2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

Two weeks! We’re two weeks into this challenge already!

Today’s prompt comes from Catherine Lee.

Here’s Catherine’s prompt: Write a stuck poem. Write about the struggle or the inability to move. Maybe you’re stuck in traffic, in a bad job, or a relationship.

Robert’s attempt at a Stuck Poem:

“Word Stuck”

All the obvious adjectives have been used a thousand
times over, so I find myself scouring the dictionary,
and still, there are few leads. Maybe this is the opportune

moment to commence speaking in code. I’m no common
lothario after all, handing out candy to any strumpet
who straggles in my direction. Snub me, club me, do

what you will with me. But I’ve lost the lexical capability
to explain how you make me feel when you find me in bed
every evening, leaning over to kiss me and send me to sleep.


Thank you, Catherine Lee, for the sticky prompt today. Click here to learn more about Catherine.

For those poets who prefer the forum, click here for the thread.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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119 thoughts on “2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

  1. jlcooper

    Stuck in Traffic

    Oh, here we go again
    Stuck in traffic
    We haven’t moved an inch
    Stuck in traffic
    Looks like a parking lot
    Stuck in traffic
    People honking their horns
    Stuck in traffic
    My patience is running thin
    Stuck in traffic

    The car ahead has moved
    Still in traffic
    I see the road ahead
    Still in traffic
    My exit ramp is near
    Still in traffic
    My weekend has begun
    Still in traffic
    Now I’m finally home
    No more traffic.

  2. heiditoad

    The Middle Child

    I am stuck in the middle, empty at best,
    born an over achiever but less than the rest;
    The black sheep, ousted by position,
    a foul swooping in to grab your attention.
    The weirder for worry, introverted extreme,
    I was born to be nothing and born to be green.
    I have it I’m sure, it’s called Middle Child Syndrome;
    A theory passed down with middle child wisdom!

  3. PSC in CT

    Stuck with you

    snagged, bagged, fastened, fettered,
    hampered, hobbled, hindered
    by wholly human gyve;
    no forward progress,
    no falling back,
    no end in sight;
    on one side bound
    by unwieldy unyielding ego,
    on the other, by inability
    to relinquish right,
    surrender to insanity,
    give in to illogical idiocy;
    for all intents and purposes:

    between a rock
    [ caught ]
    & a hard place

  4. Andy Brackett

    Ode to the Plowman
    It’s two A.m.,
    He’s been out all night.
    Snow keeps falling
    No end in sight.
    The strobe lights flash,
    On downy flake,
    Steals his attention
    A bad mistake.
    As snow rolls off his angled plow,
    Entombing roads edge,
    Sweat rolls off his furrowed brow.
    As he crests another hill,
    Suddenly his tractions lacking.
    He holds on tightly
    And finds now he’s backing
    Sliding sideways,
    He’s lost control
    He prays to God
    The truck doesn’t roll
    Impact comes, his vision dims
    A flurry of white
    Explodes before him.
    He opens his eyes
    And shakes his head
    All is quiet now
    Perhaps he’s dead.
    Left alone in silence
    He considers his luck
    His wheels are spinning
    But alas, he’s stuck.

  5. po

    This poem

    is stuck.
    It can’t
    get past
    the letter
    A. It wants
    to embrace
    O and find
    the lost T
    but can’t
    get over the
    bridge of the
    B. It kneels
    in prayer
    and finally
    moves on.

  6. julie e.


    Heathcliff hearts Catherine
    Catherine hearts Heathcliff
    AND Edgar.
    Clearly one more than is good.
    Heathcliff drinks revenge
    like Mama’s home remedy
    for crazy.
    (Clearly some bitter root.)
    Heathcliff hearts Catherine
    Catherine births Catherine
    And dies.
    Raise the crazy a notch.
    Heathclff obsesses
    while more people marry
    and die
    and are born and whatnot.
    Heathcliff hearts money
    Heathcliff hearts power
    He’s nuts
    and he hearts dead Catherine.
    Heathcliff, past Emo,
    makes them all wretched
    He’s glum
    and scary, possessed
    by hearting a dead girl
    his thoughts not of this world
    he’s gripped
    but finally he dies
    and then suddenly
    everyone’s happy.
    The end.

  7. sonja j

    I have just realized that I posted my stuck poem on day 13, by accident. What a doofus. Reposting here, even though it is too late.

    Fat Man’s Misery

    Next stop, the Devil’s Corncrib. As if
    the devil was one of the farmers you
    knew who sold his land to Wal-Mart,
    and every time you go buy cornflakes
    and bacon with your throw pillows, you
    think of him. Then again, how many of
    these guys have ever worked a cornfield?

    This is killing my mind. Even if you’re
    skinny, this is the moment when your
    wetsuit is pulled up over your face, arms
    alongside your ears in neoprene gauntlets.
    You know in a few moments your mouth
    will be free to breathe, but right now the
    panic bird is hot under your breastbone.

    Sometimes I dream that I am diving
    through a cat door, through a tunnel
    where I used to fit. This is probably just
    the sleep apnea talking, but I believe
    that if I can take a wave in the face
    and stifle my cough, then I can hold
    my hand in that goddamned box.

  8. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 14
    Prompt: Stuck

    Getting Unstuck

    Once I miss a day,
    I freeze. I can’t seem to start,
    can’t jump in midstream.
    I say to myself,
    “Remember; it’s not about perfection.
    It’s about progress.”
    And so I rejoin
    to write a poem
    for Day 14.

  9. Rorybore

    Late at the poetry game today. For some reason this one proved a bit of a stumper for me.
    Irony? I getcha.

    Stuck Schmuk

    It took me all day
    to write this poem
    the words just would not be plucked
    lost, trapped; they rolled about
    inside my head – amuck
    begging to be released
    loosed from the crevice
    where they had snuck
    my own thoughts held hostage
    perplexed victims of my inability
    to grasp some poetic luck
    and find another word; besides that
    to rhyme with stuck.

    will check out everyone’s tomorrow.

  10. Nancy Posey


    Bumper to bumper traffic heading east and west
    along the interstate winding through Cataloochee
    suddenly comes to a halt, inching ahead, stretching
    as far as anyone can see ahead and behind.
    Semis driving deadhead back toward home,
    families with luggage strapped to the roof,
    backseat packed with dogs and snacks and kids
    singing, Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall. . .
    eighty-four, fifty-six, thirty-two, seventeen. . .
    students with bikes and books, escaping the dorm
    for the long weekend. With somewhere to be,
    drivers grows anxious, their jaws tight, eyes
    on the gas gauge, the clock on the dashboard.
    Stuck. Maybe as they roll forward, stopping,
    starting, they’ll see what causes their plight,
    a truck jack-knifed, another state-line rock slide,
    construction forcing three lanes to merge to two.
    More likely, though, suddenly they’ll break free,
    traffic will flow, and no one will know why
    they slowed to a snail’s pace before resuming
    speed, everyone heading toward turkey, dressing,
    pumpkin pie, smooth, clean sheets, rest.

  11. Neenie615

    Here’s a second one…

    Down in a Hole

    Down in a hole
    With nowhere to go
    No one to save me
    Nothing to pull me out
    Down in a hole

    Down in a hole
    The hole of my mind
    Trapped with my thoughts
    My sleepless dreams
    Down in a hole

  12. bluerabbit47

    For Jacqueline

    They say
    when stuck
    in one of
    his intertwined
    tossed the
    canvas out
    his window
    into the intertwined
    branches of one
    of his trees,
    only to retrieve
    it when unable
    to resist the
    way it had
    entwined itself
    with his entangled

  13. Michael Grove

    Wiggle Room

    I looked
    to the left
    of me
    but saw that
    there were no clowns.
    On my right side
    the jokers
    were missing too.
    I folded
    my arms tightly
    across my chest
    closed my eyes
    and found
    a little
    wiggle room.

    By Michael Grove

  14. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Writer’s Block

    She prays for a way out of here…
    Somewhere with a white picket fence.
    The “How” and “When” is not yet clear.
    She prays for a way out of here…
    Where worry and stress disappear
    and life makes a little more sense.
    She prays for a way out of here…
    Somewhere with a white picket fence

  15. bluerabbit47


    I’m stuck
    like the needle
    on a vinyl
    three days
    without progress
    or loss
    I just
    have to
    state what
    I want to do
    and a state
    of entropy
    sets in
    in me loves
    and still
    wants to
    stay still
    though I
    still still still
    to keep

  16. posmic


    I live with a turtle,
    a box turtle with a
    high, domed shell.

    At times, during
    his daily cruises,
    when mounting

    shoes, which are
    surrogate mates,
    or toys, which are

    vantage points
    from which to
    survey his land,

    he will flip over.
    He holds still,
    then, for a time,

    does not soon
    begin the fight
    to gain purchase

    on wood floor
    with head, limbs,
    or stub of tail.

    It’s as if he fears,
    after fifteen years
    with us, that a hawk

    might yet appear
    in the dining room,
    or maybe a raccoon.

    Something. It pays,
    he knows, to always
    keep one eye open,

    to keep one’s
    orange eyes open
    all the time.

  17. Sara McNulty

    Poetic Asides November Challenge – Day 14
    Write a stuck poem


    Stuck is in my head, claustrophobic
    feelings of dread. If three
    people share back seat
    of a car, no matter how far
    we are going, I cannot sit
    in the middle, because I feel
    a loss of control. In restaurant
    booths, I try not to place
    myself against a wall. I cannot
    explain this sensation at all,
    because words become
    stuck in my throat.

  18. madcapmaggie

    Nov 14: Write a stuck poem

    What Prevented Me from Coming to the Office

    This morning as I strolled along,
    I came up to a barrier.
    I tried to shuffle round it but
    was forced to be a tarrier.

    A large policeman blocked my path.
    He said, “No one may enter.”
    When called upon to tell me why,
    his voice was suddenly gentler.

    “I’m sorry, sir to tell you now,
    there’s been an awful fire.
    A lot of trash piled in the street.
    Onto it fell a wire.

    A spark lit up the pile of trash,
    and, sir, the pile’s still burning.
    I cannot tell you when you’ll get
    permission for returning.”

    I nodded, turned, and skipped away,
    my day thus turned to leisure.
    I grinned because, no fault of mine,
    my boss would have a seizure.

    Margaret Fieland

  19. The Wired Journal

    I’m stuck as a writer the words won’t come
    I’m stuck as a poet the rhymes chime
    Am I in a dream or is this all real
    So little time but none of its mine

  20. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz


    I never expected your arms to look
    like prison bars. You turn your eyes
    on me these days, and I shiver on
    the inside, where no one can see me.
    Everything feels like a prison, these
    days: traffic equals one car in front
    of me on a two-lane highway with
    no opportunity to pass, and I see
    your face all over again—and that
    hideous chair at the office, the one
    that envelops me when I sit down
    at my computer, the one that
    swallows all of me, much like you
    tried to do. I don’t know why I
    keep waiting on you to grow up,
    like you’re Peter Pan and you’re
    determined to stay little forever. I
    never liked being little enough to
    want to stay that way for good,
    but now I’d rather be little again
    if it meant I wasn’t stuck with you.

  21. jared davidavich

    no title today

    i follow my footprints,
    worn into the wood
    of my floor
    and the concrete
    in the sidewalks to work,
    always staying in the lines,
    never stepping
    on another’s toes

    the factory floor
    is full of imprints
    of boots and shoes,
    different types and
    different sizes,
    going in all directions
    at all times,
    but filled on a strict schedule

    i do not recognize mine,
    but my feet remember
    the steps to my station,
    and they gently settle in
    to the outline of my shoes
    in the two foot square
    of floorspace
    allotted to me and my feet.

    i often wonder how
    i found my way this morning,
    or how I find it daily,
    consistently, and no other way,
    and to no other place,
    making me think
    my feet did not wear their holes,
    one in front of the other,
    but followed the path
    laid for them
    long before they started

  22. Bruce Niedt

    Oops – edit time:

    Stuck Between Stations

    She said, “You’re pretty good with words
    but words won’t save your life.”
    – The Hold Steady

    Between two frequencies
    is a no-man’s land of static.

    Between two stations
    is a dead zone in the rails.

    Nothing moves tonight,
    and if it does, it’s only because

    a stale wind has blown it.
    You snore in the next room

    and you’re wide awake in this one.
    Midnight is the cusp

    of what we have and what we want.
    Fatigue is judgment’s nemesis

    so you have another drink.
    There are no words, only

    the spaces between words,
    and there is no passion,

    only what happens between the stations.
    Berryman took a flying leap,

    but you won’t because
    your feet are bolted to the floor.


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