2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

There’s not much I can say about today except that it’s Monday. Let’s poem anyway.

For today’s prompt, write a mistake poem. The poem can be about making a mistake; it can be about realizing a mistake was made; or it can relay someone else’s mistake. In the past, I’ve written poems about the poems themselves being a mistake. Make no mistake, today is the day for making them.


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Here’s my attempt at a Mistake poem:


“This is a big mistake,” said Walt. “Did you see that?”
“What,” asked Eddie, “a light? That’s no specter. At best,
it might be an old lady. Or a meth lab. Or an old lady

running a meth lab.” “What do you think, Marcus,” asked
Barbara. Marcus just looked at the house with a determined
expression. Then, he half stood up and started to make

his way toward the house in a crouched position. Without
saying a word, Barbara followed. Then, Eddie. Walt said,
“Marcus?” But then, he followed too. No more lights

flashed in the windows as they approached, and there was
nary a sound–as if even the natural world held its breath
in the presence of this house. Marcus led the group

to a spot just below a window on the side of the house
when a voice broke the silence: “You’ve made a mistake.”


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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211 thoughts on “2015 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

  1. PSC in CT

    Mistakes Were Made

    In the final analysis
    the car keys
    in the microwave
    and the fountain pen
    in the refrigerator
    made the diagnosis
    All those other
    little slips –
    (forgotten formulas,
    misinterpreted directions,
    misplaced names and numbers) –
    merely a myriad of single missteps
    in a complex and complicated dance;
    simple mishaps and mistakes
    easily overlooked, excused,
    explained away.
    But those two errors
    were just too blatant,
    too telling, too
    to be

  2. tobysgirl

    My Fault Lines

    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 my mother 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.
    I try to be honest when I write, but I’m fearful I will hurt someone, or disappoint.
    A friend or lover or brother will say they must never have known me.
    I am afraid to tarnish their idea of who I am.
    In doing so, I am falling through the cracks and just a shell remains.

  3. SarahLeaSales

    Spiritual of the Second Chance

    I followed a dream,
    only for it to chase me,
    causing me to surpass all the others
    who would’ve served me better.

    I pass doors that have closed,
    the lives behind them locked away,
    windows that have shuttered
    like no one’s business anymore.

    It is only through a stroke of
    someone else’s bad luck,
    that a second chance at happiness
    presents itself like a gift,
    left unwrapped for years.

    Like a plush elephant or a toy train,
    I see it not with the same eyes
    as I would have all those years ago,
    for it means less in some ways,
    more in others;
    and it is in that way that
    it means everything.

  4. RJ Clarken

    Grammer Misstake

    I hate misuse of you’re and your.
    And if some persons do ignore
    the proper tense for verbs they’d choose,
    it’s just as bad as whose for who’s.
    And <i<their and there and they’re. You see?
    An English language murder spree.
    This utterly offends my muse:
    it’s just as bad as whose for who’s.
    Poor sentence structure? Wrong syntax?
    Those things are penned by loathsome hacks.
    I’m not alone, re my word-views:
    it’s just as bad as whose for who’s.
    Say, ‘irregardless’; say, ‘unthaw,’
    ‘affect’ for ‘effect’? Please, withdraw
    until you know it’s, ‘loose’, not ‘lose,’
    it’s just as bad as whose for who’s.


  5. Earl Parsons


    We live a life of mistakes and misfortunes
    Peppered with successes and an occasional stroke of good luck
    All culminating in the dash between the numbers
    The dash between the beginning date and the one that marks the end
    Of our time on earth

    But none of our successes or mistakes
    Will make one iota of differences once we’re out of here
    Unless, of course, we hold to the sometimes mythically thought idea
    Of a Supreme Being or the eternal survival of the undying soul
    Eternal, undying, everlasting soul

    With that in mind
    Just one mistake
    Can cause eternal sorrow
    Especially if the Supreme Being
    Is not a myth

    © 2015 Earl Parsons

  6. Alaina Dawson

    silly little girl
    with fingers in tangles, making knots like sailors
    blue eyes sparkling with anticipation
    like the fresh dew on evergreen blades

    silly little girl
    with hands in wool pockets, making fists like fighters
    lips just parted slightly open
    like the Red Sea in the Book of Exodus

    silly little girl
    with arms wrapped so tightly, making little red lines
    thinking one kiss could save the world
    like they were anything but tiny moments

    silly little girl
    with a heart so grand, making promises like lovers
    even when she rolled over in bed the next morning
    and found he was gone

    oh what a silly little girl
    with her hair so sleek, making heads turn
    ignoring the whispered secrets across library halls
    like dreams that die before you wake up

  7. seingraham


    (The first 3 lines before the pantoum and the final 3, after it … are from John McCrae’s famous poem:”In Flanders Fields”…which inspired my pantoum.)

    “In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place…”

    Comes soon the day we will remember them
    The brave souls who fought that we might live
    To show we care, and do not forget
    We pause, parade, and wear the poppy

    The brave souls who fought that we might live
    Ask little: learn peace and also to forgive
    We pause, parade, and wear the poppy
    As their numbers shrink, we can’t get sloppy

    They ask little: learn peace and also to forgive
    To show we care, that we do not forget
    As their numbers shrink, we can’t get sloppy
    Comes soon the day we will remember them.

    “…If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.”

  8. pipersfancy

    Going Forward
    our children bear our lack of judgement

    our eager exploitation of their world—
    that we have only borrowed from their future

    our children bear our inflated sense of entitlement—
    unable to revive extinguished species lost forever

    our children bear our arrogant miscalculation—
    and in our arrogance, how shall we reply?

    it happened quite by accident
    but then
    we all make mistakes
    —Christina Perry

    1. ppfautsch24

      Oh, well, that didn’t go as planned.
      Bumbled and fumbled my way through
      That episode.
      Bumping and stumbling blocks trip me up
      And I so messed that up.
      I dropped the ball, and got dropped kicked.
      Dropped the perfect pass and should let
      Go of the past.
      Swing and missed; went down the for count.
      I try skating a fine line, but get off track.
      The tracing don’t matter or getting it straight.
      I am going to run for the roses and raise the
      Cup high over my head.
      But, oh, well I have learned through that mess.
      The quagmire of the game of life.
      Think I sit on the bench to not make mistakes,
      Mess up, or just get it wrong.
      Though, I did get that it was a lesson learned.
      By Pamelap

  9. Beth Henary Watson

    Granny’s lament

    I never thought my estate a weight
    Heavy with old preoccupations
    That no longer serve to occupy.
    Our quaint domestic obsessions with
    Survival—warmth, nourishment, clothing—
    So hard wrought, now so easily bought
    That to have more is inconvenient.

  10. IrisD

    Mistake Not

    Luminous and enormous, her brown eyes beg for forgiveness.
    It was a mistake she says as her wet lashes brush my cheek.
    Clinging to my neck, she repeats, It was a mistake, Grammy.
    I look around the room and am puzzled what caused this attrition.
    I carry her 30 pound body into the kitchen and I gasp to see
    my cat is licking up an ounce or two of the half gallon milk
    that is seeping all over the tiles and under the stove.
    I put her in her chair and grab a towel and begin sopping.
    As I am on my knees I begin whistling to keep from laughing
    I realize I actually can use the expression, Don’t cry over
    spilled milk. Instead my reply, Its ok. Miss Kitty was hungry.

  11. tunesmiff

    (c) G. Smith (BMI)
    Sometimes we tumble,
    Sometimes we fall,
    Sometimes we stumble,
    When we ought to crawl.
    We all make missteps,
    We know that it’s true,
    I’ve made my share,
    They’re more than a few;
    I’ve learned from most,
    And regret one or two,
    But my biggest mistake?
    Saying good bye to you.

    I’d never been in love before,
    You made all so easy.
    I didn’t think, and broke your heart,
    Baby, please believe me.
    I’d take it back if I only could,
    You have to know I truly would;
    But I can’t un-ring that bell,
    And it’s putting me through hell.

    Sometimes we fumble,
    And cough up the ball,
    Sometimes we crumble,
    Like an ancient brick wall.
    We all hide our cracks,
    We know that it’s true,
    I’ve hidden my share,
    They’re more than a few;
    I’ve learned from most,
    And regret one or two,
    But my biggest mistake?
    Saying good bye to you.

    I acted selfishly;
    Gave no second thought;
    I knew I was right,
    I knew that you ought,
    To just see things my way,
    To just go along.
    It’s hard to confess,
    I know I was wrong.

    Sometimes we tumble,
    Sometimes we fall,
    Sometimes we stumble,
    When we ought to crawl.
    We all make missteps,
    We know that it’s true,
    I’ve made my share,
    They’re more than a few;
    I’ve learned from most,
    And regret one or two,
    But my biggest mistake?
    Saying good bye to you.

  12. De Jackson


    She thought she was a pirate,
    thought she’d sail the high
    seas, pillage and plunder
    as she pleased.

    Somebody handed her a plunger

    She thought she was a princess,
    thought she’d ride a white
    steed, braid daisies in her
    tresses, frolic free.

    Somebody handed her some pantyhose

    She thought she was a poet,
    thought she’d spill herself
    to page, rage her cage open,
    stage a coup, and win.

    Somebody handed her


  13. Domino


    Alarm not set lead to
    no coffee, which lead to
    sleepy driving, which lead to
    not noticing the low tire, which lead to
    a flat at lunchtime, which lead to
    no lunch, which lead to
    a mistake in a file, which lead to
    being yelled at by my boss, which lead to
    acid reflux, which lead to
    bland, boring dinner, which lead to
    an early evening, early bedtime, and
    a good night’s sleep.
    Let’s try this again, Tuesday.

  14. Sara McNulty

    Sick of War

    We all should be fed up with war,
    Young lives lost, families grieving
    The world is sinking; we need an oar
    Let’s have a country we can believe in.

    Young lives lost, families grieving
    These tragedies too tough to understand
    Let’s have a country we can believe in
    Instead of guns, extend a hand.

    These tragedies too tough to understand
    Let us speak up for humanity
    Instead of guns, extend a hand
    Why live in the midst of insanity?

    Let us speak up for humanity
    The world is sinking; we need an oar
    Why live in the midst of insanity?
    We all should be fed up with war.

  15. Terri Lee

    Miserable Mistake

    Detrimental, destructive decision—order given
    Confine all Japanese-Americans, even
    those who were WWI veterans?

    It’s not a concentration camp, but an
    internment camp—no trial, no proof,
    Idle suspicion. Fear. Prejudice. No breach of security found.

    120,000 lives of wanton demolition.
    The interned—two-thirds first generation US citizens,
    sons of Japanese descent, fought in Italy and the Pacific—some

    died, while their parents clung to barbed wire.
    Ill counsel. Miserable mistake.
    No apology until 1988.

    (With research, I saw both 120,000 and 110,00 given for the number of those interned.)

  16. lsteadly

    The Right Move

    You asked me once if it was a mistake
    to have moved to the desert
    trading in snow boots for sandals on hardpan

    Was it too much to ask me to raise
    our two sons in Mesa’s simmering heat
    sometimes weeks on end without
    you who flew frequent miles
    over coyotes, arroyos, tumbleweed ghost towns

    Nearly four years of space lived apart
    could never be a mistake when it was
    the only way to lead us back home

  17. C. Kess

    one sunday

    i once caught an errant pass
    hauled in the spiral, spilled into the grass
    dirtied my church clothes
    busted open my nose
    and when i got home, mom whooped my ass

  18. Amaria

    I wrote my madrigal for today. Here’s a little extra writing piece:

    Was it a mistake
    to let you inside again
    will you keep your word
    that you will not break my heart
    or am I being naive


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