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


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