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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

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

Wow! We’ve made it a week into the challenge now. Let’s keep the momentum going.

For today’s prompt, write a hardship poem. The hardship could be moving forward after a tragic loss, having to work through a difficult problem, or even just showing up to work. It can be serious, funny, or complicated.

Here’s my attempt at a hardship poem:

“Miami”

Be a man. Man up. Take it like a man,
but when does it become too much to take?

“I’ll kill you,” he said, but still many say
the victim should shoulder some of the blame.

In grade school, I kicked a boy’s butt who tried
to bully my brother, but fell silent

when a kid punched me in the arm all through
sixth grade. Is it an eye for an eye, or

turn the other cheek? He said, “I’ll kill you,”
and still he’s at fault for being bullied,

like how I felt at fault for being “loved”
as a child. But victims don’t ask for it;

we never do.

*****

Publish your poems!

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Click to continue.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and no stranger to bullies and those who force their will upon others. He knows how easy it is for some people to say, “speak out,” but he also knows how hard it is to do so, whether you’re a little girl or grown man. Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere! He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

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About Robert Lee Brewer

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256 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

  1. foodpoet says:

    Hardship

    Tais,

    Hardship is transitory, I am
    Aware that you are with war, Here is
    Rising calm and I am the one that needs Hops and Lemon Balm.
    Dream for me , who cannot
    Sleep. I wake each night,
    Hope for a dream of you.
    I dance each step for your,
    Pause in peace to send you hope.

  2. dandelionwine says:

    Minding the Gap

    She had the time. His was a more hollow holding,
    grasped somewhere behind the matchbox cars
    smooth in his fingers. They shared conversation,
    silence, the blue sky above their heads. He reached
    and they held hands, not as strangers or partners but
    as children belonging to the moment, to each other.
    For that immeasurable expanse of breaths, they sat
    until her time had passed. When she stood, his words
    softly rose to meet her– Thank you, I am lonely.

  3. Glory says:

    A Lost Summer Romance

    The sun shines, the sky is blue,
    I stand here in the park with you.
    You smile: say you love me true,
    I laugh, say I love you too.

    The summer sun sadly dies,
    the sky I see with clearer eyes.
    I stand remembering all your lies,
    our summer romance sadly flies.

  4. Jezzie says:

    Hardship

    I’m very bored, he said.
    So get a job, said I,
    or sack our cleaner
    and our gardener.
    You could do it yourself.

    But he didn’t.

    I need a new car, he said.
    So do I, said I,
    but to work I must dash
    to earn some more cash.
    You could buy it yourself.

    But he didn’t.

    I need a holiday, he said.
    I’m busy at work, said I.
    So visit your mother,
    or even your brother,
    or you could go on your own.

    So he did.

    I can’t live like this, he said.
    Neither can I, said I.
    So why don’t you leave me?
    It wouldn’t grieve me
    if I had to live on my own!

    So he did.

  5. seingraham says:

    LEAVING AUTUMN

    We exchange our
    usual nods over
    our back fence
    but, this autumn
    as the leaves
    hasten to depart
    the trees

    I see how haunted
    her eyes are
    She tries to smile
    She has always
    been such
    a sunny person
    A usually verbose
    sort myself,
    I stumble over
    my words

    Finally reach across
    the narrow gap
    separating us
    Am glad to hold
    her hands in mine
    Say nothing as we
    both just shake
    our heads
    Rock gently on
    our heels
    Let the tears
    fall gently
    down

  6. mrvanessarose says:

    Unforgiven

    Walls crashed down
    Walls around where
    You lay your head at night
    Washed away

    You worked your life
    To afford these things,
    This safety
    Only to watch its depletion

    It wasn’t all my fault
    But I aided
    And I’m sorry
    But it was beyond my control

    I wished to pull back
    I wished to go dark
    I wished to float away
    Far away

    I begged the waves to settle down
    I begged the tide to lower
    I begged the sea to turn off
    For just one night

    First time I felt so
    Powerless
    Yet more powerful than
    Ever before

    Now, still, you’re
    Homeless.
    And maybe even lifeless.
    And it wasn’t up to me.

  7. Yolee says:

    Hardship and Thanks

    She paid to stay at the motel for one more week.
    That was seven days her two young boys didn’t have to sleep
    at the shelter three miles into the roughest neighborhood
    of this broken town. Nothing prepares a person to live
    from hope to hope where homelessness is an unwelcome
    mat on fear’s slab outside the door of most of her thoughts.

    There was a time she was a have instead of a have not.
    But for right now, the boys are eating the blue box
    mac n cheese. It will latch on to their bellies.

    Prayers will come from a place of thanks
    with acoustics different from the inside
    of the old brown van.

  8. rdpater says:

    Morning Plunder

    Ajar.
    A jar.
    I threw at
    the hull.
    It shattered on her face.
    Shiver me timbers,
    she’s a hard ship.

  9. Meesha says:

    Don’t we say all are brothers?

    Who can know the pain of others
    when preoccupied with their own
    Don’t we say all are brothers
    Played when little and now grown

    Not a thought to spare
    Not a word of care
    Then what is the use of those
    all expensive gifts and a yellow rose

    Gone off in far off lands
    Who were once in the same hands
    of their caressing mothers
    Don’t we say all are brothers

    Fights over property and
    add a little of sarcasm
    Who knew this day would land
    with more of trifles and care some

    Didn’t we say all are brothers?
    Never forget us, forget others
    But nobody cares in the end
    All leave our hearts with dent.

  10. bjzeimer says:

    HARDSHIP

    I know a rich man from Delaware
    who says, “Being rich is a hardship.
    You have to keep it a secret
    as much as you can. You have
    to live poor, buy your clothes at the
    Salvation Army, carpet your
    floors with remnants from out behind
    the carpet mill use it wherever
    it will fit–piece it together and fasten
    it down with brads or whatever you
    can find. And in the meantime, because
    you don’t spend it, your money
    grows bigger,a hardship even more so,
    poor families always asking for money
    young mothers, cripples, elderlies–
    until tax time, then its even worse–
    –the charities hounding you to death.
    the threatening phone calls
    notes slid under your office door,
    the windows shot out on Saturday night.
    But,–he has overkill. He has to get
    rid of it or give it to the feds, “He says.”
    So its the charities–the Ohio Food Bank,
    Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Home–
    all worthy causes–tax deductible.
    And the poor families. What to do about the
    poor families? “Its a hardship,” he says.

    bigger

  11. julie e. says:

    CRAVINGS.

    I know you couldn’t keep me, Mama
    all wrapped up in your own addictions
    all wrapped up in your life of drama
    losin’ a child again.
    You haven’t held me since I was born
    livin’ out all the law’s predictions
    leavin’ me on my own to mourn–
    Why can’t I be your
    heroin?

  12. Being Poor Is Too Expensive

    Being poor is not enough
    being poor is not enough…continued

    and continued and continued;
    you get into the way of it.
    Frugal becomes the norm.

    Being poor is temporary
    being poor is waiting

    and the waiting goes on a long time.
    What are we waiting for?
    We are waiting not to be poor.

    Being poor is becoming trendy
    being poor is an interesting experience

    for a while — then it just becomes dreary
    and you’d like things like luxury
    and self-indulgence. You get sick of poor.

    Being poor is that it deprives people of their dreams
    being poor is the tragic song that has no particular music
    being poor is like a maze

    and maybe one never gets out
    but keeps on running and running
    endlessly, up to countless dead ends.

    Being poor isn’t
    being poor is a frame of mind
    being poor is the ultimate opportunity handed a person.

    Oh how that craps me off!
    Try it, muthafuckers, and then
    give me your New Age BS.

    Also inspired by a dVerse prompt for a poem based on Googlisms.

  13. bjholmes says:

    Tear trickle down
    landing like drops on a pond
    making the pages in my lap
    look rain spattered.

    Frustrations of life
    wave after wave
    on unrelenting pain
    increase the flow.

    Death, cancer, friendless,
    jobless, moneyless,
    …lifeless
    …hopeless.

  14. mjdills says:

    The chill is cause to pull one thin layer tightly over another;
    Kid gloves are tattered, exposing white fingertips, chafed knuckles.
    A diamond will not be parted with, kept rolled to the palm,
    Keeping one solitary memory vaguely warm.
    She has nothing now.
    Stands on a corner with a sign
    Begging,
    Reduced to a caricature of her former self…
    Praying God no one identifies
    The Maven of Maple Leaf Square.
    Winter coming;
    Once a time of making lists, brewing grog, scent of cinnamon in the air;
    She dreads the season
    Of glittering store windows
    Cheerful shouts in the streets,
    Her head only filled with the odor of her rotting teeth.
    She has nothing now.
    Tearing a piece of stale bread, she fills her mouth,
    While words fall out
    Spoken to no one, as her eyes dart from nothing to nothing,
    Fearing eavesdroppers.
    She is a shredded woman.
    No longer thick of skin nor high of chin
    Once she gave for the joy of giving
    But
    She has nothing now.

  15. Jonesky says:

    I thought I knew it all,
    when we met.
    But you taught me so much,
    so much I thought I already knew,
    Ss much I didn’t know I didn’t.
    Of love and life,
    of passion and poetry.
    of trust and time and mystery and magic.
    My mentor, my teacher,
    My lover.
    You taught me everything,
    But how to live on without you…

  16. Bruce Niedt says:

    Edit:

    Baseball in Manzanar

    When I was twelve we played sandlot ball
    in my little town in California.
    After the game, I would go to the docks
    and help my father with the catch
    on his fishing boat. A year later we were
    in the desert, in a government compound
    bordered by towers and electrified fences.

    My father had everything taken from him,
    but he said they could not take our pride.
    We still played baseball, with a vengeance –
    teams and leagues and uniforms, just as
    we would have done back home. One day
    I almost hit a homer over the barbed wire fence.
    A guard in the tower gave me a thumbs-up.
    My father said, They think we’re trying too hard
    to be Americans. They don’t know I played baseball
    as a boy back in Kyoto. It’s a Japanese game too.

    I said, Papa, we are Americans.

    My father died too early, never the same
    since he lost his business. I grew up,
    went to college, married, had three kids,
    and now, six grandkids, the oldest of whom
    is a college professor. When I think back,
    sometimes I still get angry at my country,
    but it’s still my country. I still watch baseball,
    and I have my favorite players, like Ichiro,
    who marches inevitably to the Hall of Fame.

  17. Bruce Niedt says:

    Baseball in Manzanar

    When I was twelve we played sandlot ball
    in my little town in California.
    After the game, I would go to the docks
    and help my father with the catch
    on his fishing boat. A year later we were
    in the desert, in a government compound
    bordered by towers and electrified fences.

    My father had everything taken from him,
    but he said they could not take our pride.
    We still played baseball, with a vengeance –
    teams and leagues and uniforms, just as
    we would have done back home. One day
    I almost hit a homer over the barbed wire fence.
    A guard in the tower gave me a thumbs-up.
    My father said, They think we’re trying too hard
    to be Americans. They don’t know I played baseball
    as a boy back in Kyoto. It’s a Japanese game too.
    I said, Papa, we are Americans.

    My father died too early, never the same
    since he lost his business. I grew up,
    went to college, married, had three kids,
    and now, six grandkids, the oldest of whom
    is a college professor. I still watch the games,
    still have my favorite players, like Ichiro,
    who marches inevitably to the Hall of Fame.

  18. noobwriter says:

    Up in flames, down in ashes. A life of love, comes down and crashes.
    Nosious stomach, deadened heart. Charcoal floorboards fall apart.
    Orange and red light the sky. In the rain, I stand and cry.
    Nothing left but, bones and dust. No more God. No more trust.
    Blackened earth. Broken faitrh. In the rain, i stand and wait.
    Good by my mother. Good by my father So long sister. Should i bother?
    On a road, alone and scared. One step i take. How will i fare
    The rain has stopped. What do i glimmer? On the horizon, i see it shimmer.
    The sun shines bright, and warms my soul. I must move on. Forget the coals.
    Every new day brings me hope. No time to cry. No time to mope.
    A baby girl, eyes so big. Reminds me why we all should live.
    Memorys of rain are overshadowed, By my little girl, on ground thats hallowed.

    I wrote this off the top of my head before bed last night. I hope there are not too many errors

  19. noobwriter says:

    Nice work everyone. I tried to post my own, but it doesnt wan’t to show up lol.
    Any help would be appreciated. :)

  20. RJ Clarken says:

    Snapshot in Time: Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’, 1936

    I
    saw a
    photograph
    in a magazine which still haunts me still.
    The ravaged faces of poverty
    were etched in
    my mind
    then…

    …and now.

    ###

  21. Tracy Davidson says:

    Hard Labour

    They warned me about the pain –
    friends who’d been through it,
    doctors, nurses, the Lamaze instructor.

    Their warnings didn’t do it justice.

    All thoughts of a natural birth,
    of relying on breathing exercises,
    went out with the soon-to-be
    baby’s bath water.

    I screamed for the drugs,
    any drugs, all the drugs.
    I screamed for my partner,
    screamed at my partner,
    at the midwife, at the doctor,
    at a God I don’t even believe in.

    I screamed and screamed.

    It felt like Michael Myers
    was down there, hacking away
    in a psychopathic frenzy,
    blood and gore gushing.

    It felt like Hannibal Lecter
    had started chewing on my insides.
    I could see Anthony Hopkins floating above me,
    fava beans at the corner of his mouth,
    pouring a nice Chianti.

    I screamed and screamed.

    Until another scream joined in…
    shrill…piercing…hungry.

    She was here.

  22. rosross says:

    Survival

    Tiles spread silent, judging in their cold application,
    a falling through the room of black and bitter white,
    dusted with moon’s bright and shadowed drifting tears,
    held within the spreading arms of birthing, darkling night,
    reminder of the mute, dead chill of obligated fears;
    that moment when the demons dress again as hellish fright.

    Feet, bare, frocked in brutal, unforgiving, slippered ice,
    as if they knew the way across the deep and blinded past,
    which surged from cellared moments, born in groping pain,
    those tendrils of impressioned, helpless, heeding, fully cast,
    into the now, which trailed such raw and rooted substance;
    what was revealed again in grief’s searing, endless draught.

    Heart beat, against the drum of sullen, unremitting time,
    a calling through the Soul of that which was deceived,
    in songs resilient, redolent of notes so finely crafted to endure,
    that nothing but the greatest love could ever bring relief,
    and that was woven fast, braided tight against the scalp of hope;
    reality, the hard and rigid floor, her Self, received.

  23. BezBawni says:

    EVERY MAN’S PAIN

    Every man’s pain is their own.

    No use telling a teenager
    who has been dumped or grounded,
    or maybe just lost a wager
    to think of those, rather,
    others who may feel worse,
    those who are deprived –
    pain can’t be put in words,
    life won’t hurt any less.

    Yes, they will likely laugh,
    mock it in years to come,
    Sometimes, a night’s enough.

    But on this very day,
    say, at this very moment
    nothing seems any worth,
    no one can ease the torment.

    Whether a prick of a needle,
    whether a cut with a blade,
    pain will be pain, no doubt,
    no matter how fast it fades.

    We can’t ignore our struggles,
    give them away as a loan.

    No one can fight your fights for you.

    Every man’s pain is their own.

  24. MadNine says:

    Presentations

    Stomach turns, stomach churns, think I’m gonna vomit.

    Voice quivers, speaks quicker, think I’m gonna bomb it.

    Heads dizzy, eyes fuzzy, think I’m gonna blank out.

    Heart pounds, blurred sounds, think I’m gonna pass out.

  25. LeonasLines says:

    “Hardships” is my poem for today. Posted on my Poetry Plus Blog at http://leonaslines.com

  26. shann says:

    American Housewife Haiku 7

    Everyday the same
    bad news, we endure, prevail,
    take joy when it comes.

  27. priyajane says:

    Trying to listen
    To the silent part of me
    amidst the voices in my head
    that perform different roles—-

  28. Day 7
    Prompt: Write a hardship poem.

    Hard, as in Difficult

    She hoped the scan would show up clean,
    the markers would be low,
    the radiation would work.

    But
    he saw his doc today and the report
    cut off the air to her hope.

    Now he takes the chemo
    till he can’t take it any more
    only because it will keep him here longer.

    No other options
    except to pray some more
    and wait and live and die.

  29. Penguin says:

    The Soul of the Writer

    A hardship poem-just my luck,
    Isn’t it enough that I’ve run amuck?
    All I want is to be upbeat,
    My negative thinking to delete!
    My pleasures to be what a writer’s should be,
    In traveling to places where my talents are free,
    To ebb and to flow on the tide somewhere,
    Or sing with the breeze of a crisp, fall air,
    Not stifled by problems and people so rude,
    Why can’t I escape them, inertia elude?
    But, wait, I feel something I thought I could not,
    Creative, uplifting, a glimmer of thought,
    An instant of turning-I travel in mind,
    Through my soul to the place that I’m desperate to find,
    Though trials and though people may all wear a frown,
    Imagination they’ll never take down!
    Heart wounded and weary, and fortitude worn,
    The soul of the writer emerges reborn.

  30. Amy says:

    Perspective

    It’s funny how our choices
    stick to us through the years;
    some, like bubblegum on the
    bottoms of our shoes.

    When we look back,
    do we regret the pieces
    of ourselves we scattered
    to feed fledgling hopes,

    amid the warnings against
    venturing beyond the fence?
    It sure was hard, climbing
    all that way; but now,

    from the top, the view is
    serene, like a forest of forgiveness;
    we can see for miles.
    Maybe it’s better to leave

    the gum where it lies,
    and open our eyes.

  31. Amy says:

    It Gets Harder

    She looked up at me,
    baby slung on her hip,
    two others in tow;

    slid her food stamp card
    across the counter;
    her three reasons

    blinking wide eyes.

  32. bethwk says:

    Seven of Arrows

    Such a fragile light
    you carry in the blizzard
    through the growing dusk
    stumbling over the arrows
    of the day’s grievous battle

    Now you must endure
    and slog your way to safety
    knowing the struggle
    is actually the point
    step by agonizing step

  33. hohlwein says:

    Western Black Rhino

    You don’t even know what keratin is
    Or that they could just chew their goddamned fingernails and
    could get a magnificent hard on
    - if the science worked.

    You are upside down
    tied your wrinkled ankles
    Flying upside down like a new creature
    (because the world will need one)
    high, high, calm

    the sun setting below
    the clouds below
    dreamlike
    the flamingos in a lake above
    the route taken above
    winding back
    and back in time

    if you weren’t too dead to see it.

    Last
    Last of
    Last

    Last
    The very last one.

    Shavings from your horn worth more
    per gram
    than cocaine, poolside in Abu Dhabi.

    Is this a hardship?
    One day in the papers.
    DNA lost to infinite time,
    infinite space,
    unravelling sequence of this
    this brute beast
    - sometimes agressive

    Upside down now
    To be raped in death
    horned ground to a powder
    for an exorcism or
    to ease

    a modern headache

    at least one final headache
    eased

    at least one little man who feels tonight
    like a man

    like a big one

  34. De Jackson says:

    Hard Ship

    Sound
    the
    alarms,
    friend. It’s no
    good ship lollipop,
    this crazy salty ride. Hold your
    breath, and dive down deep.
    We’ve got waves
    to brave,
    and
    sweep.

    .

  35. noobwriter says:

    Wrote this off the top of my head. Hope there’s not too many errors

    Up in flames, down in ashes.
    A life of love, comes down and crashes.

    Nosious stomach, deadened heart.
    Charcoal floorboards fall apart.

    Orange and red light the sky.
    In the rain, I stand and cry.

    Nothing left but, bones and dust.
    No more God. No more trust.

    Blackened earth. Broken faith.
    In the rain, i stand and wait.

    Good bye my mother, Good bye my father,
    So long sister. Should i bother?

    On a road, alone and scared
    One step i take. How will i fare

    The rain has stopped. What do i glimmer?
    On the horizon, i see it shimmer.

    The sun shines bright, and warms my soul.
    I must move on. Forget the coals.

    Every new day brings me hope.
    No time to cry. No time to mope.

    A baby girl, eyes so big.
    Reminds me why we all should live.

    Memorys of rain are overshadowed,
    By my little girl, on ground thats hallowed.

  36. bxpoetlover says:

    Hardship

    Osmel Sousa said
    “inner beauty doesn’t exist. That’s something that unpretty
    women invented to justify themselves.”

    I was about to tell her off in a poem until I saw
    the photograph of dozens lying in a shelter, waiting out
    195 mile an hour typhoon winds.

  37. smilingpj says:

    The Hair Cut

    She didn’t want to lose her hair,
    But arrives on schedule,
    opens her heart, throws back her head,
    with eyes closed she takes in the poison
    like Juliet.

    She didn’t want to loose her hair,
    so imagines her name in the fine print
    of lucky souls who win a small reprieve.
    She checks the shower drain for hair
    and finds some.

    Zip-Zip, buzzing silky tresses,
    Hair on the floor, not the pillow.
    She walks away not looking, neither back nor down.
    She didn’t want to lose her hair
    but she did.

    She didn’t want to lose her hair,
    but ordered her Charlie Brown shirt for Halloween.
    “I got a rock” she laughs – we cry
    Pumpkin head with a crooked smile;
    our stoic jester.

  38. PatNEO says:

    I Will When You Can’t

    I have had depression and so I know….
    No, I cannot feel your exact pain, but I can
    care for you when you couldn’t care less,
    hope for you when you are hopeless,
    and pray for you when you are not talking to God.

    I am here for you day or night because…
    because I remember how I was,
    how I both wanted you to come near and to go away,
    how I would laugh at how stupid I felt when I cried
    while looking longingly at the lake, a part of me
    wanting to find relief in the dark and cold
    beneath its surface.

    And you probably don’t believe a word I am saying.
    Because no one hurts like you.
    No, no, it’s not that kind of hurt, I know….
    It’s a hollowness, a ticking of the clock
    with nowhere to go and nothing to say.
    It’s an encasement in anguish,
    your soul stranded in a body that feels like a stranger.
    It’s the struggle to find a reason to keep going…
    somehow.…
    But your thoughts are disjointed, jumbled.
    You are tired.

    Yet still, you are here. And I am grateful.
    Because I love you.
    You were given to me to love
    and I will love you
    even if you feel no love for me,
    and I will love you always.
    (And you will get better.)

  39. Hardship of Parents

    Mommy and Daddy
    Tenured slaves of service
    Tested and tried true
    By the grace of
    The one and only almighty God
    In abundance to get us through

    Subject to endless toils of sibling rivalry
    The ever curious-George questioning minds
    Daily moment by moment rants

    Fickle appetites
    Meal negotiations
    Nickel-n-dime
    Attention spans
    Abscondence
    Before bedtime

    Plethora of tears
    (Theirs and ours)
    Prayers and poopy diapers
    Inconstant obedience

    The only hardship is not loving them enough

  40. Cin5456 says:

    Homeless

    “Just do it,” he said in a whisper
    from the side of his mouth while he faced away,
    pretending he didn’t know me, in case
    I was caught shoplifting. He sauntered
    over to the coolers for a couple six packs.
    I hid the baby food in my clothes as best
    I could conceal them. I snatched a pack of
    hotdogs too. They cook well over a fire.
    At the counter he, in front of me, still pretending,
    paid for his beer, a carton of cigarettes,
    and a lighter. My turn came as he walked out.
    I paid for a gallon of milk, and a box of
    baby cereal, which I could heat each morning
    over the fire for my daughter. The baby food
    jars went unnoticed. We hitchhiked back to
    our car, which no longer ran. He opened
    his first beer while I rebuilt the fire after
    making sure Sheryl was okay where I left her
    on the back seat. She was still breathing.

  41. Missy McEwen says:

    Rainbows

    Rainbows
    grow
    & glow
    & show
    them-
    selves
    to the po’
    But if there
    ain’t no real
    pot of gold
    what do
    we care
    ’bout a rainbow
    fo’?

  42. randinha says:

    Stressed? Not me. If I sound
    quite consumptive, understand—
    it’s going around.

    Anxious? Not me. If I feel
    quite contracted, it’s the acid—
    it was too rich a meal.

    Overworked? Not me. If I don’t look
    quite conscious, it’s my fault—
    up late with my books.

  43. cstewart says:

    Quirk

    The secret was,
    She had received a full scholarship,
    Because of her innate intelligence.
    Did not have to study for German,
    Or Botany, Or Calculus. Anything -
    But her emotions held her hostage.
    She because pregnant
    It wasn’t even immaculate,
    Just the first time.

    The secret was –
    After a year,
    She was rescued from her calamity
    By the same man who caused the dilemma.
    Searching for her after receiving “looks”
    From her coworkers upon asking for her.
    He ventured to her hometown,
    He was introduced to her relatives -
    They were married.

  44. cbwentworth says:

    “Dust Bowl”

    Farms stand empty
    drought ridden land
    Dust clouds hover,
    grit in the teeth
    Aching bellies,
    nothing to save
    Parched throats crying,
    choked by sand
    Lost caravan,
    in search of rain

  45. HARDSHIP

    Listen, please…

    This is a cruise that the poor can afford.
    Those who dare whine will be tossed overboard.
    Keep your chin up and have Faith in the Lord.

    You WILL get through this…

  46. Hardship of the Infant

    Born hastily
    into a world
    of unknowns…

    Partially blind.
    Naked.
    Cold.
    Hungry
    and
    Incontinent.

    Not to mention
    an underdeveloped brain,
    Its no wonder they arrive in tears.

  47. LeAnneM says:

    Homeless Students

    Routine almost
    No longer an emergency
    Requiring a trip to the ATM
    And a dozen desperate calls

    Save the Halloween candy
    Adina will want it
    I have a gift card
    Can one of yours use it?

    Should I buy art supplies
    Or save the money
    For a greater need?

  48. Sara McNulty says:

    Homeless Heros

    Returning Vets–unemployed,
    homeless, existing outdoors
    in extreme temperatures
    under bridges or outside shops–
    are burdened with heart-breaking
    hardships. This is their thanks,
    severance for serving.
    This is a bloodstain
    on the hand of our country.

  49. PKP says:

    A Quiet House

    A quiet house
    with unfingerprinted walls
    and silence wrapped
    like smoke
    where once laughter
    lived
    A quiet house
    where the phone
    has stopped its
    tortorous ringing
    asked if your little
    girl has been
    found
    after
    all
    they stare at
    each other for
    quick seconds
    eyes darting away
    as though burned
    and he tries
    to make her smile
    it’s a “hard-ship we’re sailing hey matey”
    and she seethes
    with roiling hatred
    and knows that
    whatever they once had
    is now gone
    with Kaitlin

  50. PKP says:

    Before I begin – Robert yours is the only poem I ever read before I begin – I see where you’ve been going and the topic of course touches any sentient person’s heart – but your poeming is truly brilliant this go around … Good for you ! :)

  51. carolecole66 says:

    Boiling the Dead

    I will not walk that dusty path
    despite the chanting monks, their
    silly incense drifting past their robes.
    Nothing feels solid in this solid-seeming woods,
    no tree bark emery against my hand,
    nothing here but ash and smoke.
    If I could share a glass of wine with you,
    there I would find harmony, there
    I’d find what truly is divine.

  52. Nicostarr says:

    Father

    The memories are always there.
    A faint reminder of how your fingers used to wrap around my throat.
    Leaving bruises my hair would never be long enough to hide.
    Life-long marks imprinted temporarily on the body,
    but permanently on the mind.
    The kind that panic attacks and flashbacks kick ass at keeping alive.

  53. Julieann says:

    Furlough

    Sometimes a furlough is a good thing
    Unexpected time away from the job
    Time to relax, reflect, and reconnect
    With the family

    But family time cannot be enjoyed
    Because with that furlough comes pain
    The pain of mortgage payments, utilities,
    Creditors wanting payment

    That is why we have savings, is it not?
    Be prepared for a rainy day, they say
    Question, how long do the savings last
    With multiple furloughs in a year?

  54. Mywordwall says:

    Here’s my rather silly take on today’s 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.

  55. Hannah says:

    Maybe tomorrow I’ll get here early enough to play with the birds!

    Today escaped but here’s my response:

    http://wordrustling.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/my-slice-and-theirs/

    Thank you!!

  56. Dare says:

    Childhood Dream

    Five boys
    He was in the middle
    He never knew his father
    Their mama raised them alone
    He dreamed that
    One day
    He’d never be hungry again

  57. Broofee says:

    My reality

    Another day
    With them
    Another sense
    Of pointlessness
    Another set
    Of useless conversation.

    Those faces,
    Those problems,
    Those people,
    Just too much to bare.

    If only I could walk away,
    After work finishes tomorrow
    Just say goodbye and get out
    Never come back.

    34 years
    I got left
    Of my sentence
    To work
    To deal
    With same issues
    Over and over again.

  58. elishevasmom says:

    Hardship
    (A View of Alzheimer’s)

    When you see someone on the
    street, and exchange a “Hi, how
    are you?” That might be written
    as a question, but isn’t spoken as
    one. And, it is certainly not an

    invitation for you to disclose
    how you are just getting over the flu.
    It is merely a construct of our
    society. Just because you might
    be sharing an elevator, or train,

    thus giving you a captive audience,
    this is not the time to start un-
    loading your current hardships
    —such as your stolen identity,
    a tree falling on your house, or

    even how your ex is being such a pain
    about not meeting the visitation
    schedule from Family Court.
    The next time you are ready to
    start a pity party for your

    hardships, how about taking a
    reality check as to what genuine
    hardship is.
    Hardship is having to deal with
    aging. Not the “Oh, I feel like I’m

    80 today.” kind of aging.
    I’m talking about being 80 today,
    tomorrow and next week. And the
    macular degeneration that not
    only robs you of your vision, but

    while it’s at it, your car keys,
    and your independence.
    I’m talking about being married
    for 65 years, and there seems to
    be a lot more sickness than health.

    And you start having a problem
    with where you put your glasses,
    (because you ALWAYS put them
    in one place). And everyone says
    oh, that’s just a senior moment.

    But to you it feels different.
    Hardship is when you’re diagnosed
    with Alzheimer’s. And have meds
    that you take, but you know you
    are forgetting, and you can’t do

    anything about it. It sneaks around
    in your mind, chiseling away from
    your ability to remember.
    Hardship is the wife, who can
    daily see immeasurable differences,

    imperceptible to anyone else.
    And hardship is for her to continue
    to find the patience to deal
    with the repetitive motions, and
    observations, and questions

    that will only become more
    frequent.
    The next time a stranger says,
    “Hi, how are you?”, think about
    what hardship really is.

    Ellen Knight 11.7.13
    write a “hardship” poem for PAD 11.13

  59. Carol Cameleon says:

    The Ship of Hard Knocks by Carol Cameleon

    As the ship of hard knocks

    goes sailing by,

    I wait and wait and wait.

    Will it stop and hit this rock

    surrounded by seas so high?

    With fingers, toes and everything crossed,

    my eyes shut tight, so tight,

    as the waves come thrashing, they do toss this ship

    and like a fish we will take the bite.

    You’re never sure if you’re due good luck

    from this ship in this tumultuous life.

    You can take control, stick two fingers up

    and make the best of hardship and strife.

    So, the ship of hard knocks may well stop by,

    I will stick those fingers up,

    hold my head up high, so high.

    For this rock has been dealt

    many, many woes

    and it will capsize that ship

    fear not, as it slow and bows…and bows…and bows.

  60. HeatherL says:

    Grad School

    I thought of only things that I might do
    Beneath the canopy of Higher Ed
    There was no shelter to be found, who knew?
    The machine would crush and bury me instead
    Now, it’s been more than 10 long years
    Entangled in the mire, yet still I sit
    Among the ruined dreams and stale tears
    I cannot bring myself to say, “I quit.”

  61. Margie Fuston says:

    Cracks

    They give her a yellow slip of paper
    before she goes.
    Yellow is a neutral color.
    It is not pink or blue.
    It reminds her of the sun in Hawaii,
    but she hasn’t been,
    not since she was little,
    and her parents took her
    in a baby pink suit with ruffles on the bottom.
    She has pictures though,
    faded and cracked
    from being handled
    a little too much.
    She takes the paper and leaves
    without looking into the eyes
    of the woman who hands it to her.
    She glances at it as she walks to her car.

    Do monitor your temperature.
    Do take your antibiotics.
    Do avoid strenuous exercise
    and heavy lifting for one week.
    Do dress conservatively,
    the way your mother taught you.
    Do not take baths or go swimming for two weeks.
    Do not use tampons for two weeks.
    Do not have intercourse for two weeks.
    Do not take your clothes off for money.
    Do not let strange men take you
    to the back of their cars
    after your shift.

    She lets her yellow sheet drop
    to the cracked pavement
    as she gets in her car.

  62. elishevasmom says:

    Shoestring

    It had been her intent for years—
    to get professional help,
    to be officially diagnosed.

    Two things had prevented her.
    First, she had worked in
    management long enough

    to know that once that box was
    marked “yes” on a job application, it
    might has well have been neon lit.

    It was a bell that could not be un-rung.
    Second, it was common knowledge
    that government disability was

    simply not enough to live on.
    It was less than half of what
    she usually made, which was

    always a balancing act. Who got
    paid this month? Or rather, who
    didn’t get paid this month.

    The rent always got paid. That
    was a given. Between the others,
    there was a round-robin with

    one bill being the odd man out.
    It was when you got to round
    two that things started to get

    tricky. Then it was time for
    extra hours at work,
    or a second job.

    So the idea of making ends
    meet while on disability
    might as well have been

    a financial pole vault.
    Time moved on, (as it is
    wont to do), and it became

    harder and harder to keep
    her condition from affecting
    her job. Even after she fled

    for her life, she was still too
    determined (read, proud) to
    make it on her own, to not seek out

    help. It took two more years
    until she was finally hospitalized,
    and had to give up work.

    She then discovered that, in dealing
    with government, the application
    process itself was disabling,

    dehumanizing and debilitating.
    She spent the next two years
    with no official income.

    All that stood between
    her and homelessness were
    food stamps and public housing.

    When her disability was finally
    approved, it nearly rendered her
    speechless (no small task)

    upon learning the amount of
    her monthly stipend. Friends and
    family now share the belief

    she had carried for so
    long, that disability is simply
    not enough to live on.

    They marvel at her happiness,
    and her quality of life.
    Her answer to each of them is

    always the same.
    When you have lived
    on a shoestring for

    so long, you don’t hardly know
    what to do once
    you have the whole shoe.

    Ellen Knight 11.7.13
    write a “hardship” poem for PAD 11.13

  63. Emptied Vessel

    Grief stricken
    on the thought
    of seeing grandma
    in a box encrusted
    with the facade of cosmetics.

    Her soul abandoned earthly frame.
    Poured out, unreservedly,
    emptied into our vessels.
    Our veins will coarse forever rich with your blood. You gave us life, hope and discipline. For that we are thankful.
    Rest in the peace of your stillness…

    Until we meet again.

  64. DanielAri says:

    “The Devil’s Tango”

    Maybe I’ll be in the shower
    and the water will keep running
    warm and plentiful over me
    even as the tide of human
    folly crests again, nuclear

    and definitively final;
    but I won’t know the news until
    I wake to The Huffington Post:
    THE END. The editorial
    style has deteriorated.

    Links are broken. My coffee spills.
    It takes forever to clean it.
    From the Chevron plant, there’s a wail.
    Something familiar. The lights shut
    off throughout the house. Work’s cancelled

    today and indefinitely.
    It’s coming down, ready or not.

    DA

    • writinglife16 says:

      Just great. Reminds of the power outage on the eastern part of the country. I was in a stairwell. One step. Stop. Dead silence on the streets and work was cancelled the next day. No lights did not bother the cat though.

  65. Clae says:

    Too Much

    I have trusted far too much
    Accepted all their flaws
    No longer needing friends who cannot
    Be relied on, no need for them
    Alone we stagger as they pretend
    We have trusted far too much
    Accepted all their flaws
    No longer needing those who do not
    At least admit they are not friends
    Just let us stagger to the end

  66. Depression

    It’s not feeling sad
    or broken or wanting to cry
    into a pillow. I’ve never
    needed to scream at God
    or spend a week as a ghost
    in a hospital, wearing
    lace-less shoes and a thin
    gown. I don’t have voices
    in my head or fear caught
    in my throat and I am
    not going to shuffle
    down the self-help aisle
    of the local library.

    It’s just an emptiness,
    the way you feel when you’re almost
    well after the flu or a cold.
    I forget to eat
    and dream and pay
    my bills. I won’t do
    laundry or feed the
    dog and I ignore every
    call from my sisters.
    Sometimes I’ll stare at my
    handwriting in an old
    journal and not recognize
    the dips and loops of
    my letters.
    Mostly I just huddle under dirty sheets,
    numb and unafraid, ignoring the way my
    own heart feels like a beating.

  67. JRSimmang says:

    SURFACE

    Even
    though his embrace
    was as she remembered, his hands
    shook when no one else was watching.
    Welcome home.

    -JR Simmang

  68. WildViolet says:

    This sweeping sadness sends tears
    cloying drops from hidden wells
    swooping in, unwelcome
    bricklaying again
    building walls against myself
    harboring fugitive memories
    awash with long-bled dreams
    where do I go from here
    when here has been my goal
    the ease I felt slips away
    down that long docked past.

  69. whitwhatup says:

    Down

    tic toc tic toc
    the metronome of time
    aware of slipping Moments

    down the Hole I go

    Abyss is getting near
    deep and dim engulf
    all the while clutching
    for any Vines to grip

    is ground still solid?
    soft enough to land
    strong enough to sustain
    too far down to fathom
    a steady, peaceful earth
    it spewed me into Dark

    alas, a sturdy Rope
    i trust to hold me tight
    my grip locks the Bond
    Fusion happens instantly
    and souls ignite the Spark
    Two meld into one

    a glimpse of Hope lifts us
    but Tension fights back
    to suck Us further down
    deeper than before.

    i remember When
    the stars ablaze with hope
    but Here the lights are out
    and there’s further Down to go

  70. Linda Goin says:

    A Linear Burden

    Sometimes women in this family nurture
    secrets like illegitimate children,
    unwanted, yet loved all the same.
    They keep their little darlings hidden
    so their men can’t see, can’t smell
    the rot that taints a woman’s heart
    when sins seem unforgivable.

    Sometimes, when clouds push the sun aside,
    a woman allows her nursling loose
    to share jelly jars of beer and to play
    games that take effort and know-how to win.
    Lurking at any window, a stranger sees
    nothing, because her mystery remains
    under warm wraps, growing wrong.

    Sometimes a woman offers fractions
    of her hush-hush, like marks on a door jamb
    that measure a child’s growth. These revelations
    fall in familial fashion, from mother
    to daughter, or from aunt to niece, like leaves
    that free a tree, or like weights that lie
    six feet under, a woman unknown.

  71. JRSimmang says:

    TIME’S A-CHANGIN’

    I’ve been staring at my grandfather’s hands for the better part of an hour,
    just letting my ears do the hard part,
    trying to hear over the wheezing, hacking, cough.
    Smoker, 63 years. The doctors said he wouldn’t make it past 60 if he didn’t stop smoking, but here he is, in his rocking chair, 80 years old, rocking, rocking, and drinking whiskey like rain.

    His hands, yellowed and twisted, wrinkled and finite, twirls the lunt, toying with it.
    He takes a deep breath rattling, and tells me about the time that he
    hefted his hammer over his shoulder and walked with his lunch pail
    two miles every
    goddamn morning
    to get to work.
    His shoes were worn sole-thin, torn breeches, and his jacket was only warm in the summer.
    He piled his hat atop his head,
    and let the wind ride him north to the factory, where the light bulbs wouldn’t build themselves.
    16 hours. 16 hours and the whistle would blow like a wish.
    There’d be a rush to the door, but not too fast because they all knew that in a few hours they’d be back to where they were, and dinner weren’t worth coming home to, sausage and cauliflower or cabbage. No wonder he hit the sauce.
    Sometimes, he’d shatter a plate just to hear something
    other than monotony, which he was convinced was as much a part of his life
    as the knife in her hands. Chop, chop, chop, the goddamned cabbage.

    As I stare at his hands, still scared of the dark and clutching for a blankey, I feel my phone buzz. It tells me to plug it in.

    -JR Simmang

  72. Bruce Niedt says:

    Taking a brief break from my baseball theme: My wife asked me to write a tribute poem for coworkers of hers who man a crisis line for police officers, many of whom are also vets. This is what I have so far:

    Lifeline

    Your voice at the other end
    telegraphs distress. I can feel
    a phantom pain myself, as you
    tell me you can’t take it anymore.
    The scars ache, not just the ones
    on the skin and beneath, but
    the ones in our thoughts as well.
    I’ve been there, brother,
    I’ve been there, sister,
    and I can only offer you hope
    that you will get through this
    like I got through it.
    That, and a lifeline, even stronger
    than the cords and cables and waves
    that bind us together right now.
    Hang on to the phone, hang on
    to yourself, hang on to me,
    we can talk. Let my voice be
    your life jacket, your airlift harness,
    your backup unit,
    your hand out of that muddy hole.

  73. Lori P says:

    Prognosticator

    Is this real? Can I feel
    something bad is on the way?
    Will it stop? Can I top
    what I was able to do today?

    How did I know? Can I show
    what the future’s going to be?
    What does this mean? Can I glean
    fame or fortune from my ability?

    Stop asking why. I know who dies
    every day before they do.
    I didn’t kill them. I can feel them.
    Please believe me. You have to.

    I’m all alone now. I can’t see how
    I’ll ever get out of this pain.
    Jailed for life. This kind of strife
    would never have happened to Shirley McClain.

  74. Ber says:

    Memories

    Moving forward
    stepping back
    do not want to
    fall between the cracks

    Hands over eyes
    afraid to see
    where you are now
    you could be me

    Like a fairy tale
    life is just handed over
    wanting to find
    that four leaf clover

    A bed of roses is not where you are
    a time gone by to fast
    wishing i could unwind
    the past

    Wonders of what
    wonders of who you
    could of
    been

    Rivers that run fast
    a lonely tear

    A heart that hangs heavy
    in each cavity of our souls
    the memories of yesterday
    are the stories that are told

    Distance is something we all take for granted
    no stairs to meet you
    no way to touch your hand
    a place to go and speak to you
    we lay thoughts and tears
    instead of flowers sprayed

  75. Domino says:

    Hardship

    Her phone is over a year old.
    His well-worn shoes are over a year old.
    Her boyfriend teases her over her allergies.
    He is tortured by bullies. Daily.
    She can’t stand her best friend’s fashion sense.
    He can’t understand why what he wears is so important.
    Her parents are so annoying. Every. Day.
    He has no idea where his parents are.
    She hates the cafeteria lunches, so she drives off campus.
    He is grateful for his only healthy meal of the day.
    She complains about taking the SAT, what a pain.
    He wonders if he can afford the fee for his SAT.
    She begrudgingly attends her clubs, her parents made her join.
    He works after school to save for college.
    She wants a bigger room, her sleepovers are too crowded.
    He wishes he didn’t share with so many other foster kids.
    She says her prayers, asking for a multitude of new items.
    He prays he will make it to the end of the school year.

  76. MichelleMcEwen says:

    Everything is Expensive

    So you play the numbers:

    Play Three
    Play Four

    (midday, too)

    Cash 5
    Classic Lotto &
    Powerball

    you cross your fingers, hope
    your babies’ birthdays will hit

    or the numbers your wife dreamt

    and you imagine,
    in the barber’s chair,

    all the shit
    you’d get

    for your woman
    and your kids

    not just for Christmas

    and everything is peachy
    down at the pizzeria

    where you work days
    cleaning trays

    long as them tickets
    in your pocket.

  77. NO HARDSHIP HERE

    Way back yonder in Two Thousand Nine,
    a family crisis put my job on the line.
    The future looked bleak, like a sun without shine.

    My resume fluttered on one shaky wing,
    then crashed from responses with words meant to sting.
    My skills were unsuited to most everything.

    Or so they all thought in denying me jobs.
    My dignity rose above all of these snobs.
    Just who wants to work with persnickety slobs?

    Discovering new ways to best use my time,
    I’m writing my poems in rhyme and non-rhyme
    and acting as DJ for jazz most sublime.

    I haven’t got time to be singing the blues.
    I go to the beach now whenever I choose.
    In afternoon sunlight, I might take a snooze.

    Cash in my pocket? There’s nary a cent.
    but no way I’ll wallow in discontent.
    I’m living quite large in retirement.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  78. writinglife16 says:

    Youth dinners

    She loved the music in the church.
    She especially liked the youth choir.
    She said they sang good and
    made her feel young.
    She invited them over for dinner
    once every two months.
    Usually she fried chicken and made
    lots of desserts.
    They ate like kids usually eat.
    They left with what felt like rocks
    inside their stomachs.
    One day, someone asked about how she
    seasoned the chicken to make it taste so good.
    She said salt, pepper and chitlin grease to fry the chicken in.
    Those rocks suddenly felt like boulders.
    The choir had punch and cookies after that.

  79. candict says:

    7 Hardship
    -
    nothing here to eat
    to tide us over
    toothpaste tastes sweet

  80. Jane Shlensky says:

    Carry

    “You got to care for old folks; it’s their turn
    for easy resting, laying down their loads.”
    He didn’t say their loads were on his back.
    He praised the way they raised him to do right.
    He’d said such things before his father died,
    before his mother could not call his name,
    and anyone could see his nerves were frayed,
    but he worked constantly to do it all.

    He watched a hurricane sweep through his fields
    destroying crops meant to pay his bills,
    but he felt grateful that his house was spared.
    His wife and kids were healthy, packed and gone.
    “Strong backs are made for lifting,” he would say;
    “Strong arms are meant to bear up weaker men.”
    He soldiered on and never did complain,
    his old hound at his side, a loyal friend.

    He cursed and prayed in turns, not blaming God,
    but wondering if He was looking down
    to see his mother dry up like a flower
    to watch his family forsake him now
    when he could use some help, some kindness too.
    He didn’t know just what a man could do
    when he was given more than he could lift,
    but strain beneath the load and set it down.

    What makes a man divest himself of grace
    when he most needs it? To dispose of hope?
    Does he start wondering about his faith,
    thinking that he was raised to live a lie?
    Or does he double down, clinging to prayer
    when he sees well nobody else is there?
    There is a searching spirit to hard times
    when we learn who we are, what we can bear.

  81. WHAT HE OWNS

    Low sun turns the closed façade golden
    but cold as November where he sits propped
    against the Great Wall Chinese buffet.
    Early-frost glitters spills in the gutter-strip.
    A hat to shield him from what’s coming;
    Last night’s concrete sidewalk bed. Two trash
    bags and a guitar for “here we go again!”
    A blackbird peck-steps in search of crumbs.

  82. Taking the first window
    of opportunity
    when the wall of hardship
    hits you
    is the plot
    of every movie
    my father
    liked the best,
    the choice -
    a clumsy hero
    burdened by duty
    or smooth outlaw
    loved by all the ladies,
    the need to keep on keeping on
    keeping you from villainy,
    the heart never home
    unless its busy
    getting gone

  83. Earl Parsons says:

    This is about a pending hardship we will all face if we keep going in the direction we’re going. I wrote it a while back, but it’s worth another go.

    The Trouble is Obvious

    It’s as plain as the nose on my face
    There is trouble all over the place
    Down the middle the country is split
    Some are worried; others, not a bit
    On the horizon there’s rising a tide
    When it hits, there’ll be nowhere to hide
    Yet we stand divided and weak
    Our future looking hopeless and bleak

    Are we just gonna’ wait
    Until it’s too late

    Split down the center left and right
    No real middle ground in this fight
    Our future no longer bright and clear
    It’s dark, questionable, filled with fear
    Our economy about to go bust
    Our leaders do not earn our trust
    America on the edge of the cliff
    And we all wonder, “What If?”

    What if America dies
    What if we lose freedom’s prize

    The trouble is complacency
    The trouble is dependency
    The trouble is our selfishness
    The trouble is our greediness
    The trouble is we just don’t care
    The trouble is we’re unaware
    Of the trouble heading our way
    Are we ready for our last days

    There is time to change our plight
    If only we all unite

  84. bartonsmock says:

    -an hour long seizure lasts an hour-

    in separating the health of a child
    from the child itself
    it is an uncommon
    godsend

    to be given one
    to practice on

  85. Michelle Hed says:

    Hardship

    Hardships come in
    All sizes but sometimes it’s hard to
    Recognize the hardships of others when they bury
    Deep the pain and unfortunately the
    Shame, where others can’t see, can’t give it a name but
    Help comes in all sizes too, so even a smile
    Is something you can do, a friendly word, a helping hand…
    Perhaps you touch a soul and ease a hardship just by being kind.

  86. qiwei says:

    That very moment
    They said it was too late
    No other way to end the pain

    But guess what
    He got through it all
    And he became alive again

  87. Michelle Hed says:

    Choices

    She should share,
    it would be the right thing to do…
    but she really didn’t care,
    it was her first and it was brand new.
    She hemmed and hawed,
    as people feeling guilty tend to do
    but her desire never thawed
    and with a twist of her nose, she turned into a shrew.

    She screamed the word, “NO!”
    as loud as she could,
    her lip trembled and her head dipped low
    and there she didn’t move, she just stood.

    She looked up to see what everyone was doing
    but no one was looking her way
    and their indifference was her undoing
    and the tears started to stray.

    Her Mom gave her a hug
    and her Dad patted her head,
    she sat down next to her sibling, right there on the rug
    and with heads bowed together, they whispered and read.

  88. The valiant taste of death but once.

    That one where my head is being sawed off;
    I can feel the teeth of the blade biting into my flesh
    and I know I am going to be dead very soon.

    Or the one where everyone
    I’ve ever loved
    is gone
    and I know
    I will
    be alone
    forever.

    Then I’m at the top of the stairs
    and falling
    into
    a black
    infinity of nothing.

    Or that time I remember
    I have a baby
    and that I’ve not fed it
    or given it a drink for weeks
    and now my hand is on the door knob
    opening the door where I remember it must be
    and I’m dreading what I will find.

    “Sweet dreams, nighty night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

    Michele Brenton

  89. annell says:

    Sail Away
    When skies are blue
    We’ll board our boat
    A teacup made for two
    And sail away

    We have known
    Storms and rain
    Drought and such
    But now
    We’ll sail away

    You’ll wear your hat
    I’ll wear mine
    Pulled down low
    We’ll board the cup
    And sail away

    As the wheel turns
    We find the ocean dead
    The butterfly trembles
    Aboard our boat
    We’ve sailed away

    Note: I am thinking, we get through one difficult problem, only to find another. It probably isn’t about where we are, not geographical, wherever we go, there we are.

  90. OH NO, YOKO

    Sweet mother, how awful for you;
    what you’ve been through and all
    after me taking my fall. I “relive” this pain
    again and again, leaving my stain
    on the pavement. And your heart.
    At the very start, who would have
    guessed a simple ‘Yes.” would
    change the course of this farce
    of nature. A musical Liddypoolian;
    a hooligan in the ways of life.
    With you as my wife I was changed,
    priorities re-arranged, and it’s strange.
    We searched for peace and all her charms.
    But I found it there in Sweet Mother’s arms.
    I couldn’t stand to see you cry.
    You couldn’t stand to watch me die.
    A scale unbalanced, a hardship not sailed,
    an assailant jailed and memories not failed.
    Oh no, Yoko. Ono!

    • PressOn says:

      I don’t know if humor was your intent at the end, but that’s how it seemed to me, despite the somber tones preceding i. This is an arresting piece; I had no interest in the Beatles and their sequelae, but this poem was rivetting.

  91. DO YOU TAKE THIS CINDER BLOCK TO BE YOUR ALBATROSS?

    A room for two become two for one,
    When day is done the nights are silent
    and cold. The old flame has fizzled
    and died of indifference. It is an instance
    of reversed “cheaper to keep her”.
    Blank stares avoiding eye contact
    with any Wal in the house. Feeling
    a weight has been lifted and re-gifted
    with one of twice the weight and girth.
    For what its worth, misery loves company
    Is a farce. Two miserable people should
    be left alone. Drowning in a sea of doubt
    there seems to be no way out!

  92. Nancy Posey says:

    Survivor

    No fiery crash
    or sudden stopped heart
    in her resume.
    No random act of violence
    that stopped her world
    from turning
    for just awhile.

    Nothing that defied logic,
    no natural disaster,
    flood or raging winds.
    Just one night
    she fell asleep
    and woke the next day
    to find her mother gone.
    No note,
    no explanation,
    no goodbye.

    So when she born
    children of her own,
    she had to learn
    mothering
    by trial and error,
    her only example,
    what not to do.

  93. MLundstedt says:

    Just perfect! Funny, and perfect!

  94. National Public Radio

    Turns out that King David invented
    the first radio. He kept it by his bed.
    In time he got rid of it because there
    was nothing on worth listening to.

  95. Marie Elena says:

    So thankful that my
    Blessings outweigh my hardships.
    Even if they don’t.

  96. “Amethyst Shadows”

    The gray November skies
    are easier
    to take
    when first viewed
    as the Sun
    burns
    on the horizon,
    announcing the day
    with brilliance
    and honor
    and amethyst shadows,
    rather than
    first noticing
    fields of gray
    through unfocused eyes
    and wondering
    if the day
    even chose
    to start.

  97. Hardship

    Fishing for King salmon is what I’m wishing.
    Wishing for creatures as big as my boat for fishing.

    So I venture forth, in the early morning I go.
    Go out in the ocean, ten nautical miles or so.

    Ship bears down on me, I hear my boat rip—
    rip just like paper. That’s a hard ship!

  98. Marie Elena says:

    Robert, this month your writing has been so crisp. So moving. So drawing. Today’s has me tearing up, and nodding in agreement.

  99. MLundstedt says:

    “The Village of the Dead”

    Darkness came on quickly.
    The path was not well-tread.
    A whisper stopped my progress,
    And filled my heart with dread.

    I had taken a familiar road,
    The one that led to home,
    When Nature changed my course,
    To a path where shadows roam.

    Then Fall’s cold breath rushed by
    And rustled leaves ahead.
    And that was when I noticed
    The silvery village of the dead.

    Draped in misty curtains,
    Rows of granite peeking through,
    Offering names in moonlight,
    For the living to review.

    I didn’t want to walk there,
    That silent, crowded place,
    But the whispering continued
    And urged a quickened pace.

    So as witnessed by the stars,
    I walked among the plots,
    As the residents were gathered,
    For me to know their lots.

    I was there to learn,
    Not to counsel or to blame,
    From all the specters’ tales,
    That the ending is the same.

  100. barbara_y says:

    Hardship

    you work all day
    tally the banana

    How does the story go: all the brothers
    died but the youngest and he dreams of war
    but his mother keeps him home for the farm

    The latest war began and doughy men
    of the Reserves were called to fight Evil.
    Not quite the war that they had been trained for.

    But they’d kept up. A weekend every month.
    Two weeks in the summer. Teachers, nurses,
    security guards, mothers, grandfathers.

    They did what they could, then did it again,
    and when, somehow, there was no going home
    they kept on. Paying for their checks with legs

    or coming home body-whole and soul, not.
    Home has changed and they’ve foreclosed on the farm.

  101. THE STRUGGLE

    imagine a land where
    everywhere you looked
    the signs were a scramble of letters-
    unknown, unpronounceable.

    imagine a land where
    everyone you met
    uttered sounds so strange -
    a cacophony of syllables.

    that land is here
    for those who come
    from places so awful
    that they imagine a land -

    where new beginnings
    mean a better life, but
    first they tackle literacy
    in the land they imagined.

    • MLundstedt says:

      Very nice! Brings back memories of a couple of visits to Ellis Island–where one can’t help but imagine.

    • Marie Elena says:

      So very well penned, and so compassionate. I volunteer at the American School for Women and Children here where I live. I get to cuddle and care for babies and toddlers while their mommies learn English as a second language. It is so wonderful to witness two things: 1) The smiles of these little ones who recognize love and care in a language not their own. 2) The smiles and grateful hearts of the women as they begin to be able to better communicate in this world so foreign to them.

    • PressOn says:

      This is about as good an argument for literacy volunteers as one can have. Excellent.

  102. Misky says:

    The Hardships of Patience

    I have no hardship
    although some might think so.
    My unborn, buried,
    only occasionally
    a memory now,
    but still children came to me.
    There is no hardship
    if you’re open to another path.
    Death and birth and life,
    long or short, serves purpose.
    But patience to see
    that purpose is, perhaps,
    my greatest hardship

  103. PressOn says:

    Robert, your poem hurts, almost physically.

  104. PressOn says:

    LAMENT OF A BIRDER’S CAR

    I travel the land on roads and on rocks,
    and wade in thick mud clear up to my shocks.
    Sometimes, on the beach, I act like a boat
    in spite of the fact I never could float.

    I come face-to-face with the cud and the cow;
    when snow is hood-high then I make like a plow.
    I follow the birds from the sage to the sea,
    but for my reward they drop drops on me!

    I do things for which I was never designed;
    my assemblymates think me out of my mind.
    Perhaps they are right, as they chortle with gall:
    “A car for the birds is no car at all.”

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