2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

For today’s prompt, write a memory poem. This is one of my favorite poem starters, not only because it’s a great way to mine for material–by looking at memories–but it can also be a great way to remember things previously forgotten. I’ve found that just taking a few moments to remember one thing lead to remembering something else and so on.

Of course, the memories in your memory poem don’t have to be yours, and they don’t even have to be true. So however you come at this, I hope it leads to a memorable poem.

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Here’s my attempt at a Memory poem:

“Scared”

The four sat in the clubhouse moping. “I can’t believe they
wouldn’t believe us,” exclaimed Barbara. “Welcome to my
life,” mumbled Eddie. “No one ever believes me. Ever.”

“Maybe they’re right,” said Walt. “They’re probably doing more
than we could ever do.” No one looked at him. “I mean, we’re
just kids, right?” Every one continued not looking at him.

“This sucks,” shouted Eddie as he flung a stick he’d been
bending out the window. “We should’ve gone inside when
Marcus wanted us to, but Walt here was a scared baby.”

“Was not!” “Was too!” “Stop it,” said Marcus in a flat tone
that still somehow penetrated the yelling. “We were all
scared. I can still feel the fear we all felt, but we know now.

We know that the adults aren’t going to help us…or Jesse.”
Marcus looked up at them all, “We have to do this ourselves.”

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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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185 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

  1. PSC in CT

    Oak Tree Memories

    I imagine
    the mind
    as a tall oak tree
    burgeoned from a tiny seed;
    that acorn sprouting,
    growing, greening
    to produce an abundance
    of luxuriant foliage,
    fine leafy memories
    rich and full and verdant.
    Then, one particular autumn,
    comes along to strip the
    tree bare – each memory
    dropping
    away
    one
    by
    one
    or in
    a fusillade
    of cyclonic swirls.
    How long will it take? How many memories
    can one lose before oneself is wholly gone?

  2. Pat Walsh

    sometimes a memory
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    some people
    pass by
    like leaves carried clumsily
    on the surface
    of swiftly moving water

    but you
    hold deep
    like the steady motion
    of the current
    that defines the river

  3. browdd22

    August

    I meant to leave
    But I didn’t mean for you to suffer
    I did in my return
    You left but you came back
    My forgiveness was swift
    It may not show through our gestures used at one point in time
    But I love you as I had back in August

  4. SarahLeaSales

    The Fluidity of Memory

    Memories are the remnants
    of unreliable narrators and
    unscrupulous memoirists;
    of fanciful adults about their childhood,
    and bitter adults about theirs.
    Memory is both selective and imagined,
    sometimes as fuzzy as 20/100 vision,
    others, as sharp as Andy Rooney’s wit,
    but real all the same.

  5. Stuart Peacock

    The Embers of Memory

    I remember the green fields
    That we ran through together,
    The beach where we skipped
    Between the sand and pebbles,
    Before leaving our ripply imprint
    In the cold embrace of the sea.

    But I only see it in pieces,
    Photographs that hang in the air
    Where there is nothing else
    Beyond the confines of a frame.
    We can only look at them longingly,
    Letting our minds create the rest.

    That’s what our memory makes,
    The scents that linger still,
    The laughter and tears that echo
    Through the thick walls of time.
    The thrill of senses set alight,
    Our memory making the flame.

  6. seingraham

    THE TRICKS OF MEMORY

    Paris is dressed in widow’s weeds
    and I am mourning for her
    Remembering how she looked
    when last we visited, almost
    a year ago
    She was gaily decked out then
    for Christmas – her regular
    City of Light self.

    I am visualizing myself sitting
    on the bed in our apartment
    gazing at stately Sacre Coeur.
    It’s Christmas Eve, and the domes
    are glowing palely through the dusk.
    I am happy, getting ready to go out
    for dinner, decide to check my email first.

    I click my iPad on and go to Gmail
    – funny, I have a message from FaceBook
    When I open it, I am surprised to find a photo
    I took of my middle grandson
    At first I’m puzzled, but quickly the words
    from the social media moguls sink in
    I am being cautioned about the picture,
    which, they’ve taken down
    I’m being threatened by FaceBook through the ether
    on Christmas Eve while I’m in Paris.

    They are saying that if I ever post a photo
    I don’t have the “proper permissions to post” again,
    I will be banned from FaceBook myself,
    in perpetuity
    Yes, that’s what remembering Paris and what’s going
    on there has led me to think of tonight.

  7. Alaina Dawson

    -cutaneous letters-

    it only happens in the dark
    when the flashbacks of nights that are both so far away
    and so close that I still taste the blood
    consume me so much that I almost feel you

    pushing me up against the wall
    with your hand up my shirt
    as if it was your twisted way of apologizing
    for all the words you shouldn’t have said

    tongue tied against new bruises
    I bit my lip as I tried to figure out which pain was worse
    the red marks slapped across my face
    in a print so analogous to your hand
    or from the sugary words that snuck out between your teeth

    I almost feel you dragging your fingers across my body
    digging them deeper into me then I’m willing to admit
    holding on tight to the prizes you had won
    from taking treasures that were not yours to take

    you carved notches into my skin
    for each time you had successfully tricked me
    into confusing love with persuasion
    and it would have been such a good system
    except that you started to run out of empty space

    the tears use to flow like rivers into the ocean
    but even salt water dries up eventually
    I always knew it didn’t really feel like love
    but then again

    I had stopped feeling such a long time ago

  8. pipersfancy

    A Beautiful Cup of Tea

    a beautiful cup of tea
    was all she had that last morning

    frail bones lifting bone china
    to waiting lips

    while outside, white smoke from
    brick chimneys rose, house to heaven
    in straight columns

    “My hands are cold”
    she said

    “Wrap them ‘round your cup”
    I said, although

    we both knew the cold she felt
    was not only in the fragility of bone-
    thin fingers, always cold to the touch,
    but in the pit of a stomach where
    deep fear and resentment grew—
    far too embedded in misery’s illness
    to speak directly, on their own

    so I spoke instead
    “I’ll get your coat, mom”

    “it will be alright”

    “I’ll stay with you until they take you,
    and be there when you wake in recovery”

    words meant to reassure a woman
    on her way to an appointment
    with a scalpel

    but, I could not reassure myself
    anymore than words reassured her

    as we pulled out of the garage
    into a dawn that had not yet arrived
    I noticed the ice fog

    annoyed by the disruption of our leaving
    it swirled, then settled back down—
    curling itself around the foundation
    as if to hold the house in hibernation

    knowing that it would be a long while
    before anyone returned
    —Christina Perry

  9. tunesmiff

    Working from the Edward Hopper painting “Summer Evening”

    THE PORCH
    G. Smith (BMI)
    ———————-
    It started on the front porch,
    How many years ago?
    As the sun was going down,
    Underneath the porch light’s glow.

    I don’t think you felt it,
    At least not then and there;
    But it didn’t take too long until
    I knew how much you cared.

    The hours we spent talking,
    Sharing dreams and plans;
    Knowing just beyond the door
    Were your mom and your old man.

    Things played out the way things do,
    Storybook ever after.
    You and me and baby made three,
    Some tears but much more laughter.

    The baby grew up
    We grew apart;
    I fear you’ve found,
    Another’s heart.

    So now we’re on this porch again,
    Neither of us speaking.
    I just cannot find the words!
    I wonder if you’re seeking.

    Kids’re playin’ kick-the can
    Somewhere in the yard;
    It used to be so easy;
    How come it’s turned so hard?

  10. Kendall A. Bell

    Jenny sneaks me to her room after midnight

    The too big sweatshirt billowed around you,
    hid your slender frame behind the large
    block letters that said MARYLAND, where
    you would go to college to forget our town,
    to forget me. That night, we discovered our
    forms, became more familiar with the peaks
    and valleys of your mattress. You slid your
    small fingertips over the freckles on my
    shoulder, turned them into constellations,
    while my hands could not leave the smoothness
    of your legs, while we fumbled so predictably
    over what to do next, while the gray sweatshirt
    slipped slowly over your head, to the deep blue
    shag of your floor, while sweet smell of your
    neck overtook me, while we stayed quiet enough
    to not be heard by your mother, your sister.
    It took only a few months to become strangers.

  11. anindeliblemark

    For A. Rex

    Body, altar
    cathedral ribs-⎯blossom
    pulse hums through veins,
    liquid slow.
    This low beating drum is a reminder
    of sacred music.

    I am reminded of the way that music
    once sounded like a benediction,
    the murmur of hunger
    a prayer.

    I felt holiest with your hands on me,
    the way you cupped these hollowed places,
    Worshipped you with shaking hands,
    waned as you waxed,
    Learning the lessons you taught me
    with each counted rib.
    This is what it means to be woman, isn’t it?
    To be vessel but never filled,
    always giving, but no good empty.

    Even now, my body must remember
    not to make an altar of itself.
    Beneath this flesh
    is a sunken rib cage waiting to rise
    to the surface,
    jutting toward you
    from memory.

  12. thunk2much

    Yours

    Even though I wake
    With tears in my eyes
    And a stuttering heart
    I won’t abandon my dreams
    Because then and there you love me still
    And call me mommy or just mom
    In that way you always had
    Of fiercely declaring I was yours
    And my darling you should know
    That even in the mornings, I still am

    ~ Liesl Dineen

  13. Ann M

    my grandmother
    held straight pins between
    her lips
    waiting to pull
    the seam
    inch by inch

    time passed
    measurements were taken

    then pin by pin
    held between her
    long fingers
    slipped through
    the cloth like a
    memory
    sharp and sure.

  14. Valkyri

    memory

    a fearful thing this
    walking in a minefield
    of remembrances horrific
    too traumatic to face
    the depths of my past
    plummeting I recall things
    better left buried
    under the hidden stones
    of my memory

  15. Shennon

    Holding hands while sitting with you
    On your sister’s porch swing
    Back when we first started dating
    Is one of my favorite memories.

    However, our young love grew apart
    We distanced ourselves
    But always remained the truest of friends
    Until the day you unexpectedly perished.

    That porch swing now seems
    Like a beautiful dream
    Where I can still touch your face
    Hear your laughter
    And lean back
    Into the arms of first love.

    –ShennonDoah

      1. ppfautsch24

        Holiday Memories
        Remembering childhood memories.
        Holiday music, tinseled lights, good food,
        Upon the table. Love abound and we were
        All able to have lofty sugar plum dreams.
        Where it all seems possible for peace to be
        Wrapped and presented under the tree.
        Would be opened expectedly; in the warm
        Light of my living room. Gathered with my family.
        By Pamelap

  16. elishevasmom

    Un-natural

    Seven sons, two daughters—
    yeah that’s certainly more
    than the 2.3 average birth

    rate in the U.S. A son,
    a daughter, six sons, the second
    daughter—whom I lost to crib

    death at the age of ten weeks.
    It was a blessing, really. Already
    by then she was clearly well on

    her way to severe mental
    retardation. That’s the sort
    of thing that rolls easily from

    my lips now, over twenty years
    later, but at the time I was
    inconsolable. Then, just this

    past summer, my second son’s
    body gave in to the assaults
    a life of addiction had mounted

    upon it. He went to sleep one
    Monday night, and never woke
    up on Tuesday morning. He was

    living in Jerusalem (where we
    had all lived as a family over
    two decades prior.) There, the

    custom is not to allow the deceased
    to pass more than twenty-four
    hours without being buried.That

    and the fact that I lacked the $1,500 to
    make it for his funeral were a godsend.
    He was 37 years old.

    I had once stood before a pine
    box little more than two feet
    long. I’m not sure how well I

    would have managed seeing a
    second child laid to rest.
    Children are not supposed

    to pre-decease their parents.
    It goes against the natural
    order of the world.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2015
    day 133 of 365
    day 13 PAD 11.15 a memory poem

  17. shethra77

    November 13, 2015

    oh my beloved city
    city of light
    of a million poems
    your people bleed

    remember
    today they laughed
    ate at sidewalk tables
    clapped at the concert
    tonight life bleeds
    down your gutters

    my heart weeps
    because you bleed
    dear Paris

  18. Sara McNulty

    Poor Judgement

    Long time ago in a town Upstate
    I had to wait
    for a friend to come and rescue me.
    It was time to flee.
    How could I have moved away with him?
    Felt out on a limb.
    A jealous psycho, fond of gin.
    My things were packed, my friend was due.
    Lesson learned–about time, too!
    I had to wait. It was time to flee, felt out on a limb.

  19. De Jackson

    1991

    You hid the tickets in an old film tube
    in your drug box. I don’t know why

    I looked. I don’t remember what movie
    it was. I only know there were two of

    them. Two of you, who weren’t me. Two
    who had gone to see some movie that all

    these years later is nameless. I don’t
    remember her name, either. I do

    remember changing mine.

    .

  20. MichelleMcEwen

    Daddy’s Mama

    Daddy’s mama
    had a pecan tree

    Daddy’s mama
    had long feet

    Daddy’s mama
    had snake hips

    Daddy’s mama
    always had tobacco juice

    on her lips.

  21. Connie Peters

    Some of the Faces

    We’ve had a strange life together.
    Many moves. Many faces. Two kids.
    When our daughter was born in Craig, Co
    three days after Christmas,
    the 16 below dropped to 40 the next few weeks.
    Some nights we had to keep her in bed with us.
    One time when she had jaundice,
    you laid her on your tummy in the sunshine,
    you in your long johns and her in her diaper.
    I called you captain underwear and super kid.
    I had never seen your eyes so full
    of love, pride, and tenderness.

    When our son was born in Cortez, CO
    three days after Easter,
    we lived on sixteen acres and your mom
    visited, telling me to quit being selfish
    for keeping the baby to myself.
    He was eight days past due.
    Because there were so many Nathans,
    when the doctor said he just named his baby Nathan,
    I decided Nathaniel would be his middle name.
    I told you not to leave until the baby had a name.
    We made it to the Es and named him Eli.
    Later, his sister came running into the hospital room,
    “Mommy, Mommy I rode the alligator!”

    Then there was the day we got Lacy
    Twisted, blind, mute. There was nothing
    like the feeling of holding her.
    I remember seeing you in church holding her
    and I knew you felt it, too.
    You were heroic when it came
    to the problems we encountered with her.
    Then there was Dennis who everyone
    fell in love with. Playing peekaboo at bedtime.
    We laughed when he called you Buzzard
    and everyone else knothead or bonehead.
    We didn’t realize he had cancer.
    He died only after having him six months.

    And then came Vanassa
    whose smile lights up a cave
    She’s got you wrapped around her finger.
    And every time you brush her teeth,
    I hear her delightful belly laugh.
    And Justin, our forty-one year old toddler.
    How he loves when you hug him
    and tease him, and act like a clown.

    Yes, we have had many memories,
    over the past 38 years since we met.
    Good ones and bad ones,
    but the ones I remember most
    are the way you treat people,
    especially the “least of these.”

    And I savor your strong shoulders and hugs.

  22. tunesmiff

    MEMORIES
    (c) G. Smith (BMI)
    ————————–
    I recall the day that I met you
    Your smile outshone the sun;
    I knew it then and there,
    You had to be the one.

    And I’ll never forget the night I first kissed you,
    You put the moon and stars to shame;
    The magic of that moment,
    We never thought would change.

    Your memory plays tricks on me,
    The sadness of those happy times
    Is the only thing I see,
    There between the lines.

    I remember the last time that I saw you
    Your tears like diamonds so precious and rare.
    We couldn’t fix what was so badly broken;
    So we parted and left all our memories there.

    Your memory plays tricks on me,
    The sadness of those happy times,
    Is the only thing I see,
    There between the lines.

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