2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

I can’t help it. Days 15 and 16 of these challenges always gets a certain song stuck in my head. You know, this song by an American rock band from New Jersey that used to be kinda cool in the ’80s. You know, that song, “bada, bada, whoooaaaahhh, we’re half-way theeeerreee; ooooooo, livin’ on a prayer; take my hand and we’ll make it I sweeaaarrrr; oooooo, livin’ on a prayer (livin’ on a prayer).” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry; it just means you’re either older or younger than me and haven’t fully enjoyed Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” yet. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

For today’s prompt, write an elegy. An elegy doesn’t have specific formal rules. Rather, it’s a poem for someone who has died. In fact, elegies are defined as “love poems for the dead” in John Drury’s The Poetry Dictionary. Of course, we’re all poets here, which means everything can be bent. So yes, it’s perfectly fine if you take this another direction–for instance, I once wrote an elegy for card catalogs. Have at it!


Workshop your poetry!

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at an Elegy:


i began collecting things
foil and pizza boxes and
country western vhs tapes
and lighthouses and native
american figurines and i
piled them up beside your
grave that grew less fresh
every day and still i ran
out into the street asking
for donations at red lights
and bringing treasures to pile
up in the elements and then
i climbed to the top of this
massive mound to proclaim
myself king and to pray and
to sacrifice and to feel winds
weather me but i’ve come
to realize the days begin and
end the same the trees still
blossom and birds arrive and
depart and nothing i can do
will bring you back to me


Today’s guest judge is…

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob is the author of several poetry collections, including This Clumsy Living, Words for Empty and Words for Full, and most recently Elegy Owed. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech and before teaching owned and ran a successful automotive die design business.

His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, and Best American Poetry. His collections Elegy Owed and Animal Soul have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Learn more here: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1126.


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. That book includes a poem titled “betty,” which is about the same person, but it’s a different poem (or Robert’s discovered the secret of time travel and has just kick-started a complete unraveling of the time space continuum). Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Console yourselves with these poetic posts:

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585 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

  1. Yolee

    Just realized I posted this in the wrong date whe back when…

    Yolee says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:09 am
    Elegy to the Homeless Man

    I remember you sitting in a vine ripe
    tomatoes box one rainy day eating
    mashed potatoes or cauliflower from a plastic
    spoon and bowl. Raincoats and umbrellas
    were blurred by a rush too cold or shielded
    to notice. Your snowy beard was a proverb
    falling out of a worn page. The boots, jacket
    and pants seem to have been mourning
    their demise. Before you had the chance
    to finish eating, a terrier came along and
    licked the bowl clean. You let the dirty little
    stray take your last. Shadow and light
    monogrammed your face, and left signatures
    on that memory. Unspoken words roll restlessly
    in that empty space on Wilson Street.

  2. Linda Lee Sand

    Elegy to Jimmy’s Music

    Mom said “don’t do it, Jimmy, don’t drive
    Taxi, they’ll shoot you for a buck.”

    They called it Kitchen Radio, Jimmy’s band.
    Their name an homage to a plastic box with
    round gold dials that sat atop the fridge
    and every morning blitzed our bleary heads with
    “Wake up beautiful, it’s another day” the way it
    sounded to us just yadda yadda time for school,
    But they were cool and going to make it,
    Jimmy’s band, singing songs of coffee, loss and love.
    And Jim the lyric man and singer, witty guy that
    Everybody loved.

    And did you know that, street-tough kids and L.A. gang,
    did you know that they were going to make it when you
    sent that gun to shoot an innocence man, whose only
    crime was driving taxi, when no one else dared or cared to
    drive on that wrong side of town?

    Jimmy told my mom once that God was everywhere for him,
    in trees, and grass and in the eagle flying overhead,
    God was everywhere, I wonder if he would have said
    that God was in that gun? Oh Lin, Jim would have said
    (I hear him now) He wasn’t in the gun but in the hand.
    Even in the hand that holds a gun.

    Jimmy saw it

    The gunman had a baby, cradled in her mama’s arms,
    we saw her at the trial. Her daddy going to prison until
    she’d be grown and gone to prom and maybe married,
    older than her daddy now, when she would dance, first time,
    with him. But that boy never danced, I know it’s so. No one there
    to teach him how or would maybe ever know.

    And Jimmy’s music living on.

    The kitchen radio screams
    “wake up beautiful, it’s another day” and
    Jimmy’s lyrics echo in my brain.

    I’m listening and trying to sing along
    with the refrain,
    I really am.

  3. Andrea Z

    Grandpa With The Funny Voice

    (For Grandpa Levi)

    Every now and then,
    I drive to Mt. Hope Cemetery
    hoping it will be the day I finally find you.
    As I walk the winding paths,
    I think about how little I know
    about the person you were.
    To me, your were simply Grandpa Levi
    with the funny, hoarse voice,
    who would play the quarter trick
    and make me giggle.
    As I got older,
    I came to realize that the voice
    was not a funny voice at all,
    but a remnant of throat cancer.
    If you don’t mind,
    I’d like to keep the memory
    of Grandpa’s funny voice,
    and warm smile.
    One day I will find your gravestone
    and we will sit down and talk.

  4. dextrousdigits


    Some called her Bernadette,
    but most of us who really new, just called her Bernie
    At a young age she had learned
    she would be imprisoned in a misshapen body.
    As she aged, her spine rotated so severely
    she was looking over her shoulder
    then bent her spine forward at her low back
    as if God had punched her in the stomach
    and her punishment was that her chest
    would permanently hover over her thighs.

    I had seen her conversing with staff at the hospital
    many times, and in passing greeted each other.
    After we worked on a couple projects together
    her crooked body never obstructed,
    who she truly was.
    I saw only a phenomenal woman
    with compassionate blue eyes
    that made instant contact so even in the briefest encounters,
    I felt as if we had a deep conversation and a heart to heart long hug.

    She may have had a shortened misshapen body,
    but inside that body lived a tall soul
    and one of the most erect people I know.
    she had a gigantic heart
    she was fiercely independent
    she was a mountain of courage who
    never complained about any pain,
    frustration, or difficulty.

    “No” was not part of her vocabulary
    But, I often heard,
    “of course I will do that”
    “how can I help”
    “that’s a important cause, I will happily give”

    Bernie may have had a shortened body,
    but your shadow permeated
    every floor of the hospital
    where you always had a smile
    and twinkling in your eyes as you said
    “I’m so happy to see you”.
    Your hard work, dedication,
    service from a huge heart that
    never hesitated to complement another’s work
    hold a scared hand,
    or give words of encouragement
    followed by a hug are imprinted in our hearts.

    Your physical body may no longer be present,
    sitting at your microscope or walking the halls
    but Bernie, I will try to walk in your footsteps.

  5. stepstep


    A heart made of gold
    Who seldom lets anyone down
    Who’d go beyond the last mile
    Lends support, always around.

    She’d keep your every secret
    Hold it close, hold it dear
    Made all feel comfortable
    Made sure all the coasts were clear.

    A friend to the end
    Although she had a flaw or two
    She was loved by all
    A precious gem through and through


  6. j.wessier101

    Roy Polk’s Lament

    Today in state news: a re-cap of how black employees
    of Greensboro’s Woolworth store were the first
    African American’s served at the store’s lunch counter.

    Today, in the county news: a newlywed
    bi-racial couple dragged from their home
    and arrested for felony violation of the Racial Integrity Act.

    Today, in the local news Evelyna Thompson
    was buried along with her longing to marry
    the man she’d secretly loved over forty years –

    dying while waiting for the world
    to re-define obscene, indecent and offensive,
    to learn what Evelyna and me already knew.

    She was survived by two sisters folks knew of,
    Etta Thompson Hunt of Jonesboro, Georgia and
    Ada Thompson Cross of Chicago, Ill.,

    two bi-racial children they didn’t know of –
    raised by Ada and her sax playing jazzman
    in Chicago’s South Side, and

    one old white man who’d loved her
    without reservations, but within limits
    with no doubts, but without courage

    to stand by her grave, declaring my love
    my loss,
    my wife

  7. aphotic soul

    The Drifter – In loving memory of Anne and Joe Ryan
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    It was cloud stained sky, that mid October day,
    The sun was hot and the air – dry, down amongst the Bodega Bay,
    And that’s where I met him, this drifter per say,
    He had a severed limb, and walked with a sway,
    There he stood, staring off into the sea,
    Carrying a burnt piece of drift wood, a mark of his tragedy,
    And as I gazed at him in his solitary still, he resembled a once great – chopped down tree,
    Broken of all hope and will, and further more I’m sure he’d agree,
    There he continued to stand, the ghost of a guardian specter,
    “Excuse me” I posed while my feet dipped in the scorching hot sand,
    “I don’t mean to bother nor hector…”
    Then he turned to me, his face filled with such a loss and woe,
    Of a torment I could not hope to see, of a loss I would not hope to know,
    My words froze dead in their tracks, and the world held its breath,
    ‘So this is someone for who’s soul he lacks, so this is the true meaning of death…’
    For the man who stood before me, was a man I had never met,
    A face that I can still see, but never know – to my regret,
    The portrait of a man with a unique mind, who took dull objects and made them shine,
    Giving a glimpse of beauty to the blind, while his face and heart did not align,
    “Grandpa Joe..” I sputtered, my voice a raspy chill,
    “Why hello Paul” he muttered, with a bemused smile frozen still,
    He then turned back, staring off into the sea,
    Getting back on track, waiting for his loved one to be free,
    I walked up beside him, amidst the forming chill,
    The sky darkened and the sun went dim, and there he stayed – standing still,
    “You’ve been waiting for her all this time?”, I asked with a queryless question,
    He softly spoke, “She is my sublime, without her there can be no secession,”
    “Are you able to see her out amongst the ocean, or is it the waves at which you glare?”
    “I see it all in slow motion, the past and present in which we always share,
    The smiles on her face, as well as the loneliness in her which I could not spare,
    But soon that will be gone without a trace, and we will again be a pair,
    For forever we will embrace, and past this ocean we will stare,
    Where infinity is stuck in place, and together we will be there,”
    And as if by queue, a young woman came wandering,
    The luminescence again grew, and we both stared at her pondering,
    That’s when it clicked, and Joe’s face broke into a heart warmed smile,
    He rushed to her quick, for it had been quite a while,
    And before my eyes I saw him reform, into that great man he had been,
    I watched the two of them transform, as they dove into the ocean therein,
    And there I stood staring, with my own little bemused grin,
    For I had never met a couple more caring, who could shine so deeply from within,
    I smiled at the ocean and bid my farewell, for with a new journey they begin,
    For death isn’t something wherein we should dwell, for life is not meant to win.

  8. IndiFox

    For The Love Of Death

    I miss you
    I’ve missed you so long
    It’s almost a habit
    I’ve missed you so much
    It’s almost a chore
    What was once a sharp pain
    Is now a dull ache
    I don’t want you back
    I just miss what we had
    Two long years
    Two years I gave you
    Of my life, time, and love
    Only to have it end so brutally
    Though what could I expect?
    You were thunder
    I was lightening
    Our love was a storm
    Bringing destruction wherever we went
    Now I’m picking up the pieces
    Of the mess that’s left

  9. Suzanne_Noelle

    I Loved Him Too Much

    Sometimes too much of a good thing
    Is bad
    In this case, love turned poison
    But oh, the good times we had!
    I didn’t know much
    About sorrow and such
    Until he faced his end
    Because I loved him too much.
    My hugs were abrasive
    And he became worn
    His ears, they were tattered
    His arms were all torn.
    I took him everywhere with me
    He was dirty and ragged
    He went through the wash
    And his fabric thinned and faded.
    Then one day he ripped
    And he spilled his guts
    My teddy bear died
    Because I loved him too much.

  10. ianchandler

    ten thousand years

    even a songbird
    couldn’t bring you back
    if that’s what it was trying to do

    but the lullaby
    restless in archaic forms
    rhymes its way down the brick lane,

    across the viaduct with pebbles for cells,
    lamenting with streetlights
    the lack of evening rain in the forest without mist

    stripes of red like bacon
    swimming across skin

    under your guidance
    we have become nomads
    with molted tunics

    and infinite mental regression,
    hoping for a day
    when we can propel ourselves forward

    I have forgotten
    which father
    I am writing this for

  11. RuthieShev

    I Cried

    I should have phoned her more, but didn’t know what to say.
    I should have visited her sooner, but too often let time slip away.
    I should have written her often, but never picked up the pen.
    I should have asked her forgiveness, when we argued way back when.
    When I realized it’s too late, I cried.

    I thought about sending birthday cards for the years I missed, but didn’t take the time.
    I thought about writing a poem in tribute to her kindness, but never wrote the rhyme.
    I thought about singing her a tune to show my love for her, but was silent as a mime.
    When I realized it’s too late, I cried.

    But then I understood that God took her to Heaven with Him when she died
    And through Him I can let her know everything so it’s never too late, and with joy, I cried!

  12. Amirae Garcia

    Tio Benji – Amirae Garcia

    When the angels took you way,
    was it like waking up?
    Did your eyes shoot open?
    Did your body come alive as
    you saw them standing there?
    I wonder if your guitar was next
    to you. I’d like to think it was.
    I’d like to think that as you ran
    to them, you were singing, too.
    I’d like to think that they cried,
    holding your face like it’s the
    reason they were made,
    like they will never look away again.

    When the angels took you away,
    we wept. We howled. We held each
    other as if at any moment they
    could call us away and tear us
    apart, too. I remember my mother
    and how she cried to my father.
    I remember the sound of our hearts
    all breaking at once. I could hear
    the hearts breaking in California
    and Washington and all around
    the world. The hearts of those
    that loved you. Did you know
    that I loved you?

    The miles that separated us
    did not separate my heart
    from the love it has for you,
    from the love it always has
    for you. The fragility of life
    lingers at the back of my mind
    like a glass that’s always about
    to break. The memory of you
    is always about to break my
    heart again and again. I thought
    I knew what the words “miss you”
    meant, and then there was a you
    to miss. And I do. I miss you and
    I need you to call me “kiddo” again.
    Please. Just once. At least once.

  13. bookworm0341

    “For my friend Daniel”

    A sports writer
    Like Ray Barone
    You had it all going for you-
    And what a life you would have lived.

    It was such an honor to be
    The one people ran to
    When you needed calming down-
    Especially on the basketball court.

    The way you would splash me
    Trying to pull me into the ocean
    With Promises that nothing would hurt me-
    As I let you take me in

    We walked on the boardwalk with friends
    And I was surprised when you won me a Scooby-Doo
    We had a blast, laughs and screams on the Music Express
    Life was so much fun with you

    At the campfire, on the last night of youth camp,
    Your eyes caught mine,
    As you flashed your silver dollar smile-
    I knew that I had a true forever friend in you.

    Daniel, I miss you-
    Your hair as you would flip it off your face,
    Your heart as you showered others with love,
    Your love when you looked my way.

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 16, 2014

  14. emmaisan0wl

    An Elegy For Youth
    “every click of her hollow bones
    lays hatred anew upon the saying
    “life is too short”. the stiffening
    of her arteries serves only to lend
    strength to the bitterness her heart
    holds for it. it is a defamation of her
    suffering, a deception seeking to
    lock her thinning hair and trembling
    fingers away behind closed doors.
    the ache in her tired eyelids every
    time they flutter open to the light
    of another endless morning drives
    it in like daggers; life, in all its ages,
    is quite long enough. it is youth that
    is too short, those days of freedom
    when you find it hard to imagine that
    the world could ever cease turning.
    she has found that the longer it
    stubbornly continues to do so, the
    stronger her conviction that the end
    cannot possibly come soon enough.”

  15. Liliuokalani

    Pity, the Forest Ant

    Hands over head
    and ready to dive
    I saw an ant swimming – no –
    squirming at the lake’s surface,
    tension scribbling
    six wobbly circles at her feet.
    A seagull on the floating raft
    cocked his head to watch.
    Did her thousand sisters
    wonder where she went?
    Maybe she always wandered off like that.
    Oh, Pity.
    I imagine that she sank
    into a sunfish sarcophagus
    to sway in a ribbon grass lair.
    I reached for her
    with the longest stick I could find.

  16. lily black

    He spun a magic ring
    And scared kids taking his teeth out at them
    At old A&W drive-ins with glass mugs of root beer brought by Barbie or Ken
    He knew how to tell a tall Texas tale and charmed the sales up and up
    He knew how to sell and be gone for weeks
    returning with toothbrushes
    and stories of a kid he made up
    following that long grey stretch
    He told me he wouldn’t be around
    And to get along with my mom
    And that today was the first day of the rest of my life
    I just didn’t think he meant
    The rest of my life would be without him

  17. shethra77

    Remembrance of Honey Gold

    Ah, so it goes, each golden piece falling, falling to the towel, to the floor. She sighs, and tearfully watches the strands tangle on the discard pile. Before, they’d tangled whilst on her head, so she must be bold, sheer them away, for the bleach—alas!—had stolen their charms, their silken smoothness. Hair that remains, so much darker than before, at least will grow—grow, and not tangle to fluffy knots on her poor abused head, nor bring tears to her eyes from the brushing.

  18. suddenleigh

    In Memory of Paul Martin

    By Stephanie Reardon

    Your seat was empty.

    The kitchen chair by the sliding door
    The seat where you would
    Read the paper
    Endlessly each day.
    The sound of the pages turning.
    I would watch you
    Intently scanning the print
    Over the top of your
    Thick glasses
    Your mustache would twitch
    And sometimes you would notice
    Me watching
    And clear your throat
    In a raspy sort of way and ask,
    I would giggle because I had nothing to say.

    Our families would camp
    My heart
    Awakened by the summer night
    And the stars alive and blinking
    I came to you crying
    Because your son
    And my girlish fawning
    Did not mix.
    You looked at me across the fire
    And said,
    “One day, he’ll realize
    What a mistake that was.”

    Everything about you was gruff,
    A scruff of stubble on your chin,
    Hair that stuck at sharp angles,
    Even your laugh was gruff and startling.
    But your eyes were always warm.

    When I visited the house,
    Your house,
    The cookie platter was full
    Of old toy horses
    Instead of your favorite raspberry squares.
    And your seat was empty.

  19. TuLife

    “To Love”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    Is there meaning in a name?
    You, yourself, told us there was.
    You said my name is my strength.
    You said, if nothing else explains me,
    My name does.

    So what name defines you?
    Which one encompasses your all?
    There’s so much about you to personify,
    Which name do we call?

    Do we call you DERRICK –
    Your title assigned at birth?
    It’s the original, the first.
    So how much is it worth?

    It says you are a leader –
    A gifted ruler and king,
    Which conveys that you are powerful,
    Rich, and of greatness, deserving.

    But does it capture your spirit –
    The joy you shared with us all
    When you’d act silly to make us laugh,
    When you’d hike us to the park to play ball?

    Does it show us your peace,
    The calmness of your nature?
    Despite the impact of the storm,
    You always kept your composure.

    There might be another title.
    One that will homage pay
    To your meek, yet bold persona.
    May we examine the name GABRE.

    GABRE WOLD – servant of the sun –
    Fittingly describes your light
    That emitted rays wherever you trod,
    That turned solemn moments bright.

    Though we’d hoped to captivate your excellence,
    Your brilliance and might.
    We’d intended to express your desire
    For justice, truth, and right.

    Maybe there’s some other name,
    One that is better able
    To sum up whom you are.
    Maybe we should call you GABRIEL.

    GABRIEL – Able-bodied one of God,
    Son and angel of the Most High,
    Messenger from the Father.
    Now this name may satisfy.

    You are the most spiritual man we know,
    With profound godly devotion –
    A mind always steering towards faith.
    Your heart’s expanse: wide as the ocean.

    But does it signify long-suffering?
    Because you have suffered long.
    Does it signify kindness?
    Because you gave of yourself
    To those who still did you wrong.

    Perhaps there’s something else,
    A name that will, all of this, blend.
    Perhaps it resonates with strength.
    Perhaps we’ll call you FRIEND.

    See, a FRIEND sticks close –
    Always around when we’re in need,
    Like when we’d spend hours on the phone –
    You offering council for us to heed.

    You always had our backs –
    Took on our burdens and never sighed.
    Even when we were just kids,
    When we were tired, hurting, or cranky,
    You gave us a piggyback ride.

    But does FRIEND prove your mildness?
    Does it prove your incredible self-control
    That took over when something upset you,
    Or when turbulent tides would roll?

    No, FRIEND is simply a title –
    The roll you assumed when need be.
    I think a different name is more deserving.
    Perhaps we should stick with DADDY.

    DADDY speaks of father and friend,
    Protector with unconditional affections,
    Never-ending goodness toward your children
    While steering us in the right direction.

    We just loved when Mommy sent DADDY to spank us,
    ‘Cause we knew it was time to go A-wall.
    You’d bang on our bed with your wooden brush
    And advise us to pretend to ball.

    But DADDY does no justice to your sincerity.
    Neither does it highlight your free-spiritedness.
    It doesn’t illustrate your heartfelt smile.
    It doesn’t captivate your manliness.

    No, there must be a greater name,
    One that screams more, plus the above,
    One that shadows your divinity.
    You know, I think we’ll call you LOVE.

    LOVE is long-suffering and kind,
    Pure and free, like the dove.
    The Father says we’re created in His image.
    So, like Him, you are LOVE.

    This name we find most suitable,
    Most qualified to explain you.
    This fruitage of the spirit you have demonstrated
    In everything you do.

    So, farewell ‘til we meet again,
    United by His grace from above.
    Can’t wait to see you then,
    Dear FRIEND, Our DADDY, Bless-ed LOVE.

  20. Snow Write

    last night I had a visitor
    who I have missed for a while.
    We had some laughs, shared memories,
    repainted vivid scenery…
    Upon awakening I had to smile,
    remembering good times.
    Dear friend, you’re welcome anytime
    though you’re only in my dreams.

  21. Penny Henderson


    On a still morning,
    along with the smell of coffee,
    I still hear her sweet voice.
    “There’s a land that is
    fairer than day.
    And by faith I can
    see it afar…”
    Careful hands stirring oatmeal,
    she sang serenely
    of the the home she now inhabits.

  22. horselovernat

    To the Greatest Loss by Natalie Gasper

    I always knew that this would happen one day,
    that humanity would suffer the loss of its greatest gift.
    Not that I am surprised, it happens with
    children all the time. Sadness fills the heavy air
    as others realize what has come to pass.
    We tried to stop it, save it, if that counts for anything
    in the end; everything we could do, we did do,
    but it simply wasn’t enough I guess.
    Neither the best nor brightest could find
    a solution or a cure. Right now, I’d settle
    for a simple explanation. I have to understand the why.

    Maybe our best would never have been enough,
    this loss unstoppable despite it all. As I mourn,
    I think back on its long and happy life, wondering if it died peacefully
    and painlessly. Worried it went down in pain, fighting
    to live on just one more day. In its beginning, how much simpler
    it all must have been. Peoples around the world relied on it
    and could not survive a day without it crossing their minds,
    intersecting with their deepest and most honorable truths.
    The life force of dragons, heartbeat of fairytales, backbone
    of immortal heroes, and the spirit of innocence.
    Once, it carried valiant dreams of knights to little boys and of
    unicorns and fairies to young girls. Known to inspire; for being a light
    in the darkest of nights, and the reason
    for many a laugh and a smile. Birthplace of legends, myths,
    folklores, gods, demons, witches, the Tooth Fairy,
    Father Time, Mother Earth, the Sand Man, and
    Santa Claus. Today, we grieve the loss of Magic.

    In the hearts of a few you shall always live on,
    Your absence will be thoroughly noticed; your
    joyous, simple, and selfless ways missed. Always
    I have believed in you because I don’t have to
    see something to know that it is there. I pity
    the youth of world who are told so soon
    that these things exist only in the mind, that
    magic is a thing made up once to explain that
    which we now understand through science.
    No more shall you bring fantastical stories to the lives
    of children. No longer shall you pierce the subtleties
    of an impossible scenario. You have left the threads of this world.
    Magic is gone from life.

  23. Grey_Ay

    Elegy of Youth

    There is my youth
    slipping quickly
    goodbye, I say
    standing soundlessly.
    You were never
    but a passing
    while this future
    I was asking
    There was my youth,

    -A. Ault-

  24. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    My poem depends a lot on the unsaid. I ran the version posted earlier past my workshop group, and they didn’t get all the nuances. So I’ve rejigged it slightly, hoping for greater clarity without too much loss of subtlety:


    “Guess who died?” I said. “It was on facebook.
    Oh, a week or so ago. The person who posted it
    described him as kind! And humble.” We raised
    our eyebrows at each other, remembering …

    “You know,” I said, “I kept bumping into him
    all over town, that last week before he died.
    Not to speak to, though. That is, I chose not;
    pretended I didn’t see him. Which I still don’t regret.”

    “She was a lovely woman,” said my friend.
    “She was,” I agreed, and we fell silent, recalling
    his wife, whom we loved … her death nine years ago….
    “Well — I hope he worked out his karma,” I said.

  25. Emma

    Elegy for the years I didn’t wear pink

    Now I look back, roll
    My eyes at my childish snobbery.
    I thought I was oh-so much better
    Than all the other girls,
    (“I’m not like other girls”)
    With their pretty pink dresses, and
    Sparkly tiaras and sickly sweet smiles.
    I pretended I wasn’t jealous,
    Wore purple instead, called
    Myself a ‘tomboy’ because
    It was so much better.
    (the girls my age would say
    It was fine to be a girl
    Just not a GIRLY girl)
    I wasted innocent delight
    For an air of superiority that
    Masked every shred of my self hatred.

  26. Angie5804

    Goodbye, BJ

    All through the years you served me well
    How many years I cannot tell
    How will I live without your blue?
    Faded now to a gentle hue?

    Constantly staying true to form
    Through years of heat and cold and storm
    You stretched just when you needed to
    How will I live without your blue?

    With holes and frays you stayed the course
    I say goodbye with such remorse
    Yet happy memories I will keep
    Goodbye, Blue Jeans, may well you sleep

  27. bxpoetlover

    A Confession

    I am guilty
    of murder.

    The bitch had
    to die.

    She kept yelling
    in my ear–
    your writing
    will never be good enough
    so stop trying

    Don’t dance in public
    on purpose
    your hips are too small and stiff
    for R&B and reggae rhythms

    Don’t pose for pictures–
    your kinky hair
    resists instructions
    your eyes are too small
    to register on camera
    but if you insist
    please suck in
    your stomach.

    I wrapped my hands
    around her throat
    and squeezed

    because she kept me
    in bad relationships
    on bad jobs
    or from fighting back
    whenever anyone
    told me I wasn’t

    I am guilty
    of murder.

    The bitch had
    to die.

  28. brandonspeck

    house of scowls
    (for scowling house post-eviction, r.i.p.)

    some people build walls using plaster
    and think of a room as the sum of its closets

    some people will use the same set of dishes
    for over 10 years, eating off of routines with little to say.

    some people’s skin doesn’t carry a scratch,
    absent of holes or craters. as clean as hospitals.

    some people are afraid of the darkest parts of themselves
    never casting a light into the basement
    never trying to make sense out of the shadows.

    those people do not live here.

    here, we are the darkest and the scarred.
    turning every cracked dish into a reason to celebrate.

    //brandon speck

  29. clcediting

    Elegy, of sorts

    To Shakespeare and Homer,
    Plato and Socrates,
    To dreamers and thinkers,
    inventors and philosophy.
    I want to praise you
    and raise you
    up on high.
    To thank you and mourn you
    and apologize
    for the way we’ve turned out.

    You gave us opportunity
    to grow, to live, to change.
    To be better human beings,
    to stand on the shoulders of giants,
    to reach for impossible things.

    And what have we done
    with your gifts?
    All the wisdom
    you tried to teach us?
    We let it slip away
    as our souls atrophied
    and our brains suffocated
    in ignorance.

  30. inkysolace

    to the constellations on my glasses

    you were the graveyard of my tear-stains
    the wreckage pushed past
    rings of candy corn traffic cones you swerved
    into the view of a drunk driver
    tumbled into a tangle of honeysuckle and thorns
    and I erased you with
    a few drops of liquid and careless circles
    nudged by trimmed fingernails

    you were a coded journal entry for one day
    overlapped with yesterday’s night
    and I unsmeared your work with a lapse in the scrutiny
    of two tired eyes

    you were a catalogue of DNA
    from two people who didn’t know how to love each other
    and you left with the quiet grace of ripples fading,
    dabbed into a pond by an apprentice
    of gravity you had all the answers
    and I pushed you from your home like a stain on my only white shirt

    if this is what we do to yesterday
    I don’t want to see tomorrow’s sky
    erased with the billowing apathy
    of a country’s population
    we have forgotten what clouds look like
    and I have gotten used to drowning you
    in teardrops fallen from graveyard eyelashes

  31. Aberdeen Lane

    For Katie:
    (December 30, 1979- April 15, 1999)

    we still meet
    in turquoise diamonds
    gold glitter dreams
    the broken mirror
    refracting sparkles
    upon sparkles

    I keep your things
    in a turquoise box
    the scent of the candle
    reminds me of that spring
    the birthday card
    you had bought it in advance
    Snoopy stickers
    a pen with pink smileys
    the cherub pendant

    I miss our silly talks
    escape plans and sitcoms
    all I can do is carry around the sparkles
    toss them to the spring breeze
    pollen for the bees,

  32. jclass527

    Wrapping Paper

    She holds each memory close, in the crevices of her smile –
    and at first glance it looks like she’s lived a full life.
    Her hand show each of her lovers in the imprints of her palms,
    how she held them so fiercely she ingrained their laughs
    on her fingerprints, how
    she’s got liver spots for every child and grandchild.
    It’s a talent to bare bones with a pat on the back but
    she manages this with ease, whispering in my ear
    “Don’t remember me like this. Don’t run me through your mind
    bald, with the IV pole attached like a vestigial limb.
    Keep me as I was, as I am inside, because baby
    looks are just wrapping paper for the soul, what matters
    is the though behind gift, underneath it all.”

    She’s got the graceful bearing of a gazelle, with a mane
    tracing her sharp features further than
    the tear racing down my cheeks. Her eyes are dark,
    ink-like as they slowly lose light with smiling irises. I’m
    breathing fast, fast, faster than she ever thought
    she could, I’m hoping that some of that gift slipping away
    right now can crawl into my trachea and find a home
    somewhere between alveoli sacs and lungs and gray matter and
    somehow, I let go.

    I hope that wherever she goes, she’s treated like presents
    on Christmas morning – every color and
    all at the same time, opened with the only intent
    of getting to know what’s on the inside.

    -Jessenia Class

  33. PSC in CT

    Elegy for poems dying young

    I mourn them:
    all those beautiful infant poems
    birthed in the umbra of slumber,
    offering such promise, but
    slipping away in the night;
    all the ones that cascaded
    into semi-consciousness,
    niggled at neurons, then trickled
    through the cracks of cognizance
    with nary a touch of pen to paper;
    and those poems that tickled my tongue
    at one time or another
    but never got to byte.

    I’d like to believe they still exist, somewhere
    out there, floating in the ether,
    on some other plane, perhaps,
    awaiting another opportunity;
    that I’ll awaken one morning
    to a familiar foundling on my stoop.

    But, failing that,
    mayhap it might appear
    on another poet’s doorstep,


  34. mbramucci

    The Pop-Pop Table
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    There lives a little girl
    Residing under table
    Solace in warm mahogany shadow
    To peer between turned wooden legs
    To lift a vinyl cloth flap
    And discover her empty, pining heart
    Tiny fragile body scrunching
    Against the stocked, rounded carvings
    Like the way she set upon your lap
    Don’t coax-
    Let her be
    May she rest there in farce
    Never to bear the torment of longing

  35. jclenhardt

    Your Kind of Love

    And where do I begin?
    For are there enough words
    that the world might too
    sing your praises?
    For you have always been,
    since childhood,
    the song in my heart,
    the joy, and the laughter,
    but most of all – the love;
    Your kind of love,
    that was like a great
    and sheltering tree
    in a desert,
    for every weary traveler
    your branches covered,
    and your voice fell
    like the much needed
    cooling breeze
    one only finds in shadow.
    And so – how could they know?
    unless they be so fortunate
    and found you,
    and would never want
    to leave;
    such shelter you provided;
    such love you were given
    and so freely gave away,
    until they cut you down;
    and down, down, the great tree fell!
    and no longer were you with me.
    And so – how could there be?
    enough words, that I might
    order correctly to express
    the man you were;
    my brother, and too, the world’s.

  36. Jane Shlensky

    A Picker’s Elegy

    You had hard hands, cigar fingers wrapped tight,
    knuckles fight-scarred, nails like hooks, too long.
    When you raised your fist and spread your fingers,
    my hands feared that wingspread, too big and blunt
    to do me any good. And yet, when curled around
    a guitar’s neck, those hands held a gentleness,
    a delicacy, like you’d see when a huge man shrinks
    himself to love a child. I remember your voice,
    your crooked grin, the scars along your chin,
    the joker or the bastard in your eyes that made
    me quake, your clean pure tenor that gave a song
    a pulse. I remember the harmonies we made,
    even when we felt cacophony. But mostly now,
    I remember your hands, holding instruments
    with respect for the sounds they made for you,
    your fingertips moving gently as if you pet
    a sleeping cat, the music bubbling from an
    unmarred spring in you, deeper than we can go.

  37. Rolf Erickson

    Elegy for a Leaf

    You were so soft and light and tender.
    A green that could only be described as
    the true greenness hidden within green.
    Then you widened and lengthened and
    stretched your way out into this world.
    It was a short happy life lived so well
    through a summer filled with sun and
    breeze and birds and sweet sweet sap.
    You were never alone in those days
    amidst many other leaves that may have
    resembled you but never came close
    to what and who you so beautifully were.
    You were here for me and for my awakening
    to the miracles I might behold in a single leaf.
    All too soon the days came shorter
    the time for leaves like you to turn within
    to return again to where you once began.
    All too soon you gave me one last longing look
    and then released let go surrendered to the wind.
    Helplessly I watched you fall and spin to find
    a final place of rest wedged between the roots
    of a far off quivering autumn magnolia tree.
    I’m still here like before but so much richer
    for the love we shared that one summer.
    One summer one leaf I’ll never ever forget.

  38. muse60


    Romeo cocks his musket
    Fakes a prayer
    Conceals his tears
    Rears up
    Holds his beaker high
    Makes a toast to a life
    Having been lived
    As if the joy, there in
    Justifies the loss
    Creates some melody
    That reveals a truth
    A conundrum
    Of birth and death
    Like it makes sense
    That a loved person had to vanish
    Like there’s some method
    A sum to this madness
    A truth somewhere in this lie
    That we should cherish a loss
    Not grieve
    But find poetry
    In the passing
    The disappearance of a valued soul
    Or even an acquaintance
    That we want to send them off
    With doves and anecdotes
    But it’s a joke
    Loss is loss
    And loss is eternal
    And is never a comfort
    We humans are masters of denial
    Forever trying
    To numb the pain
    With some fairytale logic
    That suffices
    Suffices if we don’t question
    Or think too hard
    Or dare audience with reality
    But why would we
    Our species
    Is all about fending off hurt
    Nepenthe is what we crave
    And what we ultimately reach for
    Bur fail to grasp
    And why not?
    Why feel the dagger
    When we can cast it off as romance
    Why embrace the blade
    When the cinema paints
    A more romantic picture
    The blood pools in the mouth
    The final words are disjointed
    Yet we put a slick glaze
    On those moments
    Because those moments
    Heal us from the reality
    The agony
    Let us lick the envelope
    And seal the pain away

  39. DanielR

    Waves softly caress my sand-covered feet
    tempting me with promises of gentleness
    but majestic blue oceans are great impostors
    deceptive in their innocent shoreline whispers
    keeping their dark and secret histories
    but in open waters they roar out the truth
    prone to building into a wild raging fury
    ingesting maiden voyage topsail schooners
    leaving no headstones among the wreckage

    Daniel Roessler

  40. PKP

    Elegy for the large family table

    Elbows off
    and elbows
    on – laughter
    tinkling on
    cut cystal
    bellowing in
    bowls of passed
    mashed potatoes
    and fish-eyed looks
    of sister-in-laws and
    under the table hand
    holding as faces above
    held on the topics of
    justice – social and
    otherwise- a fork
    dropped and a call
    to the kitchen
    “Are you coming to
    sit down with us?”
    a spilled glass of
    something that will
    thankfully stain
    until all that
    remains now
    is the faded pink
    of that spill of long ago
    and the whispers
    of laughter – spilled
    and now dried and
    gone – gone – gone –
    dancing on dust

  41. Jane Shlensky

    Elegy for Home
    (for Mary Garner Craver, 1915-2003)

    The hills still roll about the same—
    such lays of land are slow to change—
    two ponds, a creek, a pasture fence,

    some trees uprooted in a storm,
    some oaks like old men at a dance
    stand hunkered, wizened, venerable.

    She talked of nothing else but home;
    her roof had slipped, as some would say,
    and she could think of nothing else

    but going home; she’d never left.
    You’re home already, we would say,
    pointing to works of her own hands.

    Remember this or that, we’d say,
    a futile act but all the same
    we hoped some tree, some slant of light

    would pull a trigger in her mind,
    and she would recognize herself
    and us and home for what it was.

    For years she disremembered time,
    bereft of homes we didn’t know.
    We argued– is it afterlife

    or someplace she can’t call by name?
    She quoted Woody Guthrie’s song,
    how in the world she was not at home,

    but said she’d go for rides if we’d
    return her to that one in mind
    she seemed to see so vividly.

    I think of all this now she’s gone
    and what was farm is strips of land.
    Her house is gone; her lush gardens

    are now reduced to lawn, ignored.
    No vineyards now or orchard trees;
    the cows are gone, the barns and sheds.

    The house where we lived long ago
    looks nothing like the new one here.
    I know we can’t go home again

    and hope to reclaim what once was.
    I don’t fight change–what’s done is done–
    but I have lost a mother tongue.

    Now everywhere I look, I see
    remnants of lives that used to be,
    who made their homes in memory.

    Can one mourn for a time and place
    and not weep for oneself that’s lost?
    Can home be redefined that way?

    I close my eyes and climb a tree;
    I dip one toe in memory,
    swimming the currents like a child.

    I walk past orchards, crystal ponds,
    and call the cows at close of day
    that dot the pastures in my mind.


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