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    2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

    Categories: November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2013, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

    We’ve only got a week of November left. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make the most of it.

    For today’s prompt, write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem. You can decide where you shouldn’t be: maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a time, or maybe (just maybe) it’s a state of mind. Shake yourself loose in a poem.

    Here’s my attempt at an “I shouldn’t be here” poem:

    “Dearborn Heights”

    I didn’t know you,
    and you didn’t know me.

    It was late,
    and I needed help.

    Maybe I picked the wrong
    neighborhood to have

    an accident,
    and maybe you had

    an accident,
    but I shouldn’t be here;

    I shouldn’t be here,
    but here I am.


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    Robert Lee Brewer

    Robert Lee Brewer

    Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and still gets upset over unarmed people being killed, especially after a car accident. Of course, all the details probably aren’t out there, but this poem is from the perspective of Renisha McBride who was shot and killed while asking for help after an early morning car wreck (read about it here). Robert is the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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    About Robert Lee Brewer

    Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

    211 Responses to 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

    1. DWong says:

      I Shouldn’t Be Here (PAD 23)

      A mistake,
      something unplanned,
      by unspoken
      I was brought to
      this dead world.

      A mistake,
      I stood in the
      wrong place wrong
      time every day
      the door closed
      on my neck that
      gasped for breath.

      A mistake,
      something unplanned,
      I try hard
      to be loved by
      someone, but I
      should not try
      because I
      should not be here.

    2. bjholmes says:

      I Shouldn’t Be Here

      Fog crept around each stone in the ground
      each step crunched under my feet.
      A wild wind blew my hair all around
      whipping and twisting each little strand.
      This was not where I wanted to be
      but this was the place to make my stand.

      Clouds covered the brightness of the moon
      as it loomed up over the hills.
      Streaks of lightning and rools of thunder were soon.
      This is was not where I wanted to be
      but cowardice was not an option.

      Trees began twisting and thrusting about
      scaring the fog from my sight.
      Shadows were dancing as the moon tried to shout
      as the clouds scurried to shatter its light.
      This was not where I wanted to be
      but what choice did I really have left.

      A quiet voice from the east, no the west, came softly to my ear
      turning in circles to every little sound.
      trying to catch the voice of the whisperer to hear
      my heart racing and jumping and ready to bound.

      That voice drawing nearer, ever nearer, so clear,
      I knew that I shouldn’t be here.

    3. Glory says:

      No I shouldn’t –

      I shouldn’t be here
      No, we shouldn’t
      be meeting like this,
      although my heart beats
      with joy, and my hand
      slips slowly into yours
      I know in my heart
      where conscience clings
      I shouldn’t be here.

    4. Amy says:

      Inner Demons

      I shouldn’t be here
      at the foot of your shadow

      My roots are deep as
      the secrets you keep

      I shouldn’t be here
      underneath your pride

      I’ve grown so far from
      the seed you planted

      I shouldn’t be here
      behind your charming mask

      My own face longs for
      the warmth of the spotlight

      When you aren’t here
      I am here, regardless.

    5. Yolee says:

      Advertising Sales

      The half glass, half empty
      cubicle contains essentials to get some work done
      until the office movers bring in all the other hoopla.

      Nearly 13 years is a long time to be under the knife.
      And the company ran out of anesthesia 3
      years ago. She has a law degree beneath her skin,
      unlike her co-worker whose gauze across
      the mouth is beginning to fray.

    6. hohlwein says:

      For today’s prompt, write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem. You can decide where you shouldn’t be: maybe it’s a place, maybe it’s a time, or maybe (just maybe) it’s a state of mind. Shake yourself loose in a poem.

      I Shouldn’t Be Here

      Here I am again.
      Right back in the same damn spot.

      Every thing I own was touched, packed, unpacked, settled back east.
      Then touched, packed, unpacked, settled right back here.

      Should I be there?
      Vice President of Something.
      Inventor or Artist or Wife or Mother.

      Then again, maybe I should be here.
      In November, leaping upstream.

      Right back where I started.
      Thicker. My expression settled.
      Possibilities abandoned.

      Maybe I should be here.
      An imperative of some kind. Unclear, but firm.

      It has to be good enough that I made it
      - once -
      All the way out to the open sea.

    7. seingraham says:


      As used as I am to extraordinarily fine music,
      the voices filling my space tonight
      are enough to bring me to my metaphoric knees
      —no pun intended, although I can see how it might
      be construed as irreverent, given my architectural
      station in life—

      The winged ones in the balcony — they’re not supposed
      to be here, you know — cannot bear to fly off
      So enchanted are they by the sounds reverberating
      within my walls.
      They are no strangers to heavenly songs themselves,
      so that should give you some idea, how special
      this group, accompanied by one pianist alone, are…
      There on the risers, at the front for all to witness.

      I barely know where to begin, enumerating my ecstasies
      without coming off like some sort of religious zealot
      Oh my! That came out all wrong…one look at my stained
      glass windows, the flying buttresses that grace my roof,
      and the glorious brass pipes glowing, and growing like
      long-stemmed plants reaching for sunlight, they take
      up almost the whole front wall,
      Announce the holiness the organ’s place holds here

      My interior is warmed by shades of oak – the walls,
      the floor, even the seats…all the pews
      Every part of me is hand-crafted and perfect and
      to have the hallelujahs filling the air tonight
      No wonder the haloed ones are a-twitter…the maestro
      lifts his baton and the voices blend
      It is a blessing indeed to have the opera’s chorus caress
      us with such love tonight

    8. Healing Balm of Argument

      I shouldn’t be here
      In this deadly mix
      Of mind, emotion

      Contrary stance
      Will of no romance
      Combustible tone

      Rapid fire statements
      Of ill-feeling

      Across the room
      Shattering windows
      Of opportunity

      Little room left
      For love, peace
      And forgiveness

      Let’s stop
      The inflammation
      Careless swelling

      We could use
      Some rest, ice
      For our hearts

      And elevation
      To a higher level

      The healing balm
      Starts now


      I’m on the wrong side of the line,
      Shouldn’t be here
      Having this conversation
      Or giving you this
      Undivided attention
      Look, you’re so fine…
      Did I mention you been on my mind?
      This is a bad decision.
      Being here,
      Engulfed in daydreams that
      Happen to follow me into night
      Every thing you do is so right
      Really, you don’t even got to say a word
      Even still, I can’t be here. And neither should you.

    10. bjzeimer says:


      I shouldn’t be here watching
      this documentary of the migration
      of swans, cranes, and pelicans,

      the largest birds in the world.
      Like I need to know what a gaggle
      of geese is, what flock of birds is called

      a wedge. The biggest birds
      I ever saw were pheasants lighting in an
      Ohio field of wheat stubble,

      Daddy stalking them with his shotgun.
      We had a pot of pheasant
      and noodles for supper that night.

    11. MichelleMcEwen says:


      I should go

      Should not be here
      wrapped around you

      like you are some prey

      It’s too dangerous,
      babe— you bring

      out the animal in me,
      make me remember

      I was a lion
      in a past life

      You return to me
      my roar as though

      I’m back in Africa

      A king

    12. Mywordwall says:


      I heard it
      the opening notes of Ode to Joy
      and I walked, tracing the sound
      my feet as though growing wings with each step
      the music lifted me up
      bit by bit
      until I lose sense of my ground
      and my soul floats into the heavens
      rides the waves of joy
      and sorrow
      and triump
      the music embraced me
      flowed through me
      through its beat
      I saw
      life’s possibilities
      There I stayed
      among the stars
      but the applause
      and rolling drums
      called me back
      to where I should be –
      in that place of grit,
      my reality.

    13. I Shouldn’t Be Here

      But I am,
      in the gap between
      the back of the couch
      and the wall.

      This is my secret place.
      Now I mustn’t move.
      There are voices
      and I know whose.

      They are saying
      grown-up things.
      I don’t understand, but I know
      I’m not supposed to hear.

      I’m listening
      with wide-open ears
      and keeping
      very quiet.

    14. Spoilsports.

      Out through the window
      or out of the door
      quietly, quietly
      pads and sheathed claws.

      Softly creeping,
      drawing near
      if I move very slowly
      they won’t know I’m here.

      Freeze on the spot
      so I can’t be seen.
      Invisible, invincible
      predator queen.

      This is the way I
      sneak up on the birds
      to catch them and eat them
      without being heard.

      The guards of the garden
      cause me no fear.
      But the birds flee at,
      “Shoo cat,
      you shouldn’t be here!”

      Michele Brenton

    15. DanielAri says:

      “I shouldn’t be here.”

      and once when I was 25 and temping,
      I got assigned to the San Francisco Mint,
      a stiflingly rote workday in the building’s
      gray sub-basement. I used the time to perfect
      sleight of hand tricks with rubber bands and desk things.

      One day I pondered (this is how bad it got)
      whether there was another men’s room down there.
      I got up to have myself a walkabout
      and wandered into a hallway where the walls
      were plexiglass. Then with a sinking feeling,

      I heard doors lock decisively behind me.
      From a P.A. a voice demanded to know
      what I was doing in the mint’s treasury.
      And then I recognized what was going on
      in those rooms full of bins, tables and bright light.

      “I’m a temp,” I cried to the overseer,
      the unseen guard clicked his tongue and let me go.


    16. Milling for Morning

      You asked me to meet you
      by the windmill near Badger.

      Even if it’s freezing, you begged,
      even if the lake is iced over

      please come before light
      steals the sky.

      We both grew up East River,
      we knew the ground would

      be tough under the cut corn,
      hard enough to hurt. But

      still I went to you, easing
      out of the farmer’s bed

      like a sigh or the ghost
      of a breath in the dark,

      hiking through muck
      and frost to the red truck

      by the barn, rattling
      through the last of the soybeans

      and pretending it was too cold
      to even cry. We didn’t take off

      all of our clothes, but later -
      after my lips were blue

      and your mouth was red -
      We shed our gloves,

      held our bare hands. We’re
      waiting for wind, you said,

      Milling for morning.

    17. Margie Fuston says:

      The MBA

      She should be
      building portfolios,
      merging companies,
      charting stock prices,
      balancing assets and liabilities.

      Now she uses her MBA
      building Lego castles,
      merging peanut butter and jelly,
      charting potty trips,
      balancing the checkbook.

      But she
      wouldn’t trade

    18. “An Old Familiar Place” is my I shouldn’t be here poem. It is posted on my blog at: http://leonaslines.com/2013/11/23/an-old-familiar-place/

    19. bethwk says:

      I Shouldn’t Be Here

      And neither, perhaps, should you. Or you.
      How shall I place this shame in context?

      It wasn’t my pigs who brought the plague
      that wiped out the thousand Caddoan villages
      along the Mississippi. Nor my gold-lust
      that cut off the hands and the tongues
      of those who would not yield me tribute.

      I did not rush in with the unrighteous mob
      when the Paxtang Boys tore down the doors
      and killed the last Conestoga villagers.

      How have we come to speak so glibly of genocide?

      They had no concept, see, of land ownership,
      and our own greed had built into a towering need.

      They helped us live, you know,
      when our own were starving.
      We could not have been so bad,
      if they helped us then.
      And we have immortalized them
      with gratitude, so that makes up
      a little of the difference.

      I shouldn’t be here, but I am,
      here in history, here in this place.
      And beneath my feet, the bones
      of the People Who Came Before.

      What can I offer as a token,
      as my plea for forgiveness?

      A small piece of quartz tossed
      into the River which fed them,
      Three seeds in the soil
      which grew their livelihood:
      a bean, a corn kernel, a gourd.
      A feather tossed into the wind,
      like the eagles who flew above
      the myriad villages of the People.

      I am sorry.
      Please forgive me.

    20. bethwk says:

      I Shouldn’t Be Here

      And neither, perhaps, should you. Or you.
      How shall I place this shame in context?

      It wasn’t my pigs who brought the plague
      that wiped out the thousand Caddoan villages
      along the Mississippi. Nor my gold-lust
      that cut off the hands and the tongues
      of those who would not yield me tribute.

      I did not rush in with the unrighteous mob
      when the Paxtang Boys tore down the doors
      and killed the last Conestoga villagers.

      How have we come to speak so glibly of genocide?

      They had no concept, see, of land ownership,
      and our own greed had built into a towering need.

      They helped us live, you know,
      when our own were starving.
      We could not have been so bad,
      if they helped us then.
      And we have immortalized them
      with gratitude, so that makes up
      a little of the difference.

      I shouldn’t be here, but I am,
      here in history, here in this place.
      And beneath my feet, the bones
      of the People Who Came Before.

      What can I offer as a token,
      as my plea for forgiveness?

      A small piece of quartz tossed
      into the River which fed them,
      Three seeds in the soil
      which grew their livelihood:
      a bean, a corn kernel, a gourd.
      A feather tossed into the wind,
      like the eagles who flew above
      the myriad village of the People.

      I am sorry.
      Please forgive me.

    21. A wrong turn,
      fate’s demand
      Pointing north,
      looking south
      Thinking twice,
      lost to doubt
      Crooked road,
      panicked state
      Left alone,
      rescue me
      No one knows,
      left behind

    22. Julieann says:

      Another Time & Place – No!

      Around the 1870s and 1880s
      Heyday of the Wild, Wild West
      Pioneers and cowboys,
      Cattle drives, Indians,
      And wagon trains

      Times were simpler then
      Right was right and
      Wrong was wrong
      The gun and hangman’s noose
      Were the law

      An idealized time of honor
      And integrity, a time of hard
      Work, back breaking labor
      From dawn to dusk
      Building a new world

      I so often feel I should have been
      Way back then -
      I shouldn’t be here with government’s
      Wishy-washy ambiguities
      And anything goes

      A simpler life I crave – yes!
      But to do without indoor plumbing,
      Air conditioning, telephones, and the
      American automobile
      I am happy here

    23. PKP says:

      in the moonlight

      I should not be reaching across
      this strange bed with rumpled
      sheets of musk
      Touching your shoulder
      as my wedding ring
      his and my wedding ring
      glints in the moonlight
      splayed across our sated
      I should not be here
      in the moonlight

    24. Businessperson’s Special

      I wonder how many of us
      shouldn’t be here –
      as for me, I called in sick.
      It would have been a shame to waste
      such a beautiful afternoon on work
      instead of baseball. But the park
      may be full of guilty parties
      who are supposed to be somewhere else.
      Maybe I’ll see some sheepish faces
      on the Fan-o-vision screen.
      But I’ve been looking and no one here
      seems self-conscious or remorseful.
      So I’ll follow their lead and enjoy myself -
      dig into this hot dog, cheer my team,
      and worry about everything else tomorrow.

    25. randinha says:

      Since today’s prompt is the thought I have almost every time I enter my favorite bookstore –


      Windows, wide, stretching the length
      of this hall, brilliant
      glass, radiant
      with light and heat and the dance
      of dust in the beams
      and dust on the books
      and dust on the shelves of the books
      stretching the length of this hall.

      Steaming strong coffee, dark
      as the window is bright and bitter
      as the cookies are sweet and plain
      as the books are vivid and finite
      as the shelves are endless.

      Chatter, constant yet
      quiet, a laugh, a rebuttal,
      a sip, a keyboard’s sudden rattle,
      another laugh, a beep,
      and children’s feet beating
      the floor.

      A wonderland of words, an idyll
      for intellectuals, and a temptation

      for the traveling taleteller,
      the one who traveled from the side of her wide
      open notebook, blank and brilliant
      paper radiant with possibility
      for light and heat and the dance
      of fantastic worlds
      stretching the length of the mind—

      yes, a distraction from the steaming
      long hours, dark
      as the window is bright, bitter
      as the cookies are sweet, plain
      as these books are vivid, and futile
      as these shelves are endlessly fruitful.

    26. rosross says:

      I shouldn’t be here

      Through dubious days, diluted nights,
      and dismal dreams we drew,
      ourselves into relationship;
      demanded something new.

      In tangled trips of heart and mind,
      the minutes strangled hope,
      tied with frayed, impending need;
      crippled inner growth.

      Until at last a voice was heard,
      yours or maybe mine:
      ‘I shouldn’t be here,’ rang the words;
      the end was soon defined.

    27. Missy McEwen says:

      Little Rock Central High School

      They don’t want us here
      but who are they
      to say we shouldn’t be

      They don’t want us here
      that bad they trip us in hallways
      on our way to class.

      They call us names
      other than what our parents
      gave us: Melba, Thelma,
      Ernest, Jefferson, Elizabeth,
      Carlotta, Terrence,
      Gloria, and Minnijean.
      We all have the same name here–

      We get spat on,
      knocked down and kicked
      until we bleed, teachers
      turn their heads.

      We shouldn’t want to be
      around y’all

      not the other
      way around.

    28. I shouldn’t be here
      Now if I could only find
      Just where I should be

    29. LeAnneM says:

      Worst Feeling Ever

      Awareness that one has been
      Destined again

      To make the best of it

    30. Roaring Era

      Green lizard absinthe,
      silver slotted spoons,
      and the place filled
      with charleston dancers
      in flapper dresses.
      This is not my time;
      I know that. Intoxicating
      music, clink of crystal
      glasses, and laughter.
      I am swept up in the
      splendor of it all.
      Maybe I time-traveled,
      and landed in an age
      out of a page in history.
      But I look down, see my
      jeans. They are faded,
      as are my shirt and shoes.
      No one can see me, yet
      I shouldn’t be here.

    31. SathanNamuwaara says:

      Piss-poor, pissed off and pissed.
      Auspicious targets missed.
      I shouldn’t be here.

      Tests were mine to fail.
      Opportunities mine to miss.
      But I shouldn’t be here.

      In the sinking sand on which I stand,
      far from the peak
      of which I planned to land on
      clad in golden raiment-
      victorious spoils!
      Not mortgage payments.

      Burgeoning dreams unconsummated
      by frigid bureaucratic bats
      feasting on my felicity- You know what I mean?

      “I’ll drink to that!”

    32. calicocat88 says:


      Waves clutched at my feet
      Satan’s disillusionment
      I shouldn’t be here

      (“Not sure if this qualifies as a Haiku” says the poetic deficient. )

    33. Rosemarie Keenan says:


      I toss and turn on the sodden bed
      looking for some relief. I angle
      the sickly fan again, it nudges
      the molten air and manages to reheat
      this tiny room.

      Too hot to sleep, why bother trying.
      But what am I to do if I can’t sleep?
      Lie here and worry, which is what I do,
      an expert at it, stuck in torrid torment
      and in time.

      Knowing I brought myself here
      away from you.
      Sat on the plane and cried
      “Why am I leaving him?”
      Leaving the only one I ever loved
      to sweat on the Lower East Side.

      Some self-imposed penance, perhaps
      or deeply ingrained habit calling.
      Twelve years of Catholic school bells
      tolling: “Don’t trust your emotions.”

      Maybe a willful pragmatism.
      Sure, that’s it.
      A sign to show how sober I could be:
      “Look, I’ll be miserable for a month”
      and after that
      well, if this thing still holds
      we’re no worse off.

      The fan’s blades
      stutter with useless effort.
      With any luck
      I’ll lose consciousness
      and when delirious
      see you again.

    34. -visibly else-

      a short period of poorness is already underway when I enter to promise my dog and nod to my wife. dumb in the mouth I announce I am thinking behind. my shyness is a chair sent from a distant church. the one man in the room tells me I have a purpose and confides that he too is a rental. I’m just here for my unmarried wife who was recently overwhelmed by the human response of our dog. being that the women are slow to evoke, I’ll have myself know your sons are on a flat surface having a nightmare nightmares notice.

    35. JRSimmang says:


      My button eyes
      have fallen slack,
      lacking the tension
      behind them.

      I can see,
      with dreadful drooping,
      that this isn’t the
      last place I lay.

      Hold me close
      and color my face.

      -JR Simmang

    36. cholder says:

      I should not be here
      honeyed lips meeting mine
      breath brushing my hair
      our bodies entwined

      I should not be here
      fingers tracing the line
      of my jaw; transcendent
      suspension of time

      I should not be here
      but each time I find
      it unbearable to leave;
      to return to my life

      I should not be here
      nails raking your spine
      pressed core to core
      celestial coalescence divine

      I should not be here I sigh . . .

      November PAD Challenge Day 23: I should not be here poem

    37. Linda Goin says:

      Looking for a Reason to Be Here

      I really shouldn’t be here,
      but when I was born,
      the angels were on vacation.
      No. Forget that.
      I really don’t believe
      in angels.

      I really shouldn’t be here,
      because this world
      is so angry,
      and I like to poke the bears.
      One of these days,
      one of those bears
      is going to find me
      and finish me.

      I really shouldn’t be here,
      listening to talk among angels,
      because I don’t believe in them.
      But, if I did believe in them,
      I would hear them talk about
      all the usual things,
      like seraphim, cherubim,
      essential oils, and thrones.
      They’d also talk about hair,
      shrimp and grits,
      sick cats, and perfume.

      I really shouldn’t be here,
      looking for angels.
      Thank goodness
      they don’t have names,
      because I’d call them.
      Only archangels have names.
      Trust me on that one.
      And, angels have wings only
      because someone, here,
      decided they couldn’t fly
      without them.
      If I believed in angels,
      they would live
      in apartments.


      Should I
      quietly hide
      in the clouds to gaze upon
      the stars dancing in moonlit skies
      to songs only they know?

      Should I
      to try capture
      the soft and graceful steps of
      this waltz in evening’s ballroom,
      my words will sound hollow.

      I should,
      instead, enjoy
      the scene in silent awe as
      those involved in this astral dance
      ignore my intrusion.

      © Susan Schoeffield

    39. BezBawni says:

      Early Spring

      I blink
      green sprouts from under icy ground
      pushing through crystal crust.
      I’m stiff. I stretch and puff
      the icicles off branches in the garden.
      I urge reluctant streams
      of melted cold down the road;
      they do as told, but halt
      as soon as clouds wrap
      around the sun. I stand here stunned.
      I feel the wind get stronger.
      There’s something wrong,
      as even if I hold my breath,
      the wind’s still blowing.
      Now it’s snowing,
      and I start to panic.
      Like a tender lover, with remnants
      of my warmth I cover shooting buds
      and sing a lullaby to waking bears.
      I stare at the sunset
      and, in wonder, I wonder if maybe
      I shouldn’t be here.
      Just yet.

    40. De Jackson says:


      I shouldn’t be hear
      -ing this, these words that fall
      like ashes from your lips
      aimed by pointed tongue,
      these flames that zing and sting and sum
      -marize me, name me things I am not. Caught
      cold by hammered phrase, anvil anger and
      wasted days, I hold on to hope
      and heart and breath,
      and leave them stir
      -rupped for some other sunset.


    41. Broofee says:

      I shouldn’t be here

      Streets are still empty,
      I walk through the downtown
      On a Saturday morning
      Women are cleaning shops windows
      Men are looking half asleep
      It’s the end of November
      And I’m thinking about emigration.

      Rain just keeps hitting me
      Harder and harder
      Even jumps of the concrete
      While I walk beneath the old buildings
      And hits my pants.
      I’m soaking wet
      After two hours of walking around
      And I keep thinking
      Finland is probably much colder
      Sweden is probably more expensive
      Norway probably has more snow
      Well, I wouldn’t wanna go to America
      There’s no healthcare system over there
      That can compete with Europe
      In any way.

      Since the Christmas is near
      They already put some decorations
      They already prepared the town center
      Dragged small wooden houses
      So they can sell presents
      And wines, sausages
      And sweets.

      I really shouldn’t be here
      Any more
      I should go
      Find someplace else
      Learn something new
      Meet some new people
      Do some crazy things
      Maybe I’ll stay
      Just a bit
      A day or two
      If I do
      I know
      You’ll come over
      For the weekend
      And we’ll walk these same streets
      See these little wooden houses
      Have some wine
      Eat a sausage or two
      And I’ll feel
      Just about right.

    42. priyajane says:

      I shouldn’t be here
      On this side of the solar system
      A stardust spinning tunes
      alien constellations

      But now that I am
      Trusting the new moon
      Losing some old. gears
      I am here now—

    43. I Shouldn’t Be Here

      I ran from my past.
      But it followed me.
      I build.
      It tears down.
      I connect.
      It disconnects.
      I take one step forward.
      It pushes me back three.
      I shouldn’t be here,
      with my past.
      I’d like to run.
      But where?
      I’ve got to face my past head on,
      so I’m free to step into my future.

    44. barbara_y says:

      Done beyond undoing, I come back
      from where I was, from the ocean,
      where the choice
      was high or low. Come
      back home, where the mountains
      stretch from then
      until where time ends,
      and the clouds are gathering cold.
      There’s a cycle to complete,
      and the hills are suffering me here.
      Whatever path my feet create,
      however far I walk, which way, makes no regard.
      Virtue doesn’t lessen, or wrong-headed habits
      make the last leg longer, through the gap.

    45. Clae says:

      I Shouldn’t Still Be Here

      This is not where I thought I’d be,
      I planned so much to do and see.
      I thought I would have more achieved
      By this time in my life.
      This is not what I planned to do.
      What happened to those years that flew
      Right past before I even knew?
      Now it’s time for my life
      To gain a focus, fight my way,
      Finish goals, accomplish things. Days
      Go by but it’s not yet too late
      To make a better life.

    46. Late Saturday Night

      I should be dancing
      (I’m in my prime)
      I should be glancing
      (flirting is my crime) -

      but instead I’m sitting
      (alone, let me be)
      trying to not be quitting
      (no one here but me)
      watching the IV dripping
      (the only sound I see) –

      There are so many regrets
      (crowding up my mind)
      I’ve started taking bets
      (as those thoughts twined)
      I’m getting the sweats
      (I think I’m going blind) –

      Not one drop did I drink
      (did he?)
      going over the brink
      (I jerk my knee)
      that flat-line sound, think
      (I’m falling free)
      a tear leaks out, blink
      (why me?)

    47. Day 23
      Prompt: Write an “I shouldn’t be here” poem.

      Not Here

      Not now,
      not this place where all was swept away,
      my children included.
      Lord, why did You let it happen?
      If You had been here, if You had stopped it,
      they wouldn’t be gone.
      My neighbors and I wouldn’t sit in the rubble,
      waiting for help that has yet to come.
      I don’t understand.
      I trusted You. I told my neighbors about Your love.

      My child, help is on the way.
      There is no one who loves you more than I.
      Now is the chance to show your neighbors,
      show the world, that I will give
      you the strength to carry on.
      If they but ask, that strength is

      Father, into Your hands I commit
      my broken but willing spirit.

    48. It always starts
      a hero or a heroine
      looking out a window
      doesn’t matter if it’s
      raining or shining
      and in comes an invisible
      cat or one wearing
      a hat
      some kind of looking glass
      or wardrobe
      the next inevitable
      unexpected journey
      always so full of nasty
      and precious
      I shouldn’t be here
      but there you are
      the start of all the best

    49. Jane Shlensky says:


      It’s crossed my mind a time or two
      that I could die here, far away,
      no one to write home, call for help,
      no kind Horatio to tell my tale.
      The fever makes me morbid
      and so weak, I wonder how I’ll
      ever lift my pack, stand up,
      and walk, reverse the process
      that has brought me here, a walk,
      a wade, a boat, a ship, a train,
      a bus, a plane, a plane, a plane,
      and home, just over there
      on the other side of the world,
      my mother’s face, worried, mad.
      I am a moral now, a walking warning:
      travel with others, never go alone,
      but I can’t fight them every time
      I want to roam, to see a thing first hand.
      This has to be a footnote, not a plot.
      I shouldn’t be here, but the butterflies
      like golden drifting leaves down
      to the beach entranced me,
      and no one else would join me
      just to see them in their flight,
      to visit Buddha’s jungle temple,
      to hear the monkeys chatter
      in the trees, eat mangos and
      swim such transparent seas.
      I walk on will and stubbornness,
      on fumes of energy, each step
      a thought. I must survive to tell
      of one steamy night’s encounter
      with a mosquito on a dot of an island
      in Thailand where the cove at sunset
      is to die for.

    50. elishevasmom says:

      I Shouldn’t Be Here

      By most accounts this cat
      used up her nine lives
      a long time ago.

      She went about doing
      what she wanted to do
      when she wanted to do it.

      Did manage to somehow
      steer clear of alcohol
      and narcotics along the way.

      Maybe that’s what made
      the difference
      as to why she’s still here.

      Lived herself into the wild
      and crazy bluster of a
      hornet’s nest knocked

      off a branch by a
      sling-shotted, should-know-
      better piece of attitude.

      The laws of nature had
      that hornet’s nest exploding
      into a madness so intense

      there was nothing left
      to hit the ground.
      And yet,

      here I am,
      against all odds.
      No hornets welcome.

      Ellen Knight 11.23.13
      write an “I shouldn’t be here” for PAD 11.13

      • PressOn says:

        This is fun and exudes a “so there” attitude, especially at the end. Love it.

        • elishevasmom says:

          Thanks, Bill. btw, I just read your poet interview over at Poetic Bloomings. I enjoyed so much getting to know more about you. I’ve only come to know you over there and here at PA over the past year or so, and finally felt a little foolish that it took me until just a few months ago to realize that Press On = William Preston. You are so insightful in your comments, in general. And the way you thank others for posting, well, that’s just above and beyond. Congrats again.

    51. Domino says:

      You know I shouldn’t be here.
      But I’m so glad that I am.
      This close, your presence endear.
      I know I shouldn’t be here.
      I guess I could disappear
      but really don’t give a damn
      You know I shouldn’t be here.
      But I’m really glad that I am.

    52. gl86 says:


      I whisper once
      in your ear
      I shouldn’t be here.

      My wasted words
      kiss your ear
      I shouldn’t be here.

      That’s your cue.
      Make your move.
      We’re here again,

    53. Dare says:

      Perfectly Random

      A random planet
      A random solar system
      A random universe
      A perfect mix of
      Chemicals and conditions
      I shouldn’t be here
      But I am

    54. I Shouldn’t Be Here

      I shouldn’t be here
      holed up the house,
      Norwegian Wood
      turned way up high,
      a good book open
      on my lap, a dog
      curled at my feet.
      A million things
      to do today, I know
      that I should make
      a list and check it
      twice, but for now
      I think I’ll choose
      naughty, ignoring
      nice. After all, one
      single day, claimed
      as my own, surely
      won’t slip the world
      of its axis. Anyone
      depending on me,
      will have to take
      a number and wait.

    55. writinglife16 says:

      Standing on the Edge

      Here’s my truth.
      I shouldn’t be here.
      Getting close.
      Step by step.
      Standing on the edge of time.
      The question is why?

      Where am I?
      I shouldn’t be here.
      Dr. Freud.
      Please advise.
      Standing on the edge of tme.
      Someone hear my truth.


      The wind mixes shadow with light on stone.
      Where sunlight of autumn-fall leaves drifts past
      the dark of oaks – November holding fast –
      a man should not be wandering alone.

      And I should not be climbing rock and bone-
      ridges, searching. A dry waste stretches vast.
      The wind mixes shadow with light on stone,
      and sunlight of autumn-fall leaves drifts past.

      Minutes move across the flat. Distant drone
      of traffic. A buzzard circles like last
      hope on wings. Hill beyond hill – rocks amassed
      by history. Who should be here on his own?
      The wind mixes shadow with light on stone.

    57. bxpoetlover says:

      I Shouldn’t Have Been There

      at 17, with that bike lock around my neck,
      them playing keep-away with the key

      Because they called me Three-Fifths and Fraction
      and bruised my lip when I fought back,
      in this room decorated with a Confederate flag and
      pentagram, I escaped home every weekend

      And when my folks saw
      the N-word scribbled on
      my white board,
      they knew why.

      My tormentors named, charged, removed.
      Fellow students gathered around
      the Tommie Smith’s raised fist to let me know
      I am not alone, but I came to San Jose State
      for an education.

      I learned that
      some don’t know
      it is 2013.


      The day was bright and beautiful,
      this I remember well,
      I was working in the garden
      when something, I couldn’t tell,
      began this awful wheezing,
      then the wind began to swirl
      til, plop, right there. a blue box
      appeared and my hair began to curl.

      With a twinkle in his eye,
      out jumps this strange man,
      I sit there quite amazed,
      “Hello!” he said, as I began
      to blink and blink, unsure
      of just what I was seeing
      sitting in my garden fair -
      a blue box used for ringing!

      “Hello,” says I, “Are you lost?
      Can I help? How about some tea?”
      With twinkling eyes and a grin,
      he says, “Are you kidding, help me?”
      “Don’t you know who I am?”
      “Um…not really,” I did say.
      “Why, the Doctor!” he exclaimed,
      “Is my craft in your way?”

      He seemed a lovely gent,
      so, I invited him to tea.
      I could tell he was quite lost by
      the questions asked of me
      “I’m quite befuddled!” he did admit,
      “because, really, I shouldn’t be here!”
      Then, off he ran, and disappeared,
      leaving me to tear…

      The day was bright and beautiful,
      this I remember well,
      I was working in the garden
      when something, I couldn’t tell…


      In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Who.

    59. I Shouldn’t Be Here

      Ev’ry single day
      Poetic Bloomings dot com
      Humbles me greatly

      I’m greatly humbled
      By the poetic beauty
      Of brilliant poets

      Brilliant poets of
      The far reaches of the earth
      Gracing this garden

      This garden of poems
      Releasing a sweet fragrance
      Enriching my life

      My life is enriched
      By this collaboration
      I could not have earned.

    60. Heaven, undeserved
      my sins forever buried
      ‘neath the cross of Christ

    61. Cin5456 says:

      Marketing Strategy

      Calgon promised to take me away.
      The latest movie promised to transport
      me. The right attitude will take me far.
      A good education will take me farther.
      DeVry said it would take my education
      to another level. Headhunters promise
      to take my career to new heights. From
      all the advertisements I see every day,
      I get the impression that I’m not
      supposed to be where I am.

    62. annell says:

      Where I Need to Be

      In the jungle

      Dark and deep…


      I shouldn’t be here

      Sailing the deep blue sea….


      I shouldn’t be here

      Flying above mountain tops….


      I shouldn’t be here

      I have no time to waste

      My time is finite

      I have no idea

      When the end is near


      I will be where I need to be

      Stretch the moment to eternity

    63. RJ Clarken says:

      Dog Logic

      I should
      not be here,
      then why did you leave the cabinet door
      unlocked? I could get in to it, you know.
      And I prob-


    64. RJ Clarken says:

      A Night at the Improv

      feel like
      I’m on-stage
      without knowing my lines. The overture
      is finished. I must make my entrance now.
      Curtains rise.
      It’s show
      is just
      but since I shouldn’t be here, ‘though I am,
      I’ll just have to improvise. Scene: She says,
      “I love you.”
      Then, a


    65. MLundstedt says:

      “Here again”

      Furtive glances at the door, partly
      hoping to see someone walk through
      it, and march to my table,
      and shatter this amber
      prison and remind
      me forcefully
      that I should
      not be

    66. Lori P says:

      I shouldn’t be here

      stepped off a curb when I was nine
      inches from a car
      Japanese boy pulled me back

      blind spot did its job and hid
      a Frito truck at 75
      Red pickup got out of my way just in time

      I’ve run over an armadillo and a chainsaw
      with nothing worse than a $500 mechanic bill

      I’ve been in the Middle East during a bread riot
      the London Tube with a “suspicious package”
      and Louisiana during Katrina

      I shouldn’t’ be here,
      But I’m glad I am.

    67. PressOn says:


      This stone-cold day is big-bird day,
      when all things turkey come into play;

      some of my ilk today keep dates
      with oval platters and dinner plates

      but they were born and bred for that,
      encrusted are they with surplus fat

      and feet so weak that they all fall
      and none of them can fly at all.

      Here in the fields that is not true:
      here we live free and do not rue

      the day that humans call Thanksgiving;
      the day our kindred feed the living.

      Enjoy this day; enjoy your fun;
      I wish you well, but I must run.

      Why must I run? There is no reason
      except for this: it’s hunting season.

    68. Jezzie says:

      What am I doing here?
      I don’t feel like I belong.
      Now I’ve returned to my career
      my poems turn out all wrong.
      I try to write my poems in verse
      and use alliteration
      but my rhymes are getting worse
      because I’ve lost my inspiration.

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