2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

For today’s prompt, write a haunted poem. You could write a poem about actual ghosts, floating orbs, and spookedy spooks. But many people are haunted by memories, mistakes, music, and too much alliteration (or is that just me?).

Whatever you’re haunted by, write it.

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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.

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Here’s my attempt at a Haunted poem:

“Jesse’s Ghost”

The shadow of Jesse Wilcox hung over the entire town
like a full moon black hole. The event horizon lurked
around every corner, down every alley, and in the sound
of leaves rustling in the wind or along empty sidewalks.

Kids avoided going to the park without their parents,
and the parents avoided going to the park with their
children. Shops closed early, if they even opened at all.
In other words, that November was a haunted fall.

No body found, but Jesse’s ghost knocked books off
shelves in the library, smashed leftover pumpkins
at night, and toilet papered the principal’s house.
People who listened close at night could hear windows

scratched, porch steps crack, and the distant howl
of an animal or train that swept things out of the light.

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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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144 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

  1. PSC in CT

    Ghost Dance

    She watches autumn unfold
    trying to hold on to the wonder,
    but tasting bitter undertones
    of fear and misgiving.
    Sometimes
    she can almost forget
    that she’s dying
    trying so very hard
    to keep on living.

  2. pipersfancy

    Still Questions for Ghosts

    Answers will never find me, some questions
    cannot be spoken aloud, no one would know
    what to say, I lean into my silence, dreaming,
    wondering every night if anyone still remains,
    perhaps returned to dust over passing years,
    left behind, abandoned, and still I must ask—

    Where did I come from, do I bear resemblance
    to a mother, father, a sibling, did a woman think
    about a given-up-baby on a first birthday, long
    to see a child of 5 start school, wonder if a teen-
    aged child would go to college, wish happiness
    for a grown-up child, mourn lost grandchildren?

    Records sealed for fifty years, decisions made
    a lifetime ago, unknown people still affecting a
    child’s life today, still searching, still wondering
    if wondering ever ends, searching for answers,
    still afraid to ask questions, still trying to forget,
    and still haunted by never-happened memories.

  3. Sibella

    Still playing catch-up….

    Against Biography

    I just found the note I sent a friend three years ago.
    I’m haunted by her, I wrote, but what I meant was
    I’m haunted by her poems. We never met. I’ve touched
    hands that touched her, read poems her friends wrote
    about her, left flowers on her grave. One afternoon,
    drowsy and maybe unwell, I drifted down a reverie
    in which my hand against my thigh was hers. Both hers.
    But this was not possession; it was a dream. I would not
    wake her from what I hope is rest. Why rattle the knob
    in Amherst, looking for a ribbon and posy, when poems
    are perennial gardens? After death, the poet
    recedes. The words float to the surface like leaves,
    or bark, or waxed-paper boats, or the shirts of corpses
    that, falling, caught the wind.

    Pamela Murray Winters

  4. seingraham

    OUR HOUSE IS STILL THE SAME HOUSE

    but, as I see the last well-wishers out,
    I note the slate sky emptying itself
    of light when I finally close the door
    And weary, lean my back against it,
    sagging under the weight of your loss.

    I know not how long it takes before
    I begin to move about—
    Run my fingers across your chair
    Turn lights off, then on again—
    I know I’m putting off going upstairs
    Afraid to not find you there;
    afraid that I might
    Our house is still the same house.

  5. Yolee

    Good Ghosts Understand

    they do not have to rattle memory’s
    bars- they enter opportunities, like
    a cotton dress hanging on a four-
    poster bed, to rock in its hem,
    like the turning blades of a ceiling

    fan with the nonnegotiable duty to
    unstill things. Pink eyelets look back
    at me as if to bridge my posture when
    I leaned and fussed over her one
    Easter morning. She hopped

    in my arms after Sunday School. In her
    toddler grasp was a picture of a bunny:
    it was easier to draw than the renaissance
    of Jesus. And now someone she met last
    week calls to says he witnessed white

    gluttony back up on her nose- alleges she’s
    crashing against arms of broken laws,
    even as her two babies snooze on their
    motel bed. The stranger disconnects.
    I call my boss, feign an illness one

    is likely to recover from- though it feels
    like malignancy bucketing sap in
    the body of all things relative.
    Now one little sleeve sags
    as if a bad ghost slept on it.

  6. Mike Bayles

    The Lights Are On

    The lights are on
    in the house next door
    but no one’s there.
    The neighbor’s but a memory,
    buried and gone.
    There’s a familiar song
    playing next door.
    as it echoes in my mind.
    There’s a groan
    and I shake.
    A shadow dances
    in front
    of a plate glass window
    and disappears.
    A harsh laugh
    echoes into dark skies.
    A black cat runs.
    Even it is afraid.

  7. Pat Walsh

    haunting more than half
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    even two weeks later
    little Ricky still felt the touch
    of the bony finger of branch
    that brushed against his shoulder
    as he made his way
    through the back yard
    of the house
    that was pretending to be haunted
    for Halloween

  8. tobysgirl

    AJ’s Spirit

    You came to me, my girl,
    as I lay crying on my bed,
    trying to fall asleep,
    days after you died.
    I missed your warmth and weight on my side,
    the percolating purr in my ear.
    I missed holding your face in my hands and scratching your sweet chin.
    I missed you, meowing with you, talking to you,
    just being with you.
    And then you showed up, while I was sobbing.
    The whole bed shook, as if you were scratching your ear.
    I looked to see if it was your brother, but there was no motion and no cat.
    I closed my eyes again and the bed shook again,
    and I opened my eyes and smiled,
    because I knew it was you in that moment.
    As I closed my eyes a bright flash of light filled the room and,
    just as fast,
    it was gone.
    And so were you.
    Oh, my girl, two years have passed since you died.
    You were truly my soul cat
    from the moment our eyes locked
    when you were just a little ball of gray fuzzy fur.
    You always will be.
    Thank you so much for coming back
    one last time to let me know
    I was part of your soul, too.

  9. SarahLeaSales

    A House, Haunted

    She stands at the street corner,
    surrounded by magnolia trees and iron gates,
    draped with ivy like a stone goddess.
    Though she cannot move,
    she can see everything.
    Every nail that was placed in her,
    meant someone felt like they’d come home.
    Every stripe of color
    meant she was reimagined as someone’s own.

    She saw the Stovalls raise their children
    in the only way they knew how—
    one going right,
    one going left,
    and one without any direction at all.

    Then there were the Harviells,
    who had no children of their own,
    but little birds of a different feather.
    They had three cats—
    one for each of the birds.

    There were other families who came and went,
    but it was during the reign of the last family,
    the Davies,
    in which she was invaded,
    and saw from every room,
    the wiping out of future generations.

    Haunted, she was left to crumble,
    for no one wanted to live in her anymore.
    Her only solace were the mischievous children
    who came to play in what had once been
    the sacred spaces of others;
    the teenagers who came to play
    Russian Roulette with biology,
    until the day she was deconstructed,
    and only the memory of her lived on
    in the children who had lived.

  10. Jezzie

    SPOOKED

    Sitting with you
    I’d like to be
    I don’t like being left alone.
    My room is new
    and strange to me
    and I am frightened on my own.

    I heard a sound.
    I tried to warn
    but you ordered me not to bark.
    Something’s around.
    I could have sworn
    I saw it moving in the dark.

    “It’s just the wind”
    to me you said
    but I still could not believe you.
    “Never you mind,
    go in your bed!”
    But I did not want to leave you.

    The outside light
    kept coming on
    and turned itself right off again.
    You said it might
    soon be all done.
    It was set off by wind and rain.

    I must confess
    these happenings
    this pup just does not understand.
    I’m spooked I guess
    by all these things
    I cannot seem to comprehend.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Haunting Dreams
      My dreams are waking while I sleep.
      Dream sleeping while I am awake.
      My heart is dreaming while I sleep at night.
      Sleeping dreams come awake at night.
      By Pamelap

  11. Walt Wojtanik

    GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT

    There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you’re not here any more.” ~The Ghost of Christmas Present from Charles Dickens, “SCROOGE”

    You’re not here any more.
    And Christmas has gone on without you.
    Do I wish to have done and said all in your cause?
    I languish in these memories built upon our distant hearts.
    Repentance is a sad and lonely dance when every chance
    we have to assume that mantle is left as a pathetic wallflower.

    Christmases we have shared
    cannot be compared to the joy this boy found
    in the discovery of love that you had brought in open arms,
    as all the charms of your warming smile for the while you were here
    cheer me. I have lamented you. Yet, I eschew utterance
    of your name lest my soul implode to eradicate your image.

    But, still it fades. With the passage of time, I’m less inclined
    to rely on your saving graces in lieu of other faces.
    And any traces of memory dissipate in foggy dissolution,
    an intrusion to the here and now by the here after.
    I shout to the rafters to be left to my devices
    and suffice it to say I have failed in that regard.

    It is hard to remove you from my past where you are ingrained.
    Even more difficult to allow you into the present in which I find myself.
    You are no longer here, and it is clear.
    There is much to do in this time allotted. Minutes are slotted
    and when I am no longer here, my memories of you will die
    once again within me. Allow me to be free of you. For it is true,

    I continue to love you in my way, but choose to stay forward facing
    and pacing towards every new Christmas yet to come.
    Some call it folly to be so jolly at this time, but I’m accustomed
    to living in this spirit. I hear it whisper in terms of peace and goodwill.
    If you stand still and listen, it will glisten like the freshly fallen snow.
    Every new sunrise is a Christmas present in this Christmas present.

    So I prepare for the coming yuletide, with this feeling inside,
    that says; make this the first best day of the rest of my time.
    I choose to let it shine from within and it makes me grin.
    I give this gift to mankind; this offering becomes my mission.
    On the condition of anonymity, I choose to undertake this blessed cause,
    under the name I am using. This is solely my choosing. I am Santa Claus.

  12. browdd22

    Chris

    Trouble friend
    Horrible
    I remember with regret
    I’ve changed since then
    But at the time
    Poor
    Quick to abandon
    Never defended
    And when I think back
    It eats at me
    If I could
    Apologies would happen

  13. MichelleMcEwen

    Chant & Moan

    Alabama
    ghosts

    soar
    & roar

    & sing
    & swing

    from trees.

    They slip
    into my dreams

    & say
    things

    like

    what you need
    to do is come

    on home.

    Alabama
    ghosts

    speak
    in tongues

    & drums

    & preach

    about
    peaches

    & strange
    fruit

    & bloody
    roots.

    They chant
    & moan

    & write
    my poems.

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