Everything will be permitted, nothing will be desired

by Laura Ring
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, March 2010
Judged by Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar


We abandoned our bodies not long
after the millennium. Even the memory
was hateful at first — wet, crabwise things,

animalcules in a giant jizz wad rushing to fertilize
the Great Mother. Absurd lips, genitals,
rounded skulls like the dumb heads of sperm.

Reproduction a horror of chance, like reaching
blind into a grab bag for gametes.
We had cures for everything: cancer,

heart disease. We lived too long, witnessed
the recalculation of risk. Watched the ordinary —
cotton, moonlight — turn deadly. There were
so many ways to die.
In time

our absent bodies grew benign,
the way vanished things become lovable.
Laudanum. Castor oil. We shake

our heads at the big-head bipeds
that wander our history like hi-wheels
and wagons; tote their leaks
and swellings in the hapless past.

A mere century makes of our bodies
a Golden Age. We doubt the measure
of our bloodless geometry, press
the old timers for stories of flesh:

They say our fingers made trails in the water;
and the pizza cheese burned our mouths. They say
sometimes our bare legs would stick to the back seats of cars.


This poem’s finely drawn map of the "bloodless" future makes us especially appreciate the last three lines that bring us back to the present, back into our living bodies: fingers, mouths, legs. --Dorianne Laux & Joseph Millar

  • 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