2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 1

Here we are: Day 1 of the 2016 April PAD Challenge. Time to poem! But first, I just want to remind folks that it’s great to share your poems in the comments; just make sure you save a copy somewhere else too. While it hasn’t happened in a few years, there’s always the chance some kind of techno-hiccup makes your poem disappear…forever. It’s even happened to me. So poem, but make sure your only copy isn’t on this site. Second, folks who want to share and discuss on Twitter, use the hashtag #aprpad (short for April Poem-A-Day Challenge). And now, let’s poem! It’s time, right?

For today’s prompt, write a foolish poem. It’s April Fool’s Day, after all. Let’s loosen up today with a poem in which we’re fools, others are fools, or there’s some kind of prank or tomfoolery happening. Fool around with it a while.


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Here’s my attempt at a Foolish Poem:

“The Fool”

Some folks, you know, they be real cool,
but others, like me, play the fool,
or maybe not play, I should’ve said,
but I often get played instead.

I’m not complaining, it’s all good,
because, for most, it’s understood
that fools are the ones who have fun,
whether in rain or shining sun.

I’ll be the fool, and happy too,
if it means I get smiles from you,
because your laugh transforms my heart
and makes me want to always start

with a joke, at my own expense,
because you’re all I want to sense.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is excited to start up the 9th annual April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge. He loves the poems and the camaraderie that this challenge promotes.

Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he gets to do a million things to help writers find more success with their writing (including this blog). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

Connect with him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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520 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 1

  1. seamuscorleone

    A fool falling in love

    She carries a hole around with her.
    It is flat and round,
    about manhole sized.
    She is the only one that can see it.

    I am walking towards her with my face in a book.
    I am too engrossed by thin sheets
    Of dead wood to see the trap
    Before it is too late.

    I step into her nothing.

    It is dark and I fall but
    The worst part is not the

    It is the losing of myself
    In her.

  2. Jezzie


    I was running around
    with my feet on the ground
    but all of a sudden
    I was covered in mud an’
    my feet were all soggy.
    What a daft doggy,
    up to my head in muck
    alongside a duck!

  3. Thedeb

    Foolish Thoughts

    “You’re not educated.
    You’re not smart.
    You’re too old.
    You’ll fall apart.

    Your work is amateur.
    Your style has no grace.
    Your desire isn’t enough.
    You’ll fall on your face.

    You haven’t the time.
    You haven’t the money.
    You better give up.
    You’ll be glad you did, honey.”

    How do I fight off
    the fool in my head.
    I can’t lose my dream.
    I’d rather be dead.

    Turn down the volume.
    Pick up the pen.
    Open my eyes.
    And begin once again.

    My words are still there,
    right where I left them,
    a little rusty now,
    but someday a gem.

  4. BDP

    Playing catch up. Thought I’d try my hand at ghazals this April.

    “Nature Declines the Judge Post”

    Look back at early age when I was made the fool:
    no expiration date on made the fool.

    And from that start, embarrassment was means
    that kept me toeing lines, no renegade, but fool.

    When down? A secret out: I slipped into the woods
    to where the birthroots bowed, forgave this fool.

    Each time I trespassed them, their lovely trinity—
    I heard their mussitation pray for fools.

    Do I belong? No longer stranger there.
    They traded F with C, they took away the fool.

    —Barb Peters

  5. pipersfancy

    Festive Endings to Foolish Dreams
    —Christina Perry, April 7, 2016

    When dreams die,
    they are rarely given a proper

    So, I went and bought a cake
    the day you left.
    It was festooned with darkest red
    frosting-roses; the heavy-scented,
    pleading variety you often find
    on caskets.

    Mourning my loss, I planted a
    sparkler deep in the red velvet
    body before me, and imagined
    you—laid out before me in your
    Sunday best.

    Holding one of your Bic lighters
    to the stiff wire tip, I thought
    it an appropriate send-off
    to sing a wine-induced “Let it Be”
    while shedding my tears.

    The sparkler sizzled and caught,
    sending white-hot sparks
    cascading down
    onto the sicky-sweet garden below
    before fizzling out abruptly,
    leaving me
    to stand alone in darkness,
    surrounded by a faint
    but lingering scent of sulfur.

    Reaching out to remove
    the spent pyrotechnic
    in the darkness, I misjudged,
    cursing your name as I
    burned my thumb and forefinger—
    just another scar left in your wake.

  6. Shell


    Words written before vivacity was acknowledged
    Connected decades later, too far, too distant
    Melodies that speak of misfortunes that burdens with your acquaintance
    A meeting that resides only by imagination,
    You’re gone.

    Intentions of compositions drown senses recorded long ago,
    There’s no chance of recovery
    Souls without limitation, yet specifically ceased
    Departed to soon distancing unity, leaving intellect in dire straights
    For those who yearn too much
    Those who grieved for and coveted bones of the dead
    That in no way are to be held
    You’re gone.

    By Shell Ochsner

  7. mexmiel

    Day 6
    based on Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Vincent Van Gogh

    focus on the eyes
    they look fearfully askance
    a mask of pain
    a trapped animal looking for a way out
    a yellow hat pulled down
    over auburn hair and deep depression
    returning to his room
    from the bar
    where he drinks absinthe
    he falls in love with yellow
    nibbling paint chips
    and sees the halos
    around the stars
    I, too, would have scorned you
    and your garish paintings,
    refused to notice
    the wildness of your colors
    your sunflowers like flames
    from your burning fingers

    I was unable to post the painting but it is available at

  8. mexmiel

    Day 5

    I parked my truck off Highway 90
    between the Big Bend Telephone tower
    and Chinati Peak.
    Laying on the hood
    the warmth of the engine pleasant
    in the cool desert night.
    I heard rustling among the cactus
    smelled the javalina
    and waited for the lights.
    I was told they vary
    in intensity from dim
    to blinding brilliance
    as they bounce across the desert.

    I sat up when
    I saw flashing red and blue lights
    and heard a vehicle grinding to a halt.

    I heard a door open and a voice called out
    “What the hell you doing here
    in the middle of the night?”

    “I’m waiting for the lights. The Marfa Lights.”
    “I never seen them,” he said,
    “but some of my friends have.
    Y’all have a good night.”

    He drove away and I was alone again
    in the silence of the desert
    and the ghostly brilliance of the milky way.

  9. mexmiel

    Day 4
    I remember the spring
    we spent hiking in the mountains
    through the mud and snow
    you loved the vanilla scent of pine trees
    and I love the scent of your body
    I tried to capture you in a poem
    your mind and the lightness of your smile
    but the best of you no words could contain
    you could not follow me
    and we ended all too soon
    I keep you in my memory
    when my life is not enough.

  10. mexmiel

    Day 3
    I pointed to the photograph
    trapping us in time –
    three young men,
    though fifty years have aged the film
    to yellow, their faces
    still show youth’s smooth unwrinkled brows.
    I smiled, showing crooked teeth,
    this one looked away, seeing perhaps a future hope,
    And this one adopted a jaunty reckless pose,
    head to one side, hand on his hip
    We posed outside our high school, at a dance.
    The oak tree and the rough brick wall
    still there and have not changed.
    From where we stood
    we heard the hum of traffic
    and the laughter of young girls.
    This one died struck head-on by an alcoholic,
    and lived for hours while brave men
    tried in vain to save him.
    And this one, wasted away, felled by cancer,
    a jealous lover, his body disappearing into sheets.
    Now we are fifty years gone
    and I, like Ishmael, am left alone to tell our tale.

  11. mexmiel

    Day 2

    She had not changed much in ten years
    when she spoke to me
    at the reunion party. “I remember you.”

    “Well, we ran in different circles.
    You hung with the cheerleaders,
    and the jocks, who faked being cool
    and self assured.”

    She laughed. “You were the nerdy one,
    working in the library,
    booky and socially inept.”

    “I was the first
    in my immigrant family
    to go on to college.”

    “I married a stock broker,
    had two children and a divorce.”

    “I got a PhD, taught literature,
    and wrote two novels,
    before I understood I was gay.”

    They both wanted
    to understand the lives
    they never lived
    and talked about aging,
    and how they both missed the youth
    they were too young to understand.

  12. mexmiel

    Day 1

    Sit outside under an umbrella
    with your book of poems on a sunny day.

    Relax in a comfortable chair
    with a cup of tea or a cold beer.

    Listen to the music around you
    bees and wasps are wing quartets.

    Bask in the warmth of the day
    and of the poems you read.

    Allow the sunlight to caress
    each page as you turn them in your book
    wondering who will appear next.

    On one page you find Philip Levine
    exposing his Jewish heritage
    against his exposure to the country
    that built the death camps

    and Natasha Trethewey on the next,
    exploring the dichotomies of
    insider and outsider, memory and forgetting..

    Perhaps Allen Tate’s verses of
    the life and landscapes of the agrarian South
    or Charles Simic’s visceral decreation
    of central Europe’s woods, ponds, and peasant furniture.

    On another page you may find
    Ted Kooser’s vanishing way of life

    or Donald Hall’s longing for a more bucolic past
    and his abiding reverence for nature.

    If you listen carefully
    you will hear the drums and bugles
    of a fool’s poetry parade outside your house.

    The parade is endless.
    Put down your book,
    go into the street and join them

  13. Connie Biltz


    I’m just a fool
    who likes to spend her time
    with rhythm and rhyme.
    I’ll never get rich
    in this word game.
    I won’t find fortune.
    I won’t find fame,
    but I have found
    a kindred soul or two,
    not a lot, just a few,
    who also like
    to put words in a string,
    creating pearls of wisdom,
    making lingual bling.

    Connie Biltz
    author of Rainbow Chaser

  14. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Poet – interrupted

    What was that course I took
    that claimed to teach budding poets how to write,
    the one I dropped, opting instead to accept
    a marriage proposal once more?

    And why not,
    what poet rejects love?
    Where better to find intense matter to pen
    than the gnarl and whorl of lived life?

    . . . that poem I wrote when still trapped
    in the aftermath of first marriage gone wrong
    a family anathematized: a husband run off
    to be younger than he was by ten years,
    leaving two children
    a wife
    awash like detritus in his wake,
    discarding lives he’d made.

    Impressed, the professor
    read the poem aloud in class
    keeping the author anonymous
    noting the bitter bite.

    How did it go?
    Something about love, of course, discarded
    like orange peels left to rot or soiled clothes
    dropped on the floor.

    More the fool, I:
    putting poems on hold
    trying love again
    when I’d already written
    the metaphorical end.

  15. LoriP

    Adult Coloring Books

    I saw a fox with a flower on his head
    Anna complained that Lily, who wasn’t Lily
    but really Weng-Lin, didn’t have the right shade of green
    because Anna couldn’t grasp
    that if foxes wore flowers and cameras grew horns
    grass could be light green or teal or purple and orange
    hemispheres engaging to taint reality magenta
    Weng-Lin blended the greens, while I tried to lecture
    because I couldn’t grasp
    that some forms of creativity need to be rigid
    releasing anxiety into pine green grass

  16. James Brush

    “Panhandler Blues”

    like Guthrie his
    guitar screams

    this machine
    kills fascists

    this guitar
    is an animal’s bite

    imperfect neck gripped
    tight to sparse

    applause for a
    street busker

    trying to change
    the world

    each measure
    a fool’s gamble

    might as well
    ask the planets

    change orbits
    for a few coins?

    a loose needle
    some matches
    a few bucks

    in the guitar case
    open like a mouth
    in mid-phrase

  17. Yolee


    Older than I am

    He can’t walk the line because
    the Everclear Grain has stolen his
    equilibrium, flip-flops and crossroad.

    He’s a foolish old boy, a pie-eyed
    rambler and a long time ago,
    my sweet younger brother.

    Headlights moon him on the rain soaked street.

  18. Lucretia_BezBawni_Amstell

    Getting By

    no, really, I am happy and I have
    friends over like twice a week
    you know me, I’ve never been weak
    and days are tough only in the first half

    when coffee runs out before thoughts do
    hands of the clock are the only hands
    that give me goosebumps, and the time stands
    still as one leg instead of two

    my pillow is perfectly dry, and my shoes
    shine, clothes ironed like daily
    and sunsets are watched without failing
    it’s nice for a change to be able to choose

    between the first row and the back row
    between Indian and Chinese
    I only called this last time, please
    don’t be foolish, I’ve let you go


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