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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

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…

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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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233 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. Susan Schoeffield

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    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. Karen H. Phillips

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    1. Missy McEwen

      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

      jes 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 jes
      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. Cin5456

    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.

  18. Cameron Steele

    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.

    1. PressOn

      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.

  19. DanielAri

    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

  20. randinha

    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.

  21. Bruce Niedt

    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.

  22. Sara McNulty

    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!

  23. Lori P

    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

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