2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 3

I always think of Day 3 as the day that the challenge gets real. Make it through today, and you can make it through this whole challenge. Also, this is our first Friday; be sure to keep up through the weekend–or catch up first thing on Monday morning.

For today’s prompt, write a machine poem. A machine could be a car or a robot, obviously, but simple machines include levers, pulleys, and screws. There’s also “machine learning” and “deus ex machina.” But there are many other ways to come at this prompt as well.

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2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

Get your poetry published!

Writing poetry is one thing; getting it published is something else. Take advantage of the best print resource for publishing your poetry today with the 2015 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

This annual reference includes new articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, explanations of poetic forms, poet interviews, new poems, and hundreds of listings for book and chapbook publishers, print and online publications, contests and awards, and so much more–all for poets!

Click to continue.

 

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Here’s my attempt at a Machine Poem:

“code”

the dishwasher is broken
if you know what i mean. if

you know what i mean, meet me
at the footbridge in fifteen

minutes. we’ve got a lot to
discuss that can’t be discussed

with words if you know what i
mean. i know you know & if

anyone asks just tell them
the dishwasher is broken.

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Today’s guest judge is…

Martha Silano

Martha Silano

Martha Silano

Martha Silano has authored four full-length collections of poetry, including The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, winner of the 2010 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a Washington State Book Award finalist, and Reckless Lovely (Saturnalia Books).

She is also co-editor, with Kelli Russell Agodon, of The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice (Two Sylvias Press). Two Sylvias Press just released a redesigned and expanded second edition of her award-winning poetry collection, What the Truth Tastes Like.

Martha teaches at Bellevue College and serves as poetry editor of Crab Creek Review. Learn more at MarthaSilano.net/bioblog.html.

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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.

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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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1,052 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 3

  1. infliximox

    Machine
    by Victoria Hill-Chalmers

    There’s a whirring in my heart
    because I am machine, not living creature
    and although I can compute feelings,
    I cannot emulate.
    I wonder if it is normal to think
    about the engine inside my chest cavity
    that cannot synchronise with its
    fleshy human counterpart.
    I do not like to try to analyse
    the level to which my insides are cold
    and hollow, like I should be buried
    with other people’s memories trapped inside,
    to be dug up 50 years later and have my torso
    spilt unto the floor. How I should be crushed
    or re-purposed instead of left
    to an eternity of rest.
    Even if I am not compatible with my human creators,
    never to be loved as they are loved,
    a machine still requires maintenance.

    This is an automated message:
    Looking for a skilled electronics technician.
    No experience required.
    Internal parts need fixing,
    with regular maintenance to follow.
    Voluntary job, but if you are careful
    then when you choose to leave
    we will give you a good reference.

  2. Asha1000

    Wearing Rings

    We never wore golden bands
    or diamond rings to show
    love or committment. We encircled
    each other like soft wearing rings
    absorbing one another’s fears
    stabilising unbalanced forces
    and lubricating the sticky
    turns when corrosive tears
    threatened to dissolve
    our stainless steel metallic bonds.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  3. AmyA

    Eros Ex Machina

    My cogs are weary;
    Yet love,
    That tireless engine,
    Grunts apace.

    But dear,
    The whirring fights
    Those clacking cracks
    Each clicking jab
    Slows my heart.

    Amy Appleton

  4. Patricia

    GPS Shenanigans

    My wonderful GPS ,
    Whom I call Tricky Bi7(#,
    Doesn’t seem to care,
    If she gets me there.

    This machine cares not
    How I feel about her misdeeds,
    She says I need to go one way,
    But that way misleads.

    Tricky Bi7(# surely,
    Has a mind of her own,
    She’s lead me to road blocks,
    And places unknown.

    I want to scream,
    And pull out my hair,
    But now there’s a dead end…
    This guide is so unfair.

    I turn my car around
    And try to find some peace,
    I say aloud, “now Tricky Bi7(#,
    This time, get me there please?”

    I don’t know why I bother,
    It seems to end the same,
    If I would only get myself there,
    I would have no one else to blame.

    By Trish Jackson

  5. Alemonlot

    Ox

    More than likely, from his first, all the movements were as slow as ice.

    All the muscles between tough as rope. An abundance of surrender.

    When I was a girl, I thought he was giant.

    I thought he made all the land and grew all the grasses.

    My stomach had the job of holding up the sky, which I could never do without renaming it:

    Skippy, sandbox, seashell. But they always fell out and always will.

    Men, still, seem to get away with this type of murdering of me.

    I want to be with the one who never sits down with his heavy weight

    in our only chair, but that is how I always find them, grazing like the world is still.

    I tell myself, they are broken windmills. Just some old machines.

    Waiting for the random draft to push them off.

    There is so much to discover about my father when he dies:

    his type of toothpaste, the station he kept on the radio, what his blankets look like,

    and how many hours went by with him completely content with me.

  6. MadPoet

    Cell Phones

    Cell phones
    Can’t live with ‘em
    And can’t live without ‘em.

    Society has become slaves
    To these automatons called
    iPhone, Smartphone and Androids.

    People walking with heads down
    Oblivious to life around them,
    Behaving more like robots than humans.

    Cell phones are our alarm clocks,
    Our message center, our internet,
    Email, appointment reminders and our very lives.

    Gone is handwritten letters.
    Now all is texting or emailing.
    Impersonal and distant communication.

    We live our lives in small screens
    At beck and call to myriad ring tones
    Ignoring true personal face-to-face communication.

    Losing personal contact with each other
    As we glue our whole being to this small
    Machine of modern convenience.

    Distancing ourselves from each other
    No longer feeling the warmth
    And comfort of personal sharing.

    Giving up that special connection,
    That unique something
    Humans shared before cell phones.

  7. Poet Ariel

    Machine

    Check my calibrations; the settings placed too high
    our interface too sensitive for me to sustain;
    I send out codes, couched in impulses of similes

    The wavelength is too contagious; I reach out
    and cords snap and crack like whips,
    ensnaring their neighbors. The television

    has mated with the telephone, spawning videos of lightning
    and making pocket dials to the White House and Parliament;
    I wouldn’t mind so much – except for their foul language –

    And my laptop is singing serenades to the oven
    And running around with the refrigerator,
    smoking blunts inside as the smoke detector burps.

    I try to tamp it down, cut the power; however
    the insidious copper wires have spun themselves
    into blankets for my bed, convince me it is night.

    “Time to power down.” “Clear the cache.”
    they are looking for a port, a source;
    “Try not to worry” …

    “Worry”

    Ariel
    April 3, 2015

  8. Poet Ariel

    Machine

    Check my calibrations; the settings placed too high
    our interface too sensitive for me to sustain;
    I send out codes, couched in impulses of similes

    The wavelength is too contagious; I reach out
    and cords snap and crack like whips,
    ensnaring their neighbors. The television

    has mated with the telephone, spawning videos of lightning
    and making pocket dials to the White House and Parliament;
    I wouldn’t mind so much – except for their foul language –

    And my laptop is singing serenades to the oven
    And running around with the refrigerator,
    smoking blunts inside as the smoke detector burps.

    I try to tamp it down, cut the power; however
    the insidious copper wires have spun themselves
    into blankets for my bed, convince me it is night.

    “Time to power down.” “Clear the cache.”
    they are looking for a port, a source;
    “Try not to worry” …

    “Worry”

    Ariel
    April 3, 2015

  9. SGKilbride

    R A D I A T I O N

    My father dipped himself in titanium,
    has hands made to fix things,
    and those nights my bones were filled with radiation,
    he kept asking God why he couldn’t seem to fix me.

    S.G. K I L B R I D E

  10. ToniBee3

    “What’s That?”

    What’s that knocking at…
    my after-forty door as my…
    yellows dim to gunmetal and…
    my sunny-frolics glaciate?

    What’s that persistent tide…
    that odd fracas (de trop) that…
    drifts in and deafens; and exploits…
    my vulnerable moods?

    What’s that revved-up…
    undiagnosed engine… undiagnosed…
    engine untreated…
    my engine undiagnosed…?

  11. ameyer15

    Bel Air Love Affair

    By Amber D. Meyer

    Hot metal

    Rubber smell

    Dusty perfume of

    All that’s male

    Tires hook

    Pop the hood

    Gimme a look

    Sure sounds good

    Wanna run ‘em

    Sure let’s go

    Blew past him

    Taillights glow

  12. Maxine

    The Machinations of the Heart

    Belie my better judgment,
    Color my vision in soft waves
    Of white on azure, whisper sweet
    Essence of steady winds
    In my sail as salt and fish
    Rise up to scent my expectations

    This foray into exhilaration
    A brief journey from rocks visible
    On the shore leaves three-strand rope
    Sand-covered, lifting with the waves
    Sustaining hope when winds sink flat
    And the oar raises blisters on my palms.

  13. mcumber

    Yield

    While my father was passing
    his eyes scanned the ceiling.
    Ragged gasps, each
    further apart the last
    and we held our breath.
    held his hands,
    spoke to him
    you’re doing just fine
    and still his eyes were wild
    in that great anchored head. I don’t know
    what was up there but I hope it was
    angels, his mother, a jolly-cheeked god
    on a plump rosy cloud
    or a glimpse of universes
    beyond this one, walls
    dissolved, understanding
    painted large across the water stain
    in the corner. Otherwise,
    he was merely a machine
    motor tapped of oil, gears locked
    grinding to a shuddering halt.

  14. pipersfancy

    Throw a Wrench

    The wheels of justice
    turn slowly –
    if they turn at all.

    Why bother?

    We’re all just cogs
    in the machine
    meant to serve
    the greater good.

    But, no one defines
    who is greater?

    Who is good?

    At least,
    not honestly.

    One can only
    make assumptions
    based upon
    news reports
    on a Friday evening.

    No matter…

    I’ll defy them all –
    and throw a wrench
    in the workings.

  15. feywriter

    Seasons by Clockwork

    — Spring —
    Mother was weak and lonely,
    no child could she bear;
    Father, an inventor, made me–
    a clockwork child to be her son.
    With a spring in step we’d walk
    through the local park together.

    — Summer —
    Mother would brag of me;
    Ladies would join us for tea and cakes,
    they’d marvel at my gears and form.
    I could run, dance, climb,
    but when other youth went for a swim,
    I was forbidden to join,
    worried I’d sink like a stone

    — Fall —
    As seasons passed,
    so did Mother’s health.
    No more time for play,
    I’d help Father with his chores:
    raking leaves in the yard,
    welding in the shop,
    while other children went to school.

    — Winter —
    Now Mother has left us,
    Father cannot bear to see me.
    Those ladies, once intrigued,
    don’t want to adopt an unreal child.
    Father has abandoned me;
    my heart broken, I lay in a ditch
    half-covered in drifts of snow.
    Maybe in a century, someone will want me.

  16. Martina Dansereau

    Derealization Depersonalization

    In the dream you were talking and I was listening
    but I didn’t hear a word that you said.
    The sky was blue and the birds
    were singing, I remember that.
    There were dust motes in your eyes and I
    couldn’t stop staring, searching
    for the sunlight that brought them
    to the surface of your irises:

    dry leaf curls on pond water, except
    water shifts and moves and whispers
    and your eyes, your eyes were still—
    not as in windless day, but as in
    impenetrable glass. I saw your eyes
    but I didn’t really; it was less
    like looking and more like standing
    before a city scape and

    zoning in on the densest patch
    of lights because there is so much
    and you don’t know where else to look
    and you can’t see the whole picture
    so you focus on the little details,
    on the firefly-glows from tiny windows
    like the dust on the glazed
    panes before your eyes.

    In the dream you were talking
    and I think you said something about
    me not listening, so I laughed and laughed
    until my sides ached. I’m lying.
    I can’t remember anything hurting.
    I remember the absence of feeling instead,
    the sensation of being in a hundred
    different places and nowhere

    at once, the way my fingers felt like
    loose keys from a typewriter, how the spaces
    between my knuckles seemed to expand
    to fill my whole body. Cobwebbed lungs
    still breathing, but frozen. In the dream
    I have a body but it’s not mine; I am
    an intruder wearing a suit of flesh with skin
    that has turned into granite.

    I do not feel.
    I feel too much.
    There is nothing.
    Everything is overwhelming.

    In the dream we are machines.
    No emotion, just flatness: programmed
    thoughts, automatic speech and action
    without awareness or control. They call it
    a coping mechanism, and so I think of pulleys
    and gears pulling me up to sit somewhere
    in the top of my head and watch
    through a frosted lens

    while someone else grips the controls,
    moving this body through the motions
    of living. Unfamiliarity in familiar
    places. Friends are strangers and strangers
    are blurs of colour, dabs of acrylic
    against bleached watercolour. Fog
    fills my mind, pressing against the glass
    that separates me from the world.

    I bang hard on it. Bang. Bang. Bang.
    Let me out! You tell me that I locked myself
    in this steel-walled room. I say why
    would I do that? You open your mouth
    to explain but I can’t hear you over the
    white noise. Buzz. You pinch my arm—
    a whisper: not dreaming. Bruises that fade
    to grey, cement skies, ash world.

    In the dream that is not a dream,
    my hands turn into birds and fly
    away from me. You catch them and try
    to give them back, but I refuse.
    They aren’t mine, I tell you even as you
    push them back onto my wrists. You
    ask me whose they are, then.
    I don’t know. I don’t know. I think I once

    knew someone who had these hands,
    but I don’t know where they went.

  17. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    Day 3 – No Machines in My Garden, Please :-[

    They call themselves gardeners
    but all they do
    is chop and grind
    and spit and spew

    Their noxious machines
    with noise and fumes
    go cutting the plants
    when they’re in full bloom

    Nothing known but moving parts
    no reverence for life
    just whirring wheels
    overriding peace with strife.

    That’s not gardening
    if you ask me
    just need some shears
    and two bent knees

  18. Elizabeth V

    In the Malfunction Mood

    I’m a mean, clean,
    groovy machine.
    Just turn me on
    and watch me
    spit out what you need.
    Need a complement?
    You stink!
    Need dinner?
    order out!
    Need the dishes washed?
    Do them yourself!

    Just put a quarter in my slot
    and I will chew up, screw
    up your clothes
    in the washer.
    A ten spot
    in my parking meter
    and you can stay
    for the next hour –
    don’t expect to get away without a ticket.
    If you breathe on me,
    I will break,
    or at least malfunction.
    Do you know what that word means?
    It means:
    fuck off baby – I’m not your machine!

  19. QatWalsh

    Fears Of Owning a Clunker
    by- Kat- Walsh

    The little motions happen upon their feeble parts
    Fuel flows freely inside mechanical hearts

    Little by little moving towards the latter
    We’ve experienced the before its time for the after

    Space is filled as wheels move every so slowly
    and rumbles bellow from rusted beams below me

    I drown it out by sounds of rhythm and melody
    Praying this stupid car will get me from A to B

  20. Penny Henderson

    THERAPY

    His hoe slides through roots
    four inches at a slash.
    Slowly he works the row
    next to bean plants
    where the tiller dare not go.
    Wrapped in humid heat
    he’s coddled like an egg,
    and finds both joints and thoughts
    well lubricated.
    A songbird serenade
    is soundtrack to the epic
    plans unfolding in his
    rich imagination.
    Problems un-knot themselves
    as his bare back browns.

  21. TMhishi

    Output

    It’s a technology of smoke
    and skin, a dozen red lips
    saying Ave, Ave
    and also with you.
    and the mourners spew
    from the gilded chute.

    The pallbearers, all joint
    and ironlimbed, tears
    hissing from their eyes
    like steam from old machinery

    and the body, wrapped and packaged
    put into the chemical earth.

    -Tanaka Mhishi

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