Day 21 Highlights

That’s right! I have not forgotten there are still 10 days of highlights left from the April PAD Challenge–well, actually, 9 days after this one. 🙂

For Day 21, I asked poets to write a “snooping” poem where they take some overheard conversation and work into a poem. Here are the highlights.



Listening to Life


As I passed by the

corner booth in the

all-night diner I heard

the girl say “be sure to

be on time” and he said

“I will be but you be sure

to have the bathtub filled

with spaghetti” and for the

first time in my life I realized

that adventures I didn’t understand

were going on all around me.



Alfred J Bruey |ajbrueyAT NOSPAMaol dot com




The Properties of Imaginary Space


Balloons in pink and green

rest still by the fronds of time

the emergent behavior of aliens

is not that of predation

in the constrained dynamics

of the way things are.


But the conversation moves on

and those in its wake

blink and wonder

when the coffee will be drunk

and whether the square root

of negative one is of any consequence

to the niche we fill.



Beth Browne |womenswritesAT NOSPAMinbox dot com




Quien sabe?

Who knows?

I pick up a bit here

a bit there

(Isn’t that what Tonto said

just about every week

to the Lone Ranger?)

what else did she say?

Quien sabe?


Poco a poco

Little by little

living in Mexico

has gotten through my

stiff United States

psyche so I can

be happy

poco a poco.


Ni modo.

No dice

it translates in my

Spanish English

English Spanish


but what they mean is:

oh well

that’s how it is

ni modo


Poco a poco

we pack to leave

Quien sabe

when we shall return

Ni modo

this not knowing.



Kimberly K |kekinserAT NOSPAMmac dot com




What a Week


Don’t they think we know anything?

These kids say four-twenty like it’s

Some secret code known only to Gen-Y.

The snickers they think go undetected


Why, I haven’t gone to work on four-

Twenty since Columbine; I haven’t flown

Since before nine-eleven,

Since Katie was born.

They may find amusement in that

Holiday that Hallmark forgot,

National Pot Smoking Day,

But those of us who catalog

These things think of

Hitler’s birthday, Waco,

Columbine. Knowing the eerie

Play of anniversaries, we hold

Our breaths—

At least one day until Earth Day arrives.

When our world goes green,

We don’t plan to dry it and

Keep it in a Ziploc.



Nancy |nposeyAT NOSPAMembarqmail dot com




The Pope’s in Town


“Where are my papers?”

asked the lady with the wild eyes

who came to court with a sitting stool

to make sure her son, his many voices

making chaos in his head, gets a fair hearing.

But it’s never fair,

not for her golden-hair boy,

held at Rikers for brandishing a knife

at a Starbucks in Midtown;

not for her,

and the class she’ll almost certainly fail

because she can’t keep her notes straight,

or finish the tests,

or keep track of papers.


Nor is it fair, during this glorious

springtime in Manhattan,

(did you hear the Pope was in town?)

the magnolia trees blooming on Fifth Avenue,

the crowds wildly waving flags

for the man in white,

who has a surprising look of delight

on his stern face,

that she must go home without her son.

“Where are my papers?” she asks the lawyer,

who tries to be patient,

knowing she can’t save her son, nor can he.



ann malaspina




Overheard Conversation/Mom and My Brother


“Did you try to see him?” I heard her ask,

and I think she was nervous. “Once. He

chased me away with a shotgun. Told me to

get off his property.” I’d heard them talk before

about my brother’s real father, not the name

on the birth certificate, but the husband

of her sister. They were divorced now, and

he lived on a small patch of land in a small

trailer. “Did he know who you were?” I don’t

know if they even remembered I was in the

back seat. “Yeah. I told him. He didn’t care.”

I sat in silence, like I had so many times as

a kid. “Well, you tried.” But here I was, an

adult and still sitting on the outside, “Yeah.

I tried at least. All I can do,” listening in.



Susan M. Bell |maylandwritersAT NOSPAMgmail dot com




Behind the Register


Lines form at all the cashiers.

Naturally my friend and I

Pick the wrong one


We’re next but the young cashier

Is busy flirting with the male cashier

To her right


The merchandise sits on the

Counter like a purchase mistake

That no one wants


“Ooh, I just got a paper cut.

Do you think it’s going to bleed?”

She asks the male,


Batting her eyelashes. Her nails are

Bent over the tops of her fingers

Like my dog’s claws


“Well, they don’t always bleed,”

He says. She lifts the afflicted finger

In the air and


Bravely rings up our purchase

All the while pushing at the

Cut. “Oh I know


It’s going to bleed and I hate

Blood. “If it bleeds,” he says,

“You can leave early.”


She smiles and deftly places the aging

Item in a bag, staples the receipt, and

Hopes for blood.



Sara McNulty |smcnultyAT NOSPAMsi dot rr dot com




“Hon, have a dime?’


She hiked up sagging hose,

pink lines snaking up brown arms,

and as she bent over

her skirt bunched in the back


and her mouth split open

into a snaggled-tooth grin

and a crooked cackle that floated

over the low roar of vendors


hawking, “turkey wings

two bucks each” and “get your

dry roasteds here.” The man,

austere in grey pinstripes,


black wingtips, and a frown,

stepped ‘round her cairns

of blue plastic and brown paper

and rolling malt empties,


shaking his head with a “no money,

sorry”, fingering his back pocket

as he stood in line for a Mary

Mervis roast beef special.



Linda |drwasyAT NOSPAMgmail dot com




Coming Together


Gleeful Guy starts gathering them around.

“Com ‘ere, come ‘ere, come ‘ere…”

“See how comfortable these chairs are

when you *first* sit in them?”

He spins, leans back,

gleaming at the gathering cubical lemmings.

“Are you kidding?”

a nerdy lemming responds

bumping Gleeful Guy aside

to maniacally type away.

“Check out this video of a pole dancing class

that ends in a chick fight!”

“I’ve got one now,”

says the Blonde, sliding between them,

easily taking over. Then she

frowns, stares, sighs.

“Okay; that’s impossible.”

“Did you forget something…again?”

Pole Dancing Guy, dripping with sarcasm.

“She’s just twitterpated,” Gleeful Guy jumps in

thinking he’s chivalrous.

“Poor thing,” Disdainful Dame says


arms folded,

entranced by the whole thing anyway.

“Where is everybody?” the Boss’s voice rings out.

“I got an urgent message.”

Workers scatter like cockroaches,


under sudden, harsh,

unexpected light,

while a distant voice says

“What do you mean you’re going on vacation?”



Rox |babayagaAT NOSPAMbaymoon dot com




Did something crawl into you too


You watch

The bird

On the wind


High above the world

Looking down

On the ones it passed

On it’s way up.

You see the butterfly

Emerging from it cocoon

And taking flight

And the caterpillar

Crawling into its nest

Of silken fibers

Ready for its transformation

And you see the worm

Chewing its way

Into the heart

Of the peach

Hiding, destroying, corrupting

And you

You are that worm

Or did something

Crawl into you too?



Anahbird |anahbirdAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com




You’re Not My Friend Anymore


The good morning song

is interrupted by fatal words

proclaiming the dissolution

of friendship between

one five year old and another.

In Kindergarten, solidarity

is a tenuous proposition

hinging on simple acts:

the reclaiming of an offered toy

a decline to share fruit roll ups

or the choice to sit next to

someone else.



Renee Goularte |share2learnAT NOSPAMsbcglobal dot net




Why Can’t I


But, why can’t I stay home with dad

“Because I said No”

I promise not to drive him mad

I don’t want to go

Grandma’s so boring

Besides, when she gets mad

she starts ignoring

Why can’t I stay home with dad

He’s more fun

I promise not to be bad

anyway, I’m not the only one

Dora, Misery and Wojo

get on his nerves

I don’t want to go

If I promise to be good

I’ll bet if you ask him he would

Go ask him, betcha’ he’ll say yes

I won’t just be good, I’ll be the very best . . .


©Rodney C. Walmer 4/22/08


Rodney C. Walmer |wasitchuAT NOSPAMoptonline dot net




“We’ll have some kind of opening something. Something will happen.”


Something doesn’t tell me anything.

Something could be one thing or nothing.

The world is full of somethings.

But please give me something, anything.

Everything is a something.

And something could be anything.

So please give me something that’s not anything.

And I’ll be able to figure out what the heck that something is.

It could be everything.


Something will happen?

I know something will happen!

But that something could be anything.

That something is everything.

If that something is nothing, that’s something.

I need to know if that something will be nothing.

I need to know if that something will be one thing or another thing.

I need to know if that something could be everything.



KP |kerritothepointAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com






He spends his days developing

theories of of geometic topology, his nights

playing video poker and occaisionally

his wife coaxes him to step

out of the darkness to pour wine for guests

he won’t look directly in the eye.


“I’d do that,” he says of walking

the length of the Appalachian trail,

not to prove himself against the distance

or immerse himself in wildness, but

for the routine, to get up each morning

knowing you will walk thirty miles,

the only way is forward.



Devon Brenner |devonAT NOSPAMra dot msstate dot edu




My trip to Phoenix was a disaster

I got this present for you in Sedona

This little bead of a bone cat that sleeps

Trimmed in rough polymer paint

With whiskers of black and cheeks of peach

a little old 96 year old woman makes these.

You can do with it what ever you want

I just used the string to get it to you

My daughter was mean

Said I was repeating myself

Said I couldn’t watch her children

I’m not trustworthy

I finally told her

“Bite me”



Barbara Torke |sparkyspiderAT NOSPAMkaycee dot net




mystery prize


we are being

led on a leash


all the way

to the back


of our cracker-

jack mailboxes


sniffing through

the sweet


and finding

it’s just nuts


we are waiting

for the check


that balances

out distress; the economy


has gone

broke or broken


this supposed

free money, dangled


hopes and paper

above the masses


“is it the key

to controlling

all of mankind?”


we are fish

bound to find

the hook, wormless


the price

of lives and gas

is a series:


games greater

than equal-to

and less-than signs


let us wait

patient as dominoes

for the finger


to tip us right




k weber |ilovehateyouAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com






Normally I’m not a nosy person,

but sometimes I can’t help but snoop.

The other day I couldn’t resist,

listening in on your private conversation.

You were telling your friend about,

how you’re cheating behind my back.

I even heard you laughing because,

you believed I would never find out.

You may think that you’re very clever,

but here real soon you will realize,

how a scorned woman gets revenge.



Darla Smith |writer_darlaAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com






“I want a piece of quiet,”

you order, just like you order

a turkey sandwich on rye.

So I’ll try to pull out

the piece of quiet, right next

to the slice of serenity.

But my body resists the lock

of stillness—my toes tap,

my fingers drum, I click my pen

in time with the music

I hear in my head.

When you look up, I freeze,

waiting for another reprimand.

But you smile and wink,

“Oh, I love the sound of you.”



Sara Diane Doyle |saras dot sojournsAT NOSPAMgmail dot com




‘Cause Here’s the Thing


All you have to do is look interested

I’ll babble on about things that might

seem uninteresting to you,

And I’ll be completely oblivious.


‘Cause here’s the thing,

Nobody’s more interesting than me

I’m in to everything you’re not.

I’ll interrupt interesting conversations

you’re having with someone else


‘Cause here’s the thing,

I never learned social grace

I was too wrapped up in myself

to notice there are rules

Social rules that one learns by doing

‘cept I never do it, so don’t blame me


‘Cause here’s the thing,

You’ll only know me for a short while,

And in that time some nugget of wisdom

or truth may sneak out of my mouth

It might take you a while to figure out


‘Cause here’s the thing,

Something I say will stick in your head

And as you roll it around in there, a

light bulb will come on

And you’ll actually learn something from

the experience



Justin M. Howe |howefitzAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

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4 thoughts on “Day 21 Highlights

  1. Rodney C. Walmer

    Wow, thank you for featuring my work. This was certainly one of my favorite poems. Funny thing, had forgotten about it, until now.


  2. Linda

    These are all wonderful. This was a super fun prompt, and I’ll use it again as a springboard for future poems. Ann and Susan, both of your poems really resonated with me, given the subject matter – elegant! Thanks Robert for highlighting mine. Peace, Linda

  3. Sara Diane Doyle

    That was one of my favorite prompts and one of my personal favorite poems. I loved the last line, which a little friend of mine (she’s 4) sang while making up a song :). In college, we used to overhear many things, jot them down, and make poetry out of them. Thanks for the fun reminder of how to find poetry everywhere!


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