Monthly Archives: April 2021

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Thirty


It’s the last day of April, the last day of National Poetry Writing Month, and the final prompt is to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

come back to me

I know you’re angry
but please put your anger aside 
and remember what we’ve had together
and can still have

would it help to know that I’m very sorry
I was wrong
I shouldn’t have done it
shouldn’t have said it
wouldn’t have
except I was hurt

I wish I could erase the pain I caused you
but when I thought you stopped loving me
I wanted to hurt you too

I was mistaken
but what was I to think
you became so distant
you didn’t talk to me
barely looked at me

I didn’t know what was bothering you
why didn’t you tell me
I wouldn’t have though less of you
I would have shared your struggles
less of a burden when carried by two
but you didn’t give me a chance

so I told you to get out
that I didn’t love you any more

and you left without a word

I had to hear from someone else
that you lost your job
like so many others during this terrible time
we could have made it through
would have made it through together
still can

so please
forgive me
call me
come home
fly home
drive home
hitchhike home
run home
walk home 
or call me
I’ll come get you
just come
let me love you again

©ARHuelsenbeck 2021

My grand total for April 2021 is twenty-seven poems. That’s what I like about challenges–they motivate me. That’s not to say that all the poems are great–they’re not. I do like the one above. It might be my favorite of the month. Another one I especially like is The Wedding Cake Knife. My most “liked” poems this month were the one I wrote about my daughter Erin, and Watching the children play in every season, which surprised me, because I considered that a throwaway poem; it felt so uninspired to me. You never know what will touch another human being. Let that be a lesson to me.

Creative Juice #240

Creative Juice #240

Interesting. Informative. Funny. Lovely. Artistic. Strange. It’s all here:

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Twenty-Nine


Today’s prompt is to imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. What do you see? What’s going on?

Photo by Eli Ayeke on Unsplash
Photo by Eli Ayeke on Unsplash
the view

through the bars, I see a lot
full of dusty rusty cars
belonging to the corrections officers

at the end of their shifts
they get to drive away
only to come back again tomorrow
(they’re prisoners too)

the gate slowly moves aside for them
they travel to the end of the driveway
and stop, then turn left or right

they disappear from my sight
nothing else to see
nothing on the other side of the road

just the desert stretching for miles

only two ways to get out of here
serve your time
or in a body bag

even if you could escape
ain't nothing to hide behind
nothing but dirt

©ARHuelsenbeck 2021

Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: Junk Drawer

Junk drawer

More Oddballs.

Video of the Week #303: Know How to Fold ‘Em


So soothing to watch.

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Twenty-Eight


Today’s official prompt is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. I came up with a few questions and got stuck. So I checked out Writer’s Digest’s prompt, which is to look over the poems we’ve written so far this month and choose something to rework (remix). The poem I chose to rework also has a lot of questions in it, so I picked some out and added them to what I had already, and I got unstuck. 🙂 Funny how inspiration works.

Remixing questions

Where do I go from here?
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
How can I circumnavigate the obstacles that separate me from my goal?

How come you look more beautiful every day?
Will the trash cans ever be emptied?
Will this pandemic ever be over?

How many more days until Christmas?
Will you marry me?
How many more payments until the mortgage is paid off?

Will the circle be unbroken?
Who wrote the book of love?
Who let the dogs out?

What day is it?
Who ate the last piece of cake?
Does this dress make my butt look fat?

How about those Yankees?
How is insisting on your rights (not to wear a mask, not to take a vaccine) loving your neighbor?
Is this how humanity ends?

©ARHuelsenbeck 2021

Wordless Wednesday: My Front Yard

My front yard

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Twenty-Seven


Today’s prompt is to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

While watching this video on the site:

. . . I was hit by how much I miss having small children in my life. My own five children range in age from 31 to 42. I have no grandchildren. My second teaching career, teaching elementary general music to grades kindergarten through sixth grade, helped fill that void, but I retired seven years ago. I know there are lots of ways I could voluntarily have children in my life again, but it’s just not possible right now.


my arms ache to cradle a dozing infant
my eyes wish to marvel at the perfection of a tiny fingernail
my fingers itch to caress the fuzzy cap of hair soft and smooth as mink
my ears long to hear hearty peals of childish laughter
to share the joy of a surprise peekaboo
my lips desire to kiss the booboos and make them all better
to whisper the words that will heal bruised feelings

when I hear a mother claim she’s bored at home with the kids all day
I want to shout
you don’t know how blessed you are
don’t waste a single moment you have together
how precious they are
how coveted

to see the world anew from the perspective of a child
to wonder at a pebble or a leaf or a feather
to see the spark of understanding take hold and grow
to witness increasing competence every day
to share life with the one I love more than myself
there’s nothing better

©ARHuelsenbeck 2021

The Power of “What If. . .”


I always have ideas for new writing projects—especially when I’m up to my elbows rewriting. My brain would much rather be working on the next shiny thing than polishing up my works-in-progress.

How do I generate ideas?

Most of my fiction ideas come from wondering “what if. . .” Like, what if a teenager discovers a unicorn living in the woods behind her house? What if a woman recognizes a missing girl as someone she’d seen in a recurring dream? What if the new girl in school decides to make friends by running for class president?

Please don’t steal my ideas—I’m working on all of these right now.

Instead, think what if. . .

Sometimes it helps to start with random elements: a setting, a character, a situation. Make lists of these things. Mix them up and see what happens.

Or here. I’ll make it easy for you.

Pick one item from column one, one from column two, one from column three and one from column four and see what happens. You may have to finagle a little.

What if . . .

a carbuysa peanutbut it’s illegal.
a bearspanksa gloveand it catches fire.
a doctoreatsan atombut there’s an earthquake.
a garbage collectormakesan unknown virusand turns it into an empire.
a life guardformsa corporationand becomes very popular.
an insurance salesmanfollowsa hospitalbut an evil twin ruins it.
a horsebreaksa mermaidand it turns into gold.
a dogstealsa cellphoneand the same day keeps repeating.
a teacherinventsa cityand starts a trend.
a computer programmercooksa homeless personbut forgets where it is.
an astronautdrawsa calendarin the midst of a snowstorm.
a helicopterpretends to bean elevatorbut there’s a snake in the basement.
a zombiemortifiesgasolinejust as World War III begins.
a rabbilosesa joggerand falls in love.
a pregnant womanbuildsmoneyand becomes the next internet sensation.
a teenaged boylovesbooksand gets transported into a parallel universe.
my left shoefindsa rock bandand stumbles into a robbery in progress.
an armysellsa clarinetbut the warranty expired.
an elephantruns intoa backpackwhile acting as a Russian spy.
the presidentalienatesa nunwho turns out to be their birth mother.

Now it’s your turn. Use this idea generator to come up with a story line. It doesn’t have to adhere strictly to the four items you chose; let your imagination take you where it will. Write a piece of flash fiction or a short story. Post it on your blog or on social media, and include a link below. Or, better yet, submit it to a contest from the Poets and Writers database and tell us about it. (Good luck!)

NaPoWriMo2021 Day Twenty-Six


Today’s prompt is to write a parody of a poem. I chose to spoof this one:

Dreams as Idea Source

As a friend to the writer
	        commend me the Dream.
	You will find it can even portend. 
It will tease and seduce you
		and feed you ice cream
Or lead you into
			a dead end.
A writer who dwells on the best-seller list
	(the happiest place you can be!)
Says a Dream is the best idea source that exists.
	Then, surely, the Dream is the key.
So tell all the writers to sleep with a pad
	And a pencil right next to your bed
And capture your Nightmare—
		or whatever
			you had.
(Or write down your Dreamscape instead.)