SCRAMBLED MEMORIES – A Memoir Chapbook by Candace Kubinec

Our second entry for our challenge is also no stranger as far as exceptional work goes. You will find her worded brilliance popping up on many blogs as well. It doesn’t need saying, but her words fall into the “must read” category. To glimpse deeper into her story, here is SCRAMBLED MEMORIES by Candace Kubinec.


  1. It Wasn’t Me
  2. Farewell
  3. One Cool Cat
  4. Do-over
  5. Gram
  6. Eavesdropping
  7. In Need of Advice
  8. As the Phoenix
  9. Bookish
  10. Hobbies




We never knew who started it.
Someone would giggle – I blamed
my sister, she blamed me.
We laughed out loud (not to be
confused with LOL) until our cheeks hurt.
Before too long my mother would
stop trying to hold it in and laugh
along with us. Just when we were
gaining control, someone would
snort and we’d all laugh harder (there
was no ROFL) gasping-for-breath, red-faced,
clutching-our-sides, tears-running-down-our-
faces, laughing. I blamed my sister,
she blamed me. We never knew who started it.




What seems the hardest thing to do
Is say goodbye – from me to you
Although I may see you again,
Next week, next year, or even ten
The word gets stuck, tears in my eyes
My stomach harbors butterflies
You’re off to school, or camp, or war
Or just for milk at the corner store
The worst of all, the hardest yet,
To parent, sibling, much loved pet
Is the goodbye at end of life
That causes me the greatest strife
It is the hardest thing to do –
We’ll meet again, adieu, adieu




of them all
That white cat

A rare gem
who watched trains
and climbed poles

The pick of
the litter
I miss him


  1. DO-OVER

There were no weeds
The sky was blue
And on the swing
Sat me and you
You held my hand
You won my heart
Then suddenly
We broke apart
A beeping noise
That would not stop
My alarm clock –
Gave it a bop
I closed my eyes
Pulled up the cover
I’d like to have
A dream do-over


  1. GRAM


She was not grand, this humble woman
No large house or fancy clothes
Her fashions hadn’t changed since the ‘30s –
Black shoes that tied, with a sturdy heel,
Marcel waves in her hair and a cotton house dress
Modest and frugal, she never forgot the years of struggle
She baked and canned, made soup and dandelion greens
And shared all she had with neighbors in need
Yet she was a wise and compassionate example
For all the generations that were fortunate enough
To learn from her




I heard a news story on NPR about
a group of scientists who planted
listening devices in the jungle to
eavesdrop on the forest elephants

That made me wonder what elephants talk
About – climate change, the best watering holes,
how the neighborhood has changed lately?
Or maybe they complain about the noisy monkeys
And the squawking birds keeping them awake at night

And if the elephants could listen to us,
would they laugh because we talk about the
same things they do, and yet we think
we are the more intelligent beings?

**Billy Collins is one of my all-time favorites. I tried to channel him with this short poem.




I wish I believed in ghosts
or spirits who linger.
I’d conjure up relatives,
consult a medium, or wait
as the Ouija board spelled out answers.
I have questions unanswered,
memories with holes.
Unfinished business here,
and I’ve been left to
figure things out on my own.




With each generation traditions
change.  Some grow, some die.
Some simply fade away.
Year after year the new become the old.
There, within each new tradition, you
find ashes of the old – whispers of the past.
And we are charged with their safekeeping




She surely must have been clutching
a tiny book – the day she was born
She loved to listen to her father
read stories – as a toddler
Summer school for extra
Reading assignments – as a child
Reading light above her bed
To finish one more chapter – as a teen
Stories before bedtime was
The routine – as a mother
Packed a book with her lunch
And kept a spare in the car – when she worked
Reading any time of day or
Long into the night – now retired




I thought I would try cross stitch
I bought a book, some floss, and needles
Birds might be the thing to stitch
I sat for hours, in my house, stitching
Long into the night until I had
Completed a wren on a small canvas
But it did not flit and sing like the
Pair in my garden
I thought I would try quilting
I bought a book, some fabric, more needles
Flowers would make a fine subject
I sat for hours, in my house, cutting,
Piecing, quilting, long into the night,
Until I had a small throw filled with blossoms
But they did not fill the space with fragrance
Like the ones in my garden
I thought I would try painting
I bought a book, brushes, canvas, and pigments
A sunset would be stunning
I sat for hours, in my house, making brush
Strokes of yellows, reds, purples, blues
Until I had a small picture to hang on my wall
But it did not capture the majesty of the
Sun setting over my garden, so
I walked outside, where I could
Hear the wrens singing, smell the lavender,
And watch the sky change colors as the
Sun disappeared below the horizon



We had completed the July P.E.O.D (Poem-Every-Other-Day) challenge two months ago. I hope you had a chance to refine and polish up your work. We had the opportunity to write to 16 prompts, giving us at least that many works to our credit.

For this phase of the challenge, choose 12 of your 16 poems and assemble them as it pleases you. Provide a title for your chapbook and a Table of Contents listing your completed poems. Send them in an e-mail to

I will try to feature a collection at least one a month depending on how many responses. The more offerings, the more frequent.

I look forward to seeing how well we all did.


And seeing how Robert Lee Brewer will continue with the November PAD Chapbook Challenge at Poetic Asides, we will continue here as usual. The Sunday Seed, INFORM POET (or an exploration) on Wednesday, and FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION on Friday. Good luck with your endeavors.


We’ve all heard of words to live by. Either a profound quote, or a motivating article. Maybe a parent or grandparent has given you good advice once. What was that advice you received that has held great significance to you? Use that as your inspiration for your poem.


Alternatively, sage is a spice. Write a poem to spice up your life that contains the name of a spice in the title.

Example: Running Out of Thyme


The Quote:

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire. ~Gustav Mahler

How do you preserve the fire? What tradition (if any) do you hold dear?


Alternatively, find a quote that inspires you and write to that!


BURN THIS TRADITION, by Walter J Wojtanik

It is every parent’s honored mission
to hold close to this one tradition,
all for this annual condition
we call Christmas. It’s your decision,
but I give to you my permission
to call it yours too! Listen,
Christmas is one time of year,
where people fill with Christmas cheer,
it is the reason we come back here
to hearth and hearts we hold so dear.
And little ones perplexed with fear,
think, “were they really good this year?”
I’ve honored Christmas each December
as far back as I can remember,
traditions are a glowing ember
that catches on fire in shades of amber.
Filling lives in greater numbers
with so much love, a special caliber
of which you’ve never known.
For it is Christmas love that’s shown,
a love that truly is home grown.
It’s this “tradition” that we hone,
one we cannot leave alone.
I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve flown.
So while I’m flying for this cause,
from high up here I’m filled with awes,
despite our very human flaws
I’m happy I can take this pause
to celebrate with you because
tradition says I am Santa Claus.


Does something from your past come back to haunt you? Have you heard strange noises or felt haunted in the night? Had bad dreams? Told “ghost” stories? Had a “Bad Penny” moment where it just wouldn’t go away? A memory that lingers and you can’t put your finger on? Exorcise that ghost!


Alternatively, write a “ghost” poem.



Tomorrow I have surgery scheduled that hopefully will rectify the issues with which I’ve dealt for the past two years. Since no P.E.O.D prompt is schedule for tomorrow, hopefully I’ll be up and around to participate for the Friday offering. Either way, I’ll keep up when I can.  And when you do, speak of me kindly! 😉


Were you headstrong and confrontational in your youth? Now? Were (are) you a rebel? What was it that triggered your resistance? What did you rebel against? How did you?


Alternatively, “Rebel, Rebel” was the title of a David Bowie song. Search his other titles and see if one would inspire you as the title of one of your poems and write it. See a partial listing below:


Love You Til Tuesday

Space Oddity

The Man Who Sold The World

Diamond Dogs

Young Americans



Let’s Dance

Rebel, Rebel

Suffragette City