2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 29

I’ve had a few people ask if it’s OK to play catch up on prompts, and yes, it’s totally great. In fact, today is an optimal day to play catch up.

For today’s prompt, write a what nobody knows poem. It’s easy to write a poem about what everybody already knows, though it may be difficult to write an interesting poem about such things. Still, use today’s prompt to explore things people may not know–secret stories, locations, and so on.


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Time is running out to celebrate National Poetry Month with a super poetic collection of poetry-related products with the National Poetry Month Collection!

This super-sized kit includes 4 e-books, 3 paperback books, 7 tutorials, and much more! In fact, this kit covers everything from prompts to poetic forms and from revising poems to getting them published.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a What Nobody Knows Poem:

“deja vu”

the dishwasher was a metaphor
illuminated by a cold-blooded moonbeam
quantifying truths & dares

call it love or a code or ohio
these words broken like dishes
broken like dishwashers

you are always a poet
seeking to shine a light
on the world that matters to you

this broken metaphor
shifting with scientific emotion
i am the moment you forget

but somehow know you miss.


Today’s guest judge is…

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy is the author of 17 novels, including Gone to Soldiers, Braided Lives, The Longings of Women, and Woman on the Edge of Time; 19 volumes of poetry, including Made in Detroit, The Hunger Moon and The Moon Is Always Female, and a critically acclaimed memoir, Sleeping with Cats.

Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she has been a key player in some of the major progressive battles of our time, including the anti-Vietnam war and the women’s movement, and more recently an active participant in the resistance to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Learn more at MargePiercy.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. This has been one of the most exciting Aprils he can remember.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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774 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 29

  1. Fabelhaft

    The world knows not

    That boy who works as a waiter
    doesn’t spend his earnings on drugs,
    That girl you called for her makeups
    and clothes doesn’t lack self esteem,
    That person you thought was confused
    is more determined than you,
    That boy you called out for his skin colour
    doesn’t need your ‘helpful’ feedbacks,
    That girl who plays games and fangirls on
    tumblr might not have a dark past,
    That person you feared was coming to kill you
    lives a normal and simple life,
    Just because that person
    is there to be assumed of by you,
    Doesn’t make it right,
    Doesn’t make you right,
    Let go,
    Live and let live, friends.

  2. faith85

    things i fall asleep to

    i’m rocking back and forth
    on waves of happiness
    i can smell the salt
    i can feel the sand
    encrusted to my toes
    i don’t open my eyes
    because everyone around me
    believes i am right there
    in the room with them
    not thousands of miles away

    Faith Owen

  3. Jemgemini

    Day 29
    What Nobody Knows Poem:

    By TeresaG

    Nobody knows that I hit the floor
    No one knew that I had
    given my pain and confessed
    Nobody knows that while in my room
    With the door closed and all was sound asleep
    I weep and allowed the river of tears to flow upon me
    My heart was forsaken my heart had stopped beating
    I could not choose
    For nobody knew What I had chosen
    See I was on a fork path that had pain and horror
    In two directions and I could not choose
    Nobody knows how many times I prayed standing or in bed
    Nobody knows my daily talks to the Lord
    Nobody knew what pain I was carrying
    How my feet hurt, how my back and shoulders couldn’t carry this load
    That I was never physically able to carry
    See nobody knows that my mother was drowning with cancer
    That my sister wasn’t given a percentage of ever making it back to us
    She fell at home, her heart fluttered and oxygen was a lack of for
    Up to twenty minutes
    Nobody knows that an induced coma was needed
    Nobody know when she was wheeled into intensive care unit
    I seen what they could not see my family
    In tears as I remained strong for them
    Nobody knows the luggage that I carry
    For what I saw was that God isn’t finished with her life

    It is work yet to be done here on this earth for her
    I couldn’t choose, my mother or my sisters life
    As I hit the carpet in my room of silence
    Nobody knew what I prayed until today
    “God, it’s in your will that it be done and I cannot and will not choose for I choose both
    Life over death, and I know you are taking one with you. It is your will and your way
    That it be done, lord I cried and can’t choose . Help me, give me the strength
    Give me the courage and wisdom, walk with me father, protect me.”
    Nobody knows the day that my mother left this world and went to heaven
    Or that my sister was now awakening
    For nobody knows

    I thank you for reading, for this is a personal true story. It’s been 5 years since my
    Mother loss her fight to cancer and 5 years that my sister was given another chance
    Of life. She is fully recovered as much as she can be , and I am ever so grateful for it. God bless!

  4. infliximox

    A Message From My Older Self
    by Victoria Hill-Chalmers

    When I was seventeen years old
    I wanted good grades. I wanted to grow up,
    to have a loving husband and 2.5 kids.
    We’d meet at University and he’d love literature,
    just like me. We’d talk about Poe, and Pratchett,
    and Salinger, and he’d write me poems
    every few nights or every few weeks.
    His name would roll gently off my tongue
    like a bar of icecream;
    our love would be as sweet,
    but never on the verge of sickly.
    Soon we’d be married and our kids would be born–
    I’d be a caring mother, full of generosity and warmth.
    I guess that’s what I thought then…
    But, who am I to tell the future?

    I’m much older now, with a job
    and a finished degree.
    Money in the bank, and a house
    on a street. I don’t have 2.5 kids
    or a poetry-book husband
    whose name tastes like vanilla on my lips,
    but incontestably, I do have love.
    I have a mother who calls me at least once on weekends,
    with my father calling “I love you”
    from behind her on the other end.
    I have a sister who visits every holiday,
    and sometimes on the odd weekend,
    with her husband and her dynamic life
    despite worrying and saying she might never get it right.
    And I might not have marriage,
    but I don’t need it to know
    that I am surrounded by love every day.
    I am happy with the kisses that I receive
    from the earth, from the air,
    from everything
    that caresses my skin. And, who knows?
    Perhaps I will find a romantic love. Someone whose name
    is more jagged than a frozen dairy treat, and whose poetry
    is written at the end of goodbye notes
    and tastes as sweet. Did my dreams even matter?
    I suppose it’s not so. I mean, “life is for living,”
    or so the phrase goes.
    Maybe we’ll never learn
    that in this life there are things
    that we can’t really know.

  5. akramer

    Nobody knows what happened there
    curtains shut, lips tight
    It was a crapshoot and everybody knew
    what they didn’t know would kill them
    Metallic instruments, injections
    fluorescent light and windows
    looking out into a world far gone

    We held ourselves together
    arms circled round chests
    slept in hallways or nowhere
    haunted by all we could not explain
    the sound of shattering
    echoing down the halls

    -Ariana Kramer

  6. bellestarr12


    Isn’t just waking up in the morning resurrection enough?
    After long nights of throwing off blankets or reaching for more,
    Of stumbling through darkness so complete it lacks even shadows
    to shut off the fan or turn up the thermostat,
    pushing the cat off the bed, readjusting pillows,
    sliding back into confused dreams of people long dead,
    after all this, isn’t pale morning light filtered through curtains enough?
    And the soft sounds the doves make,
    and the long moaning barks of the neighbor’s hound,
    aren’t they really the voices of angels?

  7. BJ.Writer

    The Tunnel Nobody Knows – BJ Reiter

    Under the boughs
    Of a Blue Spruce tree
    A Blue Spruce tree
    That’s growing beside
    A White Pine tree
    The tallest pine tree
    In the woods

    Under the boughs
    Of the Blue Spruce tree
    Is a tunnel
    A carefully hidden tunnel
    A tunnel
    That will transform you
    To whatever life you choose

    Crawl under the boughs
    Of the Blue Spruce tree
    And into the tunnel
    The transformation tunnel
    Be sure before you enter
    There’s no going back

    Under the boughs
    Of the Blue Spruce tree
    The transformation tunnel
    Leads you to your chosen life
    The tunnel door will close
    Good bye

  8. uvr

    You said you know me
    better than I know myself

    I ask you now

    Did you know my heart pounded when you walked into the room?
    Did you know I longed for you to notice me in a crowd?
    Did you know I hated every day when I did not see you?
    Did you know you meant everything to me and more ?
    Did you know how much I wanted to hear you say you loved me?
    Did you know you broke my heart when you left without a word?

    My love, I know you didn’t know me at all

    Uma Venkatraman

  9. Gwyvian

    Secret road

    A cobblestone road coiled up the mountain,
    where no road should be—
    no map shows its location, yet here it winds,
    lined with lush brush and creaking signs:
    a memory from a time before has spoken
    around a corner, seen only in a twilight twinkle;
    a sprinkle of mystery snug inside an
    industrial wasteland—
    just a moment of efficiency crumbling
    into a sea of swelling eternity.

    April 29, 2015

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  10. Gwyvian

    Sojourner’s lament

    If I had but words to express
    the true endless depth of this void in which I exist,
    perhaps the problem would not persist and you
    would see in true undress
    the fluttering pinpricks that haunt my movements,
    the shadow that flows in my wake,
    the heartbeat that slows so easily to drift—
    perhaps I would find a way
    to speak not into only unanswering silence—
    but to find an edge to which I may cling;
    a place to lay an offering and move with footsteps
    that touch the ground and hold my weight—
    perhaps one day, but until then
    I am left adrift in this empty space
    filled with beauty known by none but
    my lamenting gaze…

    April 29, 2015

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  11. Khara House

    What you don’t know

    How deep the water—how slippery the stone.
    How hollow the world—

    the ring—the silence.

    How flickers the light beneath
    tearing eyes.

    How empty the body—how echoes the bone.

    How blind the belief ‘til the know
    is full. How days are days—

    how nights break us.

    How the rivers rise—how quick
    the breath leaving. How shallow the grave

    —how heavy the stone.

  12. Swati Mitra

    Dance while you are here….

    Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring,
    So dance, hum, whistle, do something wild.
    Life may not be the party you so wished for
    But while you are here now, you better dance.
    Who knows what they’ll find in your blood work!
    One bizarre cell under their microscope today
    And that’ll change your tomorrow forever, baby.
    So dance uninhibited as if there’s no tomorrow.

    1. Swati Mitra

      I made some changes….. And as there’s still time to catch up, but we can’t delete or edit the poem already posted, I’m re-posting this poem….

      Dance wild….

      Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring,
      So dance, hum, whistle, do something wild.
      Life may not be the party you so wished for
      But while you are here now, you better dance.
      Who knows what they’ll find in your blood work!
      One bizarre cell under their microscope today
      Or a single anomaly in that brain scan of yours
      And that might change your tomorrow forever.
      So dance uninhibited as if there’s no tomorrow.

  13. MarieJason

    I’m on Pacific Time in San Diego, so it’s still April 30th here (around 9:50PM), and here’s my poem:


    What Nobody knows
    Is no canker sore but
    Entirely foolproof and
    Blameless. Plus, what
    Nobody knows must be
    Out-of-this-world peerless.
    It might even be described
    As unequaled, unmarred.
    Yes, what Nobody knows
    Must be untainted, untarnished –
    Which thereby makes it pure.
    After all, Nobody’s perfect –
    Which can only mean that what
    Nobody knows is matchless, too.
    I know, for my name’s Nobody.

  14. kattra

    “the quiet things that no one ever knows.”
    (after Robert Lee Brewer.)

    the moon was a metaphor.
    so was drowning, all of the drowning.
    i am in over my head. (i am not a mermaid.)

    Temperance is still trying to tell me,
    all of these dramatics won’t help,
    but writing about dragons and bad dreams and water
    is what keeps me from screaming.

    mornings will always be hard.
    truth and dare is a dangerous game
    to play with a writer.

    i have still not learned the real meaning of loss,
    but i know it’s coming. isn’t that more terrifying?

    you will grow up and home will become
    a complicated subject. so will family. so will everything.

    you can’t look for solace in the stars
    (or the moon) or some boy’s car.
    your bird of a heart should be comfortable
    in your own ribcage before leaving you behind.

    but if you take a chance,
    don’t let yourself be devoured.

    remember: the difference between
    a maze and a labyrinth is that the latter
    only has one way out. the goal is to find
    the centre and then make your way back.

  15. shellcook

    Do You Know Me?

    You may think you know me,
    but I have a secret or two.
    What you may not know
    might hurt me, though,
    I’ll never let you know.

    I will never let you see the pain.
    You’ll always think that I’m okay,
    even when I feel like death,
    warmed over.
    But please know

    these things I feel
    in heart and soul
    are mine alone to carry.
    I planned it all,
    I know the drill.

    So let me say
    hello, today,
    and let me wish you happy days
    and sunshine songs
    and flower petals

    to carry you through
    the rough places,
    that you cannot see ahead.
    I’m here to say,
    it will be okay.

    Anne Michelle Cook


    1. shellcook

      Corrected version:

      Do You Know Me?

      You may think you know me,
      but I have a secret or two.
      What you may not know
      might hurt me, though,
      I’ll never let you know.

      I will never let you see the pain.
      You’ll always think that I’m okay,
      even when I feel like death,
      warmed over.
      But please know

      these things I feel
      in heart and soul
      are mine alone to carry.
      I planned it all,
      I know the drill.

      So let me say
      hello, today,
      and let me wish you happy days
      and sunshine songs
      and flower petals

      to carry you through
      the rough places,
      that you cannot see ahead.
      I’m here to say,
      it will be okay.

      It will be okay.
      It will all be okay,
      if not today,

      Anne Michelle Cook


  16. Jack Daniel Miles

    If You Only Knew

    Here I am, still ripping thorns out of my skin;
    on each one is scrawled a minuscule message—
    I always have to use my microscope so I can read them—
    one says,
    “You’re lucky to still be here,”
    another says,
    “You should’ve put a bullet in your head,”
    one more that says,
    “Ignore the other two because they are wrong.”
    I’m pushing and squeezing,
    out pops another one.
    This thorn was buried a little deeper,
    this thorn says,
    “You are here because you worked,
    because you had faith,
    a sense of conviction,
    because you refused to use that razorblade that the needle was balancing on,
    which was sleeping next to your grave,
    to open a vein and let yourself go.”
    I’d told myself that everything must end,
    but not by my own hand and not necessarily in death;
    I guess I was right, and once you know, once you believe,
    there is no turning back—
    I hope someday you will pull out a thorn that will tell you the same.

    –Jack Daniel Miles

  17. Angie5804

    Nobody Knows

    Star, People, Us
    It’s all exclusive and shocking
    She reveals, he confesses
    It’s all shared secrets
    Breaking news at six
    The latest, the best
    Reality or virtual
    Extreme, tell all
    Inquiring minds need to know

    Nobody knows
    Why the young wife can’t be around babies
    Why the coworker eats alone
    Nobody knows
    Why she leaves town alone every Thanksgiving
    Why he never answers his phone
    Nobody knows
    Why the new family across the street
    Seems so sad

    Inquiring minds need to know
    But nobody knows
    Nobody cares

  18. blacksnark

    No Witness

    The first kiss you stole
    behind my hatchback.
    The next, I took in darkened kitchen,
    your backpack like bra straps in my palms.
    We made art of it
    tagging each other like graffiti
    in parked cars, against walls,
    in darkened rooms, pressed to window frames.
    We were wolves, wildhungry,
    opportunists taking advantage
    of lips not put to better use.
    We punctuated each other’s sentences,
    our tongues writing Braille, creating
    a language only we understood.
    Our goodbyes were silence
    hellos were pauses until moments
    presented themselves, tiny pearls.
    You were everything I knew
    about being swallowed whole,
    about swallowing a self.
    I was the breath you took
    between telling lies.
    Even now, in the stillness of a new life,
    I find myself walking down night-lit streets,
    looking for you in shadow,
    eager to breathe again.

  19. jazzladyw

    Goodbye Girl-Inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s “Secret Garden”

    Not enough is known
    about her mother.
    She searched and
    found nothing but empty air.
    She tried lawyers and orphanages
    but never a clue
    about the woman
    who birthed her.
    The teen who gave her life
    was somewhere out there,
    living a new life without her.
    The liquored moments
    long gone, just a shell
    of memories drifting
    aimlessly on the cold
    New England breeze.
    Fragile awakenings,
    lost in melting snow,
    and a crying baby
    left to brave the night.
    As a young woman,
    she is craving the release
    that her birth mother
    found without her.
    Fly way, sweet child,
    and land safely
    on the edge of nothing.

  20. JMKnott

    What if I hadn’t become a felon
    early in life? Would I be rich now?
    Working a successful office job,
    driving a sweet car, married to a
    gorgeous woman, taking my kids to
    ballet and martial arts classes and
    kicking ass on the golf course?

    But I hate offices. New cars have no
    soul. I need space and a trophy wife
    would probably have divorced me and
    fought me over children who might
    have resented us both. I despise golf.

    The known is better than the unknown,
    truth be known.

  21. Shaziane

    Pretty smile
    Twinkling eyes
    Infectious laugh
    Around the room
    And cozy hugs
    For everyone

    But no one knows
    No one sees
    No one feels
    The sadness
    Beneath the happy

    No one feels the cracks
    No one sees the pain
    No one hears the hollow
    Of her laughter,
    Of her happy words

    Nobody knows
    Who she really is
    And nobody see her
    After they leave her
    Pretty smile
    Twinkling eyes
    Infectious laugh
    Around the room
    And cozy hugs
    No one sees her

    Forever there
    Always dear
    For everyone
    But nobody knows

    (C) Shaziane 2015

  22. MichaelMcMonigle

    Anniversary Truth

    Everyone knows I love you
    But nobody knows how much
    Everyone knows our smiles
    But nobody knows our screams
    Everyone knows our outside
    But nobody knows our home
    Everyone knows the humor
    But nobody knows the pain
    Everyone knows us
    But nobody knows us
    And that is all well to me

  23. SFagan12

    What Nobody Knows

    The black dog doesn’t like it here, hates the city noise,
    and garbage trucks on Monday morning, hates the kids who shriek
    and carry sticks, circling round the block on bicycles. The white cat
    spooks him, hissing from beneath the broken-down truck.
    And transit buses make him lunge to his leash’s end,
    and choke himself in desperation to get out
    of here—Dear Lord!—get out of here!

    The black dog started life on fifteen acres, tumbling
    down porch steps, straight Into mud and droppings,
    geese that scattered at the sight of him, all paws
    and pandemonium. He’d herd them into flight
    above the pond, honking like the annoyed elders
    that they were. For nine long weeks, he sank
    his nose in wheat grass, yarrow, timothy,
    startled butterflies from milkweed.
    ran besides the other pups until the pink
    pads of his paws were dark with grit,
    and then he’d flopped in pools of sunlight,
    slept with stars cool fire on his fur.

    The black dog never will get used to sidewalk
    chafe and strangers sudden hands trying to pet him.
    He will sit, and he will stay. Or wait. Or come.
    Or sometimes, on a drizzly day, black dog
    will fetch a stick launched in the yard.
    It’s what they ask of him in trade for cool pine
    floors in summertime and a bowl
    of beefy kibble. But, in the moon light of his dreams,
    there blooms a silence that releases him.
    He runs an endless hill of green,
    nose to the earth,
    breathing deeply all the hidden things.

  24. KMK_001

    Nobody knows

    what you did last night
    at 1:27 am,
    but I know.

    I saw you
    stuff the bag,
    with grimy little
    piggy fingers,
    looking like sausages.

    You took the pre-
    sliced body,
    dumped it vats of
    bubbling hot
    oil. Tried to hide
    the evidence.

    But the smell of your
    clothes, like sea salt
    and burning rubber
    tips me off
    every time.

    McDonald’s Big Mac
    tastes even better
    at 1:27 am.

    Who knew?

  25. Sbrttn

    2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 29

    Nobody Knows: I’m a Songwriter

    Words fill my head
    At an unexpected time

    Words start to flow
    That make a good rhyme

    It’s a blessing to me
    This gift of expressing

    Singing in joyful tones
    Making melodies, not stressing

    Thankful for this gift of
    Composing positive verses

    Looking forward to more
    Days of song rehearses

    © Shirley Brittenum

  26. Raichyll

    Nobody knows that it’s something I think about
    Almost each and every day
    Nobody knows about the conscious choice, I choose to make
    The choice, for now, to stay
    None of my friends and family have a clue
    How much there is about me, that none of them ever knew
    Nobody has ever known me remotely as well,
    As they all seem to think, they do

    Nobody knows how incredibly freeing it is
    To know that it’s a choice, one I consciously make
    No one really understands the meaning to me
    That it is my choice. My life, to choose, to give or take
    It’s not something I ever discuss with people
    Because it, invariably, freaks them out
    No one seems to be able to handle the fact
    That it’s something I, so frequently, am thinking about

    There is so much to me that I keep to myself
    So much that I dare not show
    It agitates my circles too much
    When I give them a glimpse, of my deep dark below
    I keep it all pretty much locked up tight, tied down, and faraway inside
    It upsets them too much, when I’ve tried sharing in the past
    It’s such a pain to console them, afterword, that I no longer even try
    I just experience thoughts, then let them pass, until the day they won’t be denied

    I don’t allow anyone to see them anymore
    Most I keep buried, way down, so I can be free
    I hide them in shadowed, somewhat strangely twisted alleyways
    My dark lonesome, secret, melancholia infested landscape
    The turbulent map of my deep inner life
    The thoughts I’m never allowed to openly speak about
    The choices that I choose to make, every day,
    My hidden guarded existence.
    My solitary way.

    “My Secret Thought”
    © Raichyll Mae Fine, 2015

  27. Jennifer Peach

    I know
    by jennifer peach

    nobody knows how it feels
    when our hands touch
    and spark away the hurt
    or how angels sing us softly
    to sleep when we spoon.
    nobody knows what it’s like
    to watch you laughing
    and feel a home being built
    on the tallest hill in heaven,
    but I do.

  28. Mark Danowsky

    At What Expense

    Tradition is tradition
    until it ends

    We only know it
    in hindsight


    Tradition has a penchant
    for suffering

    You know suffering
    when you see it


    A human being sleeps
    on a metal grate
    and we walk on

    A woman asks
    to really participate
    and is shot down


    Art is among us
    not to be protected
    behind thick glass

    Language is our only hope
    to break the shackles
    making every day quotidian


    The weather outside is
    irrelevant to factory workers
    in windowless warehouses

    I marvel at our ability
    to carry so much debt
    and walk free in the sun

    -Mark Danowsky

  29. deborahbgkelly

    Nobody Knows

    Nobody knows how hard it really is
    They see a happy life
    A successful life
    I do too

    But, nobody sees the brokenness
    The pain
    The effort it takes
    To rise up and try again

    Nobody knows
    How much
    The little things hurt
    How hard it is to speak my mind

    The balance I strike isn’t always so balanced
    Often nobody knows
    What I really want to say
    Need to say

    -Deborah B. G. Kelly

  30. shethra77


    Nobody knows exactly
    how much I fear I have
    wasted my life

    Nobody knows how much I fear
    for my daughters once I
    am not here to help

    Nobody knows how tired
    we are of being
    or hurting

    Nobody knows how much we would all
    like to fly, to be light as the rising
    swirls of morning mist

    Nobody knows the
    cloud tops of our
    happy moments

    Shethra Jones-Hoopes

  31. Patricia

    Nobody Knows

    Nobody knows
    The tears I’ve cried
    For love
    that seemed
    so lost.
    Nobody knows
    The way
    my heart died
    When the wrong
    was made.
    Nobody knows
    How much it hurt
    How much I changed
    How much I aged
    Because of
    That one
    wrong decision…
    But now
    I am young
    Once again
    I love life
    Once again,
    And I hope
    Everybody knows.

    By Trish Jackson

  32. AmyA

    An Infestation of Sadness

    Who could guess at the grief behind the smile,
    The termite-eaten holes in the heart,
    The self-doubt riddled soul?
    No one could guess at the honeycomb hollowness within,
    Or fathom the wasp’s nest papery flakes of despair.
    Swarming sadness envelopes the chest,
    All the while:
    That same, beaming smile.

    Amy Appleton

  33. torigw

    Night Kitchen

    In college I was in charge of breakfast.
    Charlie, the manager, squeezed the back
    of my neck, convinced I could do it.
    He had a waggy walk, warm hands,
    green glass eyes. I would arrive before
    the cooks when the kitchen was still and
    shadowed and steamless. In the gloam of
    stainless I’d flip the switch of an industrial
    toaster, make myself an English muffin and
    peanut butter, fresh coffee, peanut butter
    scooped from a vast vat. I’d sit just past the
    swinging doors in a quiet corner of the dining
    room and study. The janitor would be making
    his last sweep, wide head of a broom pushing
    against the walls in a swish, swish. He liked
    to sneak up behind me and startle me. He
    was aged and grizzled with an impish smile,
    a laugh like the wheeze of an old jalopy.
    He was missing a finger on his right hand,
    a farm accident when he was a boy. He wore
    his jeans low-slung and Red Wing boots with
    russet laces. He smoothed his flyaway hair
    with the flat of a palm, but it refused to be tamed.
    He would sit with me primly, not long,
    maybe two sips of coffee, and tell me about
    his wife, their life, his eyes a celestial map
    of cerulean, shining stars, lost galaxies. He
    worked the night shift so he could be with her
    during the day. She was dying of cancer. He
    did not ask for my pity. I knew he considered it
    a privilege to tend to her. When I unlocked the
    doors he was long gone, vanished with his thick
    soles. Students filed in for scrambled eggs,
    pancakes, bowls of canned fruit. They were
    loud and peremptory and half-buttoned.
    Fetching cartons of milk I wondered if
    they’d ever considered privilege.

  34. stephamm

    goethe knew

    why young men die. he’s my least
    favorite author, but he got Werther right —
    he got the chop logic of masculinity how
    middle class manners paper over a despair
    that will report through the nice furnishings —
    that the good job necessitates a social posturing
    that the sensitive are unfit for–
    that even sex is curtailed by deportment —
    today i look at the plastic gun my young friend
    gave me several xmases ago. he died yesterday, i was supposed to call him
    he was going to be an attorney just like Goethe,
    but Goethe escaped and became a narrator of other people’s

  35. JayGee2711

    For Julia

    I cannot save
    the secrets of the past
    any more than I can save
    the people who kept them;

    the things that matter most
    are the broken things,

    the baby buried
    in a shoebox
    on the farm, surrounded
    by dust and tears,

    hearts left forgotten
    in the prairie fields,
    crushed between the
    cows and the clover,

    flocks of crows
    crying angry welts
    into the wide blue sky

    Love lives, yes,
    but everyone dies,

    Julie Germain

    1. HypatiaKant

      She wanted to belong,
      despite not knowing where
      she would best get along.
      She wished to be well-liked,
      in spite of the fact that
      she wasn’t always likable.
      She worked for acceptance,
      while knowing at times what
      she said wasn’t acceptable.
      She needed to be loved,
      even, especially, on
      days she felt unlovable.
      More than anything else,
      she needed to love herself.

  36. SGKilbride


    Begin by cradling one,
    Then, divide by two, three, four,
    And multiply five centuries
    Worth of degradation and enslavement
    And what do you find:
    Baltimore City

    Begin by setting fires
    And subtract rioters from protestors
    And add bricks and stones and skin color,
    And times this by the media’s propaganda
    And what do you find:
    Baltimore City

    Begin by staring at your melanin
    And multiply your luck if you’re pale
    And divide your aspirations if you’re not
    Add guilt to your heart, cloaked in privilege
    And what do you find:
    Me in Baltimore City

    Begin by writing on a piece of paper:
    Add what might have been given to you
    Because you’re white (not better)
    Subtract what was earned by your merits
    But divide this if you’re not sure if that is true of not
    And what do you find:
    Me in Baltimore City

    Begin by calling your family
    And add a +1 if they say they’re not a racist
    And add a -1 if they say they know people who are
    And then calculate if you should apologize
    For the entirety of your race
    ((Even if you were raised to see
    the color of souls, not skin)a^2+b^2=c^2)

    Finally, measure the worth of a life
    And what do you find:
    America in Fractions
    S.G. Kilbride

  37. robinamelia

    The Mysteries

    She won’t answer to “Church Secretary”:
    you know what that name conjures up,
    though she did demand her pot of coffee.
    She’s the Parish Admin: second in command.

    In charge of dusty Parish Record books,
    kept dutifully since 1864, careful hands
    penning in births and baptisms, departures and deaths.
    She liked when “cause of death” was “full of years,”

    wished she could write in such beautiful cursive.
    Carefully, she tucked away the confirmation records
    of new arrivals: a bearded young father,
    who started out life with a different name

    and gender. Only she knew when he worried
    about paying for meds that without them,
    he’d transform like the peacock
    embroidered on the lectern.

  38. dextrousdigits

    There is a hypothesis about the way individuals store and retrieve experiences.
    In its simplest construct
    the two most basic ways people store events are
    a line that goes from right to left or left to right or a line that goes
    from behind the person to in front of the person.
    For the person who stores events from side to side,
    when an event happens it gets placed on this graph like structure.
    When asked if they can remember or retrieve a specific event like
    starting kindergarten, getting a bike for Christmas, a first kiss
    They literally look left or right until the event is in sight.
    They appear to be good at remembering events and specific date/times
    This can be a blessing or curse
    as they can see even relive the video of wonderful events, but it can also
    result in not being able to forget or stop seeing ugly or painful experiences.

    In contrast the person who stores data from back to front,
    generally has events from the back behind them and current and future events in front of them.
    This person tends to have more difficulty remembering, bringing up things from the past
    They are often very bad on tests requiring dates when things happen.
    They also don’t hold on to anger, grudges, bad experiences as they
    literally put it behind them.

    My husband stores info left to right.
    He can tell me when he had his first dog, first bike,
    when a movie, song, book came out or he saw/read it.
    Don’t even ask me about a date or when something happened.
    I have to jump through hoops, look up info or make some kind association
    to come even close.
    My husband often gets stuck in the past or finds the past influences him strongly
    I don’t really see the past so unless an experience was very kinesthetic
    it has little hold on me.

    If your curious to how you store information.
    Just ask yourself, “In the three dimensional space around you
    where would you put your first friendship, first bike, first movie, 8th birthday or an event planned for tomorrow, next week, 6 months away”
    This will give you some sense where your Time Line might be stored in you mind.
    Perhaps in this way our brains created cloud space to manage data.

  39. shelaghart

    Feline Empathy

    Clear round eyes flecked with yellow and grey
    Intently gaze at me as if to say
    “I understand. Don’t cry. It’s okay.

    On this side there’s sadness and regret
    Of deeds not done, words not said, love not shown.
    Beyond the veil we can never repay our debt.

    Can our weeping be heard beyond the veil?
    Deeds understood, unsaid words heard, love felt?
    Or at that point is it simply beyond the pale?

    A profound rumbling sound emanates
    As my soft furry feeling friend burrows
    Into me to ease my impenetrable sorrows.

    In an instant, it matters not what’s beyond.
    This cuddly creature helped me comprehend
    ‘Til we, too, die, we will not fathom the end.

  40. Lindy™


    What nobody knows
    cannot be expressed
    vocally or in written form
    The unknown hiding
    completely out of view
    The invisible unknowing
    can drive you mad
    yet it is what we
    have always had
    I find certain peace
    in the release
    of those things
    I do not know
    I do not wish to know them
    for the most part
    Ignorance is bliss
    There are too many things
    I already know
    that I wish I could forget
    If nobody knows them
    that includes me
    and it might just be best
    to let those things be

    Lindy Teachout-Mailen

  41. AleathiaD

    The Lock

    Nobody knows
    except you
    why one day after school
    a lock appeared
    on the inside of my bedroom.

    I know I had fear
    without explanation.

    I know you heard him,
    more than once,

    tell me if I were thinner
    I’d be so damn hot.

    You seemed to ignore it,
    pound another beer,
    look the other way
    while I suffered cycles
    of starvation and gluttony
    and who knows what else.

    The well of shame
    had no visible end.

    I kept to myself
    and every night

    locked my door
    from a faceless demon.

    You never mentioned
    the lock, you never
    mentioned him,
    always looking the other way
    instead of fighting for me.

    Now you are dead
    and he has long since
    been away from me,
    but there are things
    I can’t remember,
    things nobody knows,
    but you.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2015

    April 29, 2015

  42. mschied

    Elegy of Unknowns

    On that grey, overcast day, the funeral procession arrived

    One by one, somber boys and girls in black

    Passed by the open coffin, and one by one,

    Each placed an offering inside

    The ghost story that finally laid to rest

    the girl’s haunting demons

    The joke book that made a refuge

    for the child who had no reason to smile

    The dog book who taught the rebellious teen

    compassion for animals, when people were her foes

    The drawing book that gave the potential dropout

    a reason to finish school and get an art degree

    The book that gave hope to the hopeless

    and continued another man’s existance on earth

    instead of taking the easy, but terrible way out

    As the corpse lay peacefully in the coffin,

    satin-lined in her favorite shade of lilac

    Hair coiffed in that perpetual bun

    Bifocals, as ever, tipping slightly down her nose

    but the same half-smile still dancing on her lips

    she didn’t know these nameless tributes

    these half-remembered faces

    but each and every one

    remembered her

    as mentor



    and friend

  43. tjholt

    Life Goes On

    Noon, the bells told
    me. A traffic light cycled
    green, yellow, red. My dog
    barked, it’s tail wagging,
    happy to see me. The sun rose
    today and is setting
    with a flourish of pink.
    Don’t they know
    that you’re dead
    or don’t they care?

  44. Austin Hill

    Bad to the Bone!

    The trip down the birth canal requires the suit of a very special super hero –
    a skeleton of over 300 parts, more connective tissue (cartilage) than bone.

    Bones are not yet fused (the fontanelles [soft spots] in their skulls
    will be an example);
    It is because of this that the trek to a world outside of the womb
    becomes “easy peasy”.

    Post partum, growth is inevitable and exponential;
    “intramembranous ossification” begins…
    Cartilage is exchanged for calcium salts,
    and Voila, ACTUAL BONES FORM!

    Oh ‘dem bones, ‘dem bones, ‘dem…[bones made of
    living cells and collagen];
    Their unique form functions to protect the brain and other organs,
    hold muscles and organs together,
    maintain structure, and
    provide support.

    Its marrow stores vital minerals
    synthesizes blood,

    The Conduit of Life.

    ©April 29 2015 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  45. BellaNaija

    What We Don’t Want To Know (a work in progress)
    by Bella Naija

    Black is not a color in Mr. Crayola’s box
    But a thorn in the consciousness
    Of those on the wrong side of history
    Who while yet bleeding red
    Deny others the ability to do the same
    To pursue in peace their happiness

    Ah, there’s a word – happiness –
    That swirls inside my mouth like honey
    And sunlight
    Dressed in peaceable blues and wrapped
    In heaven-love
    The god-given right of humanity

    But my happiness sits as a bitter leaf
    In their mouths too difficult to swallow
    Because my right to happiness is overshadowed
    By my blackness
    Is not a color
    It’s a sour narrative that gets replayed
    In 24-hour news cycles that edit out
    my humanity and amplify my pain
    Given you license to reshape, redefine and recast
    My blackness into the dark light of your lens

    There’s a moment when all men
    Can choose to see with clear vision
    To absorb all colors through the lens of compassion
    The dignity of their brothers and sisters
    The choice is ours and ours alone:
    Wait in vain for my Black to disappear
    Or face the truth that my Black is not
    A threat to humanity
    But an expression of its infinite beauty.

  46. drwasy

    The Guilt I Carry

    I wanted you too much.
    To have you—to make you mine—
    as if you were the latest car model
    or the finest bottle of Bordeaux.
    Did wanting you too much
    hard-wire your brain
    to constant melancholy?

    I wanted you so much.
    Twelve months. Six cycles.
    Radical intervention: surgeries
    and medicines intended to cure cancer
    and lupus used to create you.
    Between hallucinations
    and depressions, I considered
    surrendering to God,
    for if She intended me
    to become a mother, surely she
    would have paved an easier way.
    Is it her wrath that I thumbed
    My nose at Her and Nature
    In my insistence to make you?

    I want you so much.
    But here I am,
    and here you are,
    my beautiful, sad son
    with your beautiful
    differently-wired brain,
    sent away so others can cure
    the melancholy that neither I
    nor God seem to dent.

  47. kissingtheshoreline

    “we have issues beyond communication,” Drea O.

    nobody i know in
    ‘real life’
    knows half the things i dare say
    to the world over the

    how it’s so much easier to confess
    secrets and hurts
    to a screen full of strangers
    than turn to the ones
    meant to know you

    this must be why
    you and i
    don’t speak

  48. Maria Grace

    The Communion of Saints

    Temptation seduced him
    And sin smelled sweet.
    Virtue was treacherous in that place.
    In the barren wasteland of his soul,
    He cried out in pain for grace.

    (She knelt in the shadow
    Beneath the Cross
    Where only God and Grace may be,
    And waged her prayers for the souls of men
    Who stand upon eternity.)

    The demon was routed
    And war was done.
    He took hold of grace in pain, and rose.
    (A thorn-crowned nun in a silent room,
    Saved his soul and no one knows.)