November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

So today is when we try to complete an experiment in poetry collection writing. On Day 3, I asked you to write a refrain poem that would be a shorter version of the poem you would write on Day 20. Well, it’s Day 20, so let’s see if this works.

Of course, it has occured during this month that it would probably make more sense to write the longer poem first and then cut the refrain out of that, instead of building upon the refrain to make the longer one. Yeah, that’s what would make more sense, but I guess that’s why we experiment, right?

Anyway, here’s a link to Day 3, so that you can easily find your effort from that day and see how I went about doing this. Feel free to take it in a completely different direction than I have.

Okay, here’s my attempt for the day:

“I am the man standing outside your house”

who knows that you leave the door unlocked
every night with your curtains open to the naked night
hidden from the reflections of the lights. How you’ve grown
accustomed to having your power turned on at all times! I am the man
standing outside your house who knows you only have a landline, who knows
you always investigate the noises that come from the blackness, a slight
quiver in your voice asking, “Hello?” I am the man standing outside
your house who knows how to shut your power off, cut your line,
and turn the unlocked knob on your front door. I will not answer
when you call out, when you say, “This isn’t funny.” I know
that this is not. Still, I will come for you,
and when you scream out, no one
will come to your rescue,
because I am the man standing
outside your house who knows the others
will only hide. This is between me and you, and you
have no idea how long I’ve been standing outside your house,
how long I’ve been looking inside.


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66 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

  1. Kathy Kehrli

    XX. Most of Me Already Knew

    Most of me already knew
    By the time he called out my name.
    When he declared, “I’m sick,”
    I needn’t have really asked.
    But, like a frigid morning car battery,
    My mind stalled in accepting
    What most of me already knew.
    So I posed the question anyway:
    “What do you mean you’re sick?”
    My cognition turning but refusing to rev,
    I needed his vocal jumpstart
    To force me into gear.
    “I think I’m having a heart attack,”
    But most of me already knew.

  2. Juanita Snyder

    (and here’s my own offering, humble as it may be. –spidey)

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    we came upon a tree fort hidden deep in the forest,
    a sanctuary just out of reach from the sun,
    rickety ladder, ashen with bits of lichen the color of bone
    all spiraling overtop an otherwise quiet bend in the river.

    oregon white oaks are large and heavily limbed,
    extending out from their trunks four times
    the reach of live branches overhead, the
    perfect architects of forts and castle towers.

    300 year old canopies that have weathered
    fire, pestilence, storms, and droughts, have also
    witnessed love & bloodshed, crossings & ghosts,
    and of course “no girlz allowd“…

    oak harkens back to the days of tall ships & fur traders,
    mere seeds and starts upon arrival, growing
    dense and hearty while nobody noticed,
    except the cows seeking shade along the river.

    majestic and battle-scarred, oaks are living
    monuments to those who’ve come before us,
    lessons in patience and perseverance,
    imagination and invention.

    forts on the other hand are about escape, control
    a way to connect people & mother nature at her best.
    forts take you to the outskirts of society, offering
    new life vantage points like raptors eyeing prey below.

    we came upon a tree fort hidden deep in the forest,
    a sanctuary just out of reach from the sun,
    rickety ladder, ashen with bits of lichen the color of bone
    all spiraling overtop an otherwise quiet bend in the river.

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. Jane penland hoover


    Today my pen moves on

    reclaiming and remaking
    what was once my thought

    what it was I saw and felt
    and heard along my way
    while I was smiling and

    compiling all that must be
    done to get us through

    days and nights of then.

  4. Tyger

    Watch Me (Part 2)

    Have you seen me lately?
    Me, with a new-found
    spring in my step?
    Have you noticed how my shoulders
    square up with a bit more zest?
    The strain around my eyes gone,
    I look years younger
    And what’s that twitch
    at the corners of my mouth?
    My chest moves freely
    in and out without restriction
    A conspiratory smile passes
    from me to the man behind the counter
    I don’t really know him
    but we voted for the same President
    Watch me
    how I stand tall and move with sudden grace!
    Listen to the brightness in my voice!
    My eyes meet yours freely
    so you can read my joy
    Eight years of drooping and sagging
    will march out the door
    on January twentieth

  5. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    The army awaits
    Poised in swooping
    Gentle humming in the midsts
    Dusk glittering in the distance

    Evening star
    Guiding the way
    Hazy smog
    Penetrating the breeze

    Horizon melting
    Into a myriad of colour
    Flecked across the sky

    Adderbolt leads the army

    Gathering her pieces
    She makes the final legs
    Of the trip she dreads
    Her followers carting
    The same gruesome

    The journey almost over
    The deed almost done
    Gaia almost extinct
    The dream almost dead

    Adderbolt leads the army

    Bringing Gaia back home
    ……..Bringing Gaia

  6. Rodney C. Walmer

    A Day in the Life of my Wife

    We get up an hour apart
    then come home
    with the evening ready to start
    sometimes, just wanting to be left alone

    She often comes home late
    Tired and angry about her day
    then she wants to debate
    something from a long time away

    It seems she has so much to say
    while I just sit and listen
    I hand her a bouquet
    A tear forms
    her eyes glisten
    anger transforms

    While this helps get me through one day
    it’s not an everyday thing
    that I can bring home flowers
    besides bribery is not my way
    just once I would like to see her dance and sing
    when, I know it would never happen
    unless I had magical powers

    Everyday you can bet
    she’ll say those angry words that she’ll regret
    worn and weary from a day she’d just like to forget
    She’s suddenly faced with the reality that is the life
    It’s like owing a the family a debt
    when all she wants is some me time, on that you can bet

    Why she brings up the past
    when she’s so upset
    just boggles the mind
    it’s as if she wants her anger to last
    by starting the fight anew over what we’d best forget
    so, it begs the question, why remind

    If I could, I’d give her a better day
    make it pleasant all the way
    it truly hurts me
    to see her go through this daily misery
    perhaps she’ll have peace of mind
    in another life and another time
    but for now,
    she’ll have to face what the day brings
    then all of us, when she comes home
    even if the day’s hurt still stings
    we deserve more then to be ignored and left alone. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 11/22/08 extension of preview poem. I hope I did this right.

  7. Penny Henderson

    day # 20 enlargement of day # 3

    It was an accident, of course–
    that mountain of legos liberated
    next to the food court.
    Some kids filled their pockets.
    Most sat, delerious, to start building–
    a car, a small house–
    ’til Paul chirped, "Come on guys,
    let’s build a wall."
    The workers swelled and shrunk,
    12 boys, 2 girls,
    5 girls, 10 guys.
    Paul’s mom dragged him home,
    but they didn’t lose the magic
    without their Nehemiah.
    The octa–hexa–megagon
    came halfway live.
    Sue said, "should be a door,"
    and Bradley made one.
    Reporters came, towing
    their camera dudes.
    It was a three day wonder,
    til the toy store came and claimed them.
    Management is considering
    another ‘accident.’

  8. k weber

    bangled arms
    and calf-
    black boots

    walk this city
    tall, with an

    and cluttered
    with accessories,
    dance the 80s

    shiny hair
    across the south
    of the state

    another film
    and a heap
    of gold

    the most
    in ohio

  9. Kateri Woody

    A twitching lip hides behind caked on makeup,
    a gleeful grin imposed over true emotion
    that he’s definitely never allowed himself to show –
    though everything blends together anyway in this
    emptiness that isn’t ever truly abated, just built
    over like pillars of stone in sand, sinking and rebuilt
    again… and again.

    An echoing laugh sounds off tune in the silent night,
    the walls surrounding him regurgitating the sounds
    lifelessly throwing them back at him in his grand
    singularity – he has no idea what to do beside laugh –
    it’s an obscene sound really like the sound of
    flesh slapping flesh quite unlike tide
    slapping the shore repeatedly
    over… and over.

  10. Kate Berne Miller

    I Say No

    The phone rings
    it is you…asking again

    I remember the last time
    how it felt
    that I wanted
    you back
    so bad
    how I believed
    that you would come alone
    and stay

    I said Yes -then,
    you arrived
    lip split, eye blacked,
    she followed

    And again
    the phone rings I
    said Yes and
    again you

    The phone rings
    it is you again
    I remember
    what I knew afterwards…about the skip
    and stutter of an old LP
    echoes of the old song

    I say No now
    the word a hard rock
    coughed out reluctantly,
    salted with tears, guilt,
    and something new-
    survival. I

  11. Shann Palmer


    If a hair had not only breadth
    but breath, humankind’s measure
    would turn on bobby pins, and curl
    on our ankles like indifferent cats.

    We’d comb and coiffe our glory,
    mark popular fashion trends
    by beehive, braid, bob or wedge.

    As fall invites the leaves to drop
    we’d pause, untangle what we are,
    note how age rends us unlocked
    to mourn those shorn before

    their time was taken by others,
    or by disease, the cure for life,
    the path named before our birth.

  12. satia

    Susan B, Thank you for your compassion. Truth is, there’s a lot of poetic license here. My typical day begins with yoga and, weather permitting, I walk a mile through my neighborhood. Then home for breakfast and looking for work before I do housework, etc. In other words, I am not nearly as compromised as I was. Most of these pieces have focused more on the events of the first year with the thought that, during revision, I can weave in more of the more recent experiences albeit they are far less dramatic. But what we had to write for this prompt really lends itself to that type of full-fleshed exploration and I am looking forward to December when I will finally have time to revisit all of these poems and see where they carry me.

  13. Vanessa O'Dwyer

    I could not really go inthe directin of a refrain poem, but I did want to answer the problem posed inmy Day 3 poem. So here they are both:

    What They Say (Day 3)

    They say he’s not an equal,
    Is not free and cannot think
    They say she cannot play with them
    And that she is a freak
    You need to know you are to die
    Because you are so different
    I own you now so do my tasks
    Or feel my harsh judgment.
    Who can say that this is so?
    Who is this unjust person?
    And what can I do personally
    Before conditions worsen?

    What to Do (Day 20)

    I say that you are equal,
    To be free and to produce
    I say that she can play with me
    My friendship I’ll let loose
    Your survival means so much to me
    I cherish that we’re different
    You own your life so live it well
    And live by your own judgment
    Who can see that this can be?
    Who builds things that we play
    It’s us, my friends, so hurry up
    Let’s build on better ways.

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  14. PSC in CT

    Silent, still, somnolent
    Beneath the soil and warming sun
    Waking, germinating, breaking free –
    Like chick from eggshell,
    Or butterfly from cocoon –
    To become

    Small, spreading, stretching
    For nourishing sunlight
    For sustenance and strength
    Greening, growing, thriving,
    To become

    Scented rainbows glistening in dew
    Dancing amid raindrops
    Hosting and nourishing butterflies,
    Honeybees and hummingbirds
    Passing pollen
    Creating fruit
    To share, to beget
    Releasing, flying, falling
    Landing, settling in
    To become

    Silent, still,
    Sleeping beneath the soil

  15. Connie

    Thank you Susan B. There’s another one I’m tempted to put on my refrigerator. Maybe I should go back and collect all the encouragement I’ve received the past seven months to read on the maybe-I-should-forget-writing-and-work-at-WalMart days.

  16. LKHarris-Kolp

    Thanks, Victoria. Yours is quite moving, as well.

    lain- I have to admit, I had never heard of Walter Mitty, or had forgotten about it, but I read the short story by James Thurber on-line and was highly entertained.

    Laurie K.

  17. kate

    This was my day 3 poem.


    A tiny clockwork toy
    wound down for good.

    Sometime earlier it had been
    creeping in the bushes

    a drunken flight
    ended in the pool

    a shiny aqua treasure
    he put on the step and prodded.

    Here is today’s effort…

    Beetle 2

    When he was 3 or 4
    he had an imaginary friend
    called Beetor.
    We never knew if it was
    boy or man or beetle.

    His most useful trait
    was to be better, faster, higher
    than anyone else we knew.
    He had read all the Harry Potters
    could ride a bike without training wheels
    do a backflip on a motorbike
    he’s been to the moon or was it Mars?

    These days he’s rarely mentionned
    what’s left is a fascination for beetles
    like the one he fished from the pool
    put in a box for show and tell
    when he lifted the lid
    phew what a smell.

  18. SusanB

    Satia, I want to give you some hope. I got Rheumatoid arthritis at 34 after just having a baby and was bedridden for a good part of two years…and the succeeding 10 were very tough till I got to Dr. Mercola and have been pretty free of any symptoms with only an occasional flare lasting no more than a day or two. I identified with so much in your poetry and never waxed as eloquent as you do about it! My cure was in finding out WHY I had the disease spiritually (self hate) physically (enough toxins to fill a dump) and emotionally (enough trauma for 3 lives) Don’t let go of the idea there is a cure.

    Iain….I cried over yours today. I love your theme very good stuff

    Connie I marvel at the skill you use in tying your ideas together and the theme is a real kick. How you got something I would never think about – dominoes – into such a wonderful story is something that tickles me whenever I read your stuff.

    Paul, I think I agree with Satia about yours. I love the ideas about the tree. Honestly didn’t even notice you were planting a full grown one, but then I’m not much of a gardener :)

    Great stuff here…I love the threads that Sara, Heather and Ronda are following as well. Bruce I totally identify with you as a musician. Love your stuff.

    Not leaving anyone out just writing about what touched me. The poems are incredible today and I loved all the passion in them.

  19. linda

    Judy, even though i have not experienced it myself, your poem is written so realistically, that i can feel it. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m finding lots of great lines today. wish i had time to list them all but my work will be keeping busy until sunday. looks like i will be playing more catch-up this month.


  20. Nancy Posey

    Reading between the Lines

    I don’t know whether the idea of Shakespeare’s translation
    of the forty-third Psalm into poetic form is merely an
    Elizabethan urban legend or merely wishful thinking,
    Did someone, finding the “shake” and the “spear”
    strategically placed, invent the myth now told for fact?

    Masked as literature, rumors and farfetched fictions
    take on the guise of truth, so easy now that no one
    lives to tell the tale. Revisionists all, you mold
    the facts you find into your own versions of truth,
    yet we could at least admit that fact is no more
    a synonym for truth than eyesight a synonym for
    viewpoint. What’s gained by fabrication? Who
    really looks for drug speak in “Puff the Magic
    Dragon” or backward masking on Abbey Road?

    Perhaps your problem is your viewpoint—
    or your eyesight—you look so hard for what’s not there,
    you miss what’s in front of your eyes.

    Nancy Posey

  21. SaraV

    If you stand just so,
    Close to the edge
    If the light
    is right
    you’ll see
    A glimmer,
    Ghostly white
    A swirl
    In the day
    So close, but far away
    You’ll probably
    blink, or maybe rub
    Your eyes
    Was that real?
    What did I see
    And then again
    There it will be
    A glimmer,
    Ghostly white
    A swirl
    In the day
    So close, but far away
    If you crouch low
    And move slow
    You may be able
    To see
    A gossamer tail
    Before it dives
    To the depths
    Or if you toss
    A crust, bobbing
    On the surface
    You’ll surely see
    A glimmer,
    Ghostly white
    A swirl
    In the day
    So close, but far away
    Then gaping lips
    Mick Jaggeresqe
    Will pop the surface tension
    By then you might see
    The pop-eyed visage
    As it gulps the morsel down
    Then dips and swirls
    And disappears
    Then you’ll stand in
    The warmth of the sun
    Feel that child’s delight
    A moment of connecting
    With wildlife
    Of breaking bread
    With a coy Koi

  22. Michelle H.

    “The Insignificant”

    Shh, do you hear it?
    I am lost in a swirl of brethren
    Dancing through the night
    With my brothers and sisters
    No two of us alike

    Shh, do you hear it?
    I feel so very insignificant
    Up here with all of them
    Swirling and twirling a merry dance
    In a dress with a lace trim

    Shh, do you hear it?
    Can you tell me who I am?
    I’m not like any other, so
    Unique am I and yet when
    The dance is over I look just like the rest

    Shh, do you hear it?
    A snowflake has settled on the ground.

  23. Mary K

    Robert, I just have to say your poem was chilling.

    Today, November 20, I expanded my poem of November 3. I am sharing both poems below….just because, so people know how the second one came about.

    My Poem of November 3

    Ghosts (1)

    I sort through my mind for ghosts of my past
    people almost forgotten, but not quite,
    those I knew weeks or perhaps months
    who might have been important to me if only
    their stories had not ended abruptly, never
    to be updated. I wonder where they are now,
    the multitude of faceless ghosts of my past.

    My Poem Written Today, using the exact words of the poem above, but the idea expanded on:

    Ghosts (2)

    In sleepless nights, I sort through my mind
    for ghosts of my past, people almost forgotten,
    but not quite, those I knew long ago, weeks or
    perhaps months, a year or more, two or three
    years perhaps, who might have been important
    to me yet today if only they had not walked out
    of my life, if only I had not walked out of theirs.
    Sometimes the walks were unintentional.
    Someone moved, or people graduated and went
    their own ways. Sometimes the walks were intentional.
    A friendship didn’t work out.A relationship didn’t gel.
    Someone just walked away no reason mentioned.
    Those were the hardest times. Sometimes I still
    wonder about some of these people, not all, only
    during sleepless nights. Sometime I wonder if I made
    a mistake a few of those times it was my choice to
    walk away. I wonder too if those who walked away
    wonder the same thing in their sleepless nights
    or if I have been totally forgotten. If only their stories
    had not ended abruptly, never to be updated I might know
    what happened to them, these people from the past,
    and they might not be ghosts. I do wonder where they
    are now, the multitude of faceless ghosts of my past.
    I don’t think I will ever know. Sadly.

  24. A.C. Leming


    A hard lesson to learn, to leave
    ego out of a fight, a match,
    a point. Never truly successful,
    ego always comes out. Ten years
    into my journey, I still fail. I fail
    every day. I rush into the match,
    leaving my mind behind my body.
    I rush into, into the breach,
    molecules thin to my mind, far
    behind my body. Air passes above,
    below, between the fist, the face.
    Never truly connecting my body,
    my mind. I rush into the fight,
    ego fully engaged, ready to take
    a punch to land one in return,
    not utilizing the molecules above,
    below, between the fist, the face.
    Avoid force, rather than meet it
    head to fist. Join force and let skin,
    hand, fist nudge the aggressive
    fist, kick, throw from it’s trajectory.
    So we never truly connect, using
    the air above, below, between to
    keep our hands and bodies separate.

  25. Cheryl Chambers

    Life Story

    Neal, never a clumsy child, graced his way
    past the pages of picture books to the hearts
    of text, not the simple kind, but Books of Darwinian
    proportions, epic works, tomes of the tools of human
    trades. Or so he thought. He checked Origin of the
    Species out of the library, book weighing him down
    like years or unusable horns. He read every word
    and understood nothing. But his name on the checkout
    card let the librarian think, suck her teeth and will
    herself to love a boy one fifth her age. He read every
    book in the fourth grade, filled out little reports,
    and when the teacher saw he was through with it all
    gave him choices. The next day he came in with a stolen
    Hustler and she chided him for his impertinence. He wouldn’t
    know a hard on until fifteen after that, but oh how he waited
    and hoped that some lady out there had it all for him, just
    Neal. That’s when he first cheated on a math test, becoming
    teacher’s pet in order to grade the quizzes and mark up
    his own. It felt so dirty he cringed but the rewards
    were measurable. It all made sense. He ate the answers
    like a sumo wrestler and threatened anyone to challenge him
    on something no one else is interested in attaining, or they
    have it and don’t care: brilliance. He entered higher education
    a genius by his own design and excelled at lesser courses
    and cried, alone and begging, in the mastery courses.
    That’s when he decided college wasn’t for him but he could
    drink and curse with even the best of ladies and get laid.
    But he didn’t. Couldn’t handle the pressure of fourth grade
    in the sack and doused too many White Russians to count
    the number of digits given, an easy out. But Isabella knew
    him by the look behind his eyes and saw a naivety unrepentent.
    She took him and gave him a child and it happened without
    his even knowing his pants had been off, his finger now ringed.
    He didn’t know where the joy was in this mediocrity
    and thought of a way to fool the world again. It was pitiful
    and he knew it as he stared at the condensed liquid rings
    on the tables, the dust gathering power under a single bed
    in a solitary room and he roared to make sure that no one
    could hear him. That’s when the doubts really began.
    There was no heaven and hell for him and he turned on the news
    to find the 1950s had overpowered California and for just a second
    he thought he was gay, thought it was Henry all along.
    Then he fell asleep and nightmared his way into the reality
    of the situation. No one believed in a God in this. This is
    where he belonged. The path of least resistance.
    And so it goes
    and so he goes home.

  26. Peggy Goetz

    I really can’t recall what I was thinking about when I wrote this!!

    The Silver Comb

    I comb the moments
    silver, antique
    the weeks, the years
    to find the beginning
    the first missed beat
    first stumble when I might
    have picked it all up
    and turned another
    way instead.

    Nov. 3, 2008

    Oh Well, here is where I am going to go with it today!

    The Silver Comb 2

    She saw the silver comb
    pushed back into a corner
    behind a trunk. It was from
    another time, another life.
    She picked it up her hair
    now silver, hardly enough
    of it left to comb now but
    she pulled it through the weeks
    the years to find the beginning,
    the first missed beat, the
    first stumble when she might
    have picked it all up and turned
    another way instead of forty
    years of pretending, hiding
    always fearing someone
    would recognize her,
    the young woman with
    the gun, the wild hair
    flying in the wind
    of revolution. Another
    time, another life
    before she lost herself.

    Nov. 20, 2008

    I have not had Internet access for a few days, though I did do all the prompts. I guess I will go back and add them to comments on the proper days. Not that it really matters I guess.

  27. Heather

    Victoria and Iain, thanks for your comments today. I appreciate the feedback. The posts have been fantastic!

    Patti, I know you cried your makeup off writing that one, you did her proud.

    Cheers and love to all-

  28. satia

    SE, the hardest thing for me this month as been the lack of time I have to read the poems each and every day. I tried at first but with nano and noblopomo (new blog post every day) I am trying to keep up with so much writing that reading is being lost.

    And still I am finding so many moving pieces. It is emotionally exhausted. I completely understand what you mean!

    Paul, You asked for feedback. BRAVE! I can’t even think about revising let alone ask for feedback at this point. I figure I’m throwing up (literally sometimes) whatever I write, barely able to slow down long enough to tweak a line let alone put it up for comments/review. The images are very good. The stanza breaks give the piece a meditative quality–excellent pause for effect. My only nit is that planting a grand tree seems strange. I mean, a sapling wouldn’t be already be a tree (and the image of trying to plant a full grown tree is amusing but not what you mean I think?). I’d almost suggest "and one grand sapling to plant" with the a sound running through but that is absolutely only a suggestion.

  29. Judy Roney

    Nov 5
    My husband and my brother walked in
    my brother looked ashen and my husband ghostly
    white and blotched , set in a grimace hard to read.
    I’d never seen him like this before.
    He began to speak as he closed in on me
    his mouth opened and moved but I heard nothing
    come out, no sound, just a roaring in my ears.

    I put out my hand to stop him from coming closer
    my daughter was dropped off by a friend from work
    I saw her come in and then saw her collapse to
    the floor whailing, whailing like someone
    had speared her through the heart. I clasped my
    hands over my ears and waited for some sanity
    to seep in.

    Had everyone gone crazy, was I crazy. I heard
    the words, “Brian is dead”. I heard them again
    and realized that was the roar in my head. I kept
    everyone at bay while I made my way to the phone
    stepped over my daughter on the floor and tried to
    reaassure her, Honey, they don’t know Brian, they
    don’t know him, its not true. Don’t worry
    I’ll take care of things, I’ll call him now. His phone
    kept wringing and I kept trying. I realized he
    had probably gone to one of his friends house so
    I got out the old brown leather address book and
    began to make the calls.
    People began to arrive, family I hadn’t seen in years
    I was so tired, too tired to even chat with them.
    I’d have to settle this in the morning after a good nights
    sleep. Every one was acting irrationally today. Things
    would be better in the morning.
    Of course things got worse, much worse as the shock
    wore off and I had to plan for a funeral of my only son.

  30. S.E.Ingraham

    Victoria – your poem took my breath away…satia – I don’t think I’ve told you before but I find your work incredibly moving and courageous; you talk about vertigo with such insight and intensity and not a scrap of self-pity. Everyone is doing such good work this month – I fall into bed exhausted from reading and re-reading and there are so many I want to comment on and just not enough time. Robert – yours had me checking my darkened yard this morning (we don’t see the sun until around 7 a.m. up here near the Arctic circle) – oh, and Iain – I shed some tears for Puss, I did. Sharon I/nsaynne

  31. Paul W.Hankins

    Here is my refrain. I am not sure of the way it turned out, but I wanted to share the craft: I simply took the first line away from the original and took every other line away from the original piece and then tweaked the line to convey (I hope) the overall theme of my challenge this month. I would like to some feedback if you have the time. . .does this work?


    “Wooden” (refrain)

    They have always been –
    timber felled for this purpose,
    lined with silk.

    Every tree has a dream
    deeper within the soil,
    where the planting is sacramental –
    where we hear the revered hush of men
    and the hole is filled.

    Somewhere in Pikeville,
    forecasting the call,
    another chance to dig.

    And one grand tree to plant,
    another dream baptized with dirt
    the dust clinging to its roots.

  32. satia


    Thank you. I just let a lot of stuff come out and I hope to revisit this poem, maybe print it out and cut up the stanzas and shuffle them. After I posted, more ideas/images come to me. At this rate, the thing is going to grow into my own personal Wasteland. :)

    Your poems have been very powerful as well. The image of circle words like wagons is something anyone who writes for healing can comprehend.

  33. Victoria Hendricks

    What strong poems! I like the experiment Robert – bringing the refrain poem forward. Heather, your lesson poems resonate for me every day. This one is a favorite. Satia – the white tiger image chills. I have lifelong visual vertigo – not so severe as yours but has prevented driving and causes headaches. I hope you find a solution. Your poem in which the fish died is still a favorite for me. Laurie, your poem of the terrible consequences of a lie rings really true. Shannon, I resonate to past generations of hardtime women in my family much as you do in your poem – love the dance as freeedom in the end. May we all dance. and thank you Robert for guiding us all through this month. I don’t like that there is only one third left and I am excited what we will produce in this final third.

    Here’s mine for the day:

    When Death Knocked

    I sat in the car with all doors shut,
    held myself together, coat collar up,
    I chanted, circled words like wagons,
    fenced myself in, breath by breath.
    Knock on window shook mind awake.

    He needs you now, your brother said,
    tears dripping down scarred cheeks.
    Hot July night. I still shivered in coat.
    Prayed elevator would hurry . Prayed
    death would wait. kissed your last breath.

    I sat in the car with all doors shut,
    held myself together, coat collar up,
    I chanted, circled words like wagons,
    fenced myself in, breath by breath.
    knew no knock would come. sat alone.

  34. Taylor Graham


    Gophers under the lawn. Mouse-
    hoard of peanut shells behind wallboard –
    what the previous owner couldn’t get rid of,
    in spite of every kind of pesticide,
    roach traps, fly-paper in the garage.

    Draw the drapes at night, turn on Brahms
    or Schubert. Still, you’ll be listening
    for scratching under the house, for that
    cry you heard at 3 a.m. – surely it wasn’t
    human. Fox or cat, predator or prey.

    By daylight you sweep and scour, but
    there’s a scrim of gray on every shelf.
    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The former
    owner nailed a yellow placard on the gate-
    post: Protected by Positive Alarm.

    Who used to live here lived in fear.
    Turn out the light, pull up the comforter.
    Dream of sleepers in the graveyard
    becoming earth – the one
    sure way you can possess this land.

  35. SusanB


    A gift or
    A curse
    The only thing worse
    Is the alternative?

    What’s worse?
    Visiting the hospital
    Or being a patient
    Having bad food
    Or no food
    Limping along or
    Having to use a wheelchair
    Living in an apartment
    Or a cardboard box
    Complaining about the price of oil
    Or having no heat at all
    An old rust-bucket of a car
    Or no car
    Resting in the graveyard
    Or driving by
    We all have to make sacrifices
    Some more than others
    That’s life

  36. Ronda Eller

    Here is my "broadview" poem for yesterday, finally written! I think it needs fine-tuning but i’ll let it live for now. Ronda

    xix. Intoxicating Thought

    Do the math.

    If everyone lived to a ripe old age

    or suicide
    to lop the wick

    these are the hours
    the world population
    would spend sleeping

    if dreams
    were intoxicating,
    we’d be inebriated
    100% of the time.

    ~ Ronda Eller 2008

  37. Margaret

    I had to alter my refrain, as my original idea didn’t work. This "legend" is made up by me.

    At Midnight

    Three to ride the shadowed road,
    two to catch them as they slowed,
    one to flee and try to warn,
    none to live to see the morn.

    Three rode out one moonless night
    under the slivers of silver light
    of stars above in a cloudless sky
    and none of the three men wondered why.

    Not one of them asked why they rode,
    why they had left their snug abode
    to ride the woods that dark, dark night
    beneath the slivers of silver light.

    When midnight chimed they stopped and stared.
    Two strangers stood with broadswords bared.
    Two brothers dead without a fight,
    one brother left, one to take flight.

    One brother turns and flees in fright,
    rides and dies that dark, dark night,
    killed by strangers with broadswords bared.
    Three brothers caught all unprepared.

    Three to ride the shadowed road,
    two to catch them as they rode,
    one to flee and try to warn,
    none to live to see the morn.

  38. Terri Vega

    Day 20 Changes

    Some nights I walk in
    my garden
    outlines of formal paths
    display the healing herbs of
    classic medicine

    Inside the borders a boundless
    Zen – peaceful retreat into
    breath and passage
    creating solitude in an
    aching world

    Aromatherapy, soothing sanctuary,
    the essence of stillness bottled
    into dried petals whose
    flowering has called me
    to amble in their midst

    As creation blossoms
    within the garden’s sacred places
    I am
    carried back inside the house
    where we touch
    in the most tenderess sleep

  39. Steve LaVoie

    What to do?

    Let’s see, I have leftover
    Alpha-Bits cereal, my cat is dressed
    In sunglasses and shaking
    What appears to be a maraca.

    I just noticed I have no pens or pencils.
    What kind of sick lunatic would do
    Such a disgusting thing?
    You know, I just had a thought.
    I could use more clocks around here.

    So if I have all this time now,
    What do I do with it?
    Sell it? Break some of it?
    Take it out to dinner?

    Maybe this envelope over
    Here will provide all the
    Answers I will ever need.

  40. Earl Parsons

    LL&L for Day 20:

    What Lies Ahead

    Look closely at where you came from
    Look closely at where you are
    Look closely at how you got
    From there to here
    If you look closely enough
    You might see
    What lies ahead

    You’re moving ahead
    And breakneck speed
    Forward into the unknown
    Or at least the uncertain
    No reverse in your gearbox
    No neutral and no park
    Only full speed ahead
    Keep your eyes on the road

    No time to look back
    Through the rear window
    Or even a moment
    To look side to side
    Bar a glance at the past
    Through the rearview mirror
    At what’s already gone
    And shrinking out of sight

    Don’t look back too long
    Blink a quick mental picture
    Keep you eyes straight ahead
    Lest you miss My road signs
    Don’t look back too long
    Lest you drive off the road
    Your journey shouldn’t end
    ‘Till you cross My finish line

    Do you know where you came from
    Do you know where you are
    Do you know how you got here
    Do you know where you’re going
    Are you on the right road
    Watch for the right signs
    My road signs will keep you
    On the road straight to Me

    Not all the signs point
    In the proper direction
    My signs are clear
    Beelzebub’s are not
    Read each one carefully
    Don’t be fooled into turning
    Onto the wrong highway
    There’s only One Way

    So drive like your life depends on it
    Because your eternal life does

  41. Earl Parsons

    Day 20 for SS:


    Be patient
    My friend
    Let me do the thinking
    If you just can’t stand it
    Jump on into your mind
    If you dare
    Beware the cobwebs

    Oh, they’re not dangerous
    Nor will they trap you
    They’re friendly
    And they’re important

    They keep everything connected
    They’re like superhighways
    Neuron transfer systems
    Like the transporter
    On the Enterprise
    NCC 1701
    For all you Trekkies

    Now, how did you remember that?
    Must have been a cobweb
    That shot that to mind
    But, I digress
    Back to the cobwebs

    Don’t be afraid of them
    At the same time
    Don’t break them apart
    You need them all
    You might need them all
    But, why take the chance
    Time will tell

    Again, I digress

  42. S.E.Ingraham

    By way of reminder – my theme:

    "A Tear at the Edge of the Universe" (working title of chapbook about insanity and sanity, the losing and acquiring of both, and the thin membrane that separates the two)

    Day 3 foreshadowing lines:
    She couldn’t quite follow the theme of that
    For one whole dark night, she stood at the window
    Staring into the cheerless black, wondering where she’d left it

    She’s Lost Her Mind

    She was locked in; she hated that
    On the ward with the crazy people; she really hated that
    There seemed to be some dispute as to what to do with her
    She couldn’t quite follow the theme of that
    For one whole dark night, she stood at the window
    Staring into the cheerless black, wondering where she’d left it
    This time; every time she misplaced her equilibrium, her sanity
    Her carefully crafted norm, she’d find herself here
    Or somewhere so alike here, it could be mistaken for here
    She found herself thinking, and then chiding herself
    For thinking in eccentric, concentric circles
    Knowing well that kind of non-linear thinking
    was considered unhealthy
    Albeit creative and interesting, to some, but no –
    Stop it, her inner voice screamed soundlessly, keep this up girl
    And you will never see your semi-precious mind again
    This time, it will have split for a skull more hospitable,
    less alienating
    She pondered how close the words hospitable and hospital seemed
    And wondered idly if one were derived from the other
    Then, as if with physical force, yanked her thoughts
    back from there
    Telling herself to, look, look, look – you know you always
    do find it
    You just have to focus, walk backwards in your head
    the way Big Bird
    Used to tell the kids, and you’ll remember where you last had it
    Your mind will be right where you left it;
    just hope it’s not on a bus
    Or in some stranger’s bed, or like the last time,
    on the ledge of a building,
    Just hope that, she thought as she watched
    the sun slice open the day.

  43. Rachel Green

    Payment Due

    She looks down on curving garden path
    where potting shed occludes the view
    where naked willows whip in windy wrath
    through the window a figure lurks, but who?

    A glint of light on shards of broken glass
    beat back a shadow of a figure new-
    perhaps the dark will sometime come to pass
    through the window a figure lurks, but who?

    No need to fear the glinting blade of kitchen knife
    when what you hold shines with the moonlight blue
    what price in peace of mind when so cheap is life —
    through the window a figure lurks, but who?

    What eldritch flame if held in hands so white
    through the window a figure lurks, but who?
    with fangs that glint against the dying of the light
    for there her mother stands with payment due.

  44. Lori


    An epileptic tree is a wild theory
    about what was going on in the mind
    of the author who wrote something
    that didn’t quite make sense

    Now you’re the one not quite making sense
    telling us symptoms that don’t fit the signs and
    refusing to sign a consent
    for a surgery you’re demanding to have

    Not just your name goes on that blank
    but a description on what you expect done
    We need to be sure you understand.

    But his blood pressure is dropping
    (I need you to fill out this form)
    He’s losing consciousness quickly
    (Just a few more questions.)
    He’s going down fast.

    never mind, I’ll do it myself
    but when you wake up to darths
    and epileptic trees remember
    you chose us even
    when the driver said another
    was closer.
    Oh and I have malpractice insurance.

  45. Bruce Niedt

    I’m a bit down today – for one thing, I feel like I’m running out of steam creatively. Secondly, I think I really blew the intent of Robert’s initial prompt – looking back on my Day 3 poem, it’s hardly a "snippet" or "refrain" and I’m having a hard time building anything around it. Maybe I can still cobble something together, but meanwhile I offer this "extra" poem I wrote this month:


    Sometimes when doing a mindless chore,
    (like today, raking leaves) and I’m not
    listening to music, I compose a soundtrack
    in my head. It’s nothing fancy –

    maybe a blues riff or some minimalist melody,
    like Philip Glass. It tape-loops through the brain
    and migrates to the chest that fills with air,
    so I feel compelled to let it out,
    singing or humming my latest opus.

    But it never goes beyond my back yard,
    and as soon as improvisation leaves me
    like a cloud of breath on a cold day,
    it’s gone forever, with my only audience
    a pile of dry leaves, and the trees
    applauding in the wind.

  46. satia

    My theme is Vertigo


    These are the short pieces I wrote for Day 3. Interestingly enough, I realized that I’ve already visited many of these themes all along. Ironically, I think I’ve worn them out as a result but that didn’t stop me from writing something for today.

    white tiger caged, lies
    panting, unable to run
    snowflakes forgotten


    Yesterday I accepted
    Today I do not
    I have nothing left to bargain
    But I won’t believe my questions w
    Will never be answered.


    Why ask “Why?”
    The answer is: Why not?
    More questions from questions
    make me dizzy with unanswers.
    The answers?
    The cure?
    “We don’t know.”
    I do.
    But I keep asking
    for more than
    “Why not?”


    Today I celebrated
    the anniversary of my
    incurable condition.
    Two years and counting
    and I am learning to listen
    to my two feet.


    And here is what I’ve written for today. I chose not to edit or censor myself at all (not that I’ve had much time or opportunity to do so any other day—LOL!) and I would love to dig into this sometime in December when I can tighten it up.

    on Tuesday walls were metaphors.
    today is Wednesday and metaphors have become solid
    and a walk to the bathroom is impossible
    without some help


    he is there, the one so hard to wake up,
    is lifting her to the bed and instead
    she needs to make it to the bathroom
    don’t leave me, she cries her hands sliding
    down his thighs as she stands so close
    she could fall and would only into his arms
    reassuring her with words I’m here
    and he is, takes her back to bed

    she calls in sick saying she’ll be there tomorrow
    or see a doctor soon to fix the whatever it is nightmare
    she woke up to without warning wishing she’d seen a red flag
    or heard more than her morning’s alarm before the walls
    of her life came crashing down around her

    the list of doctors grows
    and prescriptions tried and true
    fail time and time again
    she knows which nurse is best
    at drawing the blood needed for
    the next test and she agrees to all suggestions
    hoping something will answer the questions
    that are pilling higher than the bills

    relief follows
    not cancer, MS, Meneire’s
    or labarynthine symptoms
    no signs of stroke or infection
    sighs of relief are replaced with
    whys of negative tests
    knowing what it is not
    does not say what it is
    and where there are no results
    the cure remains unanswered
    and relief gives way to new fears
    a lifetime of listing and a swiftly tilting planet
    eventually she’ll wish she could go back in time
    and hear the worst of her fears
    chemo and surgery seem a small price to pay
    for some relief

    days are no longer defined by work or weekend
    a very bad day is one spent in bed unable to even read
    a bad day is one spent to and from horizontal and vertical
    resting so frequently even her dog gets tired of waiting
    a good day is one where she can read, use her computer,
    and maybe make dinner without help from anyone
    putting the dishes away is impossible but she can still
    load the washing machine and these little victories
    fool them all into believing things will return to normal.

    her hands are growing old
    he no longer touches her at night
    her body is a traitorous
    she doesn’t care that he doesn’t care
    it’s easier if nobody is asked anything
    inevitable no’s have made all questions rhetorical

    every morning when the bed is still
    she will not move, whispering her wish
    that this morning will see her clear
    the fear still consuming and her assuming
    the snap that switched her senses off balance
    will turn back on still hoping and holding her breath
    she moves her head side to side in the cradle of her pillow
    and feels the bed unforgiving and giving her no reason
    to hold onto anything anymore before she reaches her feet
    to the perpetual motion of the floor knowing that the day
    will sway away without relief and her bed holds nothing

    curled over the toilet
    she hurls into the bowl as
    her son holds back her hair
    how could she be so sick when this morning was so bright?
    such light switch disparities are violent car crashes
    happening in her head
    she has an appointment
    another test result to be given
    perhaps the answers are closer than
    the strong arm lifting her and helping her
    back to the bed until it is time
    to make her way to the car

    from door to door
    each step is an impossible journey
    a threat to her balance
    acceptance comes slowly
    and there are days when she is gracious
    embracing her new disabled body
    rubbing lotion and lovingly saying
    it will be okay it will be okay it will be okay
    but begrudging days soon follow
    when even taking a shower is too much bother
    a perversion of the golden rule as she refuses
    to do unto her body because it will not do for her

    all she wants is to be touched without fear
    to move with freedom and be who she was before

    the doctor won’t even look her in the eye
    leaves to order another useless test to follow-up
    and she begins to cry at the futility
    thousands of dollars wasted on what she already knows
    nobody knows anything more than she did months ago
    when metaphors became nightmares
    he’s angry when the doctor returns
    accusing him of making her cry
    she doesn’t have enough strength to comfort them both
    and she loves him for thinking the doctor is to blame
    the doctor suggests she get a walker
    he insists she choose a purple one
    its her favorite color after all
    the one Alice Walker said makes God smile
    should make people laugh and means hope

    let’s make the best of this with
    marabou and feathers
    with tassles and windchimes to
    decorate the necessary
    and she gets complimented
    on her walker’s décor
    a spotlight reminding her of her limits
    she’s embarrassed, murmurs thank you,
    follows her walker walking away
    I’m too young for this
    or so she thinks
    all evidence to the contrary

    it doesn’t take long for her to hate it
    the walker meant to assist her so she can live a normal life
    but before it came into her life, people did not walk up to her
    ask her intrusive questions about her health or who she is
    hearing horror stories of diseases that lead to death
    headed off with “I have a family member who used a walker too”
    do not help set her mind at ease and she wants to appease these invaders
    without saying what she really feels
    who are you to know anything about me?
    do you think I believe you care?

    is it polite in polite society to ask such things?
    she vows to stop leaving the house until she is free
    only to protect these disconcerting strangers with their pseudo-concern
    I don’t belong to your community, she wants to scream
    in their misplaced compassionate faces instead says
    only the most necessary and politely moves away

    home is safe
    no need to answer questions
    she’s become like her doctors
    clueless and uncaring
    and uncautious

    she feels like a caged white tiger
    pacing the parameters of her bed
    seeking escape afraid to move her head
    and know that yes she has another day
    of falling to face perhaps an eternity
    never finding the ice center of any hell

    she avoids the mirror
    covers it up to hide herself from her eyes
    maybe I should shave my head?
    it would be cheaper than buying hair dye
    and why bother when nobody visits and all she does is sit
    in one doctor’s waiting room or another?

    it’s winter and too cold for such extremes
    and by summer she’ll be better

    you will get better

    so he believes, her healing somewhere in the hands of someone
    some file has left unopened or test untried that would shed light on
    why why why and how to make it all


    she left her faith somewhere between holidays
    and buried in the weight of unanswered prayers
    her hands feel hollow as she folds them
    but no moreso than her words which go nowhere
    on her unmoving lips there is a confession left unprofessed

    I’m scared

    where is there peace when her piece of solid ground
    sifts like shifting sand through her head and hands
    always falling crawling?

    she’s become a hazard in the kitchen
    yesterday a slip of the floor and knife
    she did not mean to stab herself
    such accidents happen now
    this morning it is boiling water
    for her cup of tea poured into the cup when
    something shifted and her hand followed
    pouring water on the one holding the empty cup
    the tea bag remaining unused and soaked on the counter

    the white tiger attacks its owner
    from the confines of vegas
    from her bed she smiles
    she understands how it feels
    to pant for the snow and know
    no other way of escape but death

  47. Penny Henderson

    Just found this challenge–been sick–and will try to catch up. Later today I’ll post #’s 1-8 on appropriate place. Avid readers or those with too much time on their hands, can check it out


  48. Shannon Rayne

    Blood Lines

    My bones rattle
    with the spirit of my great

    in harsh prairie winters
    thirteen children
    from destructive winds
    violent male tempers.

    She tugs on my hips
    and then on my lips
    when she wants to dance
    wants me to say yes
    to the freedoms
    she never had.

    Dancing, we are both released.

  49. Sara McNulty

    My cable was down, so I will post yesterday’s and today’s. Robert: Your poems are so sly and so amazingly good.

    Big Picture

    An ordinary black and yellow
    box, you might think. But,
    flip open my top. I am
    filled with colors, shades,
    and their lower level

    I’m Clark Kent when he
    removes his glasses. An
    eternal party rocks inside
    me–reds mixing with blues,
    lavender lacing the edges
    of violet.

    Spectacular sparkles of
    gold and silver affix
    themselves to ordinary
    hum-drum days of
    gray, or evenings of black
    turning a frock to a formal.

    I Am Serious Navy

    I color uniforms of
    distinction; at times
    I am pasted with
    ribbons, stripes,
    and medals of
    honor for heros.

    I color the tailored
    suit you wear to
    interviews, and my
    practicality, works
    for weddings or

    I color the background
    for 50 stars on a flag
    of red and white. If
    not for me those stars
    would not stand out
    boldly and bright.

  50. Karen

    Poignant, Iain. Brought a tear. Kudos, Laurie, Rachel,Patti.

    The Port, Trouville, 1886
    Eugene Boudin, French, 1824-98

    Harbor as Home

    Soft angularity of sailboats in the harbor,
    beneath a mottled pink, lavender, mauve, and blue
    cloud-dotted sky.
    Is a storm coming,
    or are the clouds merely passing through?
    Provincial buildings, looking like chateaus,
    impose on the small gentle-walled harbor,
    their gray roofs and creamy yellow walls
    aged stucco.

    Shallow water laps in,
    while deeper water fades into a pale aquamarine.
    In the distance a steeple peeps out of trees.

    No one visibly peoples the scene,
    but in that town across the water,
    a bakery quietly bustles
    and wafts doughy fragrance.
    Patrons wander in and out.
    Some linger over their croissants
    at tables crafted years ago
    by hand.

    In the creamy stucco warehouses
    men labor.
    They traipse
    into one building
    hauling in fishermen’s catches,
    into another,
    muscles bulging, they tote
    crates from a ship.
    They laugh a hearty laugh
    at one man’s joke.

    In a cottage at the edge of town
    a mother has put her baby down
    for a nap.
    She brushes hair back from her eyes,
    glimpses the colored sky through
    her smallish window,
    and sits for a brief moment,
    sipping tea in her
    tiny kitchen.

    The sailboats in the harbor bob
    A young man dared to take a
    long lunch from his
    practice of the law.
    The woman seated in the boat
    with him looks down primly
    at her hands,
    then lifts her face to his
    adoring gaze.
    He takes her hand and asks
    the question she’s awaited
    so long.

    The secret longing of every man and woman—
    to dwell in peace,
    in a town of peace,
    in the gentle world
    of this scene.

  51. patti williams

    After the man
    Told his children,
    The oldest fell to the ground
    Becoming a raw, screaming
    Mass of pain
    When just minutes before
    He had been a boy playing
    His guitar.
    The middle son sat quietly
    As if he’d known something
    Like this would eventually happen.
    His response was
    Tearful acceptance.
    “My Mom was killed today,”
    He later told his friend.
    The youngest child,
    All ‘boy’ to the solid core,
    Was just too young to
    Understand the finality
    Of the words being spoken.
    After a few tears, he picked himself up
    And began playing again,
    Running through the house
    Even though she had told him
    A thousand times not to do that.
    He could get hurt, or break something.
    The man greeted visitors,
    Family, the preacher came,
    All wanting to offer the family
    “Their deepest sympathy.”
    The man politely shook hands,
    Patted shoulders, hugged,
    Thanked each of them for
    Stopping in.
    Then at the end of the
    Longest day of his life,
    The man sat in the house,
    Listening to their oldest
    Continue to howl out his loss
    And for the first time
    Since the words of her death
    Were spoken to him
    He felt her fall away.
    Crying his tears alone
    He wanted to run
    From the days, months, years
    These hours life’s storm
    Had brought him,
    But he promised her
    Passing spirit
    He would survive
    And her children would too.
    He would not let any of them down.

  52. Iain D. Kemp

    Thank you Heather. As ever your Lesson was super.

    Great start to the day. As always I’m loving the dominoes & I have to say, Laurie K – excellent Walter Mitty poem. Briiliant


  53. LKHarris-Kolp

    He Tried, But He Lied

    He hid in the bushes and watched her,
    the woman who used to be his wife,
    asking himself what had happened
    to cause their marraige such strife.

    He new he had lied about college-
    something so small had grown and grown,
    until one day he had believed the lie
    and pretended to be someone unknown.

    He had fooled his parents and roommates,
    acting like a kid working on his degree;
    when what really happened a year ago,
    he had flunked out and been set free.

    Then he had met his beautiful bride
    who wanted so much out of life-
    a house and kids and picket fence,
    how could he let down his wife?

    So he acted as if he had gotten a job,
    like any postgraduate would do,
    but during the day, while she worked,
    he broke into an apartment he knew.

    He really never could tell her why,
    this criminal act he did pursue.
    He was feeling the pressure, losing control,
    and did not know what to do.

    She had tried her best to help him
    forgive him for this horrible deed,
    but when she found out about college,
    she had packed up her things with speed.

    So now at last he has found her
    and he watches her laugh with her friends.
    If only he could have one more chance
    he would ask to start all over again.

    Laurie K.

  54. Iain D. Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,

    What with all the hoo-haa of having Greek
    Jimmy staying here, I never did get around to
    explaining my cryptic note earlier this month.
    Brother, you ain’t gonna believe what that
    dumb bitch sister of yours has done now. Your
    cousin says I should kick her out (and your Mama too!).
    But we both know that’s just cos she knows I’d
    pay her to clean up the place. She’s only gone
    and used my credit card to pay for a trip to Vegas
    for her and your Mom! Goddammit! All those tips
    she makes wiggling her no-good tushy in that
    sleaze-hole club; you’d think she could pay for
    herself! And I don’t even get to go along. Like I’d
    want to anyway. If ya wanna throw away good money
    after bad what the hell is wrong with Atlantic City?
    This may well be the last straw. After I get rid o’ that
    waste of space from Atlanta, Georgia, I’m gonna do
    me some serious talkin’ and put those crazy females
    straight once and fer all.
    Pickya up at seven, I need to get drunk again!

    Yours howlin’ mad

    Ringo the Howler

  55. Rachel

    Falling Apart

    desperate and shaking

    she sought the
    quiet side of the bathroom door
    and sank to the floor

    with the weapon
    and the end of her rope
    firmly in hand

    she’d been here before
    and she always shrank back
    but tonight

    He would have to take the matter
    out of her hands

    That stunted club
    raised high above her head,
    poised and full of dread,

    Rage and pain rushing down
    and coming to BLOW

    upon the air…

    upon the air…

    not her dare

    but the air

    where the weapon hit
    His invisible hand
    outstretched before her body

    and it feel apart

    and all she heard was the shatter
    of the matter
    in pieces at her feet.

    And she feel apart.

  56. Ronda Eller

    Well, I’m still working on yesterday’s poem but today’s came pretty easily so here it is (with my Day 3 poem pasted first). Ronda

    iii. on the other side

    the door creaks
    slightly ajar

    a maze unravels
    on the other side

    and there I stand

    in Chaos.

    xx. unfolding

    comes creeping
    in the dead of night,
    no way in, no way out—
    just there

    ready to wrap you up,
    entangle your senses,
    hold you captive.
    make you

    a captivated audience
    to the unravelling
    of a universe rapt
    in myriad possibility.

    what’s worked out isn’t,
    what isn’t worked out is;
    everything is impinged
    on the unfolding
    of the next corridor

    that will lead you in or out
    of hell… or heaven
    if you’re lucky.

    the door is always slightly ajar,
    reality ready to align itself
    with thought formation.
    A clear mind
    would be helpful.

  57. Connie

    Hidden Picture

    When setting up a huge domino display,
    each little unit doesn’t look like much—
    just brightly colored pieces of polystyrene
    standing together like soldiers in a line.
    And even when they are all set up, they
    may just look like a pattern of colors. But
    when the builder tips the first domino
    they reveal a hidden picture after they fall:
    scenery, a company emblem, a portrait

    When we think about our lives
    each little day may not seem like much—
    just brightly colored pieces of time
    standing together like soldiers in a line.
    And even after years have passed they
    may just look like a sequence of events.
    At your birth the Builder tipped the first stone
    and when they reach the end, they reveal the
    Builder’s hidden picture of who you really are.

    When we think about human history
    each little unit doesn’t look like much—
    just brightly colored pieces of humanity
    standing together like soldiers in a line.
    And even after centuries pass they
    may just look like a pattern of colors. But
    at creation the Builder tipped the first stone
    and when they reach the end, they reveal
    a hidden picture—a Family Portrait.

  58. Monica Martin

    Many things must be done to prepare
    to move in. Scouting locations, paying
    off bills, checking your credit. In preparing
    to move in, see what household items
    you have, and what you will
    need. Before you move in,
    make sure you’re compatible,
    and willing to compromise.

  59. Heather

    Lesson #20: Love (Part 2)

    She’s got the blues
    Her man
    Picked the bottle over
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s caught in the middle
    Her man
    Refuses to chose
    Her and another
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s crying harder than she’s ever cried before
    Her man
    Has chosen the one
    Carrying his child over
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s trying to pull it together
    Her man
    Is staying out
    All night
    He says he might be home soon
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s totally confused
    Her man
    Says forever
    But his anger is
    Telling her now
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s ready for a change
    Her man
    Wants for things to stay the same
    He’s used to having things
    His way
    She’s got a lot of thinking to do

    She’s going to make a stand
    Her man
    Isn’t going to like it
    She’s leaving
    There’s no more thinking to do

    Lesson #20: Love Shouldn’t Hurt

  60. Iain D. Kemp

    Farewell Dear Friend (long version)

    It had seemed like forever
    that things had been the same
    the way they should be.
    Set and constant. A blissful harmony

    Puss was large and never moved all that much.
    He considered sleeping an art form
    and had reached giddy new heights in its perfection.
    Black and white he lay like a furry domino
    ever on the sofa or by the fire;
    stirring only occasionally to feed and answer
    nature’s call and in a slightly off-hand manner
    acknowledge the presence of the Poet.

    The other one was marmalade and born under a bad star.
    His rioting and rough housing, his hunting and
    presentation of trophies to the Poet kept the household
    in turmoil and disarray.
    He never really had a name; at least not one that
    would serve in polite society.
    He respected Puss’ right to sleep but never
    the rights of the Poet to do anything that he could interrupt.

    A happy and contented trio they; each filling his own
    space with that which he did best.
    Time passing peacefully: a happy home enjoyed by all.
    But change it seems must come to all things
    and without exception, the change came quickly.
    A sudden loss of weight, a lethargy in a previously
    boisterous fellow. A visit to the Vet and the knowing
    that soon the Poet and Puss would be just two.

    The last long days passed too fast each one taking a little more;
    each hour breaking a little more heart
    ‘til at the end there was only time for a quick goodbye a
    and the long sleep took its hold.
    A place of honour by his favourite tree had been
    reserved and so at last the old friend was laid to rest.

    Man and companion stand together.
    Together, alone at the small grave.
    There are no prayers; there will be only a plant to mark the spot.
    ‘Tis farewell to one known only by his misheard name.
    The companion sits is silence, remembering it seems.
    The man reads a short verse, remembering like a dream….
    As it starts to rain the man moves inside, the companion follows
    but only after marking the grave
    in his own unique way…

    Farewell for now Dear Friend! Goodbye Cooking Fat!


  61. Don Swearingen

    On a gray day, I can announce
    A new arrival, though I haven’t seen her.
    Her mother said she is full of bounce,
    And was all the time that she carried her.
    I am of course, a larger guy,
    Puffed up with pride for nothing I did,
    For it was them and her, and definitely not I
    Who brought into being, my new great-grandkid.
    Her mother bore her in a foreign land,
    And I haven’t seen a picture,
    And I’m sure she’s calmer than I am and
    I’m working on that, with a scientific mixture.
    I welcome you, my little fawn,
    Welcome, welcome, Elizabeth Dawn.