2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

We’ve made it to the Bon Jovi Day of the challenge! That is, “we’re half way there.”

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Stranger (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Stranger Danger,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” or “Stranger Things.”


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Here’s my attempt at a Stranger Blank Poem:

“stranger lines”

a dolphin made friends with a unicorn
before turning into a terrifying dragon

the dragon lived in a giant rock cave
& watched television until one day

the unicorn came with a sparkly purse
& told the dragon she could get one

down by the ocean & so the dragon
went & turned back into a dolphin


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert 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 is often inspired by the drawings and stories created by his children, who look at the world from a completely different angle. Currently, there are a lot of pictures of unicorns, dragons, robots, and kaiju.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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254 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

  1. bmorrison9

    The Door

    Pounding on the door, the bell
    finally got me up
    to stumble down,
    throw the deadbolt,
    fling the door open

    and wake
    as with freezing water

    A dark man loomed in the dark night,
    street empty, the city sleeping.

    I thought of my children upstairs.
    I thought of my nightgown.
    I thought I must be the stupidest person on earth.

    “Your hedge is on fire,” he said.
    “It’s small enough still to put out.
    Probably a cigarette tossed from a car.”

    Still shaking I thanked him
    and slammed the door.

    He was right; a bucket did it
    but I called for the fire truck anyway.
    Just to be sure.

    Only then thinking how kind:
    to stop his car and get out,
    knock on a stranger’s door
    not knowing what he’d face.

    I’m not saying
    throw open the door
    to strangers in the night,
    but if we don’t
    we might lose everything.

  2. angieinspired

    “stranger that i think of it now”

    stranger that i
    think of it now.
    her at the wheel.

    she’s incompetent.
    she has no wings.

    but dreams can be
    such prodigal
    it’s ridiculous.

    i keep instructing.
    i keep deducting
    female tendency to

    damn it to hell
    our shorter paths.

    pull forward.
    go around the block.

    any dragonfly
    would scream at us.

  3. cobanionsmith

    Stranger than Science

    God’s love
    place and time
    constantly attracts
    ever closer
    taken for granted
    denied even
    more puzzling
    up close
    one thing
    upon which
    all depends
    but cannot
    be reconciled
    on universal
    or quantum
    levels but
    check the heart
    that ancient
    telescope calibrated
    at creation
    beats measured
    in twos
    a hole to
    fall ever into
    each to each
    Him to you

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  4. RJ Clarken

    Image in the Photography/Image in the Mirror

    “Nothing is stranger to man than his own image.” ~Karel Capek

    Did you ever notice how sometimes
    you like your face reflected
    in the mirror? It is much nearer
    to your truth as you’ve recollected.

    Your face in a photo? Distortion.
    Not how you regard your face.
    It’s not nearer. Not like a mirror.
    In fact, your face there seems out of place.

    Perception, thou art a real strange beast.
    Reality’s really odd.
    Take the mirror. It seems much nearer,
    while the photo perpetuates fraud.

    So, what is true? What is evident?
    What we are apt to contend
    ‘s’in the mirror. Couldn’t be clearer:
    that the selfie is just not your friend.


    1. Walter J Wojtanik

      Good piece, RJ. I often wonder if the image we see is what others see. Like a voice recording, we sound different to ourselves where others hear us as we always sound. Is it the same for our visual selves? Thought provoking, for sure!

  5. Jezzie


    “There’s nowt so queer as folk”
    my grannie used to say
    and the people that I meet
    seem stranger every day.
    But I’ve just been watching
    Blue Planet on my T.V.
    and there are beings much stranger
    at the bottom of the sea.

  6. Brandi Noelle

    Stranger Dreams

    Is anything stranger than a person’s dreams?
    The subconscious writing fiction
    A parallel universe that resembles reality
    If reality were backwards, inside out, upside down
    Is there anything stranger than when dreams come true?
    Premonitions of the future
    As though one’s dormant mind holds the secrets
    Of journeys thus far unknown
    Is there anything stranger than betrayal in a dream?
    Cheating spouses a figment of the imagination
    Awakening enraged at the one lying beside you
    To find only that it was make-believe
    Is there anything stranger than dreams that chill to the bone?
    Screams go unheard, legs rendered immobile
    Danger, violence, death rain down around you
    Heart pounding, sweat pouring when wakefulness takes hold
    Is there anything stranger than dreams of creepy-crawlers?
    Eight-legged spiders tickle legs, snakes slither through sheets
    Waking to check beneath the covers
    The ghostly feel of the creepers crawling among you

  7. seingraham


    She wasn’t exactly dangerous,
    just overwhelmed with sadness.
    And every time she saw a child
    of a certain age with platinum
    hair, she couldn’t resist touching
    its head, knowing if she could
    just feel the silken tresses atop
    the tot’s head, she’d be cured.
    And the child would be her son
    no longer a stranger each to the
    other, they would be reunited
    and she wouldn’t feel like dying
    and could finally stop weeping

    1. MET

      haunting and having took to court termination of parental cases… and knowing that in doing that it was like causing a death in the child’s life and in the parents…. and so I get those feelings… I have seen those feelings…that hunger that is never filled, and yet foster care was not a place for young children to grow up… because the chances of stability does not exist. I always left a hearing very sad… and usually took the next day off.

  8. MET

    I debated on writing this one… and maybe why I waited so late to write it…
    A strange one of a kind rock

    I guess it is a rock,
    Heat formed it, and
    The shock was felt
    By the men working-
    An accident…
    A young man on a crane…
    Hit a fallen wire
    While the crane stood in water…
    I knew three men who were there
    There was nothing
    Could be done…
    Four hours away
    In the Northwood,
    Civilization was miles away.
    He was gone before
    The man made it
    To the tavern to call.
    The next day
    My father tried to remember
    The man of only twenty, and
    There cooled by the night air
    Was a stone made by his blood.

    I have held this rock, and
    Pondered over the man’s
    That formed it…
    More glass and sand
    Melded together
    Than stone…
    Shades of mauve and dark purple
    With a grey cast…
    Burnished to a glossy shine
    Encrusted in a crescent of sandstone.
    I found a poem my father
    Wrote he could not finish…
    The pain he felt
    At the loss of life, and
    At how fast a rock formed
    From what was that young man’s
    I am sad
    No one remembered his name.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 16, 2017

  9. MET

    Strange… how memories come unbidden

    It seemed strange
    The day my tears stopped.
    When did it become winter?

    A yellow and black rain crow’s
    Feather found last summer.
    I thought of you.

    I walked down the hollow
    One Spring to see
    The blood root bed you planted.

    Sugar maple glows gold in fall
    Brought from Kentucky
    A sapling then now a stately tree.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 15, 2017

  10. Earl Parsons

    Stranger Than Truth

    The world is on the verge
    Of a total social meltdown
    Perpetrated by the elite
    Supported by the wealthy
    And backed by the Evil One

    But, then, it was predicted
    In nearly exact detail
    Thousands of years ago
    By those that prophesized
    For the One True God

    To be written so long ago
    Only to come to fruition
    Is it merely coincidental
    Or stranger than truth

    1. MET

      I like this…one of the strangest things about the Bible there are some references that might be some of the countries that exist today… but the USA is not one of them…. so I figure if it exists… the end times are not here yet…

      1. Earl Parsons

        Well, according to some biblical scholars, the US is in both Daniel and Revelation, but in a less important role. But some believe that in the Revelation visions that John had, that the US does come to the aid of Israel in their time of greatest need. Guess we’ll all have to wait and see. Well many of us will be watching from Heaven, I believe.

  11. Linowen

    Strange, Indeed!

    Stranger shoes,
    stranger purses,
    stranger pants,
    fashion’s curses.

    Stranger language,
    stranger songs,
    stranger causes,
    seems all wrong.

    Stranger dinners,
    stranger drinks,
    stranger movies,
    ‘stranger’ stinks!

      1. Linowen

        Haha! Thanks, Mary! I was going to work in something about flesh colored tights in the ‘fashion’ section, but couldn’t ‘bare’ to do it! Heeheehee! 😀

  12. SarahLeaSales

    Stranger World

    If we had
    but one day
    to know a person,
    and if everyone was good,
    would the world be a better place—
    for does not familiarity breed contempt?

    If we could give life,
    then separate for life,
    knowing that life was in different,
    but loving hands
    for 6569 days,
    could we live another day
    to make another life?

    If there were no husbands or wives—
    if there was no sleeping with the same person twice,
    would we sleep around less,
    or even more?
    Could we fall in love for a day,
    only to have to go away?

    If we never slept in the same house,
    but had to go from one town to one city to the next
    there wouldn’t be a smell in the world
    to bring us back to such a place
    that not one could name.

    If we could never read the same book
    or watch the same movie twice,
    would we pay more attention?

    For in a world such as this,
    there would be neither building
    nor rebuilding,
    no permanence of person or place,
    for everyday would be a new chapter
    marked by days—
    not of progress,
    but of making it to,
    and making it through,
    the next one.

  13. MHR

    “Stranger than I think,” is a compilation poem of memories and midnight thoughts. There’s a reference in it-hopefully you’ll catch it.

    There’s a chandelier hanging on the ceiling,
    And there’s small footprints on dusty stairs.
    There’s a glance of moonlight stealing
    away all realities of darkness.

    I take a walk on the shore,
    shapes of water flipping back and forth.
    If you put that shell to your ear,
    You’ll hear the ocean
    or someone struggling to stay afloat.

    I hear echos of where I last visited:
    There’s another cave, I store all my memories here.
    There’s splattered soul smeared on the grey stone,
    where my old self met her bitter end
    all because she trusted too hard in her vulnerability
    and was let go of, too easily.

    I feel like Fortunato,
    (may he rest in peace).
    … forgive me for my ramblings-this is when I release what I absorb:
    And it’s normally stranger than I think.

  14. candy

    Strange Enough

    this poem is a little strang(er)
    than most
    sitting in a corner
    on the nub of a pencil

    talking to itself

    rolling itself up
    into a ball
    real small
    until it disappears

  15. lsteadly

    Stranger Than Ever

    What’s up with this
    unpredictable weather?
    I never know whether
    I will need to shed
    my coat in an hour
    or don rain boots in two-
    Who knew
    thunder would bellow
    with thick snow to follow,
    sending geese back north
    the wrong way-
    And what’s with those snails-
    billions swarming out
    of the ocean to meet
    up on shore? I swear
    its unnerving
    knowing more strange
    stuff’s in store

    1. MET

      I like this… in SC just a couple of weeks ago it was 80 degrees and then last week it was nearly freezing at night… but that is typical and winter is a roller coaster ride… summer… well it is just hot

  16. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    You always laughed at the things I did,
    Back when I was a crazy kid,
    I’m not wild now, and you can see,
    I’m stranger than I used to be.

    I used to dance at the drop of a hat,
    How long has it been since I’ve done that?
    And I always sang, but never on key,
    Now I’m stranger than I used to be.

    Stranger than I used to be,
    Stranger than I used to be;
    I love you, and you still love me,
    Even if I’m,
    Stranger than I used to be.

    Mom was worried I’d never behave,
    That I couldn’t, wouldn’t be saved,
    Being normal now is not as free,
    It’s stranger than I used to be.

    Sometimes, though, I’ll let my hair down,
    Though it’s more silver now than brown,
    The same holds true for my goatee,
    It’s stranger than I used to be.

    Stranger than I used to be,
    Stranger than I used to be;
    I love you, and you still love me,
    Even if I’m,
    Stranger than I used to be;
    Stranger than I used to be.

  17. Bruce Niedt

    Spoiler alert: This one was inspired by the quote in this week’s acrostic puzzle in the New York Times Magazine (I use it as my epigraph).

    Stranger Universe

    Before the digital age, if you tuned your TV to somewhere between channels, it would show the faint hum of white noise or snow. One percent of that snow was actually made up of radiation left over by the Big Bang. – Zeeya Merali, A Big Bang in a Little Room

    A stranger universe could not be made
    by man. It blows our minds that TV sets
    could catch the particles that never fade,
    that beamed out from Creation, cosmic jets
    of energy and matter blowing out,
    but also that we breathe the oxygen
    that dinosaurs inhaled, and how about
    the rain that pelts our heads, to think that when
    Li Po or Charlemagne walked out in storms,
    the same rain soaked them too. And then it hits
    us – everything’s a cycle, taking forms
    from molecules and subatomic bits,
    to supernovas – all of which surprise
    and show us nothing ever really dies.

  18. robinamelia

    Stranger Gardens

    I wanted to breathe
    the lavender scent
    but walking here,
    I can’t breathe at all.
    Flowers bite and roots
    wind around my neck.
    White chipmunks are
    a mistake: so very visible.

    Geese hover on the surface of our lake:
    they seem to be standing on water
    until I get closer and notice silt has risen
    to give them a place to relax in the sun,
    not swimming or flying: perhaps this year
    they will head into another dimension.


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