Here's Robert's first prompt of the November PAD Challenge:
For today's prompt, I want poets to take one step back and write a "closing the door" or "turning the page" poem. Feel encouraged to get creative with today's prompt (and the other 29 prompts--for that matter), but here's how I interpret this prompt: a poem that looks at where a person (or animal or thing) was and finds resolution with the fact that things won't be that way again.
Let the games begin!
Who did what first? Who wronged whom?
Which wordless act caused our undoing?
Are you happy? Tell me what you’re thinking.
I am a fool in this foolish life. That’s what I think.
I see it in your eyes. I see it in your pencil-point pupils,
how you’ve shut the light out, how you blink
when you speak. That’s your tell. Everyone has a tell.
Sitting in the red chair. In the corner of the family room
which is not really a family room but a basement.
The king sits in his basement throne. Red like a mouth.
This whole room is a sham. It smells of the bleach
I used to get mold spots off the wall
behind the red chair. The walls look as if
I’ve taken an eraser to them.
Tiny pencil-like points of mold remain.
You smell like an ashtray. You’ve taken up smoking.
That’s your tell. I can tell. I’m losing weight.
I can’t eat. Hard time sleeping. Are you happy?
I ask the obvious questions. That’s my tell. I’m not happy.
We’ve only scratched the surface of my unhappiness.
I’m sitting across from you in the red chair thinking
how did we get here. Tell me how we got here.
We walked down the stairs to the basement.
Stop lying. It makes us both look like fools.
I don’t want to be foolish. That’s my tell.
What about this new life of yours. Are you still with her?
Tell me more about this authentic life you want to lead.
I’m going to fumigate that red chair. Or burn it.
If you were to die tomorrow, I’d show up at your funeral
wearing a red Microfiber dress. You’re blinking again.
What’s left to say? The walls are stained with unhappiness.
Tell me again what it means to live an authentic life.