2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

Time to start another November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Let’s poem!

For today’s prompt, we’ve actually got a two-for-Tuesday prompt. So pick one, combine both prompts into one poem, or write two (or more) different poems. Here are the prompts:

  • Write a stay poem. A poem about staying put, not leaving, and/or dealing with someone (or something) that refuses to leave. Or…
  • Write a go poem. Fans of The Clash probably know which song prompted today’s prompt. But yeah, this is basically the opposite of staying–you know, going.


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Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Stay and/or Go poem:

“The Iceberg of My Mind”

Maybe I should go; this evening
has been the best thing I could
have ever dreamed of having &

really, I’m afraid of having too
much of a good thing, you know;
but then again, I suppose it’s

possible that I’ll never again
have a moment like this to throw
all caution to the wind & really,

I’d love to stay; please, ask me
to stay; demand that I stay &
I will. Or maybe I should go.


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 ninth 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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305 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

  1. ToniBee3

    Over Demitasse

    we move over to the
    placid chairs where no
    one but me can see the
    parting of your wicked lips;

    lips that smoke repulsive
    twigs then kiss my temples
    then cuss me out…
    now contract between sips;

    sips that never break your
    stare of me glancing at the
    second hand of the clock
    on the wall at Chips:

    Chips the Café; hmph!
    reminds me of the chips in
    my teeth, the chips in my
    heart… fleeing your grips…

    grips that will end today
    once I exit you and the
    door… with my pluckiness
    and goodbye hips.

  2. tripoet

    Underpetticoats in the 18th Century

    What? she’s pressed as thin as a leaf sliver
    How?- her maids wrench
    stay cords like in the game,
    “Tug of War”,
    When? in 1760 before meeting her lover
    Why? To make her beautiful, of course.

  3. JRSimmang

    It Dawned on Me

    It dawned on me
    – the other day –
    that we haven’t spoken in a while
    in a
    since we shook hands at my door
    the threshold a leap of faith
    the cup of coffee still hot on the table
    in a
    leftover popcorn and spaghetti sci-fi (or what we called Grade A)
    with the overflowering goblets of wine

    you had a laughter about you
    that soaked into the walls

    that have
    in a way

    still soothe me to sleep
    so that the sun
    can still rise
    without your toes on the horizon

    -JR Simmang

  4. taylor graham


    You wouldn’t go with me into the old mine –
    even a guided tour with hardhat, miners’ carbide
    lamp to glitter rich metals revealed by the pick’s
    rough stroke. Remember the mystery-mine
    in the museum, a child-size cubicle, we had to
    duck to fit inside. And there, by magic
    of black light, the walls glowed brilliant against
    subterranean night. Forget the legends
    of haunted shafts, tommyknockers, other
    nameless beings of the dark. Forget
    the chance of cave-in, dust explosion, fire,
    toxic air. Think of it as letting your
    self drift down to sleep, perhaps to dream
    in gemstone color, silver, and gold.

  5. PKP

    Child of mine

    Stay within you
    large fathomless
    lump of mine
    moving in
    a water world
    that I have
    created for
    you – stay
    forever in
    this converged
    brink of every-
    thing possible
    stay …
    stay …
    stay …
    even though
    I know
    you have
    to – you
    had to

    1. PKP

      Hi – all playing catch-up …. not sure why November did not ring any bells this year… or could it be the phantasical election season? … You think…. Lovely to be here on the Street walking with you through Autumn leaves … again…

      1. pipersfancy

        Hi Pearl! Nice to see you! Fall is my favourite time for writing, so I always look forward to the Nov. PAD—what a great way to share inspiration (and be inspired!) with familiar poets!

  6. pipersfancy


    I remember the day you came to tell me
    you didn’t feel safe in your current form
    needed to tear off conventional demands
    that bound you into a monstrous caricature
    an image you were not—had never been—
    you would never be a girl

    I looked at you and saw only the child
    I had struggled to bring into this world
    struggled harder to keep safe—but failed—
    and loved more fiercely
    than I would have ever known possible
    had you not been born my daughter

    In the end I suppose she must go
    and I must stay—still
    I’m begging you to stay with me
    if only for a short while longer
    to ease the pain in my heart
    from her departure

  7. AnnaM


    I walk with you balanced, carefully
    Somewhere tangled in guts
    Feet on pelvic bone
    A cold sort of precarious figure

    Smiles and appearing at ease
    Are part of the task of keeping you upright
    That knife on your head
    As sharp as time
    As deadly
    I didn’t know when I said leave
    You would vacate one plane easily
    Take up residence here, instead.

  8. deringer1

    Go or Stay?

    Shall I go and explore today?
    My heart says yea, my body nay.

    There was a time, back in my youth
    when I loved to go, but to tell the truth

    that time has passed, it is no more,
    for I cannot go like I did before.

    But when I stay it’s then I yearn
    to take a train and not return.

    I travel now in memory
    to days gone by when I was free.

    1. LadyBug5162

      Going Going Gone

      I’m leaving
      I can’t take it any more
      The yelling
      The screaming
      The threats
      I’ve had it
      I’m going

      I’m leaving
      Sure, it’s better
      For now
      Until next time
      It’s coming
      I don’t know when
      I’m going

      I’m leaving
      It’s a time bomb
      It’s running out of time
      No one knows when
      No one know where
      But it will happen
      I’m gone

  9. foodpoet

    slightly more abstract slant


    When you face empty reflections
    there is no place to go to find yourself.
    There is a twist of a broken promise,
    necklace beads of hope spinning
    across the broad empty room.
    The large supermoon rises blood orange
    under its glow you spin and dance.
    But in the end nothing has changed
    from this month to last month.
    I face my emptiness with no decision
    of the next step.

  10. foodpoet

    Stay Or Go

    On the back road a long curve of road
    Comes from the past and leads away
    Toward stars and hope,
    The green of loam and earth roots
    With smells of past visits with family
    Not the grind of coming coming and
    Never going. I am stuck in a starless void
    Where each day you rise to halogen sunrise
    And come home to florescent sunsets
    And in between man light sees all deep inside you.
    There is never a moment of dark stillness a
    Time to dance with the shadow of the moon.

  11. Yolee


    Stay, little memory,
    until he’s no longer a toddler clutching to the light blue
    bottle of milk
    until his pitter patter is sheltered in canvas
    shoes that get to press their soles at home
    instead of tripping on cold streets

    stay until euphemisms I’ve hauled through the years
    die like seeds craving to be green shoots
    pushing thru the firm ground

    stay until his quivering hands are free of the cheap
    bottle of vodka

    until I see the dark age
    shrink in a rear-view mirror.

  12. grcran


    when comin’ & goin’ then stayin’
    beyond gettin’ out of the rayin’
    far past frantic painful dismayin’
    where amber waves mellow the grayin’
    complexities mix with the playin’
    and certainty pins down the mayin’

    gpr crane

  13. PowerUnit

    Moving out on your own, a place to call your own
    no place to call home
    The cost of life worth the cost of strife
    a decision without trade offs, the omniscient way
    Lost sheep sleeping on beds of hay
    flocks chasing their tails, life going off the rails
    The only use a Bible has in a cold apartment is jamming the door shut

  14. whatevertheyaint


    Nothing stays put forever
    Things shift, move about

    Love sharpens its weapon
    ’til it becomes a dagger

    Happiness is sadness
    on its good day

    It doesn’t last, nothing stays

    Money dons wings
    and takes flight
    Fat pockets turn inside out

    Life converts to death
    and flowers
    It all shifts, moves about

    Going and coming
    and coming back

  15. Tracy Davidson

    Good Boy

    my owner told me to stay
    and I did
    because I’m a good boy

    but he’s been gone a long time
    and I’m cold
    hungry and scared of the dark

    I don’t think I like this game

  16. Bruce Niedt

    Digging Out

    It’s the morning after a blizzard,
    everything muffled in white,
    all the details of the scenery you know
    swept over into hills and bumps, indistinct.

    You don’t want to leave the house.
    You sip a cup of tea instead, regard the silence,
    and think of crawling back under
    your multicolored quilt.

    Yet you need to disturb this peace,
    ruffle up that perfect white blanket,
    but not by stepping outside in your boots
    and trudging a path to the horizon.

    Instead, you take your tea and thoughts
    to your desk, pull your robe a little tighter,
    find a favorite pen, and make tracks
    on the white sheet in front of you.

  17. Bushkill

    I Chose to Stay, Not Go

    Here it is I stayed
    To weather the storms
    And face the demons
    Set loose by fearful men

    Here it is I stayed
    Too panicked, perhaps, to go
    And ply the skills
    A lifetime in the making.

    Here it is I stay
    To face the challenge
    Of fresh stirred promise
    A mark to make upon tomorrow.

    I dare not go.
    To leave this job unfished
    Would be unfaithful to those I lead
    And they have earned better.

    sorry its late. surgery yesterday forestalled my efforts.

  18. Valkyri


    I watch the autumn storm
    cascade against the hills…

    (orange, gold and rust inside out)

    The grey sky is blackening,
    the wind makes the house creak…

    (leaves are blowing every which way)

    The dinner glasses are empty,
    and I was making coffee, love.

    (the cloud color matches your eyes)

    “I’d better go if I’m gonna
    beat that storm,” you said.

    (cold pitter-patter speckles the windows)

    “I want you to stay…
    stay the night,” I said softly.

    (wind oozes in through every crack)

    “Are you sure?”

    (a lazy Sunday morning,
    the paper, in bed…)

    I smiled.

  19. Jane Shlensky

    Part and Parcel

    That dull ache in his hip won’t go away,
    especially on cold days threatening rain.
    Old injuries and hurts, heartaches and loss
    we may as well give names to, make them pets,
    label as syndromes, call them family,
    for they will stick with us when few else will.
    He grumbles rubbing heat into the joint,
    talking to body parts as if they’re friends.
    “Come on, old bones,” he cheerleads, laughing moans.
    “Some ginger tea will make you good as new.”
    He knows too well his aches are who he is,
    sole compensation for all that he’s lost,
    that all his better days are far behind,
    that life’s about forbearance, attitude,
    mingled with memories of youth and joy,
    of sunlit days like starbursts in her hair,
    himself cocky, ready for what’s to come,
    as if he knew one thing beyond his hope.
    “Ah, life’s a funny business!” he says
    to no one; everyone he loves in air.
    “The only way to live is just to live,”
    he says, affirmed by all he knows,
    for memories are sure to come and go.

  20. Julieann


    Two weeks ago you were
    Healthy as the proverbial horse
    Then in the night everyone’s
    World came to an end

    Excruciating pain jolted you awake
    A night time emergency trip to the hospital
    Gave the fatal news
    We only had two weeks left with you

    A time of sadness, a time of sorrow
    Tears of laughter reminiscing the good times
    Frustration about what you need and
    Want done, immediately

    Now you’re gone and we’re still here
    Our broken hearts miss you more than
    Mere words can describe, and yet the good
    Times, the memories, will always keep you near

    1. ppfautsch24

      My thoughts stayed on you
      longer than they should.
      A heart wouldn’t let you go;
      when strings attached had
      unraveled and frayed.
      But, finally letting go of
      the memories that could
      have been of us; as I stay
      strong for me and who I am.

  21. Rie Sheridan Rose


    Stay with me here–
    in this bubble of time
    we have created…
    where the wine flows
    like water,
    dribbled upon your skin
    to sip at my leisure.

    Stay with me here–
    where no one ages,
    and death is banished…
    and only we two
    have the key
    to the secret chamber.

    Stay with me here–
    in the perfection
    no one can sustain…
    and we will pretend
    it is as real as the
    creditors outside the door.

  22. jgweber1221

    Casting Off

    It’s easy to stay
    on solid ground,
    your back
    to the shoreline
    and the tide
    and all the pieces
    carried within it—
    starfish, sea glass,
    curved shells and
    tangled seaweed.
    Strange things
    waiting even
    deeper. And I know
    you’d break down
    just to stay
    on paved roads
    but it’s time
    to try walking
    on water.

  23. lsteadly

    Breaking Away

    sometimes the thought of staying
    even one more day in this
    house will push me over
    the brink, the light outside
    too fine to ignore
    as it changes, playing tricks
    with the clouds

    the wind joins in
    yowling and barreling about
    the bare boughs that cover the hillsides
    just go, go away
    it says nothing here stays
    the same, not even the mountains
    whose granite spines break
    under the snow

  24. Pwriter10

    A REMINDER by DeAndre Oolong

    The moment is empty
    It is Tuesday night after all.
    That’s when we take out the garbage,

    separate the things we want to recycle
    from those we want to lose

    At least someone else will bury them
    after he pulls up to the curb, gets to work
    without looking into my eyes
    (In fairness, most of the time my door is closed).

    But even if I wanted to look,
    it would remind me of everything I had lost
    without trying –

    And how, despite my best efforts,
    the trash pile always seems larger
    than the items that will live again.

  25. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    My 10th grandchild was born this morning, so today’s poem is dedicated to her.


    You appeared before the frost
    gathered, all hairy and white
    on leaf and stem.
    A golden buttercup,
    the bright light of your being
    caused winter to step back,
    leaving blue skies
    like your Mommy’s eyes
    and warm sunshine
    like your Daddy’s smile.
    Wee one surrounded by love,
    remember always
    the secrets taught you
    before you came to be.

    © 2016 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

  26. RJ Clarken

    A Question of Staying…or Going

    “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston

    …and if you have to ask me if
    a book is meant to only riff
    through pages ‘til some thoughts fly out like birds,
    then words will just cause doubt.

    Yet there are questions we could pose
    to make one say, “Well, heaven knows
    what year this is, except by count. I guess
    (confess?) what’s paramount

    is that we stay to see what’s what.
    The answer won’t be open/shut.
    Who cares? The point is that we’re here. Let’s court,
    not thwart, the coming year.


  27. seingraham


    She has lingered overlong
    and she knows it
    “By the pricking of her thumbs
    something wicked this way comes.”*

    He calls her in the deepest part
    of night
    Wails her awake from soundest
    sleep and begs her gruffly
    to leave them
    And join him where he waits
    Just get up and go, he tells her
    Like it’s something easily done.

    *a version of what the 2nd witch
    says in Macbeth – referring to him
    at the time; is now often an allusion
    to an intuitive of foreboding or evil
    about to happen.

  28. qbit

    The way tendons
    Hold a body together,
    Make whole
    My bag of bones –
    Banding legs to hips,
    Arms and head to trunk –
    Loving you allows me to slowly
    Plant one foot on the floor
    Then another
    This morning
    To finally stand
    And go once again.
    (Muttering a curse
    That I’d rather stay.)

  29. Janet Rice Carnahan

    Another great November to write poems on PAD! Still interested in using the Japanese style, known as the Boketto, introduced by Walt W.! It says so much in just eight lines (7/7/7/4/5 – 7/7/3). Thanks again to Walt W. Thanks, too, to Robert for another wonderful opportunity to write poems. Onward and Up Word to us all!


    We simply walked in and stood
    Yet presence was clearly there
    A familiar sense took hold
    A connection

    Without lingering time flew
    As sure as the moment stayed
    It was gone

    1. Walter J Wojtanik

      Boketto is a Japanese word that really doesn’t translate into English very well. The concept of Boketto is akin to staring at the sky or into the distance without a thought… Getting lost in one’s own self; removing the self from a place mentally. There is no regard to the past and no connection to the future. There is only THIS moment.

      The Boketto can be a very personal poem, or can be one of a random observation.

      The Boketto consists of two stanzas, One of five lines (30 syllables – 7,7,7,4,5) and a three line (17 syllables – two seven syllable lines and a three syllable line which becomes a refrain if a string of Boketto are written). It expresses a single moment in time!

      A variation of the Boketto makes use of two (three) ancient Japanese forms, the Tanka and the Haiku (Senryu). The moment of which you write will determine the choice. (Haiku – nature; Senryu – everything else).

  30. Thedeb

    Stay or Go

    By Thedeb

    I wanted you to stay,
    but my prayers weren’t for you.
    I wasn’t right.
    I offered too little, too late.
    Grief fueled by guilt.
    Too many what ifs and whys.
    They devoured my soul, ate it like jerky,
    chewing and chewing until it was gone.
    And then…
    only then, I prayed for you to go.

  31. carolecole

    Not Yet

    It’s not that I’m weary of the hammering
    woodpeckers, downy, red bellied, flicker.
    Each has its tree, each slams a lethal beak
    into the belly of the bark over and again.

    It’s not that sunsets over the bay have grown
    cliched, each more godly than the last, fiery orange,
    purple, red, nor have I tired of relentless suns, days
    of fire, of heat that saturates skin, muscle, bone.

    It’s time to change it up, time for ice,
    for the edge of oblivion, for wool and soup
    and dim sunless days. I have lived too long
    in this song, in the complacent moment.

    You have told me not to mourn the future.
    It’s time to revise the past, to climb out the window
    with my thieves’ sack filled with wishes,
    slung over a war-weary shoulder, time to

    Still the cautionary voice
    that warns “If ever it was time to go,
    it’s (never), still the whisper of
    (Not yet).

  32. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    I want to stay,
    You want me to go;
    I want you to say why;
    I need to know.
    Does this come from your heart?
    Does it come from your head?
    Is it something I did?
    Is it something I said?

    I want us to laugh,
    You’d rather cry;
    I want us to sing, but,
    You want to die.
    Does this come from your heart?
    Does it come from your head?
    Is it something I did?
    Is it something I said?

    All is forgiven,
    You can’t forget;
    I’ve put it behind us,
    You haven’t yet.
    Does this come from your heart?
    Does it come from your head?
    Is there nothing to do?
    Nothing to be said?

    I want you to stay,
    You decided to go;
    You never did say why,
    Now I’ll never know.
    You never did say why.
    Now I’ll never know.

  33. De Jackson

    still standing here, with her cheek pressed against the door

    she is listening to the way the room breathes. the way
    he leaves without warning. the mourning of the walls
    and their sorrow-scattered beat. the peeling-paint pant
    of want, and wander. she has squandered herself for a
    single knock, a noisy clock ticking off the minutes left
    until the exhale meets the whoosh of door. she is more
    than tired and less than stilled, willed soft with waiting.


  34. James Von Hendy


    If you asked, I’d say we were moored
    behind the breakwater, safe. Still,

    the light on the point is more
    distant, less a warning than a flash

    of momentary insight lost again
    and again. My anchor seems to drag

    across the ocean’s bed, the reef of desire
    a constant roar in my ears. I can’t speak

    for you, but still you’re here and see
    how the coral blooms at night, what’s left

    unbleached. I know you mourn the loss
    of beauty, and still, you look across

    the breakwater where barnacles cling to rock,
    indifferent to an indifferent sea.

  35. Beth Henary Watson


    Against all habit, against
    The entire history of me
    To date, a galloping past
    Of hustling and long hours
    Of being my best competition,
    I have decided to stay,
    Stay here where I stopped
    Before tired set in
    And settled into stillness,
    Where I’m not always missing
    Everything because I’m on the go.

  36. PSC in CT

    Schrödinger’s Cat

    She understands that.
    she’ll never
    really know
    if she’s made
    the right decision
    (once she decides
    to stay or

    in a prison
    of her own making
    she’s taking off –
    packs her bags, lies
    in wait; vacillates,
    why she hesitates,
    cogitates, ruminates.

    Can’t tell you
    why she still abides.
    Can’t help but sigh
    and wonder:
    when her box
    is finally opened up
    will she
    be dead or alive

    PSC / 2016-Nov

  37. MichelleMcEwen


    The sun don’t stay
    Leaves don’t stay
    Today don’t stay
    Summer don’t stay
    Loving don’t stay
    Living don’t stay
    Perfume don’t stay
    Lipstick don’t stay
    Money don’t stay
    May don’t stay
    Rainbow don’t stay
    High don’t stay
    He don’t stay
    although he will say
    that coming back
    is a kind of staying


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