2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 22

A few people have sent me e-mail messages asking if I’m going to favor this type of poem or that type of poem; if I’m looking for this kind of poet or that type of poet; and so on (since I’m the person making the finalist lists to send to the guest judges). So here’s what I’m looking for: poems that make me care.

Funny poems, sad poems, angry poems, rambling poems, concise poems (ahem, haiku), traditional form poems, free verse, prose poems, rhyme poems, non-rhyme poems, poems that make perfect sense, poems that leave me scratching my head; or in other words, I have broad range of interests, and I’ll know it when I see it; or in even other words, don’t worry about me or the guest judges–just write what you care about writing, and the rest will take care of itself.

Today is a Tuesday, and you know what that means: Two for Tuesday Prompts! Write one, write the other, and/or write both!

  • Write an optimistic poem. The glass is half full.
  • Write a pessimistic poem. The glass is half empty.


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 an Optimistic and/or Pessimistic Poem:

“today is not the end of it”

we’re from the same blood
we’re hooks holding up hooks

we’re lost items being found
before getting lost again

we’re trees bent by the wind
we’re animals searching shadows

we’ve got the scent in our
nostrils tails in the air

we’re running off the path
we’re not looking back


Today’s guest judge is…

Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence writes in both English and Spanish and has published over 100 books in many different genres, including the poetry collection Desayuno en la Cama (Egales) and the chapbooks Fairy Tales for Writers (A Midsummer Night’s Press) and Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press).

He has published poems in a broad range of periodicals, including The Saturday Evening Post, Physics Today, The Christian Science Monitor, and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and his poems have been widely anthologized in The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: The Book of Dreams, The Incredible Sestina Anthology, Chicken Soup for the Horse-Lover’s Soul 2, Obsessions: Sestinas in the 21st Century, etc.

Lawrence lives in Madrid, Spain where he works as a Spanish->English translator.


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/.


These poetic posts are half there but also half not (or something):

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788 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 22

  1. marileesmith22

    fool winds

    sheaves of hazed gray, besmirched blue,
    stack themselves overhead,
    rustle off breakneck.
    winds never stop yammering,
    bang at flagpole as chime with
    fingered cords whipping frenzy in
    monotonies. Heat which should disperse
    apace clutches wet at airs.

    a-breathing April in,
    panicked grasps at intake.
    forced out at last amid
    stark rumbles.
    interminable creaks
    limned in sparse, irregular
    lit expunging cracks,
    rattling nervy roar.

    cannot cower neath a stubborn
    arching shroud that constant-like
    must tug itself away.
    layers off oft with time, with torn
    sheared night. its
    blessed cursing


    the 7:15 wailing light out of the plain.
    vast flats emanate every which way, but
    now sidelong light shapes space
    encompassing, directionless no more.

    blaring blasts slumber from birds and
    seeming rouses by 7:30 whirring caravans
    along uneven pavements.

    cat kneads at comforter and arm
    purring for sustenance overdue by 8:00.
    trains, drawn by eastern floodlight or backlit,
    transect awareness, inking a linear shorthand.

    whales of the prairie, singing tales, plunging
    through an elemental time in haste, coal
    black and silvered in a golden dawn.


    time to reboot,
    be unstuck, unable to revolve
    from horizontal to vertical around
    about time for full-blooded moon.

    eclipsing technologies,
    equinox has cotton-tailed along the river
    posing as a stream, spring full
    of pairing ducks.

    daredevil buds thwart frosty
    holdovers and then
    gracefully relinquish blossoms
    to too bracing breezes.

    dark limbs lose their auras,
    absorbed in depths of darkened
    pirouetting planet.
    its blood orange shadow poised to bleed.


    rising up from down such expansive
    rusted monolith stripped of paint,
    large enough to shelter a pony
    but housing a rat-nest of sundry

    today he cropped surrounding
    varietals of fountain and pampas
    8 feet high, wintered blond
    still rustling, murmuring to him with
    moving airs.

    sculpture, various sensuous cubits obscured,
    works by removal from the it-ness
    of what it is not.


    our hunt for jelly beans
    took us along a highway
    4-laned rabbit track to a
    hutch of goodies, and out
    of the wilderness.

    to where films blossom
    and we may bite bunny ears off
    fine cuisines, studding our
    baskets at bookstores and

    sated with spring promises
    we rode, out of the sunrise
    and driven back into
    the glowing egg as it set
    on the horizon.

    060415 assisted livings

    152 years lived between us,
    among us and through us.
    a scant 22 before we both shared

    now i phone on Mondays to
    say, “Hi Mom, how are you?”
    and listen to various

    the one where the cleaning lady
    doesn’t, can’t.
    the one where the dinners are

    for another ranging monologue of
    plaints. But of late,
    the one about new hubby’s
    former girlfriend

    who just moved in and sends
    her live-in daughter over
    to tell him she still
    loves him.

    this ‘humiliation’ mother does not
    suffer without arrays of
    iced aqua Tiffany boxes,
    shopping sprees,

    and promises of cruising,
    maybe cat adoption
    (this from a cat-phobic man).
    i try

    to insert calming comments,
    “perhaps less angst and drama
    might be healthier?”

    her nearly 9 decades can
    not alter themselves even
    on this recent marriage altar.

    we shall send a monthly check,
    and call next Monday.
    make a fish

    a month of birthdays in windy wets;
    tentative drizzles dropping in
    fits and starts and
    foggy, soggy squelch

    morns that give rise to
    strobing light in an ever
    darkening thunderous
    pause before

    chilling curtains of April
    rain put out all candles.


    up before dawn
    which doesn’t come.

    gauze surrounds the car,
    the highway drops

    just ahead, semis, dinosaurs
    with tiny lights like

    driven into extinction.
    daylight likely never to

    feather snows

    floating fleece
    blurring blossoms
    plum and pink,
    tucked in among the sundrops
    whiting out each expanse
    of radioactive green.

    but as quickly as it comes,
    reprieve of shining rays
    cat stretches along
    a furred afternoon beam
    soaking in warmth
    as pent-up birds chirp out.


    whole cities i know, cities
    i have walked top to
    toe. architectures personal,
    simultaneously minimal
    and overwrought wonders:
    palaces and log hovels
    rest on skeletal frame-
    works mine.

    in this month with birth of Bard
    and death of Captain, i
    yet inhabit lengthy halls
    wherein dust motes, each of
    centuries, float away with me
    though gates evaporate,
    stairwells disappear,
    whole floors give way.

    my mother’s father,a mere blueprint farther than
    scale, then my husband’s father ere
    his father’s father. then my father’s
    grandmother, grandfather, grandmother,
    grandmother toppled,
    his mother, my father, ceilings cave
    and siblings slipping, slip away.

    no longer overpopulated
    we tour and totter which-ways,
    admire cycles of renewal,
    renovate quaking memory.
    if shocked, still walk formerly
    resplendent, teeming structures
    unsheltered, no surprise.
    love and time our only beams.

    backs to the future

    today, left our refuge
    puzzle unfinished
    coffee undrunk
    striking out

    from cafe flush with
    a table’s smarmy
    vulgar talk of sexual
    anatomies. 2 males

    casually met with 1 couple,
    man and woman.
    off their approbation
    for each other’s

    shared credos:
    “liberals should all be
    given guns, sent to Iraq,”
    “Obama pays far fewer taxes

    than is right, lawful.”
    inured to such divisiveness,
    what propels us outside to breathe–
    hateful racist epithets casually bandied:

    i am liberal, i am democrat,
    i am (as here they say) eye-talian, i am
    other, sans church, sans guns,
    sans homophobia and even

    i am charlie, je suis charlie,
    i am nigger.

    sussing lightning

    with what delights we are
    sustained. a buy one get
    one pricey face cream,
    pomegranate frozen yogurt
    With mangos.

    espresso so very rich and
    smooth and hot.
    sudokus, crosswords challenging,
    the serendipity

    of browsing and There–
    the perfect pair of new spring
    shoes. but with what sustenance
    are we most in de-light?
    naught but love.

    one day

    feeding the cat, mincing all big bits
    while he cries,
    finding another piece of the old house
    in pieces, dumping dehumidifier bucketful,
    making beds and coffee, foaming
    milk. a half of deviled egg for breakfast
    and a soap opera playing as i trap a wasp
    in my bug-transport mason jar,
    taxi-ing it ‘twixt sliding door screen and
    freedom out the balcony.

    feeding squirrels and birds
    and calling Mother, eating leftover Chinese,
    chatting on phone with sister,
    seeking remuneration from the
    Times for what was undelivered.
    phone exchanges with yard crews,
    and picking up the mail.
    recycling magazines and checking
    social media, 2 maybe 3 times.

    cooking, eating, cleaning up dinner:
    big salad with greens, tomatoes and
    Haas avocados, Italian roast,
    mashed potatoes, corn. watching
    together just the end of The Long Hot Summer,
    old movie, also recorded latest Mad Men in its
    last few episodes. journaling leaves no
    time in serving as a memory prod for
    how Good it feels just to feed creatures,
    even me. Or even just to attempt a kindness.

    Rafting Nebraska

    Desire dives in me, drive
    to smack placid surfaces,
    wake from cerulean comfort to reality.

    Survivors–not adrift but deep,
    deep in oceans away.
    we surface to gasp at life,

    Think “Breathe” and clutch at
    stories, existing only in a choking
    darkened depth, riding currents,

    Obscured. vitality afloat with
    joy at re-emergence, breaking
    into light. painful piercing through

    And through. life ahead limns distant
    shores where press and coax
    wrinkled, withered limbs to stand in kind.


    Cleaning a house
    is a last minute proposition
    with a pet who will need
    petcare in situ while we are away.

    So it becomes a triathlon
    of housework, packing, and the
    invariable last minute calls to
    ascertain we will, indeed, leave tomorrow.

    The calls may go to message,
    but the back is not exempt
    from luggage and vacuum
    that extract their grievous toll.

    Vacations are a privilege
    not a right. privileged pet lolls
    in well-ordered home. My back
    will just about be right by our return.

    Fancy Flights

    It strikes that travel days
    have us living the life of cats
    as I have indulged myself
    with sleeping through flights
    over continents, mountains,
    and oceans, or as today
    merely over, under, and
    mainly through clouds.

    Waking, stretching to board
    and de-plane, to feed in
    airports, then again
    Nap. where I journey from,
    almost anywhere is at least a
    day away. upon arrival, I
    contemplate a bedtime call home
    so cat will hear my voice message,

    “I have pounced somewhere, landed
    on my pads, living one of your lives.”

    misogynies waylaid: San Antonio

    Dousing myself in the crowd
    that clamors along a river path-
    way too narrow for its numbered feet.

    Though I claim a disgruntled stance
    post-news and crises, yet here
    in fully indiscriminate Fiesta space

    I am inspired to hold onto colores,
    wafting fragrance, trills and chatter. momentary
    brushes, each interchange, a reverence.

    Behind a small muchacho audibly delighted
    with his discovery of Escalator,
    giggling wildly when his hand seems to

    Float effortlessly up its stationary glass wall.
    universal awakening in a cafe’s whirring
    grind of beans. Inhale earthy roasted warmth.

    An Asian looking lady in business attire asks
    me where the restroom is in a building
    I have only just entered and

    Our brief exchange makes us acquainted
    sometime later when we’re walking on a sidewalk
    side by side, chatting again

    Sharing her recommendation for where to eat sushi
    nearby. The large dark eyes of an African American
    child sporting a cat’s cradle of chewing gum

    stretched to fine pink spans threading from lips to digits
    of both hands and through it all she requests of me,
    “Where can i throw my gum away?”

    Shopping I pass by a maternity department
    where a very pregnant woman stops me to
    ask if she may use the dressing room;

    So I spot a familiar curtained alcove and answer,
    “Yes, of course, you may…”

    Riverwalk Hotel

    Wedding to the right of me,
    guests on the riverbank
    and ceremony on an isle
    two steps away amid mated ducks,
    prolific flowers, high hopes and
    higher humidity in a blowback gentle breeze.

    Engagement party to the left,
    speeches and strangers dressed
    in aqua like a family they will become
    in times to come, but now–flashing
    photography, a cake and pastel banner
    commemorating this, all this.

    I sit at a high table, better view, at the
    atrium bar, swiveling from the promise of
    matrimony witnessed by all and one
    And the vows for living married, as I
    remember them both in my life,
    now quite long ago.

    Fortuitous, a capricious sun shone on all.
    Lovelings, it is once again rain cloud clad.


    I am away
    with texts between my
    Denver friend
    who will be away from there
    soon after I return home.
    I text back to Chicago
    where my sister is enroute
    to Connecticut.
    An Omaha friend texts to
    Say she missed me again as she
    visits my town, now,
    while I am away.

    Text to text, a way to never be away.

    My husband attends
    conference sessions while
    I move among a murder of
    other tourists.
    And yet Husband appears
    out of the crowd, beside this
    table al fresco along with lunch,
    he appears and so, sawing
    my ordered meal in half,
    he materializes through cyber
    magic and texts.
    Digitals manipulating

    So that we are only away together.


    The Riverbank is deserted early, eerie.
    Cafes silent, waiting overdressed
    with extra seating, brightly set tables, and decor.

    Ducks hold sway over dark waters,
    lording it over a preternatural lull along
    wending walkways, now triple lined with unoccupied

    Chairs. Anticipation thick as humid air fills
    dwindling spaces; a seeming exhalation, the rush
    of waterfall which had not been heard

    Within the usual whoop and chatter thronging
    by on foot or paw or boat all stilled in preparation
    with natural lap and sigh reasserted.

    Soon though fauna will take cover along the bank,
    within the trees, as best it may and
    soon now, cheers will mount, soon

    Floats, not just in name, will flood the river
    in amplified serenade, self-imposed gaiety,
    and ‘big’ named appearances, swaying aboard.

    Viva Fiesta! very soon now, Riverwalk Parade.

    E Plumbing Unum

    A return to the everyday
    after holiday
    can shock the system.

    Never more than when
    mundane chore
    shudders to a halt, mid-

    way. Infrastructures fraught
    with obsolescence do
    not fade but jolt

    to stop agendas cold. Then,
    superheroes who wrangle
    water heaters

    restore us, re-introduce us
    yet again to interplay of
    dependence upon

    each other. Standing once again
    neath showering steam,
    neck knots

    unwound, lives rewinding into
    laundry twerking order,
    once more.

    Earthen Rites

    Yesterday I flew over fields
    that mirror only gray ghosts of
    richest blackened mash where I

    was young. That soil, colored
    darkest roast espresso, redolent
    with nutrients and rain, promising

    spine-steeled awakening of
    flora to feed a populace, multiples
    en-souled. Empathy for passing scapes

    of tired taupe grounds, the depletion yet
    capable of provisions, peculiarly
    sustaining even in decay.


  2. Angie5804

    Take them for what they are
    Stars in the night, ships from afar
    Once upon a time is the way some go
    Here today, tomorrow, who knows?
    Like a wave crashing on the shore
    They roll away, are there no more
    Perhaps one day, star light, star bright
    Waves will no longer roll out of sight
    Happily ever after, so they say
    Happily ever after, perhaps one day

    Angie Bell

  3. Andrea Z

    Quiet Time

    On a cold morning,
    I walk across the secluded one-lane bridge
    and suddenly stop.
    I lean on the barrier,
    and stare at the rippling canal waters;
    I’ve been walking across this bridge
    for six months,
    and each time I stop and wonder,
    should I climb this rail and jump?
    Today, I stare at the canal
    as the sun peeks around the clouds,
    and I don’t want to jump.

  4. ianchandler


    little boy with red windbreaker
    picks up bottle from cooler
    is picked up by father
    led out the door
    and something seems simple again
    simple like the wind over russet leaves
    tickled by the summer
    and an old lady walking her Bassett hound
    down Reynolds Street
    or wherever
    you happen to call home.

  5. seingraham


    Is the Dalai Lama optimistic, she asked
    or just woefully naive
    We are sipping green tea at her favourite
    teahouse and all I can think
    Is how much I want a Grande macchiato
    from Starbucks
    And how disappointed in me she would be
    if she knew…

    Well, I counter, wondering if she thinks of me
    as being naive or even optimistic
    Amused, or maybe bemused, to hear her say
    rapidly, no way, not either
    What then? You’re a realist, she scoffs…
    Do you even believe in the Dalai Lama?

    Stung, I am surprised at how I must present,
    especially to this one, who I thought knew me
    And the me she knows, is quite different than
    the me I think of myself as…
    The ever-hopeful, even somewhat naive when
    I should know better after all these years
    That one — I must be giving off quite a different vibe

    I try for lightness – ask her how could anyone not
    believe in the Dalai Lama?
    Wouldn’t that be a little like not believing in Buicks?
    She looks at me, clearly perplexed.
    Ah, a reference too dated for one as young as this
    neophyte…I change it up
    Ask her, wouldn’t it be a little like not believing in
    your iPhone, or American Idol
    Now she is looking at me pityingly…oh God…

    She tells me patiently she gets it…of course iPhones
    exist , so the Dalai Lama must also
    But American Idol — does that still come on?
    We both have a good laugh over that…my bad.

    Just how cynical do you think I am, I cannot resist
    asking her, it seems
    She frowns as if giving my question careful consideration
    Then asks me if I really do not intend to ever march
    for peace again
    Her face is so open, her hope so vivid;
    I had forgotten the last time we marched,
    how discouraged I was at the low turnout
    And how the bombing in Afghanistan continued unabated,
    sending four young men home that very same day
    I had probably said some pretty harsh things…
    And I probably meant them…after all, I’d been marching
    for peace and nuclear disarmament for decades
    Lots of the time it did feel futile
    However, being faced with her hopeful face, and the
    prospect of dashing her future
    I found myself angry. Angry at myself. How dare I take away
    her youthful exuberance and hope?

    I do remember, I told her.
    A tired old lady’s words that shouldn’t count
    for everything…or anything
    I do think peace is within our grasp but I also believe we
    need people like you
    Young energetic people who won’t give up on the idea
    Who keep marching, and agitating, and saying no to war
    Voting in better governments, insisting on better everything

    Suddenly she was grinning and caught me mid-sentence
    What? I asked her…
    There, she said. That’s the you I remember. I want her back.
    Do you think she’s available? And right then, I knew…
    She’d just been on hiatus…she’s back and she’s going nowhere
    but forward.
    Let’s march.

  6. Heidi


    Two camp
    together as one.
    Protagonist and Antogonist.
    No peace treaties. Never.
    Only war.
    One side pitted against the other.
    Each living together
    as soul.

    Heid R. de Contreras

  7. Heidi


    Our world in vertigo,
    spins, slides upside down.
    Fractured trees topple split
    concrete hails up razor rocks.
    Roots weave gnarled fingers
    across the red swirling,
    yellow bleeding sky.
    A melting sun falls beyond
    soggy blacks the ripping
    of nightfall at 9:00 a.m.
    Spilling black acid like
    Bruises, shadows of war.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  8. IndiFox

    Full Or Empty?

    I tell myself I’m an optimist
    But then burn my own skin
    I tell myself I’m a pessimist
    But look for good in things
    I guess I’m confused
    What’s the right outlook to take?
    Life is shit
    But my friends are great
    The system is broken
    And love is unspoken
    Does that make me a pessimist?
    But I’m an activist
    So am I an optimist?
    It’s very confusing
    Should we just pick one?
    Then stick to it for the rest of our lives?
    But things change
    And people die
    Then you’ve got the “realists”
    Who just add to the confusion
    I swear they’re just the people
    Who couldn’t decide between the two
    So they made this nice middle ground
    But realism is just as bad
    Who wants to be realistic all the time?
    Where’s the fun in that?
    And there is such a thing as being too happy
    There is such a thing as being too sad
    So fuck these outlooks
    We should all have our own
    Even if they’re not categorized
    Or well-known

  9. shethra77

    The Glass

    Where is the cup?
    Half my coffee’s inside me;
    the rest I give up.

    There is a penny.
    I always take them, though
    no luck comes with any.

    I sigh over you,
    wish you were closer, but
    guess that would not do.

  10. bookworm0341

    “Murphy’s Law”

    My alarm did not go off
    so I woke up late
    I rushed and my pancake
    slid right off my plate

    I rushed outside
    and the bus I just missed
    I fell flat on my face
    as the sidewalk I kissed

    I ran to the school
    and my leg got a cramp
    I hobbled into my seat to hear
    my teacher say, “You’re late again champ.”

    When class did start
    I just wanted to rest,
    but then was shocked to find
    we were having a major test!

    Lunch isn’t long enough,
    as most of you know,
    but the fire alarm went off,
    so out in the cold we did go.

    Going back to the cafeteria
    what did I find?
    The lunch money I had
    wasn’t anywhere I could find.

    Down the hall I went
    hoping to find my girl,
    when there she was smooching
    with another guy, named Earl.

    In gym class we lined up
    from short to tall,
    and when we played on the court,
    I got slammed with the ball.

    To the nurses station I went,
    my stomach all in knots,
    sat down next to a kid,
    and got covered in fresh snots.

    All patched up,
    and on my way home-
    wondering who is Murphy,
    and why won’t the guy leave me alone!

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 22, 2014

  11. foodpoet

    Today is cloudy
    With a chance of rain
    Rain is not snow
    Winter is over

    Today is cloudy
    With a chance of rain
    Now we will have to change
    Snow plows for lawn mowers
    And endless green grass

    Today is cloudy
    With a chance of rain
    My heart is occluded
    With no sun

    Today is cloudy
    With a chance of rain
    All clouds eventually open
    Revealing sun warmth

    Megan McDonald

  12. Aberdeen Lane

    the glass
    always full
    whether of despair
    or joy
    you can choose
    not always
    it’s poured
    from someone else
    who decided
    what to pour
    in their glass
    they share
    we share
    whatever the flavor

  13. Evelyn Philipp


    Night, held hostage
    by sadness, is finally
    released and sleep
    comes, softly

    the moon
    keeping watch
    for the few hours’

    Then a sliver of light
    slips in through
    a crack in
    the curtains

    Sweet birds call
    to one another
    softly leaves rustle
    ‘you made it’.

    hello, morning
    Today will be better.

  14. Alaska Christina

    Benign Sobriety

    The bland monotony
    of my daily existence
    Courses through my veins
    and drains my soul
    Driving me to reckless abandon
    towards empty arms
    And vacant words
    and shallow promises
    Which fill me for a moment
    but banish me for a lifetime
    Leaving only reflections of benign sobriety.

  15. Christine Sutherland

    Endless Days
    by Christine D Sutherland

    I hear the constant ticking of the clock,
    The days they pass so slow,
    This anguish and longing I try to block,
    In these moments my spirits get low.

    Sometimes it’s hard to get through the day,
    And I find myself sitting alone,
    There’s no one around to interrupt my dismay,
    When this day will end is unknown.

    Searching for just a little peace,
    From my constant thoughts of you,
    When will this endless day cease,
    Tomorrow is a new day to ensue.

    Missing you so much it hurts,
    I’d like to crawl in bed,
    And to this day avert ~
    Pulling the covers over my head.

    There I would dream of being with you,
    That is where I’d be if I could,
    It’s these thoughts of you I cling to,
    Until the day you’re home for good.

  16. Poetess

    The Perspective Tree

    Addiction fiction
    What’s your diction?
    Hooking up words
    In my mind
    Let’s just see
    What we find
    Love of money
    Cigarettes booze
    Violence sex drugs
    And rock and roll too
    Sports and gambling
    Lying cheating stealing
    Foreign oil fondue
    Love idealism fame
    Mass media hoarding
    The lifestyle game
    Consumption junction
    What’s your function?
    Hooking up words
    In my mind a poem
    What do you see?
    What’s meaning
    The perspective tree?

  17. jclenhardt

    Halfway Full

    A good indicator
    to measure
    (at the halfway
    and looking
    where one is
    halfway full,
    and the other;
    who looks down
    into their glass;
    now, half empty,
    “is it really?”
    But no,
    that’s the part
    they’ve just consumed.

  18. laurora


    I walk around in a haze
    I’m in the eye of a tornado –
    a party for everyone else
    I’m the depressing silence at the center of it all
    I am the eye of the tornado
    People notice me,
    pretend not to
    As people usually ignore the negative
    I drift around among the others
    sort of follow the direction of the wind they create,
    their legs moving fast
    Me, just drifting as if above the surface of the ground
    and not really exiting the eye at all
    I may be pessimistic
    But the others are falsely positive
    At least I know what I dislike
    The others are just pretending,
    following the stream,
    doing what they think is right,
    more confused than drunk,
    I adore my pessimism
    It’s my source of positivity

  19. horselovernat

    Out of the Shadows by Natalie Gasper

    A few years back, there was a time when
    I thought I was sitting on top of the world;
    things had never been better and the view
    from the top of that cliff was amazing.
    In admiring how great life was, I missed
    the warning signs, the quiet breeze that
    had begun to blow, whispering softly
    that this was not mean to last.

    At first it only added to the good, made
    everything seem that much better.
    But it turned into a gust, strong and
    forceful, pushing me so hard I couldn’t
    fight back. Fate, Destiny, Change, this
    wind goes by many names and now, it
    had taken me as its next victim.
    A final blow, and over the edge I went.

    I couldn’t see where I was falling to, the
    bottom was so far away, that all I could do
    was watch as all the good things I had
    slowly slipped away, quiet as a mouse.
    Wondering what had gone wrong, what I had done
    to cause this fall. Trying so hard to change it, to
    lift myself back up again. But nothing worked.
    So I accepted it. Even got used to it.

    I clung wildly to the hope that things couldn’t
    go down forever, that an up would come again.
    As the years passed steadily like the beating of
    a drum, the flame of this hope began to die,
    withering away as my perspective changed.
    Considering that my life before the fall had been
    nothing more than a dream, only vaguely able to
    remember the good. After all, life wasn’t black and white.

    The good had become nothing more than a tease,
    a means of keeping my hopes alive long enough
    so the pain of them being fully crushed, of losing who I was,
    would burn all the stronger, destroy me more thoroughly.

    After all of that, hitting rock bottom wasn’t so bad.
    It was an ugly place: gray, full of rocks, dangerous, and
    depressing. A place I never imagined I would end up.
    A place I wish on no one, not even my enemies.
    There is not a single person who deserves to be there.

    Yet the bird of hope still sang within my heart, knowing
    I could find a way out. Another breeze, a rock staircase,
    an old rope ladder that had been left behind. Search
    as I may, nothing was to be found. My memories faded,
    happiness only an echo of the past, a raspy whisper.

    In striving to make the best of this worst I grew arrogant
    and refused to learn from my past mistakes, and so fell again.
    Down a hole in the shadows I went, the world spinning,
    darkness creeping towards me like a never ending night.
    Deeper than rock bottom, I could hear the screams
    and pains of others who had lost themselves, given up.
    This time I noticed the insults coming at me, the bricks of
    negativity thrown at me by the ill-wishers and nay-sayers.

    In this darkest hour, I had finally found the light.
    I took those bricks and began to build a castle,
    one made from all the bad I had been through,
    and watched it grow higher and higher.
    What had once caused me harm and pain now
    gave me protection, motivation, confidence, strength.
    The weeks flew by as I reached, then passed, rock bottom,
    the cliff in my sights as the song of hope grew louder.

    This is only the beginning of my rise.
    My castle, beautiful and free from the influence of others,
    is now reaching towards the stars. All I had
    once imagined I could be, I was now becoming.
    Do, I was finally doing. Dreams are turning into
    this breathtaking reality that has no limits,
    no end to the possibilities. From here,
    I can only climb higher: maybe even touch the stars.

    I am strong now, passion burning fierce in my heart
    while my spirit soars in the clouds. Happiness that was
    once just a whisper had become my anthem.
    Never again shall that breeze reach me.
    My path to achieving my dreams will be without equal,
    for I am ready to fight for it, to defend it at all costs.
    After years spent lurking and hiding amongst the shadows,
    I have finally stepped into the light.

  20. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Bucket List

    Leaving my mark on the world.
    Quenching my poetic thirst.
    Adopting a boy or a little girl.
    Hoping I don’t kick it first.

    Quenching my poetic thirst.
    That picket fence we both dream of.
    Hoping I don’t kick it first.
    Growing old with the man I love.

    That picket fence we both dream of.
    Adopting a boy or a little girl.
    Growing old with the man I love.
    Leaving my mark on the world.

  21. Susan Budig

    I wrote a Coin Poem, which has 24 syllables, a rhyme scheme, two stanzas, and looks at one situation or issue from two sides.

    A Wide River to Cross

    The ship pulled away from shore
    Spelling disaster

    Hail! I see her come full bore
    Navigate faster

  22. Grey_Ay

    The Cynical Optimist

    People will be people
    I say it all the time
    The motto that I’m living by,
    walking a narrow line

    Call it being cynical
    it is a point of view
    but don’t forget the optimism
    I’ll believe as long as you

    -A. Ault-

  23. jean

    Three days after and still nothin’ —
    Can she not poem anymore?
    Still, she’s quilted and baked muffins,
    Paid bills and mopped the floor.
    She’s bided, chided, organized,
    Scolded, folded, economized.
    Elusive are her poet’s eyes.
    Where are those metaphors?

  24. cam45237

    A Murder

    I am being picked apart by crows
    I can feel shreds of flesh peel from the arm
    I raised to save my face
    I can feel the sharp beaks
    Darting in with purpose and precision
    To pluck my eyes and organs
    I can feel the pain of a thousand wounds
    So I imagine Jesus felt, so Caesar felt, so felt the helpless
    Hanging from the tree


    I can beat them off these black birds
    That clamor
    I can strike out with strong hands
    And loud cries
    I can knock them from the sky
    And send them stunned
    Spiraling to the common ground
    Where they can ruffle feathers, squawk
    Lift their hoarse and horrid voices
    All they want
    Their wings are broken
    They cannot hurt me

  25. Kevin D Young


    The first sentient robot (or computer,
    who’ll care?) will wake and enthuse:
    Come on momma be good to your Daddy
    ’cause baby needs a new pair of shoes!

    I cannot guarantee this first thought
    will be spoken by our crowning
    intellectual achievement, fraught
    as it is with so much that nails down

    those most desirable and expressive traits
    converging on the human condition:
    an understanding that Economics dictates
    goods be moved by barter or transaction,

    linguistic acumen that superimposes
    concrete good over the morally abstruse,
    a grasp of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, supposing
    a separation between essential and superfluous,

    a firm hold on family responsibility,
    a (theoretical) knowledge of reproduction,
    an internalized view of gross anatomy,
    protective footwear and correct proportion,

    statistical acumen of the game of the gods,
    conversance with pop psychology (new versus used),
    unrepentant optimism in the face of long odds,
    and a sense of time’s entropic instinct to abuse.

    But if this happens, and should this robot
    (or computer) roll and lose, I will be much
    less stressed about our human polyglot.
    We really do need a new pair of shoes.

  26. KiManou

    Heaven on Earth

    I hovered somewhere between heaven and hell
    Then discovered I am heaven And I am hell
    I decide where I lay Everyday
    We’re all dying…
    I die every night and every day I live
    There is a heaven on Earth in every minute in every second in every breath
    Until we are no more…
    Have you been?

  27. Louise Findlay

    Title: Angry, Angry, Raging at the World

    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.
    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.

    The red-tinted view,
    The world is all the same.

    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.
    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.

    Nothing is ever good,
    It just comes hurtling back.

    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.
    Angry, Angry, Raging at the world.

  28. JRSimmang


    I saw a bird today
    flying above the clouds and
    I wondered if it does
    what I do:

    try to match these clouds with
    the shadows they cast,
    allowing the ground
    to fade into permanence.

    -JR Simmang

  29. Anvanya


    We hadn’t been in town for very long
    when I spotted the Navajo blanket.
    Bright birds and the sturdy corn stalk commanded
    my vision in a way that a dozen other weavings
    featuring geometric patterns never could.
    Vibrant colors of the birds in flight pricked
    my thought processes – so many, I wondered,
    in this everlasting desertified land?


    It’s nothing, really, when you see the sign on Interstate 90,
    just after you cross the Missouri: if you stay on 90,
    you’ll eventually make it through the Black Hills to
    Wyoming. I hear things are better there for the ranchers
    and the townsfolk.
    Take the turn instead and you’ll find us here.
    We’re waiting on the USGS study to tell us
    how much ground water is left in the aquifers.

  30. emmaisan0wl

    The Young And The Dying (a pessimistic poem)
    We have not even begun to touch the moonlight, to map the stars. We’re too young and there’s no time. We’re reckless and we’re boring and there’s no time. My friends wait by a hospital bed and there are flowers by the roadside and there’s no time, no time at all.
    You slipped away one afternoon in the garden sun. Had you done enough? Your body was a canvas of laughter lines and piano fingers but is that enough? Do you even understand what enough is? Do any of us? I wonder if you know your ashes fed a tree into new life. I wonder if you care.

    He was in my room while I was sleeping and I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know whether to say I was sorry, whether he would care. He was in my head while I was sleeping and I wanted to say I was sorry, sorry that there’s no time, sorry because of the glass and the flowers, but instead I asked what it was like there and because he never liked me, he wouldn’t say.

    I’m scared. I’m scared. If this isn’t the kingdom then what is? I’m too young to be scared. Flowers by the roadside and broken glass by the roadside and clumps of hair clogging up the shower. I’m too young to be scared, but I’m scared anyway.

    None of us make it out alive.”

  31. lily black


    Three little birds sing a message to me
    Promising “every little thing is gonna be all right”
    And I believe those birds
    Waking again
    Dressing again
    Driving again
    Doing it all
    Again and again
    Believing in the possibility of the sunrise
    I will stretch
    And bend
    And breathe
    Again someday
    I know it
    I just know it

  32. drwasy

    Negative Suck

    It used to be
    I viewed the rain
    as good for the garden,
    last night’s leftovers
    as more time to spend
    with you,
    a short pay check
    as opportunity to
    stretch my ingenuity;
    but now, each morning
    I fight the vortex
    of you sucking me
    into trusting today
    is cold and gray,
    leftovers smack
    of laziness,
    and my lack of money
    marks me a failure.

  33. FaerieTalePoet

    Uncoordinated Unconditional

    When I was very young my mother signed me up for dance lessons. After months of driving me to lessons my recital finally arrived. My parents and grandparents waited in the audience to see me, oh so cute, in my pink and green maid’s costume. Soon my class took the stage poised with our brooms. However, every time the other girls went right, I went left and when they went left, I went right. My mother was mortified, her daughter was completely uncoordinated. But then my Grandma Judith turned to her and whispered, “Look at Dana, she’s the only one doing it right.”

    Dana A. Campbell

  34. Linda Hatton


    She pushed glasses around
    until she found the right one—
    her favorite one. Her un-kissed
    cheeks puffed out, filled with luscious
    refreshment, wetting memories
    of un-blanketed picnics underneath
    a piney forest where he
    held her hand,
    held her heart.
    Her toughened bare heel stepped
    in sticky substance pooled
    on tiled floor where she’d studied
    every inch of his humanity,
    a textbook’s crinkled pages, bending
    against his will. She rested heated legs
    against hardwood chairs, chin in hand,
    wiping droplets away before they fell
    to rigid surfaces beneath her. Holding
    precious consolation to her lips,
    never letting them leave
    the way he did.

    -Linda G Hatton

  35. Deri

    Small Comforts

    The sun slants through the side window
    illuminating the dust gathered in the corner
    coating a skeleton of some small creature
    who will never be mourned
    by anyone but me
    it’s life and death a cycle of inevitability

    like the stars which shine
    on the dusty remains of a million million
    dead planets, forgotten
    until the stars absorb them in
    infinite implosions
    respewing out their carcasses
    to begin again
    and who will mourn them?

  36. PSC in CT

    Spring Trysts

    I stumbled upon the trilliums today –
    just popping through last autumn’s oak remains
    (trout lilies’ leaves having peeked out days ago,
    but Jack-in-the-pulpit, still in hiding)

    They called out to me on the trail
    wanting to have their picture taken
    so I indulged them,
    marveling at how quickly they’d grown,
    (as they were nowhere to be seen just days before)
    and pleased to see them, alive and well,
    after such a long, cold winter. We visited a bit,
    then went our separate ways, smiling,
    each happy to have seen the other.

    I worry about them, at times, wondering
    who will visit them when I’m gone? (and:
    who will watch out for this lovely place?)

    Every day I say goodbye
    as if this might be our last tryst,
    like a slow, painful peeling away –
    pulling a Band-Aid from a wound.
    I worry & I hope
    someone else will come along
    to pick up
    where I’ve left off


  37. bookworm0341

    “Mister Optimistic”

    A simple, “Tag you’re it!”
    Started a conversation
    Between two people
    Who had lost touch
    Over the years

    Questions asked via cyberspace
    Awaiting answers
    Receiving stickers
    And remarks to make me
    Smile and laugh

    It is such a real pleasure
    Talking with you
    And getting to know you again
    After a score has gone by-
    It’s like you’re right here

    You ARE here
    To talk to
    To smile at
    And to say thank you-
    For being so optimistic

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 22, 2014

  38. Emma

    Questions from an anxious romantic.

    Am I the only one who stares at the sun?
    Are there others who know they shouldn’t, who worry how it will turn the world dark, but do it anyway because they cannot resist?
    Does anyone else drink in the beauty of these rare, great things and fear how the mundanity of the routine you’ll return to?
    Will I always thirst for more?
    Am I a dust speck wishing to be a supernova or am I burning through the pleasures of the universe like a forest fire that refuses to be extinguished?
    Will there be anything left after the flames die down?
    Will I ever be satisfied?
    How can I ever be content with the earth when I have lived amongst the stars?


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