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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

Categories: November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2013, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

For today’s prompt, write a half-way poem. The poem might deal with a half-way point in time. Or perhaps, a place in the dead center of here and there–in a physical sense. Even a compromise on terms in a negotiation can work.

Here’s my attempt at a Half-Way Poem:

“Middletown”

I remember your hands–
how they ran through my hair
as we kissed the night air…

I remember your car–
how it drove us around
as we let the top down…

I remember your face–
how you cried that last night
as we got in a fight,
and I don’t know who is right,
but we both lost our sight…

I remember your words–
how they swept me away
until I could not stay…

*****

Workshop your poetry. Click here to learn more.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a poet who cut his teeth on lyric love poems. His poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, is full of them–as well as other topics. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2011, Robert enjoys romantic comedies, late night conversations that ramble across varied topics, and, of course, long walks in the park. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). He can be stalked (and/or followed) on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

233 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. THE PLACE IN BETWEEN

    Half-way
    ‘tween there and here,
    one heart’s muffled orchestra
    echoed in an empty chamber,
    a song no one could hear.

    Half-way
    ‘tween then and now,
    one heart sang a capella
    to melodies not yet written,
    a song it would not share.

    Half-way
    ‘tween you and me,
    two hearts created music,
    a chorus blending together,
    a song only love sings.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  2. hohlwein says:

    Half Way

    I wonder if I was right
    – too drunk to be swimming, testing irony there –
    when, in a river in Vermont, in the middle of summer, in the middle of the night I knew
    I was RIGHT in the middle of my life. The exact moment. That exact pass of water.

    I sank under, testing
    would my iron heart would sink me

    – why did it not? –
    my chest filled with the lead of her name
    my veins circulated, barely, black-thickened wine
    my despair was a rock, weighty and wet
    that was to be my name, alone until the end.

    What did I want? To be at the end
    and not in the middle?

    I felt for sure the star above – I could see it from under the surface –
    was the star
    I should see RIGHT in the exact middle of my life

    and to prove it
    I didn’t drown too.

  3. bjholmes says:

    Halfway

    Re we there yet?
    No we just left.
    This same conversation
    each time.
    Where are we?
    Canwe have a snack?
    Are we there yet?
    No! We are only halfway
    sorry to say!

  4. Yolee says:

    Sidelight

    My brother was beaten one gorgeous
    summer day on a Chicago street
    near home. Blows to the head made
    his brain tenderize in some foreign land.

    Months after therapy, bits and pieces
    of memory hit the windshield of his mind.
    He stood on the line where body
    and soul part ways.

    Years later, remembrance is still
    stranded on some unmarked median.

  5. seingraham says:

    HALFS

    The number of times
    you say half,
    does it occur to you?
    Things like…that’s not half bad
    or, I could meet you halfway
    or, I’ve been wanting to do that
    more than time and a half long
    No, scratch that last…
    Nobody says that, do they?

    Sitting through my fourth
    memorial this year, it came to me
    As I overheard yet another person say,
    “…at our age, we have to expect this…”
    That no matter how I slice it,
    even if I live a long, long time
    My life is more than half over

    Shouldn’t that make me feel something
    A sense of urgency, of time running out,
    that maybe even I should get busy
    taking care of myself
    You know — eating properly, exercising some
    Keeping to some kind of schedule

    I ponder these things as I half-listen to
    the eulogy for a woman younger than me
    And I do sometimes wonder about that —
    Why someone so young gets taken
    at what seems too early
    Before the halfway mark, I guess

    And, as always seems to happen,
    I am stirred to make promises
    To — to the dearly departed
    (who is often someone
    I don’t know all that well)
    To myself, because it seems
    to be tempting fate not to
    That, yes, I’ll change my ways…
    make an effort to live better
    Try harder — at least to leave
    a mark of some kind that I was here…
    It seems the halfway decent thing to do

  6. cholder says:

    Photograph

    A fleeting memory
    a glimpse of the past
    like a photograph
    it flashes in her mind.

    She pauses a breath
    to catch it,
    to hold on,
    to relive that moment in time.

    She focuses on the memory;
    the images define.
    As emotions overcome her,
    tears fall from her eyes.

  7. Mywordwall says:

    Here is my late RESPONSE –

    BEWILDERED
    Neither here nor there –
    that is how I am
    about being a citizen
    of a country I was not born in.
    My heart and my soul
    formed by my mother land
    are the mirrors through which
    I see life in my adoptive home.
    From a distance,
    I celebrate with my kinsman
    and from a distance
    I grieve for their misfortune.
    One day, I went back
    enjoyed the familiar smiles and places
    but a nagging thought
    years made me an outsider
    finding her place
    in her own mother’s arms.

  8. Meeting the Goddess

    First there’s the walk downstairs,
    each step a new colour:
    violet, indigo, sky blue,
    apple green, golden yellow,
    orange, and the bottom step’s red.

    I find myself in a tunnel
    which leads to a gate.
    Through this gate I see
    a sunny meadow with wildflowers.
    On the other side is a creek.

    I walk out onto the grass.
    A beautiful woman
    comes to meet me, gliding.
    I raise my eyes to hers.
    She is smiling at me.

    In a clear voice,
    but soft as a whisper,
    she tells me my secret name.
    I stand in the sunlight,
    free and perfectly happy.

    I know that this
    is the half-way mark.
    From here I must turn,
    walk back the way I came
    and complete my journey.

    When I retrace my steps
    I’ll carry her loving smile
    in memory, making me strong.
    I shall be changed, and the old paths
    will lead me to new places.

  9. Day 16
    Prompt: Write a halfway poem.

    Past the Half, Past the Prime, But Catching up to the Joy

    Chances are great we are more than halfway
    through our lives and our marriage.
    As my husband’s fond of saying,
    how many one-hundred-eighteen-year-olds do you know?

    If the second “half” is any indication of the first,
    I couldn’t bow in deeper gratitude for the youthful
    exuberance we’ve experienced in being married,
    being parents, being grandparents.

    We look down the beckoning lane of the rest of our
    lives and dare the ruts and rain to storm
    our journey out of its joy, for God has been good,
    even in the stormiest steps.

  10. Michelle Hed says:

    No Man’s Land

    The wasteland
    of the mind, body and spirit –
    a place no one wants to venture to
    but many do…
    unwillingly.
    Hell within.
    Half-way doesn’t exist,
    any step away from your internal hell
    is a journey away from the wasteland
    and therefore a victory.
    Even if it’s
    only
    one
    step.

  11. Broofee says:

    Half-Way there

    I sneeze,
    One time,
    Two times,
    Three times…
    Azure Ray sings
    Townes Van Zandt’s
    For the sake of the song
    And I feel
    My eyes are slowly closing.

    A movie starts on TV,
    Whole bunch of people
    Online on facebook
    Wanna chat,
    But I feel
    I’m far away from this place.

    Just one more minute
    I wanna read one more line of the book
    Just one more song.
    I’m half way there
    Soon to surrender
    And fall asleep.

  12. alanasherman says:

    Mid-Century

    Magazines
    use the word for things
    designed when
    I was born—
    Mid-century. Antiques. Like
    the dining room chairs

    my joints creak.
    Habits outmoded,
    even my tears
    are passé.
    Like a sketch of a fallen
    tree drawn long ago,

    I hope gnarled
    limbs earn me a place
    of honor,
    make me fresh
    enough to keep around. Though
    old-fashioned, an aged

    item by
    anyone’s standards,
    Mid-century
    doesn’t suit
    me. I am still functional
    and should be treasured.

    alana

    .

  13. Domino says:

    Half-way Home

    It’s a long ride but a longer walk
    hauling my old bike. In the rain. I
    know the half-way point, it’s at the top
    of a long hill, the worst of the three
    mile ride. I sigh and begin hauling
    the heavy steel frame up the hill. I
    thought my second-hand bike was so cool
    and retro when I found it. But half-
    way to the top, I hear a sound, a
    pathetic mewling. And there in the
    ditch lies a half-grown cat, covered with
    mud, blood, twigs, leaves and grass, terror and
    hope shimmering in its golden eyes.

    I take off my jacket, ignoring
    the drizzle, and carefully approach.
    Poor thing is desperate for help, even
    from a stranger. I’m not sure how hurt
    it is, so I scoop it up in my
    jacket and put it in the basket
    of my antique bike. Somehow, the trip
    home doesn’t take nearly as long as
    I thought it would. Sometimes a flat tire
    is more that what it seems. It can be
    an opportunity to find a
    new best friend. I named her Marigold.

  14. MichelleMcEwen says:

    Halfway Point

    The halfway point

    between Hartford
    where my daddy lives

    and Mobile
    where he’s from

    is Saddle Mountain,
    North Carolina.

    I don’t know why
    knowing this is important to me—

    maybe because
    it’s the halfway point

    between then and now
    between up north and deep south

    maybe because
    I’m looking for a place

    to raise my boys
    to men

    maybe because
    knowing this makes me

    feel less lost

    maybe because
    geography is poetry.

  15. De Jackson says:

    Houses

    Halfway to
    crazy, she sounds
    the alarms, flees, builds
    a tiny cottage by the sea. She sings
    herself a shanty, cabins toes
    into cold sand, castles
    her heart in clouds.

    The wind weaves her a welcome
    mat, mansions her soul
    and all things un
    -known, and she figures
    perhaps she’s at least
    halfway
    home.

    .

  16. Missy McEwen says:

    Sarah Nell:

    I’m halfway
    ta faraway

    and I’m goin’
    by train.

    I didn’t brang
    much wit me

    ’cause my sister Minnie
    that left home biffo me

    said she’s gon’ take
    me shoppin’ at G. Foxes.

    I’m halfway
    to faraway

    from back home
    where nothin’

    much happens, nothin’
    changes, people

    just sleep
    off the heat

    and don’t eem dream
    or leave

    for good. They always
    come back

    like they ain’t
    nevuh left,

    like the world
    outside of home

    Is jus’
    too much.

    But not me.
    I wanna be gone

    fa so long
    that when people

    ask me where I’m from
    Imma say Hartford

    and mean it.

  17. Jezzie says:

    Half done jobs

    All of my jobs seem to be halfway done
    when it is time to stop and have some fun.
    But all work and no play
    makes one a bore they say,
    so my jobs can wait until later on.

  18. shann says:

    American Housewife Haiku 16

    I love cloudy days,
    no-squint zones where I can see
    halfway to nowhere.

  19. rosross says:

    HALFWAY

    Halfway to where when time denies,
    all relevance and place,
    and so demands we journey on;
    each moment now does trace.

  20. Cin5456 says:

    In Medias Res

    In the middle of writing a lovely poem
    about Horace, and his poetry about poetry,
    the lead in my pencil broke off.
    I advanced the lead, but came to the end
    where it slips back into the pencil
    and will not hold stable to write.
    Annoyed, but unperturbed, I reached
    for my replacement lead. As I was
    closing the drawer of my supply
    organizer, I noticed a new set of
    colorful pens recently purchased.
    I opened the package and tried them out.
    In the middle of making satisfying
    swirls and curlicues in rainbow colors
    a fingernail broke. I reached into
    another organizer for my clippers,
    and pulled one of my nail files from
    the pen holder full of nail files
    that sits conveniently on my desk.
    In the middle of fixing my nail,
    the cat insisted on being fed.
    I tried to ignore her, but her claws
    dug into my leg. After I fed her
    I went to the bathroom for alcohol
    to staunch the blood flow in my leg.
    In the middle of washing my hands before
    treating my wound, the sink clogged up.
    In the middle of applying drain treatment,
    some splashed on my hand. I could not
    use the clogged, treated sink for
    for fifteen minutes, so in the kitchen,
    before washing off the drain solution,
    I had to clean the dishes out of the sink.
    In the middle of cleaning the sink
    while preparing to do the dishes,
    the phone rang. In the middle of a
    chatty phone call with my mother,
    the cat wanted to go outside to the patio.
    As I opened the patio door,
    I noticed the apartment gardener’s
    leaf blower had blown dirt all over
    the patio. I found the broom in the kitchen
    and remembered to turn off the water
    in the kitchen sink, then went outside
    to sweep the patio with the phone
    balanced on my shoulder. In the middle
    of sweeping the patio, my roommate
    came home with groceries. I said goodbye
    to Mother, and started putting groceries away.
    In the middle of that, we discussed dinner,
    so I started pulling out things to cook.
    This cycle of distraction went on for
    six hours. By the time I got back to my room
    and poem, the drain smelled funny,
    the puncture wound on my leg hurt, I had lost
    four more fingernails, and still had not
    swept the porch, or let the cat out.
    There on my desk sat my manicure tools,
    the set of colorful pens, and the empty
    mechanical pencil. The inspiration
    for my poem was gone. I could not recall
    a single line that earlier had taken over
    my thoughts. Horace was just another
    pending Google from the first century BC,
    and “in medias res” felt like a mockery.

  21. Nearly Gone
    For our sweet boy Blue

    He’s nearly gone and
    breathing means heaving
    his old bones up and against
    the cool steel frame
    of our garage door. We
    sit with him on the cement
    smoothing our fingertips
    over his ear, counting
    the gray hairs on his
    muzzle, quietly collecting
    like familiar coins
    our memories of him
    as devil puppy: the day
    he came home and left
    a trail of yellow stains
    across the Florida room
    carpet, or the night
    he yowled for hours beneath
    ny bed, tuck-tailing as it stormed.
    These lost thoughts are
    small currency, just
    enough to make it bearable
    to be with him now
    as a dying dog
    who’s only fault, perhaps,
    is loving us too much
    and preparing to leave too soon.

    • PressOn says:

      I have been away and thus unable to comment today. I thought I would not comment now, late as it is, but I couldn’t let this one go without saying something, loving dogs as I do. Your poem captures the heartbreak of parting from an old friend, which is what dogs have been for me all my life. It reminds me of a poem by Ogden Nash, On a Good Dog. Nash was known for light verse, and I suppose that poem qualifies as such too, but it nonetheless is a tender piece written by one who loved dogs. Yours is too, and in my opinion, it could be as classic a paean as Nash’s.

    • De Jackson says:

      Oh, Cameron. Hugs and prayers to you and your family and you let go of your furry love…and all admiration for this wonderful piece.

  22. DanielAri says:

    A demi-queron in honor of the theme (and just under the wire)

    ***

    “The Sound of Music: Intermission”

    The songs you love reprise
    in the second act, but
    as themes in minor keys.
    No dancing in jack boots.
    External enemies

    change gambols to gambits
    that allies must abet.

    DA

  23. randinha says:

    HALFWAY TO FIFTY

    Well she’s halfway to fifty
    and she drinks half-caf,
    she’ll only tell you half a lie
    and give you half a laugh.
    When the flags are half-staff
    she’s got half a heart to spare,
    and when half the night is over
    she’ll be mumbling half a prayer.
    If she naps for half an hour
    it feels like half the day,
    and half her better moments
    won’t bring her better half to stay.

    Yes she’s halfway to fifty
    and she only half cares,
    and when half her tongue is swallowed
    she’s only half there.

  24. Bruce Niedt says:

    Rain Delay

    Top of the fifth, night game on the road,
    and we’re ahead three to two, thanks to
    my solo home run. We got to their best pitcher
    early; he looks frazzled on the mound.
    But then it starts to rain – random spits
    at first, soon a fine drizzle, which morphs
    into a steadier shower. The umps look skyward,
    contemplating options. If we can hold the lead
    through the fifth, and they call the game,
    we’ve won. But if they cancel it before that,
    nothing counts – not even that homer,
    my first of the season. We could use a win –
    we’ve had better years. Now both benches
    are hoping, praying for different outcomes:
    our collective will tries to push the rain
    back into the clouds, at least for one more inning,
    while the home team wants to pull it all down.
    The umps signal to the grounds crew, who trot out,
    pulling their big flag against the weather,
    a plastic tarp which has already begun
    to cover up the pitcher’s mound. It could end up
    just a delay, and we could play innings
    into the late evening. But it doesn’t look promising –
    it’s a soaking rain now, and we may have to reset
    the whole game on another day, back to the first pitch,
    and I doubt I’ll get that homer back.

  25. Sara McNulty says:

    Wedding Worries

    Six months to go!
    He thinks about his upcoming marriage,
    when a carriage will fetch them on
    Halloween night–a masked ball wedding.
    Constant cajoling on her part, stopped
    his fretting over this strange wish; Could
    it be an obsession? Disapproving
    as his mother can be, a nagging nugget
    of doubt makes him wonder if she
    could be right. What if his love is
    completely insane? He has known
    her only three months. Panic pulses
    at the back of his brain. He may
    be halfway to disaster, and time
    is speeding faster toward the date.
    He asks her to meet him, planning
    to end it. She greets him with a grin
    so beguiling, he finds himself filing
    all doubts away. She makes him happy.
    Suddenly, he longs for that day.
    Six months to go!

  26. “what da Vinci said”

    halfway
    to laughter

    is a smile
    which touches
    the eyes

    and another
    word

    could tip
    you
         into
    opening
    those lips

    and revealing
    all

    destroying
    the mystery

    so i
    shall capture
    you
    here

  27. Lori P says:

    Somewhere In the Middle

    Don’t look now
    I think I’m falling
    behind the times
    they are a changing
    isn’t it just
    the right way round
    and where we stop
    nobody knows
    the trouble I’ve seen
    I’ll see your fifty and raise
    your children
    to be men about town
    or about a boy
    boys just want to have fun
    fun times were had by all
    good things must come to an end

  28. DWong says:

    Middle

    I may have been born last,
    but I’m always in the middle.
    When I try to find some time for me
    my choices are:
    middle of the day on the way back home;
    middle of the night when everyone else is asleep.
    I get called to do homework
    I get called to make dinner
    I get called to spend some time
    and usually this happens
    when I am in the middle
    of vacuuming
    dusting
    finishing something for work.
    Today I started wondering
    do I feel interrupted
    do I feel paused
    do I feel trapped
    in the middle of middleness
    because I was born last?
    Would I feel it less
    had I been born in the middle?
    Probably not
    but I’ll never know
    since this I can’t explore.
    I am in the middle
    of thinking this
    and interrupted by a
    procrastinators argument
    which is now preempted for
    a call for bedtime.

  29. bethwk says:

    The First Impossible Task (based on the story of Vasilisa the Brave)

    It looks like she’s caught you, Little One.
    No don’t scream or try to run.
    You can’t escape her now,
    and you owe her those three impossible tasks,
    or your heart on a plate while you try.

    Dust! Cook! Sweep! And cook some more!
    You won’t be halfway done before
    the old hag comes swooping into the clearing.
    And you’ve not even begun with the sorting,
    grain by grain, good from the bad.

    What is this task to teach you?
    How quickly and how well
    can you find the good wheat?
    Does it require patience or will?
    Stick to the plan and you’re certain to fail.
    Who are your helpers?
    What are the gifts that you carry
    in the pockets of your apron?

    The bright rider bolts across the clearing
    and the day is halfway gone.
    Listen, Little One,
    to the voices in the wind.
    Feel your mother’s heartbeat
    in the rhythm of your own hands.

  30. Julieann says:

    Halfway

    Christmas comes but once a year
    Or is it twice,
    If your birthday is June 25?
    Two celebrations
    Each one, halfway
    To the other

  31. cbwentworth says:

    Leaves break free from black branches,
    down they float without a net
    Wrapped in the breeze, carefree dreams,
    riding the feathers of fate
    Amid a grey, churning storm,
    this life’s transition begins
    Caught between green and yellow
    detached from roots buried deep
    In this void, safe in limbo
    hope has a chance to linger

  32. MLundstedt says:

    “Half Awake”

    In that awkward state,
    Half awake,
    Where senses do not correlate
    To all that I perceive,
    I fought to shake a poisoned dream,
    Half afraid,
    Its frightening theme,
    Had done more than deceive.

  33. BezBawni says:

    Brunhilde

    She was called the bane of men;
    cold and merciless with words, ruthless
    in a fight.

    Never dresses, never skirts,
    no corsets, nor the crown – armor
    shining bright.

    Stunning beauty, noble blood,
    she made knights, the bravest hearts, falter
    and retreat.

    No one dared to cross her path,
    she was said to be the queen no one
    could defeat,

    till one day there was a man
    brave enough to throw his glove, bowing,
    to her feet.

    He was graceful and agile
    fended off her fierce ripostes, smiling
    when she cursed,

    but before the sun was down,
    he grew tired, and his strength waded,
    unlike hers.

    She attacked, her hits still strong,
    dancing to the clang of steel – silent
    royal, grand.

    As they pulled their helmets off,
    in a thrust she knocked his sword out
    of his hand.

    Panting, he put up his shield,
    and her sword razored his sleeve cutting
    it to strips;

    so, he lunged and by her waist
    drew her close, pressing his mouth hard
    against her lips,

    and the sword, about to strike,
    froze half-way and fell, as his fingers
    touched her wrist.

    What can seem a mortal blade
    can be but a blade of grass dying
    to be kissed.

  34. LeAnneM says:

    Grieving a Father

    Half of me, I got from him
    My father

    But since his death
    It’s all I see

    I notice in myself

    His moon-shaped eyes
    His slightly mocking smile

    The way he stood
    How he stirred his tea

    When this happens
    It’s a jolt

    I look up from what I’m doing,
    Reminded that he’s gone

  35. De Jackson says:

    Halfway There

    There’s a crack straight down
           the center, a dividing rod
    between two ventricles,
       a boundary line formed
               of scars and salt.

    In this cold,
         carved canyon
    she collects fragments:
      hope severed too soon,
            a fractured moon,
         and other things aching
                   to be whole.

    .

  36. elishevasmom says:

    The Distance
    (A View of Alzheimer’s)

    Well, we know when
    it was diagnosed.

    What we don’t really know,
    is how long was it there before?

    And each person’s journey
    down that road is different.

    No person’s “half-way”
    like any other’s.

    Which is probably
    just as well.

    Would we really
    want to know?

    Ellen Knight 11.16.13
    write a “half” poem for PAD 11.13

    • Linda Goin says:

      Ellen — thank you for experimenting with Alzheimer’s in all the different challenges we’ve had this month. I haven’t commented much, but I have read every single piece you’ve written, and I’m smitten…still remembering your dough from yesterday, though. So powerful. This one? Very delicate.

  37. Like the Duke of York

    The tour guide in Ketchikan
    A smart and friendly man
    He hiked us to the top of Deer Mountain
    Then he hiked us down again.
    And when we were only half-way up,
    We were neither up nor down,
    But we took lots of pictures.

  38. elishevasmom says:

    Half-

    He said,
    “Today’s prompt is to write a “half” poem.”
    She said,
    “That shouldn’t be too hard. First,
    I’ll make a list of the words I’ll use.”
    Let’s see, there’s:

    Half-asleep, half-awake
    half-cooked, half-baked,
    half-light, half mast,
    half-cocked, half-assed.

    Half-crazed, half-witted,
    half needs to be committed.
    Half-life, half-hearted,
    half wished she’d never started.

    Half-done, half-length,
    half-hardy at half-strength.
    Half-way she’s half-afraid,
    half sure she won’t get paid.

    It was then she had to laugh:
    “I’m more than done with this by half!”

    Ellen Knight 11.16.13
    write “half” poem for PAD 11.13

  39. Rosemarie Keenan says:

    MILESTONE

    The population keeps growing older, you know.
    Average life expectancy,
    (here in the U.S. at least,
    for females of my fortunate socio-economic status that is)
    keeps rising.
    Look it up.

    And although I used to smoke
    half a pack a day
    And although I will have a cocktail
    whenever the mood strikes

    I hope you won’t find me foolish
    if I say
    seriously
    (as I did at my 50th birthday party
    over the rim of an empty glass)
    that I’ve hit the half-way mark

    because it may be true.

  40. bjzeimer says:

    HALF-WAY

    I only half-way believe you,
    since you’ve made so many
    promises and broken
    them. I only half-way trust
    you to keep your word.
    I only half-way want you for
    my close friend, half-way
    want to laugh and cry with you.
    But, still, half-way, I am willing
    to give you another chance.

  41. bartonsmock says:

    -hermit wages-

    to a baby’s swing
    or to a fine horse
    with one
    good
    ear
    or to the weary
    haymakers
    that are now
    my mother’s
    unkissable
    arms

    my father
    his head full
    of hot soup
    but not a minnow
    burned
    recites
    the toy
    gospel

    as I begin
    to take
    my intelligence
    personally
    here among

    the floored laundry, the raised unawareness

    of the powerless mad

  42. Margie Fuston says:

    Stuck

    Halfway
    between California and Texas
    my husband pulls over
    at one more gas station
    that cuts a stretch of endless road and weeds
    in half.
    We still have half a tank, I say,
    looking at the needle stuck
    between E and F.
    Half won’t get us to the next stop, he says.
    He doesn’t bother to look back
    at me
    as he gets out,
    heading across the split pavement
    and through a door marked
    with too many fingerprints.
    He comes back with a Twix
    and I watch him eat both halves
    as he waits for us to fill up.
    You didn’t get me anything, I say.
    His eyes touch me for a second
    before retreating to his half
    of our car.
    Did you want something? he asks.
    I shake my head.
    He doesn’t know
    half of me
    is all the way back in California
    where I pretend to be full,
    with half a man
    who doesn’t belong to me,
    every Tuesday night.

  43. Half-Silk Beast

    She’s a half-silk beast
    All wrapped in lustrous fiber
    Bred for the massive crowds
    A dapper fashionable tiger

    Clad in silken raiment
    That seamlessly bleeds into skin
    A masterpiece, an interwoven work
    No telling where it ends or where it begins

    She’s stunningly well-primed and ready
    So poised for the crowds
    She sits posed and steady
    Her heart beating loud

    Her time had come to seize the stage
    Her shining moment was filled with rage
    For the first time she was lacking class
    Realizing she couldn’t move and was fiberglass

  44. Nancy Posey says:

    Gastonia

    In the parking lot of the Western Steer,
    parents meet their daughter halfway
    between the dorm and home, swapping
    winter clothes for summer, delivering
    a new box of contact lenses, offering
    a couple of twenties, unasked. A father
    returns their children to their mother
    after his weekend, asking reluctantly
    about his son’s allergies, his daughters
    prepubescent moods. A car dealer
    from Greenville delivers a used Saab,
    title in an envelope in the front seat,
    hoping the buyers don’t check online,
    discovering more than a fender bender.
    Two college girls wearing their ugly
    uniform shirt, polyester pants, black
    shoes, report for work, dreading
    the late night shift. Life happens
    an hour or two in every direction.
    Only local crime makes evening news.

  45. Linda Goin says:

    This Family’s Extremities

    This family cannot thrive in mediocrity.
    There is no middle ground, no halfway point,
    no mezzanine where a person can sit,
    sip a cup of latte and watch skaters
    scribe colorless circles in ice.

    This family suffers in normality.
    Though average appearances are vital
    for resembling society, that surface
    can shift at any threat. We’re werewolves,
    really, and we snap at anything routine.

    This family cringes over commonness.
    Calmness is described as the feeling we get
    after surviving a ship capsized at sea.
    Moderation is an illness, and we’re well,
    thank you, sound in our extremes.

  46. JRSimmang says:

    SAWDUST AND

    Can we stay
    at half-way? You’ve told
    me you’re loathe
    to leave a
    task incomplete, but I know
    what done’s meant to you.

    -JR Simmang

  47. De Jackson says:

    Half Truth
    (a Fib)

    You
    said
    I was
    your one and
    only, one true love.
    I believed you with my whole heart,
    full mind, bared soul. Only now that
    all is said and done,
    it turns out
    I was
    just
    one.

    .

  48. A LINK IN THE CHAIN
    (a Luc Bat)

    Morning’s less than half-light
    through a dream-door not quite closed yet.
    Breeze-fingers on a fret
    of song outside; grass wet with dew.
    Your window waits for blue,
    for whatever’s not new, not old –
    time’s treasuries that hold
    a well of stories told again,
    again. Here’s paper, pen,
    and fancy. There’s the wren of song,
    flicking her tail. What’s wrong
    with you? Come sing along, she says.

  49. gl86 says:

    MIDSUMMER

    Midway through the summer of my life
    I went to the North, where the sun never sets,
    where light stands still,
    turning grain to gold

    I floated through the fields to gather flowers
    that I wove into a sweet-smelling wreath
    and danced with the other calendulas
    round the fire, round the ring

    Time marched on and the white night set in,
    so I left the laughing marigolds
    to bathe in the healing waters
    before my autumn season started

    • lk88 says:

      Love this! (and you gl86!)

    • Cin5456 says:

      Very nice work. I like how you incorporated the beginning of Dante’s epic. I probably would not have noticed if you hadn’t mentioned it in a comment. Your field of flowers and “healing waters” is much simpler than his healing ordeal, but effective for all that. The light standing still… I like that.

  50. Jane Shlensky says:

    Almost

    She favored half-turned phrases,
    expressions that left her room
    for improvement, while still
    suggesting how bad her life
    had become. Wherever her
    eye fell, half a disaster loomed.

    That child has run me half ragged
    all day long, not a minute’s peace.

    That man drives me half crazy,
    then wonders why I’m like I am.

    I’ve worked cleaning this house
    until I’m half dead, and nobody’s noticed.

    I don’t need any more half-baked ideas
    coming from your mouth, Missy.

    Just look at the half-assed way
    he’s fixed this leaking faucet.

    You scared that poor woman
    half mad with that dead snake.

    Anyone with half a mind would
    have left and not closed the door,
    let a willing breeze stir something
    to completion. But he stayed,
    laughing, goosing her when she
    turned her back, her half-laugh
    bubbling from her like a yip.

    Can’t you give me half a smile,
    darlin’? he’d ask her, and
    she would.

  51. Glory says:

    The Yoga Class

    Stretched arms, hands,
    fingers upwards, heads erect
    as if pulled by string to heaven’s sky.

    Legs taut, knees bent
    in stillness with breath
    that marks time, one, two three.

    In slow motion, graceful moves
    to music soft and low, alongside flickering lights
    that paint the floor.

    And I –with speckled sunlight
    from dusty windows,
    look on in silence.

  52. Jane Shlensky says:

    The Way

    He took one bite
    of my blueberry pie
    and mama’s theory
    rang true.
    He moaned and pulled
    me to his side,
    that purple sweetness
    halfway to his heart.

  53. Clae says:

    Trade You

    Give me one half of your heart
    Said the queen
    I will let you keep the other

    Give me one pound of your flesh
    Said the debt-collector
    I will let you keep the rest

    Give me one drink of your blood
    Said the vampire
    I will let you keep the daylight

    Give me one third of your hours
    Said the employer
    I will let you keep midnight

    Give me one chance at your love
    Said the suitor
    I will let you keep my own

    Give me one gift of your soul
    Said the Lord
    I will let you have eternal paradise

  54. PressOn says:

    OPEN WATER IN LATE NOVEMBER

    The warmth has caused the ducks to tarry
    midway on migration;
    they’re tame, without a trace of wary,
    and here they’ve taken station.

    It soon will be their time to move,
    before the ponds ice over,
    but now they graze, and winter reprove,
    in remnants of the clover.

    I wonder, as I watch this place,
    if they will have safe flight,
    and thank them for the bit of grace
    that made this morning right.

  55. Misky says:

    Strictly Dancing

    We stepped,
    toed pivots
    and slipped
    between dips,
    dives and turns.
    Sparkly gowns,
    tuxedos and bows.
    We were “Strictly”
    halfway to dancing.

    .

    Looking forward to an hour of “Strictly Come Dancing” tonight at Blackpool’s Grand Ballroom!

  56. Dare says:

    Excluded Middle

    Slammed!
    Wild pitch and roll
    gasping for breath
    black-and-white
    bi-polar
    all-or-nothing
    meaningless sounds
    lying prostrate
    in a world of extremes
    seeking safe harbor
    and calm seas

  57. Earl Parsons says:

    You Don’t Know the Half if It

    I’ve heard so many say
    That forty is half way
    If so, no one would die at forty-one
    The truth is no one knows
    When it’s our time to go
    Half way will not be known until we’re done

    So live each day as if
    Tomorrow you’ll be stiff
    Don’t let a moment pass without intent
    Do this and you will smile
    As you travel each mile
    Be kind to all; they’ll swear you’re Heaven-sent

    Half way is an unknown
    Tomorrow we don’t own
    Today’s the day that we must focus on
    Live like it’s your last day
    Love and laugh on your way
    Those you touch will miss you after you’re gone

  58. PKP says:

    In the rearview mirror

    In the rearview mirror
    the flash of mountains
    the crest of waves
    the gentle lapping
    lull of a looned lake
    at sunrise
    In the rearview mirror
    infants born in mystic
    magic mystery
    screaming
    real red outrage
    grow
    giggle
    gape
    and go
    In the rear-view mirror
    grandparents wave
    and tangos in
    moon- light
    on soft sanded
    talcuum beaches
    beat bongos
    powder puff past
    wind blown
    in the rear-view mirror
    tides are rushing
    splashing
    and receding
    to a fine thin black line
    in the mirrored
    rear-view
    of this middling journey
    falling fast forward
    into the shimmering
    rear-view mirror
    waiting

  59. writinglife16 says:

    Halfway in the middle of nowhere

    Wondering where I’m going.
    Or what I’m doing.
    Feeling half-way in the middle of nowhere.
    I write stories.
    Or do I write poems?
    Feeling half-way in the middle of nowhere.
    Life is my muse.
    Or does the muse shape my life?
    Feeling half-way in the middle of nowhere.
    Dorothy’s storm is now mine to face.
    Do I try to outrun it or take a stand in this place?
    Feeling half-way in the middle of nowhere.

  60. barbara_y says:

    I thought about this and decided
    to write a nice, tight, rectangular
    poem. Then I’d fold it down the
    center, open it again, dogear the
    top corners all the way over to
    the center fold (effectively editing
    out the first lines. I’m told I start
    my poems too early) etc etc
    (the etc being directions for how
    to fold a paper plane) Zip, zip
    nothing to it. Then outside. One
    flight, call it a day. I figure this
    to be about half

  61. Earl Parsons says:

    All or Nothing

    Half a man
    Quits half way
    Half a woman
    Gives fifty percent
    Life is hard
    We must give all
    No half stepping
    Or we will fail
    Each other

  62. Earl Parsons says:

    Half way will not work
    We should give our all to God
    He will fully bless

  63. Earl Parsons says:

    Half

    As I sip my half filled cup of coffee
    Lunch break over, half day done
    I got so engrossed in Angry Birds
    That I only finished half of my lunch
    Half way through level 99
    I’ll half to finish it later
    Right now I half to go back to work
    And finish the other half of my day
    Cutting trim pieces in half that go on
    The top half of cabinet boxes
    Half-heartedly I shuffle back to my post
    Half my brain thinking about Saturday
    When I’ll run a half marathon
    The same one I ran last year
    Back then I only made it half way
    Cause I stayed up half the night before
    Drinking with half of the town
    That’s all I half for now
    Anyway
    I half to go

  64. PKP says:

    All the way or no way at all

    No half-way
    half-hearted
    tries for this
    whole world
    Timorous
    touches
    half offers
    fall flat
    In this whole
    world rumbling
    with trouble-fixing
    from warming earth
    to that child waiting for
    a net as the skeets buzz
    Don’t give me no
    half-way measures
    As grandpa said
    they just don’t cut it
    you just don’t cut it
    half way doing is
    no doing at all

  65. PKP says:

    The Walk

    Across the waxed wood
    gleaming
    glowing
    softly
    a smile o’er
    open-arms
    outstretched
    hands
    waiting
    as I
    pause on
    trembling legs
    and begin again
    to make my way

  66. annell says:

    Halfway
    Halfway there
    Halfway gone
    Halfway finished
    Halfway started
    Halfway full
    Halfway empty
    Is it the distance
    We have traveled
    Or is it the distance
    We have to go
    Is it the glass
    Half full
    Or half empty

  67. THE ETERNAL OPTIMIST

    Glass half empty is not in his thinking,
    For thinking of what is lost to us, is a lost cause.
    He pauses to reassess, and the best case scenario
    Is a lot less scary with his thoughts facing forward.
    He is a stalwart staring his fears down and frown-
    Ing at they who lament the hole they’re in.
    He begins each day accepting that he is loved.
    He knows that all the morning brings will
    Have him singing by the end of day. And to say
    There’s not enough in his glass would decry
    His lack of class and decorum. Life bores him to tears.
    But here, the glass is ALL WAYS filled to the brim.
    Someone just decided to use too big of a glass!

  68. PKP says:

    I don’t want no half-way hands

    I don’t want no halfway
    hands – fumbling over
    me, leaving fumbled
    fingerprints on my
    heart, in my head
    I want all-the-way
    hands grabbing me
    hard and sure
    and lovin’ me
    certain – solid
    soaring
    forever
    arrived

  69. HALF-MOON LUNES

    We’re halfway between
    the new moon
    and its full silver.

    It’s just risen.
    Come outside, walk with me
    under this moon

    in its cold shiver,
    November.
    Our garden’s frost-bit

    but our woodstove
    blazes with the fire
    you built me.

    The moon’s just at half,
    like our lives
    moving toward some whole.

  70. laurie kolp says:

    (Untitled)

    there’s no half-way point
    when you’re dying,
    no warning bell
    or mid-way alarm

    each day your eyes open
    and I hear your weak voice
    is a blessing

    even though
    this isn’t a dream

  71. Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark.
    For the straight forward path had been lost -Dante Alighieri

    Isn’t that just the way –
    all surety taken by chaos,
    halfway through
    never the place you want
    to be
    but always where you are,
    once you start thinking that
    you’re happy
    it’s already
    halfway
    gone

  72. MIDDLE-ING

    The middle child is most often forgotten
    lost between first and last-
    between the overachiever and the baby.
    They grow always off balance,
    being drawn back and forth between
    extremes of center.
    The middle child is more than mediocre
    or run-of-the-mill.
    They become presidents who
    shake the world.
    Nobel laureates that bring
    new visions.
    They climb the mountains,
    sail the seas and boldly go
    were no one has gone before!

  73. Hannah says:

    Heart of the Matter (a haibun)

    Any being outside of oneself that’s living, (whether it’s purely organic or vividly animated), these living beings are our neighbors. If we’re truly honest and take time to reflect on our actions we’ll move from a place of Universal Law. Love will be the sounding board on which we balance each and every decision. Who does this help? Who might be hurt by this choice? Would I do this unto myself? Let’s peer clearly with compassion-sharpened vision, from the vantage point of the feathered falcon’s flight. Take a glide on the wing of the elevated eagle. Equally and alternately let’s get into the skin of lichen covered bark. Yes, let’s find the heart beating and meaning within the tiniest members of this shared experience we call Life.

    Ask the hard to answer questions.
    What is the grand plan here?
    Whom does our actions affect?

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

    p.s.I’m wrestling with that last line, (grammatically speaking). The age old question who vs. whom…I even looked it up…still sounds weird. Anybody?

  74. bxpoetlover says:

    Equality

    Should I pay half the check every time
    spend half of the holidays with his family
    pay half the cost of the ring and the wedding
    be on top half the time
    earn half of the income
    take care of half the bills and taxes
    cook half of the food
    clean half of the house
    split the feedings the gettings up the laundry
    mete out half the punishments
    do half the yard work and home repairs
    admit I am wrong half the time
    do half of the driving
    stay up half the night when the children go out
    interrogate half of the children’s friends and lovers
    pay half of the college tuitions and lend out half the money
    will it all be fair even after I do all of the birthing?

  75. RJ Clarken says:

    Halfway Through the Book

    “Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.” ~Wislawa Szymborska

    We
    were a
    sequel; how
    did we end up starting in the middle?
    Maybe because we were both beginning
    without an
    end in
    sight.

    ###

  76. RJ Clarken says:

    Half-Way Point, and Then Some

    If
    I live
    to be a
    hundred, I’m roughly half-way there. I could
    think of mortality, but what’s the point?
    There’s so much
    more to
    do.

    ###

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