November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

Today’s prompt is to write a poem that I’m calling the “Been Everywhere” poem. If you’re doing locations, it would be a poem that gives a shout out to all the places you’ve been. This can be made metaphorical, though.


For instance, if you’re writing poems about cancer, you could write a poem about cancer cells that have traveled through different parts of the body. If you’re writing cooking poems, you could write from the perspective of a cook who talks about all the meals he or she has cooked. Definitely keep doing what you’ve been doing and get creative with it and bend the rules to your theme.


Here’s my attempt for the day:




Around midnight, he entered the little pub and set down a bag of wood stakes
before ordering a shot of whiskey. Three other men were still hanging around,
and they all shot nervous glances in the stranger’s direction. Everyone in town
had heard the stories, had heard the screams and howls in the night. Everyone
knew and talked about it, but they talked about it in the same way they talked
of the afterlife—something everyone believes in and fears but impossible to
imagine. Yet, he entered the pub with wood stakes. So one of the men asked,
“Are you a hunter?” “I am.” And the pub again filled with a fog of silence
before the second man asked, “Have you ever killed a vampire?” “I have.”
Then, the third man asked, “Where?” The stranger took a drink of whiskey
and looked up at all three men, who quickly looked down at their shoestrings.

“I’ve killed werewolves in Istanbul, zombies in Pittsburgh, and witches
in Vancouver. I’ve hunted vampires in Louisiana, warlocks in Greenland,

and ghosts in Taiwan. There is little I have hunted; there is little I haven’t

killed. And that includes people who ask too many questions about what I do
and how I do it.” Then, the stranger downed the rest of his drink,

placed some money on the counter, and walked outside and into the night.

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78 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

  1. Juanita Snyder

    Been Everywhere
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Well I’ve never seen the Portland Rose Parade up close,
    but I’ve ridden the carousel at the Oregon State Fair.
    I’ve yet to ride the elevator at the Space Needle in Seattle, but
    I rode one down the side of a bluff just to see the world’s largest sea cave.
    Have yet to step inside the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot
    but I’ve toured Yaquina, the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast .

    Have yet to walk on Vancouver’s wild side,
    or hit Puyallup’s sea of bright kitschy shops,
    find time to rock climb Mt. Rainier, ski Mt Bachelor,
    but I’ve scaled the world’s longest bridge in Astoria
    braved the Bridge of Gods on the Columbia River Gorge,
    and whale-watch off Haystack Rock out on Nestucca Bay.

    Well I’ve never petted buffalo in Yellowstone
    but been chased by bears belowYosemite,
    never hunted rattlers at Craters of the Moon in SE Idaho
    but a squirrel did steal my sandwich once at Trees of Mystery.
    Had Roosevelt Elk pose for me among Madrone and Douglas Fir,
    and a Rhino charge my Subaru in the fields of Wildlife Safari.

    Never been to see the brachen-ferns at Multnomah Falls,
    or gather maidenhairs at Eastern Oregon’s Tumalo Falls,
    but took a tumble once down California’s Burney Falls.
    Never been to Valley of Rain Forest Giants in Quinault
    but I’ve camped among the Redwoods in northern California,
    even hugged a 500-year-old Sitka near Cape Perpetua.

    Never seen snow geese & swans on the Snohomish River
    but nearly tripped over snowy plover out on Bastendorf.
    Never backpacked among Grizzly’s on the Olympic Penninsula
    but I did tickle shark bellies at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
    Never seen Pelicans light off McNary National Wildlife Refuge
    but saw Blue Herons dance at South Slough National Estuary.

    I’ve yet to see the blue glacial ice of Mt. Shuksan
    or play on 3500 ft of ice covering Puget Sound,
    but went snowmobiling out on Crater Lake once or twice
    crossed the frozen water inside a sleeping volcano.
    And I’ve yet to brave the Shoshone Ice Caves in Idahi
    but I’ve photographed stalagmites at both Shasta & the Oregon Caves.
    Read about the 9000-year-old skeleton of Kennewick Man
    but never seen ‘em, though I have watched the sun
    come up over the John Day Fossil Beds.
    And I’ve yet to swing by Dinosaur Park in Granger but
    I did kiss a boy in front of good ‘ol T-Rex outside the
    Prehistoric Gardens in sunny Port Orford.

    I’ve never panned for gold anywheres along the Cascades
    and I’ve never dug for opals in Spencer Idaho,
    but I’ve combed for shells and driftwood on Nye Beach & Horsfall
    and spent some time sandrailing out on the Oregon Dunes.
    Someday I hope to explore the Lava Tubes & Flows in Washington
    and compare ‘em to central Oregon’s beds & cinder cones.

    Never been to Stonehenge State Park on Hwy 14 but I’ve
    seen 2,000-year-old tree stumps at low tide on Neskowin Beach,
    when earthquakes dropped the ghost forest 6 feet into the Pacific.
    Never been to Spokane, home of the World’s Fair in ‘74 but I’ve
    walked the perimeters of Fort Stevens, home of the only
    American soil ever fired upon by any enemy during WW II.

    Never gone mule deer hunting with my father in the Steens
    but I have picked roadside blackberries in Oregon & California,
    and I’ve never been to the fine vineyards at Yakima
    but did get kicked out of Enchanted Forest once for cussing,
    and when my father died, did a road trip back to Klamath Falls
    to both reconnect and try to face head on the pain.

    Turned down the chance to tour the Boeing plant in Everett once
    but did stand inside the Spruce Goose at Evergreen Aviation Museum.
    Have yet to stand on deck and stargaze out of Pine Mtn. Observatory
    but did manage to knock over a display at OMSI as a kid.
    And I’ve stood on the very hangar up in Tillamook where
    blimps were once manufactured during the second world war.

    Wasn’t there in 1980 when Mt. St. Helens puckered up and blew,
    but drove to Nampa once to tussle with family if that counts.
    Would have rather dodged Security at the Britt Music Festival
    or fight 185 mph winds out on the bluffs of Cape Blanco,
    ride a mule-train down the throat of Hell’s Canyon or straddle
    a 2000-lb bull fresh out the chute at the Pendleton Roundup.

    Came this close to scoring tickets for the Jazz Festival at Mt Hood,
    and just missed the deadline at the Oregon Bach Music Festival,
    but saw Kitaro’s Moog perform at the Hult Center in Eugene
    and caught McBeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,
    missed out on jousting at the Shrewbury Renaissance Fair,
    but caught the Christmas light display at Shore Acres near Coos Bay.

    I’ve never sat in on a Beaver or Duck’s game
    but then again not that much into College ball,
    would rather life-raft down the Snake or Rogue,
    body-surf through the Devil’s Punch Bowl near Newport,
    or cover eardrums amidst a bray-fest in a covered metal barn
    at Roseburg’s Oregon Mr. Long-Ear show!

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Terri Vega

    Underground where most never
    venture I raised myself
    up and out into the world

    I pulled my milky stalk high
    branched out my yellow florets
    and waited
    until the time was right

    As the winds came I changed
    willing myself to become
    something more than I was before
    I floated off into a new world

    I saw the earth below me and
    watched the birds feed on my
    brothers. But I, I have been everywhere
    and that done
    my return to the underworld
    is full circle.

  3. Kate Berne Miller

    Where I’ve Been

    I’ve been to the edge of madness
    more than once—the place where
    the world telescopes in around me,
    words slow to molasses in my mouth,
    where I hear every single heartbeat,
    can’t stop hearing every heartbeat,
    where I am askew and I can’t escape
    the wrongness of myself, where pain
    blossoms like night flowers, fragrance
    like corpses, where I understand those
    who chose to move sideways, and I
    forgive them all.

    I’ve been back to first loss, old grief,
    visited and revisited -abandonment,
    missing a woman without a name,
    yearning for my own blood, first story
    replayed-familiar song, same melody
    with a new riff, the brother who lies,
    lovers who leave, the father who dies,
    first betrayal in the body’s long slow
    decline, trust is transformed when solid
    ground turns fluid, animal hide rippling
    underfoot, earthquakes, tornadoes,
    tsunamis, everything changes.

    I’ve been to the top of the mountain,
    witnesses the way light bleeds back
    into sky-welcome like breath after
    absence, I’ve climbed that high again
    in ecstatic conversation and prayer,
    understood what holy is for me, shared
    momentary flashes of insight so brilliant
    only an afterimage can be retained. I lived
    on that mountain for four days and four
    nights, heard owls laughing, smelled fear
    in the wildfire’s smoke, I have held you
    in my arms as you wept, my chest cracking
    wide open as the wind.

    Kate Berne Miller

  4. PSC in CT

    Still no time to read . . . still way past my bedtime, but putting this in before I go to bed. By tomorrow morning I’ll be behind again, but this will catch me up for now, so I can get to sleep. :-)

    I’ve Been Everywhere

    I’ve traveled some
    I’ve seen the world
    Been down this road before
    I’ve been around the block
    About a dozen times – or more

    Once or twice I’ve seen Cloud Nine
    And walked a mile in shoes – not mine
    I’ve roamed the wrong side of the track
    I’ve also been to hell and back

    I’ve jumped through hoops
    I’ve swum with sharks
    I’ve sailed all seven seas
    At times I swear I couldn’t see
    The forest for the trees

    Been under the weather
    And out of the loop
    Stuck up Shit Creek –
    Without paddle or scoop

    I’ve been in some tight spots –
    Sometimes it’s been said
    That I’m off of my rocker
    And out of my head

    But, still I’ll keep searching
    Until I find me –
    Not the person I am
    But the one I could be

  5. A.C. Leming

    Wikipedia rocks! And now for the poem that actually addresses the prompt, two days late and very rough.

    Voyager II

    Every 176 years
    these planets align:
    Jupiter, Saturn,
    Uranus, Neptune
    and poor dwarf
    Pluto, making a
    space probe’s job
    easier – just fly by on
    a planetary grand tour
    designed to increase
    the knowledge of those
    stuck back on Earth,
    sqabbling over
    budgetary woes,
    cancelling missions
    to observe the outer
    planets, whose orbits
    align once every 176 years.

  6. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    Somewhere in the World

    Somewhere in the world
    It is always winter
    Always white, with always snow
    Somewhere on Gaia
    The ice builds and freezes
    The rain pelts and hail shatters
    The thunderclouds rumble
    And people take cover
    They hide and whimper
    At the cold
    The icy world
    Shards piericing even warmest of clothes
    Despite Gaia’s efforts
    In turning the seasons
    Somewhere in the world
    It is always winter
    Where it’s always cold
    And no life stirs
    And winter doesn’t care
    As it turn its icy gaze
    From the death
    That it brings
    Somewhere on Gaia
    There is always
    Who brings destruction
    Who turns away
    Who’s heart
    Is frozen
    And made of snow

  7. Margaret

    Traveling Man’s Blues

    It used to be that all you’d need to travel round the states
    was just a couple of buck and nerve to tempt the fates
    by sticking out your thumb. Then you could get to anyplace.

    I hitchhiked up to ski country and there I learned to ski.
    I found a real nice place to stay, at least it seemed to be,
    but after just a month or three they all got tired of me.

    I moved on to Connecticut to swim in Candlewood Lake.
    I camped out in the summer. In the fall I tried to break
    into a cozy cabin. Boy, was that a big mistake!

    They threw me in the slammer for a year or two or three.
    That was the end of traveling for quite some time for me,
    but I’ll be out of here real soon. And then, to where? We’ll see.

  8. Monica Martin

    I’ve built all kinds of homes
    all across this country-
    from flats in Philly
    to Tudors in Tulsa.
    I’ve built ranches in Raleigh
    and bungalows in Boston.
    Each one different, unique,
    but I remember them all.

  9. Vanessa O'Dwyer


    My name is Indifference
    And I travel ‘round.
    I’ve traveled the
    World so much!

    I lived in the South
    When the black man
    Was beaten and treated
    Worse than an animal
    But I saw no man beaten!

    I was just outside the gates
    Of Auschwitz as the ashes of men
    Of women and children
    Rained down like snow.
    But they were so inferior!

    I was there as young girls
    Were made wives
    And forced upon
    By their elders
    As their faith dictates!

    I was there for certain
    As a young girl was sold
    So that another may
    Please himself with her.
    She was such a burden!

    I was there in Zimbabwe
    When some were threatened
    And not allowed to vote
    Ah yes, I was there
    But when does it count, anyway?

    I have been there, but you’ll not find me
    I can read, but I know nothing
    I watch the news, but am not involved
    I watch videos, and comment freely
    I socially network, but sit on my ass

    Yes, I’ve been around
    The world you can see
    And that world knows me as

    Vanessa O’Dwyer

  10. S.E.Ingraham

    Earl – I loved "The Things I’ve Seen" – a wonderful autobiography in a few well-chosen lines of poetry; thanks for sharing this glimpse of your travels through life, quite the amazing journey! Sharon I

  11. Bruce Niedt

    This is "just for fun" because I wrote it a while ago, but it seems to fit today’s theme perfectly. I’ll post a new one later.

    Poe Boy Blues
    by Bruce W Niedt

    Well, I woke up this mornin’,
    there was a raven in my bed.
    I woke up this mornin’,
    there was a raven in my bed.
    If I didn’t know better,
    I’d swear that I was dead.

    When I went downstairs,
    I heard a thumpin’ under the floor.
    Yeah, when I went downstairs,
    I swear I heard thumpin’ in the floor.
    It sounded like a beatin’ heart,
    so I ran right out the door.

    I’m pinin’ for my Annie,
    I’m pinin’ for Annabelle Lee,
    Yeah, I’m pinin’ for little Annie,
    and pinin’ for sweet Annabelle Lee.
    I’m a morbid Victorian lover,
    wallowin’ in my misery.

    Well, I got them Poe Boy Blues,
    my face’s a perpetual frown,
    Yes, I got the Poe Boy Blues,
    my face’s a perpetual frown.
    I ain’t felt so sad and lonely
    since that Usher house fell down.

    If the booze and drugs don’t get me,
    It’ll be a broken heart for sure.
    Yeah, if them booze and drugs don’t get me,
    That ol’ broken heart will for sure.
    I’m a Poe boy, baby,
    and I’ll be happy Nevermore.

  12. Iain D. Kemp

    Just wanted to add a couple of comments to those that posted after I went to bed…

    Sharon & SaraV excellent

    Connie superb as ever

    My poem of the day came from S Scott Whitaker – genius. Well done!

    And I see the new prompt is up already… on we go…


  13. Taylor Graham


    I’ve followed my dog up Thunder Mountain, and wandered
    the Wonderland of Rocks, calling a stranger’s name.
    At the Roxford city dump, I waded through castoff
    mattresses and spoiled milk, looking for a little girl
    called Ebony, but she was sleeping at the bottom of a pool
    on the other side of town. I’ve picked my way through
    green-creeper of Mt. Zion, and manzanita at the Geysers.
    I know Bradley Forest in the dark. On American Divide
    my dog led me to an open mine-shaft and a small boy
    huddled in Easter-sunrise chill. In Yosemite I stood
    at the dropoff where a hiker took the short way home.
    My dog showed me the chaplain who met his Maker
    under cathedral pines of the Cosumnes. And here we are below a hogback on an unnamed creek that joins the Middle
    Fork somewhere out of sight. I’m looking up through
    conifers and fog, trying to get my bearings. Looking
    for the boy named Josh.

  14. Tyger

    Swing States

    Of course, you had Chicago!
    and New York
    graciously presented by Hillary
    California was a given
    with its freethinkers and non-conformists
    as were other traditional Blues
    But you also snatched up Florida
    and we watched Ohio
    turn blue-blooded and noble
    Indiana and North Carolina
    shuffled over to cool navy
    Yet, to my shame
    although in the deep South Hispanics
    rallied to your side
    Texas still burns crimson

  15. Shann Palmer


    Sometimes I put all my efforts
    into the wrong people, waiting
    for some change to bring me out
    from under this dissatisfaction.

    Write me a love song to9 carry,
    smooth as your honeyed words
    when I feel every lover’s hand
    I ever let slip away from mine.

    I’ll map the lines on my palm
    with my fingertip, see how far
    I get before I’m in the wilderness.

    Point me in a different direction,
    I’ll walk across Egypt alone before
    anyone notices I’ve slipped away.

  16. linda

    Rodney, Thank you SO much. For just one person here to think I am talented floors me because I have only been doing this since February and my with my hectic schedule every piece I write is a struggle to complete.

    I am not sure which poem you are referring to but am assuming your mean the second of the three I posted todaY. Lot of anger in that one, I know, but I guess it got its point across.

    I have only about 10 of the 20 some prompts completed but will work into December if I have to to finish them all. Wish the words flowed as easily for me as they do for you. Every day you post good stuff. And I love the line "where his knee-highs are swishing", reminds me of my fishing with my father.

    Thanks again. You made my day :-)


  17. S.E.Ingraham

    Absolute Pathology

    For so long it was easy
    Routine-like, by rote
    The pathways were clear
    Like canals, and I followed
    The same ones over and over
    Going in and out of the gates
    Enjoying the thrill of the up-
    Take whenever it occurred
    Taking for granted it
    Would always be thus
    Until one day, a gate jammed
    There was a pile-up and
    no up-take took place;
    The smell of burnt synapses
    Crispy, like black toast,
    Filled the area where I was
    I admit it, I panicked
    Tried to skitter down
    Another pathway
    Was met by a flood of chemicals
    Acrid, bitter, toxic-smelling chemicals
    Chemicals unfamiliar to me
    Then, a blessed darkness
    Fell over us all
    And things were never
    Quite the same
    Since then

    Recalling the first awakening
    In the rude web of confusion
    Still makes me feel an ache
    Of alien notions
    I’d rather not remember,
    Things I’d rather not know
    But at least I survive
    There are many of my ilk
    Who no longer exist
    Having been annihilated
    By poisons artificially introduced
    To try and right the chemistry
    Within, and re-open the gates
    Usually, to no avail
    Still – their demise was kinder, gentler
    Than that of those who
    Were sent to their deaths
    By means of the electrical
    Stimulus; also designed to
    Re-adjust the chemistry
    Convince the gates to go
    Back to opening and closing
    Normally – allowing the up-take
    To occur with its original
    Regularity, putting everything
    Back to rights – a fool’s game
    But still, they can’t just
    Let the person shut down completely now
    Can they? Of course not –
    And there are brief periods of lucidity
    Purchased with experimentation,
    Fate, luck or serendipity
    That make it all seem worthwhile.

  18. Bruce Niedt

    World Music

    “I’ve been everywhere, man,”
    the Man in Black sang,
    and I’m sure he had.
    I’ve been here and there,
    but I can’t string together
    destinations like he could,
    unless you count the music.

    When it draws me in,
    I follow his dusty road a while,
    then take a sharp left turn
    to places even he didn’t list
    and follow the sound of bagpipes,
    a didgeridoo, sitar or kalimba.
    I’m in another country,
    overlooking highlands
    or the outback,
    Sahara or Ganges.

    There are no wheels
    or wings involved –
    the only thing turning
    is the CD in my player.
    And when the voices
    join the instruments –
    In Gaelic or Arabic,
    Hindi or Swahili,
    I know they’re getting up
    to dance, so I get up too,
    and though I don’t understand
    a word they’re saying,
    I sing right along.

  19. Earl Parsons

    So busy today. Sorry so late. Sorry so long. Here’s Day 23 for SS:

    The Things I’ve Seen

    You’ve sure been around
    You’ve sure seen a lot
    Some you remember
    And some you forgot
    But I’ve seen it all
    And stored it away
    So here are a few
    Reminders, if I may

    For nineteen short years
    Maine was your home
    Not much for travel
    Little did you roam
    Then you graduated
    With no good employment
    You saw the recruiter
    For Air Force deployment

    You flew off to Texas
    Six weeks of basic training
    Christmas and New Years
    Okinawa was waiting
    Eighteen long months on a
    West Pacific island
    Thought you were ready
    For time on the mainland

    So they flew you away
    To Missouri, USA
    Whiteman was the place
    Two years for to stay
    What great fun you had
    In this po-dunk place
    But soon it was over
    Ramstein was your base

    You loved your time
    In West Germany
    The people and places
    Were great as could be
    You traveled a lot
    The food was the best
    But the very best fun
    Was the season of fests

    Then came your orders
    You got your C.O.T.
    Consecutive overseas tour
    Japan you would see
    But between assignments
    You crossed the USA
    From Maine to California
    In just 35 days

    You stopped in Alaska
    What a beautiful state
    Then on to the Far East
    Just a few hours late
    Before your plane landed
    Out the window right side
    Majestic Mt. Fuji
    You’d finally arrived

    Five years you would stay
    Made rank and got wed
    Two beautiful children
    You were moving ahead
    Then came down the news
    Your job was topped out
    No rank if you stayed
    Your field was in doubt

    Your new job came up
    An assignment you got
    Mississippi for training
    Then move on to Scott
    Illinois you new home
    For seven long years
    Your family split up
    Your children in tears

    But before you moved on
    A new love you met
    Her child and your baby
    Better, it couldn’t get
    Until orders came down
    A gift from above
    Moving to Hawaii
    And the children you love

    30 days in a hotel
    Time to move on base
    The ex give the news
    Take the kids to your place
    God answered a prayer
    Kids were coming back
    You drove to her house
    And helped them all pack

    So Hawaii turned out
    The best assignment ever
    It was also your last
    Your career was near over
    But where would you go
    How about Rapid City
    A one-year mistake
    That place was a pity

    So on with the family
    The Deep South was calling
    A little town called Crestview
    And a U-Haul for hauling
    Your roots are not planted
    You’re part of the town
    You know all the neighbors
    And your way around

    You’ve found a great church
    Got right with the Lord
    He’s keeping you busy
    Nice to be on His board
    You’re taking your travels
    Your experiences, too
    Using them for the Lord
    What more could you do

  20. SaraV

    What was

    A feather floated
    In the air
    After the massacre
    When the wild Husky
    In full on wolfish glee
    Had ripped every chicken
    Into niblets
    My vision blurred with red rage
    I wanted a gun
    13 chickens lay twitching
    on the lawn
    My babies, my pets
    My happy, clucky good mornings
    All gone
    Fifteen years later
    A feather floats on the water
    A grey goose calls out
    Good morning
    When I open the door
    The familiar swell of joy
    Floods my heart
    Taking me back to my flock
    That greeted me each day
    Again my feathered friends
    Follow me to their bowls
    And greedily dive into their
    And later they roost in the shade
    On the grass where the chickens
    Scratched and played
    Where the feather floated
    Above the bloodshed
    That fed
    The soil and
    The grass that the geese gobble

  21. Connie

    This kind of takes off from the confession prompt.

    Some Day

    I was raised in Pennsylvania
    Had no desire to stay too close
    I swam and rowed in Delaware
    But never toppled dominos

    Met my husband in Wyoming
    In Nebraska Loren proposed
    We honeymooned in New England
    But never toppled dominoes

    Had two kids in Colorado
    And hot-air ballooned in Montrose
    I down-hill skied at Steamboat Springs
    But never toppled dominoes

    Small planed and rafted in Utah
    Climbed at Vedauwoo as I chose
    Hiked the beautiful Grand Canyon
    But never toppled dominoes

    Painted murals in Lafayette
    Writers’ conferences coast to coast
    Sang in most of the southern states
    But never toppled dominoes

    Toured the Needle in Seattle
    And saw Old Faithful, “Thar she blows”
    I stood in awe at Mt. Rushmore
    But never toppled dominoes

    Boogie boarded in New Jersey
    And I stood at Liberty’s toes
    Boated canals in Chicago
    But never toppled dominoes

    Saw the seals in California
    Watched The Price is Right tape their show
    Biked and shopped in Santa Barbara
    But never toppled Dominoes

    I traveled to forty-six states
    And I only have four to go
    I like to see and do new things
    Some day I’ll topple dominos

  22. patti williams

    Linda – I’m glad you jumped in! I miss our writing group too and look forward to picking up where we left off after the holidays. And I’m really not a nice person during Christmas so trust me on this one! Whacked for sure!

    Iain – loved the poems! Both of them …

    Everyone, all sing together! – "I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere man" Contagious … been singing the song all day …

  23. Karen H. Phillips

    The Tour
    The sailboats bob in the harbor at Trouville,
    and farther on, the beach boasts blues of every hue.
    The River Seine at Montes contrasts its peacefulness
    with the factory around the riverbend.
    Cranes in the marsh in an unknown part of France
    stretch beneath the moonrise as the sun sets.
    Near a morning meadow in the Bourbonnaise
    a woman launders in the river, with other folk nearby.
    Another–or the same–silent French river flanks a bluff.
    An isolated rock dominates the seashore.

    An angry wave crashes a beach, another scene in France.
    The tide rises at Pourville, whitecaps dancing.
    The setting sun backlights and silhouettes French field workers.
    The Islets at Port-Villez whirl in mauve, chartreuse, turquoise.
    The symmetry of the Doge’s Palace in Venice juxtaposes with the
    wild yellow glint of sunlight off the canal.
    The cathedral at Vernon stands like a sentry.
    At Moret a flood hints mild threats to the red-roofed houses.
    A French apple tree blooms, an odd gray-mauvey color.
    The vineyards and gardens at Cagnes envelop the reader lady.

    At Bellport, Long Island, bathers scatter in the water.
    Three Gibson Girls sit primly on an American hillside.
    Poppies—red, pink, peach, white—bloom on the Isle of Shoals.
    A lone man in a wagon drives a single horse up
    a grass-overgrown road.
    The Willimantic Thread Factory stands symmetrical, white,
    and window-lined.
    Children rollerskate with abandon in a city.
    A lighthouse towers stark-white, perhaps in New England.
    In Central Park, the early spring manifests in baby-leafed trees.
    A woman dressed in red and wearing a yellow-cream straw hat
    reads beside the water at La Roche-Guyon.

    The farmer harvests hay at La Marcellarie.
    Muted gray-greens dominate the scene at a French homestead.
    A tug chugs into the harbor at Honfleur.
    An afternoon passes in the shadows of straight trees at the river at Graz.
    Light plays on the stream at Val d’Aosta.

    My whirlwind tour takes my breath,
    yet leaves me wanting more.
    In one morning, I was whisked away to France
    and swept back to America to new sights there.
    In the space of a few hours,
    I traveled and became wiser and
    satieted with beauty.

  24. Judy Roney

    The Search

    We moved to St. Petersburg, the Poconos, Plant City,
    Brandon, and then to a mountain in Maggie Valley.

    We searched in Asheville, Waynesville, Franklin
    and Bryson City, Tampa, Brandon, Seffner, Tennesee
    and Texas.

    We moved to a condo, an apartment, a home with land,
    two different mountain ranges, and then to the ocean.

    We went to Italy, tried to retrace our steps when we
    were there with you, we walked through Rome and
    Venice, to the glacier we skied on in the alps.

    We walked the streets of New York to just be in the
    same places you once walked, ate at the places we ate
    saw the same museums and took the same tours.

    We went to Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Portland,
    Savannah, Georgia, North Carolina, on my mom’s
    porch in South Carolina, at my brother’s homes in
    Nashville, Kissimmee, Winter Haven, Orlando, Prosperity,
    to our families in Texas, in Garland, Richardson, Corinth,
    and we find ourselves still searching for you.

  25. S Scott Whitaker


    Came out of California with a knife and a car
    And scar across my heart so wide it would take years
    Before I could say more than a few words to lovers.
    Went on through Ohio and stayed because I had nothing
    And decided to be a layabout for a while.
    Then table waiting in Kentucky, floor washing in Virginia
    And then tomato picking before the farmer
    Offered me a job at his stand. He wanted sex, too
    And I was so thick by then I let him have his bidding
    With my body. Then onto Philly and Boston.
    Half way through the fall I decided New England
    Was too much and ended up here in Florida.
    I figured you can’t sweat to death, right?
    By January I had transformed into my mother
    Only thing missing was the truck driver
    In the kitchen, the gin, the jerky way of my wrist
    From all the speed and coke. The only way out
    Of the portal is for me to stop its construction.
    I vowed then that to have children was forbidden.
    That the only way to save myself from myself
    Was death at the end of a long life of loneliness,
    That or maybe the church. My mother would cry
    With tears at that one. Next winter it’s Seattle
    I got some friends out there; they got things going on,
    And I like the rain, especially when I’m driving
    And the radio reels in those voices and it’s like
    They’re speaking only to me. Like someone has reached down
    And touched you. That kind of love you can’t beat, no way.

  26. Rodney C. Walmer

    Linda, you are truly talented. But, this one today, was beyond your usual work. Very very meaningful, and thought provoking poem. I usually have time to read, but none to write comments, this time I had to comment.


  27. Rodney C. Walmer

    The Stranger

    Born in outer space
    there really was no place
    he could call home
    often spending time
    where he was unknown

    There he could find
    peace of mind
    he never stayed
    in one place to long

    He often played
    the same old cowboy song
    from a time long gone

    He would frequent the local bar
    have a drink
    then move on
    after all it helped him think
    then he was gone

    Where did he go
    very few know
    some say though
    he went from here to there
    then on to everywhere

    He traveled in a beat up ship
    it looked bad, but it had zip
    always had his dog along
    the one named blip

    He was seen on Mars
    in some of the seedier bars
    then an hour later on Pluto
    they say he drank a Volcano
    but, that’s just talk
    we all know, how talk goes

    Only one man knows
    where the stranger goes
    when he arrives
    and how he survives
    That man won’t talk
    but, it’s said
    the stranger went outside the galaxy
    just to go for a walk
    and see what he could see

    They say he’s mean
    at least at times
    from what I’ve seen
    he’s just fine

    No one knows how he makes a living
    some say mining
    others say robbing and giving
    I’d guess both are worth combining
    to a man, if what he does is worth forgiving. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer,. November 23, 2008, location poem.

  28. Rodney C. Walmer

    Gone Fishing

    He was a man who liked to fish
    given his dying wish
    he would spend his last moments
    with a pole in hand

    On the other hand
    he was not a hard man to understand
    easily content,
    fishing off some pier
    a boat, a lake, or just about anywhere

    By his sixtieth birthday
    it was his intent
    to fish from here to there
    so, he started in a California bay
    went through the Sacramento River
    where some say
    he fell in
    when he hooked just a little too big for him

    From there, he went upstate
    he hit the Arroyo Seco River
    then through Salinas he caught a steelhead trout
    No debate, this one was worth bragging about
    hitting every creek and river along the 101 highway
    finally with the Klamath River
    he called it a day

    The very next morning
    he hopped a plane
    though the weather was storming
    his determination remained

    He eventually fished Delaware from Choptank to Cedar Creek
    all of which took him no more then a week
    then on to Georgia state
    funny, he hand no organization
    just decided where he wanted to be
    then he could not wait
    just got on the plane
    leaving behind nothing but a memory

    Working his way to the East Coast
    he found a woman who won his heart
    in her, he became so engrossed
    that with her, he could not part

    He never did finish his plan
    instead he married, built a home
    he would say
    you have to take happiness where you can

    He bought a piece of land
    with a river running through it
    though some may not understand
    he just had to do it

    So, even to this day
    if you knock on his door
    his wife will only say
    He’s gone, be back at four

    Where is he you might ask
    where his knee – highs are swishing
    completing his task
    he does not have to think about what if
    he’s got everything upon which he’s been wishing
    you see, he’s gone fishing. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer November 23, 2008, I hope this fits

  29. linda

    Almost my shortest this month but maybe I can expand it later when the muse returns.

    I’ve travelled far, travelled wide,
    some times life took me for a ride,
    but I’ve travelled far and travelled wide
    to discover the person I am inside.


  30. linda

    Okay, also the shorter thing I’ve written. Maybe I can expand it later, but it is a start.

    I’ve travelled far,travelled wide,
    Life’s some times taken me for a ride
    but I’ve travelled far and travelled wide,
    To find the person I am inside.


  31. Iris Deurmyer

    The blue of Diamond lake in Oregon
    Reminds me of the Mediterranean at Tel Aviv.
    The Red River is defintely brown,
    And the Snake River is surely crooked.
    The Dead Sea was somewhat like the Salt Lakes
    Not very appealing to me except to say I have been there.
    The Jordan River is probably the most intriging
    Because of its Biblical history.
    The Mississippi was the first word I remember learning to spell aloud
    And its size deserves such a moniker.
    Flying into Rome made the Tiber appear so small
    The Ethiopian Rivers I cannot pronounce
    And were the first rivers I viewed but did not touch.
    There is something about a river or an ocean
    That invites one to walk in or at least dangle
    Ones fingers and toes in is aluring face.
    So many rivers, lakes, and seas left to cross
    I hope I have time to explore the Nile someday.

  32. Earl Parsons

    I’m working on the SS poem, but it will have to wait until after evening church. Meanwhile:

    Rachel – They are both great.

    Penny – I couldn’t find your warning under Day 14. I’m not sure what you meant by your comment yesterday. Please, explain before my little brain blows up.

  33. Earl Parsons

    Day 23 for LL&L:

    By Your Side

    The things I’ve seen through your eyes
    The places you’ve been
    The things you’ve done
    You’ve been around
    You’ve lived the life
    You should write a book
    Or should you maybe
    Keep some of your ventures
    To yourself
    Lest your kids find out
    That you’re not a saint
    But then, who is now-a-days

    Since we’re on this subject
    May I pose a question
    About your past actions

    Did you know I was watching

    If you’d have known I was by your side
    Would you have darkened the doors
    Of the bars and clubs and seedy places
    You roamed as a military man

    If you knew I was right there
    Would you have watched those movies
    Or told those jokes
    Or let others make fun of Me
    Even chuckling at their jest

    If you hadn’t forgotten that
    I was standing right next to you
    You might have acted differently
    All those years

    I’ve seen everything your eyes have seen
    I’ve heard everything your ears have heard
    I know every word you have spoken
    Because I’ve been everywhere you’ve been

    Of course
    You have asked Me for forgiveness
    And I have wiped your sins away
    And you now know that
    I am right here
    Beside you
    And taking notice
    Of My child

  34. A.C. Leming

    This is almost a repeat of yesterday’s prompt, speaking to the confessional poem "Adrift." I couldn’t help myself…I’ll try to write another one for today’s prompt later.

    The Derelict

    We enter the motionless ship,
    stumbled across on our run,
    alarms rang loud at our ten
    thousand mile near miss. No
    response from their hull, gleaming
    dully as our lights play along it’s surface.

    We enter the silent ship, shrouded
    in hazard gear. It’s mystery
    makes us nervous as we breach
    the seals. We wonder what killed
    this craft, and if it will reach across
    to infect our tiny island floating in space.

    We enter the inert ship, and find
    it’s human cargo, far too late
    to help. The dead do not seem
    peaceful. Eyes still stare, as if
    they look for the answer for which we,
    too, search. Why did they die out here?

  35. Mary K

    Wonderful poem, Peggy G.

    Victoria, I know you are traveling, and I will definitely look for your poems when you are somewhere you can share them.

    Judy Roney, I keep looking for your work.

    My poem of today, the shortest I have written during the month:

    I’ve Been Everywhere

    I’ve been everywhere, so many places in the world,
    too numerous to mention, all of them interesting.
    but in the end what matters most is the kind of
    person I was, what I did with my life, Places visited
    in the past and present are icing on the cake.

  36. Cheryl Chambers

    Dull Ache

    Neal’s body traveled up and down the east
    coast, and one time west. His family took
    him, mute and blindfolded, on numerous tours
    of duty through battlefields that once had been.
    He’s seen the area of American expansion but
    this has done nothing for Neal, confined within
    his own psyche for thirty years and more.
    He wonders if the dull ache is rat’s claws.
    He wonders if the dull ache is lost ghosts.
    He wonders if the dull ache is a textbook thrown.
    He wonders if the dull ache is his own fault,
    his selfish immersion within what might not interest
    anyone at all but him. In the end, when he lays
    dying, who will be there to comfort him?
    That same dull ache pounding, knocking,
    waiting to be let in.

  37. satia

    Yesterday I reached 50020 with my nano. Today I would celebrate but I’m feeling so sick sick sick. Not fun.

    My theme: Vertigo


    He hands me a brochure
    For a tour of Italy,
    Buys a tent for the next time we go hiking
    Tells me all the things we will do
    When I’m better.
    Someday we’ll take the dogs to Alaska
    And he’ll show me the Midwest’s infinite sky
    Without worrying about anything.
    But first we’ll do things closer to home
    Like going to the Halloween party
    We used to favor every year
    Like dancing until dawn
    Like finally taking our engagement
    To it’s logical conclusion.
    I adjust my glasses to read the fine print
    His visions always been better than mine.

  38. linda

    Carol, that is a very good question. On Day 1 Robert said we could send our material to him at the end of the month. But being that most of these things are rough drafts, and we would never think of sending unpolished work to a magazine or publishers, it only seems fair that he allow time for revisions. ROBERT, are you reading this? If so, what’s the scoop?


  39. linda

    Okay, folks, one small step closer to getting caught up.

    Day 21: confessional prompt and Day 4: soapbox


    I don’t want to rule the world
    Could never fathom being head of state

    I don’t want to rule the world
    Don’t want my actions to determine other’s fate

    I don’t want to rule the world
    Not inclined to amend the Constitution

    I don’t want to rule the world
    Don’t wish to face problems of world-wide pollution

    I don’T want to rule the world
    No desire to police the countries round the globe

    I don’t want to rule the world
    Don’t care ’bout NASA, the moon, or a space probe

    I don’t want to rule the world
    No aspirations to oversee national security

    I don’t want to rule the world
    Don’t want to rely on the secret service to protect me

    I don’t want to rule the world
    But there is one thing I shall admit:
    I don’t want to rule the world
    Just my little corner of it.

    (Considered changing the repetition to Don’T want to rule America or Don’t want to be a world leader. Any ideas which of the three is better???)


    You scheme and plot,
    you lurk around
    searching for your
    next victim.
    You hide and wait,
    building inside,
    like a feisty
    chihuahua waiting
    for the mailman
    to arrive.
    You’ve got both the
    bark and the bite
    as you sink your
    teeth into the
    flesh of another,
    getting your kicks
    for a piece of ass,
    a moment of
    the thrill of
    power as you
    smell the scent
    of fear.
    You think
    you’re hot shit,
    stealing the
    innocence and
    security of an
    unsuspecting soul,
    but you’re just
    low and dirty,
    like dogshit
    beneath a shoe.

    Hope that posting doesn’t offend anyone. Just speaking my mind.


  40. Jane penland hoover


    They’re there today and yesterday
    Will be there again tomorrow
    if the source is present
    high above the world
    hanging over
    the places
    I’m remembering
    back there in the past
    where I once watched the day
    moving through my sight, traced
    upon the land, the length of shadows.

  41. Carol


    Apologfies if the answer to this is somewhere on the site and I’ve missed it but when will the deadline be for the chapbook?
    I’ve missed out a few poems and need some editing time.


  42. linda

    Rachel, both poems are good but like the second more.

    Iain, that is a damn good poem today. Bravo!

    Michelle and Lori, nice job.

    Patti, I loved your first one, creative approach to today’s prompt. I’d never thought of that–and well written. Since you stole my beginning line :-) for Day 21 (confessional poem) and that damn translation project took forever this week, I just got around to writing it as well as Day 4 (Soap Box). Wish I could keep up. Even if I did start 10 days late, I thought I’d be able to do better than this!!! I’m constantly stuck writing quickies and still behind. Can’t wait till our writing group is back from break….even if I am unworthy, I need your advice Patti!!


  43. Rachel Green

    Blood Pie

    In the kitchen the wholesome scent
    of pastry and of baking –
    What trouble brews that Lucy meant
    to be the devil’s making?

    A portion in the cellar to
    appease the restless spirit
    another in the downstairs loo,
    left on an iron skillet

    The third piece in the garden
    the fourth piece in the hall
    the fifth is left to harden
    in the mausoleum pall.

    The sixth left for her mother
    the seventh for her dad
    the last piece for another
    if the seven drive her mad.

    For mixed in with the pastry
    and the apples and the pears
    the soul of something nasty
    from the crate below the stairs.

  44. Sara McNulty

    Brightening The World

    Look for me in circus
    costumes, yellow,
    purple, sequins to
    dazzle the eyes.

    China reveres me
    on holidays, my
    radiant red spells
    prosperity for all.

    The Emerald Isle does me
    proud in pasture, shamrock,
    and legendary sprites
    leading to pots of gold.

    We three affix special
    shades to America’s flag
    waving red, white and
    blue on a pole of silver.

    Look for me in the
    sky as soft summer
    rain ceases and brilliant
    sunlight spills across
    my spectacular arc
    known as a rainbow.

  45. Penny Henderson

    Rachel–I have edited it a bit, maybe clearer now.

    Don’t start staring
    at the details of life.
    Shove that microsope
    behind the thesaurus.
    Watch what you read.
    Irreducible complexity
    may overthrow you.
    You might wake up a believer

  46. Penny Henderson

    obviously I hope, the first line should say lived not lives

    From a Baltimore pov, it wasa bit of hoot to watch who crashed and burned this year. It’s a love/hate thing. They’re the team we love to hate. Sorry, Ringo

  47. Rachel

    neat Penny! Great!
    BTW – I’m ok with you using my poem – I am very flattered that you think it’s worth it! :) Also I checked day 14 and wasn’t sure which warning you were referring to?

  48. Penny Henderson

    day 23 I’ve been everywhere

    I have lives in the land of live dolls.
    I lingered a while as the Dancing Queen.
    I labored at faux scholarship.
    I loved and laughed, became a wife.
    I looked and acted like Lucy.
    I limped along as Juliette Lowe.
    I lurked behind my children.
    I liquidated, played enterpreneur.
    I leaped at the call of truth,
    and landed in the lap of the Father.

  49. Michelle H.

    Wow! Great poems.
    Laurie and Paul – I’ve been following your poems and they are great as always.
    Patti – thanks for the song rolling in my head. lol
    Iain – loved it as usual.
    Rachel – your poems are always wonderful – preference? no, I like them both.

  50. Rachel

    change the last line to:
    and always You are with me.

    Great work everyone.
    Paul – it sure does take strength to return to where the memories are. Nicely writte.

    Laurie and Peggy – love yours too. Good job.

    Love the enthusiasm in here. You are all inspiring!

  51. Iain D. Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,

    So, yeah! It’s like I was saying
    last night. I seen ‘em all. I seen ‘em all
    come and go. By which I mean I seen ‘em
    come to our great Yankee Stadium full of
    pomp and I seen each and every one of ’em
    go home with their tails between their legs.
    I seen the Red Sox, the Orioles, the Rays, the
    Blue Jays, the White Sox, the Indians, the Tigers,
    the Royals, the Twins, the Rangers, the Mariners,
    the Athletics and the Angels of Anaheim. And I
    seen ‘em all crash and burn. Yeah! And that’s not
    even counting inter-league games, the All-Star
    and we do not forget the World Series. My favourite
    was sticking it to those Braves. Can ya guess why?
    Oh yeah! I seen ‘em all…
    Pick me up at seven would ya

    Yours reminiscing

    Ringo the Howler

  52. Lori


    Never eat sour watermelon
    No, really. Don’t.
    Because no matter which of the
    Four points you call home
    You can end up on my doorstep.
    We’ve had clam catastrophes in Maine
    Bad beef in Texas
    Slimy shrimp in Louisiana
    Poison pineapples wherever people
    Ignore the rules and they all find
    Themselves coming to me.

  53. Iain D. Kemp

    Patti – a thank you for helpin me sort out my muse.

    Cats, Poetry & Death #26

    Everywhere you go, I am waiting

    Around the world in eighty ways
    You hop and jump and jinx
    Your way from my grasp
    But be assured I’ll be there at the last

    In Paris, France along the Champs Elysee
    I saw you slip under the wheels of a tram
    I gasped and sighed, almost cried
    When you slipped out the other side
    That’s One, I counted off.

    In Berlin you leapt across the autobahn
    And with such poise and grace
    Escaped unharmed and strolled away
    I hissed and cursed beneath my dark
    Breath. I counted Two.

    In Cairo, Egypt your sacred form
    Was fleeing from a butchers axe
    I winced and braced myself to welcome
    Your slinking self to my home
    But once more you dart from sight
    And Three is now the count.

    In London town a big red bus
    Was nearly your demise
    But luck or judgement of your
    Pounce was trickery to my eyes
    You walk away with nary a scratch
    And now my count is Four

    In New York City, in spring it was
    You spilled from a window three flights up
    A touch and a bounce on the fire escape
    And to the street you reached.
    My immortal bones groan and creak
    As Five is counted down

    In Chicago, in winters snow my
    Scythe grazed your ear I think
    But once again you speed away
    As uncaring as the night. I chased a little
    And cursed my luck again as now
    The count to Six had reached

    In Hong Kong a china-man tried to end
    Your days but once again
    You slipped away and laughed
    At my despair. I chase you still
    I’m getting closer
    Your tally counts to Seven

    In Moscow I had a taste of fur
    My breath was on your neck
    Not long now old friend
    I’m getting closer still
    Once more I’ll let you get away
    Now that the count is Eight

    Ah! But you dear scribe you are mine!
    I’ll come when e’er it suits. For you have just
    One life and the taking of it is mine
    I’ll wait for the ninth life of the cat but…
    Not for you, Sir. My name is Death


  54. Rachel

    My second attempt… any preferences on which is better?

    Where I am

    So many times I’ve been on the run
    chasing freedom, back to the sun,
    my soul glancing to the skies
    knowing You are with me.
    Its so hard to calm my mood,
    and find a place of solitude
    to escape the bonds of man
    those who demand
    and demand and
    and so I run
    and run
    and run
    knowing You are with me.
    Desperate just to find a place
    where I can cry without disgrace
    free from disappointed eyes
    I flee
    for You are with me.
    And though I long to leave the pain
    I know I must return again
    I will survive both near and far
    for where I am,
    there You are
    and for always You’ll be with me.

  55. Michelle H.


    I’ve been boating on the Rhine
    While sipping fine wine;
    I’ve gazed upon the Bodensee
    While trying to keep my lunch in me;
    I’ve walked along the Seine River
    While watching artist deliver;

    I’ve walked the Tower Bridge
    Reciting the names
    Of those who lost their heads
    While gazing at the Thames;
    I’ve searched the shores of Loch Ness
    For a creature I’m sure exists;

    I’ve watched Old Faithful come alive
    While keeping my Dachshund, Watson
    From becoming a Great Dane’s lunch
    He was sure he was just as large is my hunch;
    I took a ride around Tahoe lake
    Heard it was deep and started to shake;

    I’ve seen the Great Salt Lake
    A sip of it I did not take;
    I’ve been to Niagara Falls
    In both the summer and winter
    Barrel rides are not offered and there is a fine
    I think it’s for lunatics and I like all the parts that are mine;

    I’ve seen all the Great Lakes
    In my travels and not without mistakes;
    I’ve been swimming, surfing and watching whales
    On the great Pacific ocean trails;
    I’ve swam, sailed and walked along
    The mighty Atlantic amongst the throng;

    I’ve walked across the start of the mighty Mississippi
    Skied, swam and cruised it many times in a zippy;
    I live in the land of Ten Thousand lakes
    I wonder how many years it will take
    To explore them all
    I’d best get started, next fall.

    Oh my, that was so much fun Robert! Thank You! I didn’t realize how many waterways I have visited over the years!

  56. k weber

    you, all over

    you who carried
    these broken
    from amsterdam

    who built
    a house
    in the heat
    of costa rica

    who danced
    drunkenly at 15
    on the family
    christmas video

    who rock climbed,
    in love
    and launched balloons
    on wedding day

    may you always
    be everywhere
    and in tune, all
    at once

  57. Rachel

    My first attempt:


    You are

    E Eternal in the
    V valley
    E Enduring on the
    R ridge –
    Y YOU.
    W Why do You even bother
    H healing such a worthless
    E ewe?
    R Relentless in persuit
    E Emancipation for the wicked


  58. Peggy Goetz

    Frustrating this morning since the site has eaten my posting and refused it too. So I will try yet again. I know at least one other person who has had trouble with this. I must go back and check to see that all my days have been posted.

    Today’s poem was what came to me when I sat down and found the prompt. I struggled most with the title. First called it "The Past’ but then thought I should not be so obvious. I often struggle with titles, but I think they are important.

    Always Out of Reach

    I’ve looked everywhere
    in the streets,
    under the trees,
    along the creek,
    in the faded album photos,
    pages of my diaries,
    a stack of old records,
    a mountain of clothes,
    family recipes for gravy,
    jerky old films
    crackling recordings.
    Shades are there
    pieces, but it’s not
    the same. Even
    memories are
    and I am always

  59. patti williams

    Susan – I posted then went back and read … we were on the same page!

    Nancy – Now I’ve got to go through our CDs and see if we have the song. If not, will be buying it because what else can I do! The song just keeps playing over and over in my head …UGGHH! Loved your poem.

    Iain – you can do it baby! I know you can! Put the pencil to it and post away!

    Paul – I like your idea about closure. The last day or two would be a great way to write the finale.

    Laurie – those few short lines sum it up pretty darn good.

  60. Don Swearingen

    Hang in, Paul. Hang in.

    Since you’re gone my time is filled
    With mundane things, with dishes
    And with raking leaves killed
    By frost and learning how to make knishes
    From a cookbook we’d had since our first year.
    I spend time tying flies
    And fighting the rising fear
    In my throat that cries
    "She’s gone!" "She’s gone".
    But my hands turn back
    To routine things drawn
    From a lifetime of day-to-day.
    To hide the truth. You’ve gone away.

  61. patti williams

    Another one for my friend who just beat the holy heck out of cancer … and just got her hair cut like mine.

    In her quest for survival,
    She felt like she’d been everywhere.
    The ‘gate keeper’ doctor sent her
    To the specialist who sent her to
    Another who led her down
    The hallway to the chemo rooms
    Then next stop, radiation.
    In between those trips she visited the
    Wig store,
    Her son’s baseball games,
    Daughter’s band recital,
    Husband’s company Christmas party.
    Blessedly though, months later, she
    Finally got to say home awhile and
    Do simple things, like laundry, clean the house,
    Write the PTA newsletters.
    Easy, mindless, completely
    Cancer-free tasks.
    And after a while of enjoying
    The mundane, she made the call
    She’d dreamed of since the whole
    Nightmare began.

    Her appointment didn’t last long.
    The hairdresser mostly just needed
    To give some shape to the
    New lovely locks growing
    On her once balding head.
    It was a place she had been looking
    Forward to getting to so no one was
    Surprised at the sight of
    Joyful tears spilling over her
    Healthy, triumphant, surviving smile,
    The one framed by her beautiful new
    Freshly trimmed auburn brown hair.

    As she drove it was hard not to
    Look in the rearview mirror but
    The road up ahead was leading her back
    Home to the family who couldn’t wait
    To see her “new look”. In just a few miles,
    Her world would almost be normal again.

  62. Iain D. Kemp

    Laurie, Susan, Paul – all excellent.

    Patti – brilliant, one of your best! & Nancy too!

    I am a bit stuck today… I’ve done one but the other eludes me

    Back later I hope…


  63. Nancy Posey

    Conference City

    In any mall in any city,
    I could forget where I am–
    Claire’s Boutique, Chic-Fil-A,
    Footlocker, and whatever
    department store has this month’s
    Clinique bonus.

    Along any interstate
    at any time of the year,
    I could pretend I’m anywhere else.
    Only the trees and the exit signs
    distinguish the BP and the
    Cracker Barrel in Knoxville from
    the one at Myrtle Beach.

    Here in this convention center,
    with patterned carpet, exhibit halls,
    and room after room with rows of chairs,
    speaker’s tables, water pitchers and
    cups located miles from the restrooms,
    I know I’m in San Antonio, not New York
    from last year, spread out too far
    wag our bargain books, free posters
    and pins, not in Nashville’s
    over-the-top Opryland, not Pittsburgh
    on Light Up Night in freezing cold
    or Indy, nondescript but warm.

    Here only the tourists wear cowboy boots,
    everything comes with peppers and pintos,
    I see Sam Houston’s likeness everywhere
    I turn. If I get out of the center,
    I might remember the Alamo, but for now,
    I remember old friends, new friends,
    friends I’ve yet to meet, reminding each
    other why we love to teach, even on the
    worst day. Yes, for the books, for the
    love of words no one quite understands,
    but oh yes, for those students we left
    behind in Carolina.

    Nancy Posey

  64. patti williams

    “I’ve been everywhere man
    I’ve been everywhere man
    Across the deserts bare man
    I’ve breathed the mountain air man
    Of travel I’ve had my share man
    I’ve been everywhere”

    Johnny Cash

    (That song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day … and now probably yours too!)

    He had to travel,
    Keep moving lest
    They find him.

    When the storm they called
    Katrina hit, he hid in the attic
    Until the sweltering hot stench
    Could no longer be breathed.
    He sat on the roof after dark
    Hoping her and the kids
    Had made it to Texas.
    His brother said they could
    Stay with him until things
    Had died down. In return,
    After his body was never found,
    Assumed to be wash out to sea,
    The life insurance money
    Paid to the his survivors would be
    Split and eventually he
    Would reunite with them
    And be a family again except this go round
    With out any debt and a decent bank account.
    He felt like he’d been everywhere:
    Sleeping in cars, running in the night,
    Crossing so many state borders
    He’d lost count. In his small bag
    He carried a change of clothes, a picture,
    A piece of paper with the telephone
    Number he was to call. Of course
    He had it memorized, but it felt
    More real when he held it in his hands.
    He thought the next stop would be
    Oklahoma so he could be close.
    He would find work, make enough
    Money for some food, maybe rent a room
    A few nights a week so he could wash up.
    Then he’d finally call the number
    On the worn scrap of paper and go.
    He was tired of travelling alone, felt
    Like he’d been everywhere man except
    The one place he dreamed of each
    Time sleep came:
    In bed lying next to her, home.

  65. Paul W.Hankins

    Again, hello: a short message to you the reader helps me to stay somewhat removed from my theme, to remember that I am sharing this with others helps me a great deal. Today’s piece will more than likely be the refrain, possibly the ending poem for the chapbook titled, Six Years Deeper Still. Robert, please give us prompts that will help us bring our themes to closure perhaps in the final week?


    “The Site of Passage”

    We see the stones
    each time we pass,
    statuesque monoliths
    from hand-clipped grass.

    Upon occasion
    we stop the car
    and ponder inside
    have we come this far?

    To measure our grief
    in six short years,
    the water dispersion
    of all our tears.

    This is strength:
    to step from the car
    to return to the place
    where are memories are.

    Footfalls in straight lines
    I follow you there,
    I swallow harder
    and am desperate for air.

    Stumbling upon the clods
    on our way to that familiar plot,
    this goodbye place
    this sacred spot.

    Flowers held
    close to chest,
    now adorn
    eternal rest.

    We trudge upon that
    that steeper hill
    To find we are
    six years
    deeper still.

  66. SusanB

    Boy oh Boy, Robert you are up early
    Nice poem, nice prompt. Thank you so much. I can’t write enough stuff nowadays because of all the stimulation to my writing muscle. You are very inspiring!

    (Man, Johnny Cash got nothin’ on me!)

    Being married
    to a math professor
    Is like
    Being in the army
    Dissertation in Boston
    Was just the tip of the iceberg
    He grew up in Great Britain
    and swept me off my feet
    Britain was kind and very socially aware
    His Mum and Dad accepted this
    Loud American who had never ventured
    Further than Puerto Rico,
    with their usual grace

    Off to France
    Did you know
    You can get yelled at for mispronunciation
    Even if you speak French fairly well?
    And that in France, they care
    If you are having a baby
    Only eat fresh meat…never frozen
    The butcher’s advice was adamant and very firm

    Back to the States
    For California where
    Geographically it is so beautiful,
    Well, except for 7.5 earthquakes!
    And shootings outside your window,
    and the cost of living in the 80s

    Central Illinois where they say hi to you
    On the street
    Even if they don’t know you
    and a traffic jam is
    a four-way Stop sign
    with everyone waving you to GO first!
    till four cars are not moving

    Wisconsin, where the buzz word is
    Everyone smiling and gay
    In more ways than one

    Then small stops in
    Oregon, Virginia, DC, Florida
    South Carolina,
    even a stab at Canada and Mexico

    Parking my old carcass in
    So many ports of call
    One thing is pretty sure and certain
    Everywhere I’ve been
    People are the same
    Most of them care about children
    Want good food, clothing and shelter
    And only bite you if they are needy!

  67. LKHarris-Kolp

    Dates and Mates

    Churches, nightclubs and restaurants, too,
    libraries, parks and even blind dates
    are all places she looked for love through.
    Churches, nightclubs and restaurants, too-
    these places just left her feeling blue
    in her search for perfect mates.
    Churches, nightclubs and restaurants, too,
    libraries, parks and even blind dates.

    Laurie K.