2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

Okay, the first day is in the books, and it was a lot of fun. But we’ve got plenty of poeming left to go.

For today’s prompt, write a “not today” poem. Maybe it’s normal to give in to outside pressures, but not today. Or maybe you’re usually very disciplined in your health and wellness habits, but not today. Or maybe you struggle to write poems, but not today.


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Here’s my attempt at a Not Today Poem:

“when you say we’ll see”

i see exactly what i want
being hoisted high above me
& know it won’t happen today

because “we’ll see” is code
for “maybe” which is code
for “when hell freezes over”

so we’ll see i guess we’ll see
& in the meantime i’ll plot out
my moves toward plan b


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He always has a plan b and probably says, “We’ll see,” a little too frequently.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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466 thoughts on “2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 2

  1. BDP

    Sijo #2: Not Today But Tomorrow

    No tubes and spikes, twenty-four clear hours: peace, a final decision.
    Through our stream of goodbyes we felt time stretch to decades.
    Noon sun paved past shore: you, now young, took off running, dog at your heels.

  2. SarahLeaSales

    The Integumentary System

    It is what the world sees,
    from ivory to ebony,
    symbolic of heritage and health.
    It advances with age—
    the more lines,
    the longer the timeline.

    Twenty-two square feet of a durable, elastic material,
    sometimes marred with scars,
    or uneven pigments—
    indicative of disease—
    it drapes our muscles,
    our bones—
    a cutaneous covering
    that secrets the workings underneath.

    In shades of white-blond
    to tar-black,
    it is a glorious crown;
    sometimes it’s sensitive
    and has a bad day.
    Some is fine and straight,
    others, kinky,
    both enduring color and heat
    in the name of beauty.
    It frames the eyes like fans,
    adds ten years to young men’s faces,
    or falls out,
    adding ten years to old men’s heads.

    It was the glory of Samson,
    Rapunzel’s ladder,
    Jo March’s independent currency.
    It is shaved in protest and
    in camaraderie for others with cancer;
    it is refrained from clipping for salvation’s sake,
    even as it is sold for its preciousness.

    The weapons of mass seduction,
    painted in assorted colors,
    and sometimes the indigestible chewable
    of a nervous habit.
    Whether weapons in defense of rape,
    or branding tools of mates during orgasm,
    they are the crescent moons
    that grow on the ends of fingers.

    It is the cover we wear—
    our identity—
    easily changed through chemicals,
    or surgery.

    It encompasses the cup fillings
    that nourish the children,
    that make children of men,
    that must not move
    in polite society.

    And for some women,
    it must all be covered,
    for it offends a man’s perception of
    the God who created such heavenly creatures.

  3. SarahLeaSales

    Family, Defined

    “…no other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
    –David O. McKay, the Ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    For the Mormons,
    it was the path to salvation.

    For the Christians,
    it was till death.

    For those without,
    it was friends.

    For those with bad ones,
    it was never again.

    For those with good ones,
    it was often history, repeated.

    For me,
    it was all of these things
    and none of these things.

  4. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    write a poem today
    that’s the challenge, they say

    I have excuses galore
    let me think of some more

    start with late rising
    no lack of surmising

    the house is a mess
    when I’ll clean is a guess

    have plenty of time
    to think of more rhymes

    will I ever succeed
    i guess I just need

    inspiration to come
    but I have none

    or little today.

  5. jennfel

    The voice inside
    That screams its ‘not enoughs’
    You leave your mind
    Cracked open just enough
    For it to crawl back in
    And wreak havoc
    With inner peace

    Time to take
    Your power back
    Grab the caulking gun
    Fill in the cracks
    With gold tinged
    Hopes and dreams
    Stare down self doubt
    Shout at the top of your lungs
    ‘Not today!’

  6. mayboy


    You experienced the past,
    we want the future.

    Skip it.

    Another trap in our mind,
    we need the key to break it out.

    Skip it.

    You lived the life,
    we want to fly.

    Skip it.

    Another moment in the chaos,
    we need to be in someone’s skin.

    Skip it.

    Keep it for now,
    keep it to win.

  7. taylor graham

    for S.M.

    He cleaned up trigger trash – made it his job
    to pick up after those other plinkers who
    treated the woods like a garbage dump. Spent
    cartridges, gun-shard glass, even an ammo
    clip; refrigerator riddled with bullet holes,
    rusting into forest litter. Got his buddies to help
    load it in his pickup, haul it away to recycling.
    That man cleaned up the mountain
    like it was his home. Smiled when the birds
    sang thanks, even the old tattered raven
    high in a pine. He’s gone, the clean-up plinker,
    fallen like a grandfather oak in storm.
    What would he say, now, to the trees girdled
    with bullet holes, dying? How do you
    pick up an empty hole for recycling,
    to make it in a new way whole? Who shot
    the trees? Who will pick up where he left off,
    if not today?

  8. kathyk671

    Some days
    He wakes with the sun,
    Rising to the challenge.

    Some days
    He laughs with his children
    And marvels at how they’ve grown.

    Some days
    His soul sings a melody
    That he is eager to share.

    Some days
    The pain gives him respite,
    Allowing him to breathe.

    Every step is pain,
    Every breath is pain,
    Everyone is pain.

    Some days
    He awakens.

    Not today.

  9. Jannelee


    The dog barks at 5 AM
    I just fell into bed at four
    A last drink filled to the brim
    And I was just beginning to snore

    I groan and cover my head
    Bury it under the pillows
    But that confounded bed
    Is still rocking on the billows

    Maybe if I just ignore
    the loud, frenetic barking
    He can take himself out the door
    but that’s too much to be asking

    For he jumps on the bed
    Causing the boat to rock even more
    He eagerly licks my head
    And I jump ship and head for shore

  10. _Kirk_


    He Wants to Dissociate the Pronouns, but Doesn’t</strong.

    In thumb and first finger, tying,
    I twist the skin in a pretend knot
    today, like yesterday, trying
    not to bruise the muscle for
    the minimal pain, an exchange
    of aching which leaves me spotless
    but breaking; the external heat received
    from the beat of the internal flood;
    tear stains rinse away far cleaner
    than blood, trading hurt for hurt
    the heart pumps hopefulness
    and self-defeating relief
    that these secret beatings can stay
    and there is more to come of this darkness
    being both victim and thief,
    if only I am not found out today.

  11. Christina Cattane

    I’LL BE ME

    I’ll be okay

    Like a phoenix from the ashes

    I will rise

    My eyes will be dry

    My heart will stop screaming

    I’ll stop searching the faces of strangers

    I won’t be afraid

    To love and be loved

    I’ll smile and laugh

    And kiss and hug

    I’ll be strong

    I’ll be confident

    I’ll be me

    But not today

  12. Joseph Hesch

    Just Like Every Other Day

    I used to remember
    those times I
    was blown away,
    cast like sand
    from where I’d stand
    to watch you, while
    winds capricious
    into my youthful visage
    carved what now is age.
    But not today.

    To my mind, you might be
    a cloud of dust,
    amorphous, nebulous
    and just
    impossible to grasp.
    Though if I could,
    I’d hold you tightly,
    where I stood,
    as in an hourglass,
    and you’d never blow away.
    Not then, not tomorrow,
    not today.

    This morning, a moment.
    I, as ever, alone and
    staring in a mirror at
    these ancient scars,
    vivid as a clear
    summer night’s stars,
    those stellar sands,
    sifted through my own hands.
    And I heard a voice say
    “You recall how I got them
    like was yesterday.”
    “I guess,” I replied,
    but it always hurts like
    it was just today.”

  13. sarite

    Oh my gosh—a other typo… Sorry

    The Day I Forgot How to Dance

    The beat came

    Then went

    While my feet


    Like my heart

    Too heavy to be lifted

    Every song had

    No rhyme or melody

    And my soul

    Tasted gray

    The day

    I forgot


    To dance

    I actually wrote this after my dad passed away over a year ago. Never published it because that would make it real.

  14. sarite

    The Day I Forgot How to Dance

    The beat came

    Then went

    While my feet


    Like my heart
    Too heavy to be lifted

    Every song had
    No rhyme or melody
    And my soul

    Tasted gray

    The day

    I forgot


    To dance
    This is offered for

    I actually wrote this after my dad passed away over a year ago. Never published it because that would mean it was real….

  15. James Von Hendy

    April’s Fool

    I was
    the cunning trickster
    hyping possibilities, alternative facts
    almost believable even to myself,
    but then they tell me dreams
    reveal ambitions we didn’t know we had.

    Hell, if I’d known, I’d have gone
    Bigger than the county poet’s seat.
    Watch out Juan Felipe Herrera,
    United States Poet Laureate!
    Here I come,
    but not

  16. NJDeb

    Someday you will hear a song
    while shopping
    It will be a familiar friend
    and you will hum along

    One day a passing car will catch you
    singing loudly and off key
    to a tune on the radio
    You won’t care

    Someday you will know my songs
    without knowing me
    But not today

  17. Lori DeSanti

    Unspoken Things

    He tells me we’ll go tomorrow-
    and without protest
    I put down the car keys
    and kick off my untied shoes,

    sinking into the worn out couch
    cushions. His glasses rest

    on his nose end and outline
    his eyes like a picture frame.

    I stare into them for a moment
    like a memory.

    He is unmoved when I lay my head
    on his shoulder, a small sigh releasing

    from his mouth. I close my eyes
    and forget where we were supposed
    to go to begin with;

    before I drift off thinking,
    not today.

  18. lily black

    Not Today

    Waking to the tornado warning
    one wildflower filled county away
    I wanted to get up
    and hurry to the store
    Before the grey skies dropped
    the promised hail.
    Mama needed a few things
    she’d said yesterday
    Feeling neglected by visitors
    who visited the the town and
    not just her.
    They’re intentions were good
    they took her for bar be que
    with beautiful young people
    near tall buildings
    And to a late dinner
    where trees
    were wrapped in lights,
    But the storm came in quickly
    and the promised hail and damage
    and that trip to the store
    Didn’t happen
    Not today.

  19. fayina


    Someday you’ll be a faint reflection
    a claustrophobic memory
    bobbing up to the surface
    in melancholy bursts
    without form
    without substance
    but not today

  20. fayina


    Someday you’ll be faint reflection
    a claustrophobic memory
    bobbing up to the surface
    in melancholy bursts
    without form
    without substance
    but not today

  21. Jezzie


    The sun shone yesterday all day long.
    First thing the air was filled with birdsong
    until I could no longer hear it over children’s shouts
    and after neighbours’ lawn mowers were all fetched out.
    That was Saturday, kids were all playing outdoors,
    their mums and dads were catching up with chores.

    Not today. It is peaceful. There’s no-one playing:
    It’s raining and all the kids indoors are staying.
    I can hear birdsong again, watch the ducks on the pond
    and the odd dog walker as they walk around,
    and I’ll walk my dog in the rain to Lusty Glaze.
    People wonder why I like rainy Sundays.


  22. Kyarochan

    Not today

    When it comes time I will crumble,
    and float like pollen on the breeze –
    get up all of your noses, then
    commingle with the earth’s great seas.

    Not today, not today

    When it comes time I’ll run away
    Pull my thin coat tight in the sleet –
    melt like butter on a crumpet,
    an oily sheen on neon streets.

    But not today, not today

    Come the time I shall disappear,
    fade away leaving just a grin –
    effacement atom by atom,
    memory by memory: Fin.

    Yet not today, not today

    (c) 2017 Caroline Hutchinson

  23. ToniBee3

    that knot today

    knot today
    you twisted in your hair
    you feel in your gut
    you found in your breast
    as you wait for the tests
    is not bigger than God’s however…
    not today… not tomorrow… not ever

  24. Earl Parsons

    Not Today

    The message was clear from beginning to end
    Undeniable truth of the presence of God
    Undeniable to all, but still up for debate
    As to what must be done; accept or reject
    She held the pew tightly with sweat on her brow
    A decision that she would one day have to make
    But not today

    Another time listening to yet another sermon
    Her heartstrings tugged by an invisible force
    Self distracted once more with gobbledygook
    Still greatly bothered by the truth and the tugs
    Not realizing that no decision is still a decision
    She waits out the moment, still not giving in
    Not today

    Out on her own, she makes all the decisions
    Dad calls and invites her to the Sunday service
    Not today, dad, got things to do
    I love you, he says, maybe next time

    Years pass not once shadowing the door
    Of the church her parents took her to
    Until that phone call arrived with bad news
    A weak heart took her father away
    At the funeral his life story was told
    With an urging for all within earshot
    To heed that still small voice and
    Give in to the free and eternal gift
    She cried at her loss, but didn’t give in
    Not today

    Tears filled her eyes as she left the funeral
    She never saw the red light

    Life is filled with Not Today’s
    Some no big deal
    Others life changing
    But only one is eternal

  25. AsWritten

    LIFE ON MARS by Ken Bentz

    Scientists have hope.
    They found a billion-year-old
    fossilized bacterium in a chunk of ice.

    I have some live ones on my toilet,
    But I wouldn’t want to live there either.

  26. L. Anne Wooley

    It’s Been that Same Ole Same Ole Thang…Yet Not

    It’s been one of those same ole same oles
    yet quite different from any other same oles
    you know what I mean?

    Hope you do., as I sure don’t.
    I would love to know
    what I’m doing wrong.
    And what I am meant to do.

  27. Sibella

    To Do: Clean the Bathroom

    Something always falls off the bottom of the list. I guess
    I lean in, on the top, and the tasks twitch and panic,
    look for an exit. They peer over the stile
    where nightly the sheep leap
    and they fling themselves
    into tomorrow.

  28. mswunion1976


    Today there are only strawberry jams.
    Not traffic.
    Today the robos
    Don’t call
    The pundits
    Don’t pun
    No pedo, hemo or any philia
    No opinions, beliefs, leanings, learnings no del, fac or any other kind of toid
    No optim, pessim, anti-semit or any other ism
    Sun in face
    Wind in hair
    And out.

  29. Kjean

    Not exactly what I was hoping for
    Not really what I was praying for
    Not intentional
    definitely not conditional
    No other way to categorize it
    other than
    “No thanks, not today!”

  30. headintheclouds87

    Not Today

    Normally I’m
    The first to shoulder someone else’s burden
    But not today.
    Normally I’m
    The last to lavish time to myself
    But not today.
    Normally I’m
    The simpering, spineless yes-sayer
    But not today.
    Normally I’m
    The ever-malleable ‘nice’ guy
    But not today.
    Today, I’m someone else
    Who dares to talk back
    And strives to claw back
    Those few scraps of self-esteem.

  31. deringer1

    is the mantra of the hesitant ones, those who
    never found a passion or a goal that
    could rouse them to bless the world.

    Not Today believes, in spite of
    overwhelming evidence to the contrary,
    that there will always be a tomorrow.

    Not Today has built a barrier of excuses
    that blocks the door to the future
    and allows the atrophy of the soul.

    1. Kjean

      I really like your word choices in this poem! I especially like the second stanza. You are correct. If “not today” then there must be another time when….

  32. Angie5804

    Just had to say
    Though I’m working on today
    Yesterday’s poems were grand
    And I give a hand
    to my top picks:

    1.But Just Not Today – N.Posey
    2. Not Today – Bushwils (?)
    3. Maybe Tomorrow -Rosansela CT
    4. Opener – gr c.
    5. Four to Five – Sara McNulty

  33. Tracy Davidson


    “not today thank you”
    I say for the umpteenth time
    to a cold caller
    their voices the only ones
    I hear through these lonely days

  34. Terri Lee

    Still working on day one. Happy to write poetry again.

    #1 Not Today

    Not today, will an egg white, vegetable omelet and un-cured turkey bacon,
    healthy protein and kale shake, lean meat and salad with oil and vinegar dressing,
    a peanut butter cup substitute of one rice cake with no salt, low-fat peanut butter and twelve dark chocolate chips and flavored seltzer water pass these lips.

    No, not today, because today is breakfast at the local diner with biscuits and gravy, pizza with four ounces of Malbec wine or maybe a full-bodied beer, or steak with baked potato, butter and sour cream and cheesecake hall-pass day. Today my gut will seek revenge.

    #2 Not Today

    Not today will I let the loss
    of a lover twenty years
    my junior who left the sheets
    we shared for a ready-made family
    rob me of my remaining youth

    not today on the cusp of the
    fourth anniversary of my
    husband’s passing
    will death steal away what
    spirit within me persists

  35. barbc


    no rain today, prayed for or unbidden
    no dinosaurs, no asteroids, no plague

    no sliver moon or morning star to guide you
    no handsome stranger standing at the gate

    no inspiration falling from the heavens
    no voice of God in burning bush or cave

    no poetry in everyday existence
    when you decide to always play it safe

  36. eloise1484

    Chops and Wings

    Do you know the tale
    of the Bremen Town musicians?
    The chicken on the dog on
    the pig on the donkey—
    or something like.
    It doesn’t matter. The chicken
    liked the view. Thought
    she was entitled to it.
    But the dog had fleas,
    the itchy kind—not
    the plague kind,
    And the pig was unsteady
    on his little trotters—
    you know how slippery
    donkey hair is.
    So today the chicken, whose
    job it was to warn
    the others, failed,
    And the robbers had both
    chops and wings
    for dinner.

    The dog and donkey
    have their own show
    in town now—
    Hamburg—not Bremen Town.

  37. Maria Grace


    A day might come when I get some sleep
    And wake refreshed to greet the day:
    No nightly feasr, nor troubles keep
    Away the slightest hope of sleep.
    At 3 a. m. awake I lay.
    I weary of counting unnumbered sheep:
    A day may come when I get some sleep
    – Today is not that day.

  38. Brazenbookbug

    Not Today

    The place is tidy, just as I want it
    Sunlight and flowers on my nightstand
    Friends chatting through the door
    The bill basket empty

    He won’t be back now
    With his raised voice and hands
    With lies and threats and promises
    No more

    The locks are thrown
    The table seats one
    The music is mine
    And the bed is a twin

    I said No More this time and meant it
    Just as much as before
    I didn’t take it back, or him
    When I said it

    No bullet on the nightstand
    No women with only first names
    No changing past
    No tears I can’t cry

    I drain the sink
    And hang the towel
    And pull his beer from the fridge
    And take it to him

  39. Linda Hatton

    Available in Paperback (Not Today)

    On sale! Cheap!
    Seventy-five thousand words.
    (Assembly required.)

    There was a pile of words,
    disassembled, trying to make
    sense, pass along a message
    in their mess.

    The writer longed to call
    the story written, but instead
    became smitten with endless
    editing and coffee addiction.

  40. SharylAnn


    There was a time

    in my life long ago

    that days like today

    excited me…

    filled me with energy…


    And ~


    But not today …

    Spring Storms no long

    have the meaning of my youth…

    my young adult life…

    They once brought the

    possibility of fireworks

    the coming together

    of two should creating

    magic as one

    But not today …

    Those storms held

    memories of a wild and

    crazy youth while today

    they have a new magic

    A magic of renewal

    and restoration of

    the Earth as she

    drinks deeply of

    life-giving rain

    Praising Spring

    as new life is given

    for trees, flowers, and

    young tender vegetables

    Those youthful days elicit

    amazing memories

    while spring storms now

    bring a promise of

    the Future …

    Copyright © 2017 Sharyl
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Sharyl