November 30, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #30: lessons learned or unlearned
Note: It's the last day of our poem-a-day challenge!
Form: shadorma

Poor little
poultry ghost, who now
haunts the street
where he tried
to cross, flapping and clucking
forever condemned

to repeat
his story on that sidewalk,
by feet, dazed
by stoplights, traffic, chaos;
forever condemned

to face that
stretch of road,
that phantom
grass, elusive bigger coops.
Poor little chicken.

November 28, 2010

Chicken Conspiracy

PAD Challenge, Prompt #28: write a "what really happened" poem

If only he had known
what was really going on
he would never have tried
to cross the street.

If only he had known
that his crossing was part
of a world-wide conspiracy
to make fun of his species;

if only he had known
that philosophers and poets
would ponder his attempts
for centuries to come;

if only he had known
that so many of his attempts
would be scrambled and fried
before he finally succeeded;

if only he had known
the futility of his attempts,
perhaps he would not have tried
to cross to the other side,

and I would be left with
nothing to poem about.

November 26, 2010

Chicken on the Run

PAD Challenge, Prompt #26: "on the run"
Form: bop

He was like the world’s greatest inventors,
finding ninety-nine ways to do something
wrong before discovering the one way to
do it right, embodying that old adage to
try and try again, keep on keeping on,
until finally finding success at his task.

        Chicken on the run
        Kept on running
        Kept on trying
        That pertinacious
        Chicken on the run

He seemed not to care how many times
he’d been flattened by the tires of a poultry
truck or squished on the sidewalk like an egg
splattered and shattered on the ground, or
how often he’d been lost and forlorn amidst
chaos of cars and flashing red lights, dazed
and dizzied, disoriented by disorder, doomed
by the normal hustle and bustle of the city.

        Chicken on the run
        Kept on running
        Kept on trying
        That pertinacious
        Chicken on the run

He kept on clucking, playing chicken with
the traffic and the crowds, trying to sneak
unseen across the street, remaining
unflappable even in failure; he kept trying
and trying for that one day when he might
finally make it across to the other side.

        Chicken on the run
        Kept on running
        Kept on trying
        That pertinacious
        Chicken on the run

November 24, 2010

Negative Space

PAD Challenge, Prompt #24: spaces

He had no space to stand
and so he walked,
moving forward,
pressing fervently on
to the other side,
his eyes on the prize,
that land of greener
grass and bigger coops,
onward and forward
he pressed: wings
outstretched, feet
propelled by hard-
boiled stubbornness,
tail feathers proudly
waving a cadence as
he hurried and scurried,
leaving behind nonexistent
space in search of his
final frontier, and yet –

his attempts were scrambled
once again as the space came
crushing down on him in the
form of human feet, crushing
him into a space smaller than
a crumbled-up hard-boiled egg.

November 23, 2010

Chicken Shadorma

PAD Challenge, Prompt #23: write a form poem
Form: shadorma (adapted)

    The other side
        loomed large before him
    calling him with
        paltry charms;
    thus he tried to cross the street –
        but never made it.

    Poor little chicken.

November 22, 2010

Longstanding Short Story

PAD Challenge, Prompt #22: write a poem that takes a stand

He stood no more
than two feet tall,
this curious bystander
who stood all alone,
this grandstander who
played chicken with
the traffic and failed
to understand the
difficulties of trying
to cross to the other
side of the street.

Poor little chicken.

November 21, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #21: write about permission

Morning lay sleepily on
the corner of Ninth and Broad
the day it happened. Hardly
a soul was stirring, the streets
were mostly empty, showing off
faded stretches of pavement.

He waddled up to the curb,
looked both ways for any
flying cars or poultry trucks,
and calmly kept going like
an egg rolling off the counter
and onto the kitchen floor.

He didn’t need to ask anyone’s
permission, or cluck out his
position, or let the henhouse
know of his plans. He just wanted
to cross the street. And so
he took two little steps,

and two more, and two more,
and soon he reached the middle
of the road: but this time he
kept his henpecked wits about him,
looked both ways again, and kept
winging it over to The Other Side.

And then it happened: the lady
crossing the street clucked out a
scream and the cops finally noticed his
scrawny body and the grocery clerk
opening his shop for the day scrambled
into the street and snatched him up.

Poor little chicken.

November 20, 2010

Wrong Turn

PAD Challenge, Prompt #20: right and wrong

All that was left
from turning left
rather than right
(he chose wrongly
instead of right)
were a couple of
chicken fingers,
some tailfeathers,
and two really
chicken wings.

Poor little chicken.

November 19, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #19: write about holes

                                            H O L E S :
                                 a whole lo t of things
                          somehow ob    tain holes where
                       they should           remain whole instead:
                  socks always                  seem to top the pile,
                 followed by                        gym sneaker soles,
           pockets (holes                           make no cents), and
          winter gloves;                               dig a little deeper to
            unearth holey                            wallets (especially on
          holey-days), seat                      cushions, flat tires,
            buckets (oh, dear                Liza!), theories and
              thought processes,         which I prefer to
                            refer to as in     tellectual over-
                                load, not re  ally a hole
                                           but a whole.

November 18, 2010

The Shepherd

PAD Challenge, Prompt #18: lost and found

He goes out gently,
closing the gate to
keep safe the ones
already in the fold.

He goes out, leaving
comfort and safety,
disregarding the coming
pain and suffering.

He goes out seeking
for one who wandered
away, now lost and alone,
now utterly defenseless.

He goes out gently,
seeking intently, until
the lost one is found
and safe in His arms.


PAD Challenge, Prompt #18: lost and found

He got lost
at the corner of
Ninth and Broad,
dazed by the cars
whizzing by, the
screeching tires,
the chaos of one-too-many-cars-packed-into
disoriented by flashing
lights above him,
dizzied by the heavy
fumes, the long legs
rushing past him,
distracted into jay-walking
right across the path of an
oncoming poultry truck.

Poor little chicken.

November 17, 2010

Tell Me Why (the chicken crossed the road)

PAD Challenge, Prompt #17: write a "tell me why" poem
Form: triolet

If you’re so smart, then tell me
why the chicken crossed the road.
Tell me why he was so gutsy,
if you’re so smart. Then tell me
whether he was an angry escapee,
or merely lost from his abode,
(if you’re so smart). Then, tell me
why the chicken crossed the road.

November 16, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #16: stacking or unstacking

How quickly everything crumbles down,
vaporized to dust in the wind,
homes and lands ravaged,
wealth gone too soon,
accolades forgotten,
not really treasure
but eye candy,


PAD Challenge, Prompt #16: stacking or unstacking

To be read from the bottom up.

waiting patiently for her eternal crown
finding hope and joy in the future
ahead to the future, never back
looking forward to the prize
one small step at a time
life piece by piece
to rebuild her
she begins

November 15, 2010

The Crossing, Part II

PAD Challenge, Prompt #15: write a "just when you thought it was safe" poem

Just when he felt
it was safe enough
to get to the other side,
he stuck one little foot
out onto the roadway,
stretched out his
other leg, reaching
for the pavement

and –

and –

and –

The moral of the story is,
look both ways before
you cross the street.

Poor chicken.

November 14, 2010

Ghost Town

PAD Challenge, Prompt #14: crossroads
Form: shadorma

Dust-filled horizon
Stretching for miles,
Desert road
Meeting dusty desert road,

The Crossing

PAD Challenge, Prompt #14: crossroads

There he stood:
on his two little legs
right in the middle of the
busiest intersection,
just standing there,
looking around at
the hustle and
bustle of traffic.

It’s no wonder
he never made it
to the other side.

Poor chicken.

November 13, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #13: ask a question

How do you describe
the wonders of creation?

How do you explain
the rainbow of hues
painting every flower,
the vivid saturation
found in every leaf?

How do you portray
the grandeur of giant
snow-capped mountains,
the quietness of gentle
rippling streams?

How do you define
the detail of one tiny
blade of grass, or
relate the symmetry
of the entire vista?

How do you describe
a mountain-scape
that leaves you

November 12, 2010

Forget What They Say

PAD Challenge, Prompt #12: use the phrase "forget what they say"

Background: In 2007, I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. This disease was almost always fatal until as recently as the 1970's, when researchers discovered the benefit of using chemo in addition to prednisone to treat it. Now, by using both pred and chemo, about 90% of people with Wegener's reach remission.

Forget what they say:
you are stronger
than any disease,
more beautiful than
any perfect body.

Forty years ago,
nothing much helped,
your life would have been
ravaged in a matter of
months, not years.

But today,
the wonder of science
has produced a toxic agent
of healing, a drug to
help you live.

Pred and chemo,
a killer combination;
you’ll form a love-hate
relationship with this
deadly drug duet.

Their side effects
will steal your energy,
your appetite and your hair,
leave you weak and tired,
wear you out.

But they will help,
their healing power is
greater than their hurt.
And you will improve.
And you will live.

Forget what they say:
you are stronger.

November 11, 2010

No One Will Want

PAD Challenge, Prompt #11: use the phrase "no one wants"

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

In our promised land,
in the arms of our Father,
there will be no more pain,
there will be no more tears,
there will be no more death,
no more suffering from this life
or sorrow within our souls,
for this life will be over.

No one will want
for anything
in heaven

November 10, 2010

Morning Cup o' Joe

PAD Challenge, Prompt #10: love
With a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her Sonnet #43

How I do love you:
    let me savor the ways.
I love you with the depth of
    my twenty-one ounce latte mug.
I love you with the intensity of
    a double shot of espresso.
I love you with the purity of
    authentic coffee essence.
I love you with the fullness of
    a South American blend.
I love you with the richness of
    an extra-dark French roast.
I love you with the complexity of
    fruited and chocolatey undertones.
I love you with the sweetness of
    two teaspoons of sugar.
I love you singly and unadorned, or
I love you in café au lait or cappuccino.
I love you as decaf or half-caff, but
I love you even more as full-caff.
    And if my morning allows me the time,
I shall but love you better after consuming you.

November 09, 2010

Common Scents

PAD Challenge, Prompt #9: slow down
Form: haiku

 slow down for a smell
     of subtly scented saffron
           settle for a spell . . .

November 08, 2010

In Harmony

PAD Challenge, Prompt #8: agreement

Lyrical leaves of greens blend
with chords of canary yellows,
citrusy oranges and crimson reds.

Notes of autumn blossoms and
wintry berries accent the wooded
measures of trees and shrubberies.

Descants of chromatic birds and
subdued skies compose in unison
a chorus of symphonic harmony.

November 06, 2010

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC, November 2009

PAD Challenge, Prompt #6: use the phrase "looking for..."
Form: shadorma

Driving slow,
Looking for pull-offs,
Photo ops,
Mountain tops,
Tree-filled hollows, craggy knobs:
Brake lights on.

November 05, 2010


PAD Challenge, Prompt #5: metamorphosis
Form: ovillejo

Stark shadows fill the sleeping valley.
     Balding trees
Hibernate in worlds of icy blue,
     Evolving into
Frosted statues, springtime’s unseen
     Thrones of green
All forgotten now. This barren scene
Merely dreams. Spring will yet come;
Nature’s tapestry will soon become
Balding trees evolving into thrones of green.

November 04, 2010

Maggie Valley

PAD Challenge, Prompt #4: container
Form: tanka

Vessel of beauty-
Sheltered by arborous slopes,
Covered with blue smoke,
Glazed in creation's pigments-
Repository of life.

November 03, 2010

Mountain Air

PAD Challenge, Prompt #3: location
Form: rondeau

Breathe in deeply the mountain air,
pure and clean in morning 'ere
day's heat wakes, sunlight shimmers,
wildflower's fragrance simmers
sweet in green and grassy lair.

Breathe in deeply, standing there
under fir-crowned rooms where glimmers
jewel-toned blossoms, flowery shimmers.
Breathe in deeply.

Close your eyes, breathe full and fair,
rest your mind and spirit here;
day's long heat its perfume simmers,
evening's glow its fragrance shimmers;
scented beauties fill the air.
Breathe in deeply.

November 02, 2010

What a Poem!

PAD Challenge, Prompt #2: ready to start, never ready
Form: blitz poem

Ready or not
Ready for what?
What could be
What shall be
Be such a challenge
Be such fun
Fun of prompting
Fun of writing
Writing words
Writing poetry
Poetry each morning
Poetry at night
Night dreams poetry
Night leads to morning
Morning awakens
Morning brings another
Another prompt
Another challenge
Challenge to think
Challenge to stretch
Stretch those fingers
Stretch that brain
Brain overload!
Brain drain!
Drain the stress
Drain the distractions
Distractions of work
Distractions that distract
Distract from zoning
Distract from writing
Writing ideas
Writing pictures
Pictures in poetry
Pictures in words
Words in mind
Words and rhythm
Rhythm and rhyme
Rhythm in time
Time for what?
Time to poem
Poem while awake
Poem during sleep
Sleep and dream
Sleep it off
Off we go
Off to poem
Poem away
Poem a poem

November 01, 2010

Election Day

For the month of November, Poetic Asides is doing a Poem-a-Day Challenge, so get ready for lots of posts this month. Hopefully I can keep up with the challenge; it seems like a great opportunity to stretch my fingers, add to my poetry files, and further my writing abilities. If it sounds like work to you ... well, I'm sure it may feel like it at times for me, but I'm actually really looking forward to seeing what I come up with for these 30 days of prompts!

PAD Challenge, Prompt #1: close the door, turn the page
Form:  acrostic poem

Inspired - obviously - by the hopes encapsulated in every Election Day, hopes for change and better men (and women) in office.

Electric currents sweep through the country,
Liberals and conservatives fighting for the win.
Energy kindling, burning the smoke of hope,
Constitutional standards being fought or upheld,
Trial for politicians by the American people.
Invitation for election, for power, for change,
Open to any with courage to stand, confidence to fight,
No one refused: this is America! All are welcome-

Democrat, Independent, Republican (even Tea Party)-
America, land of democracy, governed by the people!
Your voice can be heard; your vote matters.