Winning Poems for April 2018

Judged by R.T. Castleberry

First Place

(how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game

by John Wilks
The Write Idea

love is akin to gravity, the weak force that embraces all,
that holds planets in thrall, much as my cupped hand holds my lover’s balls

I wanted to write a story about where I was when the bombs
began to fall, the smiling man whose bearded face filled my crosshairs,
the trigger that I failed to pull

I have a title, but no words
to follow, do not know the rules of Kimberly’s Game (she says rhyme
predicates a lack of reason)

the forecast is for snow, for winds
to sweep down from Siberia and augurs that most English form
of hysteria, when we sow rock salt across the marriage bed
and do not give a frozen fuck

let us return to love, to love,
to Hallmark verse and top ten songs, to lists of virtues, lists of wrongs
and pretend drawn hearts make us strong

I have another tale to tell,
a sequel to a false account of London in postmodern times,
whose ruins are a monument to paranoia and cement
and faces monitored for crimes, not innocence, but the amount
of information they can sell (remember pussy in the well?
she is still drowning, sound the knell)

I wake up when I want, when light
over-peeks the curtains and kids scream all the way to school, while you
present me with your morning wood

love is not greatly understood,
the universe does not appear to hold sufficient love to prove
its own existence, no matter how nonsensical that may sound

no more fairy stories, no more fairground rides, no coloured bulb lit
circles to wind the dark around, no nights beneath the magic mound

it ends where love ends, where games reach their conclusion, one final throw
of that weighted dice, that last piece taken from the board, that marked card
sneaked back up my sleeve, that table overturned, that fiddled score card
thrust into your face, you loser


Scabrous, sarcastic, surrealistic, the poet deftly handles a winding narrative equal parts lust ( love is akin to gravity, the weak force that embraces all/,that holds planets in thrall, much as my cupped hand holds my lover’s balls); unrequited storytelling (I have another tale to tell/a sequel to a false account of London in postmodern times), and crooked games of chance and love (it ends where love ends.... where games reach their conclusion, one final throw/of that weighted dice.) --R.T. Castelberry

Second Place

A Legacy of Sorts

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea

Above the Western Desert,
snared by an updraft
the plastic bag soars and swoops
dips and dives
rises once more
into the pale blue sky.

The wondering eye of the sun
tracks its flight
from a Cairo slum
to this desolate expanse.

Seized by a vortex of devil’s own dust,
puffed out like a cherub’s cheeks,
it floats from the clamour of a ghetto
to the soundless dunes.

The plastic bag descends,
sinks in a mire of windblown sand.
By-product of a dying age,
it endures eternal, undegradable –
a relic for humanity
or an alien race.


This is a tightly written, evocative vignette (Seized by a vortex of devil’s own dust,/ puffed out like a cherub’s cheeks,/ it floats from the clamour of a ghetto/ to the soundless dunes.), reminiscent of a seminal scene in the film American Beauty. It has a broader, international reach though. The sardonic ending brings it to a precise conclusion. --R.T. Castleberry

Third Place

Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple

by Ieuan ap Hywel
The Wriiter's Block

I take a bite from my pastie. A yogi, brown as betel
juice, stands next to me, near naked save
for an umbrella, people bow to the divine in him.

A bell tings from within the Temple, a tinge
of regret, I have no faith, I cannot conceive
of a pantheon made in the images of beasts.

A pretty girl flits like a butterfly
around vapour rising from a dung heap,
spotless in her lemon dress.

There is a queue for the kerbside barber,
he wags his head as Hindus do, he grins
as I caress my two-day growth.

My expresso comes in a cardboard cup, courtesy
of the bus stop coffee shop, a broken down van,
sans wheels, sans engine, a surfeit of rust.

Sahrinda comes like a floating white shawl,
to wrap me in tenderness, her camisole pulls
my eyes to the soft swell of her breasts.

Our bus looms out of the New Delhi smog,
a red double decker, shaking and puffing
like an aged Loch Ness monster.


A casual slice of Indian life (A yogi, brown as betel/ juice, stands next to me, near naked save/ for an umbrella, people bow to the divine in him.) as the poet lingers, sampling the street life (A yogi, brown as betel/ juice, stands next to me, near naked save/ for an umbrella, people bow to the divine in him.) waiting near the temple for a friend. --R.T. Castleberry


  • 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