2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Today marks three weeks into the challenge! If you’re still on board, great job! Let’s kick this month’s butt as we move into the single digits for days left in this challenge.

For today’s prompt, we’re dealing with our third “Two for Tuesday” prompt(s):

  1. Write a “what you are” poem, or…
  2. Write a “what you are not” poem.

For instance, you may be a teacher, a student, brave, scared, a person, an animal, a plant, and well, wherever this one takes you. Or not, of course.

*****

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Here’s my attempt at a “What You Are” and/or “What You Are Not” Poem:

“for you”

i am the moment you forget
to re-set the alarm; the thought–

fleeting–of maybe and then yes,
let’s; the two hands that make the mess

& clean it; the eyes that always
make eyes; the mouth that always says

what needs said without making noise;
your man in an ocean of boys.

*****

Today’s guest judge is…

J.P. Dancing Bear

J.P. Dancing Bear

J. P. Dancing Bear

J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station KKUP and available as podcasts.

He is the author of thirteen collections of poetry, his latest book is Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014), his fourteenth collection, Cephalopodic, will be published by Glass Lyre in 2015. His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the Cimmaron Review, and elsewhere.

Learn more at Bear’s website.

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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.

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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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858 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. lawrencek

    I Am Your Boyfriend

    And
    bed
    calls
    dueling,
    ethereal
    figures.
    Gargantuan
    hearts
    import
    jewels.
    Kind
    lovers
    memorize
    nuances
    over
    patterned
    quilt.
    Rainbow
    souls
    trampoline,
    Unicycles
    voyage
    woman’s
    expansive
    yacht,
    zooming.

  2. lawrencek

    I AM JANUARY

    Absentminded
    bovine
    corral.
    Distant
    egrets
    follow
    galewinds
    home.
    Immature
    jackasses
    keep
    lunging
    menacingly.
    Nervous,
    obnoxious,
    prickly
    quails
    resemble
    snowy
    toddlers.
    Unearthly
    vixen;
    Winter,
    ‘xcretes
    yuppies,
    zestfully.

  3. lawrencek

    I am Your Middle Child

    Always
    babbling
    contrary
    drink.
    Exacerbated
    follicles
    grow
    heavenward
    igniting,
    jolting
    kaleidoscopes.
    “Loudly,
    my
    negatives
    open
    photographs.”
    Quiet,
    rough,
    sweet,
    tyrannical,
    unearthly,
    verisimilitude.
    World,
    ‘xtole
    your
    zeppelin.

  4. KatieHolmes2

    I am bold
    I am courageous
    I’m confident
    And proud,
    I’m quiet
    And friendly
    But can be cranky and loud.

    I am afraid
    I am generous
    I am honest
    But I lie,
    I’m genuine and calm
    When I’m happy, I cry.

    I love like no ones watching
    I dance like the stars,
    Sometimes I hold on tight
    But then let go
    of the monkey bars.

    Im a woman
    I’m a heart
    I’m a hand
    I’m a help,
    I’m a little bit
    Of a lot of things
    Fastened to me
    like a belt.

    -Katie Lynn-

  5. horselovernat

    I Wait in the Shadows

    Sometimes I wonder
    if you remember me at all.
    You promised me, once,
    that you would return.
    I guess not.

    You’ve left me to watch you
    as you hide from your friends,
    kiss up to that boss we both know
    you hate, and come home to that man
    who’s not all that great.

    I wonder if you’ll ever return,
    it wouldn’t be hard,
    just a peek inside
    and there I will be sitting,
    still waiting patiently.

    I am the person you want to be,
    who’s not afraid to simply be me.
    Just imagine a life where you need
    no longer lie, or put on a façade.
    Trust me, we’re perfect,
    just let me out from this shadow.

    Natalie Gasper

  6. LDeAngelis

    “I am descendant of love. I am woman.”

    I am descendant of love.

    Youngest daughter of strong bones and will.
    Devotee of the design plan from above.
    Worshiper of all the sun this land can hold.
    Observer and appreciator of the smallest cogs and wheels that make up the earth.
    Valuer of kindness and service to the fellow man above all other intangible things.
    Eyes of darkest blue, like the sea that always wants to live in them.
    Ocean nymph who frolics in the salt.
    A mess of lioness hair no matter how far I walk from my bed.
    Gentle strength in a maiden’s shell.

    I am woman,
    made of inner beauty
    nurtured in the nature of the world.

  7. Jemgemini

    Day 21 Poem

    “What You Are” and/or “What You Are Not”

    By Teresa G

    I am near, yet far away
    I am with you each and everyday
    I am spoken with whispers
    I am loved and hated all in the same way
    Yet, you must have me to go on living each day
    I am soft spoken words, and visions of loved ones
    I am a prayer throughout the day
    I am Faith
    You must have it in order to live day by day
    I am Faith
    That tomorrow brings another day
    I am faith
    That your love ones are protected
    I am faith
    That you will make it to live another day

    Invisible to the eyes, naked to the human body
    I am faith
    Something not seen, nor heard
    I am faith
    Mustard deep and penetrated in your subconscious
    I am faith
    It’s a code that we live and die by
    I am faith
    Faith in the creator
    Faith in myself
    Faith in my kids, my brother, my sister
    My uncles and aunties, faith in my friends
    You can not touch it
    Yet it lurks around
    I am faith
    A devised plan of action
    Like religion
    I am faith
    Like every breath you take
    Or how each morning you are awaken
    I am that Faith

    Faith

  8. ilovepoets

    Mortal/Immortal
    (For Ellen)

    Spring stopped today,
    a muse has been returned to the realm.
    One day we will follow, maybe on a tree-lined road,
    to learn what our dear one learned today.
    For now we can only listen
    to the cold wind howling its grief
    on what should be a warm spring day,
    as mortal buds struggle, emerge
    green and supple, to murmur gently,
    or bend with the storm, to flash yellow and red,
    then dance freely, earth-downed,
    brittle with beauty
    restored as soil,
    still filled with promise.

  9. Janice Canerdy

    “I’m Waiting My Turn”

    I lurk, ever patient and vigilant,
    awaiting the opportunity to overtake
    my prey–those whose faith in God,
    mankind, or self is weak.

    How do I gain a foothold?
    The opportunities are innumerable.

    lost love
    lost virtue
    squandered fortune
    broken relationships
    professional failure
    scandal
    self-loathing
    failing health
    fading appeal
    unmet potential
    unanswered prayers
    disillusionment
    guilt and
    recriminations caused by
    one or more of the above . . .

    Once these interlopers invade, Faith
    and Optimism may grow faint and bow down
    to me– the shroud in which
    many of the living have been buried.

    I am despair.

  10. faith85

    bits of me

    i am pine needles
    duct tape
    half-remembered thank you cards

    i am old polished toe nails
    discarded tissues
    post cards in an album

    i’m filled with longings for tomorrow
    but a dread for the future
    i’ve been a dreamer since i’ve been born
    but i have more nightmares than not

    i am so used to being told to wait
    so used to be asked to leave
    and so over being almost good enough

    i am a counter
    and i have counted all of my pros and cons
    the list is longer than i am tall

    and overall i have discovered
    that all i really am
    is human

    Faith Owen

  11. MarieJason

    I AM REAL, AREN’T I

    I am real, aren’t I —
    Not just some figment
    In an unknown imagination
    From a parallel universe
    Dependent on some string theory
    That hasn’t been proven yet,
    Except by Descartes maybe,
    Unless Einstein has a relative
    Notion that does away with
    The pragmatism of my existence.
    But I’m not a nihilist. Never liked
    The pessimism of their ilk because
    It warred too much with happiness,
    And happiness is that cup of tea
    Balanced upon the tortoise who
    Somehow upholds Sisyphus and Atlas
    While Gulliver debates with Galileo
    On countless paradigm shifts that
    Have not been logged in any of the
    Library of Congress catalogs so far.

  12. blacksnark

    complete

    I am this poem,
    haphazardly put together
    hoping to be recognized honestly
    for what I aim to be
    free of scribbles in the margins
    complete

  13. AmyA

    I am, this day,
    Born.
    Every year,
    I am born on this day.

    Of all the wishes,
    The ones that stick
    Are the sincerest hopes
    That on this day, when I was born,
    I am renewed.
    Something fresh blossoms
    Again
    On the day I came to be.

    And for those sweet messages
    I am grateful
    Anew.

    Amy Appleton

  14. Khara House

    Remains

    What’s left of a body is fossil,
    and maybe laid out on the shore
    where the sun splinters with the tide
    it will metamorphosize to fins, slip
    beneath the ocean foam to grip
    what lingers of life in its husks
    to bubble back to the surface and wane
    with the moon’s rising. It whispers
    as it crests, breathes saltwater sighs
    to passing seabirds—a name
    carried off in gull cries.

  15. seingraham

    WHAT I AM

    is a warrior woman
    one who has learned which hills
    are meant to be fought on
    and which fought over
    and which, if necessary, died on.

    I am stronger than I used to know,
    able to withstand the slings and arrows
    dealt by life’s vagaries
    some to be expected, some not so much.

    A woman who is loyal to a fault,
    I am one who used to take others’
    fidelity for granted
    Especially those with whom I share
    DNA – it just seemed a given

    What I am, it turns out – is a woman
    who can be badly harmed
    when betrayed by someone
    I love unconditionally…
    mystified in a way that usually only
    death can puzzle us
    That is what I am.

  16. Alemonlot

    The crush you are

    I haven’t even yet put on the dragon ring. I think, so I delay, it is too trendy jargon. But as I call my cat into the room, and he looks at me like I have forsaken him all evening, and his mew is forlorn as fuck, a fire, a sudden storm, I think the soft etching is so simple I can’t tell which is up

    and how it must rest, like when I found him in my palm, a perfect seashell I can’t help but kiss. Smelling of white ash, the taste of ripe, purple salt. Old metal is lovely like that. I would bathe in a house of it, wear it around my wrist for keeps. If I ever lost him,

    I must think, fools never tempt fate, only the foolish at heart. I am known for that, for waiting for time, for my muse to return. One day, when I re-face the dragon, I want to, perhaps when I am even more brave than this, when the metaphor is wiser. Until then,

    the nesting ring sits like a shell in the bottom of the vintage bag I bought to redesign my life with wooden handles and anticipates. I keep it there as my cat keeps me. His stiff lurk forever flirting, forever within, beyond, arm’s reach

    that gray, salty coat at the door, I call him to me. Sometimes I call him snowplow, you know. How he forces his nose under my right hand, always my right hand, to have the weight on his brow as dead as possible in each stroke

    this way to pleasure delay is enlighten, again. It’s why all the dark boys are wearing them around their necks. It’s the way I want you in my palm the same way, but is that close enough, petting your brow as the fire comes out.

  17. JUST_jerusha

    I Am Not From Here

    “Not where you breathe, but where you love, you live.”
    -Robert Southwell

    I’m not from anywhere. No, really.
    I grew up in airports, living out
    of suitcases until the zippers broke
    and I got new ones, bigger ones.
    I zig-zagged through lines and years
    and pairs of comfy shoes,
    but I’m not from there.

    I rented a townhouse, but usually woke up
    at a party house before paying homage to
    the royal house of IHOP while I killed
    time in a town that just liked to kill things.
    I drive thirty minutes south to bet Mexican food
    that tastes like fifty cents and feels more like home.
    But I’m not from there.

    My passport is dark blue, and it says Montana,
    but I miss Pennsylvania, and I vote in Texas.
    And what do all the weekends and holidays
    with my mother in Manhattan mean?
    Am I from there?

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe I love being windblown
    too much for my own good, but I’ll settle and surrender
    when I’m bright, white daisies. There’ll be time
    then to stop exploring; my list of things to do
    can stop, and I can write the end of my story:
    I can be from somewhere.

    But restlessness is in my blood. No, really.
    I can’t stay still or silent or placated.
    I keep moving, searching, looking for something
    that someone hasn’t found accidentally on a mission
    to save the world from pollution and sin.
    Maybe I’m from there.

    I’m not from a map, creased until it begins to tear
    or seconds on a carefully constructed globe.
    I’m not a daughter of the North or the South.
    I’m from daughters of all those revolutions and
    riding horses in Mondak Territory
    and knowing every inch of the Badlands, just in case.
    I think I’m from there.

    I’m not from a country or a clause on a piece
    of paper, and I’m not from le Marche de Puces
    or Sunset Boulevard or South Rodney Ghetto.
    I come from feuds and uncommon ideas and
    guitars that have been hitchhiked across the country.
    Bluegrass and stories late into hot, firefly nights.
    That’s where I’m from.

  18. hannahmarie

    A gemologist, of sorts…

    Call to me precious, for baubles and beads.
    Bathe in the emerald glow of my eyes.
    Taste trinkets to satiate each of your needs.

    I’ve obsidian secrets; encrusted surprise.
    Choice opiate pearls round my throat, I’ll string
    them tight like a necklace of sparkling lies.

    Drink deep sweet red rubies and diamond rings.
    Delight yourself, dear, in each opiate pearl.
    Ravish the amethyst feast. Let me bring

    competitive prices, quality curls
    of smooth amber options you’ll only find
    here. For genuine gemstones I’m your girl.

    Rarest of rainbows; worth weight in pure gold.
    It’s easier to swallow twisted truths –
    than acknowledge what I have actually sold.

  19. Katha Krishna

    “What I am”

    I’m neither an epitome nor it’s reflection
    I’m one subtle incorrect conception
    I’m an incomplete tale…full of flaws
    I’m the forsaken trail…an obsolete clause

    I try to find myself in the scribbling
    that fills the empty spaces
    as I indulge into rambling
    struggling to reconnect my traces

    Blaming me for myself…the rout
    I stand…besieged by claims…painted in sham
    Breathing…trying hard…to figure out
    what I have been…what I am!

  20. JayGee2711

    Gran Cavallo

    This is
    what you are

    colossus

    noble beast
    of bronze
    and light

    frozen
    mid-prance

    proud
    to carry

    moments
    and your
    masters
    across
    time.

    Julie Germain

  21. clliedekev

    The Healer

    For sage

    He lay down in the grass
    And everything grew over top of him,
    The vesco vines, the heart flowers, the blue green grass,
    Pouring over him like a shield.

    He would rest in the ground like a grave,
    Heal the wounds painting onto his body like a canvas,
    The slow growing sped up into his head,
    Digging into his thoughts, brilliant mold.

    The trees would bow before him, provide him shade
    And bark skin, provide him the warmth he needs
    To blossom to inner bloom into the next world,
    And awaken, a pollen born man, spreading, going.

  22. jldavies

    I am the Trash Can
    by Jen Davies

    I am my family’s trash can;
    at the end of the day, I scan
    the fridge for half-filled soup cans,
    heat up leftover oat bran
    and fry up old eggs in the pan.

    It seems to be the latest fad
    to dump all of the bad
    food on me, but I don’t get mad.
    I get Glad
    trash bags
    to line my insides before they toss gag-
    worthy foods, and then drag
    me outside with the moldy rags.
    I’m tired of taking your leftover food;
    it puts me in a bad mood
    but without it, I would be screwed.

    https://valebaile.wordpress.com/

  23. fayina

    Escapees

    …best friends who
    memorized The Great Escape
    and the patterns in the sheet-rock,
    who waited for the town to move on for them.

    I admit I made vows.

    I’ve looked up and watched the clouds deceive us.
    I’ve helped you hide your bruises.

    I admit we never
    quite got away.

    Fae Spurrier

  24. papermaker76

    Distillation and Definition

    I spend a lot of time trying to define myself. I come to conclusions, frequently. Here’s today’s version.

    I distill. When life gets to be too much, I distill myself, kind of like purifying water, bringing it to its essence.

    I am water.

    Or I am an image. A low-resolution image. When printed, a low-resolution image (72 dpi) has rough, jagged edges. It may look wonderful on a computer screen, but when you need it in its true hi-resolution format (300 dpi), printed out on paper, in reality, a low resolution image doesn’t look so good. Try it sometime; it’s an interesting (and frustrating) experiment.

    A hi-res image will print beautifully, clean, crisp, well-defined.

    However, a low-res image, though it looks beautiful on the screen (or when faking it thru life), it will print rough around the edges, pixelated, undefined, difficult to alter or improve.

    I am a low-res image.

    But with the right program (mind set), a low-res image can be improved. With the right program, that low-res image can be put thru a filter, changing the contrast, altering the edges, changing the color. The entire environment can be altered, including the background and the texture.

    And, on top of that (!), you can do a “Save As.”

    This is who I want to be today or tomorrow. Today or tomorrow I can do a “Save As” based on yesterday’s or today’s experiences. Or I can open my file tomorrow and define my new day. Re-sample. Re-shape. Re-color.

    Here is the best file format: vector. That is the most adaptable file format of all. You can make it any size you need, and you will not lose any detail at all.

    What a wonderful concept.

    I am a vector.

    Dawn Ricklefs

  25. A. Ault

    “You are”

    You are the Knower–
    the concrete against which
    a thousand dark sparks
    of dirt, dust, and sand
    have slammed themselves against
    over and over and over
    battered by the wind
    attacked by movement above,
    below, and pulled–
    You are not the tide
    the gravity of the breeze
    the aging of soil
    nor the weather that
    blooms and kills
    the color around you.

    You are beyond what
    has been, will be, and
    is manifesting,
    and you will find
    yourself, again.

    A. Ault

  26. Ashley Marie Egan

    Little Girls
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    “If you hate it:
    lift it up
    cut it off
    then be sure to
    show it off.
    You’ll be
    happier
    and feel
    beautiful.”

    They say
    in the Ads
    little girls watch
    in their nightgowns
    as they clutch thin
    short-skirted dolls
    with bated breath.

    They don’t know
    every word is sinking in
    to haunt them when
    everything feels like
    it’s going to end,
    because no one
    ever tells them
    to love:
    what they are
    who they are
    how they are
    or everything
    they will become.

  27. LCaramanna

    I Am Intoxicated

    Life is intoxicating
    I know.
    I’ve been drunk on tropical beaches,
    snowy mountain peaks, meandering river beds,
    grassy knolls, back country roads and fields of strawberries.
    Location matters not,
    when I toss back my head,
    do a shot of life,
    I am instantly intoxicated.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  28. AC Leming

    Sidekick

    I’m not afraid any longer.
    Not afraid of the path before me.
    The consequences of inaction
    outweigh the sticky mess
    in which action puts me.
    I’m not your sidekick,
    eager, or less than eager,
    to be kicked around by you,
    both my villain and my hero.

  29. AC Leming

    Anxiety for Dinner

    What I am is feckless and reckless
    with my new found freedom.
    Not taking any sh!t, not shying away
    from strangers, not not living my life
    and hiding behind my pain. No sir,
    I live my life by new rules.
    Damn the torpedoes
    and the consequences.

    I’m whiny and tired,
    strong and exhausted.
    Always on the alert
    for signs of danger.
    Done running from from fear,
    feck it, I’ll embrace my dreaded
    emotions and eat anxiety for dinner,
    with a delicate rose — no, Bull’s Blood
    to overpower the taste of fear
    on my tongue, up my nose.

    All I could smell for years:
    the wet dog smell of terror.

  30. Jane Shlensky

    Perspective
    (for Volodya after 25 years)

    I’m not what I was:
    I am more/ I am less,
    but I am what I am
    for the worst or the best.

    It took time to become,
    solemn hours to repent,
    sloughing off sore mistakes,
    finding words that I meant.

    Some bad habits I love
    and have honed all my life,
    but I give them to you,
    just like any good wife.

  31. Domino

    Wide as the Mississippi
    Deep as the deepest sea
    I soar above mighty mountains
    until you are mean to me.

    Then I become ashamed
    and meek and shy and sad.
    When you put a stop to my dreaming
    and try to make me feel bad.

    But I brush it off and laugh
    and dance and sing and play
    and go where I want to go
    and say what I want to say.

    And come again home triumphant!
    Laughing with childlike glee
    I tell you of my adventures
    until you are mean to me.

    Then I become embarrassed
    and shamed and soft and blue.
    When you put a stop to my dreaming
    I fall out of love with you.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  32. Shennon

    Corrupt Lady in a Candy House

    You are an evil little lady
    You’ve got a troubled mind
    What kind of person cooks young kids?
    You are truly unrefined.

    Luring small children
    With candy, cake, and nuts
    Temptation via sweet tooth
    That takes a lot of guts.

    Young Hansel and his sister
    Found your cottage made of sweets
    They easily discovered
    They’d soon pay for all those treats.

    Luckily for Gretel
    She paid attention when
    You opened up that oven door
    She shoved your butt right in.

    Although this mad experience
    They never will forget
    The siblings can rest easy now
    Since you’re no more a threat.

    –ShennonDoah

  33. jclass527

    What I am not

    is the petal pulpy against the page,
    writing to the written word its
    dying corpse crushed between corrosive
    ink, hoping for the meaning to magically
    take flight and ferment the fervor
    that used to lie in lilt,
    against the tilt of my chin
    on your hardened heart.

    Jessenia Class

  34. BenBonnema

    “Two Silohuettes”

    There is nothing special about my single silohuette in the window. It hangs there
    like a kid with a flashlight under a makeshift
    fort, creating his own puppets ’cause the 
    other boys didn’t show. 

    A hundred headlights and living room 
    lamps make pinpricks of yellow, darkened by
    the couple staggering giggly down Lennox,
    the couple cuddled on their flickering couch, 
    the couple sneaking a careful grope in the back
    of a yellow cab,
    the couple kissing icebreaker kisses,
    the couple holding Broadway merch and desperate for their heads to hit pillows,
    the couple folding towels with double silent treatment and glares,
    the couple whose goodnight peck weighs one down and chain-breaks the other. 

    What’s special is the stranger peeking into my
    window to see two silohuettes, finally finally
    watching that stupid show, with a 
    Let the next episode play, a
    Keep the light on so I can read, 
    Fight with me about when to get up,
    how loud your alarm is sure to be. 

  35. mjewett

    Somewhere

    I am not homeless;
    non-migratory birds
    do not migrate south for winter,
    beaks still filled with snow.

    The cold air remains,
    hugging a benched couple.

    Bare arms blanket around his wife,
    German shepherd
    licking the concrete
    path at their feet;
    salt lick love.

    Pigeons fat off of crumbs
    coo with heads
    buried in their wings.

    I am not homeless;
    churchbells chime
    5 o’clock pm.
    Somewhere,
    chickpeas
    start to grow.
    Somewhere,
    squirrels with
    blonde tails eat
    apples and dry corn.

    The dusty garage is dry
    and dark but it has a bed.
    I am not homeless;
    just barely.


    Mike Jewett

  36. Emma Tranter

    Girl

    You are careless cadence over chaotic cacophony.
    Somehow your soft is always loudest and your hard
    Is nothing more than a whisper.
    You practice your bitch-face in the bathroom mirror
    and hope it will keep the catcallers at a distance
    but all it does is frighten the high street chuggers in town.
    You hoard all your receipts in a bag in your bottom drawer,
    keep three lush catalogues and handfuls of bent bobby pins
    because you just can’t let go of anything these days,
    except for the people who actually want to stay.
    You spend eighty quid on poetry and polaroid film
    and have to eat eggs and ramen for two weeks but
    never forget to keep your nails bright and lips crimson.
    you are hysterical happy and whiskey drunk, you are
    up up up and you are fine, you are so fine but
    you are also a goddamned liar. You paint yourself pretty
    and you are so honest that you bleed but you are still
    glowing like a goddamned lie.

  37. Swati Mitra

    Cirque du Life…..

    I joined with so much enthusiasm.
    Why not? It sure did look like fun…
    All those nice swinging acrobatics,
    All those balancing, the adrenaline,
    Audience applauding, isn’t that fun?
    Except there was no applause at all,
    It’s just mere acrobatics on trapezes-
    Delicate act of balancing the morning
    With all the grace stolen from evening,
    followed by exhausting sleepless nights.
    But it was supposed to be interesting,
    After all, it’s the infamous Cirque du Life!
    Nope, it’s not my cup of java, I’m quitting.

  38. tobysgirl

    What I Am

    As the youngest girl, and invisible middle child
    I never thought I would be an ambassador.
    Not for a country or an organization, although most certainly one of good will.
    I am an ambassador for my family.
    Funerals, weddings, reunions, birthdays,
    it is I who show up.
    When asked about the others
    I paint a rosy picture of where they are
    and what they are doing.
    Everyone knows who I am, but in my position in the family
    they never remember my name.
    I was not the pretty one, the smart one, the athletic one, the adventurous one.
    If they had noticed, I was the one with my
    face buried in a book under a tree,
    pretending I had run away and all
    I needed to do all day was live in my head.
    I was the one in the background at family events,
    washing and drying dishes,
    listening to family gossip
    and where the girls went clubbing
    and where they stole their make-up.
    I knew when my sister started smoking
    and when my brother got blithering drunk at a party
    when he was supposed to be at a friend’s house.
    I knew these things but they were safe with me.
    As the quiet one I thought I would be safe from having to interact.
    Now that I’m older, I am the ambassador for my family.
    If someone is looking for information about someone they contact me.
    Funny, if someone were to inquire about me,
    they would be hard pressed to get an answer.
    I know my family, but
    they don’t know me.

    –Jennifer McCann

  39. Sarah Metzler

    American Pastoral

    Tell you what
    How about
    Today

    You be the bonny brown eyed bovine
    Ruminating under the lone oak tree

    And I will be the blue eyed babe in a green apron
    Flouring my hands into a thunder
    Clap!

    _Sarah Metzler

  40. Xairos

    [I began by trying to use the form of the landays, which I have just read about. I still need to learn more about it. Eliza Griswold is the person who has researched it. It’s a form Pashtun women use among themselves, a little like a haiku but with more social implications for the women. ]

    …..I Am

    no longer skinny; voluptuous
    would be exceeding kind, earth mother might come to mind.

    not rich, having chosen a different path,
    although I find I’ve even less for paying bills than I expected.

    not famous — my 15-second share
    of fame mostly broke me of desiring it.

    not as wise as I used to think I was,
    not even a dragonfly’s breath of what I thought.

    some days too much a needy flapping tongue
    unable to sit still or to quiet itself

    some times sitting with the green frogs,
    watching the 12 Spotted Skimmer patrol the pond,
    waiting for the red efts to immerse themselves.
    .
    some days perhaps an ashtray
    where the great I AM rests a stray tip of light like a tired firefly
    and I try not to drop it or snuff it out with shaking hands.

    some days I am an empty coffee cup
    confidently waiting in the sunlight to be filled and used.

    ~ Margaret Lee Ferry

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