Editors Blog

2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

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 instructional poem. Your instructional poem could list instructions. Or it could capture an instructional moment.

Here’s my attempt at an instructional poem:

“how to spin”

she watches the birds tweet
but can’t stand their singing
songs that sound so happy

while she in misery
twists into a bottle
like a miniature boat

assembled with tweezers
never touched never held
always left on display


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.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Quick note on commenting: Please always save a copy on your computer. There have been moments in the past in which comments have disappeared, and I don’t want anyone to lose their work. Heck, I’ve lost some of my work here in the past, and it’s not a great feeling. That said, commenting here is a lot of fun, especially in April. If you’re completely new to the site, you’ll be asked to register (don’t worry, it’s free), and your comments might not appear initially until I manually accept them. However, after that initial phase, your comments should appear without my help.

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

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386 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

  1. C.

    Sheets of cotton cover
    Shadows of a head
    Eggshell white twisted
    Exhumed body instead
    Fragrant smells plague
    From filthy kicked off socks
    All the while laughing
    Freshly bouncing locks
    Pulling down chairs
    Ottomans roll aside
    Happy gaily playing
    In forts where we hide
    A fort for play A fort for games
    Playing make believe, And
    sharing secrets In summer’s eve
    Come and play Or just lie inside
    Since today they say The rain won’t subside
    ……………Voices peaking, flash of light…………….
    Tells us it’s time
    To say goodnight
    Gaslight always on
    Child wondering
    What went wrong
    No more playtime
    Always dark
    Forts of another kind
    Built deep within our hearts.

    1. C.

      Sorry. Got it now. Not that it’s super important…

      Sheets of cotton cover
      Shadows of a head
      Eggshell white twisted
      Exhumed body instead
      Fragrant smells plague
      From filthy kicked off socks
      All the while laughing
      Freshly bouncing locks
      Pulling down chairs
      Ottomans roll aside
      Happy gaily playing
      In forts where we hide
      ______A fort for play______A________fort for games___
      ___Playing make………………………………….believe, And_____
      __sharing secrets …………………………………..In summer’s eve__
      _Come and play…………………………………….Or just lie inside_____
      _Since today they say………………………….The rain won’t subside___
      ………………………Voices peaking, flash of light…………..
      Tells us it’s time
      To say goodnight
      Gaslight always on
      Child wondering
      What went wrong
      No more playtime
      Always dark
      Forts of another kind
      Built deep within our hearts.

  2. dextrousdigits

    think they know so much.
    Yes they can do evaluations,
    run tests, make Diagnoses
    and dictate reports.

    They may know hemoglobin 8.1, O2 88%, WBC 15k,
    yet haven’t learned that patient is effected more
    by the tone of your voice,
    facial expressions,
    eye contact,
    body language,
    your ability to listen and actually answer
    questions in a way the patient understands.

    When you walk away
    the patient, their family and you
    feel like you’ve known each other a long time.
    When this happens, you create a team
    that trusts each other
    and work together to get the patient well.

  3. Marjory MT


    Before attempting to operate,
    locate instruction manual.
    Open manual – page one.
    Identify machine
    and various parts.
    Turn to page two.
    Locate list.
    Okay, now

  4. bookworm0341

    “How to Donate Blood”

    Know that you want to
    Call your local donation site
    Mark your calendar

    Eat well the night before
    Drink a ton of water
    Good night’s rest

    Potty break.

    Wake up refreshed
    Devour a healthy breakfast
    Guzzle more water
    Munch a healthy snack

    Potty break.

    Drive to donation center
    Show I.D.
    Wait to be called

    Potty break.

    Screening questions
    Sit in the comfy chair
    Lend them your arm
    Relax while you save a life!

  5. Jezzie

    Keep in Shape!

    Body, keep in shape!
    I know that your joints all ache,
    but an effort you must make,
    now you’ve got more time to take.

    Brain, keep in gear!
    You’ve not been active for a year,
    but if you don’t use it, I fear
    you will soon lose it, my dear.

    Heart, keep on beating!
    Don’t let it be defeating
    to get up early for a meeting.
    And just watch what you’re eating.

    Boredom, go away!
    Do something useful each day,
    if not, join your friends at play.
    There’s plenty to do in U3A.

    Time, turn the clock back!
    Give me the energy I now lack
    like when I was running down the track.
    If I ran now I’d have a heart attack!

  6. Mel Lewis

    How to Kill a Witch

    Just add water
    and slowly stir,
    or drop a house
    on top of her.
    A stake and a match
    will do just as well;
    there are myriad  ways 
    to send her to Hell.
    Chop off her head.
    Try a drowning.
    Or just give her a hug
    and forget the whole thing.

  7. Sharon

    How to Think

    Clear your mind
    Let it unwind,
    Don’t make it a grind
    You’re sure to find

    More in hour head
    Than you’ve ever said
    Thoughts a boil when you’re in your bed
    Ideas hang on you cannot shed.

  8. Nadienne

    [another sci-fi poem]

    Minister, you’ve instructed them
    in the ways to bend and twist
    a person’s little fingers,
    in the ways of shame, the shame
    of kneeling to accept piss,
    the shame of gags, of sticks
    tied between the teeth
    while ants crawled in.
    Essentialist, you measured skulls,
    spectrographed their green skin
    to proclaim their difference,
    to excuse yourself from sin,
    the horrible sin of torture
    of another human being.
    They recovered—
    a testament to resilience
    borne of a drive for revenge.

  9. vsbryant1

    How To Fall In Love

    Step 1: you meet
    Step 2: you fall head over feet
    Step 3: you talk about the future and all that came to be
    Step 4: you kiss for the very first time
    Step 5: you realize this is what it all really means in life
    Step 6: you commit
    Step 7: half way to heaven
    Step 8: here’s the special day
    Step 9: no turning back you have crossed over the line
    Step 10: you smile and remember; these were the steps to loving the love of your life.

  10. Margot Suydam

    How to Find Love, an Ottava Rima

    Find something right in peeling back tight skin
    to reveal the sanguine thoughts swept within.
    Scratch surfaces too long made to toughen
    so that even placid hearts can loosen
    that soft beats travelling too well hidden
    are free to pulse, take a wild spin.
    Forgiving fear seems such a simple step
    yet tough minds want their secrets kept.

  11. tunesmiff

    Here’s how you write you a country song:
    Start with how somebody done done you wrong;
    Tell how the nights’re lonely and long;
    And don’t forget the steel guitar.

    The second verse tells how you first met,
    On some special night you’ll never forget.
    Remind us again you ain’t over her yet,
    And Son, this song’ll go far.

    You can mix in a little drinking,
    Your Mama or your truck or a train.
    Add a dash of Johnny Cash,
    A pinch of prison or your dog and some rain.

    Remember to show off twin fiddles,
    Somewhere around the middle,
    And if you can get folks to cry just a little,
    Then Boy, you’ll be a country music star.

    Yeah, you’ll be country music star…
    Playin’ the Grand Ol’ Opry,
    You’ll be a country music star.

  12. Jezzie

    The Iron Lady

    one strong
    Grantham girl
    with high moral
    principles a great sense
    of right and wrong, and who
    wants to put her country to rights.
    Raise her in her family grocer’s shop so
    she can understand how to make ends meet.
    Educate her well and give her the confidence to make
    her voice be heard among a host of simpering, arrogant men.
    Let her choose a faithful, understanding and supportive husband.
    Get a strong team of party canvassers to ensure she wins a local election,
    so that she becomes a politician, so powerful and astute that she gains the respect
    of most of her party as a Minister, and proves that her ideas can lick our country into shape.
    Hold a General Election when the country is on its knees and have her return as Prime Minister.
    Let her have the courage to send our forces away to protect a British Island under threat.
    Have her deal firmly with the Unions who have been holding our country to ransom.
    Let her influence put some long-needed backbone back into our country.
    Make sure she does not lose heart when all around her ridicule her.
    Give her the strength to make difficult decisions, and not be
    dissuaded by weaker men from making the right choices.
    And when the country turns against her, give her the
    wisdom and strength to turn the other cheek.
    And finally when she has departed from
    this mortal planet, let her soul
    be reunited with
    her beloved

    Written on the day of Maggie Thatcher’s death 08.04.13 – my tribute to a once great Prime Minister

  13. Rain200

    *My Old English Teacher*

    No slouching. Chin up.
    No sneezing because
    No blessings will follow
    Allow the words you see
    to penetrate your little mind
    Upon first reading

    Read a second time to observe
    Rhythm and miss spellings
    With a birds eye view.

    Choke up on the word choice and syntax
    And swipe the black ink red using foreign symbols
    This makes things easier

    Read again and then submit
    Your poem.

  14. identity

    He follows the signs
    Upturned lips under vacant eyes
    Words left dangling on hesitant breath
    Eyes that dart to avoid his questioning gaze

    He presses on til the fatal shot is fired
    Organs removed and blood drained
    Breath straining under the weight
    He packs out his heart

  15. DMHB

    How to be a Big Girl

    It doesn’t start at your first period,
    No, much earlier than that, like maybe
    The first time a tooth comes in, sharp,
    Through your gum. You scream
    And scream, but nobody can take
    Away the pain. The pain is yours.

    But so is the tooth. It gives you bite.

  16. Tracy Davidson

    How to start a family

    find a loving mate
    insert part A in slot B
    (see Appendix II
    for labelled diagram) and
    wait about nine months or so

  17. LouiseBilborough

    It was once me,
    who held your hands
    as you toddled
    and wobbled
    and stumbled
    until your legs
    grew fast and strong.

    my wrinkled hands
    close around yours
    as you help me to stand
    and take shaky steps
    from the armchair
    to the bathroom
    and back again.

  18. Melanie

    How to Pray

    Begin your prayer with silence
    Resist the urge to speak
    Too many words can hamper as
    The Father’s face you seek

    You need no holy phrases
    Or hallowed thees and thous
    The spirit stirs the tongue to speak
    The words your heart allows

    Don’t wait for days of sunshine
    Or days of storm and cloud
    Your presence is His throne room
    Is every day allowed

    Remove the masks and make-up
    The things you hide behind
    God sees the heart within you
    Your naked frame designed

    Prayer must not be one-sided
    For God has things to say
    Concerning how you live your life
    Before the world each day

    Seek out that quiet refuge
    Where spirit bows undressed
    In sharing joys and sorrows
    Your soul finds needful rest

  19. drwasy


    You think you know how
    to breathe, like riding a bike
    or kissing a boy
    for the first time.
    “Automatic,” you say.
    But breathing
    is more difficult than
    you might think.

    To really breathe
    yourself, air must enter
    the deepest part of you,
    past mouth and throat,
    stomach and hips,
    knees and toes.
    Inhale slow enough
    to fill every cell,
    every organ,
    extract every atom
    of goodness from the space
    and day around you.
    Inhale until you cannot
    and then—this is key—

    In this instant life beats.
    Your life.

    Then exhale. Not
    Rushed blast, a relief.
    Let the pent-up breath
    tremble out and through you,
    past toes and knees,
    stomach and lungs,
    heart and head,
    wash out the angst
    and sturm hidden between
    vertebrae, in corpuscles,
    in ligaments that
    bind muscle to bone.
    When you are sucked
    dry of breath,
    pause—and live.

    If you are lucky,
    you will inhale again.

  20. Misky

    How To Star Gaze

    When night swims in the depths of dark,
    go out in warmth, so be you dressed,
    and find a field that yields no light.
    Take one sweet of heart beloved
    and stroll with fingers linked. Climb
    upon a grassy knoll where scents
    of green and soft earth do mould
    downy pillows on which to rest.
    Be far from city lights shone bright
    so that every chilled ice-ringed
    diamonding star sings out
    hallelujah from heavens far.

  21. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Instructions to the Bereaved

    Many things are just the same.
    You still need to get on
    with the physical business of living.
    Eat, pee, sleep, wash, and so on.

    Do the dishes, put the dishes away …
    observe the normal routines
    that made the household function
    for two — as it must for one.

    You’ll notice you still cook dinner,
    still read, watch television, feed the cats,
    sit at your computer, write … do all
    that you did before with company.

    There is basically only one difference —
    and the many small changes
    which follow from that. Some you like,
    some not. They may be the same.

    You spread out in the double bed (you
    and the cats). That can be luxurious
    or bleak. Taking the other chair, not
    to see it empty, you find it better placed.

    No-one (except for those cats)
    will nag you now for meals, or when
    to come to bed. Be thankful for the cats!
    You too need food. You need sleep.

    At first you may decide and plan
    activities your Other would have liked,
    things you believe they wanted.
    At this point heed the wise advice

    your son the other day returned to you,
    which he says you gave to him
    decades ago, after his father died: ‘Don’t
    live someone else’s life; live your own.’

  22. Jackie Casey

    “Instructions for a Friend with OCD”

    Consider now the glory of the rose
    so short her moment in the throes of life.
    I wish for her disorder not proposed
    to bloom and bloom in thus repeated strife.

    She could be vain and pose as does the tree
    but nature gives her one, small moment’s pride.
    She calms the chatter heard among the bees;
    she smooths the wind so soft, her petals glide.

    But, now that rose love gifted once to bloom;
    once glorified, her pause is sure and sweet.
    The beat of time’s illusion for a tune
    in silence, she finds no need to repeat.

    Oh, what a rose! that mystery so free
    that in her being is her constancy.

  23. P.A. Beyer

    Ode to a Sorority Sister Bridesmaid

    Doesn’t Clarissa just look stunning on the dance floor

    You put your right hand in

    She’s absolutely radiant, I’ve never seen her so happy

    You put your right hand out

    Yes, you’re right I mean, Carl is a good man, a good man indeed

    You put your right hand in

    Still, I always thought she’d end up with, well you know

    and you shake it all about

    I know, she was devastated, it took her three years to get over him

    you do the hokey pokey

    She never forgave him and, well, I kinda have a little secret

    and you turn yourself around

    Well, that night, he wasn’t with Shelia, he was with me

    That’s what it’s all about

    That’s what it’s all about

    1. P.A. Beyer

      Well, I tried to use HTML tags and that obviously didn’t work, so here it is in a slightly more readable format:

      Ode to a Sorority Sister Bridesmaid

      Doesn’t Clarissa just look stunning on the dance floor
      You put your right hand in
      She’s absolutely radiant, I’ve never seen her so happy
      You put your right hand out
      Yes, you’re right I mean, Carl is a good man, a good man indeed
      You put your right hand in
      Still, I always thought she’d end up with, well you know
      and you shake it all about
      I know, she was devastated, it took her three years to get over him
      you do the hokey pokey
      She never forgave him and, well, I have a little secret
      and you turn yourself around
      Well, that night, he wasn’t with Shelia, he was with me
      That’s what it’s all about
      That’s what it’s all about

  24. JoAnn Jordan

    How To Write 365

    First you commit to
    Accomplishing something each
    Day you have not done
    Before artistically
    With great creativity.

    You make the effort,
    Do your very best writing,
    Keep effectively
    Working outside your limits
    Until you make your success.

    You continue to
    Do the work despite feeling
    Like skipping a day,
    You dedicate yourself to
    More than you think possible.

    You find a few to
    Support your endeavors with
    Their encouragement
    You build up your confidence,
    You do it over again.

    You do not ever
    Stop until your labor is
    Vindicated in
    Tremendous victory that
    Covers the whole of a year.

    Jo Ann J. A. Jordan
    Monday, April 8, 2013

  25. seingraham

    How to Learn Grand-parenting

    Realize right from the start
    You will feel a need to protect
    These children the like of which
    You never expected but, back off
    They are not yours
    However, you can let it be known
    You will always be available
    Just in case – not to be used and abused
    But pretty much as often as needed

    Remember, there is no way to spoil
    A baby, especially one you don’t
    Live with, and pick up your grandchild
    Every single time you hear it cry
    After all, there is no way you want
    Any grandchild of yours to fuss
    Needlessly when you are right there
    To soothe and console, right?
    And be sure and buy the self-same
    Child every indulgence you can think
    Of and afford, and even some you can’t
    They’re tiny for such a short time…

    As they grow into toddler-hood
    Be sure to be the one they can count on
    To be the goofiest in their lives
    The one to fool around with and to laugh
    The one to tell their secrets and their fears
    But be sure they also know that in the end
    You will be the one who will always know
    Just what is the right thing they should do.

  26. Kriz Talladen

    Remembered one of my previous poems with this prompt. It’s my personal way on how to cry beautifully. :)

    “How to Cry”

    To cry is to let go

    So let go

    Let the tears fall
    Let them stream, storm,
    Form a river
    Down your cheeks.

    Don’t block them
    With a hanky
    Nor your hand
    Nor your pillow

    Cry while sitting or standing,
    Not while lying down
    For the rain not to form
    Clouds that create puffs

    And when the tears have
    Given up,
    Relax, be calm
    Get your cleanest hanky at hand
    Pat your cheeks and your
    Eyes, don’t rub
    There might be
    Redness bit a little while
    It subsides

    Then smile
    As if nothing happened

    And the bright burning sun
    You will clearly see.

  27. bxpoetlover


    As I sit here twirling fingers around hair
    I wonder if I can learn to
    quit pointing and clicking
    before watery-eyed restlessness hits
    and ease under covers each night
    trusting that joy will be found in each day.

  28. identity

    Rose Charmer

    She charmed the rose
    As if it were a cobra
    Humming hypnotically
    Weaving her shears
    Among the thorns
    Avoiding their bite

    With a skilled clip
    She claimed the prize
    The subdued rose
    Spread wide its
    Soft, supple neck
    In regal splendor

  29. Benjamin Thomas


    How to keep you close

    Slip you a kiss

    Sport your countenance

    let all things run amiss

    Clutch you tight

    Listen to your cry

    Efface each tear

    And tell you why

    Because of dire love

    To thee I wed

    Our hearts inflamed

    And the embers fled

    Your love covers me

    Just as mine covers you

    Multiplied, reproduced

    Kid one, kid two

    Can’t stop the madness

    Nor quench this craze

    Simply content with gladness

    Hung on your gaze

    Only to keep you closer

    Soak you in slowly

    Til permeated

    And slip you a kiss

  30. ValerieO


    An English teacher
    Elevates one hand
    Modeling the silent signal
    Most ignore it
    One mimics the gesture
    Another walks to the trash can
    Spits out gum
    Someone is wiggling now
    They chatter loudly
    Her eyes sing the blues
    Waits to educate
    Broaden urban minds with knowledge

    1. PressOn

      This haiku works for me. Haikus are difficult for me, and most don’t “work,” in my limited understanding anyway. This one does, though, and would do so even without a title. I’m impressed.

      1. Amy

        Thanks. I have never written a haiku before so I wasn’t sure if this one would be any good. I struggled with the title and still don’t really like it but someone pointed out to me that I rarely title my poems so I left it. I like your idea of no title though for this one.

  31. Carl

    Lessons on Madness and Flow

    Rolling back, go gentle,
    pray with the blackbirds
    as they scatter to the soft

    trees, trees bending graciously
    with bright air, and remember
    the leaves are moving for you,

    so move with them and when
    particles of evil come after you
    fast and hard, duck down on a

    slight bend and feel the energy
    as yours, and if someone greets
    you, smile at the beauty of being

    there and remember those knives
    from people who don’t know you
    are false, and dig with integrity

    to live as you wish, and this I tell
    myself, each day, trying to be
    the man I want to be someday.

  32. DanielAri


    Imagine The Three Stooges’ Larry Fine,
    the curly haired one, as a loveable
    gentleman with enthusiastic eyes.
    Even when I was a kid and babbling,
    he’d look at me like the shiniest dime.

    I can see the mensch now, unshakeable
    in the fertile bedrock of family line—
    and his seven kids, equally stable,
    so that when I talked, they paid attention;
    and when I grew I recognized the signs

    of traditional Jewish compassion,
    the transplant’s sensed duty to share the bread.
    Pre-nuclear family American
    head of a larger household wherein heads
    put together the meals on the table—

    food for the city, haven for the child.
    Whatever I said, Uncle Mickey smiled.

  33. Catherine Lee

    How to Grow Roses

    Throw away the gloves
    and get used to the feel
    of dirt in your wounds.
    There will be blood.
    Why else would
    you plant roses?

    You need the thorns
    to make your toil worthy,
    to mark your very skin
    with piercing significance.
    The beauty of the bloom
    is birthed in the sting.

  34. THEGingerSass

    “How to Write a Job Rejection for a Job You Haven’t Been Offered”

    Step one-
    Are you sure you don’t want the job?
    If there’s even an inkling of potential
    that you may one day find yourself
    wanting this source of employment
    If you are certain you are not meant
    to be one
    with the job, proceed to

    Step two-
    were you told to call the interviewer back?
    Were you given any indication that he or she
    liked you?
    If not, don’t bother proceeding further.
    You’ve been rejected.
    If they seemed to like you
    even the littlest bit, proceed to

    Step two point five-
    Call the interviewer back.
    If you’re lucky, you’ll get his or her voicemail.
    If not, you’ll have to
    of hiring you at this establishment.
    Either way, it helps to script things out
    before your phonecall, which takes us back to

    Step two and one-quarter-
    Write down what you would say in two scenarios…
    but first make sure you have the basic BS down.
    “Hello Mr. or Ms. So-and-so. My name is (your name here).
    Today’s date is blahblahblah,
    and I interviewed at (the place) on (the date you interviewed).
    You had asked me to call you back today…?”
    Rejection staring you in the face?
    Suck it up, take a shot, and say,
    “Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
    I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally appreciate it.
    Have a wonderful rest of your day!”
    Kill ‘em with kindness.
    They actually want you?
    Well, now you’re an asshole, huh?
    “Thank you so much for this opportunity,
    and for considering my application.
    (Translates to: I’m about to serve you a bunch of cheesy BS.)
    However, since I spoke to you last,
    an opportunity has presented itself with
    (something something blahhhh),
    and I would like to withdraw my application.
    I really appreciate your consideration.
    Good luck with your search for a (whatever you are)!”

    Step three- read.
    Do not deviate.
    Unless, of course, you get a voicemail.
    Then it is perfectly okay to say,
    “I’m sorry I missed you!”
    while thinking,
    “Thank freaking GAWD”
    because you didn’t want to face rejection
    while serving the interviewer a pile of rejection.

    Step four-
    Breathe again.
    Try not to laugh as you say,
    “If you have any questions or concerns,
    please don’t hesitate to give me a call back.”
    Because, as you might anticipate,
    they will NOT be calling you back.
    This is what you want, right?
    If not, refer back to step one and recall–
    it’s too late to go back,
    instead you must move on to

    Step five-
    Write a poem
    highlighting the ridiculousness
    of this hypothetical scenario
    and continue searching for a job,
    not living in a dream world
    where you get to call the shots
    because, afterall,
    you are owned by The Man…
    whoever the Hell that may be.

  35. cam45237

    The Spreadsheet

    We can fix the formulas
    And calculate correctly
    It’s not hard , just

    First open the program
    Don’t be afraid of all the tiny boxes and
    All the big numbers
    You can magnify if you must.

    Enter data here
    Yes, like that
    Wait, no. No
    Don’t click there
    What are you thinking?
    Did I tell you to click?
    Stop clicking!
    Go back! No, I said back!

    What did you click now?
    What do you mean you don’t know how you got here?
    What did you do with my data?
    Where is my data?
    Please tell me you didn’t hit “save”?
    You hit “save”?
    You hit save.

    Well. You did learn how to magnify.
    You made the problem bigger.

  36. Rora Nyx

    How to be a Businesswoman

    First step is to get a degree
    Then grow some thicker skin
    Put on nylons and high heels
    Then let your life begin.

    Next buy the Wall Street Journal
    Flip through it as if you care
    Buy a watch, shape your nails
    Whiten teeth, spray your hair.

    You’ll be on call around the clock
    So get a Bluetooth and other sleek stuff
    You can use to stay in touch with work
    And your kids you won’t see enough.

    Review the latest slides and SKUs
    Report ROI to the CLT
    Drum up the greatest CTA
    Approve the RFP with SMEs.

    For fun socialize over wine
    Oh yes, it matters what you get
    Talk sports with men, fashion with women
    Take up running if you haven’t yet.

    Smile when you’re at wits end
    Say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’
    Wherever they want to send you next
    Hop on that plane and go.

    Buy a house and then another
    A car that speeds and zooms
    Then leave that all behind at home
    In lieu of lonely hotel rooms.

    Coat your world in a plastic sheen
    Let your spirit cower and hide
    Accept that this is how things are
    Ignore the hollowness that’s inside

    Learn to be a businesswoman
    Yes, you’ll love every bit
    Training is easy, the life is great

    In fact, there’s nothing to it.

  37. maggzee


    Disconnect the blinkers
    You will never use them
    Or leave the left one always on
    To frustrate and confuse them

    Bob and weave in heavy jams
    Text on your phone, drive drunk
    Or draft the car in front of you
    By driving in their trunk

    But if you like to stay in place
    It’s best that you remain
    And drive as slowly as you can
    In the passing lane

    Race to stoplights, drive too fast
    For the conditions of the season
    Make sudden u-turns, pass on the right
    Stop for no real reason

    If you can cut off any car
    And tailgate with no mercy
    You have learned all that you need
    for driving in New Jersey

  38. clarior

    How Not To Write a Sestina

    So, you think maybe you’d like to write a sestina?
    Why? Haven’t you any better way to get it done
    than to drag it through a form considered torture
    best left to university lit profs who know only to
    call it homework? As if it might feel at all like home
    bedding down on a road where it’s easy to lose count
    of your miles, until you realize you’ve gone too far

    to turn around. Except if you’ve made it this far
    then why stop now, right? Alright, then, a sestina,
    if we positively must. These stanzas won’t count,
    we know, which is precisely why we’ll’ve done
    it like this. If nothing else, it’s a good way to
    honor the one who showed us how. She’s home
    now, but not above an unholy spell of tickle torture

    such as we deserve. And what better tool for torture
    than twisted poetics? Superior to rhyme by far,
    more devious than metaphor, hits closer to home
    than sound meter! Like penance, the sestina
    purifies the muse’s tongue of all it’s ever done
    naturally, since poetic nature has a tendency to
    incite the basest passions. So don’t make it count

    unless you’re damned already. OK, then, first count
    out your ending words. No, wait—first off, torture
    your head into a knot, in circles that’ll bend back to
    nothing but mindless muttering, over and over, far
    off from hoping to get anywhere. Your sestina
    ought not expect any more than to have been done
    for the sheer hell of it. Make like that hell’s your home,

    and you’re halfway there. Make that hell your home
    and your ending words come easy. Now count
    backward, upside down, with each ending done
    like each other ending. So exquisite, the torture
    of sound and sense! Wind it tight as high, as far
    as insanity’s own lunacy. Now line your sestina
    up as straight as any shrink would want it to.

    Poof!—like any poetic dogma, that’s all there’s to
    having one of these antiques in your very own home
    like a hollow god. Bless us, O saints of the sestina!
    For you, who knows?—yours might even count
    enough to get read a time or two, so as to torture
    someone other than you. If yours gets that far,
    stop! Put your pen down. Call your creation done.

    Resist the impulse to cry out, “I could have done
    something worthy, something to give attention to,
    something that might last, might carry us far
    beyond our far dreams, then still see us back home,
    something that might not be waste, might count
    for something more.” Has this not been torture
    enough? All else’d be vanity, save the sestina.

    Assignment—Count our endings, on up to
    six, then just as far back. When all done,
    relive your own torture, then bring it on home:
    Give us a sestina.)

    1. Marie Elena

      Mighty impressive! The very word makes my muse run for cover.

      Brings to mind the master of the form, Walter Wojtanik. A while back, I told him he should write a sestina on writing a sestina. He whipped out magnificence in like 30 minutes. Sheeesh…

  39. PassionateQuill

    “How to Forgive”

    Take a deep breath and
    look at the humanity and
    brokenness and frailty out of which
    most of mankind functions.

    Think back on the foolish acts
    and words and thoughts and hurt
    that you have caused unintentionally,
    or even on purpose.

    Wonder at the grace of those who
    have overlooked, looked on, or looked beyond
    your own imperfections and weaknesses
    and then…

    Let the words come out of your mouth
    let your body agree
    and soon enough,
    you at least, will be free.


  40. Linda Voit

    The Good Egg Test

    Pour water into any glass
    that’s at least six inches deep
    and wider than
    the egg in question

    Stop pouring when the glass is
    three-quarters full or so

    Between middle finger
    and thumb
    gently pick up the egg
    and release it
    into the water

    If it sinks
    it’s a good egg

    If it floats
    it’s not

    and when they ask
    how you learned this
    you can say
    I learned it from a poem

  41. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Oğretmenim: Turkish for “I’m a Teacher”

    Relentless rain and turgid mud … a bus?
    without a thousand students hanging out?
    “Bir taksi” several Turkish women fussed.
    One turned to me. Another gave a shout
    to hail a cab, but what could I discuss?
    I had few words in Turkish I could tout
    except “Oğretmenim.” It won respect –
    I left the rain to ride with them. Perfect.

  42. bellsnwhistles

    How To Say Goodbye

    Smile for pictures,
    even when everything inside you is screaming.
    Play games with your little sister;
    remind her she is loved.
    Hug your parents;
    assure them they’re the best.
    Wait for sunset
    and make your quiet exit.
    Be sure to leave a note
    so they know it’s not their fault.

  43. omavi

    “How to listen to …”

    Stretch your mind until
    You can’t just sense but feel it
    So deeply that your internal organs
    Develop molecular vibrations in
    Sync with the very fabric of reality

    Open all pores
    Until the taste of the cosmos
    Feeds your soul until you feel
    Bloated not like a full meal but
    Like the fullness of tantric serenity

    See the reverberations as they play
    The air like the cherub creating a perfect heaven
    From the imperfect harp’s strings
    Until not only do ears feast
    But body constantly orgasms from it

  44. profal29

    Conciseness Increase

    I stand in front of twenty or so
    to pass my knowledge
    for them grow

    it doesn’t matter who they are
    where they’re from
    or if they’re scarred

    I teach the knowledge I have gained
    to those who attended
    that is the game

    I am there as their eyepiece
    into the world I see
    for them, carry in their valise…

    Conciseness Increase

  45. LCaramanna

    How To Impress Your English Teacher On Monday

    Swagger into sixth period class early –
    BEFORE the clock strikes twelve.
    Slide into a front row seat,
    Smile and ask: So, how was your weekend?
    Maintain eye contact and hear the answer.
    Silence cell phone out of sight in backpack side pocket.
    Place TWO pointy pencils on the desk,
    Display completed homework assignment alongside.
    Open notebook to fresh page, write date in cursive,
    If it is an April Monday, compose a poem.
    Ignore antics of class clowns,
    Sit up straight, participate,
    Ask what’s for homework BEFORE the clock strikes 12:42’s
    Time to leave
    A lasting impression.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  46. BDP

    “How to Watch Mallards”

    Avoiding’s hard. Our river is their street.
    Not to watch them glide, a bigger challenge.
    Besides I’d miss them. Placid, trusting, sweet
    babies, ten, while mimicking the hen’s plunge
    from bank to water, plop down, bob with squeaks
    so angst-filled they’re a high-pitched duckling grunge.
    Nevermind, the drake is hungry. When the girl
    proffers bread, they’re friends, her pig-tails to his curl.

    B Peters

  47. HandHeldWriter

    I lay you out as I gaze upon your texture,
    And marvel at your extreme softness.

    I spread you wide as I crave your chunky pleasure,
    And imagine the taste of your creamy goodness.

    I slap it on hard as you shake and jiggle,
    And lick your stickiness left on my fingertips.

    I cover you gently as you ooze in the middle,
    And pull you in close against my tender lips.

    A nibble. A bite.
    Then I devour you like that!

    I think. I might.
    Need another helping of this mid-day snack.

  48. jacobpmcg

    Prep an Injection

    Never say “you’re going blind,”
    or “you’re hopeless, the treatment isn’t working.”
    Instill the eyedrops while the patient looks
    at the opposite wall, at the lion, or at the window
    or their sister, father, husband, mistress, nothing.

    Give four drops over the course
    of twenty minutes, that is enough, the cornea is thin
    but not worn away, not so thin that the patient
    will rub their eye and tear it further, until it bleeds
    under the conjunctiva, until the blood vessels spiderweb
    and the eye becomes a beacon of agony.

    Start at the adnexa with the iodine swab,
    twist it like a tiny pirouette spun by tiny feet
    until the mucus is pulled from the eye
    like hairs squeezed and tugged perfectly from the nose,
    like scabs pulled from the wounds they protect,
    pull out the mucus to the music.
    Circle around the eye with iodine until
    the brown circle is perfect and it touches
    the cheek and the brow.

    Hold the patient’s chin
    while the doctor presses the needle
    against the cornea, as the eye bulges
    as the needle pierces the eye
    as the patient winces
    as the doctor strips off his gloves
    as he pats their leg
    and leaves the room.

  49. missjoyce

    How to Let Me Go

    When you get home
    walk to your living area
    where we spent
    beautiful afteroons
    and take down my
    picture by the
    please don’t
    tear it up.
    I smiled so dearly
    just for you.

    Proceed to the
    kitchen where
    we used to have
    our meals and
    open the cupboard
    and take my mug
    away from your
    please don’t
    break it.
    I’ve spent
    many mornings
    kissing it.

    Then go to your room
    and open
    your closet
    where I used to
    hide while
    we played
    and get the
    old brown shoe box
    of my scribbles.
    Crawl into bed
    and scatter those
    papers around you.
    Let me embrace you.
    Close your eyes
    and listen:
    I didn’t want to leave
    but I had to
    and you
    should let me go now,
    please don’t
    forget me
    I’ll miss you

  50. catlover

    The word instruction
    Reminds me of structure
    As in the manner of organization
    And I have very little of that

    I find contentment
    In my organized disaster
    of a life I have chosen to live

    Although proper instructions
    On how to create order
    Among the chaos
    Would be appreciated

  51. IrisD

    How To Be A Grandma
    Open arms for big hugs
    Clap at all their exploits
    Be available often
    Fix their favorite food
    Laugh at all their jokes
    Sit on floor side by side
    Open arms for big hugs

  52. Julieann

    Sunday Morning Mayhem
    (Or instructions on what not to do on Sunday morning)

    Quietly the organ begins to play
    It is time for peace, reverence
    And to pray

    Friends whisper, almost silently
    Quietly, barely speaking
    Notes play softly

    Older folks, hard of hearing
    Carry on their conversations
    Are they cheering?

    Week after week, the dance goes on
    The music and conversations war
    Neither has won

    Till at last, in total frustration
    The organist stops the battle
    Granny shouts so brazen


  53. keithdozier

    How To Be Selfish


    by : Keith Dozier

    I will do what I want,

    Whenever I want.

    I’ll be happy at your expense,

    Whatever the cost.

    I won’t even consider,

    All that could be lost.

    I’ll take what I want,

    From anyone in my way.

    I’ll listen to nobody,

    No matter what they may say.

    I’ll come out on top,

    Everyone is below me.

    No matter how shallow,

    One may think this victory.

    When all this has happened,

    And, I’m feeling so empty.

    I will be unhappy if I want to,

    And nobody will tempt me–

    To listen to a real friend

    Who’s been here before.

    I’ll be unhappy just as long

    As I want to and more.

  54. Marie Elena

    Waking with Schizoaffective

    It matters not if the sun is up or down or drowned in the mud puddle beside the flat tire, just as you suspected. Never mind that sleep was fitful at best, and the voices would not let you rest even in the sporadic moments when your eyes may or may not have been closed. Rise and resign. Don your shades, and try to ignore the blepharospasms that make you functionally blind. Shake off the stares – the judging glares and under-breath slurs from those of us who could never deal with a moment in your skin, never mind a lifetime.

    (To my lovely daughter, who seeks daily to make the best of good moments, and fight through the muck.)

  55. Dini

    Surviving Teen Years
    (for Rose who turns 13 today)

    Changes will come, but
    Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
    When happy,
    Give God thanks and praise.
    When uncertain,
    Ask God for wisdom.
    When worried, remember that He is
    “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
    When fearful, God says,
    “fear not for I am with you.
    And always,
    “And whatever you do, in word or deed,
    do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
    giving thanks to God the Father through Him. “

      1. Dini

        Thank you for your support. This is for my granddaughter who has been having a difficult year. I wrote her a letter this morning, hoping to encourage her with some of the same ideas I included in this poem.

  56. Dini

    How to Can Tomatoes

    The Equipment:
    Drag canner out of hiding place in basement.
    Purchase new jar lids and rings if needed.
    Place jars in dishwasher at hottest cycle.
    Get canning book down from highest shelf.

    Fruit Preparation:
    Select only those of purest, finest red.
    Place each carefully into basket, bruising none.
    Wash thoroughly while handling gently.
    Lay out to dry on clean, folded towels.

    The Process:
    Watch Mom, not forgetting to compliment her skill,
    nor to express your appreciation.

  57. carolecole66

    This is How You Lose Her
    apologies to Junot Diaz

    First shave your legs. When she looks at you,
    eyebrows raised, explain that athletes do this
    often–for speed. When she laughs, assure her
    you’ll begin to train tomorrow. A triathlon.
    Act offended.

    Try on her panty hose when you think
    she isn’t home. Get caught. Later, offer
    to take the dog for his walk. You have never
    walked the dog. Ask where the leash is stored.

    When she asks if the jeans make her ass
    look big, say “yes.” Tell her you thought
    she wanted to know. When she packs
    her bags and stands waiting by the door, say
    she was never woman enough to keep you.

  58. SidraQ

    How to Open a Door

    1. Remove key from the hiding place
    2. Wipe off the dust, blow away cobwebs
    3. Notice the shape of the key
    (3.1 is it old? Skeletal? Doors with this type of lock are heavy, hard to open without great resistance)
    4. Put the key in the rusty keyhole, turn
    (4.1 resist the urge to peer through; no matter what you glimpse, it won’t prepare you)
    5. Once you hear the clink of turning gears, you’re almost there
    (5.1 don’t worry if you can’t turn the key on the first try; struggle is part of the process)
    (5.2 remember the door has been closed for a long time)
    6. After the clink, remove the key, put it in your pocket, pat it under the folds of cloth, make sure it’s safe
    7. Place your hand on the knob
    (7.1 It may feel hot; your sweaty palm may slide off)
    (7.2 Take a deep breath, try again until you can grasp it without too much shaking)
    8. Turn the knob
    (8.1 remember to breathe)
    9. When you’re ready, pull open the door
    (9.1 cover your eyes, look through slotted fingers at first; it’s easier this way)
    (9.2 as you’re able, drop your hands)
    10. Look inside
    (10.1 See the half-dressed doll with one arm, the red tricycle turned on its side, the pink flowered sheets of your old twin bed)
    (10.2 Smell chocolate chop cookies, sweat)
    (10.3 Hear the school bell ringing and what sounds like the grunts of some animal)
    11. Don’t run
    (11.1 if you stay on this side of the threshold, you’re safe, it only feels like you’re being sucked back in time)
    12. Remember your hiding place
    (12.1 you can always return there with the key)

  59. De Jackson

    Manual Labors

    I’m following the directions,
    but they’re not going anywhere.
    (“Parts A and B” have objections.)
    I’m following the directions,
    but I can’t make these connections.
    I’ve got 376 pieces left, and no time to spare.
    I’m following the directions,
    but they’re not going anywhere.

    1. PressOn

      This reminds me, of all things, of changing a fan belt on a mid-1950s MGA. The steps to do that didn’t work, so the engine had to be removed. The shop manual led me through the steps to do that, to the point when it said that the engine should lift out smoothly. It didn’t; the whole car lifted instead. I concluded that people who write manuals for British cars must be liars.

  60. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz

    How to Plant

    Choose the coldest day
    in the not-so-spring-like
    month of May, about
    mid-afternoon, but only
    when clouds are already
    building over the distant
    Rocky Mountains and
    the wind has begun to
    blow with a unique,
    unnerving ferocity. Only
    then, begin to plan and
    subsequently plant
    the family garden. It
    wouldn’t matter so much
    if the plot was smaller,
    but seventy-five by fifty
    feet (not really a squared
    rectangle, but we pretend
    so we can pound stakes
    and hoe the rows in
    straight-ish lines)
    is really very beg,
    especially when, for the
    first time since February,
    the forecast says snow.

  61. Opel D Hell

    the step not taken


    how to
    bridge the gap
    between what is given and what is asked…

    where is the manual for this?

  62. Yolee

    Found Shoe Box Letter

    Dear Dreams of my Man June, 2, 1969

    I hope there is enough country for your mornings,
    that where light gives, the coffers of nature
    will enchant your viewpoint. But I selfishly hope
    you are not thriving alone- that is without me.
    Do you remember when our journey turned against
    independence? An internal compass pointed quietly.
    We were too far out, too green, or both to get off the bus
    and get happenin with love. Pages, staring blankly at poets
    fluttered out of windows, and shadows boarded our bearings.
    I imagine, much like instructions scattered near a Christmas
    tree, we didn’t always take time to read each other and re-read
    how to assemble married life peace by piece.
    Let’s follow only our heart’s smoke signals. Groovy?


  63. RJ Clarken

    How to Catch a Star

    “…indeed, star differs from star in glory.” ~Unknown

    To catch a star, to hold a dream…
    It’s secretly what we’d all will.
    A bit of hope. A magic thrill.
    Into this mix? A fairy theme

    replete with sugar and sweet cream.
    Write, “I do wish ___” with your charmed quill.
    It’s secretly what we’d all will.
    To catch a star, to hold a dream…

    …some sparkles fly. They’re all agleam.
    A flying fish and whippoorwill
    say, “Here’s the secret to fulfill
    your destiny: there’s no grand scheme
    to catch a star, to hold a dream.


  64. DanielAri

    I had a bad dream last night :(
    “Post-apocalypse for dummies”

    Food and water. Guard them with guns,
    which are plentiful and loaded.
    For Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
    patrolled by two boys, ten years old,
    open your mouth and walk right up.

    Some kids might not shoot if beseeched
    by an old man with six orphans.
    Make your fort far above the ground.
    You’ll need a swing set to get in.
    Postcard blockhouses in the sun

    wait nervously while mobs of men
    rock and topple the clock tower.
    Sip water and watch. The children
    are quiet with their vantage view.
    People are living on the bridge.

    The honeybees became too few.
    Now there’s not a lot we can do.

  65. MeenaRose

    How To Walk Away
    By: Meena Rose

    Gather memories;
    Sift happy from sad;
    Label boxes clearly;
    Do yourself a favor,
    Avoid making a Pandora’s Box.

    Allow bitter to be diluted
    With sweet;
    Be present in the moment
    For that final goodbye;
    Shed your tears before then.

    Every exit is a destination;
    You are allowed to embrace it –
    With fascination;
    Wounds heal and scars fade;
    Nothing ever disappears.

    Let hurt erode –
    A tithe already paid;
    Let joy bloom –
    A tithe for what’s to come;
    That’s right, time to start walking.

  66. ewdupler

    Motherly Wisdom

    It is not good to make a mess.
    I’ll get upset and then you’ll see,
    That listening now is for the best:
    First pick it up, and then you pee,
    And when you’re done, you might have guessed,
    The seat goes down; It’s best for me.
    And don’t forget to wipe it clean.
    For wet spots, I am not so keen!

  67. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    ADHD Bangs

    My eyebrows suffer
    from jumping impulsivity,
    spasms that show
    my surprise or distain,
    and I have yet to learn
    how to hide
    my imperfection.

    It would be
    so much easier
    for me to heal
    if you
    took your

    And could you
    do it before
    I pull out
    all my hair?

  68. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write an “ottava rima” – an eight line poem in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme ABABABCC. So here’s my “instructional ottava rima”:

    Accounting for Spring

    First, itemize your income, enter here,
    then take a walk, admire daffodils.
    Then come back in and pour yourself a beer,
    and find deductions: mortgage, doctor bills.
    Then go back out – the day’s so warm and clear,
    forget 1040’s – look at these green hills.
    Yes, April is the cruelest month, it’s true,
    its beauty peaks when I have taxes due.

  69. uneven steven

    How to cut an apple pie
    and by cutting an apple pie
    I mean saying I love you

    First, start with the freshest
    of ingredients – nothing too
    saucy if you catch my
    and you’ll need the proper tool,
    nothing too dull or too
    old but still with an
    edge, something still
    a little pity here
    would not be totally
    and the right place
    to put it –
    containment just
    doesn’t sound romantic
    a presentation platter
    is all about appearances
    and showing off for
    others –
    no, after all,
    the damn cutting really
    isn’t that important,
    I would take you messy fingers,
    smeared chin, plate licking and all,
    each so delicious to the other,
    each eating each other forever
    not two snakes
    but two apples in the shiny eye
    of some hungry god
    happily baking us
    into this
    one good

  70. Raina Masters

    Lessons on blending in with the crowd

    Keep your head down, always down.
    Never make eye contact, never acknowledge
    people who say hello, pretend you’re on
    your cell phone in the middle of a heated
    conversation with absolutely no one.

    Wear an unflattering, but unspectacular hat.
    Anything flashy will bring attention to yourself.

    Don’t make those “Look at me! Look at me!” posts
    on your Twitter or Facebook. In fact, don’t even
    join Facebook. It implies that you have friends.
    Just tweet from time to time. Mindless, unspecific
    things about food, about the weather.
    Leave only one picture of yourself online.
    One without makeup, one without a smile.

    Stare off into the hazy sky and act like you’re
    not bothered by the man trailing you saying,
    “Miss? Miss?” Pretend you’re dealing with something
    traumatic and say, “I can’t” a lot.

    Use drive through windows for your morning latte,
    order quickly, take the drink even if it’s wrong.

    Never give a sympathetic look. Ever.

  71. Earl Parsons

    Breakfast Haiku

    Peel some potatoes
    Cut them small and heat the oil
    Home fries are the best

    Crack a couple eggs
    Heat the pan, add ham and cheese
    Don’t burn your omelet

    Bacon pan is hot
    Hear the sizzle, smell the smell
    You like yours crispy

    Pop goes the toaster
    Whole grain wheat toast and butter
    How about some jam

    Coffee on the brew
    That morning shot of caffeine
    Sugar, cream, or black

    Low fat milk or juice
    You gotta wash this feast down
    Everything smells great

    Thank God for the food
    It tastes better when it’s blessed
    He’s so good to us.

  72. Brian Slusher


    First, get a strong roughage
    in your blind, a picture
    you can’t increase from your
    mummery: this puncture
    will guide the fighting
    of your comb.

    Next, write a quack drift
    without addicting, letting
    your nerds flow onto
    the rage without jugs rent.

    Now go blech and cut any
    cartilage that seems unoriginal
    or toupee, taking great
    scare to use infective
    line bakes. Read your
    pope out shroud, listening
    for the unique airsick
    it breaks.

    Finally, gripe your bomb up,
    stick it in a cantaloupe, and
    send it to a quality litter
    rarely infernal. Enjoy the
    grime and boredom your
    crumb brings you, and all
    those sham udders from
    your many revolted bleeders!

    1. PressOn

      This calls to my mind a long-ago performer named Al Kelly, famous for his doubletalk. A true son of Aaron. This is such fun to read and re-read.

  73. uneven steven

    How to cut an apple pie
    and by cutting an apple pie
    I mean saying I love you

    First, start with the freshest
    of ingredients – nothing too
    saucy if you catch my
    and you’ll need the proper tool,
    nothing too dull or too
    old but still with an
    edge, something still
    a little pity here
    would not be totally
    and the right place
    to put it –
    containment just
    doesn’t sound romantic
    a presentation platter
    is all about appearances
    and showing off for
    others –
    no, after all,
    the damn cutting really
    isn’t that important,
    I would take you messy fingers,
    smeared chin, plate licking and all,
    each so delicious to the other,
    each eating each other forever
    not two snakes
    but two apples in the shiny eye
    of some hungry god
    happily baking us
    into this
    one good


  74. Rhae

    First, Mr Brewer your seveling yesterday sounded a bit like me, minus one cat. Touching. Thank You.

    ‘To Proceed’

    rule no.1 – there are no rules
    be benevolent in your doings
    exceed in high standards for all that is done
    rule self with an iron fist
    yet steady with a soft heart,

    take ample precautions
    while releasing and receiving love,

    writing positivity is life manifesting into
    a world of all possible wonders,
    yes I do believe.


  75. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Being with Wolves

    At a recent wolf sanctuary,
    Our tour included,
    Viewing each animal,
    Up close,
    In their enclosures,
    Careful instructions given,
    On how to be with any,
    Unknown wolf,
    For the first time!
    Show the wolf respect,
    Allow the visit to go their way,
    Don’t impose human ideas of how to handle them,
    Put open palms towards them,
    Allow the animal to approach us.
    Stay calm.
    What they didn’t say,
    What no one asked,
    Not a single mention of,
    Clarity in their eyes,
    Depth of each animal,
    Revealing their keen intelligence . . .

    Connecting their very soul to ours!

  76. lionmother

    How to Stay Married for 47 Years

    First find someone who you must have
    Like that pair of shoes that called to you
    Like the yearning for a dream
    Someone whose presence lights your world
    With whom you could spend forever

    Spend time with him and nurture your
    madness with silliness and sex
    and let it blossom until the two of
    you hardly know each other’s edges

    Move around a lot, because of one
    or the other’s needs and never put
    down roots in one place until
    you find yourself with little ones

    Then move to a lawned area where
    they can spread their baby feet and
    mingle with the fresh grass as they
    grow into the adults they will become

    Nurture these children and give
    them strength of iron to overcome
    their problems and hold and protect
    them when their world becomes too much

    Let them fly away to pursue their
    dreams and welcome them back
    when they need shelter
    keeping them safe from the
    terrors of the outside world

    Careen through too many illnesses
    for one person to count and emerge
    each time a little stronger
    with love like cement
    holding you fast

    Notice the differences
    How the hair has thinned
    and must be combed over
    The many scars that have
    accumulated over the once
    treasured body

    Stay, because leaving
    would bring too much pain
    and anyway, who knows you better?
    Stay, because he is the one
    and always will be no matter
    if the thread has thinned it is
    still there and holding you

    Look around and suddenly
    it’s ever after and maybe it
    hasn’t been so happy, but
    you’ve certainly had your ride.

  77. taylor graham


    You’ve got a saddle with no girth. Your mare is spooky
    and high-strung. The trail is just a thread
    suspended above earth, with rimrock overhung,

    crumbling. Any way around, there’s not a tree
    to grab, no rope to tie, you’re miles away from solid
    ground, just hanging onto mane, sky-high.

    You’ve done this ride last night, last Tuesday, Friday
    and the night before. You’ll wake up in a sweat from fright.
    You’ll dream this mare forevermore….

    Hey, all things are possible in dream.
    Lean to the stride and hang on tight. Our selves are better
    than they seem. Believe your wings, and you’re in flight.

  78. julie e.


    Have children.
    Stumble along trying not to make all the same mistakes as your parents.
    Add a scoop of your own unique mistakes to the mix.
    Save for their future therapy.
    Shake well.
    Yields 1 family,
    keeping the “fun” in dysfunctional.

  79. Adriana Dascalu

    Writing Haiku

    writing a haiku
    the when, the where and the what…
    kireji and words

    in two images,
    only seventeen syllables –
    a haiku moment

    kireji and words,
    the when, the where and the what…
    writing a haiku

  80. Lindy

    Front-Facing Dirty Laundry

    It took me two years
    to master the beasts…

    Heavy items first
    smaller on top
    measure carefully
    no soaking or dying
    6 out of 32 options
    press start
    sounds like a rocket taking off

    Clear the filter
    transfer from first
    any order
    insert a sheet
    5 of 27 options
    press start
    can barely hear it at all

    …and pay the last bill
    to claim them both mine!

  81. Deri

    How to Come Home to Heartbreak

    First, open the door and breath in
    the still and empty silence
    of a home now half filled.

    Next, look carefully at the
    hastily scrawled note
    on the cluttered and dusty
    coffee table: “I’m not all the way out yet.”
    (Double check that it is his chicken feet and ink scratching)

    Third, force your concrete feet
    up the stairs,
    pulling at every sucking step.
    It helps to avoid
    making eye contact with your dog
    who has already
    spent the afternoon crying at the window.

    Now, inventory the almost empty
    spare room — the one he had first escaped to —
    taking care to stoop and pick up every
    forgotten scrap of paper.
    Tuck in your pocket
    the crumpled receipt from that last movie
    you saw together, sitting
    in comfortable darkness,
    head on steady shoulder.

    Fifth, walk back down to a
    living room now foreign and guilty.
    Allow your jellied legs to give way, sinking
    into his favorite chair.
    (Whispering “why” to the walls is optional at this point.)

    Finally, don’t move for several hours.

    The waiting is the most delicious part.

  82. Kate Leen


    First, you must empathize.
    I know, it’s hard when he’s red-faced and screaming,
    Hopping from foot to foot like that. But see?
    He broke the Lego car. It took twenty minutes
    To get it just right with the trailer and the passenger seats
    And the nozzle in case of fire.
    So, you sit down when you really feel like
    Going upstairs, doing the dishes, leaving behind
    His manic dance.
    And the words will come, mechanical at first
    But comforting. And he will slump over to you
    And lean his head on your shoulder.
    Then, you can begin again.

  83. carinda

    how to clean a car

    when the kid gets carsick
    and projectiles hurls on himself, his carseat and yours
    you first take care of the child
    comfort shower hold

    waiting for him to feel better

    you thank the stars that you are not a single parent
    when your partner goes out to clean out the first part
    and starts the laundry

    then you curse the gods
    as you scrub at the upholstery with nothing but
    spray cleaner and a handful of cloths

    holding your breath the whole time

    hoping that the kid is well
    and you can get the smell out before morning
    knowing that you can’t

    giving in quickly, after doing your best
    searching for a detailer that cleans the carpet at 1am
    watching the seconds tick by at breakfast
    waiting for the 8am opening to call

    hoping for room in the schedule
    praying for a chance for a clean car

    holding your breath for the drive
    holding your stomach in place

    handing over the key to a man that sighs
    “how bad is it?” with a look of mild fear on his face

  84. suzibee


    Watch all the videos
    Read all the books
    Go to obedience classes
    Call in the animal communicators
    Treat! Treat! Treat! Treat!
    or as
    one trainer called it –
    Give out the JACKPOT
    And what do you get when you mix all that?
    Two rat terriers
    smarter than their human….
    Dogs who know
    how to get treats by hook or by crook
    And LOTS of tricks!
    …but not the kind you want (SIGH)

  85. finallyhereiam

    You Choose

    Despair for Hope, Darkness for Light- believe, smile
    Bad for Good, Rude for Kind- understand, listen
    Unfair for Fair, Sad for Happy- follow, try
    Cowardice for Courage, Greed for Contentment- fan, satiate
    Lie for Truth, Plight for Might- holdfast, resolve
    Flight for Fight, Slight for Right- lead, reason

    Live for these, and you will find, there is Life beyond your daily grind
    Every day, brings in its fold, a bit of rain, Sun, and shine

  86. strrose31

    Have you..

    Have you often stopped and wondered
    Where you should have been by now
    Why the the hands of fate could be so cruel
    About the many times you fell
    Do you ever feel so lonely?
    That there is no one on your side
    Did you ever have one of those days
    Where you just sat down and cried?
    Do you try real hard to find happiness
    But when it’s there you find something wrong
    You don’t take the time to enjoy it
    So it never really last very long
    Do you feel like no one even knows you
    Like you don’t even know who you are
    Are you so lost that you want to give up
    Because you think you’ve already gone to far
    Is the road that you’ve taken the wrong one
    But you can’t admit it out loud
    Can you look at all your accomplishments
    And honestly say that your proud?
    Is there times that you need help
    To get your life back on track
    But that would be admitting your wrong
    And thats something you just can’t hack
    Is the person lying next to you a stranger
    Even though your together everyday
    Is there ever a time that you wonder
    Why he can’t help you find your way?
    Do you fight all the time over nothing
    Or stay quiet when words need to be said
    Do you have your backs to eachother
    At night when you go to bed
    Is all the weight of the world on your shoulders
    And it’s too much to handle on your own
    Do you want to give up on love and life
    In a crowd do you still feel alone
    There are so many different situations
    So many problems that come our way
    But the worst thing you can do about them
    Is to face them “another day”
    Cause that day never comes and this ones gone
    You just wasted a chance to really live
    To smile and laugh, to enjoy what you have,
    accept an apology, or to forgive
    What most people never realize
    Is that time is going by so fast
    You may not get that second chance
    And you can’t relive the past
    Everyone is going through something
    And they all probably feel like you do
    But how will you know if you don’t say a word
    It takes more than one to make it through
    You can’t do it alone so stop trying
    Don’t be afraid to learn from mistakes
    Don’t you want to find the person inside you
    Do you really enjoy being so fake?

  87. Domino

    How to Raise a Rebel

    Show up.
    Have pets.
    Give hugs.
    Learn CPR.
    Laugh. A lot.
    Lead by example.
    Unconditional love.
    Be their superhero.
    Show her museums.
    Take them on vacation.
    Never talk in baby-talk.
    Make him earn that car.
    Watch them in the water.
    Make her think for herself.
    Take time for yourself, too.
    Teach him to follow recipes.
    Challenge his belief system.
    Don’t say, “Because I said so.”
    Let her be sad when she’s sad.
    Make time for one-on-one time.
    Show them how to forgive freely.
    Teach him to do his own laundry.
    Don’t let her show too much skin.
    Punish appropriately to the crime.
    Let her pick the music sometimes.
    Don’t give him everything he wants.
    Give him chores; make him do them.
    Make him sign up for teams or clubs.
    Hold her when she has a broken heart.
    Be willing to compromise occasionally.
    Give her extra money if she works for it.
    Give an allowance, not based on chores.
    They need reasons for things. Give them.
    Never allow the word “hate” to be flung about.
    Let him choose his own clothes, crazy or not.
    Yes, your teenager has to go on vacation, too.
    Stand up for him to his teachers, but be realistic.
    Let them choose their own drinks at McDonalds.
    Have meals together every day, and talk to them.
    Know who their friends are. Invite them to dinner.
    Listen when they’re talking. It could be important.
    Teach them to know what they want and how to get it.
    Talk about your past; they need to know you have one.
    When you criticize people, they learn to be critical too.
    Talk about their future; they need to know they have one.
    If you pay her cell phone bill, she has to answer your calls.
    Teach her to change her own tire and jump start her battery.
    They may complain, but secretly, they want you to be strict.
    Take them to the funeral; they need to know that life is finite.
    Even if you do everything right, sometimes you fail. Forgive yourself.

    Diana Terrill Clark

    1. PressOn

      For me, the line that speaks loudest is “Talk about their future; they need to know they have one.” This whole poem, though, is loaded with common-sense wisdom. Many thanks.

  88. Alpha1

    In Retrospect

    first lesson was strange
    fruit trees
    in Jim Crow’s backyard
    down south
    Chicago’s Em Till
    takin a blow to the mouth
    for freedom
    and justice for all
    the country to become
    a better place
    to live

  89. foodpoet

    Sleeping Beauty Dream Instructions

    Lucid dreaming, remember that is the clue
    The way out of your thorny maze
    Dream of shears and pruning not sword

    Hold on the thought of working princes
    Let him know that yielding shears is manly
    Lucid dreaming, that is your clue

    He can dodge
    He can run but only smarts
    Will win the way out of the thorny maze

    He can weave and stab and lose
    Or snip and prune and parse his way
    Dream of shears and pruning not on sword

  90. burrhead

    If you know where you are
    Do not venture forth
    Until you know where you are going
    Then proceed in that direction
    Make a mark you can see
    Stopping to determine if you still know where you are
    If you don’t
    Follow your markers back to where you were
    Then plot your destination
    Proceed in that direction
    It will lead you up a steep hill
    If the going seems easy
    You are probably off track
    If it is hard
    If the effort required is constant
    If it is raining and cold
    Nobody cares
    No encouragement
    Or recognition
    If you wonder what the use is
    You are on the right path
    Keep going
    Until things don’t look right
    Then stop and figure out where you are
    If you can’t, then go back to the last place you knew
    Follow your compass
    Don’t follow your bliss
    Unless their paths merge
    Look out for that precipitous descent
    Do not cross the river
    At the parlous shore you come to
    Look around
    For a better, safer, calmer, shallow fording
    Don’t grab the branch for balance
    The branch with a bee-hive hanging
    Keep your eyes open
    Know where you are
    Line up the landmarks
    And plot the course to take
    Before you move
    And lose yourself
    In the wilderness

  91. bluerabbit47


    From interior
    chaos, as
    ordered as
    families of
    suns swirling
    toward the dark
    centers of their
    common demise,
    or elementary
    particles somehow
    achieving mass
    within each
    strand of DNA,
    we will structure,
    like a mirroring
    glass tower,
    erected from
    an image
    in an architect’s

  92. De Jackson

    Step One

    It’s the hardest, really. Although
    steps two through twenty-seven
    are no picnic. When the door is
    slammed and you can’t yet see
    the slanted beams coming in through
    the window, you’ll have to sort of
    feel your way over to the light
    switch. It won’t work, but at
    least now you know where your
    walls are. Knock around a bit,
    and listen for the echoes, half
    your fear and find the holes.
    Remember when you stashed
    some paper here, up high? It’s
    time to find it.

    (This part is wet,
    and salty. Bring towels.)

    Step Two:
    Buy yourself
    some vowels:
    oh, you
    and sometimes


    1. DanielAri

      “half / your fear and find the holes.”

      I’m loving wandering around in this poem and the possible ripples of meaning, content and mood.

  93. hcfbutton

    some assembly required

    pictographs with parts
    and people
    in odd positions.
    rotate page
    still nonsensical.
    part A
    slot B
    doesn’t fit.
    not enough pins
    too many pegs.
    had enough of
    that comes in boxes.

    This will be posted on my blog tomorrow… hcfitzpatrick.com

  94. Michelle Hed


    Your arm
    around my waist,
    the other
    under my head.

    Your breath
    in my hair,
    your chest
    against my back.

    Your knees
    bent with mine,
    your feet
    laying in line.

    Your warmth
    a shield against the cold,
    feeling safe I drift off to sleep,
    spooning never gets old.

  95. PoM

    An Instructional poem
    So deep does it grow
    Rooted back in time
    Ancient days gone by
    American Indians
    I have in mind

    Hundreds of languages
    Now not known
    Many forever lost
    Some just asleep
    Many not spoken
    Least a century

    Chitimacha just one
    Now newly awake
    Soon be instructed
    Chitimacha children
    They eagerly await

    With hope of speaking
    Their sleeping tongue
    What ancient poetry
    Will be sung

  96. Glory

    The whiteboard waits, unblemished,
    soon to be invaded by she,
    who with fine strokes, loose scribbles,
    violates its virgin whiteness –
    all for the sake of those intent
    on learning,

  97. silvercchile

    Browsing through new stories
    Placing a trusting hand
    Onto the life of another
    No one else could be like you,
    But it’s better than being the same.
    One life, changes the course of another
    But do not dig too deep a hole, too soon
    Lest you trap yourself inside emotions
    Only let him see parts of you,
    Revealing small blossoms
    That bloom into a full life.
    This is how you let love last a lifetime.

  98. Jane Shlensky

    Riding a Bike in China

    Saturday traffic is a good time
    to be lost in plain view,
    thousands of shoppers out
    to seize the day, shoulder
    to shoulder and peddling
    like a single beast through lights.

    Sometimes among the bicycles,
    an army truck or bus will loom
    farting noxious diesel fumes
    or a woman pushing a baby
    carriage in all that traffic,
    sauntering among a press of spokes.

    How do you manage in that mash?
    my mother asks, knowing
    I ride a shy bike, brave in solitude.
    I practice tunnel vision now,
    narrow as a street ahead. I glide
    and ride between, subtle as breath.

    I find a hole and fill it.

    1. PressOn

      This calls to mind a phrase about pitchers who don’t throw very hard but lull the hitter to sleep, then throw a fastball: “sneaky fast.” Your last line was like that for me. This poem drew a complete picture; very nice job, Thank you.

    2. Nancy Posey

      I ride a shy bike.
      I like that.
      I could almost smell the poem from my memory–walking and merely watching the riders. My clearest memory is a recently live, now limp duck in the rider’s basket.

  99. EbenAt

    Some Assembly Required

    Yes, I know you can’t
    walk in here,
    but I have to lay it out
    to build
    the damn thing!

    OK, ok, this is Side B
    but what the hell
    are these holes?
    The damn tissue paper directions
    don’t show holes!

    Sonofa… What’d I step on?
    Ah, the missing Binding Post!

    What? No it doesn’t call for glue
    Thank you very much, but
    I stepped on the freaking shelf bracket
    the little bastards are plastic!

    “Approximately one hour to assemble” my ass!
    I need a beer!

    Oh, I dunno, a six pack or so, why?
    Well if you sit over here
    And lean a little to the right
    It looks just fine!

  100. Anders Bylund

    How to Waste a Morning
    Dive headlong into something new
    Assume you know what you’re doing
    Never ask for help
    “New and improved” is always better
    Even if it breaks something else
    Six hours later: Back where you started.

  101. Beth Rodgers

    It’s ridiculous how words
    Can form meanings
    That incite ridicule.

    How supervision
    Can lack vision
    And logic
    Can be illogical.

    There are far too many who
    Revile vile and
    Respect disrespect
    Which instills fear
    Rather than the likelihood to lend an ear.

    It’s discouraging that the courage needed
    To regard yourself as strong is guarded against
    By words of hatred – so we must tread lightly
    And manipulate these wrongs before it’s too late.

  102. Connie Peters

    Coot Ideas

    You know that old joke
    about how to cook a coot?

    Stuff the bird with bricks.
    Place in a pot.
    Cook all day.
    Throw away the coot
    and eat the bricks.

    Some poems are like that.
    Start with an idea.
    Add angst, details, memories,
    a simile here, a metaphor there.
    Then delete the original thought.

    Not all concepts are coots,
    but some are.

  103. Andrew Kreider


    A high school class is like a swimming pool
    there’s lots of noise, but very few can swim
    and keeping kids from drowning is your rule.

    So often, you’re a lifeguard at this school,
    this concrete holding-tank, up past its brim.
    A high school class is like a swimming pool –

    the strongest preen and show off on their stool,
    the weak ones flounder at a bully’s whim
    and keeping kids from drowning is your rule.

    Some days, this project makes you feel a fool
    sawing a branch while sitting on the limb.
    A high school class is like a swimming pool;

    You hate it. Wealthy districts make you drool
    when budget cuts make hope for change grow dim,
    and keeping kids from drowning is your rule.

    One senator thinks testing is the tool
    we need. But if he asked, I’d caution him,
    a high school class is like a swimming pool
    and keeping kids from drowning is your rule.

  104. Alphabet Architect

    Endowed Memory

    A frilly handkerchief, my dear,
    like my Grandma’s before Kleenex.
    We cuddled in church
    like you and me.

    Watch its magic…

    Match the corners,
    forming a triangle.
    Roll from each point
    along the folded edge,
    both rolls meeting in the center.
    Peel into two the remaining point,
    forming a cradle out and around
    the two rolls- twin “babies”
    bundled inside.
    Pinch both corners
    and rock the babies
    to your heart’s content.

    Its real magic?

    Cradling five generations-
    bundling you and me, my darling,
    tying you to Great Great Grandma
    smiling from Heaven.

  105. rubyr08

    An Instructional Poem

    How to be human.
    Wake up in the morning, onto your feet.
    Set the pot to brew, and take a shower.
    Something to wake you up.

    Getting dressed, what to wear today.
    Pour the coffee into your favorite mug with a splash,
    Of Irish Crème.

    Out the door to a routine eight hour day.
    Five days a week, the same routine.
    Every 55 minutes, the routine changes, yet
    Stays the same.

    How draining.

    It’s Friday night.
    Can’t be scolded for staying out too late,
    Following a routine for so long,
    It’s refreshing to be spontaneous.

    Don’t think twice.
    Just do it.

    It’s 3AM and the bed sheets are as
    They were this morning.
    The room is silent,
    With no one to fill it with sound.

    Stumble out of the car a quarter past four,
    Fumbling in your purse for the house key.
    Another for your room once inside.

    Take off those uncomfortable shoes,
    Pretty, but uncomfortable.
    Put your purse on your floor,
    Don’t even bother turning on the light.


  106. PhantomPhan1881

    “How to Read A Song of Fire and Ice”

    When reading, do not choose a side.
    Mr. Martin does not abide
    any rule; black and white collide.
    Enjoy the ride, enjoy the ride.

    To one house, do not become latched
    because soon they may be dispatched.
    Good and evil aren’t evenly matched.
    Don’t get attached, don’t get attached.

  107. PressOn


    It’s been so long since I have loved,
    perhaps I have forgotten how.
    I think it has to do with joy,
    and something else, about a vow.

    If memory serves, a loved one helps
    to pass the times of grief and pain,
    as land abused by sun and wind
    will welcome warm and soaking rain.

    It seems to me, love also brings
    a higher purpose to the living;
    and I could swear there’s something there
    about the fun of gifts, and giving.

    Now it all comes back to me:
    love is magic; the stuff of song.
    Or so it seems. Remember, please:
    it’s been so long, so very long.

  108. PressOn


    the brick sidewalk is faded, broken
    into reams of raucous rubble,
    upon which dreamers stumble
    as they hie to heaven.
    Stay on the right path:
    always keep to
    the roadway,

  109. priyajane

    They say it helps to find your core
    Peace, sublime, a let-go shore
    First you need to make the time
    Early hours, for a heathy shine
    Turn off tv and the phone
    Zone in on some inner drones
    Comfy seats may add in bliss
    Otherwise you’ll turn and twist
    Relax and focus on inhales
    Deep, releasing, warm exhales
    Watch the cluttered mind unfold
    Never mind those random moles!
    Set your mind on just, one thing
    Watch it silence to –nothing
    Fly into a prefect scene
    One that makes you feel serene–

    I’m trying to breathe this soothing air
    It’s harder than the dentist’s chair!!–

  110. Angie5804


    Are there only ten instructions?
    I can do that
    I believe in God
    You know, GOD
    No way!
    I don’t have any statues in my house
    Football trophies don’t count, right?
    OMG- that’s not really saying it, right?
    Yes, I call myself a Christian
    I go to the early service
    (Doesn’t interfere with the game)
    Yes, sir/No sir
    That’s so old fashioned
    Murder in my heart? My thoughts count?
    Honestly, I only buy it for the articles
    It’s not plagiarism if I change a couple words
    Little white lies don’t hurt anyone
    Who in the world are Ananias and Sapphira? A rock band?
    No, I don’t want my neighbor’s truck
    I want my own

    What? I thought you said ten
    There are only really two?
    Why didn’t you say so?
    With ALL my heart, soul, and mind?
    That’s a tough one
    I like my neighbors – I always wave
    I even put money in that kettle every December
    Love them as much as I love me?
    I’ll get back to you on that

  111. JanetRuth

    Darling, meet my gaze, not by chance
    Steal my breath with your half-grin glance
    Rush through my senses, undo my heart
    With intimate, just-between-us mind-art
    Place your whisper over my sigh
    Write your poetry over the sky
    Ravage me darling, as wishes and needs
    Coalesce keenly where thought intercedes

  112. annell

    A person must have
    To become an artist
    First is desire
    It is said perhaps 60% of people would like to paint
    Then determination
    Many people are determined
    But the most important factor is discipline
    I am sure I need not tell you
    Few have the discipline
    To become the artist
    To try and to fail everyday
    Tomorrow to do it all again
    These are the vestments you will wear
    You will wear them until they are thread bare
    The journey will be long
    As long as you have
    What you seek is a way of life
    Often one lifetime is not enough
    There will be much satisfaction… and frustration
    The only way you will totally fail
    Is to quit
    Close the studio door
    And never return

  113. alana sherman

    Writing Poetry

    She comes, fifteen
    all passions and fears,
    notebooks filled with line after line
    of ardor, awash in the tide
    of Love Love Love.
    I explain what we all need to learn
    when we first meet poetry—
    love is an empty word,
    so are sadness and longing,
    if all you do is use the one
    word over and again.
    She laps up
    the “show don’t tell” lesson.
    “Are adjectives what I need?
    Suppose I say like a rainstorm or
    feelings that strike like lightning or
    the sky can’t hold what I feel.”
    We study each word.
    She crumples the paper.
    “All I want to do is write this again.
    I’ll come back with a better poem.”
    My heart pounds.
    and the sky can not hold
    the excitement I feel
    when she hugs me
    as she leaves class.


    1. Angie5804

      This is so good – I feel this way when I teach poetry to 6th graders and one of them comes up with a gem . Or one of them decides he/she really likes poetry

  114. laurie kolp

    How to Chaperone a Room Full of Middle School Boys

    Don’t sleep, or even plan to
    Unless you have earplugs
    Or sleeping pills
    Which you’d better cut in half
    Or you’ll never wake up in the morning
    To find toothpaste spit
    All over the mirror and sink, handle and counter
    With rubber bands from braces everywhere
    And water from the shower on the floor
    Toilet seats UP (so look before you sit)
    Cookie crumbs in bed, drink spills
    Farts like stink-bomb missiles
    Giggles, snorts, jokes
    Dirty clothes everywhere
    Lamps unplugged for electronics charging
    Attempts at watching forbidden shows
    Did I mention pills?
    Maybe you should take Prozac

  115. Nancy Posey

    How to Write a Poem

    Stop waiting on your muse.
    Even in these economic times
    good help is hard to fine.
    Dig deep into your reservoir
    of words. That’s the recipe,
    you know. Take words—
    choose organic, sniff for freshness,
    nibble on their edges,
    roll them on your tongue,
    on the color wheel, pair them
    for complementary contrast,
    mix textures, butting rough
    against smooth, euphony,
    cacophony. Be sure these words
    ring clear as Poe’s bells.
    Lean in closely and listen.
    They should hum or pulse
    or echo inside the poem.
    Stir in a memory, blending
    it with fantasy, letting
    both retain their flavor.
    Choose the right container.
    You may let it fit snuggly
    into the bundt’s curves
    or fill brimful the cast-iron
    skillet, making it sizzle.
    Taste it first yourself,
    enjoy its chemistry,
    but be sure to share.
    One small poem–loaves
    and fishes–feeds a crowd

  116. PSC in CT

    Paying Attention

    Whenever attending
    (no matter the function), it’s often helpful
    to make use of certain tools.
    Various digital devices are available to assist you,
    recording details, both aurally & visually,
    for future reference.
    (note: touch, taste & scent can be
    a bit trickier to capture, so…)
    Whenever attending, it’s best
    to close your eyes from time to time,
    let your mind wander (frequently & free from restraint –
    un-chaperoned & un-attended)
    you never know
    where it will go,
    or what you might miss,
    if you fail to heed this

  117. Nimue

    The instructions were clear,
    or so he had thought,
    when he set his heart
    on winning her love –

    a little care,
    a bit of passion,
    a lot of patience
    and remember,
    chivalry is
    never out of fashion.

    but no one talked
    of the path ahead,
    of days spent pining,
    the nights spent
    tossing in bed;

    There are no rules,
    no set ways, they said
    to win love is easy
    but keeping it alive
    hurts you,alike death.

  118. Larry

    Maze of life.

    Make a left, and then make a right.

    Straight ahead and back a bit.

    Then turn around, and go again.

    Up that way, there you go.

    Now, down that path, just a little.

    No not that way, so turn around.

    There it is right where you began.

    Start all over at this very spot.

    The same as where you started yesterday.

    The same as you will tomorrow.

    With twists and turns in abundance.

    The prize awaits you in the maze.

    Your only job is to find the way.

  119. ClaytonsRamblings

    Ruled By Instruction

    firstly, do this

    secondly, do that

    next, add this but

    make sure not to do the other

    now, reverse step one

    and repeat step three

    don’t colour outside the lines

    don’t burn the cake

    don’t iron on the right side

    don’t forget capital letters

    don’t abide by the rules

    rules are made to be broken

    are instructions rules

    wearing a different disguise?


    perhaps not

    but i still feel hemmed in



    by the instructions

    thrown out at me

  120. JRSimmang

    One: limber up.
    Usually, toe-touches are a great way to start.
    Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist
    until your fingers touch your toes.
    Then, wiggle your toes.
    You want your feet to be loose and primed.
    Roll a tennis ball under the arch of your foot.
    This will release the tension sometimes felt
    in the awkward pauses.

    The next step is highly delicate.
    Find someone you love.
    It could even be someone you like.
    Open your mouth
    and say something stupid.
    Comment on her hair;
    tell her it makes her look like a boy.
    Comment on his back, that it looks like
    a gorilla’s ass.
    Comment on the fact that you
    no longer have sex
    because you are
    no longer in love.

    Then, all that stretching will finally pay off.
    Bend at the hips,
    bring your foot to you mouth,
    stick foot in mouth,
    and swallow.

    1. JRSimmang

      Number 2

      It has been too long now,
      since my door had been shadowed,
      and the pavement on Kingdom’s Row
      is blanketed unhallowed.
      I have left my requisite memory
      of memory unwedded.

      It’s been a tumbleweed since that day,
      since my door has been shadowed.
      I always thought that in a way
      I’d grow to be honed and winnowed
      with a steady hand to guide me
      down a path unfettered.

      But, that day is not come.
      Since the day of your shadow
      the yard has been undone.
      The weeds have o’er grown
      the simple desk you built for
      mother’s simple letters.

      I’ve become a man, you see,
      since the day you left your shadow.
      I no longer wander the breeze-
      dropped willows.
      I no longer long to be embraced.
      I have become a man unfettered.

  121. Weedlewom


    It was a year
    of training,
    the postulancy;
    of learning
    to abandon
    the old life for the new;
    a time of asking
    to be formed,
    fashioned in this way.

    The inner call at four
    drawing me to prayer,

    and in the morning stillness,
    the song
    of a single bird.

    The chapel quiet,
    with candlelight glowing,
    Forms in the choir stalls
    women bent
    in supplication,
    instructions in holiness,
    communing with
    their God.

    a time of yearning
    for the habit and veil
    earned at a time

    when I learned to embrace
    a lifetime
    of beginner’s mind.

    Susan Dean Wessells

      1. Weedlewom

        I was there almost five years (long ago, in the 1970s) and I have always felt like a part of why I was there was trying to work out past-life stuff. This was especially true because I was raised a Methodist but decided at 14 that I wanted to be a nun!

    1. PressOn

      Your “beginner’s mind” reminds me of writing workshops taken, long ago, with Natalie Goldberg. Come to think on it, nun practice and Zen practices may not be much different. I like this very much. Thank you.

  122. Iain Douglas Kemp

    take a word or phrase

    take a prompt
    (that’s a word or several or a phrase or photo for instance)
    mull it over
    (5 minutes should do)
    get a title –
    feels right?
    see where it goes…
    …more or less?
    start to type
    keep going
    till the poem is done
    (you’ll know when)
    remove spaces between paragraphs
    (why does it do that?)
    spell/grammar check
    No! you don’t want to reverse the fragment – it’s poetry!
    read it back
    move on to something new
    Got that?


  123. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Yeah baby! That’s what I’m talking about!
    A victory and a resounding one at that. I’m even gonna
    let you start talking to me again, even though you
    do it outta yer ass. I’m taking your sis & ma out for
    breakfast and throwing some green there way to shop
    (just not on 5th!) Now, I’ll tell you what them boys gotta do!
    What they gotta do is do it again, and again and etc until the
    post season and the win the World Series for the 28th time.
    These instructions ain’t difficult to understand. It ain’t rocket
    science and it’s what we expect of them.
    I’m looking forward to doing some Tiger hunting this afternoon
    – maybe your cousin can spring for some refreshments again.
    I hear tell she may be reconciling things with the Knicks. Coulda
    been the Rangers though, who knows with that girl?
    So I’ll pick yer up at 3. Bring money in case your cousin is off shift
    – the rest of your family have got all mine.

    Yours grinning like a tiger (that’s about to get eaten raw)

    Ringo the Howler

  124. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    The Weaver

    She sits before her loom,
    inspecting the weave and warp.

    Each thread – a life
    Each life – a connection

    She sits before her loom,
    weaving designs and patterns.

    Each connection – a knot
    Each knot – an eternity

    She sits before her loom –

  125. Jerry Walraven

    “Teaching the Sun to Shine”

    She paints her sunrise amethyst
    then smiles a young girl’s smile,
    with just a trace
    of devilishness
    for she knows that all the world
    is here
    before her
    for her,
    so she shines.