes hard
    The water and upturns a jawbone, a board, a nail.

  27. Meesh

    math class numbers under the knuckles a woody swath abraded from glossy yellow-painted number 2 number 2 pencil pressing the point until it succumbs and crumbs into a spack of silvery dust not fairy dust but like magic like subtraction taking away something a rabbit disappears into an inky hat making it not making it air o less than zero

  28. Rachel

    I am really sick tonight. This is the best I can do.

    One God

    One God
    Two of every kind of creature
    Three persons of the Trinity
    Four headwaters
    Five will chase one hundred, one hundred a thousand
    Six days
    Seventh day to rest
    One God

  29. RJay Slais

    One Final Wish

    Before he is about to blow,
    his exhale is exaggerated,
    another flustered sigh,
    as if every breath he pulls
    is drawn through a straw.
    Inside two lungs, dwell
    a hungry nest of mosquitoes,
    blood pregnant females,
    like a buzz swarm of furious wings
    they steal the precious molecules
    of oxygen to feed their breathless suck,

    seventy nine bright red birthday balloons.

    Friction electric, a static charge cling
    holds them up to the ceiling.
    His gray head hair, mixed up
    standing tall from the rubbing,
    still full of surf waves and contour.
    Spots of light glow on their bottoms,
    reflections of the fire burning below,
    like the glint in his eyes sixty plus years ago.
    Colorful rivers of red green orange yellow wax
    rush to the edge, the cake candles are dying
    smoke rise, burnt down, nearly to the base
    as he is treading on the surface
    in his sea of internal thought waves,
    trying to remember the lost sentence,
    trying to gather enough wind,
    trying to figure out one damn thing
    that is really worth wishing for.

  30. Cheryl Chambers

    Neal in Numbers or
    Counting on Neal

    The times he’s sped, unrepentant, against
    the grain, like a crazed Des Esseintes
    the epitome of decadence and the head
    of the avant-garde, feeling the past
    fin de siecle: innumerable.

    The minutes Isabella would reel at the suggestion
    Neal was someone special, someone with whom
    to hold candle light dinners and vigils for
    the linking of extraordinary language
    and lineage, the offspring: minute.

    The fraction and division leading Neal
    to this moment, this solemn and solitary
    place, this single digit bringing infinite
    release yet finite collapse within the self,
    the single entity of knowledge, leading
    Neal to his end, leading Neal home: Now.

    The number of instances you paused, felt
    a connection, wondered and wanted to know
    who this Neal is, why his life felt lingers
    wrapped in yours like a blanket or baby,
    swaddled like a mummy, saved:
    Or never.

  31. Earl Parsons

    Day 13 for LL&L:

    Noah’s Numbers

    Noah built the ark
    300 cubits long
    50 cubits wide
    And 30 cubits tall
    With 1 window
    1 door
    And three stories inside

    On the 17th day
    Of the 2nd month
    Of Noah’s 600th year
    God sent him into the ark
    With his 1 wife
    3 sons
    And their 3 wives
    Then God sent the animals in
    7 each for clean
    7 each for the birds
    2 by 2 for all others
    1 male and 1 female

    And God shut the door

    On that day
    The wells of the earth burst
    And the heavens opened up
    And the rain poured down
    For 40 days and 40 nights
    The ark was lifted up
    To 15 cubits over the mountains
    And all life on land
    Was extinguished
    With the exception
    Of the inhabitants of the ark

    At the end of the 40 days
    Noah sent forth 1 raven
    And 1 dove
    But the dove could
    Find nowhere to rest
    So it returned

    Every 7 days
    Noah sent the dove forth
    Until 1 day
    The dove brought
    In its mouth
    An olive leaf
    7 days later
    Noah sent the dove forth
    But this time
    It returned not

    For 150 days
    The waters prevailed
    And on the 17th day
    Of the 7th month
    The ark came to rest
    On Mount Ararat

    On the 1st month
    Of the 10th month
    The tops of the mountains
    Could be seen

    And it came to pass
    That on the 1st day
    Of the 1st month
    Of Noah’s 601st year
    Noah looked out and saw
    That the ground was dry
    And on the 27th day
    Of the 2nd month
    The earth was dry

    And God spoke to Noah
    Go forth
    Take your wife
    Your 3 sons and their 3 wives
    And all the beasts
    And birds of the air
    Replenish the earth
    Be fruitful
    And multiply

    And Noah built an alter
    Unto the Lord
    And took 1 of each clean beast
    1 of each clean foul
    And offered burnt offerings
    To the One and Only God

    And the Lord was pleased

    And Noah lived for 350 years
    After the flood
    At the glorious ate of 950
    Noah died

  32. k weber

    kiss off

    in a motel

    and resisting

    the stereo

    takes a nap

    on a stale

    the wake up

    for help

    two bodies

    smoke linens

    less than nothing

    and drive

    and fair-

  33. Judy Roney


    Experts say wait one year
    make no major decisions
    no moves or changes.

    We wait impatiently
    for one year, two weeks
    three days, four hours.

    Then we make our move
    search real estate ads
    call agents and canvas.

    The need to get out, get
    away predominates, run
    leave the memories behind.

    That first day, the first call
    net results, we’ll take it
    a condo on the water.

    We had seven hundred thirty
    days to regret it before we could
    sell and move two blocks from home.

  34. Linda

    Ten can be a big number was good. As for me, I am just getting this prompt at the end of the day here…and considering that I’ve only managed to write one poem in 13 days, I’d have to say I might have to sit this one out. Things around me just aren’t cooperating. Maybe I can do it in December???

    Margaret, I just might be singing that poem the next time I clean!!


  35. Paul W.Hankins

    The Call

    She had always stood
    arrow straight
    we had no knowledge
    of her quiver
    or how the bow would break:

    whether they be
    towers or pillars –
    should they fall –
    the measure of their impact
    is the weight of heaven
    they had previously supported

    until they should buckle
    these mentors of metal and mettle –
    and are left to lay flat –
    and the sky is vacant
    in their absence save a random cloud
    trying to hide itself against the gray

    as the left behind
    come to their senses –
    enough to remember a number –
    as a dial tone pierces
    the quiet confusion:


  36. Margaret

    Okay, so this has nothing to do with my theme …
    really, I was going to do something on the thirteen colonies, I swear it … but, hey, it’s the end of the week …

    The Twelve Days of Cleaning

    On the first day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me,
    one door without a door key.

    On the second day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the third day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the fourth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the fifth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the sixth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the seventh day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the eighth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    eight crumbling candles,
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the ninth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    nine handle-less hammers,
    eight crumbling candles,
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the tenth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    ten scratchy shirts,
    nine handle-less hammers,
    eight crumbling candles,
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the eleventh day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    eleven ragged rags,
    ten scratchy shirts,
    nine handle-less hammers,
    eight crumbling candles,
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

    On the twelfth day of cleaning
    my cleaner brought to me
    twelve tattered towels,
    eleven ragged rags,
    ten scratchy shirts,
    nine handle-less hammers,
    eight crumbling candles,
    seven rusty rakes,
    six broken brooms,
    five moldy mops,
    four ratty rugs,
    three decrepit dusters,
    two pitted pots
    and one door without a door key.

  37. Don Swearingen

    Tomorrow will be the warmest day of the week,
    The weather man said last night.
    Sometimes the man has a lot of cheek
    Telling us whether the future is dark or bright,
    But this time he’s told the truth
    A sunny day with warmth, and little wind
    So far. He says tomorrow will be decidedly uncouth
    With wind and cold and clouds pinned
    Down near the earth, maybe dropping snow
    On us for the first time this year.
    Snow is on our mountains, but not down low
    Here on the plains. Coming soon I fear.
    You left on a golden day that was promised filled.
    Since then, though warm, each day is easily chilled.

  38. patti williams

    Ten Can Be a Big Number

    It was a ten on the Richter scale.
    The ground shook beneath,
    Breaking her foundation,
    Tearing apart every piece
    Of their life together.
    Standing was impossible as
    Destruction filled the only
    World she had ever known.

    As she sat on the floor, looking for answers,
    He calmly explained she had let herself go,
    Spent too much time with the kids,
    She just wasn’t fun anymore.
    So that is why he had to leave them,
    Save his destiny from the boredom of marriage.
    He had several other women to turn to,
    Ten, he told her, were very interested.
    He was like a 10-pound bass
    Swimming around in pond full of
    Nice lean trout, all ready to do some nibbling.

    It had been ten years, yes,
    But he told her it felt like
    Ten times ten
    And that wasn’t how he wanted to live.
    Plus with the way she looked now,
    Ten was the last number he’d use
    To describe the shape of her body.
    A round circle maybe,
    But not with a 1 in front of it.

    After he left, and she’d had her big cry,
    She vowed to rebuild her life again.
    And after she met with her lawyer,
    Ten would certainly help
    With putting her world back together.
    Ten thousand a month would
    Help get her past the Storm of his Crisis,
    Help her out quite a bit indeed.
    Ten could be a very big number as
    Her soon to be ex-husband
    Would quickly find out.

  39. LKHarris-Kolp

    Past the Mistake

    Each love she’s had in her life
    has been like a stepping stone;
    one step further to finding true love,
    her soul mate yet unknown.

    Her first love was sweet and pure,
    they were in love and having fun.
    It lasted through most of college;
    after graduation, he was on the run.

    The second love she married,
    a rebound now she sees.
    But he lied and their marriage ended,
    as she became sicker in her disease.

    Number three was the one,
    or at least that’s what she thought.
    Even though at first separated,
    he went back to his wife and forgot.

    The fourth man she loved,
    (or at the time thought she did),
    had lots of money, and they had fun
    (although grown up, he acted like a kid).

    Number five was plain and simple,
    a teacher just like her.
    This time she broke his heart;
    she was too troubled from what did occur.

    After all these years,
    in her search of love so crazily,
    she finally found out how to love herself,
    by surrendering to God openly.

    Only then did she find Mr. Right,
    after five stepping stones she did take.
    But looking back, she’d still do the same,
    to get her where she is today- past the mistake.

    Laurie K.

  40. Peggy Goetz

    I thought this prompt would be easier for me my creative ideas kept crashing. Here is what I have ended up with.

    The Age of Numbers

    I was on of them
    our mission applying
    numbers to intangibles.
    I was particularly good
    at it, one of my talents.
    It was going to revolutionize
    the study of human nature
    make social science a real
    science. Anything it seemed
    could be numeralized
    anger, beauty, goodness,
    evil, caring, enthusiasm,
    intelligence, reduced to
    numbers, crunched into
    data, analyzed,
    correlations, matrixes,
    regressions, association
    but not cause, cause
    and effect, yes numbers
    would change the way we
    looked at the world. But
    one wonders if it has
    gone too far and changed
    the world as well.

    Nov. 13, 2008

  41. Steve LaVoie

    I really despise math so I had no idea how I was going to do this one, but I guess thats the good thing about being creative is that you can always think of something new.

    Count it down

    In ten simple steps
    I can hide all my problems
    With a big fat cocky attitude.

    Nine days until she
    Realizes she wants me to die.
    Wonder what took so long.

    Just wrote eight pages
    About what happened years ago.
    I didn’t learn anything.

    I think seven hours would be
    How long it would take society
    To collapse if we all really accepted each other.

    I just spent six dollars
    On a cardboard boat.
    Do you think I overpaid?

    Five tips for self improvement,
    They are so easy to follow,
    But you wouldn’t like them.

    It has been about four months
    Since I last begged for something
    I wonder what it was.

    Three times today I have
    Consulted marketing materials
    To tell me what I want.

    After two nights of uncooked
    Fishsticks I think I might
    Be hungry for some sushi.

    It only took one minute
    To finally realize that
    No one wants their reality.

  42. Michelle H.

    “What has four eyes?” she said,
    “Nothing”, he replied.
    “What has four ears?” She said,
    “Nothing”, he replied.
    “What has two noses?” She said,
    “Nothing”, he replied
    “What has eight legs?” She said,
    “Nothing”, he replied
    “What has two tails?” she said,
    “Nothing!” he replied
    She giggled and said,
    “What has four eyes, four ears,
    Two noses, eight legs, two tails,
    And wants to eat your breakfast?”
    He looked at her and
    Then looked pointedly
    Toward the floor and said,
    “Two dogs.”

  43. Michelle H.

    Lori – loved you multiple choice poem.
    Nancy – sobering numbers, great poem. I’ve seen that documentary on the kids in TN who filled the railcar with paperclips – it was excellent.

  44. Michelle H.

    No, it’s not the missing hotel floor
    or even an unlucky Friday
    it is a Fibonacci number!

    To be exact it, it is the seventh Fibonacci number,
    which surely must be some coincidence,
    for 7 and 13 are my favorite numbers!

    Did you know that the Fibonacci sequence
    can be found in nature?
    How about flowers, animals, insects and seeds?

    So next time you’re out walking
    and bend to sniff a flower
    count the petals and you will
    most likely see
    a Fibonacci number!

  45. Iain D. Kemp

    This was a hard one for me today & I’m not thrilled with the result but anyway, here ’tis…

    Cats, Poetry & Death #16

    A Matter of Form

    In all the arts none use such variation
    of form or style than this sweet medium.
    And numbers are so oft the key to how
    a poem plays out its course. Setting aside
    free verse and prose, the laying out of stanzas
    is numerically fixed by standard and tradition
    in Sonnets, Sestinas,
    Quatrains and Tritinas, Haiku, Triolets
    Cinqains and Cinq-Cinquains.
    Poets Laureate and idle scribblers are made slave
    to numbered lines and seek and search
    for the apt most words and phrases to fill
    the form and fill the pages.
    But when it comes to subject matter then
    the search is of a deeper nature. Numbers no
    longer dictate, still more the heart comes into play.
    Infinity might be the score ’til a lack of
    inspiration grips poetic souls and all that
    remains is a holy trinity of staple muses
    Cats, Poetry and Death.


  46. Nancy


    Mathematically morbid, we tally the number
    lost, marking each life with a chair, a cross,
    a stone—at Oklahoma City, Columbine,
    the Pentagon. We sometimes sacrifice
    precision for effect. Shakespeare was not
    the first, after all, to overstate the odds
    when the” happy few,” that “band of brothers”
    came up against the French and won;
    nor can we know for sure the dead that day,
    since, we are told, the French only counted
    their noble dead. (Is that why they call them
    counts?) Does it matter to the living, to the
    dead? Still we seek to comprehend, in grade
    school celebrating the hundredth day with
    a hundred things, marbles, cookies, pencils.

    How, then, came we wrap our minds around
    the count:
    eleven million dead,
    six million Jews,
    a quarter million Roma,
    1.5 million children,
    give or take?
    Somewhere in Tennessee, children fill a rail
    car with eleven million paperclips to try to
    understand, while somewhere else, Darfur
    perhaps, just now, one more child dies.

    Nancy Posey

  47. Rachel Green

    Birthday Girl

    The clock ticks
    Three minutes to go…

    On the cusp of fourteen
    On the cusp of womanhood
    (according to the laws of Faery)

    No longer thirteen
    No longer limited to mortal sight
    No longer a child
    The clock strikes

    There is her mother
    There her three sisters
    There the man who murdered them
    “Happy Birthday darling.”

    She picks up her sword…

  48. S.E.Ingraham

    Wow – I am going to be posting late and out-of-order as I try madly to get at least partly caught up in the Dominican where internet time is a tad pricey and who wants to be indoors at any rate? That being said, hopefully this is my dream poem: – or not as it won’t paste…ah sh—-shoot. Maybe next time. Back to the beach.
    Sharon I

  49. Iain D. Kemp

    Excellent poetry already today, as usual. I’m in reverse order today as having trouble getting numbers into my first theme. So here’s The Bleacher Creature…

    Dear Moosehead,

    Let me tell ya buddy, that Greek Jimmy
    has some nerve! Stayin’ in my place
    and bad mouthing me to my best pal.
    And sure your sister & mother are all
    over him like he’s royalty so of course
    he’s singin’ their praises. I put him straight
    though… told him how those no good
    Braves only ever got three World Series wins
    (only one since they moved to Atlanta) out of
    nine Pennants whilst the Bronx Bombers
    have a record twenty-six from thirty-nine.
    Who’s got a bad attitude now? More like a team
    that can’t bat with girls for pitchers! I put them
    women straight too… they can let him pull
    his weight around here and treat him with same
    damn contempt they usually reserve for yours truly.
    And no! I have no idea why or how my mothers
    cousin married a Greek or why we even have
    family south of the Mason-Dixon!
    Pick ya up at seven… Greek SOB wants to go bowlin’

    Yours indignantly Irish-American

    Ringo the Howler

  50. Lori

    Emergency Room.

    Earache for one week
    Nausea- for two weeks
    Rash all over
    Drank “only three beers” and hit a tree
    Short of Breath
    Cough/congestion for four days
    Chest pain
    Temperature of 103- didn’t think of taking Tylenol
    Car accident- laceration to head with possible concussion

    You have three exam rooms and one doctor.
    Who do you put in the rooms?
    Where do you send the doctor first?
    Who do you let sit in the lobby for six hours?.
    This is the multiple choice they didn’t
    give you in school.

  51. satia

    Heather, I often use poetic license to get a point across so something lovely may have actually been a disappointment or something horrible that happened was never my reality.

    With that said, Tori did die sometime between the end of November and the middle of December. I made my family take care of cleaning it all away for me. Most of my frustration, however, was directed at myself.


  52. Bruce Niedt

    I’m gonna "cheat" right now and post a poem I wrote earlier this year, just because it fits both my theme and robert’s prompt perfectly. (I promise to write a new one today too!) This is based on a song by the band Okkervil River called "Plus Ones", where they take number-related song titles and add one to them, then incorporate them into their lyrics (97 Tears, 100 Luftballoons, 51 Ways to Leave You Lover, etc.) They used a lot of the best ones, but there were enough left over to do a "sequel" of sorts.

    Plus Ones Redux

    (after Okkervil River)

    I can’t hang anything out on Highway 62
    or get my kicks on Route 67.

    I can’t roll the windows down
    and sing Song 3 at the top of my lungs

    I can’t make 7 days on the road,
    or survive my 20th nervous breakdown.

    I’m not waiting for Revolution #10,
    And I’ll be damned if I’ll look
    for yet another gift
    for the 13 days of Christmas.

    I’d rather just relax, take 6,
    one more than Brubeck.
    And when I’m 65
    I’ll still want to be needed and fed.

    So here I am at 2:46,
    one minute later, still no one in the place,
    and Joe’s already set ‘em up.

  53. Sara McNulty

    Colors I Share my Life With

    I had a stunning red dress of Chinese
    design worn only once
    before it stopped fitting.

    Lavender crystal earrings,
    handmade, graced my
    ear lobes a dozen times
    before one disappeared.

    The room which doubles
    as a writer’s inner sanctum
    and a hair and makeup
    grooming center is painted
    morning pale lemon
    and has been for over
    two years now.

    I have an old 70’s Patti Smith
    T-shirt, ripped, stained, tight,
    and I still wear it on occasion.

  54. Jane penland hoover

    Once Accountants

    Loving numbers more than words,
    we penciled one and then another,
    neat in columns, spread wide,
    filling up green pads,
    mechanically manipulating
    assets and liabilities
    completely balanced
    so the total equaled nothing
    until that day —

    We met across a desk
    and found a word to two
    to say before retreating
    to the safety
    of the solitary page
    and the wonder of imagining
    the other not so far away.

    As communal interests soared
    our singularity diminished
    and two exponentially expanded
    into the mystery of seven
    carrying on and coming back.

    Today, our massaging numbers finished,
    we sit comfortable listening
    for the phone, their announcement
    of another entry, ten new digits fine,
    all perfectly complete.

  55. Nancy

    In Five Minutes

    One alone at the
    lunch table
    trying to look
    busy behind a book

    Two pass by, balancing
    lunch trays, their
    daily dose of chicken
    fingers and Coke.

    Three empty chairs
    sit as
    silent accusations:
    Who’d want to sit
    by you?

    Four strangers crane
    their necks, looking
    for an open spot and ask
    “Are these seats taken?

    Five words—stuck in
    her throat—finally
    escape: Feel free to
    join me.

    For the first time
    this school year,
    she won’t eat

    A second later
    she realizes, they’re
    eyeing her chair

    With third lunch
    packed to capacity,
    no one simply sits
    and reads.
    Do they?

    Back and forth she
    scans the room for one more
    chair, a peace offering,
    buying time
    in company.

    A fifth wheel, she
    finally blushes, marks
    her page, and rising,
    heads to the hallway
    to wait for the bell.

    Nancy Posey
    oops I think I posted on Day 12

  56. satia


    From my bed I dictate our needs
    Recite lists of easy to fix meals
    Ticking the ingredients from
    Memorized recipes that I cook from instinct.
    One cup of this, a teaspoon of that,
    Cook for thirty minutes covered then
    Uncover until the sauce bubbles.
    I remind everyone to update the calendar
    At 8:00 one needs to be here and at ten
    Another needs to be there and at four
    Someone needs to be two places at once.
    Coordinating doctor appointments,
    Follow-up visits, tests, prescription renewals
    And ongoing pointless physical therapy,
    I still have to remind someone the bills are due
    On the first, fifteenth and random days in between.
    Two weeks later,
    I find my bird dead in its cage.
    It’s funny the things
    My family forgets to do for me
    When I’m not able to take care of them
    Or able to leave my bed without help.

  57. Connie

    Domino Day Eve

    One more day
    till Domino Day
    November 14th , 2008
    with the theme of ‘Celebrating 10 years of Domino Day-
    Breaking more World Records than ever-‘
    where over 90 domino builders
    from all over Europe
    after one year of preparation
    and eight weeks of perpetual domino building
    mostly on hands and knees
    using more than 300 mechanisms, 100 décor pieces,
    5,000 meters squared of floor paint and 250 varieties of dominoes,
    nearly 3,000 safety stops and 1,500 turning fences in
    9,500 square meters of building space
    set out to break ten world records
    including the most dominoes toppled
    set in 2006 with the theme of Music in Motion
    with 4,079,381 dominoes
    which they didn’t break in 2007
    and have now set up 4.5 million
    to be toppled tomorrow
    watched by 85 million TV viewers
    including one poet/novelist
    who wishes she could be there.

  58. Ronda Eller

    Okay, I confess, I wrote this on Nov 9 for my dream theme and have just been waiting for somewhere to slot it in! ;-)


    In 1591
    a potion let me
    fall asleep
    and not wake up.

    In 1991
    the alarm rings
    and I remember
    falling asleep.

    ~ Ronda Eller 2008

  59. Heather

    Lesson# 13: Making a Point

    She was so scared
    To make a wrong move
    He’d slam his fists down,
    Throw his lighter across the counter,
    Take a cigarette out of the pack and tap it as hard as possible
    Without snapping it in two,
    To make a point

    She was so scared
    To make a mistake
    He’d ball his fists as if to strike,
    Fling doors open,
    Rip the phone off the wall
    By its cord
    To make a point

    She was so scared
    To say the wrong thing
    He’d drag her up a flight of stairs
    By her neck
    Leaving her gasping,
    To make a point

    Lesson #13: What Was the Point?

  60. PSC in CT

    Wow! Who thought I’d ever get here first?? Of course, I’m cheating a bit, because I’m going to repeat my day 1 poem here. As I’ve progressed through the days, I’m not sure my "hook" will actually remain my hook. Maybe so, maybe not. (Oh those pervasive second thoughts!) If I have time (and muse), I may do another numbers poem for today, but I’m still tuning yesterday’s draft, and anyway, this one does include numbers, so forgive the rerun. (I was so late joining in, this may be the first time you’ve seen it anyway!) ;-)

    Do the Math

    Seventy-seven point eight
    (average years ‘til you’re dun)
    One hundred and five (if you’re lucky)
    Or just seventeen (if you’re un-)
    (margin of error – 99% –
    plus or minus one)