November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

We’re almost there. Time to crack our knuckles, roll up our sleeves, loosen our ties and get to work. What am I talking about? Today (at least in the U.S.) is Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to watch parades, graze the veggie trays, loosen our belts, and fall asleep–after writing your poem for today, of course. Oh yeah, it’s on.

For today’s prompt, I want you to write a poem that could be the climax of your collection. This is the take-no-prisoners poem you’ve been working toward all month. You get to decide how you’re going to approach this poem, but keep it focused on your theme–and make it climactic.

Imagine that if people read the poem you’re about to write that their faces would melt off from the brilliance of it–and that they’ll all get together (at least the ones who are still alive) and sing praises to your poetic brilliance. No pressure.

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“Witching Hour”

She hears him breathing,
but she can’t see anything–
just darkness. Her skin shivers
beneath the autumn breeze,
no moon. She hears him
breathing and moving around
as if he knows where he’s headed,
and maybe he does she thinks.

She grips the knife in her hand
tighter, thinks about how she
will do it, how she will stab him,
which direction she’ll run to get
away. She hears him breahing
and moving closer; she feels
as if she reached out that
she could touch or cut him.

She hears him breathing before
she hears him leaving.


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56 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

  1. Juanita Snyder

    Thanksgiving 2008
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Though I was glad to have been invited to
    spend the Holidays with my sister’s new family,
    there was still a deep sadness within at watching
    new relations eat off dishes that my deceased Mama
    once fussed over and lovingly washed by hand,
    lest the golden ring on the outer edge get scarred
    or worse yet, heaven forbid, carelessly chipped!
    When they passed around the large white
    Gravy boat, I nearly burst into tears,
    recalling the time when some old friends
    of my parents whom they hadn’t seen in
    years had paid a surprise visit one cold
    wintery Christmas and nearly emptied the
    entire contents of one said gravy boat onto
    their third helping of Turkey and stuffing.
    Dad later returned the favor by attempting
    to pull their white compact car across our
    rising creekwaters with his Allis Chalmers
    farm tractor, sinking both mid-way, it’s
    exhaust pipe sticking proudly out of the
    water like the periscope on a submarine.
    If it weren’t for the heavy logging chain
    anchoring the subcompact to the tractor,
    it would have surely turned on it’s side
    like an empty gravy boat and simply
    drifted away on the rude, quickening

    © 2008 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Peggy Goetz

    OK Robert this one really threw me. I do see how others handled the idea of a climax poem but I just did not feel my topic (change) was building to anything. Now I see that was something I should have perhaps been thinking about all along–building to something. Oh well. Working with a theme has really been good for me–though I probably do not show it in the work itself I have learned a lot from it.

    So here is my poem for the day. I hope my family will not be offended though I think most will understand what I am getting at.

    Some Things Never Really Change

    My family’s weirdness
    is weirder than yours,
    or perhaps it’s your family’s
    odd is odder than mine,
    but everyone’s a little
    bit odder than me,
    in fact I think I’m
    the only normal
    person I ever met, but
    the responsibility is
    enough to make me
    the oddest yet.

  3. Monica Martin

    Today is the day
    we finally move in.
    We’ve saved up our money
    and signed dotted lines.
    We’ve picked out our colors
    and bought the furniture.
    It’s time for the first day
    of the rest of out lives.

  4. Vanessa O'Dwyer


    What is help but the lifeblood we share?
    Selfless and wanton for times when we care.
    When do we give this gift of ourselves?
    Can we give any time, or does it sit on the shelves
    Waiting so patient for that magic moment
    Stirring and yearning itself into foment.
    But when is it needed?
    And when have you heeded
    The angst in their heart
    That rips you apart?
    Will you help when they fight?
    Or will you stay out of sight?
    Will you help when their knife
    Is held to strike out your life?
    For that’s when they most need you,
    And need you so dear,
    They hurt and they suffer
    And wish you’d just hear
    That this is a cry – for help I am sure
    Listen with your heart for it comes pure.
    The torment they feel which you help unlock
    By being there willing to just sit there and talk
    And getting to know them and hearing them out
    Soon they discover there’s no reason to shout.
    They see you more clearly and quiver and sway,
    With newfound life force that brightens their day.
    Who are you, you stranger?
    You life rearranger
    Who walks in my life
    Then off with my strife!
    Where did it go, and why do I feel
    Overwhelmingly happy like my heart did just heal?
    How do I repay you? What is there to do?
    Just go help a stranger, it’s the least you can do.

    ~ Vanessa O’Dwyer, 2008

  5. k weber


    the guitar
    while a bird
    the cage
    and all of this
    of the senses
    you narrate
    and large-

    spasms the bar
    or the bus
    or your run
    and break
    your hilarious
    and it’s all
    there, well-
    in photographs

    who’s the muse
    this month
    or the festival
    that leave
    you writing
    down mixed
    up phrases

    your hair
    and the sugar
    in your blood
    the distance
    to leave
    the masses
    and rolling

  6. Jolanta Laurinaitis

    "No!" she pleads
    Her eyes wide
    With terror
    As the shining metal
    Mirrors in her tears

    Her murderer
    Smiles cruelly
    And whistles

    The axe swings
    And she screams
    As her limb falls
    To the ground

    Dragging her corpse
    To be dissected
    Hacked to pieces

    Then it storms
    The sky blackens
    And then it swarms
    The apocolypse is nigh

    It breathes righteousness
    The attacker quivers
    As the devils line
    Their needles to darn
    His soul to the earth

    Screaming forward
    The attacker falls
    To his knees
    Holes seep his blood
    And regenerates
    The body of Gaia
    He raped and pillaged

  7. Kate Berne Miller

    Break the Chain, Mend the Circle

    This is her story, I cannot tell it, although she has been a part of my life for three decades now, although her family is my family, although we shared this Thanksgiving all together at last. She is a birthmother, but not mine. I am an adoptee, but not her daughter. This is not my story no matter how much I wish it was. I was not abandoned as an infant, left in the top drawer of a dresser in a motel on the strip. I was never pregnant, didn’t lose my first two kids to the system at twenty-two, never asked that they be adopted together. I never was contacted by my birth-daughter, who searched and found me over the internet, claiming a mother and a sister on the second anniversary of her brother’s suicide, closing the circle for him as best she could. He had been the one who had wanted to find his mother, had been the one with a hole too big to fill. He had been an artist, a visionary, a radical, like mother, like son. I never had another daughter who I kept with me, who grew up, sometimes with us, sometimes with her father, got married, had three fine boys, lost them all in a nasty divorce. I didn’t have my eldest grandson, lost to us when he was barely twelve, come back to roost the day he left his father’s house for good, the day he turned seventeen. Now he lounges on the couch, playing soft riffs on his guitar. Here three generations of a broken family sit around this table: mother, daughters, grandsons, reunited at last, in this house they feast together all day long, rub each other’s backs, arm wrestle, braid each other’s hair, play video games, look at old photo albums, laugh together and cry together and laugh again, the lost have been found and I, too, have been taken in.

    Kate Berne Miller

  8. Rodney C. Walmer

    Ways to Communicate

    There are so many ways communicate
    Radio, Television, the Internet, or simply debate
    some might use the written word
    a letter, a story, or a poem

    It seems that fewer and fewer have heard
    of the poetic word
    for those to whom it is known
    it’s not the first choice
    the shame of it all
    is just this
    poetry has a voice
    a good poem can still call
    to your heart, long after it’s read
    if what you want to be in it, truly exists

    After the words have been said
    their meaning may still linger
    making you think about life
    often in ways,
    upon which you cannot place your finger
    sometimes entering your dreams
    long after going to bed

    Knowing the poem has so much
    often will use other means to communicate instead
    when nothing can touch
    your heart like a well written poem
    one may choose to get a point stated
    using a method with the finesse of a stone. . .

    Rodney C. Walmer November 29, 2008, climax to my chapbook on poems.

  9. Tyger

    Farewell Mr. President Elect

    You who drew us to the polls
    Like bees to honey
    Whose face wakes our deepest confidence
    Whose voice calms the choppy sea
    It has been a great run
    We soared on the wind like eagles
    And in the end
    Your victory – our victory
    Warms our throats and hearts
    Like aged wine
    And yet, it is time to lose now
    Lose that little word behind
    Your true title
    Farewell Mr. President Elect
    See you on the other side
    After January twentieth

  10. Margaret Fieland

    Modern Marvels

    Leonardo da Vinci
    could imagine lighter
    than air flight.
    Five hundred years later
    the Wright brothers
    flew their plane.

    Successful inventors,
    on the other hand,
    image things that are
    possible to build
    within the next week.

  11. Iain D. Kemp

    Robert- soooo…. as we near the end of this I want to ask a question… not now in November, Not in April in the PADs, not once inbetween in the wednesday prompts… not once did you ever comment on any ones poems… WHY IS THAT, EXACTLY????

  12. patti williams

    Posting my Climatic Poem to replace my initial "quickie" posting … my theme of "Life: Surviving the Storms" I think can be be summarized as such:

    What made her keep going
    When all signs read imminent disaster?

    How did he pick up the pieces
    When he was too shattered to move?

    How could they rebuild their lives
    By the same water that fell upon their world?

    Where did she find the strength to
    Face the cancer head on with laughter?

    True survivors in life know how
    To weather the storms that find
    A way to bring darkness into an
    Otherwise sunny life.

    Those that are strong
    Do not doubt or
    Question the hand
    They are dealt.

    Instead they simply
    Decide to win.

    Then play as hard
    As they can until
    They do.

  13. PSC in CT

    Seasoned by Time

    Housed in my kitchen is an army of implements
    Anchoring me to my past
    Treasured bits of my childhood,
    Snippets of lives from before I was even born

    Some appear as carefully restored antiques,
    Others as apparent tag sale castoffs
    Some retain their usefulness – or assigned new tasks –
    Others repose in places of honor – retired from duty
    Presiding over our daily rituals

    My grandmother’s icebox, antique now,
    But once her only means of keeping food cold
    In a house/home void of electricity and running water

    Crystal glasses from one favorite aunt,
    Handmade spoon-rest – gift from another

    Secretary salvaged from a grandmother’s attic
    Holds my cook books
    And her potato ricer and fruit juicer –
    Both older than I am

    From my mother’s kitchen – her soup ladle and wooden spoons,
    Pans and flour sifter – favored pieces of my lost youth

    All have been weathered/seasoned by time and use
    Each touch tethers me to other lives
    Echoes of ancient laughter, dissipated tears

    I embrace the past and am
    Comforted by the connection and continuity,
    Reassured by the repetition

    I, too, have been weathered
    By years and distance traveled
    Suffered the bitter, savored the sweet
    Allowing both to seep into my pores
    Steep and soak into my bones, and been
    Seasoned by the bittersweet passage of time

  14. AC Leming

    I’m not sure if I wrote the climactic piece for my chapbook, after all the travel, turkey, venison and pie…

    Struggle for my space

    I struggle to contain my rage,
    to bleed it off into kata.
    To shrug, walk away from
    aggression and hope I never
    need to use my karate.

    I struggle to contain my rage,
    to have kime, to focus on the
    movement and leave behind
    the need to aquire skill for any
    other reason than mastery itself.

    I struggle to contain my rage,
    to know that the path I walk
    through weakness and loss of
    control will eventually gel
    so I will never need to
    apologize for my actions.

  15. SusanB

    Well I do believe I smell the reek of mundane rehash…but it’s already late and my muse is JUST NOT COOPERATING!

    If Music is the food of life
    Let’s eat it now and end the strife
    Hate devours souls and flesh
    Compost grows anew and fresh

    No more our feelings shall we hide
    No more to keep them locked inside
    Out with all the pain and dread
    Give us now our daily bread

    For all of those who gone before us
    Join together in grateful chorus
    They gave us tools so that we may
    Be more easily shown the way

    The past is past and so anew
    Hand in hand and two by two
    Love one another once again
    Good will and peace to all

  16. Shann Palmer


    is on the wind, singing through the rafters
    of the house that only comes to me in dreams,
    its wide-plank floors for dancing alone, joyful.

    Music plays somewhere upstairs: a flute, a piano,
    the twelve-string guitar I never mastered. Lost
    lyrics the words of a poem yet to put on paper.

    I’d never be afraid if I was there, that’s the lie
    hope’s imagination tells in untranslatable sighs
    giddy in my mouth, the language of the heart.

    I made this sampler, from hand-dyed floss bought
    years ago in North Carolina, it can’t be purchased,
    only given away, same as a true fortune is told.

    My breath travels the world, as I walk the night
    I am rainbow colored ribbons woven into a story.

  17. Mary K

    I am really sad that the month is coming to an end. Anyone else feel the same?

    I have so much enjoyed these prompts, Robert. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s poetry. Lots of talented people. Good writing.

    My today’s ‘culmination’ poem:


    Eventually all will end
    past, present, future
    all will be concluded
    no more moments
    no more possibilities
    no more hopes
    no more dreams
    no more chances
    no more regrets
    no more memories
    Life lived book sealed.

  18. Bruce Niedt

    Nancy P.: What were you saying the other day about us "being on the same wavelength"? I wrote this poem just before I read yours for today, which is moving and brilliant. Mine pales in comparison, but here it is anyway:

    What to Play at My Funeral

    Please, nothing somber –
    especially not that maudlin thing
    about lifting me up on eagle’s wings.

    I love Barber’s “Adagio” –
    one of the saddest pieces ever written.
    Don’t play it.

    Maybe Vivaldi or Mozart, drawing
    filigrees in the air, or Bach’s noble
    “Sleepers Awake” – I like that sentiment.

    How about Beethoven’s Ninth?
    The man had a thunderstorm for a soul –
    get a full chorus for the “Ode to Joy”.

    Or some brassy jazz, New Orleans style –
    those folks know how to throw a funeral!
    Y’all can join the second line and dance.

    Sneak in some rock, like in The Big Chill
    when the organist plays the Stones’
    “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

    Of course, there has to be some Beatles
    in the mix – “Let It Be” would work well,
    or even “Here Comes the Sun.”

    The point is, I want to leave you all
    loving the music as much as I did –
    I want to go out in a major key.

  19. LKHarris-Kolp

    The first poem I wasn’t focused on because I had too much on my mind for Thanksgiving. Here is my climax poem:

    A Swirling Eddy

    A viscous circle
    wrapped around
    her life
    like an eddy
    at the bottom
    a tub.
    Her every thought
    revolved around
    as she
    until she
    could hold
    no more;
    her stomach
    as full as
    a turkey
    on Thanksgiving
    stuffed with dressing.
    Then she would
    go to
    the bathroom
    and throw up
    every bit
    of morsel-
    no more boys,
    no more sex,
    no more disappointment
    or turmoil,
    lies and
    Then, when
    she was done,
    after watching her
    she would fix
    a stiff drink-
    Vodka and Sprite,
    drink and smoke
    and listen to
    sad music,
    look at
    and cry as
    she wondered
    why her
    life had
    turned out
    this way;
    drinking herself
    into oblivion-
    until she
    woke up,
    wondering where
    she would

    Laurie K.

  20. Cheryl Chambers

    I am thankful for this site and all of you.

    Heading Home

    Neal heads home, discusses life with his wife
    who always places I before anything else,
    like she is a technological commercial.
    The occult weighs heavily on Neal, as if
    there’s a power in the familiar. He talks
    and stalks corn like husks. He makes his mark
    in the mutation of syntax. This arrangement
    works for him. It is as if nature’s impulses
    are at one with his body. His cells align
    with the moon. His mind aligns with the sun.
    And perhaps that is what he longs for.

    The prodigal.

  21. Earl Parsons

    Rachel – Thanks. I can tell you from experience that He does have patience that goes beyond all understanding. He let me roam around unchecked for 20 years while in the military, and still forgave me when I asked and took me back.

    It’a been a blessing reading your offerings this month. God is certainly working in you. I just pray that others that read the poems you’ve poured your heart into and the ones I’ve penned will make the right decision.

    God bless.

  22. Paul W.Hankins

    “The Gathering”

    We meet
    around the table,
    the we, the uncles
    —the brothers—the princes—
    for the first time since

    we put her in the ground
    more than enough time for dormant
    feelings to surface from the days;

    their eyes circle the table,
    grazing for the guilt
    that should be felt,
    but mine are upon
    my fork and knife;
    I am ready to cut

    — nothing
    tastes right today.
    At the end of the meal,
    I want to tell my uncle so badly
    that everything upon my plate,
    and upon the table,
    tastes like sawdust

    and I am full.

  23. Earl Parsons

    LL&L for Day 27:

    The Infinity of Life

    I have been around
    From the beginning of time
    A beginning that only I know
    But would love to explain to you
    If you had the capacity
    To understand

    You, on the other hand
    Know exactly when
    Your existence started

    But only I know when
    Your life on earth will end

    And I also know what happens
    In that time period you humans call
    The ‘afterlife’

    Of course, I’ve told you many times
    And in many ways
    About what happens
    After you breathe your last breath
    And the decay sets in
    This temporary shell I gave you

    Your fate has been written
    By the hands of those I chose
    As My messengers
    They wrote My words on scrolls
    And the faithful carried it
    Throughout the world
    In every land
    And every language

    And just in case there were to be
    Some that had not heard of Me
    I wrote it in every man’s heart
    So that no one would have an excuse
    On Judgment Day

    For, you see
    Your last breath on earth
    Will be immediately followed by
    Your first breath in eternity

    Yes, My child
    You, too, have an eternity
    You, too, will never suffer death
    After the death you suffer
    In these earthly vessels

    So with that in mind
    And not to scare you
    But to warn you
    One more time
    And it may be your last time

    You have a choice to make
    One that will determine
    Where you spend your eternity

    You have a choice
    Because the afterlife is eternal

    You have a choice
    One that I cannot make for you

    You have a choice
    One that can only be made
    While you’re alive
    And no one on earth
    Knows your check-out date

    You have a choice
    Of an eternity with Me
    In a place so beautiful
    That your mind can’t even begin
    To imagine what it’s like
    Or an eternity without Me
    In a place so horrifying
    That no words can describe it
    And no pictures can do it justice

    You have a choice
    Of an eternity of love
    Or never-ending indescribable misery

    You have a choice
    And you need to make it

  24. Earl Parsons

    SS for Day 27:


    Look here, everyone
    It’s time to get things straight
    We’re a team
    And we need to start acting like it
    We need to work together
    Before one of you gets us all
    In trouble

    This is your team leader
    But I’m also a team member
    Although my part is just
    A little bigger than most

    You can’t do it without me
    And I can’t do it without you
    Even though I would love to try

    God created us to work together
    And He made it nearly impossible
    For any of us to stand on our own
    And succeed

    I am the command center
    But I have to have those
    I can command
    And I have to have those
    That will follow my commands
    And that makes us a team
    Even though I’m the commander

    But don’t think of me as the boss
    Just the comm. center
    A coordinator, if you will
    A place for everything to pass
    From one of you to the other
    While we work together
    As a team
    With me as the team leader

    So humble am I

  25. S Scott Whitaker

    Tiresias Returns as a Choctaw

    Hobachi waited for the moon. The field’s
    low cool grasses already sweated dew.
    The dark springs stars opened their eyes.

    He wasn’t sure where to unroll his mat,
    At the edge of the field,
    Or further down the meadow.

    In the end he chose a middle landing
    And listened to the grasses brush
    And whisper, rustle, their secrets open to him.

    Twice he saw the hare, a good sign,
    And stars grew brighter till the field
    Became dappled in moonlight,

    And shadows that resembled spirits.
    When sleep came the moon floated down
    To him and offered a bowl, or a spear.

    Choosing both, the moon smiled
    and bathed him in deep warm light.
    When he returned to the village

    He took an empty house near the crops.
    He planted his spear before his dwelling.
    He would be allowed to sleep, and hold

    No counsel until the next evening, when the shaman
    Would meet One Who Mimics,
    And offer a welcome, and would begin to instruct

    How to dress, the expectations of the spirit
    And healing, the ceremonies to commit,
    How many scalps he’d be expected to collect.

    He would advise the war party. Of marriages
    He would seal, and Hobachi too was encouraged to marry
    In any position the spirits had directed him.

    That night Chief bid him smoke and share
    The moon’s demeanor. Hobachi, he who mimics,
    Rose from his seat and like a theatre explored

    The nuance of voice and trick of shadows,
    His taking of both spear and pot
    Like a lock, fixing his path to prophecy, healing.

    And there were small celebrations among other homes
    For there was a new berdache, two spirit,
    To channel spirits from both sides, and fend death for all.

  26. S.E.Ingraham

    IMO Rachel – that is brilliant – there are so many things I love I hardly know where to start so I’ll only mention a few: "where Peter’s head is on the menu" and "writing on my soul a calligraphy of hope" plus "through the parting of despair to freedom". Your words are strong and true, as are your images – it’s as if I can see this being played out before me, very well done indeed. Sharon I.

  27. Michelle H.

    The wind is hollowing
    And it’s completely white
    No travel is advised

    You are safe at home
    before the fires warm blaze
    Wrapped in layers of wool

    The candles burn bright
    Books, paper and pencils
    A cup of warm liquid

    My muse she rages
    Outside my winter door
    Two feet she will deposit

    I am safe and warm
    My pencils flying
    The snow inspires me

    This is a perfect storm.

  28. Rachel

    I’d love some feedback on this. It literally took me hours…. :) Happy thanksgiving everyone.

    God of my Exodus

    Alone in my prison of despair
    upon my soul, the Word of the Lord was laid bare
    and I was returned to 41,
    10 years after the empty tomb,
    and I stepped inside another jail –

    – the impregnable fortress of Antonia,
    sitting on a great rock precipice
    overlooking the temple
    where the people worshipped
    the God that they persecuted
    in the tower.

    I know this cell, for it is mine
    cold stone walls of persecution
    shackles tight upon my wrists
    thick walls insulating the condemned
    from all hope;
    a room of death
    breeched only by a sentry iron gate.

    Four squads of four soldiers
    give their lives for each watch
    of this March night,
    while the Jews,
    recalling the God of Moses,
    feast on unleavened bread
    and anticipate the morning trial
    where Peter’s head
    is on the menu.

    And an infant church gathered
    to sacrifice without ceasing
    the kind of prayers
    that bend iron
    and fill a prison cell with shafts of light
    writing on my soul
    a calligraphy of hope.

    The angel struck Peter
    “Quick. Get up! Dress and follow me…”
    down dungeon corridors
    passing prison cells
    and loaded security wards
    to the gate of the city,
    barred and bolted
    swinging freely on its hinges
    as the parting of the Red Sea.

    And the bonds fell off my wrists,
    the cool night air fanning my cheeks
    beyond the prison cell, through the parting of despair
    to freedom
    delivered again
    by the God of the Exodus.

  29. Ronda Eller

    I’m still running a day beind but here’s my call-to-action poem from yesterday. Guess the tune – lol. Ronda

    xxvi. Silent Night(mare Night)

    Silent night, oh my fright,
    life is full of snowy white
    blizzarding winter, it has me housebound,
    no person, no kitty and no mouse around,
    no food in the cupboard to e-e-e-e-eat
    and a hungry clock grinning at me.

    Silent night, oh my fright,
    if I get close, it might bite;
    its face looks shifty and really quite mean,
    its hands look bigger than I’ve ever seen,
    it seems to be calling me now-w-w-w-w
    and I must elude it somehow.

    Silent night, oh my fright,
    if I could wake, I’d find delight.
    I know it’s a dream that is menacing me
    and I must wake up if I’m going to be free
    but not ‘til I steal that clock’s spri-i-i-i-ing—
    it’s a dastardly, nightmarish thing!

    ~ Ronda Eller 2008

  30. Rachel Green

    Past Times

    Ruby flames devour and burn
    the manor house – it lights for miles
    this wooded hill but still
    she hears the screams and mortal pleas
    of those die, that used to tease
    and keep her from her midnight sleep
    and steal away her daddy’s smiles
    until his face would fall and turn…

    It wasn’t her – it couldn’t be
    a little girl who tossed the match
    upon a bale of kerosene-
    soaked hay and hammered shut
    the doors and windows but
    allowed her daddy one last sight
    of mother’s smiles in firelight

    For now the monsters all are dead
    and left but shadows in her head
    and pain within her spirit’s hall
    for pie for one is pie for all
    and into her they all had hid
    and whisper now of what they did
    so Lucy, grown into a wife
    sharpens well the carving knife.

  31. satia

    One Year, One Month, and One Week Later

    He is the fifth doctor in a line
    of others who were unable to find an answer.
    He does not know that he holds my final hope
    Because I refuse to see another.
    I’m done and he is the last one to whom
    I will turn for answers.
    He frowns and I wonder if the fear
    is etching itself on my face the same way
    his brow furrows as he flips pages and pages
    of facsimiles and copies of test results and
    unanswers I have accumulated.
    My fiancé is frustrated; still he smiles at me
    reassurance, as the swish of pages flipped
    fills the bated breath of silence and I wait
    in a reclining chair more secure than
    the razor’s edge of the typical examination table.
    Then the doctor closes the folder, looks at me
    before he tells me what, if anything, he sees.
    He says a test result taken months ago is wrong,
    shows something that should have been explained before,
    a reason for my imbalance positively evidenced
    in the disparity between percentages. “You see,” he says,
    “this shows no response and that’s impossible.
    One side shows 100% but the other shows 0%
    which is, you see, an impossibility.”
    Impossible to think that four other doctors ignored
    an impossibility and my ability to accept this is
    wrapped in a stunned silence. My fiancé looks confused.
    I’m unused to seeing myself reflected in his features, so I
    distract myself with calculating the number of appointments
    that lie between me and the echoing lie of tests that showed
    nothing, leaving me to believe there’s nothing wrong,
    leaving me to stand on my own unstable feet.

  32. Jane penland hoover

    Shadows Marked

    the only bright space
    was where she sat
    refusing the light
    refusing to write

    the only chair was straight
    no comfort to be found
    as she held herself
    a match unstruck

    only one knew the truth
    the other gone, gone
    beyond the reach of time
    but for memory still

    nothing now
    a pen’s reflection

  33. Lori

    Final Plea

    Give me one last chance to try
    and stop the swirling, shifting sand
    beneath your feet.
    Before you walk away from life
    or give in to all your demons and monsters,
    before you immerse yourself in history
    and vinyls and let your brain shrivel away
    from misuse, let my try again.

    Let me show you the beauty that can be
    in summer days and poetry
    with cats and dominoes to keep you
    occupied and alive and satisfied.
    So you hear the songs and think maybe,
    just maybe that relationship gone bad
    that horrible loss, that life gone wrong
    might just have one more run left in it.

    I want you to live, yes.
    I want you to be happy, free.
    But I am hiding the why behind panic
    under the fear of failure that is poised
    ready to scream “You’re the nurse, you
    were supposed to save her!”

  34. Iain D. Kemp

    Dear Ringo,

    Could it be that all this
    time you have been misunderstood?
    I am overwhelmed by your hospitality
    and seemingly unending generosity.
    Even my mother and sister have behaved
    impeccably. I am stunned. The fact that
    my cousin brought half the Rangers team with
    her only added to the festivities. It would
    be uncharitable to think that tomorrow you
    will return to be your cantankerous self, but
    time will tell. Meanwhile I am giving thanks
    for your friendship. See ya tomorrow,
    Pick me up at seven.

    Yours in surprised gratitude


  35. Sara McNulty

    Other Shades

    Long years of black or white
    no in between to still the night
    when intruders invade the mind
    switching thoughts, creeping vine
    tangling the mantra you recite
    each day to ingest the light

    Morbidity of deepest black
    held at bay for fears you lack
    of death–surely at end is peace,
    numbness and a quick release
    from struggle to get through
    another day so blue, so blue

    Hoping to find comfort in death,
    you age, you want to draw a breath
    Ease of life bubbles like a brew
    inside with acceptance of who
    this person is, the one you despised
    Life’s climax soars, you rise, you rise.

  36. S.E.Ingraham

    Be That As It May

    The house is dark when he gets home
    And quiet in a way that makes him wary
    The dog doesn’t get up from his place near the window
    But lies, head on paws, his great brown eyes
    Seeming sorrowful as they meet his only fleetingly
    Then look away, closing again, but he knows
    The dog is not sleeping, just uneasy and he too
    Feels not just wary, but has such a catch in his throat
    And tightening in his belly, he hesitates to climb the stairs
    Decides maybe he should call out first; perhaps she merely sleeps
    But his voice is trapped somewhere within him, won’t work
    As he puts one foot ahead of the other, drawing ever closer
    To the top, to the landing, to their closed bedroom door
    Images are flickering through his mind, unbidden, as he wavers
    Stands unsteadily outside the room, hand on the doorknob
    He sees her naked in the tub, awash in neck-deep red water
    So red, he remembers thinking it surely couldn’t be blood
    He was in time that night; then, a glimpse of her too peaceful
    Face as she slept in extra long one Sunday morning –
    He, finally realizing that her over-sleeping wasn’t natural
    But something she had provided for herself, the night before –
    If one sleeping pill helped, one hundred would be so much better
    She’d reasoned in her illogical state of mind – was again
    In time to bring her back to them,
    their daughters and him, that time
    Now – he turned the knob so quickly and hard
    it hurt his hand – the door, locked
    “Nooo -” The word escaped his lips
    as he put his shoulder to the wood
    It took several tries before he was in but
    – where the hell was she?
    The bathroom was blessedly empty; the bedspread unwrinkled,
    But the door had been locked, he puzzled, she had to be in here
    It was then he noticed the light on
    in the walk-in closet, the note
    Propped up against the closed door,
    his name in her familiar hand-writing
    Scrawled at the top; he slid with it
    until he sat on the floor by the door
    Began to read, “Dearest – I know I promised not
    to do this anymore and you know
    I mean it when I promise…
    Be that as it may,
    please know this isn’t about you –
    I’ve told you over and over how weary I am,
    how I just can’t be here anymore…
    please don’t be mad at me,
    I just can’t stay.

  37. Heather

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m still dealing with family issues but managed to catch up this morning. They are super rough, but, they are here.

    Love to all-

    Lesson #22: Responding

    She wrote a poem
    In response to a poem
    She’d written years ago
    Desperate to take back
    The hurtful
    She’d so quickly,
    Casually thrown out
    For the world
    To interpret,

    She wrote a poem
    To undo
    The poem
    She never meant to write
    But they had already
    The first one counted
    There would be
    No re-do

    Lesson #22: Mean What You Say

    Lesson#23: Everywhere

    She’s careful
    Not to say too much
    About the places she’s been
    Because she’s been everywhere
    From the bottom
    To the top
    And back

    She’s careful
    Her worldly ways
    Might offend
    She’s got a different
    She doesn’t want to
    Let you in
    There’s no need for you to know
    About her trips
    You don’t need to know about her friends
    All over the world

    She’s careful
    To keep her travels
    Because her journey has nothing to do
    With the places she’s been
    Is all you need
    To know

    Lesson#23: We’ve All Been to Hell and Back

    Lesson#24: The Blues

    It’s been two weeks
    And he’s not coming back,
    The bastard,
    How dare him,
    He has some nerve
    To screw us over
    For the final time,
    I mean he’s really done it

    It’s been two weeks
    I’ve decided to take up smoking
    Not just cigarettes,
    And I don’t care if you like it
    This is not about you

    It’s been two weeks
    Since you ended it all
    Just got a speeding ticket
    Because I was crying,
    Thinking about you,
    How time wasn’t moving
    Fast enough
    The bastard cop
    Asked me if I knew how fast
    I was going
    And I told
    Faster than he could imagine
    And signed on the
    Dotted line

    Lesson #24: The Blues Change You

    Lesson#25: Overlooked

    Overlooking has been her strong point,
    Turning the other cheek,
    Her specialty

    She’s on her way
    To the end
    Of compassion,

    She’s had enough

    Overlooking has been

    She’s overlooked
    And accepted
    Now it’s about

    Lesson#25 : You Can’t Make A Habit of Overlooking Life

    Lesson#26: Attention

    Her smile
    Is cracking
    And her face is falling,
    Melting Into
    That’s not going to be able to be

    She’s screaming
    From the inside,
    Pleasant on the outside,
    Politely telling you
    She’s not going to be able
    To handle
    Much more
    She needs a minute,

    She’s not going to recover
    If you don’t back off,
    Give her some space,
    She’s not kidding this time
    She’s in bad shape

    She’s frantic
    Spinning herself
    Into a tizzy,
    Not able to comprehend
    Your needs

    Lesson#26: People Tell You What They Need If You Listen

    Lesson#27: Climax

    She needed him to tell her why
    He did it
    All of it
    How he could live with himself,
    His actions,
    How he could look at himself in the
    Each day
    But he’s not here
    To field her

    She needed to know
    How she could
    Stick her head in the
    The way she had been
    For the last thirty something
    To let that kind of destruction
    And devastation occur,
    Especially since she knew what could happen
    Before it happened
    But she’s not taking

    She needed to know
    How she let herself
    Fall apart
    To the point of
    Needing to go away
    And did that do the trick,
    Is she okay
    Why the painkillers
    These days?
    She can’t remember
    The question

    She needed to know
    Why she wasn’t enough
    For them to stick around
    Why wasn’t her love
    She’s stuck with her

    Lesson#27: Some Questions Don’t Get Answered Here

  38. Judy Roney

    Giving Thanks

    Its been such a long an tiresome journey
    I’ve had breakthroughs and setbacks
    sorrows and joy as I rebuilt my life.

    I’ve been blessed with family and friends who care
    who listen to me when they’ve heard the story over
    and over again. Who allow me to grieve the way I
    need to grieve. Who don’t tell me to get over it
    or make me feel I’ve dishonored my son by even
    speaking to them about him. Who accept my
    remembrances and sharing as a gift.

    I have a choice each day to embrace life
    or let the losses and griefs of an imperfect world
    keep me from embracing that which is rich
    and wonderful; the love of my husband, a daughter
    I adore who is happy, a future son-in-law who I
    already love. New art in my life and excitement
    over each new day and what it might produce in me.
    As losses appear in my life now, I feel better prepared
    stronger. I know nothing will ever hurt me again
    as much as I’ve already been hurt. That’s freedom.

    I’m so thankful for the time we had with Brian;
    twenty-three wonderful years. I wouldn’t take
    anything for any one of those years, not even
    the knowledge that the end would be the way it
    it. No hesitation. It was worth every minute
    of every day . Thank you, Brian, for all your
    gifts, most of all for you.

    Judy Roney
    Nov 27, 2008

  39. Taylor Graham


    Searching down this creek since dawn,
    dark gray sky paling to daylight, I can barely see
    where to put my feet, not slip on rain-slick rock.
    The rain has stopped, clear sky.

    Up ahead, Lacey lifts her nose, samples
    air washed clean by the storm.
    What new scents on the breeze?

    Manzanita grabs at my shoulders, I push through.
    Creek running high, can’t hear another sound
    but churning water. Watch my step.
    But look –

    she’s got something! Head high, leaping
    over deadfall as if she’s being pulled on a line. Deer?
    This is different. Follow as fast as I dare.

    What’s that – barking? Too high-pitched
    for Lacey. Where is she? Here she comes back,
    panting, with that look – ears pricked, eyes
    focused-intense. Comes

    right to me, does her little pirouette;
    whips around to lead me –
    but the farther she goes, the less sure….

  40. Don Swearingen

    Lingering over my morning cup and reading blogs
    And news and wishing I hadn’t had that second piece of toast,
    I look out at the lowering clouds and no barking dogs,
    And see the world as just a graying ghost
    Of summer lying on the ground;
    As yellow and brown leaves
    That already are not blowing around,
    But getting packed down as the weather grieves
    For warmer times and dreads
    The winter coming soon,
    The dried up rattling flower beds
    Another sign of the year’s last dying swoon.
    I give thanks for even this cold November’s end,
    For Christmas and rebirth is just around the bend.

  41. Kateri Woody

    His delightfully poisoned tongue is no use
    against this cunning cleverness
    cutting close to his face,
    words spat in contempt have
    no effect, run away or throw
    the net? He has no choice
    but to try again, a second attack
    a second attempt to justify
    his existence – his worth in this
    dog eat elephant world. His words morph,
    form into something else
    a procured blade? No, he’s not
    a homeless homo sapian, hell bent
    on finding some worthless bits
    of copper. His words twist and writhe,
    become hypodermic needles that fit
    right under the other man’s skin
    and inject their lugubrious liquid
    truth right beneath the epidermis
    causing a rash of honesty
    to spring forth in a bright blood red
    across his skin.

  42. Iain D. Kemp

    Cats, Poetry & Death #30
    (with apologies to the great & the good, especially T.S.Elliot)

    Nursery Crimes

    That the Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
    Seems to me absurd
    One is afraid of water
    And the other one is a bird

    A Cat with a fiddle
    I’ve never heard such rot
    It seems to me the fellow that wrote it
    Had rather more rum than a tot!

    Ding-dong bell
    Pussy’s in the well
    A cruel and heartless trick to play
    For killing all the mice
    If I catch that Johnny Flynn I’ll do it to him twice

    Pussy Cat Pussy Cat where have you been?
    To London Town to see the Queen?
    Why what a performance to frighten a mouse
    We’ve plenty vermin in our own little house

    Kittens Kittens every where
    Kittens chewing on my hair
    They made old Wordsworth do a jig
    But I’m pretty sure he wore a wig!

    A cat came dancing out of the barn
    #with a pair of bagpipes under arm
    Oh! What nonsense, it makes me curse
    Another silly feline verse!

    Diddlety-diddlety –dumpty
    The Cat ran up the plum tree
    Half-a-crown to get it down
    Seems a very high price
    I’ll wait for the fire brigade to come
    Firemen are so nice!

    The naming of cats is a difficult matter
    It isn’t just one of your holiday games
    Oh! Yes! T.S. Elliot was as mad as a hatter
    As do what may they never answer to their names
    And Rum Tum Tugger wasn’t just curious
    If my cats ate like him I’d be furious

    Hickory dickory dock is quite alright by me
    As it’s all about mice and not about cats
    And so is Blind mice three
    Ring a ring a rosies
    A Pocket full of posies
    A-tischoo A-tischoo
    We’ve all got the plague!


  43. Peggy Goetz

    Geez Robert, I didn’t even think my topic was well defined, let alone have climactic potential. I will have to think about this one for a while. Thanksgiving with relatives from all over perhaps will inspire me. Or maybe my bird that I got up early to put in the oven (two of us are bringing turkeys–we have a big family group). Hope my muse isn’t off somewhere eating. Have a happy day everyone–where ever you are)

  44. patti williams

    Since today is Thanksgiving, I will not be able to write the climatic poem today so I am posting a simple, quick one. Tomorrow I will lock myself away the hours it will take to tie the whole collection together. Today I have to be a social family member …

    When she woke to the
    She opened her eyes
    This would be the day
    All her dreams
    Would finally come

    Cheers everyone!

  45. Linda

    Just checking i n for the prompt before I go teach tonight. Yeah, I know….bummer that ya’ll get to eat that good stuff and celebrate with family and I have to work all day. But I take comfort in the fact that we have more national holidays and more vacation time.


    P.S. Okay….I admit. My mouth is watering just thinking about those sweet potatoes, cranberries and stuffing. :-(

  46. Nancy Posey

    Sum of the Parts

    He’s perfectly willing to be reduced to ashes
    and fragments of bone, scattered in a final
    celebration of life into the waters where so long
    he swam as a boy and fished as a man.

    I can’t get past my fear of ashes floating up
    to neighbors’ docks as children cannonball.
    I’d rather have a hand-hewn wooden box,
    lined in a well-won handmade quilt.

    What matters more is what I leave behind,
    the parts of me I pass on even now: I hope
    to share the solid feel of books, the heft
    of words and thoughts, binding and page.

    Peering inside, they’ll find me there, not ashes
    but the authors’ autographs, their cryptic messages,
    my marginalia, penciled wisps, recording
    past reflections and momentary thoughts.

    The clothes I wore can be boxed up, thrown
    out or passed to someone else my size, but
    maybe as she’s sorting through, my daughter
    will try on my bridal veil, glimpsing my face.

    Instead of leaving dust behind, I’d rather leave
    dust jackets, vinyl records in an order known
    by none but me, the lyrics of the liner notes
    my generation’s grandest poetry.

    The stacks of albums end on end I’ll leave
    my son, in hopes that flipping through,
    he’ll hear a humming in his ear, something
    from Abbey Road, and know I’m near.

    .Nancy Posey

  47. Earl Parsons

    Just got the turkey in the oven. I’ll try later to meet the daily challenge, but, until then, if you want you can check out my newest entries at both of my blogs, and

    Why two blogs, you ask. Separation of church and state, if you know what I mean.

    Everyone: Have a blessed Thanksgiving and remember that our forefathers set this day aside to thank the One and Only True and Living God for all that He as given us.

  48. Connie

    The Wall

    She had spent eight weeks
    in this cavernous hall with
    eighty-five people who she
    had come to know better
    than her own family. She had
    spent most of her time on this
    wall before her. The highest wall
    of dominoes. The world-record-
    breaking wall. She thought of
    Humpty Dumpty on the wall
    having a great fall but she was
    praying for the wall to fall not
    some egg. The falling stones
    approached. She stood as close
    as she could get to the wall.
    Her wall. Without thinking,
    she brought her hands to her
    mouth and chewed her knuckles.
    Just then everyone gasped!

    I don’t think Rodney’s going to like this one. He’s the one who made me finish a nightmare poem. :)


  49. LKHarris-Kolp

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am grateful for YOU!


    She looks back on her life
    and feelings of
    and integrity
    encapsulate her
    for lessons learned.
    She is now content
    and happy
    free of her binding past,
    and she hopes to
    share with
    values that
    will last.

    Laurie K.