2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 8

I hope everyone is having a great poeming experience so far this month. I know each day has been a bit of a surprise for me.

For today’s prompt, write a submerged poem. When I first think of submerged, I usually think of water, but folks can also be submerged in work, depression, and even happiness. Heck, a person could be submerged in about anything–even pillows or marshmallows, I suppose.


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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.

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Here’s my attempt at a Submerged poem:

“The Carter House”

They were submerged in darkness as they cut out of
the old clubhouse. Walt and Barbara had to be convinced,
but Marcus was convinced this was the thing to do,
and Eddie just wanted to do anything remotely insane.
So they ran and walked and complained, but eventually
made it to the foot of the hill leading up to the Carter house.

“Why are we here again,” asked Walt. “Because this,” started
Marcus, “is where Jesse used to always do all his crazy stuff–
like set off bottle rockets, shoot his BB gun, and hide
his nudie mags.” “Eww, gross,” said Barbara, as Eddie said,
“Awesome!” “So, why are we here,” asked Walt again.
“Because if Jesse had any crazy plans, they’d be here.”

Just then, a light turned on in the Carter house, though not
a house light–more the light of a lantern or a disembodied orb.


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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154 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 8

  1. PKP

    the scintilla of submerge

    In the space between start and cease of that my final blink
    I shall sink into fathomless depth closing over all that I was
    feel the breath sucked into the swirling vortex of all and be-
    fore I can gasp soar in speed without measure in figure with-
    out form flashed in filaments of filigree –dusted mote in light

  2. tobysgirl

    When Reality Ceases

    I used to think about what it would be like
    driving along and all of a sudden not existing anymore.
    Would I keep driving and never be able to pull over?
    Would I just continue on that way for forever?
    Would I even know what happened,
    why I was driving,
    why I never needed to stop for gas or food
    or a bathroom break?
    Why I didn’t find my way home.

    Then I thought that maybe this has already happened without me knowing and
    that I’m living in some alternate universe
    that I’m just as powerless to change.
    I still go to work,
    get in arguments,
    The only heavenly music I hear is on my iPod when Enya pops up.
    Except my iPod is dead too.
    I don’t earn my dream salary
    or have my dream body.
    This alternate universe sucks.

    When I start wondering if this is all real
    I feel like I’m being pulled under,
    drowning in the knowledge that it seems no one else gets.
    We’re all dead before it even begins.
    There is no alternative.
    There is no getting out of it.

  3. PSC in CT


    Wholly submersed in this fall afternoon,
    captivated by autumn’s colors
    and the forfeiture of foliage;
    transfixed by these bare branches
    superimposed over fallen leaves
    submerged in translucent water.
    Whether I opt to be
    beguiled by their beauty
    or steeped in mourning
    over their downfall
    is entirely up to me.
    (I choose bewitchery.)

  4. SarahLeaSales

    The Tube

    Machines beep out a sporadic Morse code,
    the waxy floors reflect bright rectangles of light.
    The wheels of the gurney whir,
    and there is an odd sort of smell—
    cafeteria food and chemical.
    As I am transported to the giant magnet,
    the reflection of my entire body supine
    seems less solidified in the black glass
    on the ceiling.

    Atvian trickles through my veins,
    and I feel each piece of me is breaking down,
    succumbing to its spell.

    When I think I have awoken,
    I am on a gray cloud in a fairyland forest;
    paper pebbles are in my ears,
    warm snowflakes cover my eyes,
    but I can see through my pores…
    flora from the year 802,701 are profuse,
    and perfume the atmosphere.
    The colors of the mountaintops
    and the bottom of the sea
    surround me.

    Then my hand grazes an onion—
    a giant pearl,
    the moon of Lenore—
    and all grows dark.
    My eyes pop open,
    and I whisper to the forgotten night forest
    that has turned to a white plastic cell,
    “I am afraid”,
    but no one is there to hear.

    My arms feel like broken wings;
    I try to crawl on my back,
    but then a voice from Elsewhere
    tells me to stay calm
    for a few more minutes,
    and I know subconsciously
    I am in a safe place.

    Inhale, exhale,
    my eyes closed,
    I try to slow my heart like Paavo Nurmi—
    The Flying Finn—
    and then I am expelled from the capsule,
    babbling about flowers and colors
    whilst the forest grows dark again.

  5. RJ Clarken


    How do you rise against a tide
    of madmen who, like cowards hide
    behind anonymous façades?
    We search for heroes and for gods.
    Submerged in ideologies
    which grow like virulent disease,
    these villains leave us all at odds.
    We hope for heroes and for gods.
    And yet no answer will present
    to give a meaning to dissent:
    the magnitude of legion frauds.
    We seek our heroes and our gods.
    How many bombs? How many lives?
    How many terroristic drives?
    How many death extremist squads?
    We pray for heroes and for gods.


  6. Alaina Dawson

    riding shot gun like the first time i had been in your car
    this time your hand was on my knee, thumb rubbing it raw
    i didn’t notice when we took the first left off main street
    because my eyes were glued to the first bruise of many

    and i didn’t notice how you grinned as we pulled into the parking lot
    and i didn’t notice how you locked every door that led back out
    but i did start to started to notice the darkness take me over
    only then did i notice that i was in too deep

  7. hohlwein


    This dream interests me.

    I am skiing, a bit carefully
    turning a lot to not wipe out

    but the snow quality changes
    to slush, slows

    so I can set a more direct line
    and I do

    head straight
    down, with confident, cut curves

    I know my people
    are watching, noticing my new confidence

    but the quality of the slush changes
    is melting and I am skiing

    into water and, as would happen,
    as it turns to water I sink

    and my boots an my clothes and my skis

    pull me down fast and I know
    I must

    get rid of all that is dragging me down
    quickly and I do

    I take off my boots and the skis sink
    with them and I know

    that is not all I must hold on
    and I hold on to a thresher

    that is there

    both these things need to happen
    and do and two

    corpses, bloated
    float by me and I drift

    near them carried downstream
    and grab onto a corner of the lodge

    where I can rest
    and know I have done things okay

    but I can’t call
    because my phone was wet

    all was submerged
    I can only hope that those

    above me on the hill, or the hill-river
    or the river

    figured out what I did
    and saved themselves

    just in time.

  8. pipersfancy


    this is why I thought that I had sinned:

    harpoons, shot from righteous aim, struck hard
    and I, dragged down, submerged beneath all light
    now lost in churning darkness
    unable to find breath, to surface, to find my bearings
    I am caught by your net—

    until I drown in your words

    until a current of contempt casts me, wide, upon a
    wordless, barren shore, to decompose


    your only comment was to say
    I should have learned to swim

    my plaintive cry has drawn them in, the whales

    they hear the call of one
    and answer with a choral song
    their own distress now adds to sorrow’s night

    the whales are listing as they swim
    unsteadily toward a point where echoes
    drawn close to ocean’s edge, they beach

    their skin scrapes raw across a pebbled bar

    the water, bloodied, reddened, all smoothness torn
    by jagged stones along the shore, but they remain

    undaunted in their efforts to save one

    I know why whales submit, their lives now ending
    on a desolate shoreline, fins and tails made useless

    for I have beached myself

    while seeking some reprieve, some restful harbour
    be it death, victorious solitude, until new music
    might be heard

    I’ve laid my body bare and broken on a shore
    while sea birds fought and pecked
    to strip my flesh from frame
    until my bones— sand-polished, wiped clean and
    sun-bleached white— were ready once again

    and drop by drop, the ocean is renewed
    by tears of salt and water, then

    I slide my soul back into ocean’s depths

    the whales glide by, their songs developed
    long before the language that I speak was born
    enveloped in the salty foam that rises skyward
    lifting celestial songs, borne of water, home
    —Christina Perry

  9. shellcook

    Breathing Water

    I can’t breathe.
    That’s what I remember
    when my dreams turn dark.

    I can’t breathe.
    You have to do that, don’t you…
    Breathing is kind of a prerequisite isn’t it?

    I am under the water
    and screaming in my head
    My heart pounding.

    How long?
    How long?
    My eyes filled with dread.

    How long can a body go
    without a trickle of air.

    So this is it,
    I think to myself
    What a miserable way to go.

    Then I wake up and take a deep breath.
    I am still walking in water
    I still feel the dread.

    I have the overwhelming
    urge to run.

    Then I can’t breathe again.


  10. Michelle Hed


    in the cold water
    (of my mind)
    (and filled with despair)…
    I’m seeking
    a way out,
    (up through the turbid depths)
    (and watching the bubbles of my grief)
    fighting to reach the surface…

    I lunge toward the illumination
    as I sit up in bed
    with a gasping breath…
    Only a dream of drowning –
    a metaphor for my life.

    Note: This is one complete poem as a whole. However, the first stanza may be divided into two different poems by reading the bolded lines with just the lines in parenthesis and the last stanza or the bolded lines with the un-parenthesis lines and the last stanza.

    1. Michelle Hed

      Sorry, I had my html tags wrong… Let’s try this again.


      in the cold water

      (of my mind)
      (and filled with despair)…
      I’m seeking
      a way out,

      (up through the turbid depths)
      (and watching the bubbles of my grief)
      fighting to reach the surface…

      I lunge toward the illumination
      as I sit up in bed
      with a gasping breath…
      Only a dream of drowning –
      a metaphor for my life.

      Note: This is one complete poem as a whole. However, the first stanza may be divided into two different poems by reading the bolded lines with just the lines in parenthesis and the last stanza or the bolded lines with the un-parenthesis lines and the last stanza.

  11. Domino


    When I start, I often get up,
    sit down, go get things,
    fuss with my desk,
    rearrange the clutter,
    look out the window,
    pet the cat,
    post on facebook,
    read a chapter,
    shop online,
    and other nonsense.
    But when I start to really focus,
    everything melts away
    and I get in the zone.
    Time no longer has meaning,
    and I will look up hours later,
    and realize it’s not only dark,
    but two hours past dinner time.
    And as odd as it sounds,
    I love that feeling,
    lost in a world of my own creation,
    making the characters do and say
    just what I want them to.
    That is true bliss.

  12. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    The turtle

    I am the stone.
    I sink, lazy, to the bottom.
    I can stay there
    for a long time.
    Gills would be practical.
    I don’t really like
    coming out,
    even for a little while.
    I am clumsy and slow when I walk.
    Submerged, I am elegant
    and deadly.

  13. IrisD

    Submerged in Past

    Senses overloaded, I try to emerge
    A Monarch stretching wings still wet
    Fighting the confines of its cocoon

    Dormant for months inside this room
    Locked in memories that consume
    Fear of failure kept me submerged

    Change of seasons bids me go
    Breaking chains of past I arise
    Soon I will be free and soaring

  14. thunk2much

    Deep water

    With her eyes closed
    It was easier to hear
    The seashell sounds
    Of eons
    Siren songs
    Reminding her
    Of coming home
    To the beginning of it all
    Until breathlessly
    Surging up for air
    She recoiled
    From the assault
    Of turbulence and unfiltered light
    Accusing her
    Of wanting too much
    Or needing too little
    So she closed her eyes
    Readied for the deepest dive
    And prepared to sing along

    ~ Liesl Dineen

  15. JanetRuth


    One can get lost in thought; submerged by sadness of regret
    A surge of years converging like oceans inside a head
    Echoes can be like shrapnel in a wound that will not heal
    And it is easy to get lost in the cost of appeal

    Time is a fine tap-dancer with quick feet of silk and steel
    A cool, cut-throat romancer who cares little how we feel
    Darling, if wishes were kisses then we would drown, I guess
    Caught in a riptide of regret, hunger and loneliness

    But we cannot afford a stone-cold sinking in despair
    Because we let regret be like a noose about our prayer
    Darling, how will we move on if we cling to yesterday
    Imbibed on brew of wish-I-knew and what-I-threw-away?

    Once upon our learning we did little to appease
    That Point of No Returning that slipped through our touch with ease
    …One can get lost in thought, submerged by sadness and regret
    But for Today; a lifeline held by God who’s faithful yet

  16. browdd22


    Deep in a space of glass
    Motorcades of monstrosity encircle me
    Obscenities leave the windows
    I sink with every doubt I entertain
    A hand reaches out but the sand pulls me faster
    The space grows taller
    The arm ensuring my safety shrinks
    Submerged in sadness

  17. Pat Walsh

    By Patrick J. Walsh

    so this is what it feels like
    to be in over your head
    moving all in one motion

    in a direction whose
    ultimate destination
    you couldn’t possibly
    have seen coming

    when it first
    occurred to you
    not to look
    before you leapt

  18. Shennon

    I know I am drowning
    I know I am dying
    And I like it.

    What a morbid mind have I
    What morbid thoughts I entertain
    I can’t deny it.

    Deep breaths fill my lungs
    Dark thoughts fill my head
    I succumb.

    My head aches in pain
    My heart breaks again
    There. I’ve done it.


    1. ppfautsch24

      Submerging Spirit
      Rippling rose colored water, warm soft petal scent
      all I want to do is submerge myself into a tub
      of tranquility to relax the day’s troubles away.
      If the water could reflect the mirrored picture of
      me, it would show the weariness on my tired face.
      The released moments of the night still immersed
      in my mind, as I ease my body into the luxurious
      bath. It’s lapping water soothing and pacifying my
      submerged spirit.
      By Pamelap

  19. SheepCarrot


    Seeking distraction
    into a reality not mine,
    I crack open the pages
    and dip my toes into the
    fantasy world.
    One step after another
    until the waters of fiction
    submerge me,
    envelope my senses.
    The magic of words
    course through my veins,
    and for a few hours
    my identity is not my own
    until the final scene
    draws me back out
    of the ocean of words.
    Patiently I wait until
    I can take that swim
    once more.


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