Aja Monet Reads at the Washington Women’s March

by RC James
Babilu
Honorable Mention, February 2017
Judged by Sara Clancy


In a midnight voice, arms extended,
she read blues that laid the soul to dust.

She gave us her mother, standing in the ruins,
holding a bouquet of bloody music and a spear
she’d carved out of her lover’s bones.

A white woman in the audience, hands extended upwards,
moved her fingers, called the sky to hold these words.

Slashing, sinewy phrases testified to the stamina
of the first activists; her mother fought with the strength
that came from shotgun houses next to the picking fields,
grace earned through knowledge and the mission at hand.

Her poem was a freight train of rapid fire explosive words.
Intellect the weapon, unconcealed now, quashed the howling
and leers from whiskey veined faces in tobacco spit-stained t-shirts,
arms lagged leisurely over benches on small town median strips.

She testified to the cruelty, the barbarity, and every day battles
fought by her family, whose matriarch carried hurricane force.



  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • 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