2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

I know for poets in the States that we’re getting super close to turkey time; I hope everyone is able to keep poeming through the crazy holiday week. If not, be sure to catch up as you’re able.

For today’s prompt, write a “what I meant to say” poem. As someone who takes his time to consider what to say, I often find myself in this position of knowing what I meant to say…after the moment has passed. If you’ve ever been in that position, here’s your chance to write out what you meant to say.

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Here’s my attempt at a What I Meant to Say Poem:

“after careful consideration”

after careful consideration
of everything i could possibly say
every defense i could roll out
& excuse that might be plausible

after careful consideration
of how you might react & how
i might react to your reaction
& where it might lead us

after careful consideration
of the profits & losses & whys
& wherefores & whatevers i’ve
decided the best response is

i’m sorry

*****

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 often finds the best responses are variations of “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” and that it never hurts to say “Please.” Of course, there’s usually so much more to say, but he finds excess tends to complicate things.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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235 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

  1. taylor graham

    LOST POEM

    I meant love poems for the place –
    a pleasant forest road through pine
    and cedar; rambling with a fine
    fresh breeze of June and blooming grace
    of dogwood. Dusty path, no trace
    of footprints. But I felt a spell –
    as if a girl was lost here, fell
    at last with oak leaves on the ground
    at edge of meadow, never found.
    Her voice a manzanita bell.

  2. Nancy Posey

    The Irreversibility of Speech

    I can’t blame autocorrect. As soon
    as the words came out of my mouth,
    as soon as I saw your face, that subtle
    flinch, I wanted to take them back.

    I can’t erase my careless words,
    and I know any attempt to retract
    will sear them in your memory.
    After all, I carry scars unintended
    from as long ago as junior high
    forgotten by the speaker long ago.

    Instead, I’ll try my best to dilute
    the hurt with kindness, gentle
    words, the ones I meant to say.

  3. Jrentler

    what i shouldve said when u discovered me on the sofa:

    more than the snores
    you’re the furnace beneath
    bubbling sheets
    scalding

    & in dreams
    you moan
    like a wailer
    who sees our
    tombstone

    & waits on
    the bravest of us
    to throw the first fist
    of dirt

  4. MET

    What was said was not what I wanted

    There you stood
    Seeing me struggle
    While you waited…
    This juxtapose of my life…
    Take a risk follow you
    Or put what I wanted
    Behind me.

    The burdens of others
    I carried, and
    Though I loved you;
    I loved them, and
    There I was
    No matter what choice
    I made…
    My heart would be torn
    Asunder and pieces would be lost.

    I started to tell you
    I hated you, but
    That was not the truth…
    From the deep pool
    Of all the sorrows
    I had borne,
    The tears flowed
    From over the dam
    Down my face, and
    Whispered, “I cannot go.”
    Without pleading
    You turned, and
    Through an invisible door
    As the wall of glass fell between us
    You left.
    You knew…
    I was not like the rest…
    If I had been I would have
    Followed, but
    I knew I was not like the rest
    And could not.

    There were times I regretted
    The choice and the fact
    You made me make it, but
    Those moments are like
    Elephants stomping
    Through my heart and
    Are gone as quick as they came.

    One night sitting with Ma,
    She told me of an angel
    Who sang with me…
    I thought of the life
    That might have been, and
    Decided the words I spoke,
    Though at the time
    It was not the words I wanted…
    Were the words
    I had
    To speak.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 17, 2017

  5. headintheclouds87

    What I Meant to Say

    When I said I was fine,
    What I meant to say was;
    I’m trying to find my fire,
    My reason to keep burning,
    To bear all of this burden,
    But failing miserably.

    When I said I didn’t mind,
    What I meant to say was;
    I’m not awake enough to argue,
    To cause myself restless nights
    But creating pointless fights
    Only drains waning energy further.

    When I said it doesn’t matter,
    What I meant to say was;
    It may not matter to you,
    So I will force myself silent,
    To evade verbal violence,
    And deny my inner defiance.

    When I said, that’s not what I meant,
    What I meant to say was – it was.
    But after your face contorted
    Into a less than favourable reaction,
    I hastily concocted a retraction,
    Simply to ensure your continued satisfaction.

    What I meant to say
    Is what I cannot
    Or could, if I had the will
    To taint a compliant reputation.

  6. Brandi Noelle

    Broken Friendships

    It all began with fun and laughter
    A connection straight from the heart
    Our friendship seemed destined
    For a lifetime, never to part
    Funny how things seem so big
    But really don’t matter at all
    Hurt feelings inflicted by both parties
    Beginning our inevitable fall
    Bitter words were exchanged
    Angrily, we walked away
    Let’s sit a spell and talk it out
    That’s what I meant to say

    Sometimes friendship chooses us
    When we least expect it to
    Crossing lines of gender, status
    Where others rarely do
    Ours was something special
    A bond no one else understood
    We loved each other despite mistakes
    When others never would
    Jealousies arose from your sweetheart
    I gave up, quietly walking away
    Our friendship is worth fighting for
    That’s what I meant to say

  7. Walter J Wojtanik

    LOST IN TRANSLATION

    Mów do mnie jeszcze

    Mów do mnie jeszcze…
    Za taką rozmową tęskniłem lata…
    Każde twoje słowo
    w mym sercu
    wywołuje dreszcze –
    mów do mnie jeszcze…

    Mów do mnie jeszcze…
    Ludzie nas nie słyszą, słowa twe dziwnie poją
    i kołyszą
    jak kwiatem, każdym słowem
    twym się pieszczę –
    mów do mnie jeszcze…

    ~ Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer

    What I think he meant to say:

    KEEP TALKING

    Keep talking…
    It has been years
    since I have heard these things.
    Fill my heart with all your words –
    they excite me.
    Talk to me more…

    Keep talking…
    There are no other words I hear,
    they all seem strange.
    I am free as a flower swaying,
    caressed by your every word.
    Talk to me more…

    ** My translation/interpretation of Casimer Przerwa-Tetmajer’s (Polish)
    poem “Mów do mnie jeszcze” meaning roughly – Talk to me more.

  8. KM

    17.
    No one ever believes the unwatched candle will burn down the house. Or things not said can turn to tumours. In his garden, knees to the dirt, the sting of thistle on his thumb, he remembers why he started that kiss all those years ago. Remembers the why, not the kiss itself. Heat beneath her maroon sweater, but not her tongue. Something festers. Some things fester for the better, he used to think. Last he heard, she was living in California. He wonders if she’s growing anything other than older.

    -Kim Mannix
    http://www.makesmesodigress.com

  9. Earl Parsons

    What I Meant to Say……

    I tend to take time to think
    Of what I might say
    In each situation
    Lest I have to admit that
    I might have been mistaken
    Or, perhaps, used the wrong words
    Causing me to utter the phrase
    “What I meant to say”……..

    But sometimes, you know
    There is no time to think
    No time to line up the words
    No time to set a plan in place
    And the words just blurt out
    Incoherently disorganized
    And confusingly disjointed
    Causing me to utter the phrase
    “What I meant to say”……

  10. annell

    What I Meant to Say

    it is said     this winter will be warmer and dry     no rain to speak of

    no snow     to delight      perhaps it will be

    better for the animals     burr      not too cold

    still cold enough for a shiver     hard to find     like bear

    will words      hibernate     have they

    migrated south     the morning quiet  &bsp;  i will miss

    the silence of the snow     pull books from the shelf     with my finger

    find the words      wake them     ask them out to play

    try to find the words     that say     what i meant to say

    November 17, 2017

  11. Carmen Maldonado

    “I’m sorry, I
    don’t carry cash,”
    is what I said but
    in fact, today,
    I do.
    When I heard your voice
    and looked up
    at your three coats
    in varying states of disrepair
    what I meant to say was
    I’m sorry, but
    I have become jaded
    and I assume that you will take
    this money
    to the liquor store next door
    for a vodka shooter
    (fill yourself with that holy spirit
    get right with god and)
    I’m sorry, but
    I actually need this money, too,
    it is gas and lunch and, if I can spare it,
    a bit of allowance for my daughter and
    I’m sorry, I
    cannot do anything to
    improve your circumstances but
    here is a tense smile
    with a sympathetic brow
    for good measure.

  12. thunk2much

    Connect the dots

    It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
    And I know you need to hear them
    They just come out as dot dot dots
    It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
    My tongue gets tied in sailor’s knots
    And my heartbeats speak in mayhem
    It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
    And I know you need to hear them

  13. Jane Shlensky

    Actions Speak

    My mother smolders through the meal
    while Daddy fills the air with words,
    hoping to shift her mood with jokes
    and never offer apology.

    Ignoring him, she gets coffee,
    serves him first and then herself
    in silence. Now he is desperate,
    over the top, his humor crazy with need.

    At last, he looks at her and sighs
    as she stirs sugar in her steaming cup.
    He needs forgiveness awful much,
    and so she lays her spoon on his hand
    and lets him feel the burn.

  14. Daniel Paicopulos

    I’m fine, How Are You?

    All of a sudden, it seemed, everything shifted.
    I mean, now I look at myself in the mirror,
    never have gotten stuck doing that before,
    It’s my body, all right – skin grafts, check,
    stitching scars, check, sagging lower belly, check.
    What the hell, it’s a used body, this one, well used.
    No, it’s not the body, at least not the externals.

    There’s movement and change, I think maybe growth.
    Never been a churchgoer, but I’m there now.
    We don’t call it a church, it’s a Spiritual Center,
    but what’s in a name, really? It’s a church.
    There’s singing and praying and meditation.
    There’s messages (sermons) and thoughts for living.
    It’s a church, all right.

    Even my dreams have been altered,
    by cosmic forces or aging nostrils, who can tell?
    Hopes and aspirations still abound, different now.
    I’ve bought enough stuff, sold enough homes,
    moved enough times, looking, seeking, reaching.
    Now the goals are inward, searching for that place,
    no, not a place, waiting for that spirit to touch me.

    I’ve been poor before, really poor
    No food, no money, no job, no ideas,
    always been afraid it could happen again.
    Careful as I am, it’s not going to show up soon.
    How, then, will success be measured?
    Perhaps it’s in how well I manage change.
    Maybe it’s in just letting the change occur.

    Whatever’s coming, there are a few things I know.
    I want to laugh too much.
    I plan to cry when it’s necessary.
    I intend to be happy, healthy and at peace.
    So, it’s not really change that’s due, at all.
    It’s simply transformation.
    I’m Fine, How Are You?

  15. Jane Shlensky

    What I Meant to Say

    What I meant to say, I said,
    for silence is a language all its own.
    I walk around with you here in my head—
    your likes and dislikes, every smile and groan.

    Each meal you eat, I planned and cooked and served.
    The clothes you wear, I washed, folded, and pressed.
    The freezer’s full of food I have preserved.
    The day is full of hours I didn’t rest.

    I save the money and I pay the bills.
    I look ahead to sales and count the cost.
    You spend without a thought to better deals.
    I work to salvage everything you’ve lost.

    And now, you wonder what I do all day?
    One silent look is what I have to say.

  16. De Jackson

    Rewind

    Say something, I’m giving up on you.
                                    – A Great Big World

                            What I meant to say

    was that I meant to stay.

    ::

  17. JRSimmang

    BETTER WITH WORDS

    You’ll find a note
    under your coffee.

    Wake up slowly.

    And, while I won’t be there
    to see you wipe the sleep
    from your eyes,
    I’ll check in later.

    Will it be okay if I decide
    to take a detour?

    There’s a picture I need to take,
    one that can go next to the others on our mantle.
    There’s a place not far from home
    where the grasses stand straight up,
    saluting the sky,
    under the elms and softly cradle the spaces
    between the air and the ground.
    I think it’s a great metaphor,

    and that will be my voice to you;
    I’ve never been so great with words.

    -JR Simmang

  18. PowerUnit

    That day we strolled the beach
    and the waves shouted in decibels
    uncaring what you or I might do or say
    the two of us unsure of the way
    not even seagulls circled above us
    as the wind cut through chatter
    the rocks and sand and clay
    and we buttoned up, saved our words
    for a better day

  19. MET

    I mean what I say

    I am plain spoken,
    Something most
    I know are not…
    For many southerners
    Will be kind
    When they mean
    The opposite…
    It is why so many say
    “Bless your heart,”
    When their sentiment is not.
    I have never said
    That phrase
    Except in jest…
    Ma told me
    I needed to keep
    My thoughts to myself, and
    The only way I can do it
    Is to say nothing
    Because I mean what I say.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 17, 2017

  20. Kiri

    THE KIND WORDS

    I lashed our eyes together
    and spit my pleasantries:
    I don’t trust you
    Don’t respect you
    Can’t believe you
    when you pretend
    to know anything.

    But I spoke in code
    and wonder if you broke it:
    You necrotizing venom, you
    rank, stagnant, wastewater filth,
    you flashing murder blade
    slashing my carotid hope
    crusted with my gushing contempt
    for everything you are.

  21. MET

    The Words I Had to Say vs. The Words I Should not Have Said

    In the lobby we met,
    Her children in care, and
    In my hand was the solution
    For her to be reunited
    With the children in her home.

    This would be a hard meeting…
    First ones always were, and
    She was so young and alone…
    No wonder with no support
    Except her children.

    I steeled myself for the first words
    That had to be said,
    The solution in my hands,
    A double-edged sword, and
    It was up to her.

    Her eyes were hopeless staring
    Where had her spirit gone,
    Here I was to break her
    Though it was not my choice
    This battle she would likely lose.
    .

    As I read the solution
    Of tasks that must be done
    To restore her family, I said,
    “Don’t do them, or from you
    They will be gone.”

    The tears carried by other tears
    Made by those who hurt her first, and
    I just told her, I was there
    To shatter her heart, and
    Silent tears within me fell.

    There is very little grey
    For the law is clear, and
    There will be those
    Watching that
    I follow those laws.

    She signed the papers,
    Made her promise to do the tasks,
    Though it was not planned
    “Fight me,” I said, “Do these things. Fight.”
    Insight opened her eyes, and hope stared back.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 17, 2017

    1. MET

      The Words I Had to Say vs. The Words I Should not Have Said

      In the lobby we met,
      Her children in care, and
      In my hand was the solution
      For her to be reunited
      With the children in her home.

      This would be a hard meeting…
      First ones always were, and
      She was so young and alone…
      No wonder with no support
      Except her children.

      I steeled myself for the first words
      That had to be said,
      The solution in my hands,
      A double-edged sword, and
      It was up to her.

      Her eyes were hopeless staring
      Where had her spirit gone,
      Here I was to break her
      Though it was not my choice
      This battle she would likely lose.
      .

      As I read the solution
      Of tasks that must be done
      To restore her family, I said,
      “Don’t do them, or from you
      They will be gone.”

      The tears carried by other tears
      Made by those who hurt her first, and
      I just told her, I was there
      To shatter her heart, and
      Silent tears within me fell.

      There is very little grey
      For the law is clear, and
      There will be those
      Watching that
      I follow those laws.

      She signed the papers,
      Made her promise to do the tasks,
      Though it was not planned
      “Fight me,” I said, “Do these things. Fight.”
      Insight opened her eyes, and hope stared back.

      Mary Elizabeth Todd
      November 17, 2017

      This is sort of two poems in one… and they should be staggered back and forth, but this site won’t let it post like that… I like to do poems like that…
      By the way this prompt will be hard for me… those that know me will tell you there is very little that I should say that I don’t say…

  22. grcran

    we scent the play

    we bent the way of pain
    we changed it to a chore
    we checked it off, then played
    we waved our semaphore
    we waded in the sea
    we migrated long miles
    we left gratuity
    we chuckled, gave strong smiles
    we nested on the bight
    we sanded with the grain
    we meant to say good night
    we went the way of cranes

    gpr crane

  23. taylor graham

    THERE INTERPOSED A FLY

    About the fly in the poetry room –
    what I meant to say was the shift of air
    a something turning golden light to gloom.

    Not that, but glory that cannot consume
    the moment, hold it in a word to share.
    About the fly in the poetry room

    what’s there to say but shoo-fly and resume
    our reading, even though it still was there,
    a something turning golden light to gloom,

    the news that you’d be leaving; sweep the broom,
    the very space is different, shade and glare
    about a fly in the poetry room.

    This open book, held like a rhyme to bloom –
    I heard a fly buzz. But who could say where,
    the something turning golden light to gloom.

    Yet change is constant, like a dull perfume
    that dims the day with wings. And who should care
    about a fly? – in the poetry room,
    the something turning golden light to gloom.

  24. annell

    What I meant to Say

    you didn’t let me finish     what i meant to say     was left unsaid

    further discussion    impossible     since words are only words

    and we could not agree     on their meanings     your words

    like getting “it” off your chest     emptying the dustbin     snaps and snails

    fell from your lips    like the tar baby     i said nothing

    you spoke a foreign language     of a world i did not know     someone had fallen from the train

    like humpty dumpty  &bsp; the world that was     could not be put together again

    there was no end    to your grievances     you dug up things

    you kept digging     from the cemetery of life     all the way to china

    words i did not recognize   &bsp; your words a surprise to me      i miss you most of all

    November 17, 2017

  25. thunk2much

    Stumped

    There was a woman in Garp
    who’d had her tongue cut out
    so she couldn’t tell the truth
    or name any names.
    I think of her often over the years
    when I run my tongue across my teeth
    because when the time came
    to name my names and tell the truth
    I was just as stumped.

  26. LCaramanna

    I Meant to Say No

    Oh, yes!
    I want to go to Iceland
    in January
    when cold, sunless days prevail.
    Oh, yes!
    Count me in on this adventure, Ladies.
    I have long underwear,
    and warm winter clothes,
    I live in Northern New York,
    for Heaven’s sake!
    How much colder can it be?
    Oh, yes!
    I want to go to Iceland
    in January
    is what I said,
    but it was my empty bottle
    of Moscato talking!

    Lorraine Caramanna

  27. Melanie

    I mistrust words
    I know too many and
    Can string them together
    Like beads on a necklace
    Shade and shape
    Colour and cloud
    Nuance and hue
    All crafted to the best effect

    Instead I trust my message to
    Bended knees
    To tears that whisper
    As they fall
    To strands of hair
    That caress Your feet
    Read my heart, Lord
    And know what I mean to say

  28. Anthony94

    Backstory

    What I said was how proud I am
    of everything you are and I meant
    it, every word, but the backstory
    was I’m terrified of yet another
    failure and which one might do
    you in when I’m too far away to
    shore you up. I’ve told you over
    and over that you’ll do fine and
    life is one grand adventure but
    it translates into what if’s and
    can you stick the job even if it’s
    not your dream yet of being a
    carpenter and making your own
    furniture in some snug workshop
    in timber country? Will you give
    life a chance even when it’s a
    cactus, saguaro versus prickly
    pear? I swallow words like morning
    coffee, gulp down what spills from
    my heart so that you only hear
    what you’re meant to. I’m proud
    of everything you want to be.

  29. Walter J Wojtanik

    THE OLD AND IGNORANT POET

    It was a season of war; a season of dreaming.
    I tell a tale about ignorance, getting older and being a poet.
    I mean, it’s a story about a man who couldn’t stop Father Time
    from sweeping his feet out from under him. His age set him

    in his ways of single mindedness. This man was a spellbinder with words.
    In a way, he cast incantations on those who chose to read his works.
    His numbered days dwindled. Searching for his truths like some buried treasure,
    he would pleasure himself with his stories of painful struggles he never had

    or absolute loves he had worn on his sleeve. He would grieve the loss
    of his innocence through the hands of indifference, in deference
    to his vacuous head. Instead, he just wrote the words that had been born of his pain,
    words that danced in his brain, but became embattled when he exposed them.

    His flaws became apparent. There was no bliss in his ignorance.
    At times he took to vocalize his thoughts, and misunderstanding,
    the local rabble would taunt. They would attack his mindness while he was speaking .
    In days of wisdom and of madness, he discovered the meaning of ignorance.

    People thought we survived such things by hiding in a bar.
    I survived this war by hiding in a library.
    Nary a soul would care to join me or chose to read my words.
    They considered what I had to say as absurd.

    I’m a spellbinder, in that way!

  30. rlk67

    The Yes Man

    Can you please help me at 12 today?
    Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
    Can you give me a ride ten miles away?
    Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

    Can you lend me money? I’ll pay someday,
    Can you do my job for half the pay,
    Can you call my mom on Mother’s day?
    Oh, yes, of course. I’ll be your horse. I’ll do just what you say. Hey!

    I want to help out, even though I’m very busy.
    I want to make you happy, but, man, I’m gettin’ dizzy,
    I sacrifice myself so not to let you down,
    Please like me although I’m acting like a clown!

    I’m running now on fumes, from always saying ‘yes’,
    So when I said it, I meant ‘no’…
    …now I’m changing my address.

    ______
    **I had a tune in mind when I wrote this**

  31. Walter J Wojtanik

    SAYING WHAT I MEAN; MEANING WHAT I SAY

    It’s how the folks raised me,
    it’s in my background; my genetics.
    The charged and frenetic romp through
    those uninformed formative years,
    driven by a shyness that relegated me
    to a used tool lacking function,
    but with a real passion to learn.
    Lessons of great knowledge,
    lessons of true compassion,
    lessons of my inner abilities.
    Honing all these skills that
    took me years to discover were in me.
    A way with music;
    a way with woods.
    A way with words,
    saying what I mean;
    meaning what I say.
    Far and away the sole purpose
    of this art is to start expressing
    all my heart had been too silent to speak.
    In each golden moment, I find a new reason,
    maybe a change of season to carry the year,
    and I come to find it is here that I belong.
    A poetic poser full of never-ending song,
    a head full of ideas and pleas to the one true
    Power that was, is and always will be.
    Hoping that what I feel is the real deal,
    and every life I can touch is as accepting
    of all I can give. A new life to live,
    A cleansing of all misdeeds indeed
    and a need to make a wee bit of a difference.
    Having been given the gift of this life,
    it is up to me to give it exact meaning.
    What I meant to say, should not be mistaken.
    It has taken me this long to find the words.
    It is what I have always meant to say.

  32. Walter J Wojtanik

    ON SECOND THOUGHT

    Storm and silence, sky and sea.
    What I meant to say was this
    “War and violence, eyes and see”
    not storm and silence, sky and sea.
    I don’t know what’s come over me,
    it never came out right (but you get the gist),
    Storm and silence, sky and sea.
    Not what I meant to say was this!

    1. De Jackson

      Let’s Try This Again

      Now, what I meant to say was this:
      I love you, or at least I think I do.
      I’m sorry all that came out was a hiss
      when what I really meant to say was this:
      you’re the one for me (I’ll seal it with a kiss.)
      It’s just that your eyes, they turn me into goo.
      But truly, what I meant to say was this:
      I love you, or at least I think I do.

      1. Walter J Wojtanik

        NO SECOND GLANCE AT A LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, RIGHT?

        I love you, or at least I think I do.
        That’s what all your friends are saying.
        What I usually say is usually true,
        I love you, or at least I think I do.
        I think it’s right, what I’m telling you,
        but then, I might be playing?
        I love you, or at least I think I do.
        That’s what all your friends are saying.

        1. De Jackson

          I Didn’t Get It Right The First Time

          That’s what all your friends are saying.
          They say my words didn’t come out right,
          when I tried to tell you I wasn’t playin’.
          That’s what all your friends are saying:
          that my heart I should be displaying.
          But I’m not sure I’m ready for that fight.
          That’s what all your friends are saying.
          They say my words didn’t come out right.

          1. Walter J Wojtanik

            BUT, THEN AGAIN YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT

            They say my words didn’t come out right,
            that’s exactly right factually.
            I get nervous when I speak my heart; my plight.
            They say my words didn’t come out right.
            But I do hold you dear right here each night,
            yes I do truly love you, actually
            They say my words didn’t come out right,
            that’s exactly right factually.

          2. De Jackson

            See, Here’s the Thing

            That’s exactly right, factually.
            But reality is its own thing.
            When you look at it, actually:
            that’s exactly right, factually.
            But we must break this down rationally,
            if we want this thing to sing.
            That’s exactly right, factually.
            But reality is its own thing.

          3. Walter J Wojtanik

            WHAT I WANTED TO TELL YOU WAS…

            Reality is its own thing.
            It’s not a thing of dreams or flights of fancy.
            All the joy and despair that it can bring,
            reality is its own thing.
            Our make believe can make us sting,
            as sure as my name is Nancy!
            Reality is its own thing.
            It’s not a thing of dreams or flights of fancy.

          4. De Jackson

            Reality Bites

            It’s not a thing of dreams or flights of fancy –
            there are rules here we must follow.
            I don’t mean to say that you can’t take a chance, see,
            but it’s not a thing of dreams or flights of fancy.
            And even though it’s a difficult, delicate dance, we
            know that it’s a bitter pill that we must swallow.
            It’s not a thing of dreams or flights of fancy –
            there are rules here we must follow.

          5. Walter J Wojtanik

            REALITY IS A FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH

            There are rules here we must follow.
            To deny them would not be a jolly folly.
            For Frumious Bandersnatches love to swallow,
            hey, there are rules here we must follow.
            Their appetite is rather ravenous (they’re hollow),
            and they’d eat you whole, by golly!
            There are rules here we must follow.
            To deny them would not be a jolly folly.

          6. De Jackson

            The Elves Meant to Say They Wanted a Small Vacation

            To deny them would be a jolly folly,
            for even tiny folks need a break.
            Those elves work hard, by gosh, by golly,
            (and to deny them would be a jolly folly)
            making planes, and trains, and dollies.
            And oh, the Legos, for heaven’s sake!
            To deny them would be a jolly folly,
            for even tiny folks need a break.

          7. Walter J Wojtanik

            WHAT SANTA CLAUS MEANT TO SAY

            Especially tiny folks need a wee little break.
            Santa Claus wanted to give them the month of December.
            Surely that would be a lot of time to take,
            especially tiny folks need a wee little break.
            But, not in December. That would be a mistake.
            There was something else going on he remembered.
            Especially tiny folks need a wee little break.
            But, Santa Claus couldn’t give them the month of December

  33. Jezzie

    MANNERS

    “Excuse me!” I said.
    “Where are your manners!” I meant
    when you rudely blocked my way.

    “I’m sorry!” I said.
    “You bumped into me, idiot!” I meant
    when your trolley hit my knee.

    “I beg your pardon?” I said
    but what I should have said was
    “Don’t you dare swear at me!”

  34. Eileen S

    First Thing in the Morning

    You wake up from a night’s sleep firing on
    all four cylinders with plenty of energy.
    I wake up and it takes hours
    for me to get the sleep out of my eyes.
    Waking up requires coffee, a shower and sunshine.
    You ask me questions, I answer as best I can
    with my mind in a dream state.
    You hold me to the things I say
    even though my brain is still in slumber.
    Please don’t hold me accountable
    for what I say first thing in the morning.

  35. dittman

    These ideas have been kicking around in the idea journal for awhile, today’s prompt brought them all together.

    Fire

    At 10, I knew what I wanted to do:
    quit school and join Gentlemen Jim Goodman’s
    All-American Circus and Side-Show,
    home of the bearded lady, the strong man,
    Johnny the Lobster Boy and my Uncle
    Billy who ate fire six times a day,
    five times a week, every week, all summer.

    In that year I was ten and felt alone:
    new school, no friends.
    Uncle Billy came to the reunion.
    When my mother introduced him to me,
    he faked a punch to my gut and then asked,
    “Hey there, got a girlfriend yet little man?”
    I said, “No.” And he grinned and told me,
    “Well when you do, stay away from redheads.
    One thing in life, stay away from redheads.”

    While my father drank beer with other men
    and argued over how to spit a pig,
    I followed Billy and after awhile
    he turned and said “How about you and me
    getting some women and blowing this place?”

    So I stayed, followed him some more, waiting.
    And after dark, when my mother had gone,
    Billy showed me the dirty pictures
    on a pack of Camels and taught me how
    to play barefoot mumbletypeg and then even
    let me take the smokes and the knife with me.

    Wait. Hold on.
    I want to apologize.
    These are all lies.

    The truth is:
    I only met Billy once,
    when I was twelve.

    He showed up at a Christmas party at my Grandmother’s place,
    all coked up.
    He drank Schaefer,
    like all the other men in my family.
    When it got dark,
    he went outside and
    because his sister had asked him
    to show me what he did in the circus,
    swallowed sword after flaming sword.
    He left right after we all ate,
    and is now in prison in San Jose.

    He never gave me a knife
    or cigarettes.
    He never taught me anything.
    Nothing about women.
    Nothing about men.
    Nothing about fire.

    But in my head he stands tall,
    a figure living somehow
    between Earth and Fire
    but somehow within neither.

    In my head he winks at me
    lights himself up and then
    comes back to teach me what he’s learned.

  36. PowerUnit

    Inarticulate
    *a found poem, thanks to poet Anne Compton
    and her new book Afterwork

    I find you interesting, is what I meant
    to say with cool contemplation and admiration
    but is that also offensive?
    For its coldness, its esthetic objectivity
    whatever that means.

    You acted as if I hit on you
    my intentions selfish, a desired effect
    of your beauty, perfect somewhere else.
    I only want to pursue consensus
    with my own, inarticulate words.

    How pleased we are to have opened eyes
    and how quick we are to shut them
    for beauty is careless and caressless,
    a skittish veil, an off-center limbus.
    Someday I hope to see what you feel.

  37. RJ Clarken

    Untold

    “Some stories are meant to be untold.” ~Anonymous

    What I meant to say was something quite
    unlike what I just told you.
    It may be a lie. Can you guess why?
    It is better if you never knew.

    And by the way, this conversation
    is only in my poor head.
    Can you guess why? It may be a lie.
    Because the truth is a watershed.

    And you might not get my meaning here.
    Not as it was intended.
    It may be a lie. Can you guess why?
    Quite often, words aren’t comprehended,

    so what I meant to say stays silent.
    You can take things just as is.
    Can you guess why? It may be a lie.
    Untold’s the final analysis.

    ###

  38. Pat Walsh

    what I meant to say
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    sometimes
    in quiet moments I wonder
    if the indistinct outline
    of what I meant to say
    lurks still

    in the darkened banquet hall
    of unintended consequences

    like a
    drunken waiter lurching
    from table to table
    frantically trying to explain
    why the soup is cold

    1. Marie Elena

      “sometimes
      in quiet moments I wonder
      if the indistinct outline
      of what I meant to say
      lurks still

      in the darkened banquet hall
      of unintended consequences”

      This is stand-alone, enough brilliantly penned, IMHO. Wow.

  39. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Just a Second

    The sky is crisply blue,
    the sun tropically brilliant,
    on this we agree.
    But, when I say
    that we must wake from this nightmare,
    that it all must stop,
    I didn’t mean I quit.
    I meant the fight had just begun,
    that love is love,
    that we must keep dreaming,
    keep hoping,
    keep moving towards that time
    when each person equals the full sum
    of each other person,
    where the stores of wealth are no longer horded,
    but spread equally through time and space.
    I meant that we must move towards a new day,
    a new way, a new belief, a new law, a new regime,
    in which humans, creatures and Earth
    live harmoniously…
    forever.

  40. ReathaThomasOakley

    When I was sixteen
    I beamed when
    Mama’s friend said,
    your legs are pretty

    what she meant,
    but didn’t say,
    according to Mama,
    is that skirt of yours
    is way too short.

    1. MET

      I like this… and one advantage of having a mother who wanted to be a flapper was I got to wear my skirts really short, and I was one of the girls that skirts got measured….

  41. Terry Jude Miller

    You Don’t Say
    by Terry Jude Miller

    she swears that’s what I said
    ………………………………………….which is to say
    she recalls what she heard
    through the filter of her anger
    …………………………………………which is to say
    she is searching the dusty attic
    of our relationship for an exit
    ………………………………………..which is to say
    she wants to break my neck
    without breaking her own
    ……………………………………….which is to say
    that the next thing to being innocent
    is to appear to be that way
    ……………………………………….which is to say
    it’s best to say nothing
    when she asks for my opinion

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