2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “I’ll Never (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the new poem. Possible titles include: “I’ll Never Write an Excuse Poem,” “I’ll Never Go to Disney World,” “I’ll Never Tell a Lie,” or “I’ll Never Understand People Who Like Rush.”


I’ll Never Be Able to Pick Your Poem If You Don’t Enter!

Writer’s Digest has extended the deadline to their Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards competition to November 21. And the winner will receive $1,000 cash!

The winning poem will also be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. And the winning poet will receive a copy of the 2015 Poet’s Market.

Even poets who don’t win can win, because there are prizes for 2nd through 25th place as well, though only if you enter.

Click to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at an I’ll Never Blank poem:

“I’ll Never Remember”

the combination to the lock on my high school locker
but I still know my first phone number from kindergarten

and maybe many of the kisses I’ve had over the years
though nice on their own have blended into one long

French kiss ether but that first time I kissed my wife
in the parking lot our hands holding our unbuckled

seat belts as planes arrived and departed from Dayton’s
International airport is something that will always stick

or if I reach a point at which it does not then may I
lose touch completely with the ground and reality


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 remembers the moment like it was yesterday, the moment his life twisted down a new and wonderful path.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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232 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 20

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    i’ll never surrender
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    and as you pushed off from the dock
    a tussle of wind in your hair
    i knew somehow i’d never see you again,
    that up until that very moment
    everything we had ever been together
    and everything we’d been apart
    was just an culmination of
    who we were at birth,
    mortals of fleeting light
    ~ meant to be a part of
    one another’s history,
    but separate destinies.
    and henceforth why i tossed
    you the rope, and stayed
    til i could no longer see
    your yellow sail around the bend
    in the fading light,
    my heart in a thousand pieces.
    but we are here to add to,
    not take away from life herself,
    and there is yet much left for me to do,

    and i will never surrender.

    © 2014 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. seingraham


    Should you one day decide to tell me
    what this has been about
    Should you suddenly wake up and think
    — oh, I’ve been crazed
    And call me up and tell me that;
    I still don’t think I’ll get it
    No, by now, I realize, I will never understand

    If even a month ago, someone had suggested
    this as a possible outcome
    I might have hesitated, might have paused to
    consider the chance that you
    could explain the turn our lives is taking
    The idea that there is an explanation had not
    quite paled to non-existent then
    But it was fast becoming so

    And now, with a few more weeks slid down
    the metaphorical drain
    And the wall between us built taller, more impermeable
    I know I will never understand what has happened
    It will not matter, should you ever think to tell me

  3. bluerabbit47

    I’ll never hear him
    laugh again
    or see him
    sitting at his
    going through
    the stacks of slides
    he kept stored
    in cigar boxes,
    all those years
    of late light
    on California
    landscapes to savor
    a flash at a time
    on a cardboard
    screen, but he’s
    always with me
    every time
    I lift my lens.

  4. James Von Hendy

    I’ll Never Say Never Again

    After the ’89 earthquake I said
    that’s a place I’ll never live. I’ve lived there

    almost ever since, the epicenter
    only a few miles
    from my front door, and that’s how life shakes out,

    Coyote listening for absolutes,
    cackling at the chance
    to dither with a spirit resolute

    on what it thinks it knows. My first wife, too,
    said “soulmate,” a word
    of destiny and forever, how she

    hated change, until Coyote turned her head.
    I said I’d never
    know a deeper love, and my sadness

    slipped the trickster up. Playing by the rules,
    He had to give me
    The second chance I never thought I’d see.

  5. De Jackson

    I’ll Never-Land This Day

                Did you say
                          the pixie dust is gone?

         I shall fend for myself,

                                          by the seat
                                of my own


  6. m_deane

    I’ll never understand but–
    I will smile, we will fumble for the soft comfort of
    old jokes, you will pretend you’re not really watching the clock,
    we will promise to meet again, and soon.

    I’ll never understand, but then again,
    I’ll never ask you what really happened…

  7. Bruce Niedt

    I’ll Never Move to Buffalo

    because I’ve seen the photographs
    of snow exploding off the lake

    and the people shoveling it off
    their roofs to keep them from caving in
    and the heavy equipment scooping
    it off the road by the ton

    and the drifts up to second-story windows
    and the door that someone opened
    and all they saw was a wall of snow
    with the imprint of their door in it

    that’s a door I will never walk through

  8. MichelleMcEwen

    _I’ll Never Wash my Hands of You_

    My muddy-
    water man

    My dirty

    My dusty

    My swamp

    My filthy

    Couldn’t wash you off
    if I tried.

  9. Yolee

    I’ll Never Hang My Heart Out to Dry Again

    While it’s the underwear
    of my spirit,
    I can’t wash
    and wring it
    and expect
    that the sun
    will also abandon
    her responsibility.

  10. Shennon

    I’ll never eat
    Red meat again
    The thought is gross
    I can’t pretend

    To like the thought
    Of killing sheep
    Or cows or pigs
    Just for their meat

    So bring it on
    The veggie stew
    Sliced, diced, and peeled
    Raw is good too

    Fruits and veggies are fine
    They don’t fill me well
    Perhaps something with meat
    …Is that bacon I smell?


  11. Walt Wojtanik


    I heard this voice years ago,
    soft, haunting, tender and strong –
    Was it wrong that I thought you were
    the music man I’d most like to be?

    You were Canadian after all.
    I’m not supposed to care, but there
    you sang of early morning rains
    and a steel railed Canadian Railroad in Trilogy.

    From morning’s first light
    until sundown, it’s worth believin’
    that all the lovely ladies would fawn
    over the minstrel of the dawn.

    Softly. Winding down carefree
    highways, and me living vicariously
    through the golden voice of my choice.
    If you could read my mind, you would know.

    If I could, I would have been Alberta Bound
    and found the visions of which you sang,
    tilting at windmills, the thrill of a modern day
    Don Quixote, Sancho Panza at the flank.

    I thank you for being a sage of my youth.
    Your songs were beautiful and warming;
    songs for a winter’s night not so alarming.
    And the day you would first herald the tragic wreck

    of the Edmund Fitzgerald, I knew you
    spoke to all within the sound of your voice.
    You are what I am, or aspire to be. I’m not sayin‘
    I could be you, just that through you, I saw the world.

    This is my song. This strong connection has lasted
    long into my adulthood. It is as good as Gord’s Gold.
    Without your music, I’d be less sure. It would be a black day
    in July when I would shy away from your wisdom.

    You’ve given the world much to ponder all the same.
    By the way, did she mention my name?

  12. courageousdreamer

    I’ll Never Find What I’m Looking For

    I’ll never find what I’m looking for;
    An identity,
    Sense of self-confidence,
    My happiness.
    Because these are the things,
    That aren’t possible to be found.
    These are the things that we must create,
    Within ourselves.
    Over time,
    Constantly re-inventing ourselves,
    Reflecting, responding, building up,
    Towards the clouds,
    Of the starlit sky.
    You will never find these things.
    You need to learn to let go,
    Of fearing the unknown.
    For you are the blank canvas,
    The only one with the brush and paint,
    And only you can fill it.

  13. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    I’ll never take that shortcut again!

    The night was late, to stem the worry
    I hurried along the highway.
    The moon was full and clear,
    Shadows stretched out from Yew trees,
    As I climbed over the imposing gates.
    An Owl hooted in dismay
    Flying through the night searching for prey.
    A cat screeched in reply.

    A figure stretched out on a bench
    Old Nick, who is homeless, lives here.
    I picked up my pace as I made my way,
    Overgrown stones on aged graves
    Loom up in the shadows as I pass.
    A flash of white to the right
    My imagination runs riot.
    Dead flowers in vases on chipped marble.

    A movement in the trees to the left,
    I hurry along between the graves.
    Strange noises from where I tread,
    I try to creep, not making a sound
    For fear of waking the dead.
    My mind mingles with magical thought
    I pick up my pace to get through,
    I feel unseeing, unseen eyes all around.

    A vision crosses my mind as I travel
    A lady in red wearing a hood
    Sadly standing, seeking solace,
    Sobbing bitterly In silent prayer
    Before the grave of a child.
    I reach the end of the pathway
    When I look back, the lady is gone.
    I make a vow as I run to my home

    I’ll never take that shortcut again.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo All rights reserved

  14. De Jackson

    I’ll Never Tell

    think it’s swell
    that I sway to the beat
    of my own jagged tune,
    smash my favorite records
    under a dying moon
    and rid the world
    of one small gumdrop
    at a time.

    the way
    the rain finds
    the curve of your face
    divine, the last words
    you said
    as you were
    Be well.
    Be mine.


  15. Bhumphreys

    I was soooooo tempted to make this “I’ll never give you up”. However, I don’t know any of you well enough to Rick-roll you. 🙂

    II’ll Never No

    From the minute we first met
    I have loved you with all my heart
    I mentioned that first night
    That I could see forever at your side
    Time has been forced
    To bear out my story to you
    Your love blossomed and came to me
    And the dance toward eternity ensued.
    In every moment of our days
    We are faced with the choices
    That can divert us from our path.
    Love is asking us all, “Do you still?”
    I will never say no.

  16. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 20
    Write a poem entitled “I’ll Never ____.”

    We’ll Never Give Another Wedding for a Daughter

    This is it.
    You two have one shot at this,
    and I don’t mean just the wedding.
    Make it beautiful, make it right,
    make it meaningful, make it last.
    Savor the vows, the music, the dance.
    Taste the pasta, cake, champagne.
    Hear “for richer, for poorer, for better,
    for worse.”
    Greet the guests with smiles that won’t wane,
    because your love commits to stick like
    snowflakes at twenty-eight degrees.

    Then remember what you promised,
    when the cake has long been eaten or molded,
    after the oldest guests are Heaven-bound,
    and once the photographs look too youthful to be you,
    hold fast to the loving beauty of your wedding day.

  17. Tandac

    I’ll never know that there’s a sky

    I’ll never know that there’s a sky
    As I lay here in my hospital bed

    When I look above my bed, all I see
    Is a ceiling closing in on me,

    I’ll never know that there’s a sky
    From the hint of window in my room.

    All I see when I peer out
    Is a tree and grey of the parking lot

    I’ll never know that there’s a sky,
    The sky I see rolls by twice a day

    When the Pink Lady’s cart rolls by
    A little brown stuffed animal—my sky,
    My fields, my trees, my hills.

  18. Sara McNulty

    I’ll Never Be The Age I Am Again

    Without a true time machine
    you cannot physically slip
    into past ages. Your memories,
    those of family and friends,
    your photos, and mementos
    are the only recourse
    for reliving a time
    you think of now, as being
    ideal. But was it?
    Sometimes we watercolor
    our memories, blurring them,
    softening their edges.
    We fail to see the chips,
    nicks, and other imperfections.
    You will never be the age
    you are again. Stick around
    though, life can surprise you
    at any age.

  19. BDP

    “I’ll Never Forget the Six Year Old Summer”

    Your truck sang up the hill as sun crosshatched
    its rays on window screens. He swung his door,
    your brother. Jumping off the running board,
    I waved back, tumbled toward the white pine patch
    of shade. Another summer morning, sharing rolls
    and tea with milk. Great Uncle Bert tossed sticks
    to Rusty snuffling at our treats. Our risks
    felt basic: help our neighbors, Golden Rule.

    We steered, at times, to yet another small farm,
    a driveway down between the house and trees,
    trapping shadows, three sisters who refused
    to quit their mom, I saw her right eye bruised.
    You wrapped her in your arms. I’ll help you leave.
    Years on a son explained she stayed for her children.

    –Barb Peters

  20. dub

    I’ll Never Say Yes

    Outside was broken—
    pockets of air shattered

    in fragments of breath
    like half-spoken words

    from secrets. I listened
    to wind pick up speed

    behind my door, whistling
    a song I almost remembered

    asking me to let it in.

  21. Mike


    Mixing pizza and tequila
    Betting on football
    Trying to outrun Trudy,
    the neighbor’s doberman
    Picking fights with ex-Marines
    Picking fights with active-duty Marines
    Loaning my car to Larry
    Not getting my car back
    from Larry for five days
    Attempting to parkour over
    a trash dumpster
    Getting into a hot pepper
    eating content with Samantha
    Calling you at 3 a.m. belly full pizza,
    head full of tequila

  22. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    I’ll never say never again, again,
    I’ll never say never again.
    It seemed the thing to say way back then,
    But I’ll never say never again,
    I’ll never say never again.

    I”ll try just about anything once,
    If it’s nice, I’ll try one more time.
    But burn me once, and I’m twice shy,
    Though a second chance isn’t a crime, no
    I learned a second chance isn’t a crime.

    And I’ll never say never again, again,
    I’ll never say never again.
    It seemed the thing to say way back then,
    But I’ll never say never again,
    I’ll never say never again.

    When Angie stood me up one night,
    I didn’t want to understand;
    I said I’d had it up to here,
    I drew my line in the sand. yes,
    I drew my line in the sand.

    But I’ll never say never again, again,
    I’ll never say never again.
    It seemed the thing to say way back then,
    But I’ll never say never again,
    I’ll never say never again.

    I gave her the shoulder when she came around,
    Lord knows tried to explain,
    But being a man proved I was still a boy,
    And it caused her so much pain, yes,
    And it caused us both such pain.

    And I’ll never say never again, again,
    I’ll never say never again.
    It seemed the thing to say way back then,
    But I’ll never say never again,
    I’ll never say never again.

  23. uneven steven

    I’ll never …


    and I’ll never sing again
    or walk on hot coals to prove myself a man
    pieces of me literally
    for my own good
    my voice, that foot
    threats to my self
    now other
    medical advancement magical
    but it’s all bone saws
    and whiskey still
    that which is damaged and can
    not repair itself must go
    how much can be taken away before
    we no longer recognize ourselves
    time is a surgeon
    and age her scalpel
    what enemy must we eat
    to take its power

  24. LaraEckener

    I Will Never (Have All of the Experiences, and It Really Stresses Me Out.)

    We are intimate
    with the past.
    Can remember the way it felt
    under our fingers.
    Try our hardest to crawl
    back in. We thin
    k it’s warm there,
    in the impression we’ve
    just left behind.

    Maybe it’s a trick.
    Maybe evolution
    is spectacularly
    good at her job, coaxing us
    through reincarnation after
    reincarnation, tumbling back
    toward the big bang’s womb,
    anxious about the future,
    because none of us
    could function if we
    remembered what we’d lost.

    It’s best to dangle romance
    in front of the soul and
    never acknowledge
    the thousands of lies
    we’ve had to part with
    over time.

    In 2072
    I die in my sleep.

    In 1963
    my plane falls from the sky.

    In 1894
    I overdose in an opium den
    after the drug reminded me
    of all the love
    I’d been working to forget.
    Knowing the only power I have
    is in being able to reach
    forward, as I’m being
    dragged back.

  25. bxpoetlover

    I’ll Never Stop

    buying books
    physical books
    with hard covers
    paper jackets with
    glossy cover photographs

    or soft covers
    I hold them open just so
    the spines don’t crease
    and still look new when I am done

    I know Kindles look cool
    but I love the fonts and feel
    of paper against skin.

  26. Heather

    I really had fun using this as a way to define some fundamentals of three of my main characters, so I wrote for each of them as below. Thanks for this prompt!

    I’ll never

    1. Villain
    l’ll never surrender
    let go of the ideals
    l hold as truth
    no matter what the cost,
    no matter who has to pay.
    l will have my way
    so get out of my way
    or you’ll end up
    as another stepping stone
    on my way to the top.

    2. Main
    I’ll never believe
    in a clear delineation
    between black and white
    there are only shades of grey.
    Those who subscribe
    to such fundamental and
    opposing views
    are responsible for wars
    and the lives lost
    in their scramble
    to be right.
    One man’s truth
    another’s lie.

    3. Hero
    I’ll never give up
    fighting for justice
    searching for truth,
    no matter what the cost.
    Those responsible
    for hurt and pain
    will be held accountable.
    l will fight
    for those underfoot
    who cannot fight for themselves
    or die trying.

    ~also published at http://heatherbutton.com/2014/11/20/ill-never-a-poem/

  27. Amaria

    “I’ll never wear Manolos”

    I’ll never wear Manolos
    those pieces of art on feet
    for when I look at the price
    my heart skips a beat
    but I suppose I can dream

  28. Meriadoc


    Never! He’d Trumpet as he pulled out his Hrumph.
    I’ve not been sick for Ages, his wife just booted his rump.

    Undaunted, she pulled out his liniment
    Softly she rubbed his chest.

    Well, maybe just a little…
    eyes dewy they head for their nest.

  29. grcran

    I’ll Never Go There Either

    There is no heaven, that’s not where you’ll go
    They say you’ll see a tunnel of white light
    Dead body shuts it down, there is no fright
    Souls present comfort solace calming glow
    Move into afterlife just join the flow
    All put behind you nasty earthly fight
    Go gliding off and, when you will, alight
    To love forever cared-for rightly so

    One point of this for those of us who stayed
    Is live relive forgive and live some more
    See hea’enly windows in your loved one’s eyes
    Smell wine taste mushrooms touch the friends you made
    Hear kittens purr, walk out beyond your door
    Be well and send your prayers up to the skies

    by gpr crane

  30. grcran

    I’ll Never Lever

    don’t ever leverage love
    that which you’re given inside from above
    don’t let it advance from a push to a shove
    trueblues won’t abuse sweet meat you’re made of
    not meaning that you’ll have to get down and grov-
    el mourn maybe smart peace of morning of dove
    fittingly handy as tool and great glove
    don’t ever, never rage love

    by gpr crane

  31. Hannah

    I’ll Never Wear my Grandmother’s Palm Tree Shirt

    It looks great on her
    a bit touristy but still…
    yellow and white striped
    with an embroidered palm tree –
    heart chakra glowing gem-green.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    1. cbwentworth

      I love this. It reminds my of something my grandma always wore, (a Northwoods sweatshirt with a bear on it). I’d never wear it in a million years, but it suited her perfectly.

      You’ve captured such a nice sentimental feeling in this piece.


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