2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I’m thankful for so much. As far as this challenge goes, we can write a poem and be a mere week from completing the poeming portion of it. Hurrah!

For today’s prompt, write a preface poem. A preface is a super literary term as the term typically relates to books–usually as the opening statement or introductory remarks of a book. So I’m mildly surprised I haven’t used this prompt previously. However, I think it’s perfect for the chapbook challenge, because poets who are writing to a theme have an opportunity to write a poetic preface. Of course, stand alone preface poems are just as interesting.


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Here’s my attempt at a Preface Poem:

“let me”

let me preface this by saying
there was a man who called
& only said he was the viper
before hanging up on me

& then he called again to say
he was on his way over &
bringing all his tools with him
& that he was down the street

& then he called again to let
me know it was him the viper
& he was outside my house
before ringing my door bell

so yes i was on edge & ready
for anything when i opened
the door except for what i saw

an elderly man with a squeegee
who said i am the viper & i am
here to vipe your vindows


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 thankful for his family, his health, his poetry, and his sense of humor. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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172 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

  1. Janet Rice Carnahan


    I have my preferences
    Beautiful pictures
    Happy, jovial people
    Grand, lovely places
    Festive, fun holidays
    Yet life being life
    Everything changes
    Whole plans
    Cut in half
    Quartered down
    In the wind
    Over details
    Stuck judgment
    Based on the past
    And fear
    Lots of fear
    Let me just preface it
    By saying
    My preference is clear
    Year after year
    The only answer
    To any question is love
    Love it
    On some level
    In the end
    Love always works
    Let’s start with that!

  2. MET

    Thanks for a wonderful day

    Two hours in the car

    Down a county highway
    As lovely as any parkway…
    One dark chocolate cheesecake
    Not the best looking
    But made with love
    So what matters…
    Greeted by the Robbie the wonder dog,
    And family how wonderful…
    Two hours home at sunset…
    A lake view where the water
    Was like a mirror
    At home at last tired…
    Cats have been fed
    Though Gus is quite miffed
    For three days this week
    I left him, but that is okay
    For Binkey has washed my toes… and
    Tillie did not break a thing
    While I was away
    And I’m glad
    So let the holidays and parties begin…
    It is a wonderful time of celebrating…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 23, 2017

  3. Walter J Wojtanik


    I come from a long line of very giving souls. My life lessons were delivered with love. Above all else, respect for all living creatures was featured in ever learning experience. Like my father and his father and his father before him, I have been raised in the spirit of Christmas and come to represent all that it espouses. And as I land on the rooves of the houses, I feel blessed like a welcomed guest in every home I enter. At the center of all this is the sense of love and goodwill, the thrill on each child’s face on those Christmas mornings. The joy it brings, brings me to return every year. It is from here that my story always begins again. I Am Santa Claus and here is my story…

    My story begins.
    After Christmas is over,
    I’m getting started.

  4. MHR

    preface to a young angel-

    you are going to struggle.
    and i wish i could be there patting you on the back-
    but you will be alone,
    yet surrounded by people who constantly offer you hope;
    i hope you see that.

    there’s going to be ladders,
    and you’re going to fall
    the only guidance i can give: get back up,
    dance your heart out,
    even WITH a sprained ankle and a broken heart,
    and a lack of sunshine and a lack of


    there’s a preface to everything- the point is discovering what it is,
    and sometimes in knowing you can’t know or change what comes.
    this is a preface to your life-decide what’s coming next to the best of your ability.

  5. SarahLeaSales

    Preface to “Because of Mindy Wiley”

    I came up with the idea of writing a book for former Mormons (not ex-Mormons, as the term ex- has a negative connotation) when I left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Let me “preface this preface” by saying that I do not hate my ex—I simply realized we could not peacefully cohabitate, but rather, coexist. (I’m just glad no children were born of our union, as that would’ve complicated things.)

    My motivation in writing this book was to show (never tell) that one could divorce a Church–even all churches–and remain married to God. I decided to reveal that truth through the eyes of Katryn Nolan, who “comes of age” after she does something she’d sworn she’d never do after being fed false information (i.e. “fake news”) fed to her by the “worthy.”

    Because of Mindy Wiley (https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/) neither promotes nor endorses Mormonism—it is simply one person’s experience in it, told through the eyes of a young girl.

    The purpose of this project was to show the world that we must have faith in the message, not in the messengers, which are subject to change, sin, and disappoint. It is to show the world that grace is amazing indeed, for it is limitless in its ability to blot out any sin (save for “denying the Holy Ghost”—the meaning of which is explored in this novel).

    Throughout the writing process, I learned more about what I believed (and what I did not). I never questioned God, but I questioned what God was. For me, He is a mysterious and unfathomable entity–a God who cannot be contained in a body of flesh and bones (as the LDS believe). He is an omnipresent being, who manifests Himself in a myriad of ways–just as He sent His son to the world in a way that we could understand.

    I wrote this novel over a decade ago. It has endured numerous revisions.  Some of the hardness has softened over time, as well as some of the more sensual aspects. It has been the inspiration for numerous other works (personally, I think it would make a great series for HBO, like “Big Love”). From my early twenties to my mid-thirties, it has been like a friend I visit every now and again.

    When it’s finally published, it will be reflective of who I am at that time. It’s an ambitious project (at over two-hundred-thousand words), but one day, I will be able to pay an editor to help me usher in its final incarnation.

    I thank all the people, both living and dead, who contributed to this project in ways they may never know. I thank all of those who have read it as a reader (rather than an editor) when this book was still in its second trimester. But mostly, I thank my Creator for this gift I have—this gift I open every day.

    The birth of Because of Mindy Wiley may come five years from now, or ten years from now–who knows? Though it is set just before The New Millennium, it is timeless in its portrayal of the degradation of a non-traditional American family in the Deep South. It is the culmination of everything I have ever believed–of true life experiences and those conceived in the fertile garden of my wild imagination.

    It is but a glimpse into the soul of its originator.

    I pray, whether you like it or hate it, that some part of it will always stay with you.

    Sarah Hannan Richards

  6. thunk2much

    Pie first

    There has to be a beginning
    but I don’t know where it is,
    whether it came last Tuesday
    or missed the connecting bus
    and never made it out of Buffalo,
    leaving us to wonder at the
    order of things and whether
    the meal might just taste better
    if we eat the pie first.

  7. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Looking back at where I was,
    In nineteen eighty-nine,
    I never thought I’d ever find,
    A heart I could call mine.
    There may have been a time or two,
    I felt that dream was coming true,
    And despite the things I tried to do,
    Nothing happened until her.

    Until her,
    I never knew,
    Until her,
    One made from two,
    Until her.
    A life brand new.

    Looking now at where we are,
    After all these many years;
    I know that we both have found,
    A heart through laughter and through tears.
    There may have been a time or two,
    We struggled just to make it through,
    And despite the things I try to do,
    Nothing happens without her.

    G. Smith
    Fairburn, Georgia

  8. cobanionsmith


    Let’s begin by saying, before we begin, that the following is not all of what the poet wanted to say or exactly how she would have or should have said it; however, having said that, it’s probably the best she could have done at the time; therefore, following this bit about what’s to follow, let’s begin, but before we do, the poet would like to try to say thanks for reading what follows even if you

    Don’t read another
    word after these words about
    the words you will read.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith

  9. MET

    Preface or Postscript

    I usually read the last paragraph
    Of a novel before I buy it…
    The reason is a good ending
    Lingers while good beginnings
    Don’t always…
    Because of all the days
    Between the start, and
    The end.
    I have lived a lot of days
    Since the preface of my life…
    The baby whose birth
    Brought turmoil to some, and
    Joy to most.
    I listened to the turmoil too much, but
    Now I hear the joy.
    It is in the end what matters.
    I hope on my last day of breathing
    Someone will think
    Now that is a life worth living
    For I like questions people ask
    As much as their answers, and
    The ending of a book
    Means more than the beginning.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 23, 2017

  10. Sara McNulty

    Preface To A Parallel World

    A Parody of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”

    Somewhere out in a meadow
    all birds speak.
    If you look in the hedgerow
    you’ll see beaks.

    Somewhere out in a meadow
    pigs read books,
    and they write manifestos–
    cannot go by looks.

  11. MET

    Tales of the Wilderwood

    I am the woman
    Who lives in the house
    At the end of the bumpy road
    Through the forest
    Known as the Wilderwood.

    I am the keeper
    Of the trees,
    Guardian of the creatures…
    That live in the forest
    Known as the Wilderwood.

    Just one of many
    Who came to live or to visit
    In the house in the forest
    Known as the Wilderwood.

    I am a woman,
    A keeper of trees, and
    A Storyteller
    I live in the forest
    Known as the Wilderwood.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 23, 2017

  12. Nancy Posey


    These words you read first
    I wrote last, after I knew
    what I wanted to say, after
    I pared down my story
    to the core, the essentials.

    And who am I kidding,
    to hope you’ll read them?
    You’ll flip through until
    a title catches your eye,
    one poem short enough
    to make you stop and read.

    For those of you who do
    start at the beginning,
    reading through to the end,
    I offer this blessing:
    May my words strike you
    as a remembrance,
    a discovery, a thought
    you wish you’d written
    yourself. May someone
    take the time to listen
    to the story you must share.

  13. Nancy Posey

    Preface: On Opening My New Used Textbooks

    Nothing equals the anticipation
    before opening each new book,
    not just the learning it implies,
    but the history of learners, names
    penciled in the inside cover,
    years of other students like me
    who started the year certain
    this time will be different. I
    will be different. Midway through,
    the marginalia changes, fewer
    notes about the text—irony,
    foreshadowing, turning point—
    and more about who loves whom.

    My predecessors asked the question
    too: When will I ever use this?
    What genius to know what’s worth
    remembering, what to file away
    for future use, what to remember
    long enough to pass the test
    and then delete, making room
    for what we want to carry
    inside our heads, baseball trivia,
    phone numbers we didn’t take
    time to write down, and maybe
    if we are lucky enough to hear it,
    the meaning of life.

  14. PowerUnit

    Before you judge me
    by my written words
    know that I lie
    that very little I write
    is literally true
    that my dying wife is alive
    and well, so are my kids
    and our two cats
    that used to be five
    and my marriage, is well
    don’t read too much
    into my words goes nothing
    but imagination twisted
    as it may be, by me

  15. candy

    A Just Plain Poem

    this poem has no prelude
    no coming attractions
    no preface

    there is no poem trailer
    to build suspense
    no liner notes

    this poem is a bold
    and daring
    in-your-face poem

    a laugh-out-loud
    mess of a poem

    a heart of stone
    filled with marshmallow
    softy of a poem

    a tell-you-a-story
    sweet dreams kind of poem

    this poem is a kiss-

    a just plain
    in love with you

  16. taylor graham

    California, a Guide to the Golden State

    We’re on the Hwy 50 tour. Driving
    west from Bullion Bend, site of famous stage-
    coach robbery, down the mountain, following
    along old Carson Emigrant Trail blazed
    by Mormons; Placerville, then Shingle Springs

    (gulches once were filled with miner’s cabins); gaze
    on Clarksville, abandoned to broken stone
    walls, houses sans roofs or windows (unglazed?),
    signs of old placer diggings among bones
    in the fields. Westward, the old stage stopping

    place, White Rock House. A question’s undertone:
    El Dorado Hills, and Cameron Park? Sam’s
    Town? not built yet. And how about the old
    Indian bedrock mortars: grinding-by-hand
    of corns, subsistence through the ages?

    El Dorado Up to Date, the preface planned.
    How to keep the whole history of a land?

  17. cbwentworth

    a deep breath
    bird take flight

    a hidden moon
    I should have known
    you would not stay

    rustling leaves
    the space between
    pale blue

    one moment
    calm and clear
    the grass sways

    – – –

    Just a few thoughts on beginnings and how the concept of a single moment plays such a strong role in my poems. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am thankful for this community of poets and the beauty you create.

  18. deringer1


    Thanksgiving Day….it’s only the beginning,
    for now begins “the Season”
    and the end of sanity and reason.

    Before the turkey’s cooked and eaten,
    comes the endless advertising,
    and the start of carol singing.

    I know I must give no offense,
    but I won’t say “Happy Holidays” and so
    I’ll wish you Merry Christmas now.

  19. KM


    Let me preface this by saying I am writing this near the end. Sometimes it’s easier to see the before when you’re already at the after. I usually prefer procrastination to preparation, but it’s true that there are days when you just gotta start, even if you realize later what you thought was introduction was really the story itself. Bore to the middle to find the origin. In media res, then get to the rest. Am I convincing you it works to forge on, whole hog like my Mom used to say, before you know where you’re going? This has no conclusion, but let me preface that by saying, the best bits of life are often unmapped, unmoored and wide open ended.

    – Kim Mannix

  20. Earl Parsons

    Who is This Earl

    Who is this Earl
    Who writes these pearls
    These pearls of poetic variation
    Is he a pro
    I don’t think so
    Or a witty wizard of notation
    He’s just like you
    Doing what he do
    To bring these poems to life
    Each line he writes
    He hopes excites
    A laugh or tear from his wife
    You see, this Earl
    Who writes these pearls
    Though just a little odd
    The words he links
    Make people think
    ‘Bout life and love and God

  21. annell

    A Preface Poem

    what words come first     what words a preface make     will they say

    what comes next    or how it ends     or what you should expect

    is it like an introduction    this is blank   &bsp; how you today

    i answer    i am fine     and you

    i wait for the answer     when polite society     suggests

    don’t say anything that will offend    keep it short     don’t get involved

    don’t give yourself away  &nbps; in a preface     should we give it all away

    then no need to read further     the preface tells it all     a golden nugget

    slipped into the pocket    which we hope      we will not lose

    or is it like the front door     always open     an invitation to learn more

    November 23, 2017

  22. Misky

    Thursday is Still Laundry Day

    For me there’s nothing more innocent
    than the smell of turkey roasting.
    Instantly … I’m 10 again. Maybe 12.
    The kitchen windows drip condensation,
    the dining room table is set with Mum’s
    special china and the blue opaque glasses.
    The dining room smells woody — green

    botanicals on the middle of the table
    (keep the height low, Mum would say,
    so people can speak over the centre-
    piece, and of course we all talked
    at once, and always in such a hurry).
    Autumn always gleamed of saffron, and
    Mum’s kitchen seemed warm as whiskey.

    And after Thanksgiving dinner, Dad
    pulled Christmas out of the loft,
    a shower of silver speckling down
    from flocked baubles. Those were our
    old family traditions, and those days
    were a small beauty. Back then,
    I’d write old fashioned proper letters.
    Used a fountain pen and stationery,
    envelopes and postage, but eventually

    it’s for you and I to become memories,
    the likes of my hand-written letters.
    But all that was too many years ago —
    back then when men carved the turkey.
    Back then when I spoke in a hurry
    and never noticed that clouds slowly
    unravelled into wind-raked ripples.
    Weather always brings changes.

    I’m British now.
    Today is laundry day.

  23. Bruce Niedt


    Let me just say before we begin
    that we have a lot to be thankful for.
    For instance, I’m thankful for the free turkey
    we got with our $300 purchase at Giant.
    I’m thankful that my wife didn’t make me
    peel more potatoes than I did,
    and that the nieces, nephews and grandkids –
    No running in the living room, kids! –
    haven’t broken anything in the house yet.
    Thank you Uncle Jerry for not talking politics
    and limiting yourself to one beer before dinner.
    Thank you Bob and Jennifer for another year
    of your killer green bean casserole,
    and thanks to my sister Marie for smoking outside.
    So let’s take a moment to give thanks to God,
    or Jehovah, Allah, Gaia, humanity,
    the Flying Spaghetti Monster,
    or whomever you feel responsible
    for this wonderful feast. Dig in.

  24. taylor graham


    Lest I forget what came before me in this place:
    geologic uplift, volcanic flows, each in its place.

    Subterranean river, the Deep Blue Lead carrying
    gold in its gravel, flowing down time in its place.

    Washoe, Miwok, Maidu hunting and gathering,
    melding life with land, each tribe in its place.

    Gold Rush with pick and shovel to delve, revise
    landscape, tunnel down to treasure in its place.

    Settlers, farmers, ranchers discovering how rich
    the soil, the weather, each element in its place.

    Townsfolk fabricating native rock and timber
    to store, smithy, bakery, each trade in its place.

    And I – poet boots-on-the-ground – foothills
    trail to summit, writing myself in this place.

  25. Walter J Wojtanik


    Poetry is our joy; a rainbow for our souls.
    We offer words to touch many hearts
    and the words will take control.
    Poetry is our joy; a rainbow for our souls.
    It warms our hearts like a hearth full of coals,
    There’s a comfort that it imparts.
    Poetry is our joy; a rainbow for our souls.
    We offer words to touch many hearts

    1. De Jackson


      We offer words to touch many hearts
      (for words, and love, are all that heals.)
      First things first: just as it starts,
      we offer words to touch many hearts.
      Again and again, before we depart
      because we know how happy hope feels.
      We offer words to touch many hearts
      (for words, and love, are all that heals.)

      1. Walter J Wojtanik


        Words of love are all we need to heal.
        We gladly share our words with those in need,.
        We know how good that love can feel.
        Words of love are all we need to heal,
        Let your compassion show them how to deal,
        Love, the greatest gift to give indeed!
        Words of love are all we need to heal.
        We gladly share our words with those in need,

  26. MET

    Robert loved your poem… anyone traveling today be safe… my father had a picture of a sign that said “Life as in Baseball …it is important to get safely home.”

    Happy Thanksgiving.. and my poem will come late… heading to Augusta< Georgia and back again today… visiting my niece and her family..and I am bringing Chocolate Cheesecake.

  27. MichelleMcEwen

    Preface Poem Nonet

    This poem is a proem poem—
    a preface to a poem that
    doesn’t exist. This poem
    is also a nonet
    that wanted to be
    a real poem
    but instead
    it’s just

  28. Melanie

    Each day we don the thinking cap
    A prompt, a poem to unwrap
    A gauntlet thrown, a test to face
    A poet’s mind and heart embrace
    With every day, a chance to prove
    Amongst the best we freely move
    Vivid pictures, clever rhyme
    Above the common place we climb
    A sonnet here, a haiku there
    Yarns and tales we freely share
    And in our poems we reveal
    The deepest things our heart can feel
    We read the words that others write
    With every verse we take delight

  29. tripoet


    what you see
    the hour in the bathroom
    beauty regime
    penciled in eyebrows
    ebony long lash mascara
    tangerine lip blast
    make-up application
    pink highlights
    leave-in conditioner
    rings on every surface
    of the earlobe

    is actually just as pretty

  30. tripoet

    Preface by lV

    a lunch date
    which leads to dinner
    which leads to the preacher
    and rings
    which leads to the dance of love
    which leads to morning sickness
    which leads to a new wardrobe
    which leads to new furniture
    which leads to a trip
    to the hospital
    which leads to a new life
    which leads to
    “How will this life turn out?”

    1. tripoet

      Hey lV, I hear this is your first poem ever. Nice work. I like how you progress through this poem, showing how this couple’s relationship evolves and how it culminates in a new life and their hope for that new life.
      Looking forward to reading more of your work. 🙂

        1. tripoet

          Thank you, MET. 🙂
          My husband who is a businessman and has never written a poem before asked if he could write one today. So he did and we put a lV by it.

          I am so thankful that lV saw that I was having fun with these prompts and that he was motivated to participate in the art of poetry writing.

          Also Happy Thanksgiving to “My Poetry Mates”. I love your work and how eclectic the postings are. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

  31. Valkyri

    “Obols for Charon!”
    they chanted in unison
    as the eyes of the dead
    were sealed with coins.

    An obol doesn’t have to
    gleam with silver moonglow
    or golden sunrise hues.
    It can be any token
    or momento worthy
    of the ferryman’s boney hand.

    Charon is the white knight.
    He transports the dead,
    o’er the River Styx,
    when no one else can, or will.
    He is worthy of all praise and adoration.

    I have given many tokens,
    many precious momentos,
    many obols to Charon
    for his magic death ride.
    I have prepared through the years.

    I have met many Charons,
    many who have trasported me
    from one transformation
    to the next – ferried from
    life to death and back again.
    To each one, I have given
    a token, a momento…
    a poem, or an obol…
    a lock of my soul as an honorarium –
    the payment for my ride…

    Place the obols gently
    o’er my eyes when I pass.
    There are two coins left,
    due to the ferryman.

  32. headintheclouds87

    It ended up kinda being an epilogue poem as well, but enjoy!
    (P.S. to any confused US people- a ‘full stop’ is what we Brits call a ‘period’ at the end of a sentence 😉 )

    Preface to Another Life

    I’ve tried so many times
    To close this lingering book,
    Only for the last page
    To seem to last forever,
    More words hastily splattered
    Onto that uncertain whiteness,
    Unable to find an ending
    That can adequately close out
    This challenging chapter of life,
    And outline the one to come.

    I’ve been making it up as I go,
    Losing myself in the dark
    As I try to write towards the light,
    Only for it to flicker once it’s found,
    The full picture seen in quick flashes
    That I can’t form into any sense.
    My plot is but pieces and fragments,
    The story slips from my fingers,
    Leaving themes and concepts tumbling
    Into an author’s abyss, resolution lost.

    But in the hopeless small hours
    Comes the faintest, tiny spark
    Of something to finally unite
    Half-ideas together, tied and bond
    Into a neat and tidy knot
    That connects this tale to the next.
    I at last become the bold protagonist
    In control of my own frantic arc,
    And with motivation regained
    To pierce this page with a full stop.
    And so this book at last closes
    With a clear course for the next,
    For to stay adrift in the same old story
    Is surely the saddest foolishness of all.

      1. tripoet

        My husband who is a businessman and has never written a poem before asked if he could write one today. So he did and we put a lV by it.

        I am so thankful that lV saw that I was having fun with these prompts and that he was motivated to participate in the art of poetry writing. 🙂

        Also Happy Thanksgiving to “My Poetry Mates”. I love your work and how eclectic the postings are. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

  33. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    Bard, lyrist, poet –
    we speak with the voice of the people –
    the voice that cannot put into words
    the pain, the joy, the suffering, the wonder
    of this life, this world.
    Like hidden artifacts
    waiting to expose their truth,
    poems shine a light
    where darkness once held sway.

  34. Pat Walsh

    some lives
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    some lives collect
    so much dust
    they seem dark
    and distant
    even when days
    are bright
    and the sun
    is shining

    when wandering
    in their hours
    disguised as
    keep in mind
    they didn’t
    start out
    that way

  35. Jezzie


    I have written an ode each day:
    they do not have much of a theme
    but sometimes, I really must say,
    my poems may seem quite extreme.

    They seem to be all about me
    or things that happen in my life
    or of my time spent by the sea
    or of events that give me strife.

    But my words spill out from my heart:
    forgetting to consult my head
    my verses do not turn out that smart
    but a little humorous instead.

  36. Kiri


    I hope you can forget
    what we were told
    about ourselves
    and the weight
    of the suitcase
    you packed
    to carry it
    at least until
    your connection arrives
    and you must run
    to meet it.

  37. Terry Jude Miller

    by Terry Jude Miller

    seem to rule
    my existence

    the basics
    zero and one
    digitally control
    the plethora
    of my day’s tiny tasks

    the more complex ones
    life and death
    joy and sorrow
    bravery and fear
    lend themselves secretly
    to the analog

    I can weep and smile
    at once
    I can be afraid yet
    volley forth
    I can feel without thinking
    too deeply about the ramifications
    of making myself vulnerable

    I will master the on and off yet
    zero, my shield
    the one, my sword


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