2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

Every year, I do a few speaking appearances around the country, and this year I’m actually going to be leaving the country–headed north of the border and Vancouver to Squamish, British Columbia, Canada for the Quest Writer’s Conference. I’ll be one of the Fellows, and the faculty includes Alicia Ostriker, Oliver de la Paz, Joy Harjo, Gregory Orr, and Rebecca Brown. Learn more here.

For today’s prompt, write a damage poem. Since my baby brother is a storm chaser, my mind usually jumps straight to storm damage. However, there’s more than the physical damage created by things like hurricanes, trains, and war planes. There’s also the emotional and psychological damage we inflict, survive, and conceal. The bright side of any damage is that it can be transformed into a poem.


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 Damage Poem:


the dishwasher is broken,
but i didn’t break it &

neither did you. sometimes things
just break & we have to learn

how to fix them. the dishes
need washed, the laundry needs cleaned,

& the dishwasher needs re-
paired if you know what i mean.


Today’s guest judge is…

Kim Addonizio (photo by Lin Tan)

Kim Addonizio (photo by Lin Tan)

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio’s most recent book is My Black Angel: Blues Poems and Portraits, with woodcuts by Charles D. Jones. Her previous books include five poetry collections, two novels, and two books of stories, as well as two books on writing: The Poet’s Companion and Ordinary Genius.

Her next collection, Mortal Trash, is due out from W.W. Norton in 2016. Her work has been awarded a Guggenheim, two NEA Fellowships, and other honors.

Visit her online at www.kimaddonizio.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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868 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 12

  1. 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)

    Day 12 – Damage

    Break Up
    by M. Marie

    He smashed her things
    when he moved
    She came home to
    an empty apartment;
    her possessions &
    her memories
    s h a t t e r e d
    on the stained

    to her knees,
    she spent the rest of
    the night
    and carefully
    gathering up


    of her previous
    what could be
    what should be
    and what
    she was now
    so very much
    better off


  2. LDeAngelis


    I kept watch
    your bedside,
    looking for all the mistakes I made
    and when they would
    show up
    on your face.
    for fault lines
    even at rest.

    for the lead shoe
    to drop
    and break
    the foundation of the house
    that was solidly built.
    to the idea
    that there are things that can
    shatter the bedrock
    and leave us hanging
    in the air
    in suspense of
    the drop.


    isn’t only reserved for the hopeful.

  3. seingraham


    When I let my heart quiet,
    out of a stillness unused,
    songs unheard until now
    rise out of the detritus
    left by a soul torn to shreds.

    Born in blood gone black,
    a pulse slows to imperfect
    rhythm, fights with itself
    —should it go on or go out—
    scars grown over wounds win.

  4. Martina Dansereau


    Inside of you is a shipwreck:
    hull torn away to skeletal ribs,
    empty cavern, devastation painted with your name.
    You will want to lie down in the ocean
    and let your body turn to sea foam,
    let the waves pound you into a shape
    less sharp, something with softer edges,
    something fragile, something that will hurt less
    when he touches it. Your chipped clamshell of a heart
    seeps apologies that sink to the ocean floor.
    Inside of you is a shipwreck:
    you have been drowning for a long time.
    It will never completely go away,
    this desperation like smoke in your lungs,
    this hunger twisting a claw through your heart.
    You have learned to swallow
    the saltwater without choking.
    You have been suffocating for so long
    that breathing is no longer natural, not since
    you carved gills into your wrists
    and pretended to be a mermaid.
    Now you are a shipwreck, now you are
    something from the deep, now no one
    can predict what perils lie below your surface.
    Crack the shell in which he locked
    your voice and sing sweet so he will follow
    and throw himself on your jagged rocks,
    your serrated maw. Devour him in pieces:
    first the hands that held the scalpel
    he thrust into your soul, then his liver,
    his kidneys, his heart, and save his head for last
    so you can hold it underwater and whisper
    you did this to me, now see what I’ve become.
    Inside of you is a shipwreck,
    and it is full of creatures with teeth.

  5. AmyA


    Our house looks fine from the outside,
    The bricks are undisturbed,
    Orderly in their dutch bond pattern,
    As they were a century ago
    When the masons
    Stuffed newspapers between the walls for insulation.
    We found a dated one, once,
    When those bricks were repointed.

    The inside is a different matter.
    Mold blooms like cauliflower fleurets
    On the surface of the paint
    And deeper,
    Where I pry with a spackle knife
    To excise the punky plaster
    And mildewy musk
    From the inwardly withering wall.

    We, too, look fine in photos,
    Upstanding and handsome,
    Smiling and still pretty,
    After so many years.

    But on the inside,
    The walls of my heart
    Are blossoming with rot.

    Amy Appleton

  6. Khara House

    Brown Boy’s Broken Sonnet

    Child, how happy you are
    with broken things, with stick games
    played with broken limbs stretching
    the hours of a shattered
    summer day, sun slipping beneath
    a twilight fissure. Ride and ride

    asphalt ‘til it splinters
    like the skin of your knee. All blood
    and sweat on cotton tees
    hung fresh on laundry lines
    tended by a mother’s
    spine in a clay and resined yard.

    Take to the night with broken wings,
    throwing stones against this curtained globe
    to try and make a dent—to make your mark
    on the only world you’ve known.

  7. Susan Budig


    Behind their hand, they raise questions
    Even so, no good suggestion
    Could be heard above their natter
    They mostly sought to flatter
    To legitimize their indiscretion

    My son charged with possession
    His fate sealed by coerced confession
    They ask themselves, What’s the matter
    Behind their hand

    My head won’t hang for his transgression
    But my hearts reels from my concession
    To these neighbors who on a platter
    Would place his head with callous blather
    Evil is their blessed obsession
    Behind their hand

  8. mschied

    Hidden scars

    He looks fine
    smiling through the glass
    trim and debonair
    in his grey suit
    with the natty silk tie
    half-Windsored around his neck

    and the lady at his side
    tightly curled rolls of salt and pepper
    framing her handsome face
    She too looks at the lens, but
    you can sense, rather than see
    the sidelong glances
    they toss to each other
    assured of the loving
    embraces they will receive

    But look closer

    the frozen moment
    superficial at best
    for what it does not show

    the fright in his eyes as
    fireworks turn to bombs
    whistling sparklers to
    falling missiles
    and firecrackers to the
    shots of a machine gun
    in a B-24 turret

    the chartreuse hue
    that floods his face
    when the aroma
    of tender lamb
    succulent to many
    hearkens back to days
    of near starvation

    the smooth forehead
    on her face
    crinkled with
    lost hope
    when a message
    arrived on yellow
    telegram paper
    with the words
    “Missing in Action”

    the child
    unseen in the picture
    lost before she
    was able to grow up
    to hear her
    father’s screams of terror
    in the night

    the other child
    who did survive
    who grew up
    to tell the tale
    ot the scars
    the picture
    does not
    as her children
    look at the portrait
    of their grandparents

  9. Kaylast


    Time was to blame
    For the crack that disrupted the surrounding forest

    And maybe the blasting
    From the railroad didn’t help

    But time ultimately
    Sent the side of the mountain tumbling 300 feet.

  10. waplef

    She cried into the night
    And like a waterfall,
    Her tears flowed downward
    She’s completely broken
    By morning break
    She accepted her fate
    With lingering pain
    In time, it may subside again
    Looking in the mirror
    Reflective vision of her shadow
    She searched her soul for answers
    But no comfort was found
    How… could… she… be… so… blind
    Common questions came to mind
    Still no reasons to feel enraged
    Sometimes love inflicts damage

  11. Jane Shlensky

    Previous posting missed a stanza. My thanks to Nancy Posey for helping me post while I was away.


    She’s partial to wounded men,
    their jagged scars like weathered ropes
    that tie her down.

    She’s pretty sure they’re not at fault—
    or if they are, at least they’ve paid
    in pain tight-wound.

    Dark twisty turns within their heads,
    she thinks kindness assuages, hurts
    she´s primed to nurse.

    She favors pity over love,
    as if it heals memory’s mars,
    and that’s her curse.

    She´s not a stranger to deep hurt,
    for she wants tales they´re loathe to tell,
    words she can trust.

    She´s wounded too—by wounded men
    who fight their wars again and then
    give not a crust.

  12. horselovernat

    Beware the Path Less Traveled By

    I followed the path of bleeding lies
    when, from a puddle, came two green eyes.
    One step closer, then I fell,
    caught up in the corpse’s spell.

    Twisting, turning, the fire burning,
    left or right, no time for learning.
    Stuck in a maze of cruel design;
    a journey lost, the fault is mine.

    Crumpled, broken, slipped through the wall,
    in thundering voice I heard the call.
    Ghostly hand does reach and take,
    these scar’s a gift from Satan’s snake.

    Natalie Gasper

  13. A. Ault


    There were limbs
    torn, shattered, broken
    and leaves
    moments from yesteryear
    between never happened
    and never will

    I saw the damage
    the storm created
    in your heart
    a clear path
    miles long
    wedged widely enough
    passed your neighbors

    You lived through
    thirty seconds
    we threw away
    thirty years
    for 18 months

    And this transition
    from solid and stone
    to broken scraps
    lost materials
    will last the lifetime
    of wind.

    A. Ault

  14. JocyMedina

    I am not breathing
    air is missing from my lungs
    like that gorgeous pair of earrings
    I lost long time ago.

    I am not speaking
    voices break up in my throat
    my head feels as if it’s sinking
    in an ocean with no boat

    I no longer say tomorrow
    For a while seems I have stopped
    My thoughts drawn in their own sorrow
    Wine already broke them all.

    My all is broken
    and all the pieces have a hole.

    By Jocy Medina

  15. Lucretia_BezBawni_Amstell


    there’s only a thin wall between us
    and I’ve known them all my life

    she invites me for tea every Sunday
    and he washes his car twice a day

    her smile today is no different from
    every Sunday smile she wears, maybe

    her tea is a little colder than usual
    but I’m seeping it anyway, looking

    with a tickling curiosity at a cup
    that is lying on the floor and maybe

    I shouldn’t linger on the thought, it’s merely
    a cup. She acts like she doesn’t notice

    but I do notice a crack splitting
    the cup from top to bottom. So what?

    it’s lying in a stain of coffee, fresh
    and there’s nothing special about

    the scene, but she’s very meticulous
    about cleaning, and he’s very meticulous

    about her. When it’s time to go
    they both see me to the door

    her hands are restless, and he hasn’t
    touched the cake she baked. I hug her,

    holding her close for a second longer
    than usual, watching the cup. I notice

    the same coffee stain on the wall and
    another little one on her bare shoulder
    by Lucretia Amstell

  16. Anya Padyam

    Life, as I know, is broken
    Without a means to mend

    Days go on just a token
    No joy to nurture or tend

    Dull and gray everything seems
    Without a hope to clutch on

    Not a ray of bright gleams
    Nor hopes of a dazzling dawn

  17. JayGee2711

    After the Passenger Pigeon

    Clouds without wings, somewhere may
    a forest hold you; sunset
    breast, the rising/falling

    of your breath, disguised among
    the leaves. Soft-feathered nests
    and baby birds with heavy

    heads, safely hidden in
    the trees, sheltered by the
    moonless dark and the

    steady echo of
    your ever-beating heart.

    Julie Germain

  18. Diana Ann Bisares

    My Mother’s Memories

    I wrote these memories on her papers —
    the blotted scraps of paper on her desk:
    Unfinished recipes
    grocery lists
    her wants-to-have, but never had…
    and short notes:
    her memories of him
    in puzzles.

    I wrote my memories of her in colors —
    the dark shades of red,
    then the blue
    then swirled more of the purple
    but there was never a yellow or a green.
    I love yellow.

    I wrote my memories of him with a pen without ink —
    leaving dents behind her own writings
    on these scraps of paper.
    She left them on her desk.

    I put them down on her desk:
    I smiled and left.


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