2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Yesterday, I mentioned how guest judges Daniel Nester and Vince Gotera suggested possible poetry prompts. Well, today’s guest judge, Jericho Brown, is only one who requested a specific day to be a guest: Today, April 14. I’m not sure if this is because it’s the day Pulitzer finalists and winners are announced, or if he has a thing for sonnets (14 lines), though it really could be as simple as it’s his birthday! No, really, it is his birthday–so say happy birthday and buy his book, Please.

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “If I Were (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles might include: “If I Were President,” “If I Were Smarter,” “If I Were a Little More Sensitive,” or “If I Were Born on April 14.” If I were you, I’d get poeming about now.


2014_poets_marketPublish Your Poetry!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the assistance of the 2014 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer. This book is filled with listings for poetry book publishers, chapbook publishers, magazines, journals, online publications, contests, grants, and more!

Plus, it contains articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry. There are interviews with poets, original poems, and so much more!

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Here’s my attempt at an If I Were Blank poem:

“if i were any more good looking”

the sun would explode into a black hole
& i’d be the event horizon that draws
the universe in upon itself

women would oooohhh
& men would aaaahhh

it would be impossible to keep a date
because it would be impossible
to get anywhere without numbers
& underwear tossed in my direction

lucky for me my dna stopped
just short of perfection
because if i were any more good looking
i wouldn’t be able to find a mirror
cloudy enough to pull me away
from my wonderful reflection

i’m not sorry for what i lack
because my deck’s already stacked
& besides from my point of view
if i were any more good looking
i’d be looking a lot like you


Today’s guest judge is…

Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown

Jericho is the author of Please and the forthcoming The New Testament. His first collection Please won the 2009 American Book Award.

Jericho taught at the University of San Diego until 2012, when he became a professor at Emory University (in Atlanta, GA).

A former speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans, Jericho has had his poetry published in several publications, including The Iowa Review, New England Review, and Oxford American.

Learn more here: http://www.jerichobrown.com/.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He once ran into Jericho in a stairwell before a reading (and Jericho was super nice). Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


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700 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 14

  1. PenConnor

    If I were a carousel horse
    spinning through a warm summer night,
    I would loose my bolts and take flight.

    I would nicker to the crickets,
    and run just to hear my hoof-beats
    keep time with their evening singsong.

    If I were a gilded pony,
    racing sisters in wide circles,
    I’d cut free my bedecked harness.

    As the night wind shrilly whistled,
    I’d call to those painted sisters,
    and we’d race the stars for the moon.

    If I were a horse with wings, I’d
    mount the night clouds and take flight,
    chasing after burning comets.

    I would leave that circling circus
    carousel to turn alone,
    riderless and horseless, too.

  2. ianchandler

    If I Were Twenty-Eight (Fourteen)

    Hail (Mary) the cab into a spiral of
    (decided)ly springtime puddles, marching
    forward (to) slip the swoon of water,
    crouching below the grey, the dirt bellowed
    (like) winter, fractals of (all)-sky earthdust
    showering (the) plains with ardent affection,
    (things) like arrows pointing like compasses
    (that) crochet, confusing the listener or watcher
    who (would) otherwise (make) a map out
    of whatever was lying around; his penknife, (her)
    summer dress, find a direction based on
    optimism and not (miserable) reality.
    Spoon into morning; recluse until night.

  3. alana sherman

    Day 14 If I were____________

    “If I Were King Of The Forest…”

    If I were king of the monkeys
    I’d hang by my tail from a tree
    If I were king of the kangaroos
    I’d jump ’til I was free

    If I were queen of pineapples
    My spiky leaves would sing
    If I were queen of the finches
    everyday would be spring

    If I were a wonderful father
    no one would never fight
    If I were a decent mother
    I could make everything right

    If I were a tall glass of water
    My words would flow like a stream
    If I were the lord of nightmares
    I’d never let you dream

    If I were a beggar,
    a horse or grief
    I’d steal into your thoughts
    in the night like a thief

    And if I were
    like the wind
    I’d blow ’round the world
    and then do it again!


  4. Susan Budig

    Telling the Truth

    If I were dry instead of spilling over
    A stemmed rummer: Chardonnay or port
    If I were bare instead of drunk with clover
    Wisteria madly climbing o’er my fort

    If I were fair instead of robust swart
    My limbs each a shaded branch
    If I were willowy, but nay, I am short
    Burning thoughts the world will stanch

    If I were a vicar, not stuck on this ranch
    Prayers launched unto the Promised Land
    To face the Almighty, I’d surely blanch
    My intractable ship by Him be manned

    If I were willing, I’d spread my arms and die
    But my arms stay folded; I bow and sigh

  5. lily black

    If I Were Brave

    If I Were brave
    I would call you up
    Stop at that same old bar
    Sit next to your same old seat
    I’d buy you a Maker’s Mark
    Feed money to the jukebox
    Play Dead and Hank and Gaga
    And anything to make you pontificate
    ‘til closing time.
    Then I’d follow your drunk ass home
    Kiss you under the black dark sky
    Or star filled I don’t care
    I would grab you and kiss you hard
    Under the sky
    If I were brave
    But I lost that.

  6. suddenleigh

    If I Were A Story

    By Stephanie Reardon

    If I were a story
    I’d kiss you good night,
    I tuck in the covers
    And turn out the light.

    If I were a story
    I’d fill you with dreams
    Of places not traveled
    And creatures unseen.

    I’d be company
    On the beach,
    And on trains,
    And on planes,
    I’d be a bit of escape
    On a day filled with rain.
    If I were a story
    I could change the world,
    I could change ideas and people,
    I could change how fates are hurled.
    Or a heart
    Or a soul,
    I could give courage,
    Or hope,
    Or make broken people whole.
    If I were a story
    I’d be small and yet strong.
    And if I were a story,
    I hope you’d pass me on.

  7. Amirae Garcia

    If I Were Older – Amirae Garcia

    I would have loved you better.
    I would have given you what you deserved.
    I would have apologized for the intrusion.
    I would not have robbed your heart like a thief in the night.
    I would not have locked you away so incredibly tight.

  8. TuLife

    “If I Were Love”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    If I were love, what would I be?
    Just a word – a four letter word,
    or a feeling – a mystic feeling?
    A mystery or a novel?
    Would I be a glory or a sorrow?
    What would I be?

    If I were love, to whom would I display my affection?
    A prince, a princess,
    or a stranger, perhaps an acquaintance?
    A delicate carnation or a ferocious beast?
    To whom would I display my affection?

    If I were love, what would be the aim of my passion?
    God’s regard for His creatures, charity,
    or a virtue, to show my great liking?
    A fondness, or my friendliness?
    Would I be for foolish tenderness or indulgence?
    What would be the object of my emotion?

    If I were love, I’d be where you needed me.

  9. bookworm0341

    “If I Were Able…”

    If I were able, I would pay off my parents’ house
    And purchase them I new(er) car,
    As the car they share has seen better days
    And gives them heck all the time
    The mortgage company calls them often
    And not just to be kind and say hello.

    If I were able, I would bring my sisters’ and their families home
    For each and every holiday
    And buy them each a house nearby
    Keeping their husbands out of harms way,
    As they are in the military,
    And homeschool each of my 4 nieces and 1 nephew

    If I were able, I would take my 96 year old Grammy out of the nursing home,
    And take care of her full-time,
    As she does not belong there, for all she has done for us.
    I would make sure that my Nana was well taken care of,
    And that her garden was free of weeds,
    And grass was cut perfect, each and every time.

    If I were able, I would start my nieces and nephew off, with a few acres of land
    As that is one thing that we can’t make more of.
    I would also invest $1,000 for each of them
    and pray that when they were old enough, it would be used wisely
    to go to college, start their own business,
    or put a building on their land, for their family to work or live

    If I were able, I would spend time with each person that I care about,
    Helping them accomplish something huge.
    I would hug them, talk with them, and just be there for whatever they need.
    They would know that I mean what I say when I look them in the eyes
    And tell them that I truly do care, from the bottom of my heart,
    And that I am glad they are in my life.

    If I were able, I would get married and have children, adopting one as well
    I would take them on educational trips in and out of books.
    I would have my own business, doing things I enjoy-
    Making sure that evenings and weekends were free to spend time with those I love.
    I would be the best wife that I could be, partner in crime, right-hand woman,
    and my husband would know that I fell hard for him, by the look in my eyes.

    If I were able, I would do all of this and long to do so much more.

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 2014

  10. clcediting

    If I were Sarah

    You know from Labyrinth?
    Who fought her way
    through the maze
    to the castle in the middle
    and David Bowie in tights
    to rescue her little brother;
    I’d have stayed.

    Let the goblins take Toby
    home to my parents;
    well home to my Dad
    and his newish wife.
    I would stay in the place
    with new friends,
    and magic,
    and David Bowie in tights.

    If I found a magic land
    through a wardrobe,
    or down a rabbit’s hole;
    I’d be enjoying myself
    not searching for home.
    No one, save Dorthy,
    prefers Kansas to Oz.

  11. Ciel_

    If I Were Flesh and Bone

    If I Were Flesh and Bone
    I’d tell you that
    I love
    the way you read out loud
    the way you
    say my name
    your plum
    berry lips
    hug every consonant and
    kiss every vowel.

    I’d rush from these pages
    to pull you close
    so I could
    feel each breath
    you take
    so I could
    breathe you in
    and drown
    in your maple syrup
    blackberry sweetness.

    If I were flesh and bone
    I’d tell you that
    I love
    But you know how this
    story goes.
    I’ll break your heart and I
    can’t help it.
    It’s just the way
    I’m written.

    By Ciel Haven

  12. horselovernat

    If I Were a Star by Natalie Gasper

    I would spend my whole life burning bright,
    turning hydrogen into helium.
    My light would take thousands of years to reach earth.
    Just think, thousands of years old,
    and someone will finally see me for the first time!
    What will their imaginations turn me into?

    Maybe the heart of a running lion,
    the tip of a unicorn’s horn,
    or the belt of a great warrior.
    I would be studied through the telescopes of man
    given a name and a number,
    a type and a color.

    Brightest of all my neighbor stars,
    I would be a vibrant blue.
    My excitement for life causing me to burn my fuel
    faster than most. Standing out in the sky,
    travelers all across the universe could use me
    to guide them as they forge new paths,
    or rediscover old ones.

    One day, the great northern guide Polaris
    will turn to nothing more than gas and dust,
    and everyone will turn to me.
    I could become a distant ball of burning gas
    that is able to make a difference,
    even if I only save on man from death.

    If I were a star, I would want to help others.
    Give a young child something faraway to wish upon
    or spark the imaginations of a people
    to help them create stories and traditions.
    Maybe, I could even be big enough,
    strong enough, hot enough
    to take a lonely floating asteroid
    and foster the creation of life.

  13. pmwanken


    if I were
    I could have
    given him children

    if I were
    he would have believed
    I wasn’t expecting
    to have children

    if I were
    I would not have been

    if I were
    I would not
    have let him use me

    if I were
    I would not be

    if I were…
    his type.

  14. PKP

    If I Were My Old Self

    This screen would
    stay quiet replaced
    by a simple stack
    of yellow pads and
    think black rolling
    writers – packed in
    a single bag with
    a bathing suit two
    long white shirts
    and my ticket
    to ride back to
    the sea
    the aquamarine
    sea where in the
    sunshine sunset
    of years yet to
    unfold I would sit
    at the shimmered
    shore of youth and
    write out the last

  15. Alaska Christina

    If I were a pencil
    I would rewrite pages in the journals
    that line my bedroom wall –
    and allow for second chances.

    If I were a painting
    I would hang tilted on an angle
    just a bit off to the side –
    to embrace alternate perspectives.

    If I were a flower
    I would throw my scent out in to the night
    for insomniacs to smell –
    and offer more kindness to others.

    If I were a tree
    I would bend my branches through your window
    and kiss you while you sleep –
    to love you more deeply.

  16. JayGee2711

    If I Were Not Gone Lime Green Crazy

    If I were not gone lime green crazy
    with summer dancing on the lawn,
    I would make us chicken salad
    and you could pour us both some wine.

    Instead let’s walk down to the shore,
    drink the sun in, daydream-hungry,
    fill our pockets with pretty stones
    and eat ice cream cones for dinner.


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