2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 30

For the final day of this challenge, I’m happy to be able to share five of my poems published in the Australian online publication Otoliths (click here to read them). Quick read: All five put together combine for fewer than 30 lines.

Yesterday, the blog seemed to take the haphazard prompt a little too seriously–as some people were able to access the blog while others were not. Our tech team was working on the very unorganized problem and hopefully have a solution, or else the final prompt of the month will live up to its name as well.

For today’s prompt, write a dead end poem. Of course, I was thinking in terms of the challenge, but a dead end can literally mean the end of a person’s life, a dead end road, a dead end job, dead end mortgage, and so on. Take the phrase “dead end” and apply it to a noun, and the possibilities are nearly endless (except, well, there’s the whole “dead end” finality to it, I suppose). I hope it’s fun and that the blog is alive and well today.


Poet's Market 2016

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Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Dead End Poem:

“i don’t want to know”

how or when
i will eventually
meet my end

because i know
the day will come
whether i’m smart

or awkwardly dumb
so let it find me
completely aloof

for i’m fine
solving problems
without any proofs


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer thanks everyone who came out and poemed along this month. It’s hard for him to believe that this is the ninth year of prompting and writing poems every day in April. It’s a cliche, but time really does fly when you’re having fun, and Robert has had so much fun. Look for a next steps post either Sunday or Monday.

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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337 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 30

  1. Yolee

    Check Mate

    I’m grateful that the dead end, with its quagmire,
    ready to swallow me in its belly, miscarried-
    thankful that the interloping rain was with me
    when I dropped both shoes and knocked
    over the impasse’s little tin cans.
    Barefooted I had to drag my heart
    and soul home. I put them to bed.
    They slept for weeks.
    But then they got up.
    You appeared like a graceful poem.
    The ink of reformed tears
    reveled in the sheet of daylight.

  2. lionmother

    Cul de Sac

    Once we lived near a cul de sac
    homes of ordinary size and colors
    surrounded it forming a lovely gate
    children played there
    in a cocooned playground
    safe from the cars that zoomed on the
    other streets and safe from the world
    their own comfort zone as they explored
    the world around them
    playing on adjacent driveways
    as they careened on their bikes or
    ran up and down shouting and
    waving their arms for a game
    never discovered
    children didn’t notice the adults
    watching all the time
    even if they were in their homes
    waiting to hear the sound that
    would make them leave and
    examine the crisis
    a smooth flowing river of children
    on safe concrete away from the
    danger of the oncoming vehicles
    unaware of the beauty of the blooming trees
    or the lush green grass growing on
    each lawn for their bare feet to enjoy
    their sounds a continuous soundtrack
    to my life as the pleasant hum emanated
    from the filled cul de sac

    Then it changed and became a siren wail
    and I found her between the mangled bikes
    my wild will o the wisp child on the
    cold cement of the sloped driveway
    a melange of legs and bodies beneath
    the pile of bicycles
    wrenching her from between her
    only way to fly through the neighborhood
    now lost as she limped from the scene,
    I never realized this was the time
    she would place in her book of memories
    paste the joy of riding down hills and
    gliding around with ease on her bike
    into the scrapbook of her life
    for her this was the close to childhood
    her cul de sac, her dead end
    copyright 2016 by Barbara Ehrentreu

  3. Lindy™


    I don’t understand
    why life must end

    I mean
    my mind can crunch
    the number theories bunch
    enough to say
    that would be bad
    but my will is strong
    and my heart fights
    to keep ALL the lights

    Then when endings hit
    too close to home
    I scream
    don’t leave me
    not this time
    I’m not ready to go
    just yet
    I fret
    life is too precious
    I must cling to every breath

    there’s a fly on my desk
    and I am left
    bereft of any answers

    I miss her…

    RIP Daisy Mae 4/30/16

  4. Domino

    Dead End

    A weary warrior wends his way
    Homeward bound from the war today
    His horse is tired, yet he won’t stay
    A weary warrior wends his way
    If he stopped it would but delay
    What waits for him, his sore dismay
    A weary warrior wends his way
    Homeward bound from the war today

  5. Jenifer Tull-Gauger


    Compassion comes from growth
    It’s an antidote to hopelessness and deprivation
    When you are stripped of images that destroy
    Listening can promote tranquility
    A desire to just be lets you let go
    Exploitation of what was and what will be breeds ego
    Actual life: not a dead end
    We move to the next level as an aggregate of old and new experiences

    by Ronnie O’Connell, Linda Roujon and Jenifer Tull-Gauger

  6. Asha1000

    Thank you, Robert, for celebrating this month of poetry. It was a pleasure to poem along with you and all the other poets. I loved your poems in Otoliths. Congratulations.

  7. Asha1000

    April’s Last Poem

    The end has come as if on wings.
    Four mockingbirds sang in the tree
    with voices prized as gold on kings.

    Word-challenged by daily promptings,
    we wrote a month-long melody.
    The end has come as if on wings.

    Some days we versed like weeping springs,
    other days we penned fancy-free
    with voices prized as gold on kings.

    Do the dead have need of writings
    in afterlife of artistry?
    The end has come as if on wings.

    At times we felt like underlings
    yet praised the good ones, publicly,
    with voices prized as gold on kings.

    Though it’s April’s last day, hope clings.
    We shall poem again, sweet-pea.
    The end has come as if on wings
    with voices prized as gold on kings.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  8. writinglife16


    Our end came
    when you admitted
    that I was not pretty enough
    for you.
    I smiled
    shook your hand
    and left.
    Politeness kept
    me from saying
    Quasimodo was your
    better looking brother, but
    I thought it would be rude
    to say.
    Besides, it did not matter.

  9. Walter J Wojtanik


    Body worn and torn between birth and the end of the line. It would be fine if we nodded off to sleep keeping memories of our time here behind to remind the world of our stain. But we remain to carry on, still worn and torn, born to exhaust all the possibilities that we possess! Feeling depressed and without vigor, finger on the trigger and muzzle pressed to chest. But you know, your best is yet to transpire, and still you feel so tired and if you expired tomorrow would your sleep be met with great sorrow? Sit and rest, lay head to bed and slumber, and arise to lumber through anew. There’s still so much more left for you to do!

    do we really end,
    or move to life’s new station
    without cessation?

    (C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

  10. drwasy

    No such thing

    as writer’s block;
    there is always
    an option.
    Just as you choose
    to leap over
    the turnstile
    the jersey barrier
    the tumbling creek
    you can carve
    black into white,
    or not.

  11. briehuling

    Day 30!!!!!!

    Dancin’ to September
    Lovemom who loved Earth, Wind & Fire

    Fifty people fumbling
    through fresh cut grass
    in custom Converse
    high tops
    dancing their hearts off–
    a flash mob at a funeral
    in a country garden
    perfectly manicured
    Wiggling for dear life
    like if they got the moves
    just right her gut-busting
    laugh might ring through
    the animal-shaped clouds
    one last time.

    Brie Huling

  12. Shennon

    Do not pass
    Pass with care
    Stay in lane

    No motor vehicles
    Do not enter
    Wrong way

    Soft shoulder
    No shoulder
    Road closed

    Weight limit
    Check headlights
    Bridge out

    Winding road
    Pretzel loop
    Hairpin curve

    Right lane ends
    Road narrows
    Single lane

    Bridge may be slippery
    Dangerous crosswinds
    Rock slide area

    Subject to flooding
    Watch for ice
    Water on road

    Children at play
    Watch for bikes
    Horse-drawn vehicle ahead

    Blind pedestrian crossing
    Bear crossing
    Hidden driveway

    Road work
    Speed bump
    Speed advisory

    Slow traffic ahead
    Blasting zone ahead
    All traffic must exit

    So many scary signs
    Obey them if you please
    But despite the fear they instill
    The scariest of all are these:

    Minimum maintenance road
    No outlet
    Dead end!


  13. Ency Peterson


    they said it was easy.
    they claimed it would flow
    if you just sit down and write
    the words would make themselves known

    it didn’t work the way they said
    it refused to flow as they claimed
    i tried to sit down and write
    the words refused to reveal themselves

    Then suddenly it changed
    the words, they came
    the poem flowed
    even if it wasn’t in a poetic form

    the words stopped as suddenly as they came
    the poem isn’t never ending
    whether it’s good or bad
    it hit its own dead end

  14. De Jackson

    {this is just to say

                               i don’t feel
                                         like pondering plums
                    writing poems


    happy May Day! And congrats to all poets, for a strong finish!

  15. LCaramanna

    Point of Return

    Uprooted pine,
    marked the end of the trail,
    the point of return.
    No onward nor upward,
    only about-face
    to walk the same trail
    with the sun’s illumination
    from a different perspective.
    On a known path,
    mistakes corrected, beauty appreciated,
    moments relived,
    footsteps recovered time and place.
    What if life’s dead end
    came to a point of return?

    Lorraine Caramanna

    1. ppfautsch24

      Where Ends Meet…
      Where Ends meet; two souls came to be.
      Both on journeys of loose ends,
      fore shadowed our start; to a story
      of friendship, grace, and faith.
      A story wrought in dead ends in telling our tales
      of guts and glory.
      Funny how a journey can start with an ending
      you never thought could be from the beginning.
      Though parts did not just fall into place; the
      plot thickened and got jostled around.
      Yet, we are coming together love bound,
      with God’s binding and our will.
      To come full circle where two ends meet.
      By Pamelap

  16. Jezzie


    Into my run came a big bumble bee
    which happens now very regularly
    as there are pretty pink flowers that bloom
    under the clear roof of our garden room.

    I do know that bees sting, but all the same
    I jumped up high to catch it for a game.
    In the end there’s no escape for the bee:
    Mum says it will die if it does sting me.

  17. KatesBookshelf

    He’s A Dead End Road of Longing
    by katie lyn branson

    Don’t go down that road of longing
    it’s a dead end street of hope;
    Not even a possibility of a country lane,
    but a brick wall, ten stories high.
    Try all you want, but you can’t break
    through all the barriers he built up
    to keep you at bay.
    He’s piled obstacle upon obstacle
    in his wake, and as you sift through the debris
    and every locked door
    there is more in front of you.
    He’s an expert of disguise, hiding himself
    and all your suppositions are just that.
    Just hopes you’ve made up in your mind,
    hoping for the impossible to escape his mouth
    and tell you all the things you want to hear.

  18. KatesBookshelf

    I Like Dead End Roads
    by katie lyn branson

    I like dead end roads of asphalt
    that escape into the wild.
    A deer trail, a dirt road, two tire tracks
    that lead through tall grasses waving.
    A sea of waving grass and ships of
    wild flowers floating on the sea of green.
    Where you wander down a buzzing of
    unknown insects, the white noise
    to the whisper of a breeze.
    Down, down, down the track to
    What? An abandoned barn?
    To a rippling stream?
    To nothing at all, but a path that
    just keeps going on beyond
    the dead end road.

  19. leatherdykeuk


    She lived on Randal Avenue
    a dead end without a gennel
    where there was no reason to walk past
    and be all casual like
    Hey! Good to see you!
    without looking like a stalker
    (which I totally was)
    this was in the days before internet;
    before mobile phones were a thing
    and we went to different schools
    and besides,
    my Catholic mother wouldn’t approve.
    Her family were Prossies.

  20. P.A. Beyer

    The First and Last Mission to Mars

    In spite of the distance between us
    I thought about you, the night you awoke,
    Worried about the universe spinning away
    Grasping at the air for a thread, a single thread
    That, if lost, would mean history for us all
    The night you turned to me, with those dead end eyes
    And said “I want to be the last period in your story”
    I know you deny that ever happened but clearly
    The gods are moonlighting as your courier
    Why else would I receive this message from Mission Control –

  21. PKP

    Dead End – Days

    these are the dead end
    days – others rush busily
    off to golf or swim or
    good grief to mah
    jonging – returning
    home flushed with
    all they have done
    in these dead ended
    on the other hand I
    move from couch
    to chair – from
    screen to stare
    and weave worlds
    that never were
    to life

      1. PKP

        Awww thank you so very much P.A. … means a great deal to get feedback especially on the melancholy last day of the challenge. Happy poeming and hope to see you on Wednesday.

  22. De Jackson

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for continuing to host and lead this challenge, at the center of your busy schedule. Thank you for your prompts, your prompting, and your encouragement. We don’t say it enough – we adore and appreciate you.

    To all who took the time to encourage and comment this month: thank YOU. It means more than you can ever know. I selfishly took much more time poeming (on several different challenges) than commenting this time around, but hope to comb back through at least some of the brilliance here in the next week or so. You are all AMAZING. You did it. Be proud. And see you Wednesday!

    1. PKP

      Dear Robert – Another April draws to a close – and here I am for the first time – coming in after deadline – does this count as a “dead end” … I think not. I hope not. Yes, I too add my gratitude for this “Street’ to which I must return – even this year – when I was certain, given interest in political campaigns and other sorts of life pulls, that I did not “need” to finish the challenge. Well.. I did need to … you have created a rite of seasonal passage that is impossible to ignore. Thank you Robert, for all these many years – for the poets familiar and new and always for the place and the time to put the poems, to read the poems and to connect in a way that would just not be possible if not for a young fellow, who decided that it would be a grand adventure to post a blog… with the now (given its vast popularity ) titled “Poetic Asides.” To all my fellow poets – apologies for not be as presently responsive as I usually attempt…I appreciate the gathering – the string of sparkling words that we create together – the way in which we welcome a shower of April – coming together from all corners of this spinning blue marble we share – in solidarity of the poem. To each and all my gratitude and happy poeming….

  23. De Jackson

    The Eschatology of Stars


    Orion’s got a limited number
    of belt loops. We’ve confirmed. So
    if you find yourself just spinning
    around out there in the middle of
    all that black scrimshawed sky,
    your seatbelt,
                   and bring a flashlight.


  24. Catherine Conley

    Dead End

    We reached a dead end
    On our hike through the woods
    Meandering paths amidst
    Majestic pines and verdant ferns,
    Led us across brooks and streams
    Balancing rock to rock,
    Sometimes relying on a handy stick
    Or each other’s hand,
    Other times simply hoping not to slip.
    Up hills we trekked, and mountains,
    Across heaths and peaks,
    Down again into the vales.
    And now, an impasse–
    We are stopped by nature,
    Perhaps our own natures,
    So we must backtrack to where
    We can once again see our way
    And walk hand in hand
    Into the clearing.

    Catherine Conley

  25. Alpha1


    Looking me up she
    Found me on social
    Media wanting to be
    Starting something personal.
    She’s cute but grown men
    Don’t lust after little girls.
    I got plans that don’t
    Include going to jail.

  26. amaranthe


    Our love dead ends here
    where electricity courses
    through cords like the
    love once pulsed through
    our bodies. We were un-
    plugged machines for each other
    revved up on high octane.
    These days you prefer your
    ether siphoned through a net
    spun of wires and digital handiwork.
    I refuse to stay plugged in.
    Lightning is too heavy to carry
    in my ungrounded soul.


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