2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

After today, we’ll be half way through this challenge. It’s hard to believe, but April is flying by.

For today’s prompt, pick an adjective, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. If you’re feeling stuck on this one, go back through your poems earlier this month and find adjectives you used–if any. Or crack open a dictionary. Or scan other poems for ideas.


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Here’s my attempt at an Adjective-Titled Poem:


what do you do
when you’ve dried up all the glue
what do you say
when you’ve used up all the tape
how do you hope
when you’ve run all out of rope
how do you start
when you’ve got a broken heart

where do you run
when the clouds block out the sun
where do you hide
when the darkness spreads inside
how do you love
when you break down & above
& how to start
when you’ve got a broken heart

can’t fix nothing
when you’ve got a broken heart


Today’s guest judge is…

Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios is the author of 10 books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. In August 2013, Rios was named Arizona’s first state poet laureate.

His collections include The Dangerous Shirt; The Theater of Night, winner of the 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award; The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, finalist for the National Book Award; and Whispering to Fool the Wind, which won the Walt Whitman Award.

In 2014, Rios was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.


Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

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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.

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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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891 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

  1. mmarie

    by M. Marie

    and feminine.

    Unconcerned and uncaring
    the comments
    and criticisms,
    the sharp words
    and sly glances
    cast in his direction.


    So strong
    in the way
    he presents himself
    and in the way
    he respects himself.

    This is who he is.

    This is how he owns it.

    With an
    passion for life
    that is
    and beautifully
    of the approval of others,
    he lives in a way
    that is


    and above all else-


    1. mmarie

      Sorry! Formatting error.

      by M. Marie

      and feminine.

      Unconcerned and uncaring
      the comments
      and criticisms,
      the sharp words
      and sly glances
      cast in his direction.


      So strong
      in the way
      he presents himself
      and in the way
      he respects himself.

      This is who he is.

      This is how he owns it.

      With an
      passion for life
      that is
      and beautifully
      of the approval of others,
      he lives in a way
      that is


      and above all else-


  2. G.Wood


    Holy, holy, holy,
    Lord God Almighty,
    for the last time, honey,
    quit jumping on the back of the cart.

    No, we’re not getting Little Debbies.
    They’re not healthy.
    I don’t know why.

    Holy, Moly, mackerel!
    Stop pulling the shoes off the shelf!
    We’re shopping for Scarlett because
    her foot grew. Not you. Not your turn.

    Holy hell.
    We are not getting Frozen t-shirts.
    We don’t even like Elsa anymore.
    Because she is annoying.
    Let it go. I mean, put it back.

    Holy, Holy, Holy—shut
    the door to the freezers!
    We’re not getting popsicles!
    It’s winter. No one eats
    popsicles in the winter.
    it’s a rule.

    Holy Mary Mother of God,
    help me.
    help me mother them,
    give sage advice
    if you have any
    having raised
    the son of man.

    ***I posted this the day-of but for some reason it didn’t go through

  3. ilovepoets


    1: Bedtime barrage, brain in fast forward re-play.
    All tabs open. Creative crisis, dream crashers. Wakeful.

    2: No forethought, free range children everywhere.

    3: Rabbit stereotype. Sparrows, squirrels, more squirrels.
    Peanuts grow in my flower beds, a stash crop.

    4: First blush of dandelion, vast. Yellow clouds settle on grass,
    soon blow like snow. Carrot-like root dig down,
    leaves sweet wine.

    5: Bird-split chaff of sunflower grounded in winter. Raking, raking.

    6: Clothing falls off, wire fallopian triangles multiply.

    7: Pines drop their young. Dry, feathered, fire-starters.

    8: Random as a sample, filling in small circles with #2 lead.

    9: Sea life hidden, awash in darkness.

    10: Adjectives: big, small, white, blue, green, mysterious, fun, prolific.

  4. JMKnott


    I have always respected the god or spirit
    in most objects I encounter. Sometimes
    they are easy to see, like in dogs or toads
    or rabbits or snakes, each one clearly
    represents itself by being only like it
    can be. It is true of trees and plants as well,
    and bodies of water from mill ponds
    to the greatest oceans. Insects, clouds,
    even vegetables sway and dance for me and
    let me know they know I can see them.

    It is not so for many people, and when someone
    asks me if I believe in “God,” I always have the urge
    to say “any but the one that holds humans in
    higher regard than other creatures.”

  5. AmyA


    That word he used,
    Decades ago,
    Stays with me still:

    Odd choice
    For the description
    Of an academic career,
    But that’s how he saw education,

    As a galaxy,
    A celestial plane
    With vast room
    For heavenly aspirations.

    Ironic, for he was the shimmering one,
    Gone now,
    His ready smile,
    Italic pen,
    Contemplative mind.

    Strange that I only remember one word
    Of his comments that June morning.
    Only now,
    In retrograde,
    Do I realize that I
    Am older at this moment
    Than he was when
    Giving our graduation speech,
    In a different universe.

    Amy Appleton

  6. jonesy1260


    The intensity of his propensity
    To make me call his name
    Got me laughing at the baffling
    Way he frowned up when he came
    To the decision that his mission
    Was to beat me at my own game
    See, our affliction is our addiction
    To putting out the flames

  7. waplef


    I am not sure
    I guess some days
    It takes very little effort
    To make me sway
    But there are other days
    When my heart, would hurt, so deeply
    It would invade me, for days or weeks
    It seems
    But I would try, desperately
    To find relief
    Because I guess, somewhere inside
    I’ve come to realize
    That forgiveness… is not for the person
    That inflicted the pain
    But it is available, to help us
    Find peace again
    If I looked outwardly… and wondered what
    I would like to change, about my life
    Like everyone
    I would add more zeros, to my bank account
    But inwardly
    My peculiar mind… works mysteriously
    Like data, I am forever processing
    Your spoken words
    Creates images, in my mind
    And while I am listening,
    It constructs and designs
    You see, I love the power of words
    It is my playground
    It always puts a smile within my soul
    I guess… when I think about it
    I am a bit weird
    But in all reality
    I think I am
    Who I was meant to be
    And deep within
    This is what makes me happy

  8. mschied


    Applying for admission to the OED:
    (if that exalted bastion of lexicography
    won’t admit, we’ll knock on Webster’s door)

    An apt term to describe the
    which accompanies the
    failure of multitasking
    which befalls
    any individual
    who tries in vain
    to get things done
    esp. when the misplacing
    of important
    complicates matters

    Part of speech:

    Colloq. Eng., esp.
    in paperwork-dependant

    State of mind:

  9. Khara House


    We see him walking—glistened plum
    indigo shade with shoulders dusted by rain
    that sends floured moth-wing steam
    ghosting from the cobblestone street,

    head bowed to the sky that weeps
    at his coming, or so it seems, hair a tangle
    of locks knotted like ebony spines
    down his back. Hands hid in pockets,

    never ours to hold, only to want,
    to ache for, hip bone deep
    against skin tingling in memory
    of an unfamiliar touch. Sipping bitter

    black coffee and saffron tea
    we hunt him lioness with eyes
    shaded behind the sanctity
    of tempered lust.

    Well, you say
    as he fades into the shadows
    of a corner’s turn, wasn’t that
    a sight for sore eyes?

  10. MadPoet


    The wind howls furiously as it beats
    Branches against the windowpane.
    Let it blow.

    Snow piles in corners and cervices.
    Blown by the wind as it falls.
    Let it snow.

    Temperatures fall to frigid levels
    Turning all liquid into ice.
    Let it freeze.

    I am snuggled all warm and comfortable
    Cozy in my snug, downy comforter.
    So let it blow, snow and freeze.

  11. LeighSpencer


    Everything smells like chlorine
    but not in an unpleasant way

    The floor is slick
    water with oily sunblock rainbows on top

    I slid in the bathroom
    changing into my bathing suit

    I am extra conscious of my steps now

    I walk past the fat woman
    sitting on the bench
    looking miserable
    in all her clothes

    Her kids are splashing and laughing
    in the wave pool nearby

    It’s hot
    even in the shade
    and I know
    she wishes she could join them in the pool

    My smile goes unreturned

    More than that
    am I imagining I see contempt in her eyes?
    Or could it be envy?

    Because I’m the other fat woman here

    Fatter and older than she is, even
    but I am newly brave

    5 years ago, maybe less
    I would have claimed my spot
    next to her on the bench

    Both of us knowing
    the only reason you stay dressed
    and unswimming poolside
    is to punish yourself for being


    So you accept your place on the sidelines,
    leave the joy and cute bathing suits
    to the thin, fit, and more perfect

    According to some unspoken, unwritten pool rules
    that everyone knows

    I know (now)
    the only rules that matter:

    No horseplay
    No glass bottles
    No swimming without a lifeguard on duty

    Those are the only rules

    I also know you stand out
    as the only one fully dressed at a pool

    Even more than I stand out
    as the fat chick in the bathing suit

    Proper uniform, even considering
    cellulite on pale flesh
    flabby arms matching drumstick legs
    thin white stretch marks barely visible
    on the tops of both massive breasts

    This ridiculous swim skirt
    clinging to me
    hiding nothing
    my security blanket all the same
    for the baby steps I take
    careful not to slip backwards
    to your spot from mine

    Dressed on the bench
    or swimming in the pool

    They can still tell, you know

    Move on

    Our bodies are not a secret

    The only difference is
    the water and feels wonderful

    Almost as wonderful as knowing
    my kids will remember
    not how fat I was
    but how much fun we had together
    that day at the pool

  12. A. Ault


    It could never be pink
    it could never dilute so far
    or purple, so completely
    out of the question
    Not maroon, or wine
    or a fuchsia shade of burgundy

    It must be Red.
    True, vibrant, Red
    Nothing added
    or taken away
    Red in its purest
    and only form.

    That, is what I wait for,
    and Red
    is what it must be.

    A. Ault

  13. Kaissi Collins


    The goose bumps form
    Despite my coat, hood on
    Gloves, hands in pockets
    The wind blows my hair
    Skin beginning to numb
    As I shiver, breath forming
    Small clouds in front of me
    The clear, sunny sky deceives
    Has no warmth to rescue me
    Lips chapping, bouncing on my toes
    Dreaming of a shower and
    A cup of tea

  14. Jane Shlensky


    Melted ice cream gums
    his chubby fingers,
    his cherub mouth.

    She’s stuck on him,
    wet-wiping his smudges,
    wanting simultaneously

    to suck sweetness from him
    and to avoid the stickiness
    of motherhood, all that

    drooling love, all that muliebrity,
    residual singular self-hood,
    dripping like molten wax

    down her sensible legs
    over her comfortable shoes
    and puddling at her feet.

  15. horselovernat


    In shadow
    hides the deepest well,
    beyond a dark, imposing wall,
    that rests behind
    a vanguard of trees,
    protected by thorns,
    and wolves,
    and vines.

    It promises revelation,
    insight, foresight, understanding,
    knowledge, and wisdom.
    To each, it calls a
    different cry,
    the siren song
    which none can fight,
    that cannot sound
    within the light.

    Come hither, it cries, I do not bite!
    The path be simple, through
    fields of grass bathed
    in bright sunshine.
    Each person blinded
    by the promises of their ears,
    as the sun gives way
    to a clouded moon,
    the force by which
    the forest thrives.

    Few can make it past
    these guardians, for they’ve
    stood tall for a thousand years
    and shall for a thousand more,
    fueled by the weak who
    could not resist,
    their blood now flowing
    beneath the roots.

    If any have reached
    the wall, they have not
    seen it fit to return,
    to share what rings out
    in the night:
    the call of dreams
    that none have fought for.

    Natalie Gasper

  16. stepstep


    Not only about the way you talk
    Nor the swagger in the way you walk,
    It’s deeper than any physical connection
    Special is such for your protection.

    You maintain such deep devotion
    You invoke true emotion,
    Each day that goes whizzing by
    Exhibits how hard you try.

    To always be by my side
    With support that’s true and tried,
    Special is all of your attention
    Special is all we discuss and mention.


  17. JocyMedina

    (To Rom Houben, 23 years old boy trapped inside his body)

    Some signed papers saying that I am dead
    Mom signed papers asking to never pull the plug
    Here she comes, I can hear her breathing closer
    Here she is, she is now giving me a hug.

    I did hear them:
    “good for nothing”
    “there is nothing we can do”
    But I am here inside these doors
    Where I have been now for long
    Crying tears for her love
    Hoping I could say
    “I love you mom”

    I’m trapped
    and have Ouija in my head
    Moving pieces in a book
    That’s called:
    “Trapped in my solitude”
    But I called it:
    “I truly love you mom”
    Because you are the only one that knows:
    That while I’m dead, I am alive
    And I owe that to you.

    Jocy B Medina

  18. Siofra Alexander

    Síofra Alexander

    there are signs carved
    into the limbs
    stretching from a dead piece of meat
    that crawls across the ground
    as if it were alive,

    an attempt to cast a spell
    that will project
    the image
    of a normal life,


    meaningless jumble of atoms

    shoved together to sit and watch
    the clock,

    hands tick by,
    tick tock,

    and this pile of nothing waits,
    for an answer to know
    if it should stay here
    or if it should go

    to join the landfill of discarded scraps
    the hell where all is forgotten
    and silence is the material
    that builds
    the shell
    the cell
    of polluted minds—
    anomalies that bounce
    up and down
    within confined spaces
    suspended within the cracks
    of glass
    on the surface of a watch
    crafted by an unknown maker

  19. Xairos


    So exhausted I may just dissolve in a puddle
    if I make the effort to stand up,
    and so exhausted
    all the gears in my head are spinning
    and won’t slow down.
    Driving two or three hours
    on fast highways with orange construction cones,
    slower roads with pot holes
    plus that dip in the road
    grown almost as big as my car.
    Now the wheels are revving and spinning
    inside my head as if preparing
    to take the track at the Pocono Raceway.
    People around me all day
    thoughts stretching me like a rubber band
    in our kitten’s teeth.
    Writer, singers, immigrant,
    bishop, teachers, librarian,
    forester, father, poets reading,
    water on the rocks in the lake,
    chickadees, silverware clanking,
    a bathroom fan, the clock alarm
    trying to wrangle me out of bed,
    the directions at the store
    when I got lost part-way somewhere.
    I am so exhausted I can’t stop moving,
    shaking my legs, getting up,
    sitting down, kicking.
    I know why little children
    cry when they are weary as the sun rising
    over a hurricane’s leavings.
    But just so tired, I can
    not stop racing,
    soooo exhausted,
    ready to sleep…

    ~ Margaret Lee Ferry

  20. vednyas


    Life’s fair and we’re in a fair
    In search of a fair maiden to guide to truth, destiny
    and again we’ll say life’s fair and we’re in a fair.

  21. marcy r

    Plainview, Texas, May 2014

    The wide main street of
    Plainview still oozed heat
    at five in the evening.
    The stores in the short
    flat-topped buildings
    shut their doors, all but
    the art-supply shop and gallery
    on the little side street.

    Rico and Liza invited us in
    to the half-finished space
    smelling of musty wood
    and new paint, one room
    furnished with just a broke-down
    sofa, the other boasting a display case
    full of tubes of oil paints, brushes,
    calligraphy pens, the walls hung
    with work by local artists and friends.

    There were Liza’s bright, flat
    canvases of coyotes, and eagles
    lofting over desert-scapes;
    exquisitely shaded drawings
    in plain gray pencil, done by
    a friend while he was in jail—
    now out, he couldn’t find a job,
    was selling off his art
    to make a few dollars; and
    dazzling pointillist paintings
    by an alcoholic veteran
    who’d found sobriety, god,
    and his country-gospel singing
    voice, and blew paint through
    an air-gun to make his images.

    They have art classes in the space,
    and music too, and evenings where
    folks bring food, and wine, and paint
    and draw together. Rico’s lived
    in Plainview all his life. He took us
    down the alley behind the gallery
    and showed us the gas lamps over the door
    that used to mark the entrance for Blacks,
    and Mexicans. Each group had their own
    barrio back then—poor whites too, who
    lived separate from the rich,
    the town divided by lines as plain
    as if they were painted on the streets,
    and you didn’t cross them, either.

    “Things are changing,” Rico said,
    “And we’re part of that.”

    Liza snuggled their one-year-old
    on her hip. “Maria’s a miracle—
    I wasn’t supposed to have kids,
    because of my seizures—I could’ve died,
    but I had to try,” and she and Rico
    locked eyes, love worry and dreams
    plain in their faces.

  22. Linda.E.H

    I picked the word stormy. I wrote it as a shape poem (in the form of a lightning bolt) but don’t know how to format it here. .

    Stormy weather

    takes me back to that day at the beach,
    the four of us, care-free, toes burrowing
    beneath sun-kissed sand, the ocean bubbling
    onto us as we sat on the edge of the shore
    until storm clouds captured everything
    in shadows, shocking sun-burnt skin with
    cold pearls of rain. Blustering wind sent people
    scurrying to retrieve beach towels and rafts
    before seeking shelter. We waited at the bus stop,
    watching the darkened sky come to life.
    White veins of lightning spread across a body
    of black sky and flowed downward to meet
    an ocean that now thrashed in a wild waltz
    of waves. Cramming into the over-crowded bus,
    frightened faces greeted us with silence as a crash
    of thunder kaboomed, followed by a blinding flash
    of light. You wrapped your arms and legs tighter
    around your mother, crab-like, clinging onto her torso
    as if it were a hollow cave to hide in.

    Linda Hofke

  23. madeline40


    I don’t see the need for it
    For example,
    why say,
    real world
    real woman
    real tasty
    real pickle
    real loss
    real dumb?
    Those things are real on their own.
    In fact I suggest
    we eliminate most adjectives
    and their cousins, the adverb family,
    here and now
    for real.

  24. Bonniejean Alford

    a poem by bonniejean alford

    tired of crying
    over this broken soul
    a broken life
    with choices made
    along the apparent wrong path
    trapped in unhappiness
    trapped in loneliness
    ever so trapped in this life of nonliving
    alone, an understatement of reality
    abandoned by those who promised the world
    forsaken by so many I naively called friend
    raw from the pain
    hope stripped from my very being
    my existence taken for granted
    despite all the love and care I give
    without expectation
    truth of reality sets in
    that is my reality
    broken heart
    broken relationships
    riddled in broken promises
    friendships superficial
    love the deepest lie
    emptiness prevails
    broken indeed

  25. Shennon


    The ugly duckling
    Lost his way
    No one knew his parents
    No one could say

    Why he was different
    Why he was gray
    His self-doubting finally
    Led him astray.

    He lamented his fate
    He basked in dismay
    Til the day he saw swans
    Fascinated by his array.

    Not comprehending,
    He looked away
    And caught his reflexion
    In brilliant display

    For the lake reflected
    What he could not portray
    A noble steed of a swan
    With confidence to convey.


  26. LVidal70

    (c) 2015 Lorien Vidal


    I am currently lingering in a state of up-to-here.
    It’s not explosive; not queer
    And there’s really nothing to fear…
    I do not want
    And I cannot keep on
    I am

  27. KatieHolmes2


    If only we could do things again
    & have that second chance,
    But the curtain has closed
    the show is over
    No one’s left to dance.

    So what do we do?
    Live with this burden?
    How can we let it go?
    I’ve been over this
    a thousand times
    and to ache for it
    Is all that I know.

    -Katie Lynn-

  28. stargypsy

    I’ll Be Damned…
    by Annie

    My father was a
    master in the art of
    using curse words…

    Damn or Damned
    or Dammit were
    sprinkled liberally
    through his sentences
    along with an occasional


    I inherited his ability
    to use curse words
    with finesse…
    Although my words
    run a bit more
    colorful than an
    occasional DAMN
    or HELL

    Of course…

    A proper Southern
    Lady did(does) not
    use such language
    I was always told


    I am Southern
    Never to be mistaken
    for Proper
    A Lady non the less…

    The older I get
    the more colorful my
    language becomes
    Not that I don’t
    have a vast vocabulary


    As my Mama always
    told me,
    “Sometimes you just
    have to cuss!”

    Well, I’ll be
    Mama was always right!

    Copyright © 2014 Annie – Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie

    Today’s prompt asked us to look back to previous writing for an adjective to use for the prompt … I seem to use the word ‘damn’ much too often. Perhaps I need to do the reverse of what Mark Twain suggested!

  29. Kim King


    Magnolia blossoms open blush petals––
    teacups poised on outstretched
    hands, waiting for Nephelae to steep
    and pour oolong or Earl Grey
    into painted porcelain. Drops spill
    and roll off leaf saucers, staining
    the linen tablecloth. We smell rain.

    Kim King © 2015

  30. Diane Laboda

    by Diane M. Laboda

    Was the morning soft
    at the verge of dawn but not
    quite there yet, sky not
    night-dark or day-light
    but hovering in the blue-pink
    silhouetted clouds.

    I’ve wanted to capture that soft
    almost-awake space on canvas
    but brushes do not have enough
    feather for the high clouds, cannot
    make the colors mix so the feeling
    of almost glides across
    the empty white.

    I’ve tried to put soft words
    together to say
    how that day’s beginning
    stepped cautiously across the page,
    entering like a stalking cat,
    silent, sleek, sure-footed.

    In the back of my mind is a place
    where soft pink nestles and begs
    to come forward only occasionally,
    timid of the harsh light of judgment,
    wanting only to reach
    into the next morning, softly,
    anticipating breath.

  31. CMcGowan


    Powerful, influential.
    Remarkable in ability.
    To make the masses say “Awe!”
    Which is what awesome actually means.
    Used uselessly for mundane activities
    Bearing no resemblance to splendid
    The august, intense, majestic
    Power of the influential.

  32. Brandi Noelle


    Why should I forgive you
    For the battle that we fought
    When my anger still rages
    And contrite you are not
    Selfishness and hate
    Flow through your veins
    The poison of your sharp tongue
    Masked behind the smile you feign
    Why should I forgive you
    When my wounds still bleed
    You twist the truth of our troubles
    To gain the sympathy you need
    Like a Hollywood starlet
    You play the role of victim well
    Tarnishing my reputation
    Damn you to hell
    Forgive does not mean to forget
    Your wicked soul is toxic to the core
    With the toughest armor I guard my heart
    Against your next inevitable act of war
    Forgiveness sets you free
    Or so the wise ones say
    Instead I choose to leave you behind
    My battered spirit hobbling away

  33. missfortune


    (adj.) “not based on any good reason” doesn’t capture it well,
    a baseless claim built on misunderstanding
    and an all but crash landing into this detrimental spell
    of materialistic, gluttonous consumption.
    “produce, produce” they say, yet all I can manage
    to summon is the strength to suppress the disgust,
    swallow the vomit that burns the back of my throat.
    groundlessness is fear, is cowardice, is indecision –
    and what’s worse than standing still?
    I was almost convinced groundless wasn’t this
    exhilarating, sneaking suspicion whispering that
    beneath the Persian rug the grass grows green,
    but our damned soles won’t press into this
    bottomless reality, can’t stand without ground.
    uncomfortable with ambiguity, ego centers self in space,
    but groundless lies beyond conception, has no face.
    form is emptiness, emptiness also is form,
    present in the abstraction taking shape as
    the defeat darkening your brow and the
    symphony written into your voice.


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