2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

For today’s prompt, write an explanatory poem. Back when I took dozens of creative writing courses in college, the mantra was, “Show, don’t tell.” Well, today’s prompt is sort of different–in a way–in that it’s a tell poem, or explaining poem, though how and what you explain may vary a great deal.

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Here’s my attempt at an Explanatory poem:

“I’m not sure how I got here”

I mean, it started with an arcade game over
before picking up Tetris on my Game Boy,

which I played under cover of my blanket fort
wondering about Thor (new and old versions)

and numbers. Now or later, I will dream about
being blinded by the moon and bomb cyclones.

Ultraman doesn’t have these kind of troubles,
or maybe he does–I don’t know. The point is

that I think I’ve been here before in this car–
the back seat–fighting with my siblings, even

though we had the “no fighting” option at our
disposal, and we’d fight over everything,

especially who would be the leader, though
we were always followers–in the back seat–

with our “holey” pants, and speaking of who
set the house on fire, you sure look nice today.

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roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He often has no idea what he’s going to write for these prompts before he writes it. And it often shows. And that’s all right. And it’s fun.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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198 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    just ash
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    how do i tell you
    that i’m just not that into you anymore?
    how do i explain
    the flames long ago given way to cold ash?
    once i was the gas can
    you the match
    and for awhile there together our lust
    could be seen from outer space.
    the earth moved beneath us babe
    first quakes, then molten lava,
    then the rush of the pyroclastic flow.
    but the heat is gone now
    the fuel long spent.
    yesterday
    we were nothing more
    than just vapor,
    and today
    just ash.

    © 2014 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Danielle Wong

    Why

    Days feel long,
    when you spend it
    uninstalling,
    installing,
    exploring,
    only to become
    disheartened,
    disenchanted
    as it becomes apparent
    they did not correct their spelling
    or they introduced a new one,
    making it impossible
    to complete your tasks.
    Not that it matters to them.
    Select this.
    Slide to there.
    Repeat if not right.
    You write to bring joy,
    a small smile.
    You write to run away
    to a better world.
    You write to escape
    what drags you down.
    You write to speak
    of what you see.
    That’s why.

  3. PKP

    Tongue Tied Time

    It was high school public speaking
    the assignment simple:present an
    explanatory speech with a partner-
    She and her best friend riding on
    high grades and confidence tried
    to be clever and brought her blue
    parakeet chirping from in his cage
    ready to explain all there was to
    know about care and feeding and
    It was Sophomore public speaking
    they were riding on high grades
    and confidence and the dawning
    awareness that they just might be
    more than above-average in cute
    nailing this until their sashaying
    slipped to slinking – way up there
    right after Harold and Josiah Junior
    explained their view of the Big Bang
    Theory clear and crisp and clean as
    they stood there tied tongues stuck
    to dry palates note cards scattered
    from trembling fingers to the floor
    confidence and grade sputtering
    two suddenly plain dull girls with a
    a bird in a cage and no explanation
    for what they had in mind long ago
    in that dimly recalled time when
    they were riding high
    on something

  4. Mike

    EXPLAINING MYSELF

    Yes, I forgot the eggs, milk
    and cheese, but let me explain:

    I was following the sunset.

    Did you see it?
    No, I guess you didn’t.
    Because if you had,
    you wouldn’t ask me
    to explain myself.

    I thought if I just kept driving
    fast in a straight line west,
    this time I’d catch that sunset.
    But I was wrong and I ended up
    in the dark, surrounded by
    cornfields, 30 miles out of town.

    By the time I made it back
    the market was closed.

    So, no eggs, no milk, no cheese.
    But you should have seen that sunset.
    Let me take you out for pizza
    and tell you more about it.

  5. Connie Inglis

    The Choice

    He made a choice, a hurtful
    choice
    and I, his mother, asked for an
    explanation
    with hope and care and concern.

    He explained his choice, his mind-altering
    choice
    in hollow words, no real
    explanation
    without hope or care or concern.

    I made a choice, a protective
    choice
    conjuring up my own
    explanation
    to answer the “why?”s and “how?”s.

    I spoke this choice, this lying
    choice
    a most pragmatic
    explanation
    to a logical, rational world.

    Our world requires such a
    choice
    demanding of us an
    explanation
    that can be seen and heard and touched.

    But his choice, my
    choice
    find no comfort in pragmatic
    explanations
    but in unseen, spiritual ones.

  6. shethra77

    Compatibility

    There is no explanation for how
    we can bear each other’s company.
    Neither of us is ever satisfied with
    what the other does.

    I say, “Wow! Look at what’s been done so far!”
    He says, “Holy bleep! Look at what is left to go.”
    So that, even looking at the same thing,
    we never see the same thing.

    For instance, when I shelve books,
    I group series of books, or same author,
    or all mystery or sci-fi or…you know.
    And my honey groups books by size,
    and hardcover or paperback.
    Makes me crazy.

    He uses a ruler to make the cross-out lines
    on his calendar—wiggly lines drive him wild.
    When I make napkins out of paper towels,
    he refolds them so the crease is straight.

    I write poems. If I let him read them,
    he usually just smiles and says, “Ok.”
    He writes programs. He shows me stuff all the time,
    but often, I don’t get it.

    He has reasonable, clearly labeled places for
    paper and computer files, and for his stuff.
    I usually know which pile something is in.

    Thirty-odd years of loving dysfunction…
    we’ve given up trying to explain it.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  7. seingraham

    HERE’S HOW I SAW YOU OFF

    In a sotto voice, gentle as rain
    he bid us come into the office
    and laid out papers to sign
    Then went to get you – I was
    surprised at the tiny box holding
    your cremains
    In the end, I guess we all don’t
    amount to much
    I remember thinking

    Then, still kind as ever, he pointed
    out the corner screws on the lid
    Asked me if I had a Philips screw-
    driver; it was the law
    You be securely fastened inside
    the little pine box
    Until such time I was ready to
    disperse your ashes

    Just so happens, I do carry a
    multi-use driver, so smiled
    in the affirmative
    He and I firmed up plans for
    your memorial at the
    Warrior’s Cafe on Thursday
    He agreed to read the
    eulogy I’d written but
    was afraid to read
    Fearing I’d break down

    So – music selected – check
    Hall and food arranged – check
    Obit written and in paper – check
    Hymns picked – check
    Programs printed – check
    Minister booked – check
    Eulogy written – check
    Memorial collage designed -check
    Cremains fetched – check
    Death paperwork done – check

    Send you down river – check.
    Mourn you forever – check.

  8. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 16
    Write an explanatory poem.

    Inexplicable

    how two divergent lives one day
    intersect in the wood of humanity;
    how they become lost in a forest of words,
    wordlessness;
    how they are hiding while reaching with their souls
    yet communicating through nearness,
    through not disappearing into those trees;
    how they bear fearful news they’ve conceived a life,
    yet aren’t sure of a lifetime;
    how the bonds of weathering a pregnancy and a baby
    and a toddler draw them ever closer and surer;
    how they choose to celebrate that not the child,
    but the commitment to support one another,
    drew them toward God and each other’;
    how two can know one love is theirs, can recognize
    from afar off, it’s real, yet be unable to explain it.

  9. bluerabbit47

    I Want to Explain

    I want to
    explain why
    I have so
    much trouble
    explaining so
    many things,
    being a writer
    and all
    you’d think
    it would be
    easy, but so
    many aspects
    of every
    circumstance
    have such
    a habit
    of losing
    themselves
    on their way
    to my mind,
    or maybe
    it’s my mind
    that is lost.
    Oh well…

  10. Domino

    Freddie

    I dreamed of a dog named Freddie.
    He was sweet, and tiny with soft, soft ears.
    His snout had a bump, as if he were part pug
    and his eyes the deep brown of a beagle.
    In my dream I lost Freddie,
    and though I had many other things to do
    I knew I had to find him.

    Through the strange city I marched,
    up Escher staircases
    and down Dali streets,
    people speaking Russian
    and Italian and French.
    The stygian sky spiraled with stars
    spinning like fireworks,
    and falling, leaving trails.

    I wandered through stores
    and saw many things:
    hoards of zombies to avoid,
    vendors with carts of junk,
    gang wars and scuffles,
    children running from their parents, laughing.

    The fountains were dry
    and the rain turned to dust
    before hitting the ground.

    When I found Freddie, I picked him up,
    then hurried to get back
    to where I was supposed to be.

    But the streets had changed,
    moving in random ways,
    and though I walked and walked,
    it took the rest of the night
    and all the next day
    to get home.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  11. Bhumphreys

    The beauty to the
    Art of surprise
    Is in the execution.
    The initiation is the key
    Developing the idea;
    Imagining the steps
    That will end in your
    Desired outcome.
    See the faces
    In your mind;
    Feel the elation
    In your chest;
    Hear the words of wonder
    Echo down your spine.
    After the idea,
    Find the source
    You are able to tap
    To execute.
    Then,
    All that is needed
    Is to sit back and
    Watch the universe
    Of the unknown
    Become reality…..

  12. shellcook

    How To Turn It On

    Just use this remote to turn it on,
    then use this remote to turn that on.

    I nod, kind of, slowly.
    Okay, I can do that.

    Then turn this to that,
    turn that to this with a twist,

    hold your breath,
    count to ten,

    if it doesn’t turn on,
    try it again.

    I think I’ll just read tonight.
    I reply, with a long drawn out sigh.

    11/16/14

  13. thunk2much

    Invisible

    I dreamed I was invisible
    I cast no shadow on the ground
    And made no footprints either

    It felt like any other day more or less
    But one thing was new and nice

    In my dream, I stopped imagining
    Like I always have, you know
    That you would see me as I am

    I started walking where I need to be
    Along my path alone

    And as I moved ahead in life
    I stopped hoping, like I always have
    That you’d ever catch up someday

    ~ Liesl Dineen 2014

  14. Hannah

    Just Enough

    I’ll bring this to light,
    great shift from fall to winter
    words to plainly state –
    rich brown veiled in shaded gray,
    pond’s surface slowing-frozen.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  15. De Jackson

    Luc(k)y in Love

    She’s got some ’splaining to do,
    like why her cheeks go all crimson
    and her eyes get more blue
    when he’s around.

    She’s found herself
    something lasting – no more
    gasping for air or holding her
    breath or staring at the sun
    ’til she’s blind.

    She’s in a bit of a
    bind, bound by the syllables
    of his name, pinned by the sharp
    corner of his smile.

    It’s been awhile,
    but she’s remembering
    the feeling
    of breathing
    instead of
                     leaving.

    .

  16. victoriahunter

    On the Way Out

    babe, I told you,
    you can consider me, to just be sweet and warm
    and “so good” as you say when you look into my eyes
    and not really tough, and rough, and cold to touch,
    like all the women you had before, and that’s okay, but know this,
    true love, did not make me this way, because I can’t say I had it til now,
    goodness is apart of your genes, babe,
    that is what i believe,
    but you can deny your genes anytime you want
    change who you are, but not many have the courage to do that.
    but I don’t want to,
    I want to be good like my mother,
    like all mothers who take care of their kids,
    but I don’t just have a mother,
    babe, I have a father, somewhere in the world,
    Because I tell you, I don’t know, where in the world he is,
    I don’t got to tell you if he was good.
    babe, you should know, good women always be with bad guys,
    and I’m waiting for you to prove this wrong.
    so I can stay, “so good” to you, in the way you say I am.

    — Victoria Hunter

  17. victoriahunter

    NOT ENOUGH SPACE

    We were always at his place,
    and the door never closed behind us, though I really pushed it shut.
    I never stop feeling, a chilling wind coming from somewhere,
    though the windows weren’t opened,
    phrases for poems of sorrow, kept dancing on my tongue
    but I never wrote them down, somehow,
    and the shadow of me and him, fighting yesterday,
    never lifted from my mind.
    I pretended it was just me, and him, starting over again,
    like we always do, like old couples do
    all while the food spoils on the kitchen table,
    and something less predictable, calls him, and calls him,
    something brighter, that he maybe wants to answer to.
    I could always smell another women’s cheap perfume,
    and it irritated all my senses.
    The furnace would kick on suddenly and stop my heart.
    he’d always stare up at the ceiling, as if he saw something up there,
    invisible to everyone else,
    he was probably wishing I would go,
    and as you say, I should have,
    I should just go, when a guy I’m sleeping with, doesn’t want to speak to me,
    I need to remember, that a man, really needs to be alone with his thoughts.
    like a real woman, must have her own room, to wander.

    —- Victoria Hunter

  18. Bruce Niedt

    Robert, I lilke what you did with this prompt (incorporating all the prior prompts in your poem) so I copied you. I tried to use them all in order, which is the case except in the first stanza.
    Music Man

    When it comes to music trivia,
    I’m the “go-to” guy. When my friends
    and I get together again for beers and Quizzo
    and the theme is music , it’s “game over”
    for those other teams – I always win
    free rounds for my buddies.

    Maybe it’s the ten thousand songs
    on my iPod – call it my security blanket,
    but I carry it everywhere, so I’m never alone,
    and my life always has a soundtrack.
    It doesn’t give me superpowers,

    but I keep this playlist close to my heart,
    and when a favorite song courses through
    my ear buds, I am happily in the moment. Call it
    a compulsion if you must, but it keeps me
    out of trouble, mental and otherwise.

    You may think I’m oblivious to all
    that’s going on in the world because
    I don’t listen to the news. I may seem blind
    and deaf to what’s going on, but at least
    in music, I keep up with the times.

    I wish you could see the bliss in my brain
    when I hear a new song and have a “Holy Cow”
    moment, or when a Beethoven symphony follows
    a Beatles song. I have so many options – pop,
    classical, jazz (no hip-hop or opera, please)

    and formats too – vinyl, CD’s, mp3’s –
    anything to expand my sonic horizons.
    Of course, all this close-to-the-ear listening has
    cost me some hearing. Still, I’ll continue
    playing my soundtrack as long as I can.

  19. victoriahunter

    The Reason Why I Stayed With You

    Yes, you had a big one,
    and it took my breath away,
    and you knew how to use it,
    and I can always say, I felt bigger
    but that wouldn’t be nice, no matter the reason,
    so I tell people,
    it was your joker smile, that kept me interested,
    and because your sensitive eyes, made me think,
    everything about you was genuine,
    it was how your butt always stayed high,
    no matter how you moved,
    how your square shaped hairline, made you look like a character
    and that worked for you, and made you seem unique.
    I tell people, that we both know,
    I only wanted to be with you, all the time,
    cause you lived in the real, like an old scientist
    and spoke of it the real things we can see, and didn’t bore me.
    but really, it was because, once you put it inside me,
    I felt like I would die, if it didn’t stay in,
    I was afraid, any day,
    your big heart– could burst out of mine.

    — Victoria Hunter

  20. victoriahunter

    Going Out With You

    Let me explain something to you right now, –boyfriend,
    you are not taking me anymore, into some smokey bar,
    with people who look like they live there,
    or with people smelling like the way the bar smelled yesterday,
    If we are going to somewhere, then lets go somewhere, now
    because I don’t play the waiting game,
    one that is meant, for the purpose to please someone else,
    unless that someone else is me.
    I don’t drink liquor, so I can forget who I’m with
    or going with, or seem to be allowing to ruin me
    boyfriend, I been down this road, too many times to mention, to you
    I walked this way, to the first bar I saw from across the street,
    while clinging to the arm of a stranger
    while drunk and thinking, that I’m thinking like I’m sober
    while almost nude, and narrow minded,
    while walking in shoes, that munch on the back of my feet,
    odd looking shoes, that should belong, to someone else,
    like one of my wild girl friends.
    I go out with you,
    because I want to leave with you,
    because I know you, and I don’t need to say how,
    I believe, that we could of met, in the funky alleyway of a bar
    and not in a grocery store parking lot, late in the evening, like we did
    and you still would of taken me, just for a ride in your slick old fashion car
    and then maybe back to your house,
    and not to bed to get it on, but to your kitchen table, with the chipped wood,
    and old lottery tickets
    to sit up all night with me, popping nuts in our mouth
    and talk about how the night life sucks, where we live.

    — Victoria Hunter

  21. victoriahunter

    THE PICTURE OF THE OTHER GUY

    While flipping through my album,
    he thought, she married the other guy
    because he who looked like some famous bad boy,
    from a film from the 80’s
    or an actor named after a southern state
    who smoked too much, and looked like a beautiful mess
    someone who played a cool hero,
    one that wore old jeans
    and had an ancient curse on him, that also kept him young
    with a sexy sadness.
    What he didn’t know, is that she married him,
    because he always invited her, to sit down and talk,
    at a clean table,
    He asked her to come to bed, and let her bring her own passion,
    he let her eat what she wanted, and even offered to feed it to her, in nice size bites,
    he held her small hand, like he had always held it,
    and never let it go, unless he had to,
    But when she was with him, he never did that.
    he gave her old water, with unknown things floating in it,
    he walked ahead of her, while talking on his cell phone,
    and most times, he just seemed to wander away,
    while humming a love song he wrote, all by himself,
    meanwhile, behind him, she was looking the other way,
    at the other guy, in his blue work clothes, holding a tool,
    sweeping strands of dirty blond hair from his eyes.
    She would stop, and smile at him,
    while she secretly snapped a pictures of him,
    unaware that he looked like someone famous,
    she’d take a hundred more pictures of, whenever she had the chance.
    she never even noticed it, until she married him.

    — Victoria Hunter

  22. Walt Wojtanik

    SWEET BLUE MADAM

    Let me explain it to you, Lorelei.
    I’m just an average guy.
    A blue collar man working
    long nights. Sure, I can be a
    renegade at times, but I’m not
    the angry young man! If you believe
    that, you’re fooling yourself.
    I haven’t slept since your “Dear John”
    letter. It’s better if I get this off my chest.
    Your beauty had me snowblind,
    I’m seeing Miss America when I look
    your way. I could sing for the day
    I first saw you! It might have been
    love at first sight; it might have been
    the grand illusion. Either way, I’ve believed.
    You lit up my world and curled me
    around your finger. And your heart lingers.
    Show me the way. I have too much time
    on my hands and these are the times
    it takes love. Let you and me just be!
    Come sail away, or kiss (your ass) me goodbye.

  23. Xairos

    I keep trying to explain.
    People get angry, think it’s just an excuse,
    but I cannot tell time.

    Time is goo in my mind,
    no unbending yardstick stuck through my day,
    no equal squared calendars.

    Calendar squares are deep holes:
    plans, events, mean-tos, all fall in — burial pits
    for schedules and intentions.

    Intentions like steam off spilled hot water,
    under a SillyPutty clock which never holds a minute
    the same length twice.

    Twice a day at least I lose my place
    in time which has either sped up or slowed down
    like notes in Alice’s pocket.

    My pockets are filled with notes
    of what to do and when but my brain forgets
    to read them where I am

    when I am not where I need
    to be when it’s time, which is a foreign language
    to my brain, but it’s so hard to explain.

  24. JohnLY

    FINAL EXPLANATION
    by John Yeo

    The object of the exercise
    Is to make the picture clear,
    The satellite approaching Earth
    Is encroaching very near.

    We are on course for a collision
    In the middle of next year.
    The Earth will be bathed in darkness
    When the point of impact is here.

    There will be some survivors
    Life will be very austere
    Darkness will reign over Earth
    Survival will be harsh and bare.

    Our civilisation is headed
    For a situation, so severe
    The finest minds are working hard
    To save what we have built here.

    Make your peace with your God
    The end of the world is near.
    Enjoy every moment of life you have left
    The picture is very clear.

    Stop breathe and smell the flowers
    Enjoy the sun in the sky so clear.
    There is always hope that life with love
    will lead us away from here.

    Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo All rights reserved

  25. tunesmiff

    TELL ME
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ———++——–
    The sun’s going down.
    You’re out on the town;
    “I’m out with the girls,” you say,
    “Not running around.”
    But something’s not right,
    Don’t want to start a big fight,
    I need some idea,
    What you were doing last night.

    Tell me,
    Because it shows;
    Tell me,
    What everybody knows.
    I need to hear you say the words;
    Explain to me what they’ve all heard.
    Tell me,
    Because it shows, it shows;
    Tell me,
    Because it shows.

    Have I been too busy, Dear?
    Have I been too slow to hold you near?
    Am I losing you? That’s my
    Biggest fear.
    And something’s not right.
    Don’t want to start a big fight,
    But I need some idea,
    What you’re doing tonight.

    Tell me,
    Because it shows;
    Tell me,
    What everybody knows.
    I need to hear you say the words;
    Explain to me what they’ve all heard.
    Tell me,
    Because it shows, it shows;
    Tell me,
    Because it shows.

  26. Pat Walsh

    Fighting Fires
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    the science of fighting fires
    has evolved in recent years
    while the art of fighting fires
    remains largely the same

    lights flashed and horns sounded
    as the firetrucks passed by
    at the rear of the parade

    the tones varied from the ancient bells
    of the long-retired antiques
    to the airhorn sounds of the classic rigs
    still in service after decades
    to the phaser yelping of the newest model
    bought last year by the next town over

    as the engines passed I noticed
    a little boy saying something to his father
    as the man bent down, straining to hear

    the bells were simple — before electronics
    there weren’t many better options
    then, when there were more cars
    but the streets were still wide and open
    the airhorn let people hear a clear wail
    far enough off to get out of the way

    the boots and heavy coat and helmets
    protect the firefighters, the man explained
    when they go into a burning building

    and now with more cars and busier roads
    the electronic horns provide options
    from phasers to yelps to the European hi/lo
    so warnings of the oncoming apparatus
    can be distributed as widely
    and efficiently as possible

    the boy then asked something else
    that brought a smile to the man’s face
    they do it, he said, because they’re heroes

    the science of fighting fires
    has evolved in recent years
    while the art of fighting fires
    remains largely the same

  27. Sara McNulty

    Getting Caught

    This never would have happened
    if I did not have a math test
    the next day. Okay, listen.
    Mike comes over. My sister
    is out with friends, and Mom
    is not home from work yet Get it?

    I told her Mike was going to help
    me study for the math test,
    at the park. We were not
    supposed to be home together,
    alone. Wait, it gets better.

    We worked for a while, then
    we started fooling around.
    Never heard the sound of
    Mom’s key in the door.
    She went ballistic. At least
    we were dressed. Now I am grounded,
    and guess what? I failed the test.

  28. Tandac

    Ybur Gubstell

    We played a game in our grammar class
    Each of the three of us would write a line
    And send it on to the next person.

    Somehow, I was always the straight man,
    Setting the stage for the next person
    To write an incredibly funny inside joke.

    Ybur Gubstell never liked her name. That
    Was too bad. She wasn’t in Our English Class
    We were a caricatured motley crew hurtling

    Through outer space. Ybur Gubstell was always
    The voice of reason. So, you could say that
    Ybur Gubstell sent us down our writing path.

  29. victoriahunter

    Sorry about the double posting, but I thought I copied the final one
    and when I read it on here it was not, the unedited one was still posting.

    The Lecture

    I know it is a crime to fall asleep
    when you are learning about, what is considered a crime,
    no matter if it is done by someone you know,
    and I’m suppose to be learning how to be a force to stop the crimes
    but there was nothing I could do, to avoid falling asleep, to your voice.
    I had already chewed on my pen
    and checked my cell phone, even though it didn’t vibrate, or rang.
    I had already flipped through the book, and pretended it was interesting,
    I had already sighed and sighed, one too many times,
    I even just rested my eyes, halfway, for a minute
    and still when I opened them wider, and stared at you in shock,
    you wouldn’t shut up,
    you spoke like you was giving a speech to a world,
    that was about to be blown up,
    man– did you fail me that day, in more than one way.
    you did not convince me, that there can be better times, with my help,
    you did not convince me, that I’m young, so I can withstand anything,
    til I listened you, I thought there was no such thing as a boring stranger,
    I never committed a crime,
    I liked listening to strangers.

    — Victoria Hunter

  30. victoriahunter

    fixing typo and line break.

    The Lecture

    I know it is a crime to fall asleep
    when you are learning about, what is considered a crime,
    no matter if it is done by someone you know,
    and I’m suppose to be learning how to be a force to stop the crimes
    but there was nothing I could do, to avoid falling asleep, to your voice.
    I had already chewed on my pen
    and checked my cell phone, even though it didn’t vibrate, or rang.
    I had already flipped through the book, and pretended it was interesting,
    I had already sighed and sighed, one too many times,
    I even just rested my eyes, halfway, for a minute
    and still when I opened them wider, and stared at you in shock,
    you wouldn’t shut up,
    you spoke like you was giving a speech to a world,
    that was about to be blown up,
    man– did you fail me that day, in more than one way.
    you did not convince me, that there can be better times, with my help,
    you did not convince me, that I’m young, so I can withstand anything,
    til I listened you, I thought there was no such thing as a boring stranger,
    I never committed a crime,
    I liked talking to strangers.

  31. victoriahunter

    The Lecture

    I know it is a crime to fall asleep
    when you are learning about, what is considered a crime,
    no matter if it is done by someone you know,
    and I’m suppose to be learning how to be a force to stop the crimes
    but there was nothing I could do, to avoid falling asleep, to your voice.
    I had already chewed on my pen
    and checked my cell phone, even though it didn’t vibrate, or rang.
    I had already flipped through the book, and pretended it was interesting,
    I had already sighed and sighed, one too many times,
    I even just rested my eyes, halfway, for a minute
    and still when I opened them wider, and stared at you in shock,
    you wouldn’t shut up,
    you spoke like you was giving a speech to a world,
    that was about to be blow up,
    man– did you fail me that day, in more than one way.
    you did not convince me, that there can be better times, with my help,
    you did not convince me, that I’m young, so I can withstand anything,
    til I listened you, I thought there was no such thing as a boring stranger.
    I never committed a crime, I liked talking to strangers.

    — Victoria Hunter

  32. bxpoetlover

    Explain This

    It’s one of those big little things–
    why one sock or one glove
    disappears and I find myself
    on hands and knees
    peering underneath beds
    and chairs

    For the glove, it is the hole
    in one pocket. The coat
    is too warm and too costly
    to replace

    But the sock defies explanation.
    I put the pairs together and still one
    sometimes gets away.
    I just could put my bare feet up against you
    at night
    but you always complain.

  33. dub

    The Phone

    I almost wore some other color,
    rifling through my dresser, running

    late, not understanding why
    it had to be black, like the end

    of a story, like all rooms after
    someone shuts the blinds. I knew,

    but I didn’t quite know,
    there was something different,

    something hovering near my face,
    tightening every time the phone rang.

    I slid through those doors,
    up quiet stairs, past eyes that said

    it might be today,

    stayed by the bed until the only light
    was the one on your face. Later,

    I kept the black on, smoking
    for the first time in weeks,

    filling myself with something else,
    and from the next room,

    the phone.

  34. MichelleMcEwen

    _Good Morning_

    In the morning,
    I juice carrots,

    Granny Smith apples,
    & a green pepper.

    sometimes
    it’s a red pepper.

    The kitchen smells
    like a garden

    and I am happy
    despite my broken

    heart.

  35. victoriahunter

    Cold Morning

    You say, you haven’t done nothing to impress me,
    and you don’t know why,
    then why am I here? better yet, why am I asking you?
    you must have,
    do you think I hang out in a dangerous place like this,
    on a cold morning?
    a place with no curtains, or locks that can’t keep people out?
    do you think, I even thought to fall in love here– in poverty,
    in this life style, of too much smoke, and memories in old mirrors?
    tell me, why are you worried about your her– the nightmare, when this is real?
    so what you are are saying, you do this with all women?
    stuff them up with all kinds of stuff?
    are you saying, that cooking dinner for a woman,
    that’s not your wife, is not impressive?
    are you saying, that making love to a woman,
    that is almost the same age as your daughter,
    and making love to her, til she passes out first– is not impressive?
    you mean to tell me, that you do these things every day,
    in this hell hole, and on this rock, as easy as you did last night?
    fine then, I get the message, it’s coming through real clear now,
    you’re the average American man,
    just looking for, you know what,
    just like every American man I know,
    trying to take it slow, after breaking the breaks,
    and ruining everything, with their stupid big mouths.
    somehow without even trying,
    impressing only an idiot– one like me.

    — Victoria Hunter

  36. Heather

    Opened Doors

    It started simply
    with a dream.
    A vision of
    a peaceful society.
    The more explored,
    the better the idea became.
    Held close to the chest
    at first
    it was too good too share.
    As the dream grew
    excitement built
    palatable passion
    persuaded people
    to join the cause.
    Opportunities opened up.
    They were seized
    stepped through,
    stepped on,
    until there was nothing left
    but the vision.
    An ideology so resonant
    the followers provided
    means and accountability
    until it dawned,
    a new day before us
    where we could shed
    our disturbing ways
    taking on the mantle
    we were always
    meant to wear.

    ~also published on http://heatherbutton.com/2014/11/16/opened-doors-a-poem/

  37. grcran

    In which I explain how I helped my partner die

    I ‘member Bebe very well, we hit it off so great
    Iambic rhythm lovely convers- figure –ation bait
    No bra, she didn’t need one, in her sixties, but who knew?
    In spite plus yes because of this my feelings for her grew
    Tis chop- and twas chop- yes –py then and now as I recall
    E’en so, we loved in best of ways trust me we had it all
    Three months of glory then came gory cancer on the scene
    In liver lung and pancreas could not be more obscene
    The chemo started christmas day and poisoned new years too
    The Willie Nelson tickets we gave them away we threw
    Our prayers up to the sky and glory be we gained some time
    Went out to see newborn giraffes they played our song sublime
    She wrote her will did Bebe gave her parents all her stuff
    To me the ashes they did fall by God that was enough
    The pain increased the bloating and the chemo ceased to work
    I went with her to hospice where the best of nurses lurk
    We helped her with her moving on, oh darling I love you
    I whispered to her she could hear, dear sweet last rendezvous
    I spread her ashes underneath earth’s largest living thing
    Sequoia where Bebe had walked, heard angel voices sing
    So this is how I helped her die, she’s living somewhere still
    You won’t know how or where unless you reach the right until

    by gpr crane

  38. ina

    This is just to say 4

    I have cleaned
    the fridge,
    paid
    the electric bill,

    and cleaned
    the cat boxes
    (which were
    desperately in need
    of it).

    Forgive me,
    but now I’m going
    to close my door
    on the dust
    and the unmade beds
    and write
    for ten minutes.

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