2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

For today’s prompt, write an alone poem. Some people covet “alone time.” Others prefer not to be left alone. Many like a certain balance. But this doesn’t have to just be about people. Maybe a forest wishes to be left alone, or there is a product left alone on a store shelf (how the children’s story “Corduroy” begins).

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Here’s my attempt at an Alone poem:

“gadgets”

as long as I have my internet connection
& smart phone I have this feeling that I can’t

possibly be alone. I consider going into hiding
until I remember my faith & the fact that even

before the internet I was never alone & ditching
all my gadgets & connections won’t change that.

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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 has moments when he feels alone–like anyone–but then he usually comes to his senses. He’s thankful for the community of poets here that help lift each other up throughout the month and year.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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203 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

  1. seingraham

    LONELY IS ALONE AS IT GETS

    She thought death, a dark dancer
    disguised: a friend now, a stranger then
    the worst thing, she’d encounter
    this lifetime

    Impossible to imagine, the hole
    of loneliness that blew through her
    When the betrayal took place;
    beyond her grasp, the level
    of abandonment she felt

    Her child, her first born
    turned on her one day—
    So suddenly, her breath died
    For a second, she thought death,
    Clever devil, was assuming
    another costume, this would
    kill her right then

    But no, lonely doesn’t kill you
    Lonely stabs you deeply, daily
    Leaks your life-blood, by drops
    Lonely is a veil of tears
    You wear like widow’s weeds
    Invisible to all but you…

    14.11.23

  2. Bruce Niedt

    Solitude

    “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”
    ― Jean-Paul Sartre

    It doesn’t matter that my window
    reveals a cloudy and miserable sky,
    that brown leaves flutter and pirouette
    in the wind to my lawn. I’m inside for the day
    to dust off some neglected writing,
    a forgotten manuscript that I am resolute
    in finishing. It doesn’t matter that I wear
    an old T-shirt spattered with coffee spills
    and food stains. It doesn’t matter that I’m alone –
    it’s my decision, and I’m happy with it.
    But first I might check my Facebook page,
    maybe watch an afternoon talk show,
    then return to the window and spend
    a few moments looking down on
    the children playing hockey in the street.

    [I used this week’s “Sunday Whirl” word bank to dreate this poem. The words were cloudy, miserable, flutter, pirouettes, neglected, forgotten, resolute, spills, stains, decision, moments, children.]

  3. Xairos

    A Spectrum of Alone

    sarah shourd — 3 months solitary confinement, Iran:
    visions ooze out of the dark terrorize her
    does not recognize screams leaping
    from her own hollow throat

    terry waite — 1,460 days held in solitary by hezbollah, blindfolded, beaten, chained:
    recites book of common prayer services held by his memory each day
    writes his memoir in his head continually
    staving off the ravenous beast of madness

    woman coming home from trip — 3 am, to empty, isolated house:
    block imagination, memories from TV, stories.
    shiver at sound of heat coming up, turn on all lights downstairs.
    decide to sleep on couch, not upstairs in dark bedroom.

    kindergarten boy — sent from dinner to his room to calm down:
    no adequate words for his anger and shame,
    takes a pen to old wall paper hits plaster
    breaks open a hole back to the laths.

    Teenager home alone Saturday night:
    Hiding loneliness shame desolation
    or enjoying relief peace creativity
    or just sleep for a change.

    First person at work, in the 6 a.m. quiet:
    Turns on lights, coffee, checks to see
    if any sweeping needed, toilet paper and towels full.
    Continues working.

    Shirley — 10 minutes, baby and toddler both asleep:
    get a glass of cold water, scratch the dog behind the ears,
    sit down — just sit! with one ear open
    and waiting. — Enjoy!

    In this house in mid-October:
    Savor the lines of Noon Day Prayer,
    gaze at maple, popples, birch, dull orange, faded greens,
    yellow like a signal light, as all colors join the prayer.

  4. Meriadoc

    AllOne

    That’s all I crave
    To sit alone and feel the Wave
    of Oneness Deep and Oneness Pure
    The Simple Silence Sweet and Sure

    Like Peaceful Waves upon the Shore
    of all I want and Nothing More.

  5. dub

    If I sit here
    long enough,
    my key out of
    the ignition,
    my foot
    off the brake,
    the wipers
    still, rain
    blurring
    my windows,
    heat hushing
    the vents quiet,
    breathing in
    shallow air
    that’s cold
    enough to stick
    to faces,
    if I sit here
    in the dark
    a few minutes
    longer, maybe
    when I come in
    your light
    will be out.

    1. Xairos

      Because I often sit a few minutes in my car when I come home after dark to enjoy the night, watch for wildlife, hear the last bit of a radio program, see the moonlight sparkle on snow, etc., I was enjoying reading someone else doing it. I suppose that I probably thought if you sat there long enough you’d see some wildlife or something. So I was surprised by the end — but intrigued. I keep thinking of more possibilities for who the “you” is and reasons for the “I” to want the him/her to have the light out. A sick child, a teen-ager (that you don’t want to have to get after about being up too late?), a spouse who needs sleep, a parent (& you’re way past curfew?) a spouse the “I” is avoiding (but why? dying relationship? sex problems? “I” just got fired?), a guest (unwelcome? just arrived & you’re too tired to sit & be hospitable?)… who are You, is/am I; what is the relationship; why does the I seem to want “your light” to be out? I’m enjoying wondering, but if you want readers to reach a specific conclusion, you may want some subtle hint (or maybe I’m just obtuse tonight!)

      1. dub

        Thank you for the commentary! I think I wanted it to be vague so that it could apply to any one of those, but you brought up possibilities (nature, curfew) that hadn’t even crossed my mind!

  6. Danielle Wong

    Alone

    Outcast from their culture,
    outcast from their ways,
    I stood alone on the playgrounds,
    watching their every move.

    When they came and asked me,
    when they wanted me to join,
    I stood alone in their corners,
    listening to every word.

    Now I sit here with you,
    now I sit with what we’ve built.
    I’m all alone with my desires
    and future dreams of my heart.

  7. deringer1

    ALONE

    depends on where you are
    alone can be painful
    alone can be a pleasure.

    alone is tragic, or it is a blessing.
    It is frantic or it is quiet bliss.
    it all depends.

    Alone
    is defending truth when
    those around you scoff.
    Alone is being at the top
    and resented by those below.
    alone is being at the bottom
    with no one reaching to help you up.
    It all depends.

  8. shellcook

    Alone

    ‘You are not alone’,
    seems meaningless, in a world
    of seven billion people
    who do not touch
    in conventional ways,
    but you, really, aren’t,
    alone, I mean.

    You were not alone
    before you knew
    we existed outside of you,
    we were just waiting
    for you to find us
    and learn of our love.

    We love you and
    we are you.
    Don’t forget that.
    It’s important
    for all of us.

    11/24/14

  9. LaraEckener

    They sit him belly up to the counter,
    second to last seat from the gilded
    decorative mirror, because he loves
    so dearly to watch Philip as he speaks,
    to catch him framed, hung from both sides.

    The waitress asks if he’s going to wait.
    Without thinking about it he says, No,
    I don’t know why I’m here, but I’ll be
    on my own today
    . Maybe it’s the defeat
    in his voice, or the way he focuses below
    her eyes on the single sapphire strung
    with gold around her neck. She nods sadly,
    offers to bring him the regular.

    I think being here is enough autopilot, he says,
    for one day. Bayside Bialy and tea. When she
    asks if he wants the sprouts he gets up
    the courage to meet the eyes he’s met a hundred
    times without pause and say yes. You never know
    where a slight course correction may take you.

    She smiles and says, whatever you would like,
    Jack
    in a way that makes him believe it.

  10. shethra77

    Alone

    Nothing so alone as
    walking this earth
    knowing you’re perfect.

    Nothing so alone as
    being the one
    in the targeting scope.

    Nothing so alone as
    Wordsworth’s cloud,
    drifting.

    Nothing so alone as
    only one partner
    in a bed for two.

    Nothing so alone as
    an emptied womb,
    and empty nursery.

    Nothing so alone as
    one face
    in the crowd.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  11. thunk2much

    Unread

    I’m composed of hieroglyphs
    Whorled answers on the page
    Chaotic run-on paragraphs
    Humility and rage

    And though I frequently proclaim
    That I’m contented on my own
    You know that story’s counterfeit
    I’m desperate to be known

    In my darkest hours I’ve begged
    My theatre of the absurd
    Could you please stop interrupting?
    Give me the gift of being heard

    I told you once a thousand times
    About this aching need
    What good is being an open book
    If you refuse to read?

    ~ Liesl Dineen 2014

  12. MichelleMcEwen

    _Alone_

    Only miss you
    when that song comes on

    Only want you
    when I catch your cologne

    Only out my mind (at times)
    ’cause I got a jones

    Only off my mind
    when I got my lipstick on

    Only need you
    when I’m cold

    and you know I’m always cold

    Only blue
    ’cause i got blues in my bones

    Only afraid
    when I’m all to myself alone

    Only alone
    ’cause you’re gone.

  13. Walt Wojtanik

    ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER

    She walks in silence a victim
    of his violent outbreaks. He’s used her
    as a stepping stone and left her stone free.
    Somewhere they became ships passing.
    All along the watchtower.

    In the night, the angel with the bleeding heart
    starts to burn the midnight oil, she toils
    yearning, wishing to burn the house down.
    She frowns, her gypsy eyes despise her shortcomings.
    All along the watchtower.

    She was once as bold as love, and above all else
    she held him high. Her guy, her lover man,
    her mojo man, Mr. Bad Luck who never really
    gave a fuck about her. She has experienced it
    all along the watchtower.

    It’s still raining; she’s still dreaming, scheming.
    Had she a machine gun or dagger, this dolly would serve
    her manic depression and mess him up. But,
    running wild was not the voodoo this child needs. She bleeds
    all along the watchtower.

    Hey Joe! Go play in crosstown traffic. She is sick
    Of this crash landing. These castles made of sand
    demand too much of her time. This foxy lady keeps drifting.
    It’s scary. The wind calls her. Mary! But she walks alone in silence.
    All along the watchtower!

  14. IrisD

    Never Alone

    No man is an island in this vast cosmos
    Every particle and atom so intertwined
    A being so infinite, truly divine,
    in infinite precision, hand-crafted
    the mold for my body and mind
    Not in cement but soft clay so that I
    Evolved from a babe to my current state
    Alone is an oxymoron I contemplate

    “No man is an island”…John Donne

  15. De Jackson

    Solitaire

    The cards are stacked
    against her, aces down.

    She’s been alone so long
    the walls are talking,
    squawking about her lack
    of decorum
    progress
    hygiene.

    There’s a newspaper in that pile
    over there, says Carter
    made president.

    She knows that’s the past,
    but she can’t let go.

    .

  16. De Jackson

    the cheese stands alone

    there’s a man on the street
    with dirty feet and an old guitar.
    he’s got $17 in an old jam jar,
    but he can’t remember how to get home.

    there’s a girl on the on the stage
    who dances for a dollar
    with a frozen smile. she’s miles
    from hope, but her feet still know the tune.

    meanwhile, my love,
    a black crow
    stands alone, cawing at the sun,
    contemplating murder.

    .

  17. De Jackson

    Bay Street Blues

    Play me some pretty ditty, spilling out of the café
    on the corner, chased by laughter.
    Watch as my last cigarette
    burns to dust.

    I’ve been standing here
    for hours and not a soul
    has seen me.

    Stars have come and gone, the wind has blown.

    The seasons turn
    but I am stuck here,
    waiting.

    Brother, can you spare
    some change?
    I need
    a loan.

    .

  18. Jolly2

    Alone~Upside Down and Enola
    by John Yeo

    A is the beginning of A life now you are Alone.
    L is the Loss of a partner and a very good friend.
    O is Overpowering, unwanted on your Own.
    N is having No-one there Never again to care.
    E begins the End of a life shared and built for two.

    Then?

    E begins the Excitement of a new beginning.
    N is Never feeling solitary. Not needed anymore.
    O is the Opportunity to build a new life again.
    L is Love and Lots of sharing, a Life made for two.
    A begins the Afterlife with Acceptance by a friend.

    Enola turns the terror of being Alone !
    Upside down

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  19. De Jackson

    carry the one

    addition
            was much
         more fun,

                  but subtraction
                          becomes
                                      her.

    .

  20. De Jackson

    poem alone, flown home

    tie a tiny string
    around its left i am
    -bic foot, that it might know
    where to go in a storm.

    remind it where it comes
    from, letters spilled
    and open vein willed
    to page.

    let it rage against the
    clack of keys, the
    bundled jumble of
    words thrown, syllabic
    soldiers marching on.

    feather is wings with hope
    and freedom, turn it loose
    to soar, alone.

  21. Tandac

    A Little Piece of History

    It’s just a hunk of metal,
    Paint nearly gone. Ocean air
    Wearing it away. It’s supports
    Are twisted metal. Still, clings
    To the cliff runs gaptoothed
    Into the ocean. Even so,
    Can’t you see the Russians
    Exchanging fur for flour
    The men in the boat
    Preparing for the hanging
    Bundle of furs, one man rashly
    Raking a foot on the edge
    Another prepares to handle
    The pulley. Today only a
    Handful of people know
    Its history, but still it’s
    Our history, our art
    And a new discovery for
    Children over and over
    Leave it alone.

  22. Jane Shlensky

    Bearing Witness

    Never drink alone,
    he warned.
    You’ll need someone
    to remember
    your solutions
    to the world’s problems.

    Better to sleep alone,
    than with dogs,
    he said.
    They won’t wipe
    their feet
    and they hog
    the covers.

    Better to live alone
    than with someone
    who makes you
    feel empty
    as a bottle
    at the end
    of a long sad day.

  23. TeriBeth

    Alone

    Noisy coffee cafe, people everywhere,
    Looking around, she grabs an empty chair.
    Opens her book, cracks the spine,
    and smoothes out the pages.
    Looks at her watch, quarter ‘til nine.
    Glasses in place, coffee in hand,
    she settles into her book,
    and begins her travels to another land.

    A handsome hero falling in love,
    falling against his better judgment.
    a nervous young woman scared to trust.
    Beautiful words he speaks to her,
    but is it love or lust?

    Family disapproval, tragedy ensues,
    will they overcome, be together in the end?
    A tragic love story so well-crafted,
    the plot thickens, pulling her in.

    Lost in the story, her coffee long grown cold,
    she finally looks up surprised to find herself alone.
    Savoring the final words on the very last page,
    Reluctantly closing her book, she turns on her phone.
    Picking up her stuff, she happily heads home.

  24. Jane Shlensky

    Communion

    I talk to trees and birds and bugs,
    to animals and vegetables,
    and while often I am alone,
    I’m never lonely on my own.

    If nothing breathing is around,
    I talk to books and instruments,
    and they talk back in words and notes.
    Sweet spirits hover in the air

    purring like cats in memories,
    and stars and moon, a wind at play,
    the way light falls throughout the day,
    my thoughts and loves, living and gone—

    I tell you I don’t feel alone.
    There’s something there.
    I take the kindly presence of
    the universe as company.

  25. Jane Shlensky

    A Band of One

    He says he’s played with all the greats’
    recordings, though he played alone,
    picking along to a stereo
    or tapes for fifty years or so.

    He plays guitar and mandolin,
    most always as a band of one,
    and while he’s often deaf to words,
    his ear for pitch is keen and true.

    He changes keys like he’s a pro;
    the other pickers nod and smile.
    But when I say how good he is,
    he blushes, shrugs. He doesn’t know.

    We’re thinking faithfulness to song
    creates musicians sound of heart.
    He says you can’t know right from wrong
    until you play with other folks.

  26. BDP

    “Solitary Place”

    The hilltop church lit up like Heaven’s Carnival,
    a white that only artificial light can give,
    sky’s constellations sprinkled on the night plains of the city.

    Above us, backs of other pilgrims climbing stairs
    toward domes of patterned white
    and hawkers selling plastic souvenirs.

    We heard possessive sighs,
    passed lovers draped on sloping lawn,
    saw smokers lean from balconies,
    red glow flicking forward and then back again.
    And no one would have blinked at cotton candy vendors
    or an old-time organ grinder and a monkey juking tunes.

    Massive doors swung with nudging
    and in the vestibule we dipped our fingertips to water
    blessed to purify our thoughts.
    Rotunda whispers floated up from pews,
    an air of reprimand for things we wish we could have done.
    And stands of votive candles prayed in rounded black
    for souls who wanted saving.

    Inside this eddy darkness deeded to my past
    I was younger then, remembering
    that after moving from her farm
    my Grandma B, now alone, placed a pot of bleeding hearts
    in a window of her house in town
    and twisted in another window
    weeping waxflower she called a crown of thorns,
    while outside in an ivy arbor all her own
    Mother Mary guarded entrance to a room I thought mystical.

    Altar boys sailed in from the sacristy,
    their robes waking the air,
    and then a priest as rigid as a mast.
    We strangers drifted near the wooden doors
    and pushed out into a rush of wind,
    we heard sirens,

    faint bells from steeple to farm
    and she gently beat a hand to her breast.

    –Barb Peters

  27. Shennon

    Surrounded by family for a Thanksgiving feast
    Rocking my grandbaby to sleep after such a big meal
    Washing and drying dishes in the kitchen with the other ladies
    Playing a rousing game of gin around the oak dining room table
    Drinking coffee and eating pie while reminiscing of holidays past
    All this
    and yet
    without my husband
    to share it with
    I’ve never felt so
    alone.

    –ShennonDoah

  28. tunesmiff

    SIGNS
    G. Smith
    ********
    Like a rolling stone,
    An unanswered phone;
    You know.
    Where a patch was sewn,
    A field overgrown;
    It shows.
    A breaking heart’s moan,
    And feeling alone;
    It grows.

  29. Heather

    again, i played with this one as a character sketch poem, so here are my perspectives from my characters.

    Alone

    1. Villain
    I carry forward,
    a vision no one sees
    but me.
    One stands against me
    law on his side.
    But I can hold my own
    alone.

    2. Main
    I watch from the sidelines
    caught in the limbo
    of ideological extremes.
    Each side wants my help
    but I cannot choose.
    I am stuck in the middle
    alone.

    3. Hero
    l push back
    fighting injustice
    in the dark of night.
    No one sees me,
    a ghost, like the wind.
    No one sees me take a stand
    alone.

    ~also published on http://heatherbutton.com/2014/11/23/alone-a-poem/

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