November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

A week ago, I had you write a poem focused on a tiny detail. Today, I want you to write a poem that shows the big picture. You can still get very specific, but I want you to try incorporating a big picture concept related to your theme. For instance, if you’re writing war poems, you could write a poem focused on the leader of one of the armies and through his specific concerns cover the full scope of what’s happening.

So, for today, back up and soak in the big picture.

Here’s my attempt for the day:


He runs outside–barefoot–to grab the morning paper,
cursing the cold weather. When he gets inside, he grabs
his coffee and reads the headline: Godzilla Attacks Tokyo!

Again, he thinks before flipping to the East Europe section,
filled with stories on zombie uprisings, witch hunts, and
werewolf sightings. A vampire is suspected in Romania,
though there are no confirmed biting deaths on record.

He puts the paper down and eats his bacon-egg breakfast,
thinks about trying to leave the house, knowing he can’t.

So much going on in the world, he thinks, and I’m part
of it, but still… It’s the waiting that kills him, waiting
for someone to venture into his neck of the woods,
stumble upon his deserted house, have curiosity tempt
that person inside, when he can finally have his fun, too.


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82 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

  1. Kathy Kehrli

    XIX. Assuming the Title “Weightlifting Champion of the World”

    It wasn’t the bawling
    From 3,000 miles away,
    A whole country armoring him
    From the firing squad I watched
    At point-blank range.
    It wasn’t the self-pity,
    The “I lost my mom”—
    Yeah, I know, I lost mine too—
    Or the “My girlfriend left me
    So I’m all alone.”
    I wasn’t any of that, really.
    What really made me want
    To rip through the fiber optic cables
    And slap his self-medicated face
    Was the “Yeah, but, you’re stronger than me,”
    As if somehow his trauma
    Exceeded mine.
    Either I did what needed to be done,
    Or it simply went left undone.
    “Strength” had nothing to do with it.
    I could break down now
    Or I could break down later.
    He chose the former;
    I opted for the later.

  2. Juanita Snyder

    (I don’t know how much bigger a picture one can get than this scenario, as we Oregonians already know. Plays well with my "Tales from the Pacific NorthWest" theme I think. –spidey)

    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    When the “Big One” finally comes,
    they say the new coastline
    will be in Montana,
    that the entire Northwest
    will secede from the Union
    and slide into the Pacific,
    high-fiving those tectonic
    plates from the Barrios
    on the way down.

    The left-wing sector will
    look with raised brow
    then begin posturing over
    future fossil fuel ops
    (don’t want all those millions
    of lives going to waste).

    The right-wing sector will
    simply point pious fingers
    and say we had it coming,
    that God finally tired of
    this Sodom & Gomorrah sector
    and simply clicked the
    “Return to Default” menu option
    to rid himself of
    the undesirables.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. Jane penland hoover

    Embedded Heat

    My heart longs once more to endure desire,
    trembling sensuous sensation, sweet
    mounting rhythms roar, burning wild, like fire.

    Delicious sense the taste of maple, we conspire,
    eat loaded stack at IHOP, in our seat.
    My heart longs once more to endure. Desire

    drives us around the base, Stone Mountain’s spire,
    where he asked and I nodded yes. Then sleet
    mounting, white rhythms beat and roar, wild like fire.

    Cold mess of frozen limbs and tongues grows dire
    with stroke. We stumble on — amazing feat.
    My heart longs once more to endure desire.

    With steel promises we shield our empire,
    from ills marauding to undo complete.
    Mounting rhythms roar, burning wild like fire.

    Now, latent embers, we excite to inspire
    each other’s mischief. Wistful smiles replete,
    my heart longs once more to endure desire,
    mount the rhythms roar; burn bright, like wild fire.

  4. Tyger


    Interesting, how
    his name on everyone’s lips
    has a different flavor
    when Charlie Gibson speaks it
    than whem Rachel Maddock does
    Sounds better from
    Chris Matthews than from
    anyone on Fox News
    Reads better in Time Magazine
    than in The Dallas Morning News
    Yet, when I say it
    It just tastes like Freedom

  5. Penny Henderson

    day #19 Big Picture

    I have the map folded
    to the ten inch square
    I traverse.

    I paused,
    leaving a classroom,
    by the pull down
    plat of America.
    My square was barely
    a pinhead.

  6. Rodney C. Walmer

    I have to apologize for being so far behind. I want you all to know, I have read some of the best poetry here in the last month that I think I have ever read. A few poems I really feel should be published, or made into songs. I have been taking time to read, but I just have so much work, I have a hard time keeping up my writing. This year is a tough one, but a good one so far. The kids for the most part (in two of three classes are getting the stuff I am teaching, behavior has been better overall) the thing is, when you are succeeding with children for only the second time in your 18 year career, you want to go that much further to make things continue to work for you, hence the demands on my time. I will continue to read and write what I can, Robert, I promiss to finish this challenge, just maybe a couple days late, my brother. I hope that is ok. Guys, my fellow poets, I honestly believe at some point we all, including you Robert (you have done some amazing stuff with the monster theme) should take our work and find a way to get it out there, I believe we have the makings of success in this field called poetry writing. I will of course opt out on that, because I do not desire to be recognized, but to be unseen. But, I will support all of you proudly.


  7. Rodney C. Walmer

    No Cyrano

    We could not have a Cyrano de Bergerac
    Restless hearts would lack
    thoughts of condolence
    would go unsaid
    major history would lack reference
    there would be one less way to remember the dead
    if words that can be said no other way
    then through poetry, one could never say

    There might never be that first date
    were there’s love
    there might be words of hate
    and that loved one your thinking of
    may never know
    hearts may break
    where love might grow
    if words don’t take
    where the seed’s of poetry
    one does not sow

    What kind of world would there be
    if there were no Cyrano
    no romance, displayed through the imagery
    created through the simple words of poetry
    How would loved one’s know
    how one truly might feel
    without a poem to make those feelings real?. . .
    © Rodney C. Walmer November 22, 2008; big picture poem

  8. Kate Berne Miller

    Astronomy for Beginners

    So much of our night skies are polluted with light, sprawling
    urban centers lit by thousands of artificial suns, obscuring the
    heavens, devouring darkness. Millions of children in Beijing
    and Tokyo, Moscow and Los Angeles, have never seen the stars.

    After dark we lie down on the white dock, above us meteors streak
    across the bowl of sky. The lake, mirror still, reflects each star in its
    ebony depths. I am dazzled by the sheer number of them spinning
    overhead, a multitude more than the meager few I see from town.

    What makes the pattern of constellations, Orion and Cassiopeia and
    the Pleiades? Is it the stars themselves: each pinprick planet shining
    steady, each star consumed by cold fire, every dying sun, each singular
    hole of light eaten into the night’s fabric, or is it absence of stars, the
    vast black distance stretching between them, light years apart?

  9. PSC in CT

    Another busy day ahead — and already running late, so just a few quick comments:

    Paul – what a beautiful, poignant tribute.
    SEI – Becoming Invisible brought tears to my eyes. Well done.
    Patti – nice job!
    Cheryl – some wonderful images & descriptions of melancholy.

    Keep up the good work everyone!

  10. PSC in CT

    Linda, (because you asked . . .)

    I have also been working (really mostly thinking!) on putting together a book of children’s poetry. I haven’t gotten very on it so far, but it is definitely something I plan to do in the future. :-)

  11. kate


    The aprons are gone
    and the mothers who wore them
    well equipped with tissues
    needle and thread, a few pence
    kisses for a grazed knee
    a firm, kind, certainty
    we are the mothers now
    hobbled without apron pockets
    muddling through.

  12. Peggy Goetz

    I tried to have fun with this prompt. In case you all are not basketball fans, the announcers seem to have the habit of calling the taller players these days the Bigs.

    Father and son: 2910

    What’s basketball, Dad?
    An ancient game, played
    by people called the Bigs
    where they threw a ball through
    a metal hoop. Millions
    of people were fans all
    over the world.
    How big were they, Dad?
    They had to be over 6-10 just
    to get on the team, son,
    and they were all superstars
    wealthy beyond what we
    can even imagine. Was
    everyone that big then, Dad?
    Of course not, that’s what
    made them so special.
    So the Bigs were kind of
    Like the Longlegs are now
    and regular people like us
    wouldn’t have a chance
    and only really rich people
    can sit up close at their games.
    That’s right, son, but we
    can still watch the Longlegs
    on our holoscreens, and
    see even better than if
    we were there.

  13. Linda

    Earl, a children’s book–cool. I am also writing a book of children’s poems (not that stuff posted here though–actually i think a lot of my children’s poems aere better than the dribble i post here). I wonder how many others in our group are doing the same thing. Hey, everybody, if you are writing poems for children on the side, speak out. I am curious what the numbers are.


  14. Judy Roney

    Grief is a Job

    Grief is a job
    its not a job anyone welcomes, wants,
    or knows how to deal with ahead of time.
    Its labor intensive and exhausting.
    We have to take care of ourselves
    physically as well as emotionally
    so that we are up to the task.
    Grief is a project that we will get through.
    We will learn to encorporate our loss into
    our life so that we can go on eventually.
    We can forget the life we led before our
    loved one dies, our lives will never be
    the same. It will be our responsibility
    to rebuild ourselves, reinvent us so
    that we are compatible with living fully
    again. We can’t rush grief and time is
    the one sure thing that works for this
    malady that strikes us all eventually.
    Another tool that always works is to get
    outside ourselves and helping others
    in some way.
    We owe it to ourselves and those who
    love us to get through grief, get to
    the other side of grief and live again.
    We can’t expect things to ever be
    the same, but joy will return as well
    as love. Accepting those things
    into our lives honors our loved one
    who has passed away.
    It takes as long as it takes, we can’t
    rush it and neither can any one else.
    Our loved one has left us gifts and we
    have to look for them. My son left me
    a fearlessness and openess about life
    that I would never have though possible.
    I thought of myself as an injured bird
    when I began this process but now I see
    myself as an eagle, better able to fly.

    Judy Roney

  15. Connie

    No it’s not televised here. I get it off the internet. They do occassionaly show it on TV months after the fact. I saw it once a few years ago. Up until then I didn’t know such a thing existed.

  16. Earl Parsons

    Linda – Thanks for your kind words. I hope you daughter likes it. If she does, I have a book of children’s poems I’m working on and would gladly share some with you. By the way, it should have been "snow white sands" not "show white sands". I live on the Emerald coast and our sand is as white as snow with green waters to boot.

  17. PSC in CT

    Rats! Gotta run. Busy day ahead. This idea only just came to me this morning, and I haven’t had the time to polish it yet, but here is my first (or maybe second or third) draft — for now. Will work more on it when time allows. Be back later to read and comment! And pick up today’s assignment!) :-)

    We Are One

    We are all
    The same

    We are
    Infant, child, teen, lover, mother
    Father, son, daughter, sister, brother,
    Single, married, divorced, widowed,
    Addict, abuser, enabler, leader
    Artist, student, healer, helper, teacher

    We are
    Black, white, red, yellow, gray,
    European, African, Asian, American,
    Rich, poor, fat, thin, tall, short
    Innocent, experienced, seasoned

    We are
    Alone, apart, fearless, afraid, glad,
    Love, hate, envy, desire, betrayed, sad
    Passion, apathy, empathy, faith, disbelief
    Regret, remorse, gratitude, pity, relief

    We are
    Amaze, astound, appall, impress, intend,
    Energize, enervate, buy, sell, spend,
    Smile, sing, laugh, cry, dance, shout,
    Question, answer, know, believe, doubt,
    Want, need, take, have, give, share,
    Surrender, fight, hurt, heal, care,
    Wish, dream, do,
    He, she, them, us, me, I, you

    We are
    We are
    The same
    We are

  18. Shann Palmer


    There must be a place
    where old men wait
    for wives to be ready
    to couple and uncouple,

    give foot rubs after
    shopping for couches,
    remember to buy bulbs
    for living room lamps.

    Bearded men who regret
    their haste having noticed
    the wisdom of a light touch,
    a dark room, a cool breeze.

    Mountains understand,
    endure what nature brings.

  19. S.E.Ingraham

    In the House of Moon-Madness

    “The greatest of our blessings comes to us through mania…madness coming from the deity is superior to the sanity of human origin.” Socrates

    In the time before uncivilized life became
    The norm and the muses ruled not only
    The mind but the heart and soul and great
    Thinkers worshiped in the house of moon-madness
    My sovereign self was sure and confident and as
    Poetess I walked in hues of purple royalty
    With all attendant to my moods and
    Whims, for great knowledge was born only of
    Chaotic thought and troubled introspection
    Truth was a revelation of the divine to
    The manic alone and was to be received
    With gratitude; I held to my original titles
    Those of maternal power, moon-spirit and
    Goddess – in the time before life became
    Uncivilized and great thinkers still
    Worshiped in the house of moon-madness.

  20. Linda

    Terri, I love your poem for today.

    Earl, So My Child is so nice. I think I will read it to my daughter.

    Lots of good poems today. As for me, I am a little stumped on this one. Got a few ideas but not getting anything good on paper. Also in the middle of a big project with a deadline on Saturday.

    Connie, I smiled when I read your dominoes poem. Over here Domino Day is always televised and it is amazing the things they can do. Do they even show it in America?


  21. Linda

    Terri, I love your poem for today.

    Earl, So My Child is so nice. I think I will read it to my daughter.

    Lots of good poems today. As for me, I am a little stumped on this one. Got a few ideas but not getting anything good on paper. Also in the middle of a big project with a deadline on Saturday.

    Connie, I smiled when I read your dominoes poem. Over here Domino Day is always televised and it is amazing the things they can do. Do they even show it in America?


  22. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    If you could see

    If you could see
    What I see
    You wouldn’t execute
    Your final death-wish
    Borrow my wings
    And come fly with me

    I think I heard Mother Nature decry…

    Over the ruins.
    Over the rotted corpse
    Of her defiled curvacious
    Mountains that once brought
    Home the freshest rain

    I think I heard Mother Nature deny…

    Hover above the desolate
    Creeks, rivers, and streams
    That were filled with
    Bountiful species
    That now reside away
    From the slick surface
    And taunting keels

    I think I heard Mother Nature defy…

    Flutter around the barren
    Lands of death, murder and
    Offer no hope to those
    Bearded Sapiens that wander
    Around in dumbfounded

    I think I heard Mother Nature sigh…

    Lift yourself higher
    And choke on your breath
    As the air is no longer
    Cleaner up here
    The grass is no longer
    Greener there
    And home is no longer
    Where your heart is

    I think I heard Mother Nature cry…

    But lastly I dare
    You to linger around
    And observe from space
    The devastation, obliteration
    And total annihilation
    Of your home
    You will ask;
    Where will we go now?
    What will we do?

    I think I heard Mother Nature die…

  23. SusanB


    It’s great to get good marks in school
    To be leader of the band
    Show off all the medals you win
    Speak up and take a stand

    That’s a wonderful job you’ve gotten
    Being clever in interviews
    And the deal with the used car salesmen
    Bought the efficient car you use

    The house you own is lovely
    And having your own family
    Voting for good men to lead us
    Is good for the whole country

    With all these great achievements
    When you wonder what else is there
    Then you step outside the picture
    And you find a way to share

  24. Nancy Posey

    I’ve had a very sad day.

    The Big Picture

    Lecturing today, I asked my students
    to define tragedy, and then I laughed
    when someone said that some girls find
    a broken nail quite tragic.. Patiently,
    I explained that while the loss of a
    child, a school bus wreck, a deadly
    fire all seem tragic, that Aristotle set
    it down in black and white: the death
    of a high-born man, basically good,
    but cursed by a fatal flaw—ambition,
    hubris, untempered haste—who falls,
    taking down his nation or his tribe.
    Could Aristotle be wrong? But when
    I finally arrived at home, saw the
    flashing light signaling voice mail,
    picked it up, I learned of the death
    of a man, simply a man, his fatal
    flaw, untempered sadness, loss
    of hope, tucked all this time behind
    a false and frozen smile. No nations
    crumbled, but when I saw his daughter,
    disconsolate, melt into her mother’s
    arms, I knew I looked on tragedy.

    Nancy Posey

  25. Kateri Woody

    Here in his tiny prison cell,
    he’s just another number – another
    life deployed to fill the gap
    in society, a tally for those
    without a strong sense of morality
    a mark against the machine
    lost in the overwhelming rising
    costs of a human life.

  26. Paul W.Hankins

    As a former activity director in a long term care facility, I really enjoyed Scott’s poem today, "The Illusionist." I had to post later than usual today and it is with a sense of great accomplishment to post right at 10PM before doing a writing workshop for another school in the morning. I get to go to the home of Larry Bird. I am more than excited but exhausted. Thank you for letting me share outside the poem.

    There is a lot of great work on here. . .I want to celebrate all of you. . .line by line, rhyme by rhyme, but this will have to do for tonight. . .



  27. A.C. Leming

    Again, not my best…will have to revise.


    Comfort zone: Eighteen inches unless you’re special,
    then either I need nothing or three feet to feel comfortable.

    Elemental: That measurement between electrons, neutrons
    and protons, which need an electron microscope to be measured.

    Pocket: The fit needed to successfully throw you over my hip
    without utilizing brute strength instead of proper mechanics.

    Gravitational: The pull of a black hole, gravely sucks matter
    into it’s bottomless maw, visible light bends as it enters the well.

    Tension: The frisson between your lips and mine before we
    touch, the promise of desire a breath away from fulfillment.

  28. SaraV

    Margaret–Great BIG picture and great ending. Nicely done

    The sun rises
    And sets
    Yet what spans the time
    What have you seen
    Shadows play skipping
    From water to land
    and back again,
    Different activities every day
    Some routine and
    Comforting in the same way
    The rocking rhythm
    Of waterfowl walking
    Droplets spark and flash
    In the sun
    A fin, a nose, a tail appears
    Then just as quickly it is gone

  29. Paul W.Hankins


    The picture on the mantle:
    you are holding our son,
    he is two – going on three-
    and he loves to hear your stories –
    he is recoiling, not in fear,
    but, in awe of your ability to spin a yarn.

    Your hand is seemingly waving
    in the air as you make some dramatic element
    come to life in the story you are telling
    I look at the picture and my grieving eyes
    see you waving away the flash,
    waving away the recognition,
    waving away the role.

    I cannot remember the story you are telling;
    the photo does not capture this,
    but your mouth is open wide
    and your eyes are alive;
    you are telling me not to take the picture,
    that you are without your makeup
    and necessary necklaces;
    there is a slight haze around your hands
    where the flash could not stop your hand.

    It’s the way I like to remember your hands:
    telling me the stories of Pikeville,
    of your father wearing a suit to the store,
    of the senior in your room who called you mother,
    of the way you rocked the mentally retarded patients
    to sleep even if your job was to only clean their teeth,
    these things you did with your hands:
    cannot be expressed ,fingers interlaced together
    like you were crafting a cat’s cradle
    in the casket.

    They are story telling hands:
    hands that clapped to Wilson Pickett
    when we danced at the reception,
    wild, conducting hands, playing out
    the cacophony of the life that cannot be told
    with hands in one’s lap
    or across one’s chest.

    So here is only part of the story,
    told in five by seven,
    the larger story sweeping past the edges
    of the frame as you touch the world
    of our son who was two – going on three –
    he loves to hear stories about you,
    and in this picture we tell him,
    you were talking about dinosaurs.

  30. Victoria Hendricks


    Corridor of shut doors,
    red, green, maple, blue.
    kicked, dented, pristine
    Polished, painted, arched.
    Individual characteristics
    don’t matter as long as
    all doors remaing shut.

  31. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    The sensitive artist graced
    This world with beauty
    And things worthwhile.
    He inspired, that others
    Would aspire.
    His touch was greater than
    Midas – for where he went
    Colors danced and words
    Of wisdom built castles
    In the sky.
    But he never agreed upon
    Conformity or authority.
    So in the name of God,
    Of government and of law
    They tortured and then killed
    This artist, and labeled his work
    And the world went cold.
    And the future was grim.
    For the riches of his vision and
    The wealth of his inspiration
    were gone.
    For in killing their wonderful
    Artist, they had destroyed
    The magic of their culture’s
    Golden Gift.

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  32. S Scott Whitaker

    The Illusionist

    At sixty his best trick is making you believe.
    His hands are too shaky for cards
    And there are no rabbits at the old folk’s home,
    And his assistant is more in charge than ever,
    But the old coot tugs you into believing
    In his old exploits. And you believe,
    Even after watching the cards tremble at his fingertips,
    As he pulls out his old bag,
    Hard leather cracked and creased,
    His barky grin,
    “Look inside.
    You can change forever if you look inside.”

  33. Mary K

    The Big Picture

    I am Life Itself.
    Birth, Death, and all days in between.
    I am Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
    Alpha and Omega on one page.
    No past, no future, only present.
    All lives that ever were, ever will be
    exist now on this day, in this time.
    I am Life, I am God, I am Love.
    This is my plan, Follow Me.

  34. S.E.Ingraham

    One last catch-up poem (I hope!)and then today’s and voila…
    Anyhow – Day 17 – prompt – "love-poem"

    Becoming Invisible

    Will I ever forget the moment I heard the news of his death?
    It’s unlikely, in fact, quite impossible I’m thinking…
    I was spinning round and round in Spence’s Diamonds
    Holding my hand up to the light, letting the stone glimmer
    Like the love it represented,
    prismatic bits of rainbow bouncing
    Every which way, all the colours – scarlet,
    green, indigo, cerulean –
    Anything I might have daubed on my paint
    pallet reflected in my ring
    I remember how happy I was feeling as
    I’d just picked up our bands
    Our wedding bands – we’d had them designed
    and I’d and had my engagement
    Ring cleaned while I was there;
    my heart was fairly bursting with joy
    I remember it all so clearly;
    then my cell-phone rang – I recognized
    My mother-in-law- to- be’s ringtone;
    Beethoven’s “Song of Joy”, she loves
    Classical music, I picked up quickly,
    trilled hello, I was that happy
    She wasn’t there, oddly; a man identified
    himself as a doctor, asking me if I was me
    And where I was, and to speak to the store manager
    A foreboding that felt like an icy shawl
    descended about my shoulders
    While I sat in the manager’s office waiting
    for my parents to arrive and the
    Nightmare to begin in earnest.

    No words adequately describe how it feels
    to go from planning a wedding
    to planning a funeral in one fell swoop
    To go from imagining the rest of your life
    with the love of your life to trying to imagine
    The rest of your life without ever seeing,
    hearing, smelling, touching him ever again
    – the pain of it…
    The pain of it, so far outside the normal scheme of things,
    I found it beyond my ability
    To take it in – while it was happening – and after
    – and even now sometimes, yes, even now

    When I was a teen, I recall hearing a family friend
    talk about being widowed,bewildered, as she
    No longer having a husband, found herself
    increasingly becoming less included,
    less noticed, until
    Eventually, she thought she might one day get up,
    look in the mirror and discover,
    she wasn’t there
    I thought, at the time, how pathetic she sounded, how melodramatic, how very dependent

    On the day of the funeral, as I sat between my parents
    in the front pew, next to my love’s parents
    And watched the mourners stream by us, most
    – if not all – bending to speak and hug his parents –
    But few, very few, even acknowledging me, and fewer still, saying anything at all to my parents
    I, while still so in shock, felt myself wailing aloud inside, screaming over and over –
    Didn’t they know? How could they not know? I loved him! I still loved him! And my parents?
    They loved him too! They were going to have been
    his parents also!
    They were grieving like parents!
    It was as if we had all suddenly become – if not invisible – certainly some sort of non-entities
    This, almost as much as the loss itself, was unbearable –
    to lose all sense of place at the same time
    as losing the most important part of my life,
    I thought I might not be able to walk out of there

    Then – towards the end of the line of mourners,
    a woman I didn’t recognize
    but will not forget, bent
    Low, almost knelt, so she was at eye-level,
    and held my hands in hers;
    spoke softly to the three of us
    Saying in a voice choked with emotion,
    “How hard this must be for all of you –
    you must have loved him too – this loss must be just
    as awful for you, if not more for you my dear.”
    And with that, she pulled me into her arms
    and hugged me,held me in that awkward stance
    for at least a full minute.
    I will never forget that moment –
    it saved the day for me and my parents
    – kept us from becoming
    Crazed with bitterness and resentment,
    and helped us put our grief
    into some sort of perspective
    Oh – we still have our moments –
    of course we do – there is no getting away from those,
    But that one gesture made a difference,
    and is one I try to keep piled on top
    of other gestures that help me get
    through the dark nights and darker days
    – there are times I can’t tell the difference
    My ring still sparkles so
    but I don’t get it cleaned anymore
    and I know I’ll probably stop wearing it
    One day, some day, but not just yet
    – it doesn’t feel right
    to put it in the dark just yet, you know?

  35. patti williams

    I thought my first post sounded a bit "greeting cardish" so I’m taking another stab …

    In the Big Picture
    When life flashes
    Before you in a
    Blazing sequence of
    Mistakes, fear, hope
    Laughter, wins, losses,
    Know you did it all,
    The best way you knew how
    Despite the rain blinding your way
    At every direction and every turn.
    In the grand scheme of things
    You Survived because you
    Never let go of your Dream.


    Dreaming always got
    You through the madness of Life’s
    Storms. You survived them.

  36. k weber

    oh, you

    your cool photography
    eye, your furnace

    you’ve wrapped
    me up
    in a crush

    and now i’m
    in love
    with the dead

    you wear
    on preshrunk shirts

    we used to play
    over loudspeakers

    once or twice
    you eyed
    the valley

    of my chest,
    oh yes, and i could
    care less

  37. patti williams

    Iain – Sending Ringo my love – and that was one of your best "Cat’s … " poems. It was very smooth.

    Heather – your ‘lessons’ are going to make a great book!

  38. Cheryl Chambers

    Before You

    The turmoil entered before you began,
    before you spanked out your first breath
    in a fit and screams amidst a canopy
    of smiles. Nothing new to melancholy; it is
    infinite. You see it in the rings of old coffee cups,
    in the lipstick left on Styrofoam, on one sneaker
    left out in the road, in the rain. You’ve seen
    it in a smashed pumpkin, in moldy pie, in one
    half of a friendship necklace. You’ve seen
    it in stairwells, the way your voice echoed
    against the walls, through uncovered and bare
    piping. You’ve seen it in the start of a letter,
    laying crumpled with ink-bled stains and rips
    in the garbage can. You’ve seen it in the way
    your fingers clack at the keys–the sound
    is only deafening when it’s just you. And so
    it goes. And goes on. In the start, in the end,
    it’s just you and the only solace you have
    is to stretch your fingertips just an inch
    farther the next day, hoping to make contact.

  39. Iain D. Kemp

    Nancy – I liked your poem. Its cool. Just grateful you referenced Chicago and not them Red Sox nor dem Mets… That would never happen!

    Pickya up at seven…


  40. satia

    Poetic license I understand. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know the difference and say hurtful things as a result.

    I wish it were just a fear of heights. I’m only 5’4" and that’s not very high at all. :)

  41. Nancy

    The Divide

    I’m sure it’s nothing new.
    There must be cave drawings
    depicting rifts when a native
    son chooses a girl outside
    the village tribe. Every family
    knows the kind of story—the
    good Catholic girl, ventures from
    the convent before she takes her
    vows and falls for a nice Baptist boy
    she meets at the roller rink.

    Sometimes even the Yankees fan
    produces young that love
    the White Sox; the man they
    thought would have gone pro—
    except for that thing with his knee—
    who coaches high school football—
    has a soccer-playing son.

    Separation’s painful, but
    the rituals we know so well.
    While Mom still buys sheet
    music at the piano store—
    Roger Williams, Van Cliburn,
    we had Paul, John, George,
    and Ringo to ourselves. Late
    at night we’d tune the dial
    just right, picking up Chicago,
    where they played the music
    local AM deejays couldn’t play:

    Edwin Star’s “War! What is it good for? “
    and “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”
    Just harmless girls with shag haircuts
    and shag carpet, we danced past
    midnight, acting like we didn’t hear
    them yell, “Would you turn that
    music down?”

    Nancy Posey

  42. Iain D. Kemp

    Thanks guys! Satia- You were but with poetic licence if you’ll forgive me… I do actually know the difference but once I start to write I just go with what happens. sorry.


  43. patti williams

    The big picture
    Is that I’ve grown
    Through my Survival of
    All Life has heaped upon me.
    My spirit brighter,
    After fighting through
    The Storms I’ve been
    Trapped in
    Whipped by
    Blown over from.

    In the end,
    After my run is over,
    I will know more
    About the human spirit,
    The kindness of friends,
    The power of believing
    In myself.

    In the big picture
    I will have survived
    All life gave me
    And will peacefully pass,
    Eager to try again.

  44. Margaret

    America, The Big Picture

    They see us waddling
    down the stairs, wearing
    polyester pants suits
    in size 16 or 18.

    We offer a whining grandchild
    a large chocolate bar,
    Hershey’s, which he gulps
    down in three large bites.

    Our husbands wear
    plaid Bermuda shorts.
    Their large guts hang below
    their bright green shirts.

    We are hungry, so we
    all eat Big Macs,
    fries, and thick shakes
    at the nearest MacDonalds.

    Tonight we will order in,
    several large pepperoni pizzas,
    which we will enjoy with
    several beers each.

    Then we will settle down
    to an evening spent
    watching "The Biggest Loser"
    on television.

  45. Earl Parsons

    Day 19 for LL&L:

    So, My Child

    So, My child
    When you look at a baby
    Or in the eyes of your love
    That spirit you see
    Shining back at you
    Is a little part of Me

    So, My child
    That beautiful snow-covered mountaintop
    With forests in its foothills
    Meadows spreading in its shadows
    Wildlife and birds of the air
    Living all around
    I put that there for your amazement

    So, My child
    The moon and the stars
    Didn’t just happen by themselves
    I hung them all
    In perfect harmony
    For you to observe
    And try to figure out

    So, My child
    That salt-scented surf
    That laps the show white sands
    Of the emerald coast
    Could only have come about
    By My hand

    So, My child
    The wonders of the seas
    The beauties of the land
    The amazement of living beings
    The heavens and all in them
    Are thanks to My love for you
    And My desire
    To make you a place
    That would forever amaze you
    Puzzle you
    And make you wonder
    Just how I did it

    My child
    I did it for you

  46. satia

    Iain, I hope I’m not the fear of heights because there’s a big difference between the fear of heights and vertigo. There are all sorts of other terms for fear of heights too:


    Vertigo is something else entirely and there’s vestibular vertigo and cervical vertigo and I’ve done so much research on the differences one would think I could come up with some advice for others who live with the condition.

    But hey! I still enjoyed your poem and if you ever want to read too much about the subject, I’m obviously more than happy to go into tedious details about it. LOL!

  47. Rachel Green

    Too Many Hauntings

    The house is gloomy: dark and sooty
    dripping ash on her bacon butty.
    Lucy scowls and goes outside
    wishing Mom had never died.
    For if her mom was still around
    the creatures here would go to ground
    and wouldn’t bother her with pleas
    to free them from eternal tease
    and rattle chains and bang on doors
    and sink right through the Manor floors
    and leave their teeth on dinner plates
    bemoaning of their cruel fates
    and wave their severed heads above
    her pillows filling up with blood.

  48. Connie

    A Missing Domino

    In 1976, Robert Speca from the Philadelphia area
    set the world record for domino toppling for Guinness
    with 11,111. Before it could even be recorded, a group
    from Seattle saw him on Johnny Carson and beat his record,
    and their number of 13, 832 took Speca’s place. The next
    year Robert Speca made it into the book with 22,222.

    One of his goals with dominoes, Speca said, was to
    “make the universe a more harmonious place.” And somehow
    it caught on in Europe and Asia with UK, New Zealand, Japan,
    Germany, China and the Netherlands setting world records. Now,
    in The Netherlands, it takes all year to plan Domino Day when
    builders from all over Europe and Asia topple over 4 million stones.

    But here in the USA, most people ask why anyone would spend
    so much time, money and energy setting up little pieces of plastic
    just to knock them down again. But they do see why artists splash
    paint on a canvas, or why a person would spend all day following
    around a little ball, just to knock it into a hole in the ground, or
    why nations spend billions to go to the empty, lifeless moon.

    Yet somehow, even with the Domino Wizard residing within, the
    USA fails to see dominoes as a sport, an art, a science, and a way
    to bring nations together in harmony. In Domino Toppling, builders
    from many nations line up thousands and even millions of stones
    to create a big picture, centered on a theme. In the big picture of
    domino toppling, the USA is the domino that has gone missing.

    Rachel, love your poem.
    LOL Iain, love "Pictures in the Mind"

  49. LKHarris-Kolp

    Growing Up

    Growing up she remembers having fun,
    playing outside with neighborhood friends,
    while her mother taught piano lessons
    and her big sister stayed in her room.

    Then the family moved
    to a next door state
    and everything
    was different
    for her.

    No more friends
    to play with
    after school
    left her
    stuck inside
    more than
    she ever
    had been.

    So now she
    could see
    what was
    the drinking,
    the yelling,
    throwing things,
    back and forth,
    push and shove,
    breaking dishes,
    up a stair,
    down a stair;
    this could not be
    her parent’s love.

    Every night she never knew
    whether or not they would fight,
    so she sat still and never moved,
    hoping everything would be alright.

    Laurie K.

  50. Don Swearingen

    Arachnids in Spaace!

    They think I’m hiding because I’m shy,
    They think I’m still in my box.
    But shyness isn’t why
    I left, and hid in this astronaut’s socks.
    They think I’ve gone missing
    Because my mind is off of it’s gimbals,
    But I’m really not into kissing
    Charlotte, who’s into such radical symbols.
    That’s the real reason I’m gone,
    I can’t stand it, they way she’s been weaving,
    Her and the strange thing that’s she’s on
    Is the reason I’m leaving.
    It’s asymmetrical in it’s flow and it’s ebb,
    In space or out, Charlotte can’t spin a good web!

    Lori. Keep it up. My daughter’s following the same path, and someday…she’ll be an RN.

  51. Lori

    Clinical Pathway

    LPN school- work as a CNA
    Learn how the hospital works
    LPN graduation- work as a LPN
    realize how little
    Stress you had as a CNA.
    RN school- work as a LPN
    Learn how to be a nurse
    When graduation comes
    I must anticipate the next logical step
    And appreciate the RN’s
    Who have come so far.

  52. Michelle H.

    The Marble

    I had a marble once
    That looked just like the earth
    I could hold it in my hand
    And pretend I could see the people in a marching band

    I loved this little marble
    And carried it in my pocket
    I once took it out
    And saw whales jumping all about

    Then one day I lost my marble
    For it had rolled away
    I looked high and low and all around
    But that marble was never found

    Now I am older
    And have no need for marbles
    But the earth is in my grasp
    For I embrace it every day, this land that is so vast

    So whether you prefer the ocean deep
    Or the shade of the mountain side
    It matters not at all to me
    Just enjoy it, the treasures that we see

  53. Shannon Rayne

    American Dancing in a Czech Bar

    You speak to me in a language I can not understand.
    I read the meaning in your face your eyes blaze with

    anger your lips taught with tension. Turning away
    from you I step into the music no words, no glances

    we dance on separate sides of the room until our limbs
    give in to the lulling rhythm. The tempo dissolving

    the lines on our brow into beading sweat as we grow
    weary forgetting what we were fighting for.

  54. Iain D. Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,

    Geez! Where does that Greek SOB
    get off telling me what he thinks? Like I give
    a damn anyways. He thinks he’s so smart and
    cultured, he should try living in the Big Apple
    the year through and not just a couple of weeks.
    What he doesn’t get is that you and me have an
    understanding. You dumped all the women-folk
    from your family on my poor sorry ass and I get
    to take it out on yours. Anyway, he’s got it all wrong.
    It’s not about friendship or spitefulness at all, oh no!
    It’s all about Baseball, specifically the Yanks and
    our devotion to the cause. What would that no-good
    loser of a Braves fan know about it anyway? Oh yeah!
    While I’m in the mood for a good open-hearted bitch,
    where does he get off writing me notes on my own
    goddamn stationary? And the only reason he wants us
    to go bowling all the time is ‘cos he’s got a 265 average.
    Anyway I told him, he can stay ‘til the end of the month
    and then I’ll gift him a Taxi ride to the station. Adios!
    So, guess I’ll pickya up at seven, we’ll leave that joker
    with the crazy women…

    Yours setting the record straight

    Ringo the Howler

  55. Iain D. Kemp

    Cats, Poetry & Death #22

    Pictures in the mind

    It might be the Love of God
    or the pain of a mal-treated woman;
    it may be war or poverty or love
    pure and beautiful of another soul.

    There may be Jokers in the pack
    waiting to topple a maze of dominoes,
    or perhaps a fear of heights and spiders
    or demons in the dark cold night.

    There could be a storm brewing
    that sends the senses reeling;
    there might be works of art or songs
    that light the fires of Inspiration.

    But when all is said and done
    when nothing else remains;
    when the fickle muse has run away
    my trilogy is faithful as ever was.

    Time to re-set the heart to default
    and re-boot your inspiration;
    accept now the core of all the muses
    a simple matter of Cats, Poetry and Death


  56. Iris Deurmyer


    Man views me as limitless
    Eternal and never changing
    Due to your lack of care
    I am evolving and disappearing

    According to the latest Green report
    Clean water will become scarce
    As soon as the year 2080
    Wake up, my purity depends upon it

  57. Bruce Niedt

    Music of the Spheres

    They say radio signals don’t dissipate in space.
    That’s why we have those dishes in Puerto Rico,
    big ears that transmit, listen and wait
    like some cosmic Miss Lonelyhearts.

    We’ve sent all kinds of messages, even music –
    classical, rock and roll, jazz –
    but still no one seems to answer,
    at least not in any way we understand.

    But what if a distant civilization has received
    our signals but never bothered to reply,
    yet they recorded our strange noises, and at
    regular intervals, however they measure time,
    they play it back and dance?

  58. satia

    BTW, is anyone else excited with anticipation to find out what Robert has in plan for the 20th? After all it was way back on the 3rd we were told somethng was coming . . . and it’s almost here!!!

  59. Terri Vega

    PAD Challenge Day 19 – The Big Picture

    Can you see them? The flowing fields
    of color that dance under the sun.
    Rolling hills a perfect dance floor.
    Tall earthen grasses playing partner
    to the flowering herbs.

    They sing, you know? As they waltz
    their way through a summer breeze.
    Picking up the wind’s beat; a jubilee.
    Entwined in the dip their voices rise
    to the mother.

  60. Taylor Graham


    Just look at the topo map. We’re here
    on this ridgetop. Cabin’s in the swale
    above the pond. That’s where
    Josh was last seen, day and a half ago.
    Creek runs southwest to the Middle Fork,
    way down there. Miles of roadless country
    in that direction. Treacherous terrain.
    To the north, the high point’s Red Top –
    can’t see it now, it’s in the clouds.
    Not many people live out here, a few
    scattered homesites. Town is 18 miles
    back that way, east off the map.

    Why haven’t we found him yet? One
    little boy in a brown T-shirt, faded jeans –
    we’ve got every volunteer in the field,
    searching their hearts out.
    These canyons aren’t as easy to read
    as your weekly paper.

  61. satia


    I am the eye of my own hurricane
    The calm within the tornado’s roar
    And while my head soars my feet are planted
    For within the shifting sands of perception
    The conception of my being remains unmoved.
    With no end in sight, I have become as eternal
    As my endless condition, tapping into terrible
    Strength and tsunamis of tears washing away
    The frustration as I scream defiance,
    Raise a fist of resistance to the endlessness of this.
    No prognosticated cause, I am living the effect
    Of negative resulting tests that cannot define me
    Confine me with a reason why or try to find
    A cure and doctors unsure fall like rubble
    Beneath the weight of my demand for answers.
    See me, the still small point inside infinite motion,
    An ocean and universe of adverse feelings
    Living in ignorance as I, ever vigilant, ignore
    Synapses snapped and misfiring nerve endings
    Sending the random wrong messages and me
    Two years nearly walking on the water of solid ground
    No longer impressed by a messiah who mastered the waves
    For a few moments for I have walked miles in my shoes
    And the Sea of Galilee is merely a walk in the park.

  62. Karen

    Back Away and Let in the Light

    Up close,
    tiny dots & daubs
    mass together,
    as if a jigsaw’s pieces
    or a Waldo book
    lie under a microscope.

    Back away,
    let in the light,
    allow the light to
    from the scene.

    Dots become
    sun on water,
    daubs transform to
    shadows of trees.
    The gallery evolves into
    a landscape of landscapes.

    I am lost in the land.
    The magic is complete.

  63. Heather

    Lesson #19: Secrets

    She doesn’t know why
    It happened
    Or how it started
    She just knows that
    It was wrong

    She doesn’t know how she learned
    To disconnect herself
    From the conversation,
    But, she’s gotten good
    At checking out

    She’s holding it all in,
    For now
    But when the time comes,
    She’s letting it all out
    In a blaze of
    Damning glory
    Her secrets
    Will unfold

    Lesson #19: Nobody Can Keep a Secret Forever

  64. Rachel

    Tug of War

    You come and go, destroy me so
    Each small embrace, I crave your face
    You tease and taunt, and make me want
    your sweet embrace, my vice disgrace

    And then I hear, a voice so dear
    The one who waits, despite my traits
    I know His love, is from above
    so torn am I, with sorry eye

    You pull me down, until I drown
    My heart, I’m weak, Relief I seek
    Can’t stand the pain, give in again
    Then fall in shame, no rights to claim

    He lifts me up, and fills my cup
    No face have I, and so I cry
    He gently rights, my reds to whites
    Deserving none, my feet they run

    In illness fall, and then you call
    my vice, deception, skewed perception
    glittery, you’re death to me
    My dying hope, and so I grope

    With arms to Him, weak and thin
    I see the light, He clears my sight

    And weighing me, upon my feet
    You tear me down, and break my crown

    I ache for Him, not you but Him

    You idol toy, not safe, destroy

    Tug of war, inside my core
    It’s Him I want, but you that taunts
    I’m not dead, but Him instead
    The war is won. Praise God the Son.