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    2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

    Categories: 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, Poetry Prompts, Poets, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

    This month’s final two-for-Tuesday prompt comes from Paula Wanken.

    Here are Paula’s prompts:

    1. Write a hero poem.
    2. Write a villain poem.


    Robert’s attempt at a Hero and Villain Poem:

    Heroes and Villains

    Always a favorite Beach Boys song,
    because of the harmony, of course,
    but also the shifts throughout, and
    anyway it’s about good guys, bad guys,
    and la-la-la-la, do-do-do-do.


    Thank you, Paula, for the heroic prompt (as well as the prompt of villainy). Click here to learn more about Paula.

    Click here to share your poem on the WD Forum.


    Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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    About Robert Lee Brewer

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    73 Responses to 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

    1. JRSimmang says:

      Here we are again, my old foe.
      My, my, my, how time passes.
      It seems like just yesterday that
      you were sitting all alone in your little cell,
      scrawling the years on you walls.

      Since the day you broke free,
      you have been a royal pain in my rear.
      You started off small, I can understand,
      not wanted to draw too much attention to yourself,
      snatching purses, hitting banks.
      But then, then came the silent threat.
      Your little stunts at the football games,
      in the harbor,
      at the top of the Statue of Liberty.
      You kept me sweating for 6 long years.
      But now,
      you sit in that chair, tied like a pig,
      about to face your sentence.
      How could you do it?
      How could you play so many people
      like that fiddle of yours,
      and not think that one day, you’d be here,
      pleading for your life,
      whining like a girl,
      weeping like the child you are?
      Your death will be plastered
      on the walls,
      cast in bronze,
      and I will bathe in your blood.
      It looks like you have outlived your usefulness.

    2. PSC in CT says:

      Dishwasher Stud Muffins & Parenting Faeries

      Superheroes surround us.
      There’s no readily apparent superpower,
      no mask or special suit, no cape to give them away.
      You need pay heed, or you’ll never guess how
      their (whispered) actions speak louder
      than [shouted!] words to reveal their true identities.
      (Note: Appearances may be deceiving.)
      Though they seem exhausted – beaten up (& down)
      by all manner of evil foes & villains,
      most still manage (somehow)
      when all is said and done (against all ap-
      parent odds) to foster truth and inspire integrity
      while still maintaining patience (mostly);
      to muster a tired smile, hang on to hope (by both hands),
      and come back to do it all again

    3. Day 27
      Prompt: Heroes and/or Villains

      Who is a villain? Who is a hero?

      lie in wait for innocents
      seek their own way at cost of anyone else
      care not who gets hurt nor what chaos is left in their wake.

      risk all to save another
      act with courage while quaking in fear
      consider others lives as valuable as their own if not more.

    4. Hero or Villain?

      Some days, a hero when
      I responded to the request,
      “Mom make me a new dress for prom.”

      Other days, the villain when
      “Be home by midnight,”
      fell from my lips.

      Hopefully, when it’s all faded
      into distant memory
      I’ll be tagged, “hero.”

    5. Late again.


      Just a small amendment to my prayer:
      I know I asked for a hero, but perhaps
      I should have been more specific.
      I have no need of an epic hero,
      riding off toward Troy for fame
      and glory, returning twenty years
      too late, smelling faintly of swine
      and Calypso, leaving me at home
      fighting off brutish suitors, raising
      his son. Nor do I wish for a knight
      in armor—shining or otherwise—
      off chasing some grail, his resume
      lacking the proper criteria—perfection,
      purity. Spare me the tragic hero,
      at the top of his game, discontented,
      overreaching, falling to pieces
      over a simple handkerchief, trusting
      his fate to witches, leaving me
      walking the floor, wringing my hands.
      Grant me instead the everyday hero,
      willing to rush into the flames
      to save a kitten, lifting the car
      off the child pinned beneath,
      the hero who finds satisfaction
      reflected in my grateful eyes.

    6. Marjory MT says:

      VILLAIN Triolet

      A man at odds with me
      who’s in the driver’s seat,
      can pick where I will be.
      A man at odds with me
      can jail or set me free
      glories in my defeat.
      A man at odds with me
      who’s in the driver’s seat.

    7. My Hero(Harrisham Rhyme Poem)

      The man who helps ladies with car trouble,
      entertains small children and have them learn
      something at the same time, now that’s doing double!
      Giving his time, money, whatever good turn
      greatly needed at the moment, that man with the stubble,
      yep, right there, he’s mine, bye-bye, don’t return.

    8. Maleficent (Harrisham Rhyme Poem)

      She was a witch!
      Elegant it’s true,
      takes a bit of style to be that cold but switch
      spots with me and see her with my eyes, I knew
      she would find away, she’s dark as pitch
      especially with the prince, did you see it when she flew?

    9. po says:

      My Heroes

      slide across the room
      with ease and ceremony—
      navigate between speed
      and pomp. Stretch
      in the here-and-now
      like there’s no tomorrow.
      Can curl up in a ball
      and sleep through bad
      weather or serenade
      you with a gusty yowl.
      Best of all, on a snowy
      day, they curl up on your
      lap and purr.

    10. Miss R. says:

      To Be a Hero (A Harrisham Rhyme)

      So you want to be a hero, eh?
      Or do you just want the credit?
      Remember that when you say
      Readily “I’m a hero,” you’ve said it.
      You can’t just take it back halfway.
      Understand if you do you’ll regret it.

    11. foodpoet says:

      Exquisitely evil – bond ad

      The Bond girls
      The sublime martini
      The gadgets

      Nope beauty is eye candy
      Drinks dry
      Gadgets just a prop

      A backdrop to the snapping bite
      Of the bond

      Not necessarily the prime threats
      Goldfinger glittered, but what I recall
      Is top hat now writing this realize it’s
      Odd job

      I have a fondness for henchmen.

      They all come too bad ends in moviedom,
      But bond, hero, without villain or henchmen
      Would be saltless bland fare.

    12. Hero/Villain

      Don’t idolize the hero.
      He may not be all he seems.
      Maybe he cheated on his wife
      or his taxes. Maybe he has
      dirty pictures on his computer.
      He may just wear that uniform
      for the glory, and saving so many citizens
      every day has become a grind.
      Those superpowers may just be
      special effects. He may drink
      too much, or gamble, or take steroids,
      or maybe he’s just full of himself.

      Don’t demonize the villain.
      Maybe he struggled in school
      and crime is the only job he does well.
      Maybe he was neglected as a child,
      and that bizarre costume
      and maniacal laugh are because
      he craves attention. Maybe he has
      anger issues, ADD, OCD, PTSD,
      and can’t help being destructive.
      Maybe he needs a good psychiatrist,
      or even a girlfriend, or a dog.
      Maybe he’s just misunderstood.

      There are more shades of gray
      than there are of black and white.

    13. AGE-OLD HEROES (Harrisham Rhyme)

      Whatever heroes come my way,
      Rescuing me from self-chagrin
      Gently persuade my heart to weigh
      Youth’s suppleness against thick skin
      Supplied by dose of day-to-day
      Deliverance of what has been.

    14. Tracy Davidson says:

      Movie Villains

      They always talk too much,
      explaining their madcap plans
      for world domination,
      or describing the painful death
      they’re about to inflict on the hero,
      giving said hero time
      to come up with an escape plan,
      a way to save the world
      and rescue the love interest
      without getting a single hair
      out of place.

      If I were the villain
      I wouldn’t say a thing,
      just shoot the damn hero,
      blasting his or her brains
      into smithereens.

      But I guess that would be
      a very short movie.

    15. julie e. says:


      She was lean and ferocious
      that day on the beach
      hand on hip, posing
      in her new 38C
      purchased breasts,
      newly recovered from a
      bilateral mastectomy.
      She smiled for the camera,
      loving her new shape
      and the weight lost to
      cancer hell,
      and I was proud.
      She showed me
      who to be:
      I need not fear life.

      She was mean and ferocious
      that day she packed the boxes
      to be sent from her lawyer
      after her death,
      making sure that I
      received the full
      of a life disappointed,
      my fault
      his fault
      their fault
      never hers.
      notes littered the
      with spite,
      and I was shattered.
      She showed me
      who not to be:
      living in the key of bitter.

      So much trouble
      making sense
      of her life
      in contradiction,
      my hero,
      my villain,

    16. Rorybore says:

      Love this prompt!!
      For the record…..my kids made me do it.

      The Love You Know

      Once there was two orphan boys,
      who grew up quite alone;
      without sibling, nor friend
      nor home to call their own
      till they came to a magical school
      that would be their first real home.
      (despite an imperfect pedigree)
      And by the words of a hat who sorts
      discovered they had a destiny
      beyond the potions, spells and sports.
      So they learned some dark arts
      and conversed with snakes….(also, Snape)
      found respect for a great wizard
      while a Prophecy sealed their fate,
      In a Chamber of Secrets, a riddle’s revealed -
      but both have deep wounds to tend,
      and neither one will yet yield.
      Just one lonely boy against another —
      but there: the similarities end.

      One gathers dark powers, followers and souls
      and brags of the deeds his foulness extols
      he speaks not of love, and kills with a curse
      summons his minions, and sacrifices them first
      though his magic is dark, and his power strong
      he cannot defeat, what he’s lacked for so long
      too late he discovers, as twin cores clash
      and last sins appear before him in a flash
      to hold him at bay and assist his foe
      while flying curses set a graveyard aglow
      He Who Must Not Be Named, stands alone by the grave
      While the Boy Who Lived, escapes with the boy he couldn’t save.

      The hero has something: so much more than a scar
      though it doesn’t burn, it’s power too leaves a mark
      too have been loved so deeply, though the person is gone;
      with Love’s last sacrifice, the protection lives on.
      And on that example, our hero chooses his tract
      while the Dark Lord only uses, by faking the act
      The Power of Love, The Absence of The Same
      can make all the difference – no matter the name.
      So, neither can live, while the other survives:
      one cheats Death – to what will the other one strive?
      He too will beat Death, with a gifting of three;
      and sacrifice himself, so his friends can live free.

      Now the battles’ begun, and blood will be shed
      though the Dark Lord is weak, the snake isn’t dead
      but his minions are fleeing – while our heroes defy
      and the Boy faces Death, with his head held high
      A Dark Lord is vanquished, by the thing he knows not
      A soul divided cannot rise again; it can only rot.
      And our hero is saved by the knowledge he gains:
      That real love never leaves us; to the end it remains.

    17. DAHutchison says:

      I was aggravated to have to bunt on this one—went for cheeky irony when I wanted to go deep and couldn’t find the words… So here’s a second attempt… still not satisfied as there is so much hidden depth in the subjective nature of heroes and villains… ah well.

      Big Stones and Very Small Rocks

      Our ancestors moved a big stone. Our forefathers broke large rocks,
      Today we shovel a thousand one pieces of gravel and punch a clock.
      My father’s a modern day hero, a pot-bellied champion of service,
      He tries for first place in every race so that even the cheaters get nervous.
      Dr. Jones was a great work of fiction, but for all of his fortune and glory,
      He understood service was life’s greatest joy and that makes a great hero story.
      While it’s true that some Action News heroes, were just at the right place in time,
      They are nothing if not plain responsible folks getting by on a hard earned dime.
      I pity the whistle blowers, privy to cost cutting crooks,
      Cause nothing makes shoveling gravel worse than a bad boss with two sets of books.
      But more so, I pity the villains, who live off of other folks’ spines.
      What a rotten state! What a heart full of hate! To live so far outside the lines.
      Real heroes aren’t quite as chiseled, but that isn’t to say that they’re lazy,
      ‘Cause heroes do what they know they must, where a villain’s agenda is hazy.


    18. Poetic Asides November Challenge – Day 27
      Write a hero poem.
      Write a villain poem.

      Two Clerihews

      MIghty Mouse
      Had no spouse
      Clad in a cape
      He fought villain’s escape.


      Boris Badonov
      Was never goodenov
      To catch squirrel and moose,
      No matter the ruse.

    19. Nov 27: : write a hero or a vilain poem

      Hero Sandwich

      A gyro is made from meat on a stick
      that has been roasted and toasted and brown.
      It’s a sandwich you make double-quick.

      You make it with pita bread, soft and so thick
      with tomatoes and lettuce and onion all around,
      a gyro is made from meat on a stick

      You whip up a sauce of yogurt. A flick
      of the wrist and it’s done. Pour it like a crown
      on a sandwich you make double-quick.

      To season the sauce, use just a lick
      of mint and cilantro. Try not to drown
      the gyro that’s made from meat on a stick

      To keep it from leaking, her is a trick:
      wrap it in foil, tightly bound,
      round the sandwich you make double-quick.

      You can add peppers to give it a kick,
      take a big bite. The flavor will astound.
      A gyro is made from meat on a stick
      for a sandwich you make double-quick.

      Margaret Fieland

    20. PKP says:

      Heroes and Villains

      My father told me
      there are no white
      hats and black hats
      just tons of gray
      riding into the horizon

    21. PKP says:

      The “man”

      There he is
      the “man”
      no boy he
      pays his own
      bills with money
      he makes after school
      she flutters eyelashes
      without will
      just a girl dressed
      in a woman’s body
      Proudly permitting
      his heroic hands
      to roam stirring
      her blood
      Until it pounds
      in her ears
      and blocks
      the sense and
      sound of that
      first slap
      that splits her lip

    22. My villain…

      Writer’s Block

      A starving artist
      dancing for poetic rain
      in all this drought

    23. DanielAri says:


      To take a year-long assignment in Antarctica, you’d have to be predisposed
      to a limited community and comfortable in relative loneliness.
      That was the guy who picked me up in a floor-to-ceiling stuffed and partly rusted
      Subaru hatchback bound for Burning Man. We came to each other via Craigslist,
      hooked up by another group. (We were their overflow.) At three, we got on the road,

      and by four, we were done talking. I found the man to be brusque, peevish and tactless:
      “Going to chase a wee skirt,” he barked in a fleeting Scottish brogue, re: his Burning Plans.
      Then, though he was the one who had to stop for groceries, he groused at me for “wasting
      time” in the store. When I talked about my dog, he said, “the one that barfed in the plants?”
      “Oh, right” I sighed. “You met her,” and thought, “A.S.A.P, I’ll get away from you, pard.”

      Twenty miles north of Sacramento, the car sounded like a stack of falling pans.
      It wasn’t going anywhere. Waiting for the tow truck, we went to see Jet Li
      as “Hero.” In the movie, he plays an assassin who takes incredible pains
      to kill the first emperor of China, but chooses, at the last minute, mercy.
      After the movie, the tow truck arrived and the driver carried the car and us

      back home. At midnight, I said goodbye to our savior and to the guy I would see
      never again. Nor would I return to Burning Man. That was in 2003.

    24. Mike Bayles says:

      Robin Hood

      he is a hero to the poor
      giving with such generosity
      treasures to meet desires and needs
      of poor people down the street.
      They call his act
      to risk his life,


      he is a robber
      taking with such gall
      treasures and comforts
      of rich people isolated in their homes.
      they call his act
      to risk his life

    25. Mike Bayles says:

      Robin Hood

      he is a hero to the poor
      giving with such generosity
      treasures to meet desires and needs
      of poor people down the street.
      they call his act
      to risk his life,


      he is a robber to the rich
      taking with such gall
      treasures and comforts
      of barons traveling the road.
      They call his act
      to risk his life

    26. elishevasmom says:

      As soon as I posted earlier, I was sorry. I couldn’t let that stand as my attempt for the day.This I am happy with.

      The Mask of Zorro

      The heroes are ready a bomb to disarm
      without any thought to personal harm.
      The villains are always ready to swear,
      but the heroes come riding in ready to wear
      the white hats.

      And the valiant ones in the comics books, please.
      They’ve got tricks up both of their sleeves.
      They can fly and bend steel, even swallow a flame
      But there is only one thing they all have the same
      —a mask.

      Is it easy to be a chump with no pride
      to disguise a super persona inside?
      The one seen to flee at the first sign of danger,
      so the hero arrives at the side of a stranger
      for the rescue.

      We expect our heroes to be more than human.
      But now when they fail us, we’re so quick to sue them.
      Politicians’ sex scandals, and athletes doping—
      paparazzi’s new headlines keep everyone hoping
      for more.

      So where do we place our trust?
      Even Superman turns to dust,
      as Ironman does to rust.

      Back to heroes in white hats, but that isn’t proof.
      When “Z” marked the spot, it was never a spoof.
      A white hat for Zorro would be too great a cost.
      He might have changed hats, but he would surely have lost
      his mojo. Ellen Knight 11.27.12

    27. The Villain

      It doesn’t wear black
      or lurk in alleys.
      It doesn’t dwell
      in putrid swamps
      or waylay travelers.
      It doesn’t creep
      around in the dark
      or carry knives.
      It loathes all
      It resists all
      It has no conception
      of better.
      It wants everything
      to stay
      the same.
      Child of long
      Advocate of
      unconditional survival,
      it does not
      trust aspiration.
      It does not suffer
      dreams. It keeps
      me heavy and silent.
      It cautions me
      to remain safe

    28. zevd2001 says:

      after the discovery of penicillin by Dr. Alexander Fleming

      I am not a pest. I didn’t know
      whose window it was I traversed when I flew in
      or what piece of bread that I did spin
      upon. I left a memory of where I had been, so
      what else did you expect from someone of my kind
      that travels about such places. We collect
      the refuse of civilization. We respect
      what others throw away and we remind

      them what they consume. Ah, oh my, did I forget
      the remains of their canine companions when they fall
      upon the sidewalk, droppings appearing when nature makes a call
      we come to pick up the bacteria—what’s wrong with that!
      The window was open, what difference did it make to me
      if this was a pub, or if this was a hospital,
      or these little dishes were samples, all
      to discover cures for diseases, here sterility

      was the rule of thumb. Then me, a fly,
      I landed on dish with a piece of bread
      in a medium, something that was supposed to have said
      how it attacked the bacteria inside it, why
      it happened, how it might work in some other place.
      You hear these things in the air, that’s where I be
      most of the time . . . maybe I’m dumb, but I don’t see
      Dr. Fleming had to wait so long to close the case

      of the petri dish from which he shooed me away.
      Dr. Alexander flicked his hand, I was out of there,
      almost as soon the bacteria in the dish did disappear.
      Will miracles never cease! Up to that day
      the critter in the medium took two weeks to leave
      some poor waif sweating alone in their bed
      I offered my lousy stuff and then I sped
      out of the window into the air to weave

      return to some abundant garbage pail.
      I still don’t understand you, learned Doc
      that was in twenty-nine, right on the clock.
      the contents always working without fail
      year in year out, it’s nineteen thirty-nine,
      you still refused to believe, because I buzzed
      into your laboratory, you were lost.
      Then came the war, it sure worked mighty fine.

      Zev Davis


      The old dog’s reached his golden hours.
      He’s a lion on the couch.
      He could find a lost child in a snowstorm.
      He’s found every tennis ball outside the court.
      He makes peace between warring cats.
      He only chases the cat when his work is done.
      He barks at the door to greet the morning.
      The other dogs rush out, he cleans their bowls.
      He gathers his possessions like a king.
      He takes from the bad and saves the good.
      Just try to take a stick from his treasure-heap.
      A hero puts the world in order.

      The new pup rags the old dogs to a rage.
      Everything is her fault.
      She hides her bones under my pillow.
      She raises dust-devils on the fenceline.
      Wherever you go, she’s there to trip you.
      She’s the sweet-talk villain in a sable coat.
      Her eyes are honey when she begs a treat.
      She sleeps like an angel with gremlins inside.
      She defeats every training method known to man.
      She finds the key you lost.
      Nothing escapes her.
      She keeps the old dogs dancing.

    30. elishevasmom says:

      Zorro of the Black Hat

      Ask anyone from four to
      ninety-four how to tell the
      heroes from the villains.
      Right away, they’ll always
      answer, “The good guys wear
      the white hats.”

      And as for the valiant ones
      in the comics, well
      on top of everything else,
      they can fly.
      But the one thing they all have
      in common—a mask.

      Are they just being modest?
      Is it easier to hide their super persona
      inside a chump with no pride
      to take evil to task by
      donning the mask?
      Or is it perhaps, that
      revealing their own humanity
      would reduce their powers
      in our adoring eyes?

      We expect our heroes
      to be more than human.
      But now they are unraveling
      as we watch.
      Athletes doping,
      politicians ousted by sex scandals,
      movie and rock stars exposed
      over drugs and domestic violence.
      Turn on the nightly news
      and choose a mix and match

      So where do we place our trust?
      Even Superman turns to dust,
      as Ironman does to rust.
      Our heroes are flawed,
      because they are
      human. As are we all.

      It would be nice to go
      back to a life where our
      heroes wore the
      white hats.
      And even that wasn’t foolproof.
      After all, Zorro was
      definitely a good guy,
      but he would have lost his
      mojo if he showed up in one.

      Ellen Knight

    31. Yolee says:

      My Boy

      When I was tall
      to you, I would fetch
      things that were out
      of reach. My fingers
      walked up your spine:
      your gurgle encoded
      our burgeoning language.

      I was your magician,
      vanishing and reappearing
      when the sun rolled out its
      bright slide on the nursery’s
      hardwood floor, when late
      afternoons hunkered behind
      crops of the city, the horizon’s
      closed eye rested upon the sea’s
      face, and silence sat on my lap
      or scurried away like a blind
      mouse, my arms and chest
      were your skirt wrapped
      around the transparencies
      of both our needs.

      The teen years vilified
      our rapport. I was no longer
      the heroine in your world.

      Time had its agenda. And since
      I had already drawn two other
      berries from the motherhood tree,
      I waited on the slow churning miracle
      that would present you with new heights.

      Now you’re able to reach serving
      platters. Questions and answers
      meet like old colleagues; you
      reemerge just as I think some
      unruly friend or fancy girl stole
      your identity. I get to lean on
      the shoulders of my super-hero.

    32. shellaysm says:

      “In Light of Shadows”

      Heroes and villains:
      known arch enemies,
      foes and nemeses.

      While one is noble,
      other: sinister.
      A writer’s balance
      to administer.

      Woven together,
      strength and weakness loop.
      They thicken plot like
      flour in thin soup.

      Truth be told, heroes
      are made heroic
      in light of shadows
      of villains: stoic!


      Heroes can be defeated.
      Villainous agents can ravage
      the strong and brave, who can save
      the world but have no effect on their own lives.
      Looked upon as virtuous and miraculous, the
      meticulous scrutiny slips past the eyes so awed
      seeing the flawed as more than mere mortal.
      At the portal of despair, it is there that the hero
      serves his best function – to open the eyes of the weak
      and meek to the power they possess; it flows throughout.
      Without a doubt, the heroic are stoic in appearance
      but the strict adherence to hero law is muddled,
      for he stands in a puddle of his own making, shaking
      in his red patent leather boots. The only difference between
      a hero and a victim is that the “hero” is too stupid
      to realize he is afraid. But his decision is made.
      Save the world and glue it together, piece by peace.

    34. RJ Clarken says:


      “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

      “O villain, villain, smiling damned villain.” ~William Shakespeare

      Pen in hand, he then created
      characters, and one was fated
      to be tragic, since tragedy
      is that which holds the story’s key.

      It didn’t matter. Something would
      compel this hero to do good.
      But in the end, catastrophe
      is that which holds the story’s key.

      And as you know, no hero can
      exist without his ‘polar’ man,
      a villain who’s just bad, since he
      is that which holds the story’s key.

      The characters are quite complex
      because a bit of each reflects
      within. Familiarity
      is that which holds the story’s key.


    35. DAHutchison says:

      This Stuff Writes Itself

      She gets kidnapped!
      The most visceral of plot devices,
      Nothing wrong with a jewel heist,
      But go after the woman he loves,
      And that’s real drama!
      The Director strokes his chin,
      But has questions, like why?
      Is our hero loaded with cash?
      Carrying microfiche?
      Our Writer opts to sleep on it,
      But the Producer insists the girl,
      Be air-headed and full-bodied like a great beer,
      So we know our hero prizes her.
      That’s the important part, right?
      She is precious and oh, so scared,
      As the Villain clutches her arm,
      And yanks her from the sedan,
      With such force her gossamer dress,
      Like our Hero, strains to preserve her honor,
      Guns blaze and maybe he takes
      A bullet in the arm for her,
      But keeps going…
      Maddened as he sees her gagged and bound,
      To a cold steam pipe at the… chop shop?
      We’ll have to ask the Writer, but…
      She is freed and the lens softens as they kiss.
      Long and hard as he pins her,
      Again, against the steam pipe.


      Russian tanks all over Prague
      entire European nations shocked
      all around Czechoslovakia
      looking for America
      and yet this voice of a
      from somewhere inside there
      on hope in words
      we did not understand
      but learned to love for the mere
      sound of freedom.

    37. posmic says:


      In line at the Bon Marché in Seattle with my mother,
      I heard a high-pitched scream. A woman ahead of us
      laughed and said it was probably her husband, who
      was afraid of escalators. Life moved on, but my mind
      stayed in that groove for a long time—maybe a couple
      of years. Somehow, that screaming man became a

      villain, Snidely Whiplash-style, with mustache,
      top hat, and cape. We moved from Seattle to
      Thief River Falls, Minnesota, but the memory
      moved with me, packed away someplace
      secret, so I could play it like a Disney 45

      in my playroom in the basement, any time
      I needed to scare myself, any time I needed
      to make my formless, nameless fear into
      something I could turn on and off, or just
      let play, over and over, until it was done.

    38. Jane Shlensky says:

      Great prompt, Paula. I grew up with Dudley Doright and Little Nell always refusing the advances of her villain. I loved the simplicity of melodrama and the hope of deus ex machina. Thus the haiku and tanka dilemmas below.

      Dilemma 1

      The bastard that bound
      me to his will rescued me.
      I am so confused.

      Dilemma 2

      My hero lifted
      me gently, swept me away,
      tied me to his tracks.

      Dilemma 3

      Pomaded hair and
      waxed mustache betray his heart;
      his eyes smile at me.

      Dilemma 4 Tanka

      Fed melodrama,
      no wonder women wait for
      heroes on white steeds,
      and boys with raging sex drives
      do right—curse and learn to ride.

      Dilemma 5 Advice to Little Nell

      So he has money
      and loves you–oily perhaps,
      talks gangster, tangos
      through life, lusts, intense. Women
      love projects, nurse lost causes.

    39. Glory says:

      My Villain -

      Two Timing Dude

      See that Jane by the door
      all dressed up
      d’you know what for?

      In satin dress and three-inch heels
      ruby lips, and cheeks that glow,
      looking for who, perhaps you know?

      Maybe that Dandy, what’s his name?
      Such a shame, but please don’t tell
      he’s out with that other girl.

      My Hero -

      My Man …
      of many hues
      that’s you,
      one I cannot fathom
      that’s true,
      but when I look
      into your eyes
      all I see is blue,
      so maybe that
      is how I think of you,
      dazzling blue,
      always true,
      my man blue….

    40. Domino says:


      Enter Heroine.
      She is dressed in a fluffy manner,
      and her behavior is likewise,

      She moons after her boyfriend
      and fondly remembers him.
      She then wishes he weren’t so far away.

      Enter Villain,
      twirling wicked moustaches,
      grinning like the rogue he is,
      and steals the Heroine away.

      Heroine kicks and flails ineffectually.

      Villain recites his plan of vengeance
      against Hero, gloating as he
      anticipates his ultimate

      Heroine faints in a fluffy manner
      as she learns her incipient demise
      is part of Villain’s plan of vengeance.

      Hero returns early to Heroine’s home,
      only to discover
      (with remarkably few clues)
      what has befallen his lady-love.
      Hero leaps astride horse and
      rushes to rescue Heroine,
      foil Villain’s wicked plan,
      and restore his family honor.

      Heroine awakes from fluffy faint
      tied to railroad tracks.
      She shrieks and flails and
      calls for help, also noting that
      Villain will surely regret this.

      Villain answers with an evil laugh,
      twirling wicked moustaches,
      and grinning like the rogue he is.

      Hero dashes in at last moment,
      bashes Villain, rescues Heroine,
      and calls in authorities to
      arrest Villain.

      All ends well,
      Heroine gives Hero fluffy kiss.
      Villain files suit for damages.


    41. Real men

      When Stan Bowles was
      bathing in champagne
      a topless bird on each arm,
      and Don Revie’s boys
      were kicking all comers

      to kingdom come,
      when Bremner,
      Giles and Hunter
      were having a oily rag
      between passing drills,

      when Socrates drank
      like the proverbial
      and Ardilles smoked
      forty-two a day

      when Georgie Best,
      well, what didn’t he do?
      It was so clear in my mind
      there was nothing I wanted
      more than to be just like them.

    42. Marianv says:

      Hero of the Neighborhood

      When I was a child of four who spent
      Her days imaging games with the
      Neighborhood kids and a special friend
      Anna Marie, the girl next door
      Our yards separated by a prickly hedge
      You had to walk around to the side-
      Walk out in front. An old neighborhood
      Even then, in the days of the great
      Depression when every one was poor.

      The morning I remember, Anna Marie and
      I were playing in our yard. My mother was
      On the porch washing clothes – she used the
      Old community washing machine that had
      A tub and wringer and not much else…Suddenly

      We heard the screams, perhaps we screamed
      Ourselves, running to the porch where my
      Mother’s arm had been seized by the wringer
      And would not let go
      All the neighbors ran outside

      Including Officer Feeney who had stopped
      To have a cup of tea with his sister, the
      Mother of Anna Marie. When he heard the
      Commotion outside he didn’t take the time

      To run around the side walk – no, what he
      Did was leap the hedge – sailed over in a
      Single bound, unplugged the machine and
      Set my mother free! What a hero! I
      Remember how the neighbors cheered
      While I clung to my mother, crying,

      Later, I stood next to the hedge. It was
      As tall as me. I don’t remember the
      Cameras, the newspaper interview.
      But when I read of Superman who
      Could leap
      Tall buildings in a single bound I
      Remember Officer Feeney
      who did it first.

    43. A robe, not a cape
      Fed, taught, healed, was crucified
      Arose from the dead

    44. JWLaviguer says:

      Father Figure

      In his arms
      she felt safe
      her hand in his

      She refused
      to be a victim
      like her mother

      Blinded by pride
      ignored the warning signs
      sleeps with the light on

      Locking the door
      just makes him angrier
      so she takes it

      One day she awakes
      and makes a decision
      to kill her father

    45. pmwanken says:

      (a shadorma)

      She watched her
      hero disappear.
      It wasn’t
      the villain emerged slowly…
      one shot at a time.

    46. JanetRuth says:

      Vexing Villain

      Some poems need no syllables
      To distract or beguile
      Darling, I shape you against me
      In a faint, tender half-smile…

      The poet dreams in perfect want
      For that elusive word
      Darling, I’ve borne the perfect taunt
      In sudden passion stirred

      As the air, obscure around us
      Seethes with possibility
      Darling, is it not ironic
      That love’s perfect poetry…

      …is not mouthed in verbal creations
      Of bland inequity?
      For Muse is a vexing villain
      Of hope and insanity

      But now we have trumped her ineptness
      Though the silence may drive us wild
      Love’s perfect poem, oh darling
      Exists in a faint, half-smile

      The Hero…

      You do not come crashing in
      on a black stead or verbose and vile
      But darling, you persuade me
      with nothing, but a faint half-smile

      …across the room I see you
      My hero; come, let’s go home
      Our eyes meet; the air is full
      Of love’s most perfect poem

    47. RJ Clarken says:

      Dang formatting. In Heroic Couplet, the “…himself.” was supposed to appear as an addendum – to the right of the poem. Oh well…you get the idea.

    48. RJ Clarken says:

      Heroic Couplet

      With a totally selfless act, he kept
      his entire village safe…that is, except…


      Villanelle for a Villain

      Evil is as evil does, but he aimed
      to be a cut above, this ‘knife’ called Jack…
      His crimes kept the press of the day inflamed.

      And yet, strangely enough, not one soul claimed
      credit, except in hints. He had a knack:
      Evil is as evil does, but he aimed

      for effect. Victims were stabbed, sliced and maimed
      before they bled out. He’d cut them no slack…
      His crimes kept the press of the day inflamed.

      How could this be? ‘Though several were blamed
      throughout this Whitechapel panic attack,
      evil is as evil does, but he aimed

      to remain anonymous, unashamed,
      and it seemed as if there was no come back.
      His crimes kept the press of the day inflamed.

      Then the reign of terror ended, proclaimed
      the papers. An unsolved case, this ripper, Jack.
      Evil is as evil does, but he aimed
      crimes to keep the press of the day inflamed.


    49. suzanneh7 says:

      we were cousins
      in our under-roos
      emblazoned cotton courage
      superman, aqua-man
      I changed
      in the bathroom
      while they marveled
      became a wonder of a woman
      in my 6 year old
      heroine under-things
      justly united
      we saved them all
      invincible 1970′s children
      we saved ourselves
      while truth ensnarled bad guys
      within the looping of my golden lasso
      those fascists
      those corrupt & power hungry
      those villains who foolishly grew up
      and abandoned childish dreaming

    50. Ber says:

      Saving Time

      Where is the one
      who longs to make me belong
      where is the one
      who wants to play me his song
      where is the interest of my being
      where is the eyes that keep on seen

      Lingering smiles
      smoldering longing
      shoulders apart
      some where else
      where to start

      Fly down
      set me free
      take hold of my
      very soul
      take hold of my hand
      take hold and control

      Whispering winds
      passing by
      words fly through the air
      in disquise
      giving something to rise

      Saving time
      where have you been
      take me off my feet
      do not hesitate
      or over compensate

      With sparkle smiles
      leading the way
      making something better
      than yesterday
      something to crave

    51. Telling heroes from villains
      is a moral dilemma
      depending upon
      which of the
      bull’s horns
      you find yourself
      pinned on,
      for it pays to be on the side
      of history and her cadre
      of writers,
      a painful reality
      only obvious
      if you’re on the losing side.
      It’s quite profound,
      all these heroes and villains
      going together like
      one big
      black and white, for sure,
      and yet
      without one
      there can’t be
      the other
      and still call it what it is –
      hard unyielding strength
      sharply breaking
      with a satisfying
      soft vulnerable giving
      quite unbreakable
      but easily licked,
      all depends on
      your taste,
      I guess,
      and whether or not
      you first dip
      the whole bull
      in a giant cup of
      myth milk –
      ever notice when you do that
      it all just seems
      to melt
      in your mouth?

    52. RASlater says:

      The Looking Glass

      I look in the mirror and there she is
      My own worst enemy staring back at me
      She knows my every weakness, my every flaw
      I am an open book to her, even what I hide
      She leads me astray, exploits her knowledge of me
      Intent on getting her own way

      But I am all there is
      No one else can fight her
      I alone can conquer
      To run the race before me
      Though my path is not smooth
      And the way ridden with obstacles
      I need no one to swoop in and save me
      For as I am my own villain
      I am my own hero
      Shouldering the burdens of reality
      I press ever onward
      Refusing to be defeated

    53. 1. What Will We Tell the Children

      as the doors close on yet another opportunity?
      How do we explain to them
      as they sit waiting for us to lead
      that they are not worth our time and money
      simply because they did not
      have the privilege of being born among us?
      How do we sleep at night and
      what will we tell the children?

      2. What Will We Tell the Children

      as the pendulum swings back to reason?
      How do we share the exhilaration
      of finally having that which will bring
      wonder, discover and wildest dreams
      into their small worlds?
      How do we keep from jumping for joy and
      what do we tell the children?

    54. patteran says:


      Uncle Bill was a bad man. Mother always
      said as much each time the departing AJS
      got curtains twitching down the avenue.
      She’d sniff the blue smoke, fold her arms

      and step indoors. He’d walked out on
      two wives and dumped a mistress (off
      the back of his motorbike – quite literally –
      in the middle of Carshalton Park).

      That moustache – Clark Gable style – above
      a row of gleaming teeth; the sideways glance,
      the shift of eyes away, the quick, one-sided grin
      that passed for interaction; the gargled laugh

      like clockwork in reverse, at the end
      of every gag and anecdote – evidence all
      to Mum of a long steep fall from grace away
      from magnolia walls and the well-cut lawn.

      Her censure passed me by. Any man who could
      spit pips into an empty glass; stump upstairs
      like Grendel coming home, farting loud on every riser;
      change a spark plug in a storm on Kingston Hill;

      switch the pipe to the side of his mouth and float
      smoke rings like naughty haloes ceiling high, was
      a buccaneer in tweeds and leathers, unsafe, risky,
      blowing in from a world beyond the garden gate.


      He stands aloft and aloof,
      the one who makes her heart whole
      the one who breaks her heart too.
      Not the man she thought,
      not the man he wanted to be.
      His cape is smudged and torn;
      over used and tattered worn
      and still, she sees no flaw.
      Tall buildings will defeat him,
      steaming locomotives will out run him.
      Speeding bullets will surely kill him.
      Just a man in the American Way,
      hoping she finds the hero she needs.

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