2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Before we get started today, I just want to take a moment to thank all our guest judges for volunteering their time, energy, and talents to this year’s April PAD Challenge. Be sure to find their poems online and if you like them, buy their books! Click here to review the complete list of our 30 guest judges.

For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem. For me, back to the basics means jumping to the fundamentals. Maybe it’s me re-learning (or practicing) fundamentals–like running or writing–but it could also be a child learning how to tie his shoestrings, which can be a unique experience for both the child and the adult trying to give instructions and advice. Back to basics could also be re-setting a state of mind or getting back into a routine. In a way, spring is a season that gets back to the basics.


Get feedback on your poetry!

If you want some professional feedback on your poeming efforts, the Writer’s Digest Advanced Poetry Writing course is a great place to start.

Click here for more details.


Here’s my attempt at a Back to Basics Poem:


forget websites & blogs
what i need is a business card

i miss the tactile presence
of a name and job title

displayed with contact info
& sometimes a logo

but what i miss most
is the blank slate back side

on which i could jot notes
& random couplets

sometimes i’d sketch pictures
or get the contact info

of someone i actually
intended to contact

that cardstock carried no
analytics but it was

useful in a way only
a human could measure


Today’s guest judge is…

Deborah Ager

Deborah Ager

Deborah Ager

Deborah recently co-edited The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (2013) and Old Flame: Ten Years of 32 Poems Magazine (2013).

The latter is a finalist for the Forward Book of the Year prize.

Learn more at: http://www.deborahager.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. The collection has a recurring theme of pushing the re-set button and getting back to basics. Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Get back to basics with these poetic posts:

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603 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. CLShaffer

    Eating in Grief by C. Lynn Shaffer

    The grieving become
    a foreign place.
    They speak rarely
    and then without verbs.
    Visitors come with their
    to be and drive and dress.
    They are dumb as tourists
    who make a mess then leave
    when things get dark.

    The verbs return
    Here in the present
    tense, they are
    sick with facts:
    The sun is up. I am
    awake. Eat.
    No one dare mention
    what the body truly lacks.

    Breakfast plates
    turn to dinner in a blink,
    round as the faces of clocks.
    The smells of roast chicken
    and fresh-made bread
    cause the throat to constrict,
    the clink of silverware
    the body’s call to turn away
    whatever comes near it.

    has ceased. Stab
    or scoop, lift, chew,
    swallow, repeat, survive
    despite your best intentions,
    wonder at how long you can last,
    feeding the skeleton,
    full of memory
    and marking the past.

  2. Angie5804

    Give me a small plot with a bit of grass
    Some water to help it grow
    A bit of sunshine – for happiness
    Some flower seeds for beauty

    Some water to help it grow
    Blue and clear and cold
    Some flower seeds for beauty
    Petals soft and scented

    Blue and clear and cold
    A little wind, a little sun
    Petals soft and scented
    A place to lay my head

    A little wind, a little sun
    Work for hands to do
    A place to lay my head
    A friend and a smile

    Work for hands to do
    A bit of sunshine – for happiness
    A friend and a smile
    Give me a small plot with a bit of grass

    Angie Bell

  3. Andrea Z

    Writer’s Block for Beginners

    A wad of paper sails through the air
    and lands just short of the wastebasket;
    my latest poetic effort
    is nothing but rubbish.
    I impatiently tap my pen on my notebook
    waiting for some inkling of inspiration
    to make its way into my brain.
    Eventually I throw the pen down,
    and reach over to the bookshelf
    for an old writing textbook –
    perhaps going “back to school”
    will jostle some inspiration loose.

  4. seingraham


    The aroma is the first give-away
    Not really anything so fine as an aroma
    More of a stench when you consider
    It fries the tiny hairs in my nostrils

    But, as soon as that acridity fills
    me up, I know where I am without
    even having to open my eyes
    Not that that eventuality holds
    any charm, no, not in the least

    Vague bubbles of thought careen
    down the synapse paths upstairs
    and I catch the odd one before
    it shatters; I think, therefore I guess
    Whatever the fuck that means

    There is rumbling or something
    near where I am; maybe a rumble
    I find one of the bubbles filled
    with words that don’t make sense
    but it bursts before I can grasp
    it and with a whoosh

    There is light filling my space
    and no help for it, my eyes fly
    open and everything bad I
    hope isn’t possible is confirmed
    A man who likes to hurt me
    is standing too close to my head

    I see his hole opening and closing
    but all I hear are his regular words
    “Base Sick Lee…” then my head
    fills with bees again and I don’t
    see him, or anything else…

  5. j.wessier101

    The Basics of Harmony

    You start out playing by ear,
    You have to hear her music
    before playing along.
    You have to learn the do, ray, me
    before you can put the shooby
    in the do wop do wop.
    You learn her everything;
    her descant and ostinato,
    absorb it all until it becomes part of you,
    then you add your trill,
    your passing tone,
    your appoggiatura,
    bridging one melody note to another
    until you both finally give in to the song,
    improvising harmonies,
    playing by heart.

  6. IndiFox


    I want to go back to that night
    Where it was just you and me
    Against the inevitable
    I remember I placed my hands over you
    I pictured your tiny hands pressed into mine
    Pretending I didn’t know
    What would happen the next day
    Do you forgive me?

    I remember I sang to you
    A lullaby, so befitting
    I remember I said I was sorry
    But there was really no other way
    I want to go back to that day
    Back to that night
    Maybe I could have acted differently
    Found another way..

    No. There’s no going back
    But sometimes I like to pretend
    I place hands over my tummy
    The place where you were
    Try to remember what it felt like
    Because I can’t sing anymore
    And I ask you to forgive me..
    But I get no answer

  7. ianchandler

    Opening Your Eyes

    is a daunting task
    that requires want and wonder
    to wrangle with the sleep mob of the morning,
    paid to get up earlier than you do
    to weigh you down
    and convince you that the world
    is not worth seeing.

    Why do we climb in our sleep?
    Why don’t we acknowledge the cruel world
    and remain motionless?
    Wouldn’t the velvet of night be a much
    softer place in which to dwell?
    Like a cave, it would encapsulate us
    and ward us against rich tongues and sick clouds,
    and we would never go past the iron guardrails
    of our eyelids.

    Like children, we don’t listen.
    We defy any sense that may be lingering
    on the fringes of lashes,
    brush it off and call it crusted dreams
    still trying desperately
    to get back in our heads.
    We swivel out of bed, yawn, and open the curtains,
    make coffee to assuage our newly conscious selves,
    and watch the horizon, perhaps in hope,
    perhaps in boredom, but definitely
    in a sense of renewal
    that sleep leads us to.

  8. foodpoet

    Back to Basics

    After the winter
    That would not end
    I watch the scattered
    Pots left with the debris
    Of the year behind.
    This year will be grounded
    No pots carefully watched
    For shoots of
    All the pots are dark
    With no sleepers through
    The snow.

    Now the pots are empty
    Waiting the

    Megan McDonald

  9. Alaska Christina

    Back to Basics

    Little seed
    Tucked deep down into the soil
    Nestled safe where it is warm
    Taking root
    Sprouting shoots
    Head poking up towards the sky
    Seed, roots, shoots
    Lean in to your lengthening stalk
    Greeted by the sun
    Quenched by the rain
    Caressed by the wind
    Breaking through the brown earth
    Little sunflower

  10. shethra77

    Basic Motion

    We begin a new school year
    in the autistic support class.
    There is an exercise to do with Luis.
    He must put objects in a hole in a jar’s lid
    using only his right hand
    because he uses only his left hand.
    There are probably ten different sorts of containers
    and ten different sorts of little objects.
    I gently hold his left hand on the container
    so that he must use the right to pick up and poke in the objects.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    Luis always sighs because it is
    so horribly boring,
    and he would rather look out the window—
    there might be a dog walking by.
    Dogs are very interesting.
    I sigh because it is
    so horribly boring,
    but necessary.
    Developing more brain is necessary.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    Luis continues using only his left hand.
    I get tranquilizers from the doctor, because
    it makes me crazy—
    so deadly boring, and
    it’s not working.
    However, I live in hope.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    one day in April,
    Luis voluntarily picks something up
    using his right hand.
    There is great rejoicing in the room.
    The next day he lets his hand droop.
    But it has begun. I live in hope.
    Until the end of school that year,
    every day we do his exercise.

    We begin the next school year.
    All the kids have had a great summer.
    So have the staff members.
    I have acquired tranquility and am off the meds.
    It’s my turn to work with Luis, so I get out his containers.
    He sighs. I say,
    “Sorry, dude. You know we have to do it.”
    And Luis
    picks up each container in his left hand, and
    fills it using his right hand.
    I don’t have to tell him or do anything—
    he just does it.
    “Wow! That was so cool! Way to go, Luis! High five!”
    He fives me, then pops up from his seat on the floor,
    knowing he has just earned his break,
    not knowing why I’m so happy that
    every day we do his exercise.

  11. Rolf Erickson


    When the rhododendrons exploded
    everything stopped.
    Even the crows paused
    for a moment of reverent silence.

    The sky turned suddenly
    a deeper hue of blue.
    Trees held their breath
    and stones stayed stark still.

    Then the sun came out
    from behind the clouds
    wondering what all the
    shouting was about.

    There was a new song
    in the wind and a fragrance.
    The earth whispered
    how proud it was.

    And we think we know
    how to start over again.

  12. PenConnor

    Start Again (a rispetto)

    If you love me, don’t say anything at all;
    just let me go, and if you can’t say something,
    put me back together. It was a great fall.
    No stitch in time can save us, horses or kings.
    Men! This is how walls and cookies crumble. Rain,
    on every red sky morning, falls on the plain.
    We spilled the milk, take warning: you can’t know what
    – until I am gone, don’t cry over what you got.

  13. horselovernat

    Less is More by Natalie Gasper

    Not a day goes by without constant updates,
    some from Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter.
    Feeling the need to share every thought,
    no matter how small or worthless.

    Nothing was wrong with how things were once,
    when cell phones were brand new
    and people took the time to write letters in cursive,
    carefully crafting every thought.

    What I miss most is the poems from my youth
    when their topics were simple and fun.
    Some about getting a dime for a tooth,
    others about reaching the sun.

    I can’t help but think about what went wrong
    that life is so hectic and full of stress.
    Maybe, one day, humans will remember
    the peace that comes from napping in a tree.

  14. bookworm0341

    “Communication 101”

    Instead of the walls
    Which were built up over time,
    Let us go back to the beginning,
    Back to basics.

    Uncross the arms
    Unclench those teeth
    Take a deep breath
    And then softly start to speak

    You listen to me
    I listen to you
    There is much good to come
    Going back to basics with you

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 21, 2014

  15. cam45237

    Bookseller Training

    Alphabets are important
    Because that’s how we organize our books
    Creating order from a chaos of words
    Each volume to its own home.

    Failing the alphabet
    Guarantees that we will not be able to find the ones
    Hiding out of order
    In the wrong place
    Just like playful children who
    Know their parents will forgive them

    Like it or not, we cant stay
    Mad at the ones we love
    No, we will
    Open them after we
    Pluck them from their shelves and with a
    Quiet voice we will read them to children
    Rendering the words into pictures that float in our heads
    Savoring the scenes, the story.

    Try to imagine the two of
    Us, lost in these pages
    Villains or heroes or just plain folk
    Who wander on earth, in earth, past planets
    Xenophobia has no place here
    You know; this is a
    Zone that welcomes all comers

  16. jean

    Back to Basics: Common Meter Hymns

    Eight syllables to start the song
    Six more to build this frame
    The third line might or might not rhyme
    Though two and four are same

    “O Little Town of Bethlehem,”
    And, too, “Amazing Grace”
    Quatrains with four iambic feet
    Perhaps anapaests replace

  17. Reynard





    expand your lungs- think clearly

    don’t get caught up in all the details

    this world can bring you down – trip you up on your best day

    just take yourself back to the basics, like there is nothing in your way and all the world is before you

    concentrate on the breathing, know that as long as you breathe – you live- all the rest is just the details of the world. Don’t get bogged down by everything around you-and just breathe.

  18. Mariya Koleva

    Back to basics
    when two and two made four
    without too much complication
    or small print
    outside printable area;

    when no one signed contracts
    over the phone
    to learn a week later
    that their ‘Yes, mail me the offer.’
    was interpreted as a ‘Yes.’ only;

    Back to the time
    when the streets were empty of cars
    and mainly served as the topic
    of romantic city poems.

  19. JRSimmang


    As you walk forward,
    I can see in you
    the blues and reds and yellows,

    and I know that if they were
    separated indefinitely,
    I may have to bathe in
    each and every part of you
    to try and make you my
    Warhol and my Mondrian,
    color-blocked with
    your smile forever suspended
    in squares and triangles,

    and when I am finished and dyed
    purple and orange and green
    I would be satisfied
    in knowing that
    you cannot be
    apart from me.

    -JR Simmang

  20. Anvanya


    of Darkness –
    so, okay, I kind of stole that title from
    Ursula K Le Guin, and I’m pretty sure
    she wouldn’t mind at all. Bradbury, Azimov
    LeGuin, and Norton overturned my world view long ago.

    Each one messaged me on the touchable page:
    Think about this idea, imagine that situation,
    how will you handle this dilemma, what if all
    you know about your life, beliefs, block, city,
    town, planet – might not be unassailable?

    Too old now to go to Space Camp,
    Nevertheless, I travel among the stars.
    My Foundation underpins a world-view
    which includes all the imaginable
    Universes here and out there.

    They taught me hopefulness and it’s
    where I go when reality threatens
    to overwhelm. I pick up the pages of
    Vulcan Science Academy Murders or
    The Martian Chronicles; maybe
    Forerunner Foray and, lost in other realities,
    I learn again that all is not lost.
    To be able to imagine things as they once were
    and might again be so, is to know that
    all is redeemable.

  21. lily black

    Back to Basics

    We went to Luckenbach
    And could not find the “basics of love”
    We drove in an ancient truck
    Three on the tree
    Through fields and fields of blue painted with an Indian paintbrush
    We sat on Mexican Blankets and searched and searched
    But there was no love to get back
    I saw your face against my sky
    You never looked at mine
    You kept your eyes closed imagining some far off lover or man
    You could never face in yourself
    We went to Luckenbach
    And no music played
    There was no dancing
    No guitars
    No cowboys
    Nothing at all
    For us

  22. Deri

    Friday Night Bar Hop

    It’s all a dance
    if you look at it closely
    the men advancing,
    then two steps to the right,
    back, turn around,
    the women following,
    retreating to the beats
    careful not to inhale
    the stale whiskey breaths
    all believing in their own minds
    that they are creating
    a unique choreography
    not realizing this age-old dance
    will never change
    sometimes aggressive
    other times playful
    but serious business
    this carrying on the music
    of an entire species
    which is fully capable of achieving
    the exact same results
    if they would just say “hello”

  23. jean2dubois

    by Jean Dubois

    why does the future have to be
    back to basics for folks like me?

    we’d do everything from our phones
    info would come to us from drones
    I should settle down and be
    privy to every possibility

    but no I do not want to be
    dependent on a battery
    I want to hold a book and feel
    its weight its texture know it’s real

    why does the future have to be
    back to basics for folks like me?

    d’rather sit in the corner of the couch
    read the books I have in the house
    feel a frisson deep in my ear
    when I re-read frankly my dear

    Black Elk Speaks Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
    Fleurs de Mal sends shivers down my back
    the future doesn’t have to be
    back to basics for folks like me

    I’m going back to the past today
    not that I’ll throw my phone away
    I might fall down a time or two
    and need to call a rescue crew

    the future doesn’t have to be
    back to basics for folks like me
    instead I’ll read Pilote de Guerre
    C. P. Snow and maybe Moliere

  24. BezBawni

    From Scratch

    a friend of mine once said that
    this world is simpler
    than we’d like it to be
    in order to understand it
    go back to basics
    to its origin—to God
    by Lucretia Amstell

  25. Michelle Murrish

    Back to the Start
    By Michelle Murrish

    The spoon wobbles as it makes its assent
    Spilling half of its content back in the bowl
    Before it reaches her lips
    She never would have imagined
    That age would not only steal her beauty
    But her proficiency with silverware
    Time has reverted her back to infancy
    No longer able to care for herself
    She waves off the help of her nurse
    The soups gone cold but still tastes sweet
    It’s her taste of a small victory, three times a day

  26. PSC in CT

    Arsenic and Old Lace
    (or: An apple a day keeps the doctor in business)

    What once was
    so wholesome, basic
    has become contaminated.
    Cash waxed as nutrition waned.
    Meddled with and mucked up over time
    when money became the bigger prize.
    Historically the healthy one, but
    greed in the Garden of Eden
    has left behind a legacy
    of arsenic & lead.


  27. Yolee


    The plan to love
    pray incessantly
    & eat less chicken
    wings sometimes
    gets pushed out
    of the to-want list.
    They fall on hard
    surfaces one must
    bend like windblown
    wheat to pick up.

  28. lethejerome


    The words align to outline
    The chaos and the insignificant
    Acts of creativity that might
    make it all worth aching for.
    Centuries of relative success
    At making a decent living
    At replacing trees with cows
    At butchering cows and preserving
    something of life for others
    At repeating a cycle slightly behind
    seasons left to themselves
    At wooing and charming
    to see that horse, to get the girl
    At learning to tell the story
    Left only opportunity and a taste
    for the world
    as it is.

    Instead of fences meats jugs piles suits
    words align align align

    and eventually they’ll explain, when
    you ask with the right intonation at
    the right time
    how you and your sister were made in the same
    abandon and thoughtlessness and thoroughness
    as the lot of us.

    Jérôme Melançon

  29. TuLife

    “Technical Difficulty”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    My best friend had never seen The Notebook.
    So we had to do a movie night, right?
    Planned the date, picked the snacks. Just
    needed to find the movie.

    Redbox. Nope, that won’t do. Only
    current films there. Limited availability.
    Netflix it is.

    Took my besty only
    a whole thirty
    minutes to figure out how to navigate it.
    I didn’t even bother trying to assist. Everybody
    who knows me knows that technology
    is not on my “can-do” list.

    $5.99 to rent a flick.
    I said we should watch it
    now and again tomorrow when we
    join our other friend Tee, since she
    hadn’t seen it either. We
    can only watch it once, my best friend told me.

    Whatever happened to wanting
    to resurrect a classic movie, driving
    to Blockbuster, $3.99 for a 2-day rental, watching
    it as many times as you like?

  30. Heidi


    Chromatic prisms
    ruptured seeds, shrewd word paintings
    in naked palms cupped.

    Wake up and rethink
    the dream paper stripped stark bare
    feet planting fig trees.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  31. Penny Henderson


    Over and over my son’s coach yells, “tackle!”
    The boys hit the bag and each other.
    Again and again I tell my stupid self,
    “slash those excess adjectives!”
    The guys will miss tackles in the big game,
    and I miss twelve verys in my manuscript

  32. Jaywig

    Returning Outdoors

    Autumn leans across the paths
    and droops. Callistemons light up
    the yard and bees fuss.

    At last I collect seedlings
    I actually plant them
    I water them. And then it rains.

    I’m sure there used to be sunshine.
    I add worms bought from a store
    to compost and beds.

    Daylight scurries behind
    sheets of cloud – diffuse,
    corrugated or puffy-cheeked.

    I forget to draw curtains against
    the dark. Luckily the television
    is brightly coloured, cheerful.

    This season will bury itself
    in Winter. Beetroots and kale
    take root, take heart.

  33. robinamelia

    Dream waste

    We sing through our diminishments
    fewer octaves, diminuendo,
    croak to whisper

    Rainbows split off
    monochromatic snakes
    slithering to black

    Robin Amelia Morris

  34. Ciel_

    Learning English

    I learned to use
    there not their for
    It’s over there

    and hear not here for
    Can you hear me?

    Sometimes it’s easy
    like when what I refuse
    turns into refuse

    but it can be confusing when
    sounds like

    and polish is a person –
    Polish –
    When there’s a capital P.

    By Ciel Haven

  35. Linda Hatton

    (B)Asics in Love at the Track Meet

    My biceps femoris have not relaxed
    since I held my breath at the news:
    We need to take a break.
    Hamstrings pulled and stretched
    on the track of one-hundred meter dashes
    ‘round my heart, left behind
    in the stands, cheering you
    on as I watched you take off
    into the distance, running
    as though I had lit you on fire,
    the heat too much for you to handle,
    you, with your tepid preferences,
    you, fanning my flames, doused
    out with no way to find my way
    back to the light, hobbling with each foot-
    step around in circles, from barefoot
    back to wearing (b)asics tied up tight
    ‘round my ankles, ‘round my life,
    towards the finish, back to the start
    where you wait, your hands now calloused
    from the fight, finding your way
    back to that place where you can relax into me,
    relax into you-
    th’ timer resetting, settling
    into fleshy thighs
    that don’t want to watch you from the stands.
    Wanting you to take a stand.

    -Linda G Hatton

  36. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 21

    Write a Back to Basics poem.

    Simple Life Dilemma

    We’ve contemplated moving
    downtown by the river,
    downsizing, paring
    down to essentials.

    Yet if we move, we’ll be
    missing the simple life
    of a close-knit community
    where every member feels pulse of others.

    I’ll no longer crane my neck and ears
    on neighborhood walks, listening for
    horse whinnies or seeking bison sightings.
    The cows won’t bawl their ridiculous “moos.”

    Still, walking on the bridge or river walk every
    single day is tempting. But what am I
    thinking, when before we stake “For Sale,”
    we need to pay off debts?

  37. SuziBwritin

    PAD CHALLENGE 2014 #21 Back to Basics Poem


    I love fundamental
    I also love plain
    I love sturdy and functional
    It’s the way of my brain

    Don’t get busy or frilly
    don’t add too much “bizzy”
    if you make it expensive
    it just makes me dizzy

    I love clean lines and neatness
    I love lots of space
    give me plenty of ballroom
    to show off my grace
    don’t clutter with knick-knacks
    to gather more dust
    no fussy curtains or drapes
    just a shade if you must

    and the lighting I like
    well, it has to be bright
    no subtle low candles
    no softening light
    it’s just that I like
    a place clear and plain
    it feels good and comfy
    and matches my brain

  38. Nanamaxtwo

    Back to Basics

    ‘Remember the day the pig fell into the well?’ she asked.
    John Cheever

    Back to basics may turn life inside
    out like the black sock on your bed,
    adorned with classic, grey stripes,
    seam strings dangling at the toes, may need
    you to push in your hand, grip the sole
    and pull. King’s Passion and vodka blur
    the common clichés, no, more the uncommon
    cliché that works in a form with few inhibitions,
    that writes its own laws on the stage and
    perchance sober, walks the streets of your life
    and seems neither comforted nor affrighted.

  39. encrerouge

    14 thoughts and a head ache

    No, If I painted my hair to the rhythm of coins
    the spirit of a cry will be lost in every strand
    this is who I am, bare and full of mazes
    between thoughts an bookshelves
    who speak of a thousand variations
    and reclaim only a whisper of sincerity
    to build the rise of arrows detaching
    attaching to fruits of forbidden trees

    and yes, these are gloves which will disappear
    shortly after my thumbs don’t ache from their loss
    of identity, do not pity me out of abundance
    when it is the basket that is lacking
    a curvature from the throat up
    Adan’s apples won’t rejoice to the thought
    of pears and sunflower seeds in the menu

    Back to the facts that conquered the headlight
    a voice never reached the bottom of the well
    my yell crisped the skies with rain showers
    today is when melancholy over powers
    to excel in what forever shall be mine:
    they will to grasp a present by a natural right.

  40. Michael Wells

    Back to the Basics

    Why a 120 crayon box when an 8 crayon box
    will do. Most of our options coax us to
    extremes. Standing in front to the toothpaste
    aisle I’m a babbling idiot. Fresh breath, fight cavities
    whiten, repair enamel— the choices— complexities.

    Maybe I don’t want a black rotary dial or maybe I do.
    We talk about going back to the basics
    we experiment with turning our smart phones off
    for the evening but we are drawn by some unseen force—

    slaves, we are to the time in which we live. what did we do
    when we only had a home phone, went out for the evening
    and no one could reach for hours. Can you remember
    what that was like?

  41. LeighSpencer

    Peanut Butter and Jelly

    I was dreaming
    about mutton and fry bread

    They still serve that
    in places on the reservation
    through New Mexico
    or maybe Utah?

    I don’t even remember
    where we were that trip

    Except that we were hungry
    and it was the middle of nowhere

    Gas station

    Truly last stop
    maybe forever
    and fifteen minutes before closing

    My older son and I ran in
    scouring the scant aisles
    like we were stalking prey
    in the first world

    We captured
    a loaf of soft white bread
    a jar of creamy, no-name peanut butter
    and two jars of strawberry preserves

    (one that my son broke in his hunting haste
    and the one that we took with us,
    not needing to be cleaned up
    now 10 minutes before closing)

    I don’t know why we had a plastic butter knife
    in the glove compartment

    I do know those sandwiches were delicious
    sitting on the tailgate with my family

    Eating and laughing
    as a glorious sunset
    painted the middle of nowhere