Editors Blog

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 4

Hope the time change hasn’t been messing with folks too much (in places that have it–like here in Atlanta). Somehow I get an extra hour, and it still feels like I lost one. How does that happen?

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Sheet,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem. Possible titles might include: “Rap Sheet,” “Blank Sheet,” “How to Fold a Sheet,” “I Look Like a Ghost Beneath This Holey Sheet,” etc. Feel free–as always–to bend and break the prompt to your will. The poeming is what matters.

Here’s my attempt at a “(blank) Sheet” poem:

“Lost Sheet”

The next American city with a violent crime
reported. I don’t want to know if it’s Denver
or DC, don’t want to know if it involved a gun

or bath salts. I’d rather turn off the television
and burn my atlas. I’d rather go to a diner,
hold the door open for someone, and tip

my waitress more than she’s been tipped
all day. I’d rather take a walk in the woods,
but then, I hear shots in the trees and wonder

if it’s hunters or target practice for the next
American news story to file across my
media feed. Honestly, I’d rather not know.


Publish your poetry! Click here to learn how.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a published poet with three new poems in the latest issue of Otoliths, an online poetry publication out of Australia (click here to read the poems). He’s been writing poems with city names in the titles, but had to modify that plan today (oh well). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, which has a poem or three about American cities and the people who live in them. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of his five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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264 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 4

  1. Yolee

    Death Sheet

    The cardiologist wrote it on a white sheet of paper with blue lines.
    He did what was required to brace the family for the looming certainty
    that Papi’s heart would give out on him. When he spoke about it,
    somehow language took a turn for the worst because none of us understood
    the prognosis of a death warrant for our patriarch: but black ink
    made it clear on that warm November day. Sheer truth hung on the irony
    that Papi’s birthday was days away. Oh but prayers, a shift in resolve
    and the opinion of another doctor renewed hope’s license to challenge
    and eventually help Papi cheat death.
    I just wonder who braced death for Papi’s miracle.

  2. Lori P

    No More Sheets

    Weird title
    it split the difference
    between those of us who
    were children
    trying desperately
    to grow up despite our self-inflicted
    cages of immaturity
    and those of you who
    were no longer children
    trying desperately to regain
    what they had so carelessly
    thrown away before
    they had grown up
    enough to know it mattered

    (No More Sheets is a Christian education video on “Recommitting to abstinence before marriage”)

  3. julie e.

    here at least, but roughly–


    In the fifties
    greeting my small hesitant feet
    as I rose from blankets finally warmed
    from my nighttime body
    lay a “rug” of linoleum printed in a
    pattern, roses on gray with delicate border
    icier than the wood floor beneath it
    on those frigid Winter days.
    I remember my mother extending
    on evenings before
    a snack (stay in bed please)
    and words (sleep sweet)
    that tasted warm to me
    before retreating to the
    kitchen table to silently smoke
    leaving me to wonder in later years
    what lay beneath the linoleum of her.

  4. abbylikesyou

    “I slit a sheet
    a sheet I slid
    And on this slitted sheet I sit.”

    My father used to say this tongue twister.

    If he were alive today
    Maybe we’d slit sheets
    and talk sheiks

    but most of all,
    I’d tell him

    “I love you.”


    The most difficult
    tongue twister of all.

  5. hohlwein

    Warm Sheets

    For four nights now I have dreamt of loving
    of being fully, truly loved.

    In the first, he had made a new world for himself,
    had moved and now occupied the full bend in the river.
    His grounds were peopled with friends and it wasn’t odd
    that he had a temple there by the water
    and was in a ritual of himself, of his living.
    He was beautiful, golden in effect.
    Alive and clear.
    And he loved
    and I had to believe it
    because he came to me
    and declared to me
    He was exactly him
    and he said, looking right at me
    and meaning it,
    “It’s you.”

    On the next night
    in a busy market or alley
    or corridor of a kind. A blousy woman
    selling antiques
    noticed my ring.
    “Yes. I am married,” I announced. “To him.”
    I said his name.
    And the him was different from the one in the first dream.
    He was there. He turned to see me, astonished at what I said.
    As was I.
    Though we both have always known.

    The third night there was a woman – who?
    I’ve lost it – only a scent of hair remains – but the warm sheets
    held me close and gently
    and it was sweet
    And that she and this she and
    the sheets, warm, were indistinguishable
    feminine, caring, kind and lucky,
    together, together and near.

    And now I try to recall
    last nights’ dream

    I remember love, loving
    a vagueness of loving

    I was setting up a new studio.
    I was building a new table.
    The dream was populated with partiers
    some orgy with a golden egg caught on film
    – so many people I knew

    and one who understood me
    who was busy but near
    who cleared the room for me
    who built a table for me
    who kissed me on the back of my neck
    and shone a light on the blank wall before me
    and on its canvas
    and it was clear what he meant when he told me,
    “This is love, my love. It always will be.”

  6. foodpoet

    I stretched the prompt a little to be blank scroll not sheet

    Today my mind is blank,
    With sad heart and lonely I cannot face the scribe
    With words of longing, when I cannot see your face.
    Today I am blank, I will pay the scribe tomorrow
    When the air is softer.

  7. bartonsmock

    -chore sheet-

    like failed
    or crushed

    the hill houses
    of poorer

    worry me like weather
    and put in me
    of large
    called away
    to feed

    at a trough

    by a family
    of flat chested
    who sell

    one can later
    dot with glue
    and give
    to the mother
    who has

    quote unquote


  8. Cameron Steele

    Bare Sheets

    She wears flannel sheets like a scarf
    balancing carefully on the edge
    of a daybed, phone in one hand
    and clothes on the floor. There’s
    a man, of course, out there somewhere
    maybe on the next street over
    or years away, huddled
    in some cubicle, chewing his lip
    and waiting.

    She used to pretend she was a superhero,
    her checkered cape wound round her neck
    fanning out her dreams and attaching her
    to every girl who ever felt she could fly
    off some thin mattress and leave her sheets
    on the floor.

    But it’s easy to give up on saving
    the world when every man says
    the world is too cold for a child who
    has only flannel dreams. It’s easy to believe
    she must bare her body and
    even her soul for the chance to become a woman.
    If only she could untie the knot on her throat.

  9. Benjamin Thomas

    Smooth Sailing

    Amidst rippled sheets
    Splayed across the bed
    Filled out with your love
    From the toes to the head

    Languished in a lap of luxury
    Betwixt and between
    Wading in a lake of satin sheets
    Purpled passion yet to be seen

  10. Bruce Niedt


    Score Sheet

    A guy I know, a baseball fan,
    self-proclaimed ladies’ man,
    has taken the baseball metaphor –
    “first base”, “second base”, et cetera –
    one step further, keeping score sheets,
    sabermetric pages, filled-in diamonds
    of all his conquests.

    This one is labeled “Jill”:
    he got a stand-up double,
    but was stranded without another hit.
    With Alyssa, he says, he got to third,
    then stole home. And Jennifer
    he describes as a “grand slam” –
    I don’t even want to know what that means.
    He brags about his perfect games,
    how he blew them all away with his fast ball,
    and his line drives up the middle.
    “I’m the free agent of love,” he says.

    But the other team
    has kept box scores on him too.
    They’ve recorded all their sacrifices,
    but also tallied up his strikeouts, errors, losses,
    his foul balls, and a bat that isn’t big enough,
    as well as why he never made the playoffs,
    and all the times they sent him to the showers.

  11. bethwk

    Tell the poet to write
    about the Blank Sheet.

    The Blank Sheet is the yawning chasm
    we stare into, the poet’s dark
    and treacherous Void.
    It draws me in like a moth
    to the challenge and the danger.

    Tell me not to think about the elephant
    and suddenly everywhere I see an elephant.

  12. BezBawni


    I woke up when
    the morning seemed to be
    asleep, creeping in
    my open window like a warning
    of cold and damp, street lamps
    were rendered useless,
    worthless fireflies drowned in milk.
    Still closed eyes, silk clothes still on,
    I put my hand out to touch
    the chill, to feel
    the misty spill that on my fingers lingers,
    the way it sways the air.
    The streets slept soundly
    shunning sunrise,
    kept wrapping drowsily tighter
    around them the
    cloudy quilt spread on the roads, wound
    between the houses, woven
    into drives and alleys.
    And when finally
    the ethereal white sheet lifted
    peeling off, the city
    got up, reeling,
    and I
    knew the feeling.

    inspired by De Jackson

    1. De Jackson

      This is stunning, BezBawni. If in some small way I did inspire it, I’m touched, and honored.
      This, especially, pulls at me:

      “I put my hand out to touch
      the chill, to feel
      the misty spill that on my fingers lingers,
      the way it sways the air.”

  13. ina

    Instructions on Hanging Sheet Rock

    You have to score the drywall
    with a razor, he tells you. But once
    you do that, you can make a clean
    break by putting it over your knee.

    You can practice hanging drywall
    over and over, and still sometimes
    you’re fooled by a misplaced joist
    or a stud not made out of what it
    should be.Holding the sheet up to the ceiling
    and driving the molly bolts in
    is a two person job that reads
    like the instructions of one of
    those trust exercises that
    corporate retreats rely on.

    By the time the ceiling is laid,
    you’re both in a sweat. You feel
    like a gladiator, you vs. entropy, in
    the arena you’re trying to call “home,”
    though the thought burrowing in your
    mind, is that dry wall is just
    a way of admitting that there
    have already been jagged cracks,
    repairs and patching, that
    defeat has long since been living here,
    and no amount of instruction can set it free.

  14. Benjamin Thomas

    Blank Sheets Scream

    Blank sheets
    SCREAM to be filled
    With ink.
    Just don’t
    –think about it
    Too much.
    Feel no regret.
    Just let,
    Flow through
    The ink
    And drink
    The inspiration.
    Take it in,
    By the bottle
    Let it wiggle
    It may be
    But don’t
    Be too
    It’s mostly
    Your veins.

  15. Jezzie

    Beneath my tangled sheet

    Oh how very sweet
    are those short stolen seconds
    spent beneath my tangled sheet
    before my alarm rasps its repeat
    and I drag myself with dread
    from my nightmares and my bed
    to face another working day ahead!

    1. Jezzie

      Tangled sheets

      Bzzzzz! Oh it is so very sweet
      to steal some minutes to complete
      my dream beneath my tangled sheet,
      before my alarm rasps its repeat
      and I drag myself with dread
      from my nightmare and my bed
      to face the working day ahead
      untangling spreadsheets instead.

  16. Missy McEwen

    White Sheets

    One summer down in Thomasville,
    Alabama, my father took us to the
    church he attended growing up. It
    was small but it had a balcony. We sat
    in the balcony. After the service we
    made our way down to the church
    basement. I could still hear the drums
    pounding in my head. In the
    basement, paper plates of chicken,
    ham, green beans, collard greens,
    yams, dressing, cornbread, etc was
    being sold on long tables that had
    white sheets for tablecloths. They
    were white as can be. I could smell
    the bleach, but it was all in my head
    and made me dizzy. I remember
    wanting my father to get his food and
    come on. I was scared of being in a
    church with so many of us Black
    people, was afraid we’d attract the
    wrong kind of attention, was afraid of
    what I had read in class that past
    February during Black History Month
    about four young girls (I remember
    their names: Addie Mae, Carole,
    Cynthia, and Denise) being killed
    when a bomb exploded in the
    basement of a Baptist church in
    Birmingham, right here in Alabama.
    And wasn’t this a Baptist church?
    And there were four of us—my three
    sisters and me. And there were those
    sheets, those big bright white sheets
    spread across the tables that brought
    to mind the men that planted the bomb
    under the steps.

  17. Benjamin Thomas

    We are Stories

    We are all letters
    Composed in scarlet skies
    Story riddled sheets
    Of storm and calm
    Solid blue breezes

    We are all paragraphs
    Aligned page by page
    A well edited work in
    Thought and plots congealed
    By a well known writer

    We are all classics
    In unbound sheets
    A trilogy of love
    Grief and sorrow
    Poetry penned deep

    We are all thrillers
    Of romance and mystery
    Animating real characters
    Trying to twist the plot
    Of our own story

  18. rosross


    Shelf sat silent, timbered arms,

    revealed the folded sheet,

    in drifts of soap and lavender;

    pure destiny to meet.

    Burst of brilliant,shining white,

    unravelled, neatly spread,

    the corpse laid out so gently;

    receptacle for death.

  19. MichelleMcEwen

    Between the Sheets

    Couldn’t tell daddy nothing

    when “Between the Sheets”
    by the Isley brothers came on

    He’d sing along
    top of his lungs

    like he wanted all
    of Barry Circle

    to hear

    like he wanted some woman
    from way back before mama

    to hear

    like he wanted Rudy & ‘em
    down at the P.O. where he worked

    to hear

    & know
    he _could_ quit his day job

    if he wanted to.

    1. MichelleMcEwen

      *Edited version*

      Between the Sheets

      Couldn’t tell daddy nothing

      when “Between the Sheets”
      by the Isley brothers came on

      He’d sing along
      top of his lungs

      like he wanted all
      of Barry Circle

      to hear

      like he wanted some woman
      from way back before mama

      to hear

      like he wanted Rudy & ‘em
      down at the P.O. where he worked

      to hear

      & to know
      he _could_ quit his day job

      if he wanted to.

  20. David

    Clean Sheet

    By David De Jong

    My page is dark with soiled ink.
    My Self Inflicted Nemesis
    Spills from the margins,
    Bleeding to the pages beneath.
    Each fiber stained in darkness
    Worthy of naught but flaming fire.
    Yet I am free from its flailing curse
    Washed clean as fresh from my Maker
    Without the stench or stain. All slain
    By the pure everlasting blood
    Found only in the One True God.

    His Compassion
    my Hope
    His Resolve
    my Inspiration
    His Sacrifice
    my Trust

    His Son

  21. Bruce Niedt

    Score Sheet

    A guy I know, a baseball fan,
    self-described ladies’ man,
    has taken the baseball metaphor –
    “first base”, “second base”, et cetera –
    one step further, keeping a score sheet
    of all his conquests.

    This one is labeled “Jill”:
    he got a stand-up double,
    but was stranded without another hit.
    With “Alyssa”, he says, he got to third,
    then stole home. And “Jennifer”
    he describes as a “grand slam” –
    I don’t even want to know what that means.
    “I’m the free agent of love,” he gloats.

    What he doesn’t know is that the women
    have kept box scores on him too,
    tallying all his strikeouts, errors, losses,
    the sacrifices they made for him,
    and all the times they sent him to the showers.

  22. Angel Villagomez


    When teacher’s gone away, children untamed
    assume different names. Desks rearranged
    by chemistry rather than tyranny
    sits friend beside friend; why wouldn’t they attend?
    Near-sighted students no longer need glasses
    when they can sit in the front. They see fine–
    and listen too–when needing not to squint
    to read the teacher’s chicken scratch,
    when the substitute remains blind
    to the antics that happen behind her back
    and focuses instead on teaching math
    and science and words beyond “No!”
    or “Stop!” or idle threats that rein no beasts
    but rather docile sheep who never bleat anyway.
    No longer centered in the front, the brats
    fall to the back and play with their phones
    to the pleasure of the rest of the class
    that finally learn something about math.
    For once, the role sheet has everyone
    in attendance, ready to learn as desired.

  23. bclay

    Tobacco Sheet

    I could have been wrapped in burlap,
    as a baby swaddled
    and would have never known it,
    on our family farm years ago,
    back when
    families still worked together on farms
    cursing and laughing each other under the sun,

    mechanization stripped the fields of it’s workers
    as jagged stalks stand in jutted goodbyes,

    you damn reapers of the ripened,
    that year a bountiful crop was not enough
    to quell your thirst for sacrifices,
    you wanted the innocent and good of heart
    to pay in blood for services rendered,

    I could have been wraped in burlap
    as a baby swaddled,
    by my mother – but I have never known her,
    except how she was taken in a crushing moment.

  24. Sara McNulty

    Folded Sheet

    Folded in thirds,
    business letter
    on sheet of paper
    with name facing out
    in envelope.

    Fold a sheet
    from dryer neatly,
    before storing in closet.
    I can never seem to fold
    a bed sheet evenly.

    Cheat sheets
    used by students
    to ace a test,
    tests my patience.
    Be daring; use your own brain.

    Those bodies wrapped
    in sheets on television
    crime shows, at the murder
    scene, should be kept
    covered from view.

  25. bxpoetlover

    Sheet of Ice

    One early Saturday morning
    I was racing down the road
    My eyes were squinched, shoulders hunched
    Protection against the cold.

    I came upon a puddle to my right
    I thought it no big deal
    And then my car was spun round and round
    We thought our fates were sealed.

    My son and I were screaming
    Burned rubber filled the air
    I do not remember stopping the car myself
    So I believe that God was there

    To think we could have paid the ultimate price
    Because I drove too fast on a sheet of ice.

  26. elishevasmom

    methinks the idea of using these prompts for a separate folder about my dad’s Alzheimer’s is going to be a bit
    more of a challenge that I thought. Maybe because of the emotional charge involved. Anyway.

    The Collector
    (A View of Alzheimer’s)

    For as long as I can remember,
    my dad has collected stamps.
    In fact, he has been collecting
    stamps since before he could
    remember, as his collection came
    by way of his mother.

    So you could say that philatelic
    blood has always run through
    his veins. He grew up with a
    respect for history, an eye for
    detail, and the patience to
    combine the two.

    This condition, this disease,
    this affliction, that has
    declared war on his mind—
    the front line is his memory—
    and as with any enemy, the
    prime targets are the vulnerable.

    That means that first in the
    line of fire are the fresh,
    the things he just said, the
    things he just did, things that
    weren’t in his memory long
    enough to be prioritized.

    Those are like archers being
    picked off the battlements of a
    castle. As this conflict wages, and the
    defenses of the recent memories are
    eliminated, more of the older
    recollections are brought to the surface.

    The older the remembrance, the
    more solidly planted in the mental
    foundation. So as his world of
    the day-to-day crumbles beneath
    him, the more securely he’ll
    grasp the safety of the familiar.

    As part of the process of letting
    go of the past, (something we
    all must do, whether willingly
    or no), he is sitting with those
    treasured sheets of pictures,
    of dates and of memories.

    As he organizes his collection,
    in preparation of letting it go,
    it must be like trying to decide
    which child is more praiseworthy.
    But as he does so, he has the
    comfort of embracing solid memories.

    Ellen Knight 11.4.13
    write a “_______ sheet”poem for PAD 11.13

  27. dandelionwine

    Truth Through a Glass Sheet

    a gunshot,
    icy shards embedded
    in the smooth wall, misplaced
    fairy dust glinting over impossible
    surfaces, slivers, jags as far as the next room,
    a bolt from the handle of the mower kicked up by
    the mulcher, through the screen, the double panes, ricocheting
    off the wall, hitting the dog (he’s okay) and rolling lazily along
    the floor, seventy two dollars to replace it, new glass looks nice, clear,
    like it never broke, another issue in a long line of issues with this house, and
    we sort of
    don’t want
    to live here

  28. JRSimmang


    Come with me, my love,
    to under this sheet of cotton.
    Breathe with me my air;
    be so sweetly spoiled rotten.

    Come with me to see
    the forever beyond us.
    Put your hand in my hand,
    follow me through the settling dust.

    This sheet is our sheet,
    it can be our dearest castle.
    Let’s fill it with small feet,
    filled with tiny little bustles.

    Or, it can be our boat,
    sailing along the open sea,
    our skin chafed by sea salt,
    our skin red, our hearts filled with glee.

    We don’t have to grow up,
    you know. We can stay as children
    do, naively led by
    purity. innocence, hidden

    prosperity, our lives
    coiled into our brilliant futures!
    Isn’t that what you want?
    To stay under these creased features

    lost in cotton mem’ry?
    And, when we’re done, we’ll fin’lly wrap
    ourselves in fantasy,
    settling in for a childlike nap.

    -JR Simmang

  29. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    The Blank Sheet

    It has been a hard day
    and it is not over yet.
    I still have
    to check the essays
    and to find some animal idioms for my advanced class.
    There is no time for a poem today.
    With your permission,
    or without it,
    I will leave this sheet

  30. Amanda Oaks


    The ocean is spilling out of your mouth &
    there’s a shark in your chest that the hull
    of your body tries to contain but sometimes,
    there are no boats only freight trains parting
    the water & they sound like they are rumbling
    don’t hold your breath.


  31. randinha

    Being facetious today —

    “Going Over Grading Sheets”

    they say. “Teacher!”

    “Is the answer B?
    Or maybe D?”

    “It’s C. Thus says the answer key.”

    they say. “Teacher!”

    “Where’s the answer?
    Where is it? Where?”

    “It’s written in the text—look there.”

    they say. “Teacher!”

    “I’ve got a goal to meet—
    can you change what’s on my grading sheet?”

    “No—now get back in your seat!”

  32. thesimplevoice

    Bed Sheet

    What to call this area where we
    sleep? I’m not too sure but we do
    try hard to keep it nice & make sure
    it’s neat.

    You see, the dilemna that I
    & my Love encounter is that
    we do not have a bed…

    No, no, no! Instead we sleep on pillows!
    We sleep on blankets! But if we are not
    careful we sleep on dunna, dunna, dunna…

    Then she lets out a great


    A-ha! At last! Now I see!
    The Sheet you see is where
    our chitty, kitty, chatt, cat sleeps!

    Now, since we’ve solve the mystery of
    what to call the Bat Cave Sheet,
    it we’re lucky, she’ll share the darn thing

    & we can finally get some rest and
    its off to sleep!

  33. Julieann

    Blank Sheet

    The page is blank
    And so’s my mind
    Fingers don’t work
    Words I can’t find

    I think and think
    Try out words
    Thoughts are flitting
    Like whirlybirds

    The page is blank
    And so’s my mind
    This is finished
    The end of the line

  34. Catherine Lee

    Blank Sheet

    I hold the hollow barrel
    to my temple, collecting
    life drops that spill from
    the open place between
    thought and skin.

    It is a reservoir deep
    enough to darken ink
    wells and parchment
    faces made heavy
    with the waiting.

  35. cbwentworth

    Sheet of Stone

    Earth’s cracked skin,
    aging face
    Raindrop balm,
    cannot heal
    Time’s revenge,
    shifting sands
    Cold and dead,
    newly stoked
    Phoenix fire,
    mountain peak

  36. seingraham


    We spoke of him in hushed tones
    As if to talk too loudly might
    Awaken his long dead self
    Or words overly harsh reach
    His mother’s ears, though she
    breathes no longer also…

    It was confirmed; he went north
    walking, as far as his legs could
    carry him
    Then, tired—more likely weary,
    I posited—for he was found
    hundreds of miles from home
    and only the next day from when
    he set off.
    It was agreed; he was not one to
    accept a ride from anyone
    Besides, he had gone deep into
    a woods he loved

    He sat himself down beneath
    an old-growth birch, a paper-white
    —he loved those—
    Then, wrapped in a Superman sheet
    from his bed
    More for the comfort of its familiarity
    I guessed, then any pretense
    of warmth, he fell asleep

    It snowed all week, the one before
    And that night, an Arctic blast blew in
    sub-zero temperatures, and with the
    wind-chill factored in…
    No-one wanted to do the math
    But we all knew he would have died
    soon after drifting off

    Not the worst way to go, we all agreed
    Especially for someone as suicidal as he
    Not all knew his rapidly advancing mental
    illness, nor the lack of treatment
    available, or sought ,at the time

    His parents, his mother especially, never
    believed he had died intentionally
    She told everyone, always, that he had
    gone walking and got lost
    She would not talk about the sheet he was
    found wrapped within
    Nor the number of pills ingested, the alcohol

    And every year after his death,
    she made a wreath from the bows
    That festooned the numerous flowers
    at his funeral
    And hung it on the front door of their house
    It was the most macabre thing ever
    But it gave her an opportunity to relive
    every detail of that time, in a continuous loop
    You do what you must, I suppose

  37. LeAnneM

    Cheat Sheet

    He gives up easily
    Every failed attempt a slap
    He can’t recover from

    After years of frustration
    He doesn’t try hard
    But he makes the attempt –
    A miracle in itself

    What can I offer him
    That will make a difference?
    I wish I knew

    There is no short cut for anyone
    But it is SO hard for him
    I wish there were a cheat sheet
    Just for him

    I wish there were a short cut
    An easier way
    A path around the pain
    For this one child

  38. bjzeimer


    Making a tent from Mommy’s
    clothesline and sun-bleached
    sheet she’d hung out to dry–

    a clothespin at each end, one
    in the center. My little brother
    found rocks to weigh down

    the wind whipped corners as
    I gathered weeds, dirt and
    empty tins for make believe

    coffee and mud pies,
    pretended we were Grandma
    and Jesse James.

    Copyright (c) Beverly Zeimer 2013 All rights reserved

  39. Connie Peters

    Misty Fjords

    Sheets of ice send
    water winding
    through granite cliffs.
    Falls stripe mountains
    Pines house eagles
    Whales surface,
    loop, submerge with tail slaps
    Seals lounge lazily on land
    Dark hills like sleeping monsters
    hide in mist.
    Large and lonely
    Terrible beauty

  40. mrvanessarose

    Shrinking Sheet

    White and frozen
    Draping over blue
    And green
    Settled in for life
    And balance.
    Visually striking view
    On my trajectory
    So it worries me that
    With each fresh arrival
    There seems to be less
    One billion years
    Then another billion years
    Sheets change shape
    But the white sheet
    Gets smaller now
    Smaller than what lies beneath
    Can handle

  41. Cin5456


    A star release
    energetic ions glow
    on ramparts dance
    crossing cold skies
    clean bedding
    shaken out,
    stream the night
    light flows green, red,
    Pink-purple, rare blue-
    ominous light sheeting

  42. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Take One Sheet

    Drape it over the table,
    sides hanging down to the floor.
    Instant cubby-house!
    A safe, secret place,
    for reading or resting
    or listening.

    Drop it over your head
    and you’re a ghost,
    Be careful not to trip.
    No, you mustn’t
    cut eyeholes out!

    The best books tell me:
    make large knots at intervals,
    nail one end to the window-sill,
    climb down as on rungs of a ladder.
    My cousin might do it —
    I’m scared of heights.

    Take one sheet. Double it.
    Two on the bed
    clean and smooth,
    make bed feel like
    sanctuary, my power place
    for dreams of adventure.

  43. De Jackson

    Rap Sheet

    It’s elbow long, eloquent
    in its acrid acronymity.

    He’s done it all, and it’s
    all here, for all to see.

    He holds them high, these
    heavy, hateful things he’s done.

    And as he kneels, grace
    covers over every one.


  44. bjholmes

    Canvas Sheet

    Staring blank,
    no idea of color.
    Splash of yellow,
    the spark on an idea!
    Swoosh of orange,
    a splotch of red.
    Canvas sheet is now
    Falling Leaves.

  45. cstewart

    Ice Sheet

    The silent ice sheet creeps forward.
    (You say I never smile anymore).
    The ice sheep moves like a shadow –
    White, gray and more gray,
    Moving edge by cutting edge,
    To engulf our love.

  46. DanielAri

    “New sheet”

    Write anything on a blank face—
    the shapes of a friend you recall,
    some technique for finding your place;
    or, if tears come, look at the wall
    for a while and count the spaces

    between words you know, that for all
    the world sound foreign—you’re foreign,
    and that’s why someone will soon call
    your name and expect you to feign
    comfort, contentment, friendliness

    as you stand, state your name again
    with an accent you didn’t know
    you had. Are you German? Russian?
    Does your breath enter a Roman
    Nose? And how could your Dallas drawl

    leave you just as introductions
    offer you your moment to land?


  47. DWong

    Digital Sheet

    crack my knuckles
    topic in head
    know what to write
    but paralyzed

    by its

    and boring-ness
    sit there staring
    at the white sheet


    change the background
    from white to black
    red cursor line
    scrolls up scrolls down


    me wherever
    I go except
    it can’t find
    my words to fill


    digital sheet
    can’t crumple up
    can’t toss in bin
    just throw away


    digital trash
    fills up machine
    never is filled

    find me

    some old paper
    tantrum and scream
    papercut me
    that’s much better


    now can I fill
    digital sheet
    blinking buzzing
    while words flow out


    pictures on screen
    pictures in minds
    directions and
    short tight statements


    by eyes that look
    at most one time
    before reaching
    for telephones.

  48. Dare

    Unread Sheet

    He stared at the crisp white sheet
    Holding the key to his future
    “They’re hiring down at the plant.”

    Grabbing the worn knapsack
    He walked out the door
    Leaving behind the crisp white sheet
    Filled with black letters

    Noone ever knew
    He couldn’t read it

  49. BezBawni

    Time has no mercy on people, let alone free time. It’s been hard for me to write lately, but you are doing such an amazing job, which is a wonder and a huge encouragement for me. So, having finally found a spare minute, I wanted to thank you all for such a torrent of creativity and talent. Here’s a tribute to all who writes for PoeticAsides.



    I have been
    struggling to catch up, but it’s hard to keep up
    with genius,
    the genius of a simple word said promptly;
    with beauty
    of a human soul that cannot be seen or
    so they say,
    they, who have never read or heard a poem;
    with elegance
    of phrases that a tongue can taste and savour;
    with wisdom
    of a heart poured into stanzas deep as life.

    I have been
    worn out by the holiday hustle, but then
    I come here,
    and the whole world seems magically to shrink to

    this Genius,

    this Beauty,


    and all the
    world’s Wisdom seems to be spilled between the lines;
    and I feel
    wrapped in a poetic sheet, its loving arms,
    and I can
    smile, and I can face another day – all
    thanks to you.


    1. BezBawni

      Thank you, William.

      And I forgot something I found and wanted to give you all as well, as a present:

      “Writing is easy:
      All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
      Gene Fowler

  50. Broofee

    Music Sheet

    Smell of mold
    Spreads across the room.
    As I enter
    What used to be my family’s
    But now is just an old room that no one
    Has been in for the last five years.
    Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Freud…
    All sorts of names appear
    In front of my eyes
    As I go through the books.
    Old German books,
    Books about literature,
    None of it means anything to me,
    As I open them
    Only the owner’s names ring a bell,
    Even though I’ve never met
    Half of them.
    A red covers appear,
    Old but preserved,
    New Music Horizons.
    I open
    And my father’s name shows up
    By sheet after sheet of
    Old tunes.
    Suddenly I see him,
    Just a little boy
    Sitting at his aunt’s piano
    And all of a sudden
    I feel this smell of mold
    Is the smell
    Of my past.

  51. Margie Fuston

    Hollow Sheets

    Justine pulls on her silver dress with care.
    She takes her hair and puts it back against
    her head and tints her lips with red that matches
    her husband’s eyes when he’s laying down drunk.
    She hopes he’ll keep his promise, but she sits
    alone. A wine glass resting in her hand.
    She longs to see his headlights drifting up
    the driveway, lighting up the window pane
    and maybe they will even touch her face.
    But the night stays empty, silent, dark, and dull.
    Their driveway a hollow, passive road her husband
    no longer cares to take. The wine is gone.
    She waits one hour, then two, then three, then sleep.
    Her eyes are tired when she goes to bed.
    The cold white sheets lay pressed upon her body
    and she dreams the dreams of sad and broken women.

  52. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Give me that pen, it cried,
    A paint brush and brilliant colors, too,
    Grab that crayon and begin to draw,
    Music, please, good tune!
    I sing out for change,
    Mix all vivid colors unknown,
    Take me where I haven’t been,
    Blend something good, that’s my goal,
    A brand new wonderfully, swirling,
    Dazzling, heartfelt creation,
    Please hurry . . .

    It will be good for my soul!

          1. Janet Rice Carnahan

            You are all so kind, well, I just feel all bubbly now! Truly, thank you for your thoughtful comments! Too much fun!

  53. annell


    The challenge is the blank sheet
    Choose the shapes and colors
    Words and phrases
    Give meaning to blank sheet
    Which holds all possibilities

    Hidden from view
    Stay with it
    String together
    Like bright shiny beads
    All that is in your heart
    Sunshine and shadows
    Light to dark
    Bright to dull
    Warm to cool
    All matter of explorations
    And explanations

    Already there…

    Nov 4, 2013

  54. Hannah

    Scribbled Sheet
    This sacred space
    bled of thoughts
    and plots,
    and what-nots;
    this idea-dribbled paper
    it holds sleep-streams,
    dreams released in a verb
    or a graphite pulled sketch.
    It also harbors notes…
    The number from that phone call
    that I jotted quickly
    with a nearly inkless pen,
    the one I intended to transfer
    to my cell-phone
    but then forgot
    where I wrote it.
    And it embraces too, that random date
    that negates memory and meaning,
    has me leaning toward an unknown future event,
    (half interestedly and the other half anxiously).
    Indeed, this leaf of life is sort of burdened.
    It’s fraught of many purposes-
    itemized, wished but never ever wasted;
    no, not a square lay blank faced.
    You see that ninety degree region up there?
    There in that coffee stained corner?
    Yes, there lies a little
    almost indecipherable list:
    • milk
    • eggs
    • butter
    • bread
    • cheese
    these and more…
    A small portion’s duty-designated,
    these aren’t just chores-
    it’s a honey-do-or-be-damned list,
    (to myself, of course).
    All those things I’ve been meaning to do,
    my personal equivalent of a bucket-list, I guess,
    (and not in order of import apparently):
    • Write in your journal
    • Walk more
    • Worry less
    • Play
    • Pray
    • Go to the beach
    • Teach your children kindness
    • (re)learn again how to crochet a hat
    • Make a quilt, (maybe)
    • Take risks
    • Be invested in joy-time
    • Sleep more
    And so forth…
    The rest?
    The remainder is blessed of poetry.
    Tiny designs that have fled the margins of my mind
    and have nested their feathery breast on page;
    words inspired of this woman’s woodland flight.
    Sights and sounds,
    nature’s most profound
    trickling down the page
    and this creating and naming
    that which I see
    this makes it slightly more special;
    easy ambled verse singing
    on a scribbled sheet.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013
    And in real life, rather than one sheet, I have a little book that lives in my purse that has a tree on it…I just named it actually, The “(Th) inking Tree.” :)

  55. Clae

    Dreams of Dreams of Life

    Beneath the sheet
    That is the sky
    Earth rolls in its sleep
    A blanket of space
    Pulled over its face
    Dreaming of beings
    Who dream about life
    Wondering what it means
    All living on it while it rests
    Souls come and go all in a breath
    Whenever it snores
    They panic of course
    Planning how to survive
    It laughs in its sleep
    Observing their leaps
    From fragile to fatal they die
    They live they love they thrive
    While earth rolls over in its sleep
    The sky pulled over it for a sheet

  56. cholder

    Empty Sheet

    I stare at the empty sheet
    willing the words to emanate
    from my shackled brain
    unable to escape
    intimidated by the river of lexicon
    flowing from the screen
    theirs enigmatic
    mine ubiquitous
    a mountain of predictability
    a prosaic encumbrance

  57. IrisD

    Unwashed Sheets

    Mother had a sudden stroke and never came home from hospital
    I was 34 and had flown in from Oregon to sit with her
    I slept in her bed all week of the funeral but I did not change the sheets
    I smelled her breath on her pillow and felt her touch in the folds
    Funny how a person’s smell lingers after they are gone
    The last day I put fresh sheets on and washed the linens
    An act of admitting she was not going to return from heaven

  58. Domino

    Clean Sheets

    It is a full day endeavor,
    this particular task,
    no need of being clever,
    and never a need to ask.

    I do it because I love it,
    the process and final result,
    and don’t try to be “above it,”
    I belong to the sun-dried sheet cult.

    The beginning is intensive labor:
    removing the sheets from the beds.
    Each bed and each bed’s neighbor
    from the foot, working up to the heads.

    The quilts, the blankets, pillowcases
    along with the mattress pads and sheets
    stripped and sorted, and put in their places,
    then the children all beat their retreats.

    Next is the washing and cleaning,
    and into the basket with all.
    (Who could find this demeaning?
    I’m in this for the long haul.)

    Then out to the back yard clothesline,
    on this brilliant windswept day.
    It feels like I’m working on cloud nine,
    as the sheets all whip and sway.

    The children play between them,
    enjoying the feel and the smell.
    It’s impossible to condemn them,
    I can’t help but enjoy it as well.

    Then the folded sheets into the baskets,
    and everything has to go back,
    pillow cases, quilts and blankets,
    And everything is on track.

    And I know that it’s not a big deal.
    and not how it’s normally done.
    but I just love the way that I feel
    sleeping in sheets soaked in the sun.

  59. Linda Goin

    Teenage Piano Fantasia

    Every day I practiced piano while my mother made dinner.
    She banned me from cooking, because she couldn’t control
    my particular temperament, so I pounded keys
    while she tenderized meat, a movement, a metronome,
    ticking time as I learned which composer could meet
    my needs as an irritant, like well-tempered pepper.
    After a decade, I reached a tipping point.
    Sheet music no longer mattered unless it was note dense
    with rapid arpeggios and advanced-level ostinato,
    phrasings, alternative additions, and chord symbols
    in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organization.
    Adaptations of French and Italian rhythms, forms, and textures
    composed recipes for my plots, passions became
    cantatas and partitas that flowed through my fingers,
    a keyboard gourmet with a commoner in the kitchen.
    It was my teenage piano fantasia in black and white,
    a tribute to Bach, a prelude to life, a toccata.

  60. Walt Wojtanik


    Tucked in and precise.
    It is nice when uniformity is the norm.
    No fire storm can come close
    to creeping under something so close
    to the mattress. My guess is it could be worse
    than taking a turn for the nurse.

  61. Nancy Posey

    I’m working on a teeny little Dell mini in the school library, so please overlook any weird spacing and all the first letters of lines capitalized. You know that’s not my style!

    Under the Sheets
    Feeling ourselves far removed from Judgment Day
    Or untimely death, attention sometimes lagged
    On our pew—thirteenth from the front—
    The farthest back our mothers let us sit
    Without them. We love the hymns our folks
    Called camp songs or seven-elevens-
    The same seven words sung eleven times—
    But sometimes when our minds would drift
    Far from fears for our everlasting souls,
    We let our yet untested libidos run amok,
    Playing our own version of the game
    Our older siblings played with fortune
    Cookies: that naughty prepositional
    Phrase tacked on to the end of hymn titles—
    O What a Glorious Sight Appeared—
    Under the sheets
    Let Me Live Close to Thee—
    Under the sheets
    Let Him Have His Way with Thee
    Under the sheets

  62. uneven steven

    Holy sheet

    Two eyes, a nose and a mustache
    and the distinctly Caucasian features
    give it away
    a window to another world
    wholly relic
    because faith is evidently
    not enough
    and we all can’t live on or in air
    just yet,
    the believers not knowing the language
    of the inner
    none are meant to,
    for we all need a little cash
    and brewing revenue and fear
    amongst the pestilent masses
    to survive, nay thrive
    for the good of our lord
    and saviour –
    even the one centimeter of cloth given
    to science is proof
    that no ordinary artist
    in the 13th century
    could have created
    such a work
    without divine
    intervention –
    Holy sheet

  63. elishevasmom

    Sometimes it’s the Small Things

    It was the first time
    she and her mother
    had sat and visited as
    two grown women since,
    well—since ever.

    It was truly a watershed
    moment in their relationship.
    Both bore the emotional
    scars of the blocks and parries
    of fighting that had not

    been choreographed
    special effects, but directed none-
    the-less. Mental illness is
    not always sitting on the set,
    but always calls the shots.

    Knowing the pain that restricted
    her mother’s movements,
    she offered to fold the
    basket of linens as they spoke.
    At one point, her mother paused the

    conversation, and said, “You really do
    remember how to fold fitted
    sheets.” That moment was the
    keystone to the bridge that
    was stretching out beneath them.

    Ellen Knight 11.4.13
    write a “ ______ sheet” poem, PAD 11.13

  64. writinglife16

    Papa’s numbers sheet.

    A little scrap of paper.
    With numbers.
    Papa’s numbers sheet.
    He would look in books
    Filled with numbers.
    Dream books.
    He’d pick his numbers
    And make up his list.
    Papa’s numbers sheet.

    1. writinglife16

      Sorry for this duplication. Wrong version earlier.

      Papa’s numbers sheet.

      A little scrap of paper.
      With numbers.
      Papa’s numbers sheet.
      He would look in books
      Filled with numbers.
      Dream books.
      He’d pick his numbers
      And make up his list.
      Papa’s numbers sheet.
      Mama said he was playing the numbers.
      I was confused. Was he in school?
      I’m an adult now.
      And now I know.

  65. Benjamin Thomas

    Sheet Music

    Just beneath the sheets
    Lies love in perfect meter
    Intonation of hearts
    Streamed in sacred harmony

    Just beneath the sheets
    Lie romantic melodies
    Composed in wanton algorithms
    In the most classical sense

    Just beneath the sheets
    Lies a velvet song
    Skillfully composed
    Of you and me
    Our notable history

    Just beneath the sheets
    Lies edacious symphony
    Concordal elements of music
    In synchronous vibration
    Artful chemistry

  66. De Jackson

    Three Sheets

    To the wind,
    we are but widowed peaks
    of waving mist, in
    -ebriated horizon lost,
    tossed and turmoiled into
    tumbled deep.

    You hold out lists
    scribed in scar
    -let, held in trembled hand:

    and I fill them in with furious
    fists, stormy brow, my heart
    a tempest trying to breach its
    bony cage.

    Bound to bow
    I lace these ropes
    to strongest vein
    and listen for the
    strangled strains
    of my own song.


    1. Hannah

      I just love the heckoutta your unique line breaks and as I said on your blog this poem is leaping with energy!!!

      I love that both of ours today end with a version of, “or songs!!”


  67. Walt Wojtanik


    In line at the DMV,
    herded like crazed cattle
    in a battle for their sanity.
    Oh, the humanity!
    Inching closer; I spot the
    grail at the end of the trail.
    “Can I help you, Senor?”
    Stepping up I smile
    to a blank wall… I stall
    fumbling with forms and
    certifications, a papyrus
    stagnation. “You have
    Form 679?” his broken English
    inquires. My confusion is clear.
    “Over here. Take a sheet for yourself!”
    I didn’t want to make a fuss.
    From here on out, I’ll take the bus!

  68. PKP

    “That Damn Sheet”

    He had been “on the job”
    long, long ago
    proud NYC cop

    Despite decades done
    they still came
    on a wintry day

    Two young NYPD uniforms
    inserted oxygen, called him sir
    hoisted him onto a gurney,
    down the hallway, into
    the elevator through the lobby
    to a waiting NYPD ‘bus’

    “Bad ticker” he might
    have said but didn’t.
    Annoyed and ashen
    on his way to the hospital
    silent under that tight white sheet
    loosened and pulled gently
    over his face by the youngsters
    to block the frigid

    From under the sheet
    he spoke.
    Oh did he speak!
    In a voice that
    the cold
    with hot outrage
    “I ain’t dead yet!”
    Get that damn sheet offa me”

  69. Andrew Kreider

    Thank You For The Music

    We turned the stage white for them,
    white as Swedish snow, as Cabot cheddar,
    with a white drum kit, white piano
    and a ridiculous white piano stool

    At sound check, Agnetha wore yoga pants
    and an off-the-shoulder dance top that
    made no pretense of hiding anything.
    The theater manager had to leave the room

    Bjorn had a perfect blond perm. Between songs,
    he talked alternately about rugby and pornographic
    movies. He could really play the guitar, but
    who cares. This was ABBA. And he was Welsh.

    Anni-Frid seemed more mature than the rest.
    She was saving her energy, but by god she
    knew the dance moves. Unlike Agnetha , whose pants
    were very tight. Did I mention she was from Liverpool?

    And then there was Benny, a Londoner who
    could play Super Trooper in his sleep. If you squinted,
    you could imagine he was younger, with more hair.
    All of them were incredibly polite to the sound man.

    At show time, they made party in Swedish accents,
    and the crowd loved every plastic minute.
    In the green room, a sheet of paper said simply:
    Tonight: Travel 700 miles. Tomorrow: Atlantic City.

  70. Walt Wojtanik


    We find our repose in the throes
    (without clothes or inhibitions).
    The conditions are just right
    to dance all night. Feet never touching
    the floors. It is for sure the music
    is internal (it has a nice beat
    and it’s easy). Dancing in the
    moonlight above, a laid-back lambada –
    the dance of love. The music,
    she and you reach crescendo
    to cheers of “Bravo, Fortissimo!”
    Under the cover of night,
    under the covers tonight
    is where we’ll meet.
    Dancing in the sheets!

  71. Earl Parsons

    A Sheety Day

    I pulled too hard on my sheets
    Now nothing covers my feets
    I guess I’ll get up

    Time for my morning toilet call
    Not a single sheet left on the roll
    I guess I got problems

    The sheet feeder’s jammed, I can’t print
    To fix it, I haven’t a hint
    I guess I’ll buy a new one

    I didn’t see the sheet of black ice
    What it did to my car wasn’t nice
    I guess I’ll be walking

    A new sheet of drywall will fix
    The damage from vandalized tricks
    I guess I need new locks

  72. Jane Shlensky

    Short Sheet

    Among the many pranks in camps and dorms
    was short-sheeting the bed, all the length
    wrapped to the sides, the top half-way down
    like underwear rolled and twisted underneath.
    The pranksters somehow knew that in sweet
    sleep, we burrow into bedding, pulling
    sheets, blankets, comforters up to our chins,
    all while asleep. To tug is to wake disgruntled
    and to wrestle a short sheet is to uncover
    cozy feet, curled like puppies. Cold feet
    are a wake-up call, when dreams go awry.
    A stupid prank, as most pranks are,
    for the culprits were never around
    to see the prank’s outcome,
    themselves sound asleep on their pillows
    filled with shaving cream, a bucket
    of water tipping above their doors.

  73. taylor graham


    The puppy has shuffled those old files –
    xeroxed forms we filled out at the end
    of searches – thousands of sheets in piles
    disrupted; ignibrite storm; sails to mend
    or sink a body how many miles

    from where it disappeared; a pier; send
    it weighted beyond finding by dogs.
    That misleading report by a friend
    had us trudging through windfalls of logs;
    a man still missing on mythic isles

    of the not-found. Siren songs of frogs
    as we called the lost names. Meadow frost
    dissolving footprints like sheets of fogs.
    Whoever could add up all the cost?
    The puppy scatters what she can’t spend,

    a jumble of tales and places jackstraw-crossed,
    these randomly shuffled sheets of lost.

      1. De Jackson

        “The title and the text seem to be arguing.” – Bill “PressOn” Preston, this is a prime example of precisely what makes you the ultimate commenter.

        taylor, I am less eloquent…but must say this is lovely.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      And that was meant for Tracy Davidson’s “Oh, Sheet”. I’m having trouble posting today, Robert. Could be me. Could be busy system. All I can say is “Oh, Sheet!” Nice poem, Tracy.

  74. Earl Parsons

    This one is for our youngest daughter:

    Blank Sheet

    She sees things we cannot imagine
    Takes markers and pencils in hand
    Without any physical examples
    Fills the blank sheet with beauty

    She amazes me with her talent
    Like an ancient spirit medium
    A trance-like state overtakes her
    And she creates the unimaginable

    Once blank sheets are adorned
    With images perfectly drawn
    Each one uniquely created
    From the mind of a true genius

    If you walked by her on the street
    You’d not think anything special
    But God has placed in this girl
    A world of miraculous wonder

    What she sees in her mind
    Flows through her hands
    And turns blank sheets
    Into perfection

  75. Jane Shlensky

    Sheets of Rain

    The rain comes down in sheets,
    hanging drops wavering on wind.
    I’ve watched it edging nearer
    across the pastures, up a wooded slope,
    a milk glass water curtain
    taking shy sky steps nearer
    like a fawn at daybreak.
    We should say such rain
    falls in curtains. Who hangs
    sheets fluttering down
    and sleeps upright on air
    pushed by the wind?
    That only happens in dreams
    of being rain, liquid and falling.

  76. Tracy Davidson

    Oh Sheet!

    My grandpa used to say ‘sheet’
    instead of ‘shit’.
    Grandma would still raise her eyes
    at him and tut.

    She said it didn’t matter
    about the words,
    it was the intent to curse,
    that’s what counted.

    She said God didn’t like it,
    and nor did she.
    But she’d say it with a smile,
    her eyes twinkling.

    Years later, when the police came
    about the crash,
    she swayed in my arms in shock.
    “Oh sheet,” she said.

  77. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 4
    Prompt: “______ Sheet” as title

    Pile of Sheets (I’m Bulling Myself)

    All the papers on the left
    I mean to do something about.
    Look up some contest.
    Pay a bill.
    Renew a membership.

    All the papers on the right
    I mean to file.
    After I clean out the file folders,
    bulging below in the cabinet drawers.

    What will it take to kick my sorry state
    into action?

    How long can I let white pulp, occasional color
    peeping through,
    accumulate, mountainize,
    before the inevitable avalanche?

  78. Marie Elena

    Scolding a Blank Sheet

    Christmas letters. You know – the ones I’m always honestly thankful to get from friends and relatives that speak of Johnathan’s graduation from Harvard, Jenny’s recognition in the scientific community, and Andrew’s new promotion to vice president of operations.

    I stare at the pretty Christmas paper, which seems to stare back at me in expectation.

    “What,” I ask, with a touch of annoyance. “If you are waiting for terms like ‘financial profitability,’ ‘promotion,’ or ‘cum laude,’ you are going to be gravely disappointed. And blank. But here’s the thing: the lack of those words does not dishearten me. I’m proud of my three now-grown children. Exceedingly so. I’m thankful for the fighters God has blessed me with. My first-born daily battles inner demons that would bring Goliath to his knees. This beauty does so with a strength and grace that leaves me speechless with wonder. My son calls her his hero, and rightfully so. This same son continues to contemplate what he wants to be when he grows up. These are his own words … not mine. My words to describe him are ‘tenderhearted,’ ‘strong,’ ‘wise,’ ‘compassionate,’ ‘forgiving,’ ‘respectful,’ ‘resourceful,’ ‘contemplative, ‘appreciative,’ and ‘loving.’ And then there’s my baby. She may be barely five-foot tall, but she is a giant-of-a-momma to her amazing baby girl. She is all about family, has a heart for the downtrodden, and is one of the most unselfish people I know. Her own daughter will grow up to see what a strong woman looks like.”

    I stop scolding the blank page, and close my eyes – giving thanks to the God who has blessed me richly, and written all I can hold with my heart.

    1. Hannah

      This brings tears…you’re so amazing, Marie…they’re so blessed to have you as a momma. A “Marie-WOW,” is due here. Thank you for writing and sharing this piece my friend. ♥

  79. Michelle Hed

    Last one for today and Robert, I love your poem. I often feel the same way.

    A Dirty Sheet

    A crisp, clean sheet of pure white paper
    soon becomes dirty
    with words,
    and when a wall rises,
    a virtual roadblock –
    doodles join the party on the page.

    A conflagration of lead
    dances across the paper
    smeared by my hand
    until finally
    a click
    and the dots connect
    and the words flow
    like a river of lead
    across the page.

    never looked

  80. Walt Wojtanik


    Hidden, in a secret place – a space
    kept between himself and an unknowing public.
    “T’s and “I”s crossed and dotted, lined and spotted,
    a melodic melange of hope, The next
    after a Number 9 dream. Living is easy

    with eyes closed, he came to reclaim his muse, unused
    for thirty-three years. Rekindled by an old sound,
    sounding brand new – a rejuvenation
    by proclamation. Peace is fine in its time.
    “I found mine in the arms of mother’s love”.

    All charms washed away by a disenfranchised
    loner when he should have just left well enough alone.
    Going home to set the tale right; his vision is clear.
    It is here where the secret is kept amidst lines
    and specks, a song to be heard – every word!

  81. Michelle Hed

    Walking on a Thin Sheet

    I walk
    without touching the ground
    so light
    are my thoughts;
    I walk
    like a lumbering dinosaur
    so heavy
    are the thoughts
    consuming me;
    mainly I walk
    on a thin sheet
    of ice,
    the fine line
    light and dark
    where lurks
    the contentment
    of everyday

  82. Dare

    Empty Sheet

    It should have been
    Filled with today’s goals
    A list
    Priorities, Summaries, Plans

    It should have been
    A list
    Complete, Concise, Neat

    It should have been
    What I accomplished
    A list
    Followed, Checked, Finished

    It was
    A list
    Unwritten, Unplanned, Undone

    I was
    Too busy

  83. PressOn

    I’ve read your poem several times, Robert. It strikes home for me, and echoes the same sort of feelings and behaviors i think I’d follow. Thanks for that.

  84. PressOn


    Amongst redpolls, the gist of the story
    is not the red blot that brings glory.
    Instead, birders’ glasses
    swing right to the asses,
    for they should be spotless and hoary.

  85. rdpater

    Shared Sheets

    For every body that’s graced
    my bed
    with their flaking skin
    I lose
    a wink of sleep

    From the broken-hearted
    the gracious mooch
    the sheets soak their load

    When I return
    not only does my pillow
    of other’s dreams

    my bed sinks lower

    my heart beats

    my blanket heats

    my eyes close

    and like the bed that only knew my back
    their stories and my own rest
    on my chest
    amidst the beating
    the sinking

  86. Jerry Walraven

    “Light Sheet”

    Imagine morning light
    as a sheet,
    coating all it touches,
    offering a brief spotlight
    to the magic of the ordinary,
    causing one to pause
    and wonder,
    did the one who
    imagined this building
    stand here and see
    a tin roof
    playing with maple leaves
    under a rose-orange

  87. barbara_y

    This Terrible Sheet

    At the gallery entrance there is a huge canvas of a man on a horse.
    Heroic. It looks as big as a queen- or maybe king-sized bed.
    Then guys in do-rags and hoodies and natural women.
    People you pass on the street and don’t give a thought to,
    or maybe you do. But this is art. They are objects
    in relation. These are also.
    stools, pillowcases, hemp

    the stools are nine
    a clock with snaggled hours and no hands
    maybe they’re clasped behind, to lean back, in that old
    tubular lawn chair with layers of paint chipped and painted over,
    ankles crossed and measuring time by the clouds
    and Southwest’s flights toward Houston or Detroit;
    or in jean jacket pockets, or cuffed at the butt
    with yellow ties like bundles of cable or twist tied bread.

    and, really, they aren’t pillowcases, more like linen hankies
    but large, or big starched napkins creased through a wedding ring
    to stand up straight and pledge allegiance, mountain peaks
    snow white, with condors of imagination, or cones
    like the paper ones for rainbow shaved ices. summer.
    each on its tall stool like singers in the round or dunces
    in a comic, and each with its own spotlight and shadow

    and the rope in the middle with its long tail coiled
    in its own spotlight like a grass low country basket
    and looped somewhere in the dark above the fixtures
    to drop a noose in the middle of the class.

  88. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    At the final edge of winter,
    there are days that bring
    an essence, a scent
    so clean, so welcoming
    that I look for a dirty sheet
    to launder, just for the pleasure
    of hanging on the line to dry
    in the early morning sun,
    knowing that by day’s end,
    I will wrap myself in its promise –
    spring is on the way.

  89. Cin5456

    Rap Sheet

    I don’t think much about
    how rappers come up with
    the amazing mix of words
    they shoot off like bullets
    at their audience.
    But I wonder if experience
    matches their words. Is life
    so cruel that those who suffer
    must tell us how to suffer too?
    Their command of language
    should recommend them,
    if they applied their acumen
    to society. Instead we hear
    of another arrested, or shot,
    or in rehab again. I hope
    these wordsmiths learn
    to use their ability, rather
    than abuse their language,
    their friends, and their lovers.

  90. Cin5456

    A Clean Sheet of Paper

    A clean sheet of paper,
    a pen that doesn’t bleed ink,
    or perhaps a nice sharp pencil;
    add to the mix an idea,
    a spark of inspiration,
    and a dash of intuition.
    These are all I need
    To be content.