Winning Poems for October 2007

Judged by a href="http://ibpc.webdelsol.com/judges/e-ethelbert-miller">E. Ethelbert Miller

First Place

Afterglow

by Elodie Ackerman
The Town

We crossed the country
bathed in beatitudes
the transmission leaking oil
clear across the country
toward the Orange glow hovering
on the Western horizon,
waiting to eat us alive.

My bridal veil flowed
out the window,
my virginity the hood ornament
on the old blue Mercury
as we tried marriage
on for size, rolling
the flavor on our tongues
like SweetTarts,
cheap but tasty.

As quickly as we rushed
into that foul folly,
we hesitated
to bring it to a close.

Eventually, you collapsed
Under the weight of it all,
and I, hardened by your
rage and drama, signed the papers
as quickly as I did the parchment
that got us into this mess
in the first place.

It’s time to leave
the Golden Promise, retrace
that oily trail to its start,
where trees still stand after
three-hundred years and family
welcomes you home, no matter what
you’ve done or where you’ve gone
or who you’ve become.

But it’s never quite behind you,
that Orange glow. No matter
what comes next,
it’s always there, waiting
to remind you that no matter
how wise they think you are,
how worldly or sophisticated,
you’re still a damned fool. Just old now,
and not so pretty anymore.



Second Place

A Woman of Summer

by Nochipa
Pen Shells

Tell me what is more beautiful
than strength of a life
well-lived.

My hands, lean and firm,
are scarred by
youthful poverty.

while my sculpted arms,
sinewy and brown,
were chiseled by a farmer’s hoe.

and these legs, are solid
and shapely, strong
as trees grown from hill-treading

My wit is sharp
as tobacco spears
from traps of star-dream slayers

while my heart beats steady
for hundreds of children
who listened to my song.

So, now that you know
I am not a T.V. woman-child,
am I less lovely?



Third Place

A Good Day to Die

by Tim J. Brennan
About Poetry Forum

i)

September in Wisconsin

is like spent wood

burning; living near

the Chippewa river

where final letters are written,

hunger is fed its last supper

and breezes cross river water

as softly as a woman’s failing breath

at the bottom of her hour

(ii)

by Friday I want her

kneaded into rye,

set on a warm window sill

covered with a damp towel,

allowing her to rise

by morning

(iii)

by Sunday she couldn’t see

me anymore; it was raining

and I watched my words,

pale as newsprint,

running together;

being no longer useful,

I threw them away

(iv)

a blue carnation,

white chrysanthemums;

all relative, withering

in lieu of last rites



Honorable Mention

The Last Bus Home

by Judith Anne Labriola
Mosaic Musings

Each day at two, I read to her, she sits
there with her thinning hair in wisps around
a wrinkled face. Old age has trapped her in
this place; she cries at night and thinks no one
can hear. A picture taken long ago
is on her stand, I wonder if it’s wise
to focus on the ravages of age.
I see her gaze at it, then look away.

At three I bring her tea and Lorna Doones,
She drinks, then pats my hand and says “I love
you nurse, now get my coat and purse for I
must go — the last bus home is leaving soon
and there’s no time to stay here in this room!”



Honorable Mention

Millstone

by Kathleen Vibbert
Pen Shells

On the steps of St. James,
I’m a millstone.
A love poem. A Quaker lady.

Rare birds all around:
tails float toward the sun
with an ease that makes me envious.

I leave my idols
outside as Mass begins.
Smell the incense; resist
the urge to taste holy water

take my rosary from its convenient pocket
hammer down prayers from between my knuckles.
Communion cuts my tongue with its straight razor.

Stained glass swabs my spirit like rubbing
alcohol.
I leave my sins inside, emerge like oil
from an olive sack.

The street is dark.
My bones catch on my clothes.
A night heron waits.

In heels, I hadn’t counted on the cobblestone:
The radiant sections of motor oil and rain
shapes into the heads of saints.
How can I walk over them once more?



Honorable Mention

Exchange

by DJ Vorreyer
The Town

Strolling a silent beach, air sharp
with smell of salt and fish, I stop
to uncover a hidden stone from beneath

still sand and whispering surf. I turn
the treasure over and over in my hand,
both worn, eroded by time and weather.

Green veins wind across its ochre face
like meridians on a miniature globe.
This moment is the whole world, flawed

and stunning, cold and warm, still
yet churning. Although the stone
reminds me, soothes me, I toss it

back with a flip of the wrist, watch
it skip then sink into undulating
waves of black. One may never know

the trials that etch a surface, which
rough edges worn smooth, which tumbling
journeys now calmed, which longings

brimmed to the lips then receded
unspoken, washed clean like the stone,
the heart, back into the waiting sea.



Honorable Mention

Ungodly Apartment Building

by Teresa White
Wild Poetry Forum

I wait on the stoop of a Sunday morning
and never once seen nobody slicked up
like Uncle Jake used to be
or any lady all fancy with a hat.

Why I couldn’t count one cherry nor bird to eat it
just these woolies come down
over their prissy pink ears
and my guess is not a one was headed
up to the Baptists nor the Catholics neither.

Lil’ Tim had a whistle
and sometimes he’d join me and give ‘er a blow
when the rouged-up frillies from Apartment 2-B
come draggin’ out ’bout ten.
Mama wouldn’t say but I knew
they weren’t telling nursery rhymes
to rich Mr. Black.

That Tim, even he didn’t believe in Jesus
so at night ‘fore I settled right fine in bed,
I prayed hard that those fancy ladies would see the light
and now I had to add Tim too.




  • August 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The World Is Moist in the Morning
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Epitaph
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      I kissed a tree
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu