2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

For today’s prompt, write an unlucky poem. Whether you believe in luck or not, you can still write a poem about a situation that others might deem unlucky.


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Here’s my attempt at an Unlucky Poem:

“& then they win”

the numbers that i usually play
week after week & day after day
always the lucky numbers i say
whether in november, march, or may
never daring to alter my stay
until a frightfully full friday
& then they win when i didn’t play


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’s not really into the lottery, but he does believe in luck and hopes it is with him later this morning as he runs a 5K race (not so much to win, but to avoid injury). He also believes in simple rhymes from time to time (like in today’s poem).

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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231 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

  1. River.of.red.ink

    Can I test my luck?
    Can I flip a coin?
    I think bout a life of unluckiness
    I think of how one day I could wake up to find I am poor
    I could break a mirror and have 7 years bad luck
    I could see a black cat
    I could mindlessly open an umbrella inside
    But why question, why test my luck
    All those things,
    There all things that I could do
    But I’m not willing to test my luck
    Are you?

    1. ingridbruck

      Cursed Thirteen

      1 – death card in a Tarot deck
      2- no room 13 in a hospital
      3- no floor 13 in a hotel or gate 13 at an airport
      4- a bad day to get married
      5- unlucky day to buy a house
      6- Judas Iscariot, the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper
      7- number of witches in a coven
      8- number of witches tried and killed at the Salem Witch Trials
      9- Friday 13th, roundup and execution of Templar Knights began
      10- thirteen steps to the gallows, twelve up and one down
      11- number of dwarves on the quest for the ring until Gandalf added Bilbo
      12 – Loki joined a dinner party of twelve perfect gods and brought chaos
      13- cursed names of 13 letters: Jack the Ripper, Aldolfus Hitler, Charles Manson

      Where does that leave me,
      born Ingrid Veltman?

    2. ingridbruck

      I enjoy reading them and joining this challenge.

      Day 11 / prompt unlucky

      she opened herself up
      to those who had no heart
      Her courage plummeted
      and fell apart
      she smiled at a homeless man
      who said don’t look that way at me
      she put on her sun glasses
      so no one could see 
      she could hide her eyes
      to shut it all out
      her mouth showed
      her lips in a pout. ©

      Michael Peck

  2. ToniBee3

    unlucky lucky charms

    six toasted oats
    five red balloons
    four pink hearts
    two broken moons
    one empty box
    is more than alarming
    this my little leprechaun
    is unmagically uncharming

  3. Brandi Noelle

    Forever Unlucky

    I’m off to search for a bit of luck
    For forever unlucky am I
    A journey back to my family roots
    Soaring 40K into the sky
    Ireland is the land I seek
    That majestic emerald isle
    In hopes some good Irish fortune
    Will change my poor luck for awhile
    Across the Shannon I will roam
    To the Blarney Stone, and fast
    For if I kiss it, just perhaps
    My luck could change at last
    Quaint villages dot the countryside
    I am destined for Adare
    A timeless beauty, quite picturesque
    Nothing else can quite compare
    Yet, no rainbows emerge from the sky of gloom
    No shining pot of gold
    I search in vain through Tipperary
    Against the bitter rain and cold
    From Kildare and down into Wicklow
    Across the Valley of Two Lakes
    The mountains rise up to meet me
    Historic ruins I leave in my wake
    Stop in Dublin to rest my weary feet
    A swig of Jameson warms me up
    Seisiuns perform Celtic melodies
    No coins left to toss in their cup
    Perhaps Irish luck is but a myth
    Only the folklore of drunken fools
    Sunshine prisms against the rain
    A splash of color glitters like a jewel
    I follow the rainbow to its end
    Along County Antrim’s rugged coast
    The Giant’s Causeway offers the gift
    The bit of luck I’ve wanted most
    For standing alone on a craggy cliff
    Overlooking the Irish Sea
    A lone shamrock billows in the breeze
    With its four heart-shaped leaves of green
    The luck of the Irish has found me at last
    I am forever unlucky no more
    My charm I shall keep close to my heart
    This little plant with the leaves of four

  4. LCaramanna

    The Tale Turns

    In the early hours of spring’s first morning,
    when the world should have been
    awakened by warm sunbeam kisses
    and birdsong harmony,
    snowflake millions and gusty wind
    delayed the departure
    of the novel character,
    disrupted plans scheduled
    for a secret rendezvous
    in forbidden love’s heat.
    A dose of irony?
    A designed plot twist?
    An act of fate?
    Or purely bad luck?
    Page by page the tale turns
    on course to calculated resolution.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  5. seingraham


    If you’re not sure there’s a god, she said
    What is it in which you do believe; fate
    of the luck variation? Or do you
    think life unfolds according to the stars?

    Surely you don’t think we’re all just victims
    of happenstance – what happens, happens
    come what may?

    Then say what you will of kismet, speak also
    of karma and fortune. But, what of destiny,
    doom, and the end? When something like
    tragedy strikes, does this also feel pre-ordained?
    she wonders, or is it just bad luck?

  6. rmpWritings

    The Trouble With Fabricated Love
    by rmp

    every time I fall in love is a Hallmark movie of my own making
    there’s undeniable chemistry
    romantic tension
    internal struggle
    obstacles to overcome
    reluctant fears
    interwoven with sappy dialogue
    heartfelt moments
    awkward hugs leading to
    passionately sweet kisses
    and inevitably compromise
    & love
    that’s when the credits roll & it’s time to move on
    to another story
    sometimes, like any good movie, you’ll revisit
    a time or two or twenty
    while sometimes a new wonder unfolds, but every single time
    it ends
    & though, unlike reality, the final note is always warm and promising
    in the end it’s not real,
    so no matter how many times one is lucky
    in love,
    there’s really nothing lucky about it at all.

  7. Jezzie


    I am thinking of my good friend today.
    It would be her seventy-third birthday.
    She was an ever-faithful, long-term wife
    with a placid, uncomplicated life,
    lots of grandkids, a close knit family,
    she had few worries and lots of money.

    How I used to envy her life of ease:
    she could do everything herself to please,
    go everywhere she could on holidays,
    buy anything she liked to suit her ways,
    She’d always lived a good life, as she ought.
    She was one of the lucky ones, I thought.

    But today I think of her with a tear.
    Tragically she is no longer here.

  8. headintheclouds87

    Left out of Luck

    I rarely reap anything from a raffle,
    My unchanging numbers lack the magic
    To prevail in any form of lottery,
    I hardly have a hell’s chance
    Of snatching a hot beach holiday,
    I am surely never to succeed
    In securing a care-free shopping spree,
    The coin of my fate will always land
    On the side opposing my selection,
    It has therefore not escaped my detection
    That this ‘Lady Luck’ looks not on me
    But would rather bestow her bounty
    On a less desirable majority,
    While I toil on in tattered rags
    Cursing their goodies and glad-rags,
    And blaming random chance
    For my most terrible circumstance
    Of not earning everything at once.

  9. MET

    Lucky to be alive

    A friend said, “Hop on;
    I will take you for a ride.”
    And since I never passed up
    A ride on a mountain
    On the back of motorcycle…
    “Sure,” I went…
    Grabbed tight
    To his waist…
    And he said,
    “Hold Tighter.”
    Against my better judgement,
    I did.
    A reckless ride,
    Leaning deep into curves…
    Speeding at breakneck speeds…
    We made it to the top…

    His smile was wicked
    As he said,
    “My brakes are shot, and
    I only have third gear.”
    My eyes grew wide, and
    Then narrowed.
    His head thrown back,
    His dark mane of hair shaking
    His laughter was more a roar;
    I knew I had hitched
    A ride up the mountain
    With a crazy man, and
    Wondered who was the craziest
    Him or me, since
    I was going to ride down
    That same mountain.
    “You are crazy.”
    “You think,” said he.
    I clenched my teeth,
    “You could have warned me.”
    “And miss this ride.
    But this time hold tighter.”

    My good sense
    Thrown to the wind.
    Decided I was the crazy one…
    Since I had always known
    He had laughed at the moon
    More than any coyote
    Or was that a hyena?
    Off we went
    On the ride to our destruction…
    Zooming when we should
    Have been puttering…
    We raced against the wind, and
    That wind battered us…
    Sails in a perfect storm.

    At the bottom,
    He let his machine coast,
    When we stopped,
    I began to release my grip
    When his hands gripped mine;
    He leaned back against me…
    “Aren’t you glad
    You took this ride.”
    I admitted nothing
    For I did not regret the ride…
    I answered in a half lie,
    “I am lucky I am alive.”
    He took my answer
    To mean the ride
    Made me alive, and
    Maybe he was right…

    For as I pulled
    My hands from him…
    Got off the bike,
    Gave him a kiss, and
    Knew I was tempting fate
    Then walked away…
    “Hey, you want a beer,”
    He called to me…
    Against my better judgement,
    Shouted back,
    “Only if you are buying.”

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    November 11, 2017

  10. Marie Elena

    We were charged with writing an “unlucky” poem. But here’s the thing (which could-be-but-isn’t for the “thing” prompt): I’m just not feelin’ it today. Today was a sunny, chillier-than-November, November-chill-in-the-air kind of day. Call me silly, but I love a good chilly to chill in, and it was thrillin’ to cheer on my Buckeyes as they rolled over Spartans with heart-n-some luck-o-the-Bucks. (Pay no attention to my heart’s ablation from their annihilation in Iowa.) Then to spend day’s end in moonlit, fire-in-the-pit, marshmallow-roasting, laughing and joking, kids-swinging-beneath-the-pines, close-knit family fun? I won.

    This unlucky poem
    is unlucky, indeed. It’s
    plumb out of unluck.

  11. Jane Shlensky


    the school bus brakes go
    the crossroads is a downhill stop
    sleet glazes the road
    the driver shouts
    the kids don’t listen
    the lumber truck halfway
    cell service blocked between mountains
    so much bad luck

  12. Jane Shlensky

    At the Intersection of Funny and Tragic
    “if it warn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…”

    “Gloom, despair, and misery on me,” he wails,
    a four-year-old singing HeeHaw songs
    complete with chubby cheeks and wiggles.
    The grown-ups hee and haw, wiping tears
    of laughter, knowing he doesn’t understand
    the lyrics, hoping he never does.

  13. Jane Shlensky

    What His Mother Said

    He didn’t know
    he drove too fast
    his gun was loaded
    that fire would get out
    he camped in a river bed
    that animal was wild
    that wire was live
    that word was offensive
    that he could die
    He had bad luck.

  14. Jane Shlensky

    Luck of the Draw

    When he pulled the short stick,
    he felt the weight of each man’s relief
    bear down. And then he understood
    where luck and faith collide.

  15. lsteadly

    Animal Crossing

    it always happens at night
    the headlights illuminating a figure
    two seconds too late
    a sheen of eyes startled into stillness
    before the inevitable thu-thump
    threading dread you can’t handle
    not now while your family awaits

    you pull over to the side of the road
    your stomach clenched tight, tighter
    than your hands on the wheel
    your thoughts running fast, faster
    than the soul fleeing the body
    of the stricken, the fallen,
    the one unlucky enough
    to not make it home

  16. tunesmiff

    G. Smith & J. Cricket
    Should you wish upon a star,
    And it crash lands on your car;
    Anything your heart desires could be…

    If your heart is in your throat,
    No nightmare is too remote;
    As dreamers know.

    Fate’s unkind,
    She brings to those she taunts,
    A special group of haunts,
    And unfulfilled wants,

    Like a bolt out of the blue,
    Lightning strikes the wreckage, too;
    When you wish upon a star,
    Your dreams may be…

    Should you wish upon a star,
    And it crash lands on your car;
    Anything your heart desires could be…

      1. Marie Elena

        And here it is (I wrote this in 2009. One of the first poems I ever wrote) :

        To the lovely classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Leigh Harline [melody] and Ned Washington [lyrics]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQTzO2eRwwE

        (To be sung softly, dreamily, wistfully; with your hands clasped together near your heart, for effect… )

        If you wish you were a star
        First consider how bizarre;
        Paparazzi all around
        Would stalk,
        and hound.

        Would you be a Meryl Streep?
        Jacqueline Bisset of “The Deep?”
        Ravishing Miss Leigh of “Streetcar?”
        Rose – anne – Barr?

        Fate is kind
        She left me disinclined
        To live like actresses
        Before the mass – es.

        So, consider my advice
        Stardom is not paradise.
        When you look at me, foresee
        Ob – scur – i – ty!

  17. Earl Parsons


    I do not believe in luck or lack of
    But more in fate and what awaits
    Not karma or predestination, mind you
    We all have a say in what’s to be
    We all have to take responsibility

    Much is wrongly blamed on bad luck
    When truth be known it’s all our fault
    For we mere humans are by far our
    Own worst enemies and harshest critics
    We tend to be detrimental cynics

    I will admit that not all is rosy
    For the stem of every rose has thorns
    The lesson learned is that life is hard
    Unless born sucking on a silver spoon
    But even they aren’t bad luck immune

    On the positive side, we all have a choice
    To let life knock us down and do nothing
    Or jump up and get back into the race
    For me there’s no question on what I choose
    Bad luck will not win, and I will not lose

    © 2017 Earl Parsons

  18. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    People tried to warn me,
    That you are one hot mess;
    Said I ought to steer well clear,
    If I knew what was best.

    They said happiness would leave me,
    Standing in the rain;
    That your light at the end of my tunnel,
    Was an oncoming, runaway train.

    “You’re a jinx,” they said;
    I’d be better off dead;
    I’d never know another moment’s peace.
    But I’m about to tell ‘em all to cease…

    If this is unlucky,
    Then you can keep my four-leafed clover;
    You can have every penny I’ve ever found,
    Face up or down;
    You can break all of my mirrors,
    Keep your hats on my bed,
    Your shoes on top of my table,
    I don’t care what they’ve said.
    If this is unlucky, unlucky I’ll be,
    ‘Cause you are the luckiest thing that’s
    Ever happened to me.

    Hit me with a horseshoe,
    Count my falling lucky stars,
    Tell each and every black cat they know,
    Where the two of us are.

    Open our umbrellas,
    Underneath an open ladder;
    Then laugh and laugh till they have ask,
    “Please tell us, what’s the matter?”

    And we’ll tell ’em,
    If this is unlucky,
    You can keep our four-leafed clovers;
    You can have every penny we’ve ever found,
    Face up or face down;
    You can break all of our mirrors,
    Keep your hats on our king sized bed,
    Put you shoes up on our table,
    We don’t care what y’all’ve said.
    If this is unlucky, unlucky we’ll be,
    ‘Cause we’re the luckiest things
    That ever happened her and me.

  19. taylor graham


    He knows the luck of feral cats
    bereft of home and loving bowl
    of milk. Just strip-mall rats –
    he knows the luck of feral cats:
    the hunger, territory spats.
    What warms the lonely feline soul?
    He knows the luck of feral cats
    bereft of home and loving bowl.

  20. SarahLeaSales

    The No-Joy Bad Luck Club

    Every Friday,
    after another week at “the office,”
    clockwatching when not coffee-breaking,
    feeling the padded walls of their cubicles closing in on them,
    and just bitching about Mondays (or the boss) in general,
    they met at what they called The Chapel of Job—
    that same Job who’d been punished for his faithfulness
    for a bet God had struck with the devil.

    And so, it came to pass
    that when one of them played their lucky numbers,
    hitting the jack of all pots,
    the rest found themselves wishing
    that this person’s unlucky number was up.

  21. grcran


    lost your bait unlucky
    get your plucky self back on
    ducky shrink from yucky
    skirt the mucky give a yawn
    gossip hens go clucky
    scratch a rainbow-colored dawn
    far beyond Kentucky
    find that fish before it’s gone

    gpr crane


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