2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “After (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “After the Music Stops,” “After Hours,” or “After I Finish Writing a Poem, I Write Another One.”


Recreating_Poetry_Revise_PoemsRe-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at an After Blank poem:

“After You Take It to the Police”

Prepare to be heckled about how nobody lives in the Carter House
and how they’ve already checked it out and how kids shouldn’t be
getting involved in “serious” business, like a presumed homicide,
involving a known drug dealer. Expect to be shown the door, and then,

walk through it. Your parents will be called, and they’ll sit you down
and talk to you about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate
while reminding you that adults are “busy” taking care of the “serious”
issues of the world. Just be a kid, they’ll say and pat you on the head

like you’re a puppy dog. You only get one chance to be a kid, they’ll
remind you over and over with a hint of nostalgia. Don’t even attempt
to argue with the adults; they’ll never understand, or more accurately,
they’ll never listen to a group of teenagers with active imaginations,

because that’s what this really all boils down to, isn’t it? Kids don’t know–
can’t even begin to fathom–what adults have to sift through every day.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

This is his eighth year of hosting and participating in the November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. He can’t wait to see what everyone creates this month–not only on a day-by-day basis, but when the chapbooks start arriving in December and January. Fun, fun, fun.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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168 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

  1. PSC in CT

    After We Turn Back the Clocks

    Once Daylight Saving Time is done
    we struggle to settle into this new schedule.
    Sleeping later, we’re still awaking tired.
    Lazy Aurora splashes a weak,
    watery glimmer on the morning
    leaving little enough light to spend
    on the substantial tasks
    of these diminishing days.
    Sunset bleeds brilliantly,
    but all too soon the gloom
    of gloaming overshadows
    and Night slithers in
    to steal the last
    strands of color
    from the

  2. tobysgirl


    I wrote a story once, about a memory from my early childhood.
    It was the first time I put myself out there, published,
    and when she read it she asked me if I really thought
    she was that “terrible”.
    I never thought she was.
    I didn’t see the story in that light at all,
    but her comment effectively
    shut me down.
    Even now, if she read this
    she would make me feel guilty
    for not writing what I felt
    because of her.

  3. Poet Ariel

    After You Left for the Day

    After you slid through the day –
    seemingly without consequences for the rattlers
    you released in the grass around me;

    After you grabbed your bowler hat and stepping wide,
    congratulating yourself on your adroit managerial style,
    your direct communication
    a fat 15 minutes before the close;

    After that “Your World According To Me” speech
    (reminding me of a pantomime with forked dinner rolls;
    who were you trying to impress?)
    and that laborious public dissection of my day
    where every action was questioned and second-guessed
    glossing over those breaks incidental cut short by demands
    (which looked like you were chewing boiled shoe leather)

    After …
    Everyone’s eyes rolled in ridicule
    at the little tramp twirling his cane,
    at that pronounced waddle out the door;
    the cued comedic calliope soundtrack
    floating behind with you like flatulence.
    You saw yourself as hero –
    We saw you an antique cliché.
    Trust me,
    you faded to black for me
    the moment you decided I was wrong.

    November 12, 2015

  4. SarahLeaSales

    After Graduation

    It was May of 1969,
    that eight girls of the class of Middleton High
    all made plans to follow their dreams far from home.
    Elsewhere was that wonderful, but elusive place,
    though so many had tried before them,
    only to return like battered wives and wayward husbands.
    The girls believed they had outgrown Here,
    that they could make it Anywhere,
    as long as it wasn’t Near.

    Faith Goodwin was like her name—
    faith-filled, full of good, always won at Everything,
    Most Likely to Succeed at Something,
    though her only success was ending up in the maternity ward
    seven times by the same man.

    Melanie Silts,
    the girl with a book,
    but never a boy under her arm.
    She was the librarian’s muse
    for years until he died,
    him having written but one poem
    of ten lines.

    Marnie Owens, the cheerleader,
    who married the football player—
    the team that dictated the rules for faculty,
    for they brought in all the money.
    They were like little gods, in this way,
    but not quite celestial dictators,
    numbered as the stars.
    Marnie cheers from a wheelchair now,
    but no one cares,
    for women still cheer for the men
    who would leave them.

    Judy Carnes, the chunky class clown,
    who gave everyone a reason to laugh with her.
    She fell in love with the boy who fell in love with Faith.
    She watched their children,
    this lady at The Chocolaterie,
    who gave away big marshmallows in little cups.

    Carol Hunt, the import from England,
    who liked to say she ate spotted dick—
    all with a runcible spoon.
    Always with a British flag on her lapel,
    she felt above all the hicks of Cheesegate,
    (for Middleton was positively scandalous in is provinciality)
    because she pronounced words a different way.
    She fell in love with Jill Ellen,
    who, from the day she came,
    everything seemed to go awry.

    Susan and Debbie Carter,
    twins, it seemed, of a different mother,
    who shared boys and nothing more.

    Then there was Jill Ellen Roth,
    who came to the town of Middleton
    from the skyscraping landscape of Manhattan,
    escaping the worms of the Big Apple,
    seedy and rotten to its core,
    only to die at the hands of four of these girls,
    for reasons known only to them.

  5. seingraham


    At first I thought it was part of the band’s schtick, you know?
    That they had pyrotechnics like lots of heavy metal guys do
    Fireworks and stuff with lights and lasers, for show
    Besides the super loud music, so, I just kept rocking out
    like many other folks in the crowd—we were head-banging
    and it was very cool, a good time.

    But then—right in the row in front of me, two guys went down.
    At first I thought they fell or fainted or something, but then I
    heard some loud bangs and when I turned toward where the noise
    came from, it looked like a bag of clothes or something blew apart,
    then the screaming started

    Someone fell on me, and it was then I started to hear
    the shots – rat-a-tat-tat shots – that sounded non-stop
    And more people fell on me; I saw from where I was, under the heap
    at least one guy with a machine gun, I guess an AK47, and he was
    just spraying it into the crowd, just firing it, and firing it.

    I think he stopped once, maybe twice, to reload it
    But that might have been someone else; it was pretty chaotic
    I shut my eyes and tried to stay as still as I could, tried to look dead
    Something wet dripped on me; later I saw it was blood.

    It’s hard to say how long everything took and I may have passed out
    But after the shooting—it took a long time before we were allowed
    out of the stadium; and they had to carry out the bodies.
    There were so many bodies; I didn’t want to know how many
    but it was hard to ignore all the sheet-covered figures.

    Now, life seems divided, into before the shooting and after
    The whole world is praying for Paris and what has happened here
    But for me, everything changed and all I can remember or think
    about, is that now, after the shooting, I’m alive and everything
    else – I can’t think about everything else, I just can’t.

  6. Alaina Dawson

    -after 6:09-

    ten after six and this will be the third time I’ve cried today
    and as the salt water drips down my checks
    it will just as quickly dry up again
    like little balls of dust that have settled under your bed
    ten after seven and I pick up the phone after the third ring
    you’ve had one too many drinks one too many times
    you slur your words like smudges on a chalkboard
    trying to choke out the words to an elusive apology
    we’ve danced this dance ten times before
    and then ten times more, over and over
    but tomorrow the high tide will refuse to swell
    and by the eleventh minute so will I

  7. Sibella

    I’m late, with a blackjack poem that couldn’t have been written yesterday. I feel horrible about what’s happening in Paris, especially because I’m an avid concertgoer who loves the rush of emotion accompanying the creation of live art.

    After [the attack on the Bataclan concert hall, Paris, 13 November 2015]

    There will be tattered ribbons,
    broken lines. There will be stains.
    Worst: silence where life once was.

    Pamela Murray Winters

  8. RJ Clarken

    After the Stars

    After the stars all fade near dawn,
    I know, somehow, they’re not quite gone.
    Each night, my gaze wends skyward, still.
    Each day I say, “Today, I will.”
    Although I oft cannot predict
    what will occur, I won’t restrict
    imagination: there’s no frill.
    Each day I say, “Today, I will.”
    And do you know, that mantra can
    help me despite a lack of plan.
    Stars fill my eyes, ‘though they might spill.
    Each day I say, “Today, I will.”
    So if you ask which way the glass
    is filled, I’ll buy a round and pass
    them out like stars, and then refill.
    Each day I’ll say, “Today, I will.”


  9. Bushkill

    After the due date:

    I saw and read and wrote.
    Quite feverishly, I did.
    I swear, there was smoke!
    But in the end all I had
    To show for my effort
    Was the blackened ash of
    Ideas gone awry.
    As the deadline neared and
    My panicked scribblings
    Grew more edgy
    Less convincing,
    A bit contrived, all
    Thoughts of finishing
    On time departed on a gust of wind.
    Amid the swirling ash of
    Wayward warblings,
    A thought was born.
    From the dead and dark
    Its light spread, shattering the
    Void and filling the emptiness
    With its arrival.
    Like a phoenix risen from the ash,
    Penned verse rises as well.
    Perhaps not as bright.
    Perhaps not as brilliant.
    Yet every bit as surprising.

  10. Janet Rice Carnahan


    There is an obvious sudden dull drop,
    Any new plans just slowly stop,

    Words tumble all around,
    No viable opening or sound,

    Any emotions that didn’t find ‘voice’,
    Perhaps they lacked a more truthful choice,

    Missing adult children becomes apparent,
    To the hopeless forever parent,

    Perhaps logic actually took hold,
    Practical effort helped us stay bold,

    Taking care of small details,
    Being too real often fails,

    A pause and a sigh,
    Unspoken questions of ‘why’,

    Like how did they grow so fast,
    Why did time hurl us so far past?

    Why do I see their pain?
    What more would help them maintain?

    Did I breathe in every minute?
    In each visit they’ve been in it?

    Or did I just let the day,
    Pull, distracting me away?

    Before they arrive, I am thrilled!
    Any problems are quietly stilled,

    Expectations cannot run amok,
    They keep us endlessly stuck,

    I dream of how great it will be,
    I get carried away with the fantasy,

    If it becomes awkward,
    And the love isn’t heard,

    The let down can be great,
    Yes, I’m telling it straight,

    Yet, I have learned to be tough,
    Recognizing maybe it is good enough,

    To be fortunate at this stage,
    Just seeking to be on the same page,

    With who they are right now,
    Happy to be together anyhow,

    After the family takes leave,
    Perhaps no more need to actually grieve,

    Maybe just carry joy in my heart,
    That they again shared a part,

    Of their busy lives with us, too,
    Special times, more than a few,

    And smile when they come and go,
    With my heart happy because I just know,

    We touched them in some unique way,
    Because they’ll be here again another day.

    What more can we hope for today,
    I am more grateful than I can say!

    I love knowing they’ll see us next time,
    Just like I love expressing this in this rhyme.

    Loving my family is my best way to show ’em,
    Loving them is like an ongoing poem!

    It will keep us together,
    Through turmoil, bad, nasty weather,

    Because ‘after’ and ‘before’,
    Will always create even more,

    And that is our family’s way,
    It gives the love a great place to stay!

  11. Pat Walsh

    after the rain
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    in the evening
    a thin veil of mist
    settles like leaves
    on the wet ground

    the hours pass
    like a flap of denim
    pressed tight against
    the chill of morning

    and the sky
    in its cloak of blue
    gently wraps clouds
    soaked still with weeping

  12. Jolly2

    A second attempt


    by John Yeo

    After the impact came the destruction.
    The day civilisation was reduced to dust
    By an unstoppable chain of events
    When the shock became an aftershock.

    After the event the ripples spread slowly
    Everyone knew there was no going back.
    The whole culture was shocked and strained
    The impact was huge as the asteroid came in

    After the event, time ticked by slowly
    There would never be a way to get back
    To the way it was before life was strained
    The shock was felt as blind fear set in.

    After the event the ashes spread slowly
    Black ashes turning the sun-rays back,
    Creating a climate where survival was strained
    A cruel ice-age began as darkness set in.

    After the aftershock realisation came slowly
    Wholesale death and destruction was back
    Starvation and disease kept survival strained
    When the darkness settled and night came in.

    After the impact came the destruction.
    The day civilisation was reduced to dust
    By an unstoppable chain of events
    When the shock became an aftershock.

    Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  13. Nancy Posey

    After Appomattox

    After Appomattox,
    after our men returned,
    some in pieces,
    few at peace.

    All they wanted
    was to find the way
    back to the their old life.

    Everything around us
    testified otherwise:

    The charred foundations,
    only chimneys left standing
    like solitary soldiers

    The empty homesteads,
    abandoned, deserted,
    robbed by death

    The stones in the churchyard,
    planted over no graves,
    those bodies
    left to lie where they fell
    or buried in some common grave
    miles and miles from here.

    How could we tell them,
    break the news–
    that after we women
    spent months and years
    caring for everything alone—
    the crops,
    the firewood,
    the children,
    we could not forget,
    we could not go back
    to what we once were–

    hot-house flowers, all powder
    and petticoats?

    Our arms, now ropy with muscle,
    will not go slack;
    our hands, calloused at the plow,
    will not be soft again.

    This fence around our heart
    may take years to come down.

  14. ReedEB

    After She Died
    There was sorrow everywhere,
    Yet no one seemed to care.
    And with everything I see,
    I think “why couldn’t it be me?”

    Her pieces sold away,
    But what would it repay?
    The brokenness inside,
    Is where they all seem to hide.

    There’s nothing you can do,
    Unless you have some glue.
    My heart is torn apart,
    How can I restart?

    The days drag on,
    I forget she’s really gone.
    But her room is dark,
    Just like Voldemort’s dark mark.

  15. lsteadly

    After the Visit

    I drove home alone
    replaying it all in my head
    how you said your heart
    held no song, it beats empty and dead
    and after that every song that played
    on my radio pulled me
    closer to your despair
    hearing your world in lyrics
    I’ve sung forever without really listening
    until now

  16. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    River, After the Rains

    You knew the rains would come,
    so why these tears.
    You knew
    the water would grow
    and things would get to be
    a little wild.
    You knew there would be
    mud everywhere.
    You say you feel
    out of control now.
    The same sentimental nonsense
    every year.

    1. ppfautsch24

      After Dark…
      In the dark, but being entertained by the glowing
      blue light.
      Words held you captured; while I feel my way
      around in the darkness.
      Where is my enticement? In the way you let me
      be your light and bump my way around in your
      Being captured by your light.
      By Pamelap

  17. pipersfancy

    After Declassification

    Yesterday, we had no knowledge
    how gangly and thin our lives are

    After the files were declassified
    we stared back in disbelief at a
    mushroom cloud that almost was
    in 1983

    avoided by the thinnest of margins

    When I was 13, I had no knowledge
    how gangly and thin I was
    —Christina Perry

  18. candy

    After the Lights Go Out

    over dinner we talk
    about the everyday
    things that happened
    jobs and coworkers
    traffic, road construction
    the best place to order
    sandwiches and pizza
    the local election results
    the cats and the neighbors
    but after the lights go out
    we whisper words we
    can’t speak face to face

  19. Benjamin Thomas


    If there were a grain of sand
    for all the pain and grief endured
    life would be a beach

    If each and every tear shed
    were written and read by all
    the world would bulge with books

    If we could see all the prayers
    offered for every soul
    those petitions would rain to heaven

    If every person gained a pound
    for every lie they ever told
    the Earth would fall out of orbit

    If every person had to be kind
    in order get their sustenance
    there would be global famine

    If we every person truly loved
    their neighbor as they loved themselves there would be paradise on Earth

    Benjamin Thomas

  20. elishevasmom

    After He Passed

    From the strength
    of the eleven year old boy
    after battling galactically

    against the invasion
    of cancer into his brain—
    several individuals

    each with their own
    story to tell
    got the transplanted

    organs that allowed
    those stories to be lived.
    After he had concluded

    doing all that his mortal
    body could, the entire
    transplant team, circled

    around the stretcher
    that held his covered
    body, pressed their

    hands together, then
    bowed their heads
    and bodies in reverence.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2015
    day 133 of 365
    day 12 PAD, 11.15, an after_______ poem, based on a Facebook photo from China

  21. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    We’ve been through the ringer,
    We’ve gone ’round the bend;
    We’ve been to the moon
    And come back again.

    We’ve made concessions
    And we’ve stood our ground;
    We’ve changed some opinions,
    But one thing I’ve found;

    After all that we’ve been through
    After all we’ve yet to do,
    After all is said and done
    You’re the one, you’re the one.
    After all the lights are out,
    After all, there is no doubt;
    After all is said and done,
    You’re the one.

    We’ve cried in the sunshine,
    We’ve danced in the rain;
    We’ve minded our manners,
    We’ve both gone insane.

    We’ve seen each other’s best,
    And each other’s worst;
    At the end of my rope,
    You’re who I turn to first.

    After all that we’ve been through
    After all we’ve yet to do,
    After all is said and done
    You’re the one, you’re the one.
    After all the lights are out,
    After all, there is no doubt;
    After all is said and done,
    You’re the one.

    Times are changing,
    It seems strange, and,
    Yet there’s one thing still the same.
    People come, and people go
    Even so, this much I know,
    You’re the one and only spark that fires my flame.

    After all that we’ve been through
    After all we’ve yet to do,
    After all is said and done
    You’re the one, you’re the one.
    After all the lights are out,
    After all, there is no doubt;
    After all is said and done,
    You’re the one.

  22. Connie Peters

    After Your Sanity Returned

    I thought we had it made,
    but I didn’t know how skittish
    sanity can be.

    When you went off
    and let that other person replace you,
    I felt widowed—over and over again—

    until I realized that you’d come back
    if I’d just wait it out and treat the stranger
    like an annoying relative
    who’d come for a short stay.

    Eventually the visitor understood
    he was wearing out his welcome
    and you returned for good.

    1. pipersfancy

      That sent chills down my spine… My father experienced a mental health crisis/breakdown when I was growing up. For 2 years he was a familiar face, but not my father. My mother used to tell me that we just needed to “wait it our” and he’d eventually come home. (which, he did)

  23. De Jackson


    After math,
    I needed a bath
    to wash the hypotenuse
    off of my skin.

    When I looked in the mirror,
    I realized there was still a little
    behind my left ear
    (it grows there, if you’re not careful.)

    There was also some trig
    between my toes, and a natural log
    -arithm in my nose.

    So I scrubbed my surface area,
    all of my digits, every slope
    and curve. I even quintupled
    the hygienic quotient
    of my lower quadrant.

    I’m not sure there’s a real
    in my demeanor,
              …but at least I’m exponentially cleaner.


  24. uvr

    After you almost kissed me goodbye

    I rode the train home
    with a smile on lips
    drunk on the
    almost touch
    of your mouth
    on mine
    My mind galloped
    on the clickety-clack
    of the wheels
    and as my heart
    spun impossible dreams
    I almost missed my stop

  25. De Jackson

    After it All

    After the fall,
    winter grew cold and tired
    and we no longer knew
    what to do
    with our hands.

    After the snow,
    the ground melted and
    everything we didn’t know
    was there for all
    to see.

    After the spring,
    we discovered the thing
    was that the stars
    weren’t necessarily
    pointing north.

    After the sun,
    I realized maybe
    you weren’t the one,


  26. Ann M

    iron pan

    i no longer wash
    you, iron pan,
    only pat you down
    with olive oil
    and let you dry.

    gristle, bone,
    fat, and yolk–
    all seeped into
    your darkest pores,
    all that we ate
    all that we are.

    i won’t scrub away
    the memories of the
    pancakes and
    the steak.

    i glance at you
    now, sizzling
    sauce and burning

    someday i will
    hang you up
    and let you rest;
    not tonight.

    1. browdd22

      After You

      I gave up
      I wanted no one, anything else
      I desired solitaire
      I searched for emptiness in corners
      Friends whispered “live”
      Family bellowed “live”
      I thought “can’t live”
      Not without you
      Not after you


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