Winning Poems for September 2011

Judged by Tyehimba Jess

First Place

Boys

by Allen M. Weber
FreeWrights Peer Review

We are Spartan at the beach
naked save for cut-off jeans

winter never lifts suddenly
creeping temperatures tease

groaning fissures into the ice
and sometimes a stupid boy

wanders too far from shore
makes an island of himself

each almost wishes it were him
incensed by indecision

drifting toward the horizon
on that breakaway floe

soon native girls will wriggle free
of winter coats then summer shifts

to gambol barely out of reach
of the cold and muttering surf

prone with elbows and loins
pressed into the warming sand

we’ll confront each pale breast
to wonder and ache like a tooth


This poet balances sensuality with "the cold and muttering surf" in a way that brings the expectations and risks of adolescence into focus. Nice work! --Tyehimba Jess

Second Place

The Unfinished Ice Cream

by John Wilks
The Write Idea

Our first glimpse of the sea was of a dark
expanse, as flat as an asphalt playground.
The sun left yellow chalkmarks, roughly scuffed
by the cold steel blakeys of winter wind.
She leaned on the concrete wall: a defence
built after the floodtide of fifty-three
and spoke of her brother, who drowned when she
was still floating, safe in her mother’s womb.
The arcades were empty, the kiosks shut.
Dust gathered on last year’s bingo prizes.
No children on the swings that creaked with rust.
The sea looked the same as in black-and-white
photos of a grinning boy in swimming
trunks who would never finish his ice cream.


A poet that respects the sonnet enough to test its limits. Great alliteration while maintaining a focus on bringing the reader through to the end, with the sea yearning in and out of the body. --Tyehimba Jess

Third Place

insu mni ac

by John Eivaz
PenShells

          insomniac

                                        windowed backward

a tumble of walls

light light
                              ening

                                          woe to those
          who don’t love

   toe to toe we go
ho p p ing sideways

                                                  hum is called chant
                                                  called forth interval

                                 a glide

no there no     sense
   we will not leave

my frazzle     of late          fingertips               makes it near

clear          not silence not fear
                                                                      hand spasms               hip chasms

      overtaken in sleep
      sideways woe to go on
      with no hands to extend
      or lips to shoulder

distance

                    hop sideways

stamp                douse the lamp


Great liberation happening here. The scatterbrained motions of sleeplessness embodied in restless line breaks and "woe to those who don't love!". --Tyehimba Jess


  • 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

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu