2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For today’s prompt, you have two options:

  1. Write a love poem.
  2. Write an anti-love poem.


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Here’s my attempt at a Love and/or Anti-Love poem:


every word & image has a target
audience & every line break

is meant to entice & move you
to reach out for the next phrase

how i love you & ache for your
return that moment when you

lift me up & read yourself
into me what i beg you to do

when you find yourself
completely alone with me


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 began with love poems–so he always brings them along for every challenge.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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189 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

  1. seingraham


    So often she ends her conversations with a chirpy “love you”
    And without thinking, whomever she’s talking to, answers
    in kind, says something like, “back atcha” or “me too”
    For no matter how often the words ring in the air, most
    are caught by surprise by the two little words that hang there

    Why is that, her mother wonders now, when she no longer
    hears it…Was the insincerity there all along and she, rightly
    suspicious, never having an answer, was always astounded
    Then again, maybe it’s only her, the mother, that found
    this habit an oddity; maybe that’s part of what’s wrong…

    Maybe not ,who knows, the mother questions everything
    now – her memories, ideas, even the way she breathes.



    The opposite of love, is it hate, she wonders
    No – the baby, who can barely form thoughts
    Knows only that she isn’t loved, alone in her crib
    In the orphanage with dozens of other babes

    Some are screaming – not many actually
    Some are sleeping, most are listless, staring
    There is an eeriness about a roomful of infants
    staring into space as if stunned into silence

    They don’t expect to be picked up, to be changed
    They don’t even expect to be fed;
    For many hunger has passed its peak, now
    food is just something that happens occasionally

    These are children not even six months old
    And already they have been conditioned to apathy

  2. bluerabbit47

    My love is not
    as tall as giraffe
    as fast as a cheetah
    as strong as grizzly

    My love is not
    as handsome as Gable
    as brilliant as Einstein
    as successful as Gates

    My love is not
    as loyal as a hound
    as tender as a tabby
    as sweet as a rabbit

    But my love, forever bless him,
    can always make me laugh.

  3. taylor graham

    Thought I already posted this, but I guess not.


    I find your tooth-marks on zucchini
    ripe for picking, and nipped-off cucumber
    blossoms. You’re red-haired, sassy,
    scuttling from rock-pile to tree-root, backside
    of the hill; then sunning on my patio,
    thumbing your nose before you disappear.
    I do not love you. Poison-grain won’t work,
    nor traps, nor gassing you underground.
    Look! There you are nibbling bird-seed
    on my deck, surveying your world from my
    redwood bench. How is it, Ground Squirrel,
    you make my mortgaged property your
    home, more assuredly than I –
    who pay the taxes – ever could?

  4. shethra77

    An Arranged Life

    I’ll love you tomorrow.
    But today
    Is too soon
    too sudden
    too much and
    without precedent.

    I just want some time
    for all this
    to sink in
    become one
    in my mind

    By tomorrow I will
    have cried
    mourned the loss
    of home
    of family
    of girlhood.

    Give me this night
    on my own
    or at least
    in just sleeping
    in our shared bed.
    I’m trying to do
    what I know I should.
    I’ll be good
    love you tomorrow.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  5. Mike

    Against love?
    How could you
    be against love?
    How can you
    not see the beauty
    of this world,
    this day and
    the possibilities
    that exist if you
    unclench your fist
    and open your heart.
    Here, borrow my eyes.
    Does the world look
    any brighter to you now?
    Drink from my cup.
    It’s always at least half full.
    How much more difficult
    do you make your path
    by refusing to see
    the opportunities
    to love and be
    loved that exist
    all around you?

  6. Connie Inglis

    They Say Love I Say

    They say
    love is power—
    for if I love you
    you have power over me,
    for your own personal gain
    or satisfaction. It’s all about
    your control
    over me.
    They say.

    I say
    love is not power—
    for if I love you, truly,
    I relinquish my control over you,
    your free will,
    is not under my control for
    my satisfaction. It’s all about
    releasing my control
    over you.
    I say.

  7. Doakley

    I Love
    The sunshine dappling
    through the aspen leaves
    painting the forest floor
    with shadowy images
    that grow in my mind
    of those who had been here
    before me.

    The harvest moon
    as it rises above the
    crest of the river bluffs
    to brush a pathway
    of gold across the water.

    The weathered old barn,
    as I lean back against its
    grey bones and trace a hint
    of lingering red paint
    with my fingertips.

    The smell of the rich soil
    as the plow turns
    the golden stubble field
    into a fertile black seed bed
    one strip at a time.

  8. Sally Jadlow

    Love Poem

    Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter,
    4th of July, and all times in between.
    What I love most about each of them
    is the gathering together of the clan.
    Each familiar face, a comfort and a joy.
    May that circle never be broken.

  9. grcran

    Ethereally Serious as a Heart Attack

    Love is the lightest airiest bubble
    It floats it feints it frights away hopes and fears
    Love’s investment can bring major trouble
    Heartache handshaking hardbreaking copes and tears
    Trembles and fumbles
    Murmurs and mumbles
    Blesses you bigger and heavily humbles
    Would not trade love’s travails e’en if I could
    I don’t understand and don’t know if I should
    We keep right on loving with faith in the good

    by gpr crane

  10. barbara_y

    Love makes you happy

    There was once a princess
    so in love with herself
    that she would do anything
    to make herself happy.

    She bought a size ten dress
    so that her size six self
    would feel even more petite.
    Love should
    make you happy.

  11. MichelleMcEwen


    Beside you
    in your bed
    in the almost-dark
    with the TV on
    with your hand
    on my thigh
    you say things
    like “what am I
    going to do with you?”
    expecting no answer.
    I don’t quite know
    what you mean
    by that but there’s
    honey & Latin
    jazz in your voice
    when you say it.
    I answer you
    anyway with
    my mouth
    but not with words.

    Beside you
    in your bed
    in the almost-dark
    with the TV on
    with your hand
    on my thigh
    I say things
    like “I love
    your ass”
    knowing full well
    it can be taken two
    ways. I’ll let you
    figure out
    which way I mean.

  12. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    Days in with you, mean days full of love,
    Caring, sharing, passing time with each other
    Days with warm comfort of being together.
    Not having to try hard to understand one another.
    Togetherness, well practised, love built over years.
    The antidote to anti-love.

    Days out with you, mean days out with love,
    Caring, sharing, planning our interests together,
    Days out with each other, sharing the world together.
    Accepting the otherness of people, through each other,
    Togetherness with protection, one for another.
    The antidote to anti-love.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  13. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    She said, “I love you for your music,
    “But I will not be your muse,
    “Your songs about me leave me feeling,
    Naked and abused.”
    She saw that I was puzzled,
    Looking puppy-dog confused;
    But she just laughed and I could tell,
    She was easily amused.

    It’s the same game
    Without a name
    That we play each day
    As we try to blame
    Each other for
    Our flickering flame;
    It’s love; or anti-love.
    It’s love; or anti-love.

    I said, “I love you for your beauty,
    ‘Won’t you let me be your beau?
    “I’ll always be here for you,
    “Tell you all you want to know.”
    She didn’t say a thing to me,
    Or let her feelings show;
    The next that I knew she said
    “It’s time for us to go.”

    It’s the same game
    Without a name
    That we play each day
    Aa we try to blame
    Each other for
    Our flickering flame;
    It’s love; or anti-love.
    It’s love; or anti-love.

    She said, “I love you for your money.
    “But please don’t make me moan,
    “Or walk away and leave me,
    “Standing out here all alone.
    “Ànd I don’t want to hear you say,
    “You’re like Dylan’s rolling stone.”
    She rolled her her eyes and smiled.
    As it cut me to the bone.

    It’s the same game
    Without a name
    That we play each day
    As we try to blame
    Each other for
    Our flickering flame;
    It’s love; or anti-love.
    It’s love; or anti-love.

  14. LaraEckener

    Every woman is a theory
    until proven otherwise. It’s
    imperative her name be hypothesis
    the total of her life falsifiable.

    because once they’ve found her
    they forgot they were ever searching
    for anything else.

    after the blustery spring winds that
    whip through the pavilions
    of her lungs.

    so that they might discover the purest
    gold thickening in her veins.

    when they see how naturally
    she rides astride the dark and the light.

    with a desperate hope that she could
    lead them from the dark.

    New World:
    ripe for the taking
    with a splendor they get so drunk on
    they fall asleep with the pigs.

    is what she calls herself
    in an attempt to reclaim the outcome,
    set to building a fortress
    with what little of her they’ve left.

    when she could not be penetrated,
    re-appropriated the tools they’d melted down
    to make weapons.

    It’s these unlucky outliers
    who couldn’t be predicted, that they leave
    locked away in the lab for safety.
    Then they burn it to the ground.

  15. Shennon

    Falling in love
    melting butter
    slushy snow
    soft serve ice cream
    spongy moss
    feather pillows
    summer rain
    hot chocolate with marshmallows
    70’s love songs.

    Falling out of love
    curdling milk
    freezing rain
    tofu on wheat crackers
    stinging nettles
    broken glass
    blinding blizzard
    day old cold coffee
    80’s hair bands.


  16. Xairos

    The Year’s First Snow, Then and Now

    Plié, jeté, the snow lands a kiss on her eye.
    She laughs a pirouette, her arms conduct the spinning flakes,
    dance pas de deux, forever delicate. Her eyes tug at the clouds,
    draw flakes from down. Arms up, sifting snow, a flower at dusk,
    her laughing mouth a cave with red carpet out, invitation to tiny dancers.
    Dark waits, curtain in the wings. A last arabesque. She curtsies,
    then leaps for home, curlicues of joy floating out behind.

    En garde! Snow mixes with mud, freezes on walks, roads,
    leers at her fragile back, old knees. Feint and riposte, she feels
    the wind crawling under her jacket, the snow leaping down
    under her shirt collar. Thrust: she swings the shovel at flakes,
    white no-see-ums attacking. Frustrated, she yells at the snow
    for cluttering her drive. A glissade, she pushes the shovel up the walk,
    hates the snow for reminding her: it was different with them once.

  17. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 25
    Write a love poem and/or an anti-love poem.

    Silly Love Song

    Planning a wedding takes us back,
    hubs and me, to thirty-five years ago, candy
    flowers atop a cake that we saved under glass
    dome for quite a while, till they disintegrated.
    Sound silly? Love isn’t silly at all.

    Those six months rocketed past in some ways,
    yet dragged in others. We savored engagement,
    longed to be man and wife. Plotted our honeymoon,
    dragged our feet on details like invitations.
    Sound silly? Love isn’t silly at all.

    Blur of a day, we talked to everyone, or so
    it seemed, while we had little time to nibble.
    Someone packed us a box, and that was all
    we ate before we did what married couples do.
    Sound silly? Love isn’t silly at all.

    Idyllic days in St. Thomas, juice of pineapple boats
    dripping down our chins, snorkeling in water
    crystal blue, picnicking on a deserted island,
    walking hand in hand the snowy sand.
    Sound silly? Love isn’t silly at all.

    We said we’d return one day, but somehow haven’t
    got around to it. So many shores and mountains
    to explore, we need thirty-five years more. Weddings
    mere beginnings; marriage the funnest, hardest work of all.
    Sound silly? Love isn’t silly at all.

  18. Sara McNulty

    Love’s Tightrope

    Complex relationships warm
    your heart, and chill it.
    The woman who gave you birth
    creates a bond for life,
    and a source of serious
    combat simultaneously.
    She takes care of you through
    illnesses, makes sure you receive
    an education and solid moral values.

    Yet, during those years, warmth
    is lacking, disappointment
    in you–evident. Your instinct
    is to please, to see pride
    glow in her eyes. A mean streak
    surfaces at times puzzling you,
    filling you with self-doubt.
    Double message mess with your head.

    Eventually, you learn
    to move on and please
    yourself. Age softens
    your outlook, blame becomes
    a waste of time. You swallow;
    you love.

  19. BDP

    “Blue Milk”

    We queue to buy this liquid advertised
    to wean our pounds,

    this blue food class that I call watered chalk,
    a pall-hued swill

    of former self. The once sweet frothed
    cream of undulating

    udders now zealous-leached of all
    zest natural,

    so taste collapses to non-shuddering
    nothing, in turn

    inducing thought to thin, our words becoming
    bland, butterless,

    our smooth and silky vowels sticking,
    drying, shriveling.

    What vim’s found in insipid sips of skim?
    Just refuse them.

    –Barb Peters

  20. ReathaThomasOakley


    All day long
    the poems formed
    and finally filled up
    all the parts of my brain
    and I feared the words would
    spill right out my eyes and ears
    and distract you while you drove,
    so to avoid a traffic accident I’ll just softly whisper
    the words you say you need to hear, I love you dear.

  21. Consuelo Montenegro

    The Reversal

    I came
    in the new house.
    You loved me
    even when I gained no weight
    and threw up every night.
    You loved me when
    I said “I do myself”
    and sang to me every night.
    You cut my nails and curled my hair.
    I was your girl
    you loved so well.

    And now you sit
    and watch me wash
    the dishes at the sink.
    You say you want to help
    and I know you really do.
    And as the walker
    leads us on
    we make our way
    to covered bed.
    I help you into sheets.
    You say oh dear,
    I’m like your girl.
    How did it get this way?

    I turn and say you are my girl
    and shut the light.
    “Night mom.”

  22. dub

    Selfish Love

    She made a place
    for herself in the spare

    bed, nurses bringing her
    blankets, water, a toothbrush,

    eyes closed she waited
    for sleep, lifting her head

    to watch his chest move only
    when he was too quiet.

    He raised his hand, moaning,
    calling out to the no one

    he thought was there. She
    rushed to hold it in hers,

    grateful for this moment
    of desperation, the sound

    of near-death approaching,
    the truth behind his face.

    He blinked his eyes into focus,
    tightening his grip, almost smiling

    when he whispered,
    You’re here all night?

    His voice, sprinkled
    with hope, hinted at pride.

    She stopped holding
    her breath, allowing herself

    to feel the soft wrinkles
    in his skin as she answered him.

  23. Heather


    Sparks fly
    building into something
    more than friendship.
    One of the few
    pursuits in life.
    leads to amour
    from the everyday.
    Villains hide
    around every corner
    ready to take
    that which matters.
    The spark
    must be smothered
    before it can be
    held against me.

    ~also published on http://heatherbutton.com

  24. PKP

    Oh Not So Glorious Me

    waking in dawning light
    whistling a happy tune
    clear eyes smile back
    at me from the mirror
    until laying back in bed
    thoughts whirling
    tune fading – don’t
    need a mirror to feel
    the smile fading to a

  25. Danielle Wong

    Nature of Emotions

    Rain poured,
    each sad
    and tortured

    Sun shone,
    at a brilliant
    and sparkling

    Wind howled,
    up the

    Moon smiled,
    you entwine
    with your first love.

  26. Bhumphreys

    I’ll fold your clothes
    I’ll brush your hair
    I’ll open your door
    I’ll walk (y)our dog
    I’ll caulk your tub (!)
    I’ll carry your bags
    I’ll wash (y)our dishes
    I’ll clean your house
    I’ll take out (y)our garbage
    I’ll get your wine
    I’ll cook your dinner
    I’ll take you for late-night ice cream
    I’ll give you the last bite of creme-brule’
    I’ll tuck you in when you don’t feel well
    I’ll drive when you are tired
    I’ll shave every day
    I’ll hold your hand in public (everywhere!)
    I’ll do all the little things
    That matter but are just
    Part of “normal”
    I promise I will do them
    Because the
    Makes for
    Great stories;
    Makes for
    Great Lives….

  27. De Jackson

    true love

    is blue.

    hold it against any other
    hue, and indigo
    wins every time. you just can’t
    beat sea and lake and sky
    for a yearning heart.

                        don’t try.     


  28. De Jackson

    anti(-biotic) love
    (hazmat suit optional)

    you can kiss me now,
    i think.
    i am no longer contagious,
    though an outrageous
    amount of phlegm is still
    in the mix.

    on second thought, nix
    that. in case i am still catching,
    let’s just get caught
    holding hands.


  29. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    As an answer to
    Not wanting to know
    Truth, the opposite
    Is clear, it’s fear that

    Leads away from love.
    One thing, two things; then
    Various others
    End up in sorrow.

  30. De Jackson


    she is spun
    right ’round, stitched strong of
    thrum-threaded strings
    over hollow center.

    stretch your fingers long
    to the sky
    and find her last strains.

    she’ll try
    to tell you she’s un
    -loveable at best,
    a beast of burden
    and breeze,
    but she’s lying.

    feel that beat? it’s her heart, high
    -strung, unsung, still


  31. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    This is love,
    That your world may flame and burn,
    Ams then one day you learn
    To say good-bye
    And this is love,
    That you hold her in your arms,
    To keep her safe from harm,
    And let her cry.

    This is love,
    That you sit and hold his hand,
    Though he cannot understand
    What’s going on.
    This is love,
    That you stay up through the night,
    Until the morning light
    And are thankful for the dawn.

    Now love is patient, love is kind;
    It does not keep its wrongs in mind.
    Love protects and always hopes;
    It teaches faith and how to cope.
    It always trusts and never fails;
    And always stives for balanced scales.
    These three remain: faith hope and love;
    The greatest is love that comes from above.
    The greatest is love.

    This is love,
    That He went to the cross,
    Didn’t think of it as loss;
    But only what He had to do.
    This is love;
    That He took our sins alone,
    And still rolled away the stone,
    For you and me and you;
    And you;
    For you and me and you,
    And you.

  32. taylor graham


    He cares nothing for wire fences,
    strictures, quarantines.
    Unpretentious traveler – he shies
    from public notice.
    Don’t call him villain,
    at worst he’s a secondary nuisance,
    if you could prove against him
    the broken gate, the trampled row
    of cabbages. Look how far
    he’s journeyed
    to find you. Oh the leafy hideouts
    of primeval forest
    and eternal snow. Sasquatch,
    Yeti, and that nameless
    creature that still haunts your

  33. Meriadoc


    I Love You So
    I cannot tell
    How Deep Within You See

    This Spirit Moves
    Me Near to be
    At Peace with One near me

    In Flesh and Bone
    To Air I Breathe
    So Close Akin to me

    That from the start
    I could not part
    This Outer Heart of me.

  34. shellcook

    What Is The Question

    The question’s the same as its always been.
    It turns the answer outside in.
    The answer is always love, my friend.
    Love from the outside in.

    I do not know you.
    I cannot see you.
    What is the question again?
    Love is always the answer.

    If I gather no labels,
    I decipher no codes,
    I decode no nuance,
    Is the answer the same?
    Love is in all ways the answer.

    If I love you from the outside in,
    I pay no heed to religion, or ethnicity;
    I forget trade, skill, and zip code.
    I forego what you think of me,
    to love you from the outside in.

    Your heart is the cosmos and we are one in that.
    It isn’t always necessary to know the question,
    but Love is always and in all ways the answer.
    Working directly from our hearts,
    yours and mine and ours, we learn.

    I love you from the outside in
    and back again,
    always and forever without end.
    No question.


  35. courageousdreamer

    Inspired by the one who does three verse-poems of heroes and villains, I thought I’d like to try it with this prompt for something different.

    Adulation, adoration, applause.
    These crowded streets are mine,
    To march in victory and joy.
    But God only knows,
    What I’ve sacrificed for this day to arrive.

    Beastly, barbaric barks.
    Clamouring over one another to watch my last parade.
    In the crumbling brick,
    They bowed down to bloody brutality,
    But today they have no choice but to scorn me.
    It’s in their nature.

    Captivated, ceremonious chants.
    Coming from the people.
    Divided in their eagerness to love and hate,
    The two charismatic characters of this story.
    No one knows who will win.

    1. Xairos

      I like having the 3 voices — to me it’s “love” (from the crowd, perhaps self-centered love), and “anti-love” (from the crowd to V & back again) and ambivalence, both more realistic & potentially more clear-sighted, but also more complex, potentially dangerous.

  36. TeriBeth


    As endless stars shine above,
    wood smoke perfumes the night,
    Trying in vain not to fall in love,
    His beautiful face bathed in the firelight.

    The fire hisses and crackles,
    swaying flames dance to his songs.
    He deftly strokes the strings,
    her soul sings along.

    Restless man-child,
    a perfect blend of wildness and serenity.
    Furrowed brow, restless soul,
    Your words strike a chord within me.

  37. deringer1

    Love is Pain

    When you open the door to love
    pain sneaks in.
    It waits in the shadows
    and bides its time.

    Then when night falls
    pain steals your joy
    and laughs.

  38. bxpoetlover

    Love Song

    Should anyone pledge allegiance
    to someone/something
    that kidnapped, stole

    Gouged eyes
    broke teeth
    hung and burned bodies from trees
    or fired bullets into children?

    At assemblies and graduations
    across America
    black and brown people, still
    cover their hearts with their hands.

    1. dub

      Your poem inspired me to write this poem. Thanks for your words.

      A Girl Dreams in America

      There are monsters
      in my room, she screams,

      jolting her mother
      from sleep. Taller

      than me, armed
      with disgusted faces

      and heavy pistols,
      they’re waiting for me

      behind shiny metal
      they wear to block

      their hearts. They shoot
      without looking, judge

      without knowing. I think
      maybe they’re afraid

      of me, too, hands
      at their hips, ready

      for war. Her mother scoops
      up her small body, rubbing

      her soaking head, whispering,
      it was only a dream.


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