Tag Archives: PAD Challenge 2009

Everybody says So

Holiday celebrations
pre-empt my writing time.
Antisocial by right of design
still my inclination.

But I dismiss mine
for the sake of family,
habits made traditions
made rituals, now sacrosanct.

And in my ordinary family
like so many others
everybody says
so it should be.

Absence gets me shunned
which works for me
but everybody says
I shouldn’t be that way.

So, for mom’s sake
I fit in as best I can
privately harangued
by my life calling me.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Take the phrase “Everybody says (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make that the title of the poem, and write the poem. For Day 24 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, from Poetic Asides.

Sound Decision

Somewhere we lose sensitivity to loud music
or someone says it’s time to get over it.
At parties in high school the DJ blares music
as if the goal is to sabotage your game.

No way can you hear
the person your dancing with
so no point in trying to
talk inside the room.

Or maybe that’s the point,
to get you outside alone
together under the pretext
you’ve important things to say.

But then, stepping outside
finds you among other couples
with equally important things
to share with each other.

Oddly the silence is so loud
until your every breath shatters it,
carried out to others around
and your words thunder toward them.

The sonorous crossroads present
the choices between the decibels topping
well over one hundred forty
or the resounding silence
that resonates every word, every sound.

And as you stand outside
gazing in your date’s eyes
you’re serenaded by the sounds
of kissing so loudly in the bloody silence
until you blush with embarrassment.

Finally it’s nearing midnight.
The couples separate their lips and bodies,
trickle back inside, teasing and cavorting
in raucous self-congratulations.

Your parents will arrive soon
to collect you. And so you’re spared
the dramatic decision of where to be.
Dad says be waiting for me;
that has to mean outside.

If you’re going to say anything,
you better make it quick.

No. There will be time enough to say stuff,
better occasions with no noises sabotaging
when you can be assured only
the ears meant for your message can hear it.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Write a poem filled with noise. Day 23 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, at Poetry Asides with Robert Lee Brewer

One Terrifying Night

I’m running for my life and I hear loud footsteps
thudding rapidly behind me.
They get louder so I think they’re
getting closer, and with what felt nothing left
I manage to pull out a little more speed.

My mind was racing, trying to think which direction to go in
when I saw the pole just ahead of me
as a place to hold onto and stay on my feet.
I reached out, stumbled forward and
recovered my balance, and held on for dear life,
slamming my eyes shut as if the act would protect me.

I’d momentarily forgotten the sound
of the footsteps thudding rapidly behind me
when suddenly they were all I could hear
through my own heavy breathing.
They had to be upon me now, but I wouldn’t
open my eyes to see them.
I was only standing
because of the pole I was holding;
I knew there was no way I could run any further.
Whimpering now, too tired to really cry
I slid down, hugging the pole until
I was seated on the ground like a puddle.

At last, I managed to open my eyes
to see the window of my bedroom and the
pole I was holding melted and swelled into what was
my other pillow, drenched with my perspiration.
The heavily thudding footsteps morphed into
my racing, panic-stricken heartbeat.
And I was overjoyed even through my exhaustion
to finally be awake.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Write an emergency poem. Day 22 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, from Poetic Asides

Ink Pen Writing

I have to thank the man
who invented the ink pen.
You know, there’s some dispute as to
who really did that.
I’ll bet though, they all came to this
brilliant idea independently
inspired by its brilliantly simple usefulness.

For me, the scrape of my pen across paper,
not skin since I left high school,
is soothing like the washing machine
for some crying babies.
Makes me feel like I’m writing
something worth keeping.

When I need a break from the
hum and whir of electricity and flashing cursors
when time allows me to sacrifice expediency
to connect most viscerally with me,
it’s ink pen to paper to discover, uncover
and invent my next adventures and record them.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Write an invention poem. Day 21 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, from Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides

And Then I Gave Up

I had this great idea
for something that felt like
quite the profound verse
as it rolled around my thoughts.

Then things got in my way
to stop me from recording it.
First, my niece and I had to play together.
And then after lunch and games, my eyes
wouldn’t focus; I needed to close them.

Then when I woke, other responsibilities
were commanding my attentions
to rise above the fray of TV and chatter
to get a single sentence at a time written.

And then, a lone moment sneaked in
so I tried to recapture
that elusive, profound, and much desired verse.

I wrote where I thought it started
and then other random stuff
trying to exhort it to return
to my brain so I could record it on paper.

But
after the day’s excitement, adventures, work
and games, my entreating efforts availed nothing.
And then I gave up and just played.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Write “And then (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

This is my poem for Day 20 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, from Poetic Asides by Robert Lee Brewer.

I get Attached

Family, friends, favorite ink pens
wide ruled composition books
all sizes, bindings, page styles
and the new colors of Moleskines.

“The Mirror has Two Faces”
is my all-time favorite movie
of the many I adore from Barbara Streisand.
Thank God I’m a girl otherwise
according to “In & Out”
that affinity might betray
my natural attraction to men.

My computer in good working order.
External hard drive and DVD burner
at the ready to facilitate
me doing my things.
The internet and my own blogs
the fast tracks to sharing
my life with welcome visitors.

So much more I’m grateful for
‘til I probably could continue
for long pages.
Suffice it to say, some kind of way
these things have become part of me.

Even ex-boyfriends strange as
that may be by TV standards.
The reality is it’s harder to erase them
when our main component was friendship.

Can we talk?
Film cameras: My first and last Minoltas
SRT-201 and Maxxum STsi
and a low budget retro-looking
medium format Seagull to get my feet wet.
Favorite web tools WordPress and HTML-Kit.

No way would I part easily
with any of these and other things
tethered to my life.
If cherishing were an exercise or burden
I’d be totally, daily spent.

©2009 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: Write an attachment poem. Day 19 of the 2009 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, from Poetic Asides by Robert Lee Brewer.

Notes: The two movies mentioned have great casts, but I only list a few. You can click on each title to visit their IMDB listing for more information.

  • The Mirror has Two Faces, 1996, Stellar cast includes stars Barbara Streisand, Lauren Bacall, Jeff Bridges, Brenda Vaccaro
  • In & Out, 1997, Stellar cast includes stars Kevin Kline, Joan Kusack, Tom Selleck, Wilford Brimley
  • Moleskines are available online and in many stores. Check out this online site for fun stuff like Moleskine sightings on TV and in movies.