2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

Sometimes you just have to say it: I’m having a Monday. They happen. Once every seven days. Let’s poem anyway.

For today’s prompt, write a defensive poem. The first thing that springs to my mind is getting defensive about an accusation, which may or may not be true. The next thing I think about might be people or animals defending themselves. Or defense in sports. Or defense in the court room. Or well, there’s a lot to defend in this world.


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Here’s my attempt at a Defensive Poem:

“The Older I Get”

The less, I’ve noticed, I tend
to defend myself, though, I
admit, I do speak up more
for those who seem, whether
they do or not, to need it,
and I’m not sure if that makes
me wiser or just a guy who
sticks his nose in places
it doesn’t belong, and, as long
as I’m on the subject, I’m
pretty sure I could’ve beat
you at cards if the deck
wasn’t stacked against me.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer can get defensive about himself and other people. Hey, it happens. But he has learned that it’s never a good idea to engage in a defensive argument with people who aren’t really interested in understanding his side of things. It never ends well; in fact, it never ends if a person gets caught in one of these loops. Better to move on to folks and projects that will be productive.

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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331 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 11

  1. PKP

    in the space

    the space between defensive
    and offensive, justifying or
    explaining – slimy or sincere
    runs a channel cut deep or
    shallow by
    the love of
    the judge.

  2. Connie Biltz

    On the Defensive

    You can’t blame me, Ms. Mosquito.
    You gave me no other choice.
    With your dive-bombing needle nose,
    and your annoying, whiny voice.

    You attacked and put me on the defensive.
    I’ll tolerate no more bites from you.
    You’re an itchy nuisance. SMACK!
    Farewell, Ms. Mosquito. I bid you, adieu!

    Connie Biltz
    author of Rainbow Chaser

  3. Michelle Hed

    The Mood

    -you know the one…
    a bit grumpy,
    a bit pissy,
    wanting to be left alone
    but not really wanting
    to be left alone
    and everything you say
    is absolutely correct,
    with a bit of attitude.
    Yeah, that one.
    Just walk away…

  4. Anvanya

    Defenses Externes/ Defenses Internes

    Engarde !
    Before you take a step
    To ward the set location.

    Pause maintenant !
    Breathe deeply down your soul
    Restore fine nets, awareness

    Armes !
    Regard your heart’s raiment
    Entwined with love’s first movement.

  5. Melahlah

    In Defense of Her Defensiveness

    She doesn’t understand.
    Please realize
    She’s lost her ability
    To recognize
    What’s going on.
    Her brain tells her lies.
    She doesn’t understand.

    It isn’t you.
    A subliminal squatter abducts her
    Slowly, brain cell by brain cell
    Replacing each with anger
    Or euphoria or defensiveness.
    It’s a crap-shoot transfer.
    It’s not you.

    In Defense of her defensiveness,
    She has few defenses left.

  6. Domino


    I’ve heard it said a child’s inner voice
    is in his parents’ tones.
    The angry, impatient words spoken
    ring in their ears
    and tell them they are not enough,
    tell them
    for the rest of their lives.

    For every word spoken harshly,
    a hundred should be spoken in love,
    if only because the angry words sting
    and stay and replay
    and replay
    and replay.

    So that defensive feeling
    is your heart fighting off
    that ugly voice
    telling you
    you were never enough.

    But you are.

    You are.

  7. Domino

    X. Wheel of Fortune

    Swept up in life, it’s easy to be overjoyed
    when everything goes well,
    and to be devastated when things go to hell.
    But take a look and you’ll soon see
    cycles in eternity.

    Life is born in fire and strife,
    and lost in peace or trouble rife,
    but the only thing we know:
    change is certain.

    What goes up, must come down,
    from deepest shame to great renown,
    all we can be certain of
    is change.

    Given time and a little hard work
    the hardest trials can turn into
    a perk. Strange, but yes, change.

    Change is inevitable.
    Brace yourself.

  8. seingraham


    This is going to sound petty, and whining, I’m afraid;
    no matter how I phrase it, there’s just no way
    around it
    You, blood of my blood – fruit of my loins –
    I am your mother!
    Do you hear me, child?
    I love you enough to lay down my life for you.
    You used to know this, unequivocally.

    What have I done that could possibly make you
    doubt this?
    So much so, that you have taken what we had
    and discarded it – entirely. Just tossed it away
    as if it is of no consequence to you.
    And without being willing to tell me why – I think
    this bothers me almost as much as the act itself.

    How is it that one day – or week – I have trouble
    discerning exactly when this took place
    After all, I wasn’t keeping track of when things
    went south, not knowing they were headed
    there at all
    But I do know the last time we (your father and me)
    babysat overnight for you
    And it was less than ten days from the night you
    so cavalierly banned us from your life,
    Saying we weren’t abiding by your one simple
    request – not saying what that was, mind you
    I hate that all of this took place in writing – none
    of it was in person, or even on the phone

    I have records of everything that took place –
    every back and forth conversation
    Every email, and every awful FaceBook message
    and even now, pouring over the lines, I cannot
    tell what went wrong
    What I did, or we did, that made you so angry
    That made you think we were suddenly toxic,
    poisonous people (these are your words)
    and that you needed to protect your family
    from us.

    When I begged you to forgive me for whatever
    it was I had done to scare you
    I figured there must’ve been something, or
    why would you do something like this?
    You ignored me – never answering any of
    my pleas, not once.
    You did reply to your Dad and your sister but
    only to say you couldn’t see a future with either
    of them, and especially not with me.
    And when I continued to try and reason with
    you – especially when friends died, and when
    our dog had to put down – life felt fleeting –
    You had a lawyer serve me with a Cease and
    Desist letter
    A lawyer? Again, I am your mother!

    Are you not well? Why would you do such
    awful things?
    Should I be calling a doctor about you?
    You are scaring me, and I worry for your
    children – how do I know they’re safe?
    How do I know you are?
    This is what happens when so much time
    goes by and someone you thought you knew
    really well becomes someone you know not
    at all …

    The capper was when you didn’t reply to your
    Dad’s email at Christmas
    No matter what else had happened, even if
    it was just to say you couldn’t see a reconciliation
    or forgiveness in the future, you always did
    reply to him
    Was it finally just too hard to say that to him?
    When you knew damned well, there was
    nothing to be forgiven?
    Or, are you in trouble, and you don’t know
    how to get back from the precipice upon which
    you’ve stuck yourself.

    I hope you know how much we love you;
    how much we’ll always love you, no matter
    what –
    I know I keep saying it – but, I am your mother
    There’s nothing you can do that I can’t forgive.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Love’s Defense
      In defense of trying to protect my heart
      and what I thought belonged to me.
      You asked, why am I insecure.
      I went on the defensive trying to protect what
      I thought belonged to me.
      But, I have no defense, as I now see.
      My heart is protected and belongs to you
      By Pamelap

  9. PSC in CT

    Storming The Keep

    brick by brick
    she built her citadel –
    defenses strong,
    (turrets, towers,
    curtain wall)

    drawbridge, moat)

    (palisade, portcullis
    crenellations); she’d

    she was

    and yet…

  10. grcran

    hoppy happy landing

    he hoped she’d not be
    too apprehensive
    as happy as he
    hop over her defensive
    land under a tree
    be Buddha-like just pensive
    they’d meditate as we
    cares gone through the plain sieve

    gpr crane

  11. Genevieve


    The family tree
    Cut at the root.
    Defensive postures
    Colliding at family events.
    When nobody’s ever wrong
    And everyone’s always right,
    No welcoming branches reach out,
    No comfort from the shade.
    Instead weak vines going
    Their own selfish way.
    Bickering and bullying
    Darkness and defense
    Climbing up the walls
    Choking relationships.

  12. Azma

    Defenseless for Good

    Courage and valor shone
    in the eyes of the army man.
    Experiences of a lifetime
    were bedecked in medals
    aligned in a long row.
    Even as he ducked the imaginary bullets
    shooting out of his son’s toy gun,
    he did it with the agility
    of a wild cat.
    And then he got
    a little too close in range
    and slapped his chest
    with a dramatic ‘aah’
    taking a bullet and falling to the floor.
    He smiled
    as his son celebrated.
    Everybody won.

    -Azma Sheikh

  13. shellkaysm

    The elusive love:
    unconditionally sewn
    to protect, honor,
    defend, bind together threads:
    patched holes of two lest lost souls.

    If we find such love
    how can it just unravel?
    Perhaps we should knit
    rather than sew. Support lasts
    longer, no loose ends to catch.

  14. Yolee

    You Have the Right

    But when you curse
    or commit violence on your brother,
    you confine yourself to a cell as dim as your wish.
    Not only are you his keeper,
    you are your brother.
    When cruelty and aberrance have
    conjugal visits in your speech,
    it’ll produce a hate-child.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”- Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  15. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Courageous Defender
    (for Amy)
    Maybe six, maybe seven –
    that’s how old he was,
    his younger sister, five.

    She and I out walking,
    heard the alley noise –
    turning, saw the source.

    Hidden down that alley
    three boys ganging up,
    bullying her big brother.

    Incensed, she dropped
    my hand, ran down
    the alley yelling, Stop!

    Stop! That’s my brother!
    They took one look at her,
    storming toward them –

    her hair whipping the air,
    fists raised high, her feet
    pounding cracked asphalt –

    they turned tail and ran.
    Saved by his little sister,
    her brother was mortified.

  16. Brian Slusher


    So, I’m smiling—is that a crime?
    Sure, there are thirteen year-olds
    With AK-47’s prowling the world
    And the ice caps might spontaneously
    Melt by the end of the week. Yes
    There are additives in my frozen dinner
    That will probably turn me to a
    Vegetable or a werewolf and I haven’t
    Read the Upanishads yet or run
    In a decade. Still, I’m smiling, even
    Whistling despite the cabals intent
    On blowing up the butterflies
    And assassinating the flowers.
    And I’m going to buy a dozen
    Doughnuts—not because I deserve
    Them, no, I will hoist a chocolate-
    Drenched circle of cake to prove
    For today at least, the terrorists
    Didn’t win.

  17. haljohnsonbooks

    The Last Sixty Seconds of My Friend’s Hour-Long Rant about People He Doesn’t Like

    …But worst of all, my friend insists
    Are Cargo Cult Objectivists
    Who worry that they should embargo
    The spirit planes and spirit cargo,
    For what these planes will bring for free
    Make parasites of you and me.
    And so, confused by what will come,
    They chalk on walls Who is John Frum?

    (As found here.)

  18. LoriP

    The Best Defense Against Infection

    she’d been teaching brand new nurse wanna-bes
    for 35 years, things like handwashing
    and the difference between an –itis and an –osis
    developing over time, catchy slogans
    repeated to hammer into their oversaturated brains
    that AAArteries go AAAway from the heart
    and that if you didn’t chart it, you didn’t do it

    she taught me to see the connection between
    scattered body puzzle pieces
    to understand how a headache in certain patients
    could mean they have to go to the bathroom

    and because of her oft repeated call and response
    “what’s the best defense against infection”—“intact skin”
    and her “stress stresses tissues too”
    I realized that

    pneumonia prevention
    was also wound prevention
    was also stress prevention
    was also kindness
    and that a sick heart and a broken one
    aren’t treated all that differently

  19. Margot Suydam

    In Defense of Travel

    No camera, but I record images:
    Clouds that are silver, like talcum
    powder or a safety pin slicing

    against a skyline gleaming gray
    distant domes rising and sinking
    rivers shadowed in hidden rays

    a wind that always swims upstream
    tough map across the laps of rowers
    the music in their muscular motion.

    My bus rumbles and jerks, battles
    stop-and-go traffic, huffs me home.
    I am not a tourist in my life.

  20. drwasy


    My tongue bleeds rivers
    that fill oceans
    for all the times I
    let you say your
    last word; mine
    I lock up deep
    in my throat
    where only I hear
    the scream.

    My tools—tears,
    apologies, promises
    to change & get on
    the same page
    —your page—
    fail to move your
    stone faced heart.

    So I give up
    but don’t roll over
    like the dog you.
    My lawyer says:
    stand tall, & I do,
    every inch of my
    prickly, selfish,
    defensive self,
    & walk out the door.

  21. Austin Hill

    Defenses? .Down!

    With my permission…

    The invisible one saunters about
    controlling my screen and keyboard.

    From an unknown location, perhaps in a crowded basement room,
    it begins to wreak havoc on my identity.

    Documents, files and correspondence
    Disappear before my very eyes.
    Here today,…gone today.

    I had managed to stay one step ahead of it.

    But then I let my defenses down.
    It was all a series of untruths.

    Now I’m afraid because…

    …The silent, invisible one is lurking about
    controlling my screen and keyboard…

    Without my permission.

    © April 2016 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  22. pcm

    Defensive Driving

    Interstate 40’s a parking lot
    On its shoulder what once was alive now lies to rot

    A buzzard soon landed to enjoy possum tartare
    then unfurled magnificent wings and hopped onto Jill’s car

    Thereupon which he proceeded to release his bowels
    until Jill jumped out to shout at the malodorous fowl

    This Subaru’s for you no lavatory
    Go find yourself another story!

    He then cocked his head to eye her and looked pensive.
    Jill honked.
    He flew.
    This, she said, is driving defensive.

  23. briehuling

    Day 11

    guard dog

    gimme an alert barker
    a sweet natured Chow-Chow
    (unless provoked)
    build me a wrought iron fence
    with a flock of manicured
    sorry-trees, arborvitae
    around the perimeter
    of the heart.

    breed me a Sheepdog–fierce
    and a Giant Schnauzer
    with a menacing bark.
    And when he saunters up,
    bangs at the door
    or rings the bell
    to tell me I’m living–
    that this is the future,
    that we’re in it all right now,
    that I am a constellation
    glittering his night sky

    know that the savage
    bite will send him
    screaming, scrambling, running alive.

    Brie Huling

  24. P.A. Beyer


    Julie built a wall around her heart
    and defends it like a Viking
    whose blood rises like the tide
    in the uncharted waters to the West

  25. mjdills

    The Defensive

    I’m sorry for what happened
    to you and I want to be your friend
    but things will never be the same.
    You turned everything upside down
    like a vase of flowers
    knocked off the table,
    falling in slow motion,
    everyone trying to catch
    a different flower and save it.
    Petals everywhere, and
    water, like blood,
    flowing all over the floor,
    making us slip and slide.
    We slid right into a future
    that found us two decades later,
    incapable of truly communicating,
    barely able to reach out.
    I’m sorry
    but I can’t help you anymore.

  26. James Brush


    sometimes there are coyotes
    all around the house

    they bed down in the front yard
    in the trees and behind my memories

    asleep with one eye open, stars
    twirl the pole counted and known

    they’ll rise and howl at owls, the moon
    or anyone else impersonating

    strangers who come up to the yard
    they stalk a defensive perimeter

    while we sleep while we dream
    they open the fridge and eat

    the last of the girl scout cookies
    a little whipped cream for their coffee

    come morning they’ve gone, a few
    paw prints in the dewy grass

  27. smcternen


    There was a time
    Somewhere in the distant past
    I did
    Stand up
    Spoke with Confidence and defiance
    In the face of
    Ridicule and rejection
    Now, I bow my head
    Humbled and cowed
    No matter the request, it seems
    My fire has been extinguished

  28. Danielle Robinson


     Free Verse

    It’s a pen’s privilege to write.
    And it’s a poet’s right to plead the fifth,
    to object the nonsense and the deceptive,
    take heed to all motions, 
    appeal how they feel without eye witnesses
    and a burden of proof, 
    and the extremity of penalties or negotiations—
    to sustain a lifetime sentence in freedom of speech.
    Right? Write.
    So, without further ado, 
    please do not judge this law of poetry. 

    Danielle C. Robinson

  29. Valkyri

    I think RLB’s “Monday” rubbed off. Usually I have some ease in dealing with these prompts. Today was the exception. I haven’t had this hard of a time in a very long while….

    space and time
    are as indefensible
    as hope and faith…
    there is nothing
    nefarious enough
    to overcome them

  30. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    You seem pretty thin-skinned to me,
    You seem pretty thin-skinned to me;
    It’s a stone cold fact,
    The way you react;
    You seem pretty thin-skinned to me.

    You always have a reason or two,
    You always have a reason or two;
    No matter what I say to you,
    About the silly things you do
    You always have a reason or two.

    How come you’re never to blame?
    How come you’re never to blame?
    You wiggle and squirm,
    Like it’s some kinda game,
    How come you’re never to blame?

    You always have a ready excuse;
    You always have a ready excuse;
    You might as well admit it,
    Denial will be no use;
    You always a ready excuse.

    You seem pretty thin-skinned to me,
    You seem pretty thin-skinned to me;
    You say I’m always on your back
    And feel your always under attack?
    Well you seem pretty thin-skinned to me.

    1. tunesmiff

      Spell check and Otto Phil allowed one of my pet peeves to get throtin the next to last line:
      Should be “YOU’RE” instead of the “your” you’re seeing…


  31. Jo Lightfoot


    e-Babbler, we don’t brook
    (now that we’ve had a look)
    with what you undertook
    so off-hand and un-cleverly.

    So draw the line, but draw it fine
    (along the lines of “mannerly,”
    “properly” and “neighborly”)
    or else have your endeavor be
    un-linked-to, and forever-ly.

  32. Alpha1


    It’s only natural to
    Defend yourself when
    Being attacked mentally or
    Verbally or physically where
    It is more obvious that
    Someone is abusing you
    Pounding on your body.

    But if you didn’t do it
    Why are you being defensive
    She said why because it’s only
    Natural for humans to do so
    I said even though innocent.

  33. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Of course I sound defensive,
    You’re always on my back;
    How you ask is offensive;
    Of course I sound defensive;
    And even apprehensive,
    When I know you’ll attack.
    Of course I sound defensive,
    You’re always ony back.

  34. Angie5804

    He pulls up his hood
    swaggers with blustering bravado
    warding off all attempts
    to draw him in
    safeguarding his heart

    She slumps in her seat
    arms covered with sharpie graffiti
    circumventing all conversation
    silencing any advances
    protecting her spirit

    Across the room they gaze
    eyes meet for a moment
    a sly smile curves his lips
    her eyes reciprocate
    serendipity in the air

  35. KatesBookshelf

    In Defence of Romance

    I see marriage and sex and companionship,
    But where is the romance?
    Where is the love of a gallant man
    rescuing his fair lady from the scourge?
    Where have all the heroes, cowboys, and knights
    gone in this desperate world?
    Where are the soft nights so moonlit
    lovers walking hand in hand?
    Why are we now falling into carnal knowledge
    before the first kiss has sweetly touched
    in a lingering moment?

    I believe in romance and love
    Before the bedroom
    Before the clothes have fallen.
    When there was the passion of just being
    with another as friends and confidants.
    There was a life shared before bodies joined.
    Now there is so little left to be discovered,
    as a modesty no longer exists
    shattered by lacking morals
    An impatience for something to strive to.
    Impatience overthrows the anticipation
    and the waiting is tossed to the bedroom
    as the hurry for more is stressed before
    the two have even learned last names.

    Oh where is the romance of twenty and five years?
    Where has it gone?

    I should have added in where is the romance from even further back, but forgot as I was off on another poem by that time. 😛


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