2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 8

We’re eight days into this challenge now, and I’m actually starting to feel more energized about what I’m going to write next. I hope you’re feeling the same way.

For today’s prompt, write an inanimate object poem. Obviously, you could write an objective poem about an inanimate object, or you can write from the perspective of the inanimate object. If you can think of a third option, have at it.

Here’s my attempt at an inanimate object poem:


I’ll start a fire when I strike steel.
I’ll start a fire until you feel

the spark of fire that burns in me,
that spark of fire no one can see.

A star on fire into the night,
I’ll start a fire; I’ll start a fight.


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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 author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection that deals with everything from child abuse to global warming. As a long-time resident of Dayton, Ohio, he usually pays attention to lists for the most violent cities (Dayton often makes these lists)–so he’s aware that Flint, Michigan, has been near the top for a few years now. Safely tucked away in Duluth, Georgia, now, Robert is married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of his five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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257 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 8

  1. dandelionwine


    As far as Dad was concerned, we’d said
    goodnight long enough, nearly as long
    as that old, worn crack stretched gaping
    in the walkway. So he chose that late
    hour, by lamplight, to spread cement
    with a trowel at our feet in silence.

  2. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    The Tiger On My Bed

    The tiger on my bed
    never sleeps.
    His bright, dark eyes
    are always watching me,
    and watching the room.

    His white whiskers
    are thin and frayed,
    his stripes have faded, and
    his pink nose is rough,
    the surface worn away.

    When he first arrived
    I used to hug him tight.
    I took him everywhere.
    Now he rests on my pillow
    and guards the room all day.

    At night
    he lies on a chair.
    I have a real cat now
    who sleeps with me
    on the bed.

    She purrs loudly.
    He says nothing
    though his glass eyes stare.
    I won’t throw him away though,
    my old tiger.

  3. foodpoet

    Stone Bed

    Tais to Arakesh

    War is waiting
    Walk to sleep
    Watch for a new stonebed to
    Ward off scorpions.
    We sleep on stone
    Watch the sky while
    War is waiting

  4. bjzeimer

    An Object Poem Nov 7

    My Mama Doll

    That year, my parents didn’t have
    much money,
    the Old Farmer’s Almanac

    forecasting a hard winter.
    Mommy took Daddy’s paycheck
    went to the IGA store
    in West Jefferson,

    where beautiful dolls
    lined a shelf over the groceries.
    But Mommy could only afford one
    for my sister and I to share.

    She was dressed in a pink
    and white dress
    and bonnet, white shoes and socks,
    and when you turned her over

    she cried “Mama!”
    Soon my sibling and I would start
    to squabble over her,
    and she, who liked to paint

    and being older than I,
    took the doll away from me,
    hid her in the root cellar.
    My mama doll in that dank, dark cellar

    with her hair torn off,
    her head painted with shoe polish
    as I became the mama doll,
    as I cried “Mama!”

    No More Sugar

    You know you are drinking
    too much soda
    when you drink one cola after another
    to pick you up
    savoring every swallow—
    how it feels good on your throat
    wets your dry mouth
    that just becomes drier
    while you get thirstier.
    Then, your dentist tells you
    you have several new cavities
    this time, reminds you of
    missed appointments—
    and you know its
    because you don’t have enough
    energy to keep them.
    So you go for your annual checkup
    to see what’s wrong
    after which your doctor calls
    and tells you your sugar is elevated.
    “What do I do?” I said.
    No more sugar, he said, while handing
    you a glucose monitor with two vials
    of ten strips, and a diet—
    No more sugar pick you up.

  5. BezBawni

    Breath of Wind

    I dry your tears with autumn leaves.
    I dry your tears with autumn leaves.
    My lips are made of air and cold.
    My lips are made of air and cold.
    Leaves and your lips are dry and I
    made air cold with tears of my autumn.

    I cradle you in golden light,
    I cradle you in golden light,
    breathe songs of hope that give you peace,
    breathe songs of hope that give you peace.
    Songs of peace give light that you breathe in
    you cradle hope, I golden.

    I promise I won’t long and cry.
    I promise I won’t long and cry.
    Feel my last touch before you go.
    Feel my last touch before you go.
    My touch and promise won’t last long:
    I feel you go before I cry.

    I cry and tears touch my lips,
    I feel cold air made of light
    and hope your songs won’t go dry
    in golden cradle of autumn leaves.
    I give you peace with my last promise
    and before long you breathe that you are I.

  6. Jezzie


    Huh! She’s bought a new red laptop, I see,
    now she’s practically abandoned me
    after I served her faithfully each day
    from morning ’til night as she typed away.
    Okay, so now and again I would crash
    just because I needed to clear my cache,
    but she worked me hard, would not take a break
    so my own decision I had to make.
    Now I sit in the corner, all alone
    she uses me less than she does her phone.
    She only wants me when she needs a photo
    but I’ll scupper that – I’ll refuse to go!

  7. rdpater

    Testicles, spectacles… wallet?

    The fucking ticking bitch
    on my wrist.
    What do you need!?
    Want some more attention?
    Need me to stroke you on the stroke of every hour and hold your hand every minute?
    Damn it for the last time I never forget you and I always miss you when your gone.
    Actually I feel naked and I look for the reason why.
    I miss you always.
    Usually reminded by a strangers question or when I’m waiting longer than I should.

  8. mrvanessarose

    You Surrender

    Dig and
    Poke again

    A new territory you claimed
    As if you have the right
    A life-long pissing contest
    With your equally naïve neighbor

    Who got here first?
    Who will get here last?
    I’m not yours to mark
    Yet you marked me just the same

    You’ve abused the laws of nature
    In the name of science
    Under the guise of learning
    Hidden beneath? only pride

    Not of me, of your prowess
    Your technology
    Your balls
    Balls to break a code

    Now your markers stand white

    Surrendered like you did
    To the respect of what’s
    Not yours to touch
    Not yours to claim

  9. shanezie

    Mug Shot

    Fill me. Give me some sugar, baby.
    Let me taste your milk. Oh, watch me steam
    while you wait for me to be touchable. Don’t tease
    too long or I’ll cool. You know you want me; you
    chose me to be your vessel. Oh,
    hold me close, wrap your hands around
    and let me warm you. Kiss my rim with timid lips,
    afraid that I may burn you.
    Let me burn you. Let our first kiss linger
    long after the fire in your fingers
    fades and you have left my stained self
    until you clean me. Let me wait behind the door
    until the next tomorrow. Every morning we share
    I am whole for you. Smoke while I steam
    and stare over me to the sunrise.
    Let me wake you with kisses
    as you drain me. Let me take
    what you’ve given
    and pour myself into you.
    Let me fill you.

  10. seingraham


    I am fire, I am flicker
    I am yesterday’s rock show icon
    No longer cool, I languish,
    left behind now,
    a flea market relic
    a collectible find…
    A smart-phone app
    if you can imagine — easily
    duplicated and safe as babies
    Now a thousand phones are waved
    To the beat of Bon Jovi, Bruno Mars
    —anyone that plays the arenas—
    I used to be in evidence – not anymore
    And of course, for the few smokers
    that dare to pull out their coffin nails
    – some of them still own me, their originals
    most of them…we were built to last
    All of you of a certain age… can you recall
    the sound?
    The flick, then the rasp of the wheel
    as it hits the flint and sparks the flame…

    1. seingraham

      Have to comment on your excellent poem after the fact Robert…and tell you, it’s a complete coincidence that ours have some similarity…I didn’t read any of the poems until after I’d posted mine…I must say, I really like the varieties you’ve imbued “Flint” with…

  11. DWong

    Mouse’s Life

    Cocooned, I moved from shelf to box
    to shelf again.
    Spent days and nights beside the locks
    and keyboards. Then

    swiped across a blinding light and
    dropped in blackness.
    I feared my future, where I’d land.
    Froze by sadness.

    I woke up, feeling fresh and new.
    Excitement in
    my body tingled all the way through.
    I’d never been

    filled inside, filled outsiden too;
    warm tenderness
    moved me up, down, side to side, too;
    danced with firmness.

    For hours and for days I would spend
    motionless breath
    the annoying tingle never would end
    I wished its death

    I came to the point I dreaded
    the warm motion dance.
    It sometimes meant I was headed
    into a trance

    to avoid the pounding beating
    and screams all ’round
    those days I wished I were retreating
    to the backness
    where once I was found.

  12. Broofee

    Orange notebook

    It sits on the desk
    Next to the empty green bottle
    And few random red and grey pens
    An orange notebook.

    I stare at it daily
    I stare at it right now
    It’s time for me
    To start writing

  13. Linda Hatton

    Heart-Shaped Necklace

    Oh brittle heart, the hand
    that shaped you, jagged,
    flawed, once part drink
    and shell, where pearls bloomed
    from sand and friction, you embody
    lover’s loyalty through lifetimes,
    memory loss, meetings anew,
    the heart placed in man-
    made holder to be embraced
    upon a throbbing chest, the one
    he loved best, or so he swore,
    for one minute stretched
    beyond her mind past
    infinity of time. Oh brittle
    heart, you’re out of order now,
    imperfections brought you down
    sold the heart from love’s
    weightless words, now just
    a broken chain, forgotten
    inside dusty drawer.


  14. Glory


    I wore you like a bruise
    proudly with my head high
    not caring what others thought
    certain of my love for you.

    I wore you like a bruise
    wanting to show the world
    my obsession, always
    you, no other would do.

    I wear you like a bruise
    although older, wiser,
    knowing each bruise fades
    and despite all – love lives on.

  15. Yolee

    Dress Down

    Inside the consignment shop
    she browses through bright couture,
    spots my Godiva-brown makeup –
    comes for me. She’s the one.

    Another owned me, but I was sewn
    for her willowy body. She caresses –
    antes up on a girl’s cruel game,
    heads for the dressing room.

    I go from eye-catching to disarming
    as my v-dip bodice with the sheen
    of thinning ice cozies to her
    breasts. My a-line skirt of taffeta

    swells above her red cowboy boots.
    The inclined mirror is at ease
    with graceful return.
    From inside the mirror,

    I whisper: take me.
    She unzips, steps out, and
    places me on the “unwanted” hook –
    leaving an outline of angst

    that draws us both in. She
    prolongs the affair for weeks.
    I’m an extravagance
    she cannot trim to reason.

    I heard from some silver
    bangle bracelets she
    came for me. But to her utter
    disappointment I was gone.

  16. rosross


    Stone has one and ten and son,
    and ton and nest inside,
    and also no, a tiny word,
    but one which can provide,
    a settled world, within the word,
    which tumbles on the earth,
    reminding all that much is said,
    when brevity gives birth.

  17. julie e.

    Home. Made.

    you with memories
    you touch my fading silk
    and drift off in
    those days you were a child
    My fabrics
    once your fav’rite clothes
    and gowns to dress up in
    were saved by gramma’s
    special touch
    she pieced them into me
    A patchwork
    of your childhood
    reminding you of when
    she’d wrap
    you in her loving arms
    and you’d feel safe

  18. cholder

    The Necklace

    The key to my heart
    Capturing the light
    Dreams drumming
    In staccato bursts
    Promises insinuated
    As the chain tightens
    Around my neck
    A silver noose
    In a blue box
    With a white bow

  19. Julieann

    Worm Fiddling

    Pick me, pick me, hoped
    The stick lying under the tree
    Pick him, pick him, my friend
    Over there, he can help me

    It takes us both to do the job
    Hammer me into damp, cool ground
    Saw him like a bow, across my middle
    Into the earth goes the sound

    Earthworms flee the din and vibration
    Searching for quiet, finding safety
    In an old tin can, before they become
    Bait on a hook, cast out to sea

  20. Sara McNulty

    Dear Person

    If you would write an itemized list
    of what you need
    from the pantry,
    you would be quicker
    to start cooking,
    instead of looking at recipes over and over,
    twisting, turning me, pulling on my face–
    lovely stainless steel–
    with your egged,
    floured, or oily hands,
    spoiling a nice shine.
    If only you would learn to itemize,
    you would save my face, and your time.

    (The Doorknob)

  21. bjholmes

    On. Tie.
    Run. Walk.
    Untie. Off.
    Every day
    no matter
    the weather.
    On. Tie.
    Run. Walk.
    Untie. Off.
    Every day
    the same.
    On. Tie.
    Run. Walk.
    A shove and a tug.

  22. Phileejo

    Three cinquains!


    X marks the spot.
    Great riches await you.
    Catch? Just follow me and never
    Lose faith.


    I am
    Many things, a
    Tool of war and music,
    Parter of waters and of hair.
    You choose.


    You found
    Me, I was lost.
    In return, I will lead
    You to the door of destiny.
    Turn me.

  23. Bruce Niedt

    Magic Mud

    Ever since poor old Chapman got beaned,
    they’d been looking for something
    to take the sheen off the ball,
    so it wouldn’t slip dangerously,
    even fatally, from the pitcher’s hand.
    Then in ’38, Lena Blackburn of the A’s
    found me in his favorite fishing hole
    across the Delaware, I was the perfect agent:
    smooth enough to buff the white to gray,
    yet not harsh enough to scratch the leather.
    Lena and his successor sent cans of me
    to all the major league teams, and ever since,
    every baseball has had my imprint.
    I was there for Lou Gehrig’s last hit,
    and Jackie Robinson’s first, Don Larsen’s
    perfect game, and Hammerin’ Hank’s
    714th homer. I was there for Halladay’s
    two no-hitters, and Jeter’s 3000th hit.
    I’m part of the pregame ritual,
    giving each ball a mud bath and a rub-down.
    I’m a proud South Jersey native,
    one without equal, never duplicated,
    scooped up from a secret sweet spot
    near the river, strained, cured and canned,
    and sent to thirty teams who would never
    start the game without me.

  24. Cin5456

    Just A Machine

    This window to the world has no eyes.
    It has no hands, or mouth, or ears.
    Yet, through its attachments I heard the
    world scream against injustice, cry for
    an abandoned pup, and sing for the joy
    of one saved from loneliness. This window
    let me see intolerance and its aftermath
    of horror. This unfeeling machine shows
    the mayhem committed yesterday, while I
    protest the mayhem committed last year.
    This window lets me see a boy dancing for joy,
    a girl dancing for love, and a people dancing
    for democracy. Though this window has no eyes,
    it shows the depth of our perspective.
    Though this window has no hands,
    it lets me reach out to others like myself.
    Though this window has no heart, it stops
    my heartbeat when I see harm justified.
    Though this window has no mouth, it gives
    my voice distance, and strength I would not
    otherwise have. There are dances, and singing
    I would not have known without this means.
    I know that gay people hug each other
    the same way straight people do,
    and poverty stricken mothers in Haiti
    cuddle their newborn babies the same way
    my mother cuddled me. This machine
    we rail against, and blame for many ills,
    is also the machine that brought the world
    into my home. As a child, I thought
    the evil of the world was concentrated
    in one location, the far, far distant
    Soviet Union. Now I know evil is
    balanced by good all the world over,
    as much next door, where three women
    were held captive for ten years,
    as in the next block, where The Rainbow
    House was painted to end bigotry.

  25. carolecole66


    It’s the same moon,
    knife-edged bright,
    impossible arc of quarter moon,
    always the same one.
    Only we change, grow tall or short
    stand sideways to it
    see it upside down.
    Indifference glows from its sharp points.
    You, in your separate country
    across the sea living in a different time,
    dreaming in a foreign tongue,
    cannot see it, cannot see
    the way I do.

  26. Hannah

    I’ll Be Your Guide (and then some)
    I live to shed light on things.
    I take glory in stories created,
    shadow-magic dogs and rabbits.
    I thrill in the star-wars sabre sword fights
    and the late night giggle fests,
    I illuminate and transform-
    when lit from within with my light,
    children’s cheeks turn to bright pink
    (not to mention noses and fingertips, too).
    Yes, these all bring me great joy
    and I find that I’m swiftly reminded
    when I’m lifted in emergencies
    to look in the bottom of an abandoned well;
    I try not to let my ego swell
    but my importance grows proportionally then
    and when I’m employed as an extra measure of caution
    on your teenaged daughter’s walk home from practice.
    Fact is, I could go on and on
    and on about how required my presence is-
    I’m hesitant to do so-I like to hold a humble status;
    truth is being the bearer of light is a blessing
    being the bringer of bright is indeed a privilege.
    I zing through the shrouded evenings
    when the sun has slipped to sleep
    and the moon is hidden and deep,
    yes, beyond the flickering flame of the campfire
    when you need to pee you can count on me;
    I’ll assist you in the dark misty forested night.
    Sight will be yours with the flick of a switch,
    rich radiance you’ll claim with one button push;
    shush the littles and assure them with my presence.
    Oh, one minor detail though
    you must remember this:
    Please, carry a stash of double AA batteries my friend.
    I hate to admit it
    I’m not much of a flash light without them.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

  27. bethwk


    Sentinel upon the rooftop,
    proud in his green patina,
    in his view of the valley’s upper story.

    We make up stories about a rooster
    who challenged the sun and the wind
    with his shiny feathers
    and powerful crow, the poor boaster
    doomed to tell the changeable mood
    of the wind for eternity, screeching
    from E to N, to south, to west.

  28. Joanna Truman

    the bone key:

    she dug a hole in the ground outside
    her north carolina cabin
    surrounded by the blue whispers of
    sugar maples and hickories
    while the crows watched her hands press the dirt.

    the moon promised to keep her secret
    when she looked up with questions
    and stars in her eyes.
    it’s seen worse in these dark forests
    tales of ghosts and wild things
    lost children reaching out in the night
    for the brush of a hand.

    she picks the stones aside
    the mud soft and welcoming.
    she hits something hard, something piercing
    sticking up
    and reveals
    the bones of a stag
    laid out as though it once had walked.

    its antlers spoke of strength
    tied like tree roots to the earth
    sifting strong and lifting high
    like towers in the distance.
    in its skull, the teeth were true
    the sockets deep and black
    never to speak of what they’d seen.

    skeletal, colossal, the head of dragon’s bane
    this beast within the wood
    left hooves and half behind
    its muscles sewn into the skin
    of earth’s new winter coat.
    she knew his battle scars
    weren’t dug within the grave
    but still she felt them
    here, and here
    where his magic ran out
    his chase gave way
    and he laid down
    one last time.

    sitting back upon her knees
    she drew her hands across his ribs
    she said her prayers
    and in his heart, she found a key.

    1. Hannah

      Oh what a rich tale you’ve spun! I love all of the animals you bring into this and the deep secret feeling within.

      “its muscles sewn into the skin
      of earth’s new winter coat.”

      Love this!

  29. Cameron Steele


    You used to use me
    to reach out across
    all the roads you couldn’t
    afford to travel to be with the boy
    you loved.
    I remember the nights
    you laid in bed, pressing your
    face against mine
    while I let his voice
    kiss your ear.
    And the days in school
    when you hid me in your lap,
    touching my screen with hot
    fingertips while I read you his love letters.
    All the hours I spent beside
    you in the car, mic’d up so
    I could sing words you
    wished you’d come up
    with yourself.

    Now you never want me
    to play you music or
    keep your dreams
    safe under a pillow
    when you sleep. You
    only need me every morning:
    loud and angry so you’ll
    feel justified in slapping me
    before you fall back against
    the sheets, your face on
    his chest.

  30. Margie Fuston

    The Road’s Call

    Come with me,
    I’ll keep you between the lines
    as you drive by your ex’s house
    one too many times,
    searching for silhouettes
    against the light from the bedside lamp
    you bought.
    I’ll let you tread on me
    as you make your way to the bar
    where you had your first date.
    I’ll wait outside
    while you lean too far over
    in your low-cut shirt,
    pretending to have connections
    with strangers.
    Come back to me,
    after you’ve had five drinks
    too many
    and I’ll catch your body
    when it cracks through your windshield
    and cradle your broken limbs
    until the ambulance comes.

  31. Benjamin Thomas

    The Life of a Stone

    Here I lay
    Stoically weighted
    Hugging the archaic crust of the earth
    Clinging dust clouds my greyed frame

    A clique of falcons balk from above
    Soaring in the weightlessness of the sky
    Jeering at my low estate
    In the open expanse of heaven

    I lay motionless
    Sullen and slaty
    Maintaining my spot on the earth
    Hoping no one stumbles at my hardness and maybe one day sprout wings

  32. DanielAri

    I’m snared and fascinated in the world of forms,
    peeling a pomegranate while playing Scrabble.
    The constant interplay between what’s familiar
    as fingers but so surprising—variables
    that make the mind collect and name its families.

    I’m doing okay in the world of forms, able
    to walk past the tonsured man in the train station
    who today says his monologue out loud. Is that
    the babble-fuzz at the end of the transmission?
    I wish he could go and live on my bright app farm

    where you pay for pies with diamonds, and crops thrive on
    time alone. How shall I arrange my form? My wife
    flickers like a triple-wicked candle in a sconce.
    Siren. Chartreuse. Cinnamon. Laryngitis. Life.
    Layered patterns in each pomegranate bubble.

    He looked at me today, and somehow I felt safe
    in the world’s soil, root ball, trunk, branch, sun, bud, fruit, leaf.


  33. Susan Schoeffield


    I once thought of giving this relic away.
    I could only imagine what daddy might say
    if his record player was no longer here.
    Possessions were few, and he held this one dear.

    The turntable warped to a slight degree,
    the needle not sharp like it used to be.
    But there it sits proudly, polished and dusted
    reviving a yesterday partially rusted.

    I look through the records he used to play
    by Crosby, Sinatra and Robert Goulet.
    At one time, not really my own cup of tea
    but something quite magical happened to me.

    Watching the vinyl gracefully turn,
    tears start to well, my heart starts to burn.
    Enjoying a gift that no Christmas could bring,
    with eyes closed, I listen to my daddy sing.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    1. creativemetaphor


      Inanimate, I dance
      A gift of gods, a stolen spark
      Heat and light, a tapestry
      Of woven life and death

      Inanimate, I dance
      Fill my lungs to bursting
      Then wings spread wide
      To travel on the wind

      Inanimate, I dance
      Grasp at straws to feed desire
      Consume yet never filled
      Never enough

      Inanimate, I dance
      Rain smothers, ash starves,
      Lulled to sleep upon my pyre
      To await rebirth

  34. MichelleMcEwen

    Cherry Jubilee Lipstick

    I remember
    cherry jubilee


    on the bathroom counter—
    mama’s color.

    Whenever she wore it,
    everybody knew

    she could do
    way better than daddy.

    Cherry jubilee

    the best thing
    out the Avon book—

    the right red
    for mama’s brown.

    1. julie e.

      Michelle, I really enjoy your “voice”! And I can absolutely see a chapbook in your future. You tell a story so well, and it seems pretty effortless.

      signed “struggling to finish 1 poem a day”,
      julie 😉

  35. Amanda Oaks


    She tried to wipe the time from her hands
    before reaching for the knob to open the door
    to carry me inside.

    I was born in a room just like this.

    There were just as many of us
    staring each other down.

    Ceiling to floor, we cover
    every inch of this room.

    The only difference between where I was born
    & here, is that it’s so damn quiet here

    until the only clock that hangs on the ceiling
    looks down at us & strikes thirteen.

    That’s when I hear it,
    pressed in-between her chimes,
    she’s singing a sad love song
    that only we can read,

    pointing out that the girl
    has been collecting broken clocks
    since she was seven years old.

    That she’s fascinated by
    anything that exists
    without serving
    its purpose.

      1. Missy McEwen

        Thanks. I always feel like my short poems are incomplete; I like my poems to be “thicker”, but when I do challenges I sometimes have to give in and do shorts ones

  36. Amy

    Piano Lessons

    The piano anchors an otherwise empty room.
    Murmurs of its bygone splendor float along
    and nudge the quiet frames upon the walls.

    A layer of dust hides lustrous keys, strung
    like pearls with obsidian interludes,
    conductors of their own accord.

    I sit on the bench, aching to set hands
    upon the cold plane; to caress ivorine
    with trembling fingers. Eyes and ears

    covet a symphony that no longer exists;
    an age-old chill has crept through the halls.
    The piano anchors an otherwise empty room.


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