Editors Blog

2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 3

Today’s prompt comes from Joshua Gray.

Here’s Joshua’s prompt: Write a poem that scares you. It could be a scary movie or ghost story poem. It could be a poem about a secret in your past. It could be a poem about your worst fear. It just needs to bring up a scary/fearful/uncomfortable emotion as you write.

Robert’s attempt at a scary poem:

“Attack of the Critics”

They descended upon the restaurants first
critiquing each soup and dessert. Waiters
ran for cover before they bum-rushed all
the theaters. From Shakespeare to Miller,
directors quaked with fear. And then, they
turned their attention to books, movies,
even television shows. Nothing was safe.
The critics became mothers, husbands,
and teachers. The critics criticized other
critics. Eventually, everything became
a critique of a critique of a critique.


Thanks to Joshua for the prompt. Click here to learn more about him.

If you’d like to share a prompt, send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with the subject line: November Prompt. There are still slots available.

As far as the commenting, I realize many people are having trouble getting their comments to post the first (or twentieth) time. I apologize for this problem, and our tech team is aware of it. However, I think we’ve always had commenting problems during challenges–even on other blog platforms. So yeah, I’m extremely sorry if you’re having problems. Even if you can’t comment during the month, you are allowed to submit a chapbook manuscript for that part of the challenge (just in case you’re wondering).


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Publish your poetry…

…with the Publish Your Poetry kit. This kit includes the 2013 Poet’s Market, How Do I Publish My Poetry pdf, and Poetry – Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript pdf.

Click to continue.

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169 thoughts on “2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 3

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The SIDS Tango
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    For weeks now
    she has sat in the dark keeping watch,
    fearing yet another to be taken away
    before parenthood has a chance to vine
    and grow petals for good this time —
    that dangerous age between birth and a year.
    Ten perfect fingers
    ten perfect toes
    a tiny cherubic face matched only by
    a precious mop of golden curls.

    However, this time
    she is ready for the gauntlet
    down the Valley of Death
    with round-the-clock nurses
    armed with the latest technology,
    twin power grandmothers, and most especially
    an anxiety-ridden stay-at-home-husband
    ready to fall on his sword if need be.
    House blessings and Majick aside,
    she leaves nothing to chance.

    You must understand
    that lives touched by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
    are hollow and haunted at best.
    Years later she can still remember
    the suckle and smell of each one,
    as well as the echoes each passing left.
    Pain and Guilt, Loss and Grief
    all have to embrace it,
    process it, then like Moses
    set the basket among the river reeds
    and just let go.

    But not today —
    today she must armor up for the gauntlet.

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. ivywriter

    scary moments

    last week

    I watched Poltergeist on Halloween

    that classic scary movie

    from the 80s

    with the pre-paranormal-esque

    somewhat believable

    story line

    about houses built

    on top of the graves

    of long lost relatives

    who returned to haunt the present

    the shady real estate brokers

    and the revenge of the underdog

    a throwback of memories

    considering the recession

    houses in foreclosure

    families in disarray

    estate sales

    and somehow trendsetters

    manage to make downsizing

    to apartment living

    chic and cool again

    scary movies

    morphing into real life

    make zombies and serial killers

    look like kindergarten

    c) Kellea Tibbs and march thirty one, 2012. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of original march thirty one material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

  3. chrsye


    Flash lights like hungry eyes searching
    Licking every inch of ground,
    Sticks swaying through the fields,
    Probing at each foot fall
    Dogs panting, nose to the ground
    Boots swishing through the tall grass,
    And the chain links clinking on their leases
    Accompany the sound of tense breathing
    With a deafening jingling,
    They shout his name,
    Chests squeezing tighter
    Each time there’s no answer
    He’s only three,
    And they’ve already found
    His mother.

  4. foodpoet

    try three

    okay try two still trying to pen a dream but each time I tried I got a robo call so this came out instead:

    Election Day Blues

    Every evening blinking
    Lights on the answering machine.
    Call shilling points of view.
    Tonight 14.
    I shudder and hit delete.
    Only time wins in bone election runes.
    Night after night call after call.

    Daring to hope this call will take me
    Away only to hear
    Yet another shrill spitter saying elect me.

    Buy me, buy this lie.
    Lie building on lie
    Until you hide from
    Even more politics, and they
    Say Halloween is scary?

  5. JRSimmang

    That’s what the newspaper will read.
    It’s not enough that the tears just
    find themselves drifting down her cheeks.
    Her movements aren’t hers anymore.
    Her breaths are just as shallow
    as the grave she has to dig.
    It was a sunny day.
    Talk about unattended.
    He just wanted to see the dogs closer.
    She sits in her rocking chair,
    staring out the window
    where the sill is just as wide
    as the railing.
    He’d sat there before.
    He’d sat there hundreds of times before
    while she read books
    upon books.
    He laughed more then.
    He fell from the railing.
    Plain and simple.
    There’s no way to dress it up all
    pretty and bright.
    No one to catch him.
    No one to hold him.
    No one to give him wings.
    She sits.
    She rocks.

  6. shellaysm

    “Chained Throne” (Kyrielle poem)

    Fear’s unrelenting grip stifles
    Each step forward into unknown
    Loss, failure, rejection and pain
    Life held captive on a chained throne

    Resisting potential, waiting
    Scared hope fades, a song without tone
    Longing to dance on the trapeze
    Life held captive on a chained throne

  7. sonja j

    Youd Original Face

    What if it is horrible? What
    if, when you look, without
    thinking of good or evil,
    when you picture who you
    were before your parents
    were even born, before they
    laid their damages on your
    chest like stones upon a door,
    you find that you were already
    a monster? What will you do
    if the face staring back at you
    is already slick with anger
    and twisted, so you cannot
    even blame them for your
    broken ribs?

  8. Meeaugraphie


    She has no fear
    Speaking her truths to those in pain
    Reaching inward for words to help, not harm

    She has no need to
    Play the naked game to find
    Courage to speak before a crowd

    She delegates with ease
    Even to the abrasive

    She embraces the parenthetical
    Sees nuances in all
    Loves unconditionally

    But trembles at best
    Refuses at worst
    To walk into room of strangers
    To play the socialization game

    And reverts to third person to share this truth….

  9. Mary Mansfield

    Never Alone

    In this realm
    Of unnatural darkness,
    Caution is demanded.
    I know I am not alone.
    I hear footsteps,
    Perhaps a spectral silhouette
    In search of retribution
    For the sins of the past,
    Unseen voices
    Swirling around me
    In guttural whispers,
    The frigid breath
    Of undetected demons
    Chilling my bones.
    I see eyes glowing
    In the pitch black,
    Always watching me,
    A solitary soul
    Caught in evil’s sight.

  10. tunesmiff

    (c) – G. Smith
    Will I see you,
    On that one fine morn,
    When we all fly away,
    When Gabriel blows his horn?
    Will I see you,
    When they count the heavenly host?
    That’s the one thing in this old world,
    That truly scares me the most.

    Will I see you,
    When I walk those golden streets?
    Will I see you?
    It will make my joy complete.
    Will I see you,
    As we gather ’round the throne?
    What scares me the most is that
    You’ll be left alone.

    Did I do all should?
    Did I do enough?
    Did I do all I could,
    To show His grace and His love?

    Will I see you,
    When we meet Him in the air?
    Will I see you?
    That’s my hope and my prayer.
    Will I see you?
    It’s not for me to say,
    And that’s what scares me most
    Almost every single day.

  11. Dan Collins


    Twelve days before
    we went to Italy, my father died
    at a restaurant.

    He’d felt good that day.
    We thought the procedure
    to free up a heart valve
    from the scar tissue jamming it,
    had been a perfect success.
    Blood was flowing
    where needed, rich,
    and his heart had remained
    in rhythm. He’d lost
    that sickly white pallor
    of anemia. He was pink.

    He went to the register.
    He pulled out his wallet.
    He fell flat out onto to the floor. Three nurses,
    who were eating there too, ran up
    to help. An ambulance was called.
    But he was taken too quickly.

    We all spoke at the funeral.
    He’d been
    a soldier, a priest;
    a generous warrior
    of faith and reason.
    I read a poem,
    that I’d read to him only
    a short week before,
    as he lay in a hospital bed.
    It was about
    how life
    can become a prayer.

    I told the crowd
    of family and friends
    how he’d inspired me
    with his love
    of discovery; how his eyes
    would light up
    and his voice would betray
    true delight
    when he talked of the genius
    of Van Gogh;
    or the things we could learn
    from isolated clumps
    of aborigines;
    or how it was that
    could balance the clock-
    work of everything
    on the frailest edges of thought.

    But there was more: He knew
    that most of us do
    whatever we do. Because we feel
    we have to. We are
    who we are. We act as we act.
    We fear what we fear. We hate
    what we hate. And yes,
    we love
    who and what we love;
    but all within self-imposed

    Then there are those
    whose lives are beacons
    beyond the borders of self. My father
    was a man like that.

    So we went to Italy anyway,
    I swore I would do
    something in his honor:

    I gave coins to some beggars; I lit
    a candle one morning in a church:
    Santa Maria degli Angeli;
    I said a prayer from the top
    of the dome on St. Peter’s.

    But when I stood on the deck
    of the Colosseum,
    and pondered the legions
    of gladiators and Christians,
    cut down by sword,
    mauled by tigers,
    drug to their deaths
    by chariot,
    I knew that this arena
    was one of piercing symmetry
    – nearly redeemed
    by the beauty of its rings
    and arches, rising
    from a bedrock of death –
    but more by its fight to become
    a greater symbol of spirit.

    It did not seem strange,
    no, not in the least,
    to say goodbye to him here.

  12. seingraham


    when scramble
    comes up against wrath

    an eternal swelling, a shore

    charming the depths
    of tumultuous tangles

    searching for the key
    of upbeat in the sea of rotten

    before reason flees
    enabling insane a toehold

    swallow the fear

  13. jlcooper

    A Nigthmare

    I lie awake at night
    Alone, frightened
    Every sound magnified in my mind
    Why did I watch that movie?
    Dogs barking in the distance
    Growling, yelping
    Who is out there lurking in the darkness
    Looking for another life to end?
    Unknown shadows outside my window
    Looming, stalking
    Tapping on the glass behind the curtain
    Is the latch on the window locked?
    Every minute seems like hours
    Crawling, stalling
    As if time had no reason to move
    Will this breath be my last?

  14. The Wired Journal

    I know that somewhere deep in me
    A Poet just might hide in thee
    But a poem a day though frightens me
    Deadlines create such animosity
    Between the writer and poet whom hide in me

    Ten pages alone for this P. A. D three
    It frightens the bee-gibe’s right out of me
    Now time to edit and cut this and that
    And create another work of art
    But prose of Mellifluous my poems are not

  15. Bruce Niedt

    What Scares Me

    Not werewolves or vampires,
    ghosts or shambling mummies.
    or even Frankenstein’s monster.

    What scares me is that more people seem
    to believe we’ll have a zombie apocalypse
    then believe in global warming.

    If you watched the superstorm forming
    on all that TV weather radar
    and especially, if you lived through it,
    how could you not be scared?

    A zombie can be taken out with a shot
    to the head. But how can we take down
    this other monster, very real,
    getting more ferocious by the day?

  16. po

    Who’s Afraid of Dying

    I died once.
    Blood pressure 0 over 0.
    It was pleasant.
    A velvet curtain
    envelopes you
    and closes worry
    pain and fear.
    Dying is easy.
    What really scares
    me is living.

  17. PSC in CT

    Big Brother

    “I’m your big brother”, he boasted
    marveling at the tight clasp of diminutive
    fist squeezing his single finger.
    I’ll always protect you”, his pledge,
    whispered into tiny ear, and year after year
    that promise unbroken.
    Fearless in the face of nightmares,
    monsters in the dark, playground bullies,
    false friends, heartbreaks, illnesses, lost love.
    Persisting today, tired eyes telegraphing courage,
    sparking strength, seeking to ease the fear
    that this day might be his last.

  18. Yolee

    On a Cooling November Evening

    Friday evening I walked towards my crimson door,
    key flanked between my sleepy index finger
    and thumb. I was anxious to feel my household’s
    welcome with intermingling silence and Luke’s
    woof. I would bathe away deadlines that pressed
    against my temple, shoulders and neck. Rrrrng.
    Papi’s number appeared on my cell phone. As
    usual, Mami’s voice on the other end. “Hola”
    “Are you still at the office, hija?” “No, Mami,
    I’m about to walk inside the house.”

    “Your father.”
    “He’s been having chest pains again.”

    Office politics scattered like thieves
    whose getaway vehicle is the same dark
    night that falls upon good people
    afraid of the road they cannot see.

  19. Karen31

    Wow, this was a hard prompt. My poem is terribly raw, but I wanted to get it posted. Needs a ton of work, sorry.

    Song of the Sorrowing Stroke

    My father sat down at his job.
    He felt the stroke in his brain
    and he knew he’d need help
    to stand up again. He called out
    to his line mate, he called ‘Joe,’

    but his lips and tongue failed.
    Joe heard my father sing
    like Bing Crosby: “Buh, buh, buh -”
    and he laughed, because his buddy
    often joked around or sang. “Hey, Johnny,

    get up and sing your ass over here,”
    Joe called. “It ain’t break time yet.”
    He turned back to his work. “Slacker.”
    And many precious minutes ran by before
    anyone saw the trouble Johnny was in.

    For seven years my father crooned
    the song of the sorrowing stroke.
    He fought to live with joy:
    he limped and laughed and loved
    but the song was all the voice he had.

  20. Leo

    With each fallen dream,
    I am scared to try again,
    Scared to find the pain;
    My heart is full of scars,
    How to reach for the stars?
    Each time I fail to fly,
    I fail a dream in her eyes,
    yet I don’t pay the price;
    as far as they now seem,
    how long flies this dream?
    how far does hope gleam?

    (I know I’m late, but didn’t want to make it never)

  21. Natalija


    That one would waste time
    with issues so trivial
    such as straps on a top
    baffles my mind

    That one would see
    a child’s innocent hug
    as something so wrong
    gives no comfort to me

    That one would be trusted
    to guide my child’s future
    when her own is in doubt
    makes me a bit disgusted

    Some are good I agree
    they nurture and cherish
    they’re loving and warm

    Some are scary
    so cold and distant
    removed from emotions

    Guide them
    love them
    teach them
    that is your job.

  22. PowerUnit

    [14th posting attempt]

    It’s bad enough
    Not recognizing the words spoken by inanimate objects
    Signs everywhere, forms, printed stuff
    I see them where most people don’t
    They pay attention to what they know
    Batteries, toothpaste, and the bottoms of coffee mugs

    I can live with people knowing, they all do
    I can’t hide the revealed
    I can’t stuff my cat back in his bag
    What bothers me though, what I avoid
    Why I stay away from people who want to help me
    Is whenever I try to say the words
    When I try to make my mouth work like those letters
    When I try so very hard to make myself look like anyone else
    I sound like a fool, a retard, a loser

  23. Mariya Koleva

    so many beautiful poems. I’ll do my best and try and comment below each, whenever not possible, I’ll visit blogs. Now, a bit late (as usual in the weekend with me) here is my poem:
    What is that coldness I feel?
    Is it the frost outside?
    Or the empty empire of anger,
    tapping bony fingers
    to get access and reap
    what is left inside?

  24. ina


    In the first video,
    Danny’s track suit was disheveled
    dirty and has face was beaten.
    Despite the bruiser and the black eye
    he was still the gawky charming
    guy I knew from college.
    His pregnant wife was
    watching the unscreened last
    video, in which they made him say
    “I am a Jew” before they slit his throat.
    Later, the authorities who recovered his
    body said the knife had scraped his backbone.
    It scares me that they
    could kill a man who had an
    impish crooked smile,
    long fingers for his violin,
    a man who loved the corners
    of humanity, curious and unafraid –
    the kind of man it seems likely
    that my son will become.

    1. Andrea Heiberg

      This is so scaring. Normally I switch to another channel when television confronts me with this kind of reality – but here I stayed with your poem and read it a couple times and not only do you succeed in following the lead – you also manage to take me back to the days of Daniel Pearl.
      Thank you Ina!

  25. Domino

    Harem Scarem

    On those mornings when I have a bit of
    trouble with my hair, and I am fussing
    and complaining and am completely un-
    happy, those are the mornings when my big
    paluka of a husband will stroll to
    the bathroom mirror, slap his (bald) head, and
    shriek, “It’s Gone! All gone!!”

  26. bluerabbit47

    It had not
    taken form
    and remained
    a threat
    without outline
    in thin light
    between night
    and dawn.
    Some sensed
    it, an off scent
    in the air
    an odd buzz
    in the near
    and their efforts
    to reason
    with their pounding
    hearts were
    driving them
    mad. It was
    not easy
    as once
    it had been
    and something
    was coming

  27. Susan Budig

    How Fear Functions at My House

    Cripes can hardly spell it
    Thumb through Yellow Pages filled with doodles
    Before resorting to Google

    Dr. Ogden…Dr. Nash…Dr. Isabel…
    Here’s one I know rather well.
    Hello, I’d like an appoint—
    Oh, those answering machines, nose outta joint

    I’d leave a message, but there wasn’t any beep
    at the end of the greeting, no, not a peep
    Now my husband stands in front of me, red faced
    What’s he lost this time or misplaced?

    His mouth moves, his lips waggle
    I suspect he’s trying to haggle
    What? What? Speak louder, I can’t hear you
    A near-by otolaryngologist? I’ve no clue

  28. Andy Brackett

    Hanging from it’s silvery thread
    It softly sways above my head
    Slowly dropping from it’s web
    It fills my body full of dread.

    Little spider, you scare me so
    I’m sure that you don’t mean to though
    I hope that you won’t be my foe
    But do implore that you should go

    I know you’re only catching flies
    I’ve seen this with my own two eyes
    But surely you must realize
    That you and are not allies

    Friends I know we’ll never be
    It creates too much anxiety
    So you be you, and I’ll be me
    Just go away and set me free

  29. Mike

    Zombie Raccoons

    Driving home after midnight, I see them.
    Rising from storm sewers, blue eyes blazing,
    They shamble down back alleys and prowl curbsides,
    Overwhelming garbage cans and feasting on rubbish.
    Beware the attack of the Zombie Raccoons.

  30. joann555


    Asleep, you hold my heart, my life in every breath you breathe.
    The sounds of darkness outside that window keep me from sleep.
    When will you ever see the real me?

    Awake, you push me away, my hopes my dreams out of reach.
    The emptiness echoes through this lonely house.
    Deep inside, the part of me you don’t know cries.

    Once, your gentle whispers were mistaken for love.
    A passion that faded with the sparkle in your eye.
    All I wanted was you, all you wanted was something else.

    Yesterday, there was bliss in my ignorance.
    The bitter truth, staring me down in that mirror today.
    Whispers for some else, softly, gently trailing in the distance.

  31. claudsy

    Just a bit of fun with this personal phobia.


    They wobbles and sway;
    Thought others swear they stay
    Right in their place
    And never do an about face,
    But I always believe
    Something you conceive
    As safe may be lulling
    One vulnerable to falling
    Into a false sense of security,
    Given no physical surety,
    When balance issues distort
    And dizziness does cavort
    To make me shaky and fearful or
    Trepidatious and tearful.
    Ladders, stairs and bleachers are banes
    When issues of height do refrain.

  32. Khara House

    (My goal this month is to use all song or film titles as titles/inspiration … Call it my “challenge inside the challenge”) :)

    “Hazy shade of winter”

    He makes them with his hands.
    He shapes them and shames them,
    drizzles them with water that cleaves
    to their boneless frames.

    He makes them watch.
    Watch as he builds them up
    and knocks them down.
    Watch as he forms them
    where the shadow meets the sun.

    Come noontime tomorrow
    they will be gone. Nobody knows.
    But they have known
    the workings of his hands.

  33. jared davidavich

    Choice No More

    These next steps,
    Adolescence at my back,
    Set the course for my future,
    But looking further,
    No more than bare eyes allow,
    There is a path,
    Already worn
    With the footfalls and dreams-
    To heavy a burden
    for the journey ahead-
    Of the many before me,
    Who gave in too early,
    And the ashes of those
    Who never gave in at all.
    What of choice lies ahead
    When the end comes,
    Swiftly or slowly,
    With the same regrets,
    And without hope.

  34. mapoet

    Show Time

    I always wanted to watch
    the shows with my siblings.
    Rod would take us
    to another dimension.
    Boris promised a
    Thriller each week.
    Alfred said,
    “Good evening,”
    and his attempt to frighten
    went off with out a hitch.
    When the shows were over,
    I was glad I shared a room
    with my sister.

  35. Walt Wojtanik


    The Grim Reaper is in the rear view
    as this year speeds toward another end.
    And if Nostradamus’ words are true,
    disaster awaits around the bend.
    I don’t obsess over Madame Fates’ touch,
    I laugh awkwardly and say “You don’t scare me…much!”

    And when I hear, “You don’t scare me…much”
    I think I’m missing the whole view.
    My knees knock – my hands quake and a touch
    of sweat comes weeping through. It never ends,
    my machismo melts and I feel like I have the “bends”.
    Decompression will not do, suck it up and burst on through.

    I won’t say nothing fazes me; I can get spooked it’s true,
    there’s not a lot that scares me…much,
    but I have noticed certain trends.
    A penthouse with a vertigo view?
    A swarm of birds that never ends?
    A cadaver with an ice cold touch

    all have their ways to stir my nerves (especially the ice cold touch).
    I suppose we all have our foibles, so true
    and my nervousness might meet its end.
    But that’s not the thing that scares me…much,
    when I face my fears and bring them into view,
    their hold o’er me will break, not bend.

    So I’ll be hell bent
    …on deflecting Freddie Kreuger’s touch,
    … veer my eye from a treacherous view,
    Macabre tales that are not true
    certainly don’t scare me…much,
    but I’ll hold my breath right to the end.

    So listen, heed my story friend,
    and send your worries ‘round the bend.
    Do not let things to scare you… much,
    Handle life with a caring touch.
    Trust in your reality; it’s true.
    And keep those terrors out of view.

    For in the final view, at the very end,
    if you bend this statement to make it true
    you’ll never fear the reaper’s touch… much!

  36. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    This is my demon…

    Stage Fright

    My body betrays me, I forget the words.
    I’m booed and bottled off the stage.
    My 9-to-5 is all that’s left.

    I tell myself: You’re a darn good poet!
    Once up on stage, wouldn’t you know it?
    My body betrays me, I forget the words.

    I bow my head in utter defeat.
    Rotten tomatoes land at my feet.
    I’m booed and bottled off the stage.

    My courage armor now wearing thin.
    The stench of failure slowly creeps in.
    My 9-to-5 is all that’s left.

    1. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


      Stage Fright

      My body betrays me, I forget the words.
      I’m booed and bottled off the stage.
      My 9-to-5 is all that’s left.

      I tell myself: You’re a darn good poet!
      Once up on stage, wouldn’t you know it?
      My body betrays me, I forget the words.

      I bow my head in utter defeat.
      Rotten tomatoes land at my feet.
      I’m booed and bottled off the stage.

      My courage armor now wearing thin.
      The stench of failure slowly seeps in.
      My 9-to-5 is all that’s left.

  37. Linda Hatton

    For some reason, I had trouble with this one. Ugh.
    Yours are all so scary! Good work, everyone!

    Old School

    Scary thing was the teacher
    wore a tight bun every day and had

    the class chomp octopus, charged one
    girl with planting tacks on her chair

    while the guilty party snickered
    in the back of the room.

    Scary thing was the flowery fragrance
    she doused herself with before entering

    room and rules of foreign language,
    scary she held a stick in her hand

    and wasn’t afraid to use it
    on hands of the half-grown.

    Scariest of all was when pupils
    were freed from her clutches

    at the end of the year, not one
    could recall what they had been

    taught, scary teacher’s ways forever
    imprinted in their heads instead.

  38. Sara McNulty

    Poetic Asides November Challenge – Day 3
    Write a poem that scares you

    Issues of Control

    How much of your life
    can you truly control?
    There are no pills
    to swallow,
    no needles
    filled with sera,
    no psychiatrists
    with all the answers
    no cures
    for every disease.

    Try to slow my race car
    mind, take the speed
    down, so that I will not
    smack into
    unseen maladies,
    thought catastrophes
    that may or may not
    wait down roads
    of sabotage.

    At times the terrors
    taunt me, making me unable
    to enjoy now, revel
    in those pleasantries
    I can control.

  39. posmic


    One day, I will solidify like butter;
    it will be, at last, too late to change.
    I will be kept in a refrigerated room,
    behind glass. Tour groups will come
    to look at me; I will be an example of
    poor diet, inactivity. The wages of sin.
    Children who beg for corn dogs will be

    asked, Do you want to be like the
    Butter Lady? No one will know that
    my ears still work, and my brain,
    which will strain through creamy
    sludge to instruct rigid limbs
    to punch, kick, smash the glass,
    let the warm, kind air come in.

      1. posmic

        Thank you! I’m a few months shy of 40 and recently started a new exercise regimen because there were times when I visualized that my blood was taking on the consistency of butter. So this poem has that one very tiny grain of truth.

  40. RJ Clarken


    Heck, there is nothing scarier;
    yeah, nothing makes me warier
    than finding words which are too long.
    Dear Lexicon – they don’t belong!

    I don’t get it. Hostility!
    ‘Though wordies glance at me sidelong,
    Dear Lexicon – they don’t belong!

    A word to throw beneath the bus!
    Syllabics should not string along.
    Dear Lexicon – they don’t belong!

    is a term that should be hated,
    feared and well, it’s just categorematically wrong!
    Dear Lexicon – they don’t belong!


  41. Misky


    These dark days called living,
    forlorn inside a vascular
    These dark days of splintered words
    battered, torn thoughts and ripped limbs
    left for dead.
    These dark days are no stroke of luck –
    None such.
    These dark days there’s no caress –
    Not much.
    No, not this one, this stroke strikes
    your senses numb.
    Light lacks brightness –
    Touch has lost its feel, and you’re
    locked-in here forever,
    deep in echoes of pitched silence.
    Lost inside your head.

  42. DanielAri

    “Neighborhood watch”

    So far it’s always been a cat
    when I snap shaken from deep dream
    rasping the question, “What was that?”
    and the motion detector’s beam
    has triggered the lights at the gate.

    At the last ring of the gate chime
    I sigh, “Damn cats,” and tuck back in
    looking for the onramp to dream,
    but it’s hijacked. This is Richmond
    with its distant pops of report,

    echoes of gun punctuation
    after the whistle of night freight.
    Town statistics have struck again.
    Next day the email tree lights up.
    What is it going to be this time?

    We’re on a good black. We’re all right,
    but damn city cats stir the nights.

  43. aviseuss

    Day 3: Fear


    The sky darkens, hot rain falls
    It’s dark out, but there’s nowhere to hide
    Oceans boil and forests burn
    Noxious air permeates
    Rotting flesh poisons
    It’s too late for a sinner’s prayer
    The master clock has ticked its last tock
    The heavens split and we fall to the ground
    I thought I wouldn’t be here, to hear that trumpet sound

  44. Michelle Hed

    A Rush of Blood

    A sound in the night …
    you awake
    your heart is pounding
    you listen
    barely breathing
    you wait
    A sound in the night…

    Did a door just close?
    to hear
    you cock your head
    your heart
    picks up the tempo
    you watch
    Did a door just close?

    Footsteps are coming closer.
    oh my God
    you are going to die
    eyes close
    eyes pop back open
    covers clutched
    Footsteps are coming closer.

    A sound in the night,
    footsteps coming closer…
    a door closes.

  45. Ann M

    Because she had dreamed
    that she’d die in a car crash,
    she always wore a seatbelt,
    long before it was the law,
    in the ’65 Plymouth wagon,
    her mother at the wheel,
    driving the back roads
    of the Connecticut seaside town
    where there weren’t sidewalks
    or bicyclists, just smooth pavement
    between the trees.
    One year, she taught herself French
    and read Sartre and wrote
    poems by hand in pencil;
    and that summer they drove to Maine,
    a long trip up the turnpike,
    stopping once for ice cream
    before the road narrowed
    at the ocean’s edge,
    with turns and ledges
    which caused her to close her eyes,
    imagining the fall,
    loosening the belt,
    the water rising over.

  46. barbarab


    Butterflies in my stomach, shakiness in my knees
    Heart pounding in my chest, my fists in a tight squeeze
    A cottonmouth flooding with words that seem to freeze
    Adrenaline rushing through my veins and arteries

    Fear of losing control, fear of impending doom
    Fear of heights, fear of spaces with no wiggle room
    Fear of white coats and medicine I must consume
    Fear of death, fear of being buried in a tomb

    Panic during the day light, terrors in the night
    I must not flee but stand up to my fears and fight
    If I combat fears, win the war against my fright
    I know that once again my life will be all right

  47. Jane Shlensky

    What Time Takes

    I’ve already seen some fears realized—
    loss of memory, of self,
    disease robbing a body of futures, of peace, of joy,
    the ends of lines, the absence of home,
    possibility jerked away like a bauble,
    love frittered away like spare change.

    I know already searching and not finding,
    loneliness that has a body of its own,
    grinding pain that nothing relieves,
    sleeplessness so numbing that death is appealing,
    betrayal, heart-hurt, intentional meanness,
    the devastation left in the wake of cruelty.

    I don’t fear your death or my own—
    that too is inevitable and heart-breaking.
    Storms, floods, mudslides, fires, long falls,
    crashes, cancers, bites, stings, and maulings
    jar my mind, knowing they exist in the world.
    I don’t want them, but I don’t fear them.

    Crazy violent people have great scare potential,
    the ones who won’t respond to pie and coffee
    or conversations or kindness, who look at me
    and see another victim or number.
    Such a one can hurt me and I know it.
    I don’t think about it.

    But more and more, I’m afraid of time,
    that its passage will erode my being—
    my courage, conviction, love, faith and hope,
    that time will pass unused and unnoticed,
    no meaning made, no joy revealed,
    no words discovered to describe it.

    I care no more for heaven or hell
    than for place names on some ancient map,
    but more and more, I fear wasting life,
    that one day I’ll realize I am ungrateful
    for even the worst things that are mine,
    that time has taken everything but
    living in vain.

  48. julie e.


    and I’m trying to touch the ground but I can’t
    touch the ground and there’s a space I cannot
    breach it’s just air but I can’t quite seem to reach
    and I’m afraid to go out of the house will I just
    f l o a t a w a y with only sky overhead

    you were my gravity

  49. Casey

    (Prompt:write of something Fearful. Man’s Inhumanity to Man? Brandon and Conner, age 2 and 4, died because of this. Their “would-be rescuer” was interviewed today. He stated he was not properly dressed to go out in the storm that night!)

    “A Ballad for Brandon and Conner”

    The raging wind had damned her home that night.
    She must take steps to save her children, too.
    She quickly gathers up her boys with fright
    and stumbles out her door; what can she do?

    A dang’rous drive; she seeks a shelter strong
    but then, headlong, the car falls in a ditch.
    She clings to branch of fallen tree ‘ere long
    and clings to children then, the wind would pitch!

    She bangs upon his door and cries with fear!
    The wind has eaten up her darling boys.
    She cries for him inside who will not hear;
    this hardened heart of man who gives no joy.

    How could I help, said he, “I had no shoes.
    She was to blame; it was her choice to choose!”

  50. sherwette

    They really never told you.
    You never knew when you were young.
    That this day when you grow up is the day when little by little the angel in you diminishes and so the demon in you emerges.
    They never told you the mistakes you will make you will never be able to erase
    It’s permanent. It’s done and no eraser will make it undone.
    They never told you, the smile; how often you draw it is how often you will win.
    You learn about the screams. You learn about the tears.
    This is how you will get mommy’s hug.
    This how you will get your stuff.
    I know. I know. At first, it was a bluff.
    Then it gets tough.
    You learn to scream alone. You learn to tone it down and the tears will remain only your own.
    How awful you will feel? You are the victim of self.
    The more gloom and doom, that’s the clarity of life.
    That’s what you think. That’s what they said. That’s what they keep saying.
    “Welcome to the real world”, a greeting you will get.
    They never taught about the laugh, the half arched smile on your face; how powerful it is.
    They never taught us how to make the whole world a different round.
    Until it’s late, then we start to learn and sometimes we don’t even learn how to turn it around.
    How to make the angel in us emerges and the demon diminishes?
    They never taught us.

  51. julie e.


    I’d like to think I’m merely practical and that
    it’s wise to wear a Flotation Device when
    in a boat that is sitting on a large body
    of water that wants to pull me
    down grab me with its
    slimy fingers and
    Y A N K me
    to the

  52. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 3
    Prompt: Scared emotions


    I breathe my last.
    Time ends.
    I have not done all I could.
    I have not used up my gifts.
    I have not given all myself
    to Him and to people.
    I have not fought my best the good fight,
    not finished the race.
    I will kneel, ashamed, before Him.
    This scares me,
    but does it scare me enough
    to incite change?

  53. RJ Clarken

    Collateral Damages

    Objectives unilateral
    with damages collateral.
    This scares me. Where’s our voice, our soul?
    Reduced to numbers. No control.

    What scares me is a shortage of
    compassion, caring, kindness, love.
    Rhetorical? Then what’s our role?
    Reduced to numbers. No control.

    I lie awake in bed at night.
    Too many things now give me fright.
    The kids, the house, a long lost goal.
    Reduced to numbers. No control.

    The talking heads, the polls, the news
    just seem to obfuscate, confuse.
    We tumble down some endless hole.
    Reduced to numbers. No control.


  54. Michael Grove

    Back Seat

    Jump into the back seat.
    You’re going for a ride.
    Trust in us to take you anywhere.
    Don’t buckle up, no need,
    now, there’s no place to hide.
    Don’t look to close, no watching, please don’t stare.

    Riding in the back seat
    with no driver at the wheel,
    I wonder where this car is gonna go.
    Hanging on to nothing
    as they beg, borrow and steal,
    shut up, sit back, relax, enjoy the show.

    By Michael Grove

  55. Richard Fenwick

    Event Horizon

    I’ll call it what it is: a tomb
    where no sun rises, six feet below
    the wind and weeds, boxed
    in the weight of earth
    and still alive enough to cry.
    Two days down and what I’d do
    to taste your light,
    to paint your surface again
    like a French impressionist, to
    sense anything but dirt
    and all the roots wrapped
    around the reaper’s stale breath.
    What I’d do to claw through
    the tomb’s pine,
    to deep-breathe a promise
    of another blue sky,
    or even a cloud of remorse.

  56. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz


    There is an unknowable
    darkness that I met long
    ago, and it keeps me
    imprisoned. I reached,
    desperately reached
    for that brink of sanity.
    Maybe I wanted it too
    much. In a place where
    light eases away on a
    hopeless whisper, on
    hundreds of legs that rasp
    like serpentine scales
    across the space where
    my thoughts flicker and
    blank out, silenced . . .
    at least I know this terror,
    its contours, the feel
    of it around me. If,
    somehow, I find a way
    out, find the freedom that
    the rest of me longs for,
    will I be able to feel again?

  57. Michael Grove

    Covered Up

    The notion of a conspiracy
    conceived, implemented and
    covered up by a government
    of the people, by the people,
    and against the people
    is a very scary proposition.

    It is frightening to witness
    the transition from
    a constitutional republic
    to a socialist dictatorship.

    We will not discuss the manner
    in which we gather intelligence.

    By Michael Grove

  58. KathyA

    A Dream

    It always starts with me and my Chevy,
    On the freeway, doing the speed limit
    Her radio’s playing that song I love,
    Puffy clouds float in baby-blue sky,

    And, I’m singing at the top of my lungs.

    I feel my Chevy start up the ramp,
    You know, that bridge that connects
    The 210 to the 118 near Sylmar;
    That one-fourth of a four-leaf clover bridge,

    And, I’m thinking about what to fix for dinner.

    I wait for the centrifugal force that lets me know
    Me and my Chevy are making that curve, but
    Suddenly, without impact, we’ve gone through
    The guardrail and we’re airborne, flying,

    And I can’t get my breath.

    I scream without sound as me and my Chevy
    Feel the pull of gravity, thinking
    I didn’t know this transition bridge was so high,
    And, what will my kids do without me,

    And, I wake up crying.

  59. Glory

    Fear (Day 3 – Scary)

    footsteps thud
    only to fade
    as I turn, then flow
    to echo in each still
    stark and silent alleyway,
    until dawn’s rosy glow creeps to
    disperse, release my fear of darkest
    night and the unreal footsteps of strangers

  60. barbara_y


    A black cat sleeps at my head
    I could grout a cobblestone road with broken mirrors
    and I could ruin a hundred stews with my spilled salt
    lottery tickets laugh off their silver when they see me,
    and bald, have the impudence to say win, win. Win. I hope
    to use up my days’ bad luck under the sun. Because
    when night comes and the moon only contends with
    the reflected headlights of cars to light your sleeping
    I watch you, afraid this long rest between two deeply
    sleeping breaths will continue into eternity and I want
    to tie you here with silver chains and lock them link
    and link and link with jade charms, blessed fetishes,
    prayers, and love. And if, unlucky as I am, and Death
    comes equipped with bolt cutters, I will bet my own life,
    on his choice of card or coin to keep you one more night.

  61. Marianv


    Then say a prayer for what has gone before
    The swiftest eagle flown to rest behind the clouds
    The patient vulture, his stomach finally filled
    The proud peacock, rustling his feathers as he
    Spreads his fan – the colors fade, the feathers
    Slip away, he takes refuge in the trees.

    This we have seen, the last of the last generation
    Nature has smiled upon, has blessed with abundance
    We have watched the stars grow dim, the ground bare
    And sterile, the trees fall in the forest, the animals
    Return to the dust from whence they came.

    As all created things must follow. Say a prayer,
    Then for everything that might have been.

  62. Ber

    Scary Silence

    Whispering silence
    filled the bare air
    loosing you
    the loss was so clear

    Scared to the bone
    your voice no longer there
    no teaching ways
    to guide the nights
    filled stare

    Stories once told
    exchanged forward and back
    the days of laughter gone now
    the void the massive crack

    Scary is the moment
    knowing your presence is not
    there anymore
    no wondering
    where you would explore

    As the wind catches the breeze
    pushes back the door
    wondering is it you
    that is moving it away

    So as stars fill the night sky
    i look for you up there
    the brightest one of all
    hope your having a ball
    standing proud and tall

  63. JWLaviguer

    Innocent Conspiracy

    They scream and laugh
    and scream again
    Inside my head
    I feel the pain
    Won’t they stop
    for just a day
    Control them please
    but let them play
    Far too many
    All in one place
    Twenty-five children
    Screaming in my face.

  64. Miss R.

    The Scariest Dreams

    The scariest dreams –
    The ones that come
    In tear-drenched sleep
    And in a clammy
    Terror keep
    My churning mind
    When I awake,
    The ones where
    Sanity’s at stake
    As I scramble,
    Desperate to rewrite
    The ending full
    Of unholy fright,
    The ones that cling
    Throughout the day
    Though I do strive
    To shake them away –
    The scariest dreams,
    By all that is true,
    Are always the ones
    Where I lose you.

  65. Andrew Kreider

    Love again

    Every time you go away
    I fear it is the final time
    This fly sheet flapping in the gale

    Every time you go away
    I curse at constancy
    And call commitment cowardice

    Every time you go away
    I want you to be happy
    But twist upon uncertainty

    Every time you go away
    Our hands leak light like empty sieves
    And maybe this is how true love is born

  66. Marjory MT

    DARKNESS (Cascade)

    The world is rolling in noise.
    Bodies flying like balls in bingo cage.
    All is quiet, but for cries of pain.

    The screech of tires, horns blaring,
    Hard impact, shouting, sharp turn.
    The world is rolling in noise.

    Comrades standing, looking for cause.
    Gravel crunching under tires, tremble, falling
    bodies flying like balls in bingo cage.

    Rolling, chaos, noise, jolt, darkness.
    Bodies intertwined, fighting.
    All is quiet, but for cries of pain.

  67. Jerry Walraven

    “It Could be any Window”

    The cheerful scarecrow
    in my front yard
    startles me
    as I look out of the window.
    This out of place figure,
    resplendent in fall colors,
    pulls my breath
    from my body
    and causes my vision to swim
    as I imagine
    the terrors which
    (please, no)
    await my daughter.
    I turn from the window
    and pick her up,
    protecting her,
    while I still can.

  68. Nancy Posey


    Snakes don’t scare me,
    nor spiders
    (if I see them first)
    not thunder or lightning
    (if I’m safe and dry
    inside watching
    from the windows).

    I’m not afraid
    of monsters
    under the bed
    or burglars
    in the closet
    (although I always
    look before I crawl
    into the bed).

    But late at night
    as you breathe softly
    beside me, imagination
    hovers over my head
    on the pillow, whispering
    What if. . . .
    and my blood runs cold.

  69. elishevasmom


    Perched on the
    Of darkness,
    Blackness – or is it red?

    Total absence of light –
    Of clarity of
    Hope of…

    Impermeable, palpable,
    The sounds of chaos
    Surging in a flood.

    When at great height –
    That knot of terror
    In the pit of your

    What if you
    or fail to convince
    Even yourself
    Especially yourself

    That you are able
    At least as much
    As the darkness
    That lies within.

    And oh the terror
    If you are not.

    Ellen Knight

  70. taylor graham


    Search-pack stowed, dog at my feet
    in the Cessna – but the pilot can’t get the engine
    started. He asks for a jump. Oil spatters
    against windscreen. And

    we’re off, circling over desert sand and smoke-trees,
    maneuvering higher – backside of the Sierra
    staring at us. That tricky granite face
    with its eddy-winds that can hold a plane down

    like a cork caught in water. My hands
    clenched on Roxy’s leash, This dog who can read
    my mind sleeps calmly, as if plane crash
    were part of the game. The pilot

    aims us straight at a high ridge – rock
    just meters away – then banks, gains altitude, don’t
    ask me how. We zigzag up the peaks, over
    the crest, headed for our shadow.

  71. MeenaRose

    Will They?
    By: Meena Rose

    I look back upon
    Where I have been and
    Whence I have come;
    A journey of a lifetime.

    A nagging unspoken
    Pervasive fear is
    Deeply entrenched upon
    My psyche.

    When I die, will they
    Remember me or will
    My imprints upon this
    Life evaporate into ether?

    When I die, will there
    Be a marker to note
    My passage upon this
    Celestial ship?

    Death and I have courted
    Each other as far back
    As I can remember;
    Quite the chivalrous display.

    Through pain and tears;
    Through sheer stubbornness;
    I hang on – my work not yet done;
    To leave an indelible mark

    Upon the semi-permanence of
    Human recollection racing
    Against the draining sands of

  72. Walt Wojtanik


    The unknown is feared.
    And we step on eggshells wondering
    when the first of many shoe will drop.
    You stop to catch a breath or two,
    and you continue on your way –
    curious or furious that your fear
    consumes. Our collective dooms
    are assured. But we pray for a cure.

    My mission is my focus, for
    no “Hocus-Pocus” can change the hand
    that I’ll eventually lose. I can choose to
    curl up, be fetal and remain fatal –
    or I can decide to not hide and face life
    and the fight it offers, filling my coffers
    with a richness never expected.
    All fears are rejected in its stead.

    So I keep this thought in my head
    and hope my hands and translate
    what has been the debate within.
    Mission after commission after remission,
    keeps giving me the chance to dance unfettered
    and expressive, an excessive splay
    of verbal vitality, and a mentality to fear no evil.
    Dark valleys be damned. He has my back.

  73. Connie Peters

    Stuck in Fear

    He’s big and bold.
    His calf muscles bulge
    as he climbs the mountain.
    He looks back
    with kind eyes
    melding into mine.
    His strong arm stretches
    as he reaches for my hand.
    I shrink back.
    I stay where I’m at.

  74. Walt Wojtanik


    Life is a crap shoot.
    “You rolls your dice,
    you takes your chances.”
    Not everything will appease you.
    If it scares you, it will not please you.
    Gory scenes are meant to haunt you.
    Skin tight jeans are meant to flaunt you.
    Sexy dreams are meant to taunt you,
    but they can’t really hurt you.
    So seven-come-eleven, aim for heaven,
    but don’t be afraid to raise a little hell!

  75. DAHutchison

    It could be falling from the roof while cleaning out the gutters,
    Or, maybe standing naked at a window without shutters.

    A life without a soul mate? Yeah, that has a certain sting.
    The spectacle of headline news is not a pleasant thing.

    A freight train running off the tracks, a corporate raided pension,
    But, no, the things that scare me most are things I dare not mention.

  76. Rorybore


    Fear, running me
    touching me
    With cold hands
    Twisting my heart
    And tearing my soul.
    Hiding underneath
    It’s hooded glare
    an approaching train
    suddenly appearing
    the resounding crash inevitable.

  77. Melissa Hager


    His curly hair cascades halfway
    down his back and
    a troll-face grin
    is smeared across
    his stubbly face.

    My butt cheeks are severely scrunched.
    I watch my teen
    relish the wheel
    in his hands.
    The time is now.

    Too soon by my estimation.
    He howls as he
    Nails in my leg.

  78. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    She stands before the counter
    frantically searching the eyes of the attendant.
    Pantomiming her needs without success.
    In tears, she turns to those in line behind her,
    hoping to find some help.
    Seeing none, she slowly disappears.

    He holds his hat, rolling the brim
    as the officer looks over his papers
    with stern authority.
    Handing them back, the officer
    shoes the man away, as if he were
    an errant dog, wandering into the neighbors yard.

    The child clings to the edge of the playground
    as if it were the skirt of she who bore her.
    The other children play with screams and squeals,
    oblivious of the tiny being in the corner.
    She watches with eyes that mirror
    the joy just beyond her reach.

    1. julie e.

      i love the lines “the child clings to the edge of the playground as if it were the skirt of she who bore her” So great! And your full title makes sense regarding the language part, but initially i could even just feel how fear itself might even be holding the little girl back. i’m a fearful one.

  79. RobHalpin

    Yet dwells the fear…

    of living
    alone and I know
    that someday one of us will go
    before the other, but when that test revealed a mass
    it chilled me to the bone. And though
    we are safe this time,
    in my core
    yet dwells

  80. JanetRuth

    You will reach for me
    But you
    Will not find me

    You will call for me
    I will not hear

    I am your Muse
    And in my mouth
    I seal every
    Winsome thought
    And every

    Outside the birds are…. um, they’re…oh, what is it that birds do !?

  81. JanetRuth

    I feel your body next to mine
    It is cold
    I reach to turn on a lamp
    But there is no light
    I strike a match
    It will not flare
    The darkness closes in
    A suffocating wall
    I press my face to your cheek
    But I cannot feel you
    Or see you
    We are cold
    I hear my children crying
    Out there
    In the darkest dark
    They tell us there will never be
    Another morning
    And the sun
    Has died…

  82. uneven steven

    That there is
    physical discomfort
    in the thinking
    being slowly peeled back
    like the skin off
    an orange,
    red flakes held
    and leisurely
    in front
    of a bound face –
    is it better to be gagged
    or to hear yourself screaming?

    That there is
    physical discomfort
    in thinking
    of you
    in pain,
    my graphic
    a quadriplegic struggling
    in the face of
    your grimacing,
    loss –
    is it better to be gagged
    or to hear yourself screaming?

    That there is
    physical discomfort
    in the knowing
    that you don’t,
    will not and cannot
    unless it’s to profit
    from my
    each of your loyal surrogates
    they were really
    doing their
    and you with no family
    to torture,
    no kin to threaten
    in order to
    your inexhaustible
    for absolute
    suffering –
    these ragged nails
    gone from
    the walls you’ve
    and I wake to find
    it was all
    in my mind
    and I am strapped
    unable to move
    my beloved tied down
    beside me –
    always and ever,
    again and again,
    I look lovingly
    into your eyes –
    is it better to be gagged
    or to hear yourself screaming?

  83. JanetRuth

    Found Wanting…

    The banquet is ready
    Earth is consumed with a cry
    ‘Behold, He cometh’
    The Bridegroom shatters the sky

    Fire and wind
    Is hurled, unfurled
    Ah, yes! This is it…
    …the end of the world

    Those washed in His blood
    Rise to meet Him in the air
    Oh my God, oh my God
    Why didn’t I prepare?

    Up on the hill
    The ark of safety sits but
    Its grace has ended
    And the door is shut

    All we can hear
    Is the toll of a bell
    And wailing and weeping
    As the gates open to

  84. viv


    So frightening that I don’t want to think about it,
    let alone write a poem.
    What is it? Do I have to tell you?
    Oh well, in for a pound.
    I think I am losing my mind.
    I do the stupidest things,
    talk utter rubbish –
    I can cope with that, just,
    by having a laugh.

    But what of the next stage,
    when I don’t know what I’ve said,
    who I’ve insulted,
    what damage I’ve done,
    when it’s no longer funny?
    There, I’ve given you my greatest fear:
    what can you do to help?

    1. JanetRuth

      There is utter terror in that thought, because I know MANY in that next stage. Thank-you for being brave enough to give voice to your fear. I’m mid forties and sometimes I wonder if I’m losing my mind…seriously.

      1. elishevasmom

        Up concluding a trip to the ER under just such circumstances, the doc assured me that as long as I can still have concerns about such things, I have nothing to fear…

    2. julie e.

      At the beginning of what was a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, i had a psych evaluation because i’d been having frightening episodes with my memory. At the conclusion, the psychiatrist declared, “well, you don’t have early onset Alzheimers!” to which i replied, “”i didn’t even know i should have been worried about that…” Our brains are susceptible to so many things that can scare us and mimic the Big Scary diagnosis. i feel ya.

    3. PKP

      Forgetfulness is not at all necessarily a stage of anything more
      than mere passing age
      blips in the sorting page after page
      Forgetfulness is not at all necessarily a stage of anything more
      When you forget what you’ve forgotten as you walk through the door
      The sign that is worrisome, worrisome a bit more is when you forget
      What the door you walked through is for!

      Not to worry – enjoy those little mental ‘vacation spots’
      And now I take off “that other hat” and return to being a would be poet…

  85. Maurie

    Dreams awaken me, recurring ones,
    where I run, but go nowhere. Feet
    mud-stuck leaden, heart pumping
    wildly, I turn toward you.
    Engulfed now in the dark silence of night’s
    deepest hours, terror subsides, sucked
    out like the calm before a tsunami’s
    ebb. Moments pass before it sweeps back.
    Filling every crevasse of my being
    from toes to head. Overwhelming
    common sense, reason,
    clear thought as I reach for you
    and feel no
    No up and down rhythmic
    of your belly.
    Have I once more slipped to
    dreamland – or have you…

  86. Andrea Heiberg


    This voice telling me again and
    that some day
    up in Heaven
    separate the sheep from the goats
    as if we need to separate sheep from goats
    and as if anybody is worse
    than you or
    even better.

    1. Andrea Heiberg

      Thank you JWLaviguer, ina, cumberlandcarol and Marie Elena. In fact I was a bit afraid that this poem could steer up comments that I couldn’t handle – and here I sit, happy. Thanks for your encouragement.
      I write this in one comment because this website asks me to slow down whenever I like to post a comment, so I know that this comment might take a lot of attempts to submit.

  87. Benjamin Thomas

    Stage Fright Locusts

    They’re here.

    The locusts…They’ve come.

    In number…

    To devastate, destroy, devour each bone.

    Until I’m miserably desolate, isolated alone

    Meticulously wicked from the inside out

    Until there is no stability remaining

    Or strength left for me to stand

    There is no shield, there is no helping hand

    Wait, there is an announcement

    All confidence has now been consumed

    Your boldness has withered, depleted

    All hope transformed to doom

    For I’ve been eaten, beaten, defeated

    And digested in an instance

    Those bastards show no mercy

    They feed off an inch of anxiety

    Working quickly to cut you asunder

    Leaving you to rot in the dust publicly

    Dancing, while your integrity they plunder