2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

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 a mechanical poem. Either you’re mechanically-inclined, or you’re like me and hit things to make them work after they break (which, by the way, rarely works).

Here’s my attempt at a mechanical poem:


her circuit board
her engine
her voice chip

all of it
short circuits
when he’s around


Workshop Your Poetry!

Writing poetry is exciting, but the hard work of poeming is working through the revision process. The best way to work through this process is to workshop the poems with other poets, and that can be done with the Writer’s Digest 6-week course, Advanced Poetry Writing.


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

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181 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

  1. foodpoet

    all is rote
    nothing changes
    the mechanics of living
    is routed by the breakdown of memory
    and I
    I in the middle
    plan nothing but the day ahead
    with no changes allowed

  2. cstewart

    In Grade Seven

    My vocational counseling questionnaire said
    I should be an engineer, an artist or an actress.
    I have tried all three and I like all of them.

    Is there a determinative test for a result of
    “aptitude for many things.”
    One that would psyche out a particular choice
    One that would not include obvious test questions like:

    Would you rather sing a song, draw a picture, or fix a car?
    Any test taker could weight a test with those questions.
    Maybe that is what the test determined,
    Who can see through the test and make it come out
    Like then want.

  3. bxpoetlover


    Never been one of those kinds of girls
    that liked to get my nails dirty
    but if you were here
    I would lift the hood
    ask how to check my oil
    and battery
    I would ask you to name all the parts of the engine
    take notes while you talk
    let you show me how to fill and change my tires
    My mechanic is a good one but
    no one tops my daddy.

  4. shethra77


    Branch to
    seven open rungs
    on the ladder
    If this is TWINK, then run SINK
    *****buzzzzzz beep*****
    Does it end?
    No? then repeat
    Where’s the top of this
    *****buzz beep*****
    *****blink blink blink blink blink blink blink blink*****
    Start again
    Define TWINK stop
    Tweak SINK stop
    Does it end?
    *****beep beep beep beep whooooshhhhhhh*****
    *****ILFBGOO is undefined*****
    Damn straight
    Branch to awake

  5. Linda Voit

    Why We Need Each Other

    There must be a gene for wondering how machines work
    and needing to fix them. And there must be another gene
    for just wanting them to work. I have the latter gene.
    I try not to offend these saviors by interrupting
    their passionate relay of the how and why
    of what they did to say, “OK, so does it work now?
    Thanks a lot and here’s your check.”

    I get it, though.

    I’m on the other side of the grammar gene.
    When asked to check a letter I explain the change
    I corrected. “You’ve got a dangling modifier here.”
    Who would not want to know that and how
    to avoid it in their next letter, I wonder as they say,
    “Thanks, looks good,”
    and turn to their next task. I leave knowing it’s likely
    they’ll jot a note to someone and probably write
    “After fixing the letter, my morning list was done.”
    And they won’t even care.

  6. Lindy

    Mechanical Zombie

    As such the smiles that innocence grants
    etch painted faces in their wake,
    so must our demons invoke the chance
    to rebuild souls in dark mistake;
    mechanical smile and covert glance,
    this mystery cyborg’s plated face.
    We’re all but children of circumstance,
    that life becomes our undertake.

  7. profal29

    mechanics it seems
    is just a dream
    to someone who used to be
    a technician by trade
    a router of lines
    a dreamer of words to say
    but now I see
    those words to me
    and down they go to read
    but are they good
    do they move you
    as they should
    or even make sense
    when you read

  8. tunesmiff

    (c) 2013 – G. Smith (BMI)
    Every day is like the day before,
    I get, pour coffee, and head out the door.
    I work late, then head home;
    Another night spent all alone.

    I’m just going through the motions,
    Running on cruise control;
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot,
    To make it through the day,
    A robot with no feelings,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    We were married a dozen years,
    Slowly laughter turned to tears.
    Tears turned into nothing at all,
    And I realized when you made that call,

    I’m just going through the motions,
    Running on cruise control.
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot
    To make through the day.
    A robot with no feelings,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    How did it happen?
    Who’s to blame?
    Sad new is
    No one wins that game.

    I’m just…
    Going through the motions,
    Running on curise control;
    Trying not to feel a thing,
    Ignore the aching in my heart and soul.
    Put my life on autopilot,
    To make it through each day,
    A robot with no feelins,
    Since you packed and moved away.

    Every day is like the day before;
    I get up;
    Pour coffee;
    And head out the door.

  9. Nancy Posey

    April 27 Mechanical

    Even though I know he must have gone to work
    when I was young, I only remember his fishing days,
    long after retirement, puttering around, dropping
    his pocket knives off the pier, at my beck and call,
    for me hanging tire swings in his backyard oaks.

    I’d seen the pictures, though, when he was young,
    bearing a hint of a swagger, confidence of youth,
    almost a pioneer, building dams, bridges, roads,
    moving his young family from one project to another
    along the Tennessee River Valley, always the first
    to arrive and establish a home in the new village.

    He gave me free rein among the little drawers
    in the chest holding all his relics of those years,
    amid the buttons and folded notes. Best of all,
    I loved those mechanical pencils stored there,
    imbuing the deep drawers with their sweet aroma,
    the heady scent of lead, to him the smell of work,
    of calculations, but to me, the smell of words.

  10. THEGingerSass

    how to toast a sorority girl

    previously, in my mind,
    a sorority girl was a simple recipe:

    1 part giggles
    2 parts tits
    1/80 part dignity
    3 parts superficiality
    1 part loyalty
    1/2 part bitch
    1/2 part crazy
    2 1/2 parts pink
    and sprinkled with as much school spirit as the booze would provide.

    for the past 5 years, my recipe proved to be pretty solid,
    with only the occasional modification.
    that was, until now.

    now i’m dressed in
    3 parts hairspray
    1 part new dress
    1 part nice shoes
    2 parts makeup
    and 1 part biting my tongue

    for my

    4 parts butch
    2 parts secretly girly
    2 parts kindhearted
    1 part silly
    1 part tux
    1 part bow tie
    all parts love

    a-typical sorority-girl girlfriend.

  11. EbenAt

    Many a future engineer
    liked to take stuff apart
    as a kid.

    Here’s a tip:
    Taking things apart
    doesn’t take courage.
    What takes courage is
    to truly not give a fuck
    when you put it back together
    and it doesn’t work
    right away.

  12. ewdupler

    Lefty Lucy

    But not for long.
    Adjusts the wrench and then
    She torques it with a few more spins.
    Car girl.

    She likes
    Challenges, too.
    Using the tools to make
    Mechanical problems of yours,

  13. Yolee

    My mechanical pencil
    and I have been apart.
    We had a poignant connection
    until a fast and slick
    one grabbed my attention.
    What was different
    about the new liaison
    changed habit when
    my thoughts needed
    an outlet. I miss the point
    my old friend made.
    I miss the sheets
    we rolled in.

  14. vsbryant1

    Love of Home Entertainment

    Red goes with red
    Yellow with yellow
    White with white
    And now the sound is just right

    Now there’s the red with the red
    Green with green
    Blue with blue
    And the TV plays magically

    Suddenly HDMI is the new hotness on the block
    Sleek, low maintenance and taking over the spot

  15. finallyhereiam

    Mechanically Yours

    Well, it is,
    As you may see,
    Without you, I will go free.
    It is with you, that they tied me here,
    It is with you, and its Fate’s decree;

    I see, said his lady love,
    And cannot without you pull or shove.
    I need you to hold me tight, so that I can slip alright,
    I want you, just as you want me O,
    Without you, I am lifeless, a line.

    “It is when you wind yourself,
    Along my rim, I appreciate more of myself.
    Together, we balance it so well,
    Should we miss, it dispels.

    And so said the pulley to the rope,
    “Oh Dear, I am forever, mechanically, yours”.

  16. Ber

    Mechanical Minds

    Telepathic interests
    feelings coming out
    wondering who they were
    where they came from
    minds mesmerizing each others emotions

    Movement of their feet
    around each other
    looking into dark eyes
    glowing images
    to their surprise

    Hands held together
    lips combined
    love of eternal lusting
    future hearts entwined

  17. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    When it comes to mechanical
    I prefer digital.

    In either case I am inept
    but, with IT, more apt

    to solve things by trial and error.
    Cogwheels cause me terror,

    and all the other metal bits;
    they give me the — er — spits.

  18. drwasy


    Through this day
    my body breathes
    into clothes
    not needed–
    brushed teeth
    combed hair
    but barely

    A bus whisks me
    to my desk
    grey & cluttered
    my brain moves me
    into the chair
    the monitor blinks
    my hands tap
    lunch passes
    Earl Grey at 3

    A bus returns me
    dinner retrieved
    tv & wine
    to unwind
    after Johnny
    the couch swallows
    my body
    through this night

  19. DanielAri

    “Consider the machine”

    A. Assume the machine possesses
    some minute fractional measure
    of the soul of its creatrix.
    B. Begin its automatic whirl.
    C. Observe how all its procedures

    execute in what seems a pure
    ballet of physical science.
    D. Mentionless variance accrues
    and releases—the innocence
    of physics plays on mechanics.

    E. In its fraction of soul, a sense
    of wobbling, a proto-tango,
    quasi-Judo, or meta-dance
    lifts automated a-go-go
    to some level of surrender.

    F. Study the machine as it slows.
    Its maker’s friction makes it glow.

    1. BDP

      Much to like about this entire poem, but “lifts automated a-go-go / to some level of surrender” caught my eye most. I’ll consider machines differently now!

  20. Alpha1

    Iron Bull

    Midnight cowboy
    afro hair
    lookin for a rodeo
    in Times Square
    ten-gallon hat settin
    high on his dome
    toe-pinchin boots
    walkin miles from home
    searchin side streets
    moon light shinin full
    hot on the trail of
    mechanical bull
    Midnight cowboy
    afro hair
    ridin iron bull without
    no fear
    ten-gallon hat
    settin tight on his dome
    found him a rodeo
    far from home
    on a side street
    moon light shinin full
    thrown from the back
    of mechanical bull

  21. omavi


    She fixes me
    As heart broken in pieces
    She repairs me
    As mind short circuits
    She re-energizes me
    As soul lays hurt
    She heals me
    She revives me
    Tool and die and sweet caresses
    She fixes me
    Upgrading me from a mere man
    To a vision of perfection
    In her hands I become better
    More than a man
    She automates me
    She completes me

  22. Benjamin Thomas


    From the center
    To circumference
    Our entire being is just
    One awesome organic expression
    Of flowing biochemistry
    Dynamically acting
    Reacting harmoniously
    Mysteriously in unison
    And strictly within boundary of
    The universal balance of homeostasis
    Exploded from specifically coded
    Blueprints elegantly designed
    Marvelosly well-built
    Well-aligned Elements
    bit by bit
    Brick by brick
    Atom by atom into
    Gorgeously complex
    Structured molecules
    Plastered, shaped,
    Wisely connected
    Fitted together
    To make you, you
    And me, me

  23. Sara McNulty

    Smart People Cannot Do Everything

    Group of engineers
    hunched around oval table
    at meeting to discuss
    structural and architectural
    aspects of new power plant
    to be built. At my desk,
    outside this room, I sit juggling
    telephone calls, and setting up
    priorities for my workload. Boss
    comes out with report in hand
    requiring copies. He decides
    to make them himself. One
    minute later, he calls out,
    ‘the machine is out of paper.
    I don’t know to load it.’

    Poetic Asides
    April Challenge – Day 27
    Write a mechanical poem

  24. Benjamin Thomas


    The phrenic nerve
    Forever plugged into
    And motoring rhythmically
    our diaphragm
    Contracting, relaxing
    Contracting, relaxing
    Contracting, relaxing
    Involuntarily at it’s own pace
    Expanding the thoracic cage
    Taking, receiving, relieving
    Itself of unnecessary gases
    Dependency at its best
    All unconsciously
    Thank God, while we rest.

  25. Deri


    I would
    the smooth
    nothing of you
    your face
    crush your
    still fingers
    crack the
    knob of your
    just to make
    the mechanical
    of your
    black heart

  26. PowerUnit

    Nothing sooths the soul like fluid gears, like a skater on fresh ice
    The effortless rotation of the focus ring on your pair of Celestron binoculars
    Or the German shifting in your Mercedes Benz Coupe’s gearbox
    And you know the world is right in your hands

  27. Benjamin Thomas


    Our bone’s cells those precious busy little worker bees
    send endless messenger chemical keys
    depositing and removing these minutely massive
    endless materials supporting our hefty frames
    So significant yet we hardly know their names.

    Our bone’s bells and whistles go largely unnoticed
    Its exceptionally intricate detailed work spent behind closed doors
    Its when we’re frail and the mechanics poor
    we begin to experience the thorns and thistles
    of life’s mechanics gone awry. Sometimes we
    scratch our heads and wonder why?
    Hopefully then we learn to appreciate
    those little worker bees.

    Its because of them we can bend our knees
    run, jump, reach, live as we please. But sometimes
    our bones break unfortunately; and with them, our
    hopes are broken too. But those little worker bees,
    the osteocytes if you please; never give up and go right
    back to work. They repair, reshape, remodel, they share in the midst of despair
    adding hope, stability to our weakened frame.
    You just gotta love those precious little worker bees.

    1. LCaramanna

      Oh, I read this to my husband recovering from a fall that fractured his hip. You “poemed” him encouragement. Thanks!! So far my only offering has been a senryu:
      his game changer fall

      from kitchen stool fractured hip

      surgeon said he’s screwed

  28. Connie Peters

    Arm of Pain

    Mechanical bull
    Mechanical arm
    Arm and hammer
    Arm candy
    Candy Land
    Candy cane
    Cane chair
    Cane handle
    Handle with care
    Care package
    Care Bear
    Bear cubs
    Bear hug
    Hug bug
    Hug kiss
    Kiss me Kate
    Kiss bliss
    Bliss and joy
    Bliss and peace
    Peace sign
    Peace keeper
    Keeper of the law
    Keeper of the stars
    Star light
    Star bright
    Bright eyes
    Bright beginnings
    Beginnings and endings
    Beginnings and beyond
    Beyond me
    Beyond hope
    Hope fulfilled
    Hope and love
    Love child
    Love poems
    Poems about life
    Poems for kids
    Kids in mind
    Kids eat free
    Free and easy
    Free as a bird
    Bird dog
    Bird brain
    Brain teasers
    Brain pain
    Pain in the neck
    Pain reliever

  29. BDP

    “The Anti-Mechanical”

    We pushed off and our legs t-boned the sky,
    rocking the swing set ringed by backyard cedars.
    That first summer in the new house, our dad
    chain-sawed the trees, bulldozed the play space,
    paved it for the stretched body of his Olds.

    The second, ants crawled from my mayo jar
    bouquet, spread across the kitchen table
    to the floor, and mom asked him to slash
    our only row of pink peonies, this last

    shock softened by a field of hawkweed flush
    behind my Grandma Lee’s vegetable garden:
    kiwi-skin stems, blended orange petals painting
    Aunt Lizzie’s nose, my uncultivated
    happiness among the deep vanilla

    scent in the sun. After moving from the farm
    adopted Grandma B wrapped a plant
    into an 8 in the east light of her home
    and called it a solemn Crown of Thorns.
    Flowers waxed tears onto the sill

    while dragons snapped color at Grandma Peters
    by the lake, rectangular concrete pens of them.

    Today near my drive, a clover in gravel,
    orphaned from elsewhere, reaches to my hand.
    I smooth fingers around its rabbit tail,
    pull its fur across my palm, leave it rooted in
    the hillside down to my voracious suburb place.

    B Peters

  30. carolecole66

    What Did You Say, Dear?

    My mechanical “yes” to your question
    helped get you off my back,
    but did little to solve the problem,
    merely delayed it until the day
    you showed me my packed bags
    and our tickets to Bali.


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