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

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells

  • January 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      You Arrive Like Fall, Suddenly
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Waiting for the Second Coming
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Homeless
      by J.J. Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      When I Go Out and Then Come Back
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum