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by Eric Rhohenstein
criticalpoet.org
Third Place, February 2009
Judged by Elena Karina Byrne


This

       only matters in that your eyes see it. Others like it don’t exist, are 
crumpled in a figurative corner: a paper-moat around a bin. They are 
bits of a scene in a lousy movie in which a man courts

              It is not a moat, but a ring. . .

                                                             his stubborn bit of less-than-genius 
as if it were a butterfly worth netting.

(Every x number of pupations, it stands to reason that a creature must 
emerge discolored, missing a wing – wholly not itself – as if by mandate:

              rise like the cream does! remember what the dream was!

                                                                                    Perhaps in a movie 
it would be allowable to consider

the more definite.)

              -slit-

I gut it. It bleeds out the bottom.

              No. It’s

                              the phantom wing, rising

              Scratch that. Have it

                                                   falling where only one person hears it; the 
universe expands a bit
                         /
                              swallows nothing, this, sound

This third place poem crosses its own tightrope in a "figurative corner" of the mind. It's a compelling example of how art averts its subject matter. The psychology becomes an essential part of the material: as a writer struggles, a metaphysical angel/Gregor Samsa "creature must emerge" and its the unfolding process of discovery, of creation, which involves the maker, the maker standing back watching himself/herself, and the other unseen viewer, in a triad of perception. Yes, this marvelous "universe expands a bit" as we read it. --Elena Karina Byrne

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      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
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      Honorable Mention

      Giving Thanks
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