Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

Tammy and me are heading to Austin, Texas, this morning for the Austin International Poetry Festival. If you’re in the Austin area, I hope you’ll get out for some poeming fun. Speaking of poeming (and fun), here’s today’s prompt…

For today’s prompt, write a voyage poem. In my case, we’ll be driving along the Gulf of Mexico, but a voyage can happen in a variety of ways–even on foot, or psychologically. Heck, the process of writing a poem is a sort of voyage all its own. Happy poeming!

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Here’s my attempt at a voyage poem:

“settle”

i can’t escape the sound of train whistles
they hound me in apartments & hotels

discover me with my pants on the floor
kissing behind a double-bolted door

& airplanes often pass over me too
with sounds that build & fade into the blue

cars also follow wherever i’m at
criss-crossing my path like metal black cats

these machines move me even as they find
ways to unsettle my unsettled mind

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Today’s Guest Judge Is…

Neil Aitken

Neil Aitken

Neil Aitken

Neil is the author of The Lost Country of Sight, winner of 2007 Philip Levine Prize, and the editor of Boxcar Poetry Review. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and western United States and Canada.

His poems have appeared in American Literary Review, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, The Normal School, and elsewhere. A former computer programmer, he is presently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.

Learn more here: www.neil-aitken.com.

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

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984 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

  1. IndiFox

    The Last Voyage

    Much like the rain dripping on the window
    Her lonely eyes cry
    Waiting for her man
    Her soldier

    Fingers tap against the pane
    She’s restless
    Longing for any sign
    Of her soldier

    Fogs the window with her heavy breaths
    She’s been there for days
    Because there’s moving on
    From her soldier

    A knock at the door lifts her up
    But it’s two uniformed men, side by side
    And she breaks down
    Because her soldier has died

  2. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 23

    The Simple Road

    The journey goes straight
    beautiful view of a horizon filled with references
    every reference can be pinned to a life event
    never leave this road
    and safety will be by your side
    carry you high on a pedestal
    so you have perfect vision both backwards on forward

    You can play connect the dots with your future
    see how symmetrical you can get it
    as you draw a linear equation towards your past
    where you are perfectly placed in the interception
    of you own reality
    so simple
    just go straight

    Perfect view from your birth place
    to your death bed

  3. Julieann

    Voyage to Find Myself

    I embarked upon a voyage
    To find out who I am –

    I traveled to places widely known
    And those barely surviving

    I saw wonders of monstrous proportions
    And as miniscule as an atom

    I met prince and princesses, heads of state
    As well as poverty prone peasants living in the street

    My voyage took years to complete
    Around the world and back again, more than once

    Finally delivering me to my own front door
    With what I saw, with what I learned

    It would take volumes and volumes
    To record each moment, sight, and sound

    And all that I discovered about myself
    Is what Dorothy said to Auntie Em

    If I can’t find myself in my own back yard
    Then I really wasn’t lost to begin with

  4. bxpoetlover

    Voyage

    I have flown, ridden on a boat, and
    taken trains, buses, and cars.

    All I know is that I want my next
    trip to have all of the magic
    of my first ride down the hill behind my house
    on my Bigwheel.

    I had dragged it to the top
    sat down and pedaled
    as I careened to the bottom
    and jerked the handlebars
    so I would slide to the left.

    If I do the corny thing and spin my globe
    to choose my next destination
    I will go there as long as I can feel sun on my face
    wind in my hair, and have my smiles returned.

  5. ASperryConnors

    Opps! Posting late…Just returned from a journey where there was no internet!

    Cross the street
    Cruise the aisle
    Run the boardwalk
    Roam the Nile

    Jump from the nest
    Kick your own pants
    Hop aboard an Angel
    And watch the light dance

    Follow a snake’s path
    Sail the sky blue
    Expedite a letter
    To a heart so true.

    Dance a love song
    Sing of your soul
    Compose a requiem
    Of a giant black hole

    Direct a child
    To paint her fear
    Borrow a lifetime
    Of someone dear

    See with spectacles
    Not your own
    Carve out new ears
    Taste the unknown

    A destiny without a map
    A direction to explore
    Journeys begin…
    When we walk out the door.

  6. Freefredonia

    Where We Went

    was where we had been
    a nameless place
    or I had forgotten since

    where we were
    and where we had been
    are as one and the same as
    where we are
    now

    all future contained in time’s shape
    formless and floating
    a universe of possibility
    so utterly simple
    as simple to have not seen
    and all that was contained in time past

    kind of like the white lace trimming swimming in the breeze
    caught upon branches edge
    behind the stark yellow tape
    at the scene of a crime

  7. Tuere Allwood

    “The Muslim (in the aftermath of 9/11)”

    6 a.m.
    Meshack Ahmed.
    Black Egyptian.

    Driving down the freeway.
    6:07 when the siren kisses my ear,
    cerulean flares, and the horn voice,
    “Pull over to your right.”
    “License and registration,”
    the law demands.
    While he reviews it, I inquire,
    “May I ask what the problem is, sir?”
    He asks if I know how fast I was going.
    “No.”
    He doesn’t volunteer, but stares.
    Muscle eyes, grip jaw.
    I turn to smile and request my speed.
    Flame nostrils, menace sneer.
    Too fast is the curt reply.
    I sigh in my rear-view, pondering
    why Captain Commando is having such a godawful day.
    But I peep my image and it reminds me.

    The name is Meshack Ahmed.
    I’m a black Egyptian.
    It’s not his awful day; it’s mine.

  8. Snow Write

    She’s on her way
    not sure where she’s going
    knows she has to get away
    find a new place
    determined now
    to set out on the journey
    yet finding herself
    going back

  9. Anders Bylund

    Are We There Yet?
    ===============
    Fire. The wheel. The alphabet.
    Tribes. Empires. Democracies.
    Jungle drums. The telegraph. The iPhone.
    Swords. Guns. Lasers.
    Public education. Universal suffrage. Gay marriage.
    Wars. Wars. More wars.

    Are we there yet?

  10. Snowqueen

    Fourteen years of marriage and counting

    We opted for the all-inclusive voyage

    Lodging – his heart makes the perfect accommodations – soft, warm, sturdy and giving

    Drinks and meals – I pour my bottomless love to quench his thirst. I offer all-he-can-eat support and acceptance to feed his soul

    Entertainment and recreational activities – We negotiate on these; we try new things, both indoors and out. Our play time together suites our needs

    Gratuities – they are also included but we still tip…. A hidden secret note, a massage, completion of an unexpected chore, chicken soup when the other is sick

    Transportation – We drive each other crazy in good ways and bad. Our love gives us the wings we always wish we had

    That leaves us with the cost, it’s worth it but dear….we give our all, we giver our best everyday of every year

  11. bookworm0341

    “The Voyage”

    Stars so bright
    Nature calls
    Out all night
    Fireflies and tag
    Man-hunt to the extreme
    Capture the flag

    Yips and yahoos
    No, “how-do-you-dos”
    Sir and Ma’m is not spoken here
    Just made up words
    Some beyond absurd
    With shouts, laughs, and cheers

    Travel in the clear of night
    Above the crowded streets
    This voyage is the child’s delight
    Who knows whom one might meet
    A dash of pixie-dust from Tinkerbell
    Or a duel with the fierce Captain Hook

    Flying through the sky as a Lost Boy
    With the one and only Peter Pan
    Neverland is a place of sheer joy
    for those too scared to grow from a boy to a man
    Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning
    Take a voyage through the pages of a book

  12. withoutalarynx

    PERSPECTIVE

    the curious concurrence
    of distance and connection
    like the gentle throb of a
    phantom limb:

    you’re looking out
    of an aeroplane window, tracing
    rivers of light chiselled from the
    sprawling dark, and you begin
    to imagine

    the matrix below

    all those stories insulated by
    the wailing wall
    all that love
    insulated by the soul
    (which also wails)

  13. Lana Walker

    The Leaf

    Caught in a rush of wind
    it swirls and rises
    then gently spirals
    down toward the river

    Another gust nudges it
    over a rock
    then another rock
    and into the
    cool choppy water

    It swirls again
    this time with
    less grace but
    still in harmony
    with the flow

    Once more it spins
    joining with others
    just like it
    creating a colorful
    carpet rushing over
    jagged stones

    Hours later
    fifty miles farther
    it comes to rest
    torn and tattered
    but fully alive

  14. stepstep

    PreTend Land

    Let’s take a trip to PreTend Land
    Where all is fair and good,
    Smiles create the atmosphere
    And manners, as they should.

    PreTend Land can be cozy
    Some attend in rare form,
    Some even like to be nosy
    Some refrain from the norm.

    More alive one can be
    Music travels north, south, east and west,
    PreTend Land forces one to see
    What makes life the very best.

    LaSteph

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