2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

Nine days may not seem like much, but hey, we’re now 30% of the way through November, and that’s a lot of percents, right? We’re making real progress, and I hope making some real poems. By the way, I want to thank people who purchased a copy of Solving the World’s Problems earlier this week; it nearly sold out on Amazon. Woot! Hope you’ll all consider participating in the free challenge for $500 (click for guidelines).

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “The Other (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some possible titles may include: “The Other Side of the Story,” “The Other Brother,” “The Other Hand,” or whatever else you concoct. And remember: I really don’t care if you bend or break the prompt in your favor. My prompts are just a starting place.

Here’s my attempt at “The Other (blank)” poem:

“The Other Shooting”
-for Jessica Ghawi

I’ve felt death at my elbow
since Toronto balancing
my living with my not dying
as if it could be tonight
rising with the loaded moon.


Fit writing into your life. Even with all the blogging, the day job, the laundry, the social life, the being a human being, etc. Click here to learn how.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and can’t believe how a person can just miss out on a shooting in Toronto mall only to be a victim in Colorado, but that’s what happened to Jessica Ghawi (here’s more on her story). Brewer 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) and who has been on a roll this month writing to his prompts (go, you!). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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204 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

  1. dandelionwine

    The Other Night

    I entered through the doorway
    just as you were departing. We
    met briefly, full with our own
    lives, and though our arms weren’t
    free to embrace, I recognized
    a part of me there in your being
    as I honored you within mine.

  2. bjholmes

    It does not speak
    it cannot be heard
    but the sounds that it makes
    seem almost absurd.

    It does not make sense
    it only conflicts
    with the words that are spoken
    no way to predict.

    Positive…no, negative.
    This way…no that.
    It’s no wonder my mind races
    with the constant oppposite chat.

  3. Amy

    The Other Side

    The other side of the river
    watches the inexorable melt

    with contempt, the bowers
    hold fast to sodden branches

    while their echoes sway
    gloriously, free from winter’s

    white shackles. If only they
    had been planted on the

    sunlit western shore, among
    the benches and green commons

    instead of cowering in the gloom
    of the craggy eastern hillside.

    Perhaps the breeze will bear
    a kindness, lofting seeds

    across chilly waters, where they
    might live again, in limelight.

  4. bartonsmock

    -the other poverties-

    wolf, pig, childhood.

    a bit
    of brother

    the creative

    all in my father’s
    were other

    (where mother
    no one)

    (but faced)
    with a poverty
    of disguise
    the dog
    ate homework
    I couldn’t

  5. mjdills

    The Other War

    no bombs
    no explosions

    deadly silence
    common lies
    fires lit deep within that burn remotely

    rubble in the dark
    that trips you up
    and leaves you sprawled
    while others land upon your back and
    break your bones

  6. foodpoet

    The Other Women

    Scribe to Brother

    She who walks between
    Is on the river of history
    She sails away
    And I miss her glory
    But on the river afloat adrift
    She can cause no current ripple.

    Your dance with he who walks in light
    Is ongoing and he is full of peace
    With strength.
    I must learn this new dance
    I don’t know the steps.

  7. laurakutney

    The Other Side of a Breath

    He breathes for her
    Her hair, near transparent, & golden in the sun
    One of her safe parts
    It frames her exquisite, radiant face
    But he can not see it

    His love is the color of day light
    He can not help himself
    Although she has rough, thorny elements;
    Her hurting places
    In the glow of sun, her beautiful aspects distract

    Her shadows cast over her sharp rough regions
    Her bright places illuminate

    How can he help himself?
    She is a balance of tough & delicate
    He only sees a save haven
    Perfect for love to dwell & thrive

    He continues to breathe for her
    To keep her afloat

    Laura Kutney, November 11, 2013

  8. BezBawni


    We’re young, we’re happy, we’re alive –
    the other me, the other you.
    Of simple joys we need a few,
    we have our dreams, we plan, we strive,

    you help me cook, I learn to drive,
    and every day we love anew,
    we’re young, we’re happy, we’re alive –
    the other me, the other you.

    On country fields we dance and jive,
    we wake up in the morning dew,
    with rings of grass the other you
    proclaims the other me your wife,
    we’re young, we’re happy, we’re alive.

  9. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 9
    Prompt: Write a poem entitled “The Other ___”
    The Other Hannah

    Twenty-five years ago, she started a quilt,
    for her baby girl Hannah.
    With a toddler son to care for,
    the quilt pieces, bright and soft, ended
    up shelved, forgotten.

    Fourteen years ago, a terrible call,
    news no one wants to hear about a child:
    cartwheeling Hannah collapsed at age eleven,
    tiny defect undiagnosed, yet enough to stop her heart.
    Her parents continued to hope in Christ.

    Today, the surviving son, opening shower gifts
    with his expectant wife, unwraps the quilt,
    finally complete, souvenired with tiny needle rust spots,
    God’s gift come full circle,
    as the other Hannah grows in his wife’s womb.

  10. bjzeimer


    You remember
    the expression on her face
    when she laughed—her
    two front teeth that
    you realize, now, sixty years later,
    looked like a rabbit’s.
    You wonder if you could
    Google her name and find a story
    about her in your hometown
    newspaper, maybe in the obits,
    you hope, maybe Karma came
    ‘round. You remember the crisp
    sheets of writing paper she
    pulled out, her brand new lead
    pencils. You remember the
    names she called you, how you
    felt your face burning just before
    you ran after her, how both
    of you went ‘round and ‘round
    until you caught hold of her coat
    and when she fell on the muddy
    playground, she told the
    teacher that you ruined her
    new coat. You even remember
    her name, but you won’t write it in
    your poem, because somehow
    the other bully might come
    from somewhere out of your past
    and hurt you again.

  11. julie e.


    with her life
    of mother/sister/wife
    of being needed
    and teaching wrong from right
    for a story
    with a more romantic end
    out her seaside
    for 5 acres in the wheat
    and adoring
    this other woman she’d become
    at least
    she was happy

    (til she wasn’t.)

    1. MichelleMcEwen

      Wasn’t in love with this, so I added more to it.

      The Other Side of the Tracks

      My Latin lover
      lives on the other side

      of the tracks

      where some go
      and don’t come back

      where the houses lean
      and the boys are mean

      but not always to their women

      where the bikes are stolen
      and the Jesuses golden

      where the fruit is cheap
      but just as sweet.

  12. Susan Schoeffield


    The one dog, the Labrador, is long in the leg,
    has an gentle demeanor and is eager to please
    The other dog, the Basset Hound, is shaped like an egg,
    incredibly stubborn and a bit of a tease.

    The Lab stares right through us with please-love-me eyes
    and prances around in his shiny black jacket.
    To look at the Basset Hound, one might surmise
    a vision of sadness in a lemon/cream blanket.

    The one runs in great strides with feet off the ground,
    a bit of a sissy who hides behind growls.
    The other just waddles, no rush for this hound
    and shakes down the rafters whenever she howls.

    They’re not so much different than they might seem.
    They both despise bath time and bite at the suds.
    When chasing the cats, they’re a wonderful team
    and together these pups are the greatest of buds.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  13. Nancy Posey

    The Other Mother

    Her loss, my gain,
    a wanted child
    long awaited

    filling my empty
    spaces, that place
    near my heart
    where before no child
    would grow.

    Does she ache
    at the loss? Did she
    ever believe
    she had a choice?

    (I’m in my nanowrimo groove here,channeling a character.)

    1. julie e.

      Oh I really appreciate this one as both a foster mother and an adoptive mother. Now I want to see what you’re writing for nanowrimo. (which just impresses the heck out of me that you can even do that!)

  14. rdpater

    The other jacket

    The other color jacket I have is jean. Both are from friends and both make me friends. One makes me feel like Michael j fox when he was traveling through time. The other makes me feel like my best friends step sister. Depending on the weather and the day of the week I wear one or the other. Right now I’m wearing jean in the cold on a Saturday. Tomorrow may be time for the one I call brown and the world calls red. Depends on whether or not it rains.

  15. hohlwein

    The Other Path

    Sometimes the entire course of one’s life
    depends on

    whether you catch that taxi
    trip on a sycamore ball
    stay sick one day more
    wait five minutes
    leave too soon
    speak your mind, for once,
    in public, speaking truth
    to power.

    If you invite someone to come along
    so you are not alone you will linger
    with them over Irish Coffee and not see
    someone slipped on a sycamore ball,
    someone you would have then met
    and loved until the universe

    But none of this is interesting.

    The life unlived
    in a different state
    and state of being.

    The meals untasted
    or the books unread
    or the way you would have
    scraped the gunk off the plates
    had you become a printmaker,
    somewhere where it snowed,
    where you would have had children
    a faith of some kind –
    at least a different discipline.

    Every moment is the same.
    It’s a wonder we don’t go mad.
    I have not yet left the house today.
    And that other life that won’t now manifest
    Dissipates as risen dew
    and my mentor in how to live, how to be,
    has finished his pancakes,
    paid the bill and, just barely,
    made the green light.

  16. Missy McEwen

    (Revision: I hated the other form and changed a few words. I feel better now)

    The Other Kind of Love

    A son can’t touch, love a mother the way
    a man can. There was a time when the love of her young

    son was enough. So busy loving
    and caring for him, she didn’t have time to think

    about that other kind of love—the love only
    a man can give—and about how a man’s hands can

    make you forget the rent’s _been_ due and the electricity
    is about to be shut off, how a touch, a kiss, a look, a word

    can make everything alright and oh how she needs
    that now, but it’s been ages since a man has

    slept and loved in her bed, ages since she has heard a man
    say she was looking so fine. Her son says she looks pretty

    in the dress she bought and this means so much
    to her, but it’s not the same.

    1. Missy McEwen

      (This poem getting on my nerves, but changed it again 🙂 )

      The Other Kind of Love

      There was a time when the love of her young
      son was enough. So busy loving

      and caring for him, she didn’t have time to think
      about that other kind of love—the love only

      a man can give—about how a man’s hand can
      make you forget the rent’s _been_ due and the electricity

      is about to be shut off, how a touch, a kiss, a look, a word
      can make everything alright and oh how she needs

      that now, but it’s been ages since a man has
      slept and loved in her bed, ages since she has heard a man

      say she’s looking so damn fine. Her son says she looks pretty
      in the dress she bought and this means so much

      to her, but it’s not the same. A son can’t touch, love
      a mama the way a man can.

  17. Amanda Oaks


    I opened You’re Stupid & all I could hear was her laughter.
    I opened her laughter & saw she had silver spoons for teeth.
    I opened the spoons & found a flood of pills in her mother’s mouth.
    I opened the pills & found loneliness sitting on a sunporch.
    I opened the loneliness & found my grandmother.
    I opened my grandmother & found my fears.
    I opened my fears & found a well-crafted wall of illusion.

    (Gratitude to Rachel McKibbens for her prompt from last April that inspired the nesting idea.)

  18. seingraham


    in life there is reality
    and there is the other
    the unacknowledged
    of everyday sadness
    that permeates
    just below breath
    and consciousness

    it’s not that we all lead
    lives of such quiet desperation
    no matter what that
    famous person wrote
    but there is a commonality
    of pain that lives
    within most

    it’s as if we’re all
    given the same template
    for living to start with
    and in some ways
    we resemble a mine
    with seams
    of various valuable
    minerals running
    through the makeup
    of our lives

    the way
    our lives unfold
    depends largely
    upon the way
    we learn to manage
    the mining that goes on
    or doesn’t go on
    and always
    there still is
    the other…

  19. Missy McEwen

    The Other Kind of Love

    A son can’t touch, love a mother
    the way a man can. There was a time when
    the love of her young son was enough. So busy
    loving him, caring for him she didn’t have time
    to think about the other kind of love—the love only
    a man can give—and about how a man’s hands can
    make you forget the rent’s _been_ due and the electricity
    is about to be shut off, how a touch, a kiss, a look, a word
    can make everything alright and oh how she needs that
    now, but it’s been ages since a man has stepped foot
    in her house, ages since she has heard a man say she
    was looking so fine. Her son says she looks pretty
    in the dress she bought and this means so much to her,
    but it’s just not the same.

    1. julie e.

      This is really good, but I do like your most recent version the best with the added repetition at the end and the formatting of it. 🙂 (since I’m reading backwards, top of the page to the bottom.)

  20. mrvanessarose

    The Other 1

    Protecting land,
    People, indigenous
    And threatened
    The defense of a rosebud

    A gentle liason, a keeper
    Of peace, a reminder of
    Beauty, the potential
    To flourish

    Your resting place rests
    On paper as the last best place
    But I know you’re much
    Businer than that

  21. Sara McNulty

    The Other Woman

    Wall Street boomed,
    gone was the gloom
    like blues filling each room.
    Sun shined on the newly groomed
    man who wore a bloom
    in his lapel. He was consumed
    by his own charm, and the perfumed
    ladies, one of whom
    he chose as his mistress.
    She thought she was blessed,
    and seemed to not be distressed
    that this man was married, as she’d guessed.
    His marriage was over, he confessed.
    She felt a spark of hope in her breast.
    Then came that night when she had to digest
    the news, his wife was pregnant, and he was stressed.
    For the ‘other’ woman, a sorrowful song,
    but a lesson learned that would keep her strong.

  22. bethwk

    What if the other name of God is Magic?
    If the other name for Magic is Science?
    Is Wonder, is Awe, is Hope?

    What if the other name of Goddess is Art?
    Is Music, is wailing, is howling, is bells,
    is the sound of the wind in the branches?
    The Other Names

    What if you call out Oh Beauty! Oh Marvel!
    and the Voice Ineffable answers, Yes. I Am.

    Or this: What if the other name for Divine is
    I Want, is I Need, is I Can’t Take It Anymore?
    And you call it out and the Mystery
    at the Heart of Everything answers
    I Am Here.

  23. Julieann

    The Other Woman

    I saw it coming
    I couldn’t stop it
    You were so excited
    Should I even try?

    You have so looked forward
    To this day with joy
    Yet I faced it not with joy
    But with dread

    What was I to do?
    How would I handle it?
    For so long you had been mine
    And mine alone

    How could I share
    Why would I want to
    Knowing she’ll steal your heart
    Knowing you’ll give it gladly

    Today we’ve reached this new place
    The past is gone, no longer
    Is it just you and I
    We’ll have to consider the other woman

    She came in the night
    Earlier than we figured
    Ten toes, ten fingers, a lusty yell
    This other woman, is ours to love

  24. Connie Peters

    The Other Islands

    Everyone has skiffs in Ketchikan
    so they can boat from island to island—
    Gravina, Annette, Pennock Islands,
    but none like Revillagigedo.
    Skiffs rest in its outstretched docks
    like babes cradled in Mama’s arms.

  25. Cameron Steele

    The Other Dog

    is younger
    and sloppy cute
    brown velvet ears
    twitching tail
    a nose that’s always
    in some lap or the
    dishwasher if
    mom left it open.
    We love him
    well with exaggerated
    sighs and
    half-angry shouts
    “Mousse get your
    paws off the damn table”
    with fond whispers on nights
    when we find him
    stretched out
    on the oriental rug
    legs kicking in
    the air as he dreams
    “that crazy brute!”
    He’s not calm like
    our older boy
    he doesn’t sit
    when he’s told,
    he barks when
    we try to sleep
    and I swear he’ll
    never learn
    to leave my heels alone.
    But every morning
    when he yawns at
    my feet, winds like
    a cat between my legs,
    he reminds me this:
    The sloppiness of love
    is also what makes it beautiful.

  26. DWong

    The Other Day

    Standing on the quai
    I looked away
    as the train came to stop
    in front of me.
    The sound of metal wheels
    grinding on the rails
    stabbed shivers through my chest.
    It was, after all,
    just the other day that
    I was mangled
    underneath and in between
    the train, its wheels, and the blasted rails.

  27. DanielAri

    “The other West”

    My friend, John, is dead. What a weird thing.
    Seems like I just saw him on Facebook—
    the place I always see him—posting
    that he was seeking a new kind of work—
    and now, here’s Facebook telling me John’s

    defunct. In college we’d gotten drunk
    together, talked French philosophy,
    listened to and played classic rock songs.
    I had been a social butterfly,
    but I thought we were intertwining

    for some version of eternity.
    Ours was not a bond that remained tight.
    “I want to massage your meninges.”
    He devised that phrase. We all loved it.
    I recalled it to him when we talked

    again, many years later, online.
    Jesus, John, we’re only 45.


  28. De Jackson

    The Other Shore

    It’s been days since her feet
    have felt anything but waves
    and storm-tossed salt. Her
    fault, perhaps, for leaving
    those last hourglass sands.

    Her hands long for un
    -reflected sky, land’s
    final spill, unsway.

    Lulled loose, still
    lost, she dreams
    of dove wings,
    olive branches.


  29. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    You’ve all heard of Rudolph; how he saved the day.
    He guided that sleigh from New York to Bombay.
    And all the children got their presents.

    But there’s another reindeer way out in the sticks
    who wears a sombrero; whose accent is thick.
    He’ll make sure you get your presents.

    His name is Kleber; he lives up to his name.
    He knows Santa’s forgetful; he isn’t the same.
    He’s intent on getting you presents.

    St Nick’s getting tired and quite long in the tooth.
    Might forget where you live and that is the truth.
    And you just might not get your presents.

    But with Kleber aboard, he won’t forget your address.
    And if he happens to do so, Kleber has GPS.
    This year you’ll definitely get your presents.

  30. cbwentworth

    The Other Life

    Urban landscape,
    sidewalk and tar
    Crowds of people,
    silence can’t breathe
    The city screams,
    I fade away

    Lost in the wild,
    sand at my feet
    No one for miles,
    single heartbeat
    The wind whispers,
    calling my name

  31. PKP

    The Other Novel

    You know that one
    the one that has been
    bubbling in your gut
    since you could read
    that one
    the one that will have
    them whispering your name
    long after you are dust
    on their lips

  32. Dan

    The Other Lovers:

    The other lovers – and endless list. Lying likes lisps upon my tongue.
    Names, I refuse to repeat for fear of judgment from peers.
    Not practical in the slightest sense. Perhaps idiosyncratic in insanity’s eyesight.
    The dominant ones I desire to dominate. Remove them from positions of power
    with the obsolete force of lust.

    Graceless bitterness – the only complete feeling; injecting sour thoughts
    into the crevices of jealous minds.
    Binds erode the skin of my wrists and tie me to burning chairs at the centre
    of isolated rooms. While the whip of the hose leaves no marks despite the thousand lashes.

    Is there any escape from the synthetic machines I crafted within the twisted corners of my imagination.
    Once love, now only relentless envy for those I would never be with
    despite how much I tricked myself into thinking otherwise.


  33. Broofee

    The Other Life

    The other life I lead
    In a place not so far away physically
    A place where quirk and imagination
    Go hand in hand.

    The other life I lead
    Is filled with happy faces
    Instead of misery
    It is also filled with thinking people
    Instead of everyday idiots.

    The other life I lead
    Makes me happy when I talk to people
    When I walk down the street
    When I open the newspaper.

    The other life I lead
    Gives me freedom to be
    Whatever I want to be
    Gives me freedom
    To pursue any idea.

    The other life I lead
    Is unfortunately just in my head
    Where I try to escape from
    Small mindedness.


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