Writing Prompt
    Boot Camp

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the Writing Prompt Boot Camp download.

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

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

We’ve only got a week of November left. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make the most of it.

For today’s prompt, write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem. You can decide where you shouldn’t be: maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a time, or maybe (just maybe) it’s a state of mind. Shake yourself loose in a poem.

Here’s my attempt at an “I shouldn’t be here” poem:

“Dearborn Heights”

I didn’t know you,
and you didn’t know me.

It was late,
and I needed help.

Maybe I picked the wrong
neighborhood to have

an accident,
and maybe you had

an accident,
but I shouldn’t be here;

I shouldn’t be here,
but here I am.


Become a Travel Writer!

Learn the essentials of travel writing, including how to build articles, integrate interviews, incorporate details, and more–that includes learning the market and how to sell articles.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and still gets upset over unarmed people being killed, especially after a car accident. Of course, all the details probably aren’t out there, but this poem is from the perspective of Renisha McBride who was shot and killed while asking for help after an early morning car wreck (read about it here). Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


Check out more poetic posts here:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts
  • Print Circulation Form

    Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

211 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

  1. DWong says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here (PAD 23)

    A mistake,
    something unplanned,
    by unspoken
    I was brought to
    this dead world.

    A mistake,
    I stood in the
    wrong place wrong
    time every day
    the door closed
    on my neck that
    gasped for breath.

    A mistake,
    something unplanned,
    I try hard
    to be loved by
    someone, but I
    should not try
    because I
    should not be here.

  2. bjholmes says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    Fog crept around each stone in the ground
    each step crunched under my feet.
    A wild wind blew my hair all around
    whipping and twisting each little strand.
    This was not where I wanted to be
    but this was the place to make my stand.

    Clouds covered the brightness of the moon
    as it loomed up over the hills.
    Streaks of lightning and rools of thunder were soon.
    This is was not where I wanted to be
    but cowardice was not an option.

    Trees began twisting and thrusting about
    scaring the fog from my sight.
    Shadows were dancing as the moon tried to shout
    as the clouds scurried to shatter its light.
    This was not where I wanted to be
    but what choice did I really have left.

    A quiet voice from the east, no the west, came softly to my ear
    turning in circles to every little sound.
    trying to catch the voice of the whisperer to hear
    my heart racing and jumping and ready to bound.

    That voice drawing nearer, ever nearer, so clear,
    I knew that I shouldn’t be here.

  3. Glory says:

    No I shouldn’t –

    I shouldn’t be here
    No, we shouldn’t
    be meeting like this,
    although my heart beats
    with joy, and my hand
    slips slowly into yours
    I know in my heart
    where conscience clings
    I shouldn’t be here.

  4. Amy says:

    Inner Demons

    I shouldn’t be here
    at the foot of your shadow

    My roots are deep as
    the secrets you keep

    I shouldn’t be here
    underneath your pride

    I’ve grown so far from
    the seed you planted

    I shouldn’t be here
    behind your charming mask

    My own face longs for
    the warmth of the spotlight

    When you aren’t here
    I am here, regardless.

  5. Yolee says:

    Advertising Sales

    The half glass, half empty
    cubicle contains essentials to get some work done
    until the office movers bring in all the other hoopla.

    Nearly 13 years is a long time to be under the knife.
    And the company ran out of anesthesia 3
    years ago. She has a law degree beneath her skin,
    unlike her co-worker whose gauze across
    the mouth is beginning to fray.

  6. hohlwein says:

    For today’s prompt, write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem. You can decide where you shouldn’t be: maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a time, or maybe (just maybe) it’s a state of mind. Shake yourself loose in a poem.

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    Here I am again.
    Right back in the same damn spot.

    Every thing I own was touched, packed, unpacked, settled back east.
    Then touched, packed, unpacked, settled right back here.

    Should I be there?
    Vice President of Something.
    Inventor or Artist or Wife or Mother.

    Then again, maybe I should be here.
    In November, leaping upstream.

    Right back where I started.
    Thicker. My expression settled.
    Possibilities abandoned.

    Maybe I should be here.
    An imperative of some kind. Unclear, but firm.

    It has to be good enough that I made it
    - once -
    All the way out to the open sea.

  7. seingraham says:


    As used as I am to extraordinarily fine music,
    the voices filling my space tonight
    are enough to bring me to my metaphoric knees
    —no pun intended, although I can see how it might
    be construed as irreverent, given my architectural
    station in life—

    The winged ones in the balcony — they’re not supposed
    to be here, you know — cannot bear to fly off
    So enchanted are they by the sounds reverberating
    within my walls.
    They are no strangers to heavenly songs themselves,
    so that should give you some idea, how special
    this group, accompanied by one pianist alone, are…
    There on the risers, at the front for all to witness.

    I barely know where to begin, enumerating my ecstasies
    without coming off like some sort of religious zealot
    Oh my! That came out all wrong…one look at my stained
    glass windows, the flying buttresses that grace my roof,
    and the glorious brass pipes glowing, and growing like
    long-stemmed plants reaching for sunlight, they take
    up almost the whole front wall,
    Announce the holiness the organ’s place holds here

    My interior is warmed by shades of oak – the walls,
    the floor, even the seats…all the pews
    Every part of me is hand-crafted and perfect and
    to have the hallelujahs filling the air tonight
    No wonder the haloed ones are a-twitter…the maestro
    lifts his baton and the voices blend
    It is a blessing indeed to have the opera’s chorus caress
    us with such love tonight

  8. Healing Balm of Argument

    I shouldn’t be here
    In this deadly mix
    Of mind, emotion

    Contrary stance
    Will of no romance
    Combustible tone

    Rapid fire statements
    Of ill-feeling

    Across the room
    Shattering windows
    Of opportunity

    Little room left
    For love, peace
    And forgiveness

    Let’s stop
    The inflammation
    Careless swelling

    We could use
    Some rest, ice
    For our hearts

    And elevation
    To a higher level

    The healing balm
    Starts now


    I’m on the wrong side of the line,
    Shouldn’t be here
    Having this conversation
    Or giving you this
    Undivided attention
    Look, you’re so fine…
    Did I mention you been on my mind?
    This is a bad decision.
    Being here,
    Engulfed in daydreams that
    Happen to follow me into night
    Every thing you do is so right
    Really, you don’t even got to say a word
    Even still, I can’t be here. And neither should you.

  10. bjzeimer says:


    I shouldn’t be here watching
    this documentary of the migration
    of swans, cranes, and pelicans,

    the largest birds in the world.
    Like I need to know what a gaggle
    of geese is, what flock of birds is called

    a wedge. The biggest birds
    I ever saw were pheasants lighting in an
    Ohio field of wheat stubble,

    Daddy stalking them with his shotgun.
    We had a pot of pheasant
    and noodles for supper that night.

  11. MichelleMcEwen says:


    I should go

    Should not be here
    wrapped around you

    like you are some prey

    It’s too dangerous,
    babe— you bring

    out the animal in me,
    make me remember

    I was a lion
    in a past life

    You return to me
    my roar as though

    I’m back in Africa

    A king

  12. Mywordwall says:


    I heard it
    the opening notes of Ode to Joy
    and I walked, tracing the sound
    my feet as though growing wings with each step
    the music lifted me up
    bit by bit
    until I lose sense of my ground
    and my soul floats into the heavens
    rides the waves of joy
    and sorrow
    and triump
    the music embraced me
    flowed through me
    through its beat
    I saw
    life’s possibilities
    There I stayed
    among the stars
    but the applause
    and rolling drums
    called me back
    to where I should be –
    in that place of grit,
    my reality.

  13. I Shouldn’t Be Here

    But I am,
    in the gap between
    the back of the couch
    and the wall.

    This is my secret place.
    Now I mustn’t move.
    There are voices
    and I know whose.

    They are saying
    grown-up things.
    I don’t understand, but I know
    I’m not supposed to hear.

    I’m listening
    with wide-open ears
    and keeping
    very quiet.

  14. Spoilsports.

    Out through the window
    or out of the door
    quietly, quietly
    pads and sheathed claws.

    Softly creeping,
    drawing near
    if I move very slowly
    they won’t know I’m here.

    Freeze on the spot
    so I can’t be seen.
    Invisible, invincible
    predator queen.

    This is the way I
    sneak up on the birds
    to catch them and eat them
    without being heard.

    The guards of the garden
    cause me no fear.
    But the birds flee at,
    “Shoo cat,
    you shouldn’t be here!”

    Michele Brenton

  15. DanielAri says:

    “I shouldn’t be here.”

    and once when I was 25 and temping,
    I got assigned to the San Francisco Mint,
    a stiflingly rote workday in the building’s
    gray sub-basement. I used the time to perfect
    sleight of hand tricks with rubber bands and desk things.

    One day I pondered (this is how bad it got)
    whether there was another men’s room down there.
    I got up to have myself a walkabout
    and wandered into a hallway where the walls
    were plexiglass. Then with a sinking feeling,

    I heard doors lock decisively behind me.
    From a P.A. a voice demanded to know
    what I was doing in the mint’s treasury.
    And then I recognized what was going on
    in those rooms full of bins, tables and bright light.

    “I’m a temp,” I cried to the overseer,
    the unseen guard clicked his tongue and let me go.


  16. Milling for Morning

    You asked me to meet you
    by the windmill near Badger.

    Even if it’s freezing, you begged,
    even if the lake is iced over

    please come before light
    steals the sky.

    We both grew up East River,
    we knew the ground would

    be tough under the cut corn,
    hard enough to hurt. But

    still I went to you, easing
    out of the farmer’s bed

    like a sigh or the ghost
    of a breath in the dark,

    hiking through muck
    and frost to the red truck

    by the barn, rattling
    through the last of the soybeans

    and pretending it was too cold
    to even cry. We didn’t take off

    all of our clothes, but later -
    after my lips were blue

    and your mouth was red -
    We shed our gloves,

    held our bare hands. We’re
    waiting for wind, you said,

    Milling for morning.

  17. Margie Fuston says:

    The MBA

    She should be
    building portfolios,
    merging companies,
    charting stock prices,
    balancing assets and liabilities.

    Now she uses her MBA
    building Lego castles,
    merging peanut butter and jelly,
    charting potty trips,
    balancing the checkbook.

    But she
    wouldn’t trade

  18. LeonasLines says:

    “An Old Familiar Place” is my I shouldn’t be here poem. It is posted on my blog at: http://leonaslines.com/2013/11/23/an-old-familiar-place/

  19. bethwk says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    And neither, perhaps, should you. Or you.
    How shall I place this shame in context?

    It wasn’t my pigs who brought the plague
    that wiped out the thousand Caddoan villages
    along the Mississippi. Nor my gold-lust
    that cut off the hands and the tongues
    of those who would not yield me tribute.

    I did not rush in with the unrighteous mob
    when the Paxtang Boys tore down the doors
    and killed the last Conestoga villagers.

    How have we come to speak so glibly of genocide?

    They had no concept, see, of land ownership,
    and our own greed had built into a towering need.

    They helped us live, you know,
    when our own were starving.
    We could not have been so bad,
    if they helped us then.
    And we have immortalized them
    with gratitude, so that makes up
    a little of the difference.

    I shouldn’t be here, but I am,
    here in history, here in this place.
    And beneath my feet, the bones
    of the People Who Came Before.

    What can I offer as a token,
    as my plea for forgiveness?

    A small piece of quartz tossed
    into the River which fed them,
    Three seeds in the soil
    which grew their livelihood:
    a bean, a corn kernel, a gourd.
    A feather tossed into the wind,
    like the eagles who flew above
    the myriad villages of the People.

    I am sorry.
    Please forgive me.

  20. bethwk says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    And neither, perhaps, should you. Or you.
    How shall I place this shame in context?

    It wasn’t my pigs who brought the plague
    that wiped out the thousand Caddoan villages
    along the Mississippi. Nor my gold-lust
    that cut off the hands and the tongues
    of those who would not yield me tribute.

    I did not rush in with the unrighteous mob
    when the Paxtang Boys tore down the doors
    and killed the last Conestoga villagers.

    How have we come to speak so glibly of genocide?

    They had no concept, see, of land ownership,
    and our own greed had built into a towering need.

    They helped us live, you know,
    when our own were starving.
    We could not have been so bad,
    if they helped us then.
    And we have immortalized them
    with gratitude, so that makes up
    a little of the difference.

    I shouldn’t be here, but I am,
    here in history, here in this place.
    And beneath my feet, the bones
    of the People Who Came Before.

    What can I offer as a token,
    as my plea for forgiveness?

    A small piece of quartz tossed
    into the River which fed them,
    Three seeds in the soil
    which grew their livelihood:
    a bean, a corn kernel, a gourd.
    A feather tossed into the wind,
    like the eagles who flew above
    the myriad village of the People.

    I am sorry.
    Please forgive me.

  21. cbwentworth says:

    A wrong turn,
    fate’s demand
    Pointing north,
    looking south
    Thinking twice,
    lost to doubt
    Crooked road,
    panicked state
    Left alone,
    rescue me
    No one knows,
    left behind

  22. Julieann says:

    Another Time & Place – No!

    Around the 1870s and 1880s
    Heyday of the Wild, Wild West
    Pioneers and cowboys,
    Cattle drives, Indians,
    And wagon trains

    Times were simpler then
    Right was right and
    Wrong was wrong
    The gun and hangman’s noose
    Were the law

    An idealized time of honor
    And integrity, a time of hard
    Work, back breaking labor
    From dawn to dusk
    Building a new world

    I so often feel I should have been
    Way back then -
    I shouldn’t be here with government’s
    Wishy-washy ambiguities
    And anything goes

    A simpler life I crave – yes!
    But to do without indoor plumbing,
    Air conditioning, telephones, and the
    American automobile
    I am happy here

  23. PKP says:

    in the moonlight

    I should not be reaching across
    this strange bed with rumpled
    sheets of musk
    Touching your shoulder
    as my wedding ring
    his and my wedding ring
    glints in the moonlight
    splayed across our sated
    I should not be here
    in the moonlight

  24. Bruce Niedt says:

    Businessperson’s Special

    I wonder how many of us
    shouldn’t be here –
    as for me, I called in sick.
    It would have been a shame to waste
    such a beautiful afternoon on work
    instead of baseball. But the park
    may be full of guilty parties
    who are supposed to be somewhere else.
    Maybe I’ll see some sheepish faces
    on the Fan-o-vision screen.
    But I’ve been looking and no one here
    seems self-conscious or remorseful.
    So I’ll follow their lead and enjoy myself -
    dig into this hot dog, cheer my team,
    and worry about everything else tomorrow.

  25. randinha says:

    Since today’s prompt is the thought I have almost every time I enter my favorite bookstore –


    Windows, wide, stretching the length
    of this hall, brilliant
    glass, radiant
    with light and heat and the dance
    of dust in the beams
    and dust on the books
    and dust on the shelves of the books
    stretching the length of this hall.

    Steaming strong coffee, dark
    as the window is bright and bitter
    as the cookies are sweet and plain
    as the books are vivid and finite
    as the shelves are endless.

    Chatter, constant yet
    quiet, a laugh, a rebuttal,
    a sip, a keyboard’s sudden rattle,
    another laugh, a beep,
    and children’s feet beating
    the floor.

    A wonderland of words, an idyll
    for intellectuals, and a temptation

    for the traveling taleteller,
    the one who traveled from the side of her wide
    open notebook, blank and brilliant
    paper radiant with possibility
    for light and heat and the dance
    of fantastic worlds
    stretching the length of the mind—

    yes, a distraction from the steaming
    long hours, dark
    as the window is bright, bitter
    as the cookies are sweet, plain
    as these books are vivid, and futile
    as these shelves are endlessly fruitful.

  26. rosross says:

    I shouldn’t be here

    Through dubious days, diluted nights,
    and dismal dreams we drew,
    ourselves into relationship;
    demanded something new.

    In tangled trips of heart and mind,
    the minutes strangled hope,
    tied with frayed, impending need;
    crippled inner growth.

    Until at last a voice was heard,
    yours or maybe mine:
    ‘I shouldn’t be here,’ rang the words;
    the end was soon defined.

  27. Missy McEwen says:

    Little Rock Central High School

    They don’t want us here
    but who are they
    to say we shouldn’t be

    They don’t want us here
    that bad they trip us in hallways
    on our way to class.

    They call us names
    other than what our parents
    gave us: Melba, Thelma,
    Ernest, Jefferson, Elizabeth,
    Carlotta, Terrence,
    Gloria, and Minnijean.
    We all have the same name here–

    We get spat on,
    knocked down and kicked
    until we bleed, teachers
    turn their heads.

    We shouldn’t want to be
    around y’all

    not the other
    way around.

  28. Earl Parsons says:

    I shouldn’t be here
    Now if I could only find
    Just where I should be

  29. LeAnneM says:

    Worst Feeling Ever

    Awareness that one has been
    Destined again

    To make the best of it

  30. Sara McNulty says:

    Roaring Era

    Green lizard absinthe,
    silver slotted spoons,
    and the place filled
    with charleston dancers
    in flapper dresses.
    This is not my time;
    I know that. Intoxicating
    music, clink of crystal
    glasses, and laughter.
    I am swept up in the
    splendor of it all.
    Maybe I time-traveled,
    and landed in an age
    out of a page in history.
    But I look down, see my
    jeans. They are faded,
    as are my shirt and shoes.
    No one can see me, yet
    I shouldn’t be here.

  31. SathanNamuwaara says:

    Piss-poor, pissed off and pissed.
    Auspicious targets missed.
    I shouldn’t be here.

    Tests were mine to fail.
    Opportunities mine to miss.
    But I shouldn’t be here.

    In the sinking sand on which I stand,
    far from the peak
    of which I planned to land on
    clad in golden raiment-
    victorious spoils!
    Not mortgage payments.

    Burgeoning dreams unconsummated
    by frigid bureaucratic bats
    feasting on my felicity- You know what I mean?

    “I’ll drink to that!”

  32. calicocat88 says:


    Waves clutched at my feet
    Satan’s disillusionment
    I shouldn’t be here

    (“Not sure if this qualifies as a Haiku” says the poetic deficient. )

  33. Rosemarie Keenan says:


    I toss and turn on the sodden bed
    looking for some relief. I angle
    the sickly fan again, it nudges
    the molten air and manages to reheat
    this tiny room.

    Too hot to sleep, why bother trying.
    But what am I to do if I can’t sleep?
    Lie here and worry, which is what I do,
    an expert at it, stuck in torrid torment
    and in time.

    Knowing I brought myself here
    away from you.
    Sat on the plane and cried
    “Why am I leaving him?”
    Leaving the only one I ever loved
    to sweat on the Lower East Side.

    Some self-imposed penance, perhaps
    or deeply ingrained habit calling.
    Twelve years of Catholic school bells
    tolling: “Don’t trust your emotions.”

    Maybe a willful pragmatism.
    Sure, that’s it.
    A sign to show how sober I could be:
    “Look, I’ll be miserable for a month”
    and after that
    well, if this thing still holds
    we’re no worse off.

    The fan’s blades
    stutter with useless effort.
    With any luck
    I’ll lose consciousness
    and when delirious
    see you again.

  34. bartonsmock says:

    -visibly else-

    a short period of poorness is already underway when I enter to promise my dog and nod to my wife. dumb in the mouth I announce I am thinking behind. my shyness is a chair sent from a distant church. the one man in the room tells me I have a purpose and confides that he too is a rental. I’m just here for my unmarried wife who was recently overwhelmed by the human response of our dog. being that the women are slow to evoke, I’ll have myself know your sons are on a flat surface having a nightmare nightmares notice.

  35. JRSimmang says:


    My button eyes
    have fallen slack,
    lacking the tension
    behind them.

    I can see,
    with dreadful drooping,
    that this isn’t the
    last place I lay.

    Hold me close
    and color my face.

    -JR Simmang

  36. cholder says:

    I should not be here
    honeyed lips meeting mine
    breath brushing my hair
    our bodies entwined

    I should not be here
    fingers tracing the line
    of my jaw; transcendent
    suspension of time

    I should not be here
    but each time I find
    it unbearable to leave;
    to return to my life

    I should not be here
    nails raking your spine
    pressed core to core
    celestial coalescence divine

    I should not be here I sigh . . .

    November PAD Challenge Day 23: I should not be here poem

  37. Linda Goin says:

    Looking for a Reason to Be Here

    I really shouldn’t be here,
    but when I was born,
    the angels were on vacation.
    No. Forget that.
    I really don’t believe
    in angels.

    I really shouldn’t be here,
    because this world
    is so angry,
    and I like to poke the bears.
    One of these days,
    one of those bears
    is going to find me
    and finish me.

    I really shouldn’t be here,
    listening to talk among angels,
    because I don’t believe in them.
    But, if I did believe in them,
    I would hear them talk about
    all the usual things,
    like seraphim, cherubim,
    essential oils, and thrones.
    They’d also talk about hair,
    shrimp and grits,
    sick cats, and perfume.

    I really shouldn’t be here,
    looking for angels.
    Thank goodness
    they don’t have names,
    because I’d call them.
    Only archangels have names.
    Trust me on that one.
    And, angels have wings only
    because someone, here,
    decided they couldn’t fly
    without them.
    If I believed in angels,
    they would live
    in apartments.


    Should I
    quietly hide
    in the clouds to gaze upon
    the stars dancing in moonlit skies
    to songs only they know?

    Should I
    to try capture
    the soft and graceful steps of
    this waltz in evening’s ballroom,
    my words will sound hollow.

    I should,
    instead, enjoy
    the scene in silent awe as
    those involved in this astral dance
    ignore my intrusion.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  39. BezBawni says:

    Early Spring

    I blink
    green sprouts from under icy ground
    pushing through crystal crust.
    I’m stiff. I stretch and puff
    the icicles off branches in the garden.
    I urge reluctant streams
    of melted cold down the road;
    they do as told, but halt
    as soon as clouds wrap
    around the sun. I stand here stunned.
    I feel the wind get stronger.
    There’s something wrong,
    as even if I hold my breath,
    the wind’s still blowing.
    Now it’s snowing,
    and I start to panic.
    Like a tender lover, with remnants
    of my warmth I cover shooting buds
    and sing a lullaby to waking bears.
    I stare at the sunset
    and, in wonder, I wonder if maybe
    I shouldn’t be here.
    Just yet.

  40. De Jackson says:


    I shouldn’t be hear
    -ing this, these words that fall
    like ashes from your lips
    aimed by pointed tongue,
    these flames that zing and sting and sum
    -marize me, name me things I am not. Caught
    cold by hammered phrase, anvil anger and
    wasted days, I hold on to hope
    and heart and breath,
    and leave them stir
    -rupped for some other sunset.


  41. Broofee says:

    I shouldn’t be here

    Streets are still empty,
    I walk through the downtown
    On a Saturday morning
    Women are cleaning shops windows
    Men are looking half asleep
    It’s the end of November
    And I’m thinking about emigration.

    Rain just keeps hitting me
    Harder and harder
    Even jumps of the concrete
    While I walk beneath the old buildings
    And hits my pants.
    I’m soaking wet
    After two hours of walking around
    And I keep thinking
    Finland is probably much colder
    Sweden is probably more expensive
    Norway probably has more snow
    Well, I wouldn’t wanna go to America
    There’s no healthcare system over there
    That can compete with Europe
    In any way.

    Since the Christmas is near
    They already put some decorations
    They already prepared the town center
    Dragged small wooden houses
    So they can sell presents
    And wines, sausages
    And sweets.

    I really shouldn’t be here
    Any more
    I should go
    Find someplace else
    Learn something new
    Meet some new people
    Do some crazy things
    Maybe I’ll stay
    Just a bit
    A day or two
    If I do
    I know
    You’ll come over
    For the weekend
    And we’ll walk these same streets
    See these little wooden houses
    Have some wine
    Eat a sausage or two
    And I’ll feel
    Just about right.

  42. priyajane says:

    I shouldn’t be here
    On this side of the solar system
    A stardust spinning tunes
    alien constellations

    But now that I am
    Trusting the new moon
    Losing some old. gears
    I am here now—

  43. I Shouldn’t Be Here

    I ran from my past.
    But it followed me.
    I build.
    It tears down.
    I connect.
    It disconnects.
    I take one step forward.
    It pushes me back three.
    I shouldn’t be here,
    with my past.
    I’d like to run.
    But where?
    I’ve got to face my past head on,
    so I’m free to step into my future.

  44. barbara_y says:

    Done beyond undoing, I come back
    from where I was, from the ocean,
    where the choice
    was high or low. Come
    back home, where the mountains
    stretch from then
    until where time ends,
    and the clouds are gathering cold.
    There’s a cycle to complete,
    and the hills are suffering me here.
    Whatever path my feet create,
    however far I walk, which way, makes no regard.
    Virtue doesn’t lessen, or wrong-headed habits
    make the last leg longer, through the gap.

  45. Clae says:

    I Shouldn’t Still Be Here

    This is not where I thought I’d be,
    I planned so much to do and see.
    I thought I would have more achieved
    By this time in my life.
    This is not what I planned to do.
    What happened to those years that flew
    Right past before I even knew?
    Now it’s time for my life
    To gain a focus, fight my way,
    Finish goals, accomplish things. Days
    Go by but it’s not yet too late
    To make a better life.

  46. Michelle Hed says:

    Late Saturday Night

    I should be dancing
    (I’m in my prime)
    I should be glancing
    (flirting is my crime) -

    but instead I’m sitting
    (alone, let me be)
    trying to not be quitting
    (no one here but me)
    watching the IV dripping
    (the only sound I see) –

    There are so many regrets
    (crowding up my mind)
    I’ve started taking bets
    (as those thoughts twined)
    I’m getting the sweats
    (I think I’m going blind) –

    Not one drop did I drink
    (did he?)
    going over the brink
    (I jerk my knee)
    that flat-line sound, think
    (I’m falling free)
    a tear leaks out, blink
    (why me?)

  47. Day 23
    Prompt: Write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem.

    Not Here

    Not now,
    not this place where all was swept away,
    my children included.
    Lord, why did You let it happen?
    If You had been here, if You had stopped it,
    they wouldn’t be gone.
    My neighbors and I wouldn’t sit in the rubble,
    waiting for help that has yet to come.
    I don’t understand.
    I trusted You. I told my neighbors about Your love.

    My child, help is on the way.
    There is no one who loves you more than I.
    Now is the chance to show your neighbors,
    show the world, that I will give
    you the strength to carry on.
    If they but ask, that strength is

    Father, into Your hands I commit
    my broken but willing spirit.

  48. It always starts
    a hero or a heroine
    looking out a window
    doesn’t matter if it’s
    raining or shining
    and in comes an invisible
    cat or one wearing
    a hat
    some kind of looking glass
    or wardrobe
    the next inevitable
    unexpected journey
    always so full of nasty
    and precious
    I shouldn’t be here
    but there you are
    the start of all the best

  49. Jane Shlensky says:


    It’s crossed my mind a time or two
    that I could die here, far away,
    no one to write home, call for help,
    no kind Horatio to tell my tale.
    The fever makes me morbid
    and so weak, I wonder how I’ll
    ever lift my pack, stand up,
    and walk, reverse the process
    that has brought me here, a walk,
    a wade, a boat, a ship, a train,
    a bus, a plane, a plane, a plane,
    and home, just over there
    on the other side of the world,
    my mother’s face, worried, mad.
    I am a moral now, a walking warning:
    travel with others, never go alone,
    but I can’t fight them every time
    I want to roam, to see a thing first hand.
    This has to be a footnote, not a plot.
    I shouldn’t be here, but the butterflies
    like golden drifting leaves down
    to the beach entranced me,
    and no one else would join me
    just to see them in their flight,
    to visit Buddha’s jungle temple,
    to hear the monkeys chatter
    in the trees, eat mangos and
    swim such transparent seas.
    I walk on will and stubbornness,
    on fumes of energy, each step
    a thought. I must survive to tell
    of one steamy night’s encounter
    with a mosquito on a dot of an island
    in Thailand where the cove at sunset
    is to die for.

  50. elishevasmom says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    By most accounts this cat
    used up her nine lives
    a long time ago.

    She went about doing
    what she wanted to do
    when she wanted to do it.

    Did manage to somehow
    steer clear of alcohol
    and narcotics along the way.

    Maybe that’s what made
    the difference
    as to why she’s still here.

    Lived herself into the wild
    and crazy bluster of a
    hornet’s nest knocked

    off a branch by a
    sling-shotted, should-know-
    better piece of attitude.

    The laws of nature had
    that hornet’s nest exploding
    into a madness so intense

    there was nothing left
    to hit the ground.
    And yet,

    here I am,
    against all odds.
    No hornets welcome.

    Ellen Knight 11.23.13
    write an “I shouldn’t be here” for PAD 11.13

    • PressOn says:

      This is fun and exudes a “so there” attitude, especially at the end. Love it.

      • elishevasmom says:

        Thanks, Bill. btw, I just read your poet interview over at Poetic Bloomings. I enjoyed so much getting to know more about you. I’ve only come to know you over there and here at PA over the past year or so, and finally felt a little foolish that it took me until just a few months ago to realize that Press On = William Preston. You are so insightful in your comments, in general. And the way you thank others for posting, well, that’s just above and beyond. Congrats again.

  51. Domino says:

    You know I shouldn’t be here.
    But I’m so glad that I am.
    This close, your presence endear.
    I know I shouldn’t be here.
    I guess I could disappear
    but really don’t give a damn
    You know I shouldn’t be here.
    But I’m really glad that I am.

  52. gl86 says:


    I whisper once
    in your ear
    I shouldn’t be here.

    My wasted words
    kiss your ear
    I shouldn’t be here.

    That’s your cue.
    Make your move.
    We’re here again,

  53. Dare says:

    Perfectly Random

    A random planet
    A random solar system
    A random universe
    A perfect mix of
    Chemicals and conditions
    I shouldn’t be here
    But I am

  54. Nancy Posey says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    I shouldn’t be here
    holed up the house,
    Norwegian Wood
    turned way up high,
    a good book open
    on my lap, a dog
    curled at my feet.
    A million things
    to do today, I know
    that I should make
    a list and check it
    twice, but for now
    I think I’ll choose
    naughty, ignoring
    nice. After all, one
    single day, claimed
    as my own, surely
    won’t slip the world
    of its axis. Anyone
    depending on me,
    will have to take
    a number and wait.

  55. writinglife16 says:

    Standing on the Edge

    Here’s my truth.
    I shouldn’t be here.
    Getting close.
    Step by step.
    Standing on the edge of time.
    The question is why?

    Where am I?
    I shouldn’t be here.
    Dr. Freud.
    Please advise.
    Standing on the edge of tme.
    Someone hear my truth.


    The wind mixes shadow with light on stone.
    Where sunlight of autumn-fall leaves drifts past
    the dark of oaks – November holding fast –
    a man should not be wandering alone.

    And I should not be climbing rock and bone-
    ridges, searching. A dry waste stretches vast.
    The wind mixes shadow with light on stone,
    and sunlight of autumn-fall leaves drifts past.

    Minutes move across the flat. Distant drone
    of traffic. A buzzard circles like last
    hope on wings. Hill beyond hill – rocks amassed
    by history. Who should be here on his own?
    The wind mixes shadow with light on stone.

  57. bxpoetlover says:

    I Shouldn’t Have Been There

    at 17, with that bike lock around my neck,
    them playing keep-away with the key

    Because they called me Three-Fifths and Fraction
    and bruised my lip when I fought back,
    in this room decorated with a Confederate flag and
    pentagram, I escaped home every weekend

    And when my folks saw
    the N-word scribbled on
    my white board,
    they knew why.

    My tormentors named, charged, removed.
    Fellow students gathered around
    the Tommie Smith’s raised fist to let me know
    I am not alone, but I came to San Jose State
    for an education.

    I learned that
    some don’t know
    it is 2013.


    The day was bright and beautiful,
    this I remember well,
    I was working in the garden
    when something, I couldn’t tell,
    began this awful wheezing,
    then the wind began to swirl
    til, plop, right there. a blue box
    appeared and my hair began to curl.

    With a twinkle in his eye,
    out jumps this strange man,
    I sit there quite amazed,
    “Hello!” he said, as I began
    to blink and blink, unsure
    of just what I was seeing
    sitting in my garden fair -
    a blue box used for ringing!

    “Hello,” says I, “Are you lost?
    Can I help? How about some tea?”
    With twinkling eyes and a grin,
    he says, “Are you kidding, help me?”
    “Don’t you know who I am?”
    “Um…not really,” I did say.
    “Why, the Doctor!” he exclaimed,
    “Is my craft in your way?”

    He seemed a lovely gent,
    so, I invited him to tea.
    I could tell he was quite lost by
    the questions asked of me
    “I’m quite befuddled!” he did admit,
    “because, really, I shouldn’t be here!”
    Then, off he ran, and disappeared,
    leaving me to tear…

    The day was bright and beautiful,
    this I remember well,
    I was working in the garden
    when something, I couldn’t tell…


    In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Who.

  59. Marie Elena says:

    I Shouldn’t Be Here

    Ev’ry single day
    Poetic Bloomings dot com
    Humbles me greatly

    I’m greatly humbled
    By the poetic beauty
    Of brilliant poets

    Brilliant poets of
    The far reaches of the earth
    Gracing this garden

    This garden of poems
    Releasing a sweet fragrance
    Enriching my life

    My life is enriched
    By this collaboration
    I could not have earned.

  60. Marie Elena says:

    Heaven, undeserved
    my sins forever buried
    ‘neath the cross of Christ

  61. Cin5456 says:

    Marketing Strategy

    Calgon promised to take me away.
    The latest movie promised to transport
    me. The right attitude will take me far.
    A good education will take me farther.
    DeVry said it would take my education
    to another level. Headhunters promise
    to take my career to new heights. From
    all the advertisements I see every day,
    I get the impression that I’m not
    supposed to be where I am.

  62. annell says:

    Where I Need to Be

    In the jungle

    Dark and deep…


    I shouldn’t be here

    Sailing the deep blue sea….


    I shouldn’t be here

    Flying above mountain tops….


    I shouldn’t be here

    I have no time to waste

    My time is finite

    I have no idea

    When the end is near


    I will be where I need to be

    Stretch the moment to eternity

  63. RJ Clarken says:

    Dog Logic

    I should
    not be here,
    then why did you leave the cabinet door
    unlocked? I could get in to it, you know.
    And I prob-


  64. RJ Clarken says:

    A Night at the Improv

    feel like
    I’m on-stage
    without knowing my lines. The overture
    is finished. I must make my entrance now.
    Curtains rise.
    It’s show
    is just
    but since I shouldn’t be here, ‘though I am,
    I’ll just have to improvise. Scene: She says,
    “I love you.”
    Then, a


  65. MLundstedt says:

    “Here again”

    Furtive glances at the door, partly
    hoping to see someone walk through
    it, and march to my table,
    and shatter this amber
    prison and remind
    me forcefully
    that I should
    not be

  66. Lori P says:

    I shouldn’t be here

    stepped off a curb when I was nine
    inches from a car
    Japanese boy pulled me back

    blind spot did its job and hid
    a Frito truck at 75
    Red pickup got out of my way just in time

    I’ve run over an armadillo and a chainsaw
    with nothing worse than a $500 mechanic bill

    I’ve been in the Middle East during a bread riot
    the London Tube with a “suspicious package”
    and Louisiana during Katrina

    I shouldn’t’ be here,
    But I’m glad I am.

  67. PressOn says:


    This stone-cold day is big-bird day,
    when all things turkey come into play;

    some of my ilk today keep dates
    with oval platters and dinner plates

    but they were born and bred for that,
    encrusted are they with surplus fat

    and feet so weak that they all fall
    and none of them can fly at all.

    Here in the fields that is not true:
    here we live free and do not rue

    the day that humans call Thanksgiving;
    the day our kindred feed the living.

    Enjoy this day; enjoy your fun;
    I wish you well, but I must run.

    Why must I run? There is no reason
    except for this: it’s hunting season.

  68. Jezzie says:

    What am I doing here?
    I don’t feel like I belong.
    Now I’ve returned to my career
    my poems turn out all wrong.
    I try to write my poems in verse
    and use alliteration
    but my rhymes are getting worse
    because I’ve lost my inspiration.

Leave a Reply