Acquired Tastes

by Allen M. Weber
FreeWrights Peer Review
Honorable Mention, September 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


If he’s perturbed at all by the drowning
wasp, twirling in week-old dishwater,
or dismayed at the ruin of what’s left

of their ficus—its leaves shriveled and
dropping like question marks on the floor—
he refuses to concede any of it.

His was a talent for beginning; but once
past the shallow bluster of seduction
he found her to be an acquired taste, like

even a single malt Scotch. He’d deny
using the toothbrush she left behind
and claim that photographs of her, and them

together, didn’t upset him, that they were
taken down to mute the walls: he’d never
get used to the colors she chose.

And he’s been too busy to buy new paint,
so the unfaded rectangles still mock
the weakness of his endgame. Resigning

to suffer through her favorite Coltrane,
he sips diluted Scotch and wonders why
one wants to acquire a taste for anything.


In medias res - a place, an action, a question. The diction is interesting: 'perturbed' 'ficus', 'shallow bluster of seduction', the syntax teasing and sustained. The tone is light, a touch breezy even. It sets out a subject then explores it, that is all, like a piece of fiction, but it is skilful and entertaining. --George Szirtes

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters