2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “I’ll Be (blank),” replace the blank with a new word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “I’ll Be Back,” “I’ll Be Late for Dinner,” and “I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle.”

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Here’s my attempt at an I’ll Be Blank poem:

“I’ll Be a Poet”

and pull the stars from the sky
before turning them into elephants
stampeding through the suburbs

or perhaps I’ll fall asleep & dream
of a house on fire covered in lightning
bugs that all ascend together

on cue & silently lift up through
the clouds that just as silently part
to reveal the fireflies as the stars

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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 grew up chasing fireflies and watching sunsets turn into the night sky.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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215 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

  1. shethra77

    I’ll Be a Blank

    I’ll be a son of a gun
    I’ll be a monkey’s uncle

    These are problematic because they clearly
    refer to a person of a masculine gender, and
    obviously I am no such thing. Really, it’s odd,
    but since hitting the moment of “a certain age”

    my bosom has acquired a mind of its own
    and a volume heretofore undreamed of by my tiny
    brain, and I look way too femme for a
    son or an uncle. Binding? Not happening.

    I’ll be darned

    Here we have the more socially acceptable
    version of the saying. Presumably if the speaker
    had not suddenly had to believe in the unbelievable,
    s/he would have been spared a really hot afterlife.

    I’ll be blowed

    I think this was invented by old sea-dogs who
    wanted to register astonishment in a genteel way,
    not the way their lives full of tar and salt had equipped them for.
    You know, cause they were sailors.

    I is what I is and
    I yam what I yam

    Popeye might have been blowed, too; honestly,
    I don’t remember. But I like his sediment best.
    Sediment. That which is left, afterward.
    I’ll be me.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  2. seingraham

    I’LL BE

    There’s so much to consider, so much, so much
    I’ll be your consequence when winter sets in
    I’ll be your brilliance when the tiger is caught
    I’ll be your remittance when your book is auctioned
    I’ll be your sustenance when the surgeon’s knife slips
    I’ll be your nonchalance when Paris burns anew
    I’ll be your endurance when the poems begin to pale
    There will be little to consider by then, so little, so little…

    14.11.24

  3. Bruce Niedt

    I’ll Be Retired

    before you know it
    that cloud of dust leading
    from my cubicle

    that will be all you’ll see of me,
    I’ll be out of there so fast
    it will give you vertigo

    next month, boy
    I’ll sign those papers and say
    “Take this job and shove it”

    or next year at the latest
    or maybe the year after that
    I mean, I got a kid in college

    and a mortgage to pay off
    well, maybe two to three years
    then there’s my health benefits

    wouldn’t want to lose them, right?
    maybe I’ll stick around a little longer
    but man, when it’s my time….

  4. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 24
    Write a poem entitled “I’ll Be _____.”

    I’ll Be Something I’ve Never Been Before–

    A mother-in-law.
    No, I’ve never been the bride’s mother, either.
    But that role comes much more naturally–
    after all, we’ve been intimately acquainted all her life.

    But a mother-in-law? Stereotypes and stand-up jokes
    come to mind. I think of the first time he and I shared
    an experience, just the two of us. We picked out
    lavender paint, to surprise her, with colored nursery walls.

    Weeks before the baby came, him rolling the middles,
    me trimming the edges with the brush. He found
    Christmas mix on the radio, and we worked sometimes
    in silence, sometimes with questions and conversation.

    The link between us, my daughter, and my granddaughter-
    -to-be; his commitment to care for them, but not yet
    spoken, his willingness to marry her and make lifelong
    that caring. That would be two years away.

    I didn’t know that day, for sure, I was painting with my
    son-in-law-to-be. All I knew was that when I left for my
    Christmas cookie exchange, the walls glowed, and in
    my estimation, so did he. God said to my heart, It is good.

  5. PKP

    I’ll be gone

    I shall be gone one day
    my body laid in satin
    my box lowered Into
    the soft earth –
    as the shovelers
    gently cover my grave
    with tears and laughtered
    memories flickering

    I shall be in the rustled
    shimmer of green leaves
    in summer
    I shall be in the crisp
    blaze of a single leaf
    whirling in autumn
    I shall dance in a flake
    of crystal ice – melt on
    hot sands of aquamarine
    seas

    I shall be
    the whispered
    whoosh of wind
    connected
    one with
    and of all
    never alone

    1. PKP

      I made the fatal error of typing this poem directly into the comment box without saving… the screen and keyboard locked and I could only see the first few lines of the poem and only dimly recall the remainder. So… this is a knock-off of the one that was ultimately lost when the computer needed to be rebooted – Ironic that for a poem involving being “gone” the poem itself vanished …. Cue the Twilight Zone theme

      1. Meriadoc

        I may have seen it, sometimes I will see and read, and they will vanish before I finish.

        It really sucks.

        But I seem to recall the leaf dancing a little different, and it was Very Good.

        Memorable, and so very like the whirling.

        I have often wished to capture that.

  6. barbara_y

    I’ll Be Out in the Garden, Feeding the Unicorns

    “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear
    God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?”
    _____James Lipton “Inside the Actors’ Studio”

    Go back to sleep. Life is but a dream sh-boom
    I’m okay, and you’re okay. Next time you hear
    me say sh-boom you’ll wake up refreshed and
    you’ll have forgotten it all, sweetheart. You’ll
    have forgotten it all.

    Life is but a dream doo-wah. Only an illusion,
    little tricks of light; and when you wake up,
    smile and stretch, remembering the sparks
    that flew like stars up into the night, do-wah,
    do wah-ha-ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Remember uhuhuh when you wrote your
    address in school ? 627 Hamilton Avenue
    Apartment 4 St Petersburg Florida United
    States of America Earth the Solar System
    Milky Way the Universe?

    Life is not like that. du-dum. It grew like Topsy,
    every which away. I like it that way. Gives
    a god some room to be inventive. Cherries,
    pears, umbrellas, rainbows, unicorns and big
    bazoongas. wa wa-wa-wa-wa

    Go back to sleep now. Dream of writing books
    and kissing movie stars. You didn’t see me,
    didn’t hear a thing. It’s all a dream. sh-boom

  7. anna4now

    I’ll Be In The Library

    I just step into the library,
    I just step into the kairos through the looking glass.
    The seconds race along outside the library,
    inside it there’s no trouble, only the brain-waves pass.
    I just sit in the corner on a cast away shelf,
    I blow out all the toxic breath, and hide myself
    in any book I can put my fumbling hand on, and read.
    If you want to find me, I’ll be in the library.

    1. Xairos

      And what a great place to be! I especially like “I just sit in the corner on a cast away shelf” — I have images of shrinking to fit a dusty old shelf, and the dust all whuffs up when you blow out, & then a very small fumbling figure, your whole body disappears into the book. (& of course I like stepping into kairos!).

  8. Jolly2

    THE IMPROBABLE VALUE
    by John Yeo

    I’ll be back in the mountains someday,
    Mesmerised by pine trees and solitary peace.
    I will travel miles to the nearest store to survive.
    Taking time to breath the heady air.

    The traffic in the city, shedding fumes and noise,
    Will set me to dreaming, head in the mountains.
    Life amid the beauty and rugged trails
    As I waik to the store from the cashpoint.

    Life where the air is fresh amd clear,
    The water streams over the gulleys,
    Creating falls of splendour.
    While I live with the convenience of city life.

    Mountain trails and craggy rocks
    Green valleys with peace all around
    Mask the stress that keeps me surviving
    The pace of the concrete covered city.

    The contrast of loving the life in the city,
    Life in the fast lane searching for meaning
    Contemplation, meditation with inward calm,
    I’ll be back in the mountains someday.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

  9. Xairos

    I’ll Be Ready Soon — Just Two Minutes!

    I’ll be ready soon — two minutes —
    yes, I will!! I’m almost ready now!

    Just have to dry my hair,
    and get some clothes on…

    Hon, have you seen my hair dryer?
    I’ll be upstairs looking for something to wear…

    No, I’m in the bathroom —
    my gut is doing its hurry-up thing…

    O, I forgot to do the laundry last night!
    Could you grab me a yogurt out of the frig?

    Okay, I just have to get my shoes on,
    brush my hair, put stuff in my purse…

    Gee, I’d better feed the cat — o, will you?
    You’re a dear! Have you seen my phone?

    Of course, I’m almost ready — do you think
    these look okay together or should I change?

    My glasses! They aren’t here!! I’m sure,
    absolutely, positively, that I put them right here.

    Ohhh, my gut again, I wish it wouldn’t do this;
    almost forgot my medicine — when I’m through in here….

    O, sweetie — Could you look and see:
    is there any toilet paper in the other bathroom?

    What on earth! My shoes don’t match —
    I didn’t have my glasses on — well dark blue and black…

    Now, just my keys, I think…what do you mean,
    “It’s too late!??” I told you I’d be ready

    in a couple of minutes! And here I am!!!!

  10. shellcook

    I’ll Be Right Here

    I’ll be right here
    inside your heart.

    Where I’ve stayed
    right from the start

    Knowing soon the day will come,
    when you look out and see no one.

    You will think of me,
    and there I’ll be.

    I’ll be right here,
    inside your heart.

    11/24/14

  11. Bhumphreys

    I’ll Be Enduring

    The phone screen lit
    With the name of her other
    THe clock displayed 5:32 pm
    “It’s not like him to call,”
    She thought to herself, quizically.

    Intrigued, she raised the handset
    “Hello, Darling,” she began.
    “I…. love…. you, my one.”
    His voice resonated wiith stress,
    And she felt concern as
    She folded the clothes.
    “Are you okay?”
    “I’m sorry,” he said,
    “I’ll be waiting.”
    “Honey, what?” She replied..
    No response was to come,

    She heard aa distant wail in the phone
    As her worry grew
    “Honey? Talk to me!”
    Over and over with desperation.
    All at once, the sirens screamed
    And voices created a din of
    Horrible silence and uncertainty.
    “Hello?” She called.
    “Someone speak to me!”

    Seconds passed into minutes
    And the clothes were no longer
    Meaningful
    Mind racing with possibilities
    Scanning potential futures
    Remembering moments poast

    The phone sstarted to scratch
    “Hello? Is someone there?!”
    “Hello, Ma’am.”
    It was a voice she had never heard
    And her arms suddenly felt wooden.
    “My name,” the voice continued,
    “Is Officer Rogers.”
    Officer?
    Her chest sank, pushing the waters
    From her heart to her eyes..
    “The phone says you are
    This gentleman’s wife?”
    “Yes,” she said hastily,
    “Is everything okay??”
    “I’m sorry to tell you, but
    Something has happened.”

    Then she realized.
    It was then she knew.
    A last I love you
    Came in his last moments.
    As her insides came undone
    Her lips whispered,
    “I love you.”
    One last time….

  12. MichelleMcEwen

    _I’ll Be Fine, Thank You_

    I’ll be fine—
    I got

    my music
    my books

    my babies

    my vegetables
    my fruit

    my mama
    my roof

    my lipstick
    my sweets

    my Billie
    my breath

    my black
    my me.

  13. LaraEckener

    Poem-A-Day Challenge #24: I’ll Be (My Own Again Some Day)

    Baskets of feathers wait by the loom to be spun
    into the thread he uses to stitch up the curse of a man
    who returns to him each morning after a night spent out
    kissing the rough angles of fists and wood and cement.

    How easily needles slip through skin that’s been scraped
    away. Where tender once meant freely given, it now means
    they’ve taken it from his flesh with force. After the tanning
    his captor’s leather is the only soft thing about him.

    In bed they’re an open quotation, trembling together
    into the arch. Each day he gifts the man behind him,
    with protection in the pluck prickled cage of flesh and bone.
    Repaying his past kindness. Hoping for a loophole’s release.

    Hollowed bones are migratory, restless things, letting
    the cold drive them with broken promises into the white out snow,
    to search for all that remains of them, long since molted down.
    Enough for one last suture. Enough for one final word.

    (In totally related news, I’ve had that Edwin McCain song stuck in my head all day. SO THANKS FOR THAT.)

  14. m_deane

    It’s an emergency, it’s urgent,
    there’s a meeting, there’s a crisis,
    it must be done today, it can’t be done tomorrow, but–

    the last oxblood lily is blooming, so

    I’ll be in the garden.

  15. TeriBeth

    I’ll Be . . .

    I’ll be the one who wipes your tears,
    when life cuts too deep.
    I’ll be the one who soothes your fears,
    when monsters won’t let you sleep.

    I’ll be the one cheering the loudest
    in the stands for you.
    I’ll be the one clapping
    with proud hands for you.

    I’ll be the one watching you drive away,
    when it’s time for you to leave the nest.
    I’ll be the one trying to be strong that day,
    trying to successfully pass the last mommy test.

  16. Sara McNulty

    I’ll Be Right Back

    The white lie you tell
    your dogs because
    it makes you feel better.
    The annoying anonymous
    phone call that you answer
    by mistake. A voice begins
    to blather, and you say,
    “I’ll be right back”,
    and leave the phone
    off the hook. Then,
    there’s the ever popular
    ploy by companies
    who have you on hold.
    “Someone will be right with you.”
    Music comes on, then the message
    repeats, then music comes on . . .

  17. tunesmiff

    I’LL BE SURPRISED
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ————•————
    I’ll be surprised if the sun comes up tomorrow,
    I’ll be surprised if the stars still shine.
    I’ll be surprised at laughter in this sorrow,
    ‘Cause my world ended when you said you were – no longer mine.

    I’ll be surprised if the rain stops falling;
    I’ll be surprised if the sky’s still blue.
    I’ll be surprised if the birds stop calling;
    ‘Cause nothing here means a thing without you.

    I didn’t see it coming when you left me;
    I didn’t see you packing up to go.
    Twenty-twenty hindsight doesn’t mean much,
    When it’s something that you should already know.

    I’ll be surprised if the flowers keep on blooming,
    I’ll be surprised if summer still follows spring,
    I’ll be surprised if thunder keeps booming;
    ‘Cause there isn’t any reason to sing.
    No, there isn’t any reason to sing.

  18. dub

    I’ll Be Better Tomorrow

    I tell you through
    the crack you won’t cross
    between here
    and there, but I know

    you know I only tell you
    to make it easier,
    so when it happens
    you can roll your shoulders

    back, tilt your head truthfully,
    and push your palms
    up when you tell them
    you had no idea.

  19. BDP

    “I’ll Be There For You”

    At times you enter the machine shed
    toward the rafter
    where your father hung
    in his den of cogs and wrenches,
    sawdust soaking diesel and footsteps,
    where he taught you
    the art of fire in a cast iron stove.
    And stare. I know this.

    Lately you often ask me,
    without wanting an answer,
    if—at any point before—
    you’d known how far “find”
    would extend?

    Now that the first twister powered
    through, you’re still drawn and spun
    with each new find like when
    you picked up the mangled penny
    recently unstuck by raking dirt beneath
    the back steps, the lost coin there for a decade
    since he showed you how
    his new scissors could cut anything.

    Each workday, you exit your inherited house
    and half-circle past his shed
    (something always creaking in there),
    resist the pull for fifty yards
    to the clearing’s high-bough perimeter
    where in your own hut you carve eagles
    to sell to wood-hungry Japan,
    where your side door swings toward
    the shed’s closed one,
    where your stove’s vortex flicks sparks
    to the sky. I read into them
    right or wrong, that you’re still healthy.
    I always keep those scissors ready.

    –Barb Peters

  20. bxpoetlover

    I’ll Be Damned

    if they kill another young black man
    full of promise and leave
    his mother and father
    to cry and rage and stare stoically into cameras
    begging for peace.

    Akai Gurley
    Father of a baby girl
    who happened to enter a darkened staircase
    because the elevator was out
    and he startled the officer on patrol.

    Dark staircase+dark skin=death
    Hoodie+a fighting spirit=death
    Broad daylight+dark skin=death
    B.B. gun+dark skin=death

    since they cannot lock them up
    fast enough
    they are back to shooting them
    justifiably–yes with a badge behind it

    If I thought
    keeping my son all to myself
    locked up the house would/could protect him

    if teaching him to
    keep his head bowed,
    speak only when spoken to and
    in soft tones,
    run off the sidewalk at a cop’s approach,
    could protect him
    I would
    but
    living on your knees
    is no way for a man to live

    Marching, pleading, petitioning
    rationalizing, boycotting

    Don’t know what else to do for
    my son
    our sons
    but
    he
    they
    we must live.

  21. Meriadoc

    Aisle B

    I’ll be seeing
    Stars upon my Lawn
    Brilliantly captured
    Striking at the Dawn

    Reflecting of the Morning
    Windsweep of the Night
    Forevermore, forever
    Less this Beauty
    Loose my Sight

    From what will come tomorrow
    To what has gone before
    Standing Still as Time is
    Here Now Forever Door.

  22. Domino

    MIGRAINE

    I’ll be here,
    under the covers,
    flinching from the too-bright lights.

    I’ll be here,
    trying not to throw up
    from the sparkling lights I can’t stop seeing.

    I’ll be here,
    with the pillow over my head
    trying to block out the sounds, smells and lights.

    I’ll be here.
    Don’t worry.
    I’m not going anywhere for a while.

  23. Danielle Wong

    I’ll Be Here

    I’ll be caressing
    every sheet of paper
    that slips between my finger tips
    I’ll be swimming
    in every black ink well
    that finds its way on my desk
    I’ll be soaring
    through the digital streaks
    of encoded zeroes and ones
    until
    my body cannot fly
    my arms cannot propel
    my fingers cannot grasp.
    Once that comes,
    my mirror
    will continue
    to reflect
    what
    was
    once
    me.

  24. grcran

    I’ll Be Damned

    Well I’ll be damned and tarred and feathered
    Blackened blued and tightly tethered
    What’s my crime? Not sure yet.
    Got a love of grime And I imbibe on a bet.
    Like to moon my son And shock my daughter
    take her baby girl fishin’ In the deep dank water
    I’m the grumpy gramps in the green coveralls
    I cuss like a champ write graffiti on the walls
    I won’t be conflicted but I am flim-flammed
    Got a smile all the while and I’ll be damned

    by gpr crane

  25. Sally Jadlow

    “I’ll be Jiggered”

    Was one of Grandpa’s favorite phrases.
    He went to bed when the sun went down
    and said, “I’m going to turn up my toes.”

    When he wasn’t jiggered he’d say,
    “Well, I’ll be switched.”
    His mules understood “gee” for right
    and “haw” for left.

    When he began to do something
    he “commenced.”
    Pigs knew when the table scraps
    were ready for their dinner
    when he holler “sooooeeee!”

    Grandpa’s vocabulary has faded
    into disuse,
    but I still hear him clearly
    though he’s been gone
    for forty-five years.

  26. LeeAnne Ellyett

    I’ll Be “on the Price is Right”

    LeeAnne, come on down
    you’re the next contestant,
    on the Price is Right,
    Drew, is being a clown,
    for us to bid in an instant,
    on an upright vacuume,

    I am the winning bid, yeah,
    run up the stage, give Drew a hug,
    commercial plug,
    what game is next, for the car,
    the putting game, for par,
    that sets the bar,

    Shop for grocery’s next,
    to get closer to the hole,
    only two attempts, am I hexed?
    Wait, all grocery items in check,
    a $500.00 bonus, did not expect,
    putting on deck, off the back rail, sinkhole,

    Winner, next the Wheel,
    for real, 75 cents wins a place,
    in the showcase,
    A trip, another car,
    can I go this far,
    Overbid, sorry kid.

  27. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    A Promise

    I’ll be here
    when I’m gone,
    I’ll be
    rummaging on your attic,
    breaking your china,
    stealing your cheese.
    You’ll hear me
    in the floorboards.
    I’ll hoot at night
    and keep you awake.
    I’ll do everything to remind you
    how annoying I was.
    I’ll come back
    as something.
    I won’t leave you alone.

  28. Doakley

    I’ll Be Along

    One evening Irv, Vern and I
    are leaving basketball practice,
    the three of us shrugging into our
    leather sleeved letterman’s jackets
    as we walked down the hallway
    from the gym, when Irv suddenly
    stopped and said, I have an idea!

    Let’s start a rock and roll band.
    We just stared at each other,
    my two friends and I,
    but he went on to say,
    there’s not much to do
    on the farm at night,
    so I go to my room and sing,
    memorizing the words
    and figuring out the chords
    for the songs by listening
    to the records over and over.

    What are the drawbacks,
    to starting this way,
    other than none of us,
    knew how to play?
    Minor details like learning to play
    didn’t daunt our enthusiasm.
    Recruit a bass player,
    who needed to learn
    and a drummer who didn’t.
    Guitars and endless practice
    were the word of the day,
    many days.

    It took a year of sore fingers
    and broken strings,
    practicing where we could
    before we played our first gig.

    We played two years as,
    the supersonic sounds of Dee and the Sabers,
    cutting edge stuff you know.
    Little Latin Lupe Lu, Twist and Shout,
    Going to Kansas City, Love Potion # 9 and
    of course Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues.
    That was our music, drums and bass
    the kids adored us.

    Our rhythm guitar player/singer passed
    away last week age 67. Dammit Vern,
    you don’t always have to be first!
    but I guess I’ll be along.

      1. cbwentworth

        Thanks Hannah! The extra challenge of relating every prompt to the haiku form is making me dig into my creativity in very unexpected ways. 🙂

        Your poetry has had the same kind of focus and the results have been amazing! I’m really enjoying your work.

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