2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

Here we are: The final day, the final prompt. Ack! What’ll we do tomorrow? Well, okay, we’ll probably rest tomorrow. But if you’re full of energy, you can start working on your chapbook manuscripts. Click here for a reminder of the challenge guidelines.

For today’s prompt, write a disappearing poem. Simple as that. Just make sure you don’t disappear after the month is over. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for the blog in December, and we’ve got the Wednesday poetry prompts. And eventually, there’s the April PAD Challenge.

Here’s my attempt at a Disappearing Poem:


Some land is marked
as if by god

that no man should
land there and stay.

Five twisters in
fifteen years, more

than sixty dead,
and three followed

the exact same
track–folks assured

Mother Nature
is coming back.


Write a novel in 12 weeks!

Make it happen.

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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 saw first hand the destructive aftermath of the 1999 Moore tornado that killed 36 people and injured nearly 600 others. It was a sight that will forever be etched into his mind. Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. 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 a couple more poetic posts here:


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225 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

  1. cholder

    Here I sit
    All alone
    In my countenance shown.

    Here I cry
    Wretched and blue
    The tears I spill
    Because of you.

    Here I lie
    Fretful sleep
    You vanished
    I weep.

    November PAD Challenge Day 30- Write a disappearing poem

  2. seingraham


    I am walking down Market Street
    in Boston,
    talking into my mini-recorder,
    lamenting Robert Parker’s death
    especially as there will be no more
    Spenser novels, no new ones anyhow
    And I remember the cabbie telling me
    if I want to see a wonderful panorama
    of the city, I should go to the top
    of the Prudential building
    so I make my way there

    He also asked me, the cabbie did
    why it was I wrote…I guess the topic
    came up — that I was a writer, I mean
    It’s not the first time I’d been asked
    the question of course
    In fact, many people seem to find the
    notion of someone writing
    an odd choice of vocation or career
    Never mind that most of the writers
    I know feel it’s a calling
    Or, if it’s their work or occupation and
    they have a natural ability or talent
    They’re just happy if they also have
    an inclination to also do the same…

    But for some reason, on this day
    with the sun burning so brightly
    off the sea
    I think it must surely scorch my eyes
    as I peer at what I am told is the JFK
    library way off in the distance

    The whole issue of why I write
    is weighing on me again
    And I cannot seem to stop thinking
    about it
    I have stopped talking into my recorder
    as I stroll the three hundred and sixty degree
    viewing area
    But keep going over it in my mind – there are
    the famous universities – MIT, Harvard, Tufts,
    and Cambridge too,
    Across the Charles River, there is Fenway Park
    where I know the Red Sox play
    And again it comes to me, why do I write, why
    do I write
    And there’s the Boston Public Library – the first
    one in all of the United States – imagine that,
    I think
    Why, I am wondering more vehemently, do I
    write, why, why, why
    I slide down the glass wall at one point, overcome
    with the view
    Overcome with the thoughts that are not new to me
    But that are coming at me as if fresh and unanswered

    Why do I write?
    It comes to me suddenly and I know it to be true
    I write to stay present, to just be, to not disappear
    More than anything, that last—
    I write so I won’t disappear…

  3. Yolee

    Second Nature

    As children raised in the Spanish culture,
    we were always required to (pedir la bendicion)
    ask our elders for their blessing in lieu of greetings
    and goodbyes. Parents, Grandparents, aunts and uncles
    responded with: “May God accompany and favor
    you” I had my children and the tradition I should
    have passed on simply vanished. I guess it didn’t
    leave on its own, I just didn’t teach my children
    the value and meaning behind it. Pity.
    Most of my siblings with kids of their own
    allowed it to escape the realm of custom,
    except for one of my brothers. He relentlessly
    urges his daughter, nieces and nephews to request
    his blessing although he’s a self professed
    atheist- a man without God. I find his need
    for this kind of liturgy rather ironic.

  4. DanielAri

    “Lose yourself to dance”

    I find a point where I stop vanishing
    and all that’s there is breath, fluid and meat.
    And content—but it’s not constraining me.
    I am only, endlessly twirling sweat.
    I’ve dropped away from some cloud of meaning,

    a drop of substance for the earth to eat.
    Someday, and starting now, I don’t vanish
    because all that’s here is stuff, sound and heat
    in a moving mirage of mannish shapes
    doing what was once called “dancing.” I know

    the sound of one hand clapping and the splash
    of tree topples in a remote forest.
    The beat’s complex; the lyrics are Spanish;
    a mountain is moving inside my chest.
    Saca la mano! Saca los pies!

    Saca la cadera si te quieres
    aprender infinity in your breast.


  5. Nancy Posey

    Christmas Card Family Photo

    Inevitably, sometime long after
    the dinner tables are cleared,
    the dishes washed and put away,
    leftovers fitted into tight spaces,
    after the board games, the plans
    for shopping made, someone
    announces it’s picture time.
    The sisters gather quickly,
    and herd our children inside,
    wiping sticky faces, running
    fingers through tangled hair.

    With everyone here, after shots
    of the siblings, the grandkids
    and cousins, we start to arrange
    everyone for the big group shot,
    four generations packed in close,
    on the couch, staggered up stairs,
    cross-legged on the floor, a guest—
    a girlfriend—takes the camera
    and the count confirms: two missing.
    Not the small children, unaware
    and romping out of doors. No.
    Two of the sons-in-law nowhere
    in sight. A quick impromptu
    game of hide-and-seek ensues,
    and they’re dragged laughing,
    one from the closet, another
    out from under the bed. No one
    has to say, “Smile for the camera.”

  6. Nancy Posey

    After Thanksgiving

    One by one our children load
    the cars, with their families,
    and we stand bundled against
    the cold,hearts still warm inside.

    The turkey carcass simmers
    in the stock pot, but before
    we drag the boxes of garlands,
    lights, bells and balls down

    from the attic, we stand together
    on the front porch, watching
    as the last of the cars
    pulls out of our drive,
    until their tail lights

    disappear, lost in the distance
    among streetlights and traffic lights.
    Only gratitude remains. It is enough.

  7. Domino


    Have you ever been that person
    who, when you walk up to the
    cafeteria table, everyone pointedly
    doesn’t look at you, doesn’t
    meet your eye,
    doesn’t make room for you,
    even your friends,
    or, well, those you thought were your friends,
    in fact, crowd in a bit more
    so you can’t sit.

    Have you ever been that person
    who, when you have a party
    nobody RSVPs exactly,
    though some say, sure they’ll
    stop by if they can,
    and you’re left with a hundred
    canapes and vats of dip
    and untasted fondue
    because no one showed up.

    Have you ever been that person
    who, when you tell the joke,
    or raise your hand in class,
    or volunteer to help,
    or comments in an elevator,
    everyone else just uncomfortably
    looks away, not meeting your
    confused eyes.

    So many other instances,
    I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
    Unless you’re the one that
    disappeared instead of being there,
    or pretended not to hear,
    or you were that someone
    someone was counting on,
    but it was just too hard.

  8. randinha

    Neglected to post my “disappearing” poem in time (a reversal of the first prompt — nice!), but I wanted to thank you, Robert, for hosting this challenge and putting in the work of posting all those prompts…it certainly helped me get back into the habit of writing, and not just reading, poetry.

  9. BezBawni


    are not carved in the bark of trees,
    they are neither drawn in caves nor set in stone.
    They are ships that drift into the endless sky;
    frightened by the morning breeze.

    are like withering flowers
    stuck between the pages of dusty books;
    they are healing bruises on a weary skin;
    turning into pallid scars.

    they are evanescent butterflies;
    fading lines of letters to our aging selves;
    burning leaves; pathways hidden in the wilds;
    echoing through darkened lanes.

    …and the strings of our hearts
    still remember the old melody
    with the lyrics written in the sand:

    when we sing, when we play,
    to the seashore comes the tide of times,
    and the memories are washed away…

  10. MichelleMcEwen

    Staying Gold

    What’s that you say, 

    Nothing gold can stay, 

    But just you watch, 

    Imma stay gold
    and hold 

    that hue
    for you 

    just to show 
    you, love, 

    that I’m not going


  11. Rosemarie Keenan


    He never takes his leave as heroes do:
    into the west, the setting sun a lamp
    to cast a brawny form in silhouette.

    He makes his getaway at night, or dusk,
    through air the temperature of chardonnay,
    the fog wrapped round him like a cashmere coat.

  12. De Jackson

    Rabbit Holes, Hats & the Never-ending Wonder of Lateness

    I fear
    I have lost
    my muchness,

    left my head and
    shed my salt to
    silver linings,
    spilled my
    self to some un
    -seasoned sky, imp
    -ossible things
    floating by

    and here I
    waiting for someone to
                          drink me.


  13. bethwk

    An interesting piece of synchronicity: someone declared today (Nov. 30) to be the International Day of Remembrance for Lost Species.

    One black rhino falls on the Savannah.
    Deep in shadowed jungles,
    the Formosan clouded leopard
    winks out of time.
    Poor old Lonesome George,
    the last Pinta Island Tortoise,
    slowly ages to stone. And gone.
    Celia, the last Pyrenean Ibex, taking
    one last breath beneath a quivering acacia
    on a windswept, sunset plain.

    The Japanese river otter. The Liverpool Pigeon.
    The Eastern cougar. Javan Tiger. Golden Toad.

    The Ivory-Billed. . .don’t say it.
    The Ivory. . .no, not yet.
    Keep that door open yet a little longer.
    Listen for the wheep and cluck
    deep in the swamp. Watch
    for that flash of white through the mosses.

  14. Benjamin Thomas

    Poof the PAD is Gone

    It’s gone
    Like the wind
    That thief

    Although it spent
    Thirty days with us kindly
    Lending a hint of muse
    From november’s inspiration
    To soothe feed a nation starved of poetry

    Assembled they scatter
    Now back to their own pasture
    Each to his own matter
    Of heart and rhyme

    Although dispersed
    Widely to the four corners
    Poets populate the face of the earth
    And in due time they will
    Return with a vengeance

  15. Michelle Hed

    A Graceful Goodbye

    As the last leaves fall
    and the birds fly south,
    a raindrop drips
    to the ground
    and as the dusk gives way
    to the Nox,
    the rain drops crystalize
    and turn to snow
    muffling all sound
    and as the dawn
    breaks across the fields
    Autumn has vanished,
    covered by winter’s mantle
    forever and anon.

  16. rosross

    Disappearing days.

    The days
    in disappearing
    without me
    and suddenly,
    the moments came,
    when I knew
    they had been,
    although no more
    than ghostly shapes,
    still lingered
    on those hours,
    and shivered in
    amongst the thoughts
    that now were
    part of me.

  17. Cin5456

    Dickinson, the Poet Called “Myth”

    She rarely left home
    for fifteen years
    yet corresponded
    with wit and vigor
    observing, responding
    to life in her poems
    Replaced living
    among the living
    by speaking
    with her pen
    She spoke behind
    the safety of wood
    a door unopened
    for any but family
    The recluse named “Myth”
    disappeared from life
    May 15th 1886
    leaving behind
    eight hundred poems
    Emily’s genius
    we sadly missed.


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