Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 25

There have been two new (really cool) developments in the April PAD Challenge this year: the guest judges and the anthology. Speaking of the anthology, there is a pre-order deal for 20% off the price, but only until May 1. This anthology will include each prompt, the top poem from each day, and space to add your own poems (if you choose to do so). After reading through the first few days, I can’t wait to see the finished product, because it’s going to be great. Be sure to pre-order your copy today.

For today’s prompt, write a “last straw” poem. Everyone encounters situations in which they decide they’re not going to take it anymore (whatever “it” happens to be). It could be a loud noise, an abusive partner, someone taking the Pop Tart but not throwing the box away, or whatever. Write about the moment, the aftermath, or take an unexpected path to your poem.


Free up your poetry with constraints!

Learn how putting constraints on your poetry through poetic forms, blank verse, and other tricks can actually free up your poetry writing skills and enhance your creativity in Writer’s Digest’s first ever Poetry Boot Camp. It will include a one-hour tutorial, personalized Q&A on a secure “attendees-only” message board, feedback on three original poems, and more. Click to continue.


Here is my attempt at a Last Straw Poem:

“to the poem standing on the window sill”

i know what it’s like to feel there’s no escape
that you’re caught between two giant hands collapsing in upon you

i know what it takes to pull you out that window
to make you want to float like a balloon freshly popped

i know there’s nothing anyone can say
to truly inflate your spirit but i’ve been there before

i know if you hold tight & let the world swirl & sway
that eventually you’ll find reasons to sing again

i know it’s inevitable but you don’t have to pass today
if you can only make it past today


Today’s guest judge is…

Erica Wright

Erica Wright

Erica Wright

Erica is the author of Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press, 2011) and the chapbook Silt (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her debut crime novel, The Red Chameleon, will be published this year by Pegasus Books. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.

She is the Poetry Editor at Guernica Magazine and has taught creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College and New York University’s continuing studies program.

Learn more at http://www.blacklawrence.com/author/erica-wright/.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

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

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

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s had a last straw moment or three during his life, but his faith has helped him persevere. Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


These are not the last poetic posts:

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599 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 25

  1. stepstep


    When you stole my money and
    Lied about it
    It broke my heart
    That you would lie and steal at
    The same time
    About property which is not yours.

    It broke my heart
    Because I’d give you the shirt off my back
    All you’d have to do is
    Ask, and it would be yours
    But this action is the last straw.


  2. Heidi

    THE LAST STRAW an acrostic

    The sky blinks yellow as if a storm waits on crouching
    Haunches. The wind stalls on streets and highways.
    Even cicadas silence their droning to the children’s voices.

    Laughing, the girls played on swings in the
    Apartment playground when the man grabs Monserrat.
    Stashing the eight year old in his silver Ford Focus
    Tearing down 31st Street to hide in Sapulpa’s woods. Neighbors

    Stop and pray for warring angels to sabotage
    The kidnapper’s escape from justice and due
    Recompense. Four hours later into the night
    A distraught little girl is found, safe in a dense thicket of
    Walnut and willow. The man caught, thanks to Amber’s Alert.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  3. eileenDmoeller

    Bitten with Sappho

    Spring has bitten

    into me so deeply,

    whether or not you

    look at me the way you used to,

    I feel myself blooming and foolish all over again.

    I know, I know: there are wrinkles written all

    over my skin, old age already

    here, my hair turned white

    my wretched knees

    that do not

    want to carry

    me forward.

    We were like fawns

    finding each other in a clearing, mad

    with the nuzzle. But that was so long ago.

    Not possible to become Dawn

    with arms full of roses.

    Yet I’m seized by what Spring

    imagines for us — the remnants of our allotted

    love and what last straw of desire we can conjure.

    *Translated by Anne Carson

  4. ianchandler

    Sorry, here is the correct poem for today:


    Innocent passerby
    doesn’t hear the music
    as you press your lips against mine
    for the last time.

    My dress was long,
    frothing like the tails of smoke
    from your indoor cigarette,
    a flamboyant middle finger to the establishment.

    I yelled at you and shouted gross!
    pig! get off! and your ape hands
    sidled my hips
    as I tried to imagine why I had compared you to a cute little pig.

    The hair on your fingers
    stuck out
    much like something else on your body
    and I tried to shrug you away.

    I danced my way to the bar, to and out the door,
    where you proceeded to please, baby me
    and touched my cheek
    whereupon I dug my nails into yours

    and kicked your shin

  5. ianchandler

    Tell It to the Eavesdropper

    Sometimes I go
    when I look bad

    I haven’t looked that bad in ten years
    one of those

    gobs of

    high pitch

    ten feet from the



    three times

    the little kid
    for some reason.

  6. seingraham


    “There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame our-
    selves we feel no-one else has a right to blame us.”
    Oscar Wilde
    There were times, silver as old dimes
    when I would have sworn on the lives
    of my dead babies
    That there was nothing, nothing at all
    that could get to me
    Forged in fire early, my heart glows
    a steady scarlet, impermeable
    You can only damage someone so
    many times before they’re
    done being damaged
    I thought I was at that place…and dead
    children, even babies…
    What are they, but missed chances you bury
    deep beyond where anything can get at them

    Then along you come with your naiveté and
    sweetness smeared all over your
    Guileless face; you were the worst thing
    for someone like me
    Kind, open to any and all possibilities – you
    took it for granted that I was a good person
    Never dreaming for a minute that I might hurt
    you, that I was made in a way
    With which you were unfamiliar, had no frame
    of reference to warn you off

    I have to admit, you almost had me; there was
    a candour about you
    That I found refreshing, an honesty so unusual,
    it took me aback
    Rocked me somehow, and I found myself opening
    to you in ways I hadn’t been
    unsealed in years; vulnerability had not been part
    of my mien for so long
    I didn’t recognize it for what it was until I
    was awash in the strange sensation

    This sounds like it might have a happy ending almost,
    doesn’t it…
    But there are no utopias for ruined souls like mine
    All it took was for you to make one wrong move
    Do one thing that I perceived as a betrayal and I was
    on you like some sort of outraged beast
    Blinded by wrongs from the past that had naught to
    do with you

    I see you now, your warm brown eyes filling with tears
    and confusion; your mouth trembling
    As you shrink back from me, afraid — yes, you were
    frightened, as if I might smack you
    You were smart to be scared; I was out-of-control
    Crazy-angry — not at you, no, at me…I couldn’t believe
    I’d let my guard down
    I wanted to put my hand through my own head…
    It was the last straw really…good thing you tore out
    of there when you did
    No telling what might have happened…

  7. Andrea Z


    Every time I think it’s over,
    it comes back to haunt me;
    they never do anything right,
    and I am the one to pay the price!
    I am automatically to blame
    for someone else’s mistake!
    Finally, after several attempts
    to make it right,
    I have lost what little patience
    I have left.
    I sat down and called them,
    gave them several pieces of my mind,
    well–what parts I haven’t lost yet
    from having to deal with this problem;
    UPS is going to pay –
    they owe me for the package
    and for emotional distress.

  8. IndiFox

    Away With It

    In a musty room
    She sits
    Legs crossed
    There’s talking all around her
    But she’s not listening
    Too lost in
    Her haze of thoughts
    They’re planning the flowers now
    What’s the best kind to use?
    While she’s trying to remember
    What it was that made her break
    The last straw, the final point
    That made her lose it
    And take his life

    At the funeral now
    How did she get here?
    People walk around her
    Offering their sympathies
    But she’s not listening
    Too lost in
    The haze again
    Trying to remember
    How she covered her tracks

    If she covered her tracks..

  9. KiManou


    But I bet you don’t know
    There are moments that wait on the inside of me
    for solitude
    like when I’m on the elevator ride to floor three
    They are made up of the monumental thoughts
    that I cannot impart
    not to other bodies
    While I reflect, they cannot see

    But I bet you don’t know
    There are moments
    they hold secrets patiently
    dark and all shades of grey
    I want to whisper them
    into you,
    deposit them in your left chamber
    but you are not ready

    I know, you don’t know
    there are moments in me
    when no intoxication,
    no hallucination, just carefree
    my lips smile
    my tears water
    eyes that see
    when something sparks the imagination
    black and white memories
    our vision dances before me

    And you will never know
    the tokens left behind
    left to plague and constantly remind
    you of me and me of us
    the tokens I didn’t burn
    the leftovers that left scars
    the remnants of letters, poems, bars
    residual memories…
    from that cup when you drink,
    you will taste me

    After all this
    There is no more to know
    Life gave you me surreptitiously
    But I bet now you know
    slow trek
    on your road way to recovery
    there will never be another me


  10. Michele Brenton

    You won’t catch me like that again God.

    Over the years many times
    I’ve cried my eyes sore
    and proclaimed to the heavens
    that this was the last straw
    and every single time
    I thought I’d had all I could take
    you gave me something else
    to see if I would break
    and I’ve learned my lesson
    and of one thing I’m sure
    You won’t hear those words from me again
    not never and no more.

    Michele Brenton April 2014.

  11. De Jackson

    a Cento Sestina pulled entirely from newspaper text

    She’s a building set to fall,
    shrink-wrapped waters
    stalling, some sudden movement
    who’s outlived her charms,
    a blooming flash
    of bravado hook

    -ed on some half-built husk. Hook
    her spice to Fall
    leaves, keystone question her flash
    and she’ll tell you water’s
    sacred, full of mermaid charms
    and sacred movement.

    Watch the movement
    of the sea, fishhook
    dangling firework charms
    and grace from fall
    -ing far. Stabbing waters
    cut deep, sunlight flash

    dashed on rock, flash
    -flood tears on the move, meant
    to calm these tumbled waters.
    Her heart’s a pirate’s hook,
    some fake performance piece to fall
    to his abandoned charms.

    Shelled and shipped, she charms,
    shuddering down in a flash.
    With a whimper, her fall
    -ing grace is surprise movement
    even a double stabbing hook
    cannot pierce in earthquake waters.

    A jewel of quiet steel, she waters
    waves with grace and grief, charms
    temblors not to hook
    her center. Flash
    her a smile, some movement
    of your own stone heart. She’ll fall.

    Set to fall in quiet waters,
    she knows her movement has its charms.
    And in a flash, she’s off the hook.


  12. azkbc

    The Last Straw

    The fire truck with two little people in it
    fell in the potty when you leaned over
    to see you had put in it. Mommy called
    for Daddy to come and rescue them.

    When you were putting flax in your smoothie
    you turned to look at your baby brudder
    and flax fluttered over the counter
    and the floor. Mommy swept it up.

    The top came off the Sippy cup
    when you were watching Caillou
    and milk spilled all over the couch.

    “My goodness!” Mommy said,
    “that is the last straw.
    We’ve been up just an hour.
    Let’s all go back to bed
    and start this day over.”
    Daddy cleaned up the couch
    and everyone went back to bed.

  13. SugarMagnolia

    Last Straw

    How many times have I said goodbye
    And left my heart shattered in pieces on the ground
    While my mind races through sleepless nights
    I fight to find a way to make this work
    Convincing myself that smiles outnumber the tears
    I’m losing this bloody battle
    My stomach clenches as my phone buzzes
    With another drunken message from you
    “Goodbye” was all it said
    I collapse with overwhelming sadness
    I allow the final sobs to escape my broken body
    And let thoughts of you run through my mind one last time
    Because I know I can’t take anymore, there’s no turning back
    This was the last straw

  14. Aberdeen Lane

    this is it
    picking at straws
    it’s the last one
    the short one
    no longer fooled
    this life is a lie
    time to start anew
    so I’m leaving you

  15. lidywilks

    the broken strap

    at the slightest touch, it snaps and falls,
    landing In a loop worthy of a child’s doodle
    easily mistaken as abstract art upon
    the ground and pummeled by water droplets.
    entrusted for years to carry the weight
    and treasures of my world without complaint
    and now it had to reduce itself into a worthless
    object i without a doubt must hurriedly sling away.

    by Lidy Wilks

  16. d dyson


    She saw a glaring opportunity,
    worked herself right up,
    cowardly venting anger
    through a series of long-winded texts
    intending to hurt,
    defending her knight in shining armour
    in truth; a simple minded buck-toothed bogan red neck
    angry at things that may or may not (they were not) been said.
    She used ignorance as her chosen weapon,
    stubbornness as her frontline defence
    which ultimately cost her our friendship
    and swallowed up the last of her sense.

  17. bookworm0341

    “Keep the Change- ya filthy animal”

    Tired of the people
    who take the “freebies” offered-
    Do you know that they aren’t free?!
    They come with a price, a hidden agenda,
    You may as well sell your soul to the devil
    because you are basically doing just that.
    Do not cry poverty when you are healthy and able to work.
    If you cannot afford 1 child-
    why are you having 5 or 6
    and with multiple men?
    Solution: Don’t be so easy and irresponsible.
    Why are you getting welfare benefits
    and still driving around in a BMW?
    Solution: Sell it and you will be able to get a cheaper, yet efficient, car
    AND still have money for food.

    Many men and women work hard
    and when they honestly need the assistance,
    they do not qualify
    or are given a hard time
    because they don’t fit the stereotype
    that you are proving true to leeching off the
    hardworking Americans.

    I’m tired of a certain man,
    who keeps “giving” things away-
    aid to other countries,
    “affordable” health-care for all,
    bailouts here and there,
    yet who suffers?!
    We do- it is coming out of OUR pockets.
    I wish we could rewind the past several years-
    as if they never happened.

  18. Jaywig

    The Last Straw

    There’s never a last straw
    where there’s war
    There’s always another
    straw in war –
    straws galore, on the wind
    and the jets bring more.
    There are the many straws
    the mothers bore –
    those lads and larrikins
    walked out the door.
    The wounds raw, deaths
    glorified in lore.
    Perhaps there was in fact
    for some a last straw
    the legacy of war.

    Jennie Fraine

  19. Mickie Lynn

    A Camel’s Death

    The first piece of straw,
    the camel didn’t feel.

    That camel got up from a nap,
    flicked his tail and shook his body,
    leaving 30 pieces of straw
    that he didn’t even notice.

    When did it start to bother him?

    A stray strand in a nostril or an eye
    began to bug.
    It was just annoying at first.
    He grew accustomed to the added weight,
    for it was gathered slowly
    like heat for water
    being brought to a boil
    to cook the unsuspecting frog.

    The last one was the straw
    that broke the camel’s back.

    How much hay was on that camel anyway?

    To break a bone,
    to crack the vertebrae,
    to severe the spine,
    would take a
    of hay.

    The pieces of straw would have become a hard, heavy burden.
    That camel must have been buried in it,
    suffocating under all the pressure.
    Never once trying to escape,
    until it was too late.

  20. horselovernat

    In the Final Moment by Natalie Gasper

    Do not be so quick
    to blame what happened last
    for being what finally broke you.

    There were many events
    and people and warning signs
    that came before.

    So if you ever have a final straw,
    be sure to thank what it is
    for finally freeing you
    from that time in your life.

  21. Nanamaxtwo

    The Last Straw

    Boundaries, either stone walls stacked against
    a property line or the raised hand signaling “no”,
    partially define our identity. Without activation
    they are so much invisible puffery, our appearance
    inert to the world, a dotted line disconnected.
    Not answering your text messages as I said
    I would, I have freed you from keeping your false
    promises and myself from listening to more lies.

  22. foodpoet

    Last Straw

    Last straw
    Single word

    Sigh another weekend
    Tossed into the family crucible.
    Reality is that I have no life
    Any hope for word freedom
    Wasted on when are you coming…

    Megan McDonald

  23. PenConnor

    Blown Away (a triolet)

    Hope just blew away on the wind;
    I couldn’t hold onto its string.
    There’s no love left here to defend.
    Hope just blew away on the wind.
    It’s finally too broken to mend,
    and time to stop wearing the ring.
    Hope just blew away on the wind;
    I couldn’t hold onto its string.

  24. Alaska Christina

    The Last Straw

    Your eyes follow the lead of her ass
    perched into tight blue jeans
    and I watch your tongue moisten your lips
    a bead of sweat resting
    mouth slightly parted
    your exhale soft as a sigh
    and I note the curve of your head
    neck straining eyes forward
    as she shimmies across the room
    and I quiver as you feast on the view
    while I choke on my ragged breath
    and fall beneath the weight of my raging indifference.

  25. ambermarie

    Lynch Me

    A gas chamber of negative thoughts pollutes my insides
    Spiced cupid wakes me with a crossbow
    Cursing parents who gave me diamonds
    I wash the gambled gems in the hollow stairwell, alone
    Déjà vu – a pink salamander going down into danger
    An anonymous room for dancing
    Eating fire and brimstone
    Holding hands in hiding
    With men misunderstanding my quest

    For travel I go to the world within
    For outside it’s always more of the same –
    Pretending and competition
    The styles forever in fashion
    I lost my ticket to a funeral
    The final part of this journey
    My baggage doesn’t quite fit
    En route to our absolute destination

  26. Blaise

    NO END

    The last straw falls silently,
    driven deep into the mud
    with tornado force,
    left to decay.
    Chapter closed,
    forest felled,
    position eliminated,
    river a lizard cracked mud flat,
    love shattered.
    No choice but to finally
    walk away.

  27. gloryia

    Forgotten Memories –

    He is an old man now, no longer tall,
    shoulders hang, stoop low, as does his head.
    Hair is sparse, hardly covers his scalp,
    teeth are worn, loose, and faintly yellow.
    Legs once firm and straight, now bowed and shaky.
    Eyes once deepest blue no longer shine.
    Often I ask myself, who is this man?
    I search his face for some sign, some sign.
    Where is the man I knew, when I was young,
    Where is the lover, the husband, the friend?

    He raises his head, his smile is one that shines,
    as does his face at the sound of my voice.
    He shows great eagerness to take my hand,
    to grasp, to press, to hold tight, a childlike
    grip, with such innocence it breaks my heart.
    His eyes, not blue, not grey, but in-between,
    like a misty cloud on a summer’s day,
    seek mine, all bewilderment locked within.
    Tears spark, as we embrace, no memories
    to share now he is an old man – only love.

  28. sbpoet

    Why do we indict
    the last straw?
    Surely the first
    should share the blame.
    Splinter or crowbar,
    that first wound,
    first blood, first warning of all
    that was to come;
    the one forgotten,
    forgiven, ignored,
    denied. That one
    and all those
    that came between.
    The last snowflake
    on the collapsing roof
    did not bring it down.

    ~ sharon brogan

  29. Funkomatic

    First the firemen will ask
    As the water still runs

    Second the police will question
    As the lights all flash

    Third the judge will ponder
    After the crowd dissipates

    Fourth the papers will oppugn
    The source of the blaze

    Lastly I will answer the last straw
    Was stepping on LEGOS again.

  30. Emma

    Engrenage Infernal

    I don’t know how to tell you.
    I keep expecting to be caught out.
    Each time it gets bad I am so sure
    That I am at breaking point
    Because this is the
    It has ever been,
    The worst I have ever been
    And the hairs on the back of my
    Neck are standing to attention
    And I am sure
    So sure
    That the truth will pour out of me
    A waterfall of words
    Because water always flows to the ocean in the end
    And I will be left ruined,
    Weathered rock, battered and bruised.
    But instead, I’m silent
    And the water is still.
    It seems my fall is infinite.
    I keep spiralling down,
    Grinding my teeth behind closed lips,
    Both craving and fearing rock bottom.

  31. mbramucci

    Too Much Bend, Not Enough Break
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    When will I be graced with the last straw?
    How long should I continue waiting?
    Constantly on the precipice
    In limbo
    Just on the cusp of enough is enough
    I’ve drawn this line too wide
    Less a teeter needed
    More of a giant leap to the falling
    Long list of missed
    Every benefit of doubt
    Every second chance
    Third chance
    I’m running out of fingers
    I’m losing hair
    We’re no longer splitting hairs
    Just losing time in empty stares
    Blasted be the woes of higher tolerance
    Fasting leads to throes of silent famine
    Please, I’m begging you
    Hoist up your most dastardly
    Plummet toward the plank
    You are forgiven
    You have my consent
    Your strive to be a better man
    Only fuels my contempt
    Crash down in a thousand beautiful pieces
    Catapult me to freedom of disorientation
    Sculpt your new mosaic of the man you long to be and
    Let me find my way

  32. FaerieTalePoet

    Church Days

    My mother always thought
    my paternal grandmother’s family
    thought my brother
    was a punishment from God
    because my father married a Jew.
    Still my Grandma would take me
    to Church with her most Sundays
    the Sunday school teachers would tell me
    that my mother was going to Hell
    because she was Jewish.
    When the other kids my age
    were baptized I would sit in the pews
    and wonder when it would be my turn,
    when I would feel called to God
    and decide that Christianity was for me.
    My sister was only two and a half days old
    when she was taken from us,
    across the veil she traveled once more
    leaving a gaping hole in my family,
    my mother was never the same.
    Not long afterwards I was standing
    in the parking lot outside the Church
    I wasn’t supposed to overhear,
    I’m sure of that, no one would be that insensitive,
    but a parishioner was talking to the minister.
    I heard him say
    that my baby sister went to Hell
    because she was full of sin
    it was then I knew
    I would never hear the call
    not to a God whose followers thought that
    an innocent baby would go to Hell.

    Dana A. Campbell

  33. Scott Jacobson


    The crow argues with the straw man
    every night in the field. The crow
    worries about climate change.
    The straw man pulls out a straw
    from his chest and tells the crow
    about how the scientist created
    faulty data. The crow asks him about
    the increase in gun violence
    and he pulls out another straw
    and talks about hippies.

    For the problem with education he blamed aliens.
    For the problem with high taxes he blamed bears.
    For the problem with income inequality he blamed the Irish.

    They went back and forth,
    and from end to end,
    till no one could figure out
    exactly how the world was bent
    and the straw man got
    as thin as his arguments.
    Then one day he pulled
    his last straw and said,
    “The problem with death
    is an error in accounting.”

  34. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 25

    Write a last straw poem.

    Dear AOL and spoofers,

    Thanks to the latter for annoying
    countless addressees on my
    contact list.

    Thanks to the former for not getting
    this resolved, but letting it drag out
    for more than a week.

    I’d say this is the last straw.
    But there’s nothing
    I can do. After all, you spoofers
    now own my contact list.
    So, AOL, if I quit you, they
    can still email everyone I know
    without my help.

    I just want this fixed, AOL.
    Please kick those spoofers’ butts.

  35. jclenhardt

    This Haystack

    There is no end to this haystack,
    no last straw to step on,
    or to be broken that could ever
    make us think the grasses
    in the fields could ever stop their growing,
    or that Summer would not come again,
    to turn them this golden yellow
    I love so much. This much;
    to watch how the combines cut,
    and cut, in endless rows, and how
    Summer kicks up behind them
    with the promise that love is in the seed.

  36. julie e.


    and it was her
    last nerve
    it was the
    last straw
    it was the
    last day
    she’d put
    up with his
    empty words.
    Now it was the
    first time
    in her
    new Self
    and she
    knew this
    was the
    first and
    the last
    of many things.

  37. emmaisan0wl

    Exit Wounds
    “this poem is five arguments
    a day and every time you
    tasted like nothing but
    formaldehyde and ashes.
    here are the hours of
    apologies and promises and
    crocodile tears and please,
    sweetheart, don’t tell me I
    was the evil one. don’t you
    dare. here’s the bitter
    hypocrisy of you telling me
    you were surprised with your
    car already packed up
    with your things, and I
    wonder if we remember it
    the same way, if all your
    summer memories are overcast
    with our gale-force fights
    the way mine are? this poem
    is your pleading and this
    poem is your begging and
    finally, and finally, you telling me
    you’d kill yourself and me
    stapling screams to my throat
    and slamming down the phone.
    (but you’re still alive, aren’t you,
    sweetheart? you’re still alive.)”

  38. Brian Slusher


    Dodie Humphrey gave me a rock
    Shaped like a heart and painted pink

    And on it were words, white and pure:
    Dodie and Brian Forever and Ever.

    But Dodie was fickle, a summer breeze,
    So she took up with Martin Armitage

    And left me just that gaudy rock
    That I solemnly lifted off my desk,

    Took out back to the concrete drive
    Where I kissed that stone, lifted it high

    And smashed it once, twice, fourteen times
    Until in bits before me lied

    (Okay, lay, but they lied, too)
    Those fragments that said I Love You

    All pink and broken, sharp, unfair.
    So to prove I didn’t care

    I buried each piece in a different place
    And told her so right to her face

    “I broke your heart!” I shouted out.
    She just formed a small, cruel pout

    Then laughed as though I’d told a joke.
    And then I got whose heart was broke.

  39. acele


    It is the last straw

    Which finally pushes me out
    of the space I’ve been occupying,

    Just occupying
    like duck sauce packets that get tossed away


    This sack of water has potential energy
    which can
    Instantaneously to transform into kinetic energy.

    It can jump from an airplane.
    It can flow like a river
    of living waters.
    It can follow you.

    And that means changing location
    Exploring my geography
    Asking for directions

    And that means
    admitting I am lost
    without you.

    © A. Cele

      1. acele

        Hmm?… As in barren place with no water, or a. final course at the table where one has been sitting – sweet, indulgent but leaves one thirsty and perhaps only filled in a carnal way.

  40. Poetess

    Healing Task

    Walls of ignorance
    Guarded my fear
    Keeping it safe inside
    Distant but near

    Dancing with the disease
    And fragile eggshell ego
    My sorry and helpless foe

    Self-doubt transformed
    Distortions of me
    Into the scary monster
    I’m seeking to flee

    Oh disordered comrade
    Our interplay wars anew
    Dealing death in my belly
    Bearing fear inside for two

    Anguishing memories
    Long lasting and wrong
    Holding truth hostage
    Overwrite me I’m gone

    A prisoner in thought
    Controlling my core
    Tears splitting apart
    My spirit what for?

    I heard a faint calling
    I listened over and again
    It’s the down deep yearning
    Driving within

    Chipping away now
    At the barrier to my soul
    Cracking the interior
    Keeping me from being whole

    Dislodging the anger
    And letting it loose
    Removing the pressure
    My strangling noose

    Equipped with insight
    Formerly not seen
    Reaching for self-love
    On the letters I’ll lean

    Walls of information
    Scaling now my fear
    Braving the chilling truth
    Feeling finally clear

    Hearing but fighting
    Echoes of images past
    Permitting myself scared
    Denying the emotional fast

    A piece of hard work
    This endeavor I’ve chosen
    Can’t stop the sick feeling
    In my belly now frozen

    Holding on tightly
    Steady me my line
    Wavering but poised
    Convince me I’m fine

    Roll it out before me
    On me around me play
    Swimming in my malady
    Saturated not swept away

    Toiling and detaching
    From this unconscious face
    Putting self- reliance
    Squarely in its place

    Owning my consequence
    Way out on a limb
    Finally willing myself
    To emerge from within

    Reaching the other side
    Someday I will know
    I’m there in one piece
    My whole self will show

    Stripped naked and bare
    Gone the screening mask
    Unveiling no guilt or shame
    This my healing task

  41. Gabrielle Freeman

    Guess my name.
    by Gabrielle Freeman

    I spin this straw into gold for a king.
    Silken skeins pile up around the lovely
    miller’s daughter. Guess my name. She is
    beautiful in her poor-girl’s dress of brown
    like earth. Surrounded by fine-spun gold,
    she sleeps on a bed of straw. Guess my name.
    My fingers are short and broad, but they were made
    for spinning. I would not have the miller’s daughter
    die. Guess my name. I draw the straw down, pull it
    into thread fit to adorn the slim neck
    of a queen. She will be queen, and I
    will be alone. Guess my name. This spindle
    holds her fate. I twist straw between my thumb
    and finger, measure it out. There is just one
    little pile of straw left. The miller’s daughter
    is wringing her hands that have known work.
    Guess my name. If she names me, I will not
    raise her child. If she names me, I will rattle
    through the castle. Lonely ghost. Guess my name.

    Check out my poetry prompt and process site at http://www.ladyrandom.com!

  42. Azma


    There has to be a way
    to stop
    the walls from closing in
    and the earth from sucking in
    The well of patience
    has dried out
    from constant pumping
    of trials
    There was only one thing left to do-
    to soar with the eagle
    that held the last straw
    to be taken to a new place
    where things can get better

    -Azma Sheikh

  43. jacq

    Baseball vs. Chores by Jacqualine A Hart

    I struck the board, and cried, ‘No more!’
    ‘You drive me insane!’
    mind’s a flurry
    heartbeat groaning
    to grasp a segment
    of silence
    ‘hush your mouth’
    let me be
    “A full mind is an empty bat”
    I’ll do it tomorrow!

    Hand is tingling
    like tiny pinches
    liquid flowing
    carpet seeping
    as a waterfall to rocks
    morsels of popcorn
    sprinkled like snowflakes
    ‘Now, look what you’ve made me do’
    heavy stepping
    slamming door

    Streaks of red
    invade my vision
    like scenery on a Sunday drive
    attention drawn
    from the box
    and commentator speech
    ‘Omar, hit’s one out of the park’
    a car escapes

    ‘Honey, are you there’
    Silence is vociferous
    like protestors
    blatantly full of ignominy
    head is bowing
    hands supporting

    I struck the board, and cried, ‘No more!’
    ‘I’m sorry’
    mind repenting
    heart is torrent
    for wishes of tolerance
    we will be
    “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”
    I’ll do it now

  44. gmagrady


    The “last straw” to-do list:

    unfollow him on Twitter
    unfriend him on Facebook
    block him on Instagram
    update your status
    remove him as a contact
    delete his last thread
    edit your profile on
    social media…

    And if it turns out that it wasn’t
    the “last straw” after all?

  45. Linda Hatton

    The Last Straw

    When prickly vines have shriveled
    up, fields have turned infertile,
    and trampled farmers ride tireless
    tractors under belching skies
    displaying no vacancy signs refusing
    factories a bed to release in,
    when barns are barren having lost
    the battle to shelter those
    with no human tone,
    and bales of hay have turned
    to one last straw,
    when a buck has no meaning, nothing left
    to buy, who will know how to fix it all,
    surrounded by stock-stilled world,
    nature’s flow slaughtered in its sleep.
    Take that straw and build a bed,
    imprint dusty farmlands with footsteps’
    treads, take in the ones with no say-so,
    envision hope that we can end destruction
    instead of murdering our own reproduction.

    -Linda G Hatton

  46. shethra77


    It’s like this too many times—
    you’ve done
    what you need to do.
    But do you have what you need
    at the end? No.
    It’s gone again.
    Time to buy out the factory.
    Time to fill the basement, the closets,
    maybe drawers and cupboards too.
    It’ll be a cold day in the Amazon,
    it’ll be the day I’m a monkey’s uncle,
    it will be the sounding-of-the-last-trumpet morning
    before I’m caught
    with no toilet tissue

  47. Shennon

    *This poem is another point of view for the poem I posted previously to this same prompt.

    We knew she wouldn’t improve.
    Her diagnosis was chilling.
    No parent should have to bury a child.
    Just the thought itself was abhorrent.

    Our blue-eyed angel could brighten
    Anyone’s day with her smile or her laugh.
    I put on a brave front before her,
    But fell apart each time I walked away.

    I could not understand
    A vicious disease
    That preyed on little girls.

    I could not understand
    Why I couldn’t be the one
    To die instead of her.

    I could not understand
    Why such a loving father
    Became a stoic and icy man.

    This was the last straw.
    Showing such indifference.
    Ignoring me and my pain.
    Oblivion to impending death
    Fortified my decision to separate
    When it was just us two again.

    One bitter winter night she died,
    Succumbing to the cancer within.
    Our little angel flew to Heaven.
    My heart squeezed too tightly in my chest.

    But then I witnessed anguished sobs
    Wracking the body of the man before me.
    Emotions thus clarified, realization dawned,
    The last straw was just a façade.


  48. Rolf Erickson

    Something More

    There had to be something more.
    After winning all those races and
    being just smart enough to get by.

    My life laid out ahead of me
    within a fabric of predictability
    that even smelled of success.

    Like a blanket that year by year
    wrapped ever tighter about me
    a custom-made straightjacket.

    And then, “Is that all there is?”

    I quit. Wandered.
    Saw. Returned.
    Explored. Withdrew.
    Adventured. Stumbled.
    Opened. Discovered.

    There was something more
    that had always whispered to me
    in the spaces between my thoughts.

    Like a prayer flag that year by year
    would flow ever more freely
    as a signal of my success.

    I said “Yes.”

  49. Zeenie

    an erasure from “The Aleph” by Jorge Luis Borges

    February died –
    self-pity, cigarettes.
    An endless series.
    Hope with humiliation.
    Pay my respects
    to twilight,
    full colour,
    Forced, finally,
    to cut months.

  50. mshall

    The Last Straw

    Maybe it was the yellow crust in the corner of his eye
    An ill conceived blind date
    Stripped of magic before it could fly

    Maybe it was the restaurant
    Which might have been mediocre
    But for the stale cigarette air

    Maybe it was the late spring night
    The new year`s burst of revitalization spent
    Replaced with a hot, sticky stillness

    Maybe it was me
    Who would have been in love with life
    But so alone with pent up zest

    Appetizers came and went
    The conversation dragged
    I drank a sparkling water
    As he drank his apertif

    The main course came and went
    The man was flat out boring, I concluded,
    Over the brim of an herbal tea
    As he finished his glass of wine

    The dessert course was ordered
    And I could feel in the base of my belly what I really wanted
    Not another cup of coffee
    As he polished off a sherry

    A final drink was ordered
    A tawny port just for him
    And that was the last straw
    Can I bring you anything else?

    Why, yes, yes, yes,
    Just one glass of wine
    To be purchased at the corner shop
    One glass to become a bottle to become a life
    To ease my transition home

  51. SuziBwritin

    The loss of a thumb
    is not too bad
    especially on only one hand
    it’s a bit more distressing
    when the other goes too
    your grip is down the chute

    you still have eight fingers
    though one is swan-necked
    another is swollen quite badly
    the real problem comes
    when your wrists start swelling
    and your shoulders hurt like the dickens

    You still create music
    if just a bit slower
    you certainly won’t ever be great
    and your typing crawls along
    while fingers fly no more
    and it’s a task just to get a space(bar)

    If your ankles and knees don’t
    want to hold your weight
    you sit and you might become fatter
    though you still move around
    you don’t go very far
    and try very hard not to complain

    Up till now your back held out
    you’ve been able to do what you can
    but once the joints get inflamed
    and the tendons start crying
    that’s the day you stay in bed
    and you wait for a sign

    Nowhere do you go
    your spirit stops soaring
    your mind bogs down in pain
    your life stands still
    and you ask yourself


    when the weather is better
    the house needs cleaning
    your book needs revising
    your horn needs playing
    your garden needs planting
    and you learn to stay in the Now
    because you can deal with
    one moment of pain
    but not many

    and then
    you let the body heal itself
    and you learn
    and the loving kindness and compassion
    from someone who cares

  52. JayGee2711


    Stop looking in my window
    Stop sneaking into my yard
    That’s for apples and ants to do, not you.
    Get up in the sky where you belong.
    Next time I open my eyes
    I want you to be gone.

    Aren’t there any rules for this kind of thing?
    Isn’t it against some cosmic law
    for you to sneak down here
    like fog in the night?
    Sly red cat with glitter eyes,
    It’s not like you can hide
    when you shine
    that bright.

    Julie Germain

  53. miaokuancha

    April 25, 2014

    Prompt: The last straw

    The last straw
    In the box.
    Should I take it?
    Or leave it for the next person.
    They might be old,
    And need the straw to
    Drink their drink without spilling.
    Or choking.
    Or they might be young
    And want to blow bubbles
    In their slurpee.
    Or wad up the paper and make spit balls
    For clandestine wars.
    Maybe I should take the
    Last straw
    Just to put a stop to that.
    But was I never mischievous in my life?
    Maybe it’s a mom
    Who needs that straw so she
    Can juggle her drink
    And two toddlers
    While driving.
    If I were self-reliant
    And resourceful
    I wouldn’t need to haggle with this
    Final straw.
    I could just go
    With my trusty pen knife
    And cut myself a length
    Of straw
    From the field.
    That’s what people did
    Isn’t it?
    Before plastic
    Eagle Beverage and Accessory Products, LLC.
    But what is wrong with me?
    Standing here
    In front of a paper box
    With just one straw;
    My cup in my hand
    Pitting myself against
    A world of people
    I don’t know
    People who don’t even
    Except as the host
    Of my conjectures
    Since life is life
    And thought is thought.
    Spinning tales of pen knives
    And fields
    When the only grass within a hundred miles
    Is short and bladey
    Not hollow.
    And who really carries pen knives anyway?
    Behind my shoulder I hear
    “Whoa, sweet!”
    A hand reaches forward
    and takes
    the last straw.
    Leaving me
    With my existenz,
    And this empty box.

    Sun sets.
    I’m still here.

    A voice calls,
    “Dude! If you’re looking for straws,
    There’s a bunch more boxes
    In the cabinet underneath.”

    ~ miaokuancha

  54. Karen Pickell

    Death Roll

    Alligator haunts her nest
    for seventy eighty days
    never leaves lunges
    at enemies hungry for her
    children never eats
    until she hears their
    squeaks scoops them up
    behind her teeth to
    carry them to water safety
    of the pod for two
    more years close to her
    reptilian heart her blood
    not as cold as yours
    the day you swore you’d never
    stand with me as my mother.

  55. Michael Wells

    The Final Straw Between Us

    The last straw arrived at 11:06 p.m.
    I know this because as it arrived
    I looked at my watch to see
    the precise time; because I knew
    it was coming. I had anticipated it
    for several days now.

    It came close two days ago
    at breakfast, then again just before
    lunch yesterday. Both times
    the conditions were ripe but
    it did not fall. I cannot say
    I’m innocent, but it was not
    my plan and I will not take
    full ownership of it; but hey
    there we were in the evening
    and he just had enough!

  56. Delaina Miller

    Before it is too Late

    to all living things
    to the rivers and trees
    to the sky and the glens.
    I offer a sincere apology
    for thoughtless words
    for neglectful deeds
    for the blind spots outside of me.
    I seek mercy
    for dalliances left in disarray
    for excuses left to hold the blame
    for moments squandered in fury.
    I ask for the grace
    to sing and dance as I please
    to strengthen life with poetry
    to offer diversity a commonplace.
    All before it is too late.

    1. Delaina Miller

      Whilst trying to get the indent code right (which I did not) I dropped a line. I’m not sure how to fix this issue so still without the proper indentions here is the full poem again:

      Before it is too Late

      I’d like to make amends
      to all living things
      to the rivers and trees
      to the sky and the glens.
      I offer a sincere apology
      for thoughtless words
      for neglectful deeds
      for the blind spots outside of me.
      I seek mercy
      for dalliances left in disarray
      for excuses left to hold the blame
      for moments squandered in fury.
      I ask for the grace
      to sing and dance as I please
      to strengthen life with poetry
      to offer diversity a commonplace.
      All before it is too late.

  57. LeighSpencer

    The Last Straw

    The last straw

    the last trace of water
    from around the last ice cube

    Got stuck
    in a triple thick vanilla milkshake

    big, impossible milk bubbles
    filling the half empty glass

    Remember when the doctors said
    you wouldn’t be able to drink from a straw?

    It was right after they said
    you’d never be able to breastfeed
    or blow bubbles
    or play a recorder

    And then you did?

    The last straw –
    advice we didn’t listen to
    because you proved them wrong
    every time

    The last straw
    sits comfortably
    in the grove of your cleft lip

  58. lionmother

    The Last Straws

    Too many things in my
    life are at their limit
    Too many to choose
    on which to focus
    As if a kaleidoscope
    broke and the pieces
    lay scattered in front
    of me

    It’s the last straw for
    this disease that is
    constantly weakening
    my husband and
    creating in him
    someone who is
    a carbon copy
    Him yet not him
    The antithesis of
    the man I knew
    who could stride
    Into any place
    confident and strong

    And it’s my last straw
    for unstable high school
    boys who have decided
    they own the world and
    must destroy any who
    do not share their view

    But it’s the people who
    talk about other people
    forgetting years of history
    and pain of sorrow and
    hard fought freedoms
    ignored as venomous lies
    pour out of their mouths
    A river of poison saturating
    the air waves with ignorance
    and greed

  59. TuLife

    By: Tuere Aisha

    “That’s it!” said she.
    “I won’t allow this weight to defeat me.”
    So she rummages through her cupboards,
    throws out all she can see
    that has kept her in the cycle of fatty,
    acidic, processed foods, salty
    and sweet. She cannot believe
    the 3 digits on the scale,
    wonders how she could reprieve
    her thick thighs and wide tale.
    “Well no more,” she reprimands.
    “230 pounds has to be the last straw.”
    And as she reaches with her hands
    to trash the box of Bear Claws,
    she notices only one left,
    figures, “oh, what the heck,”
    and digs in for one more caloric draw.

  60. Yolee

    Last Straw in Candy-land Park

    It was about to fall on the ground. An American
    boxer that had been barking since it’s owner tied
    his leash to the sycamore, got loose, ran to
    the picnic table and pulled out the vanilla soaked straw.

    The boy, still in his navy shorts and white polo
    school uniform looked at his dad while a dry lipped
    agent stroked the crookedly worn badge
    that gave her supervising powers. She wrote

    on a yellow legal pad with her left hand
    and watched a twenty something father and son
    with an unrelenting squint. The boy of 5 or 6 cried
    to his daddy saying he couldn’t drink the milkshake
    because the big dog took the last straw.

  61. Amy

    I doubt the indenting will carry through on this one when I post it. If anyone knows how to indent in the comments, I would greatly appreciate a lesson. :)

    Prayers at the Grocery Store

    This is the last
    ragged breath, inhaled courage
    that will pass my lips as I pass sliding
    doors, the welcome mat

    This is the last
    forced smile, a battle between
    Ramen or Mac & Cheese, hope the kids
    don’t mind it again

    This is the last
    angry quip at the innocent voice in my cart
    who just wants Teddy Grahams, sorry baby
    maybe next time

    This is the last
    gut-wrenching, sweating, nervousness
    I hope I have enough, please God, let
    it be there

    This is the last
    four dollars and sixty-seven cents
    from my pocket, when life is just another
    five dollar deal

  62. PSC in CT


    by and by
    she just got fed up,
    overfilled, let it spill –
    she was mired, tired
    of waiting for him
    to step up, show up, grow up;
    he’d poured so many
    years into beers
    her love had lapsed.
    so she (unendurably riled)
    over him (routinely reviled)
    finally threw in the towel
    and filed.


  63. PSC in CT

    The Camel’s Back

    Right about the time the camel’s back is due to break,
    when gardeners’ hands are itching for a shovel or a rake,
    you’re sure to be a lunatic if you see one more flake –
    then winter drops another foot of snow!

    You don’t think you can make it through another frigid day.
    Yearning for some blue sky (you’re so sick of all that gray)
    you’ve not the slightest interest what the weatherman might say.
    You’re ready to just pack your bags and go.

    Then suddenly one morning, appearing without warning:
    (it makes you wonder just how they could know
    exactly when you need them most to show)
    a robin – handsome fellow,
    forsythia – bright yellow!

    This camel’s safe it would appear…
    that is, at least, for one more year.


  64. Daniel Paicopulos

    The Last Straw

    is not the one at the soda fountain.
    It’s the one from those scientists,
    making mole hills into mountains.
    Some of those lab rats with nothing to do,
    with no real idea, nor even a clue,
    have decided that 70 is the age for men,
    that time of their lives, the moment when
    they enter their grumpy phase,
    the one after farts,
    but it isn’t the case,
    not on my part,
    I reached cootage at 60,
    A 10-year head start.

  65. Kevin D Young


    wet towels on a hard wood floor
    this is the bath
    tarred jowls on a well-worn jamb
    this is the caller
    one hole in a back room box
    this is the shitter
    jack sox and a mooing ram
    this is the dream

    What manifesto will I write,
    my archipelago girlishness
    spread over a thousand beds,
    legs and body clocked and checkered,
    bitten, bound and brazed. I roast
    unwary birds and do not share,
    urine is the sign I am here
    and like this straw-colored hair it
    will not last. Cannot.

  66. jsmadge

    It’s a Brave New World

    And when the bubble rises and pops,
    Clear fear of freedom shines
    Forward, like glistening wave points
    Which nearly blind, always beckon.

    The broken now breathes empty,
    While behind the eyes, one thousand
    Years of watching finally rest.
    Welcome home, dollface.

    Jo Steigerwald

  67. GirlGriot

    Yikes. Home late and fell asleep before posting! Somewhere along the line in the story of this poem, there was a “last straw” but I couldn’t seem to get it into the verses. Frustrating!

    to write
    you tonight.
    your low, Irish creme
    clogs, Motown
    swagger — music
    dripping like rich, thick,
    I wanted
    to find you here,
    tip of my pen.

    your ugly,
    casual slights,
    disregard, disdain.
    turning back
    to you — one time,
    again. And again.
    pushing me,
    shaping my thoughts,
    saying you were love.

    your closed hand,
    love of power,
    your sharp, cutting tongue.
    back once,
    and again.
    Willfully blind
    and imagining
    a future.
    Finding you — your
    threat wrapped in velvet.

  68. Lindy™

    The Eric Cartman Deduction

    Dear Hometown Hospital,

    You want me to pay you eight grand?
    Well, lets take a look
    at what you think I owe you for:

    Mother’s entire medical record is incomplete
    with inconsistent events
    and a visibly altered timeline,

    You completely ignored her organ donor status.
    Did you even check?

    You hooked her up and plugged her in
    despite the fact that she was Dead on Arrival.
    She passed in the ambulance
    before ever reaching the emergency room.
    The first responders called it.

    You disconnected and unplugged her,
    and charged me separately for that.

    You lied about her
    being Dead on Arrival.

    Despite numerous requests
    by multiple attorneys for a bill,
    you waited until after the insurance check was cut
    to send one.

    You then threatened to
    put a lien on her estate
    four days after we received the bill.

    Well, you can talk to my lawyer who,
    by the way,
    I told not to pay.
    Find some other patsy
    to fund your brand new triage center,
    because I’m done.
    Just be happy
    if I don’t report your
    questionable practices.

    One of your successful births.

  69. robinamelia

    25 The Last Straw

    Hells yeah, I’m heading out the door
    It may not slam but you will hear it shut
    Swear I’m going to rock that “Nevermore”

    I’ve endured your jabs and jokes galore
    Each harsh word a punch right in my gut
    Hells yeah, I’m heading out the door

    I know I’ve threatened to leave before
    Paused to cry about the cords and ties I’d cut
    Swear I’m going to rock that “Nevermore”

    Just hand me another beer or two or four
    see me do my lady leaving strut
    Hells yeah, I’m heading out the door

    Quit laughing I can get up off the floor
    I still know how to move this aging butt
    Swear I’m going to rock that “Nevermore”

    Even ravens can take to wing and soar
    I swear I will escape this rut
    Hells yeah, I’m heading out the door
    Swear I’m going to rock that “Nevermore”

    Robin Amelia Morris

  70. bethwk

    I always can bear so much more than I think.
    It takes a big shove to get me over the brink.

    But watch out, little people, for the household law:
    hitting each other is Mama’s last straw.

  71. Clark Buffington

    Creation’s Pain

    I am at a loss as to what to write
    Straining to force imagination
    Exhaustion falling as the words flee
    Eyes crossing at a blank screen
    Feeling robbed of any creation
    Frustration boiling at failure
    Admitting it’s too hard to do
    Giving up on writing at all
    Admitting to yet another failure
    This last straw was too much

  72. aphotic soul

    Subjective Suicide
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    So it seems the subject of suicide is completely taboo,
    But in all honesty some people would rather a way out than to prefer to continue,
    Who are we to stand in their way,
    Our words should have little to no say,
    It’s the ultimate choice of apathy’s voice,
    To choose a noose to hoist,
    Or to let life steal your only real choice,
    And although the topic is on my mind,
    We all think about it at times,
    Yet for some reason its dubbed a crime,
    Now let me make this perfectly clear,
    I will never commit suicide if that’s what you wanted to hear,
    But my blood is as dark as matte ink,
    For my poetry ties me to this world I think,
    However my life is not my own,
    Because I was murdered years ago by my love,
    Out into the snow and ice I was thrown,
    My innocence butchered like a caged dove,
    But now my writing is much more clear,
    And by rules I no longer need to adhere,
    For I say what I wish,
    Spoken as eloquent as a lover’s first kiss,
    A feeling that I honestly do miss,
    But I can never sacrifice this gift,
    I’ve grown accustomed to speaking my mind,
    For I hid its content for such a long time,
    Now I speak out with my poetic rhyme,
    A dying fashion that so few hold any passion,
    A silent crime that it’s worth no more than a dime,
    But this dead art form is what I choose to use to shine,
    Speaking the words between the lines,
    So with sincerity I hold,
    Right and wrong will never be sold,
    Regardless of what anyone has told,
    To dub suicide wrong would be too bold,
    But do everything you possibly wished,
    Before using the knife you hold to slice wrist,
    For there is no going back once your body grows frigidly cold,
    But regardless it is our right to die,
    Even though others will selfishly cry,
    However the right to death as a parent is unforgivable and denied,
    For if you take your own life,
    How will your kid ever handle that great strife,
    You’re essentially stabbing them with the very same knife,
    Forever marking them with a scar from Death’s scythe,
    But whatever you decide to do,
    The choice alone is solely up to you,
    And while I don’t suggest it as a path to take,
    I understand why it is a decision you might make,
    Just don’t let anyone find you for your friends and family’s sake,
    I recommend more so a trip to the lake,
    Or the great ocean shore,
    For nothing will make you feel more alive,
    Than a trip to somewhere you greatly adore,
    Or doing something you’ve never done before,
    Something to make you feel life no longer a bore,
    Something that will make your heart soar,
    In a way to make you sad no more,
    And to enjoy the ocean breeze within every pore,
    The bad things in life are difficult to ignore,
    But enjoying the simplistic bliss of nature,
    Is what our lives were truly meant for.

  73. Clark Buffington

    The last straw

    It wasn’t the tears
    And not the sobs
    Nor the shouts
    And the screams

    Silence’s echo
    And the shrugs
    Not caring anymore
    That’s the last straw

  74. cbwentworth

    Dripping wet hands,
    no paper towels
    The door is locked,
    my key won’t work
    Papers to grade,
    every red pen is dry
    Not a crisis at hand,
    but my wits are shot

    An empty gas tank,
    out of order pump
    Coffee spills twice,
    dog poop in the hall
    The internet crashes,
    my poem is gone
    Yes, this was my day,
    I am so done.

    – – –

    C.B. Wentworth

  75. De Jackson

    The Last of It

    Oh, but she’s worn clear down to the
    nub, eraser dust flying. She’s trying

    to make ends meet, knowing they’re
    frayed. She’s stayed between the

    lines long enough, crossed a few and
    back again, drawn some new ones in

    the sand and stood in their swaying
    tide. She’s lied and leaned and held

    and unshelled herself to sea, learning
    her own salt is the only way to breathe.


  76. P.A. Beyer

    Beyond Valhalla

    After four nights travel,
    Wilhelm reaches the cove
    where the cliffs mock the Nordic sea.
    His senses absorb that golden mandolin
    sound of the Scandinavian horizon.
    The dark salt air lathers his naked body.
    He holds his breath for eleven seconds,
    long enough to pray to Balder,
    until the zenith falls
    like a thrown spear.

    Loki will return the sun tomorrow.
    His cruelest trick indeed.

  77. Deri

    You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

    My mother kept
    my father
    from me.
    This was a fact
    I did not learn
    until nearly three decades
    of bitterness
    had been swallowed
    down my aching throat.
    Letters unanswered,
    phones unrung,
    driveways undriven,
    while I waited
    for girlhood
    to turn to womanhood
    the time of my own
    answers still lost.
    All the while,
    I had been
    my father’s daughter,
    meek and forgiving,
    refusing to succumb
    to the anger
    she promised me
    I should always feel.
    But the truth brought with it
    unbridled fury,
    and the regaining of the father
    meant the loss of a mother.
    I wouldn’t have it
    any other way.

  78. fahey

    Well-dressed meridian man

    Well-dressed meridian man, stepping over lines –
    where do you go from here with the asphalt
    in your thoughts? Save the paving for
    tomorrow, when the traffic’s gone and died–
    or at least after the light,
    when I’m done.

  79. Shell

    The Last Straw
    By Shell Ochsner

    Assuming images helpful to fix unresolved issues cowering in the coldest most disturbed places.

    Locked away protecting those who underestimate most.

    Normality nor time exist when control’s lost creative maleficent overtaken.

    Discernment would terrify at the thoughts that are mine.

    Conflicting battles in futile attempts to escape yet you strive to pry them out to see my horrors.

    Anyway, what would give you the right?

    If these things unleash, nothing would be same.

  80. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    That’s it;
    I quit,
    I’ve had enough
    of your stupid
    I guess I’ve said it a million time before,
    As I thought of walking out your
    As I wished I didn’t love you any more;

    One more
    Last time,
    Putting up with your thoughtlessness
    And petty selfish
    But no matter what you do,
    I can’t stop loving you,
    There oughtta be a law,
    Against grasping at last straws.

  81. MaryAnn1067

    The Last Straw Spun to Gold

    the last straw she spun to
    gold before falling into a swoon,
    finger pricked upon the spindle,

    glaring step-sisters, pleased at such
    a coma, leaving the field clear,
    for them, so to speak

    to have at all the eligible
    princes carrying their coffers of
    gold, cutting through thorniest underbrush,

    vanquishing dragons, answering riddles, and executing
    all manner of princely duties
    while their greybearded fathers, the kings,

    balanced their budgets on the
    backs of their peasants, making them stretch
    their black bread a little longer, as

    Hansel and Gretel were
    given the bum’s rush into the forest and
    our spinning princess sleeps still in quietude,

    immured from the carping harpies
    who would steal her children from her

  82. De Jackson


    She doesn’t realize she’s arrived
    at the very last scrap of herself
    until the two-thirds of her that’s
    liquid has simply spilled away,
    filled the gutters with an ocean,
    left a tiny dried crust of a tired
    smile. She can see for miles up
    here and it all feels just a little
    like standing tiptoe on a finger
    -nail moon in this inky sky.


  83. Jane Shlensky

    Plastic Straws

    You always think abuse will end
    with a bang, a final victorious tribute
    to the self that says I’m not made
    for this—I deserve better.
    Some life-affirming trumpet blast,
    some leap of faith freeing
    as parachuting right before
    the chord that will save
    your life is pulled.
    You calculate the exact pressure
    there has to be on that last straw
    to get a crisp crack, a clean break
    of the life-altering kind.
    You anticipate a satisfying sound
    that you feel in your knees.

    You imagine endings that
    never happen. You actually
    rehearse them, where you get
    to say all that’s in your heart
    and exit left, dramatically.
    In truth, you wake up
    one day and ask the question:
    do you want to live like this
    for the rest of your life?
    Is this what your life was for?
    You calculate the number
    of years before you might die
    and it is crushingly long.

    Then you look through the ads
    for a place to live quietly
    as you change your life,
    you pack what you need
    and leave the rest,
    let the bastard have it all.
    You start to write a note
    or leave a message on his phone
    but then you don’t. There’s
    nothing left to say. And you go
    feeling at once scared, sad,
    and wildly exhilarated, like
    you always do when the end
    runs headlong into the beginning.

  84. Himanee

    Pecking Orders
    The crumbs fly carelessly from the giver’s hand
    catching the wind and drifting
    before tumbling to the ground.
    The birds see the crumbs
    and scramble for them,
    knocking over, pecking each other
    in the lust for more than one morsel.
    The birds who get the most are the fattest,
    and perhaps the least healthiest.
    They knew — but failed to remember — in their greed
    that the crumbs were not real sustenance
    but junk discarded from a human hand that cared little
    of their fates.

    One bird failed to make it to the fest in time.
    She nibbled plaintively at a single crumb,
    and then turned back to her regular diet
    of grubs, worms, ants, bugs, and grass.
    As her companions grew fat and complacent,
    she found herself feeling refreshed
    by her own sense of peace. She continued to live
    her bird-like life, finding joy in her ritual
    of foraging, daily baths, travels to new sights,
    and leisurely fluffings of her feathers in the sun.

    She was among the birds
    that survived her first year,
    a year when eight out of ten birds perish,
    and lived a long and prosperous life.
    For her, the fight for crumbs was the final straw.
    She was not going to struggle anymore.

  85. carolecole66

    Autumn Cleaning

    The barn was cavernous and dim;
    dust danced in the rays of sun
    that broke through warped boards,
    through windows in the hay mow, through
    cracks beneath the giant rolling doors.
    The cow stalls stank of old bedding, dried
    and crumbled excrement. Blocks of mud
    littered the floor from tractor tires, spiders
    wove their hidden webs in corners, sparrows
    nested high in the rafters. “It’s time to earn
    your dinner.” He handed me a broom; his voice
    thundered like the fearsome god he was.
    Sweat streaked muddy rivers down my cheeks,
    like tears of penance. I choked on chaff, the dross
    of sins I tried not to confess. Hours later
    he returned, said “now you hose it down—
    all the webs and scrap and dung. Make it
    baptismal clean, down to the last small straw.”


  86. Amirae Garcia

    She Part ll – Amirae Garcia

    She robbed us of our home and she
    robbed us of our peace of mind.
    She came in the dark of night
    and she tried to make us blind.
    She burned our flesh and left us dangling
    off the edge of a cliff; and I don’t know
    why we deserved this. Why did we deserve this?

    She tried to suffocate us with the blame,
    tried to stick it down our throats.
    She struck a match and tried to douse us
    in the flames of her anger and spite.
    She, all this time, kept looking for a place
    to rid herself of the hate, hiding it under our
    beds and stuffing it in our closets.

    I tried to see her like Belle saw the Beast,
    some misunderstood creature dying to claw his
    way out of the flesh he was cursed in.
    I tried to see her as the sunflowers she loved so much,
    but she was nothing but darkness and poison;
    that I could see, seeping out of her flesh like sap out of trees.

    I know there was a lesson at work here.
    I know we will come out stronger and better than before.
    I know this is enough. This is done. Finally, it is finished.
    Liberty has kissed the doors open and
    She is gone. She is gone. She is gone.
    I’ve never heard such a beautiful symphony as this.

  87. Shennon

    We knew she wouldn’t get better.
    The cancer was aggressive and advanced.
    We put on brave faces
    To match the one she wore
    Day in and day out.
    At just four years old
    She was the center of my universe.
    Bright blue eyes and glowing skin
    Never one to complain
    She rejoiced in every rising sun
    While longing to be outdoors again.

    But that damn disease kept feeding,
    Stealing her life away.
    She grew paler and looked smaller
    In that big sterile hospital bed.

    On a deep winter night
    Her fragile hand gripped mine.
    “It hurts, Daddy,” she whispered
    As a solitary tear fell from her eye.
    One final breath shuddered through her body
    Then Heaven welcomed her home.

    Such an unfair end for one so innocent.
    My heart simply broke.
    I hung my head.
    I wept.


  88. Julieann

    The Last Straw

    I lost it
    I lost my precious
    Gold needle
    I was sewing on
    Fine vintage
    When suddenly
    That teensy little needle
    Fell from my fingers
    It rolled across the
    Floor, right into the
    Semi-tall stack of hay
    Left over from Halloween
    I had to find that needle
    Nothing would do
    Except find that needle
    So piece by piece I started
    Looking for the proverbial
    “Needle in a haystack”
    Surely it could not
    Have gone far
    It could not be that hard
    To find
    I should get stuck with it
    Or it would glint in the
    But no way, it had hidden
    Itself well
    So down and down I went
    Each piece of straw carefully
    Lifted and moved to a new stack
    Until I reached the bottom
    And lifting up the final piece
    There it was
    The needle
    Stuck to the floor under
    The last straw

  89. Kit Cooley

    Over Insurance

    I don’t even want another test–
    Poked and prodded, cut
    and radiated, far too many
    times this past year,
    and then some.
    But to have the faceless
    profiteering company,
    much more familiar
    with crunching numbers
    than providing healthcare,
    tell me they won’t approve?
    The battle line has been drawn.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  90. Ravyne

    Drawing Straws

    We stood, beads of sweat
    sliding down our faces
    None of us wanted the job
    to transport more artillery
    over enemy lines —
    going meant never coming back
    this was a death sentence

    I drew first
    looked at my straw in secret
    every man in turn drew his
    no one knew which was shortest
    We held our breaths
    as Jack drew the last straw
    and we slowly compared

    My hands shuck, my knees bolted
    I crumbled to the dirt below
    In silent prayer I cried
    not this time, not this time
    It was so close, my straw so short
    but poor Jack had the deadly one
    the last straw, another good bye

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  91. hojawile


    Working hard
    Sweating lots
    I was parched
    Really hot
    But there in the shade
    Fingers like claws
    She was sipping my lemonade
    With the very last straw!

  92. MyPoeticHeart

    The last straw

    I am there today
    at my last straw that is
    too many forgot too
    too many over the edge forgetfulness
    too many oh I meant to do this or that
    enough already
    we’re supposed to be grown ups
    suddenly left in the dark
    stuff left out of conversations
    Important stuff, like oh I bounced a check!

    This straw broke today
    I am mad, hurt and this is
    the last straw

  93. Hannah

    Siberian Squill

    All I want to do is count the tiny, dome shaped flowers
    every one of those little indigo, blue bells in the neighbor’s yard…
    there must be thousands of them climbing that grassy knoll.
    I found a mourning dove egg beneath the coniferous tree today,
    when I picked it up the sun shone through showing its liquid contents
    and a hardened amber drop glowed where it’d cracked when it landed;
    I tried to see where the nest was – disheartened by the unfortunate slip.
    Had parents, trading posts knocked this pearlescent prize to the ground
    or worse, had our activity startled a sleepy dove – did we cause the great fall?
    Later on a pair were busy in the makings of a new clutch…nature’s way, I guess…
    they move on practically make amends with mishaps and make remedy,
    make love to fill their emptiness…yes, there will be more eggs in their nest.
    Though, some days I just want to count all of the tiny-little-blue-domed-indigo-bells
    on the gem-green-grassy-knoll in the neighbor’s yard, sometimes not make a dent;
    not even one human-shaped-ripple in the scheme of beautiful-growing-spiraling-things.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  94. Pat Walsh

    PAD poem 25:

    nature’s last nerve
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    she has warned us
    in the howl of hurricane wind
    lashing hard rain
    on flooded pavement

    whispering while we walk
    in littered debris of leaves
    swaddling sparse remains
    of brown withered trees

    calling out reproach
    in querulous squall of Jay
    plaintive and insistent
    that reckoning will come

    her signal flag raised
    she passes days uneasy
    waiting for us
    to chart a clearer way

  95. susanjer

    Gertrude Stein at the Florists

    My nose, today, is full of prose.
    Prose does get up the nose
    In a way verbose and grandiose.

    I mention this so you do not
    Propose, do not suppose, I want
    Today that flower I so often chose

    That rhymes with toes, that rhymes
    With hose, that sounds like clothes.
    Today I want a flower less ruthless.

    Not today the calla lily. Not the tiger lily.
    Today not the gladiola that grows
    Like corn in regimental rows. Not today.

    I want today, today I want a bloom that
    Does not want to blossom in my nose
    A bouquet that knows poetry from prose

    That knows a nose, is a nose, is a nose.

  96. Undomiel

    Just wanted to say thank you for this prompt! With this prompt I wrote the following poem,

    Breaking Point

    This is it

    “the last straw”

    after this I’m giving up.

    I’m tired of you and all your incessant complaints

    about the fraying and the dust and the pointlessness

    of everything I keep

    at the ends of my fingers

    locked in my chest

    on the shelves in my head.

    Somedays I pull you up

    and admire how delicately you’ve woven your roots around my thoughts

    before I add you to the pile of your comrades carcasses.

    Somedays I wrap my cracking joints around your neck

    and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze

    to stop the choking in my throat.

    But fighting with you is endless,

    a perpetual clone war,

    and my ears are pounding from the reverberations

    of each detonation.

    So with this breath I’m adding

    my final stick to the pile,

    and if I have the guts I’ll light it

    and laugh as we break and burn and scatter

    in a mushroom shaped inferno.

    But even if I can’t find the spark for that,

    as I lie here drained of life,

    at least I can watch

    as the weight of it all

    breaks your back.

    It’s a poem about the inner war I have with my gremlin thoughts- you know the ones. I normally write and post my works on dA, but this prompt was from here so I thought I would share my efforts here. If you’d like to read others of my works they can be found at http://undomiel321.deviantart.com/ I really appreciate the instruction and encouragement you all provide here at Writer’s Digest. I just wanted to say thank you!

  97. Emily Cooper

    Blown His House Down

    Contrary to that old
    cautionary tale
    the Three Little Pigs

    a straw house can last
    one thousand years
    so long as it’s
    fortified with mud

    and the longest
    ongoing arguments

    for why Cliven Bundy
    should be considered
    a patriotic hero

    and not an ungrateful moocher
    who let his 900 cows
    munch for 20 years
    on federal grasses

    and presumably would not
    breathe a sigh of relief

    at the cessation of his
    government oppression

    were he suddenly
    rounded up and consigned
    to a fun life
    of truly “free” ranching

    can survive unchallenged
    until the spirit of his life

    is betrayed by his utterance
    of the letter.

  98. matthew

    The Last Straw Is The Next Pothole

    This is what passes for a street today?
    Potholes and craters in the pavement
    that strain vehicle suspensions
    rattle nerves and entire semis
    pop tires disturb the throttle
    hollow out the commands of the transmission
    jostle passengers and drivers alike
    jiggle breasts bust u-joints and
    stabilization bars loosen exhaust pipes
    drop mufflers flood the intersections
    cause distractions and accidents

    Meanwhile tossing the gravel patchwork
    that doesn’t work onto the sidewalk
    and pedestrian islands
    turning the city into a sick
    bombed out experience

    Somewhere there is a depraved city department
    manager ill yet at ease with these “improvements”

    I wonder when he is out here
    white knuckling the wheel on his way
    to the grocery store
    I wonder if his couch is new?
    if his pension is in good shape?
    if he has anything I can steal?

    Does he know that this is the last straw?

  99. dandelionwine

    True Grit

    Drink up, this
    is the final straw.
    Tender shoots
    rise through rock,
    and never a heart need break
    with the camel’s back.

    Sara Ramsdell

  100. flood

    The Night Harriet Tubman Broke The Big Dipper

    Emptied was
    the drinking gourd.
    had no more tears
    to give.
    To calm herself,
    she created a diversion.
    She cast aside
    that last straw,
    begged the North Star
    to hand sew light
    into the shadows,
    to stitch a route
    from station
    to station.
    While everyone
    looked upward
    to Polaris,
    she hollowed
    riverbeds and
    breathed safety
    into the spaces between
    church floorboards and
    the cool earth of

  101. Elizabeth Koch

    Dear Students
    You once were my obsession
    My reason for choosing this profession

    For years, success
    My plans and I kept your attention
    You learned it all and that fed my passion

    You yearned to know
    Searched out answers to your questions
    You had a thirst and a love for information

    That’s not so now
    Where’s your sense of intrinsic motivation
    In fact, I bet I lost you up there at “profession”

    Your whiney voice is the last straw
    Lit & Comp is the class you’re in
    yet you ask, “Do we have to read and write, again?”

    Your attitude has finished me
    and let me retract my previous position
    There is such a thing as a stupid question

    1. matthew

      Well I like my offering for today’s prompt but, this is actually very humorous to me and well written. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has a better chance than mine.

    2. Julieann

      My son teaches middle school English and Composition and you are right “Do we have to read and write, again?” You captured the momentum, or lack thereof, in the schools. Students just have the gumption we had – what a pity! Your sentiments were beautifully well constructed.

    3. carolecole66

      I tell my students they were lied to if they were told there’s no such thing as a stupid question. “Did I miss anything when I was absent?”

  102. LCaramanna

    A Drink to Life

    Life is an apple daiquiri
    born of woman’s desire for forbidden fruit,
    sweet and sour ordinary moments
    blended with fire and ice,
    each sip a flavor in my mouth.
    Life is an apple daiquiri
    mixed with pride, meant to be swallowed.
    I sip, determined to savor,
    until the very last drop
    is slurped through my straw.
    Lorraine Caramanna

  103. pcm

    Fed Up

    I’m fed up with being a door mat
    with sayin’ that’s that
    just lettin’ the fat cats
    get all the cream.
    It’s time to follow a dream
    even it doesn’t seem
    real yet.
    Just gotta feel, get
    it in your bones
    sing the tones
    that put you in the zone
    to imagine.
    The only way to tame the dragon
    of despair
    is to look up in the air
    and say, I belong there.
    I plant my feet on this ground
    and take the courage that I’ve found
    inside of me
    and throw it against the wall
    to see what doesn’t fall.
    It’s when you’ve got nothin’ left,
    when it’s all been blown away,
    that’s where you find
    what is here to stay.
    When the outside is empty
    and your friends are all gone
    that’s when you find the inside has plenty
    for you to act on.
    Take up the sword of your words, pen and voice
    and master your choice
    to be heard.
    It may seem absurd
    but from chaos
    can emerge
    a vision
    a lyric
    a truth
    a child
    of wonder.
    So feed your dreams.
    Don’t let up.
    Feed them up.
    And get fed up.

    1. Elizabeth Koch

      “The only way to tame the dragon
      of despair
      is to look up in the air
      and say, I belong there.”

      pcm, Thank you for reminding us that we do belong up in the sky with our loftiest dreams! I love the rhythm of this piece.

  104. Linda Voit


    We never got to the last one
    at our house or if we did
    us kids never knew.
    When we were sick
    there was always
    a bendy one
    coming out of a glass
    of room-temperature
    7Up at our bedside
    and somehow
    it made us feel better.

    Linda Voit

  105. cindikenn

    Split Up

    fingernail bead glitters golden
    clicks softly partners beautifully
    to expensive French manicure, it’s
    so pretty

    bead twists into soft pink skin carving
    hole shoots electricity through hand
    skates up arm until teeth ache, but it’s
    so pretty

    bead shines finger swells bead twinkles blood
    pools bead shimmers infection boils
    hand throbs like heartbreak in love, it’s so
    pretty but

    torment deceit guile rip sparkling
    nugget from tender flesh trails blood from
    crater nothing but raw tortured skin, which
    will heal

    and anyway, a little scar is better than keeping that damn bead
    or you

  106. Kendall A. Bell

    The clutter causes me to snap

    There were bottle caps from sodas
    you drank months ago piling on
    your desk, snaking around the
    monitor and tossed in the corner
    of the shelf, buried under used
    napkins and scribbled on pieces
    of notebook paper. I couldn’t take
    it anymore. I hacked your password
    at My Coke Rewards and started
    entering every cap, but it would
    only let me enter 100 points. Now
    I have to wait until next week to
    finish what you hadn’t done in what
    must be close to a year. The black
    and red caps now sit on the top shelf
    of your desk, turned up and staring
    at the ceiling as they sit next to
    the printer that you never turn off.
    Oh yeah, I threw away all of those
    napkins, balled up the papers and
    didn’t care if they were important
    or not. I took the eyeglass wipes I
    found. I left the picture you bought
    from Ray’s old studio and stood it on
    its end on the side of your monitor.
    Maybe you’ll get around to hanging it
    up. I’ll even get a frame for you
    from the basement.

  107. carolecole66

    The Last Straw

    I wasn’t happy when
    squirrels devoured the sunflower seed,
    but when the rats began to dance
    up and down the feeder pole, that’s
    where I drew the line.


  108. DCR1986

    A Little Sip of love

    When I sip through this last staw,
    I will be full from
    an ounce of sweetness,
    a quart of patience,
    and a gallon of eternity—
    To quench the world.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  109. Sharon Ann

    This is supposed to be a Final Straw Poem, I guess I just want a dessert right now.

    The Final Straw…berry

    I place the shortcake in the short white bowl,
    spooning the sugared strawberries atop,
    finishing off the display with fluffy cream.
    Spoon after spoon of the delicious dessert,
    taking me to the bottom of the bowl,
    and the final dilemma.
    Two bites of cake and the final straw…berry.
    Back to the kitchen.
    I add another shortcake to the short white bowl,
    spooning more sugared strawberries atop,
    finishing off the display with fluffy cream.
    Spooning more carefully the delicious dessert,
    balancing cake and strawberry and cream,
    taking me to the bottom of the bowl.
    No dilemma.

  110. utsabfly

    No More

    She held on as long as she could
    Feet scarred from years of egg shells
    Feeling the faint strength within
    Increasing in vertical swells

    For years she tried to live
    Under a powerful radar
    Knowing she could do no right
    Existing inside a broken avatar

    The last straw came
    Like lightening ruptured her soul
    When he hurt her baby
    In a violent rage out of control

    Pain had been reserved for her
    She knew how to survive
    She never felt worth a change
    But one forbidden touch opened her eyes…

    ©E.D. Allee
    April, 2014

  111. BDP

    “Squirrel Court: Last Straw”

    As I take aim, again he reigns
    near robin’s feeder, hardly deigns
    to notice me, soon scurry feet
    scram up, parade, tear ripened seed
    to feed his gut, his bellied mien.

    I warn with pebbles, he leaps clean
    away, though back he sneaks, a scheme
    to tease and taunt. A royal greed
    as I take aim

    with peasant hope. Arm up, I fling!
    He flips his tail and shows his zing.
    (How gauche!) Then gorps with slobber greed,
    plus I admit to stupid me
    to think I’d change a stealing king.
    As I take aim.

    –Barb Peters

  112. Gwyvian

    Precious gem

    I came to claim acceptance in the dark caves lore forsook,
    hunting that elusive pixie that dithers over all my friends
    they’re attracted to smiles, I think – but every crop needs
    a seed to begin – and I came here with a purse empty of
    that currency; all I had was a single gem dear to me.

    Nearer the deeper levels, a gatekeeper greeted me with
    a grimace on his weathered face – he was mortal, I saw,
    and no doubt attached to the sprite who fluttered nearby;
    but to enter, what he asked was a pittance – and much
    dearer than a willingness to comply.

    Meandering sightlessly, my well of strength dried up, so after
    a time, I returned with shoulders slumped to give the wretched
    man my gem: the only light of truth I harvested, my creation,
    child of my heart and mind: he took it and gave in return an
    insolent grin – but finally, I was ushered inside.

    What I saw there was a magnificent chamber filled with
    dancing laughter that painted lights across the ceiling,
    my head was reeling from all the motion and joyousness,
    something unfamiliar and alluring – and a pixie came to me,
    to ask what I would have: I told her – but she just laughed.

    Smoldering in my hurt, I schooled my face to stillness,
    inquired politely if acceptance would be mine – and that
    obnoxious pixie sprinkled dust over me, and said, now
    that is what I have: she accepts what I give, and I should be
    satisfied – I left indignant, hiding that I was cut open inside.

    Time passed with an agonizing slowness on the surface,
    where I smiled as brazenly as any – no pixies came, though,
    no, they would not return smiles garnered from me, so I
    seethed and planned that I would return – and so, I began
    another expedition: arriving with gems that meant nothing.

    Past the gates, I said that I found this a lackluster recompense,
    the dust of acceptance that meant nothing to any but myself,
    and told the pixie that if she closed that door instead of making
    amends – that will be the straw that broke the camel’s back,
    and I said that she could expect a delicious revenge.

    A shadow stilled her smiles, a silence shrouded us both and
    finally she seemed to realize that what I’d asked was more:
    something deeper than a whim, sharp need unanswered, but to my
    surprise, a fire lit in her eyes and she gestured towards the sky—
    where, to my shock, my gem glittered, bathing all in light…

    April 25, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  113. Bartholomew Barker

    The Last Straw

    When the politicians ignore the people
    When the people ignore the problems
    When the boss insists we’re on the right path
    When the women don’t text me back
    When the wine turns sour
    When the words won’t flow
    When I am all done
    There’s a demanding little dog
    Insisting I pick her up
    Place her in my lap
    And pet her
    Until the last straw floats away
    And the camel’s back is healed

  114. Margie Fuston

    The Last Straw

    The last straw sits between us
    on the table in the back corner
    of Joe’s Diner. The last one
    in the whole place, the waitress says.
    What kind of diner runs out of straws?
    But you just pick it up, rip through
    the paper wrapper, and place it
    into the chocolate-sprinkled
    whipped cream that hides the top
    of the strawberry milkshake stuck
    between us. You push the straw
    towards me, casual, yet deliberate,
    as if sharing the last straw with me
    weren’t somehow symbolic.
    You wait for me to sip, but
    I seem to be waiting for the new
    shipment of straws to come in.

  115. RebekahJ

    On Preference

    “Last straws” are a luxury
    For the relatively free
    Implying, as they do, some choice.
    “I just couldn’t take it anymore”
    Really means “I was no longer willing”

    But what if your intestines are entwined with wire
    Your sinews welded into cinderblock

    Then the bales and bundles fill the silo
    And you just sink deeper with each yellow stalk

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  116. pamelaraw

    When the Last Straw Falls

    Does the scarecrow cry
    out to heaven when he feels
    the last slit of straw
    slip from his side?

    Will the final shiver of wind
    flutter his flannel shirt
    and overalls like loose flaps
    of flesh around the wood?

    When the murder of crows returns
    in one black cloud, will they
    remember the reach of the man
    or simply feed on the field?

    Will his body be transformed
    by eager sparrows to build
    nests or be the spark
    that sets these fields ablaze?

  117. Anvanya


    Patterns – we get into trouble: we’re
    pattern recognition junkies, our brains
    wired that way from birth. Couldn’t
    learn without them and couldn’t
    unlearn with them. Lately I’m keen on
    identifying the ones I call my default patterns.

    You know the ones: they are our comfort zone patterns.
    Rather go there than stand up for myself.
    Rather retreat into the cave of memory than handle
    the looming crisis. God help me, I passed them
    on to my kids because my folks passed them on to me.

    So about a month ago I quit the job I’d had
    for eight years – and left behind my co-dependent
    office mates and managers. Got a letter in the mail:
    “Please drop by HR when you pick up
    your final check.” Okay.

    Ever heard of the “Exit Interview”? Had me a
    whopper of an interview: I’m pretty sure that
    most employees would go easier on the company.

    Did I want to participate in the “Retired Community
    Service Program”? No.
    Who was the best manager during my years of work?
    No one I could name.
    Why was that?
    Frankly, I knew more about my job than anyone
    who ever evaluated me; had more job training
    and more business acumen classes under my belt
    than the folks in the corner offices. We never spoke
    the same language.

    And, what would you say to a prospective employee
    of the company looking for advice?
    Run like the wind – away from here. Unless, that is,
    you really enjoy kow-towing to the no-nothing bosses
    and thrive on regular unpaid extra hours. But then, you just
    might be comfortable here, especially if you like . . .
    glass ceilings.

  118. kldsanders

    I was so excited when I saw today’s prompt because I had some great material to write a great poem. I met a person today that just set my teeth on edge. Unfortunately, having to spend the day with this person(I was at work, so I couldn’t leave) wore me out to the point that I’m too exhausted to write the kind of poem I wanted to write. So I wrote a haiku for today. Maybe tomorrow I will have recovered enough to try my hand at a longer poem.

    Prompt: The Last Straw

    Title: Exhausted

    You have worn me out
    to the point that I can no
    longer seem to think.

    -Karen Sanders

  119. SestinaNia

    The Last Straw

    I am not sure exactly
    what brought us here
    to this precipice
    where one shuffle
    too far spells
    or at least dislocation
    of collarbone or ankle.

    And I can’t fathom
    the winding path
    that would lead two
    such bound-souls as you and I
    to this final showdown.

    But here we are,
    toe-to-toe, nose-
    to- pointy nose, both
    and only one of us will be
    the other,
    Because only one
    will close fingers
    around that slender
    plastic tube—
    that very last straw
    in the dispenser.

    — Sara Doyle

  120. shellcook

    Ode to the last straw

    The last straw, the one before you completely give up,
    a mighty sword for many good intentions,
    finds its fragmented self
    in the heart and part of human nature.

    How much shit will you take
    before you actually break?
    Because once you’ve gone that far,
    it really is too late.

    Hearts break,
    fingers shake,
    breath is sucked from your lungs,
    when the last straw lays like a gauntlet thrown,
    and you know the fight is over,
    before its ever begun.

    While you crumble into the abyss,
    remember watching eyes are learning
    each note you strike,
    each word you cry,
    each step you take
    before the edge is reached
    and just how important it is
    to always have a backup plan.

  121. wallrose34

    “Berry Shaped Bruises”

    By: Chelsey Richardson

    Day 25

    It is the teeter-totter of all moments.
    The moment the husky kid thrusts
    his jelly filled limbs on the other end.

    The moment you fly off landing on all your
    permanent scars complimented by
    last night’s berry shaped bruises.
    Still as little as you feel;
    you find the courage to wipe that
    mud smeared face and get up to meet
    him fist-to-eye.

    You were the circus elephant
    whipped one too many times.
    The department store
    mannequin who’s arm
    gets dismembered
    yet again by another
    unrelenting coupon collecting

    So, you grab that straw, put it
    in-between the half-moon behind
    your lips, eyes like spaceships, and with hands
    as shaky as an unbalanced
    washing machine.

    You pack up your insecurities,
    remind yourself it will be ok, dust off
    your knuckles,
    and leave.

  122. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    The Last Straw Poem

    We didn’t know it would be the last,
    hadn’t exactly planned it that way.
    When it was finished, we thought it
    as decorative as the rest,
    as well-constructed.

    But then those poets down the road
    built the first wooden one.
    Everything was instantly different.
    The rules had completely changed.
    (Nice it was, of balsa, light and graceful.)

    Then, of course, everyone tried.
    The timber used grew thicker.
    This didn’t always produce
    the most tractable results,
    but they were lasting.

    In time came the bold
    experiments in metal.
    And now a new departure
    thanks to the internet:
    cyber-poems, lighter than air.

    I came across it the other day,
    that last straw poem,
    forgotten in a cupboard.
    I wondered at its primitive ephemerality —
    but it was sweetly woven.

  123. Vince Gotera

    Mixed “last straw” prompt with NaPoWriMo’s anaphora prompt.


    I can’t take it anymore,
    cven though it’s just started.

    I can’t take it anymore.
    This morning I’m already stuffed up.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if snowdrops and hyacinths are beautiful.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if 30% of people are similarly affected.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if there’s no hay and there’s no fever.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if it’s so happily sunshiny outdoors.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if it happens again and again, every year.

    I can’t take it anymore,
    even if everyone else just loves the nice days.

    I can’t take it anymore.
    I can’t take it anymore.

    Alright, alright. I’ll take it.
    I’ll just have to get shots. And try
    to hold my breath until winter comes.

              —Vince Gotera


  124. Jane Shlensky

    After the Eulogies

    They all admit he drank.
    His hunting buddies told tales
    of his uncanny aim even
    when he was stumbling drunk,
    when he did not remember
    sighting, the still and focused face,
    the slow aim down the barrel
    that followed the animal,
    the squeeze gentle as a breeze.

    Deer season was his favorite time
    to walk the woods, lightly for a big man,
    to climb the stand and wait
    for a worthy beast to come to him,
    a buck with antlers rising up
    like a crown of thorns.

    “Just an excuse to drink in the woods,”
    his daughter said, resentfully.
    She had tried for years to save his soul,
    get him involved in churchly things,
    but he said he wasn’t drunk enough
    for that—God knows where I live.
    She took it personally
    that he’d chosen to take his life
    during Sunday church hours.
    Did he know then what he would do?
    Both women gone, did he see
    his chance to leave without
    the weeping and striving?

    He wasn’t drunk that day, had fed
    his dogs and chickens. He had
    fenced his animals and chosen
    a thickly grassy spot so as not
    to make a mess near the house.
    He was fastidious that way,
    liked a clean well-ordered house.
    A roast was finished on the stove
    for lunch—he often cooked,
    so he had thought of them.
    An ordinary day, by all accounts.

    His best friend told of pushing him
    up the hill toward his house
    on the mountainside. “It’s getting
    harder and harder to climb,”
    he’d said, too drunk to make his way,
    one step forward becoming a step back.
    “I’ll help you to the house,” his best friend
    said, as they lurched forward and back.
    “That’ll be fine,” he’d replied,
    as long as you remember
    I didn’t ask for your help.”

    What last straw set the barrel
    under his chin and squeezed?
    They would work on that
    all their lives, the wondering,
    the new angles of remembering.
    Sometimes they would be angry,
    sometimes sad and mystified
    as jilted lovers.
    They all remember
    it was a beautiful fall day,
    the sky so deep and blue
    it hurt your eyes.

  125. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 25 Last Straw poem

    PADding Isn’t Always Comfortable

    Just like my mother
    who can tear apart
    a ripped up sofa
    and recover it into
    something chic,
    I started out
    with the best

    I’d write thirty days
    of insightful poems,
    but cliché drivel
    and trite description
    slathered itself
    throughout my words.

    I’m sorry
    you had to be exposed
    to the tackiness
    of my thoughts.

    But someone
    pulled the wool
    over you.

    I can’t honestly say
    who was hammering
    those computer keys,
    because if it
    had been me –
    those poems
    would have been

    That just about
    covers it.

  126. elysebrownell

    Elyse Brownell

    I am your passion
    a strong and barely controllable emotion
    an intense emotion compelling, enthusiasm, or desire

    pay attention to me

    If you follow me, I will take you into
    dark caverns, with lights and wall mountings
    that remind you how good things will be if you succumb

    I am your passion and I’m tired of being ignored
    but first, you must define me, you must
    listen to me, you must do everything thing I say

    you must think about me non-stop
    dream about me, find me in between the couch cushions,
    I am there, ignored like an overlooked penny

    I am waiting for you to notice me
    spend me, love me, parade me, announce me,
    eat me for breakfast, serenade me at candle light

    I will not go away until you notice my shadow
    cast your own light on my tracings and pronounce
    me: your one and only! your queen! and your savior!

    I am your passion, an early morning ritual
    A night that beckons you in the dark passing of ships,
    the one and only method to your madness

    Love me, adore me, marry me, I will never do you wrong
    never disobey you, never hurt you, never strike you,
    I am not lightening to your metal rod, I am not

    small whispered conversations behind closed doors
    I am not your dirty laundry left in piles on your bedroom floor,
    I am the sigh of relief after the storm

    I am the sunshine after a downpour
    I am the light that leads the way through
    The dark, windy, obstructed tunnel that is your life

    I am the bridge to your winded barrier
    I am the last Mohican
    I am the last unicorn

    I am your last hope at happiness.

  127. candy

    Kitchen Drawer

    I have a rainbow in my kitchen drawer
    Not the junk drawer with keys
    and batteries and broken pencils
    I have a rainbow in my kitchen drawer
    The drawer with the red striped dish towels
    and rooster oven mitts
    I have a rainbow in my kitchen drawer
    Slim tubes of many hues that make
    lemonade more tart and paper wads
    fly farther
    I have a rainbow in my kitchen drawer
    A cellophane package of multi-colored
    straws – not ordinary straws
    the bendy kind
    I have a rainbow in my kitchen ……………….
    Hey! Who took the last straw?!

  128. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Last Straw

    I’ve drawn it,
    I’ve had it,
    I’m done,

    Try to be patient and calm,
    bite my tongue,
    I’m done,

    It’s not raining in the living room,
    but the roof still leaks,
    I’m done,

    Hydro, mortgage to be paid,
    To date, you haven’t worked a day,
    I’m done,

    That’s the last nail,
    In your coffin.

  129. candy

    The Neighbor

    He wasn’t an old man though he lived in an old house
    He had a yellow-haired girlfriend and a yellow dog
    In the morning he would carry his tools and his coffee,
    in a silver mug, to his burgundy van and go to work
    He was a plumber
    On the weekends he would carry his black guitar case
    to his burgundy van to play bass in a country band
    One day the yellow-haired girlfriend left
    He stopped playing in the band and spent the weekends
    with the yellow dog
    The coffee in his silver mug became vodka
    Empty bottles piled up in the trash can at the
    corner of his old house
    He didn’t go to work every morning and then he didn’t
    go to work at all
    The burgundy van sat idle
    The yellow-haired girl came and took the yellow dog
    One day the old house was empty – his brother said
    he was in the hospital
    All his belongings, the tools, the black guitar case
    the silver mug were moved out
    I never saw him again
    I wonder what his last straw had been

  130. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 25 Last Straw poem

    Bored Games

    You’d think
    there was already
    piled on the counter,
    but the Jenga tower
    of junk
    double-dog dared you
    to balance
    and just to prove
    you weren’t playing around,
    you tossed on that magazine,
    that chipped measuring cup,
    and a half-used tissue box,
    till every eyebrow
    was lifted higher,
    every judgment
    until our next family
    but you should stop me
    before I’ve said,
    “Too much.”

  131. James Rodgers

    Big Enough

    she’s going to buy
    the biggest margarita
    that Mazatlan makes,
    a two-hander,
    the circumference of the glass
    bigger than her head.
    It needs to be
    big enough
    to drown this week in,
    drown this month in,
    drown her reoccurring sorrow in,
    maybe even big enough
    to drown herself in,
    and if it’s not big enough,
    she’ll have to order two.

  132. beachanny

    Straw In The Wind

    The great depression felt
    for thousands like an empty straw
    and most men were grabbing for just one
    filled with a dose of hope.

    Nearly every father on the high plains
    felt like he’d drawn the short straw
    and the fate of family and friends
    was up to him, staring at an empty field.

    The wind blew, picked up the dirt, the
    straw and every parched thing.
    It filled houses, cars, stores and everyone’s lungs
    until clean air became rarer than anything else.

    When that black storm Sunday came,
    wiping out the first fine day in years,
    it was a generations’ last straw.
    The world had come to an end for many.

    If there was air to breathe to stay alive
    if there were jobs to earn bread and keep,
    If there was straw to weave, and baskets to fill
    somewhere else, then it became the time to leave.

    © Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.25.14 *

  133. James Brush


    It is enough to walk among the firewheels
    even if for a few minutes. It is enough
    to breath the springtime air and let time stop.

    It is enough to walk up the hill to the stop
    sign. It is enough to feel the sun, that firewheels
    across the sky. Is it enough to say enough?

    It is enough to savor cool water, enough
    to lean against the wind imagining it will stop.
    It is enough for bees to navigate the firewheels.

    The firewheels are enough to make time stop.

  134. Alpha1

    get over it

    the woman i love
    just said good-bye
    that woman just said
    the woman i love
    just told me good-bye
    i was just about
    ready to die

    but a sweet honey voice said
    you better hang around
    a sweet voice said
    hang around
    this sweet sweet voice said
    you better hang around
    can’t make good love
    in the ground

  135. deathisforpoets

    you ain’t gettin at
    my last straw
    no way … no matter … nohow
    no cop pullin me over
    no editor cuttin my work
    no ex takin my bed
    no broke down car what needs a engine
    no mom tellin me I need Jesus
    no neighbor screamin “fuck” all day at her kids while i write my poems
    no no no no no

    cuz i done built
    a boat what floats
    with all my straws
    and i’m goin ona trip
    to LaLa Land
    on my lonesome
    and I
    ain’t never
    comin back

  136. madeline40

    Family Schism

    I don’t want
    it to be the last straw,
    but, my boy, I fear this is
    the end of our family
    as we know it.

    Your wife’s cruel words
    have turned our love
    to anger and misery
    and a schism
    that will never repair.

  137. lshannon

    Crossing the Line

    I am done with you and your using,
    Deplorable drama and destruction.
    You leave dirt and damage
    in your unwelcome wake.

    I spent years wasting time
    considering the “why”,
    second, third, more untold chances,
    excuses and apologies accepted.

    You go into the backstreets of life
    purposefully losing yourself,
    then shaking with anger
    at the world that lost you.

    Another excuse, another lie
    you throw away opportunity.
    more than that, you spit and stomp.
    Looking like the child that you are.

    when I think of you I burn with hate.
    strong word of flame and frustration.
    It is enough, beyond enough,
    we are finished at last and I sigh.

    You lash out and ruin,
    so we are all done with you.
    Turning my back on your troubled past
    moving on from regret to liberation.

  138. lionetravail

    “He Tries Too Hard”
    by David M. Hoenig

    He’s drowning, though he doesn’t know
    how deep his need for love will owe
    its growth to more than Murphy’s law.
    The water’s rising past his jaw,
    but he can’t see the status quo

    to understand what it could show
    of awkwardness. He won’t let go
    of want; to her, he’s just John Doe.
    He’s drowning, though he doesn’t know.

    His hopes are like abstract van Gogh,
    his dreams a rich and bold Bordeaux,
    but he can’t see he should withdraw
    instead of clutching at last straw!
    He’s so alone, his own worst foe:
    he’s drowning, though he doesn’t know.

    1. lionetravail

      Grrr, must have been sleepy- missed a line in second stanza to stay true to form. Please substitute this second stanza:

      to understand what it could show
      of awkwardness. He won’t let go
      of want; his soul it starts to gnaw-
      he’s drowning, though he doesn’t know.

  139. Ashley Marie Egan

    I suffer from anxiety. This poem is all about conquering it; which is something I hope I can achieve very soon.

    No Longer
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    No longer will I feel the rush of panic;
    the dizzying sensation that blurs my thoughts.
    No longer will my hands shake like a manic
    dog that went his whole life without any shots.
    No longer will my chest tighten, or threaten
    to break under the fear of losing everything I love.
    No longer will my heart feel like a weapon
    beating against my sternum like a metal glove.
    No longer will the tears build in my throat, or screams
    burn through my vocal cords at the thought of being alone.
    No longer will I allow my anxiety to haunt my dreams,
    because when it comes to my mind I deserve the throne.

  140. DanielAri

    “What’s after agree to disagree?”

    Hug, hug, kiss, kiss. Wallflower elephants
    malinger. They’re unseen as the fragrance
    of margarine (margarine!) on white toasts.
    Morning turns to afternoon sandwiches
    to Chinese takeout brought in. Our habits.

    We play games, look at scrapbooks, run errands,
    and keep all the attention on the kids.
    They’re refreshingly blissful, ignorant
    that there are taboos around certain fields.
    From upstairs, we hear “Obamacare.” Odd

    how they seem to know what the adults aren’t
    serving—even without context. We can
    name the elephants “Dumbo Verspending”
    and “Partisan Ignores a Who.” And when
    I get home, I can stampede a treatise

    onto paper or on screen, then I can
    file it unseen under “C” for “Concord.”


  141. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Native Americans sitting in a cave
    Praying to Great Spirit what Mother Earth gave
    Shamans walking in silent retreat
    Contemplating the path beneath their feet
    Yogis high in a Himalayan Mountain
    Searching by day for a fresh water fountain
    Spiritual women dancing under the moon
    Grounded to earth as they sing their tune
    Gurus chanting in Sanskrit before dawn
    In meditation after the sun is gone
    Mystical healers found in dense forests
    Gathering strength and energy for us
    Visionaries using their inner eyes
    To them all, the end no surprise
    Gratitude for their life and all they knew
    What they lived by and, for them, was true
    Their spirit and soul in a body experiencing life
    Listening to their heart ends all strife
    When it is time to let go
    They’ll just inwardly know
    Their truthful wonderful spirit
    Will recognize, acknowledge and hear it
    Quite aware of their return
    After finishing lessons they came to learn
    They will simply drop their body, moving on
    To ultimately again gaze upon
    The highest vibration they ever knew
    Knowing how much their soul actually grew
    Smiling within at the journey
    They can let go and let it be
    The ultimate release is then a blessing
    Back to the heavens, their spirits sing
    All the wise ones are certain,
    Letting the body go, not the final curtain
    So in life they simply enjoy
    Relinquishing control to feel the joy
    They consciously release
    Trusting fully in the peace

    In their final draw of breath
    Surrendering completely . . .

    To their physical death

  142. Emma Hine

    The Last Straw

    The straw that broke the camel’s back
    wasn’t my father having a heart attack,
    wasn’t my superior giving me the sack,
    wasn’t walking home in the rain without a mack,
    wasn’t finding you with your suitcase to pack,
    wasn’t your put downs (for which you have a knack),
    wasn’t your telling me you weren’t coming back,
    wasn’t standing alone outside our house, on the track,
    wasn’t the speeding car which hit me with a whack,
    wasn’t the sound of my bones going crack,
    wasn’t the world suddenly turning black
    or being woken by a doctor,named Jack.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back
    wasn’t seeing all these odds against me stack
    but finding that to face them, enough strength I lack.

  143. Sara McNulty

    Just Before Cracking

    Times arise when a person needs to surpass
    a warning, such as, `All his assistants left
    in tears; he never had anyone longer
    than a year, He is a prejudiced snob,
    and totally irrational to boot.’ I did not
    give a hoot. I intended to stick it out.

    In charge of senior personnel dinners,
    I would explain, in vain, how HE wanted
    the room set up. Insistent on checking
    it out for himself, HE would pout, yell,
    wave his arms, and tell me this was not
    the way HE wanted it.

    Four years of enduring temper tantrums,
    slights, rudeness, and outrageous behavior,
    I had my fill. One morning, acting as my own
    savior, I stood up and announced, in earshot
    of my coworkers, “I am going out on medical
    leave. I am not quitting.”

    Months passed, their hands tied. All the dirty
    dealings were etched on my brain. After threatening
    to sue, lawyer’s letter in hand, they offered me
    a package deal to leave, with a waiver–I could
    never sue the company.

  144. Mark Danowsky

    Blind Faith

    It was not the heroin
    or the lies
    like when you let blame
    fall on me
    for killing that kitten
    and let me live
    with it.
    It took the distance
    from Philadelphia to Portland
    and years incommunicado
    then your return, wanting
    things the way they were
    for me to finally see
    you wear the black hat.

  145. laurora


    I’ve disappointed myself again
    The same way I did the last time

    I tell myself it’s the last time
    The same way I did the last time

    But I tell myself that after every time
    and the disappointments repeat themselves anyway

    This is how I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a last straw
    People don’t change
    and everything continues;
    beatings of hearts,

    Nothing ever ends
    The memory captures the second of the ending happening
    and it lives on in remembrance

    The most tragic thing I have living inside of me
    is hope
    It’s false and makes me believe in ‘the next time’,
    it makes me believe that the last straw will happen

    But I know better than hope
    Or maybe I don’t
    After all,
    I have disappointed myself too many times to count already

  146. lethejerome


    Was it when you saw his name in the papers without his silhouette without his shadow
    Was it when you realized you stopped turning on the lights when you walked into a room
    Was it when the undertow caught your breath short and the current overtook the rocks
    Was it when you turned off your own water supply between eight and three
    Was it when every bite of food began to taste like guilt to be digested in the back of your throat
    Was it when the windows couldn’t get any cleaner even as you tugged at the ends of your cloth of the world
    Was it when your husband died on the phone and you forgot to think of what he could still see
    Was it when the music stopped even as the musicians strummed and blew and hit and everybody danced
    Was it when they blew up the Buddhas made the palace into a museum
    Was it when the ink seeped through to your fingernails through to your chair
    Was it when the cafés started to serve eel and lemonade in the morning
    Was it when your day in court came but no one showed up but words
    Was it when you received your first book or the first book of the rest of their lives
    Was it when you saw the outside of a cell from the point of view of the microscope
    Was it when tuberculosis hit her the blood started to cough up pieces of her
    Was it when they sat with their gods on your gods on your demons on their hands
    Was it when the bayonets grew guns the bodies grew flowers
    Was it when the hands grew heads whenever fingers joined
    Was it when the petition appeared before you could lay eyes hands on your name
    Was it when your father stopped being your father the spring appeared farther
    Was it when winter became more than a season more than the weather more than the sky
    Was it when the floorboards began talking to the walls in excruciating demands
    Was it when the jungle became a haven and the real snakes covered their teeth
    Was it when your father’s eyes closed on a dream shared with the grass
    Was it when they pretended they could spy on you better than you could yourself
    Was it when you told your wife divorce and silence would be her greatest act of love
    Was it when the investigation into the false causes of your death was preemptively launched
    Was it when they sandwiched you between opinions equally as valid but without existential purpose
    Was it when the only flowers that bloomed that year bore their doom in the thickness of their scent
    Was it when technology made everything else irrelevant limpid bright unavoidable
    Was it when you couldn’t tell couldn’t be asked so you told what you could tell
    Was it when your friend died in a hospital bed after dying at their table
    Was it when beauty stopped being worth being seen and discussed
    Was it when you didn’t expect you would find a mirror
    Was it the demands of friendship and decency
    Was it a change in the slant of the light
    Was it the passing of the day
    Was it hope

    Jérôme Melançon

  147. James Von Hendy

    Red Stain

    Sixteen, brittle with rage, the slow burn
    Of helplessness, and choked by love, that night
    I snapped. We sat, the four of us at dinner,
    My younger brothers (Andrew, Matt) and I,

    Apostles of the inebriate, mom
    Already soused on red jug wine. She rode
    Andrew with vindictiveness as only
    Kindred spirits can. He dished it back

    Tit for tat, and sober, had the upper hand.
    She knew it, too, and in defeat she threw
    Her plate at him, hitting me instead. I saw
    The briefest look of horror cross her face

    Before I rose, spaghetti sauce sliding down
    My chest. I took that jug of red, red wine,
    And hurled it against the kitchen wall.
    “That’s it,” I said. “Get up.” My brothers rose

    As one. Wrath ran down the wall like blood
    And pooled among the shards of glinting glass.
    We hunted down every little stash
    Of wine and booze she’d hidden, and poured

    It down the drain. She watched with wounded pride,
    But come morning I found her kneeling amidst
    The ruins of her undoing. She wept, contrite
    Before the mop and pail I’d left, but

    It was years before that white wall came clean.

  148. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Who loved life and was always in awe
    She began cleaning up all that she saw
    She’d go after each gutter,
    Straightening up all the clutter,
    Dying by a trash can, grasping in her hand . . .

    The last straw!

  149. uneven steven

    the last straw

    Scythes are so 2 centuries ago
    humans are so wound up these days
    Death’s moved his throne into the game room
    and just sits back
    watching us go
    most steady as pocket watches or pendulums
    or musical metronomes methodically
    stepping us down
    into old age
    others giving it all in one go
    drop their steel clacking ball
    into other steel balls
    a loud chaotic newtonian cradle
    of hitting and being hit until it all
    inevitably stops
    a few though seem to like to ratchet things
    up notch after teeth clenching notch
    hoping to spin and fly and crash
    like giant forever wind up toys
    never really knowing how far they can go
    until that one last turn
    when it all just gives and gives and gives
    and everything is lost
    and there’s nothing to left
    to hold on to

  150. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Avalanches fall
    After one final snowflake
    All collapses down

    Autumn leaves late fall
    One final leaf still attached
    Once gone all fall down

    Cherry blossoms come
    Before winter has gone by
    They freeze, drop and die

    Up the cherry tree
    Picking the last good cherries
    Crows knew and took them

    Final big wave set
    Surfers surfboard crushed in half
    Last ride break of day

          1. Janet Rice Carnahan

            Wonderful, I grew up there in a fifth generation SC family! My father lived in Scotts Valley. Love that area!

  151. intheshadowofthesoul

    The Last Load
    Lydia Flores

    I have grabbed my laundry
    Ironed my wrinkled T-shirts
    of defeat and fold my jeans
    of silence and ingenuousness.
    I match my dingy white socks
    and toss the lost ones. I still
    believe the dryer eats away
    their companions but tonight
    I take inventory of my thoughts.
    The heat shall no longer burn out
    my peace and trust in the man
    that controls my machine—God.
    washed cleaned and dried of sins.
    There shall be no more bleached
    memories I try to make into moments.
    The Tide of forgiveness shall wash out
    the grass stains and the fabric softener
    will no longer irritate my sensitive skin.
    The last load has had it cycle and
    I lay out my outfit for tomorrow.
    A confident white, V neck with
    comfortable green, cargo pants,
    I love that they have lots of pockets
    I have lots to say. I put out a pair
    of ankle socks and black and white chucks.
    My room rains of fresh laundry detergent and
    I won’t have to wear the clothes I wore yesterday.
    I have clean clothes and I am ready for tomorrow.

    1. James Von Hendy

      Some nice imagery here. I like the contrast between the laundry at the beginning of the poem and the outfit you lay out for the morrow. I also like the way you move from your inventory of your laundry to the inventory of your thoughts.

  152. kylepadera

    I Draw Last
    Straws organized behind ringless fingers
    curling with tributaries of vein distilleries.
    Presented in order for fairness, I draw last.
    She lets my sister draw first, the oldest picks
    The favorite straw. My brother picks second,
    The forgotten straw. And then me, Finally,
    I draw The last straw.

  153. dixonlm2

    Last Straw
    Okay now! I have had enough!
    You keep doing the same ‘ole stuff.

    Not calling me when you said,
    Why am I being misled?

    Do you care about me?
    If not. Time for me to see,

    The truth and the sure light,
    And cleave with all my might.

    To let you go, far from me,
    Go away. Please. Let me be.


  154. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write a “last straw” poem.

    The Last Straw

    “I quit!”
    I spun away from tiny sink
    corner of back room,
    hand dripping water,
    hand dripping blood,
    grabbed my purse and stomped—
    blood drops, apron and anger—
    out through the deli
    to joblessness.

    I should have quit the day before,
    but there was rent to pay and food to buy,
    so I stayed past the obvious time.

    Power cord to meat slicer
    came out of its receptacle,
    220-volt power outlet.
    Grab the plug,
    push it in


    and my involuntary scream.

    I didn’t feel the pain at first.
    The back of my hand turned black.
    No plug in my hand, no plug anywhere,
    evaporated from the end of its cord.

    When the pain slammed me
    I wanted ice. I had none.
    A customer walked in:
    I sent her next door—
    She returned with bar ice
    carried in clean rag
    to wrap my hand.
    Mercy I’ll never forget.

    I called my boss
    at the number he gave me
    all afternoon,
    letting it ring once
    as forcefully instructed,
    then hanging up.
    After hours of no reply,
    I dialed and let it ring on.
    An elderly woman answered,
    voice frightened.
    I’d been harassing her
    in my innocence.
    Using a phone book,
    I found digits reversed.
    dialed the right number
    and hung up.

    I wish it ended there.
    I wish I walked out,
    never answered his call,
    left the place open to pillagers.

    He called. He came.
    He blamed me for
    outlet faulty before I started,
    cord stretched too far for years,
    having to call in electrician.
    He gave no thanks for
    food moved from freezer to freezer,
    from cold case to cold case
    (all one-handed)
    to save his precious merchandise;
    nor even for staying despite my burns.
    Didn’t even offer a ride
    or medical assistance.

    And I went back to work next day.
    That is where my blame lies.

    Lunchtime rush,
    right hand bandaged,
    making sandwiches.
    Yank down plastic wrap,
    hand hits cutter strip,
    slices neatly as Saran
    across the back.
    Wrap hand in apron,
    sandwich in plastic,
    then hurry to back room
    where he sits, eating.

    As I start to wash, he says,
    “You’re the clumsiest person I ever met.”

    Then I quit.

    Gammelor Goodenow

  155. JRSimmang


    We’ve all heard the story of Piggly MaGoo,
    the little, old piggy with nothin’ to do,
    with quick, little feet, and a button-on nose,
    and a little ol’ shadow wherever she goes.

    Piggly, oh Piggly, she ran from the farm,
    away from the news and the green pasture charm,
    away from the horses and chickadees too,
    and far past the farm of Farmer Stan Stu.

    She stopped, bless her heart, on the outskirts of town,
    wearing her bonnet, her dress, and her gown,
    and asked herself thus, “where’s this pig going?
    Do I enter real soft, or make a big showing?”

    Piggly danced lightly on the tips of her toes
    (pigs are quite graceful, didn’t you know?).
    She spun round and round and squealed with such glee,
    oh how wonderful it was to feel so free!

    When Piggly stopped, it was quarter ’til noon,
    and the town began to suddenly balloon.
    There were people in the streets and people in their cars,
    people holding hands and people counting stars.

    But, people had their feet clothed in pointy little shoes,
    and they stabbed at Poor Piggly as if they had no clue!
    She ducked and she ran, and wept and she fled
    until she found shelter in an abandoned shed.

    Then, from the darkness, came a haunting scowl,
    and who could it be but the wisest horned owl.
    “What’s a piggy doing on the coldest of streets,
    with your soft piggy eyes and soft piggy feets?

    It’s a wolf’s world out there, dear Piggly MaGoo,
    and you haven’t the teeth to do what you have to.
    My advice, and it’s never been wrong,
    is to go back home where you belong.”

    Piggly MaGoo, with tears on her cheeks,
    stood up proudly, though her future looked bleak.
    “No, wise owl, I politely disagree,
    the town is a town and a town just for me.

    If it’s wolves they want, it’s wolves they’ll get,
    and sharp teeth aren’t always a surefire bet.
    This town will be mine, though you say it won’t,
    but that’s not a word that I keep and I certainly don’t!”

    So Ms Piggly MaGoo trudged back to the bustle,
    though this time she was sure to add to her hustle.
    She was kicked at and spat on, and broken and bruised,
    and laughed at and burned and not so amused.

    She tried papers, and shops, and diners, and sales,
    and lawyers, and doctors, and rolling hay bales.
    She was told, “you’re just a poor pig, with poor piggy dreams,
    and this city’s a city, nothing more than it seems.”

    She picked herself up, and sized up her days,
    and she grew into the city in so many ways.
    On one summer day, when the weather was hot,
    on her way to the store, she gave it a shot.

    A leg came right for her, and she opened up wide,
    and took a big bite from the passerby’s side.
    With a yelp and a shout, and a tumbling fall,
    the man’s last words were, “oh, is that all?”

    Ms Piggy MaGoo lept from one to the next,
    causing a fire, some broken windows, car wrecks.
    The city, alarmed, as things usu’lly go,
    sent wave after wave of their red and white glow.

    They chased her ’round corners and through all the parks,
    they chased her all day ’til the day turned to dark.
    Ms Piggle MaGoo, fed up and tired,
    started back on the road she once so admired.

    The journey back was longer this time,
    and she remembered fewer hills she had to climb.
    But the closer she got the lighter she felt,
    and counted on her toes the hand she’d been dealt.

    The city’s no place for a poor soft-skinned pig.
    Everything she tried, the game must be rigged.
    So she smiled brightly into the sun,
    and knew that her journey had just begun.

    She brought back to the farm a story so grand,
    even the farmer had to do a handstand.
    The ducks all sang wonder, and the horses too,
    how could she ever think her friends were so few.

    And over the years, when other pigs pined,
    she listened to how they whined and they whined.
    And before they packed up to leave,
    she gave them her story on their shoulder to heave.

    Ms Piggly MaGoo grew wise with her age,
    and when it was time, went onto the stage.
    Little did she know, little did she care,
    her final resting place was in the city somewhere.

    And that’s it, that’s the story of the Piggly MaGoo,
    the poor little pig who didn’t know what to do.
    Too small is her farm and too large is the town
    to fit a poor piggy, whose farm she’s outgrown.

    -JR Simmang

  156. jakkels

    Last straw
    Rudy Grosskopf was a mad scientist
    Who developed a fusion bomb
    One day his wife ran off with a salesman,
    The car, two dogs and his favorite tan kitten
    In anger and despair, he pushed the button.

    But wait, let’s not be hasty, some background would do.
    Rudy’s cousin Kim,
    Who lived on the coast with his wife Helene,
    Built the switch for the infernal machine
    In his rush to finish, he forgot the trash
    Helene went crazy and throw it in the bin
    Kim just wiped it off and sent it to his kin

    Rudy installed it as the switch to the bomb
    But, ah, that’s right, it wss damaged of course
    But Rudy , the scientist, checked it worked of course
    Fixed the flaw and tested it twice to be sure

    But, a cat ,we haven’t met had the run of the house
    Yesterday it clawed the curtains and jumped on top of the bomb
    In a fit of pique his wife threw a vase at the cat
    So when Rudy pressed the switch,
    water short circuited the controls
    And so the world was saved
    By an unknown last straw.

  157. Walt Wojtanik


    A fairy tale.
    Frail princesses have a penchant
    for apple merchants and peasant
    witches. Life is not a Disney show.
    And you know in the end princes
    and their mates are relegated
    to dust. Must we always try
    making silk purses leaving deaf
    sows in our wake? Spinning gold
    from moldy straw can get old.
    Your best bet is to get your donkey
    in gear and move to where
    you make your dreams come true.
    Then, it’s your fault if the vault is bare.

  158. Walt Wojtanik


    It’s the fair way, they say,
    draw straws, he said
    short man is THE man.
    How can you stand it?
    You’re handed eight straws,
    identical save for one.
    One-by-one they pick ‘em,
    and stick ‘em behind their backs.
    This smack of the playground,
    picking teams to play
    the game of the day.
    But this is no game.
    Four are gone, and no one
    has “won”. Almost done.
    Three. They look at me
    as if I knew. Two.
    He picks and I get stuck
    with whatever luck I’m handed.
    I demand a recount,
    this way is flawed.
    I’ve been short strawed!

  159. laurie kolp

    On Getting a Dictionary Phone App

    One day out of the purple
    a word I’d never heard
    appeared in my poem.
    I’m not sure how it got there
    and it’s meaning, I had no clue,
    my memory a withered grape
    I knew I needed help
    to see the poem’s end.
    So I finally made the call,
    and searched an app or two
    until I found the best of both worlds
    a dictionary and thesaurus
    rolled into one. Aging sucks.

  160. lionetravail

    “Never Let A Good Fact Get In The Way”
    by David M. Hoenig

    I really love my friend a lot-
    I know, because it’s really not
    that hard to throw a fit or two
    about her narrow-minded view,
    and barely restrain needed swat.

    She puts me in this awful spot
    by claiming that the Gordian knot
    of economic woe is due
    to Bush. I love my friend a lot,

    but narrow-minded thoughts have got
    me pissed when evidence of what
    went wrong is found from easy clue
    of loans Bill Clinton tried to shoo
    through fed. She makes me overwrought!
    But still I love my friend a lot!

  161. priyajane

    The Last Straw

    If you are breathing
    then you still have straw left
    in your scarecrow
    So dive in
    fluff up some clouds
    silver them with moonbeams
    shed some green rain
    spin some azury gold
    gather velvet plumes
    slip into ruby slippers
    on the yellow brick road
    across the sky
    into a new heart
    and keep breathing–
    till –the last straw !

  162. EbenAt

    That’s the last straw.
    That was IT.
    I had it,
    it’s done.

    After all the blood,
    sweat and tears
    it comes
    to this.

    Call it unfair,
    call it wrong,
    whatever you like,
    I don’t care.

    It was the last straw,
    so now,
    like it or not,
    you’ll just have
    to drink
    from the can.

  163. DanielR

    I’ve hiked this ridge a hundred times
    gliding across the limestone as I rise
    toward an apex of impressive views
    littered with new housing developments
    invading here in the last six months
    peace broken by a chorus of hammers
    I feel like the weeping Indian
    in those commercials from my youth
    you have purchased the right to destroy
    the very thing you came here for
    and it saddens me that foolishly
    you are none the wiser
    when the mockingbird mocks me
    waving goodbye with extended wings
    as it flies away, new construction
    was the last straw.

    Daniel Roessler

  164. DanielR

    I am tired of all the people who
    can’t seem to respect a different view
    so I have some things to say to you
    if you’ll just shut up and listen

    We’ve been stagnant as a nation
    ignoring truths like inflation
    while we destroy all creation
    arguing with one another

    It’s the same both left and right
    when will we all see the light
    no victor emerges in the fight
    progress is in the middle

    Stop trying to impose your will
    listening is a greater skill
    that when done right brokers a deal
    where everybody wins

    It will be no surprise to the wise
    the answer lies in compromise

    Daniel Roessler

  165. DanielR

    I am tired of this man that stares at me
    in my bathroom mirror each morning
    the bags under his eyes have darkened
    a mountain of layered bruises
    his hair is erasing itself where it should grow
    and is sprouting in places not preferred
    elongated creases on his forehead
    he frowns at his prospects or lack thereof
    already discontent at day’s beginning
    his fleshy cheeks reveal increasing weight
    and without a word speak of his burdens
    weary of my intimacy with this face
    tomorrow I believe I’ll try a new one

    Daniel Roessler

  166. DanielR

    I anticipate the road curving before it bends
    I know both where it starts and where it ends
    I’m familiar with the pothole in the middle of Main
    and how the stoplights don’t work on days when it rains
    I know that Mrs. Johnson sleeps with her neighbor Sam
    and Mr. Johnson’s so drunk that he don’t give a damn
    Miss Green’s brownies contain more than cocoa and nuts
    that fire at her house last June was caused by cigarette butts
    the Taco Hut is raising prices to pay for John’s new car
    and word has it that Cindy is opening a bar
    who needs reality TV gossip here is free
    Have you heard the latest rumor about Miss Grant and me?
    I hate the way each sidewalk stranger has a familiar face
    it’s time that I moved on from here, I’ve had it with this place

    Daniel Roessler

  167. Domino

    The Last Straw

    Muffled giggles come from their room. The boys
    should be asleep, but are still playing. I
    tip-toe closer, putting my ear to the
    door. They chatter, laugh, their faulty volume
    control has broken again and they are
    loud, no pretense of sleep. I battle, soft
    heart warring with maternal concern. I
    take a breath, steel myself, open the door.
    They don’t notice me at first, keep talking,
    then see me standing there. I wait. Silence
    thickens. I say, ominously, “This is
    the last straw.” Eyes wide, they prepare for tears.
    I launch myself at them, tickling them like
    only a mother of boys knows how to do.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  168. J.lynn Sheridan

    “La Cucaracha”

    Without my hand,
    you dragged me to the woods.
    Without my foot,
    you kicked me to the river.
    Without my arm,
    you flung me to the depths
    Without my leg,
    you danced on my grave.
    Without my head,
    I survived under water for a week
    and emerged complete.

    Without you,
    I am beautiful.

  169. Mama Zen

    Fire at the Asylum for the Violently Insane, 1918

    Forty pine coffins in the red dirt –
    lined up like soldiers,
    lined up like sutures;
    lined up like teeth in the smile of a boy
    with a sulphur head match
    and fists full of boredom
    and last straws
    dry as tinder.

    The sparks embered quick in the south wind.
    Quicker than the steam whistle’s scream split the night.
    Quicker than the bucket brigade
    could wet the wood walls down.
    Forty bodies found –
    ash under beds;
    the boys fought rescue.


    I would have, too.

    Kelli Simpson

  170. nmbell

    The Very Last Straw

    Everyone’s family is dysfunctional
    To a point
    So we compromise and we forgive
    And we bite our tongues

    I grew up playing the game by their rules
    If you say this…I’m supposed to say this…
    Or do this…
    A family member can insult you and
    Than laugh and ask why you can’t take a joke

    Except we all know it wasn’t a joke
    But that’s part of the game that rules our relationship
    Ignore the elephant in the room
    Even if it poops all over the table

    The cup is never half full but always less than half empty
    Then there’s the sicker than you one ups man ship game
    My is far worse than
    Your and so it goes

    But the very last straw that broke my connection
    Was when my three siblings conspired to steal
    My mother’s inheritance left by her brother
    Lies and innuendo and more lies
    Convincing a sick blind old man to cut his only sister
    Out of his will and leave her nothing

    In order that her oldest daughter took half of her mother’s share
    And her other two children took a quarter each
    Better is the fact that the oldest daughter lied to the other two
    Never telling them she got half, not just the amount of their quarter

    The fact they excluded me completely comes as no surprise,
    Bur the absolute final straw was the way they sold out their mother
    And the fact that she then defended them and made excuses for them

    At some point you need to stop playing the dysfunctional family game

    Nancy Bell 2014

  171. Snowqueen


    Nutrition through a drinking straw
    Eating vegetable straws
    Where is my last straw
    I’ve tried it all
    it’s not the food
    I’ve exercised
    What will work and when
    I hate being fat

    Karen D.

  172. David Walker


    There are few things in this life
    that truly quantifiable, but your
    child’s progress in my class is
    one of them. And here you are

    blaming me for not teaching him.
    ‘That’s why he failed, he wasn’t
    taught properly.’ I can understand
    the knee-jerk part of you that doesn’t

    want to believe that someone so
    similar to you in his DNA structure
    could be such a failure and it must
    be external forces causing his

    flounder. But your son likes to
    lick his finger and stick it in his
    friends’ ears when I’m explaining
    what the subjunctive tense is. Like

    ‘Billy could have passed the test
    if he didn’t keep licking his finger
    and sticking it in his friends’ ears
    when the teacher was lecturing.’

    Or when I ask him to use Frost’s
    reverence for nature as inspiration
    for a poem and he passes in a limerick
    about farts. Now I am not above

    a well-written limerick about farts,
    but I don’t ever remember reading ‘Some
    say the world will end in fire,/ Some
    say in farts.’ So please, ask me to

    explain to you again ‘why in the hell’
    your son is failing. I will hand you his
    latest essay in which he spelled ‘apple’
    wrong and tell you that ‘The apill doesn’t

    fall far from the tree.’

  173. HoskingPoet

    My Last Straw

    My last straw rhyming to a beat
    My last straw trying to repeat
    Anaphora may be last straw
    As this poem persists to gnaw

    My last straw cadence keeping count
    My last straw easy to miscount
    Eight syllables without a flaw
    As this poem persists to gnaw

    My last straw only five days more
    My last straw repeating phrase tore
    Away this verse… leaving it raw
    As this poem persists to gnaw


  174. Joseph Harker


    He responded I hope you
    and your faggot friends
    die of AIDS
    , when Ed told him
    after days of debate to just
    vaccinate his goddamn kids.
    From the audience
    all I could think of was Nick
    lying in ICU, shuddering away
    into gristle and thread,
    unwoven like rotted silk.
    I deleted phone numbers, email,
    social media, with one finger,
    feeling the same bloody relief
    as when picking a scab
    or cutting loose a splinter.

  175. Connie Inglis

    The Last Straw

    The soft, pudgy
    hand reaches
    for the straw,
    the last straw–
    white with green stripes.

    “That’s the last straw, Grandma,”
    she says,
    a slight wrinkle forming
    on her brow between
    true baby blues.

    “Yes, the last straw,”
    I repeat,
    smiling at her concern,
    her care about his
    last straw.

    In time, her concerns
    will grow from
    straws to
    boys to
    education, to work.
    To life.

    Silently I commit
    myself to being there
    for her, whenever possible
    with another
    box of straws.

  176. AleathiaD

    The Camel’s Back

    My self destruction
    fell on me like a ton
    of bricks, like the straw
    that broke the camel’s back.

    I was enraged and bitter
    and sobbing with vengeful
    thoughts racing through
    my brain, uncontrollable.

    It struck me as futile
    sitting on the sidewalk,
    covered in the mulch
    I had just turned up,

    that I was no longer
    present in my own life.
    I had given it over
    to grief, anger, pain,

    bitterness, death,
    jealousy, envy,
    and the singular idea
    that I was in the world

    completely alone.
    When beside me
    the man in my life
    patiently waited

    for my return; for me
    to come back the woman
    I left, only brighter and more
    centered than before.

    So I swing my heart
    back to the middle,
    to the place where
    it all makes sense,
    and start again.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 25 Last straw

  177. Mr. Take The Lead

    The at your Wits End Medicine
    Daniel R. Simmons
    When your emotions are running high, regardless of how you feel, or what’s going on-sometimes you don’t have to say or do anything but plug in the headphones and let the magic of music drift you worlds away.
    It’s just something about music that expresses what words or actions can’t.
    It’s as though your passion, tears, joy and happiness all ride along every note and verse of the song. Upon every pitch, behind every rhythm and beat plays the song of your soul.
    It’s as if the music plays out the story of your very life.
    Yes, music has such an amazing effect and power on us
    it soothes us, excites us
    Sparks the imagination.
    So whenever you feel the weight of world upon you,
    Whenever you just want to scream in anger or excitement,
    Whenever you want to cry but the tears won’t form, just sit back and tune into your favorite music and drown out the rest of the world.
    For music is all around and within us.
    Life is a song
    So move to your own rhythm and music.
    It’s your life,
    Your station,
    And if the negatively and your doubters gets too loud-
    drown them out with the music of your success.
    embrace the therapy of music
    It speaks what your soul so desperately wants to express
    As the pain eases and the darkness disappears with each crank of the volume
    Yes pain I see you
    But I refuse to hear you

  178. elishevasmom

    Details at Eleven

    It’s been a hard year
    with the migraines.
    This treatment wasn’t working,
    that offered no relief.
    My doc started talking Bo-Tox.
    He could do it right there in the office.
    The ads claimed “Just an injection twice a year”.
    But he told me it was a special strain
    of Botulism—with a three-month
    life cycle. So most folks needed
    it that often, with many needing
    it after only two.
    But the kicker, was when he said
    that each treatment involved
    thirty-one (31) injections into
    my poor, migrained forehead.
    I can just hear the headline—
    Major Bodily Harm—local doctor
    and nurse attacked.
    Details at eleven.

    Ellen Evans

    1. k_weber

      I wish there was something that truly alleviated migraines — a cure! Something! I have had no such luck and the thought of Botox is not one I want to entertain :[ You poem made me laugh though because pain can take your mind places you wouldn’t normally go!

  179. k_weber

    my big break

    not long after walking
    through automatic open doors
    into the clinical lighting
    cast over a pharmaceutical floor plan
    i end up dropping three individual
    microwaveable spinster-friendly bowls
    of macaroni and cheese on the floor
    and then i am kicking one and screaming
    from my diaphragm like i am calling upon
    ancestors and spirits and the doctor

    i drop an entire handbasket
    of merchandise in the aisle
    because it’s best to remain empty
    when utilized as transportation
    on the road trip to hell

    stevie wonder starts playing right
    at the moment when baby tears
    start bubbling over my lower lids
    and soon i am kicked in my guts
    with emotions as a reminder
    that no one would ever think of me
    and say “you are the sunshine of my life”

    this bothers me into invisibility
    so i slip away to the check out
    after collecting items and myself
    and settling them all down
    and if i am stealthy and no one saw me
    break into ridiculous pieces
    then i can speed away
    from these moments and hide in the canyon
    of my couch all afternoon

    the wait is enormous and the mouths
    are loud and someone sighs
    and my back hurts and then someone
    wants to skip the line and just then i
    discover how much i hurt but relief
    comes only when i sit the basket down
    and then turn it over and just barely say
    “fuck this” and then only slightly
    remember even in that instant
    that i would ever do such a thing
    but grateful that when i ran
    through open automatic doors the other way
    that this store is part of a large chain
    so it’s only about 2-3 miles
    to the next Walgreen’s breakdown

    – k weber

    1. Linda Goin

      HAhahaha — love your “last straws” and the KNOWN fact that a chain store is the best place to throw a public tantrum. The line, “this bothers me into invisibility” is luscious. Thanks!

      1. k_weber

        yeah it really is a relief to know if you lose it in a chain store, you can always find another location down the road a bit where no one knows you or that you’ve lost it in another location of their store. the circle of life!

    2. TomNeal

      at the moment when baby tears
      start bubbling over my lower lids
      and soon i am kicked in my guts
      with emotions as a reminder
      that no one would ever think of me
      and say “you are the sunshine of my life”

      I would have also mentioned “this bothers me into invisibility”, but other reviewers have already stolen that line. However, the above is a splendid talking picture.

      And, thank you for taking me into the world of Walgreens and Walmart. Although I have never actually been in a store operated by either chain, I feel I can now cross the experience off my list of things to do before I die. “clinical lighting” and “pharmaceutical floor plans” it’s almost too good to be true.

      1. k_weber

        I enjoyed this response so much I keep falling through the floor. Just don’t let me hit the Earth’s core. You’re quite lucky to never have gone to a Wal-monstrosity! These chains of “pharmacies” and mega-stores are a bit of a necessary evil here when you need a one-stop shopping experience.

  180. dextrousdigits

    Her hair had fallen out
    after four rounds of chemo
    she thought there would never
    again be long flowing black hair
    falling into her face or
    blowing in the air when the
    roof of the car was down
    on a warm day with
    music streaming through the air.

    Food had lost its taste
    few saliva glands worked
    with every bite of food,
    she had to sip on water.
    Tasteless food,
    Tasteless water
    But nausea and vomiting kept on
    purging her energy, her zest.
    Losing ounces, bits of her tissue
    down the toilet.

    She had been a teacher
    dancer , an artist,
    a mother,
    a volunteer.

    Now getting out of bed was a marathon
    Pain chewed her up and spit her out
    in ragged strips of limp flesh

    ” There are new experimental drugs, new chemo’s”

    No more teaching
    No more dancing
    No more cooking and tasting new foods
    Let the drugs flush from my system

    1. k_weber

      I cannot imagine what going through chemo must be like and how difficult it can be on a body and mind. You have done a wonderful job of showing the frustration of the world a person enters when they go through chemo and lose their hair, some parts of their senses and at times their will. It is not giving up, but it is wanting to overcome an enormous, scary beast. Putting a personal touch to the descriptions as well as giving very realistic descriptions sheds light on a painful topic but one far too many people are impacted by in this lifetime. Really nicely done.

  181. Linda Goin

    Tankas for the Final Sip

    I want to wrap you
    lovingly in white parchment,
    soak you in citrus,
    place you near Mount Ubinas,
    where steam will do its justice.

    This straw is unhinged,
    without concertina spring,
    without wiggle room.
    Once an open artery,
    now choked with spit, filled with bile.

    I could not utter
    these words, my love, without love.
    To love is to care.
    My care is beyond the pale,
    a place your lips can always lie.

    1. k_weber

      Danke for the tankas. This is just a whirl. I got goosebumps. I also come from the school of… dare to use abstractions… love is love and sure it can be different for everyone who experiences it but oh my if you know it and mean it, use it! You use it a bold three times, and expertly.

      These really stuck out for me like I could feel, smell, hear, taste, touch them and the poem overall truly stirred all 5 of my senses:

      – “white parchment”
      – “soak you in citrus”
      – “concertina spring”

      1. Linda Goin

        Thank YOU, K! Just went to check out your website. I’m going to listen to a few of the podcasts…are you on Facebook? BTW — check out Mount Ubinas. It’s quite a little hot spot right now. =)

        1. k_weber

          That is so very kind of you to check out my little noise things! I miss doing live internet radio sometimes. Try podcasting now… actually just trying to get out of bed every morning. Little teensy steps!

          Holy Ubinas! You could steam the S.W.A.K. and all the glue off a love letter there AND shrink-wrap things. It’s the natural solution to all those infomercial vacuum-sealed closet organizer doohickey things! BOOM!

        2. k_weber

          I also meant to comment yesterday that I am not on Facebook – temporarily :] I deactivated my account earlier this month because I was on there all the time. Needed a nice break from it so I could decide how I want to utilize it in the future and not feel like it was the only form of communication and interaction. My username for a lot of things (youtube, website, gmail, facebook when i re-activate… even twitter which i don’t even use anymore…) is “midwesternskirt” though! So I am not completely difficult to find :]

  182. Debbie


    Over and down
    Not down and around.
    Soft whiteness requires
    Proper necessary desires.
    The motion should flow
    Not so fast, take it slow.
    Effectiveness in use and cost
    Easy efforts will not be lost.
    Tear it proper as you need
    Salvage waste and greed.
    Again, over and down
    Not down and around.
    Do it right from the shelf
    Or I’ll replace the roll myself!

  183. Monique

    A Letter from a VERY Angry Ex-Girlfriend

    I hate that you came back just when I thought I’d forgotten you
    I hate that you never kept in touch and I never said goodbye to you
    I hate that I fell in love with you only for it to end.
    I hate that you remember me, but you’re too scared to talk to me again.

    I hate that part of me wishes things were different.
    I hate that part of me that doesn’t.
    I hate that part of me that wants to kiss you again.
    I hate that part of me that doesn’t

    I hate that I can’t make the pain disappear
    I hate that I never had closure
    I hate that I can’t persevere
    I hate that I can’t maintain composure

    But honestly?

    I love the fact that you’re the fuel that fires my writing
    I love the revenge that I’ll eventually receive
    I love that when you see my books in stores, you’ll be crying
    And I’ll be happy with what I’ve achieved

  184. Deborah Hare

    Sadness Black

    She had carried him
    with her meager resources
    through one bad deal after another.

    She had carried him
    within her heart and held him there
    safe, as only can a Mother .

    She had carried him
    but he knew this last one,
    carved cruel in sadness black
    would be the very straw
    to break his Mother’s back.

  185. Reynard

    it was the last straw today
    we fought
    I had nothing to say
    I am done
    walking the other way
    I stay
    it was the last straw
    today- I learned to
    spin it into gold

  186. Phil Boiarski

    The last beating

    Thinking I was a man, inured
    to pain by games boys use
    to learn how it is endured,
    I thought he might abuse

    my body while my mind held
    victory, unconquered by the lash.
    And so, my cries and tears I quelled
    as the leather lifted in a flash

    and burned into my backside.
    I fell, face down upon the bed;
    it bit into my stinging hide
    and rose again overhead.

    I chewed the linen and my tongue,
    as he grew tired. Then the blows
    lessened as his old arm swung.
    How I kept it in, God knows.

    But then he stopped, panting,
    and gently asked me with defeat,
    “Had enough?” as if recanting
    his anger in the summer heat.

    I smiled and asked, “Have you?”
    And without a moment’s hesitation,
    he raged and reddened, and anew
    began his angry subjugation.

    Again and again the blows landed
    and finally, again, he asked me,
    “Had enough?” and newly candid,
    I admitted my childish agony.

    He said, “Well, I don’t think I’m done.”
    His slashing strokes again continued
    until another dozen strokes accrued
    and then, I too, had finally gone.

  187. CristinaMRNorcross

    The Power of No

    I am so used to saying,
    I can do that.
    I’d be happy to.

    A few years ago,
    I was faced with the typical scenario
    of having ten things
    already on my plate,
    and someone asked me
    to pile on number eleven.

    Before I realized what was happening,
    the word, no, just fell out of my mouth.
    Such a foreign,
    yet absolutely delicious word,
    for these lips.

    I’ve been getting better
    at this one syllable reply.
    No, that doesn’t fit my schedule.
    No, I’m sorry, but I already have too many
    commitments this month.

    Go on.
    Say it with me.
    You can do it.
    Just say, no.

    If saying, yes,
    causes your eyes to flutter,
    your heart to race,
    and your fingers to feel fidgety –
    the body is desperately trying
    to say it for you.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  188. Lori DeSanti

    No Water
    To Ease the Flame

    There wasn’t a cigarette tucked between your ear
    and your dark hair, but I traced it back to the taste
    of your palm against my lips when you sat down at
    the table and looked at me. The big boss abused the

    whip this week, your eyes looked lightning-struck
    and blind from too many hours unblinking, watching
    the large hand of the time clock tick, and keep ticking,
    but the batteries and the daylight seemed never to

    wear out. When will you breathe fresh thoughts into
    your lungs, feel hope clear as the sky? Life lingers
    like a shadow, thick as the tar lining your ribcage. I
    don’t know how to save you, all I know how to do is

    hold your face between my hands— and try to put
    out the fire that ignites, when all the wells run dry.

  189. lina

    The Camels’ Last Straw.

    It was the sandstorm
    that did it,
    blinding us on
    the rock ledge above the desert
    after the searing sun
    all week long.
    First one of us laid down
    and then another.
    Soon we were all on our sides,
    hooves raw,
    mouths wide open
    because you’d forgotten
    to bring enough water.
    The ropes held taut
    around our necks
    but we wouldn’t get up
    no matter how hard you pulled.
    You would have to go
    on without us,
    take the burdens
    from our backs,
    walk on your own
    two legs,
    leave us be.

  190. elledoubleyoo

    Moving Day

    who knew the sound of a heart breaking
    was the dull thud of a door closing,
    hollow, on a house once full of furniture
    now void of all that we carried into it.
    Only the damask drapes are left
    but they were there when we moved in;
    unless you count the stain in the living room
    and the subtle scent of dog no cleaner
    can lift out despite what the can claims.
    The realtor wrinkles nose and shakes head
    but it’s all that really says this was ever a home.

  191. DanielAri


    the iron, the damn iron, hits the wall two feet to the left
    of my head and then it’s quiet and I’m thinking how good
    it is that Alice and I can aim so well. As soon as we hear
    each other panting, we both realize we’ve turned a corner.
    Lord, we’ve turned The Corner. Always with us, we’d lose
    calendar days to insatiate mutual wolf hunger, us two
    consuming our bodies in an impossible physics like fire
    burning fire. But that was always only after the high of
    anger and the expensive wreckage. We needed a budget
    for lovemaking, replacement cost for the broken lamps,
    furniture and flatware, among the shards of which we’d
    burn each other down. I know shit about enlightenment,
    but someone once told me It has to do with persistent
    concentration—doesn’t matter what you concentrate
    on. There are saints who get to That Place by indulging
    every last sensual body pleasure ‘til the third eye opens.
    That’s how we got there, modulating our frequency so far
    into airless zeniths and lightless nadirs that finally, with
    an iron-shaped hole in the drywall, we realized the storm
    was done, over, finished in that moment and forever, om.


  192. taylor graham


    So, there was a chicken in your
    dream. Why did the chicken cross –
    OK, it didn’t cross, it just kept running.
    Sky falling, no horizon, no centerline.
    Look, we’re late and you forgot
    to plug in the coffee maker. Don’t just
    stand there, holding that egg. Omelet
    or not. Why’s your hand shaking,
    you’ll break something. We’re late.
    Your way, my way, or – what
    do they say about an egg, sep-a-rate,
    a verb, accent on the first syllable,
    and we’ve got a farm-fresh
    Friday breaking like a yolk.
    Look, I need my jumpstart coffee,
    and you forgot to plug it in.
    Again. Have you even got a brain –
    scrambled in your skull. Like,
    you wake up and the walls fall down,
    Chicken Little running helter-
    skelter out of some stupid dream.
    What are you doing with that
    egg, look, yolk’s dripping all over
    your fingers, the sink, the floor,
    the table, my portfolio….

  193. mzanemcclellan

    My Last Straw

    I recall vividly
    reading your response
    to my revelation
    that you were my first.
    Imagined the sharp rise
    of volume, octave,
    and eyebrows too,
    delighted by the fact.
    Sure, that was
    explanation enough
    for the special place
    you have always had.
    You thought it
    common, after all,
    for that person to hold
    prominence in the heart.
    Seldom spoken of,
    the last love.
    Stay philosophically open
    to life’s possibilities.
    Despite the certainty
    that this nectar
    has always been
    the sweetest to me.
    From my first sip of you,
    I am yet to drink my fill.
    You and your love are
    my last straw.

    ~M. Zane McClellan

  194. dextrousdigits

    Every Day
    Every hour
    Every moment
    Addicts to


    View their mind movies of past torment
    Reach deep into their guts
    Release ASLAN bravery and roar


  195. Nancy Posey

    Because I am the teacher
    because I am the teacher
    because I am the teacher…

    I imagine myself writing over and over on the white board
    in the green Expo marker with the smell that sends me
    straight into hallucinations. (How long have I taught?
    Long enough to recognize board markers by visibility,
    ease of erasure, and scent.) Spring Fling precedes
    Easter Break, with three weeks left, long days
    that confirm that their commitment wanes
    as my stacks of not-yet-graded essays
    rises, towering on my rolling chair.
    I assign one single poem, with
    two days to read. No one
    has read. But me. Even
    with dictionary.com
    on their cell phones—
    and they all have
    cellphones, no
    one thought
    to look up
    a single
    Class dismissed. Expect a test on Monday.
    Over one poem. Robert Browning’s
    “My Last Duchess.” Read it.
    and then read it again.

  196. diedre Knight

    The Last Straw—again

    He pulls into the darkened yard
    in front of their darker home
    headlights shine on menacing eyes
    of a dozen feline sentries;
    tributes to her indifference,
    who multiply in number
    every time he goes away.
    He knows she’s at the local living room
    as he takes a swig of soured milk
    It’ll be ‘last call’ before
    she staggers home
    loaded for bear.
    He spits in the sink and shoves the jug
    back in the fridge.

    diedre Knight

  197. elishevasmom

    The Look

    I made my cat a promise
    many years ago, (and you’ll
    never convince me that she
    doesn’t understand my every word),
    that I’m willing to supply
    stimulating conversation at her
    food dish, or brush her, or whatever—

    As long as she asks nicely (a soft-paw
    to my arm or gently holding
    my foot) OR unless I am writing.

    Now I would imagine that she
    doesn’t understand exactly what
    my muse is, except that it is
    the only thing above her
    on the priority food chain.

    Most often she will acquiesce,
    and try later. But there are times
    when her feline jealousy (what
    cat owner hasn’t seen that?)
    just can’t bear the thought of
    being #2. She’ll take a less-than-
    tender swipe at a leg, prompting
    an automatic scolding.

    Then, depending upon the current
    degree of catitude, she’ll either stalk
    of in a huff, or she’ll coil back on
    her haunches, ears pinned back,
    and we’ll exchange THE LOOK.

    Over the years, I have learned to
    never participate in this classic
    primal stare-down without the
    back up of a squirt bottle
    full of water.

    Ellen Evans

  198. LizMac

    Last straw

    Outrage accretes only slowly
    Over time
    Sucking surrounding disaster
    Into the turbulent mass
    That turns and groans
    With its growing burden
    A chain of continuous explosions.

    Then one day all is still
    A moment we observe outside of time as
    The feather-drop disturbance
    Comes to rest uncertainly
    On the surface
    Of our awareness
    Before we could anticipate
    Nuclear blasts so vast as to
    Toss atoms and elements
    To farthest reaches.

    And at last I float finally free
    Stripped down to particle
    Hurtling at warp speed through
    Cool darkness
    In no hurry to coalesce
    And start the process

  199. Liliuokalani

    Foster Home Star Wars Syndrome (haibun)

    High noon sunlight refracts through the minivan windows and off glass watch faces of children who are shifting wrists in the passenger seats. They cast mirrorball flashes that penetrate pupils of a driver who is removing them again. He is certain that his study of their statistics is the same as listening to their stories and what they have to say. He tips his rearview mirror to mute their flickers, then glances over each shoulder, seeking backseat culprits.

    June candles, unlit
    still drip solstice sunlight wax –
    the seal of revolt.

    1. k_weber

      your poems both lull and stun me. i get comfortable in them and then i am uncomfortable. but that is not to say i do not enjoy them. they have a very unique language that sometimes puts imagery or ideas in my face that i want to reject but i can’t because the crash is so devastating and all that metal, the jagged doors and crushed bumpers, somehow ends up a bit twisted into music and sculpture.

  200. cmjones

    The Beheld

    Leaden sky would not stop beholding us,
    despite much protest from 10am to 12pm and a
    tall spire. Sirens laughed, nerve drunk,
    and said it was about to get nasty.
    The spring day became blue at the lips,
    pale everywhere else, and I lusted to leave town –
    the imagined storm crushing our loved ones
    with our buildings was a buzz, unplaced but
    still heard. I put my hand to my mouth.
    I felt my face fall apart as I touched it.

  201. elledoubleyoo

    Attempt one, will try for a better one later today.

    The Last Straw
    I don’t like camels, particularly, and don’t much care
    about their backs, so I’ve never cared for this phrase.
    I am not a dromedary who carries my weight in water
    and the deserts I travel are more desolate
    than those sandy expanses of land.
    I could bear it all, every last straw,
    if I knew an oasis waited at the end of the journey–
    I could take it all on, if there were a caravan
    to keep me company in these travels.
    But while I am no beast, these burdens break me
    little by little, straw by straw, camel or not.

  202. pomodoro

    The Girlfriend

    I can’t take it, she says,
    meeting on the sly,
    out here in the woods,
    away from town.
    Roots snarl my hair,
    leaves in my shoes,
    scratches all over me.
    Henry, peel me off this tree
    I am so Thoreau with you.

      1. pomodoro

        Here’s the real story~Thoreau wrote about love in general and one relationship in particular in his Journal during 1839-1840 when he was quite smitten with Ellen Sewall; his brother John was also in love with her. Prior to meeting Sewall in July 1839, he wrote a short poem about love which he included in his Journal entry for January 20, 1839. He met her on July 20, 1839, and “By July 25 he was beyond poetry”. On that day he wrote in his Journal, “There is no remedy for love but to love more”. Early in November of 1840, after John had proposed to Ellen and been rejected, Thoreau wrote her a letter in which he proposed. The letter no longer survives, but his November 1, 1840, Journal entry was related to that letter. It reads:

        “I thought that the sun of our love should have risen as noiselessly as the sun out of the sea, and we sailors have found ourselves steering between the tropics as if the broad day had lasted forever. You know how the sun comes up from the sea when you stand on the cliff, and does’nt startle you, but every thing, and you too are helping it.”

        Thoreau’s daily Journal from July 1839 to November 1840 includes many entries related to his feelings of love for Ellen Sewall. Following her father’s wishes, Sewall turned down Thoreau’s proposal, but Harding reports that Thoreau carried her memory with him to the end. In 1862, shortly before he died, Thoreau is reported to have said to his sister, Sophia: “I have always loved her”.

  203. Mokosh28

    Last Straw

    Scarecrow didn’t winter well. One last stalk
    whispers up his left sleeve. The ragged
    plaid shirt hangs on him like sickness. His burlap
    face watches field dust more than
    sky. It’s time to re-seed. Clouds know it
    and the crows know it. Time to fill those furrows
    with new green. The scarecrow’s hunger
    is for purpose more than grain. Spring
    is difficult for old men, old
    women. Today or tomorrow the field hand
    will hoist him from these acres
    to make way for the plow. He will lie
    in his heap of broom stick bones
    until someone decides which bits are worth
    cobbling into this summer’s sentinel.
    Young wind sifts chaff from a torn
    cuff. Even broken, his shoulders feel
    the grip of tiny sparrows.

    Joanne M. Clarkson

  204. Eibhlin


    The last straw you loaded
    on my burden-bearing frame
    might seem to have no weight at all.

    More time to reflect, you said you needed.
    So I gave you time, plenty of time,
    time in which I stood, shifting the weight
    of my load from one part of my frame
    to another.

    Your silence, your failure to reply,
    cracked not my back
    but the shaft that tied me
    to my load. I shed
    the whole burden
    and lumbered away.
    Hitched myself
    to another wagon.

    Was that really the final straw,
    or did I simply need to make
    one more accommodation,
    one more adjustment
    of my burden-bearing muscles?

    It’s too late now,
    I’ll never know.

  205. GarrinJost

    I’ll eat with my goddamn hands.
    Sure enough to see the red and ocher
    under my finger nails.
    With just enough conscious gusto
    to make hard-well and sure
    that some ends up on my cheek.
    I dare you to tell me it’s there-
    when I might as well have painted it on.

    When you look across the table,
    do you see the food go in
    and the hair come out
    and imagine there’s a hollow,
    wet space there
    when you can’t stand to be here,
    with me.

    Or is it some kind of vacation fantasy
    where you’re up on the moon
    eating cheese and looking at the paintings
    and I’m down here with those friends you,
    you great, holy mother,
    talk all the way down to
    when they say “I don’t get it”
    There was nothing to get.

    I won’t wash my hands.
    I’ll get every goddamn flavor
    on the steering wheel,
    oh yes, I’ll drive;
    and you can go right ahead
    and throw that wet-wipe
    out the window.
    Or do us a favor and
    put it in your mouth,
    and swallow.

    I’ll rub this food in my eyeballs
    I’ll throw it at that soup-sipping couple

    I’ll bite, hard down on the plate
    and see what enamel breaks first.

    It’s not you whose throat will burn
    it’s not you whose guts will burble and churn
    it’s me who will turn this into myself
    it’s me who will shit it out

    If you knew what’s been eating me,
    it’d swallow you right up,
    and leave nothing but crumbs-
    but now I’ve lost my appetite
    and you can darn well forget desert.

  206. WritingisPainting

    Breaking Point

    I sit quietly
    when you beat her up,
    I lament silently
    when she doesn’t get up

    Next day, she appears
    all fine, no fears,
    her pleasant smile may dupe them,
    but they never fail to catch my eye

    Her wrists are weak,
    with blue veins poking,
    she avoids touching the belt in the cupboard
    her flinch isn’t evident, but her pain is.

    And again, at night I lock
    myself up,
    as my father shouts
    and she screams

    She whispers to me
    not to say anything,
    that all will be well
    one day, and then forever

    But I have stayed numb for
    too long, my breaking point
    long gone, its time to take action
    not wait in inaction.

    I take her hand and for the
    last time, we set out of that hell,
    towards a new beginning
    never to come back again

  207. Taylor Emily Copeland


    Your bloated body, sunken into
    the red bath water. This is how
    we find you, carved and drained.
    Your face breaks the surface,
    mouth agape as if muttering a
    goodbye. The remnants of words –
    lose some weight, ugh, you’re so
    ugly, why are you so stupid? –

    all floating as billboards that
    detail when you finally snapped.
    You are a mannequin resting in an
    ocean of your own demons, your
    own self hatred. The last of your
    agony has been leached into the tub.
    We will clean you up and make you
    pretty one last time, refuse to let
    the assholes have their final victory
    over you.

  208. Nancy Canyon

    Everyone Loves a Good Fight

    Take the swing, feel its
    velocity, rush of breath,

    impact of knuckles against
    flesh.  Spittle flys, teeth gnash,

    jaw zigzags a crooked
    path.  Years later you recall

    their wrath, again you’re
    down, slowmotion bounce

    and tumble across playyard–
    redcoats, horses, everyone.

    Nancy Canyon

  209. lily black

    The Last Straw

    Working at the Jewish Deli
    Serving cheesecake shakes
    Thick and sweetly creamy
    A heart attack in a glass
    Pouring from the silver cup into the crystal stemmed goblet
    Delicately balancing
    a piece of scrumptious New York cheesecake on the rim of the glass
    grabbing a long handled spoon
    admiring my creation
    reaching for the red and white straw in the flimsy cardboard box
    above the old green shake machine
    reaching my hand inside and all around the carton
    during a 2:00 am bar rush
    and it’s EMPTY???
    Was nothing
    compared to the day
    my beautiful brilliant daughter
    found a bruise on her cheek
    under her twinkling cobalt eye
    from love
    When I asked why
    she slapped back,
    “Well look how many times you got hit!”
    And that was the last straw
    the final one
    the last time returning
    the end
    never going back
    never did
    now daughter how about you?

  210. WritingisPainting

    This world and I

    Facing the condemnation
    and rejection of this
    perfect world,
    Picking up dust-caked
    papers from the street,
    thrown at my face
    when I fail,
    in adopting the rules
    of this ‘ideal’ world,
    when big bucks get you what
    my achievements don’t get,
    I can only turn around
    and start again,
    when days get longer
    and nights grow shorter
    in the winter frost
    and meals and drinks are
    scarce as the leaves on
    abandoned trees,
    Borrowing is what
    gave me those meagre meals,
    while those with money of black
    ate seven feasts as one,
    Everywhere I turn
    money is their prime concern,
    when I deal with burnt bread and empty wallets,
    you deal with diamonds and pearls
    Its only
    a little time, before
    I give in to this
    quintessential world.

  211. creilley


    I can no longer imagine living with you.
    The writhing and churning of my gut tells me so.
    Compact and yet touching every aspect,
    Certain and secure in your subtle confusions,
    You manipulate everything, reach every corner,
    Stain every milk blood red.

    I drink, and I remember.

    Spirits we heard, choices we made,
    When things were safe, and as they should be.
    Ghostly visitations
    Who reminded us of nothing,
    Never reflecting ourselves
    Back at ourselves.

    In the doorway I was caught.

    By the staircase, one room bleeding
    Into the next,
    Never quite separate from you,
    Never apart from the consequences
    Of our actions.
    When I fell, I fell right through you,
    Since you were never really there.
    I can never really picture you
    As I drink my problems dry.

    I will no longer live with you.

    I like the look of the light
    In a room without you in it.
    Dust motes dance in sunlight
    Caught between one breeze and the next,
    The light blurs and compasses
    Never give you the true direction.

    I found myself, where there might be something.

    Dragging through the past with your net,
    Culling everything that you caused
    That you made to happen.
    Cleared of detritus, this is the past,
    Running parallel under my sleep,
    I look at the shadow you cast
    And I am ashamed to say
    I ever loved you.

    I can no longer live with you.

  212. whatevertheyaint

    This is it. This bulge has to go
    I mean, I used to be the girl
    With the washboard torso
    That’s the last straw—
    no more Coke, coffee, super-sized tea
    I can’t fit into these jeans, jacket,
    not even this tee
    The “rah-rahs” nearly burst loose
    If only I could trade them
    for a shapely caboose
    This is it, this buying of shape wear
    and shape-up DVDs
    Good Gosh! Nearly three hundred cals
    in one candy bar? That’s not going into me
    Because this is the last straw.
    By summer I’ll be a 6 again.
    (When did I start wearing a 12?)
    Wait! A two-for-one special at Apple Bee’s?
    Aw hell…

  213. Erynn

    Silence pressing on my ears
    Giving me headaches
    How I long for music
    To hear the voice of loved ones
    But my world is silent
    Maybe I can make some noise
    Gentle humming in my head
    Is better than nothing at all
    How can I fix this?
    Is there a surgery, a magic cure?
    They tell me there is!
    Now I’m turning off the silence
    The headaches won’t bother me
    Finally I am not alone
    I can hear the world again!

  214. Connie Peters

    Not a Good Buy, but a Goodbye

    “The last straw, the last hurrah and goodbye.”
    She said it with gravity and a sigh.
    He didn’t quite believe her farewell then,
    but now the years have added up to ten.

    It was over a simple thing, the why,
    the last straw, the last hurrah and goodbye.
    To him it was the perfect birthday gift.
    It would give her spirit and face a lift.

    She didn’t need it, really, he did insist.
    It was a bargain he couldn’t resist,
    the last straw, the last hurrah and goodbye.
    He was clueless to why it made her cry.

    So that fateful romantic birthday night,
    he heard her refusal by candlelight.
    He is still a younger looking guy since
    the last straw, the last hurrah and goodbye.

  215. PatsC


    Missed signs
    Sly plans and cool denials
    Guileful worker
    Two-faced companion

    I was your friend
    And believed in you
    My heart out on display
    Mocked and beaten

    One for all and all for one
    Corrupted by your thirst
    Your foot upon my back
    The exit sign grows closer

    The deceptions are seeded
    Carefully sowed in neat rows
    I become the unwanted weed
    Yanked from my very garden

  216. Connie Peters

    When I Can Care No More

    Sometimes I wonder
    what the last straw will be.
    One more meeting?
    A sleepless night?
    A ruined carpet?
    A broken van?
    A dock in pay?
    An illness or injury?
    An insult or argument?
    I pray when this ends,
    it will end well.

  217. CLRichardson

    There is nothing left to say
    Or anything left you can do
    I cannot change you
    Nor do I want to

    This hasn’t been working
    Our differences are too great
    We live together like roommates
    It’s just …..too late

    I hear you say “I love you”
    And know that I love you too
    But our love is not enough
    To see us through

    Christy Lynn Richardson

  218. Walt Wojtanik


    A place of import, a resort in a sense.
    A genuflect to history that went badly.
    Natives on their native land taking a stand,
    demands for resolution offered no solution.

    Years passed and alas, the Almighty Dollar
    hollers back. Hard sacrifices in a sugar cone.
    Three sizes full of surprises: the private,
    the General and the Little BIG Horn. Sprinkles extra!

    1. anneemcwilliams

      since Haiku is small :


      One day someone will look into our faces and wonder if we’re really gone; they’ll touch the cold solid clay of our skin, they’ll pick our final outfit and take our rings and try not to notice the makeup we never wore. One day someone else will arrange our hair, place our hands across our chest, use plastic caps in our eyes and cheeks and lips, or maybe even glue. Nothing will happen in this order, except the first line. One day disinfectant will be used to clean our skin, eyes, and orifices, (everyone is shaved), our mouth will be tied together with a suture threaded through the jaws and our nose, and back into our mouth. We will speak telepathically from then on. Very few will hear us. Others’ pity will set out after us like the moon during a night walk. A dead body is unbendable, like death. One day our blood will
      be removed and two gallons of formaldehyde will flow into our arteries and penetrate our tissues. Our blood will drain into the sewer system, and end in a wastewater treatment facility. The water will be filtered and cleaned and returned for others to drink. We will become the staff of life. One day there will be cavity treatments and suctioning of fluids. If we have an autopsy our organs will be placed back inside our body, or into a bag at the foot of our casket. We will be hosed down and dried, trimmed and styled. Plastic undergarments may be used to prevent leakage. One day our body will be lifted by a mechanical lift and placed into a casket, then posed. The embalmer will periodically check us for signs of decomposition until we are buried.

      Human ashes weigh about 5 pounds or 3.5% of the body’s original mass. The chamber where the body burns is called a retort. I’d like to write something witty, but I can’t. It usually takes 90 minutes to two hours to create cremains, then they are swept out and pulverized by a high speed blender, leaving bones fine as sand, typically about 20 minutes. You will not have to experience any of the first paragraph, if you so choose, except death, of course, and being seen by a person to identify you, and a mortician or two. One day you may end up in a thick watertight polyethylene plastic bag within a hard snap-top plastic container with a paper label. Not all that remains is bone. There may be melted metal lumps from missed jewelery, fillings, or implants. Some are commonly sold as scrap metal, or as gleanings sieved and sold as precious metal scrap. This is not to be confused with cremated remains converted to diamonds. Cremains can be put in a helium balloon, or through fireworks, shot from shotgun shells, or scattered from a plane. One day you may be in a lipstick-tube in low earth orbit for years, before re-entering the atmosphere. One day you may be incorporated into cement as part of an artificial reef, or mixed into paint and made into a portrait, or into tattoo ink. The creator of Frisbee is said to be incorporated into a stock of discs…wham-o! One day he may become part of a dog toy. Cremains may be entombed or set free, designed into cremation jewelry, or even blown into a glass keepsake. One day you may be buried in something the size of a shoebox, like my six-foot mother-in-law was. One day you will die. What happens after that is up to others, unless you pay for it before you go. Even then, you can’t be sure.

      first draft 05/25/2014

  219. rachelgrace

    the heart that had it

    Say a prayer for me he said as he heard his heart slip from his chest
    Beating it laid on the ground looking to the sky for an answer
    He fell
    He heard it speak to him
    Feel the breath of my life slip over the concrete
    You know this is your finishing point
    As it is mine it is yours
    I have felt your pain for too many lifetimes
    I was always there before you knew of love and death and horror
    I am a constant in your world and others
    I leave you the way you left me

  220. cmjones

    Justification for terminating the subject’s employment:

    The subject has shown massive dislike for following orders, appears distant and uncaring at times, will often have a look on his face as if to say, seriously?, has criticized the use of adverbs, has walked out of meetings in a huff for no apparent reason, has been slack about updating his time card, has questioned the nature and essentiality of human enterprise, and has generally kept to his office even though it doesn’t have a window or pictures of his family, if the subject even has one, who the hell would want the subject anyway. The subject gets coffee late in the morning when the least amount of people are around the coffeemaker, and of those still milling around at that time the subject makes no effort to determine how any of their nights or weekends were. The subject has been equally misanthropic or non-existent during lunch hours in our beautiful new “common areas,” has made condescending remarks about the bean bag chairs in the “common areas,” and so on. The subject has disregarded many subtle but obvious hints from his coworkers concerning the absurd length of his hair and his smell, which some have compared to that of a homeless person. Finally, and most unforgivingly, when ultimately asked–it must be said, politely–to shave the beard he had not tamed in several months, the subject pulled a knife from his pocket and began shaving himself right there by the fax machine. The subject has left his own hair and blood on the floor and has made no effort to clean up the mess.

  221. jasonlmartin

    3-minute poem

    What do you do with these last moments
    that remain to write a poem?
    Like dust on paper, it rides off
    with an accidental breath
    or a breeze when you walk by.
    This is a poem that knows
    its future, its end-of-the-line.

  222. writinglife16

    Famous Last Words

    I will always get the last word.
    It went on and on.
    A river of poison that she inhaled.
    From his mouth to her soul.

    You can’t kill me
    he taunted her.
    She threw a grape in
    his mouth during his tirade.

    He choked to death.
    As she called the police, she
    reflected on who had
    really had the last word.

  223. Walt Wojtanik


    What’s this world coming to?
    You would think the brink we’re teetering on
    would shake us awake. What will it take?
    Nation against nation; the ideology of idiots.
    The world is a network of fools, rules
    are broken by the politicos who make them,
    and they remain only as token suggestions
    that are left unheeded. No good deed
    goes unpunished. It’s enough to steam your broccoli.
    No one should have a monopoly, no greedy bureaucracy.
    Where the hell is peace and harmony? It make one mad.
    Mad as hell! Are we going to take any more of it?

  224. Michelle Hed

    Silly Seasonal Woes

    I had enough
    of summer,
    I had enough
    of hot,
    I had enough
    of everything
    just when I got shot.

    I had enough
    of autumn,
    I had enough
    of hues,
    I had enough
    of everything
    just when I got the blues.

    I had enough
    of winter,
    I had enough
    of cold,
    I had enough
    of everything
    just when I got old.

    I had enough
    of spring,
    I had enough
    of mud,
    I had enough
    of everything
    just when I heard a thud.

    First I got shot,
    quite by accident
    and in the foot,
    and then I got
    trying to recover
    from this mess,
    and then
    I got old,
    and now I’m
    hearing things
    go bump
    and I know
    things just
    aren’t right!

    I had enough!

  225. shellaysm

    We each draw many a straw

    Throughout a lifetime’s spin we crawl
    some games played with minds blind

    The draw is oft to find an opt
    Or be placed in fair rotation
    To the lucky, a rainbow’s worth we birth

    We’re never sure of the last blast
    The final pick of the draw
    Or that one finale moment
    Given to us grandly or blandly

    To draw in haste, a chance may waste
    For some, these rituals unimportant
    judge games in life as lame
    Winners or beginners are losers alike
    When silver lining’s kiss gets missed

    For if that final token is broken
    The full experience will be lost
    No chance to drink or think
    That one more time to score
    To make the crawl matter
    before the valley when straws are tallied

    Michele K. Smith

  226. grcran

    A Drink to her Beauty

    Behold. Try to drink it in with your eyes:
    a gorgeous tall Brit ginger of the brightest
    snow-coloured skin and fire-coloured hair.
    She married three times over forty years.
    First to college sweetheart, ending in insanity,
    divorce, then later, suicide of her ex-.
    Next to mid-life lover, twelve years of wedded bliss,
    But this one was younger, so she gave up her cougaring,
    let him find a mother for his kids-to-be.
    Thirdly, she met her internet date. Had
    the cad been a man, she might have stayed.

    And that was that. A life alone. To travel, drink wine, retire.

    Enter the fellow ginger, on his first foray after losing his wife and grieving a year.
    Redheaded redblooded passionate daysnightsdays, no way
    could this happen, she’d thought she was done. Then
    cancer made it a threesome. Yet somehow
    the ginger stayed on through chemo, through hospice,
    To the end. Friend.
    Drink up.
    And that’s the last straw.

    by gpr crane

  227. barbara_y

    House of Last Straws

    You’ve sold “use” of my public land. It’s level, now,
    to lease as a parking lot. You’ve tossed regulations
    –air to xericulture–anything. Rules are detrimental
    to the person “Industry.” (forget the person “Me.”)
    You ceded education, correction, safety, health
    to the bidders who promise the short run gain,
    and when they dip, double-dip, triple-dip the till
    you tsk. You. Tsk. “Now we don’t want fines
    to stifle Free Enterprise…The So-Called Common
    Good? What are you? Socialists?” Knocked flat
    every gain I saw made: civil rights, human rights,
    clean water, clean air, education for any and all.
    And you have the gall to complain other nations
    won’t approve your morally self-evident authority.

  228. DanielR

    Your hollow words fall to the floor
    where I quickly sweep them aside
    with the other dust and debris
    the scattered remnants of our home
    all tarnished by your betrayal
    I pick up shards of broken glass
    from our wedding photo frame
    discarding them with disdain
    I hear the sniffles from our room
    as you pack the last of your clothes
    including the black negligee
    you wore when you were with him
    I wonder if remorse has found you
    or maybe it’s the victim role
    honesty is non-negotiable
    and trust is not a bargaining chip
    in relationships that endure
    I hope that you can see that now

    Daniel Roessler

  229. novacatmando


    Lost in the atmosphere,
    my pink cell phone tied to one
    red balloon shrinks among clouds
    on this last day of June.

    Lost, still, in the month of July
    while old photos are tossed.
    No one to call with life, ties,
    laughter, all flown away
    on my departed device.

    Lost as days turn ugly August
    with a torrid stilt spent sitting
    and sifting memento boxes.
    Again, in September’s echo of
    forgotten cell phone plans.

  230. WritingisPainting


    I’m tired of being
    pulled by strings
    and made to look guilty
    by this conceited society.

    I’m tired of people expecting
    high grades and
    a distinction
    in life’s moral examination,

    I’m tired of those minds
    that think learning
    is the answer
    for every profession- cobbler or a dancer

    I’m tired of those hearts
    which are either small or too big
    and in between comes mine
    open to kindness, shut to overdone whines

    I’m tired of those
    self-centered humans
    whose high pitched laughs
    ring as I choose my correct paths

    I’m tired of that leader
    whose fictitious promises
    make us vote
    and then lose hope

    I’m tired of those morons
    who stereotype at every corner
    a girl should sit at home and knit
    boys should be out playing cricket

    I’m tired of those who
    discriminate others on their colour
    forgetting appearances do not decide
    morality, its all about their qualities.

    I’m tired of what this world
    is becoming-
    Without selflessness and kindness,
    our world is enclosing itself in a fake blindness

  231. cam45237

    At Your Peril

    I swear I will commit a violence
    I’m capable of it
    I know you don’t think so
    But we all have some capacity
    To do great harm
    With words, with blows, with hard looks
    I can give a hard look with the best of them
    I practice in the mirror

    You think my eyes are blue
    But they can be grey
    Grey as steel, grey as storms, hard as ice and iron
    You’ll see
    And then you’ll tremble
    Like a kitten in a corner

  232. Bruce Niedt

    NaPoWriMo’s prompt for today is to write a poem with “anaphora”, which means repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of each line or sentence. This one’s just for fun:

    To Whomever Left the Empty Ice Cube Tray in the Freezer

    I can think of nothing more useless,
    other than you.
    Here’s how I will get my revenge:

    I will leave an empty box
    in the cupboard when I finish
    the last piece of your favorite snack.

    I will leave all your socks without mates
    when they come out of the laundry.

    I will leave the toilet seat up
    every single time (if you are female).

    I will leave all the dirty dishes for you
    whether you cooked dinner or not.

    I will leave your DVD out of the box
    when I take it out of the player
    and replace it with the one I want to watch.

    I will leave the radio tuned
    to your least favorite station
    whenever I borrow your car.
    I will leave almost no gas in it, too.

    I will leave your life in chaos when I –
    wait a minute.
    Maybe I was the one who left that tray.
    I guess we should buy a new fridge
    with an ice maker.

  233. Linda Goin

    Paradelle for the Last Straw

    The last straw is a place filled with aromatic bliss.
    The last straw is a place filled with aromatic bliss.
    You might not think so, but that straw is constructive.
    You might not think so, but that straw is constructive.
    Constructive bliss might not think that straw is aromatic.
    But the last straw is a place so filled with you.

    The last straw is a bendy straw, a most valuable tool.
    The last straw is a bendy straw, a most valuable tool.
    It can help you suck life’s juice from a prone position.
    It can help you suck life’s juice from a prone position.
    Life’s position, it is a straw suck, a most valuable juice.
    The last bendy tool can help you from a prone straw.

    Welcome yourself to the last straw, where joy is mute.
    Welcome yourself to the last straw, where joy is mute.
    If you take the last straw, we must drink from the rim.
    If you take the last straw, we must drink from the rim.
    Mute drink is welcome, where you take the last joy yourself.
    If straw must rim the last straw, we to the from.

    That constructive bliss, where you welcome a last straw,
    is so last straw it can suck the bendy from joy.
    You might not think, but straw is a straw, a valuable straw,
    the last straw is a tool to help yourself position life’s rim.
    If you must, take the we from the most prone.
    Aromatic place filled with mute drink is the last juice.

    1. TomNeal

      French, but not French. A new form made old.
      It calls for a postmodern critique- a valuable tool when joy is mute.
      It calls for a postmodern critique- a valuable tool when joy is mute.

  234. peacegirlout

    Letting go

    Sand blasted salt
    Humming its scratchy tune
    Over thistle sloped dune
    Whistling wind
    Puckered breeze
    Into stilted hollow
    wilted marrow
    of sandpiper bone
    I wake before the day
    Arrives in the city
    But here at the sea
    It never ends
    I let go
    Of my search for
    Beginnings and
    I throw in
    My hat
    Full of straw

  235. Michelle Hed

    When Snowflakes Leave a Bitter Taste

    We thought winter had finally gone home
    since spring had come to tease
    but no we were quite mistaken
    for winter just would not leave.

    I guessed he like us just that much
    he wanted to hear us play
    but like many a favored toy
    when over used, the novelty wears away.

    Spring kept on trying to bring out the green
    but winter wouldn’t let it be done
    the green sprouts were buried with ice cream slush
    leaving us longing for sun.

    Finally we had enough
    and built a snowman fat and wide
    and with his mouth a big “o”
    we took our car for a ride.

    Yes, we ran that snowman over,
    what a satisfying drive,
    take that old man winter
    now please, let spring thrive!

  236. Taylor Mali


    I want to be the one who was left
    as well as the one who moved on
    and found a better love, which seems
    to me somehow selfish, greedy,
    and therefore human, to hold hard
    to the hurt in one hand
    but have the other open and empty.
    There is a way of nursing a wound
    that keeps it new and beautiful,
    as ragged as the day it bloomed.
    But to heal the body must forget
    or at least forgive every injustice
    done to it for any reason, especially
    those exacted in the name of love.

  237. DanielR

    Guarding gardens was your duty
    dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt
    listing to the right, skewered on a pole
    like a half-finished shish kebab
    your black button eyes were hollow
    red yarn formed your crooked smile
    which made you far too friendly
    to scare away the crows at dusk
    then under October’s churning sky
    you greeted guest at our harvest party
    but by December you had dwindled
    down to the last straw

    Daniel Roessler

    1. cam45237

      Theres a lot I like about this poem. I love the start of “guarding gardens” and I loved the dwindling end – very clever. Good imagery too – “skewered on a pole”, “Octobers churning sky”.

  238. Liliuokalani

    I Sigh a Sigh

    I sigh a sigh
    that thrusts you out
    onto the dining room floor.
    The exhale of all exhales,
    your last descent a deflating balloon,
    deflected out of the sliding glass doors,
    into a thicket to decay with the leaf litter.
    Your piousness lays flacid but reactive,
    leaking vitriol, hissing and spitting,
    when otherness oozes too close.
    You are a rigid puddle, steeping your stain
    into the earth of our forest floor.
    So I sigh you out,
    the shepherd with the high hat
    that stretches into the divine space
    too close to god.

  239. poet42

    The Last Straw by Elaine Creasman (Poet42)

    This is the last time.
    I can’t take anymore.
    This is the end.
    We’re through.
    I don’t deserve this.
    I can’t keep loving you
    after what you’ve done
    this time.

    But love is pushing
    through hard ground.
    Resilience rises.
    Forgiveness forges
    a way to move on.

    And I flick the
    1000th last straw
    into the wind.

  240. candy

    Good Morning, This is NPR

    Unions for college athletes
    annexations, threats
    sanctions, campaign promises
    ferry sinking, planes missing
    fracking, gunmen open fire
    refugees, journalists dying
    the Pirates lost – last straw

  241. JWLaviguer

    The House That Straw Built

    The last straw
    laid in just so
    stopped the breeze
    from coming through
    and kept the heat inside
    the lives we lived here
    were blown in before
    yet we keep building
    even after the inferno
    but we refuse to put up walls
    to keep us in
    or keep love out
    in spite of the wolf.

    JW Laviguer

  242. Gwyvian


    Freedom’s price we paid in blood and hope, we sought change
    and took it – we created a vacuum first, then filled it with
    new thoughts that gave us what we truly want: but the new voices
    screaming allegiance had the same effect: they were painted
    the right colors, so we followed, but still we were never given
    a true choice: we bled for freedom – and got a dream instead.

    Freedom’s taste was the essence of imitations, images torn from
    books that belonged to someone else – we desired wealth, and were
    given work to achieve it, but the streets are woven of honey strings,
    leading us pacifically to return to gilded cages; I saw the traps in them
    and what they offered – they weren’t given, so I just took them:
    freedom was mine, and now there is retribution for my actions.

    Freedom’s scent was stamped all over our gifts, we were promised
    that the charade would end someday: impossible demands were met
    with bending the rules where it suited – and we were punished for it;
    there was once an untainted ideal that roamed around in our hearts,
    and now freedom is the enemy we must conquer: if we want it,
    we will be brought to justice – and they said no one has to suffer.

    Freedom’s truth was a parade with drums and roses thrown, thousands
    screaming defiance, though who or what we defied was unknown—
    we were free, but there were rules to follow, and people to report, if we
    want more than the least we need, there has to be unity: so those high
    voices spoke – and so freedom was betrayal, when our last tense patience
    was snapped: I wanted freedom, so I simply got up and left.

    Freedom is the tears of sacrifice, families torn away, freedom is allegiance
    to a fickle fancy that dies withering in homes where we cannot stay: where
    freedom is to escape the murderous monster we created with good intent,
    where freedom is the first penny spent on shiny things we are blinded by:
    that freedom is a lie we tell to soothe the chains we wrap around ourselves—
    in the name of freedom so fair: our freedom is forever the cause of despair.

    April 25, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  243. DanielR

    My soul lay open on the pages
    that I penned while in despair
    and after a hundred query letters
    I’ve discovered nobody cares
    I followed all the rules of grammar
    and spellchecked every single word
    I wrote an idea that you say you like
    and still no offer has occurred
    I’m tired of all the false sincerity
    standard phrases and empty lines
    now I face my harsh reality
    rejection letters are a sign
    no longer am I in denial
    for your truth has set me free
    I am not the next great novelist
    your response has made that clear to me

    Daniel Roessler

  244. JanetRuth

    Now Let Me Speak Frankly…

    You keep wrapping your arms ‘round about me
    Your sense of humor is wearing me thin
    That five-o’clock shadow has lost its allure, love
    Oh, how you vex me with your rebel-grin

    Find for your pleasure another dance-partner
    I hate glass slippers; their beauty is cold
    As are your kisses; ah, how my mouth misses
    Warm, willing whispers wild with green and gold

    You strut your stuff in gray coat and galoshes
    Bold and belligerent, cocksure and cool
    I pity you, foreigner to flower-gardens
    Sun-swaddled shorelines or drinks by a pool

    Hey, one man army of churlish advances
    Stumbling and screaming outside my front door
    Take your battalion of stormy side-glances
    You are not welcome here anymore

    …yet, you keep wrapping your arms ‘round about me
    Bent on rekindling some deadened delight
    Dear, old man winter, now let me speak frankly
    ‘Our friendship is over, get out of my life’

    © Janet Martin

  245. cmjones

    Prompt #25
    Forgive my instinct to shit all over theologians
    and their lofty talk about forgiving me

    for being at times comatose
    to the greater good

    for spitting in public
    more specifically

    spitting in the faces
    of those who say they are trying to make sense of it all

    as if they can’t taste the true flavor beneath
    the barbecue sauce issued by the government

    for partially funding several wars
    and thus the murders of several thousand

    for euphemizing women

    and children
    and people just now

    I have been saved for the last time

  246. Mark Conroy

    “Odd Man Out”

    They make it plenty hard to kill yourself around here.
    Life should be like a light switch; ON
    You’re up and moving around
    OFF—and it’s over—just like that. Only one problem,
    You only get to make that choice—once.
    I looked it up on Google, the “Ten Best Ways to Kill Yourself”.
    The first one, and by all counts the most common
    Was to shoot yourself. What if you miss?
    Everyone would know if you showed up
    With a hole in your head.
    Number two was to sit in a tub and slit your wrists.
    I sure don’t want to be found floating
    Naked in a tub of my own blood
    Bottoms up after I’ve rolled over choking
    On a scum of my own crusted blood.
    Next is to put a bag over your head and try to breathe
    That’s what got me in this fix in the first place.
    That brings us to number four; hanging yourself.
    Now that takes guts! How do you reach up and tie a rope
    Short enough while you’re standing on a chair?
    Then there’s pills. Seems like a simple enough way to go.
    Just start stuffing your face with whatever
    Is in the medicine cabinet or under the sink.
    Then there’s the TV solution to almost every plot.
    Start up your car in a closed garage and put a hose
    From the end of the tailpipe of your car, truck, van, or SUV
    I wonder if hi-test would make it quicker and smell a little better?
    So anyway, the rest of our ten choices are even worse.
    And life’s a bitch and then you die.
    I guess I’ll just stick around like everybody else.
    Gonna happen anyway in the end.
    Might as well have another Merlot
    While we all wait to see.

    Mark Conroy

    1. Kimmy Sophia

      I hear you, I feel it, I know these feelings. Reminds me of this:

      “Razors pain you; rivers are damp; acids stain you; and drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; nooses give; gas smells awful; you might as well live.” Dorothy Parker

  247. rebrog

    Last Straw

    I could tell you why
    I didn’t speak to my father
    for twenty years,
    why I cut the tree down,
    why I pulled the cord on the lifejacket,
    the one you’re supposed to wait
    until you exit the cabin to use.

    Every act precedes and follows
    you don’t know if you’re
    in a trough or a swell
    until you see that the thing
    driving you to the point of murder
    wasn’t an ending.

    Pack your bundle,
    needle and thread,
    two days-worth
    of clean water,
    a cup of dry rice,
    your iPhone 6s with
    thunderbolt charger

    set off on the road to Ithaca
    say “journey”
    feel how the word
    strokes your teeth
    like a promise.

    rebrog PAD 2014

  248. Margot Suydam

    Final Lament

    Enough already with the felines
    and feral family of foxes circling
    the realms of heaven.

    Enough already that wind and rain
    keep trying to wrestle down
    tiny slices of solitude.

    Enough already nosy neighbors
    with your untimely visits.
    You”ll never get inside.

    Enough already with the pointed
    questions. Don’t ask what singing
    hermits swallow in dark places.

  249. Sasha A. Palmer

    Hi everyone. 25 prompts, 25 haiku.

    beyond the welkin
    a sleepy angel awakes
    off to work wings brushed

    the commute is quick
    one giant leap for mankind
    for angel one step

    the task is simple
    persuade men to be happy
    that’s what angels do

    since the creation
    happiness has been men’s foe
    men prefer ruin

    men long for passion
    harmony unsettles them
    men would rather burn

    men inhale cities
    drink beneath the rural moon
    on the airplane wings

    ever amateur
    created in God’s image
    hopelessly human

    torment their lovers
    dance themselves to destruction
    ever lonely men

    finding no refuge
    men cry when they see the Pope
    vagabond pilgrims

    empires rise and fall
    look back foresee the future
    humans do not change

    men bend their beliefs
    divide sex and sentiment
    still believe in love

    strolls through central park
    wild quarrels starting over
    beautiful and damned

    men battle their beasts
    walk along the precipice
    all the sad young men

    if i were God i
    dancers and storytellers
    always reasoning

    love is all there is
    still men crave bitter in sweet
    never satisfied

    men beat on borne back
    ceaselessly into the past
    silent tombstones speak

    lost generation
    paradigmatic writings
    jazz age any age

    winter dreams wear off
    the prickly dust of late spring
    freshness of lilacs

    pink floating dresses
    pink babies in pink bonnets
    it all starts anew

    a tight fellowship
    flappers and philosophers
    a curious case

    men tamper with faith
    yet at the end of the day
    all want to come home

    men want to repent
    quit the Godless dirty games
    men want to be loved

    life crackles like ice
    on this side of paradise
    faith is difficult

    tell it to the One
    He advocates for all men
    He knows about faith

    when everything fails
    when Babylon walls crumple
    He will raise you up

  250. Quaker

    They had been drilling vertically for natural gas on my land
    without permission, without buying me out,
    just applying Eminent Domain. They had machines
    working night and day, tearing up the fields.
    Their heavy machinery had destroyed the road.
    The drinking water smells of gas and flames.
    The head man said that it was safe to drink
    and offered me a six pack of bottled water,
    adding, try this. After weeks of drilling and pumping water,
    they discovered nothing. They packed up and left.
    The head man said, now it’s your problem.

    I went to the local mayor to complain. He referred me
    to the county board, who told me to go to the governor.
    None of them wanted the responsibility or the problem.
    I went to the newspapers and the television programs
    and they treated me like I was a nut.

    One of these days you might read some headlines,
    Madman Blows Up Natural Gas Headquarters,
    and it won’t be me.

  251. Andrew Kreider

    Brokedown burger

    No matter that the radio played
    Classic Country, and nothing else,
    or that the cup-holders didn’t,

    and if the gas cap cover was
    now sitting on the dashboard
    that just made life easier at the pump.

    He painted over the cancerous rust,
    laughed as the hubcaps spun
    off on their own journeys,

    cleaned the windscreen by hand
    at stop lights, stripped naked in July,
    wore two coats in the dead of winter.

    It would have lasted forever.
    but then the driver’s window stuck shut
    and he didn’t want to go in to Wendy’s.

    1. k_weber

      I really like how I get a lot of glimpses and powerful images (“cancerous rust” is awesome – I know exactly what this has to look like) but at the same time you leave a lot of mystery and the reader can choose the adventure. the “stripped naked” and “two coats” could relate to the automobile or the driver. There’s so many ways you can go here and I like that it’s a playful poem but still has a nice form and all these images to it. That last stanza is like a punchline punch in the nose. I have been that last stanza. And I have had a vehicle with a window that wouldn’t go down and I refused to get out and walk in to a fast food joint. I’d open the door and squirm to hand the person my money and grab my food! This poem is quite a ride! :]

  252. CLShaffer

    Tipping Point by C. Lynn Shaffer

    My father watched his small town grow
    smaller behind him, smaller still
    when he returned from Vietnam,
    the mountains only hills,
    Main Street slow as a blood clot
    about to explode.
    Line pictures up and watch his ready grin
    fade, imagine his lips a tight line
    as he read another rejection,
    trinity-folded proclamation of unworth.
    Picture him picking and shucking corn,
    standing over it as it boiled,
    cutting the kernels into his mother’s
    large blue porcelain bowl,
    smiling as he ate it.
    The story goes
    he chose a tobacco tin
    and waited for his body to reward him
    until finally his ass,
    freest thing for miles,
    from which they’d removed skin
    to cover wounds opened by a bomb,
    my father’s bare ass hovered over the box
    and he let go, with gusto,
    a great birthing push lasting
    not long enough, ending with a shake
    to get every bit of the corn-jeweled turds
    he then covered with the letter
    signed by the graduate dean,
    mailed the package to same, feeling
    what might be called joy
    for the first and last time in his remarkable life.

  253. jojo1127


    This is it
    the last one
    sadness begins to overcome me
    as I take this last straw of fuchsia color
    and stick in my tall glass of double thickness banana-peanut butter milkshake

    I attempt to savor every millisecond of enjoyment
    its aroma of bananas and peanuts commingling as if they were married
    experiencing a moment of intimacy that won’t last long as it reaches my lips
    and finally reaches my stomach.

    I revel in it’s texture
    its richness
    for the very first time I’m appreciating the opportunity
    of sharing this time–me and my milkshake
    This could be the very last time I will share this moment with a milkshake

    I continue to sip
    until I reached the very end
    tears in my eyes
    my heart is breaking
    It’s all over

    The very last straw
    and the very last milkshake

  254. kelly letky

    99 pints on the side of the road

    four miles
    of dirty-drunk bottles
    discarded on the cold shoulder road
    you walk
    night after night after night
    sipping bitter salt and rubbing open
    old wounds

    four miles
    of hollowed out chest
    and improper possibility
    leaching into land passed down
    for seven generations
    of food in the belly
    no one wanted to harvest

    four miles
    of fuel for the red-lipped
    rage that lines your palm
    and marks yours forehead with
    furrows deep enough for planting
    the seed you cannot reclaim
    or purchase

    four miles
    between you and the house
    never built
    by too many logs and not enough sky
    the stars were your compass
    before you chugged them
    in a toast to disappointment

    four miles
    of mud-caked proof
    and not enough leaving one
    last sip for the lean wasted soul
    soon to follow your dedicated footsteps
    to the same oblivious
    abandoned address


    the story behind this poem is here: http://www.mrsmediocrity.com/2014/04/25/99-pints-side-road/

  255. donaldillich

    The Volcano

    At first they offered vegetables,
    gourds, peppers, potatoes, greens.
    I liked the soup it made in me,
    but ultimately I was not happy.
    Acrid smoke fumed, gases
    bubbled on the surface into the air.

    I asked for wild animals to be brought
    to my lip and be pushed inside.
    Multi-colored birds, boars, sharks,
    every kind of meat I could imagine.
    I found this more savory, I could almost
    live with this for the rest of my extinction.

    But I started rumbling inside, lava
    blasted upward, my cone began
    to be surrounded by a gray cloud.
    There was only one thing I needed,
    the last chance for our relationship,
    the humans on this small island,
    and the power pulsing inside me.

    The virgins were taken to the top,
    wrapped in ceremonial robes
    that blinded me with their beauty,
    telling the stories of the tribe,
    in red, violet and yellow ink.

    They neared me, almost ready
    to be pushed in, when the heroes,
    who had survived a plane crash
    to discover the tribe’s plan,
    swung their ropes to the planks,
    carried off the women away from me.

    It didn’t matter that my people
    attempted to catch them. They failed.
    The explosion that was deep within
    could not be stopped. The sky began
    to be pocked by hot ash, as if
    it was bleeding heat and dust.

    The island was overwhelmed,
    those who could not escape
    cooked in their own bodies,
    those who did looking back at me,
    weeping as if they had done all
    they could, when in reality I could
    not be solved. Nothing would
    appease me. I wanted everything.

  256. grcran

    Game Over

    That’s it. I’m done. You win. You won
    Again. And that’s the end of it.
    What’s that you say? You want to play
    Just one more time. Nope. Gotta quit.
    Oh pretty please? Hope, hope, squeeze, squeeze…
    Ok. Calm down. Don’t throw a fit.
    And after?
    You WILL clean your room.

    by gpr crane

    1. viv

      I lived with one like that, until that last straw time that I couldn’t push the vacuum in through the door. My response: I threw everything out of the window of our fairly high house, watched by the neighbours but not by the teenage son. He became a tidy adult.

  257. break_of_day

    we are too old for this
    and so
    I will be civil enough,
    even happy to see you
    but I will not fret too loudly
    about your latest
    sad story
    as I watch you
    manipulate the friends around you
    with subtle insinuations
    and overt descriptions
    of the cruel ways you have been treated
    it is enough
    we are not teenagers anymore
    and though I do not doubt
    that you are in pain,
    the games are child’s play
    and we are children no more

  258. dianemdavis


    On nights when rooms are too hot
    to sit, we meet in the garden
    to share books, magazines
    and last week’s news.

    Becca reads aloud
    from the Courier, calling Lowell
    a Worker’s Utopia.

    But Mary interrupts
    with a bitter laugh.
    Don’t be fooled by what you read.
    Do you remember Liza Crane
    who always hid
    when visitors came, ducking
    between looms
    down those long narrow aisles—-
    Until that day, when the overseer came
    and dragged her out.
    He presented her to the visitor
    like a prize sow at a country fair.
    She came back the next day
    with blackened eyes,
    shorn hair
    and an empty bankbook.
    A husband’s right, she explained.

    But that night at closing bell,
    she dusted and oiled her machines
    until each piece gleamed—-
    then disappeared
    into the depths of the

    I guess no city
    is a

  259. Gwyvian


    Rhythms intoxicating, ancient rite renewed, fervor painting
    a haze to weave through souls connected between worlds,
    fumes elaborating on thoughts till they become grandiose:
    I will build a shining palace, with leopards as my guards,
    fountains that spill wine and I will have endless balls, I
    will make these halls the foundation, the heart—
    but my councilor said to me, that
    pretty words are a poor substitute for elegance,
    and my irreverent dances will incur consequences—
    I ignored the foolish man with his prattling, suggested
    that he enjoy my dancing while he can – I know his eyes
    drink me as any man’s must, though he is barred from touch;
    rhythm is a carnal heartbeat dipped into primordial nectar,
    resurrection of patterns that have not been done under
    the sun and stars in time immemorial, and my mind is slipping
    into imagination manifested: I am a lady of the great hunt,
    fast on the trail of majestic prey:
    tonight I feast on the flesh of existence, and breathe life
    into my designs, the entire world on its knees, adoring—
    and that old fool interrupts again, admonishing
    that what I’ve done will bring the wrath of the gods,
    and that touching the nether for frivolous wants, for
    no better reason than because it ensnares my mind has
    already doomed me, whatever I see before me—
    I shake him off, and send him away in chains,
    this is my dance and nothing can sour the mood of this place:
    temple unearthed and woven in threads of spirit, my fingers
    over a pool of souls touches the surface to finish what I started,
    …and I become more than what I am, shivers of knowing
    cascading into me, vibrations of ecstasy that threaten
    to shred me, and I am a lady of the ether:
    immortal between shades of existence—
    power unlimited, desires almost fully sated, I
    am the embodiment of light and darkness…

    I feel it, just before it pierces into my mind like a splinter,
    a haunting echo, a burden to balance the succor, a painful
    lack that displaced a part of me just out of reach, with a frantic
    need to reach it, but strapped into place by shackles of fire, I am
    burning, I am consumed and know I can never die—
    and my scream is mocked by the silence of the empty chamber,
    where once only whispers reigned, I am utterly alone in this place;
    and I keep asking through my tears: what have I done,
    what have I done…
    I have become something less than human, and
    belated respect for powers beyond me swells bitter, so,
    hands trembling, I try to retreat – but can’t lose that echo, a feel
    of vast emptiness lodged inside: my heart is splintered into
    shards with cutting edges, loves and hopes fading to mist
    leaving only the power of cold death – my hand is a weaver of fate,
    but now my eyes see more than they should: I see the inevitable,
    and what reason is there to continue, knowing? I see
    the irreversible, and what demand is worth that price? I summon
    my councilor, but I learn that he has already come to me
    in that twisted nether place in which I danced, executed
    by orders I do not remember giving—
    I am a lady of nothingness, with the power of unmaking,
    forever locked in my task of taking, but only
    where the pattern chooses: I have almost nothing,
    but what I have is the capacity for giving endless suffering—
    and give it I must, for if I do not,
    all of creation will unravel to forgotten dust…

    April 25, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  260. PressOn


    Although they’re not good for complexions,
    I tend to like peppered confections.
    But they taste so abrupt
    and they make mouths erupt
    in a spate of mucosal convections.

    1. courageousdreamer

      So, you have seen the cinnamon challenges being done before then…Seriously though, I love the way that you used scientific terms to describe the feeling in your mouth when you have a cinnamon treat. Very light and fun. Good job! :D

  261. courageousdreamer

    Beating Procrastination

    This is the last straw.
    I’m sick of you getting in the way,
    Like sitting in a movie theatre,
    And someone in front of you,
    Is wearing a big hat.
    It distracts you from your enjoyment of the film,
    No matter which way you go,
    They sway in the same direction as you.

    I cannot simply “go with the flow”,
    Or lay back and relax,
    Because thanks to you,
    At the end of the day,
    My work needs to be faxed through.
    I need to face the facts,
    That sometimes,
    I need to organise my time a little bit better.

    Procrastination, you’re nicotine for me,
    And don’t you just know it.
    Leaving me heaving,
    Panicking all over the floor,
    Drowning me in tears and sobs,
    “I can’t do this anymore.”
    And when I hand it in late,
    You let me feel deflated,
    But I’ll refuse to give up,
    And give in to you, next time.

    This time,
    This is the last straw,
    I’m drawing the line.
    Sure, it will be hard to resist you,
    However, I’ll persist,
    I’ll insist that you don’t control me.
    Now it’s my turn to show the world,
    I’ve got what it takes,
    To be the best I can be,
    To raise the stakes,
    And illustrate,
    My strengths and weaknesses.
    Because this time,
    I’m not going to lose to you.

    Yes, it will be an uphill battle.
    This I know for sure,
    I’ve encountered these problems,
    Countless times before.
    You could say,
    Making and breaking promises,
    On this subject,
    Is my specialty.
    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    I will struggle to defeat you,
    Like climbing a great mountain.
    I will struggle up Mt. Everest,
    Harsh wind blowing me setbacks,
    Doubting my abilities,
    Looking down,
    Looking back,
    On my goal to climb to the top,
    To rise above the average mob.
    But I know I can do it.

    I will beat you, procrastination.
    This time,
    For sure.
    Because I can feel this strong feeling,
    Pushing me onwards,
    Rising in my chest,
    In my heart,
    In my soul,
    In my bones,
    This time you will leave me alone.
    I will pound you down flat.
    And that will be the end of that.

    1. courageousdreamer

      Relationships are often like that. Sometimes you push the wrong buttons and not many relationships last but some of them do and it’s good to hear when they do come through the other side, as a stronger couple/relationship. Great job!

  262. TomNeal

    Yet I am still falling down the stairs
    Empty of blood and tears for somebody like you
    Until my skull cracks on the last step

    I laugh

    Your poem (actually both of your poems) is intense. The form suits the verse. The poem(s) work, and I can’t think of any higher praise than that.

  263. Kimmy Sophia

    The secret to the quandary
    of the last straw
    is forgiveness.
    When I want to punch someone’s lights out
    I don’t want to think about that,
    but I know it’s true.
    One more straw
    can be very light
    if I untie the bundle
    and let

  264. RuthieShev

    House of Straw

    Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs
    The first one built his house of straw
    Another little piggy used sturdier twigs
    The third one’s bricks were sturdiest of all.
    I sometimes wonder about that first little swine
    Is it possible he actually thought
    That making a house of straw would be fine
    Against the Big Bad Wolf’s onslaught.
    Was he excited when he placed each piece of hay
    Intertwined with one another?
    He couldn’t have known it wouldn’t last a day
    Maybe he even laughed at his boar brothers.
    Taking the easy way out is an option
    We all try at some point to follow
    We just want to quickly get things done
    And hope we won’t be someone’s first swallow
    But I think that little piggy still believed
    His efforts would work after all
    He actually smiled at what he achieved
    As he placed the very last straw.
    This really was the last straw

  265. Cin5456

    “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson

    Time to Decide

    Stand on solid ground
    with feet planted in bedrock.
    Yes, trees sway and bend with the wind.
    Branches adapt to fleeting influence.
    Leaves present one side to the sun,
    and offer another side to insects below,
    or fall away with seasonal change.
    Currents wash over bending reeds,
    loosening inconvenient attachments.
    I hold my principles with conviction.
    Conviction does not sway, does not
    Slip away in the daily surf,
    or melt with season’s change.
    Principles are the silent voice
    when regrets and wishes whisper,
    [I should… I wish I could…]
    Principles form the base
    from which we choose.
    to agree or dissent, To speak
    or be silent remains a choice.
    In shedding inconvenient beliefs,
    they mirror the tree and the reed.
    I hold my principles with conviction.
    We compromise on the dinner menu –
    choose a brand of beer and
    change our minds with taste, location,
    and the evening’s atmosphere.
    I modify my plans for the weekend,
    and accommodate the needs
    of friends and family.
    Principles modified for convenience
    become talking points for talking heads.
    I hold my principles with conviction.
    Decide the time has come
    and stand on the solid ground
    of your principles
    with convictions firmly planted.
    As bedrock supports the land,
    principles hold convictions
    upright, unbending. To speak
    or be silent remains a choice.

    by Cynthia Page

  266. viv

    This writing poetry every day
    used to be fun,
    now I’m wearing away
    my brain with the effort.
    I don’t know what to say
    any more,
    which rhymes with
    this, the very last straw.

    1. courageousdreamer

      Amen to that. Some days throughout this challenge, I found myself doubting how I’m going to continue on for another 20 or 13 days writing new, innovative and creative poems each day. This was really lovely, Viv and congratulations for making it this far. Not a lot of people can say that they’ve made it into the final week. Congratulations. :)

  267. Gwyvian


    Nets – such a pleasant contemplation,
    the nets to snare droplets of satisfaction—
    I heard it’ll be a fantastic day,
    so I started it with a skip and a smile,
    weaving nets that catch light and spin
    merry tales to entertain… but I kept
    checking, the nets were still empty—
    nothing to prevent me from trying, though;
    this caliber requires a special midnight silk,
    a thread woven of ubiquity, and swirls
    of unique twinklings – I was checking,
    thinking that perhaps now the pieces
    would fall out to form an encouraging sign—
    I danced away time, biting lips and
    trying not to hex my luck with negativity:
    but my nets were still depressingly empty; I am
    trying for nonchalance, my nets
    casual spreads that melt inextricably, but
    not unpleasantly… yet, I caught exactly nothing—
    perhaps I wove wrong, perhaps it was
    the placement, but I still kept trying…
    this morning my hunger would not be ignored,
    a knot in my stomach that said I need
    nourishment of the kind not easily found, so
    my fingers were feverish in the making;
    blatant, straight lines, stark backdrops and
    ideas that made my head spin giddily—
    not even that caught anything for me, though,
    and despair began to slowly crawl along my mind;
    by the eve, I admit that I am quite desperate,
    but still willing to weave – if only it was with
    a purpose, if only it had a chance, and then—
    just like that, something snapped inside me:
    I’ve stopped caring, and it’s freed my heart
    to soar across boundaries, soar right
    in the face of expectations and laugh in it—
    maybe hunger has tangled my mind to madness,
    but what else can I do? my nets were so empty,
    and I am in need of something to replenish
    the energy I’ve wasted in the weaving, so
    I implore, I beg, I’ve abandoned dignity:
    just please, gods, fill those nets for me…

    April 25, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  268. dsborden

    In the Cornfield, Just
    Myself and a Burgeoning Thought
    by D. S. Borden

    with slovenly thread,
    a disambiguation
    of parts and scraps
    with a purpose,
    not my own

    almost lifeless,
    the sky like crystal
    the field, goldenrod bright,
    a crow
    plucks a
    straw from under my hat–
    his last I swear

  269. Roderick Bates

    The Last Straw

    by Roderick Bates

    This morning the deer were maybe
    five feet from the house,
    chewing on the lawn, poking
    under the bushes by the window.

    All Fall they were invisible,
    as we hiked deeper into the woods,
    rifles in hand, found our soft spot
    under a beech tree, or clambered up
    into the stand among the branches.

    We waited in the cold, endured
    the rain, the wind, gone to snow
    by the time black powder season
    had given us our last shot. And
    what did w get? Nothing.

    Nothing. Not a glimpse
    of one with horns. Oh,
    we saw tracks, we saw rubs,
    we even heard a snort, once,
    when the wind was right,
    slow from the north.

    But this morning they
    eat the pale green grass
    still too short to mow,
    and now one is pooping
    right in front of me.
    My wife calls it deer candy.
    I reach for the Winchester;
    I call it the last straw.

    1. dhaivid3

      Oh my! Ever heard of James Hadley Chase? He’s my favourite author (yup, above the other greats) and reading the twist at the end of your poem, I am reminded of his work. Please tell me you write thrillers as well because this is brilliant.

  270. TomNeal

    The Final Blow
    (like the toad, ugly and venomous)

    The same hammer that shatters the glass,
    Leaving shards in the straw where I sleep,
    Shards that pierce my unprotected feet,
    You use to strip away, you use to smash
    My pride, my lust, my wrath, my soul of glass;
    You beat me until I feel too weak
    To resist; my pride made humble and meek,
    My lust tamed, and the fire of my wrath
    Smothered by your blows, stamped and snuffed out,
    And I fall, I fall down upon the floor,
    I am beneath the stinking straw, in doubt
    I struggle, I plead for mercy, a way out,
    And you respond, you speak, and you reveal
    That your hammer strikes to strengthen my steel.

    1. courageousdreamer

      The imagery in this poem is so powerful, it makes me want to read it out at a poetry slam or something. I cannot pick any particular line that I adore but these lines really got to me, “You use to strip away, you use to smash, my pride, my lust, my wrath, my soul of glass.” Gorgeous poem once again, Tom! Well done! :) Loved it!

      1. TomNeal

        Thank you! When I was writing this morning I was focused on the ear rather than the eye. I knew the sounds I wanted. The rest followed. I didn’t expect anyone else to notice. Thanks again.

        1. Linda Goin

          Oh, really? Right — I bypass such passion every day as a practice. A hammer, if you will. I agree with Courageous…it’s a sounder, a speak and reveal.

    2. k_weber

      if i wasn’t trapped in this tiny cubicle, i would have been pounding the desk with my fist as a read this: to show the rhythm of my solidarity and that hammer’s pulse.

      “And I fall, I fall down upon the floor,
      I am beneath the stinking straw, in doubt
      I struggle, I plead for mercy, a way out…”

      good words all the way ’round.

  271. Andrea Heiberg

    Meeting Newcomers on Our Island

    Of course I’d help everyone
    with her groceries,
    I have this big van.
    she reminded me.
    And I did,
    I did help her with loads
    of stuff she bought
    including listening to her
    long tales
    about her sclerosis,
    leaving her on her doorstep
    to a far too long goodbye,
    she and her groceries everywhere.

    Of course I need to learn how
    to say no
    and to my surprise
    spontaneously I did
    when her rheumatic mother
    turned up one day
    and told me she was ready soon
    to take her home,
    the groceries parked outside my car.
    You know where to go,
    she said.

  272. EeLas6678

    Title: What You Need

    If space is what you need, then take it,
    but don’t expect the space where you consume my heart to stay vacant,
    holding out for too long just may break the bank,
    and I can’t afford to watch the walls decay.

    If time is what you need, then take it,
    but don’t expect the hands on the clock
    to find time and welcome you back without shaking.
    Anxiety fueled hope,
    Will my embrace be strong enough to hold you?

    If me is what you need, then I’m here,
    but space and time have been calling me to go.
    The empty space tells me to wait one more day,
    but I’m already off my chair.
    I look back at you, still stationary,
    too crippled by what you don’t know.

    If you ever choose to move,
    don’t expect to just walk through the door,
    someone may move in by that time,
    new keys made.
    But, I may need someone to carry out the empty boxes,
    you’re good with empty,
    putting me in a box.
    Separation has given me more time to think outside the box,
    find value in My space, My time.

    If by chance, space and time work together
    and we find ourselves in the same town,
    I wouldn’t mind going out for a drink,
    but he’ll be with me.
    I’ll introduce you as the man who didn’t know,
    you’ll order another rum and coke,
    I’ll look into bloodshot eyes and say goodbye,
    but you won’t even notice I’m leaving,
    too far gone.

    Alarmed by the tender’s last call,
    become hyper-aware of the empty bar space,
    Closing time.
    Sometimes it’s a lonely journey reaping what you sow.

    -Emily Lasinsky

  273. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: The Last Straw

    You’ve got ice cream
    And I’ve got a drink.
    Why can’t you see
    Who the shoe fits?
    I won’t argue with you
    Just use your brain;
    To reach the last drops
    Might be a strain!
    You can lick the ice cream
    Just like so,
    Drinks can’t be drunk that way
    You know.
    I’m having it
    And that’s the end.
    Don’t argue with me
    My dear friend.
    Hand me that straw now,
    Give it here.
    This is the last straw,
    And it’s mine, my dear.

  274. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    The words that nullify were constant
    in a life that craved
    that which was always

    bounding the barricade –
    dodging insults thrown
    like bombs –
    reaching the realm of redemption –
    a life of possibilities
    opened –
    rich with promise –
    overflowing with anticipation.

    Sliding from the camel’s back,
    she offered the last
    with gratitude
    to the hungry beast,
    sent it off from whence
    it came –
    no longer a necessity,

  275. Jezzie


    Each day you caused me pain,
    ever since we began,
    but I just thought that was
    because you were a man.

    You used to make me laugh,
    you always made me late,
    you often made me cry,
    you got me in a state.

    Time went on, you changed not,
    my humour had long gone,
    you gave me cause to doubt
    that we could carry on.

    But another lover?
    That was the final straw.
    I knew you had to go:
    we’d no love any more.

  276. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 25

    The Ocean

    Deep green
    Blending with the emerald blue
    Collisions of a deadly force on the surface
    Hiding the secrets underneath
    While the waves speak
    The bottom of the ocean sleeps
    Hibernating in pitch black
    No sound
    Stream of fresh water, so slow
    It is not even recognized

    Our guardian
    The preserver of our history
    On top of our bone structure
    it lies there
    kissing the very first steps we took
    where everything we can see
    we can only see the end
    the waves
    the mountains
    the trees

    But we have to seek underneath the surface
    to truly understand where we come from
    and wisdom is built
    the moment we understand that some things
    can not be reached

  277. PowerUnit

    He left town on the stagecoach
    At high noon
    It was a no brainer
    The cock and bull stories were hard to swallow
    The constant yanking of his chain
    The leg pulling
    To speaking with forked tongues
    His buttons where pushed once too often
    And when his patience bought the farm
    When the light at the end of the tunnel was snuffed out
    That was the last straw

  278. antoniabryanblue

    Sitting at a cafe, drinking coffee
    Here I go again
    Saying yes, saying no, because I need to know
    Why I am running away from the rest of my life

    The stories don’t write happily very afters by themselves
    Cappuccinos don’t drink themselves, they turn cold, just sitting there
    While I waste away in a mental hole six feet under

    It started when I had a drink accidentally
    Tea was not so fine without a dash of vodka
    Served cold on my eleventh birthday

    It was in the water I drank

    It was in the air I breath
    And continue to hold onto

    But I’ve left my heart in Melbourne
    Where I crawled back inside
    And left behind an older version
    Of the person I used to be

    I left her at a cafe
    Ordered her a coffee
    Wined and dined her bitter thoughts the night before until they covered my skin

    She’s holding on a past
    With a taste I can’t ignore
    It’s a dark and sickly taste
    Like badly made coffee
    Left out for too long

    Heart beating a million miles a minute
    And I wonder how and why this body is still alive
    Gulping down another cup of coffee

    You broke me
    Many stars and moons ago
    Laughed at my pain

    Said I shouldn’t be hurt
    When you didn’t want my love
    But I never said I loved you to begin with
    Thank god

    Maybe that’s why I’m still alive
    Sitting at a cafe
    With my heart still intact

    I just left my broken one
    In dear old Melbourne.

  279. antoniabryanblue

    My bloody staircase

    Drawing out the longest goodbye
    My chest breaks under your spell
    So I close my eyes and let the blood
    Leak out my veins and fall down the stairs
    And I don’t care, cause it went something like this

    You sounded out the,”good,” when I shifted gears
    Waved my hands in a beloved hello
    Fed the dead feeling in my eyes
    Made my heart beat in orchestra
    To the fiery demon of your past

    I thought you were the one
    Gifted with the lips to wake me up
    But all you gave was violence
    I did not need another dosage of
    Rage already fuelled my breathe

    Hands down, you just stood there
    From part a to part b, till I thought I was living
    Kept my legs spread apart for you
    Until you painted my heart from grey to black

    Made my system shake on a poison I never knew existed
    Evolutionary I suppose, checking into hotel heartbreak
    With the radioactive wires calling our the waterworks
    To drown my eyes out in the new age of, “goodbye”

    But the tears ran out
    Along with the heated blood
    Until I stood on the
    Very edge of the apocalypse

    The bottle is lying down empty
    In a beautiful yet familiar dose
    And I’m standing here, feeling alright
    The fire in your eyes is going out
    Along with the love I had for you

    Yet I am still falling down the stairs
    Empty of blood and tears for somebody like you
    Until my skull cracks on the last step

    I laugh
    I finally get it all
    Your kiss
    Wake me up
    Thank you
    Could not
    Have fallen
    Without you

    1. TomNeal

      Yet I am still falling down the stairs
      Empty of blood and tears for somebody like you
      Until my skull cracks on the last step

      I laugh

      Your poem (actually both of your poems) is intense. The form suits the verse. The poem(s) work, and I can’t think of any higher praise than that.