Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 274

If you missed it, I released a list of 50 poetic forms on Monday. Find the usual suspects (like the sestina and haiku) sprinkled with the unusual suspects (like the paradelle and shadorma). Click here to check out the full list.

For this week’s prompt, write a disappointment poem. If you’ve never encountered disappointment, I really don’t know what to tell you. Maybe take the week off? Maybe write about how disappointed you are to have never been disappointed? For the rest of us, this prompt should deliver a tsunami of memories, moments, images, etc. Ready or not, here we go.

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Here’s my attempt at a Disappointment Poem:


so many numbers & combinations

yet i never seem to stumble across them

or even remotely challenge to win the prize

but still i purchase the ticket because somebody

has to be the loser to help someone else win


roberttwitterimageRobert 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, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Robert has been a featured poet at events across the country and is married to poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets. He’s written and shared more than 600 original poems on this blog over the years.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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333 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 274

  1. Shennon

    Another shooting star
    Another birthday wish
    Another dandelion puff
    Another penny in a well.

    Now I’m a penny poorer
    The weed just made me sneeze
    The birthday made me older
    The star, it only fell.


    1. BDP

      Shennon: I like how you begin the second stanza with the penny after ending the first stanza with it, and then you work back to the beginning where the narrator is wishing upon a star. A bookends poem! And that star, “it only fell.” A disappointment.

  2. James Von Hendy

    The Old Dog Thinks He’s Still a Pup

    The neighbor’s dog comes bounding down the hill,
    All copper fur and slavering joy, a pine cone
    Clenched between his teeth.
    He wants to play
    His game of keep-away and fetch. His eager eyes
    Are brown and locked on mine. A question clouds
    His gaze. He tilts his head
    and waits a beat
    Before he pushes his wet nose into my hand,
    But it’s no use. Already it’s past dusk. He’s lost
    His distance vision, his hearing’s bad.
    His tail helicopters with hope, his clenched jaw
    Strong, his legs willing, but there’s no game
    Tonight. He’d just chase his tail
    And whine,
    Come back, confused, bewildered, and
    Lift a paw, disappointment clouding his eyes.

    1. James Von Hendy

      OK, let’s try this again.

      Disappointed Dog

      The neighbor’s dog comes bounding down the hill,
      all copper fur and slavering joy, a pine cone
      clenched between his teeth.

      You’d think he was
      A pup until you see his grizzled face. He still wants
      to play his game of keep-away

      and fetch. His eager eyes
      Are brown and locked on mine. A question clouds
      His gaze. He tilts his head

      and waits a beat
      Before he pushes his wet nose into my hand,
      But it’s no use. Already it’s past dusk.

      Cataracts cloud
      His vision, his hearing’s bad. His tail helicopters with hope,
      His clenched jaw strong, his legs
      willing, but when
      I throw a ball he bounds in circles, unsure where to run.
      There’s no game tonight. He chases
      his tail and comes back.
      Confused, bewildered, he whines and lifts a paw,
      Disappointment clouding his big brown eyes.

      1. BDP

        I like this, James–it feels so accurate. I’m there, rooting for the dog. And I also think it says something about humans getting old, all the more so because I spent yesterday with my nearly 90-year-old mother-in-law. There’s still the joy of youth in her, but her body no longer can participate. Thanks for this.

  3. BDP

    “Not You But Me”

    Sometimes the story pricks, infects: just right
    swells up to not-so. Polo-shirted Jack
    in ironed jeans strolls past my porch, Jill’s quite
    starched crisp in A-line skirt and blouse. The black

    perambulator sways and mutt on leash
    keeps time. Such strolling domesticity!
    But me? Well, I adore couch cats. Dog beasts
    (in this case twig legs, smished face, colicky

    squeaks) take up too much space. A knife-edge pressed
    clothes crease cliché, this couple with their tans.
    Is there a baby in that satin nest,
    really? Truth is, I’m disappointed other than

    with them. I sport a bruised, hard grudge, my ring
    gone, hand ballooned, love ending with a sting.

    –Barb Peters

  4. Cynthia Page

    Evil Blessings

    I love getting what I ask for, especially
    when the powers that be know
    what is best better than I.
    I wrote to my state representatives that
    I need time off from work to vote
    on primary and election Tuesdays.
    They solved my problem with
    voting IDs and reduced voting hours.
    Hooray. :( Now I don’t need time off
    because I don’t have the ID,
    or transportation to reach
    the courthouse to buy documents
    that I can’t afford. But you see,
    since they moved voting locations
    to places unreachable by bus,
    I could not get there anyway.
    Problem solved.

    My elected representatives
    solved my problem so easily
    I decided it was time to ask
    for a few more things that
    are within their power to grant.
    I complained that my congressman
    was voting against the interests
    of voters in our district.
    Once again, they obliged by changing
    the boundaries of our district,
    so that all the poor in our state
    have the same congressman.
    Now our congressman votes
    in our interest, though his is
    the only dissenting vote.

    They were batting 1,000, so I went on.
    I told my new congressman the only
    accesses to low cost women’s healthcare
    were in affluent cities in our state,
    which I thought unfair. He took
    my issue to the state senate floor
    and argued for increased funds.
    Lo and behold they fixed it
    and made access more equal
    by closing all but one clinic
    in the state. Now everyone has
    equal access, though the wait
    for appointments is three months.

    If I did not know better
    I would suspect our state Reps
    want to get rid of us rather than
    hearing our voices. It’s so sad
    that there was another young man
    shot by authorities today.
    Apparently he was exercising
    his right to exist by walking
    up the street to his home.
    I guess that must now be illegal,
    punishable by an immediate
    death sentence. I understand now.
    You see, they are saving our tax dollars
    normally spent on convicting
    and incarcerating criminals.
    They are so fiscally conscious
    that we will all die before our time,
    therefore saving the state
    for all costs except a paupers’ grave.

    1. Cynthia Page

      (I have two stanzas to add to this. They go just above the last stanza already posted.)

      I tried to get help for our
      homeless veterans who camp out
      on the river in town. These men
      need housing, food, and our
      Veterans’ Hospital needs doctors.
      Soon the homeless men were gone.
      It’s now illegal to sleep in a tent,
      and our pastor was arrested
      for feeding hungry multitudes.
      Lastly, not to be outdone,
      the hospital took action.
      All those men who are dying
      of cancer from military exposure,
      now have grave markers prepared
      in advance.

      I alerted our governor about
      a humanitarian crisis at our
      sovereign southern border.
      There are children appearing
      out of the desert at borders
      all over the south. Poor things,
      they need sanctuary, food and homes.
      When they heard my plea,
      our governors took charge, sending
      militiamen to give them advice.
      They stand at the border with guns
      and direct babies and toddlers
      toward shelter thousands of miles
      back across three countries full of killers.
      The governors say the young ones
      we don’t house in kennel cages
      know that our doors are closed now.

  5. Marie Therese Knepper

    Low Expectations
    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    I’m not mad at you
    I’m mad
    At you –
    The not knowing you
    The disappointment of

    What did I expect
    A god; a servant clown.
    You made me laugh
    So what?
    I liked myself
    When I laughed

    How much was your life worth –
    More than being
    Silly –
    You fool.
    That’s why I’m mad
    About you.

    I think I’m sad
    Sad for the loss of
    Youth’s innocence –
    Hollywood productions –
    Glittering stars –
    A perfect world.

    Now here I am old.
    Old enough to know
    That wishing doesn’t
    Make it so.
    Silly little ant,
    Times have changed.

  6. Amy


    On the eve of womanhood in tender years past
    On the boardwalk I strolled
    With my love.
    Hand in hand or arm in arm you’d think,
    But he didn’t know, you see,
    That his true love was me.
    We walked instead, with a distance
    that spread to silence.

    The boards were rough beneath my feet
    And from them the day’s heat arose,
    Curling around my ankles and rising higher
    When our hands brushed.
    I looked to see did he feel the same but further away he’d moved,
    Wiping his hand upon his shorts.
    My own hand I curled protectively
    Around the tingle his touch provoked.

    Still, onward we walked, the sea breeze cool
    Upon flushed cheeks,
    As twilight deepened and sunset’s beauty
    Made the sky blush.
    How could he not be moved to see
    That I his true love could be?

    As the surf ebbed and flowed and whitecaps peaked,
    The pier it trembled rhythmically,
    Matching the flutter of my heart within my breast.
    For I hoped, however hopelessly,
    That my love would now embrace me,
    And my lips I readied for his kiss.
    Instead he turned to face the painted sea and closed his eyes,
    Blind to its beauty.

    I turned away from him to ease my heart and gaze about
    And saw worn planks and rusted rails.
    This pier had weathered many storms and would stand through many more to come,
    As must I.
    So from my love I turned away
    In disappointment,
    And walked back toward the shore
    And solid ground,
    Letting the sea breeze cool my ardor
    And erase him from my mind.

  7. drnurit


    By: Nurit Israeli

    When I am pushed onward,
    beyond this beloved earth,
    flowers will still bloom
    summer after summer.

    Other people will dream,
    and try, and fall in love
    as if they’ll live forever,
    when I no longer can.

    An arrow of time, due to
    force me out, is making
    its way from a cusp
    between Here and There.

    But like a skydiver halted
    at the edge, reluctant to leap,
    I keep a tight grip on the rails,
    stalling –

    not rushing to find out
    what happens when I let go.

    1. usedname

      Thanks for sharing this poem. When reading this i thought of the obvious disapointment of death but what struck me more was the fear of death, of disappointment. It sort of reminded me of the tense feeling of waiting for a balloon to pop and the sense of disappointment after.

    2. TomNeal

      flowers will still bloom
      summer after summer.

      Other people will dream,
      and try, and fall in love
      as if they’ll live forever,
      when I no longer can.

      Your opening stanzas brought George Harrison’s wonderful lyric to mind:

      “and life flows ON within you and without you.”

      “‘When I am pushed onward”? Even if I don’t detect it, am I not being pushed onward even now? “The flowers will still bloom,” as they have always bloomed, and will continue to bloom. The enjambment creates a space for the present to be linked with the future. Life is going on without (outside) and will continue to go on without (when the “I” has been pushed beyond). (“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”)

      And yet . . .

      1. drnurit

        Thank you, Tom, for the interesting feedback that stimulates me to look again at my own words. Yes, I am being “pushed onward” even now, but (thankfully) not yet “beyond this beloved earth”. I love your 2 interpretations of “outside” – though I have much more say about the outside that is outdoors – I am the one planting these flowers that keep on blooming… And yes, there is no new thing under the sun, yet I love so much of what is there – somehow new to me every day – with a passion, in spite…

  8. lionetravail

    I wish my eyes were upland lakes,
    ready to spill waterfalls to be dashed
    onto the sharp escarpments below,
    sending turbulent flow down time-etched courses.

    I wish my lungs were deep gorges,
    nestled between sharp, jutting peaks,
    that wind could shriek through them sharply enough
    to carve stone with its stark loneliness.

    I wish my lips were a parched desert,
    everything sweet and full leached away to harsh bitterness,
    keening an obsequise over the dessicated things
    which have passed through to unremarked death.

    My heart I would not change by a single beat,
    that I never grow accustomed to the raw beauty of desperate loss.

      1. lionetravail

        Many thanks, Robert- I am, from time to time, mindful of the beauty of things or events which break my heart. I was so happy to find a way to articulate that, for me.

  9. MsGenuineLady

    Anxiously anticipating our first kiss,
    Patiently awaiting the touch of your lips,
    Staring deep into your eyes
    I feel my smile start to rise
    My heart is beating harder and faster, I feel so alive,
    Instead of a kiss you say

  10. Marie Therese Knepper


    I’m disappointed
    I’m trapped in a box

    With no locks
    And I’m the key

    To freedom.

    If I could get out of
    My own way –

    I see the light
    But fear no walls

    Perhaps if I start
    With a pen knife
    Carving portholes…

    Marie-Therese Knepper

  11. Benjamin Thomas


    Together let’s stand;
    against the war on our trees,
    lest we siphon nature’s life-breath,
    and seize her breeze.

    Together let’s stand,
    not cutting down our own trees.
    Do we yet misunderstand?
    With all the pomp and high degrees?

    Benjamin Thomas

  12. gloryia

    My Disappointment

    How could you
    Let me down again
    You promised, yes you did
    I believed you, yes I did
    But I’m a fool, and know it
    And you – your my disappointment

  13. Benjamin Thomas


    The Earth is drained
    of delight
    teetering hopes fall
    hard to the earth

    They die
    eaten by the opportunistic
    worms of the day

    Peace has become
    a cracked egg
    eaten alive by
    slipshod vultures

    Violence is let loose
    like a pent up bull
    preying a target
    upon it’s way

    Justice is no longer understood
    conscience is bankrupt of all good
    corruption has become the standard
    and pride flourishes like gangrene

    Benjamin Thomas

  14. Jane Shlensky

    New School Year

    Every time a legislator
    freezes pay for educators
    as he toughens prison terms,
    I’m disappointed.

    As a teacher citizen,
    I well know the mess we’re in,
    when elected leaders scapegoat
    those anointed

    to teach the nation’s young
    skills our leaders long have flung
    into pits where grammar/logic
    goes to fester.

    Why I’m hopeful, I can’t say.
    Every ass will have its day;
    fools can learn (this mantra say)
    through each semester.

  15. Jane Shlensky


    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love while memories were few—
    imagination, longing, spit, and glue.

    Remembered laughter made him hers alone;
    embracing ghosts of joy, her passion grew.
    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love while memories were few.

    Reality is seldom halcyon,
    though he was much improved while out of view.
    Men can’t compete with dreams and follow through.
    She missed him long before his plane had gone
    and built true love while memories were few—
    imagination, longing, spit, and glue.

  16. Michele Brenton


    You handle things your way
    loudness, fury, tears,
    nobody can mistake
    exactly how you feel
    because soon they feel
    it too.
    I wonder what makes
    some people
    honest like that,
    able to release
    the tension
    onto others.

    I resent it because
    I am the one it
    lands on
    and my way
    is to smile
    make the best
    or try at least
    to bear my
    and contain its
    within my boundaries.

    And both ways
    harm me
    and I have no idea
    how to make the best
    out of that.

    Michele Brenton 8th August 2014.

  17. gmagrady


    It had to be it!
    Pink crisp paper wrapped around
    the perfect sized box.

    Her chubby fingers
    ripped at the folded creases
    and her joyful eyes

    bounced around, gleeful,
    until the shreds revealed truth—
    not “it”, a knock-off.

    She opened the box
    and lifted the doll gently,
    cradling the babe,

    and saying “thank-you”
    to Mom who tugged at empty
    pockets. “You’re welcome.”

  18. Cameron Steele


    i keep wanting to search through old emails
    and find the right words for the right second
    always used to do that
    still do that
    this looking in this staring down
    the rounded skin
    of my belly this pretending
    that my skin rounds out gently
    so ill have something to pout about
    later something to blame the
    rage on doesnt every woman
    at some point whether she wants
    kids or not wish she were pregnant
    just to feel like her sweat is a glow
    just to be able to bow out early
    and call it gracious
    (blow out early and call it fellatio)
    just so she won’t she won’t have to say no to a third
    cookie or a random fuck
    in the back room of some old
    house people think is romantic enough
    to marry in?

    i keep asking myself
    how do i know i am a human being
    and not a robot how do i know
    i am more real than my dogs
    is it because i have opposable thumbs
    and can text dumb things to my boyfriend
    “where are you” and “I know you think she’s
    prettier than me because you liked her Facebook
    status about Botticelli” and I’ll
    jab it all out in lowercase letters
    with my furious thumbs and end it with a period
    because that’s how
    you communicate anger in love in this week and the next.
    Only you could twist the birth of venus
    into a shriveling thing into a statement
    on the male gaze a statement of the male gaze
    but even i know i will be lying
    because we’ve all been programmed
    me perhaps most of all with my yearning for fertility
    and mulligans and men to cast my old hashtags on.

    i keep wondering what ill find outside of myself
    and how if its really in the neuroses of someone
    else because really the thickening of your neck has been a better
    mirror for my own ugliness and soon enough i and every
    other woman will realize that wrapping yourself around
    a man in a barn filled with iphones and indie tunes
    is hardly a way to escape your own skin and the words
    ballooning against the cobby rafters but never thick enough to burst.

  19. taylor graham

    for Loki

    Shock. Surely the pup was an imposter.
    Four months old, with papers. But no tail-wag –
    she was a pistol, cartridge in the chamber;
    jaws in constant motion. “No teeth on skin!”
    Not even housebroken, the little wench. Barking
    at anything within her range of vision; missing
    nothing. Stronger than three dogs twice her size,
    she’d drag me on leash wherever she meant to go.
    My disappointment immense, my resolve
    weakening. Should I recant and send her back?
    Take her to the shelter, hand her over
    to a stranger? But already she’d learned to
    decipher whole sentences. “I wonder
    what happened to the rawhide bone?” She raced
    down the hall, leaped on the bed, dug her
    treasure from where she buried it, under my
    pillow. That look in her eye: “Take me with you,
    I’ll show you the world!” For Valentine’s Day,
    a biscuit in shape of a bone. She took it gently
    from my hand; then grinned with snappy
    love-bites in the air. The world she shows me –
    not at all the world I thought I knew.

  20. Amaria

    I wanted to avoid your eyes
    knowing that you would see my fear
    After you told me your goodbyes
    I slowly drowned in my own tears

    I could not erase all the lies
    that I told you to keep you near
    When you left by the first daylight
    I slowly drowned in my own tears

  21. Amaria

    we had such high hopes
    but they withered all away
    under the scorching high sun
    though you tried your best
    to hold onto my hand
    the pressure was too great
    we were violently torn apart
    like the trees in hurricanes
    yet I still find myself
    waiting along the shore lines
    in anticipation of seeing your
    again under the blue skies
    but they day always end
    in such disappointment

  22. candy

    Dining Disappointment

    It must be him, incognito.
    I recognize the white hair-
    although it is much shorter
    than in December, but the
    ends curl and wave as I
    The brown plaid shirt is not
    very festive- no fur collar, not
    a speck of red velvet -and shorts,
    But I know those blue eyes with
    laugh crinkles at the corners.
    I see his belly jiggle, just a little,
    when he laughs.
    It must be him but that’s not the
    Missus beside him at the table
    next to ours. She is skinny with brown over-styled locks and
    no sign of a twinkle in her brown eyes hiding behind brown rimmed
    Oh, Santa!

  23. shellcook

    The Needing

    Be there for him,
    the aim to please an instinct
    I cannot shake.

    impossibly waiting for a sign of approval
    from the silent shadow at my door
    I accept this sadness,
    a silent weeping,
    at the bottom of my soul,
    filling up my reservoir
    of strength with need.

    Copyright 2014 @ Anne Michelle Cook

  24. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Hello all,
    I’m hoping for some input on another poem. It is not a disappointment poem. I wrote this poem in alphabet form for a keepsake alphabet book for my grand daughter. I would like this to be the dedication in the book.
    Would you please offer your talents and critique. Thanks

    Letters of the Alphabet

    Created for you,
    During a fun afternoon,
    Event with,
    Family and Friends,
    Gathered to celebrate,
    Happy to be,
    Included at the party,
    Just for you,
    Love and special wishes,
    Magical moments,
    Neatly finished,
    One of a kind,
    Page after page,
    Quick to learn,
    Read and write,
    Share together,
    Until you grow,
    Very smart,
    Waltz through life,
    Xylophone playing,
    Your tune,
    Zoom, Zoom.

      1. LeeAnne Ellyett

        Thank you for the kind words and encouragement!!
        I think I will make the change you suggest, it does flow.
        To PressOn, William, thank you for your constant comments of support since the beginning.
        Your input is highly regarded in my books. Congratulations on your 2nd Poet Laureate!!!!!

  25. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Disappointed Looks

    You know the ones I mean,
    That come from Mother’s eyes,

    Eyebrow raised, eyeballs rolling,
    Peering over glasses and down her nose,

    Eyes that sear with rage,
    Eyes that fill with fear,
    Eyes that quiver with tears,

    Then – no judgement, expression,
    What is this look?
    You’re eyes speak out loud,

    Eyes alight, bright,
    With laugh lines, genuine,

    The eyes of love,
    See past the disappointments.

  26. Marie Therese Knepper

    Change of Focus

    Panorama shot
    All crime no punishment
    Such a disappointment
    Switch to zoom
    Helping hands ease a burden

    Too close
    Famished children no bread
    Seething disappointment
    Angle wider
    No-winged angels filling baskets

    In and out
    Circles of confusion
    Dancing with disappointments
    Blurred vision
    Must change focus

    Marie-Therese Kneppper

  27. grcran

    Proud Father

    Disappointment spoke to him, it said You love your son
    You hoped he’d be an engineer He didn’t get it done
    You wish he’d married better, perhaps chosen nicer clothes
    For years he let his hair grow out He struck a hippie pose
    Then he became a teacher, in public school no less
    And still you failed to praise your son, not proud of him I guess

    Replying, Dad carped He could do most anything at all
    He played around, chose unwisely, had trouble, then he’d call
    That son was wasteful, pissed away on his God-given gifts
    Yet here am I at sixty and I’m working double shifts

    Then Disappointment changed its tone Well aren’t you something else?
    Your son is dead now Here you are You’re thinking of yourself
    Dawn started this, to find the end at setting of the sun
    Dad knew at last his love had lost and Disapointment won

    by gpr crane

    1. grcran

      disappointed in myself, put wrong version up, 2 errors, sorry… here’s the corrected:

      Proud Father

      Disappointment spoke to him, it said You love your son
      You hoped he’d be an engineer He didn’t get it done
      You wish he’d married better, perhaps chosen nicer clothes
      For years he let his hair grow out He struck a hippie pose
      Then he became a teacher, in public school no less
      And still you failed to praise your son, not proud of him I guess

      Replying, Dad carped He could do most anything at all
      He chose unwisely, played around, met trouble, then he’d call
      That son was wasteful, pissed away on his God-given gifts
      Yet here am I at sixty and I’m working double shifts

      Then Disappointment changed its tone Well aren’t you something else?
      Your son is dead now Here you are You’re thinking of yourself
      Dawn started this, to find the end at setting of the sun
      Dad knew at last his love had lost and Disappointment won

      by gpr crane

  28. De Jackson


    Life can be a let down,
            (hair, dreams, all)
    no matter how tall
    your tower.

    Don’t offer yourself
    as a ladder
    to any man
    just because he calls,
    until he’s braided his own
    through your strands.

    You’re made of more
    than moon-dipped tresses
    and flowing dresses,
    golden stair falling

    Don’t just wait
    to be rescued; want
    to be


    1. PressOn

      I was laughing so much at the first line, it took me a while to settle down and appreciate the wisdom of the rest of the poem. Wonderful, but then, all your work is like that.

  29. Cynthia Page

    Our Big Mistake

    Northern California –
    the ultimate golden goal.
    Escape from city chaos
    seemed good for the soul.
    You will love this town,
    these people, and the land.
    On the farm, you’ll work hard;
    they need more willing hands.

    Visions formed: weeding
    a neat radish row,
    and tender carrot
    shoots with a hoe;
    little sticks to prop up
    laden tomato shoots;
    chins dripping juice
    from harvested fruits.

    The last day’s drive there
    was through endless forest
    with clean crisp autumn air.
    Our arrival was a let down
    from what we expected.
    The stench that greeted us
    implied something neglected.
    On a (‘surprise, it’s a pig) farm,’
    that’s ominous.

    Before we reached the front door,
    skirting around trash heaps,
    we came across a long-dead boar.
    I suppose it’s needless to say
    our disappointment was not
    the reason we did not stay
    on the neglected, and deadly pig lot.

    1. Dorothy's Daughter

      Nicely done. I like how you build up the hope and fantasy of what it will be. It sounds so idyllic and then when you contrast it against the stench and dead pig etc, it clashes so well. Worlds collide so to speak. I know this feeling well. Hoping a new place will work out and then when it doesn’t there’s a big pit of despair in your gut.

  30. Mariya Koleva

    The Morning After
    I drank a full bottle of vodka with you
    staring in your eyes, taking in all your words
    of encouragement,
    while listening to the Sisters of Mercy,
    getting convinced by a perfectly stoned girl
    that is perfection itself,
    and was violently sick and stupid,

    after I found my idiotic crescendo
    in an attempted chat with
    my new replacement,

    I woke up, my head – the battleground
    for millions exclusively armed with cannons,

    to see you having coffee and small talk
    with her again
    gossiping about my
    first time

    The perfectly stoned Sisters of Mercy fan
    nowhere to be seen.

    1. Dorothy's Daughter

      I like the battleground imagery for the hangover and the mentioning of Sisters of Mercy is funny. Since the woman in the poem is supposed to be a Sister of Mercy so to speak and then turns out to not be that way. Well done.

  31. Azma


    Food felt like thorns through my throat of satin
    The house whispered like a ghost, of your absence
    Patches on the bedroom ceiling were noticed for the first time
    My favorite show on TV got on my nerves
    You left saying you’d be back soon
    but with you, a part of me left too

  32. Sara McNulty

    A Must See

    Everyone was talking
    about the new film,
    a blockbuster, an academy
    award shoe-in. Ads blasted
    across the television screen,
    life-size posters were glued
    to the sides of buses. Therein
    lie the problem. How could any
    movie ever measure up
    to the incredible hype?
    I broke down, went to see it,
    and I probably remain
    the only person I know
    who absolutely hated it.

  33. nitapita


    I’m disappointed
    But, mostly with myself
    I put myself out there
    Displayed upon a shelf

    Waiting for judgment
    From those that can not see
    Wishing for acceptance
    I know will never be

  34. Dorothy's Daughter

    I Was Thinking of You

    Hours on the road
    alone with music
    songs I can’t usually listen to
    lest they tarnish young ears

    But today
    I am allowed
    Just a grown woman
    listening to the seductive
    tunes of Prince.

    Of course you enter
    my mind
    and I can’t say
    all my thoughts are chaste

    But that’s not all
    sweet moments haunt
    my mind too. I feel
    so much love.

    When I am finally home
    my eyes tired from
    watching the pavement
    I am ready to drink
    you in.

    But you
    are in a foul state.
    You words are curt
    and they snip the cords
    of my good mood balloon.

    I guess I will be snuggling
    with my novel
    yet again

  35. PKP

    Azalea Plant

    They wheel her down
    the corridor toward
    the looming automatic
    door opening outward
    to a new life with only
    an azalea plant
    she cut off the congratulations ribbon
    stuck her nail in the baby balloon
    left the stuffed bears and smiles
    up in Maternity
    mother only to this
    azalea plant who she
    just could not bear to
    to die

  36. seingraham

    Life’s Little Disappointments

    When do they stop being a pain in the ass?
    Your kids, I mean…or do they ever…I guess not.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love my daughters to distraction
    And for the most part am happy with the people
    they have grown up to be, but every now and again
    they do something so beyond the pale, I wonder
    if they can possibly have my DNA, or their father’s.

    Fortunately, this rarely happens in congruence…
    What I mean to say, is it’s infrequent it’s the two
    of them together, not like it was when they
    were little and we felt ganged up upon…
    No, since they’ve been adults, if anything
    They are most often at each other,
    and that’s a big part of the problem,

    These two girls who, for all their squabbles,
    grew up virtually as best friends, now seem unable
    to get along at all. Women who I thought
    would always have each other’s backs when
    push came to shove, seem able to turn said backs
    and walk away, no matter how much suffering
    their sibling is in.

    In a word…disappointing.

      1. seingraham

        Thanks all for your comments. Yes, disappointing is really too mild a word. Heart-breaking covers it more accurately. It just keeps getting worse too. As we try to
        mediate, one is sure we’re siding with the other when all we really want is for the family to be whole again…now our grandchildren are being used as leverage. Had anyone ever told me we’d find ourselves in this situation, I’d have protested vehemently to the contrary, that there’d be no way – we were such a close family, we would always find a way to work things out. Now look. It’s very sad.

  37. Julieann


    I waited by my window
    Watching the world go by
    He said he’d be right over
    But he didn’t say why

    Minutes turned into hours
    I was left to wonder why
    He said he’d be right over
    He’d come right on by

    Now it’s way, way late
    He said he’s coming by
    He said he’d be right over
    I’m left to wonder why

  38. Amaria

    I thought the sun revolved around you
    I would be forever safe in your embrace
    But in time I learned the painful truth
    I was just tricked by your poker face

    So now my days are filled with gloom
    I no longer want to join the chase
    I should have known your words were untrue
    And now my heart withers and wastes away

  39. icandootoo

    While I have never submitted anything for publication, I hear it can be a soul-sucking and deeply depressing experience. I can only think of one other thing worse…


    Another ‘no’ goes to the right
    I frown and heave a sigh:
    It ends the same
    This futile game.
    I frown and heave a sigh.

    The desk is filling up, and I,
    I cannot bear the weight
    (The heavy sum)
    Of ‘no’’s which come
    I cannot bear the weight

    A good response has come – too late:
    My mind and pen are numb.
    I find with fright,
    I cannot write.
    My mind and pen are numb.

    I groan with angst: my mind is dumb,
    My muse has taken flight.
    Another guy
    Will write, but I…
    My muse has taken flight.

  40. candy

    Piano Lessons

    She tried for weeks and
    months to teach rudimentary
    skills – right hand – left hand-
    notes and chords

    I tried for weeks and
    months to translate those
    lessons into song
    She tried

    I cried
    We both gave up
    I wonder who was the
    most disappointed

    1. BDP

      I am definitely the “she” in this poem, way back when. Try as I may, I failed at piano lessons. This brought back that memory, and I enjoyed revisiting my piano teacher’s home. Thanks.

  41. Connie Peters

    What Could Have Been

    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in
    A few more months and then we would begin

    We raised our kids, with love, as life unfurled
    We, hand in hand, survived through thick and thin
    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in

    But with your sudden death our dreams were hurled
    I’m feeling like a stranger in my skin
    And now I think about what could have been
    We dreamed of traveling around the world
    For all the years of labor we put in
    A few more months and then we would begin

  42. Arash

    The Cure

    by Arash

    I’ve waited for death

    like a barren land for rain

    a child hurting, for height

    for heroes, souls in chain.

    In my perverse nightmares,

    the cure is the pain.

  43. lina

    Summer Be Gone!

    I thought the shoes would fit
    right size
    right color (rainbow)
    handmade American
    for summertime
    at the beach.
    But the shoes
    nice style
    nice price
    the shoes don’t fit
    this summer of no beach
    no new shoes
    nothing but rotten

    1. Dorothy's Daughter

      Nice! I too have been vexed by cute cheap shoes that hurt me later. Glad you wrote a poem about it. I wish I’d thought of that! Great job.

  44. Nas

    Since childhood’s hour I thought I saw
    In the empty reflection
    A valley to be filled
    With wild flowers,
    lush waters
    A tableau blanc
    Awaiting the painter’s hand
    Patiently, the canvas stood unmarked
    Until the realization the artist was me
    Oh, the time come and gone— to only know the color white
    The late burgeoning blossom is the most beautiful,
    They say.
    Hope they’re right.

    1. usedname

      Wow I can really relate to this.I get this feeling a lot! I can clearly see an image in my mind yet it never really translates onto paper. This disappointment i feel is the most bitter sweet,as it still gives me courage to try again.

    2. Dorothy's Daughter

      I like this poem a lot. That feeling I think haunts many of us artistic types. You’ve used a lovely buffet of vocabulary words to convey it. Well done!

  45. usedname

    In those moments of silence,
    when I alone am lost in quiet,
    Wrapt under the thick folds of my mind,
    a lingering chorus resonates,
    beyond the hold of sleep,

    Do you like me?

    With the white ceiling, white canvas,
    smooth and unsettled
    fragments of your image collide,
    memories in black and white
    painted with a child’s heart.

    Do you even like me?

    A batter bruised soul,
    hides behind the facade of innocent love,
    The hope you’ll heal it fides away,
    as the years stretch between us,
    Each day I live unstill, waiting for an answer,

    Did you even like me?

    One springs bliss,
    of fevrent smiles,
    conversation, glances, expectations,
    Are blistered by winters chill, when you left that day
    the white skies your only witness,

    Did you ever love me?

    These pitiful lips which never uttered
    my only wish,
    so lost and unfulfilled,
    i am left here in the silent and still,
    wondering, wanting and disappointed.

    1. Nas

      “In those moments of silence/ when I alone am lost in quiet/ Wrapt under the thick folds of my mind/
      a lingering chorus resonates/ beyond the hold of sleep.”

      Loved that intro! I both saw it (in my own memory) and felt it. I like the image of the mind as a suffocating blanket. And the last sentiment, “These pitiful lips which never uttered my only wish” recalls memories of one’s own self-induced disappointment.

    2. Marie Therese Knepper

      I read your poem a few times yesterday and didn’t comment. Still, your writing left an impression on me. I was driving today, thinking about my daughter not being able to find a job; wondering why she hasn’t made a favorable impression on any employers, and the words from your poem came to mind: do you even like me? Your poem has a depth, imo, that covers many aspects of life, likes and loves.

      1. usedname

        wow. thank you for sharing that with me. It must be a very hard time your daughter is going through now. I wish the best for her future! Hopefully I’ll be able to right a more cheerful poem to help give you strength in times like these. Keep writing poems I look forward to them each week. :)

  46. Marie Therese Knepper

    Pay Us (how much we are worth)

    Where do you run when you feel blue?
    I bet, more often than not
    you run to the tunes of ones who know you,
    who understand just what you’ve got.

    Supposin’ you need a prescription,
    ’cause that’s what you’ve been told
    “I ain’t payin’,” you tell the physician –
    Could you be so bold?

    You could, I suppose, but likely you’d find
    a summons in the mail.
    The good physician’s got an axe to grind –
    you might just end up in jail.

    One thing you won’t (now) get in the post
    is a bill from your favorite songwriter;
    the one who has helped you get over the most
    life-trials – who’s made you a fighter.

    Was it an MD who soothed your soul
    while standing beside a grave,
    or the words of grace that filled the hole
    penned by a sinner saved?

    The words – those words that mean so much –
    just how much are they worth;
    the words of songs we use like a crutch
    to guide us through life on this earth?

    So the next time you hear a new song
    on YouTube, it just might be me:
    one of many soul physicians who long
    to be paid for what you use free.

    Marie-Therese Knepper

    1. usedname

      thanks for spreading the word about the songwriter’s issue. I enjoyed your poem to me it even carried a sort of rhythmic quality much like a song

    2. TomNeal

      You have my vote Marie-Therese!

      It sounds like this consent decree should be applied to bankers, not songwriters or other creative people. I like the poem too.

        1. TomNeal

          Was it an MD who soothed your soul
          while standing beside a grave,
          or the words of grace that filled the hole
          penned by a sinner saved?

          Simple, direct, and powerful.

    3. PressOn

      I don’t know if you intended this to be sung, but it feels, compellingly, as if it should be. I especially love the phrase, “soul physicians.” This is great work, in my opinion.

  47. taylor graham


    How I wish I could afford a ticket to this
    wonder – a granite arch giving glimpse
    of a blue cove in a distant sea. But it’s just
    a photo on my screen. The photographer
    attacked it in pieces, three overlapping
    shots – he shaved a tad off this edge,
    photoshopped them together to reconstruct
    the thing entire. Considered geologically,
    it must be one of those glitches in the natural
    wear and smoothing of stone that we call
    erosion, resulting in this crested arch
    of unpolished endurance. How long did it
    take, how many eons? And the colors
    in that cove, aquamarine, jade and ripstop blue,
    the minerals that used to be rock melted back
    into water. Do I wish I could go there
    in person? Perhaps. But here on my screen,
    an arch of the bones of earth holding
    every color of ocean reflecting the heavens
    unending unchanging not even a dream.

  48. gloriajean


    Hope fueled the fire
    Keeping the dream alive
    Blinding me from what was true
    The lack of love in your eyes

    Diluted sense of worth
    Filters through my soul
    Forcing pain in to reality
    Never, forever to hold

    Hope fueled the fire
    Your words put out the flame
    Ever left to wonder
    When I will hold you again


  49. gloriajean

    (In response to the new Sixx A.M. single “Gotta Get It Right”)

    Heroin gone
    Diary clean
    No longer hurting
    What does this mean?

    Filtered for the masses
    Mainstream gold
    Pop infused torment
    Disheartened and cold

    Blistered ears
    Blinded eyes
    Unexpected sadness
    At your musical demise


  50. writinglife16


    She cried out when she got that call
    and her mask shattered.
    She had tried to ease her
    father’s way in those last days.
    She had failed.
    The tears overwhelmed her.
    What would she do now?
    Then she thought about her father.
    He had usually lived his life
    on his own terms.
    She imagined
    that when death
    had come for him
    her father had already slipped away.
    Like when he was a boy
    and had lost money in the fields.
    He looked for it.
    He looked for it.
    And his brothers helped, but
    Finders Keepers was the rule.
    They were all looking,
    but then he slipped away,
    with his money.
    Like he lived.
    On his own terms.

  51. De Jackson

    7:51am, on an Ordinary Wednesday

    There is nothing
    elegant about me. I am not
    made for platforms or thrones
    or performances. If my words
    spill, it’s not so much my will
    or my wile as my need for a
    smile to slice open the day.

    Kudos to those
    who enjoy the spotlight;
    give me starlight any

    If this is a dis
    -appointment to you,
    I shall have to reschedule,
    for I, personally,
    happy as a sea
    and sand-soaked


    1. TomNeal

      De: I like this poem, and your work in general. You have developed, as the best poets do, a distinctive voice. I think I would be able to recognise your work even if there was no attribution provided. I especially like the way you break words to produce multiple meanings. For example,

      If this is a dis
      -appointment to you

      Suggesting diss with dis-appointment is brilliant imo.

  52. priyajane

    A Disappointed Day

    The day looks disappointed today –
    A grey sullen hover
    hanging on low weighted boulders
    A stifled hazy view
    gathering some senseless hummers
    Tides sighing, crestfallen,
    pulling down and creeping under
    An aimless drifting pout
    just pointless breathing in and out

    This gathering today
    meanderings in packs of twins
    will either rain its shine away
    or lift the sun to make its way
    Either way it will unfold
    and change the nature of its hold
    Just, maybe not, — today

    1. BDP

      Baseball disappointment–I know it well! And then there’s the smiles, the high fives, the wave, the popcorn spills and the defensive thrills. Your poem would not mean so much without those memories.

  53. Michelle Hed

    Let Down

    I climbed a mountain
    of expectation
    riding high
    on the updrafts
    but my giddiness
    came to a crashing halt
    as a rockslide
    carried me down,
    down to the valley below
    where dreams don’t soar,
    they just seep into the ground
    and disappear.

    1. Julieann

      The disappointment and hurt are tangible in this. Well done, well said. “where dreams don’t soar, they just deep into the ground and disappear,” makes me want to cry.

  54. Rachael Murray

    Color Without Escape

    You, with so much future,
    why do I stand where I began, all null
    and blank white, with color bursting from brains.

    Easier to shred threads from the suture
    than to count hours wasted with you in this lull.
    You, with so much future!

    The swirl of ideas, of worlds boiling in, dripping from veins
    cannot stain this immaculate empty screen.
    Why do I stand where I began, all null?

    Contortions of rage, tears shed, loathing and pleading
    but you offer nothing but nothing, infertile purity
    and blank white, with color bursting from brains.

  55. annell


    A spoiled little girl
    Always had things her way
    What a disappointment
    To find Life isn’t really like that
    Things would not always go her way

    There are some things
    In Life you can expect
    One day will follow another
    Night after day
    Sometimes the sun will shine
    Sometimes not
    As long as your heart is
    Ticking you are alive
    Still here

    That is about all that is promised
    Just because you love someone
    Doesn’t mean he will love you back
    Just because you are thoughtful
    Doesn’t mean others will be thoughtful
    Just because you are kind
    Doesn’t mean others will be kind

    Just because you think you ‘know’
    Doesn’t mean Life will go that way
    Life has a mind of it’s own
    And seldom will you be asked
    How do you think it should be

    Life is constantly changing
    Your only choice is to
    Go with the flow
    Be flexible
    Never think you ‘know’
    Always expect the unexpected
    Knock knock
    It is Life at your door

    August 6, 2014

    1. PressOn

      Wow. This little piece packs a powerful punch and image, in my opinion, and it interests me that you use image as an integral part of the poem. Wonderful work.

  56. DanielR

    NOT ME
    What I want floats by
    like paper in the wind
    just out of my arms reach
    no matter how hard I chase it
    clutching at the empty air.
    The offer was too low,
    the promotion goes to someone else,
    she just wants to be friends,
    it was never quite good enough.
    And the winner is…
    not me.

    Daniel Roessler

  57. DanielR

    Backyard dreams of
    cotton-headed boys
    on sunny summer afternoons,
    bare feet scurrying across
    withered, bronzed grass
    toward imaginary end zones
    but knees are weak points
    susceptible to failing
    and cartilage tears
    destroying promising tomorrows
    of aspiring athletes,
    making what ifs
    hovering rain clouds
    that weep salty tears and
    cast shadows over a lifetime.

    Daniel Roessler

  58. TomNeal

    (There is no progress to report)

    We walk on long grass
    Under a full moon
    Between fires that blaze
    Near where the arithmetic of death
    Displays its sums
    And a cameraman records the scene
    For parents back home.

    1. BDP

      The parens with “There is no progress to report” seems necessary to this poem as the camera(s) keeps on rolling, recording something “new” while everything stays the same. And yet this poem somehow makes me feel that change is possible before reaching the display of sums.

    2. drnurit

      But there is still a walk of “we” on long grass under a full moon, Tom, and different kinds of “fires” (though the accuracy of the arithmetic is scary…) This is a unique and evocative poem!

  59. Cynthia Page

    Mourning the Morning

    I awoke not fully alert and
    brushing my teeth didn’t help.
    My outlook improved with
    a hot shower, but the brain
    could still use some help.
    The coffeepot stands ready
    to do its duty for the day.
    Piping hot relief on its way.
    It was then I discovered I forgot
    to buy coffee. Dang,
    it’s a going to be tough day.