2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

Spent yesterday catching up on sleep after attending the super fun Austin International Poetry Festival with Tammy. If you’ve had any issues with posting or anything else related to the challenge, please send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. I hope everyone’s been having fun!

Today is a Tuesday, so two prompts:

  • Write a violent poem. Could be person on person violence, person on animal, animal on animal, nature on person/animal/nature, and so on (insects, erosion, cosmos, etc.).
  • Write a peaceful poem. I suppose this might be the opposite of a violent poem. But perhaps not.


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Here’s my attempt at a Violent and/or Peaceful Poem:

“opportunity: threat”

he presses a gun to your head
says you have just one shot at this
so you darn well best get it right

and you think i’ve never been right
in a lifetime of bad mistakes
missed opportunities always

revealing themselves afterwards
like that night in alabama
when it might have been more than lust

but then you realize the gun the man
held to your head is no longer
present and neither is the man


Today’s guest judge is…

Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley

Tom is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University, the director of Steel Toe Books, and the bassist for the litcore rock band Manley Pointer. Forthcoming are his fourth full-length book, Plunk (Wayne State College Press), and an edited collection of essays called Creative Writing Studies: An Introduction to Its Pedagogies (Southern Illinois University Press).

Tom’s poems have been featured three times on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and five times on Verse Daily. Among his publication credits are Atlanta Review, New Orleans Review, Five Points, TriQuarterly, North American Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and New York Quarterly.

He divides his time between Kansas and Oz.

Learn more here: http://www.steeltoebooks.com/books/70.html.


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 fascinated by the constant balance (or lack of) between violence and peace. Learn more about him here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


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681 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

  1. Suzanne_Noelle

    Self Harm

    Shiny silver leaves
    Deep red rivulets
    In a pristine
    Blank white expanse.

    Pain, but why
    Why is it
    So enjoyable to
    Feel such hurt?

    Angry world, angry
    At her, but
    She is angry
    At them, too.

    If they won’t
    Stop creating such
    Hatred and fury
    Why should she?

    Watch their expressions
    Turn from hate
    To pity, to
    Pain and sorrow.

    If they exist
    Only to feign
    Care, however, then
    Why should she

    Exist at all?

  2. IndiFox

    Breed Violence

    He was raised on bitter milk
    And an uncaring mother
    She was raised with a harsh hand
    And an authoritarian father
    Breed violence
    From the same rotten tree

    Years later
    Side by side and face to face
    Meeting for, what felt like, the first time
    Days later
    In secrecy their minds entwined
    While others wagged their tongues

    Two distinct pieces
    From a broken puzzle
    They shared something deep
    A rarity
    While their lovers could only dream
    Of obtaining such favour

    They would dream of alternate universes
    Of meeting, and not being family
    She wants to run, it’s all she knows
    But he must stay, and do right by them
    Forget the feelings
    And just be friends

    In secret they still meet
    In thoughts and dreams
    They converse with their minds
    And the vaguest words
    Knowing what they have
    While the world sleeps

  3. bbjzmn

    day 8
    he sat there anxious, waiting for the weight of what he did to beat him senseless

    but in the end it was the calm that he felt that haunted him.

  4. dixonlm2

    The Library- Location Poem for April 23, 2014

    The library is such a wonderful place,
    One can visit regardless, of case.

    Whether simply looking for a good read,
    The printed word can plant a valued seed.

    Then there is the Internet wait line,
    For researchers or jobseekers in a bind.

    Vast spaces for simple quiet peace.
    Troubling, conflicting thoughts can cease.

    The library – a place open to all,
    Doesn’t matter if one is short or tall.

    Keep the library! It is such a sacred space,
    Which meets many needs, no matter the taste.

    Lynn M. Dixon

  5. bxpoetlover

    If You Had Called

    I would have gone to that empty house
    and talked that gun away from your temple

    For the sake of the three children
    you would leave behind. You had such
    a talent for writing and computer technology.

    I wish you had gone for help
    rid yourself of the demons that plagued you
    and found peace.

  6. azkbc

    He’s Sleeping

    “Let’s be quiet,” Mommy whispered
    and held her finger to her lips.
    She said “Shhh”
    as she looked at you and me.
    Hunter had fallen asleep
    nestled deep in his swing.
    You stood and watched as he slept
    and squirmed a little in his nest.
    I stepped back and watched you both.
    Then you put your finger to your lips,
    patted him on the head, turned to me
    and said, “Shhh, Hunter sleeping.”
    You backed away, ran to the playroom
    and loudly whispered “Wow” as you stacked
    and toppled towers of blocks
    as Hunter slept on into the afternoon.

  7. TuLife

    “Betrayal with a Kiss”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    What I fail to understand is this:
    why you betray me with a kiss.
    Your breath is bittersweet,
    blazing my face as they meet.
    Your lips are firm and chapped –
    with every touch, another slap.
    Your tongue – a scathing whip;
    my flesh and skin it’s sure to rip.
    Why not simply stab me with a knife –
    rid me of the hurt and strife?
    Why not shoot me with a gun,
    that I may die swiftly and let it be done?
    Why not use a sword to pierce me straight through?
    Just let me go quickly, whatever you do.
    Use any weapon that you wish.
    But please, do not betray me with a kiss.

  8. larrywlawrence


    spreading like a disease, with over 800,000 hits,still going
    they’re fighting in the streets,kicking each other in the ribs,
    dragging women by their hair,beating each other down in
    school yards,restaurants,on city buses,put it on You Tube.
    Bystanders,no longer stand by,they hold their phones up high.

    Commenting on the action,laughing at the poundings,gasping
    at the beatings,shocked by the blood flow,but still recording.
    No one tries to break it up, avert the crisis,diffuse the conflict,
    or call the cops, happy to push record,glad the beating is not
    on them,while others sit at home- clicking, watching, sharing.

  9. Mr. Walker

    Every Red Light

    driving makes me crazy

    so every red light now
    is a moment of peace

    a time to sit
               to breathe
               to be

    not driving
    not thinking

    not worrying
    about the other drivers
    or the time
    or my destination

    this red light
    this time now
    is for me
    to be at peace

  10. LCaramanna

    Daffodil Bouquet

    A daffodil feels no peace,
    sunshine yellow face
    no opposition to flakes of swirling snow.
    Though the calendar marks spring,
    a daffodil feels no peace.
    scissors of good fortune shear her
    peaceful admiration
    in a coffee table crystal vase display.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  11. kimberleetm

    Scurrilous Furrilous

    A cat fight,
    Scraps of fur
    Littering the rug,
    Always looks worse while
    The claws are out.
    Pick up the patches
    And see
    It does not add up
    To one whole cat.
    The loser washes up
    Nervously. The winner?
    Takes the same

  12. ianchandler


    found you tearing open the postscript
    & we bursted the glass bubble you held
    so dearly because we grew jealous of your
    illusion. saw you running through fields &
    eclipsed your jaunt with pocketknives and
    a terrible cold. heard your dentist appt. went
    well & we took our grubby little fingers to
    your molars, one by one, like the whole time
    we were sitting in a gas station while it
    rained, trying to catch a squinted glimpse
    at the blood moon, the hill that painted
    itself real in my mind, the voyeur’s precipice,
    the one we could never find, so we took
    iron and wire and tore you apart like that
    was us, because it was.

  13. schmads09

    “Finding Your Inner Peace”

    A past family vacation. A night out with friends.
    We all have our own vision of perfection.
    Find yours and use it as a buffer.

    Bad days are as certain to happen upon us
    As the sun is to set each day.
    You cannot avoid them, but you can lesson their impact.

    Think back to a happier time.
    What better way to show yourself
    That your current struggles will pass?

    Whether your happy place is a beach,
    Or the living room couch with your pets.
    Commit that image to memory and visit it frequently.

    The psychological impact of happy memories
    Can have a reverberating effect on your mindset
    And thus, the remainder of your day.

    These memories may not make the bad times disappear.
    But they will remind you, if only for a moment,
    Of the better times that are sure to find you soon.

  14. Erica


    You could never tell unless you looked for it.

    Stitched on his back between strips of

    scratched flesh, lay her name written with razor blades and lust.

    Across his shoulder, her bite marks

    as deep as a 30 day fast and

    licked clean.

    Dead centered on his chest,

    her hand print dented into his bones.

    You could see it from a mile away.

    Her face bright like sunshine from

    the movement of his hips. The way

    he covered her like rain, dove into her

    and never remainder further

    away than her shadow.

    -Erica Jeudy©

  15. 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

  16. Yolee

    The City Gal Visits a Friendly Farm

    Thru slats of the cattle gate, a chicken
    gets pecked until gutted by two carrion
    crows. They dig into the fowl’s eyes then
    flap shiny wings and stamp perspective
    with an impossibly blue sky. But to her,
    purple and green plumage hacked
    into the horizon.

    The City Gal Receives an Unexpected Guest

    She listens to nature’s eternal dialogue
    and comes across frizzy wigs topping
    tall peaks. Other than that, the thin
    trees are branchless. The sandy trail
    disappears in a weave of fog and wet
    ground. Is it possible for there to be
    greater peace beyond the pond of light?

  17. Brandi Beck


    Hulking black goliath roars down the gravel road
    churning up gravel and spewing grit,
    announcing itself in shuddering rumbles
    and bright cracks in the sky.

    Birds fall back in a flurry of feathers and fear.
    Small prey retreat to burrows and holes.
    Herds scatter in panic to outrun the beast
    as it advances with rage upon the field.

    Without mercy it flogs its way forward,
    chewing a path through slender reeds and wild roses,
    leaving lush cattails ripped from their roots and
    young saplings torn at their throats.

    Leveling the rank and file of summer corn,
    it gnarls and growls unhindered in its trek.
    The wind ravaged tree break drops branches in defeat
    as the valley surrenders in a volley of hail and rain.


    Soothing rays of warming sun
    reach between the slits in the lightening sky.
    Lingering dew drops kiss quivering leaves
    then softly slip into the sleeping pond.
    Chirps and croaks and whistles welcome the morning
    and life scurries awake in the lush green valley.

  18. Jezzie

    On waking from violent dreams

    And after the thunder and lightning
    that tormented me during the night,
    while I lay there tossing and turning
    in my tangled sheets convulsed with fright,
    came the sweet melody of morning

    Bleary eyes opened wide to the sight
    through the closed curtains in the dawning
    where I could see a small chink of light,
    and I wondered if there was meaning
    to my nightmares or if my dreams might
    be wrong.

    And I drifted again into sleep
    to the chorus of birds’ “cheep,cheep, cheep”.

  19. Megaparsec

    . On the day I graduated
    . I knew all was soon to change
    . I looked up at the
    . Stars
    .And saw my finite in your infinite
    . And felt your
    . Peace

    . On the day I traveled
    . At night alone through Africa
    . I looked up at the
    . Stars
    .And saw your knowing in my unknown
    . And felt your
    . Comfort

    . Today I am sitting
    . By myself on the balcony
    . Looking up at the
    . Stars
    . I am waiting and am not afraid
    . I feel your
    . Smile

  20. jacq

    Green Lizards and Yellow Cupcakes
    by Jacqualine Hart

    With lizards and cupcakes on my mind
    bubbles erupt as the cool water
    flows between my fingers and the
    ivory bar. Washing away my colorful
    façade. Despising him as my true mask
    is revealed. Now vibrant eggplant, oh
    how I long for pale eye lids and cheek
    bones free of reddened hatred. A time
    where hands delivered warmth instead of
    heat. Back when laughter filled our home with
    birthday wishes. For our son, won’t you
    reconsider. Shred this masquerade,
    cleanse your soul. Take me back to a time
    when the three of us would play with
    green lizards and eat yellow cupcakes.

  21. Glory


    Dark, sulphurous, shadows
    leaping high on walls lit
    by firelight,
    calling, whispering.
    as fear, hot and strong
    weaves deep within her.

    Madeline, do it now,
    they call, voices blending
    with their song,
    rising high, do it now,
    never ending words that
    burn within her soul.

    Cold, the knife held tight,
    ice within, all feeling fled,
    an empty heart
    that fuels her hand and slices
    deep, releasing blood,
    red blood, crimson, warm.

  22. pamelaraw

    To The Woman Who Called at 7:15 AM to Break Up with Her Man

    I overhear him tell you
    he told you up front
    that he lived with his mother
    and worked at the college
    but didn’t have a degree.

    I believe him, just like I believe
    you knew even at that hour,
    even on the bus, he’d answer
    your call. I’m not saying
    he’s a good man or the right

    man, but must you break
    a brother down at the start
    of his day like all those cardboard
    boxes stuffed in blue
    recycle bins by the curb?

    All day I thought about your call,
    the everyday violence we endure,
    the words that slice us open,
    the cicatrix that seals our souls
    so we can move through.

  23. emmaisan0wl

    ‘Peaceful’ Is A Prison
    “I tried to write a poem about peace,
    but my nails grew long and sharp and
    forbade me
    from holding a pen. when I opened my lips
    to speak my heart gentle, my teeth
    drew blood
    from my stuttering mouth. in truth,
    I cannot be happy
    while blood beats its way slowly
    through my veins. I cannot live
    without a racing heartbeat. in truth,
    I am only at peace
    when I am at war.”

  24. Poetic_line

    They Know Your Name

    Your mother’s lover
    lies on a slab,
    your DNA on his lips
    from the blood in your punch
    delivered like dinner
    and last rites all at once.

    Your phantom knife
    cut his flesh so fine;
    lye in a bathtub
    can’t dissolve
    your guilt.

    You wear handcuffs
    like gold bangles
    and dance on tiptoe
    down the last hall
    you will ever see.

    Rosalyn Marhatta

  25. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    Am I too late for day 8? I am running behind but trying to catch up. Like my sloooow keyboard…..

    A Perfect Fit

    My hands fit around
    the marble of her throat
    like Michelangelo had carved
    the groove for my
    fingers alone.

    My first and only
    love so true
    I thought
    for a few brief moments

    Bliss until I saw
    her smiling
    at everyone
    but me.

    They pulled the switch today
    The drugs presented me
    For the first time
    in my hard life
    A few moments
    of peace.

  26. Andrea Heiberg

    Dressed in Dinner Jackets

    they fight
    scream loudly
    at four o’clock in the morning
    before battling during the day
    only just now
    the seagulls stand in pairs
    proudly looking somewhere else
    having their own way of
    daylight saving,
    peace written
    all over place.

  27. emmaisan0wl

    A Drink To Your Demise
    my autocratic jawline rips the nerve endings in my teeth exposed
    and that,
    that is what you feel like.
    you’re the screech in my pain receptors when I bite down.
    I dig half-moons into my pulsing palms
    imagining dissecting your bones with my bare hands,
    pushing threaded needles through your lips
    to keep your stupid, stupid, clever mouth from mocking so.
    I will tear gaping fissures in your throat so that you
    will always have the last laugh,
    just as you wanted, my dear. just as you always wanted.
    you are the only person I’ve ever hated
    and my god, do I have good reason.

  28. kimdorfman


    It was a card game,
    A long time ago,
    At school.
    played behind doors,
    of conference rooms,
    closed off from the library.

    Several of us played,
    Furtively, daily.
    We were 13, maybe 14 years old.

    I have forgotten the rules,
    But I know that when you lost a round,
    Your fisted knuckles got whacked with
    An entire deck of cards
    Until you bled.

    The boys were bold,
    Swaggered and sucked blood
    As it pool down the back of their hands,
    Then moved on to each next game.

    The girls,
    I remember we didn’t cry,
    But winced or flinched.
    Standing, in our jeans, breathless,
    Waiting to lose
    And get smacked.

    I don’t know about the others, but for me,
    That strong whap of cards brought peace,
    The wounds making me feel cared for.

    Looking at my knuckles, scraped raw of skin,
    White before blood drew up
    I always remembered, warmly,
    That it was David who’d hit me
    Of the strong thighs, and a voice that rumbled
    kind and disparaging.
    He hit me harder than he did the other girls.

    It never hurt, my hand.
    And afterwards, I’d roam from class to class, dreamy,
    Eyeing the rawness of my knuckles,
    that losing, and David,
    had created.


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