Aftertaste

by Brenda Morisse
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, July 2008
Judged by Tony Barnstone


She sways to this half-tone
day, staggers like smoke on a tight
rope of discontent. The depth
of forever passes for lilies
in this muckheap.
She has no head for the world
and its free-for-all needlework
of bill collectors
and spiteful windows.
The floor is cluttered with bottle
caps and cans, so she drapes
the sofa on the ceiling and hovers
cross-legged and side-by-side
with the overhead.
If you ask me, she isn’t a saint
although she’s very photogenic.
Whoever heard of a pin-up saint
hawking pilsner? Her mother nagged
her to marry rich, but her heart
was never a cash register.
It’s always been the beer: sweetish,
malty Munich and the drier,
hoppy Franconian. Her shoebox is filled
with bits of broken
jewelry: rhinestones and paste,
pot metal and silver. Can openers.
Hardware softened by careless
spools of wires, head pins, eye pins,
disheveled bracelets, wrong-way earrings.
Orphans in this box have a way of tugging
at heart strings. The ring is broken
in. Remember when they were head
over heels, before life warped the metal,
and marriage became too hard to wear?
The sum of her memories is tied in knots.
I heard she was run out of town, a bartender
with stigmata. It’s not hygienic. Our St. Pauli
call girl resists know-it-all-gravity
and the attraction it mandates,
contradicts spiked heels,
prods her to wear a bra. Pompous gravity,
bombastic gravity,
she says. I will walk
on water, I will stop time. I levitate.
Get over yourself!

She is younger than her adult children.
She prefers polka dot baring midriff tops.
Mardi Gras without Lent.


I was tempted to make this poem a winner because of its utter wildness, its relentless flow of metaphorical and surreal jabber, its swerving, unexpected rhetoric. Sometimes that craziness leads to a kind of mental disorder, mixed metaphors, a semantic slippage of adjectives that seem not exactly exact or exacting but certainly interesting. Add some sort of turn to the poem so it develops more, can or renew the few cliches (tugging at heart strings, head over heels), and this one could be a real keeper. --Tony Barnstone

  • August 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Seasoned with Love
      by Eira Needham
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Ill-used
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      A Note for Perilous Times
      by Fred Longworth
      PenShells

      Honorable Mention

      Whatever Glorious Else It Is
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • July 2017 Winners

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      by Marilyn Francis
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

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      by Allen M. Weber
      Desert Moon Review

      Third Place

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      by Laurie Byro
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

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      by Richard Chase
      Desert Moon Review

      Honorable Mention

      Dr. Seuss’s Guide to Manly Health and Training
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Honorable Mention

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      by Sylvia Evelyn
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      celebrating the 45th anniversary of Father’s Day
      by Michael Virga
      The Writer's Block