2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

Last night, I asked people on Facebook to share songs for writers, including songs about writing, that make literary references, etc. Not related to today’s prompt, but be sure to share with your poems below if you have a favorite or two.

For today’s prompt, write a good for nothing poem. The poem doesn’t have to be good for nothing, though it’s fine if it is. But maybe it’s about a good for nothing so-and-so, or a good for nothing situation. Or maybe the narrator of your poem has a dark outlook on the world in general.


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Here’s my attempt at a Good for Nothing Poem:

“when you said he was good for nothing”

when you said he was good for nothing
did you mean he was good
for nothing or did you mean
nothing was good for him

or were you just frustrated?


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 loves music in general, so he has a lot of favorite songs for writers. Included in that mix are “Paperback Writer,” by the Beatles; “Army,” by Ben Folds Five; “Holding on to You,” by Terence Trent D’Arby; “The Engine Driver,” by the Decemberists; “Everyday I Write the Book,” by Elvis Costello; “Autobiography,” by Sloan; and “Box Full of Letters,” by Wilco. But there are so many more great songs for writers.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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158 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

  1. MET

    Just why don’t I have a normal brain…

    Sometimes my dyslexic brain…
    Confounds me…
    I get lost when I should know the way, or am
    Told the wrong way to turn
    To bamboozle me…
    My heart pounds…
    Confused and lost
    Set down
    In the land of Oz, and
    The yellow brick road
    Goes counter clockwise and turns
    Left out of town.

    It is a brain where sixes and nines
    Look the same most of the time, and
    Why I ask for someone to read them.
    Pitying looks cast my way
    Assured that I am quite dumb…
    Tears stung my eyes
    As teacher…
    Saying I was lazy, and suggested
    I be corrected.

    I was told if I practiced enough,
    Worked hard enough…
    I would do better…
    My memory perfected…
    My refuge…
    But words I sometimes hear…
    Of how I could better…
    I just remind them
    That I read Macbeth
    At one decade of age, and
    Though I can be no good
    Giving directions somewhere…
    I am better than most
    When it comes to reading maps.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 18, 2017

  2. MET

    my take on a song…Bruce Crockburn’s “Maybe the Poet…” such a power poem… by the way to get around the censor… I spelled his last name wrong… take out the r

    Maybe the Poet…

    Maybe the poet is a streetwise hustler wordsmith,
    Maybe you don’t like her words
    Speaking of society’s faults…
    And you want to tell her to accept
    The way things are…
    You will listen, and know it is the truth.

    Maybe the poet is a woman tired of being grabbed…
    Maybe you think get over it,
    Boys will be boys, but
    A man has the power…
    What choice does she have…
    She roars, and you will hear.

    Maybe the poet is a homeless man
    Maybe you walk by fast because he smells.
    You don’t want to pay the taxes
    To provide him shelter
    Or a half-way house on your street,
    His words are mumbled; your heart knows them.
    Poets come and poets go…
    But their words live when they are gone…
    They lift you up or
    Tear you down…
    Society, politics,
    They just want to control you…
    And forget you…
    Listen to the poet…
    The poet may die,
    But the words will live on…
    For you know their voice
    Speaks for you.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 18, 2017

      1. MET

        Bruce song is on the album with Lovers in a dangerous time… was back in the early 90s and about civil war that we got involved in … in central American… I just updated it a bit… but if you have not heard his work… go read the lyrics to his song… and thanks.. I was inspired by a genius…

  3. robinamelia

    18 Good for nothing

    Good for nothing dogwood: I planted you
    at least ten years ago but not one bloom.
    Yet there you stand, wrapped in sorry leaves.

    All right, they looked pretty this past week:
    shimmering a dignified bronze, but now
    they’re shriveled, brown, clinging

    with pointless nostalgia. Across the street, trees
    were taken down: I should do the same to you.
    But perhaps next spring,

    enough sun will now reach through
    to make you venture a blossom or two,
    justify your existence, just as we all try to do.

  4. Connie Peters


    I found my boarding pass
    to go to Hawaii. Seems odd
    that something I paid so much for
    and had guarded carefully on the trip
    is now good for nothing.
    I tossed it into the trash
    with greater appreciation
    for those things unseen.

  5. Erbiage

    Yet again
    I dare offend
    The purity of the
    White page
    With repugnant pixels
    There is nothing behind them
    Go ahead, lift them up,
    flip it over, you’ll see
    No action behind these words.
    Signs without the signified.
    Carved into the digital pyramid
    There to endure forever
    Ensconced, obfuscating
    Good for nothing

  6. Kiri


    “What happens when we die?” the infantryman asked
    as he pushed in his last remaining shell.

    His trenchmate grinned and passed him the flask
    “Maybe we go to heaven. Maybe stay here, in hell.

    Maybe over that wall is a place unlike any other
    Maybe it’s just nothing but nothing, just silence and blue.

    I’ll tell you what…I’m all for nothing, brother.
    You good for nothing, too?”

  7. taylor graham


    It came on the storm, hilarious whistle blast
    of wind driving black clouds down the mountain.
    Wind almost knocked Raven from his lookout
    atop the great cedar. What could it portend?
    Nothing good. An intruder. Silver bullet
    with a long string-tail caught on a snag, snapped
    loose again, performing aerobatics even ravens
    don’t dare in a castigating wind. When the storm
    died, the silver thing settled in a clearing.
    A bomb? soft and cushiony as abundant years
    of moss. But shiny quick-silver glint using sun
    to send mirror signals; inscribed with large
    pink code that teases: H A P P Y B I R T –
    the rest obscured. Ravens don’t like strangers
    in their woods. They’ve learned to tolerate
    humans because they must. Ravens
    are the scouts, the cassandras. This silver
    thing is good for nothing good.

  8. Nancy Posey

    Good for Nothing

    She took things others thought
    were good for nothing
    and made them into something.
    She hammered beer bottle caps
    scissored old magazines
    sautered old house keys
    and turned them into art.

    She handpicked the ugly fruit
    misshapen vegetables baking pies
    and filling jars that lined our cellar shelves
    for winter and baking pies
    that perfumed our home.

    She took things other thought
    were good for nothing
    and made them into something.
    She loved me
    when others have given up
    and helped me become
    a husband
    a father
    a better man.

  9. MichelleMcEwen

    Oh! As for songs with literary references: there’s this group called Broadcast with two songs I like that have literary references. One song, The Book Lovers and another song called Lights Out with this verse:

    “My room’s too small for parties
    Too spacious when you’re lonely
    So books can replace friends
    That’s as long as you like reading.”

    (I love that!)

  10. MichelleMcEwen

    Good For Nothing Nonet

    Before I left for school in Pittsburgh,
    daddy warned me ‘bout those city
    boys, those good-for-nothing ones
    he said would most likely
    be from Chicago,
    Philly, Detroit.
    They are slick
    he said.

  11. Earl Parsons

    Scopan Lake Steaks

    As the sun set red on Scopan Lake
    Fireman Fred was out grilling steaks
    With sizzling veggies and ice cold beer
    Then from out of the woods, what did appear
    But a two headed moose with a hefty rack
    And a beaver snuggling on its back
    Then the moose went up to Fireman Fred
    Opened his mouth and this is what he said
    “Them there steaks smell a lot like Joe
    The friendliest bear in the woods you know.”
    “This ain’t Joe the bear,” said Fireman Fred
    “Look behind you. See, friendly Joy ain’t dead.”
    “Well I be, lookie there! How you doin’, Joe?
    Ain’t see you around since I don’t know.”
    Joe said, “Been here and there.” With a smile
    Then Joe left a present in a stinky little pile
    The moose sais to Fred, “That’s no good.
    But it proves that bears do doo in the woods.”
    The bear, the moose and Fireman Fred
    Had a really good laugh, then the beaver said
    “Hey Moose, I gotta get back to work!”
    The moose bellowed out, “Quit being a jerk!”
    Then Fireman Fred said, “Since you’re all here
    How ‘bout sittin’ down for an ice cold beer?”
    Said the bear, “Thanks a lot, we could use a break,
    And we will if you’re willing to share the steaks.”
    Moose said, “What if the steaks are our friend?”
    Bear said, “Then it’s a good friend to the end.”
    And they laughed and they drank and they ate
    With Fireman Fred on Scopan Lake.

  12. Bruce Niedt

    My Wife is Good for Nothing

    My wife is good for nothing.
    Every year from her church’s wishing tree
    she plucks the tag of a family in need,
    usually one with several children.
    Then she buys presents, not one for each of them,
    but several – nice things like dolls, games, pajamas,
    coats, toy trucks, even a hand-held game,
    enough to fill the floor beneath their tree.
    Imagine the joy of these kids on Christmas morning,
    kids who might otherwise get little or nothing.
    She remains anonymous, a secret Santa,
    and doesn’t expect any compensation,
    even as much as a thank you, although sometimes
    she does receive one through the church.
    It’s just from her huge heart.
    We should all be so good for nothing.

  13. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Maybe if I sit and wait
    What I want will generate

    Maybe if I sit and ponder
    Those I love will grow fonder

    Maybe if I sit and stare
    I’ll see more joy everywhere

    Maybe if I freeze in this place
    I’ll see more delight on his face

    Maybe if I stay in my chair
    I won’t have to go anywhere

    Perhaps I’ll just remain put
    Not moving forward, either foot

    If I just don’t move at all
    Stand for nothing, answer no call

    Nothing good will come from that
    Time for boots on and a good hat

    Why should I just sit my life away
    I’ll go find some magic, now today

    Maybe if I move on instead
    Life will go on from fear and dread

    Nothing good comes from too much sitting
    Living simple joy, so much more fitting

  14. MET

    God Questions

    I have this invisible box;
    I put all those questions
    Which have no answers…
    I have found.
    I figure when
    I see God face to face
    I will open my box…
    Pull one out and ask…
    The first one will be
    Fairly long…
    “Can you tell me,
    Cause I have not been
    Able to figure out
    Cancer, hate, jealousy,
    Polycystic Kidney disease,
    Genetic diseases
    Murder, meanness,
    Diseases that hurt the young,
    Diseases that take
    The memories of the old,
    Broken spines, floods,
    Earthquakes, volcanos,
    Rages, and many more
    Have any good at all?”

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 18, 2017

  15. Jrentler

    if i’m good for nothing

    than i’ll take
    my words & craft
    a maddening silence
    as souvenir

    for if you were good for something

    you would’ve seen
    i was here
    in the market
    for anyone, anything

    & you seemed tall
    amongst the nectarines

  16. Jane Shlensky

    Fair Warning

    Good for nothing
    No account
    Waste of a bullet
    Waste of time
    Not worth spit
    A worthless s–t
    A poor excuse
    A walking blight
    A total loss
    An empty vessel
    A worthless lout
    Guts on legs
    Crap for brains
    A want of wit
    Scum of the earth
    Low down sucker
    Trifling wretch
    Cannon fodder
    Human filth
    Sleazy leech
    Industrial radioactive waste that cannot be contained

    Steer clear
    Fly high
    Lay low
    Run and hide
    Stay away

    Got no soul, bless his heart
    Can’t be helped if he cannot learn
    If it sticks to your shoes, don’t marry it
    Let Jesus sort this one out

  17. Jane Shlensky

    Robert, I’ve been enjoying your daily changing bio, so nicely coordinated with your poems. 30 attaboys.

    Simple Semantics

    “Everything has its own goodness.
    God makes no mistakes,” she says,
    That smugly knowing look she wears
    Like she’s on heaven’s hotline
    Turns me to devil’s advocate.

    So…tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires,
    Volcanoes, tornadoes, deluges, diseases,
    (not counting the horrors humans do)
    But hurricanes, ice storms, typhoons, and rogue waves
    Cancer, ebola, plagues, conflagrations…

    My ear is twisted, attention is called,
    “She means just be kind when we don’t understand.”

  18. deringer1


    we’ll start
    by raising the cost
    of health care

    then move on
    to cutting their
    social security

    how about encouraging
    assisted death
    at an earlier age

    if we don’t pay
    for nursing homes
    then families

    would have to
    take care of them.
    They won’t like that !

    So let families
    think of ways
    to hasten their demise.

    All they do is
    take up space
    and cost us money

    Old people
    are good for

  19. thunk2much

    Song to check out: Ryan Adams’ Sylvia Plath

    I wish I had a Sylvia Plath
    Busted tooth and a smile
    And cigarette ashes in her drink
    The kind that goes out and then sleeps for a week
    The kind that goes out on her own
    To give me a reason, for well, I dunno
    And maybe she’d take me to France
    Or maybe to Spain, she’d ask me to dance
    In a mansion on the top of a hill
    She’d ash on the carpets
    And slip me a pill
    Then she’d get me pretty loaded on gin
    And maybe she’d give me a bath
    How I wish I had a Sylvia Plath
    And she and I would sleep on a boat
    And swim in the sea without clothes
    With rain falling fast on the sea
    While she was swimming away, she’d be winking at me
    Telling me it would all be okay
    On the horizon and fading away
    And I’d swim to the boat and I’d laugh
    Gotta get me a Sylvia Plath
    And maybe she’d take me to France
    And maybe to Spain, she’d ask me to dance
    In a mansion on the top of a hill
    She’d ash on the carpets
    And slip me a pill
    Then she’d get me pretty loaded on gin
    And maybe she’d give me a bath
    How I wish I had a Sylvia Plath
    I wish I had a Sylvia Plath

    Songwriters: Richard Causon / Ryan Adams

  20. MET

    You said to give a favorite poem… this is one of mine that still speaks to me… wrote many years ago and the first one where I used a traditional song as part of the poem…

    Were You there…

    “Were you there…”*

    I was told that I needed to take up my cross and carry it.

    It didn’t worry me.

    What trouble could that be?

    I had seen crosses made of brass hanging on the walls
    Of small country churches.
    I had been amazed at the majesty and workmanship
    Of gold crosses encrusted with pearls and rubies.
    I had seen small white crosses
    Standing on the roadsides,
    And I had worn a tiny gold cross.

    I could do that…pick up my cross and walk.

    But the Cross I was given wasn’t one of those I had seen.
    It was rough new timber.
    I lifted it to my shoulder and it was heavy and damp.

    I said no problem…still sure of myself.
    The first few days,
    I called out and said look at me.
    But then, I had to say no when I wanted to say yes.
    The cross became heavier and heavier;
    My hands were sweating and it would slip from my shoulder.
    Splinters cut into my hands.
    I picked it up over and over again.

    I tried again to pick it up…just had to find the trick of carrying it.

    I found that I tripped over the small stones.
    My feet could not lift over them.
    I thought how easy it had been.
    I thought about all the reasons I picked up the cross;
    No one told me how heavy it would be.

    I was ready to ditch it…no one would ever notice.

    I had seen others go to churches and smile
    Sing songs of praise and go out the doors
    To say yes to things they shouldn’t.
    No one said to them, “Where was their cross?”
    I wondered if it was that or they never really heard the question.

    I laid the cross down gently…I could not walk away.

    I sat down by the roadside.
    My back hurt from the weight.
    My hands bleeding from the splinters and cuts,
    My feet were stone bruised and tired.
    I buried my face in my hands.
    Then I heard Jesus, as he washed my wounds and hurts,
    “Why did you think you must do this alone?
    I said I would be with you.”
    He pulled the splinters from my hands and they healed as he said,
    “Here, let me help you carry this.
    I have been there and know the way.”
    He wiped the tears from my eyes, and said,
    “Come and rejoice; it is a beautiful day.”
    He smiled and I smiled.

    We picked up the cross…I knew I would follow Him anywhere.

    “When they crucified my Lord?”*

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 28, 2001
    *Traditional African-American spiritual can be sung.

  21. thunk2much

    Archie Bunker’s lament

    Ah those good old days
    of Archie Bunker’s lament,
    when we all knew our places,
    the (cis white) men wore the pants,
    and everyone else just had to pretend
    that a trickle (down) was enough
    to stave off the angry thirst
    that turned flesh to husk
    back in those good old
    good for nothing days.

  22. MET

    The Inheritance

    “You know you don’t
    Have to do it.”
    “What good are they?”
    I heard it all- the jokes, the looks.
    It all hurt
    Because they didn’t know me.

    I made a promise one night.
    Ma could not sleep; in that
    Muddled night
    When I didn’t know
    Who was more muddled…
    She or me.
    For a moment, she was herself
    Begging she uttered
    “Take care of my cats.”
    It was not the cats
    Within the house, but those
    Her feral herd
    Desperate her eyes searched my face.
    Softly I pronounced my fate,
    “Don’t worry, I will care for them.”
    Knowing me somehow deep within
    My words calmed that night’s ravings
    For I never broke an oath.
    “Go to sleep,” as I leaned to kiss her face.

    Someone asked, after she was gone
    “When will you get rid or her cats?”
    Their look of incredibility
    When I responded, “I’m not,”
    Set the stage for looks, jokes,
    I had become the crazy cat lady.
    I countered and named that feral herd
    “The Inheritance.”
    It still stung…
    The truth they did not know me.

    I was left alone…
    The Inheritance kept me going.
    They had to be fed
    Money was so tight
    Feed them or keep me warm..
    That night, I was so cold,
    I remembered Ma saying,
    “I may go hungry, but I won’t be cold.”
    I looked into a cold night sky
    The stars were bright, snow falling, I crying,
    “Ma I am doing both.”
    Desperate I was, but
    I kept my promise.
    Then others, without my asking,
    Sent gifts that kept me going.
    I had never have been so blessed.

    The Inheritance, others had seen
    As a curse and I looked upon
    The never-ending task
    With of little worth
    Kept me going when
    I was so lost…
    Made me reach beyond my needs.

    The Inheritance,
    A gift one night
    I never thought I needed, but
    Turns out in her rambling
    Ma left to me a legacy of love.

    They are dwindling
    There is only ten left
    In my care.
    The loss of King Louis
    Was the biggest lost
    For I miss his wise eyes,
    And his gentle regal spirit.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 18, 2017

  23. Brandi Noelle

    My favorite song about a writer is Kenny Chesney’s “Hemingway’s Whiskey.” Quite haunting and lovely.

    Here is my attempt at a “good for nothing” poem, written in the Nonet form.

    Good for Nothing Penny

    Things were simpler many years ago
    It used to be good for something
    Candy from the corner store
    Or, a bit of good luck
    Now it sits in grime
    In the gutter
    Once shiny

  24. grcran

    nothing changes for the better

    “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
    You gotta have somethin’ if you want to be with me
    I’m not tryin’ to be your hero
    ‘Cause that zero is too cold for me, Brrr
    I’m not tryin’ to be your highness
    ‘Cause that minus is too low to see”
    Written by Billy Preston, keyboardist for the Beatles

    it’s everything or nothing
    dark evil versus good
    you’re growing skin or sloughing
    on high ground in the mud
    or is the middle better
    in the harsh bright light of day
    ask the older sad forgetter
    blending into shades of gray

    gpr crane

  25. pipersfancy

    Good for Nothing

    IN the BEGINNING, God saw
    a swirling, vast and empty void
    and thought, “it is GOOD,
    for nothing else will work as well
    to hold all My divine LOVE.”

  26. Misky


    I tried to repair a gnome.
    A cat, with a small gesture
    of its tail,
    knocked its head straight off,
    knocked the cuteness off
    its shoulders,
    and I’m useless with small scale,
    and besides,
    a gnome without a head
    is not much use at all.

  27. Daniel Paicopulos

    dear friend:

    yes, it is agreed,
    present moment,
    wonderful moment,
    but nothing good
    comes out of nowhere.

    doing is easy.
    having is easier.
    being is easiest.
    trying is exhausting,
    too much toil,
    less of a musical,
    more an opera,
    with the soundtrack
    of a daytime soap.

    seems so simple,
    but the road to mantras
    exacts a hefty toll,
    and no one,
    it seems,
    easily recovers
    from the dis-
    ease of birth.

  28. De Jackson

    Continued Triolet Play with Walt…

    He’s a Good-For-Nothin’-So-and-So

    Santa couldn’t give them off the month of December,
    for things are far too busy when he’s in the throes.
    The elves gave him an argument to remember,
    but Santa couldn’t give them the month of December.
    And the jolly man’s actually got a bit of a temper,
    so they made all the presents, and tied them with bows.
    Santa couldn’t give them the month of December,
    for things are far too busy when he’s in the throes.

  29. annell

    In the Shadows Dwell Good For Nothing Memories

    deep in the recesses     the dark corners     memories dwell

    the room is silent    except for the occasional     small sad sound

    from this i know you are still living     you were shamed     thrown into the shadowy place

    you are never asked out    kept hidden in the attic      (or in the heart)

    sunshine is not for you    parties are not for you     holidays are not for you

    it is on the darkest night     you are asked to come out     keep someone up all night

    tell again    the story of your life     you are as you are

    you cannot be changed   &bsp; sometimes you happened years ago     sometimes recently
    you are filled with yesterday’s pain     still not social ably acceptable     unwanted

    i wish you had not been born     you have no place else to go     good for nothing memory

    November 18, 2017

  30. PowerUnit

    He’s a white capped mountain of a man
    holds up my building in strong winds
    sits on our steps, calm, and blows smoke

    In our window I watch him watch the feet
    young women walk the other side
    the cement sidewalk cracked and pitted
    he pokes his broken hockey stick
    in the ruts searching for lost coins

    The garbage across the street scattered
    hungry seagulls left unfulfilled

    He spends fifteen minutes chasing
    packages, napkins, cartons, and cans
    re-bags the spoils and guards it from
    the good for nothing b@stard birds

  31. LCaramanna

    This Day

    Gray clouds
    splash cold November
    tears into puddles
    on the sidewalk.
    A relentless wind
    knocks at my door
    as an unwelcome neighbor,
    the bearer of unwanted forecast.
    This day seems
    good for nothing more
    than snuggle, cuddle
    and nap
    beneath a quilt
    in front of a fire.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  32. candy

    Hopeless Romantic

    this poem is a romantic
    counting the ways
    strolling in the moonlight
    plucking daisy petals

    this poem still uses words
    like swoon and beloved
    and believes candle light
    makes all the difference

    some say it’s a
    good for nothing poem
    a dreamer
    a time waster

    but this poem
    walks to the beat
    of its own heart
    makes its own music
    loves like the world
    might end

  33. taylor graham


    What good are somebody’s else’s memories
    of growing up by the old cattlemen’s
    land out Pleasant Valley, not far from the once-
    Pony Express station – that barn good
    for nothing anymore except storing hay and
    tools and tractors. And the one-room school-
    house where a girl knew everybody,
    it was almost like home compared to being
    bused away to town to high school –
    all alone in the world, a stranger where
    the other girls looked down on a country girl
    like she was good for nothing.
    What good are recollections of the old bunk-
    house where cowboys sat around
    on the porch playing cards like good-for-
    nothings but really they were resting up from
    driving cattle from foothill ranches
    getting ready for the long drive
    up the mountain to cow camps in the high-
    country meadows. What good
    to anybody else are all those recollections,
    except for dreaming?

  34. Anthony94

    Needing the Quick Wipe

    Beside the perfect turtle
    shell, carapace and plastron
    yet hinged, the acorn sits
    from a pin oak tree, small
    but like the turtle shell
    nut and cap intact, not
    very big but there, pointing
    skyward, patiently waiting

    for me to remember the reason
    I picked it up, perhaps to
    remember the place
    I’ve already forgotten,
    or did I kick it with my foot
    and thought to tuck it
    in my pocket like some
    talisman? But it’s really

    good for nothing except
    on this tiny shelf as a reminder
    that those now golden mighty
    oaks grew from a wizened seed
    and what seems of so little
    value may be a hidden gem
    in need only of a bit of polishing,
    the quick wipe.

  35. cobanionsmith

    Good for Nothing are Our Memories of Tomorrow

    prophecy if true is typically bad
    in the short term at least
    or it’s not believed which is as good
    as not being true
    which it usually isn’t
    but if it is and it is believed
    it’s no good most of all
    for the prophet who says
    I hate saying I told you so
    but I love being right

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  36. Pat Walsh

    Still trying to think of “writing”songs; Paperback Writer is definitely up there on the list… meanwhile, here’s today’s effort:

    good for nothing
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    the light from the street
    drizzled through the
    slits in the shade
    like a drink poured
    too quickly

    standing beside the bed
    she reached over
    to touch his arm
    and asked how he had
    gotten there

    shading his eyes
    with the back of his hand
    he made a sound like
    a small child afraid
    of the dark

    and he said it was
    because they told him
    he was good for nothing
    back when he
    was a kid

  37. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    What They Said

    He tried to fit in –
    working diligently,
    spending hours organizing,
    smiling when he was exhausted,
    taking on everything they threw at him.
    In the end, none of it mattered, not to those
    whose privilege allowed them to see him as only
    a good-for-nothing worker speaking with an accent.

  38. Eileen S

    The Catch-All Drawer

    Once upon a time, I had items
    that collected in my house
    and I didn’t know what to do with.
    I decided that maybe someday in the future,
    that I may need them so I threw them in a drawer
    next to the kitchen sink.
    For a while the objects stayed
    where I put them and lived happily.
    One day, I realized that I needed space
    in the drawer for more items,
    so I threw all the items away because
    I decided that they were good for nothing.
    Then I noticed a small nail missing from
    a kitchen cabinet and I looked in the wastebasket
    and found just what I needed.
    That nail saved the day!
    The moral of this story is
    never throw anything away.

  39. Terry Jude Miller

    the Wizard of Oz
    didn’t believe he existed—the good
    for nothing man

    he helped the lion
    find his courage

    the scarecrow
    a brain

    the tin man
    a heart

    I’m sure he would have found
    something good in the wicked witch
    of the west

    if Dorothy hadn’t
    melted her

  40. Jezzie


    There’s nothing good
    about my poems
    except that they rhyme.

    Probably I
    could improve them
    if I’d enough time.

    New thoughts fly out
    of the open
    window in my brain

    when I go back
    to look at my
    old verses again.

    So for now I’ll
    just sit and pen
    good for nothing odes

    before my brain
    fills up with more
    info and explodes.


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