PROMPT #393 – I MEANT TO DO THAT

Sometimes presumed errors or perceived wrong decisions surprisingly work to our advantage. We cover our tracks by proclaiming, ”I meant to do that!”

But was it something you were meant to do? What was it that you were meant to do, or would have liked to have done?

Turn your self-search into a poem and let us know where it might have taken you.

MARIE’S EXAMPLE:

TOO LATE (a waltmarie)

I ignored your advances. I made you beg my
pardon,
while you strained to gain my affection …
but I 
couldn’t encourage candor. No, not when you
meant to
lead me to altars and vows, and expected to hear me 
say I 
do, while my panic clearly cried I don’t
love you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

Inner poem reads:

pardon,
but I
meant to
say I 
love you

(Disclaimer:  While most of my poems are based on my life and thoughts, this one is completely fabricated. 😉 )

WALT’S POEM:

THE POEM I MEANT TO WRITE

The poem I meant to write
lived in my soul since I knew
I was meant to write a poem or two.
Or nine hundred. The one blunder
of my existence was my resistance
to refrain from writing rhyme.
So now poetry flows through me,
it knew me long before I was born.
For from that morn on, this gift
has lifted my heart, in part
to touch other souls with no
control over this muse of mine.
I refuse to rest until that one best
poem is written. The one 
that has me smitten.
The poem I meant to write. 
THE one.

© Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

94 thoughts on “PROMPT #393 – I MEANT TO DO THAT

  1. ABSENT WORDS

    I assumed guilt in sackcloth and ashes
    when I drank the milk of your wrath.

    I should’ve spoken…

    “Mommy please, don’t hurt me.”

    Yet the swift hands of fire and brimstone
    came reigning down repeatedly smiting—
    and smiting….

    Until the merciless judgement had completed
    its work.

    I was left alone, smoldering and friable.
    Abandoned by the only safe person I knew.

    Choked was the feeble confidence I once had.
    The innocence and strength of a voice was seized.
    The rug was yanked from beneath my feet.
    Stability fled and I could no longer stand.

    I wish I could’ve spoken words to assuage your
    anger. Words that could still your wrath, cause you to cherish me, and you become my anchor.

    But that ship had already sailed.

    I was already lost at sea as a young naive boy.
    Tossed about, and turned by the familiar
    waves of violent storms.

    Shipwrecked and weary.
    Hungry for love and affection.
    Still seeking stable ground.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  2. Marie, Walt… this is a challenging prompt for me, and you both have written such perfect responses!
    Marie, the forlorn regret of your waltmarie form is so well embedded in your poem.
    Walt, I loved the restraint transformed to surrender to relief in your story!
    I will give this a try.

  3. MEG, I have read this one many times, each reading revealing something new to me. A little near rhyme, a lot of closet soul, some lines refrigerator magnets. Marvelous.

    WW, I am happy that you are such a perfectionist because it means that you will continue to write and write and write in search of that perfection, while your appreciative readers get to see all of what you give us, perfect to you or not.

  4. Independence 17’s

    Failure to forgive
    keeps me from knowing the truth.
    Forgiveness frees me.

    Having great power,
    I can be a force for good,
    wisely and with faith.

    When I’m too revved up,
    it helps to take deep, slow breaths,
    knowing all is well.

    It’s a useful tool,
    the simple act of pausing,
    calms what happens next.

    If hurt comes today,
    I will pause, take a breath and
    share the best of me.

    Being forgiving
    releases me from my most
    negative thinking.

    My light brightens lives,
    invites others to share theirs.
    I’m a Lightworker.

    I’m worthy of love,
    not too quick to blame myself.
    I’m gentle with me.

  5. That Time

    I did not cry as far that time,
    that time I left, in driving rain,
    regrets in torrents and in tears.

    By exit seventeen I dried my face,
    turned up the wipers to full speed,
    and set my destination,
    tentative, of course,
    upon some place I didn’t really want to go.

    The next time I did not cry, leaving then,
    no tears at all,
    just a long and somber sigh.

    Now miles and miles and miles
    from my departures I
    regret that I did not say
    I’m sorry,
    for the things I know now, farther down this road
    than I ever really wanted me to go.
     
    The things I know now
    I wish I didn’t know.

    And so,
    I will cry farther now,
    as I now leave,
    again,
    so sorry for the times
     I did not cry. 

    © Damon Dean, 2022

  6. I have a story to tell…

    This was not the life I meant to have….

    I had planned
    To go to Boston…
    To be a chaplain…
    And work with the dying.

    Ma’s one rule got in the way.
    Growing up we could do anything
    As long as family and friends
    Knew nothing about our antics.
    Since we lived far away from relatives
    That was easy until I the last at home
    Was plopped down in the midst of relatives.
    Ma’s sisters told her I was going to hell
    If I became a minister.

    I fought this
    Until I lost my faith…
    Being a chaplain
    Was a mirage
    Floating out there
    But when I got there
    It was gone.

    I am a warrior born.
    I had to have a purpose.
    But I didn’t and I floundered
    Like those fish
    That washed up at night
    On the coast of Mississippi.

    I devised a plan…
    As I did odd jobs,
    Like cake decorating,
    And hiked, and
    Went to festivals
    For those that played dulcimers.

    I told no one.
    I took a test
    For grad school…
    I was going to Montana.

    I was not coming back…
    Maybe to visit,
    But I thought I would
    Eventually open a bar
    With pool tables,
    And know cowboys
    Who wrote poetry…
    In the style that cowboys write.
    It was what I thought
    My last summer in South Carolina.

    Then I got the call.
    I had an interview
    To work with foster children.
    I dressed nice…
    And when I was asked
    By the director,
    “Why do you think
    You did not get the job
    With the other interviews?”

    I smiled and knew
    I had nothing to lose…
    For I was going to Montana.
    Sweetly I said, “I don’t have any pull
    To get one here.”
    The director looked like a cat smiling…
    And as the supervisor came into the room,
    He said, “Meet your new worker. I just hired her.”
    Shock is too mild a word for how I felt.
    Montana the mirage
    Evaporated before my eyes.

    He called my friends and asked
    A really stupid question if you knew me…
    “Is she capable of independent thinking?”
    One said she almost laughed
    When she heard the question…
    One said that I was,
    Another dear friend
    Decided not to tell how independent
    I could be for she wanted me to get the job.
    One very honest one said,
    “Oh, she can be that and more.”

    At home they were excited,
    But I was sad…
    The adventure of Montana
    Was behind me…

    The job I loved
    Was never in my planning meant to be,
    And that independent thinking
    Made me a pioneer
    Creating treatment plans
    And asking for child support
    From men and women
    Before the agency ever did.

    By the way asking for women
    To pay child support seemed
    Normal to me…
    For equality meant
    They had to pay for their child.
    You would have thought
    I said they had to walk
    Around town pulling a red wagon,
    But I got it ordered anyway.

    It was in the end
    What I was meant to do.

    And just so you know this,
    I did not confess this
    Until after I retired.
    I remember the shock
    On my mother’s face
    When I told her
    What my plans had really been.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 3, 2022

  7. Walt, your piece could be titled, “The Poet’s Work Ethic.” Dan hit it on the nose: you won’t rest till you write THE poem, which, unless I miss my guess, you’ll always be striving for. All to readers’ benefit, of course.

  8. NO MEANS

    I meant to leave you laughing when I left,
    but I forgot.

    I meant to say, “You shouldn’t feel bereft,”
    but I forgot.

    I meant to leave you with a parting kiss,
    but I forgot.

    I meant to sound more elegant than this,
    but I forgot.

    I meant to do all this in May
    and not December,
    but I forgot
    to remember.

  9. Rearview

    In high school,
    teachers and friends
    insisted I go to college,
    but I had no idea
    what I wanted to do.

    An interest test revealed
    I should be a physical therapist.
    I did my first year of college,
    but I actually had no idea
    what physical therapists did.

    I quit after the first year
    and spent another year
    at a job I hated
    working at McDonald’s
    to pay off the college loan.

    Then I went through a series
    of unfun low-paying jobs,
    got married and raised kids,
    and then hosted four people
    with developmental disabilities.

    Hubby had two strokes
    and I saw firsthand
    the amazing things
    physical therapists did.
    And I thought,

    I should have been
    a physical therapist.
    But on the other hand,
    I probably wouldn’t have
    become a writer.

  10. Not sure if this right but it was on my heart so I wrote it

    Life is funny that way….

    I wrote a poem years ago…
    No one has seen it but me.
    I tucked it away in a journal,
    And it was a sad story
    Of if Love had come to me.

    For it didn’t come really…
    There was one that tried to change me,
    But one thing I know
    Is who I am…
    I never had to search for me…
    I was just grounded in me.
    When he told me he found another…
    It was relief I felt for I was free.

    The next one healed my broken heart.
    It was just a season for us.
    I remember him fondly,
    And I hope sometimes
    He thinks of me.

    The self-absorbed thief
    Took my heart and broke it.
    I decided then
    That love for me
    Was not meant to be.

    It was a monsoon of tears
    I cried as I locked my heart away.
    It was a different kind of brokenness.
    I was like a piece of pottery
    Glued together but no longer serviceable,
    But looked nice on the shelf.

    The job I loved was behind me,
    And my family was gone…
    Do I live these years
    Alone on a shelf
    Only dusted
    Whenever some one
    Decided to clean it?

    I content in my sadness.
    But within me
    I remember that poem
    I wrote decades ago
    When I closed the book of love,
    And continued to live my life.

    I decided to break
    The pottery that was me,
    And make it useable again.
    I stripped the glue
    By facing the past…
    Clean the surface of the wounds…
    On the edges of the broken vessel
    That was me, and piece by piece
    I took the molten gold of forgiveness
    And forged that piece of pottery
    Back piece by piece
    Until it was whole…
    I stepped back
    And looked upon my art,
    And thought of the Japanese art-
    Kintsugi it is called…
    And I became what I was meant to be.

    Someday I want to create such a bowl
    To represent me as what I was meant to me,
    And not the broken one on the shelf
    Who was forgotten and left behind.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 3, 2022

  11. Wonderful works all, it’s what I’ve been needin’
    The challenge was prize, the responses exceedin’
    I should have contributed; my own thoughts distributed,
    but today is a day for just thinkin’ and readin’.

  12. Her heart intended to mend
    To ignore lies
    To no longer allow her ear to bend
    To give no credence to accusations of the past

    That part of herself she hates, condemns
    She hopes, prays
    Is dead at last

  13. Too late
    On Judgment Day
    The day we meet Jesus
    “I meant to do that” won’t go well
    Better get-r-done today

  14. Colorado tempted me
    With her peaks dotted white on summer’s hottest nights
    Swimming icy waters of Horseshoe Lake
    Cheerleading in Boulder’s town square
    Hiking snow capped rocks of Pike’s Peak
    Horseback riding through the foothills
    Teaching little people God’s Word.

    Until New Jersey invited me
    To make my home a block from her shore.
    Body surfing on the ocean’s waves
    Selling carpet in a small department store,
    Walking the boardwalk in sunshine
    Watching fireworks explode over the Atlantic
    Sharing the love of Jesus with the locals
    Helping women escape men’s wrath.

    But then Houston shouted my name
    With her promise of a forever home
    Teaching Spanish to seventh graders from Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador
    Or rather, they were teaching me
    Growing me in not just Spanish,
    but compassion, mercy, grace, love
    Reminding me why teaching was my calling
    and Houston was my home

    But then a voice called me
    That was not a place at all
    This crazy man dares love me,
    Promising me forever
    Leading me back to the place I’d run from long ago,
    But with him no matter where I live, I am finally home.

    Adventure called me westward, eastward, southward
    I followed…until she finally called me home

  15. New Year’s Eve, Softly Spoken (a walt marie form)

    I was listening to the blues upstairs.
    She was
    downstairs dressed in white
    a princess
    someone left behind.
    I happened to be back
    in town.
    A friend and I were celebrating the
    new year.
    Seven months ago when she and I met
    she was getting
    a divorce.
    Then she introduced me to
    her friends.
    We talked about her art and her new
    illustrator job.
    I talked about how I wanted to
    find myself.
    Her son was back at home with
    her mom
    and this night she was more beautiful than any
    time before.
    She asked for a ride back home and snow fell as
    I drove.
    The town glistened like
    a dream.
    I took in moments of silence
    and reverie.
    We shared a kiss goodnight and said happy
    new year.
    I had to go to pick up
    my friend.
    Oh, how I wanted to stay
    with her.

  16. IF I HAD A CHOICE

    If I had a choice,
    I would have been a singer.
    But not with this voice!
    I carry a tune like I have
    It in a wash pail full of holes.
    I could write the music fine,
    And the lyrics were purely mine.
    I was meant to be full of song.
    But don’t get me wrong,
    My misdirection lead me to poetry.
    My lyrical words are read
    And not heard, unless I sing them.
    But not with this voice!

    (C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2022

  17. She meant to do and yet she didn’t

    This woman and I had
    A long history…
    Her children were under my watch.
    She never gave me the right address
    Of where she lived.
    She refused to do anything,
    But she wanted her children back,
    And this I knew.
    She would give me vacant lots, and
    Abandoned houses for an address.
    I would try to explain
    Why I needed to see her house.
    But she was determined to do nothing.

    She came in unannounced
    All the time. This time
    I asked… are you still married
    To your husband.
    She said yes,
    I don’t believe in divorced.
    I laid the marriage license
    To a different man…
    She shook her head,
    I didn’t mean to do that.
    And I left it at that.

    The day of the hearing
    To take her children away…
    She represented herself…
    I wondered what she would ask
    Would she ask about her putting roots on me?
    Would she ask about the time
    She kidnapped her children
    And why she brought them back?
    Would she asked about reading
    The Bible to me and why she did it?

    No, she did not…

    Her first question of me
    Was this—
    “What did I tell you about
    The treatment plan?”
    I answered,
    “You said that would not
    Do anything on it
    Until you got your children home?”
    Her next question was
    “Did I do what I said?”
    I looked into her eyes
    Knowing that she had sealed her fate
    With those two questions,
    And I wanted to cry
    For this was going to break her…
    I looked down and then
    Into her eyes that locked with mine…
    “You did exactly what you said you would do.
    You did not do anything on the treatment plan.”
    She nodded her head,
    And I stepped down from the stand.
    She explained in her remarks
    That she felt we had no right to take her children.
    It was why she meant to do nothing
    I had asked her to do.
    She said I tried to get her to do
    Those things but why do them
    If her children should have
    Never been taken.

    Her rationale made sense
    From her perspective,
    But sadly, it would cost
    Her what she loved the most
    And that was her children.

    When the Judge terminated her rights
    She began to wail and scream,
    And the bailiff got between her and me.
    It was days like this
    That made me hate my job.

    I went to my office,
    And told the results…
    Some of those celebrated…
    I couldn’t.
    I took a week off
    To heal the wound in my heart.

    If I had it to do over…
    I would have not taken that job.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 4, 2022

  18. This poem is a not true story, but I do love mysteries, so it is not really one but…. Hey I tried…

    She meant to do that

    She went to look for a car…
    One that would work…
    The salesman said,
    “Want to take it for a ride?”
    He hoped she would say yes
    Because she was a redheaded stunner…
    “No, I want to see the trunk.”
    “Just the trunk?”
    “Yes, that is all. I need it for a reason or
    Maybe three.”
    He opened the trunk and she measured it,
    And said, “I think I get three bodies in there.”
    He was shocked, and then she winked,
    “I am just kiddin’”
    She paid cash,
    And off she drove.

    Her boyfriend came over
    And fussed at her
    For she wouldn’t leave her husband.
    She gave him a kiss and a drink…
    And had the wheelbarrow handy…
    When he was quite cold
    She wheeled that barrow
    Over to the edge of the porch and dumped
    Into her new trunk.

    Her husband came home and
    Said, “Is it over?”
    She smiled sweetly and said,
    “Let’s go celebrate.”
    After that little celebration,
    She thought he needed a good send off,
    And then decided to ride with him,
    He did not notice her little ole gun
    The one he had given to her
    For her birthday.
    It even had a diamond on it…

    She helped to dump the body, and
    Then gave her husband a kiss
    Before she shot him.
    He was a bit shocked at that,
    And as he died…
    She said,
    “Didn’t you know
    I always meant
    To get rid of you.”

    She left the car,
    And walked to where
    She hid her own…
    She hated to throw away
    Her little ole gun
    But she drove to the dam
    And saw no one was there
    With one last kiss on the gun
    Before she tossed it into the deepest water.

    She drove home,
    And at midnight
    She called that her husband
    Took her new car out for a drive,
    And hadn’t come home.
    She told them she was powerfully worried.

    They came out to ask her questions…
    She thought they would never find
    The two men she had slaughtered.
    She forgot about the vultures…
    Those buzzards had a feast…
    And a curious man found
    What they were feasting on,
    And called the sheriff.

    The detectives added it up,
    And told her what they had found…
    She cried crocodile’s and
    Nary tissue was wet…
    “Well,” she started,
    “I never meant…”
    The young detective said,
    “You never meant to kill them.”
    She rolled her eyes and said,
    “No, I meant to do that.
    I just never meant for you to catch me.”

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 4, 2022

  19. Oops

    My favorite shirt
    Covered in dirt
    The laundry piled high
    Oh, I meant to do that

    Guests coming soon
    No forks or spoons
    The dishes piled high
    Duh! I meant to do that

    The trash truck came
    And I’m to blame
    Didn’t take it out
    But I meant to do that

    Got up too late
    Boss couldn’t wait
    Didn’t set the alarm
    I meant to do that

    Now I’ve no job
    In line with Bob
    We shoulda been on time
    We meant to do that

    Just meaning to do
    Doesn’t get the job done
    I’m tired of saying
    I meant to do that

  20. I meant
    To do just that
    But for some odd reason
    The train in my brain derailed and
    It completely slipped my mind

  21. Midnight
    It wakes me up
    And I must write it down
    But by the time the cobwebs clear
    The thought runs straight out of mind

  22. Scuttled

    Everything she came up with
    seemed too pedestrian too cliché
    she’d drawn one of those life-lines
    her highs and lows climbing
    the decades with predictability
    and her number two pencil digging into
    the thin paper of her life so that
    she wished she had fat charcoal
    to cut a wider swathe show how
    it was so much more than that thin line

    choices so much more considered
    not merely accidents or serendipity:
    that she’d been captain of her ship
    (or was that how she’d vanished lost at sea
    along with her stories her hand on the hull
    upturned and varnished along with the truth)

    when did she begin to believe
    her own fictions clinging to them even
    as she twisted in the wind that filled sails
    and sent her skimming over dangerous water
    so many tempests taking her apart but
    still the line connected all of them like
    a lengthy voyage lurching up and down the swells
    across the page: timeline and ship

    mooring knots frayed and curling away
    from the palings, left behind though
    she’d thought to tie up so securely
    time and again only to find her hands
    too weak too scarred too bloody
    to bring in the boat against the pull
    of the water and the frog chorus filling
    her head even as she waits for moonrise
    the crumpled sheet riding the current
    its own tiny boat scuttled to drift ashore
    on some shoal and puzzle the beaver

    pedestrian the line but not her life
    every fall her own but every rise held up
    by a thousand tiny people too many
    to draw and so she’d tossed it then
    no way to explain why she failed
    to hand in the exercise when she
    went to class the next day.

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