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2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

Whew! We’re nearly 3 weeks into this challenge. Let’s keep the poems flowing.

For today’s prompt, write a burn poem. I actually wrote a poem titled “burn” earlier in this month’s challenge, so I’m going to have to think a little on this to avoid repeating what I’ve already written. However, burn can represent many things–from getting burned by a bad deal (or a friend) to feeling the burn when working out to physically burning from fires.

Here’s my attempt:


she doesn’t do tanning beds
she don’t rest beneath the sun
for her the moon is bright enough
to have a little fun


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Writing poetry is exciting, but the revision process can be too, especially when you’re revising with a group of dedicated poets and an experienced mentor. As luck would have it, that can be accomplished with the Writer’s Digest online course, Advanced Poetry Writing.


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Want some more poeming fun? Check out these previous Poetic Asides posts:

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211 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. cstewart


    Way up high, the night was black.
    On top of the Smokies,
    We saw a house burning,
    In the mountains above Chattanooga
    Raging orange, a farm house of some size,
    But very far and back from the main road.
    It would be hard to reach.
    The fire truck was climbing,
    But it would not be fast enough.

  2. Nadienne

    [another sci-fi poem]

    Thleven Shorn, First Minister of Gyvies

    honored with a statue cast in bronze—
    tall man stooped to hold a palmful of seeds
    to the little green-skinned girl.
    In the histories of your people, it is said
    he tempered kindness with kindness.
    Our history books tell the same stories:
    crispy, crackling kindness.

  3. vsbryant1


    The burning thoughts of forever, ends the tragedy when called love
    The fires of what use to be call passion stops, slows, goes out without a word.
    Burn, burning, burned
    Pieces of scorched pages flies through the sky
    I fly high, even though my words blend with the light
    Burning, burned, burn pages, I am the words, I am the night

  4. finallyhereiam

    The Burnt Breakfast

    On the stove, the pan was put,
    The Fire kindling, jolly good.
    In went a dollop of butter lo,
    Not caramel, so the flame was low.
    Aside she stood, beating two eggs,
    With some milk in it, and pepper-salt to taste.
    Beaten to a fluff, the batter went in,
    Swish it let out, promising a crust not so thin!
    The Fire still low, was burning bright,
    The omelette cooked and hissed, to her delight.
    She turned to the other flame instead,
    On it rested two slices of bread.
    And a fan of multitasking she,
    Forgot the two flames in a glee,
    Whilst she ran to switch the radio on,
    The low flames kept burning on.
    And while she tuned her station in,
    She flipped through the morning paper too.
    All this while she a picture quaint,
    And the toast blackened, the omelette seared.
    And when the smell of burnt food wafted across the room,
    She ran to the stove, to watch them charred, and saw them to their doom!

  5. dr todd harris

    “Boston Butterflies’ Aflame”
    (in memory of fallen innocents)
    by dr todd harris

    By baker’s lair
    hid hate’s vaunted verve
    two souls’ vices plainly packed
    (incineration unreserved)
    tossed-out metal’s cruel spice
    piercing arrows carving sack
    (launched via searing anonymity’s device)
    Boston’s marathoning Spate

    deep red stripes
    redrew April’s winter ledge
    tinting silver crimson’s hedge
    thinning steel’s stranding depth
    enrobing family’s fragile fawns
    (now left empty shadows gone)
    innocent martyrs kept

    arising slowly
    eve’s early aftertouch
    freshened Spring’s Atlantic currents
    parrying cerulean blue’s increase

    clearing cloud-banks’ crowded wings
    sharing fresh baked breads’ unburnt scent
    still gentle fleece

    raised en route
    (so softly soft)
    carrying fragile butterflies aloft
    conjoining afternoon’s ever-sung accord
    unquenched flames
    all gardens’ heaven

  6. dr todd harris

    “Boston Butterflies’ Aflame”
    (in memory of fallen innocents)
    by dr todd harris (twitter: @bluebirdspoetry)

    By baker’s lair
    hid hate’s vaunted verve
    two souls’ vices plainly packed
    (incineration unreserved)
    tossed-out metal’s cruel spice
    piercing arrows carving sack
    (launched via searing anonymity’s device)
    Boston’s marathoning Spate

    deep red stripes
    redrew April’s winter ledge
    tinting silver crimson’s hedge
    thinning steel’s stranding depth
    enrobing family’s fragile fawns
    (now left empty shadows gone)
    innocent martyrs kept

    arising slowly
    eve’s early aftertouch
    freshened Spring’s Atlantic currents
    parrying cerulean blue’s increase

    clearing cloud-banks’ crowded wings
    sharing fresh baked breads’ unburnt scent
    still gentle fleece

    raised en route
    (so softly soft)
    carrying fragile butterflies aloft
    conjoining afternoon’s ever-sung accord
    unquenched flames
    all gardens’ heaven

  7. Yolee

    March, 1981

    I came out of the kitchen with both hands under a hot
    platter of food for guests at my sister’s 15th birthday party.
    You were hiding within the silence of a corner wall.
    Whatever words you had swimming around
    in your thoughts, they did not come forth
    to prepare me for your kiss. It was a soft cloth
    polishing love to some edge, and yet it
    burned my knower. I played the mix tape
    you gave me later that week, until technology
    surpassed my torrid affair with every song.

  8. DentonDenton30

    My Little Niece

    When we were small
    We had no say
    Our bond was broken
    When you ran away

    You did not care
    You stole my peace
    When you quickly fled
    With my little niece

    I missed my friend
    So close in age
    Your careful silence
    In my heart did rage

    Long years did pass
    Then by happy chance
    We were reunited
    By lucky happenstance

    But now she’s gone
    And my heart does burn
    With lonely sadness
    At this tragic turn

    The many years
    You robbed from me
    An empty hole
    Will always be

  9. EbenAt

    What is it
    that turns
    a person?

    Did a screw turn left
    or was it loose
    from the get go?

    Meir Dagan wrote,
    “There is no joy
    in taking lives;
    anyone who enjoys
    it is a psychopath”
    Is it true?

    How far
    from the animal state
    have we

    Killing is life
    to many a critter.

    how much critter
    remains within?

  10. Linda Voit

    Cooking Marshmallows

    If I find myself near a campfire
    with sticks and marshmallows
    I’ll suspend one over a smoldering bit
    let its insides soften
    turn it slowly, watch it brown.
    I’ll give it to someone else
    if they want it, and make another.

    There was a time, in the same situation
    I would plunge it into flames
    watch it catch fire, yank it out,
    blow it out, pull it’s black bubbly coat off
    between my thumb and index finger
    and eat it as I sent its core back into flames.

    Back then, I didn’t know how fast
    everything else went for those old folks
    who seemed so content to sit in the glow
    and wait for the browning.

  11. Glory


    I’ve left the house
    I’ve looked the door
    I’ll not see him, no never.

    I’ve walked away
    No half-glance back
    Burnt my bridges – forever

  12. shethra77


    Tongue like terrycloth
    Trees droop
    Plants wilt to the ground
    Grass blades are crunchy splinters
    And that fool
    Picked today
    To light off the trash pile
    Next to his house.

  13. nessajay

    Breaking eggs

    My oldest son is nothing like me
    he coats the pans with thick black oops
    but keeps on turning the eggs on high
    9 times out of 10 it works out

    Of course I, too, have burnt the pan
    I scrubbed it 50 different ways
    rolled over in bed planning to replace it
    listened more carefully next time

    My oldest son is nothing like me
    he writes like he scrambles eggs
    dots the paper with little black oops
    a 9 out of 10 works for him

    I, too, have gotten an a-minus
    I read the mark 50 times
    posted the paper beside the keyboard
    wrote more carefully next time

    I labor to teach him he does it wrong
    but I guess 9 out of 10 is okay for him
    and in just 2 years, he’ll be buying all his own pans
    and beyond, when our souls leave our bodies
    his way and my way will be equal

    but the irritated words we exchanged
    over preparation methods
    will be little asymmetries that warp our travels
    to our next incarnations

    in which he will maybe cook slowly, gently
    and I will perhaps set accidental fire to his cooking oil

  14. dextrousdigits

    When we hear “Fire”
    destruction and danger
    come to mind.

    Yet any trainer will tell you
    “feel the burn”
    the burn is how you know
    you are building more muscle fibers.

    In forests, there are intermittent
    fires which sweep through and
    clean out the ground allowing new growth.
    Fire fighters sometimes use fire to fight fire.

    Some American Indian tribes
    use sweat lodges
    burning woods, sage, and water
    to facilitate visions and purification.

    Women from these tribes refer to “hot flashes”
    as a time for women to burn away their old life
    and its roles and
    begin new roles, often more spiritual in the tribe.

    Burning logs at a campsite
    telling stories, watching stars,
    having “Some-mores”
    provides a warm environment to build memories

    Let’s go burn up the day
    with our own personal burning passions.

  15. THEGingerSass


    Sometimes silence burns,
    more searing than hot irons,
    more painful than death
    Yet, when you chose to be mute,
    your oppressors are then burned.

  16. PuffofSmokePoems

    Burn for Now—
    All these plans built
    With dollars and curtains,
    Chicken dinners and sensible cars,
    Changing light bulbs, going to a job—

    The ghosts hidden in old photo
    Albums, jewelry boxes, dishes
    In your cupboard,

    And that invisible future
    Painted on the inside of your forehead—
    Burn that, too.

    Burn the whole house of yourself.
    Stand still in the charred doorway
    All that’s left of your proud life.
    Rubble of all that didn’t work out.

    Leave these smoldering ruins
    Step forward.
    Feel how light
    When there’s nothing left to

  17. drwasy

    hotdogs on the grill

    When I saw you
    by the hundred year oak
    talking to her
    your hands lively
    it seemed all
    the air filled
    with smoke
    and a thin thread
    kindled hot
    under my ribcage
    I turned the hotdogs
    on the grill

  18. happys

    ~Burn the Bridge~

    Burn the bridge shouted my mind full of emotion
    After he unnecessary sent that hurtful message to my direction
    My mind said stay away from him since no confession
    My heart whispered give him a chance for a fresh presentation
    It could be his tiredness and there is room for negotiation
    Since he continues to be my one and only inspiration

  19. Dyane357


    The only one I will ever love.
    The only one I need.
    My heart beats when yours does.
    I feel it when you breathe.

    I lost a love before you.
    You have restored my joy.
    There will never be another,
    My blue-eyed baby boy.

  20. P.A. Beyer

    Burning rubber

    Everyone has that one secret they wish they could share
    Some choose strangers, like a barber or bartender
    It’s a vacation resort, a sanctuary without risk or care
    Where one person’s truth mixes like a blender

    Some choose strangers, like a barber or bartender
    Hoping to avoid the judgment of a husband or wife
    Where one person’s truth mixes like a blender
    While the sage advisors cut to the meaning of life

    Hoping to avoid the judgment of a husband or wife
    Gunning the red light to make a lightning bolt getaway
    While the sage advisors cut to meaning of life
    Opening front doors with a sign “Closed Today”

    Gunning the red light to make a lightning bolt getaway
    To a town just down the road where no one knows your name
    Opening front doors with a sign “Closed Today”
    Aware that you never quite follow the rules of the game

    To a town just down the road where no one knows your name
    It’s a vacation resort, a sanctuary without risk or care
    Aware that you never quite follow the rules of the game
    Everyone has that one secret they wish they could share

  21. Alpha1

    Whole World on Fire

    Burn baby burn like
    fire shut up in Miss Hettie’s
    bones on Sunday
    like Watts and Newark and
    Harlem burned in the 60’s
    burn baby burn like a
    fiery shot of moonshine
    shootin up my spine burn
    like Lil Petey caught up
    in a burnin house on Carroll
    Street like 10 bullets rippin
    open Malcolm’s chest in
    the Adubon Ballroom uptown
    burn like the sun through
    a manifyin glass on a hot
    summer day like my joint
    burned even though Flo swore
    I was her first and only
    burnin like the tires on
    Ernest Evan’s ’57 Chevy
    belair hittin the Blenhiem
    Highway at 90 miles an hour
    like the people in the world
    trade center explosion
    burned to a crisp

  22. tonijoell


    Burn one down
    in a thousand shades of green.
    Honor peace, the groove, and one another:

    Really, how bad would it be
    if everyone just got

  23. tonijoell

    After Burn

    I dream
    illicit dreams
    of self-immolation,
    chilled Prosecco, tiramisu
    and him.
    Equally sinful, dangerous,
    rife with lust; temptation–
    but which would scar
    the least?

  24. Jackie Casey

    “Jane Richard”

    An evil simmers through the milling crowd;
    the fire they carry packed into their urn.
    They relish burning with a hate unbowed
    as much of innocence as they might turn.

    The evil fails to take Jane’s Irish, proud
    but tries the little heart of dance that yearns.
    They hate; with too much fire they’re allowed
    so only love like Jane must we all learn.

    (form: Roundeau Redouble`)
    Jane, the little Irish dancer, age 7, lost one of her legs in the marathon-terror-blast.

    1. Jackie Casey

      (A rewrite, overnight, thanks for your patience:)
      “Jane Richard”
      An evil simmers through the milling crowd;
      two brothers carry fire packed in urns.
      They relish killing with their hate endowed;
      they take the innocent and try to burn.

      The evil fails to take Jane’s Irish, proud,
      but tries that little heart of dance that yearns.
      The hate enkindled by the fire allowed;
      our love of Jane is where we all must turn.

      (form: Roundeau Redouble`)
      I should have added the loss of Jane’s brother, Martin, age 8.
      To help the Richard family with their sudden expenses, a bank account has been established in their name at Meetinghouse Bank, 2250 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester Center, Massachusetts, 02124. Checks can be made payable to the Richard Family Fund.

  25. deringer1


    I went to the mountains
    to find peaceful solace
    among the evergreens–
    to hear, blowing through their branches
    the whisper of the breath of God.
    For trees are things of symmetry and beauty
    that feed the soul
    and shelter birds and creatures of the forest.

    I go to the mountains now
    and find only memories,
    for fire became the unwelcome visitor
    that has driven wildlife out
    and left the blackness of ash everywhere
    upon the dead and dying.
    I weep, knowing this may have come
    by the hand of man,
    a careless moment or
    unbelievable disregard.

  26. Jane Shlensky


    Unwilling to take back
    his words, to say
    his beliefs are mistaken,
    he faces hard questioning
    and awful pain, designed
    to garner names of believers
    like him, who dare
    translate the Bible
    to their tongues,
    who preach that Latin
    is not understood,
    and hint that Rome
    may be too far away.

    We don’t negotiate
    with heretics, the clerics say,
    with malice in their eyes,
    and he laments that those
    defending Christ
    should know so little
    his mercy and love.

    He cannot run away
    from what he is,
    bound to his truths,
    his words like holy fire.
    He preached and wrote
    in books, the case is plain.

    Belief is strong but flesh,
    alas, is weak, for one
    is purified as the other
    melts like wax.
    His martyrdom is nigh,
    and he must learn
    if he’s prepared to die.
    He holds his shaking hand
    above a candle flame
    and weeps aloud
    at skin’s betrayal of courage.

    They say he’ll burn in hell,
    but really mean
    that he will burn in life;
    they’ll see to that.
    And some who loved him
    will collect his bones
    and wait until it’s safe
    to call him saint.

  27. Deri

    Semi-Automatic Love Affair

    We were that
    white hot flash
    the comes before
    the bang.
    A hint of burning,
    gunpowder pheromones
    in the winter air,
    and the recoil
    into the hand
    as our spent shells
    eject into the dust.
    heady with power,
    we rush to chamber
    another round before
    the muzzle cools.

  28. BDP

    “Found On a Sidewalk: Space Elevator Ad”

    Forget blast off, the burn of rocket fuel.
    Step up to try our carbon nanotubes,

    a Musak tether to a moon wide-eyed
    to greet you. Shop his stylish Crater Mall.

    No goodies there? Another beanstalk rope
    will grant your wish for stores on Venus, Mars!

    Should Pluto still be one of nine? Climb in,
    find out—the elevator’s foolproof, trust me.

    You don’t believe? Could Cleopatra dream
    of cars? From chariots to Harley bikes

    to smooth space ride. You’ll catch a thrill
    with each celestial stop! Orion, gifts

    not of this world. Buy early: two for one.
    (Suits extra, other limits may apply.)

    B Peters

  29. Sara McNulty


    So you say I spurned you,
    when in fact, I burned you,
    gaping hole of ash
    in my memory that needs cooling
    down to sub-zero before
    I can burn with a new passion
    for someone worth preserving,
    more deserving, than you.

    Poetic Asides
    April Challenge – Day 19
    Write a burn poem

  30. RJ Clarken

    Out of the Ashes

    “The paper burns, but the words fly free.” ~Akiba Ben Joseph

    I wrote some words, a stream of thought,
    about some things I wouldn’t say.
    I lit the note on fire today
    but my actions were not for naught.

    What was the truth in my small jot?
    A feeling that was far away
    about some things I wouldn’t say.
    I wrote some words, a stream of thought.

    My words are free. They won’t get caught
    in judgments or be led astray.
    They’re burnt, which is an old cliché
    that means the memory’s all I’ve got.
    I wrote some words, a stream of thought,


  31. PoM

    I’m burning with joy
    The terrorists are caught
    One dead it matters not

    Let the word go forth
    We will not stop
    You harm innocent people

    We’ll hunt you down to the ends of the earth

  32. Nancy Posey


    My element is fire, he says,
    dismissing water, earth
    and wind. We remember him,
    no more than nine or ten,
    setting fires, striking matches,
    the smell of sulphur
    clinging to his clothes.

    He says it in his offhand way,
    as if no one would choose
    any other. Like a circus act,
    he juggles fire, swallows
    flaming swords, not content
    to submit to its crucible,
    he embraces fire’s destructive
    power, going for the burn.

  33. LouiseBilborough

    shouts of pain
    and hatred
    we shake our puny fists

    we fall to our knees

    ashes and sparks
    the world burns

    little eyes wide
    i see hope die
    she turns to me and
    asks why

    and i have no answer

  34. Julieann


    My burning heart longs
    For your sweet caress
    Your loving arms
    Your tender kiss

    My burning ears yearn
    For your sweet laughter
    Your softly spoken
    “I love you”

    My burning eyes search
    For your sweet smile
    Your jaunty walk
    Your scruffy hair

    My burning soul cries
    For comfort not found
    Until I join you
    In that better place

  35. Arash

    The Haul Truck

    by Arash

    A forklift backs away
    from a front-end loader
    and parks hastily at the side
    of the main course beside
    an excavator, and blunt grader.
    In the distance, over the horizon,
    the haul truck is huffing and puffing.

    A tired road roller smears
    steaming asphalt and cool
    slippery white sand
    over the soaked
    crimson soil.

    The front end loader
    lifts its full bucket
    with a long prayer
    towards the bed.

    As expected, the water
    is dripping from the bed
    like slime.

    Please please keep it down
    this time.

  36. Nancy Posey

    Those lovely twin lights
    that burn closer
    and closer together?

    Yes, in fact, that is my candle,
    and I don’t give a fig
    if it lasts the night or not.

    A controlled burn,
    firefighters call it
    set lest you keep
    cursing your darkness.

  37. Angie5804

    Don’t burn that bridge
    it may be the only way out
    when sorrows pour and the creek rises

    Don’t say never
    it burns that bridge
    of ever and maybe and perhaps

    Don’t say forever in the negative
    for you do not know
    where that heart will go

    Don’t believe that rhyme from childhood
    words can hurt you, words can burn

  38. Lindy

    Burnt Potato Chips

    We didn’t have ruffles
    or corn or baked
    or flavored tortilla –
    plain or barbecue
    is what we brought home.
    Only occasionally
    was fiery barbecue there.
    Plain salty potato chips,
    what a treat they were!
    They even snuck their way
    into our sandwiches
    (even peanut butter and ice cream).
    My brother and I would sit
    in front of our black and white tv.
    I can’t remember what we watched,
    besides EBS warnings and tests.
    We’d pour the whole bag
    into a large bowl,
    then fight for the the biggest ones
    and the burned ones.
    I vividly remember the blackened edges
    you rarely find anymore.
    How swell they tasted,
    like lightly charred buttered toast.
    This memory is seared in my brain
    of my childhood, my brother
    and burnt potato chips.

  39. Larry

    That burning desire inside you
    That cannot be quenched.
    A fire that burns deep within.
    So hot that it melts your fears.
    No matter that you see the flames
    And you know you will get burnt
    The burning will not abate
    Until your desires are fulfilled.

  40. Bruce Niedt

    Once again, my poem’s connection with Robert’s prompt is tenuous at best “burning” is mentioned in the first part). The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem in the style of a personal ad. I had fun with this one.

    Musical Personals

    Are you lonesome tonight?
    Hunk o’ burning love seeks
    hard-headed woman to love him tender.
    Loves pets, especially hound dogs.
    Don’t be cruel, it’s now or never.
    No suspicious minds.
    Reply care of Heartbreak Hotel.

    Jealous guy seeks woman for real love.
    Come together and imagine us
    in a day in the life, free as a bird.
    I’ll do whatever gets you thru the night.
    No mind games.
    Reply to http://www.iamthewalrus.com.

    Material girl seeks true blue lover
    not afraid to express yourself
    and tell me a bedtime story.
    I want to be crazy for you
    but you need to justify my love.
    Let’s go on a holiday to the borderline –
    I’ll act like a virgin and live to tell.
    Call 1-800-555-VOGUE.

  41. identity

    The Branding

    Words brand the pale screen,
    Charring its luminous flesh,
    Filling the room with smoke
    That drifts and congeals
    Into ghostly images of lives
    That were never lived–
    Fiery lives that accelerate
    The branding of the screen
    Until they have made it theirs

  42. omavi


    Ignorance is really not bliss and
    Even behind closed lids
    The real nightmare still keeps on living
    Most things are foreseen and even mistakes
    Can be gleamed at the very beginning

    I knew that this was a dangerous thing
    But I couldn’t stop myself from
    Sampling the forbidden

  43. RJ Clarken

    Bum’s Rush

    “I’m either going to be a writer or a bum.” ~Carl Sandberg

    The writer’s life? O what a rush!
    Gerund, verb and preposition
    brighten up my disposition.
    To be a writer is so lush!

    (Although some words can make me blush.)
    But denouement and exposition,
    gerund, verb and preposition…
    The writer’s life? O what a rush!

    It’s really like a Royal Flush.
    I’m no bum with no ambition:
    I write of my own volition.
    Please do not put my work in slush.
    The writer’s life? O what a rush!


    1. RJ Clarken

      Oh no! I just realized I misread the prompt. I thought it said ‘bum’ (which I thought was a bit weird but whatever…) and not ‘burn.’ I’ll be back later with a ‘burn’ poem. Sorry!!! (BlushBlush)

  44. profal29

    I burn
    as I sit here waiting
    waiting for the word
    that life is clear again
    I burn
    knowing that he has
    managed to shut the
    entire city down
    I burn
    wishing that the sob
    would be caught already
    so life can return
    I burn
    feeling i am back in a cell
    awaiting the permission
    to step out and live again
    I burn
    at life that has become
    this way when all I want
    to do is live
    I burn
    that I have just run out
    of milk for my coffee and
    my friends are so far away
    I burn
    because there is no common
    sense left in this world
    I burn
    because there are no longer
    any morals in the people
    left behind
    I burn
    when kids don’t go to school
    for I know they have just burned
    themselves from any future
    I burn
    when others have burned people
    that I so believe in
    I burn
    I burn

  45. IrisD

    Boston Hearts Burn

    Paul Revere warned Boston of harm
    Now CNN is sounding the alarm.
    Old North Tower stands silent now
    The streets are lined with armoured cars
    Swat teams, police, ATF, and FBI
    All united to search land and sky
    Video pics show two suspects on the run
    One is dead now, the dad pleads for his son
    What a tangled mess that seems to unfold,
    Double life from a college student we’re told
    Our prayers are with you brave Bostonians
    We pray safety, caution, and protection..

  46. lionmother

    Trying too hard can burn you

    Icarus tried too hard
    to be like the birds
    he saw soaring so
    free in the air
    and he pumped his
    homemade wings
    hoping to be a part
    of this elite society
    who could oversee
    the lives of poor mortals
    beneath them

    Yet he never made it
    due to his sad mistake
    He never realized as he
    neared the sun that the
    heat of this orb would
    burn his appendages and
    send him plummeting to
    his death

  47. julie e.

    i keep seeing shadormas so i decided to see what that was and attempt one. i think that’s what this is.


    She’s on fire.
    Watch as she burns bright
    see her pink
    and black shoes
    walking fast on the treadmill.
    Something burns for sure.

  48. Raina Masters

    Fire takes care of bad memories, too

    I watched it all crumble, one section
    at a time. The heat broke the windows
    out and I stood just feet away while
    the curtains I had just picked out
    a few weeks ago became engulfed in the
    blaze. The dog was in my arms. My laptop
    and my cell phone were wrapped in my
    jacket and sat in the passenger seat of
    my car. I thought about the things I
    wouldn’t be getting back: my favorite
    hat, the one I bought in Philly at a
    cute little store on South Street, those
    pink heels I never got to wear (they never
    went with anything I had), the old tv that
    gave a slightly red picture but managed to
    hang in there for almost fifteen years.
    Then, there was almost relief in knowing
    that I didn’t have to pack his things so
    soon after we’d decided to call it quits.

  49. Domino

    How to Start a Fire
    (advice for new lovers)

    Prepare carefully.
    Have everything you need
    at hand
    before you begin.

    Plenty of oxygen is essential,
    as is plenty of tinder,
    but try not to use too much;
    things will burn quickly, and
    if it is too quick,
    everything will be over too soon.

    Sometimes, that is too
    discouraging to try again.

    Don’t give up;
    some fires are slower to start
    than others.
    Take your time.

    And have a bucket of water
    in case things get
    out of control.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  50. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Pressure Cookers? (for Boston – 15 April 2013)

    Thirty years ago
    scouring Goodwill shops
    I found a battered
    pressure cooker
    perfect for popping corn

    The brand new one
    ten years prior –
    too huge
    too shiny
    to ruin
    with scorched oil
    burnt kernel-prints

    Left derelict
    on a pantry shelf
    after I stopped
    being domestic
    ceased planting
    beans and tomatoes
    abandoned canning

    meant to tempt
    a newly minted wife
    thrift shopping
    to preserve
    her harvest

    Not nails
    like those my husband
    dropped on the floor
    during carpentry projects

    Not BBs
    like the ones
    my brothers shot
    at squirrels in the 1950s

    Not human limbs

  51. JRSimmang

    Name it!
    The madman who burns from the inside out
    discovers he cannot, WILL NOT!, go about
    dousing the flame with water refreshing
    or else find the burn evermore unrelenting.

    Woe to he, the man who burns inside,
    for soon his heart will soon decide
    to wretch itself free from flames everlasting
    and scorch his lungs and throat and end in his passing.

    From the outside, it is, a pitiable sight.
    It begins with the glow, the spark in the night,
    enveloping around him the shadowless light.

    His flesh becomes ruddy, red, aflush,
    smoking and steaming, engendered thrush,
    burning and yearning, an intentional rush.

    His heartbeat quickens.
    His stomach sickens.
    The behemoth awakens.

    This burn, this fire, this wily flame,
    it consumes.

    A flame left to its own devices, left to burn for days,
    will seek to sustain itself, sustain itself always.
    It will seek out the tinder, the tenderest spots
    to burn and to burn and to burn itself hot.

    Eventually, you see, if the flame is not fed,
    the man with burn to ashes, embers cold as lead,
    He will become a man wholly undone, completed,
    his fire spent, his flame excised, his conflagration defeated.

    He will be but an ash,
    once no more a fiery flash.

  52. Jane Shlensky

    Clean Burn

    “I call it a medical service…The aim was a final solution to incurable agony.” Jack Kevorkian

    He likes to see the colors change and leap
    from smoky yellow to orange to green and blue.
    He likes the way the flames dance, spreading out,
    nibbling at dry leaves, trash and wooden doors,
    hungry and eating outward; it’s alive.
    The warmth and light can make him smile and laugh,
    especially on a clear and chilly night.

    What he’s been doing may not be so right,
    but it’s not wrong by most accounts he’s heard.
    He’s cleaning up the land for careless folks
    who let a building lean for years and fall,
    an eye sore for decades. They watch the roofs
    crack under fallen limbs or burning sun.
    The kudzu covers window frames and doors,
    until the whole is like a lonely grave
    with weathered bones sticking up through the soil.

    He keeps a clean burn notebook in his head
    of barns and sheds, abandoned homes that lean
    neglected now to nature’s steady pull,
    to gravity and animals who nest
    inside it for a while. Each façade falls,
    an ancient weary face upon itself.

    Where is wrong if he works free of charge?
    He’s careful not to set the woods on fire.
    He never burns on dry or windy days,
    but after rains. He even digs a trench
    if he fears spread and sometimes lets the flame
    eat in, not out. He checks if anything’s
    inside to care about, then he performs
    last rites to each old place, sweet gratitude
    for better days, Godspeed to ash and rot.
    He lights dry wood and lets flame do its work.

    Some pyromaniac has had his way,
    some locals talk of burns he’s helped along.
    He’s like Kevorkian for dying barns,
    maligned by those who will not end the pain.
    He’s in no hurry; this hobby can wait.
    He wouldn’t like to answer to the law.
    The lighter in his pocket warms his hand.
    Such places burn themselves, he likes to say.

  53. priyajane

    I am flammable
    I burn when ill treated
    Stepped over, or, when cheated
    Harsh words can ignite
    Lingering scabbing bites
    Cruel acts can activate
    A Forest Fire agitate
    When rubbed the wrong way
    A volatile grey may display
    Please handle with care

  54. Amy

    Slow Burn

    You entice with subtle warmth,
    drawing me closer to the flame.
    Your burn is slow, like scorching honey;
    sweet at first, to numb the sting.
    My resolve perspires in the glow
    and drenched doubts slip through
    the space between reason and desire.
    Your flames grow, feeding greedily
    upon the novelty of a fresh ingénue.
    My insides blister in the wake of
    your chemical combustion; I am
    consumed by fervent blue flame.
    When virtue has been spent like
    charred accelerant, my heart grows
    cold and only hollow echoes
    resound from within.

  55. missjoyce

    A burning poem.

    What You Do

    ignite a spark
    that’s what you do
    hinting a smile
    nonverbal cues

    across the room
    your eyes on mine
    breathless yearning
    suspended time

    counting gestures
    all moves for you
    blowing my mind
    done in a few

    you start a fire
    soft witty ways
    responding blush
    that’s all I say

    insides excite
    started to burn
    hold it, just stop
    now its my turn

  56. Rachel Blake

    I saw you
    a spark
    nothing more
    we spoke
    first flame
    you touched my hand
    softly kissed my cheek
    fueled the heat
    we danced
    we loved
    we burned
    red orange
    now we feed this fire
    keep it a glow
    now and then
    throw a log on
    the heat
    most times
    we keep it
    just warm enough
    we need no
    extra sweater
    or blanket
    as with are life together
    we reap and we sow.

  57. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Down in Penitent Purgatory

    A broken dish,
    an angry parent,
    “Face the wall.
    Put your head down.
    Think of what you’ve done.”

    Now in church
    brittle bits of bangs
    drift over the candle flame
    as I hold my head in prayer.

    Transgression spotted souls
    are striving to achieve
    the holiness necessary
    to enter heaven’s joy.

    “Face the wall.
    Put your head down.
    Think of what they’ve done.”

    But who pray for me
    in my epic time out?

  58. alana sherman

    What Burns

    My father was known for his photos
    of firemen, gritty with smoke, rescuing people.
    But, he wasn’t around the frigid night
    our home burned to the ground.
    We all got out barefoot and shivering
    the dog, barking and barking,

    saved us—we couldn’t revive her.
    Later, too upset to sleep
    I heard my mother whisper
    to her friend, “I think Hy set the fire.”
    Those words scorched when he became
    a fireman himself. Years later when he died,

    people shook my hand, told me how he’d
    carried them from burning buildings.
    It’s heroic, a calling, putting out a blaze
    for whatever reason a person does it.
    The dark night, the words spoken,
    an inferno I still can’t erase.


  59. uneven steven

    In fine script
    on his broad back

    The world burns inside us
    as we burn the world

    In the desert of a prairie
    fire sustains life more
    than water

    In the rage of underbrush
    long ignored
    the inflamed crowns of trees
    burn brightest

    and in this hierarchy of life
    with nothing gained or lost
    did he know what burned away
    when he branded himself

    His teachers
    secretly dreaming
    he would one day burn away
    everything they had taught him
    with all that he had learned

  60. Angie K


    Bagals, French bread, waffles and more –
    poptarts, pitas, strudels galore –
    but if the dial’s on “high” it may need turned
    or your once tasty breakfast will end up quite burned.

  61. Beth Rodgers

    The tolling of the bells
    Frightens the innocent
    Reminders of alarmingly accurate
    Attempts to sway the prejudice
    Hesitating to relieve awful notions
    Of inadequacy and confinement.

    Troubling though it is
    The fire within burns with desire
    Hope and love
    But is it enough?

  62. burrhead

    what is the matter with my leg?

    When I was a kid
    I didn’t know any better
    I put a rag in my pocket

    I was soon to learn
    About lacquer thinner
    And chemical burns

  63. PressOn


    On Father’s land there stood a chestnut tree
    that was already old when he was small;
    it seemed to me to stand so proud and tall
    that nothing could betray its majesty.
    But Father died, and time betrayed the tree:
    its branches fell, and here and there a gall
    displaced the bark; before each autumn’s fall,
    its crown, once lush, descended utterly.
    I cut the tree. I cleared death’s breath, and then
    I sawed the wood. I saved the straightest limb
    to burn at Christmas times, when I shall tire
    of plastic trees and yearn to feel again
    the warmth of Father’s grin, and chat with him
    and long-forgotten faces in the fire.

  64. Connie Peters

    Two Types of People

    Ones who toast their marshmallows golden
    And ones who burn them black

    The toasters dare not get too close to the fire
    Barely touching the surface to the flame
    Timid, tentative, tenuous
    Turning the marshmallow around
    Until the light brown is even
    Then chew on the morsel that has changed little

    The burners plunge the marshmallow into the fire
    Until it catches and engulfs like a torch
    Making sure fiery tongues lick every bit black
    Sliding it off the stick despite dark residue and burnt fingers
    Popping the whole thing into their mouth
    Savoring acrid ashes as well as warm gooey centers

  65. Sally Jadlow

    A Burn Poem

    I wonder what hell looks like
    to a newly received resident.

    Does the absolute darkness
    disorient him?
    Does the smell of sulfur
    burn his nostrils?
    Do the screams of demons
    throw him into panic?

    Has he yet discovered
    there are no waiting virgins;
    only a forever
    separated from any hope,
    light, or comfort?

  66. taylor graham


    Before they found a name
    for what was strange about him,
    and put him on meds to fix it,

    he was a small red-brown horse
    galloping circles around us, raising
    dust. He was a crazy potter’s

    hand of clay in bright colors
    smearing the playroom, he was a sun
    plunging over concrete city

    and fallow fields. You asked if he
    had the flu, and gave him pills.

    I thought he was Van Gogh
    with two good ears and a fever.

    He said, “My hair’s on fire.”

  67. Earl Parsons


    So relaxing
    In my beach chair
    Soaking in the Spring sun
    The first time out for the season
    The cool breeze put me right to sleep

    In a rush
    Cooking frenzy
    It’s Thanksgiving Day
    Everyone awaiting the feast
    Oops, forgot the rolls in the oven

    So much fun
    Sunday night games
    “Uno!” Shouted our son
    Then his wife drops a Draw Four

  68. priyajane

    Pain keep burning long after
    The Tempest Act
    Wounded flesh caused by friction
    Has spread the infection beyond tissue
    Charred eschars, like parasites
    Are scalding slowly at the remains.
    They say it will heal slowly-
    What do they know?
    Ashes of healing, like tasers
    flicker dark neon lights
    Worse than the poison of the burn—

  69. Never2L8

    A Quote Acrostic:
    Forward into Life

    Better to light a candle at both ends than
    to never light a candle at all. Better to
    burn your bridges and do with
    out what’s left behind
    than to endure
    rust and corrosion that reams
    out your heart and soul.

    “Better to burn out than to rust out.” Neil Young

  70. JRSimmang

    Sometimes, at night, when the air is just biting enough, I like to sit outside in our Adirondak chairs
    and wait in silence until the dew covers my legs.
    It doesn’t take that long, especially since the days are so warm
    and the nights are so cold,
    like adolescent love or driving a car on empty.

    Used to be that the dew didn’t settle. Mainly it’s because I didn’t care to settle
    into a gentle recline and slowly let the flame in me die out until the sun came up
    and refresh the burn inside.

    The chiminea splits the chairs. It’s this behemoth of clay and smoke,
    but it’s flue is covered and it’s easy to light a fire in there.
    Sometimes, if I feel so inclined, and I often do, I’ll pretend
    I live in it. Barefoot among the ashes,
    I stare out the open maw into my backyard,
    counting the petals on the dahlia, trying to decide what color green
    the grass is today.

    On nights like these, when the dew settles on my legs,
    I scrounge around for some dry tinder.
    Sometimes, I light the fire inside the chiminea
    just to watch it burn something and devour
    the simple wooden core of a branch.
    It’s just enough light to drink wine to.

  71. Earl Parsons


    When I was just a lad of five
    Gramp left me in the car
    While he ran in to buy some milk
    And get me a candy bar
    My curiosity took hold of me
    I pressed the cigarette lighter
    It popped, and I pulled it out
    Oh, look, it’s so much brighter

    I remember at the age of nine
    My favorite thing to do
    Was jump down from the running boards
    Of my Grandfather’s fifty-two
    I’d run ‘long side the pickup truck
    And jump back on and ride
    ‘Cept one day I jumped a little late
    Four stitches in my hide

    At fifteen I got my first bike
    A Kawasaki so pretty and red
    My boldness got the best of me
    I’m lucky I’m not dead
    The gravel pit was challenging
    Three trails, one very high
    I hit the bottom in second gear
    Was the day I learned to fly

    Now I’m nearing sixty years
    Looking back I have to smile
    The burns and scrapes and scars I have
    Collected along life’s miles
    Must be a reason I’m still around
    Guess God’s not done with me
    I’ll try and be more careful now
    Oh, look, a bob-tailed kitty

  72. vxl

    Burn It When I Go

    Kafka once said
    “Burn it when I go”
    and I agree.

    Stuff it in a tower,
    light it before a mirror
    and use it to tame the sea.

    I folded my words
    to push against the water
    so the tide and I could flow

    But when I die, it will
    become a bridge
    so burn it when I go.

    Thomas Aquinas once said:
    “Burn it all like straw”
    and I agree.

    I reaped enough
    to stay alive,
    but it fed only me.

    I lasted long enough
    to see the whole world
    and love everything I saw.

    So gather these things
    to my silent chest
    and burn it all like straw.

    1. JRSimmang

      I tried to reply earlier, and I’m glad to finally be able to do so. This is simply stunning. The last stanza truly leaves me with wanting more (but glad it ended so as to keep it pristine).

  73. Maxie


    It happens when you’ve been rubbed the wrong way.
    It’s simple physics: building friction, harmful diction, sparks may fly.
    Tension and confrontation pound with the potential to be abstergents
    for your character, if you so chose.
    Baptism by fire fissures into a schism where you must decide
    who you are: burned and scarred, refined and cleansed, pained or marred.
    The flame lacks mercy, discernment, and phlegmatic disposition,
    but your burn carries the memory of hurt, healing, and action.
    Let it smart till your heart finds the salve it needs.
    Let it burn till the flame no longer breathes.

  74. JanetRuth

    They burn with mocking ruthlessness
    Somewhere inside my head
    Those hasty words of selfishness
    I never should have said

    What mighty fire the the tongue ignites
    How long the sad regret
    Of brief and thoughtless moment-spite
    I now cannot forget

    1. identity

      Conscience demands much harsher punishment than our legal systems, but thank goodness we have conscience, for the alternative is harsher, still.

  75. writing4joy


    To my beautiful lady Fern
    I love the way you swing and turn
    Strutting with pride I’m still concern
    I have been burned, I have been burned

    I know you want to be with me
    Seeing the world from sea to sea
    But can love last eternally
    Hell marry me! Hell marry me!

  76. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    (Print of a line work
    by the late Tyren Laidlaw)

    The artist makes fire burn
    not only red and yellow,
    also blue and green
    and charred black.

    Her flames twirl and spread.
    Some at the heart are white-hot.
    Fire goes up and down
    and travels.

    It is burning the air,
    it is crackling
    up off the still page,
    it is saying, ‘Life!’

  77. Iain Douglas Kemp

    The Burn

    Push so hard ‘til you feel the burn
    deep in the thighs

    Cry so hard ‘till you feel the burn
    stinging your eyes

    Pray so hard for you fear to burn
    deep in the fires

    Live life to the full ‘til you burn
    high on your pyres

    Forget the toast and let it burn
    sirens wailing

    Stoop and stagger with joints that burn
    the body failing

    Eat too much ‘til you feel the burn
    bursting your chest

    Keep all the junk you should burn
    your place is a mess

    Love so hard you feel the burn
    consuming your heart

    Think so much ‘til you burn
    your mind apart

    Stroll in the woods and leap the burn
    in pagan marriage

    Drive too fast until you burn
    the wheels from your carriage

    Speak venomous words that scythe and burn
    your enemy’s soul

    Light a candle forever to burn
    in a heart once whole


  78. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Tied in the 9th – lost in the 12th!
    Breaks my heart! I really thought we
    would burn ‘em up and sweep them clean.
    Ah well, onwards and upwards. When I say up
    I mean to Canada. 3 days in Toronto – time
    to grill us some Blue Jays. OK! So the burning
    question of your gainful employments is driving
    me nuts! You need to come clean! Anyway,
    speaking of grilling wildlife, we can watch the game
    at the sports bar & you cousin can stand us
    some hot wings, onion rings and a few cold ones.
    Pick ya up at 6.

    Yours looking forward to crispy burnt Canadian bacon,

    Ringo the Howler

  79. PowerUnit

    My thighs throb
    The fight against aging, rusting and degeneration, flabbiness
    I burn my lungs sprinting on the hill
    And douse them with cool morning rain on the long walk home
    A short battle to stem life’s onslaught
    It seems so pointless, wasteful of my precious fading hours
    When you are over fifty, you no longer think in years
    Months, weeks, and days make it sound longer to the finish line
    And hours make it seem a marathon
    I hope this pain is worth it, in the end
    I hope I finish well, in this unwinnable race

    1. JanetRuth

      SO many great lines here! ‘A short battle to stem life’s onslaught’, ‘ hours make it seem a marathon’, ‘I hope I finish well, in this unwinnable race’…Im not quite fifty, but oh, close enough to begin feeling its breath:) BOY, this nails it…’My thighs throb
      The fight against aging, rusting and degeneration, flabbiness! ‘
      I’ve just begun doing yoga to try to get stronger…and wow! yes. throbbing toward the inevitable.

  80. Jerry Walraven

    Note: this is partly a found poem, pulled from the pages of the
    Kentucky Gazette and general advertiser, July 29, 1806, found
    at the digital public library of America (www.dp.la)


    My head aches
    from changes in pressure
    and my vision swims,
    replacing what I know is here
    with a vision
    I’ve only seen in history collections.
    I stand
    in front of
    T H E B U F F A L O E
    whose table
    is plentifully supplied
    with the best viands
    the season can afford,
    next door to
    Trotter & Tilford,
    newly stocked with
    M E R C H A N D I Z E
    received from Philadelphia:
    fancy callicoes and chintzes
    Longhorn and Dunstable bonnets
    for cash in hand,
    but my hands are empty
    and my pockets
    only hold plastic
    so I turn back,
    by what is lost
    along the road
    and burned
    from our collective