Winning Poems for April 2017

Judged by R.T. Castleberry

First Place

Roasting

by Marilyn Francis
The Write Idea

Why, on the hottest day of the year,
would you roast a chicken?
Maybe somewhere some memory
stirred the thread of a tradition
murmuring it must be done.

Was it those apocryphal fried eggs on the pavement?
The Oh What A Scorcher headlines?
Did they remind you?

And it wasn’t even Sunday
and you’d laid the table,
cloth, crockery, and cutlery.

You’d kept the greasy pinny on
while you stirred the gravy
and sang along to the radio.

The stirring and singing
were in full swing as we arrived
all salt and sweat from the beach
to the Amazon Basin kitchen
brimming with Sunday.

Too many for your small table,
we sat elbow-close, and the children
were piglets under our feet.

‘I’ve made a roast’ you said
‘and apple pie’.
You hadn’t cooked
in years.


A tightly written, lightly humorous and completely charming slice of life. --R.T. Castleberry

Second Place

The Sorrow of Hearts

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum

All day I have been rearranging my body
to fit the world. It’s hopeless. I can’t leave
anything behind. I drag all memories
after, a kite’s tail in a blue-grey sky.

Flying, I can see fields below, fields where
I once played, had my first kiss. There
is the young girl I taught to be cruel when
I was so cruel to her. I sigh. She laughs.

All my former selves live together in
a small house frozen in that one moment
when you think nobody is looking. They
argue about everything, forever.

We forget goodness, are famished
for kindness, nothing is enough. Nothing
except sorrow. The sorrow of hearts spills
into all souls. Nowhere else to keep it.


Precise, unsentimental writing with some fine surrealistic touches. The opening line immediately grabs the reader's attention. And other great lines follow: There/is the young girl I taught to be cruel when/I was so cruel to her; We forget goodness, are famished/for kindness, nothing is enough. --R.T. Castleberry

Third Place

Dancing at Midnight

by E. Russell Smith
The Write Idea

It gets no darker than this.
We will celebrate if you wish,
the essential sunrise, not to
regret the failings of a day
now past and locked away.
Flowers in bud at evening

will open at dawn, a daybreak
of pigment and incense.
Even now the scent of
night-blooming tobacco
possesses God’s acre, narcotic
relief from idle despair.

Step to the measure of old stars
dropping into the night, the lyric
of night birds sure of their title.
Read the rhythm of waves on rocks
and match your steps and fancies
to their elemental rehearsal.


A lovely, atmospheric evocation of night's promises, with some gorgeous lines: the essential sunrise; not to/regret the failings of a day...; the lyric/of night birds sure of their title. --R.T. Castleberry

Honorable Mention

Silver Bed Head

by Laurie Byro
PenShells

After Alexander Calder’s Silver Bed Head

Silver veil of hair, an aged mermaid, waterfall
of fish and plant, make me a headboard

that summons dreams. Fashion a water globe hookah
that percolates over us– pumping, pulsing vaporous

thoughts escaping into ecstatic lake weed. When our
footprints dissolve into froth and sand, bubble

into the corners of a witch’s brew mouth, then
we will know the truth of it. People love filth.

Bread and sex: my sins are common ones.
Lift my imagination into the wild air,

never shackle me into the harness of a messy
bed. My headboard breathes and silvery

fish carry me down stream. I used them all,
sad darlings, as I conjured a scurrilous trance.

We are moths in the moonlight. Into each drifter’s
arms, let us begin the dance.



Honorable Mention

The Little Loss

by Dorothy Doyle Mienko
PenShells

My hair falls
into the wastebasket
like a death

How can I explain
this letting go
shall I mention

The word fistful
of long strands
loud as weeping

Here is a smoky dream
and I am in it
permanent enough

to scar

I shall slide
down this long night
of black stars

Entirely open
to meet myself
on steepled

Stairways
where sadness
wears me

As gown
of blue leaves
the baldness

Touches me
touching it
momentarily

I accept
how I am fog
even so

These scars
own nothing
my heart

it directs with a fist




  • August 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Seasoned with Love
      by Eira Needham
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Ill-used
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      A Note for Perilous Times
      by Fred Longworth
      PenShells

      Honorable Mention

      Whatever Glorious Else It Is
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • July 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Corton Beach Holiday Camp, Great Yarmouth
      by Marilyn Francis
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      Still Waltzing with You
      by Allen M. Weber
      Desert Moon Review

      Third Place

      The Aging Magician Speaks to His Reflection
      by Laurie Byro
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Seeking Duende
      by Richard Chase
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Dr. Seuss’s Guide to Manly Health and Training
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Honorable Mention

      Resonance
      by Sylvia Evelyn
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      celebrating the 45th anniversary of Father’s Day
      by Michael Virga
      The Writer's Block