2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6

Here we are six days into the challenge. I hope you’ve been getting some good material so far; I’m looking forward to playing with what I’ve written so far. Before the prompt today, I want to mention a challenge I’m running with a $500 prize and no entry fee (Click here for the guidelines). The challenge involves remixing poems from my debut collection of poetry, Solving the World’s Problems.

For today’s prompt, write a poem from the perspective of a person who either works at and/or visits a place you like to visit (that’s not yourself). For instance, a fry chef at the Krusty Krab, a bouncer at a nightclub, waitress at a restaurant, etc.

Here is my attempt at a perspective poem:

“Aurora”

I left just before they started
running out of the building. I
went to bed the same as always

and woke up to phone calls and friends
crying. I was in shock, sure, but
the Jessica Ridgeway stuff hurt

me more. The theater is not
the same, and others left with
PTSD. Nice customers

ask if we’re okay, but others
make jokes. Most don’t come for the films
anymore, but it’s better than

pretending it never happened.

*****

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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 watches about half-a-dozen films each year in the theater (usually at the “dollar” cinema). He still hasn’t seen The Dark Knight Rises. While I fabricated parts of this account, I did use a lot of specifics from a real account (click here to read an interview with an Aurora theater worker). As mentioned above, Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). 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.

*****

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269 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6

  1. thesimplevoice

    “Perspective” / Caffeine Dealer

    Tall, grande, venti, now even trenta
    Such is the Life when you’re dealing caffeine
    A dub, a gram, an eighth, a quarter, or a pound
    Not much of a difference when customers are addicts
    If ya know what I mean

    Morning (daily customer aka Ms. Regular)! Will you be having
    your usual (of course she will, Please God, get me through this shift without
    something truly unusual)?

    “183 degree, Double-shot skinny, vanilla, latte, with extra whip,
    hmmm, it goes to my hips but today I’ll just grab a bit of (insert that something
    new health craze here that is good for you here) because it is whole grain.”

    “Coffee of the day with room for me.”

    “No room if I may opine.”

    “And for me, I’d just like a spot of tea.”

    And so on until the specialized fix has been had, at least for this day and time. Many of these suckers I’ll see you addicts tomorrow, and some of y’all my crew of Caffeine Dealers will see you come back around (later in the day).

    The Life and times of a caffeine dealer is
    its own experience and legit
    I feel this! Knowing without me
    you’ll get sick in the head

    with an ache perhaps make you
    groggy while you’re at it.
    See you later, alligator cause after while crocodile
    relax, can’t you see you’re just like my addict.

  2. mrvanessarose

    I’m behind! Must play catch-up. Thank goodness for Saturdays.

    Think of Me

    A small speck
    In your night
    You may notice when I’m there
    Though hardly when I’m not

    A swift change
    Repeated cycle
    You get shade every night
    I need some shade, too.

  3. Yolee

    Miss Independent

    These people aren’t like me. They look clean
    and goody goody.If they knew what I’ve done,
    where I’ve been, they would probably throw me
    out with the trash. But this polyester dress two sizes
    too small don’t seem to choke hold the men’s eyes.
    4 of the women hugged me before I sat on this awful
    purple-velvet pew, and they smiled wide as the Grand
    Canyon like I was their kid or something. This is weird- I think
    someone is whispering my name, but when I look around,
    I don’t see anyone staring or waiting to wreck
    into my eyes. I’m almost scared to let a thought
    roll out into this red-carpet of what feels a lot like like
    love. I must be going nuts like mama did before she
    pilled away her life. Omg, if she’d felt this different
    kind of strange, I probably wouldn’t be an old orphan.
    Preacher hasn’t even gone up to sermonize things
    and already my face is soaked.

  4. bjholmes

    For the First Time

    Carried over the rocks and reeds
    sounds of cawing overhead over me.
    White birds circling,
    floating on the breeze.
    This is the first thing that I see.

    My shoes are off
    then come my socks.
    The wind blows gently in my face.
    I start to stand only to sink in
    I wriggle my toes not sure if this is real.
    This is the first thing that I feel.

    I toddle forth, carefully watched
    stepping and bending to catch this stuff.
    Tiny handfuls, again and again,
    slip between my pudgy little fingers
    but some stays stuck, so it must not go to waste.
    This is the first thing that I taste.

    There’s a funny sound and it’s not the noisy birds from nearby.
    I move ahead, one hand held secure
    stepping closer to the growing noise.
    Water crashes in, rushes and foams near.
    This is the first sound that I hear.

    One last thing, as the sun goes down,
    and the watery sand is gently brushed off.
    Socks cover my cooling feet, my jacket sipped up tight.
    Wood starts to crackle and burn with a glow.
    This is the last thing that I smell as I drift off to night.

  5. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Andrew’s Mt Warning Climb

    When I went up the mountain,
    I took it slow.
    My wife was away.
    I knew she wanted to climb it too
    but I heard a friend was going up
    with her two little kids.
    I grabbed my chance.
    They, I thought, would surely
    take an easy pace.

    The friend had done her research,
    told me what to wear,
    and what to bring
    in the way of food and water.
    We started nice and early.

    The way up was easy enough.
    We didn’t rush.
    Only the last part,
    steep, with a chain,
    was a challenge –
    but if they could do it, I could.
    And we did.

    Not much view from the top.
    There was mist.
    This is a mountain
    often surrounded by cloud.
    But I was glad I got there.
    It was the achievement,
    something to cross off my list
    of things to do while I still had life.

    And you know, if I’d waited,
    I might never have done it.
    My wife never did.
    The time was not quite right
    or she was too busy, or …
    and one day she realised
    she was too old, too arthritic,
    she’d missed her opportunity.

    Coming down was the real challenge.
    Hard on the old legs.
    Before we were even half way,
    my thighs had turned to jelly.
    The others were feeling it too.
    I suppose we should have trained
    before we did it, but oh well,
    we did get down eventually.
    It was already getting dark.

    (I feel this is a pretty bad first draft – but with a busy week ahead, I need to press on, so it’ll have to do for now.)

  6. cholder

    Standing here on hallowed ground
    remembering the day the towers went down.
    It happened on a morning clear
    the day America was wrought
    with 767 bombs
    a diabolical plot
    by fanatics who don’t possess
    regard for humanity.

    911! America cried
    the day an assault was brought
    upon our nation’s icons
    as rescuers bravely fought
    to save the lives of innocents
    who never would have thought
    that terror could invade our shores
    and threaten freedom’s song.

    America did change that day
    our precious liberty was caught
    in a crossfire of ideology
    by an enemy who was taught
    to conspire against our country
    in cowardly aggression.

    Though our nation was wounded
    a viliant unity was sought
    to bring America together
    in the face of patriotic onslaught
    of our beloved democracy
    United We Stand
    Amen.

  7. creativemetaphor

    No White Knight (High School Bully)

    Ugly. That’s what you are. I’m getting sick just having to look at you. Red blotches on your face and pimples on your chin. And don’t even get me started on your weight. Fat. Fat and lazy. You ate a whole cake for dinner. Why don’t you try getting off your ass and doing something instead? Stupid. Are you too stupid to realize that your fat is your fault? It isn’t a medical condition, it’s stuffing your face until you want to throw up, you disgusting pig! You can’t do anything right. Oh, you’re crying now? Pathetic. You won’t get any sympathy. Don’t deserve any. This is why no one will ever love you. Worthless. Useless. Why don’t you just kill yourself.

    She let her tongue fly
    Rapier sharp words, striking
    At the mirror’s face

  8. DWong

    Oh No

    I went in today
    and sat quietly,
    but focus on my games
    wasn’t meat to be.

    She’d get up and run
    ’round come back again
    breathless and quite harried,
    workload never lessened.

    They’d stand in circles
    discuss their progress,
    but it sounded to me
    more like ghostly address

    of tasks given out.
    It was evident
    that they all tried their best,
    but failed as they went.

    I sat at the desk.
    Then it dawned on me.
    Mom was trapped in a school
    of ceaseless homework it seemed.

    She’s graded each year
    on homework not done
    ’cause they never finished
    with tasks that weren’t fun.

    She cries deep inside,
    it wasn’t her fault.
    She depends on their tasks
    to build up her vault.

    I went home today
    and sat quietly.
    “Oh no!” in my head,
    “Is that the future for me?”

  9. foodpoet

    The Arakesh Scrolls

    Baking

    Up at dawn stars still sinking
    Sun not yet rising,
    Flour in hair, eyes, breath.
    I watch the ease of the scribe,
    Strolling into morning.

    What a life to write
    And think.

    Ah well back to stone and pounding
    Todays
    Loafs are ready
    Bakery open
    My daily song finished
    I watch the waking line.

  10. Mywordwall

    Here is my silly take for this prompt –

    BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    Layer by layer I peeled their skins
    to see for myself what lurks within
    aphids and bugs and caterpillars, too
    all those extra protein? Eeew!

    So I washed and rinsed and peeled some more
    until my hands are a little sore
    until those jadeite heads got so small
    there’ll be no trouble cooking them at all

    Though Brussels Sprouts are truly delicious
    preparing them can be quite tedious
    So I wonder if they’ll be in the garden
    once the planting season rolls in again.

  11. Tracy Davidson

    The Sentry

    “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace…” A A Milne

    Another tourist
    pulls faces at me,
    trying to make me smile.
    He makes fun
    of my busby,
    says I’m not a real soldier.

    If only he knew
    half the things
    I’ve seen and done
    on tours of duty.

    If only he knew
    that these legs
    I stand so still on
    are not the ones
    I was born with.

  12. hrtaylor008

    Used Bookstore

    He watches readers come and go
    bearing boxes, bags and armfuls
    of used books
    to be sorted, priced and shelved
    for sale to readers.

    Here comes the romance novel addict
    stocking up on a stack of her delicious fix.
    Here browse the new age hippies
    knowing they will attain mystic enlightenment.
    There the mystery buff puzzles over
    which puzzler will resolve itself
    and unlock the character who
    needs to be locked up.
    You can’t not see the gaggle of giggling girls
    flitting through the store
    LOL-ing @ any pretext, or none.
    Now the lit chick and her dutiful beau
    perusing classics and poetry.
    All he wants to read is her.
    Then comes the browser
    who may or may not buy a book,
    but has to browse.

    He finds comfort in ancient wisdom,
    a solace for man’s sorrows;
    his pleasure is precious and mouldering
    to meet an antique book;
    and he’ll gladly bear the weariness of much study
    even though he knows
    that of the making of many books
    there is no end.

  13. BezBawni

    OF RUDE PEOPLE

    It happened on the bus I always take to work.
    I didn’t mean to elbow my way to the rear end,
    I surely didn’t mean to say those words I said
    or use the tone of voice I had not even known I had.

    I’m standing outside now with a heavy heart
    replaying in my mind the way you looked at me,
    considering if now is the time to start
    smoking again or if a drink would later save the day.

    I don’t know you at all, I wonder why I care
    It wasn’t the best start of your day, I suppose.
    The morning gives me chills with its accusing glare.
    You surely think I was insane, I would if I were you.

    You must be telling all about ‘this crazy wench’
    who acted like she was the center of universe
    and who for no reason yelled like hell on earth
    when all you did was brush her leg in passing with your bag.

    I can’t turn back the time, nor do I care that much,
    you will forget me soon. I only wish you’d known
    that I woke up today in my cold bed alone
    the first time after twenty years, first out of many more.

  14. Phileejo

    Small Town Bookstore

    All types of people come in here,
    looking for books on marriage to
    motorcycles. Sometimes I watch them,
    wondering what their lives must be like.

    From old widows with nothing to fill
    their time, to lonesome children looking
    for a friend, I see them all. Often, I’m caught
    staring, I quickly look away. Some smile, some do not.

    It’s hard to keep a bookstore going anymore. Everyone
    wants everything now. Small town bookstores like these are from
    days gone by. This bookstore has seen many faces over the last eight
    decades. I guess I better start filling out applications, closing day is next week.

    1. PressOn

      This is well penned, but sad to read just the same. As this poem hints, these places are sanctuaries as well as places of business, but there’s no poor-box at the door.

    2. Julieann

      From the standpoint I love a bookstore what you’ve said is so true. It’s a terrible thing when the hometown bookstore (or any bookstore, for that matter) closes. So sad.

  15. mjdills

    (I love to watch the crows roosting in trees, on wires, lampposts on my way home at night. They must watch us and wonder where we’re all going.)

    As The Crow Flies

    We fly home across the lake
    And stop for a little rest to watch
    you beneath us
    On shiny roads
    In your cold metal bugs that roll along with big gleaming
    Lights that dangle from the
    sky and flash
    Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow Red Green Yellow
    We talk amongst ourselves and complain about the way you
    CAW
    CAW
    CAW
    To one another
    And rushrushrushrushrush
    All wanting to go the same way at once

    No need for us to be in such a hurry
    We preen and cackle and fight a little, too
    And then
    In our own smug way
    We fly home across the lake

  16. Janet Rice Carnahan

    A CUT ABOVE THE REST

    Sophie races around the shop,
    Broom tucked under her arm,
    Hair thrown over her shoulder,
    In a mad dash,
    Cleaning all her beauty supplies,
    Preparing for the door,
    To fling wide open!

    A new hair styling client,
    Makes her hesitate,
    Will it be a good experience?
    Leave a good impression?
    Will they return?
    If so, it is a good day!

    A sudden flash of a smile,
    As they greet each other,
    Easy conversation,
    Discussing a simple trim,
    Quick shampoo,
    And a surprising conversation,
    Out of the blue,
    Exciting, invigorating, uplifting, stimulating,
    Topics about life, love, dreams,
    They never shared with anyone . . .

    Until now!

  17. bxpoetlover

    On Detail

    Every day of every month each year
    They come by the thousands
    to pitch pennies in the fountain
    pose for pictures on the marble steps
    ask for directions as they walk in clusters, in circles
    pointing at exhibits reading plaques and conversing in dozens of tongues
    as I stand watch over the treasures of antiquity.

  18. Cameron Steele

    Fortune Teller

    Most of the time people
    want me to pretend
    to read lines on their
    open hands.

    They find it easier to
    believe my lies than
    ones they say when
    they bow their heads for grace.

    When I’m not busy staring
    at heartache masked as skin,
    I often think about fortune
    and faith.

    I wonder if people would have
    more of both if they learned how
    to forget all their lines.
    Pray with palms to the sky.

  19. rdpater

    Without it they’d all
    never start their day
    and have change
    to lend.
    My Styrofoam
    neighbors would
    finally get their rent.
    My last landlords were
    probably your morning croissant.

  20. dandelionwine

    Anonymous Donor

    I walk this street, follow the sidewalk
    on my way home from work. Don’t

    often notice the individual cars that pass.

    I can’t say who
    sees me, if any-
    one appreciates
    my adherence
    to schedule
    or my gait,
    who would
    ever worry
    on a day I
    wasn’t there.
    How many

    actually notice the individuals they pass?

    But often,
    for no apparent
    reason,
    regardless
    of wind
    or weather,
    a palpable sense
    of balance and
    happiness
    accompanies me
    for a stretch as

    I walk this street, follow the sidewalk
    on my way home from work. Don’t

    really notice just where it comes from.

  21. Sara McNulty

    MOMA (Museum of Modern Art)

    On day shift more often
    than not, I tend to blend
    into corners dressed in blue
    uniform. My eyes dart
    about, alert, wary to wandering
    visitors pausing to gaze
    in awe and admiration–art
    students, school groups, adults
    of all ages, ethnic backgrounds,
    and places of residence–at
    the creations of Claude Monet,
    in my favorite room of this museum.
    There is a hushed atmosphere
    as people tip-toe through, or sit
    for long spells absorbing the colors
    and sense of these wondrous works
    of art, which never fail to mesmerize
    me. Still, I keep my eyes roaming,
    my body alert. It is a serious position.

    1. PressOn

      Nice job! This reminds me of Boston, where the Museum of Fine Arts sounds like it’s called “emmeffay.” If they merged, we’d have “Mama Emmiffay’s.” (Sorry; this sort of talk doesn’t go well with hushed atmospheres.)

  22. Cin5456

    Grocery Cashier

    I see the worst of human angst
    in my grocery checkout lane.
    While running their groceries
    over the scanner, I watch
    life’s miseries cross their faces.
    Too many have too little
    to spend on too much need.
    I see it in children’s thin faces,
    and in small hands clutching
    a package of bologna like
    that is all they will get
    for the rest of the week.

  23. Margie Fuston

    Cinderella

    “What’s it like living in a castle?”
    A little girl with cotton candy
    stuck between her fingers
    holds my hand in hers.
    “I couldn’t ask for anything better,” I say.
    I part my perfectly painted lips
    and smile,
    wondering if my landlord
    fixed the heater.

    “What’s it like being married to Prince Charming?”
    A little girl with blond pigtails
    pulls on the side of my 20 pound dress
    as I kneel down for another photo.
    “It is absolutely wonderful,” I say,
    standing up, smoothing the creases in my dress
    with a smile,
    wondering if that guy from two nights ago
    will call me back.

    “I wish I had hair like yours.”
    A little girl looks up at me,
    wearing an exact replica of my gown.
    Her brown hair curls around her baby cheeks.
    I pat my platinum blond wig,
    smoothed into a perfect bun.
    “Maybe you will one day,” I say.
    “A dream is a wish your heart makes.”
    I can’t tell her my own hair is brown too.

  24. De Jackson

    Siren

    These waves are mine,
            wench.
    Stick your toes in all
        you want, swirl a spell
    or two from these sacred
              sands, then stand back
    up and walk away. It’s
          my sway to bend to
    breeze and tell these
       trees their tallest tales.
    By the time my sun
           hums his morning song,
    the last of your footprints
                    will be gone.

    .

  25. Ber

    Driven to Distraction

    As the fast metal body
    pushed it’s way through the night
    fast was the pace
    almost like something in a race

    Driven with order
    everything in it’s place
    knowing one fowl move
    could bring it all to a halt

    Noise and whispers
    filled the air
    tiredness and hunger
    filled his lonely despair

    Thundering rolling wheels
    gripped the tar of the freed
    shuffling of movement
    tired worn souls

    Each one running and rushing
    to fulfill their own goals
    Fast is the pace
    this is nothing like a race
    fatigue driven
    enclosed space

  26. seingraham

    THE VIEW FROM UP THERE

    Every Friday and Saturday night it’s the same thing
    The regular crowd stumbles in (hey, isn’t that part of a song?)
    He stands, all six feet seven of him, arms folded across his massive chest
    At the top of stairs on the way, before doors into the oldest saloon on the prairies
    And weeds them out – right and left

    Too drunk to come in, then back out they go…He gets asked now and again
    how many people he’s had to forcibly eject; he takes his stance, grins
    good-naturedly, says something about being the head-bouncer
    but really, “I persuade them, that’s all, that they don’t really
    want to come into the club, and they don’t”

    He knows it’s good practise while he waits to be approved for his
    real career…He’s been on the police recruiter hot list for almost two years.
    His god-father (read – contact on the force) told him recently he should get his eyes fixed;
    He wears contacts, but, he’s a healthy, fit, Caucasian male –
    “But, you didn’t hear this from me…” He was quick to add — “It’s just that it’s getting
    obvious — take look at the latest hirees — if you’re not a woman, or a minority –”

    He’s not going to buy into that line, so he tells himself that laser surgery is not
    a big deal, and he gets his eyes fixed
    He is a smart man, and one with integrity and he’s beaten many odds before;
    had a bit of a learning disability
    But is a natural athlete…was offered a basketball scholarship to numerous universities
    in both the US and Canada, but he’s a hometown boy
    Did a dual-degree; education and physical education here in Canada, lived at home,
    and got help with his exam anxiety

    His real dream? To be an elementary school teacher
    He loves kids and is extremely good with them
    A gentle giant, he relates well to the tiniest of children
    He graduates and finds, there are no jobs for men
    In the elementary school system, or in the public school system period
    They don’t come right out and say that – but his female friends
    graduating that year are getting hired

    He looks to his next dream…he’ll become a police officer
    It’s a noble profession, and maybe he can eventually
    Become a resource officer; they work in the schools
    It’s really the best of both worlds, he thinks

  27. seingraham

    THE VIEW FROM UP THERE

    Every Friday and Saturday night it’s the same thing
    The regular crowd stumbles in (hey, isn’t that part of a song?)
    He stands, all six feet seven of him, arms folded across his massive chest
    At the top of stairs on the way, before doors into the oldest saloon on the prairies
    And weeds them out – right and left

    Too drunk to come in, then back out they go…He gets asked now and again
    how many people he’s had to forcibly eject; he takes his stance, grins
    good-naturedly, says something about being the head-bouncer
    but really, “I persuade them, that’s all, that they don’t really
    want to come into the club, and they don’t”

    He knows it’s good practise while he waits to be approved for his
    real career…He’s been on the police recruiter hot list for almost two years.
    His god-father (read – contact on the force) told him recently he should get his eyes fixed;
    He wears contacts, but, he’s a healthy, fit, Caucasian male –
    “But, you didn’t hear this from me…” He was quick to add — “It’s just that it’s getting
    obvious — take look at the latest hirees — if you’re not a woman, or a minority –”

    He’s not going to buy into that line, so he tells himself that laser surgery is not
    a big deal, and he gets his eyes fixed
    He is a smart man, and one with integrity and he’s beaten many odds before;
    had a bit of a learning disability
    But is a natural athlete…was offered a basketball scholarship to numerous universities
    in both the US and Canada, but he’s a home-town boy
    Did a dual-degree; education and physical education here in Canada, lived at home,
    and got help with his exam anxiety

    His real dream? To be an elementary school teacher
    He loves kids and is extremely good with them
    A gentle giant, he relates well to the tiniest of children
    He graduates and finds, there are no jobs for men
    In the elementary school system, or in the public school system period
    They don’t come right out and say that – but his female friends
    graduating that year are getting hired

    He looks to his next dream…he’ll become a police officer
    It’s a noble profession, and maybe he can eventually
    Become a resource officer; they work in the schools
    It’s really the best of both worlds, he thinks

  28. cimonique

    “Hold my hand”, her eyes plead
    Heart bleeds, “Tell me again that you
    heard. Every word.”

    / I stare at her…
    Forgetting, already… But still, I pretend,
    all the way, to the
    end. /

    “Did you hear me say, how he drove his
    purple Mustang, every
    Wednesday
    To buy my caramel ice cream from
    the market?”

    “Tell me you listened, to how he called me
    ‘Kitten’
    as he gave me a little tap-tap
    on my
    bottom.”

    “Remember his first picture show?”

    / “Mmhm. Sure do,” I nod. Silently groan, smile tacked, pupils glossed. /

    “That’s right! The Nevadan. His favorite!
    And remember his old dog,
    Sniffles?! The little terrier
    mix with spotted
    paws, and–”

    / Alright, that’s enough. I sigh, and wonder
    why, I ever chose this
    path.

    I walk to the shelf,
    Ignoring her
    big
    teary blues, and palm
    the heavy silver
    vessel.

    I place Henry in her hands,
    Eshewing
    her quaking trance, and scoot her
    right out through
    the door. /

    / “Well, thank you for your business. You have yourself a good day,
    Okay, now?” Then I flick the stray
    ashes
    from Henry-Whoever off my
    fingertips,
    Snickering…
    Jeering..
    Thinking…

    I’m just a mortician.

    Not a very good listener. /

  29. randinha

    Only the soft whine of electricity
    and the thrum of conditioned air can be heard
    here, in the dark, when the students
    with their phones and jokes and agendas
    have gone, and we are left
    here, with our charts, with our stars.
    The mirrored tubes and the eyepieces glisten
    and the night is loud and luminous
    in ways we alone perceive.
    The colleague sits back and yawns, glances
    at me through thick lenses that wink
    with the eyepiece.
    This lab, a microcosm
    of the heavens which wheel and expand
    in light and tumult and passion
    yet appear to the rest
    to rest,
    silent, still, and cold.

  30. MichelleMcEwen

    Me & Ferlinghetti

    The Pennycandystore beyond the El
    is where we first
    fell in love— me & Ferlinghetti

    he wrote a poem about it—
    tried to make it about
    leaves & unreality & jellybeans
    and how they “glowed in the semi-gloom
    of that September afternoon”

    that was my favorite part

    but it was me doing the glowing
    with my rainy hair and breathless
    breasts— he said my skin was jazz, crowned me
    queen of the licorice
    sticks

    & Oh Boy Gum.

  31. MichelleMcEwen

    Ferlinghetti & Me

    The Pennycandystore beyond the El
    is where we first
    fell in love— me & Ferlinghetti

    he wrote a poem about it—
    tried to make it about
    leaves & unreality & jellybeans
    and how they “glowed in the semi-gloom
    of that September afternoon”

    that was my favorite part

    but it was me doing the glowing
    with my rainy hair and breathless
    breasts— he said my skin was jazz, crowned me
    queen of the licorice
    sticks

    & Oh Boy Gum.

  32. bethwk

    I walk when grey dusk is upon us
    night–grey as my fog-colored fur

    quietly creeping
    stealing so silently
    through the dried grasses
    over the hill

    Dusk, when the day-folk have gone away
    out of the fields and away from the woods edge

    night-folk come foraging
    searching for sustenance
    gleaning the harvest
    left in the fields

    What is that? Scent of cat
    up a tree, suddenly
    whisk foot, white foot
    I stand frozen in moonshadows

    The owl is hunting over in the oak grove
    raccoon rustles through the last field of corn

    eyes agleam in moonlight
    silver fur like starlight
    sniff and scratch and nibble
    homeward I wander

    1. PressOn

      I think this is wonderful. Never thought of the animal’s fur as being like starlight, though I often see them in that setting. The whole thing may as well be a movie, it is so vivid.

  33. cbwentworth

    Pristine coffee cups
    beans roasted and brewed
    Espresso delight
    foam and rich mocha,
    My apron cinched tight,
    in this old café

    The regulars smile,
    strangers find comfort
    Readers turn pages,
    tutors help students
    Afternoon haven,
    in this old café

    Empty coffee cups,
    crumbs and used napkins
    Washing the tables,
    resetting the stage
    Just another day,
    in this old café

  34. Missy McEwen

    Nadine’s Beauty Salon

    These women,
    they waltz
    up in here like we
    got magic,
    like a ‘do
    is voodoo,
    help them
    get a man,
    keep him.
    We got Black
    Magic Oil
    Sheen
    if that’s what
    they mean, need–
    in African Cherry
    and Coconut.

  35. DanielAri

    Fair warning, I channeled a bit of a potty-mouth today.
    DA

    “Crappiest Place on Earth”

    Believe it: there were rat turds in the kitchen.
    Looked like Mickey and Minnie had a par-tay.
    We killed ten in April. They were back by June.
    Meanwhile, the Mars Café sold a hundred trays
    of fries each day, sanitized in canola.

    One door down from Journey Into Inner Space
    was a rat hole big enough for us. We’d go
    about in under-park tunnels making days
    magic for the marks. We un-mustachioed,
    teenage-wizard-supporting-cast peons waltzed

    to the pay office, shucked the suits and went home.
    Some pissed artist in the sixties drew them all
    shooting up, street fighting, pimping and whoring.
    I Xeroxed it sixty times, papered my wall.
    We would get baked and hysterical. Daisies

    Spreading for Goofies, Donalds fanning the bills,
    Plutos lifting their legs in a wet salute.

    *
    * As a teen in Southern California, I had friends and families who worked at the world famous theme park, and like any job, it was a mixed bag. Facial hair was verboten. In the poem, I included a secret hint about the identities of the “pissed artist in the sixties”: “Wall. / We would” –> Wally Wood.

  36. julie e.

    WELL DONE.

    I don’t know why she always comes
    and orders a well-done burger
    and pushes it ‘round with a serious face
    like it might stampede right
    off her plate. And the man and the
    child order somethin’ Chinese
    and happily chat while they eat
    but she always comes in and orders
    that same damn burger–

  37. shann

    American Housewife Haiku 6 (perspective poem- the Whole Foods beer&wine guy)

    You don’t see who stacks
    the front door wine box display,
    It’s art, I tell ya.

  38. bjzeimer

    Garden State Plaza

    On Monday night we closed up shop
    at the mall
    thinking about going home

    to be with the family
    who are coming to meet me
    Instead, I’m hiding in a bathroom

    with my cell
    and 911 operator
    who keeps asking the same question.

    Shots have been fired,
    I tell her
    Yes, the Garden State Plaza

    Yes, there are others in her with me
    There are three
    Yes, there ha been a shooting.

  39. julie e.

    Okay, pure silliness abounds in my head today with nary a single deep thought. For whatever reason Patricia Belcher who plays the sassy Caroline Julian on the tv show “Bones” popped into my head. And again, for whatever reason, I could see her standing outside the window of a restaurant talking to someone waiting to get in–but this time, she’s a lusty “cougar” (older women who go for younger men.) Such is my brain. Call me whatever you want, I just went with it. 😉

    DINNER TIME.

    Mmmmmm honey, have you seen those sharp knives of his?
    I’d like to have him slice me up a little somethin somethin,
    if you get my meanin. Have you been here before? Oh girl,
    I’ve had everything on the menu, but there’s some OFF menu
    items I’d like to taste. That boy can do some magic, I tell ya!
    An’ if he can cook that good I’d like to see what else he could
    do fo’ me in other rooms o’ the house….
    Oh no, you go on in, there’s a little somethin silly called a
    restrainin order, an’ this is as close as I can get. But I’m workin
    up a mighty appetite for when it runs out, you know it….
    *deep chuckle*

  40. Julieann

    The Bank Teller

    They always said I’d know
    What to do when the time came
    Whatever “the time came” may mean

    Well, Officer, let me tell you,
    The time came today, and I knew,
    I was teller number five, right over there

    And in he walked, just as calm you please
    Except he was dressed all in black
    Including the black hood over his head

    He sauntered up to my window,
    Real suave, like he didn’t have a care
    In the world, and no other place to be

    He leaned over, asked his question real quiet,
    The shock must have showed on my face,
    I shook her head, and reached below the counter

    At the same time he reached into his jacket
    Pulled out a revolver, pointed it directly at me
    And pulled the trigger, with a sad grin on his face

    I screamed and jumped when the pistol misfired,
    He turned away, waving the gun at the others, I raised
    My pistol, too, and that took care of the problem!

  41. pmwanken

    A BARISTA’S BLUES

    I
    find
    that I
    keep looking
    at the clock, waiting
    for her arrival at seven.
    I wonder if she knows she’s the bright spot of my day.

    Each
    day
    I get
    another
    piece of her puzzle.
    New information is added
    to what I already learned about her yesterday.

    She
    used
    to be
    a stranger.
    With each cup I’ve filled,
    she has filled me with pieces of
    her life—the person hiding behind those baby blues.

  42. Mywordwall

    Here is what I came up with which, unfortunately, may not be too faithful to the prompt. I guess, I missed some of the instructions. :-)

    THE DEFENSE

    The news reports say
    “he’s as guilty as hell.”
    What do they know?
    They’ve not examined the evidence well.
    Of course there are those who claim
    they saw him fire the gun.
    How could they be so sure
    when they were all scared
    and on the run?
    Yes, yes. Granted. Many people died.
    It’s really tragic, even I cried
    especially when I saw those little children
    I saw in them my own beloved child.

    BUT, to pin my client
    for this terrible crime?
    No! I’m a servant of the law
    I’ll make sure he will have his time
    to defend himself. It is his right
    given to all like him by legal might.
    Of course, he is innocent
    until proven otherwise.
    Prosecution sure has evidence
    to hang my client’s head
    but good old Reasonable Doubt
    will tear that into shreds.

  43. Broofee

    Job

    A cup of coffee,
    A pen,
    A notebook,
    And I’m ready.

    In front of a screen
    Another night,
    Thoughts
    Trying to come out
    While I end up working
    My second job.

    The one I love better.

    Not always easy,
    Not always sure what to do,
    But something that
    Makes me feel good about myself.
    Gives me a chance to consider myself
    A poet.

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