2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

For today’s prompt, write an intelligence poem. Of course, intelligence is subjective. What is common sense for one person makes no sense to another. But intelligence is more than IQ and test scores. There’s artificial intelligence, intelligent animals, and military intel. And I’ve found that many poets have a special intelligence of their own.

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Here’s my attempt at an Intelligence Poem:

“love iq”

i don’t understand love
my friend john is a jerk
& never seems to be alone

i watch women call him names
before punching him in the arm
& they always end up kissing

i once kissed a woman named maria
who told me how her ex
used to put her down & call her names

so i said she was my star princess
& she said i was sweet
& a wonderful friend

then she started seeing john
who always cheated on her
though she always forgave him

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He’s probably about average as far as intelligence is concerned.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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378 thoughts on “2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

  1. BDP

    “Intelligence Operatives”

    Secret agents along a trail, we dodge in and out of light,
    avoid tree roots, mud puddles and the boogeyman.
    A summer afternoon tweens-tale featuring
    Danielle, Melly and me escaping town air viscous as oil
    on a garage floor. We find a different kind of liquid, river liqueur,
    dip our hands, drink sweetness. A small school of trout
    wiggles by, skins shining like dime-store gems. Coolness baits,
    lures us in. Just us, alone, itself a kind of excitement.
    We rock-hop the shore, scale boulders, towers
    for lookout, our tennies kicked off. Pebble stars

    glint in the streambed (the Big Dipper!). Unguarded
    in our peering of constellations, we startle to a gravel rain:
    a fisherman’s bank-sliding sound
    blending brief with the rapids’ jazz,
    its flux over weirs and fallen branches. His nodding, silent laughter—
    he knows who we are—relaxes us as we watch him from our castle.
    Water swirls one tower, then another. His skill enraptures us,
    also, with his sidearm casts and drawing of minarets
    on the blue—the line disappears down into the slipstream, our applause

    soft not to scare off his bounty. He carries a pro’s supplies:
    wicker hip basket, waders, reel, fly rod, stylus filament. A fever
    of smelt glitter past. We grasp, without a word
    from him, he wants bigger fish, urging and dipping, his back
    upright, as if used to stealthy meetings
    from which he always emerges triumphant, we entering
    into them at a disadvantage, youth short
    on know how. We wish him a banner
    yield, and if we ever were covert, go over to his side,
    climb down to hunt for agates or perhaps a skipping stone.

    —B Peters

    Endwords from Richard Hugo, “Approaching the Castle.”

  2. Angie5804

    Shattered

    Spent so many years being naive
    Gullible to your lies
    Innocent, ignorant
    Didn’t have a clue
    But then I awoke
    Became aware
    Put it all together
    And regret set in
    With scepticism and cynicism
    Now I walk disillusioned
    Embittered and alone

  3. Austin Hill

    Intellectual Property

    Major? Mathematics.
    Bachelor’s degree,
    Earned a Master’s,
    then a Ph.D.

    Nearly ten years later,
    a voice I heard.
    Study sign language,
    the exact words.

    And so I did
    years numbered four plus three
    Earned the one I didn’t have,
    an Associate’s degree!

    © April 2018 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  4. deringer1

    INTELLIGENCE

    You always understood,
    ‘tho how I cannot say.
    Your brown eyes full of
    sympathy, with a raised paw
    to ask what troubled me.

    I wish I understood
    you as well. Often I did not
    know where you hurt
    or what you needed.

    And when we said goodbye
    I could not explain
    what had to happen. But
    I think you knew.

  5. MargoL

    Just my flip phone.

    We have so many smart items today
    The smart phone,
    The smart car,
    The smart TV.

    Yet there was a time,
    not long ago,
    when we did without these
    gadgets.

    Have we evolved? Are we smarter today?
    I think I miss the simpler days
    when I was content with
    just my flip phone.

  6. seingraham

    BEAUTIFUL OR SMART?

    Growing up I wanted to be both
    But, as I entered my teens, my mother
    subtly encouraged me to be pretty
    Or maybe not so subtly – it was she
    who enrolled me in a contest where
    the prize was a modelling course
    I won. That same year I was being
    accelerated at school – doing three
    years in two– not quite skipping
    a year, but close.
    Back then girls were told they
    couldn’t do math, physics – most
    of the STEM subjects —and I was no
    exception
    But I could write, and I could speak—
    that is, I could write and orate (as they
    called it in those days when you spoke
    your own words) and I loved it.

    Life intervened, and for years I relied on
    my looks and abandoned my mind,
    while it was leaving me alone as well.
    I didn’t know I was an undiagnosed
    bipolar patient with a severe sleep
    disorder and both things were severely
    hampering my intelligence.
    Occasionally I’d get glimmers of how
    bright I was but then my disorders would
    slide in and I’d be lost to myself for a
    time again.
    It took decades to sort out my mental
    health and for me to trust that I was
    able to think again
    Luckily, once my health stabilized, I found
    not only could I think – I had confidence
    in my brain and I was pumped to learn
    as much as possible, to write and read
    everything on which I could get my hands.

    Intelligence or beauty? I’m older now
    so, the choices are not the same, but why
    must it be a choice? I told my daughters,
    and I will tell my grand-daughter – smart
    is sexy and beautiful. You don’t ever have
    to choose; you don’t ever have to compromise
    what you want; you will be bright, as bright
    as you decide.
    This I can promise.

  7. bethwk

    Ooops. Forgot to post this yesterday.

    Where did we lose our innocence?
    When did we abandon our decency?
    Is this intelligence?
    Is this the wisest way?
    We’ve scattered our hopes,
    splattered our humanity
    against the walls
    or greed and expedience,
    destroyed our dreams
    on altars of profanity,
    laced our legacy with lies
    ignored the cries of those we harm,
    and then proclaimed our ignorance.
    We’ve soiled our beds,
    covered our heads,
    pretended we’re the heroes.
    We’ve outworn our defense,
    outlived our usefulness,
    and lost the purpose of our existence.

    (www.farmpoem.wordpress.com)

  8. Nurit Israeli

    Intelligence

    Cheers to the daffodil,
    who dared blooming
    before winter faded,
    came out
    before its time,
    and now outsmarts
    the cold that insists
    on staying,
    weathering April snows –
    determined to survive
    and thrive, even so.

    ~ Nurit Israeli

  9. AC Leming

    Contrary earth

    Into the life I left
    No one but me
    To worry about
    Elusive thought
    Longitudinal drift
    Leftist guerrillas
    Intolerable fault lines shift
    Gravity intrudes
    Enough to slap me down
    No notice as the ground trembles
    Contrary earth liquifies
    Enough to quicksand my heart

  10. pipersfancy

    Lughnasadh Voices
    “Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen.”
    -Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

    Lughnasadh voices come harvest time, when fields of golden wheat
    stand ready for the scythe. At first, faint whispers fill your ears softly
    as do rustlings from the golden poplars on distant hill so sigh.

    Beneath the rowan tree sit god and goddess; he prepares the feast
    as she prepares to die midst summer’s vegetation. Coldness fierce,
    still hid unseen beyond the shimmered trees, approaches swift they sigh.

    Thus, pour does she sweet milky tea to sip through winter’s toil. Unfeared
    of death, her whispered sighs rise up beyond the glenn, compelling
    youthful hearts to claim her promise once again: true love abides

    through winter’s tide and more, should they be merry! Endearing words
    bespoken on the eve of harvest moon. So join we must, our hands
    through hole in wooden door, that all will know we’ve heard Lughnasadh voices.

    *This poem went through considerable transformation before reaching its current form. What started out as an effort to look at psychic intelligence (if such a thing might exist!) morphed into what the wisdom of faith might hold for a believer, and then nudged its way over into the role of cultural/societal traditions (folklore) and what wisdom mythology provided to its adherents. (Whew!) The festival of Lughnasadh (Celtic) and the festival of Lammas (Anglo Saxon) share the same roots and are celebrated in much the same manner across much of the United Kingdom in late summer when the earliest crops of wheat are being harvested.

  11. agolly

    Paramedic Intelligence

    “Male gunshot victim.
    One shot to abdomen,
    Two in the left leg.
    Police have secured the scene.”
    My partner reads off the computer
    As I drive to the scene.

    “390 to Dispatch”
    “Go ahead 390”
    “On scene”
    “On scene 1835”

    “You do vitals and assessment.
    I will do SAMPLE history and
    Get story from the victim.”
    “Got it”

    Victim is bleeding profusely
    From shots in the leg.
    Tourniquet needed.
    Needed rapid transport.

    En-route to hospital
    Patient dies.
    Wounds to severe.
    No help for the life lost.
    No help.

  12. hohlwein

    When the crow flew fast into our window
    and then caught his flash-black wing in the snare of the privet bush
    the street organized

    One felt a criss-cross of them
    – a Jacob’s ladder –
    a treetop mesh of crows
    a scaffolding of response, locking down the area

    Before we could try to help the bird
    wing damaged – the beauty unsavable, probably,

    another crow flew in hard and bumped him to the grass
    and the broken bird tried
    to fly and could
    for ten feet
    before tipping sideways and flapping
    desperately to right himself

    and the grid above advanced ten feet
    their calls – organized – intent
    diagonally – sent and received and confirmed

    the bird tried to fly again
    for another bit
    and the community moved forward
    in a flank and into position
    two down near on each side of the street
    hopping ahead with his advance
    – guards

    we don’t know if he made it
    probably not

    If he did or he didn’t
    he was looked after

    those that cared did all they could

  13. Growlighten

    of all the sounds i heard while bathing
    the one that reached me was
    one clear tweet
    – yes-
    clear and strong
    while other birds chatted and pranced; gossiped and sputtered

    i think it is a red bird
    or maybe a girl with a red scarf and bright lips peering
    through the windswept branches

    maybe it is a path who knows
    i know nothing
    intelligence is overrated.

  14. MaggieIrene

    Paced

    I once witnessed my fiftyish dad toss aside
    a rankled newspaper, from his easy chair
    in our living room, like it was a nuisance stalk
    of button weed just yanked from a row
    of soybeans in one of his boss’s fields.

    He turned his aggravated sun-burned face
    back to the Sunday baseball game, resigned.
    He had tried to get a phone number
    scrawled down with his stubby bullet
    pencil pulled from his denim bibs
    breast pocket, but came up short
    before the number left the screen.

    The oldest of eight, my dad’s formal
    education stopped after nine years
    so he could work on the family farm.
    He handled lean finances his entire
    adult life—for his mother (as sub
    for an alcoholic dad), for himself,
    for my mom and our large family.

    He knew how to run the need numbers,
    knew how to be on time with
    end-of-month payments to Hoss,
    our LP dealer, and Bill, the grocer,
    and that sealed envelope pulled
    from the breast pocket of his
    Sunday suit, dropped in the
    collection basket at mass.

    It was nothing more or less than equity,
    a fair distribution of limited income.
    My dad was life smart, handsome,
    steady as one cellar-cooled-beer
    on a hot summer evening,
    with a handshake that
    meant something.

    He was not fast.
    My dad was paced.

  15. lily black

    Intelligence is Sexy

    Mama always said boys
    liked girls who were intelligent
    I studied the philosophers
    the poets the playwrights and the mathematicians
    The boys though
    they liked girls
    who studied 17
    Tiger Beat ‘Teen and
    cheerleading

    She said brains
    meant more than looks
    as she left for the beauty salon
    I read Shakespeare
    waiting for her return
    She read Photoplay
    sitting under the pink dryer
    while her soon to be teased
    rolled hair dried

    Mama said it
    it must be true

  16. Aileane

    Peanut Brittle

    The salty-sweet perfection
    That could build up any connection
    A piece or a mouthful
    Would surely set up the mood

    It’s the taste of thoughtfulness
    Of someone who cares
    Of someone who’s just there
    The taste of love – a breath of fresh air

  17. barbc

    Quest

    We pretended to be spies
    gathering intelligence

    In the olden days, we
    peered through windows,
    studied return addresses on
    unfamiliar envelopes,
    listened in on phone calls.
    Small pieces of information
    gathered carefully like hidden
    blackberries on hillside bushes,
    secretly saved and savored.

    But in the here-and-now
    immediacy overwhelms us.
    Spying, yes, but in the comfort
    of an easy chair, open laptop
    on lap.
    Facebook! Instagram! Snapchat!
    No time to relish or savor
    (envy the dominant theme)
    Then on to the next new thing.

    Still we gather intelligence
    but are we any smarter?

  18. mexmiel

    2018 April PAD Challenge Day 6

    The Chocolate Cake

    I carried a chocolate cake
    down the street to my neighbor
    but she was not there.
    I walked carefully over the stones
    to her unlocked door.
    She could say the rosary
    in three languages
    but she had been arrested
    by the secret police
    and disappeared into the air.
    There was no answer
    only the yellow sundress
    waving on the clothesline
    expecting to be worn another day.

  19. mexmiel

    2018 April PAD Challenge Day 5

    The Spider and the Moth
 a poem in blank verse
    When city streets were lit by natural gas,
    
a black widow spider sat in her web 

    watching a moth crash into a lamp’s glass.
    
“Dear Moth, is that very intelligent?
    
I thought moths had more brains than doing that.”

    Surprised, Moth said, “I fly by light of moon.”

    Spider told Moth, “That light is not the moon.

    Be still and watch the moon rise in the sky.”

    But Moth was fearful that he would be killed.

    “I know the problem, Moth, but I have found

    when I am patient and sit quietly
    
I need no one and I am seldom seen.”
    
“It must be wonderful to be like you 

    who needs no one. It it my destiny

    To always flit about from light to light.”

    They met on many nights. Moth entertained
    
Spider with many stories about flight

    and Moth learned about patience and stillness.
    
One moonless night Moth told Spider his truth.

    “You taught me patience, Spider. Stillness, too. 

    I hope you understand what I must do.” 

    He flew into the flame of the gas lamp

    And Spider comprehended. “We are viewed
    
as nothing more than pests, and yet we sense

    there is an absolute obsessive love.
    
Spider watched him until nothing remained
    
but darkness and the light of stars above.
    
So Spider left and spent her life alone.

  20. cobanionsmith

    Not so Smart

    Aversion to safety gear.

    Mandolins slicers.
    No apron.

    I’ll never do that.
    It’ll be fine.
    It’s fine.
    I’m fine.
    Fine.
    You know what your problem is?

    Just one won’t hurt.
    I deserve this.
    Serving=the container.

    The gym.

    Sunscreen.
    Mosquito spray.
    Dry shampoo.

    Starting the washing machine right before bed.
    Not starting the dishwasher right before bed.
    Electronic devices with Internet access in bed.

    Yelling.
    Not waiting to speak, my turn, on Him.
    Not listening to my gut, God, anyone.

    Not saying I love you enough.
    Saying I love you too soon.
    Never saying I love you.

    I’ll try it on at home.
    Horizontal stripes.
    No girdle.
    Swimwear.
    No socks.
    Thongs.

    Why did you do that?
    What were you thinking?

    I’ll remember.
    You remind me.
    I’ll call you back to reschedule later.

    I’ve still got time.
    Just one more thing.

    Singing.
    Not singing.
    Not practicing.

    Keyboard courage.
    Hitting enter.
    Hitting delete.
    Never backing up.
    Saving everything.

    Click bait.
    Celebrity news.
    24 hours news.
    Talk shows.

    I can afford that.
    I need that.
    It might not be here next time.

    This is all your fault.
    It’s all my fault.
    I’m sorry.

    I’m not sorry.

    Courtney O’Banion Smith
    @cobanionsmith

  21. MutherBear

    I know I know – my ABC’s
    I think I know – hand raised in school
    I just don’t know – can’t find the keys
    I want to know – my sharpest tool

  22. robinamelia

    Wicked Smaht

    All that and brains too—wicked smaht—
    where’d it get her though,
    trapped in this smoky tunnel with us

    you know who else is smart—
    the Devil—yeah—and he’s got the intel
    on everyone—knows how to use it too

    wanna outsmart the old fox?
    try doing what the monk,
    the one with the beard so long he trips on it,

    taught: descend the mind to the heart
    But how? you ask… See, that’s the mind again—
    it can’t help now. The tunnel’s filling up with smoke.

  23. pcm

    House-Cat Intelligence

    Houses like cats seem to know
    when you make a plan to go. They rebel
    with vexations that irk and peeve
    as soon as you’re about to leave:

    upstairs springs a leak
    that sprays from each ceiling light fixture below
    the crawl space floods
    and front door lock refuses to hold

    though for years water flowed calm and contained
    it drained where directed without indoor rain
    the crawl space stood strong opposing all entropy

    the door obliged your entry and exits with ease
    without lacking security, you came and went as you pleased
    home shielded from chaos, maintained order, tranquility

    assured your repose, the thought, “No one can bother me”
    the way a cat’s purr conjures the illusion of mastery
    but now that you are about to depart, the tempest of nature

    once again plays a part for your home revolts when you roam
    and it lets you know you’re not the master, nor in control
    where before what reigned was your benevolent sovereignty

    you now have leaks and puddles and threats of hostility
    your once calm destination has become mercurial
    behold your tidy feline using your shoe for a urinal.

    ~ pcm
    @pcmoffatt

  24. billkirkwrites

    Decision Support
    By Bill Kirk

    Intel! We need Intel in here! Come on!
    What’s the Scoop! That’s right—
    Let’s have the poop! The 4-1-1!
    Spill it! And make it snappy!
    Forget all the fluff; we just need the stuff.

    Hey, man. We’re under the gun here!
    This ain’t the time for nice-to-haves.
    What are you waiting for?
    It’s “Go” or “No-Go”!
    Pull the trigger or pull the plug!
    The decision can’t wait.

    Gotta git with what we got
    And hope for the best!
    What’s the hold up?
    We’re dyin’ in here!

    Finally!
    Someone’s callin’ it in! …

    Yeah! That’s right!

    Peperoni, sausage,
    Mushrooms, peppers and olives.
    Yeah, and thick crust with extra cheese!
    STAT!

  25. Valkyri

    Reposting, as I don’t see the original post here. If it disappears, I can only presume that something I wrote in it is breaking the rules, though I cannot imagine what it may be… Sorry if this is a doubled up post!

    Intelligence

    “How could they have accomplished this,
    so many thousands of years ago?”
    Your questions are asked ad infinitum…

    “The architecture, the geometry,
    the statues and gardens and the hardened steel
    that no one can replicate to this day?”

    The Antikythera Mechanism, two thousand years old,
    an example, a marvel of the ancient Greeks…
    30 bronze gears, the world’s first computer.

    I asked you, “Were they men? Mankind, like us?!?
    You answered, “Yes, of course.”
    My reply to you, “They were as intelligent then, as we are now! No doubt.”

  26. Smruti

    On meeting someone

    There is a game of the ego
    All around
    Who is more intelligent?

    Every interaction
    Are empty discussions
    On who knows how much
    Everyone trying to
    Prove their supremity of information
    Everyone’s talking
    But who is listening

    Can there be love
    when we meet eye to eye
    Can there be joy
    in the gifted oppurtunity of meeting
    Can there be empathy
    in understanding
    Can there be compassion
    for encouragement

    Can we be wholly present
    And intend to grow
    by connecting with the
    intelligence of one another

  27. Valkyri

    Intelligence

    “How could they have accomplished this,
    so many thousands of years ago?”
    Your questions are asked ad infinitum…

    “The architecture, the geometry,
    the statues and gardens and the hardened steel
    that no one can replicate to this day?”

    The Antikythera Mechanism, two thousand years old,
    an example, a marvel of the ancient Greeks…
    30 bronze gears, the world’s first computer.

    I asked you, “Were they men? Mankind, like us?!?
    You answered, “Yes, of course.”
    My reply to you, “As intelligent as we are, then, no doubt.”

  28. grcran

    twin smells. intense.
    rebels against.
    intelligentsia.
    bicycle speed.
    soft trickle. heed.
    encyclopedia.
    inelegance.
    irreverence.
    irrelevancia.

    gpr crane

  29. Linda Voit

    Intelligence

    Intelligence would have been
    starting a poem
    before one’s metaphors
    have called it a night
    and one’s clichés
    have come out to play.

    Linda Voit

  30. Bruce Niedt

    This one was inspired by a black-and-white photo, which you can see on my blog (bniedt.blogspot.com).

    The One Tree
    (after a photo by Colin Jennings)

    all your wisdom shines
    backlit through your leaves
    as you stand proudly near the horizon
    amongst miles of corn rows
    fence posts and dirt roads
    all diminishing toward you

    you have grown here to impress
    and nothing for miles around
    has reached your heights
    yet there is little you have done
    except stand alone in a field
    waiting for the lightning to strike

    but isolation is like dry rot
    and unless you have shared your shade
    or your hanging fruit of knowledge
    for the betterment of the world
    they may not remember you long
    after they plow your stump under

  31. Nick

    Love not taught

    a Rainy night in Georgia
    the record played
    for one week straight
    “and I think its raining all over the world.”

    there is no fear in grief,
    All seals broken,
    rain seeping inside
    the passenger seat

    how love could be so smart
    to change the DNA, transmuted
    by life, invisible, air becoming
    breath before there was a beginning.

    Before I was born in her womb
    Before my Dad married her
    Before I knew the words
    and all the rain in Georgia.

  32. JoMae

    Things We Know

    Some things we know without being taught
    that birthdays are special
    that babies are small

    when mother is missing
    it makes one forlorn –
    is cause for alarm

    that sometimes
    crying helps

    and that birthdays in April
    ought not expect snow!

    JoMae
    4/5/18
    (a cold snowy April day)
    #aprpad

  33. acele

    The Lesson

    “You are a very smart boy”
    her words as sweet summer rain
    Fell on small
    thirsty ears

    All five years of his life
    a drought of neglect
    scorched by an occasional
    “What are you stupid?”

    He shot a stony
    disbelieving stare
    But it dissolved in the pools
    of her clear blue eyes

  34. kevinwiatrowski

    Common Sense

    No reader, my father is
    A man of his hands —
    The kind of guy who
    Casts a jaundiced eye on
    Book learning, preferring
    Rough-hewn knowledge earned
    From smashed thumbs and
    Cuffs filled with sawdust.
    He can add easily by eighths and
    Needs no dead Greek philosopher
    To find the right angle.

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