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.


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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


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