2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For today’s prompt, write a tape poem. The poem could be about transparent tape, duct tape, video tape, or even tape worm. Anything that you can bend into a tape poem is fair game.


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Here’s my attempt at a Tape poem:


When I was young
I would record
Saturday night
music mixes

of Human League,
and Young M.C.
I loved the way

one song would blend
into the next
and I’d try to
emulate that

when I, older,
would create mix
tapes of Guided
by Voices, Stone

Temple Pilots,
and R.E.M.
There was something
magical then

about being
able to take
another’s work
and make my own.


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.

He used to love making mix tapes–both for himself and for others.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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75 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    why we tape things
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    it all starts when we’re little,
    we break things, so we tape it back together
    hoping dad won’t notice.

    we make heart collages for mom
    run out of glue so pull out the tape
    then stand back and reap the rewards.

    in high school we rip best friend pics in half
    only to grab tape and piece back together
    the next day when cooler heads prevail.

    so for the first half of our lives
    masking tape, scotch tape, duct tape
    is our savior, our confidants, our friend.

    the problem is for some of us,
    our hearts are made of tissue
    subject to easy whims of tape and glue.

    the trick is not to let our tissues get wet,
    difficult when our hearts are breaking,
    floodgates open and flowing like swollen creek beds.

    the process is usually friends come over,
    pat your hand, smooth your hair
    break out the hair dryers

    fix your now crinkly tissue heart
    with another round of shots, yelling
    “bring more tape!” over their shoulders.

    it’s funny how we always seem to feel
    the need to hang on no matter the cost,
    pretend all is right when it’s not.

    we glue, we tape, we staple
    fingers crossed, mumbling hail marys
    then sit back, waiting for the miracle

    that says everything will be ok
    at home, in the ER, in heaven
    because God’s tape is holding.

    course by now you may be asking
    why not upgrade that tissue heart
    to teflon so that nothing rips,

    nothing sticks, thereby eliminating
    the need for tape in the first place.
    but in the end, when logic meets emotion

    in the crossroads for the big dance-off,
    i think we’d all rather feel something than nothing,
    tape and tissue be damned

    this compulsion to fix than replace,
    patch up and send back into battle,
    but that’s another poem.

    © 2017 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Michelle Hed


    I didn’t know
    what to do
    with this four letter word,
    this “tape”…
    So first I imagined him
    wearing a cape
    with a capital “T”
    and then he was lifting weights
    to stay in shape
    you see.

    Next he was screaming
    as he fell into my crepe.
    The tears he was crying,
    he was really bent out of shape.

    Then he got stuck
    on the back of an ape,
    can you imagine my nerves
    as I’m getting ready to rip that tape!

    When children fall
    he comes to cover their scrape
    but first a kiss
    so no more tears escape.

    He really is versatile
    this four letter guy, this tape.
    Handy to have around
    right now he’s holding my drape.

  3. shellkaysm

    I’d Rather Rewind

    In my younger days
    when I couldn’t be
    in two places at once
    I used to feel capable,
    bonded to others,
    took freedom for granted.
    The ability to tape
    shows, movies & songs
    offered such power
    to capture snippets of time
    I’d otherwise likely miss
    or have to wait to be rerun.
    I could be present someway
    or someplace else & not lose out.
    I could replay, review & fast forward
    at my whim: such the novelty.
    Now, with technology’s advances,
    I often can be in more places than one,
    Yet I somehow feel less connected
    no longer truly free, cheated.
    I think I’d rather rewind

  4. ToniBee3


    the lighted cheval glass
    sees the double-sides of
    person and persona
    and adhesive strips

    that stick, pull, and lift
    the lines of cheekbones
    and brows and lids into
    a revealing new face

    appliquéd in contours and
    shadows and brazen colors
    that sit her chin up and
    dip her shoulders back

    like stunning tapestry that
    hangs above the mantle
    and signed by stage name:
    Tess La Fame

  5. De Jackson

    measuring the moon

    we never did learn the metric
    system, so for us it’s always
    been a game of
    inches. she swells,
    she sways, she goes away.

    put the measuring tape
    (the scotch tape,
    the ducts tape,
    the betamax tape)

    away; we need a pro
    -tractor, a compass.
    a way to know the
    circumference of this
    vast wide sky. you

    and i, we need a way
    to say she’s gone,
    and that we’re waiting.
    she waning, and we’re
    wandering about until
    she plops up full again,
    until she fills our souls
    again, until she makes

                    whole again.


  6. Valkyri

    admittedly terrible in content, meter & form….


    Way back in 1845
    an inventive surgeon
    was alive.

    To Horace Day,
    we owe a “thank you,”
    for his combination
    gauze and glue.

    He called it “tape,”
    and don’tchya know,
    adhesive uses
    then did grow…

    from bandages
    to post-it notes.
    Kudos, doc!
    You get our votes-

    easier lives
    were never had
    in every household-
    (not just a fad).

    The world uses tape
    in every way.
    Thank you, doctor
    Horace Day!

  7. uvr

    The sun slips into the room
    lingers on the square patterns
    left by the legs of your table
    picks out the fading glitter
    of the stars on your wardrobe
    stops at the dusty surface
    of your now silent radio
    shines on the innumerable
    pieces of tape that once held
    your beloved posters to the wall
    I wonder if they will patch together
    my broken heart

  8. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    The Greatest Generation,
    Saved the world saving the nation,
    And left the rest of us with empty hands;
    A tough act to follow,
    We hitched up our pants,
    And took a hard swallow,
    Before finding a place to take our stand.

    Back then it was right,
    To volunteer to fight,
    But our day raised the question for us all;
    Give peace a chance,
    Was not some two-bit dance,
    And we lived to see the end of the wall,
    Watched it fall.

    Did we measure up?
    Did we break the tape?
    Was our run for real?
    Or a cheap escape?
    Did we take the high road?
    Or stumble through hell?
    Did we measure up?
    Only time will tell.

    Our moms and dads,
    And the lives they had,
    Together for fifty-plus years;
    Did they compare
    To the lives we share?
    Were we stronger than our tears?
    Than our fears?

    Did we measure up?
    Did we break the tape?
    Was our run for real?
    Or a cheap escape?
    Did we take the high road?
    Or stumble through hell?
    Do we measure up?
    Only time will tell.

    Do we measure up?
    Only time will tell.

  9. grcran

    The Tape

    Taped all that we’d learned in our lives
    Submitted online for some grins
    You-tubers all gave us high-fives
    Applauding our grips on say-whens
    The thousands of hits faded fast
    Ten minutes of fame did the dip
    Our moments of glory had passed
    But still we believed we were hip
    Our tape told a tale of the truth
    Wan wisdom accrued through the years
    These oldsters had tips for those youth
    Odd rainbows displayed in real tears

    Decided to re-tape the mess
    Perhaps we’d not said it just right
    Then left it alone in its nest
    Retired tucked us in for the night

    gpr crane

  10. bethwk

    Taking the Measure
    by Beth Weaver-Kreider

    Along the top of the green shelf my father made when we moved here,
    I’ve lined the three jars of herbs the demolition crew found in the wall
    of my grandmother’s house, a rambling old Victorian taken down
    the month after we bought this place in the hills west of the River.

    My great-grandmother’s butter paddle, an ancient pair of reading glasses,
    an onyx vase from India full of goose feathers from the pond
    near my parents’ house where the children like to look for baby swans,
    and a tall, thin ebony carving of a Maasai warrior in a beaded skirt.

    Coiling around and through them all, like a frayed yellow snake,
    my mother’s mother’s tape measure, which used to wrap around a waist
    or along a length of hem to perfect her stitching and mending,
    now takes the measure of the memories I’ve collected.

  11. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    Daddy was a working man,
    A carpenter by trade,
    There wasn’t anything in wood,
    His two hands hadn’t made.

    I’d take the smart end of the tape,
    Pull it snug and steady,
    Then walk it back to him,
    When he told me he was ready.

    “Measure twice, cut once,”
    Were my father’s words to me,
    They applied as much to living,
    As they did to carpentry.

    We built a house one summer,
    Stood it stick by stick;
    He quietly showed me my mistakes,
    He never missed a trick.

    I’d take the smart end of the tape,
    Hold it straight and level,
    “Busy hands are happy hands,
    Idle hands wait on the devil.”

    “Measure twice, cut once,”
    Were my father’s words to me,
    They applied as much to living,
    As they did to carpentry.

    It isn’t always hammers,
    It isn’t always nails,
    But it’s the man who doesn’t try,
    Who is the man who always fails.

    “Measure twice, cut once,”
    Were my father’s words to me,
    They applied as much to living,
    As they did to carpentry.

  12. Pwriter10

    TAPING HISTORY by DeAndre Oolong

    In a Middle Eastern cave,
    scientists struggle to decipher hieroglyphics
    that may hold the key to understanding
    civilization as we know it.

    Alternatively, the cryptic pictures
    could be random drawings scrawled
    on the flaking wall by a wayward child
    who happened upon some
    of nature’s paints.

    Luckily our culture wouldn’t
    allow for such confusion.
    We give everyone, young and old,
    the ability to record history
    as it happens.

    When the next evolutionary
    race attempts to decipher us,
    they will be thankful for the volumes of
    both helpful and worthless video.

    I hope that archaeologists don’t
    attempt to define my world by
    a Justin Bieber video.

  13. Pat Walsh

    Tape Measure
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    the president wanted his
    legacy preserved for
    posterity so he had his
    technicians install a system
    that recorded everything he said
    on tape

    but when the people listened
    to his tapes they could
    not help but measure
    everything else he had done or
    likely ever would do by what they
    had heard

    and now for better or worse
    the people hear nearly
    everything the president says
    with no need for tapes or
    measures other than their
    own opinion

    which makes it only fair to
    wonder what sorts of things
    the president might say
    if the people decided every once
    in awhile to neglect their duty to
    keep listening

  14. JanetRuth

    Pluses And Pitfalls of a Taped World

    There’s too little I understand about too much, it seems
    Technology keeps coming up with new ways to astound
    God, when designing us knew we would thrive on hopes and dreams
    Still, He did not create us to be plugged to constant sound

    From vinyl to eight-track to cassette tape, Cd, smart-phones
    (Far-gone the days of eight-mile-tape stuck in our stereos)
    The world is pocket-sized; Beatles, Elvis and Rolling Stones
    Sing for distracted fans bombarded with six-second shows

    There is too little I understand about much, I admit
    But sometimes I feel sorry for today’s bright girls and boys
    The good of something always potent with the ill of it
    The brain never designed to be plugged in to so much noise

  15. MichelleMcEwen


    There are no home movies of us—
    no reels, no video tapes
    of me and my sisters
    blowing out candles
    on a birthday cake
    or opening Christmas gifts.
    Just know that we loved
    every bit of it.
    Even though there is no
    footage of us
    in the process of enjoying it:
    like breaking
    into a smile while making
    a wish.

  16. Shennon

    Halloween circa
    nineteen seventy-five
    Costumes were simpler
    but we were not deprived

    They consisted of
    simply a mask and cape
    Any defect could
    be fixed with sturdy tape.


  17. Bruce Niedt

    A little Billy Collins-style musing:

    Duct Tape

    I’ve heard some people call it “duck tape”,
    as though it was created for the guy who says,
    “I wish those ducks would just shut the hell up!”
    He could yank a length off the roll and strap
    their bills together, and then enjoy a Walden-like,
    duckless quiet beside the pond.

    But for the record, it’s “duct tape” –
    produced for HVAC folks to patch or connect
    metal ducts, though it’s insinuated itself into
    everyone’s lives in one way or another by now.
    We use it for all kinds of repairs –
    last spring I fixed a broken rake handle.
    This shiny silver adhesive – which makes a satisfying
    “RRRIP!” when you pull it off the roll
    and tear off a piece – is so versatile. A window crack,
    a loose bumper, the Apollo 13 mission, all have benefited
    from an application of duct tape. I’ve even seen kids
    create prom dresses and tuxes from it.
    It can patch up virtually anything,
    even, I imagine, a relationship gone sour.
    Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  18. headintheclouds87

    Tangling with Tape

    Oh I do get in a right tizzy
    Wrapping my head round
    That perplexing, vexing task
    Of wrapping presents.
    I find myself in a fight
    With that roll of tape
    Losing the elusive ‘end’
    So many times until
    I lose the will to live as well.
    It becomes a blurred flurry
    Of swearing and snipping
    Leaving me blue-faced
    And more tightly wound
    Than the blasted tape itself.
    I abandon the scissors
    And in a senseless fit of rage
    Find my savage beast within
    And decide to bite down on it instead.

  19. Jane Shlensky


    He tapes the tapers together,
    ten to a package,
    each hand-dipped to taper
    near the head wick.
    He holds them loosely,
    tamps the tops for leveling
    before the box is taped shut,
    the price printed primly in the oval.

  20. Jane Shlensky


    Double-sided, masking, Scotch,
    cloth, adhesives mend the botch.
    Paper, poly, gecko, duct,
    gaffer, Sellotape is stuck.
    Elastic, Teflon, Steri-strips,
    Surgical, gorilla grips,
    Self-amalgamating, magic,
    Lingerie, filament, tragic
    tears mended, painting and friction
    for every sticky predilection.

  21. Connie Peters

    Whoosh and Wish

    It’s about time
    we get out packing tape
    and shove pretty things
    we made or bought into a box
    and with a whoosh of the tape
    and a wish that our loved ones
    will feel the hugs and smiles
    the gifts represent,
    off they go.

  22. deringer1


    at first I do not know this word “tape”
    I bought some sticky tape
    but it didn’t work when I tried to play it
    on the machine called recorder
    the yellow band the police put up is
    tape, yes? it’s not sticky. Maybe they
    use invisible tape to catch the
    criminals, eh? I wrapped myself
    all over in the stuff but they still saw me.
    I wish to see how long is my room so
    I get tape, but it has no marks
    and sticks to the floor. My friend
    told me I have tape inside because I
    eat so much. Strange, thing, but then
    I discover the tape called duct !
    This tape I love.
    I used it to fix my car.

  23. Walter J Wojtanik


    Oh, my kingdom for transparent tape
    to hold these scraps of Christmas wrap.
    I’m surely limited by the shape,
    Oh, my kingdom for transparent tape
    connecting all this paper drape
    (and not that flimsy tissue crap!)
    Oh, my kingdom for transparent tape
    to hold these scraps of Christmas wrap.

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

  24. Walter J Wojtanik


    We’ll do the same for the thirty-fourth time.
    It’s no miracle. We’re at the pinnacle of love.
    We’ve gone above and beyond being fond
    of one another. You’re a wonderful mother,
    an exceptional wife and my life would be
    empty without you. So as the season nears,
    all our fears and uncertainty will certainly
    play second fiddle to the riddle of our life.
    So I will give the gift that you’ve opened
    every year when Christmas draws near,
    and has honored you from then to here.
    The present from your past that has lasted
    to this present we still share. You’ve never
    cared that I re-gift it to you every season.
    We no longer wrap it, this gift that
    lifts us to newer heights. I keep it here
    in my heart, my love for you.
    It need not be gaily adorned, it has
    been borne (and slightly worn) daily
    For the three plus decades we’ve been together.
    No bows needed. Not foil paper mired.
    No wasted boxes. No tape required.

  25. taylor graham


    They marked their route
    with flagging tape, the kind surveyors
    use. It was Pink Fluorescent-Glo,
    a vibrant rock-rose pink
    they tied to underbrush and over-
    hanging branches
    as they made their way
    through the dark of November oaks,
    daylight dimming, a mist rising
    in the canyon.
    And when they found
    her, one man carried her back
    in his arms as the other
    collected the bright pink streamers.
    Pink ribbons he wreathed
    on his hat, pink ends waving
    as he walked.

  26. Anthony94

    Christmas Age Nine

    Wanting to believe in Santa,
    I fashioned his sleigh.

    Used the red plaid tape
    dispenser. Popped out

    the empty spool.
    Closed the bottom

    with a bit of wrapping
    paper. Set it

    on the window sill
    where he’d be

    sure to find
    and fill it.

  27. annell

    Will a Little Tape Help

    to mend    to put back together     to cover a wound

    one side sticky    one side plain     how to mend a relationship

    what about a little tape    will it work     will it hold

    a little torn paper    a broken toy    words spoken

    to hurt     will a little tape help    cover the offense

    a glass dropped     smashed to a million pieces    can they be recovered

    taped back into shape    and what about a heart that is broken     will a little tape help

    November 25, 3016

  28. terri9869

    Technology of Tape

    We live in a society
    with all sorts of

     Digital Camera
     Computers
     DVD players
     Streaming ability
     VCR tapes (dinosaur approaching extinction)

    I’ve tried time and time
    again that her
    VCR recorder
    which still plays
    VCR tapes are
    on the extinction list
    She refuses to give in
    to technology

    Disclaimer :
    she believes that she has
    an emotional attachment
    to these tapes

    Copyright © TMC 2016

  29. Bushkill


    I reach for you in times of need
    When pipes burst open and water seeps
    To wrap the threads and seal up tight
    And keep me from this watery fright.

    Or, perhaps, a different vice
    Measure not once, always twice.
    And whether made of wood, cloth, or metal
    Your uses are many, sly friend of the level.

  30. Jolly2

    by John Yeo

    Gwendolyn sat stately in her study;
    A robber entering through the sliding door,
    Brushes at hand poised and almost ready.

    Her easel was set up firm and steady.
    The villain approached silently and sure;
    Gwendolyn sat stately in her study.

    Gwendolyn thought this shade far too ruddy ;
    The figure crept across the shiny floor.
    Brushes at hand poised and almost ready.

    The artist picked a gun up carefully;
    Two hands reached out as she began to draw,
    Gwendolyn sat stately in her study.

    She felt the rough tape cross her mouth tightly,
    She coolly fired once, then once more.
    Gwendolyn sat stately in her study
    Brushes at hand poised and almost ready.

    Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

  31. PowerUnit

    Hockey Tape

    Pining, and wondering if it’s worth the beatings.
    The Persian spear is honed while a Roman sword is straight,
    a Canadian blade is warped and wrapped. Slap your wrists if you are exposed.
    You whiff the culture of its tack, the single-stroke Bobby Orr toe,
    a fullness and completeness of a Rocket to the top corner.
    We are attached to our icons. We cling to our history.
    Control and power, wrapped from the heel. You adhere to the culture.
    You flex it. Scoring is a forward motion.
    A process taught to children before they can read.
    Canadian ash is not a horse track shape but rings of Victoriaville timbre.
    The team kit bag, the source of bonding. Players glutinous for hugging and high-fiving.
    It’s the results that stick with you.

  32. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Take the longest tape around
    Extend it beyond the world
    Let it run amok, unbound
    Great love must be unfurled

    Tie it to the starry skies
    Toss it to the moon and back
    Dazzling it deep in each lover’s eyes
    Keeping the purpose in tact

    In fact, let go of the measure
    Who needs numbers to make any sense
    Love itself is the treasure
    Uplifting anything dense

    We cannot possibly tape record
    What is so effortlessly given out
    We would end up too easily bored
    Optimism forever in doubt

    When something that big defies measurement
    It is best to throw away the tape
    Too much energy and endless time spent
    Need for exactness you cannot escape

    Testing for true measurement can’t be found
    In the hearts of those who love
    Just like capturing a fleeting silent sound
    The faint whispered sigh of a dove

    So take every mode of limitation
    Throw it up high to the breeze
    Any point of exact science let’s shun
    Instead just feel the heartbeat, please!

  33. DMK

    duct tape
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    I love the book 101 things you can do with duct tape( old book don’t know author)
    some of the ways I have used are in it both things I found great
    both in and did use like hemming pants in school
    so you didn’t trip over you pants like a fool
    somethings might be a joke but in desperate times
    would work like making over mitts to keep hands from frying

  34. Jezzie


    When I was young I bought lots of vinyl:
    seventy-eights, forty fives and thirty threes.
    This music collection I have since doubled
    with prerecorded tapes and more modern CDs.

    Now I am old my radio is on all day.
    My music collection sits gathering dust
    while I download on my laptop more music to play,
    so downsize my unneeded treasures I must.

    My paperback books, I’ve got rid of those,
    most of my videos have suffered rejection,
    I’ve been shredding paper, shedding old clothes
    but I just cannot part with my music collection.

  35. Walter J Wojtanik


    I’ll sit remembering
    when another cold December
    rings in the next new year,
    and I’ll be right here with memories
    saved for posterity. Photographs
    and video tapes will fill the gaps
    left behind and my mind will be
    placated. We’ve debated whether
    we’d want to watch without the other,
    but the burden of a life voided
    leaves this gap which is unbearable.
    I envision scraps of magnetic medium
    strewn on the table where splices would
    tell the perfect tale. But it would fail recounting
    the true story we’ve written, two loving combatants
    smitten with the other and fighting for and throughout
    our lives. Then when these memories escape,
    I’ll find you again when I go to the tape.

    (C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016

  36. Walter J Wojtanik


    Committing real life to save for posterity,
    you lose some clarity in the translation.
    No preparation can set you up for
    what’s in store, and what’s more,
    it would do no good. You would still
    play in a continuous loop. And no matter
    how many times you rerun your life,
    you’ll never know how it ends
    until the tape ends. And you’ll come to find
    it’s not that kind when you rewind.

    (C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


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