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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

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

Today is the final “Two for Tuesday” prompt of November. Let’s make the most of it. Here are the prompts:

  1. Take the phrase “Free (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Example titles might include: “Free Bird,” “Freedom Isn’t Free,” “Free Offer,” etc.
  2. Take the phrase “(blank) Free,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Example titles might include: “Fat Free,” “Stone Free,” “How to Be Free,” etc.

Here’s my attempt at a Free Blank and/or Blank Free poem:


“We’re at war, and we’re not giving up.”
-Chad Coffin

Every evening, they skitter ashore,
invade the mudflats in search of soft shells.

The entire army of green crabs hunkers
in the channels by day and wait for night.

As big as my thumb, the crabs come–claws out–
for their yummy clams. We have to fight back

with our crab traps, and clammers can jam
them into buckets–turn crabs into green

profits (for instance, lobster bait, pet food,
or food additives). If nothing else, we

can compost the little green devils, send
them back to wherever they all belong.


Learn the fundamentals of poetry. Click here for more information.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, and he’s been enjoying the process of researching his poems a little before composition. For instance, this prompt forced him to look up cities with the word “free” in them. Then, he looked up the local news stories to finally arrive on the attack of the green crabs (click here to read the story). He loves that the person claiming to be at war with the crabs has the last name of “Coffin.” Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and can be followed on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


Check out a couple more poetic posts here:

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

145 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

  1. seingraham says:


    You weren’t even that–
    bundle of fearfulness
    ready to bolt
    at the slightest sound
    Abandoned at a groomer’s
    for heaven’s sake
    Who does that?

    But we’d just buried a
    beloved boy
    And well-meaning friends
    were sure you were the cure

    So we took you in, wolf,
    Taught you not all
    types were out to hurt
    or abandon you

    You taught us more
    than a few things too,
    and now we can’t
    imagine life
    without you in it.


    Through the blizzard of sleet—
    ice-flakes pounding
    the house relentlessly—
    I see you hovering
    on the periphery
    of the glow thrown
    by a street-light

    I cannot bear to look at you
    directly, fearing you
    will disappear or that
    I will see too much sadness
    in your baby eyes still
    Why have you chosen this
    night of all nights to visit me
    or do you come all the time
    and I just haven’t noticed

    That thought takes my
    breath and tramples it
    That you may have been
    hanging around trying
    to get my attention
    And me, unobservant, not

    Am I the reason, you are
    here on this wicked night
    When the weather is horrid
    even for this place
    Where horrid weather is the
    norm rather than the exception

    Did I not tell you before, to
    go, to soar, fly away
    I was sure I had…but maybe
    you need to hear it again
    And again, until you believe it
    That you are free to go little one
    You are set free, no longer
    tethered to this earth
    By any means…
    If I have kept you here inadvertently
    I apologize, hear me now
    You are free, sweet angel
    Now go


    I had a dream
    that one day
    we would hear
    church bells
    like the love
    in our chests

    that we would
    no longer
    walk alone
    but be an oasis
    beckoning each other
    across the desert

  3. JRSimmang says:


    When the sun
    itself to sleep,
    the chain becomes

    Be warned, young
    Step lightly, step
    sure. Step back from
    the edge of

    -JR Simmang

  4. Yolee says:

    Free At Last- Circa 1992

    In the end, though I was relieved,
    I marched away alone from the courthouse
    like a newly released jail bird having served
    a misdemeanor. There were violations
    during our marriage which merited severing
    legal ties. But a single string in the heart
    was still attached to that youthful love
    and illusion like a kite winding out
    of control above my head.

  5. BezBawni says:

    Subjectivity of Freedom

    Free choice is not your invention,
    neither is grace of forgiveness:
    they are not yours to offer.

    Wherever your good intentions
    lead you, follow them closely:
    leave me alone to suffer.

    I’d rather be choice-free than choice-less.

  6. MichelleMcEwen says:


    I thought it was love

    Wanted it
    to be love 

    that it was

    that it was 

    Wished on a star
    about it

    Checked my horoscope
    daily about it

    looking for signs
    that we’d have 

    beautiful, brown,
    bilingual babies 


    Thought for sure
    it was love

    but it was not

    just us

    greedy you
    needy me

    in the back
    of your truck

    down Baker Hollow Road 

    all woods
    and a couple of factories

    No love 

    You just wanted 

    that’s all that was. 

  7. Rosemarie Keenan says:


    He’s jealous of rappers
    who rhyme unfettered
    while lettered
    poets aim their words away
    from easy harmony and say
    farewell to satisfying endings
    convoluted bendings
    are more their speed

  8. Day 26
    Prompt: Two for Tuesday–Write a poem entitled “Free _____” or “_____ Free.”

    Free Breeze


    Fluff Free

    Sleek cat
    stretches across
    wood floor
    tawny marks
    black silk
    long fellow
    living poetry.

  9. Missy McEwen says:

    Free of You

    If someone would have told me
    back then that today I’d be free
    of you, over you, and with someone new
    I wouldn’t have believed her/him.
    But it’s true and the tattoo just below
    the crook of my arm is just another
    tattoo and no longer a declaration
    of my love for you.

  10. Tracy Davidson says:

    Free Willy

    how disappointed
    you looked when you realised
    the film I’d rented
    was not what you expected…
    you watched ‘Flesh Gordon’ instead

  11. Free Falling

    I let go
    the stone
    and it
    straight to
    the ground

    The dandelion seed
    on its feathery white parachute,
    dancing, dipping
    and tilting
    this way and that,
    floating down slowly.

    If Books Were Free

    If books were free,
    I’d collect all the stories
    and read them the rest of my life.
    I’d never have nothing to read.

    Some would sit on my shelf,
    some would be on my device.
    Some I would give away.
    The best I would keep to re-read.

    Books are my friends and family,
    books are my food and drink.
    I get them for birthdays and Christmas
    but I never have enough.

    You can’t have too many books,
    but you can have too few.
    If books were free and I had enough room …
    I’d probably need an extra life!

  12. bxpoetlover says:

    Freed Up

    Gloria Steinem said the truth
    will set us free but first it will
    piss us off.

    In my ire I have lined my
    bookshelves with feminist,
    multicultural, postcolonial tomes
    to help me fill in the gaps,
    books about writing
    to help me hone my written word

    Thank God I
    hate guns/throwing fists,
    my sonorous voice/poetry makes
    people stop/turn around/listen
    Ain’t gonna stop
    until I piss more people off.

  13. Jezzie says:

    “Buy one get one free”

    I wish “bogof” offers would bog off!
    I only want one bag, not two.
    I really don’t need its mate.
    Give the freebie to the
    needy or greedy.
    I can’t use it
    before its
    sell by

    Free Offers

    as bad,
    or even worse,
    are three for the price
    of two. Take my advice.
    We don’t need things twice or thrice.
    If they really want to help our purse
    why do they not just reduce the price?

  14. Free at last

    I had a dream
    that one day
    we would hear
    church bells
    like the love
    in our chests

    that we would
    no longer
    walk alone
    but be an oasis
    each other
    across the desert

  15. The Land of the Free?

    Tis the land of the brilliant bee
    Home of the honeyed slave

    Running rampant seeking

    Not free
    For the next sip they crave

    Margarita sprees

    Strawberry laced
    Daisy daiquiris

    The party pub-garden
    Season is open free

    Until they’re comatose
    In winter’s cave

  16. Cin5456 says:

    Free Need Guilt Free

    Free this world from its chains of evidence
    evidence of the harm they’ve done. Free us
    from our chains of need, needs we’re told we need.
    Unfilled by all we have, seeking more before
    needs end us; never satisfied. Unsatisfied they’ve gone
    on to other ventures, other fields of plenty,
    plenty most have never felt, lacking resources;
    resources they used up, spent beyond the planet’s means.
    It means society will not provide universal abundance,
    abundance we still seek though never defined
    nor outlined in words agreeable to all who fear,
    fearing life while fearing death might come too soon.
    Too soon, we leave this world behind, and loved ones
    loved us once when we remained vital, believable.
    Believe in yourself, believe in salvation, believe in
    the American Dream that turned to a nightmare
    lacking that substance that a man, a real man once orated aloud.
    Aloud, our voices shout, and pontificate on ethics,
    ethics undefined in their vocabulary.
    I saw it once in a dream.
    Their faces turned away, guilt free.

  17. Free Rain

    Free rain
    To drink





  18. Hannah says:

    Freesia (a floral tanka)

    Your endurance astounds,
    sweet persisting scent
    queen of friendship
    innocent dancer of the field
    you’re a graceful ballerina.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

  19. Domino says:

    Free Ghosts! Ghosts! Free!

    I was selling them earlier, but I had no takers.
    I’ve got calm ones and mean scary bungalow shakers
    I’ve got quite a few that spew yucky green goo,
    that sneeze and that slobber and gargle and chew.
    I’ve got the nice kind, the good ones, that sing lullabies
    the kind that smell nice and then scatter like butterflies.
    I’ve got so many ghosts that I can’t quite keep track of ‘em
    Wherever I go you know I’ve no lack of ‘em.
    And since I’m really no kind of a ghost devotee
    perhaps you could take a few–honest, they’re free!

  20. Free Brains

    I stood in line for one of these
    Am I a zombie? No.
    But when my poems all ceased to exist…
    I welcomed vertigo.

  21. bjzeimer says:


    From my front door
    I look out at the
    snow covered trees
    that line the streets–
    snowed-in cars
    parked in driveways
    newspapers still laying
    on the sidewalk.
    Sleep on,
    dear neighbors–
    enjoy your freedom
    to do as you will
    on snowy days.


    I was born free.
    I write poems and stories
    from free thoughts
    and send them
    to for profit small presses
    university presses,
    and literature magazines
    I do not worry about
    because I was born free.


  22. randinha says:

    Free association and weirdness today :)


    The kid asked the grampa, What’s to eat
    in the freezer?
    The grampa asked the kid, What’s to eat
    on the moon?

    Nothin, said the kid.
    Just so, said the grampa.


    I could scream right out
    of my skin, she says,
    with her hands
    streaming soap bubbles
    and the bubbles rising
    to the buzzing kitchen light
    and the wine pouring,
    and her lips mumbling
    and him saying
    “I speak mumble”—
    the rack’s full, stocked up
    with cheap wine
    and the radio waves
    bounding from her lips
    in a constant mumble,
    “the chardonnay’s low”—
    so let’s open the zinfandel
    and decide—
    get jiggy with it now,
    he says, with a laugh,
    moving into the dining room
    where there’s no red cabbage,
    just radio waves
    and outside the lights are blinking
    in the snow:
    “I wish there was something right here,”
    she says, because it costs to be warm
    but you can freeze for free.


    Bananas aren’t yellow, they’re
    black when you’ve left them
    high up in a cupboard
    for days
    for your roommate to find
    one day when she’s already
    to her stomach with work
    and the mush makes
    her belly squirm
    and the cat
    comes over begging and
    clawing at her pants and
    stretching up, batting
    for a bit of rotten banana
    and the roommate says
    Giddown ya little black beast
    and you’re not sure
    if she’s talking to the cat
    or the bananas.

  23. Deep Freeze

    It’s what every parent dreads.
    To admit it is quite degrading.
    It’s winter in my head.
    My kids are hibernating.

  24. bethwk says:

    Always free
    –a shadorma

    You are free
    to tell your story
    as you please.
    Always you
    are free to shift the plot or
    wander off the page.


    Midst of a long drive, a pull-off behind a Quik-Stop;
    a patch of grass;
    grapevine on a chain-link fence;
    a fig tree;
    bird-pecked figs littering the ground;
    an empty KFC bucket that no one threw away;
    roadside scents for my dogs to snuffle;
    figs to fill a discarded fast-food bucket for my sheep;
    a man with a long-legged mutt;
    the poem he recites by heart, a song of his dark days;
    the light in his eyes when he’s finished;
    a chance to read my poem in return;
    this list of nothings from an uneventful trip, they’ll say.

  26. cbwentworth says:

    Free To Roam

    When dreams are reached,
    What now’s begin
    Until we stall
    and ask what for
    Resigned to pause
    and strive no more

    The danger lies
    in letting go
    Stopping before
    your time is up
    All open roads
    are free to roam

  27. Sara McNulty says:

    Free From Disaster

    Bit scary wherever you live,
    having to give serious thought
    to losing all you have, possibly
    your life. Many of us define
    who we are by the house
    we live in–pictures, knick-knacks,
    books–a space shared
    with others, or on your own.
    We watch a funneled cone
    of tornado, buildings leveled
    from earthquake cracks,
    and deadly typhoons. People
    are disheveled, disoriented,
    displaced. Bit scary wherever
    you live to know you are not
    free from disaster.

    Dirt Free

    I daydream of a dirt-free house,
    one that never needs cleaning,
    that somehow sanitizes itself
    every few days in ways I do not
    need to understand. What a plan!
    Free time to do whatever you wish,
    never having to wash a dish, scrub
    a bathroom, or dust only to watch
    particles realign into a new layer,
    hour later, especially if you have pets.
    Fortunately, I am not that fussy.

  28. Free thinking.

    I am my own prison
    I am my own bars
    I am my own jailer
    I caused my own scars.

    I am my tormentor
    I am my own fear
    My own destruction
    My bringer of tears.

    I have been diminished
    by no one but me.
    So I claim the power
    to set myself free.

    Michele Brenton 26th November 2013

    I’m Free.

    Today I sang higher than all the rest
    the others below me
    buoyed me up
    and their song was the same
    as the one in my throat
    though their notes and mine
    the harmonies carried me
    and nobody knew
    how my heart sang along
    skipping and dancing
    its secret glee
    and no one sang higher or sweeter than me.

    Michele Brenton 26th November 2013

    Today I went out of my house on my own for the first time in eight years.
    I went to a choir meeting. :)

  29. rosross says:


    Falling into future’s arms,
    holding on to hope,
    riding waves of terror;
    life does draw us on.

  30. to free Dom

    Papa said whatever your nationality
    everyone has a story like
    Grandpa Dominick’s
    I say take a good look
    at the whole picture
    there are no nations
    on the earth
    just elevations
    mom said the truth comes
    dripping slow
    like molasses through a straw
    or blood
    oozing from a wound
    best just to sneak in through
    the window
    everyone struggling to pull the light
    of a star that’s already dead
    I say hitch your wagon to the earth
    instead let her gravity
    do the work for you
    you see truisms
    are always like that
    take the whole of it
    twist it around
    just a little
    and you think you got
    profound poetry
    your sons and daughters
    shading their eyes
    in the middle of a murmuring
    watching you fiddle
    fiddle fiddle away
    while the whole thing burns

  31. Michelle Hed says:

    Winds of Time Blow Free

    Through birth
    and death;
    Through love
    and hate;
    Through laughter
    and tears;
    Through years
    and dates.

    Time is constant,
    time is free,
    not waiting,
    not rushing,
    just there
    blowing free.

  32. DWong says:

    Free Hearts

    Two hearts
    free hearts
    hold each other close
    never apart.

    Two hearts
    free hearts
    don’t listen to those
    from the start.

    Two hearts
    free hearts
    hang on to their dose
    of love’s cart.

    Love’s not Free

    From the first sighting,
    from the first dialogue,
    she started to lose
    bit by bit
    until one day
    she awoke,
    looked in the mirror,
    looked into her soul,
    and she did not know
    Now all gone,
    she had learned:
    love’s not free.

  33. Broofee says:

    On Being Free

    Waking up late
    Maybe around noon
    With a made serving you breakfast
    Running your own company
    Making a profit
    Powdering your nose with cocaine
    And having a plastically corrected
    That’s freedom for someone.

    Having a vineyard
    And a dog
    With three kids
    And a stay at home wife
    Is freedom for someone else.

    Tons of money, tits and ass
    Or suburban life, kids and stress.
    Maybe Bible studying
    Or car stealing
    Perhaps stamp collecting
    Or shooting animals
    With a sniper rifle.
    There are just many ways
    For a guy to feel free.

    You’re free as long as you
    Don’t feel sick
    As long as you feel love
    Isn’t that what someone told you?

    But what is it anyway?
    What is freedom?

  34. Broofee says:

    Free thought

    There is no
    Free thought
    Out here where I live.
    No chance to be different
    No permission to
    Stand out.
    There is only a choice
    Between being a part of the heard
    Or being
    A traitor.

    Thinking is strictly forbidden!
    I mean
    You can
    Get away with it
    If you do it in the
    Privacy of your own home,
    But you better not.

    My damn mind keeps
    Ever since I was a kid
    I had ideas not welcome
    By the heard.
    I learned how to be careful
    Keep a low profile,
    Choose when to speak
    But did I lose my freedom?

  35. Michelle Hed says:

    Free to Be-u! (An Acrostic Nonet)

    Free to be just the way I was born,
    Rightfully belonging in a
    Equal world of human love,
    Engaging in dreams and
    Tuning the lost souls
    Our past selves were
    Before we
    Enjoyed -

  36. FREE DAY

    Free day.
    Closing textbooks.
    Turning off the computer.
    Taking the time to be selfish
    until I’m needed here.

    Free day.
    What a concept!
    The world outside of my house
    is calling me for adventure
    until I’m needed here.

    Free day.
    It’s been so long,
    I can’t recall how it’s done.
    It doesn’t seem quite right to me.
    What if I’m needed here?

    Free day.
    I might have fun,
    but two dogs don’t look happy
    and big, brown eyes beg me to stay.
    They say I’m needed here.

    Free day?
    I don’t think so.
    I appreciate the thought,
    but I have canine games to play.
    You see, I’m needed here.

    ©Susan Schoeffield


    You stand in line
    you’re looking fine
    you haven’t had the chance to whine.

    You can’t decide,
    you want to hide
    you’re shaking like a leaf inside.

    You see me there,
    you start to stare,
    but this is more than you can bear.

    Those canes of candy
    they look dandy,
    but you don’t have a nickle handy.

    But soon there’s glee
    for you can see
    I’m giving them away for free.

    You stop and pause,
    but you come because
    it’s me and I am Santa Claus.

  38. bartonsmock says:

    - free device -

    we have come because you’ve been associated with sadness. try to pretend we’re here. as a kidnapper mum about being pregnant, you will soon have something to say to the microphone in your bra. I am the face of this operation. my lips are whites only like certain water fountains. thoughts on the whereabouts of the gun you own are superseded by images you dance to of babies born wearing mittens. in your father’s abandoned car you will be asked to recall the location of the buttons on the dashboard your brother showed himself to press. we love your brother. he invented a game, what was it?, kick if you’ve been muzzled by god.

  39. Michelle Hed says:

    Free the People

    Close your doors,
    shut off the lights
    and send your people home.
    Thankful for time with family.

  40. De Jackson says:

    Free Your Heart

    Crack open its chest
    -choked cage. Engage its
    wings to beat
    in some brighter
    sky. Bold its bruises,
    hold them
    high and let the sun speak
    their stories. There is glory in
    this breaking, this aching, angled why.


  41. RJ Clarken says:

    Free Am I

    “The free man is he who is not afraid to go to the end of his thoughts.” ~Unknown

    am not
    too troubled
    about where my thoughts may take me. Journeys
    of the soul begin by putting aside
    the small fears
    in one’s


  42. PressOn says:

    FREE VERSIFIER (ovillejo)

    The catbird scolds the last of night
    as light
    begins to flow; its range of calls
    my heart with utterings hale and whole.
    My soul
    flies free; this bird of sable poll
    has loosed its voice throughout the air
    and I must rhyme its miming flair
    as light enthralls my soul.

    • Jane Shlensky says:

      I had forgotten this form which seems to be the perfect one for this poem. The catbird’s mimicking is somewhat echoed in the night/light, calls/enthralls lines. This is wonderful.

  43. De Jackson says:

    blank free

    we are blank free today
    we have filled them all in
    the long and the short,
    the large and the small.

    we are blank free today
    there is not a line left
    we have etched in all spaces
    with whimsy and whim.

    we are blank free today
    we had so much to say
    that we grabbed up our pens
    and scribbled and scrawled.

    we are blank free today
    we have no place to be
    oh, we’re gleefully free (but this one needs a trim).

  44. Margie Fuston says:

    Free Love

    Slightly used.
    To a good home only.
    Call after 5.

  45. DanielAri says:

    “Free, right?”

    We rattle to the shore and submerge
    through graffiti-washed gates layered before
    train blocks stacked like giant baby toys,
    logoed, labeled, and rainbow-arrayed
    for play—surge into the striped black hall,

    wondering from streaked windows if the tonnage
    of wetness seeps in, at least enough to give the walls
    atmosphere, but faster could never be fast enough
    to punch through the ceiling of right now
    into that hand-drawn illustration someone had

    circulated when we were kids: hermetic apartments,
    robot chefs, and no reason even to get vertical
    as the gear of good progress spun silently
    in perpetual oil. I’m not disappointed and
    I’m not sedentary-fat, but who’s counting?

    I’m out from under the faintly glowing bay,
    gathering my daily baggage to disembark.


  46. Clae says:

    Rain Falls Free

    No one can prevent it or drive it away
    No one can beckon it down from empty skies
    No one can direct it’s path or tell it where to be
    No one can keep it in place or tell it not to stay
    No one can control how soft or hard it drives
    No one but God can tell it anything for rain falls free

  47. priyajane says:

    It all began with the romancing of wheels
    Like lines in your palm they grew with dreams
    For miles and miles they scurry along
    Looping and drooping with sun splashing songs
    Like ants, we march in single bands
    Like birds we glide on wavy strands
    The mountain sides do mock at us
    As we are boxed in our mirrored fuss
    Eyes on the road in this fragile lair
    In some ways, free to weave in air
    Spending time that weighs on free
    A daily prayer for you and me—

    • PressOn says:

      I love this. I lived in California for a while, and found that the freeways could be harrowing or hallowing, depending partly on circumstances and partly on the driver.

  48. Jane Shlensky says:

    Drinking Free at Smiley’s Tavern

    Roy’s parked atop his stool
    at Smiley’s Bar most every night.
    He’s not a drunk, just lonely
    passing time and chatting,
    nursing tepid beer, sipping, nice.
    He stops when he’s had four,
    the barmaids know. He won’t
    go drunk, but he does like
    the lift, the sweet distraction
    from memory alcohol affords.
    “I’d make a lousy addict,”
    he claims. “Everyone does,”
    the bartender spars back.

    He watches college students
    near the back, laughing and
    talking, pitchers passing ‘round.
    But one girl orders bottles
    and pays more. “Alcohol free beer,”
    her fella says beneath his breath,
    and lifts his eyebrows, clearly
    at a loss. Roy nods, somehow
    impressed that what he loves
    of beer has been removed
    and that someone else wants
    that, like doughnut holes, but no,
    like taking fat from butter, or
    settling for bones where flesh
    is an afterthought, removing
    what will make memory sweet.

    “She says she likes the taste
    but hates the buzz,” her friend
    explains, returning with her beer.
    Small blessings can distract us
    from our lives and keep us thinking
    interesting thoughts. This chance
    encounter occupies Roy’s busy
    mind for months, frees him from
    gnawing at the bones of his past,
    provides a mission, how to lose
    what makes life good and savor
    the loss.

  49. LeAnneM says:

    The Norwalk Free Library

    I never understood how the floor could be made of glass
    Dirty and opaque and
    Cool in the summer

    I’d lie down in the 900’s
    Reading about the lives of great women
    With operatic lives: Eleanor of Aquitaine
    Joan of Arc, Mary Queen of Scots

    I had graduated to the stacks
    As soon as possible
    The children’s librarian had too many suggestions
    And bad breath

    Upstairs with its mysterious glass floor
    Was private
    Almost completely free of interruptions
    On weekday afternoons

    Checking out was clinical
    As if the librarian at the desk
    Was holding her breath lest she disturb me
    In my first struggles to crack the shell
    Of small town life

  50. Jane Shlensky says:

    Free Kittens

    She holds a tiny calico
    by his front paws, pokes
    his distended belly,
    “Da mao,” she yells, not
    her first lie of the day,
    for he is not big, only
    weeks old, flea-bitten.
    In her box, a huddled mass
    of kittens mew, afraid,
    hungry. A lady grabs
    the calico and squeezes,
    frowning. She’ll haggle now,
    drive the price down, then
    buy three or four, make
    dumplings on Sunday.
    “Hao chi maorou,” she purrs,
    knowing. We weren’t
    sure until now. These
    are tasty cats, their
    flesh young and tender,
    perfect. We exchange
    looks and make a sketchy
    plan of how to smuggle
    a kitten into our building,
    pet free but with a sizable
    kitchen and smiling cooks.
    A yellow tabby male’s
    blue eyes meet mine
    and he reaches, the way
    cats do, to claim me, claim
    us all, claim freedom from fate.
    We pay for him, the lady
    cheating us and knowing,
    we being cheated and knowing,
    and take him home to de-flea,
    deworm, pet and feed him
    into a ball of feline self-righteousness.
    And because we love China,
    we name him ironically
    after the people’s liberator,
    Mousie Tongue, and smile
    each time we pass
    the Chairman waving from
    his pedestal on campus,
    offering his people a rice ball
    each day and a chicken
    (or cat) in every pot.

  51. Linda Goin says:

    Free Fall Family Fruit

    I buried family in my chest for free.
    Now they are restless, costless seeds
    with roots who won’t stop snaring me.
    Tiny taps in time to tribal beats,
    tiny legs dance in my arms, my feet
    on fire, tiny fruit, hands out like leaves,
    this tree bears tasks, complimentary.
    Tiny family, please sleep and let me be.

  52. Cin5456 says:

    Care Free

    lacking without sans
    friend lover family
    doctor nurse hospital
    medications substitutes
    coffee alone at eight a.m.
    old movies at night
    no appetite, no food anyway
    a television and a window
    above an intersection
    whiskey alone at midnight
    lacking without sans care

  53. Glory says:

    Free Me

    Let me go, stay out
    of my dreams, stay out
    of my heart

    Help me to forget
    the feel of your hand
    holding mine.

    Let me forget your
    smile, the sweet, sweet curve
    of your lips.

    While I sleep, leave me
    do not linger in
    my arms –

    My darling – free me.

  54. Cin5456 says:

    Free Radicals

    It never stops –
    time, that is.
    Forever relentless,
    from then to now
    to(o) soon. How else
    did this gray advance?
    It’s linear and
    continual – time.
    Wrinkles in it are
    normal but unobserved,
    except in my mirror.

  55. Earl Parsons says:

    Awaken Freedom

    Are we truly free
    Or is it an illusion
    Shackles I refuse

    Freedom is not free
    It’s not a government gift
    Don’t fall for the ruse

    Freedom is a gift
    A gift that we must fight for
    And die for if need

    We must remain free
    We must resist enslavement
    Warnings we must heed

    Liberty at stake
    By those seeking more power
    Followed by the blind

    If we don’t wake up
    The shackled will hold power
    Freedom left behind

  56. writinglife16 says:


    Those who would enslave
    Do not believe in freedom.
    Karma will get them.


    I’m in a story free world.
    Quietly going insane.
    The words are begging to get out,
    But I can’t let them.
    I must keep them safe.
    I’m in a story free world.
    And tales are not allowed.

  57. Dare says:

    Free-zing Rain

    Freezing rain ice-coats
    Roads and Runways
    Travelers confined
    Turkeys freed

  58. De Jackson says:

    free blank


    fill it as you like
    write your name
    or rename yourself,
    use it as a little shelf for smiles.

    it’s perfectly free,
    and as you can see,
    it     s   t   r   e  t   c   h   e   s out   for             miles.



  59. Bruce Niedt says:

    A couple of shardomas:

    Free Agent

    Please note that
    I’m on the market.
    Offer me
    megabucks -
    I’ll be your team’s big asset
    till the next contract.

    Free Pass

    I wait for
    Some are less
    than perfect,
    and if I let four go by,
    I can talk a walk.

  60. Free advice from a ukulele teacher

    It has been said: those
    who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
    It sounds quite clever,

    because, like all lies,
    it has a kernel of truth.
    But could it not be

    said with equal force
    that Those who can, teach;
    those unable to

    relate to people
    those trapped in brilliant minds
    in supple bodies

    blessed with absurdly
    beautiful voices, they Don’t.
    They just do things, but

    they can’t tell you how.
    Give me a ukulele and a kid
    and I’ll change the world.

  61. Free to Fish

    Bald eagle’s wings spanned
    Beak down, feathers fanned
    Talons out, approaches sea
    Catches glimpse of swish
    Swoops and captures fish
    Eating—part of being free

  62. Nancy Posey says:

    Free Air

    Along with rotary dial phones,
    turn tables, and typewriters,
    the full service filling station
    disappeared without fanfare.

    No signs proclaiming “Free air!”
    over the door of the small office
    offering no more sustenance
    than an RC Cola and pack of Nabs.

    No one rushes out at the sound
    of the bell to ask, “How’s your
    water and oil?” (Our standard
    adolescent answer: Wet and greasy)

    Everything’s self-service now,
    and the restroom’s inside, not
    locked with a key attached
    to a large wooden paddle.

    I miss the familiar faces of men,
    uniformed, ready to squeegee
    my windows and check my tires
    while filling my tank—for pennies.

    Self reliance is over-rated
    when we lose the human touch
    from men with names we know.
    Nothing’s free now. Even air.


    We’re following a girl
    who was here, and now she’s gone.
    No trace. Where she might be, nobody knows

    except the wind, a swirl
    of dust that darkens the dawn.
    My dog has led me where the river flows

    and washes out the track;
    up dredger-piles, rock that falls
    away. He’s ranging, following his nose

    into the dry flats. Black
    spirals – buzzards; and the walls
    of rock. But my dog’s got her scent; he glows.

  64. annell says:

    Coyote Roams Free
    Black mountains
    Sharp edge
    Again the sky
    Light grey
    To cobalt blue
    The village lights
    Sparkle against
    The snow
    Coyote roams free
    Scavenges whatever
    Comes his way

    Sleep peacefully
    Free at last
    No worries of
    Only memories
    Of days past
    Decorate the tree
    Bake the cookies
    Lay the table
    All responsibility
    Fell to her
    Morning to night
    Nothing forgotten

    With the joy of the
    Also the hurry
    And flurry
    No time to
    Christmas past
    Grand Parents
    Aunts and Uncles
    Cousins and such
    It comes each year
    Ready or not
    Only coyote roams free

    • annell says:

      A joy to see him, roaming his ancient hunting grounds, (my yard) his kind was here long before the ‘one who walks on two legs’ came. There is no urgency for him, one day is as another, his life is survival, with freedom from holidays, shopping, and all the crazy things we do, because we have to. It is as if we think the world will end, if we don’t do all these things.

  65. Julieann says:

    Home Free

    November, just 30 short days
    Time to fill with dreams of the holidays
    What’s this? It’s time to write –
    It’s been 6 months since PAD – yes, that’s right

    November is almost a goner
    With it we gave our poems in honor
    Six days left and then we’re free
    Just in time to decorate the Christmas tree


    At what cost liberty,
    at what cost life,
    at what cost outspokenness,
    at what cost discourse,
    at what cost community,
    at what cost religion,
    at what cost safety,
    at what cost freedom?

  67. Dare says:

    Free Style Doesn’t Mean Style Free


  68. Lori P says:

    Free the Captives

    forget everything you did before this
    you’re too bonded to your habits
    there’s so much more to the world
    than you’ve dared to explore
    open up your eyes
    step off this cliff
    see how you’re

    We Don’t Want to be Free

    I fall
    I look up
    instead of down
    freedom doesn’t hit
    the ground. It’s softer now
    from where I stand, can’t be free
    until you can come be with me
    our point of origin shows us how

  69. Free Reign

    The time will come
    To consume, devour the beast
    Of the day

    With gravy, stuffing
    Mashed potatoes
    Green beans, mac-n-cheese

    Sweet potato pie
    Come to me please


    A print of Rockwell’s work tattered and grease stained
    and drained of all color; faded and showing years of use.
    Not from abuse, but from a homage to a bygone age.
    When all the rage is Christmas in October, you open
    the hearth of home one last time, a reminder that
    everything your parents ever worked for was instilled
    in your own best efforts. To provide a roof, and warmth;
    food and clothing and beholding to no one but your own
    dignity and fortitude. It would be rude to take a hand
    from one more deserving. Grandmother, with her better
    half by her side sliding the golden brown bird before
    and adoring family. “Freedom From Want” it declares,
    and there’s the rub.. Everyone wants to their own degree.
    But I see what home used to be and this need to be free lingers.


    Catcalls and insults
    hurled across space
    to staccato rhythms
    beating in time
    to raucous malcontents
    who completely ignore
    the present protocol
    in favor of
    diligently disrupting procedures
    which then cause
    continuous delays in


    Watching from the window
    I witness an image of myself
    skipping across the lawn
    in search of fairies hidden
    within the flowerbed.
    She isn’t aware of my
    voyeurism – or doesn’t care
    that I peek into her world
    as she joyfully chats
    with those who no longer
    come to visit
    when I am within
    the magic of the garden

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