A New Cartography

by Mandy Pannett
The Write Idea
Second Place, December 2010
Judged by Paul Lisicky


It is dark by the river, by this bridge’s
underbelly: struts intertwine, cross-hatch.
He feels insignificant; small: an ant
within a clod of grass.

The bridge is singing a cappella –
voices of women shift in its iron:
a Celtic lament of the lowlands,
drowning, an elegy, death.

He wears a bracelet-like device, for this
is a sentient city. A new cartography
measures his skin, the contours and spikes
of his nerves.

He wonders why the chart of him
should always be so flat: no troughs, no peaks, no
lines of joy – once he stopped to hear a song:
a blackbird in a tree. The graph recorded
gentle frills at this.

Let them keep it all, he thinks, their precious
watchtowers on a wrist. Let them analyse
the heart of man.

The bridge still croons its ballads out, its chords
of broken love. He thinks about the note
he’s left and hopes it hurts her, hopes
she drowns in guilt.

‘Now it’s bound to peak,’ he says.
A pigeon watches at the water’s edge.


I love this poem's sense of swing, its richness of language. And the delicate force of its central metaphor. ---Paul Lisicky

  • 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