2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

Today’s prompt comes from Maxie Steer.

Here’s Maxie’s prompt: Take the phrase “How to (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

Robert’s attempt at a How-to Poem:

“How to Woo”

Confess the world returned upon first sight,
but more than that, you swallowed the universe whole,
and now, your dreams, once an endless summer

of soap opera re-runs, are prime time HBO,
or in other words, food has flavor again, flowers
beckon, and the moon is a long lost friend, so that

these words that crash against the shores of your heart
can’t be placated with anything less than a kiss,
a touch, a dance in the fields of chance.


Thank you, Maxie, for the how-to prompt! Click here to learn more about Maxie.

Click here if you prefer using the WD Forum for sharing your poems/comments.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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134 thoughts on “2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

  1. foodpoet

    been writing but now catching up on posting

    How to Tune out Tunes

    I used to love Christmas
    Fall fading free
    Winter bright renewal
    Now all seasons blur

    Fall fading free
    As leaves fall carols sound
    Now all seasons blue
    Masks, turkeys, carols – all one

    As leaves fall carols sound
    Tuning out early
    Masks, turkeys, carols – all one
    In a season stew

    Tuning out early
    Winter bright renewal?
    In a season stew
    I used to love Christmas

  2. JRSimmang

    How to Cause a Riot

    Be sure to pack your red paint,
    it’s more an art than a science,
    before hitting the town.

    It’s an enigmatic thing,
    causing fear
    and liberation in one simple cocktail.

    It’s simple,
    just stand up and do it.
    Become more than the flames and smell of sweat.
    Become a part of the sky
    and the blood-red asphalt.
    Become the hungry consumer
    built by homegrown
    Embrace the
    inequality and injustice
    you so broadly paint on the face of the world.

    become blind.
    Become blind to the holding of hands,
    the warm embraces,
    the business of people.
    Look for the weak,
    prey on the meek,
    seek and destroy the prayerful.

    when all is said and done,
    March over them all.

  3. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 17
    Prompt: How-to

    How to Enjoy Morning Coffee

    Make hazelnut.
    Add skim milk, sparingly.
    If it gets too cool, nuke it.
    Nurse it over your grocery list or to-do’s.
    Use it to accompany morning devotions.
    Make more if needed.
    Pour an extra mug,
    just in case,
    for the afternoon,
    before your son drinks up the pot.

  4. po

    How to Bake a Song

    First contact all our shy bakers
    in the world. Ask what they sing
    at 3AM when they bake you
    bread and muffins. Take your
    fiddle to a pebbled road
    at high noon. Keep playing
    even if travelers consider
    you vulgar. Every half-an-
    hour peek under the old
    oak by the side of the road.
    On day 14 you’ll find a
    baked song.

  5. Michelle Hed

    How to Fall From Grace

    Start slowly,
    by forgetting the little things;
    Forget to call,
    beg off on a date
    be unimpressed with the latest news…

    Then ramp it up;
    Ignore phone calls,
    don’t return them for weeks,
    be unavailable…for anything
    at anytime…

    complete communication termination
    except when forced
    and then use extreme politeness
    with a touch of boredom…

    and then your in-laws will finally
    leave you alone
    about having that next baby.

  6. Glory

    (Day 17)

    How to spend the day when
    all I want to do is snuggle
    up under these sheets,
    loose myself in remembering.

    How to spend the evening when
    all I want to do is sit by the fire
    the heat mottling my legs,
    my head full with remembering.

    How to spend my life now
    you are gone when every minute
    every day, every night
    reminds me, when remembering.

  7. uneven steven

    How to chop wood – the tin man’s explanation

    Chopping wood is an intimate affair
    involving the cutter, the wood and
    his tools.
    Careful observation will tell you
    which way the grain will yield
    and which way it will stand fast,
    the density of the wood telling you
    how much force will be needed
    to split it.
    The axiom
    spend five minutes
    sharpening for every minute
    cutting is more than
    the axiomatic cutting at the branches
    versus hacking
    at the roots
    less so,
    for chopping is not clearing brush
    and neither is it sawing,
    chopping is a means of
    breaking down to constituent parts,
    a way of burning away
    to the essence of a thing,
    its heat heating your body, your food
    exactly what an individual needs
    to survive.
    So yes dear
    when I called you nothing
    but dead wood
    believe me
    I was only
    my ax.

  8. posmic

    How to Peel an Egg

    Put your thumb in;
    make a crazed dent
    in a world made of
    chalk, white as that

    and as dead, because
    no rooster was present,
    no chick begun like a
    wet, unraveling spark.

    Think about those
    hundred year eggs,
    or tea eggs, all the
    many ways an egg

    can be etched by time
    and yet, somehow, too,
    preserved. Think what
    a shame it is, to break

    something so complete;
    slide a thumbnail now,
    lift off shell and also
    membrane, that skin

    meant to protect against
    predators like you. But
    protect what? It’s a dead
    letter, a false promise,

    something silent that
    should not be so inert,
    lying there on the plate
    naked, without feathers.

  9. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    How to write a poem under pressure

    Use a rhyming dictionary.
    Ignore the lovely man you married.
    Write about kids, pigs or roses.
    Kill no subjects in the process.
    Don’t confess to any crimes.
    Pray the words you use will rhyme.
    Hope your piece garners some praise
    or watch it die in cyberspace.

  10. DAHutchison

    How To Shovel Snow

    Forget those snow throwing devices,
    A T-Square or two suffices.
    From the back of each rim,
    Cut a path, straight and trim,
    And back out before the track ices.


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