2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 1

Let’s get this poeming party started.

For today’s prompt, write a reminiscing poem. In my mind, this means a poem that remembers something (a moment, a relationship, etc.). The poem could be kind of nostalgic or sharing lessons learned. But for those new to these challenges, you should know that I consider these prompts open to interpretation–so if you have another take, go for it.


Re-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Reminiscing Poem:


even though we both ran our long distance
races, she offered me a cigarette
at a party & while it made no sense
i took a drag because she was the best
girl in my eyes on that specific night
& i never smoked another again
though i’d date one who smoked Marlboro Lights
but to this day i hear the way my friend,
because she was a friend, urged me sweetly
to breathe in & hold it before i coughed
& like that the spell broke & i was free
to say thanks but that enough was enough
& i recall the way she smiled you bet
but mostly i think of her cigarette


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). If an attractive person offers you drugs, whether tobacco, alcohol, or some other concoction, just say no, kids. Just say no.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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661 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 1

  1. AllSwoons

    “Mullet Mullins”

    He had an unhip mullet,
    loved corny glam rock bands
    (with equally unhip mullets),
    poured scorn on the “Jock Monsters” in the halls,
    and drew a comic strip for the school newspaper that only had one character.

    Except for that time there was a girl in one issue.
    She had short, jagged, blonde hair and was
    “only loosely based” on the poet girl that sat diagonally from him in Spanish.

    When he and that poet girl from Spanish class met again,
    she was married and peddling her first manuscript to publisher after publisher.
    He was working at a local newspaper and going to school for cartooning.
    Not just any school, but one of the leading art and design schools in the country.
    He no longer had a mullet.
    In fact, he was bald.
    She no longer had short, jagged, blonde hair;
    she had a long, glossy, black ponytail down the back of her neck with Betty Page bangs.

    They were so proud of each other,
    and they hadn’t even gotten started yet.

    When he and the poet girl from Spanish class met again,
    She was promoting her second published book release
    and he was the professor of cartooning
    at one of the leading art and design schools in the country.

    They were so proud of each other,
    and they hadn’t even gotten started yet!

    Every day they spoke in some way.
    Every day they joked about mullets,
    corny glam rock bands,
    and the “Jock Monster” that he had become.
    Every day they cherished each other.
    The poet girl from Spanish class even kept the letter he had passed to her diagonally
    that avowed his love for her—
    that he also wrote he had already pre-accepted would not be returned.
    They laughed about it now,
    because the love she did return was the lasting kind.
    The forever kind.

    She was so proud of him,
    and he hadn’t even gotten started yet.

    When he and the poet girl from Spanish class meet again,
    it will be in her heart.
    The boy with the unhip mullet,
    and the professor of cartooning,
    are both in the Elysian Fields now—
    where the souls of the heroic go.
    Ask anyone who knew him…
    He only had the forever kind of love returned to him
    from everyone he met.

    She meets him every day, still.

    It has been eight years this month.
    We were so proud of each other;
    we hadn’t even gotten started yet.

    —Heather Angelika Dooley
    © 2017

  2. barbara_y

    Just The Frame For A Sketch

    So this is what it’s going to be: you ask
    me to remember, when my brain— black-shirted
    stagehand, conscientious waitress— has worked
    smoothly and so hard to remove the past.

    The brain: it gets these requests to retell
    what it never experienced first hand.
    It returns what eye-witness reports it finds,
    but the poor organ can’t touch, taste or smell.

    What…entity… feels sorry for the brain?

    This amorphous squishy nothing, Me, found
    nowhere between the world of ticks, thorns,
    helpings of peach ice cream— and the gray main
    switch. Odd spokesman for memory, a mind.
    I make sense of a life, but wasn’t born.

  3. BDP

    Sijo #1: Returning (Nostalgic)

    If here, you’d shake your head—spring peepers ratchet keening in the marsh.
    I hold our calm ground, Dad: for years we shared our thoughts after supper.
    The sun kneels, collapses. As soft words emerge around this room.

  4. RJ Clarken


    “..so Grandpa turned the rusty latchkey of his magnificent remembery and set free a symphony of stories.” ~ Glenda Millard, The Duck and the Darklings

    So, Grandpa turned that rusty key
    which unlocked just one door
    which soon would set a symphony
    quite free, and even more:
    magnificent remembery!
    Oh, wasn’t he a clever he!
    The song informs my reverie.

    So, Grandpa turned that rusty key,
    the latchkey to my past
    and made me see life magically:
    I hold those memories fast
    onto my heart, unto my brain.
    When sad, I cling to this refrain:
    Onto my heart!
    Onto my heart!
    His brilliant stories thus remain.

    So, Grandpa turned that rusty key
    and I’m so grateful for
    magnificent remembery
    which lives beyond a door
    whose secret thrives because of him.
    He’s Andersen and Brothers Grimm.
    Whose secrets thrive?
    Whose secrets thrive?
    My Grandpa and his lively whim.


  5. AjAarons

    The Great Smokey Mountains

    Packed like sardines
    In a run-down van.
    Wind along a
    Mountain road.
    Step out onto
    An unpaved lot.
    Look around at
    A thousand trees.

    Hoist a bag and
    Take a walk.
    Laugh and grin
    As we climb up.
    All take turns
    Carrying the babe.
    Turn back before
    We reach the top.

    Stranded ’cause
    The van won’t start.
    Run back to
    The river we passed.
    Go back and forth
    Carrying water,
    Go back and forth
    Till we surrender.

    One last trip to
    The water’s edge.
    Best friend coaxes
    Me onto some rocks.
    Hours spent
    Risking our necks.
    Taking pictures
    Of our recklessness.

    Aunt and Uncle
    Save the day.
    Pack us into
    A smaller truck.
    Take us to
    A different spot.
    Leave us there
    To have some fun.

    Along a path,
    Past the overlook.
    Stand at the top
    Of a thirty foot cliff.
    Pace back and forth,
    Till I dare jump.
    Run back up,
    To dive again.

  6. mayboy


    The plant snapper is
    waiting for a prey,
    could it be a fly,
    could it be a dragon?
    Is it anything else
    to give innocence away?
    The pack can tear your
    flesh and blood apart,
    or provides you with the
    comfort of the Keen bond.
    Throw yourself into
    the irresistible row.

  7. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    another poem for Day 1. Yeah, I am 6 days behind. Sigh.

    Remember or forget?

    Remember when
    typing one
    letter at a time
    was better.
    Mistakes erased
    with whiteout.
    What a pain.
    Today computers
    edit our mistakes,
    smart, they say.
    Too smart.
    Red lines nd
    green ones too
    squelch creativity,
    put in words
    never meant
    Elephants remember
    I want to forget.

  8. Jannelee


    54 Ford Coupe Sedan
    Sky Blue, 2 door
    Four on the floor
    That’s where it all began

    Floorboard with a hole rusted through
    Faded blue interior
    That had once been new
    Dusty white sun visor

    She didn’t look like much
    Way back in 63
    About a hundred bucks
    But she was the world to me

    Janice Kuykendall

  9. _Kirk_

    I’m catching up on the first six days!

    I am the story of everyone:
    nothing special, or notable.
    Hardly noticeable.

    You are forgettable
    in the crowd of human history,
    not rich or brave or brutal.

    We are not royals or slaves.
    We have no claim to relevance
    or recognition, no names.

    Practically inhuman, we are.
    Microscopic cells of average
    in mitosis; more of the same.

    Us: unremarkable and yet,
    I do not remember kingdoms,
    great matriarchs or who is winning

    endless war, immemorial.
    All I can think of is the cool satin
    of your fingertips on my wrists

    and the rising calm of peace and citrus
    as you leaned in to breathe the scent
    of one moment in immaterial time

    drifting up from my open hands.

  10. taylor graham


    Pen in hand, alive with a word,
    he died. Old man remembering –
    alone in dark woods as a child –
    chickadee who lit on his toe.

    He died, old man remembering
    life being briefer than the bird,
    chickadee, who lit on his toe.
    From sky to earth no rivers bide,

    life being briefer than the bird.
    He’d taste each water as it flowed
    from sky to earth. No rivers bide
    as he transcribed their silences.

    He’d taste each water as it flowed.
    He was unchained dog, the river
    as he transcribed its silences,
    the dog’s lament, its bark, thunder.

    He was unchained dog, the river
    alone in dark woods. As a child,
    the dog’s lament. Its bark, thunder-
    pen in hand alive with a word.

  11. Ency Peterson

    All’s Well That Ends Well

    All’s well that ends well
    At least that’s what they said
    That’s what I heard

    Through the trials of old
    Walking down each corridor,
    They never noticed
    what they wanted to miss

    All’s well that ends well
    That was their cry
    As they realized past atrocities

    The things they had said
    The things they had done
    It meant little
    To a hurt and scared little girl

    But, All’s well That ends well.
    Isn’t that how we justify the bullies
    That made their victim’s strive?

  12. Joseph Hesch

    Reminiscing the Tomorrows We Never Had

    Each dawn, when I crack open my eyes
    to verify I’ve received another chance,
    I envision you in the empty space
    beside me and close them again,
    realizing I’ve blown it already.
    A once-harmless fascination became
    my obsession, fluttering moth-like
    ’round your incandescence that
    threw too much heat for my heart
    to dare grow nearer.
    But when I realized your heat was
    my actual desire, you’d gone cold,
    your own obsessions directing it
    so far from me I had to warm myself
    with reveries of useless might-have-beens.
    Now most mornings I fail another chance
    to ignore these all-day reminiscences
    of a future we never could have had,
    obliviously resigning myself to the fact
    my miserable life’s better
    we never did.

  13. sarite

    Sorry the last post had a typo–have to repost

    Sea Sick

    Hey Big Blue

    I miss you


    Living salt free

    Does not

    (bathing) suit me

    My soul

    Needs to


    A float

    Swaying with

    Changeable currents

    Not giving in

    To gravity

    Earth saturated


    Submerge me

    So I can

    Soak and fill

    Those sad spaces

    Slosh out

    This silty sit still


    Take me

    Make me


    In your liquidity

  14. sarite


    Hey Big Blue
    I miss you


    Living salt free

    Does not

    (bathing) suit me

    My soul

    Needs to


    A float

    Swaying with

    Changeable currents

    Not giving in

    To gravity

    Earth saturated


    Submerge me

    So I can

    Soak and fill

    Those sad spaces

    Slosh out

    This silty sit still


    Take me

    Make me


    In your liquidity

  15. RuthieShev

    That Summer Apart
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    Excitement made me shiver
    As I ran down the street
    To the theatre on the corner
    When you and I were to meet
    You twirled me around
    As we hugged and kissed
    I could see the delight in your eyes
    And I knew that I was missed
    Gone away for the summer to work
    Though we wrote every single day
    I wondered how things would be
    When you were finally home to stay
    I can no longer run down the street
    Now we are married for fifty years
    But the thought of not seeing you
    For a day brings my eyes to tears

  16. Brazenbookbug


    Our little girl doesn’t look like him or me
    But she has my grandmother’s creased chin

    I look at her and I see that chin
    And I can smell schnitzels frying
    Hear ice cubes tumbling in cocktails
    Feel laughter billowing over my skin and through me
    Past the sheer curtains
    Out the open window on night breezes

    I kiss her chin and my grandmother’s chin
    And she corrects me with a sloppy baby kiss on my lips

  17. James Von Hendy


    There was a time when I would climb
    anything. The tree without a limb

    within reach, its slender trunk
    smooth with seduction, the granite-blocked

    walls of the abandoned church
    down the street, the steep pitch

    of its slate roof, once, even
    the chimney sluicing into the sky

    because I could traverse the sheer
    face of Indian Rock above

    the unforgiving scree that awaited me
    and no one would follow me.

    “Monkey,” they said, “will you climb
    the brick face of the elementary

    school?” Three stories of treachery,
    the tall, yawning windows, peeling

    yellow paint blistered in the sun,
    and even I said “No, not that.”

  18. NJDeb

    Saturday Nights

    I would sit quietly
    Watching the spectacle
    Of men and wine
    And cheese, chips and sometimes sardines

    The kidding and sarcasm
    The roasting and jokes
    There were no hard feelings
    Instead bonds were strengthened

    In the wee hours
    After the blend
    The men retired to Halo
    Before heading home with the rising sun

  19. lily black

    Remember that time?

    Remember that time?
    No cleaned out that old clutter
    Live in present now.

    But that sweet old song
    Brings back grey road trips searching
    The lonely ribbons

    For something lasting
    Like blue skies over wild grapes
    Never turning grey

    Remember that time?
    Self preservation prevents
    Much thought on black years.


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