April PAD Challenge: Day 1

Wow! It looks like we’ve got even more International participation than last year, and even the North American participants are chomping at the bit. In realization that much of the world is essentially a day ahead of me, I’m going to extend the challenge deadline to May 1 at noon (EST), instead of April 30 at midnight (EST).

All right then! Let’s get started!

For today’s prompt, I want you to write an origin poem. It can be the origin of a word, person, plant, idea, etc. Have fun with it.

(Note: Through this challenge, please feel free to use the prompt as a springboard to being creative. There is no right or wrong way to interpret the prompts–so take them in any direction you want.)

Here’s my attempt for the day:



At an early age, His parents are killed

in a skiing accident. Luckily,

His adoptive parents (two lumberjacks

named Harry and Marty) are supportive

and home school Him on topics, such as math,

history, nuclear engineering,

martial arts, and ballroom dancing. When He

learns in His teens that the two lumberjacks

actually killed His parents, He runs

away from home to become a photo-

journalist at the big city paper.

While photographing the winner of Big

City’s high school science fair, the losing

student who thought He should’ve won dumps liquid

on Him while trying to hit the winner.

This is when He gains the ability

to fly and use X-ray vision. And so He

does what anyone else would do in His

position: Design a costume and start

busting bad guys. It doesn’t take long for Him

to acquire an arch-villain, who appears

always to be in two places at once.

This villain is soon known as Lumberjack,

because all his crimes are committed with

a giant logging axe. After perhaps

too much time has elapsed, He realizes

the Lumberjack is really two people:

Harry and Marty, the same backwoodsmen

who murdered His parents. With a renewed

sense of purpose, He quickly finds his two

enemies in their Lumberjack costumes

in an abandoned warehouse down by

the river. He gets the jump on them, but

they quickly turn the tables on Him, since

He was obviously walking into

a trap designed to catch Him. This is when

it is revealed that the lumberjacks are

actually his mother and father,

who were also Harry and Marty, who

had decided when He was very young

that they would groom him to become a crime-

fighting vigilante. Just as they are

telling Him how much they love Him and how

they were sorry they misled Him about

their own deaths, the warehouse explodes from bombs

set by His new arch-villain, The Chemist,

who was, of course, the original guy

who gave Him all of His superpowers.


(Now get writing! Yay!)

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1,415 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 1

  1. LAH Elthurla

    All alone in my bathroom

    Amoungst all my toilet trees
    Floater in the toilet
    it makes me think of you
    and me
    the corn from last night dinner that I made for you
    is staring me in face
    it shines through
    to you
    its so beautiful
    I want to hold on to it forever
    do not flush
    this lush
    for it will crush my soul

  2. JL Smither

    I know I missed the deadline for the contest, but I thought I should post these anyway to meet my personal goal. Thanks for running this inspirational challenge!

    Mexican Night with Mom

    We start with a can of corn, two
    chicken thighs (I sniff them to check), a can
    of enchilada sauce, and, hm, she says, I thought
    there were tortillas in here. Well, rice, then.
    Here, you cut the chicken, honey—I hate
    that fatty slime—and I’ll start the rice cooker.
    The pan’s hot, so drop it in there, and flip it
    until you can’t see any pink.
    Now, um, let’s toss the corn
    in and some sauce. Let it simmer
    until the rice is done, and let’s make
    some margaritas while we wait.

  3. Olive L. Sullivan

    I posted this the first day, but it seems to have been deleted, so here it is again.

    How the End Begins

    The clink of the glass wakes me,
    and I see you, fully dressed,
    with the whiskey bottle in one hand and
    your shoes in the other.
    Half-sitting in the unfamiliar
    rump-sprung motel bed,
    I stare at you, framed against the stained brown walls
    as you put a finger to your lips,
    grin and whisper, Shhh!
    Tried not to wake you,
    Your words already slurred,
    Your eyes already bright and glazed.
    Goin’ out for a minit, go back t’sleep.
    Sitting fully now, clutching the worn sheets,
    “Where?” Shh, baby, lay down.
    “But”—angry now, you raise your hand,
    fling a twenty dollar bill
    On the bed—shut up, bitch, and leave me be—
    Like that, you’re gone,
    me hating that I cringed, hating the too-familiar hollow in my gut—
    alone and alone and alone, except for
    the sinking realization that I
    have been here before—not this room, this bed, this man,
    but in the same damn place—no car, no keys, no credit cards, no cash—
    and a man I believed was different slamming the door behind him.
    I trusted you too much; I forgot to be afraid.

  4. Amelia Williams


    I could be original. Find the origin of, unique
    kernel of a poetic idea;
    the words would flow pleasingly; I could be happy.

    OR I
    could go mix a
    and tonic,
    ponder the dismal April rain, start an
    tercation with my spouse – a type of displacement
    not unheard of in our house.

    could put on a tune, and beg a dance of my partner,
    we’d be-
    the beguine, against Cole Porter’s warning, fan ember to flame
    and be gladder by morning.

  5. Claudia Marie Clemente

    ***********************************************(revised version)****

    in the beginning: there was you

    almost disembodied,
    suspended over the vast gorge,
    peering into the drop –
    you absorbed the uncomposed
    music of water against rock
    and branches bracing
    against the funnel of wind;

    your symphony of one
    underway, tuning, almost perfect
    already, pieces welling
    into wholeness: these sounds
    billowed together inside,
    begging you for ultimate release
    through fingertips

    in the beginning: there is always
    room for one more story

    i see myself, too,
    alone on that spindly bridge,
    testing gravity as much i dared –
    gripping rails and leaning
    into the mist as if fishing
    delphic vapors – creation’s source –

    for auguries, but detecting
    only the pehistoric remainders
    not swept down the mountain –
    the last lingering indications:
    air-sounds in emptiness
    like underfoot crackling
    of last season’s, not-yet-eroded leaves;

    listening for unseen traces,
    maybe you need to remember,

    in the beginning: i was there too


  6. Lissa

    Take me back

    These sounds are my succor.
    The call that precedes the rail’s hum
    and the corkscrewing spiral of the schoolyard.
    Whenever these vibrations twin,
    I am home.
    Eighteen years of sounds so constant
    they timed my day and my night
    Today these sounds on a tree-lined walk
    pull on my solar plexus,
    a reflexive breath.

  7. Amanda Caldwell

    Conception on a Futon in a Studio Apartment

    Did we dream you into existence,
    or was it more mundane?

    Charting, temping, noting fluids
    and marking the good days
    on each month’s calendar.
    Buying special gear
    to help with the task,
    and falling back at last,
    exhausted and limp.

    And with not a clue
    that this was the easy part.

    Obsessing over symptoms
    and trying on due dates.

    No baby to distract us.

  8. Karen Perry

    where you are from and what you did

    Some new people took the stand
    and gave a rabid speech praising your name
    hah! not your name, really, your fabulous
    stickers– remember them? they were chinese
    and you sold them on all the boats at sea.
    it was darker then. Monty was your partner,
    i think. Correct me if i’m wrong.
    We all ate paper jesters and had a tall red slash
    to top it off. Going out in the day became quite
    unusual but you, being a pro-ped, just went anyway.

  9. Kathryn Hessler

    On the Origin of Fear

    I’m not sure where it’s from, in its entirety, at the core.
    Oftentimes it’s unmet needs, worry nagging,
    Unknown or known repeats from before.

    And how it feels is different different times, for me,
    I am loving, joyful, a peacemaker, and yet, I’ve felt
    The clutching in my stomach, the paralysis, the cold, at sea.

    If you really knew me, you’d know that not so long ago,
    Two years to be precise,

    I opened up my door, as others have done before,
    And offered a gentleman, standing there, out in the cold,
    Who happened to be someone I’d guess
    Would be called an African American, a ride.

    Though he committed a violent act,
    And I was initially stuck in this and
    In choices influencing my being at a hearing,
    Actions and choices I have later replayed,

    Still I know in my heart, and told him so at the hearing,
    That his soul is beautiful, and that he may also have been in pain, fearing.

    And, I do know now that he and I each make our own lives and we heal,
    And that, though our stories crossed and decisions affected each other,
    In the now, we each are free to choose individually,
    Through times seeming hard or easier, he and I.

    But the fear, different ways, it will clutch me, like twice this day in April.
    First, while babysitting, a man, an older man, if we divide it thus,
    Likely in the “white” category, like I would be,
    Arrived, surprisingly to me, with a delivery.

    In spite of some worry, especially at the start
    ‘Twas mostly well for me, and, before he left, we chatted a bit.

    Then later, after a stop at a bookstore, I saw a woman with her children.
    I purposefully turned the car around to see what I might do,
    Because I wanted to connect and to help.

    And then she asked for a ride,
    And I chose, I said yes,
    And she and the kids all climbed inside.

    We only talked briefly and I drove, but just this offering of a ride,
    With her son, a young black man, much younger than the man I first mentioned,
    A teenager really, next to me, sitting in the passenger seat, as the other man had sat,

    And though in most of me I knew all was well,
    As he plugged in his mom’s cell phone charger and the other kids chatted,
    Instead of enjoying and talking with any of the family, I was shaken.

    Their mom giving directions to me, and me not knowing where we were going,
    I fell back into a loop, and, as we eventually saw and then caught up to a bus,
    Somehow my fear was partly blocking me, telling me stories, so present inside.

    After they got out and onto the bus,
    I felt relieved, yet still thinking something had gone wrong.
    I started to get caught up in blame or worry for a time,
    Sometimes with me, sometimes with them.

    Not like before was I threatened or my wallet stolen,
    My body invaded or my peace-center shaken,
    In fact I ended up with a sweater in the trunk I don’t recognize.
    Yet still I recycled in fear, blame, and sadness,

    And, sad and disappointed in myself,
    And the world that we make and that’s been given to us.

    And yet, I do know that though violence is so,
    And though fear may sometimes be,

    That what’s most important to me, don’t you see,
    Is that the love can keep growing and growing.

    And that though I may fear, I can also know,
    That the origin of the fear is basically within me.
    And that right there is where the love does grow.

    And that this is true for all of us, fearful or fearing,
    Our parts sometimes switching, with stimulus,
    Decisions, biases, anger, doubt, or past derisions.

    I can acknowledge my fear and decide different actions to take,
    Whether one or another, yes, whatever action
    Can be one coming from a place of love.

    And I can know that the fear sometimes may be a check-in reminder,
    May sometimes help protect me, but that it needn’t run, ruin, or divide me.

    For in my heart and soul, what is true for me, don’t you see,
    We are all different & yet “one” in love, whether this sounds silly or hum-drum.

    So it’s just not one or the other, us or them in any way.
    We are not our backgrounds, our ethnicities,
    Our families, our actions, or genders,
    It’s not all black and white, one or the other,
    Good or bad, victim, survivor, or perpetrator,
    I just don’t think that’s right.

    So, I go along on this journey, sometimes looking for help,
    Finding self and contribution, laughter and seriousness,
    Hoping to connect with the past and true-present,
    And to center on possibility and love, at the last.

  10. K.E. Ogden

    ORIGINS POEM: K.E. Ogden
    April 1, 2009



    to pluck each quill; to peel
    skin with needle-nosed pliers;

    to read each muscle
    threaded in yellow-white

    fat, thick with bone; to hold
    in the palm a barb bouquet.


    shake free the loose quills; move
    each muscle slower than anticipated;

    a prickle licks a sweaty boot; keep
    a distance from the yellow water-lily.


    theater of trees at dusk—grub worms
    and clover; aquatic liverwort: deep, purple grasses.

  11. Diana R. Wilson

    Diana R. Wilson

    I should have known that first time
    you borrowed my favorite earrings without asking
    but I was too mature then to give into that childish tug at my heart
    lemon drops hanging from your ears, bitter as your winter-cold smile

    you always glowed
    even when you stepped on me
    piercing me with your glass slippered heels
    as you climbed up to take everything that I wanted

    you said we’d always be there for each other
    but when I lay there bleeding, you sat at the top of the stairs
    peeling oranges to feed to your boys, all white teeth and hunger
    hovering and swarming around your feet, what you meant was I’d be there

    for you
    my friend
    my poison drink

  12. Ivy Merwine

    I laid around like a broken eggshell
    leaking my broken remains wherever I landed.
    I doubt the kinsmen can put me back together again.
    What origin caused such a tragic fall that shattered my shell?
    The very thing that has scrambled many in my carton,
    his love for me.

  13. scott Owens

    Mother of Invention

    The origin of origin is O
    as in, O, my God, (if I can call
    him mine when I’ve shown time
    and time again do little faith
    or use for what he may or may
    not be) what have you done
    or worse left undone
    for those like me to do
    on somewhat less than
    ten percent of my already less than
    brain sometimes coming out okay
    despite inadequacy — love and sharing
    and taking care to keep things green —
    and sometimes coming out wrong —
    greed and impatience and never
    having enough of anything —
    and mostly coming out in ways
    we couldn’t begin to understand —
    progress, fairness, foresight
    that couldn’t help but be missing from
    the making of rows beside a river,
    the making of homes beside the rows,
    the making of streets among the homes
    that lead to this town I come from,
    this hill outside the town I come from,
    this farm on the hill outside the town I come from,
    these people on the farm on the hill outside of the town I come from,
    this O they believe in, the perfect circle,
    the unclosing eye, the unrelenting zero
    that leaves them hopefully unprepared.


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