2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 10

One of the cool parts of the challenge is having the chance to be included in the second volume of the Poem Your Heart Out anthology. The book includes each prompt, the winning poem for that prompt, space to put your own poem(s), and more. The first volume rocked, and you can get a discount by pre-ordering volume two before May 1, 2015. Click to continue.

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “How (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “How to Write a Poem,” “How Mechanical Pencils Work,” and “Howling at the Moon After Midnight in the Middle of a Thunderstorm.”


2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

Get Your Poetry Published.

Writing poetry is one thing; getting it published is something else. Take advantage of the best print resource for publishing your poetry today with the 2015 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

This annual reference includes new articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, explanations of poetic forms, poet interviews, new poems, and hundreds of listings for book and chapbook publishers, print and online publications, contests and awards, and so much more–all for poets!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a How Blank Poem:

“How Words Work”

words, you say, more words,
and, yes, i get what you’re
getting at–my words

don’t do the laundry
or the dishes or spark
forest fires in the middle

of an ocean anymore,
but what else do i have
to express my heart,

my soul, and you smile
and say, open your mouth
only to kiss me.


Today’s guest judge is…

Ruben Queseda

Ruben Queseda

Ruben Quesada

Ruben Quesada is editor of the forthcoming volume, Latino Poetics: Essays from University of New Mexico Press, author of Next Extinct Mammal and Exiled from the Throne of Night. He is poetry editor for The Cossack Review, Cobalt Review, and Luna Luna Magazine.

A fellow of CantoMundo, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Writers, and Lambda Literary Retreat, his writing appears in Guernica, Rattle, American Poetry Review, The Rumpus, and The California Journal of Poetics. He is a professor of English and creative writing for the performing arts at Eastern Illinois University.

Learn more at RubenQuesada.com.


Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out again!

The prompts from last year’s challenge along with the winning poem from each day ended up in an inspired little anthology titled Poem Your Heart Out. It was part prompt book, part poetry anthology, and part workbook, because each day includes a few pages for you to make your own contributions.

Anyway, the anthology worked out so well that we’re doing it again this year, and you can take advantage of a 20% discount from Words Dance by pre-ordering before May 1, 2015.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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870 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 10

  1. AmyA

    How to make a Pie Crust

    This is not the first time,
    Not our first birthday
    Though you point out you have fewer ahead of you
    Than behind you,
    So if I’m to perfect a pie crust
    I better start baking

    Which I do
    I bake
    Each year
    A berry pie
    Perhaps to commemorate
    That first date,
    When, by coincidence,
    I had just baked a fresh pie
    Though it was apple
    My favorite,
    Not yours.

    Now, it is always berry
    Last night, for the first time
    (though really the 27th time)
    I made you a berry pie,
    But with a new recipe.

    There is vodka in the crust,
    Well, really kirschwasser,
    In the past, there has been water
    Or vinegar,

    This does the trick on top,
    So flakey and light

    You simply whir some of the flour, a bit of sugar, a dash of salt
    Add all the butter
    Add the rest of the flour,
    Sprinkle the vodka,
    Impossible made possible:
    A fool-proof crust

    If only life were so easy.

    Amy Appleton

  2. seingraham


    If day could bleed twilight dry she would
    bargain with sky and barter stars back
    behind the net that is promising darkness
    But eons upon longer have shown that
    these transactions have come to naught,
    that such goings on are mere play, nothing
    for anyone to get upset or worried about…
    night has always known what night is worth.

  3. Janice Canerdy

    HEARTBURN: How to Get It and Relieve It”

    Heading home from Down Home Diner,
    Everyone says there’s no finer.
    All declare those sizzlin’ dinners
    Really rate as wondrous winners.
    There we had the chili cheese fries,
    Butterfinger shakes, and fried pies–
    Utter Heaven then, but–UH OH!
    Rumbling gases threaten–OH, NO!
    Time to fix a great big bromo!

  4. Diane Laboda

    How Do We Heal?
    by Diane M. Laboda

    Mix two parts of waiting
    with a half cup of patience,
    follow with a strong dose of antacid
    and a couple of aspirin.

    Or take a walk in the moonlight
    and conjure the spirits of the wood
    to bathe you in the balm
    of their quietude.

    Or forgive the transgressor
    while never forgetting he’s human too.
    Fix a candlelight dinner
    and wrap him in warmth.

    Or let the smoke rise above you
    and cleanse your spirit,
    sweat out the demons in your mind
    and dance by the fire until dawn.

    Or let the oils of the universe wash
    over your wounds, meander through
    your caves of want, shore up burnt bridges
    and bring you back into the fold.

    Ache no more in your denial,
    live behind the face of your dreams,
    dive below the rapids and bring up
    the pearl of your love, wear it always.

  5. MadPoet

    How Many Times

    How many times have I said I love you?
    How many more times can I say it again?
    I’ve told you as many times as stars in the sky.
    I’ll tell you twice as many times as there are drops of rain.

    How deep is my love for you?
    How long will it thrive?
    As deep as the ocean and
    Throughout eternity it will survive.

    That is how much I love you.

  6. Linda.E.H

    I had to come back to this prompt but better late than never, right?

    How I Let Go and Hold on to You at the Same Time

    I visit the beach
    write your name in grains of sand
    watch ocean waves wash it away from me

    pen precious moments
    into keepsake poems because
    inked tales last longer than memory

    I store your stuff
    away in a box, a coping mechanism
    to prevent an overload of daily reminders

    except that one photo
    you smiling, displayed on the shelf
    so I can secretly speak to you from time to time

    I’ll place no flowers
    by a gravestone, but each spring
    when buds spring forth on the orchard trees

    and wildflowers blossom
    I’ll take comfort in the cycle of seasons
    picture you, somewhere, basking in light, reborn

    Linda Hofke

  7. Shaindel Beers

    I know I got WAY behind this year 🙁 Here it is, nonetheless:

    How the Dead Return

    For years, my boyfriend from college,
    heart-crushed-stopped by his steering wheel
    came to me in dreams. Sometimes he would

    be on my balcony, begging me back. Inexplicably
    outside my third floor window. Vampire-like,
    like every seductive movie Dracula ever acted.

    Other times, he would walk in, unaware
    that he had ever died, ask to use the phone
    while I was baking cookies. He would ask

    where his mother was, his best friend.
    I always awoke before I could tell him.
    Before I knew if I could.

    Once, I crossed to the other side myself.
    A reiki master cradled my head in her hands,
    and my brain became my whole body.

    The part of me in the hotel was the size
    of a newborn, and the rest of me—whatever
    had traveled—communed with the dead.

    My great-grandpa told me, “You’re a good girl—
    You’re a good girl,” and I believed him. I played
    with the pets I had lost. Gypsy and Ghost. I was

    a child again with them. I reveled in kitten pounce
    and soft purr. I didn’t know what to do when
    I woke up sobbing back into my body.

  8. Kaylast

    However Ineffectual

    However ineffectual it is for the Moon to cast its own light
    That is how I feel your feelings are for me
    Your love feels forced by laziness and circumstance
    Although I’m drawn to you as if you were a planetary body
    Gravitational force spinning me like a satellite around your entire being
    If only some larger gravitational field
    Would come and steal me from your darkness
    Perhaps then this moon would then have the strength to shine.

  9. Angie5804


    How do I let go
    of the one born from my womb
    birthed on a summer day
    with blue cracked-marble eyes
    wheat-white hair, golden laughter

    Bonded at my breast
    nourished with my milk
    and my lullabies

    My little shadow
    eventually grew taller
    than me

    I let him go away
    test his wings
    He did not tell me
    how hard it was to fly
    until he returned with broken wings
    and broken spirit

    Gone again
    This time so far
    stretching that cord so thin
    so tight
    it hums with emotion
    leaving me
    with a hope and a prayer

  10. horselovernat

    How to Catch a Story in the Wind

    An inkling
    rests near,
    still unclear.
    It dares me to find it.

    From nowhere
    it lands
    in my hands.
    The floodgates burst open.

    Once nothing,
    lost thought,
    now great plot.
    Born is the story within.

    I wonder
    when done,
    who has won?
    Me or the universe?

    I’m writing
    with haste,
    for it’s late.
    The pen must rest till dawn.

    Game over?
    No way,
    not today.
    There’s much left to be said.
    Endless more to explore.

    Natalie Gasper

  11. JUST_jerusha

    Howdahs make Good Wedding Gifts for White Girls

    It was the color pomegranate chapstick,
    glass rimmed with pink sugar crystals.
    A decadent slice of orange, (membranes burst
    where a dull knife and duller glass have broken through)
    dripping juice down the stem, stickying my fingers.
    It tasted like the first summer sun after days of rain:
    Freeing sweat-slick smiles, popsicle lips
    from breath-tinted windows and grubby, locked doorknobs.

    Fire licked hungrily at the lithe dancers
    as they serpentined candles through
    air heavy with incense and darkness.

    The cookie was dry in my mouth.
    A dusting of confectioner’s sugar
    puffed out with the unfamiliar words spoken
    in an accent as broken as the instructor’s English.
    Childish crumbs settled into upturned corners
    of my giddy, unguarded smile. Sweet and warm
    from the oven, an epicurean waxing crescent moon.

    A cushioned pedestal carries me over melodies
    of trumpets and tambourines, giggling onlookers
    snapping pictures with expensive foreign cameras.
    I step down to receive a howdah, sturdy and pragmatic,
    but thoughtfully adorned with a hand stitched pillow.
    Brass-plated horn and dark-stained wooden frame, shaped
    perfectly to sit atop a stubborn camel.

    My dowry.

  12. JocyMedina

    How to let you part?

    The wave’s gone flat
    The sound is calm
    No grand finales
    That’s my heart.

    But I still think…
    How to tell you part
    without breaking you apart?

    I have written a few letters
    So you won’t need to see me cry
    You are keeping us afloat
    but I’m sinking right beside

    We both once thought this was it
    But it’s not showing in my cards
    How to tell you how I feel?
    It will land on you, sharper than a dart

    By Jocy Medina

  13. Anya Padyam

    How I wish to write

    Words, they elude me,
    But I chase them down
    Then I set them free,
    To take a life of their own

    Verse I pen many,
    Just for the love of them
    But I do have an envy
    For the impactful poem

    I wish and sigh
    And sit down to write
    I will continue to try
    Till I get it right

  14. mmarie

    How to Train your House Pet

    “Get down off the counter!”

    She gives you a
    that speaks
    v o l u m e s
    to how very little
    your objections
    weigh on her thoughts,
    turning her attention
    back to her

    As stray hairs
    across your
    kitchen counter,
    you cringe at
    the lack of
    hygiene and wonder –
    as you do at least
    since she arrived –
    you brought her
    home with you.

    Were you really
    that lonely, that sad,
    that desperate for companionship
    that this seemed like
    a good alternative
    to living alone?

    Your gaze
    to the front door,
    and you consider it
    more seriously
    than your
    s o f t
    h e a r t
    will admit.

    A long drive.
    A country road.
    A solo return
    to an uncomfortably
    quiet home…

    She butts her
    against your shoulder,
    saving you
    from your
    unpleasant thoughts.
    As she nuzzles
    your arm,
    you’re reminded
    of the warmth of
    her body
    curled against your back
    at night;
    the weight of
    her head
    resting on your lap
    in the evenings;
    the cheer in
    her voice
    as she welcomes you
    * home *
    at the end of
    the work day

    (before demanding her dinner)

    Your fingers
    stroke her face,
    comb through her
    soft hair.
    She sighs
    as you pet her,
    and slowly
    you relent;
    you release all the
    and simply
    comfort and pleasure
    in the
    affectionate disdain
    of your

    emotionally manipulative

    house pet.

  15. dhaivid3


    “Whatever” ‘s good when you’re immature and sure
    that tomorrow’ll be just fine to do it.
    “However” ‘s best when you’ve learned not to postpone;
    learned today is the best time to do it or rue it.

  16. madeline40

    How Come?

    At first it was about the trivial things:
    tea instead of coffee
    stomach or side
    poultry and not red meat.
    His question was predictable:
    How come you always say
    how come?

    And then it became serious:
    sane became crazy
    hospital or home remedies
    doctors prescriptions rather than
    self medication
    life overcome by death.
    He couldn’t ask how come anymore.
    The answers were gone.

  17. lyngralee

    How can I hear
    With fairy chimes
    Tinkling like glitter
    Ears hearing magic
    From a world where I
    Don’t belong,

    Summoning me
    For some colorful spring
    Dance on pinheads
    Where I might
    Disappear forever
    From this realm.

    lynne james fraser

  18. Bonniejean Alford

    How to connect (aka Two Friends)
    a poem by bonniejean alford

    Two friends
    converged on one path
    having traveled life
    through twists
    through turns
    at times choosing
    a clear path,
    free from obstacles
    at times choosing
    a path uncertain,
    muddled in weeds
    And here they stand
    clearly on the same path
    for the moment
    traveling together
    for the moment
    facing similar choices
    Eventually the path will split
    and friends
    they go in different directions
    but friendship
    does not only exist
    on one path, but many
    As two friends
    progress their lives
    along new paths traveled
    some together
    some not so together
    the friendship shall remain
    albeit changed and new
    constantly new
    Two friends
    converged on one path
    each choosing a new way
    making all the difference
    since no two friendships are the same
    just as no two paths are the same
    Two friends
    bound forever in a friendship
    a friendship meant to be
    in this moment and hopefully the next

  19. mmarie

    (In addition to the daily challenge, I’ll be using an all-encompassing theme of “self-acceptance” to link all my poems together this month)

    How to Get the Final Word
    by M. Marie

    My last comment
    is hanging heavy
    and final
    and victorious
    between us.

    I feel the first
    rush of pleasure
    from having
    my piece

    and having
    our peace

    but I see her
    mouth opening,
    and her eyes flashing.
    I know our
    is about to be thrown into
    conflict again.

    So before she can speak-
    before she can
    start the argument anew-
    I rush forward,
    grab her face
    and kiss her
    until her anger is doused
    and any lingering complaints
    fade away.

  20. JayGee2711

    How Is Why

    How is why
    I take a song
    and shape it to
    a painted flower.

    Why is how
    a daisy stays
    framed and
    sitting pretty
    in my hand.

    Julie Germain

  21. Siofra Alexander

    How I wish cotton candy clouds would come rescue me
    Síofra Alexander

    How I wish cotton candy clouds would come rescue me
    to offer me their sweetness and innocence
    and take me to a place I’ve never seen—
    a childhood where tears only came to eyes to watch baby birds fly for the first time;
    a childhood where laughter was genuine laughter
    and not a year round Halloween mask of trick-or-treat,
    begging, I come as a forced expression of normalcy,
    so please, please, give me cotton candy clouds
    and accept me.

    How I wish cotton candy clouds would have come to rescue me
    to be the wind lifting my hair from my shoulders
    to be the song singing to me in the spring
    instead of the onset of a midnight torrent of storm and screams.

    How I wish
    that I didn’t have to wish
    for cotton candy clouds to come rescue me.

  22. Angie Werren

    how to fix a broken plate

    at each other unable to

    how you ever got to this

    your fist on the

    let him see you

    as he leaves the

    pick up the broken pieces
    arrange them the way they used to be

    it glued together

    — angie werren

  23. Delaina Miller

    How Lovely

    The light that draws the moth to its flame.
    Like Peale’s Venus Rising from the Sea:
    A Deception. Why are we drawn to it?
    The mystery that hides behind the drape.
    The anticipation of the vulnerable
    being revealed. The recognized
    connection of sacrifice and desire.
    Between the backdrop and the stage curtain
    we understand the unseen as our own grace.

  24. A. Ault

    How to Breathe

    Start with stillness
    or uncover it
    or start where
    you are

    Then let the
    air come in to you
    in a rush
    or take your time
    to fill

    Allow the stillness
    to be
    who you are

    Feel release
    akin to wind
    as it leaves
    feel where
    it touches

    And the air
    another time
    coaxing, releasing,

  25. azkbc

    How Growing Old Works Best

    Keep busy.
    Keep your mind occupied.
    Memorize something every day
    to stave off dementia.
    Poems flow, I said.
    Memorize poems.
    Turn playing cards,
    put one on top of the other.
    What was that one below?
    Do the deck.
    Keep your mind busy.

    Keep busy.
    Go to the gym
    at least four days a week.
    Use machines. Lift weights.
    Sweat. But I don’t sweat with yoga.
    Yesterday we did flying dragon vinyasa.
    I sweat. Walk every day.
    When you sit, get up every half hour
    and move around. Stand on your toes.
    Keep your body busy.

    Keep busy.
    Drink water. Eat fish, chicken and pork.
    If you eat animal protein at all.
    Cut back on red meat.
    Eat vegetables and fruit.
    Drink more water and coffee.
    Count to five then eat nine.
    Eat good fiber.
    Eat calcium for your bones.
    Keep your body well nourished

    Keep busy.
    Attend to your mind and your body.
    That’s how growing old works best.

  26. LeighSpencer

    How to Find the Ones

    It’s not enough
    for them to say

    “Let your freak flag fly!”

    If they intend to look on
    from a distance

    Shaking their heads
    smiling knowingly
    at the other onlookers

    Sharing a joke
    a criticism
    at your expense

    as they enjoy the show
    of your life

    If you want to find
    your people

    Tribe, family, whatever

    Wait for the ones
    who add their banners to yours

    Help you pull the rope
    as high as it will go
    then higher

    Stand with you around the flagpole
    enjoying the welcome shade
    and pleasant breeze

  27. MarieJason


    Howdy Howbeit However
    Was the name of the trusted Howitzer —
    For he howdy’d with heated hullabulloo
    And made our hobbledehoy hillbilly boys hoot-n-hoo
    When havoc hindered lands far from home with hostile hoodoo.

  28. Asha1000

    How Not To Be An Engineer Poet

    Shh, do not open
    your mouth without a key
    pad lock your specs
    in secret UPS cabinets

    Listen: your job is to add
    up numbers, count
    the times you say, “Yes, Sir!”

    Your job is not to add
    clarity to plans
    or write power words
    that electrify

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  29. Diana Ann Bisares

    How to be a Woman

    She brushes her hair a hundred strokes in the morning
    and a hundred more before bed.
    Put her lip gloss on over
    the red lipstick she painted earlier, hiding
    those swollen purple lips.

    Those pale cheeks, she gives them life
    with a powdery cake and a brush,
    wishing the next guy on the street
    would smile when he sees her blush —
    Is it even enough to lift her ego?

    She has more than nine colors in her drawer
    to paint more than a rainbow on her nails…
    and maybe on her dreams buried somewhere else.
    She adores her feet and hands for a while
    until they wear out — her soul.

    Shall we talk about her narrow hips?
    her flat butt and her pea-sized tits?
    Shall we point out how her lashes are
    like strings of confidence cut down short?

    Is she being a woman enough?

    Her eyebrows are too thick
    her thighs too close together, bumping.
    Her cleverness — oh, never mind,
    Her voice is too out of line.
    Indeed, she’s not being a woman enough!

    But you heard her heart beat
    before you came earthside.
    You sipped life from her before
    you’ve start telling her how to be a woman;
    questioning her power to speak her mind…

    to take her rainbows in her pocket,
    strut your territory on a pair of flats —
    or barefooted, for she is strong enough
    to live at her own will, free and magical.
    A goddess — it is how she’s being a woman.

  30. wslewis

    How Blank

    Are your words.
    Like mad libbed anticipation.
    How ______ are your thoughts.
    Stale like second hand quotes.
    Uninspiring at best.
    What hope is there to fill me with
    When even that has faded into nothingness in your heart.

  31. Khara House


    You are nervous—the night betrays
    your bones with knocks, your heart with ricochets

    the crevasse between our hips. And skin—

    all you crave
    to scissor between ravening teeth,

    to touch the meat of what is offered
    on this cotton quilted plate. Something in you

    rat-a-tat, blister booming our battlefield

    of sighs,
    of thighs.

    Come bold and silent—
    or thunder the moon to a blood red dawn

    that whispers light across
    our restless knees entwined.

  32. MarkWayneAllen

    How do I understand the meaning of life

    How do I fathom,
    The depth of anyone’s life?
    My own quirks well known,
    And other truth’s are too.
    How do I fashion a statement
    About life’s goal,
    when no one is it’s master
    And it has no foes.

    -Mark Wayne Allen

  33. Lucretia_BezBawni_Amstell

    How can I help you?

    you said it yourself, son, you’ve grown
    up and down the street is your own son

    engaged and mortgaged and not listening
    to his father either, prison is not

    the worst thing that can happen in life
    son, you may think it is, you’d think to run

    may well be an option, but running has never
    solved problems since Forest Gump, and even

    then it didn’t, not really. Living means
    fighting and losing battles, but winning

    the war without losing yourself, and if
    you’ve given up and want to let go of my
    hand, son, how can I help you?
    by Lucretia Amstell

  34. Shennon

    How Did I End Up Alone?
    (Musings by Rapunzel)

    How did I
    end up alone?
    In a tower
    With no friends
    With no pets
    With no life
    Beyond these walls
    That I hate
    Almost as much
    As the parents
    Who disowned me
    In my infancy
    Letting me age
    Letting me rot
    All by myself
    In a tower.


  35. Scollina

    How To Be Present – Part 1

    “One thing at a time.”

    Focusing on hibernation
    to slow my thinking hyperaction.

    No multi-tasking conversation
    to disturb an old man’s concentration.

    This present practice veneration
    so becomes a meditation.

  36. waplef


    How would the earth sound if it could speak

    Would it raise its voice against humanity

    How would it feel about earths new atmosphere

    Pollution everywhere, for we no longer seem to care

    How does the sky and heavens appear to be solid blue

    But all aircrafts have easy access to fly through

    How does the earth rotates on its axis constantly

    But our feet stand safely upon its surface deep

    How does water have no boundaries that the natural eyes can see

    Still the ocean draws a line that keeps us safe it seems

    How standing feet upon water would plunge into the deep

    Yet ships float for miles on the ocean winds and icy sleet

    How I sometime wonder; we all happened to be here

    What’s the secret link that connects, this space that we all share

    How all the answers that we seek are buried deep within

    The earth, the sky, the water you and I, this is how it all begins

    This is just a few things

    That keeps me wondering


  37. foodpoet


    In a week of frenzy
    for a moment I wander
    through the booths and crowds
    fingering stones seeking calm.
    I look for focus in
    an unfocused world.
    I sift layers, holding the one piece
    that sings stone to me.

    I need ground and balance,
    a break between
    ground of today
    and air of tomorrow.

    I need to uproot my fears,
    leave the past and soar
    Megan McDonald

  38. clliedekev

    How to make everything alright

    How to make everything alright,
    First put it all back inside,
    Start with the shirt and the blood,
    With the dead watch, the broken jewelry,
    All of the effort you broke down in your muscles,

    Take all of that and push it down into wishes,
    Pure, uncut wish, squeezing out through your hands,
    Then scrap that all up, put it on a plate
    And see what you can do with the scraps,
    Some days you can live just off the remainder.

    How to make everything alright,
    All better, all gone, buried in the backyard
    And forgotten, unborn baby thoughts,
    the forgotten eye shadow of black eyes,
    kisses on past lovers when you were not home,

    Pull those into yourself, 2 AM, 3 AM,
    The outside cars, the inside riot, like bodies over bodies,
    Line it all up, dolls on the wall and see what measures,
    The details drawn down as scars, labeled,
    Add them to your own flesh like a bird building a nest,
    You know how to do that, time and time again.

  39. hazelontheskyline

    How to Know You Write
    Jasmine Zou

    You have words coiled around your stomach
    They run through your veins
    Between the lines on your hand
    The soft tip of your finger.

    You think loud enough that you can see thoughts materialize sometimes
    On a slip of paper, or
    Tangled in strands of a girl’s hair: russet–no–copper–no–chestnut cooking over a bonfire, or
    Covering your ceiling at night, ghostly whispers of heart-wrenching tales that no one else will ever hear… someday, maybe.

    You are so full you might just burst
    The itch burning like white flames licking
    Head brimming, heart overflowing, lungs straining for air–
    If you burst, you know what spills out won’t be blood.

  40. Jasmine

    How to Know You Write
    Jasmine Zou

    You have words coiled around your stomach
    They run through your veins
    Between the lines on your hand
    They soft tip of your finger.

    You think loud enough that you can see thoughts materialize sometimes
    On a slip of paper, or
    Tangled in strands of a girl’s hair: russet–no–copper–no–chestnut cooking over a bonfire, or
    Covering your ceiling at night, ghostly whispers of heart-wrenching tales that no one else will ever hear… someday, maybe.

    You are so full you might just burst
    The itch burning like white flames licking
    Head brimming, heart overflowing, lungs straining for air–
    If you burst, you know what spills out won’t be blood.

  41. Jennifer Peach

    by jennifer peach.

    with your whole heart. tethered down into a soft mass that beats his name,
    but do not speak it. don’t try to stop it from staining your skin with a shade of gold
    that makes strangers crave it.
    let your lungs nearly collapse when you see an open sky, then quickly decide
    to change the things you’ve never liked about yourself.
    tell yourself you can reach out to him once you have made these changes.
    tell yourself he is happier this way.
    avoid the music. avoid excuses. avoid dates.
    remember that it takes more strength this way. see the light in him still,
    ocean-heart, angel eyes, and do the thing they are right to warn against.
    love him through it.

  42. JMKnott

    “How will I be Remembered?”

    My best friend died today. It was
    sudden and relatively unexpected, as if
    it ever really isn’t. He was an artist. Not
    unknown, but not exactly famous. He
    won’t be followed by offspring; he was the
    last of a line going back to Plymouth Rock.
    He was a walking catalog of all things old
    school. An encyclopedia of the 60’s and 70’s
    who forgot NOTHING. And himself, and his
    knowledge, and experiences, and uniqueness
    are all gone now. All that’s left is his art and even
    he would tell you it’s a half-assed effort and he should
    have practiced more.

    I’m the last of my line as well, and all of me will die
    when I do. I’d best get busy on my art.

  43. pipersfancy

    how we live

    how we live

    defines who we are,
    or will become,

    who we will touch,
    or be touched by

    in a lifetime
    of uncertainty

    so, it is wise
    to be certain of

    how we live

  44. feywriter

    “How to Catch a Fairy”

    Fairies like a place to frolic–
    explore a forest glade,
    find a playful willow,
    or circle of shrooms.

    Fairies love gifts—
    entice them with
    a trail of flowers,
    berries and sparkly things.

    Fairies want to dance—
    like a pied piper,
    lure them with a spritely tune
    played on harp, flute, fiddle.

    Fairies need a home—
    provide a roof made for doll or bird,
    or create one just for them,
    and their loyalty is yours alone.

    –Mary W. Jensen

  45. JoAnnAnglin

    Interpretations, by JoAnn Anglin

    How do we even make sense of each other?
    Every word with so many meanings. Place
    a demand: Pay attention to me! Listen, we say,
    starting a sentence that matters little. Or much.
    Sometimes we write it out: Is this what you
    mean? Our asking disguised as command,
    the answer delivered on hummingbird wings,
    carrying the meaning up, down, upside
    down. Too fast to see.

    What is not taught is the language beyond words.
    It would have helped to understand unplanned
    gestures, averted eyes, forced grin, almost
    imperceptible leaning of one body toward another.
    Notice how shoulders may slump in humility or fear.
    There are many ways to assert, or to cower.
    Some require smiling.

  46. J.lynn Sheridan

    How we knew the storm was over

    A slow fresh breeze blows with ease
    and the light of day sweet talks us
    into peeking at the curtain of dusk.

    The sky is teal and silver like the ocean waves.
    Maybe some day we’ll know the warmth
    of a beach or collect sea shells in our pockets.

    But, for now we take our first deep
    breath since the cherry trees blossomed.
    The winds are long and labored. They
    soar upon our awakening flames of hope.

    We’ve been pretending we’re alive far
    too long, swooning in spring breezes while
    the candles sing their last song.

    Taking is not the sin we believed—
    A bee siphons honey. A painter gathers colors.
    A singer receives a song and we feed each
    other the fruit of patience and passion.

    Now there are fresh raspberries. And now
    we have crepes. Now the aroma of bread is
    our friend. And now the music welcomes
    us as a lost lover.

  47. mschied

    How to survive a day at school – the necessary elements

    1. smile –
    a parting of the upper lip
    from the lower lip
    that exposes the human dentition
    (don’t let it slip)

    2. purpose –
    a rightness of being in this time
    in this place
    which imbues your raison d’etre
    in this space

    3. laughter –
    an uncontainable eruption
    of humorous gasses
    which might have the whole room
    falling on their *****

    4. love –
    an unconditional fire
    that drives you through
    gives spark to your passion
    to do what you do

  48. stephamm

    how fabulous

    how fabulous that you are from New York and write only about New York things because New York is the center of the universe or rather its most important, most subversive margin.

    how fabulous that you own a ferrari. how do you spell ferarri anyway?

    how fabulous that you will be visiting me from Germany for an entire month. thanks for not checking with me first, and drinking my entire supply of riesling.

    how fabulous that the buses only run once an hour or so, because that way you have to drive your car. your ferarri if you have one.

    how fabulous that the literary life is basically volunteer because you get psychic credit as our governor once said. or was that psychological? or did he say that about academics.

    how fabulous that the weather is so unseasonable. isn’t it great that this whole global warming rumor has been quashed?

    how fabulous really means like a fairy tale, unreal, strange, surprising, and therefore actually pretty darned interesting.

  49. zwrite1

    How to be a Serious Poet

    Focus on your pain.
    Laud Victimhood status.
    Be morose, defiant,
    outraged, offer problems,
    not solutions.
    Ignore beauty.
    Ignore kindness.
    Talk about your problems,
    lost love,
    personal injury,
    rape, incest,
    prison, injustice,
    how you were slighted,

    Forget that it is a beautiful day
    and personal power,
    the things that make you happy,
    friendships, family,
    and faith, especially


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