2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

I have to admit: I was more than a little worried about yesterday’s poem. But it looks like most people survived it. In fact, there were some incredibly tight pieces that emerged yesterday. Let’s keep it rolling today.

For today’s prompt, write an authority poem. Maybe you are an authority on something or know someone who is (or who thinks he or she is). Maybe you respect authority, or maybe not so much. Maybe you are on the run from the authorities, in which case I can only say good luck, but this blog probably isn’t the best hiding place–especially with so many folks poeming away.


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Here’s my attempt at an Authority Poem:

“star wars authority”

i’m no star wars authority but
i can spot a wampa & rancor
in a crowded convention center

so of course i have complicated
feelings when it comes to george lucas
i mean on one hand he created

the greatest space trilogy ever
but on the other hand he somehow
succumbed to the very same dark side

his characters always fought against
perhaps knowing & then forgetting
the extreme power of the dark side

like that scene with princess leia &
grand moff tarkin & he says he won’t
blow up alderaan if she reveals

the location of the rebel base
& when she does he has the death star
blow her home planet up anyway

it is kind of exactly like that


Today’s guest judge is…

Dorianne Laux (photo by John Campbell)

Dorianne Laux (photo by John Campbell)

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux is the author of five collections, including The Book of Men (winner of The Paterson Prize), Facts About the Moon (winner of The Oregon Book Award), Awake, What We Carry (finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award), and Smoke, as well as two fine small press editions: Superman: The Chapbook and Dark Charms, both from Red Dragonfly Press.

Laux is the co-author of the celebrated text The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Among her awards are two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Learn more at DorianneLaux.net.


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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775 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. waplef

    Authority (Young Men)

    Young men, listen to the sound of my voice
    That carries wisdom in its words
    It doesn’t matter…who is the deliverer
    Just be certain that it’s been heard
    For wisdom has the ability
    To teach you knowledge
    Before short-comings
    Avoid the experiences
    For you can learn…how not to take
    The long way home

    Young men, I know you believe I’m just a mother
    Shouldn’t know much better
    But when prudent comes over
    Be careful not to close your eyes
    And miss the lessons of your life
    Invite him to come closer
    Go ahead and pull him near
    For prudent holds good judgment
    It would help you learn to care
    Increase your insight
    And give you the power…to take flight
    For future endeavors

    Young men, virtue is a quality that we all need
    And most don’t cherish
    But if you let it be your main focus
    You could live your life with dignity
    Soon you will gain authority
    Don’t fail, practice patience in all things
    Remember the moral qualities
    Of a good man
    Would propel you
    Toward your future plans
    Always keep virtue as a close friend
    Like an asset that’s trustworthy…and a benefit that never ends
    You must lead with humility

  2. lawrencek

    Advertising Assassins

    Advertising assassins bleach blushing brides.
    Cold-blooded compromises coagulate dwindling, drugged debutantes.
    Exposed epidermis is eyeballed as fruitless features are flaunted.
    Gloomy, gusty, groveling housewives hanker for a handout.
    Ingratiating, illicit, incendiaries immersed alongside jilted, joyless, jokers
    Keep knuckleheads laughable labeling and lasting lines to
    Merge media melancholy and mooning nubile, nymphs. Nevertheless,
    Olympian opinion-makers’ ode to premeditated persuasion
    Rears radiant resistance stirring senile and sedated shoppers.
    Tense, tumultuous, tiger-moms unite urge an uproar of the unreal.
    Victimless victors violate war-treaties while waggish waves
    Exacerbate Existentialists exhibit exorbitant zeal and zest for
    Advertising assassins attacking the beaches of boisterous, and bewildered
    Consumers caught in their catastrophic clutches. Coyly Capitalism climaxes.

  3. lawrencek

    Male Gaze


  4. lawrencek

    Byte me.


  5. lawrencek

    Wimple Wisdom
    (-spiral abecedarian)

    As auspiciously
    brazen bullies
    circle catechism’s
    densest dunces,
    egotistical enemies
    favored fourth-
    grade gorilla
    habits, hurling
    insults, immersed in
    jungle-gym justice,
    kayoing kids.
    Leaning lackadaisically in
    mystical malaise a
    no-nonsense nest of nuns
    observe obliquely as
    pock-faced pupils pounced.
    Quickly quelling the
    rabid recess,
    summoning saintly
    testament totally
    undermining universally
    vicious vituperation
    was wimple wisdom.
    Exorcising extortionists,
    zippering the zoo.

  6. lawrencek

    Good n’ Plenty
    (spiral abecedarian)

    adults beckon
    boisterous carnivores
    climbing digitized
    ditches eating
    enormous fatburgers.
    Fickle gamers
    grapple hotdogs
    handily inversely
    ingesting, keep
    killing, leisurely
    licking manhandled
    muffins. Never
    nixing overstuffed
    Oreos, pepperoni,
    pinwheels, quietly.
    Quenching rumbles?
    Ruffles! Salty
    sardines taunt
    tummies. Unleavened
    utensils violate
    victories while
    warlords ‘xpectorate
    Xbox yelling
    Yoo-hoo! Zima!

  7. KatieHolmes2

    A power or right delegated or given,
    A control one possesses
    Due to a position
    they’re living.

    Much is expected
    Lots to be gained,
    From an individual held higher
    Than a three story cave.

    Teachers and preachers
    Soldiers and such,
    Authority is given
    We respect them that much.

    -Katie Lynn-

  8. James Von Hendy

    Sight Unseen

    –Physicists estimate that less than five percent of the known universe is visible.

    Someone else writes of the “dangerous allure”
    that lies in wanting to be
    invisible. Isn’t there enough already

    in wanting alone? But no,
    were it possible, they say we would slip
    into petty larceny, we would steal

    through the garage with you, tiptoe upstairs
    to watch you undress and shower, see
    how you caress your body when no one

    is looking. And if that did not fill us
    with envy, the intimacy with
    yourself we are incapable of, it

    would only be the start of misery.
    How many pilfered cashmere sweaters
    would it take for us to be bored and wish

    that we were caught? How long would it be
    before we forgot, looking in the mirror
    and seeing nothing, what we looked like?

    Disembodied, would we dare speak up
    standing in line at the deli counter
    when our number was called? Would it float

    in the air, a mystery among
    the astonished visible, and embarrassed,
    would we drop our ticket and flee? They say

    we’d slip, but already it’s obvious
    we’re invisible to them, our thoughts
    unknown, our feelings, psyches, morals, minds

    a vast void they fill with their dark fantasies
    made visible, how already they fear
    what we see of them when they can’t see us.

  9. LDeAngelis

    “Hail to the chief”

    What makes a woman
    is the woman within.
    I am
    we are
    mighty mighty
    women within.

    Within love
    within kindness
    within spirits
    made to soar.

    I am
    I am
    we are
    we are

    Refusing to believe an apple is our sin.
    Independent minds
    born of our own thoughts.
    Not rib
    not rib.
    Mighty women.
    Women within.

  10. horselovernat


    Up in their pedestals
    so high and mighty
    throwing out decrees
    forcing us to yield.

    They claim our time
    and demand to have respect
    while they improvise
    endless numbers of rules.

    Show up at quarter till
    but don’t clock in till ten till.
    Be happy, pleasant, and polite
    despite the yells, critiques, and insults.

    Authority is much abused
    in jobs considered menial
    or held by the youth of society
    who are drilled to respect those
    who don’t respect us.

    Natalie Gasper

  11. JocyMedina

    The music boss

    I crave a night with your guitar
    Strumming pleasure in my strings
    Rubbing music with your hands
    Finding treasures with your lips.

    I am the song
    You are the voice
    I am the drum
    That’s making noise.

    It is your voice
    my biggest joy
    it turns kisses into toys.

    Bring your band
    so deep inside
    Play the triangles,
    free the mind
    Play the sounds
    As you desire.

    You are the man
    You are the vibe
    You are the freedom of my night
    My music guru
    my drumming voodoo
    It is on!
    The music boss is in the house!

    By Jocy Medina

  12. mapoet

    Road Work

    He stands
    in the
    middle of
    the lane,
    dressed in
    reflective clothes.
    He holds
    a sign.

    I do.
    I sit.
    I stare
    at an
    empty lane.

    He turns
    the sign
    with authority.
    The motion
    of his
    hand signals

    By Michelle Pond

  13. Jemgemini

    Day 19 Authority Poem:
    By TeresaG


    It doesn’t take much for one in Authority to abuse it
    It doesn’t matter when the Authorities don’t reprimand the ones who abuse their authority
    For generations Authority has been shoved down our throats
    It’s a code a creed that we humans have to live by
    Who reprimands the Authority when The Authority abuses and misuses their ranks
    Who seeks justice for the bad seeds in the systems
    Who has Authority over their life’s
    Should their life matter more than the innocent people the accused
    The humans shitting behind bars
    The humans that only have plaques as memories of when we lost them
    Returning to the grave sites of our loved ones
    Memories and shrines in our homes of lost families
    Do to a lack of Authority
    A lack of telling the truth
    A lack of Justice for all human
    Without notice of religion
    Skin pigmentation
    Who seeks justice in the authority of the crimes that our beloved
    Authority figurines kills and seek blame to
    On who’s authority!

  14. MarieJason


    Don’t listen – it’s only opinion,
    Which is second cousin to
    Gossip and scuttlebutt. There’s
    Character assassination in their
    Speech; they’re on camouflage
    Mode after all. The spin they
    Put on things ranks far below
    Benthic whale detritus, so
    Beware! They aren’t authority
    Figures, but puppets who’ve
    No minds of their own. Their
    Content has no place in ivory
    Towers nor cloister pockets,
    Unless examined like sludge
    From the paleolithic era.

  15. JMKnott

    “Dogs are my Children”

    Training dogs is easier than training
    children. In many ways they’re quite
    similar: Dogs will try to outsmart you
    and test their boundaries. They will also
    give you sad eyes and want things they
    don’t need. They are both jealous of attention
    to others and will snitch on others to
    seek your favor. They will both run off
    and almost always come back.

    But dogs are much more likely to be loyal.
    Far less likely to get arrested (though perhaps
    as likely to be shot). They love you more than
    they love themselves. They will stand by you
    in old age. They will not judge you. They
    rely on you entirely, in a most touching way.
    They don’t require you to pay child support or stay
    in a tumultuous relationship with another
    for decorum’s sake.

    If only they lived longer…

  16. AmyA


    No doubt it will be a different day,
    A different group of runners,
    A different crowd,
    With overlap.

    They will start, in the ancient way
    From the town
    Where we used to see the fair.

    They will run the course
    They have always run,
    The same, but different.

    You will, perhaps, be there,
    My father in Boston,
    Urging the runners.

    We always chose Heartbreak Hill
    Because it was the place
    Where cheer was needed most.

    Now, perhaps,
    If I were home,
    I might choose the finish line,
    Which eclipsed the heartbreak of the hill.

    Clotted with authorities, our little race,
    Our Boston Marathon,
    No longer belongs to just us,
    But to the world.

    Amy Appleton

  17. mschied

    Chief Hairdresser Proclaims

    It’s crazy hair-day today
    and by official decree
    everyone’s tresses
    must preposterous be

    No lanky locks allowed
    Curl them big, curl them high
    Instead of ribbons, use streamers
    Don’t bother asking why

    And anything that’s pointy
    is certainly encouraged
    Try spikes, ponies, and piggies
    and if you get discouraged

    I’m sure there are tutorials
    and several YouTube vids
    Try a bow bun, or a pompadour
    They’re not just for kids

    If you have lots, try a skull cap
    If you have none, try a wig
    Fluff your frizz and build your body
    It’s always better to go big!

    Accessories are always good
    Include barrettes, headbands and bows
    And when the judges come around
    To award the best in show

    Make sure to doff your cap
    and double at the waist
    then they can get a real good look

  18. Khara House

    Our Lady of Charm City
    “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just…”
    ~Francis Scott Key,
    The Star Spangled Banner

    A slice of tangerine is upheaval’s prelude. Sweet juices running
    over fingers as fruit is passed through bars, a splash of sun

    from a prison cell. Maybe this is enough
    to heal the wounds that send men spiraling

    to madness. A mother bows her son to her breast
    to keep his eyes from seeing a televised revolution,

    streets splashed solar flare and sapphire—the triumphant
    roar of protest over a suddenly silenced horn.

    They wonder—if a cage is sometimes the better deal. Outside, death
    lurks in broken store front glass. Here on summer’s rim

    a boy holds his breath not knowing who to trust,
    afraid these walls will permeate, overtake his skin, leave him

    just one more system suffragist. The streets bleed
    for him, brothers with blooded knuckles

    raised to a sky flushed with rage. Fortune tellers
    cast lots on the sweat spotting their shirts. No peace

    in the forecast—no white flags as mother passes
    sweet surrender through the bars.

  19. JayGee2711

    At Least

    At least I am in charge of the potatoes

    spooned like white regrets
    on plates
    with too much salt and sorrow.

    Next year, I’ll be in charge of everything
    but this year,
    at least
    it’s the potatoes.

    Julie Germain

  20. MadPoet

    By The Authority Vested In Me

    She doesn’t remember last night.
    Did they argue and fight
    Like they have so many times before?
    Or did he just walk out the door?

    This morning she is all alone.
    He is not answering his phone.
    Hung over and scared
    From too many fights shared.

    A knock at the door demands
    She must rise and stand
    On shaking knees as she walks
    To slowly turn the locks.

    His demeanor is calm as he takes her hand.
    From her face he gently brushes a strand.
    “Please forgive me for what I said.”
    As his voice trembled with dread.

    She melts into his arms and holds him tight.
    “If you will forgive me for last night.”
    “Will you be my loving bride?”
    “Oh, yes! Oh, yes,” she joyfully cried.

    Now on a sunny day they profess
    Their vows to minister and guests.
    As they hear, “By the authority vested in me …”
    Man and wife they’ll always be.

  21. MadPoet

    By The Authority Vested In Me

    She doesn’t remember last night.
    Did they argue and fight
    Like they have so many times before?
    Or did he just walk out the door?

    This morning she is all alone.
    He is not answering his phone.
    Hung over and scared
    From too many fights shared.

    A knock at the door demands
    She must rise and stand
    On shaking knees as she walks
    To slowly turn the locks.

    His demeanor is calm as he takes her hand.
    From her face he gently brushes a strand.
    “Please forgive me for what I said.”
    As his voice trembled with dread.

    She melts into his arms and holds him tight.
    “If you will forgive me for last night.”
    “Will you be my loving bride?”
    “Oh, yes! Oh, yes,” she joyfully cried.

    Now on a sunny day they profess
    Their vows to minister and guests.
    As they hear, “By the authority invested in me …”
    Man and wife they’ll always be.

  22. AleathiaD

    The Decade

    You left him at 3
    and retrieved him at 13
    as if the decade of lies
    in between were nothing more
    than a vacation from a dream.

    Who gave you
    the authority
    to play marionette
    with his life?

    He has shown you his anger
    and frustration
    and those things
    you own.
    You fucked up,
    you’re not afraid of it.

    But you aren’t here
    in those lonely hours
    when his heart is heavy
    at the fact that you
    never called him back
    or act like it is his privilege
    to speak to you.

    Your choices gave him
    two sets of parents,
    two sets of memories
    and grief.

    Who gave you
    the authority
    to play marionette
    with his life?

    Aleathia Drehmer 2015

    April 19, 2015

  23. fayina


    For Albertine

    I remember
    the two of us
    in your grandpa’s den
    pouring over the
    book so long claimed
    by dust
    here is dying Hjalmar
    hand grasped by his tearful
    blood brother Orvar-Oddr
    and I knew.

    Even now 15 years later,
    living in a strange city
    with a still cluttered kitchen table
    and you,
    still out there somewhere
    a cocktail waitress, I think.

    I knew then
    whichever wars
    however many ships
    I would rush away mid-meeting
    to fall for you
    on the battlefield of your choosing

    Fae Spurrier

  24. LCaramanna

    Authority to Revitalize

    With a snort the Greyhound belched
    me into the bowels of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
    I drained through corridors,
    flushed out the door into
    the beat of 42nd Street’s
    heart of Manhattan
    where I filled my lungs
    with the breath of the City,
    my brain cells revitalized.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  25. Denat

    Take charge, move ahead
    bigger, better,
    larger than life
    reality nibbles the hook,
    reel it in, cook it up
    swallow too quick
    get struck from above.

  26. AC Leming

    Alienable Rights

    What gives you the right
    to decide for me
    what I want or don’t want?

    You can’t read my mind.
    Or interpret the dance of my body
    movements to know if I want
    you to stroke me or if I want you
    to stay the hell away.

    What gives you the right,
    the audacity, the utter gall
    to decide for me
    that I’m touch deprived?

    What gives you the right
    to caress me without
    asking if it’s what I want?

    Don’t sit on my lap.
    Don’t take off your clothes.
    Don’t rub your hard body
    up against mine.

    You can’t take those rights
    until I grant them,
    and make it clear
    I want your hands on me.

  27. Jane Shlensky

    Flamingo Beach

    These waves take charge, assert authority,
    insist on pounding rock, on roiling sand
    and ripping frothy tides, bitch-slapping
    swimmers, crashing like fists against
    the shore’s gritty flesh.

    Their gray eyes glint and storm as if to warn
    surfers to beware. They dare the beach,
    feeling their power in the curl and crest,
    misinterpreting facts hard as stone—
    the wind and moon tugging strings,
    toying with waves’ importance.

  28. Jane Shlensky

    Last Resort

    What was quietly tropical yesterday,
    needs organizing and oversight today.
    French and German parents exert
    themselves, order paradise, line chairs
    just so, dominate the resort, their children
    shrieking and storming the pools
    and seas, at odds with other vacationers—
    an invasion so complete, we sigh, take
    our books, our sunscreen, and our tentative
    hold on peace inside, into the rain forests,
    or to quiet, dark, and lonely bars,
    friendly to the oppressed.

  29. Jane Shlensky


    “Mama said I’m to be in charge,”
    she says, hefting her new weight.
    “You have to do what I say.”
    Her inner bossy is unleashed.
    She commands, demands,
    her voice a loaded gun.

    “Prove it!” I say, knowing it’s her word
    against mine, Mama already gone.
    Her eyes narrow, her face red with
    escalating angry twitches, lips squinting,
    eyes pursed, fists already tight.
    She’s bigger and will win this fight.

    “Why don’t we have cookies, then?”
    I ask, another sibling war diverted
    by sugared diplomacy. But she’s
    not done. “Okay, but you have to drink
    all your milk.” Cookies and milk—
    a compromise I can accept.


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