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    2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

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

    Okay, today is the final day of the poeming part of this challenge. Beginning tomorrow (if not already), you’ll begin the process of revising and assembling a 10-20 page poetry chapbook manuscript. Click here to review the guidelines.

    Today’s prompt comes from Violet Nesdoly.

    Here’s Violet’s prompt: Write a milk poem. This could be about the moo-juice kind of milk. Or it could explore milk metaphorically, as in the expression “milk of human kindness.” Of course it could also be about the act of milking something. And no, it doesn’t have to be nourishing.

    Robert’s attempt at a Milk Poem:

    “The Final Poem”

    The final prompt, the final day,
    and here I am milking the situation
    as if tomorrow won’t come, as if
    it won’t bring more prompts, more
    poems, more lines to break.


    Thank you, Violet, for the great prompt! Click here to learn more about Violet.

    Click here to share your poem on the WD Forum.


    Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


    Write 21st Century Fiction! Click here to learn how.

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    About Robert Lee Brewer

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    83 Responses to 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

    1. viv says:

      I missed the last few days of the challenge, as I have been in hospital after a heart attack and 3 lots of surgery in 4 days. Tillybud has sent me the prompts I missed, but I don’t know that I have the mojo to write to them. Can I still submit my chapbook poems – I wrote to every prompt up to 21 November?

    2. Miss R. says:

      DONE. :) Thanks for a wonderful month of poetry!!

      The Milkman

      A poke here, a jab there –
      Always verbal, of course.
      He kept at it daily
      Without sign of remorse.
      Cruel word by cruel word
      He slowly milked away
      All of her confidence
      And never had to pay.

    3. PSC in CT says:

      Milking Venom

      It’s a dangerous job,
      but necessary. Caution
      and coordination
      (prerequisite skills
      for the position – both
      sorely needed and surely
      lacking) must be
      carefully cultivated,
      patiently applied, else
      one risks a most
      venomous sting

    4. heiditoad says:

      Milk, milk, lemonade, around the corner fudge is made!!

      OMG – I just had to do it and NO this is not my poem and I give full credit to whomever made it up in the first place; although, I have no idea.

      Am I going to get in trouble for posting this?

    5. pmwanken says:

      I didn’t get this posted yesterday…

      (a shadorma)

      Each year I
      wait, with cookies and
      milk, trying
      to stay a-
      wake to hear him exclaiming:
      “I am Ho-Ho-Home!”

      P. Wanken

    6. zevd2001 says:

      I lay beside green pastures and conspire
      to find the ways of keeping what passes through
      unhindered by too much civilization, all the undue
      interference of what doesn’t belong. I tire
      of the calls of them that complicate my life
      with devices that are supposed to ensure
      that my existence won’t be encumbered, that lure
      me into a gallery lit with attractions, rife

      with lights, camera action, and the uneasy feel
      somebody is watching me, they want to know
      where I am going, leading me to follow their flow,
      no, it’s here where the sheep graze, I kneel
      over a patch of flowers gazing at butterflies
      congregating about the petals drinking their fill . . .
      off in the distance my feet sense the thrill
      of the sound of the sheep, the voices rise

      in the distance. Always there, reminding me
      where they are in the circle of life, where I am,
      biting away at the flowers when I just came
      following them back to the pen, I let them be . . .
      mother lambs at the milking, first the flock
      then the machines in tins, carrying them in
      to the plant where the liquid turns, my head spins
      how everything goes round comes round the clock.
      Zev Davis

    7. Yolee says:

      Dear Santa, I will leave milk and cookies on the coffee table this time. I’m sorry I sorta blamed you last year when mama asked who chipped her half moon tableinthe hallway . She would never believe me if I told her the real truth. I hope you understand. Don’t you have children? Didn’t they break things? I bet you helped them get out of trouble with Your wife. I bet you brought them a computer they really really needed. You are a good dad. I can tell. Ps I’m going to make sure my dog will be in the basement so he won’t bite you.

    8. Glory says:

      Cleopatra . . .

      Cleopatra bathed in asses’ milk
      I’ve often heard it said,
      so I decided I would too before I went to bed.

      I filled the bath with asses’ milk.
      well almost to the brim,
      a foaming bath it was, in which to bathe my skin.

      I didn’t like the texture, didn’t like
      the smell, but most of all
      I must admit, I missed dear Anthony as well.

    9. RJ Clarken says:

      The Ilk of Milk

      “The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.” ~Ogden Nash

      If one end’s milk, the other moo,
      I wonder: could you then construe
      that chocolate milk should be called choo?
      Or is it chilk? What would you do?

      I think where bovines are concerned
      re milk production, we’ve all learned
      that cows have no real point of view
      on choo (or chilk.) What would you do?

      But as a fan of chocolate drink,
      no matter choo or chilk, I think
      if from a bovine, call it boo
      (or maybe bilk.) What would you do?

      And here’s a thought on bovine-juice:
      If grass fed, is milk then chartreuse?
      And if it’s green, is it called goo?
      Or rather, ‘gilk’? What would you do?


    10. rustydude says:

      Participating in this month’s activities is my first ever attempt of anything of the sort. Must admit it was way beyond me to keep up – made about 50% (too many irons in the fire). Enjoyed getting to meet ya’ll through your poetry and posts. Meandered thorough several of your sites and blogs and decided to give that a go as well. Stop in sometime and say howdy, you are welcome at my campfire anytime. Thanks everyone!

      Nov 29 – Birth
      Nov 30 – Milk

      The Fawn

      The doe gives birth, alone, in pain,
      Slowly new life emerges, one last strain.
      Carefully the mother cleans her young,
      Daylight breaks, christened by the sun.

      Hastily the mother nuzzles the new gent,
      The air spilling her fresh-blood scent.
      The fawn reaches its knees awkward, and feeble,
      Just minutes ago in its mother’s womb, fetal.

      Legs shaking, the fawn takes its first stance,
      It’s a miracle, its life, its creation’s dance.
      The fawn drinks in warm mother’s milk,
      Its coat glistens, as new woven silk.

      Slowly, the mother leads her babe away,
      Deep in the tall grass, she coaxes him to stay.
      Carefully she leaves him all alone,
      The fawn lays motionless, camouflaged stone.

      You could easily walk past and not take note,
      The new babe hiding, shadows blending in its coat.
      It lies there fearless, sure of its mother’s return,
      All things new, everything to learn.

      The doe hides close, with a watchful eye,
      Ready as any mother, to defend till she die.
      Both rest long in the early spring sun,
      Life is but a miracle and for the fawn – day one.

      The Lord’s gift of nature, and all its majesty,
      From highest mountain, through sky, to deepest sea.
      All His creation, all His wonders, all – for His glory,
      No doubt, no question, what else it could be?

    11. sonja j says:

      Milk Paint

      Walk from town to town, ask
      the wealthier households if
      they need portraits, or want
      their walls decorated. That’s
      how itinerant painters made
      their way. They brought their
      own brushes, poured pigment
      and lime into buckets of curds,
      each working his own secret

      When children see the murals
      on farmhouse walls, they ask
      why there are no forests, only
      hills. The forests were cut down
      for farming, we tell them. There
      were no forests here then. Why
      does the tree in the garden look
      like that, they ask. Why does it
      look like a fountain.

      Those were elm trees, we tell
      them. You could shimmy up
      the branches and slide right
      down to the end; the branch
      would bend to the ground, you
      could hop off and do it again.
      Can we grow trees like that,
      they ask us. No, we tell them.
      Not anymore.

    12. Marjory MT says:

      Because it is so challenging to post — I am going to post collectively today (30th) several poems I have not before poster successfully.
      22 PARADISE LUNE (Kelly)
      Any place I am
      with you is
      paradise to me.

      23 DEEP (Fib)
      to once
      again stand
      with you, feel and then
      share love’s music that’s in our hearts.

      23 (DEEP) FIRE (Nonet)
      In the quiet night, below moon and stars,
      I build a fire of memory
      and in the burning coals, I
      seek to reclaim the one
      hot, hidden spark
      used for igniting
      love’s first

      24 The Truth about
      The truth about life
      comes when minds and hearts open,
      look beyond themself

      22 PARADISE — Etheree
      was your
      sweet princess,
      spark in your eyes.
      I loved you closeness,
      attention to our needs
      wrapped up in warm tenderness.
      You and I together always
      On earth we had our own paradise.
      We did anything, everything as one.

      25 PARADISE LOST—(Nonet)
      Caring, helping, and always close by,
      filling my life, my days and nights,
      choosing, touching, holding tight.
      What I thought was love, I
      came to realize
      was just control.


    13. Poetic Asides November Challenge – Day 30
      Write a milk poem

      Wrung Out

      My brain has been milked
      and wrung out
      for the month
      of November for challenge.
      I will replenish.

    14. Galletas con leche
      (Cookies and milk)

      If St. Nick you want to impress,
      give him what he likes the best…
      Galletas con leche!

      When he comes through the front door,
      he’ll be hungry and thirsty for…
      Galletas con leche!

      Down the chimney he won’t fit.
      This is Santa’s favorite treat:
      Galletas con leche!

      Santa is a dairy nut.
      Stock your fridge with nothing but…
      Galletas con leche!

      If in Santa you believe,
      don’t forget this Christmas Eve…
      Galletas con leche!

      Done! I won’t be submitting ’cause I don’t have enough decent pieces for this challenge, but this was fun and quite a workout for my tender brain. This was quite awesome, everyone! Thanks for all the prompts. Thanks for the challenge, Robert. ^^

    15. posmic says:

      A Bad Fall

      Someone keyed my Corolla,
      the one my parents leased for me
      (electric green with a spoiler
      and a gold package—ridiculous
      and loved). As I looked at the
      scratch, the gallon of milk I had
      just bought, just splurged on,
      tumbled off the roof, hit the
      asphalt and exploded, ran
      in all directions even as I
      indulged wild fantasies of
      somehow scooping it up,
      or getting back in my
      scratched car, driving
      back to Kroger, getting
      a replacement as if
      any of it was the store’s
      fault, what happened in
      my apartment building’s
      parking lot, under a stupid,
      stupid purple twilight sky.

    16. po says:

      Lake Mystery

      Wind raw, cuts like March.
      If February, instead of November,
      I would think thaw. On the north
      side of Delia Lake seagulls rest

      against the wind. Near the road a
      bird with milk white feathers, too
      big for a seagull, flies the rapacious
      path of a predator. I drink warm milk

      from the shelter of my car and watch
      the parade of migrating birds. Wish I
      had binoculars but then might lose
      the mystery of this gray day.

    17. claudsy says:

      I chose Lyric Style for this one simply because it flowed better than free verse or other forms; at least for me.

      Lesson Learned

      The milking of cows has both rewards and hazards. Learning technique takes finesse, surety. Approach milker with caution, as it smells fear and hesitation. Position yourself up close and personal; nestle cheek into the throbbing warmth of her side to quell likelihood of meeting hoof with your head or mighty chest. Warm your hands, for Daisy doesn’t like cold. Don’t grab and tug hard, unless you want a hoof in your face. Caress the udder to bring down milk; firm, gentle finger pressure’s best, and feed the cat that wanders by looking for cow’s hand-outs. If teats are unresponsive, don’t continue more than five minutes, or a ruined milker you’ll have, until she’s stood and been rebred. Above all, for heaven’s sake, don’t try to ride her unless bronc riding is your forte.

    18. I ended up totally dropping this ball this month. BUMMER!

      But what fabulous poets out here in Asides land. Y’all ROCK.

    19. Michael Grove says:


      Sometimes there is crying over spilt milk.
      Sometimes there is dancing in the rain.
      Sometimes there is walking on the thin ice.
      Sometimes there is pleasure without pain.

      Sometimes only love is the answer.
      Sometimes you need the shoulder of a friend.
      Sometimes there is light in the tunnel.
      Sometimes it is at the other end.

      By Michael Grove

    20. DanielAri says:

      from this that comes from this that comes from this that comes from this

      there’s no duplicity in milk
      as a creative expression—
      it comes like the worm’s thread of silk—
      a necessary emission
      nurturing in copious bulk—

      body to body transmission—
      strange, warm, specialized substances
      of the passing generations—
      what stuff drizzles as it dances?—
      white on the rhyming tongue—drunk ilk—

      asleep in the stream—and chancing
      dream on the mountainous pillow—
      who are you who comes from the glance
      of lovers under the willow?—
      born, lowing animal nation—

      fertile to fecund to fallow—
      hot and quick as melting tallow

    21. PKP says:

      Through the milky haze of ending -

      It was the thirtieth of November
      and all through the page
      squiggles were stirring
      final day did they gauge

      Had been gremlin laden
      For some storm tossed too
      And yet “The Street” walkers
      soldiered on for what else could they do?

      There is but one November P A D
      looked forward cross seas, mountains
      deserts, plains spanned internationally
      And yes, now we have come inevitably

      To the finale of November’s P-A-D
      A smile, a nod, a sigh and an all
      embracing thanks to all thee
      and of course a deep bow to the
      creator our own RLB

      *Hope to see many of you on Wednesdays and to the inveterate once a year PAD’ers
      May the wind be at your back and your fingers fly inspired….

    22. PKP says:


      with a tempest tossed flick
      of her head
      she gathered
      from all corners
      hands come together
      to hold, to support, to sip
      the cup
      of kindness
      as one
      soaring into
      a milky way

    23. I was going to try to write to each and every one of you, but the gremlins of which I speak are driving me crazy! So-

      Robert, thank you, thank you for another wonderful PAD. I am happy to share that the fact that I wrote over 30 poems this month raised over $500 for the Center for New Americans! Some days it was difficult to come up with a poem that incorporated the prompt and my theme of literacy and second language learning, but, I did it!

      Dear fellow poets – thank you for the opportunity to once again stand among you and face the challenge of prompts and posting gremlins. I am honored to be counted among the ranks here. I will try to catch a Wednesday prompt more often this time round. Doing so has been a bit of a difficulty this past year.

      Blessings to all! Until the next PAD~

    24. Mañana

      Procrastination has become a close friend.
      These last moments before the end
      are being savored for each alteration and metaphor.
      Oh, the joy of pondering prompts in the wee hours,
      the mind-numbing challenge of connecting the prompt
      to a theme – self-chosen – for the month,
      not to mention the joy of being one of the first -
      when the evil posting gremlins allowed.
      Unfortunately, I think I have milked this for all it is worth -
      the end, must come. So, let it be -

    25. Jane Shlensky says:

      Love the prompt. I love cows, the perpetual mothers. Gang, I enjoyed your poems so much but I can barely post my own, each time taking…long time. But the prompts and reading the poems here were a ritual I love. Thanks to Robert and everyone in the challenge. See you next Wednesday??

      Milk Sop

      Every litter has its milksop,
      Mama says, watching cats
      trail behind us to the barn.

      Most become mousers,
      useful and worthy of respect,
      but this one gray and white,

      noisy and clingy, is a milksop,
      his habit becoming his name.
      A milkoholic, he is unafraid

      of hooves, slapping tails, and
      snorting noses twice the size
      of his head. He sits near

      the milking stools, looking up
      at the towering heights of cow
      as if he were admiring a monument.

      He would suckle directly
      from the source udder
      if he could strategize.

      Instead, he looks to us
      to squirt milk into his mouth,
      knowing once a pail is full

      and set aside, once we move
      to another cow, he can not
      be trusted to leave it cat-free.

      Since milk buys our clothes
      and shoes, our books , even
      my piano, Milk Sop is clearly

      competition we do not need.
      Once they take to milk, there’s
      no breaking them, says Mama.

      He needs to learn to like meat—
      mice, rabbits, birds. He’s to be
      pitied, but not to be fed milk.

      Cut him off, she says, as if he is
      a late-night bar fly, jonesing for
      a nightcap. Cut him off! Cold turkey!

    26. Hannah says:

      Wow…Is it REALLY over?!

      What a crazy-fast and full poeming month!!

      Thank you and congratulations to all that participated and prompted…wow!

      I’m sorry I wasn’t available to talk much…this is the way I had to roll this time around though, I’m sure many understand…lots to balance.

      Ended on a kind of crazy-note but here’s the final offering. :)’s to everyone!


      See ya’ll around on Wednesday!!

    27. julie e. says:


      As milk.

    28. salaslp says:

      Hey, Violet–Great to see you here! I haven’t been commenting often, but I’m very thankful for this challenge. I’ve written 30 poems and am about to add 2 more. I’m excited to start revising my drafts into a cohesive collection. This one was an idea I’d written down long ago and never done anything with. Thank you, Robert, Writer’s Digest, and all the prompt writers and poets!

    29. elishevasmom says:

      It has been an honor to be counted among your number. I look forward to “seeing” you all soon.

      God Bless the Child

      The men had come home from
      “The Big One”. Some swords were
      bent into wheelchairs, and spears into
      crutches, but the guys came home. It was
      the origin of a new era. The government was
      there to help out with mortgages, tuition grants
      for college and vocational training. She was at the
      edge of a new time. Rosie the Riveter had been retired.
      Gone were the necessities of practical work clothes. And
      whereas the government might be offering a financial hand, the
      best way to make the men feel welcome was to accentuate the
      female form—anything to enhance feminine appeal. Cinched waste-
      lines, pencil skirts, corsets and girdles to assure the smooth silhouette,
      but most contrived of all, the conical bra. Regardless of her natural
      shape or size, her bust had to end in a precise point. In preparing
      for her first offering to the god of the baby boomer, she went in
      for a check-up with the family doctor. Breast-feeding simply
      just wasn’t done. That would mean tampering with the
      image the world of haute couture had worked so
      hard to achieve. But she had read that breast
      milk was much healthier for the baby, and
      she really wanted to nurse this newest
      member of the family. At this point
      the doctor slid his glasses down,
      looked over them, and opined,
      “Well, they weren’t just
      put there for men
      to play with,
      you know!” Ellen Knight 11.30.12

    30. shellaysm says:

      -I thoroughly enjoyed my first (it won’t be the last!) PAD challenge. Thanks to Robert for this forum & all the creative prompts which some days had me scrambling, but always intrigued me to see what they brought forth. I’m proud of myself for making it through, as I’m completely a novice poet. I’m kind of dreading tomorrow”s feeling of let down that it’s over; imagine that! Posted all my entries on my new website: Michele K. Smith

      “Milking the Muse”

      As creative souls,
      we must milk the muse
      for all she’s worth–
      lactate pints or even gallons
      daily of her inspiration.

      Ignore the concept that
      she’s often quite elusive
      (sometimes utterly slippery),
      for the muse is the
      cream of the crop to a creative life, and
      must always be revered on a high shelf.

      Of course the muse is female:
      She arrives fully-enriched
      with wholesome intentions for us,
      and that doesn’t even
      skim the surface of her value.

      What percent of us would admit
      there’s no substitute for the real thing?
      Would you put your contents on display
      (even campaign in a white mustache)
      just to publicly support the message
      that the muse does a body (and mind) good?

    31. JRSimmang says:

      I can’t have milk. It’ll kill me.
      That means I can’t have:
      milk, cheesecake, cheese,
      McDonald’s french fries,
      Doritos, ice cream, cream in my coffee,
      chocolate cake, cupcakes,
      butter, caramel,
      cereal bars, sandwich bread, crackers,
      cold cuts, granola, cottage cheese,
      yogurt, chocolate, mashed potatoes,
      pancakes and waffles, doughnuts,
      puddings, and custards,
      gelato, Bailey’s Irish Cream…
      I have often sat and pondered,
      wondered at my window sill,
      why all this stuff is so grand,
      why it offers such a thrill.
      Berries have their own delight,
      beer and wine are fair,
      dark chocolate: so romantic,
      and an apple or a pear,
      offer so much more than that white stuff
      that comes from a cow,
      which humans really shouldn’t drink
      or eat, or smell, or chow.
      Your bones will grow without the aid
      of curdled cow excrement,
      your muscles get the help they need
      without this protein quick-cement.
      Feeling sluggish, feeling tired,
      feeling under weather?
      Cut out dairy from your dairy-aire
      and you’ll feel so much better.
      Since I began my epic journey,
      I’ve come to realize
      I’m here on the planet Earth
      milking it for all it’s worth.

    32. Domino says:

      White fluff aloft in
      Azure summer sky
      Sun-warmed milky floss

    33. De Jackson says:

      Great month, gang. Sorry I didn’t have/find/make more time to comment.


    34. Mike Bayles says:

      Milking A Cow

      Before the sun rises
      duties must be done.
      The farmer’s son attaches
      the milking machine
      to the teats of a cow.
      Care must be taken
      to keep from disturbing the cow,
      and the son avoids the errant kick.
      All this must be done
      before he goes to school,
      for this smooth treat,
      a cool sip of milk for others
      late in the afternoon.

    35. barbara_y says:

      Cheers to all, and Happy Holidays


      Four little girls in the mucky cow lot,
      learning to milk. The three onlooking blonds
      and Marie, laughing, tugging at the teats.
      The infant me is nowhere to be seen.
      I don’t know why I never tried my hand
      at milking. Another experience
      I held back from? I don’t understand
      the way my bedrock folds, just have a sense
      of exclusions and faults. I never milked
      but, swinging a stick at the briars and sedge grass
      would stump down the hills and afternoon fields
      and bring the cows back in from the pasture.

      They would have come with no urging, I now
      know, and I’d have roamed the hills with no cows.

    36. RobHalpin says:

      Making the Cut

      November’s last poems
      done, we now start the sorting,
      hemming and hawing,
      picking which poems make the book.
      It’s always as clear as milk.

    37. Milk

      The first thing
      introduced to us
      upon our arrival
      is milk,

      warm and
      (in the absence
      of any other flavor)

      as the newborn
      lays soft head
      upon softer breast,
      and softly suckling
      in an open-mouthed kiss
      attached to
      a loving mother,
      this becomes
      our unconscious archetype
      for care,
      for love.

      in our souls,
      this universal
      this calming
      trusted sedative,
      still works
      on sleepless nights
      filled with worry
      and doubt

      what happens

    38. Robert – Thank you for a delightful month of poetry. Loved the guest prompters. – Michelle

    39. The Pounding of the Keys

      Hurt, anger, sadness -
      all pouring out
      through her fingers
      as she relentlessly
      pounds on the keys
      of the piano…


      …all the pain is gone
      and the soothing melodies
      caulk the wounds
      and the world has
      re-tilted back into place
      as the decibels lower…


      …she is ready
      to face the world again.

    40. Castro Camera

      He was just another Lithuanian-American
      Jewish boy who played football and joined the navy
      a straight-laced actuary who loved the opera
      and kept private matters private.
      But then came San Francisco.

      He said, “I finally reached the point
      when I had to become involved or shut up.”

      On Castro Street he flowered
      turning to his neighborhood
      unflinching in his call for civil rights
      Ten months a Supervisor, till his
      shocking death, November 27, 1978.

      He said, “If a bullet should enter my brain,
      let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

      After the trial, the White Nights
      the riots and the beatings
      they laid his ashes to rest
      beneath the sidewalk at 575 Castro.
      He was my age, more or less.

    41. Last Note

      Black ink tear drops fall
      on the milk white parchment
      as she decides how to say

    42. Marianv says:

      My Milk Runneth Over

      How it flowed as every drop
      Ran into the mouths of my babies
      Their rose-bud lips puckered
      Fat little cheeks sucked in and out,
      In and out; their throats swallowing

      Faster, Timid at first, with the nurse’s
      Help-some catching on easier than others.
      The first-born switched to a bottle, after
      A few weeks the supply was dwindling.

      The other five eager and demanding.
      I learned to become a cow – a little
      Factory of milk production. , The two
      Two older girls hugged their dolls to their
      Nipples. They were mommies, too

      Every day my milk-stained t-shirts hung
      On the clothes line next to the diapers.
      In his morning shower, Hubby tried
      To scrub the milk-smell away. After

      All these years I still can invoke it.
      Our daughters, daughters-in-law,
      , grand-daughters too, all of us bcame
      honorary cows. If only a few weeks ,
      or for many months, our babies, we
      believed, were given the best start of all.

    43. I skipped Day 29 – will have to come back to it later today.

      My teenager refuses to drink milk anymore.
      All the arguments about nutrition are to no avail.
      He says he no longer likes the taste, but I wonder
      if it’s a sign of independence, as he moves toward
      the age where we no longer dictate what he can eat
      and not eat. It could be psychological too – milk
      as a symbol of childishness, what little kids drink.
      It’s a baby step, for sure, but it foreshadows
      giant leaps to come – driver’s license, college,
      marriage, and his own kids who will go from breast
      to bottle to cup, to someday telling him they no longer
      need his milk, as they carry their things out the door.


      Old house we live in –
      these skins, obdurate doors, tricky
      steps. You’re watching
      the morning news. The TV hisses
      if I turn on the office light –
      our wiring’s getting touchy. So
      we make tradeoffs – by flashlight,
      I scribble notes that may or
      may not be a poem.
      Then I’ll make us toast, pour
      the milk, tell you breakfast
      is ready. This morning, by email
      I learn two friends – a couple –
      have gone their separate ways.
      Had it anything to do
      with faulty circuitry, souring
      milk, stuck doors, aging

    45. IrisD says:

      Got Milk?
      They say he was so mean he could milk a rattlesnake.
      I live in rattlesnake country and I shudder and quake.
      What evil can drive a man to be so rough and callous,
      That all men would shake in their boots from Dodge City to Dallas?
      Perhaps he was abandoned by his mother while a toddler.
      Or being thrown from his horse while young made him a killer.
      He became the terror of the whole territory it seems
      And then one night his hatred existed only in dreams
      Gunfight at O.K. Corral became his final showdown
      Now he milks rattlesnakes where they surely abound

    46. With a quite hectic month, I had to play catchup and still lack one poem, which I WILL finish today. Didn’t get to read many of the always-scintillating offerings here, but what I did read, I enjoyed. What a talented group with whom I’m honored to attempt these challenges! Thanks to all the creative prompters, and thank you, Robert, for offering these bi-annual opportunities and the weekly prompts, as well as all the valuable information, interviews, and encouragement on this blog. I love hanging out with all you lovely people!

    47. Milk

      Not exactly city slickers, still we clung to the illusion
      that everything came straight from the store,
      plastic wrapped, hermetically sealed. Bread sprung
      into being uniformly sliced; eggs never made contact
      with a chicken’s hind end but, like lab specimens,
      developed by the dozens in Styrofoam containers.

      Milk appeared magically on the doorstep in glass
      bottles that rattled as Mother retrieved them.
      Udders were unthinkable until our teacher
      ventured with us to the farm on a field trip
      where the kind, gruff farmer, an uncle perhaps,
      pointed to the bovine beauty in his barn
      and asked, “Who’d like to try to milk her?”

      No one moved.

      Even boys quickest with off-color jokes,
      regular skimmers of National Geographic—
      for the native bosoms, not the scenery,
      stood speechless. Finally Mrs. Hester
      volunteered, seeming as brave to us
      as Arthur stepping up to the Green Knight.

      Squatting on the wooden stool, too small
      for her amble buttocks, she firmly grasped
      the teats and pulled, expertly sending
      squirts of fresh while milk into the pail,
      producing a kind of music we’d long recall.

      No one said a word.

      Later on the bus back, we talked in quiet
      whispers, suddenly piecing together
      our common knowledge, dredging up
      our earliest memories—memories before
      memory, the closeness of Mother’s breast,
      the warm sweet smell, the taste, like love.

    48. Day 30
      Prompt: Write a milk poem

      Better Milk

      My parents had left two percent milk
      in the condo at the beach.
      So happened we arrived a few days
      after their departure,
      so they skipped the usual clean out
      (they flew, we drove)
      and left us any groceries that wouldn’t
      last till spring.

      When I poured the milk
      in the glass, unlike our usual
      watery but healthier blue-white skim milk,
      the thickness,
      the heavy milky smell exuded,
      and after drinking,
      that cream-white film coated the glass.

      Steve noted how much better
      the fattier milk tasted on his cereal,
      commiserating by phone with our pregnant daughter,
      who switched to two percent for her developing baby,
      that he would prefer any day to drink the dregs
      of two percent milk from the cereal bowl.

    49. Milk

      White as
      winter, poured
      icy from
      the refrigerator

      White as
      delivered to the doorstep

      White as
      summer clouds
      in my
      first cup

      White as
      for Dad’s coffee
      from the top

      White as
      through the morning

      White as

    50. DAHutchison says:

      What a great month of poetry this has been. I learned so much–my strengths and weaknesses. AND enjoyed this community of wordsmiths immensely. Thanks everyone.

      Turnabout Is Not Fair

      I used to chide my cousin, cuz his milk would always spill,
      At every family dinner, he would ask for a refill,
      I’d laugh and say remember when—those awkward early days,
      Until… he said he caught me popping zits upon my face.
      Ah, those awkward teenage years, I tried to laughed it off,
      But he unleashed an arsenal so large I couldn’t scoff.
      Remember on the playground, when my sister was just seven,
      You clipped her to the flag pole and hoisted her to heaven?
      Remember getting grounded when you couldn’t get her down?
      Remember when she called you out to everyone in town.
      Remember getting misty-eyed while watching M.A.S.H. reruns,
      When Clinger put that dress on, but his Army days weren’t done,
      “Enough!” I said, “You made your point. I was a goofball too.
      I must insist that you desist or I’ll spill milk on you!”


    51. Walt, whatever time it is, you always beat me. Also today and thanks. And yes, the prompts. I’m so grateful that this is possible so thanks to Robert and all the poets who created the prompts.
      And thanks to all the poets who posted wonderful poems during November. Here I must add a special thanks to Domino because some time ago, maybe 14 days ago, Domino wrote a poem that I loved but I never managed to enter my appreciation.
      Here thank you all and congratulations to all who feels this day like something special, something achieved on Poetic Asides. Congratulation.

    52. Say Cheese

      Every holiday season,
      it tastes so
      no matter how
      or lined with moldy
      this mother’s milk
      curdled and set hard
      with the heat and indifference
      of children who never
      ever call.

    53. Darryl Willis says:

      I’ve not been posting my poems throughout the month. But I thought I’d post my final one!

      Been there, done that: Got Milk

      My father in his mid-life crazies
      recruited me for milking cows.
      He packed me off to a farm in Texas
      where he build a fine brick house.

      I hated milking cows.

      My arms grew thick and strong, I had
      a death-grip handshake—
      it gave me strength, taught me how
      to appreciate my work.

      I hated milking cows.

      Five o’clock every day
      I would rise, pail in hand
      and stomp my way to the barn
      to relieve two brown Jerseys.

      I hated milking cows.

      I asked why the task fell
      to me, after all, it was
      his idea to begin with.
      He explained how I received
      The benefits of fresh dairy:
      milk, cream, and butter.
      Our cows ate weeds, the milk was strong
      the cream was rank and butter bitter.
      I didn’t seem to profit much.
      But it taught me industry,
      early morning solitude,
      and the meaning of metaphor
      which I milked for all its worth.

      And I hate milking cows.

      • Darryl Willis says:

        oops, posted too soon: some corrections

        line 4 – “built” instead of “build”

        Final stanza rewrite:

        I asked why the task fell
        to me, after all, it was
        his idea from the start.
        He explained how I received
        The benefits of fresh dairy:
        milk, cream, and butter.
        Our cows ate weeds, the milk was strong
        the cream was rank and butter bitter.
        I didn’t seem to profit much.
        But it taught me industry,
        early morning solitude,
        and the meaning of metaphor
        which I milked for all its worth.

        And I hate milking cows.

    54. sonja j says:

      Wow, what a breakneck month! That you Robert, for hosting and coordinating; for me, it was a true challenge to work under daily deadlines – I learned a lot about mental discipline. Thanks to everyone who gave us prompts. So often they sent me in directions where I would never have thought to go. Most of all, thank you to everyone who was generous enough to post their work, even though that may limit your submission options. I loved reading through all of them, and would often turn to all of your work to put me in the mindset to write. There were so many times when I tried to comment, but did not have the time to struggle with the posting gremlins (you haven’t seen the last of me, you little beasts). Please know that I was there, reading and appreciating!
      Oh, and briarcat and poesmic, you each have pieces that went straight into my “very favorite poems” collection!

    55. First Visit to the Milk Barn

      Boyfriend instructs,
      “Don’t make any sudden moves
      or loud noises. You’ll scare the cows.”

      I whisper, “They’re bigger than me.
      How can I scare them?”

      “You’re a stranger. If you spook them
      they won’t let down their milk.”

      I stand in a corner of the pristine stanchion area.
      Imagine myself invisible.

      Boyfriend’s brother, Tom, opens the gate to allow Daisy
      to enter, eat, and receive the milking machine.

      Tom cleans her teats, and applies the machine to suck
      her rich milk while he absent-mindedly daydreams.
      During his reverie, he grabs her tail and ties it to the stanchion bar.

      Her milk gone, Tom opens the exit gate.
      Daisy ambles out; leaves her tail behind in a neat knot.


      Suckle, suckle, give a chuckle,
      shake above the old belt buckle,
      mother’s milk is rich and flowing,
      and her face is truly growing.
      (Though her brood is largely growing)
      Her quintuplets the why she’s dragging,
      and her breasts are badly sagging.
      So lift her up give a cheer,
      show support if finally here!,

    57. Great start, Andrea. Good Morning (or whatever time of day you’re in! ;) )

      Yes, mapoet, it’s been a great month!

    58. Ber says:

      Moving Mountains

      Move those mountains
      make room for light
      open up your eyes to the sunshine
      don’t fill up with spite
      your hurt and fight

      Arms held out
      fingers waiting to be touched
      a pounding heart
      wishing for love from the start
      islands apart

      Echoes of silence
      waiting on words from the other
      some new
      some old
      imagination very bold
      dreams take hold

      Milk me with all of you
      fill her inside
      make her feel new
      turn her inside and out
      feelings like never before
      bringing her smile up off the floor

      As his lips sing out those words
      her ears hear all he has to say
      milking her emotions
      on that very significant day

    59. Saturated
      Her breasts were full
      She could feel the milk running
      Soaking her bra
      As tears ran down her cheeks
      They said the milk would dry in a few days
      But not the tears

    60. mapoet says:

      Thanks for another great challenge, Robert, and thanks to everyone who supplied a prompt.


      The dim light,
      the sound of 68 cows,
      the smell so clinical clean,
      the sound of the machine
      animals lined up chewing
      and Dad working hard to keep us all alive
      saying good morning
      in her cow language
      and me saying the same
      teaching her to speak properly.


      No, we don’t need to take the umbrella, Sweetie.
      No, put back the umbrella.
      No, milk does not come down from Heaven
      and just to make things clear,
      honey doesn’t either.
      No, it flowed with milk and honey,
      not rained.
      Now put back that umbrella.

    63. WHY BUY THE COW?

      The sad state of society,
      why buy the cow when you
      can get the milk for free?
      But women’s studies show
      that men outlive their usage,
      who needs the whole pig when
      all you want’s a little sausage?


      I love milk
      but milk does not like me.
      Just a sip and it tips
      my fine balance and
      it’s a mad dash to relief.
      My belief is a cow conspiracy,
      brought on by my love of beef!

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