2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

For today’s prompt, write an activity poem. Of course, the first activity that springs to my mind is writing poetry, but there are many other possible activities from which to choose: running, driving, folding clothes, tying knots, casting lines, dancing, sleeping, and so much more. Pick an activity and write it out.


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Here’s my attempt at an Activity poem:

“Listening to the Four Tops”

I’ll be there: standing in the shadows
of love, ready to reach out. It’s the same
old song, but the beat keeps finding me
and shaking me, waking me. I can’t help
myself when I listen to their harmony,
when I hear Levi Stubbs softly approach
with, “Baby, I need your loving; baby,
I need your loving…” And it’s true I’m
just listening to another man’s pain,
but when I sing along and let the rhythm
move me, it becomes my pain and,
for a moment, my sweet release.


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 loves listening to all music, but has a special spot in his heart and soul for Motown, especially the Four Tops.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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173 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

  1. ToniBee3

    A Spell

    i’ll try a spell
    to make you well

    a string of hair
    a muskrat tail

    a Dhalion bill
    an onion peel

    the sap of myrrh
    three Garra gills

    heal the bones
    seal the groans

    heads… be gone

  2. tobysgirl


    I hold up a sign.
    It reads “I Stand with Standing Rock
    No DAPL”

    I sing and march and wave.
    I punch the sky with my fist.

    Stop raping the earth, I want to scream.
    Stop taking more from the native people!

    I know it won’t stop,
    but I have to take some sort of action.
    Read my sign,
    share my action.

  3. JRSimmang


    My father was a chef, chief among the kitcheniers,
    a captain on a sea of spaghetti and lentils,
    a sweaty steamroller whose pockets dripped breadcrumbs
    like Hansel, except he’s the one who built the
    witch’s abode.

    He sat me down at the table while he pried apart the
    perforated cardboard box that contained flotillas of
    corn and rice (in my dreams I drifted languidly among them,
    white currents playing with my fingertips, and then a silver spoon dipped
    its brilliantly polished head into the vast ocean, and I was consumed
    by myself.
    I’ve never quite brought myself to share that dream.)

    into the ceramic bowl, the clink clank clink rattle shush
    tipping my head to hear if I could hear the wishes of wheat,
    if it desires to be more than food, if it misses the wind like we all do,

    and he grabbed a banana.

    “Bananas,” he said, “are meant to be peeled.”
    My father’s profound didactitudes resonated deeply within me.
    “And inside is where we find the fruit.”

    “Also, oranges,” I added.

    “And watermelons, though we call that a rind.”

    “And corn.”

    “And us.”

    I stumbled over the spoonful of breakfast and stopped chewing. When dad got
    quiet, he got sad. I didn’t realize I inherited that trait.

    He started to wash his hands of peeled banana and now the water ran down the drain,
    bubbling and gurgling, choking on some piece of dislodged meat.

    “… and happiness.” I said.

    The water stopped, and he sighed, and echoed. “And happiness.”

    -JR Simmang

  4. PSC in CT

    Mourning, Ablutions

    They’re doing it again
    (still) spewing, spouting
    nouns, verbs and invectives
    (as if they weren’t infectious)
    as though this sluice and slop
    had no power to begin
    (please, stop)
    an execration epidemic.

    ‘Only words’, they say
    (denying all li(e)-ability)
    all the while heaving bile –
    (muck they find amusing)
    confusing humor with de-
    basement, malice, degradation,
    disseminating venom,
    fracturing the nation.

    I empathize the anger;
    but while I share their fears
    I sorely mourn these (un-)
    civil activities;
    I ache and rue that this
    is what the world perceives
    as half a nation gloats
    while the other half grieves.

  5. foodpoet

    Archery pointless game of outside darts, I want relaxing on an empty couch.
    Canoeing endless rowing against the stream, I want
    Time to me myself and no one else
    Ice Dancing just a foo foo version of hockey, here in idle time nothing
    Varies just another day another chores
    I want to just
    Take time and go nowhere but inside
    Yet again the world calls do something…

  6. RJ Clarken

    Activity: Literary Criticism

    “I still found literary criticism a suspect activity.” ~Alison Bechdel

    Criticisms often cripple
    writers of the participle.
    Reprimands re preposition lead to
    screed, coup or perdition.

    While disparaging the gerund
    comes across as quite unfair and
    mean, the ones who adverb-splurge will deal
    or squeal; then maybe purge.

    But content, that’s the main concern:
    thus what you wrote now overturn.
    And backstory goes straight to hell. You ought,
    it’s taught, to show/not tell.

    So when you say you must now kill
    all of your darlings, no molehill
    is this. And yet constructiveness can aid
    the grade. Productiveness.

    Please temper how you deconstruct.
    Don’t simply say, “Your writing sucked.”
    It’s your opinion, realize critique
    to tweak just means revise.


  7. seingraham


    With every sweep the minute-hand makes
    round the face on my watch—crystal crazy-cracked
    like a window iced early—another minute melts away
    And Sol births further into a sky glowing cerulean
    My beloved steed strains against the reins
    as we come to the edge of the tree-crowded forest
    He has been twitching to run for the last half
    mile, breaking into an uneven canter every few steps
    I lean forward, place my head against his great neck,
    can feel the warmth of him, laugh as he tosses his head,
    snorting impatiently

    The harvested field burnished before us shines like a penny
    I give the horse his head, tap him with my heels, and we’re off
    How is it I never remember until we’re doing it, the way
    the wind rakes over us both when we run flat out
    How everything recognisable drops away, and there’s just
    the horse and me welded together and moving as one
    I smell only the light sweat coming off the animal
    and leather, as the saddle heats up beneath me
    It matters not what else may be happening
    If I can ride my horse, my life is good.

  8. Pwriter10

    LOITERING by DeAndre Oolong

    We have nothing better to do.

    There’s a war somewhere in Asia.

    I can stand on my hands for 3 seconds.

    Ninety percent of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted.

    Watch me spit my gum at that guy’s shoes.

    The unemployment rate went down. I guess that’s good.

    I bet I can make you laugh.

    Think of the national debt.

  9. Kasey

    Mission: Dog Bath

    Feigning nonchalance, I prep the bathroom
    for the chaos that’s about to ensue.
    I look in her eyes, and it’s clear to me:
    She’s not marching willingly to her “doom.”
    My gal’s a chunk, but I know what to do.
    I awkwardly hoist her up and then we
    are stumbling quickly toward a full tub.
    She lands with a splash that drenches me, too.
    I lather, rinse, then repeat two or three
    times. Toweled dry, I whisper to her with a rub,
    “You’re free!”

  10. tripoet

    Arts and Crafts

    My mom believed in boondoggle.
    When she sent us to the park
    in the nineteen fifties
    she knew the activity director
    would keep our hands tangled
    safely in arts and crafts.

    1. ppfautsch24

      The voice and action of one, voices of many; fought with much activism of standing for what is our heavenly right.
      The energy of Election Day makes for vital pursuits throughout the night.
      By Pamelap

    1. LadyBug5162

      Raking Leaves

      There’s something about an autumn day
      Not cold
      The crunch of leaves
      As I walk across the yard
      The scrunch of the rake
      The whispering slithering sound of leaves in motion
      The tittering of birds in the trees
      Swish scrunch not loud enough for a “rattle”
      It’s more of a rustle
      A pungent spicy dusty smell
      Someone’s fireplace scenting the air
      Dogs barking
      Kids yelling

  11. taylor graham

    FOREST BATHING (a Paradigm)
    on Shinrin Yoku, sensory immersion in forests

    How does the pond breathe?
    White egret waits for a frog. [mondo]

    Now may the rain fall?
    Soft wet fingers on earth’s face
    so wrinkled from dry summer. [katauta]

    The path winds through woods
    and then gets lost in marshes,
    their muddy secrets.
    How will you find the foot prints
    that passed through, moments
    ago, soon disappearing? [choka]

    Where pond touches shore,
    bend down to stroke its ripples,
    its breezy texture –
    feel the tiny veins of leaf
    flowing ever with the current. [waka]

    Have you heard the crow,
    his voice of shadow crossing,
    and the swallow’s song?
    When the blue kingfisher dives,
    listen to the water’s depths. [tanka]

    Each path a circle
    leading back to beginnings –
    the closed gate opens. [haiku]

  12. Pat Walsh

    running in the woods
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    running in the woods
    stumbling on occasion
    as our paths diverge

    who do you know me to be now
    am I the same as before
    or have you perhaps lost yourself
    among the fallen leaves

    listen to the wind in autumn
    it will lead you home

  13. DMK

    walk’n cross the floor
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    experience naively speaks
    walk’n walk’n
    walk’n cross the floor
    hours fly
    too many lies
    what was I looking for?
    reaper takes the meek
    sad eyes
    no goodbyes
    no sound
    just found
    not a saint
    suns up
    can’t breathe
    walk’n walk’n
    walk’n across the floor
    what was I looking for?
    close the window open a door

  14. DMK

    finding new ways to make whole
    by Dawn Kvernenes

    mike is dating not sure he would be able
    his wife death made him unstable
    mike and wife Cheryl were high school friends
    multi rapid deaths including her set me on end
    carbon monoxide poisoning gave me vertigo, patience turned to hate
    betrayal and covering lies sent blood pressure to 238
    words confuse stuttering returned
    relationships now burned
    trying to find myself, my faith without killing my soul
    finding new ways to make whole

  15. MeenaRose

    When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
    ~ Ansel Adams

    He sat there perfectly still;
    His eyes betrayed his intentions;
    They were moving – scanning and seeking.

    Not yet, he told himself;
    Gathering the dusk about him;
    His cloak of invisibility.

    He’ll be ready for them this time;
    The landscape, his chapel;
    The photograph, his prayer.

    ~ Meena Rose

  16. Julieann


    Bolts of beautiful fabric
    Line the shelves in the fabric store
    A rainbow of colors
    And designs from apples
    To zoo animals
    Large flowers, small swirls
    Flow across the face of the fabric
    Some designs merge as one
    Some designs are individual
    Such gorgeous fabric
    To feel, to touch, to enjoy
    With the eyes and senses
    And then I cut it up into
    Small pieces
    Just to sew it back together
    But it’s more than that
    I create my own pieced fabric
    I make a sandwich of the pieced top
    And batting and backing
    Then quilt it all together
    With needle and thread acting as pen or pencil
    I stitch swirls or feathers
    Shells or diamonds across the
    Face of the pieced fabric
    A quilt is born
    A piece of me given to you
    Its softness wraps around your shoulders
    Or tucks you in at night
    Showering you with love and comfort


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