2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 24

The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years later, but this challenge is all about getting that first draft. Please poem along with us–either in the comments below or silently at home.

For today’s prompt, write an auto poem. Auto could mean automobile, automatic, automaton, or any number of possibilities.

Here’s my attempt at an auto poem:

“auto correct”

i meant to type a lowercase i
& i wanted to leave out all my

punctuation marks & use poem
as a verb & pen the words show ’em

without making ’em them & until
should be ’til & please spell check be still


Workshop Your Poetry!

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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193 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 24

  1. LCaramanna

    Wonder Ride

    When Daddy drives carefully,
    two hands on the steering wheel,
    through town with me, his precious cargo,
    car seat safe and secure,
    I watch with wide-eyed wonder
    the world whooshing by my back window –
    church steeples and houses’ gables
    sunshine on rooftops
    birds on wires resting wings
    leafy treetops breeze dancing
    blue sky powdered with cotton ball clouds
    inviting me to fly.
    Oh, I do think a car ride with Daddy
    is an adventure amazing,
    with the top of the world
    in my wide-eyed wonder
    until the warm jazz on the radio
    lullabies me to sleep
    as Daddy drives carefully,
    two hands on the steering wheel,
    through town.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  2. finallyhereiam

    Life in Auto Pilot

    The music plays, and Nature whirrs,
    What does your soul stir?
    What stories, dreams and aims concoct,
    Some ideas that your head and heart begot.
    Few words uttered, those deeds done,
    Some have a recourse, yet some undone.
    It is not a bad thing, though,
    To throw your worries, out of your window,
    And watch yourself sail through it,
    That’s Life, in auto pilot

  3. lionmother

    I’m so far behind, but I hope to catch up this weekend. Another hard week for me and somehow missed doing three days.:)


    The call picks up
    and right away I
    know it isn’t a
    person on the
    other end only
    a robotic voice
    with the sound
    of a person
    telling me to
    push buttons
    on my phone
    and press 1
    to show it is

    The voice doesn’t
    care if you answered
    with a teary sound
    or if you screamed
    at the top of your
    lungs as long as
    you press 1 the
    transaction goes

    Then there is no one
    to discuss anything with
    like where do you live
    or what is the weather like
    there? I remember those
    conversations from a few
    years back when a live
    person answered and
    you could talk about
    the immediate thing
    in your life

    Now it’s only press 1 and
    done and everything
    goes back to where
    it should be.
    Where does the
    robot voice live
    when there are
    no phone calls?
    Does it feel sorrow
    or pain? Does it
    hate the voices
    it hears on the
    other end, but
    it has no outlet
    to let it out.

    Next time I
    find a robot
    voice on the
    other end of my line
    I will ask it those
    questions and does
    it have a robot love

  4. Michelle Hed

    The Drone

    On auto pilot
    I get things done.
    Barely alive
    and not having fun.

    I have no feelings,
    no emotions to remark.
    it’s just a job
    I could do it in the dark.

    Am I alive?
    A human being?
    Or just a drone,
    my driver all seeing.

  5. Yolee


    I like to defy my own gravity
    and challenge the ego to be a floating
    maid-in-waiting for sunrise as it breaks
    away from the dark sheet of night.
    I remind myself that to be or not to be
    requires that I think outside
    the paradox of nearsightedness.

  6. Linda Voit

    It’s A Wonderful Autonaumic System

    Knowing what lines
    will come to your mind if
    someone whistles or mentions
    National Geographic,
    knowing to say “Why must you
    torture the children so?”
    when you are crabby, and
    “You’re not gonna like it, George!”
    in a dire voice that can only foretell
    prostitution or, as it turns out,
    library work, will make you laugh,
    knowing when you taste something
    gone bad, you’ll say “It’s poison I tell you.
    It’s poison!” and knowing that every
    December we’ll carve out a few hours
    for the movie that feeds our years
    is like breathing to me now.

  7. PuffofSmokePoems

    Note: Sometimes, life just tosses things at us, an odd little synchronicity like a tiny wrapped gift. Due to some tech glitch, we’ve been without Internet access for a couple of days, so I missed the daily prompt here.. Instead,I wrote a poem prompted by my day. This morning, Internet restored, I checked the prompt I missed. “Write an auto poem.” Automatic? Automobile? Hmmm….here’s the poem I’d already written.

    There’s an over-sized pickup truck
    ahead of me-red, with lurid art
    covering the back window:
    Skull and crossbones, flames.

    I am idly judging the driver,
    thinking my thoughts,
    not so much jumping to conclusions
    as wandering over to them,
    cozy and familiar.
    Then he stops
    in the middle of the block
    to let little kids on bikes cross the street.

    There it goes again. Life,
    shaking its head,
    giving me new thoughts to think.

  8. Deri


    for the coffee
    to finish she
    thinks perhaps
    setting the timer
    just a few minutes
    earlier will make
    the mornings go
    smoother, as if
    she doesn’t realize
    her entire life
    is already on

  9. bxpoetlover

    Some gifts are useless.

    When we were girls my best friend showed me how to
    read lifelines and love lines on palms.
    I wish I could read minds instead.

    He and I went to a restaurant and I asked a stranger
    to take our picture. We were smiling. Me standing over him
    sweetly hugging him around the neck.

    When I showed him the photo he
    said it looked like I was choking him.
    Of course we did not last.

    Since common sense trumps love
    I now dissect each gesture and look
    and the hard questions about
    past loves

  10. dejauveda

    jackie-o sunglasses
    flashing cameras
    yes darling
    its nice to see u
    thank you for coming to see me
    i finally made it
    i have finally arrive
    yes u may have my autograph

  11. Dini

    “Car Talk”
    Hello, I’m calling in, but please don’t tell
    My husband or he will surely yell.
    You see, there’s a collector he wants to buy,
    but I need a vehicle on which I can rely.
    Mine actually runs but needs a lot of work,
    but that’s not why I want him to shirk
    this purchase, this ‘57 Chev, all green and white.
    These disagreements now have caused a fight
    Between us, for mine has 200,000 miles, you see.
    and it coughs and sputters, and repair jobs are not free.
    Shouldn’t he buy me a beautiful new Lexus
    not wasting dollars on a rusty, wornout carcass?
    I’m all in a dither, nerves shot, I’m all on edge.
    Please advise: what to buy, how to save a marriage.

  12. Glory

    Auto poem

    In automatic mode, auto –self
    drives me on relentless
    in my search for perfection,
    ignores my fight with ‘thinking self’
    the goals planned, the path decided,
    working apart – sabotage
    working together – fulfilment,
    and success.

  13. Lindy

    Not Today

    She didn’t notice
    the pen in her hand
    or scribbling
    on the paper beneath it.

    Her mind drifted
    through the clouds,
    from thought to thought;
    the world in a new light.

    She didn’t see
    the words she’d written
    until thunder
    struck her home.


    A perfect rose
    in the middle of her stormy day
    and greenhouse schematics.
    The phrases
    barely made sense to her,
    yet ebbed
    and flowed
    with a nature all their own

    Automatic writing:
    some say it comes from
    some from
    perhaps both.
    In any case –
    I say,
    it happens that way,
    but not today.”

  14. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Annie Auto

    She came to us new to the world
    of long trips and quick drives to town.
    She quickly became part of our life,
    each day shared, surrounding us in
    nine point protection and steel construction.
    Sitting in the drive, she waits
    always happy to take us for a ride
    up and down the old highway of life.

    Great prompt for the day after I bought a new car!

  15. Julieann

    My second attempt – forgive its lateness


    Henry Ford gave us the Model T
    But have you compared

    George Jetson’s flying car, folded into a briefcase
    Against Fred Flinstone’s foot powered model

    A police cruiser on Car 54 Where are You?
    However Adam 12 was a fire truck

    The Munsters drove a hearse
    But the Addams family didn’t seem to use a car

    The Equalizer drove a classy Jag
    While the Dukes of Hazzard drove a Charger

    The ever-cool Corvette traveled Route 66
    And Kookie parked cars and drove a t-bucket hot rod

    There are so many, but let’s not forget
    Kitt, the Batmobile, Speedracer, and the Monkeemobile

    Which is your favorite?
    Can they be compared?

    1. Julieann

      I was having issues yesterday –
      lines 5 & 6 should read:
      A police cruiser was the setting for Car 54 Where Are You
      Verses a fire truck in an Emergency

  16. julie e.


    Sometimes I think your complaints are just
    so much so that sometimes all I can hear
    is static
    On the outside I stay neutral with a
    hint of smile
    On the inside I salute you middle
    finger style
    How long have we been married? Cuz I’m
    pretty sure
    you would know now after decades I’m no
    and I’m feeling you should grab yourself some
    cuz you can’t be sure what might be in your

  17. tonijoell

    Summer Breeze

    My body may be on auto pilot
    moving through the day with perfunctory precision
    sidestepping my mundane tedium
    between exhalations
    but the rest of me
    remains tangled in cool cotton sheets
    with you
    beneath an open window
    drinking in the scent of us
    with the night blooming jasmine.

  18. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Memory on Automatic

    I come up the steps
    with bundles of shopping
    and see you again,
    opening the door
    in pyjamas and socks
    and your faded old grey top
    with the blue writing:
    ‘Life’s a Beach’.

    Under the soft white hair
    your face is beaming
    to see me home, even though
    you’ve enjoyed the movie
    and your talk with the Respite Carer —
    who is grabbing at the waistband
    of the grey top, to stop you falling
    as you reach, tottering, to try and take
    my heavy bags and help me indoors.

    All the while that overjoyed smile.

    Oh, my love!

    It’s one of many sweet memories
    that arise automatically
    in their settings.

    And then, automatically,
    the tears follow.

  19. omavi

    Muscle Memory

    No thoughts, no emotions
    Just an autonomous reaction
    So something that cannot be heard
    Cannot be felt, no taste no smell
    No action foretelling what will come
    No torrent of inspiration
    No smoking gun
    No reason behind what letter come
    Eyes closed
    Soul sleeping behind bolt doors
    Muse long fled to planes unknown
    Heart no longer beating
    Blood congealing in vessels
    Brain deprived of even oxygen
    Taking a break from this world
    No rhyme
    No meter
    Nothing wanted or needed
    Nothing aching to be released
    Fingers still go through the motions
    Poetry still lives

  20. P.A. Beyer

    The People Have Spoken

    They thought their party was solid
    Everyone knows incumbency usually wins

    The primaries gave a bump up in confidence
    There was a glimmer of hope for a few more years

    But over time they saw cracks in their platform
    The poll results started trending down

    As much as they tried to reverse the direction
    The negative jabs became the common ground

    There was uncertainty up ‘til the day of the election
    The last ditch messages like a barrage never seen

    The votes were counted and recounted
    The results were close but always the same

    And as much as the concession speech pained Jim
    Jill declared her heart an autonomous state

  21. carolecole66


    Who is this woman who sits at the kitchen table
    drinking tea? She has just come in from the cold,
    she has hung up her coat and thrown her keys in the drawer.
    The tea is where it always is. She knows exactly
    where to find the grocery list. She composed a sonnet
    in her head on the way home from work, but still
    stopped at all red lights. Will she wake up?
    Is it important that she knows she is brushing her teeth?
    Can she wake to herself? The weeks stretch ahead.
    She will take one step deliberately, contemplate
    the movement of her toes. But it’s all too much.

    Tomorrow she’ll set the coffee pot on the floor,
    let the cat wash himself in the kitchen sink,
    leave her bed unmade. She will whirl through the house
    singing old Beatles songs until she’s breathless, flinging
    old photos around the room. Tomorrow all bets are off.

  22. De Jackson


    She gets in and knows nothing,
    except that maybe that yellow
    dashed line might lead her some
    -where else, some place warm
    and silent and sans sorrow.

    She’d wait ’til tomorrow, but
    the last straw has sucked the
    life out of her, camel needs a
    chiropractor, heart needs some
    highway triage. Stat.

    For some time the flat buzz
    of the
           (ass’s fault)
    asphalt will do, and then
    somewhere around mile 102
    her autopilot kicks in,
    right hand reaches out to turn
    on the radio. Coldplay moans
    low and slow, a familiar song.

                       She hums along.


  23. Sara McNulty

    The Automat

    Rows of glass compartments
    offering creamed spinach,
    macaroni and cheese, baked beans,
    and tempting desserts. Take a tray,
    pick out your lunch, load the correct
    coins into slots of glass cases.
    Watch doors slide open, and remove
    your choices. Called the Automat,
    a hubbub of suits, families, characters
    out of Damon Runyon, and down-
    and-outs. I felt lucky, loved
    eating in such a cool place, yet sad
    seeing those who could not
    afford food, and made do
    with packets of free crackers
    spread with ketchup.

    Poetic Asides
    April Challenge – Day 24
    Write an auto poem

  24. Alpha1

    My Life

    Life for me
    myself and I
    is never goin home
    without one more try
    I crave party girls
    even when I’m snubbed
    I just hop over
    to a brand new club
    for the best thing
    to have on late
    Saturday nights
    is a sweet party girl
    under dimly lit lights

  25. HandHeldWriter

    We clock in. We clock out.
    It’s the same thing each day.
    All monotonous, not autonomous.
    We need to break away.

    Performing the same tasks
    Without thought or provocation.
    They want a pre-programmed robot
    Set on full automation.

    Do this. Do that. Are we to go
    About our work and just remain silent?
    Like a mindless drone set upon its course
    As if we were set on autopilot.

    We’re to disconnect our intellect,
    Swatted down like some measly insect.
    Roaming like a zombie searching for the brain matter
    That is the sanity to survive ‘til the next paycheck.

    Numbing down our mentality.
    Micromanaged to a ridiculous degree.
    Stripped of freedom and imprisoned to voluntary slavery.
    And thus, rewiring our natural circuitry.


    We are subjected to the tyranny of the dollar sign,
    And it’s actually quite traumatic.

    We must redefine the line
    That has kept us behind,
    Confined and blind
    From a freedom so benign.
    It’s time to unleash our mind
    From this daily grind
    And not resign
    To these familiar binds…

    That have become so automatic.

  26. alana sherman

    42nd Street

    Saturday mornings my brother
    and I would go
    to the Daily News Building
    to deliver photos. In the lobby
    we’d gawp at our world,
    circle our planet,
    wonder at all the countries, say
    their names aloud.
    Bronze lines, laid out like a compass
    gave the distances to Athens or Bombay
    We’d study the clocks
    showing the hour in Beijing and Madrid
    amazed by the idea that
    it could be 6pm in London or 2am in Cairo.
    Best of all I loved the enthralling facts
    that surrounded that ball: If
    the Sun were the size of this globe, then
    the Earth would be the size of a walnut,
    located at the main entrance
    to Grand Central Station. Glorious!
    In the elevator we jumped
    as it lifted off hoping to be weightless
    while it sped to the 30th floor
    and beyond like a rocket to the moon.
    Afterward, with two dollars per photo plate
    clutched in my hand
    we went to the Automat.
    You put your nickels in
    and out came sandwiches,
    sodas and cakes. We thought
    we had come to the future.
    Then we’d wander Fifth Avenue
    stopping at SAS or Japan Air
    to gather brochures and dream
    of all the far away places
    we’d seen on the globe
    we planned to explore together.


    1. Angie5804

      lovely! This reminds me of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler – and by the way, the author of this great kids book passed away this week.

  27. RJ Clarken


    “Supermarket automatic doors open for me; therefore I am.” ~Craig Bruce

    The automatic doors swing wide.
    The foodie in me rushes in.
    Some pomegranates, to begin?
    Oh joy! Oh rapture! I’m inside

    the place where menus are my guide.
    I want some cheddar cheese sliced thin.
    The foodie in me rushes in.
    The automatic doors swing wide

    and cravings will not be denied.
    The cakes here are a deadly sin
    and…homemade breads…a total win!
    My every food wish, they provide.
    The automatic doors swing wide.


  28. RJ Clarken


    “Hold onto that. You have an autograph. I’m going to be famous some day.” ~Haywood Nelson

    How much is an autograph worth?
    If it’s signed by someone admired
    and it’s personally acquired
    then it is truly worth the earth.

    Collected sigs from Colin Firth
    and Hugh Jackman are what’s required?
    If it’s signed by someone admired
    how much is an autograph worth?

    Regards celebs, there is no dearth,
    but I want just to be inspired.
    The ‘best’ is from someone desired
    who adds some joy or love or mirth.
    How much is an autograph worth?


  29. Julieann

    Scooby Knows — Do You?

    Ask Scooby and the Gang
    What makes an auto?
    Engine, body, doors, design,
    Stick or automatic

    The ever-loveable VW Bug
    ‘59 manual choke
    ‘66 flower power
    ‘72 tomato red

    The do anything, go anywhere VW bus?
    Orange and white
    Green and while
    And psychedelic 60’s

    A myriad of other VWs
    A white hippity-hoppity Rabbit
    A blue 5-speed Golf
    The king, a maroon Volkswagen Vanagon

    Scooby and the Gang
    Can’t be wrong
    They traveled the world in
    Their VW bus

  30. tunesmiff

    My knee-jerk response
    is to write around the word,
    yet paint its picture.

  31. BDP

    “I Didn’t Die: Steve’s Email From Daytona”

    Tires scuffed and ready, I’m pumped, starting twelfth,
    with buddy Pete in ninth. All other GT3s
    have broken down or crashed throughout the week.

    Green flag! I tuck behind my pal, he tucks
    behind the AS Mustang lead. I press hard
    on the back straight going into the bus stop,

    ahead, lap 1, but an idiot Corvette
    fakes me to the apron, turn 3, costing
    momentum, Pete gains, dealing with the Mustang,

    he’s balked, pinched down the run off turn 4.
    I blast by as if he’s on a Sunday drive.
    He guns a retort, but the track’s slick, I swing

    wide in the infield, pushing him two wheels off
    by mistake. His speed’s good, I yield the corner,
    he skids me off course (on purpose?), I lose

    quite a few lengths. The AS car slows more
    each lap, keeping us tight, when Pete blows
    a motor just past the infield kink, oiling

    the speedway. I drive through, easy, next time
    hit grease, spin slow mo, pull out, game on,
    but some guys I buried at the start nip

    at my wheels. I let them dash past. Then note
    the attrition. The pack’s half gone. I end ninth.
    My car hits one-eighty, but I want it to last.

    Heading home a tractor-trailer wreck delays
    us two hours, eight miles of dead stopped traffic.

    B Peters

  32. Raina Masters

    A Chevy Malibu is not a race car

    That Chevy Malibu was your excuse
    to drive with the kind of abandon
    that tossed my organs around. You
    showed me the difference a V-6 makes
    when you want to rip past someone
    to get to a u-turn, to blaze down
    a dimly lit highway at 3am at 100 mph
    as I sat in the passenger seat, bearing
    down, amazed you never got a ticket.
    You can’t do that in your Hyundai.

  33. PoM

    I stepped off the train
    An underground railway
    Was somewhere near Fenway
    Kenmore square on a hot summer day
    Was on my way to watch the Red Sox play

    The melody they played
    Echoed through the subway
    A crowd of people watch them play
    One finger-picked and strummed
    Another beat wooden drums

    The music they played
    In such a spectacular way
    Some in the crowd they swayed
    Others sang as they watched them play
    Not one watching refrained
    All threw money in velvet guitar case

    Took all I had to walk away
    I almost forgot the Red Sox game
    Didn’t want to leave
    They sounded so great

    A quadruplet of hot babes
    Danced and sang
    Then one of them asked
    Where did you learn to play
    Without missing a beat
    They ad-libbed an answer autodidactically

    That was back in the day
    Mini concerts in the subway
    It was the Boston way
    Now the music no longer plays
    Those mean spirited autocrats
    Said no more music in our subways

  34. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Biopsy yesterday and computer problems today set me behind writing two today instead of two yesterday, so the “auto” is sort of in poem 23 (yesterday’s) written today and today’s poem is only “auto” in that an anagram generator needed to be consulted.

    Anagrams: Marian Therese

    Hers is an earthrise name
    Its aiyee vowels lamenting
    the moonset salute the sun
    when light reanimates her

    Mania here rest No need
    for excess for you’ll find
    a stream herein Recline
    serenely on verdant banks

    Listen to birds soften day
    with aerier anthems then
    human song Listen each
    dawn at midday at dusk

    Listen, O matinee sharer
    Sound moving soft throats
    avian songsters trembling
    when they re-raise anthem

    The anagrams are earthrise name, reanimates her, Mania here rest, a stream herein, aerier anthems, matinee sharer, and reraise anthem

  35. ewdupler

    Teenager Trials

    “I know,” “I will”, I always hear,
    Still you ignore those chores, my dear.
    Advice from me can’t touch your ear,
    Unwise choices are a real fear.

    I know that life should have its fun,
    But that’s not all it is, my son.
    Don’t scorn my help, or you’ll get none.
    Earn respect, Autonomous One.

  36. Marian O'Brien Paul

    This poem comes from the automatic music that plays when you are placed on phone hold.

    “Please Hold the Line …” (a triolet)

    On hold the music chings ca ching
    my brain is bouncing beating time
    ah da hey ho this music sings
    On hold the music chings ca ching
    ah da hey ho on music’s wings
    a twirling turning swinging rhyme
    On hold this music chings ca ching
    my brain is bouncing beating time

  37. THEGingerSass

    Auto A?

    Springtime delays me.
    My wheels go slow– should go fast.
    I arrive, barely.

    Presentation time.
    Drunken classmates stumble in;
    Twenty-four more days.

  38. profal29

    Automatically wondering
    who’s thinking of me
    and why are they thinking
    sexually, thats the only answer
    for out of nowhere, I am
    sensitized, I was not thinking
    of a thing, I was teaching
    stereo mic techniques and…
    Who is this person that has
    taken me there, and why has
    it been going on all day
    this must be a person that
    likes me a lot and is able
    to break through all barriers
    all walls, all thoughts against
    what she is thinking of with me

    who is she?

  39. deringer1


    He lived down the street,
    a friendly, elderly man, alone.

    I thought him ordinary;
    he appeared like many little old men,

    somewhat vague but harmless.
    One day I stopped to talk to him.

    “Where were you from originally?”
    I asked, to start the conversation.

    I listened to his story with open mouth.
    He was born in a small village on the Thailand-

    Chinese border. Grew up with none but native friends.
    He learned their language and their ways.

    He was of his parent’s country but not from it.
    A man who had led an amazing life!

    He told me of a book he recently published…
    his life story. When I read it

    I pondered long, wondering
    about the rest of my neighbors.

    How many of them are heroes unsung,
    or were outstanding in their younger days?

    There are stories that hide behind a wrinkled face,
    sight that is dimmed, or a slower pace.

    I’ll try now to listen more to the old,
    for they have tales that should be told.

  40. JWLaviguer

    Autopsy of a Dream

    The pages fall
    cracked and yellow
    from the yearbook

    Faded memories
    and broken promises
    reveal themselves to me

    We always said
    we’d be together

    Travel the world
    never settle down
    and live forever

    I sit and stare
    as tears fall
    onto the page

    Like drops of rain
    washing away the pain
    but the memory remains

    Of how we said
    we’d be together

    But not forever.


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