Editors Blog

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

Today’s prompt comes from Madeline Sharples.

Here’s Madeline’s prompt: Write a “Wheel” poem: of fortune, ferris, bike, auto – any kind of wheel. Even a big wheel and wheeling and dealing will do.

Robert’s attempt at a Wheel Poem:

“Spinning my wheels”

Yesterday, I saw my friend sitting on a bench
staring at birds, and I asked him how we was
doing. He said, “Fine. Just fine.” “Just fine,”
I asked. “Yes, fine,” he said. “Just swell.”
“I thought you were fine,” I said. “Well,” he said,
“that too, but I’m really all right.” “Which one
do you feel the most,” I asked. “I suppose,”
he started to say and then he got distracted
by a squirrel working its way along a branch
before jumping to another branch in another
tree, and then my friend was up and walking
away from me without an explanation or
a good-bye, which was fine with me, because
I took his spot and his seat was still warm
and those birds were still darting from tree
to tree and the squirrel was still working
this way and that and there was not another
person in the park who might ask how I was.


Thank you, Madeline, for the circular prompt! Click here to learn more about Madeline.

Click here if you prefer using the WD Forum thread.


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127 thoughts on “2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

  1. Nancy Posey


    By the time he took the pulpit each Sunday,
    we knew the sermon outlines, the illustrations,
    the key verses he would read—always King James
    back them. At the dinner table Saturday,
    he’d run it by us, more talk than lecture,
    and all week long, he’d visit the sick,
    carry a sack of groceries to those down on their luck.
    Sure, he was a preacher. Nobody questioned it,
    but he was a hoss trader too, knew in his guts
    a good deal on a tract of land, a used car,
    a rent house. As I approached sixteen,
    he dampened my enthusiasm. I wanted wheels
    but not just any wheels. He suggested a Ford Falcon,
    a Gremlin, something heavy and safe, no temptation
    for car thieves, an AM radio was good enough surely.
    The wheels he finally delivered—a rebuilt wreck,
    but sport, red—was a greater gift than I dreamed:
    Years later, when I began these negotiations
    with children of my own, eager to hit the road,
    we could honestly say, Be grateful. You should
    have seen what my dad gave me to drive at sixteen.

  2. po

    Ode to Wheels

    Thank you for your roundness
    perfect circles.
    Sometimes it seems your shape
    surrounds everything.
    You take us places we want to go
    and some we don’t.
    And are with us when we grow
    bicycles rollerblades.
    You can be a status symbol
    or ordinary
    as the boy next door.
    A major
    player in the Indianapolis 500
    yet you do
    your part in my garden
    hand plow
    and in the overall harvest
    Sometimes you are naughty
    lover’s lane
    when you burn rubber.
    Who does
    not admire a well-rounded
    Wish I was there the first
    you helped us lift our
    heavy load.

  3. janmoram


    You are a gossamer firefly with coal black eyes

    among copper urns, fold silk robes,
    pin loose hair back

    wheel around the world,
    a spool,
    with golden thread

    woven into the ash colored night

  4. Mike Bayles

    Flat Tire

    The tire on my friend’s wheelbarrow
    went flat from sitting too long.
    There’s so much inertia to overcome
    and get it moving again.
    So I push it with a start and a stop,
    to clear a space,
    start, stop and plop
    until it rests on the flat spot.
    I figure life is like the wheel barrow,
    that it goes flat with inactivity.
    When I return to the garage
    I help her sort through the clutter
    and move through memories of her life.

  5. Tracy Davidson

    Turning Cartwheels

    she begs me to watch
    as she performs three cartwheels
    one for each of us
    laughing as her wig falls off
    exposing the surgeon’s scars

  6. Bruce Niedt

    Setting the Wheels

    When I was a kid my dad and I set up
    our model trains under the Christmas tree –
    HO scale, smaller and more fragile than
    the hefty Lionels he had when he was young.
    Everything was scaled down, small enough
    to put a whole town beneath our Scotch pine –
    cars, people and buildings, a church,
    5&10 store, gas station, post office,
    and several snow-covered homes.
    The steam locomotive puffed “real” smoke
    and pulled box cars, gondola cars, tankers,
    and a caboose, working hard just to go
    around and around a big oval enclosing
    the small-town scene. Being smaller,
    it was more likely to jump the tracks,
    so it was my job to inspect the couplings
    and the wheels, make sure everything
    connected and rolled smoothly, and to right
    frequent derailments like some demigod,
    putting the wayward train back on track,
    feeling the groove of each wheel slip
    into place inside of the rail, then sending it
    chugging again on its single-minded mission,
    even though it would never really leave town.

  7. elishevasmom

    Spin the Wheel

    Back in the day,
    (my but that makes me
    sound so old),
    Gran and I used to watch
    Jeopardy together when I
    was visiting during the summer.

    If she had grown up in
    my generation, Gran
    probably would have
    ended up with an MFA.

    I don’t know if she had a
    photographic memory, but
    she was already well north
    of 70 then, and I can’t remember
    anything she ever forgot.

    Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
    They bridged a programming
    gap between the
    Nightly News and
    Prime Time.
    Now, game show/reality shows
    have invaded
    Prime Time TV.

    From Survivor to the Biggest
    Loser. From American Idol to
    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
    From Cash Cab to
    Dancing With the Stars.

    Maybe I just like to remember
    back to when I watched
    Jeopardy with Gran, when
    Alex Trebek didn’t have
    a full head of white hair
    (thus reminding me of my own).

    And I also remember why I
    gave up my TV.

    Ellen Knight

  8. posmic


    I fall apart now.

    I drip
    onto a plate
    underneath me.

    I can’t help it.
    The fire is warm.
    I am so sleepy,

    and I lack arms
    to get myself
    back together.

    We are inside,
    the things
    that used to be


    I think I used to be
    a cow, or inside a cow,
    or some part of a cow.

    I don’t know, but there
    was grass somewhere
    and I seem to remember

    its taste. Maybe
    sunlight also.
    But now

    there is this fire.
    It unlocks the sun
    I have held.

    The sheets of something
    next to me used to be
    cow, too, but different.

    They try to talk to me,
    but I can only catch
    a word or two,

    because we are so
    different, and so much
    has happened since

    the time when we were
    cows. The potatoes
    and gherkins, I don’t

    even bother with.
    They just say
    their own names

    over and over again,
    and it seems to me that
    we should forget

    our names, now that
    (as I believe) we will soon
    become people.

  9. sonja j


    People keep pressing me to explain that night,
    what I saw, the fire within fire, one creature alive
    with many faces, and all I can tell you is this:

    We exist inversely with the stars. In these times
    there is scarcely night, and we do not fear the desert.
    The voice of humanity, once many waters, floods
    its cacophony through the cities, we have the appetites
    of pitiful manticores, we subsume the oceans.

    As children we could see everything, dust motes
    revealed themselves in the sunlight of our morning.
    Now we are blind; the evening blazes. You ask me,
    but still, I do not know under what throne we shall live.

    1. DanielAri

      That’s the poem I meant to write :)
      I like where you go with the Ezekiel story, which I confess leaves me quite baffled. But I think you have an essential element of wonder (and its loss) here:
      “In these times / there is scarcely night, and we do not fear the desert.”
      “Now we are blind; the evening blazes.”
      Wonderful, sonja

  10. ina

    Goldilocks Zone (wheel 2)

    Goldilocks zone, a fluid blue
    halo of oxygen scattering starlight.
    Launch from orbit
    to find a place of rest after
    the water has been sucked from
    the earth, after the water has been covered
    in sheets of plastic, encased
    like a memorial, like your grandmother’s
    sofa, uncomfortable in life as your
    hot summer skin and useless
    to her after death.

  11. PSC in CT

    Captain’s Wheel

    You think you’re at the wheel
    captain of your own ship
    calling all the shots, a homo sapiens
    gathering evidence, weighing facts
    making informed decisions,
    but all evidence points
    to the contrary – a
    gray matter – colored by
    chemistry & biology,
    action & reaction,
    mental amoeba
    manufacturing facts to fit you
    r preconceived notions,
    personal fictional perception of
    unreality, your justifications – just a-
    nother spoke in the wheel

  12. DanielAri

    God will strengthen

    E-Z from an eaten nation
    wandered beside a muddy stream.
    The sky above seemed to open
    to fire—as in a deathbed dream.
    Key elements of the vision

    E-Z would swear were cherubim.
    He spoke of it with eyes like fire,
    and peers in exile heeded him:
    wheels on a heavenly choir
    running by Divine Intention—

    wheels in wheels under icy spires—
    fiery, human-eating design.
    No one marked E-Z a liar,
    for who could doubt the hungry sign
    of the deity’s cold machine?

    It lifted E-Z by the spine,
    dropped him in a valley of bones.

  13. JRSimmang

    I suppose I’ve never looked around before.
    She had always been there, standing in front of me,
    our eyes level and locked.

    I never noticed how her irises, pale blue and bright green,
    radiated from the center, almost unbroken.
    But, I suppose it is that slight variation that
    keeps us going round and round and round.

    In circles,
    her mind twists.

  14. madcapmaggie

    Cigar Box

    My sister and I used to fight
    over the insert in Dad’s
    cigar box, a something –
    you see, I can no longer
    remember the shape –
    made of very thinly shaved
    wood. Was it a cylinder?
    A square?
    We both wanted it,
    no to play with, really,
    but simply because
    she wanted it.

    We would chase each other
    around the dining room table,
    endlessly around,
    since we ran at approximately
    the same speed,
    until one of us,
    my sister,
    would make a break
    for our room,
    dash like lightning
    down the hall,
    slam the door shut,
    while the other,
    usually me,
    pounded on the door.

    And what, you may ask,
    happened after that?
    Dad says we abandoned
    the insert somewhere
    in the house.
    and he, shaking his head
    over the strange ways
    of girls, would pick it up
    and throw it in the trash.

  15. madcapmaggie

    Nov 19: create a wheel poem

    Spin Those Wheels

    We Americans love the illusion
    of progress, of moving forward,
    conquering outer space,
    colonizing the moon,
    making more money than our parents,
    or even being gainfully employed.
    Sadly, the current economic atmosphere’s
    blowing a cold wind over our expectations.
    We shiver, shrink back on ourselves.
    True, we sent a Mars rover
    to explore the Red Planet,
    but when was the last manned flight?
    Can you even remember?
    Most of us would settle,
    a roof over our heads,
    food on the table,
    and somewhere, somehow, a job.

  16. Yolee


    A cranky wind took the wheel away
    from the August sky just as moonlight
    cruised in its parking space. I was
    walking home with my heart in the
    pocket of my church uniform. The boy
    I wasn’t supposed to crush on used
    the a cappella notes of my infatuation
    as stepping stones to reach my friend
    whom towered above me in every way.

    The spiraling rain licked my face.
    Mama was at the door holding a swan
    printed towel, announcing I was certain
    to catch a bad fever or cold.

  17. ina

    I love this prompt, Madeline. This is the first of the draft poems I wrote today.

    Wheel (1)

    Karma sleeps like the
    man on bench by the trash
    bin in the far corner
    of Grand Central station,
    greyed from dirt and
    living without the sun. One day
    he will rise up without warning;
    he may become an avenging
    angel, against our sins of callousness, he
    will rise up without warning, clutching
    his hungry heart, arms outstretched
    to receive. Will they be blows
    or will you breathe in, will you
    breath in his sweat, his urine,
    will you hold him?

  18. Jane Shlensky


    Sunday dog waits by my car
    Inspecting tires, sniffing out
    road trips, reading scents
    like maps into a new life.

    I imagine him in the car,
    riding with his head out
    the window, ears flapping,
    tongue swept sideways

    Gogo dog, adventure dog,
    happy road warrior yipping
    with excitement, a church lot
    dog no more. He shops,

    a serious buyer, lingering,
    walking round and round,
    admiring the wheels,
    and then he lifts his leg.

  19. RJ Clarken

    What Happens to All Those Tossed Pizza Wheels?

    “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” ~Dave Barry

    How many times have you eight-cut
    your pizza with a wheel? But what
    is more important, when employed,
    how many wheels went to the void?

    Into the pizza box you stash
    your wheel, which then goes out with trash.
    It doesn’t take a Sigmund Freud:
    How many wheels go to the void?

    We all have done, by accident,
    the wheel toss. No admonishment,
    no matter if it’s well-deployed
    can keep a wheel out of the void.

    At least, that’s my experience
    re pizza-pie and beerience.
    Replace your wheel – don’t get annoyed
    if you’ve just tossed it in the void.


  20. RJ Clarken

    Lost Art

    She threw pots on a potter’s wheel,
    created just by what she’d feel.
    They’d rise from lumps of slip and clay:
    she’d make ceramics a ballet.

    An artisan, her figurines
    would tell her tale; they were her means
    to offer a beaux arts display:
    she made ceramics a ballet.

    Upon her wheel, a vase could grow
    for orchids rare; a true tableau.
    Her weathered hands would dance and sway
    and make ceramics a ballet.

    But now she’s gone; so is her art.
    She’d never had a counterpart,
    or an apprentice with a way
    to make ceramics a ballet.


  21. Misky

    We Are Time

    like cold coal
    dust, we’re free-wheeling,
    spinning, slipping on glinting steel
    rims – we’re water tumbling over slickened stones.
    we ride wheels through lives, slowing for the young but fast as a chased rabbit for the old.

  22. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    Round and round they go

    Nurses, doctors, teachers –
    scientists, lawyers, accountants-
    bakers, mechanics and more

    Yes, this is the land of opportunity –
    No, you degree means nothing –
    Yes, you can get a job –
    No, you have to speak English –
    Yes, we have assistance –
    No, you have to be a citizen –
    Yes, this is the land of opportunity –
    No, you can’t get there from here!

    I know this is a wee bit cynical, but that is how I feel after learning that another of my students is having difficulty finding work even though this student is a qualified dentist in their homeland. Makes me sad.

  23. Marjory MT

    There are so many beautifully, thoughtful and fun poems written today to the prompt. I wish I could comment on each, but my success at posting is beyond frustration. Have a great day, thank you for adding to the day’s beauty during the day of stormy weather outside my window. (Domino, Uneven, Connie, Janet, RA, DA, Marie, Sally Michelle, Walt, JW, Andrew, Rob, Karen, elish., EDT, Marianv, shella, blue, jared, pmw, barbara, taylor, Miss R, julie, DeJ, claudsy)

    Trees pulsate
    in the building storm.
    Boughs reach down,
    branches crack
    Over land, debris wheels,
    wind’s bounty.

  24. De Jackson


    What of spin? And where
                     to begin?

    make a circle of worn
    fingers, and I’ll
    try to reshape these tired
    treads. Let’s thread some
    ribbon through the spoke
    -n phrases we forgot,
    so we can pull our way
    back. Paint the whole she
    -bang black, maybe, turn
    our mourning to shiny roll
    -ing tide.

    at least we’ll look cool
    cruisin’ down this wild


  25. claudsy

    Still haven’t managed my Glosa. Working on it, but not easy. Wheels, now. That’s fun.

    Pharoh’s Dilemma

    Which came first;
    Pyramids or chariots?

    Science tells us stone
    For pyramids rolled
    Into place at Giza
    On logs across plains.

    Climate differed then,
    More trees, lusher growth,
    Providing logs for use.

    How many stones rolled
    On each log before
    Resulting firewood?

    Who taught Pharoh’s
    Builders to build wheels
    And chariots for moving
    At speed behind horses?

    If they had wheels and horses,
    Why decimate forests by stone?

  26. De Jackson

    1980 AMC Concord

    It was cheap, and white
    and handled just right
    on the curves on the way
    out of Podunk, Nevada.

    It was no red tape
    and paced for escape
    and though she didn’t
    go far, it felt like flying.

    It was all hers,
    and filled with something
    she would never forget.
    That used car smell:
    freedom, and all too soon,


  27. julie e.

    My husband would say, “that is not a real poem!” and i suppose it sounds much more like just the traffic in my head ;-)
    but here it is anyway.


    My mother
    used to say “where is
    the pen that is supPOSED to be
    by the phone?” and I would think,
    gee, what is her problem, she makes
    such a big deal out of nothing, and I would
    answer her, “I don’t know, why?” all innocently
    and she would say “because the pen is supPOSED
    to stay by the phone!” and so in my adult life I have
    solved this problem by buying copious amounts of pens
    and placing them by the phone /by the computer /by the
    kitchen, and when I want one I think I should be able to
    pick up at least ONE of those many pens but all I can
    find is a dead Sharpie and an emery board and I
    say “where are all the pens that are supPOSED
    to be by the phone?” and my children
    shrug their shoulders and look at me
    like, gee, what is her problem, she makes
    such a big deal out of nothing, and they answer
    “I don’t know, why?” and look at me all innocently
    and I say “because there are supPOSED to be pens
    by the phone!” and I sigh and realize the wheel of
    life has turned full circle and I have no real
    answers and have turned into
    my mother.

  28. Miss R.


    She hates the way she wheels around
    Just because he calls her name.
    She always hopes he will have changed,
    But things are always just the same.

    She wishes he would just commit,
    But she is scared and won’t insist.
    She wears her heart out on her sleeve
    To cover where he bruised her wrist.

    But all the makeup in the world
    Won’t cover what he did this time.
    She tries to blame upon herself
    What she knows is truly crime.

    The mirror, cracked with angry blows,
    Cries at her broken reflection.
    She cannot help but gasp aloud;
    There can be no quick correction.

    Healing will take quite some time.
    She quietly begins to pack.
    She slams the door; he wheels around,
    And knows that she will not be back.

  29. taylor graham

    for an old dog

    Sheet of plywood for a stretcher –
    we lifted you onto the vet’s steel table,
    recounted how the dump-truck wheel
    rolled over you. Thanksgiving Eve.

    His hands probed, x-rays reached
    deeper. Diaphragm sprung, you worked
    at breathing. Nothing else wrong.
    But, it was Thanksgiving Eve.

    We got you to your feet, you walked
    to the car. We drove freeway
    to the big-town surgery. Left you there,
    drove home to our Thanksgiving Eve.

    By dawn, you were sewed back,
    almost whole. A hundred miles to bring
    you home; napping beside our table:
    what makes Thanksgiving.

  30. barbara_y

    She was a stone wheel, with a porthole for the sun,
    happy when light passed through her.
    She was not adept at red letter dates,
    forgetting to memorize their faces, she
    confused weekends with their cousins, the holidays,
    became addled over fasts and feasts.
    When the leaves fell, she wore a sweater, and raked.
    When there was snow: a coat and gloves,
    though snow rarely stayed past breakfast.
    When there were new chickweed stars, she wished,
    for that was what one did with stars.
    Every day was new when it began, and died old.

  31. jared davidavich

    Never Another Fresh Step

    This world always seems
    To be in motion,
    Either between locations
    Or in all directions;
    Even stationary objects
    Are always working,
    Never at rest

    Everything appears
    To move up and down,
    Back and forth,
    In a technological
    Cacophony of man,
    Machine, and nature
    Struggling to preserve
    Whatever slim hold
    They have on the others

    But at the heart
    Of every movement,
    Of every machine,
    Is a wheel, Spinning
    In quiet isolation
    Carrying our society
    With each revolution
    Ever onward;
    Even the system
    Of life-sustaining liquid
    Flowing fluidly through
    Our veins, and the pipes
    Of our society
    Is a closed loop

    We built it this way,
    With purpose,
    Efficient and rational,
    Replacing diversity
    With uniform degrees-
    We took the creative life,
    And made it routine,

  32. bluerabbit47

    My first wheels
    were skates:
    I rumbled
    down the sidewalk
    across calculated
    cracks in concrete,
    clicking out
    a rhythm for
    Rolling along alone
    under the
    summer sun,
    Clackity clack
    was the sound
    of freedom.

    My second wheels,
    in a different
    place, were
    on the used bike
    my father bought,
    but I was afraid
    to ride for a long
    time, though I
    longed to, not
    trusting that
    seemingly impossible
    balance, until
    someone let go
    and I wobbled off,
    until that wobble
    turned to a whir.
    Whir, whir
    was the sound
    of freedom.

    After college
    came my
    first car,
    a used Dodge
    that randomly
    died, but
    took me
    farther and faster
    than I could
    have dreamed.
    Vroom, vroom!
    That was the
    sound of freedom.

    When a Sumerian
    first put
    a log under
    a load
    to roll,
    could he
    or a distant
    of freedom?

  33. shellaysm

    “Ferris Wheel”
    (Palindrome Poem)

    Amusement Park:
    rides filled of thrill
    our pulses rise
    each climb high on
    Ferris Wheel
    on high climb
    each rise pulses
    our thrill of filled rides:
    Park Amusement

  34. Marianv

    Dreams of the Swarm

    In their dark, sweaty beds they dreamed
    Of light that lit up the night. Of a life spent
    Dancing around its brilliance. Never-ending
    Celebrations with all the members of their kind.

    So off to the city they flew, drawn
    to the thrill of light that lasted
    all night long
    Lamp-posts where they could
    Wheel and circle fast enough
    To become almost invisible

    It was the lights , that incandescent
    Watch the swarms wheeling, circling
    Round and back again

    Some never learn that approaching
    Too close is courting danger.
    Danger, brightly silhouetted, lurks
    In the anonymity of darkness. Who
    Could not succumb to that siren call?
    That quick elimination in a blaze of glory?

  35. Walt Wojtanik


    Loud and proud,
    pounding the poems out
    like a smithy with a chip on his anvil.
    The sure way to be noticed
    is to make the most noise.
    It is your choice, it’s up to you
    the squeaky wheel always gets his due!

  36. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz


    What on earth is it, do you suppose,
    about guys and cars? I’m sure I’ll
    never be able to understand the
    close appeal that seems to render
    every masculine personage utterly
    speechless in the face of something
    that, to me, provides transportation
    from one place to the next to the
    next. Maybe the reason I hate cars,
    or at least don’t adore them, is that
    I spend so much time driving one
    around from place to place to place
    to . . . you get the idea. But, really,
    what is the difference between a
    serviceable SUV and a Lamborgini?
    In the male mind—the difference
    between utilitarian and its opposite,
    whatever you want to call it today.

  37. elishevasmom

    Diary of a Dervish

    The me-ness that is not you.
    The part of me I can’t reign in—
    like a hive of hornets—
    poked. Bouncing off
    each other, buzzing in a thousand
    different voices
    all at once all
    the same but different.
    Uncapped, untapped energy.

    The me-ness that I think back with later,
    when I am alone, and
    replay those conversations in
    my mind.

    Realizing the enduring,
    the patience you must have
    letting me prattle
    on about whatever at the time—
    not childish—but child-like.

    Your nodding in approval
    and understanding even as
    my swirling swarm
    has left you whirling
    in the dust, as the
    me-ness that is not you
    (but perhaps yearns to be, if even for a while)
    roils away, agitated energy, in
    search of a new target.

    The me-ness that is
    not you, still trying to win
    your approval (as I have my whole life)
    must finally come up for air,
    allowing the dust
    to settle.

    And the only tools that my me-ness
    (the one that is only me) has
    are these words—and
    if I can but place them properly
    you will come of your own you-ness to
    seek me out when
    I am not
    swarming in your face.

    Ellen Knight

  38. Walt Wojtanik


    They call me “Renaissance Man”.
    I laughed when friends saddled me with that name.
    I’m the guy they’ve always known, the same
    soft-spoken poet, slightly broken and on the mend.
    But there are a few modifications in the works,
    for this one who in poetic circles lurks.

    Diet and exercise are the thugs that lurk
    in the dark alley waiting for me. Baiting me to become the man
    who is leaner and living cleaner. I hope it works.
    I’d just and soon change my pants size, than my nickname,
    since anything with the word “BIG” in it sends
    me over the edge. But all the same

    it is a necessary adjustment. I’m trading all-beef patties on sesame
    seed buns for a more sensible menu. With turkey lurking
    I’m working on maintaining life on the back of deep knee bends
    and friends encouragement to make me a better man.
    And cancer can kiss my ass if it thinks it will keep my name
    on its insidious “honor roll” any time soon. A return to work

    has my head spinning like a Ferris wheel on speed, I need to work
    on getting my strength and stamina in line. I’m fine all the same
    but I feel tame, not the ferocious fellow, just mellow. I can name
    others more fiery that I, but my desire will not fade, left to lurk
    in the back of my mind. So this time, I will become the man
    who changes all he can and stay within himself. One of those men

    who will battle until all the fight is gone. Still, I’m mending
    the parts of me long in need of repair. It is there where I will work
    on re-inventing who I am, this supposed “Big Wheel” kind of man,
    (no big deal in my mind). I find that I am still the same
    clown who insists on penning poetry and will lurk
    in writing circles where I can reestablish my name.

    What’s in a name?
    Despite all these flaws I plan to mend,
    I will stand strong against maladies that lurk
    in my depleting shadow, and continue to work
    on getting well. You can tell I remain the same
    guy who’s starting to believe he is a “Renaissance Man”.

    Just a man; the same face and name,
    on the mend to become the same kind of guy he’s always been,
    with all new working parts who will lurk around life a while longer.

  39. Andrew Kreider


    We were haring through Hartford late at night
    when something sharp reared up from the dark earth
    leaving us on the hard shoulder trying
    to change a tire without getting hit
    while our friend just gave up and called a cab.

    Nowadays I wonder about symbols
    and if maybe it’s just our destiny
    to be laughing on the side of the road
    because we’re too proud to admit defeat
    and no one else remembers we exist.

  40. Walt Wojtanik


    Once a Huffy Angel,
    banana seat, low-rider,
    sissy bar reaching skyward,
    my father preaching the dangers
    of such a monstrosity,
    and me secure in my pomposity
    riding on the double-forked “chopper”.
    The bald “slick” in the back
    was right for traction action.
    Getting the front tire off the ground
    was the treat. It was truly neat
    until the lugs came loose
    and raised my voice two octaves!

  41. Walt Wojtanik


    Chatter and flapping,
    spinning and grinning at the sound.
    The wheels go around,
    the faster your pedaled,
    the louder you “motor” revved.
    It was cool then, but from what I know now,
    this fool lost some major jack
    on the Mantle card mounted in the rear.
    But, your should have heard
    how loud Mickey hummed!

  42. Michelle Hed


    He couldn’t say the words,
    so he showered her with kisses.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    so he brought her little gifts.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    but he was there when times were rough.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    but his constant presence warmed her heart.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    but he would protect her with his life.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    even when he was old and gray.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    but she knew he loved her.

    He couldn’t say the words,
    because he was a dog.

  43. Sally Jadlow



    The wheels of time spin faster
    the more years you add.
    Milestones of celebration,
    birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays,
    become a blur.

    Is God speeding up the clock,
    or does it just seem so?

    I’ll be glad when time is no more.
    When I can sit on a log to visit
    an old or new friend
    and not be bound by
    the wheels of time.

  44. Marie Elena

    AT THE HELM (poem for children)

    While at the helm of Daddy’s boat,
    A storm begins to brew.
    Big waves come in – they rock us hard –
    But I know what to do.

    I’m at the helm of Daddy’s boat,
    But he shows no concern.
    He knows he’s taught me very well –
    I know it bow to stern.

    I’m at the helm of Daddy’s boat,
    I’m strong and have no fear.
    I bravely guide us through the storm
    Until we’re in the clear.

    While at the helm of Daddy’s boat,
    I shout out, “All aboard!”
    He lets me steer it ALL the time
    As long as it is moored.

  45. DAHutchison

    The Pup

    Amazing as it was to watch,
    The pup seemed more amazed,
    For every time he dropped the ball,
    The ball just rolled away.
    On down the hill,
    Oh, what a thrill,
    He wagged the whole way down.
    Raced and raced,
    To end the chase,
    And clutch it in his mouth.

    Over and over and over again,
    The pup seemed full a joy,
    At having found a playmate,
    In this automated toy.
    But what a shame,
    To need this game,
    To be the one and only.
    How would it feel,
    To make the wheel,
    Just because you’re lonely?


  46. RASlater

    The NeverEnding Saga

    The Wheel spins ever on
    Taking its characters from one country to the next
    One Way or another
    Spinning a tale too large to take in
    Capturing its visitors with prophecy and intrigue
    Description of splendid palaces and humble villages
    Men and women of Power
    Villains masquerading as heroes
    Heroes found among villagers, wolves, and savages
    Love entanglements and hatreds running deep
    From one Age into the next
    He held us captive even beyond his death
    The NeverEnding Saga ends this January
    Much to our anticipated dismay

  47. JanetRuth

    Cart-wheels in the Sky

    Dear little child, you don’t know it yet
    A moment to you is simply a breath
    A necessary means
    To reach The Beckoning ahead

    Moments spiral and gleam
    A subtly disguised requiem
    Wheeling through your thought
    To the melody of a dream

    You do not hear the rush
    Of time moan in the autumn hush
    Pushing to an ever-expanding hollow
    Disguised by living’s underbrush

    Reels of pleasure and pain
    Glimmer through Time’s ephemeral vein
    Children become women and men
    In its rising-falling refrain

    Run, dear little child, run
    Your intangible deliverance has begun
    Into the vexing arms of life
    And the jaws of the waning sun

    Nay fly, dear little child, I say fly
    Cart-wheel on clouds in a neon sky
    Lest your Moment deflates
    And your dream-well runs dry

  48. Connie Peters

    Flying Jenny

    The idea must have come
    from one of our parents
    but when it took root
    in our girls club, The Sunflowers,
    it was our own and we took after it
    like a bulldog to a bone.

    We claimed an old piece of farm machinery
    lying abandoned in the weeds.
    Our Uncle Jim, who often helped us
    with his tools, cut the axle in half so we could
    have a big wheel, about three feet in diameter,
    with the half axle as stem.

    After procuring Pappap’s permission,
    we proceeded to dig a hole under his willow,
    not too deep, but deep enough.
    Then my sister and I took Sunflower money,
    walked the mile to the feed mill
    and bought a sack of cement.

    It was twenty pounds or so
    and we paced ourselves, counting
    out the steps and taking turns
    carrying our burden back to Pappap’s
    where the oldest of us mixed it up,
    put the axle in the hole and let it set.

    We painted the wheel from leftover paints
    in Pappap’s basement: mostly blues, greens
    and whites avoiding his beloved battleship gray
    and had Uncle Jim make us some
    wooden seats so the metal spokes
    wouldn’t wear ridges in our bottoms.

    When the cement was set, the paint dry,
    we gave the wheel a spin
    and eureka it worked!
    We took turns riding and spinning
    till the trees, the road, the houses all blended
    together in a smear of colors.

    The kids passing by on the school bus
    were inquisitive when they saw our Flying Jenny
    and some even came for a country visit to try it out.
    We whirled about on our wheel until we got older
    and didn’t notice when it became so neglected
    Papap dug it up and threw it away.

  49. uneven steven


    Everyone keeps talking about
    the invention of the wheel
    but I want to know
    who invented the axle
    and what makes it possible
    for one wheel to share its travels
    with another
    and not just be


    The wheel in the sky
    keeps on turning
    like an old clock
    before digital
    and who wouldn’t think
    we humans are the teeth
    in the gears
    of time
    but I want to know
    what winds us up each day
    and how do we remind them
    not to forget
    and never to


    One must have the mind of a wheel
    to live on a round earth
    under a dome of infinite stars

  50. Domino


    My arms spread wide,
    my children at my side,
    we fly through the field
    the grass passes by
    and cerulian sky
    as we whirl and wheel
    and spin and dive
    and laugh and

    Diana Terrill Clark