Houses

by Ken Ashworh
The Writer's Block
First Place, September 2019
Judged by Lois P. Jones


The one you were born in
is a gas station now,
pumps in the playroom,
walk-up window for beer.
Daddy always drank too much.

They paved over the spot
where you buried Popeye
the parakeet in a shoebox.

The place your Mama passed away,
neck of a yard, noose-around drive.
She hung on his every word.

Her window boxes still studded
with jonquils that bloom
like madness in the spring .

The one you will die in.
Not much, to be honest,
but it’s home and the cats like it.

They will find you belly up
on the recliner, half empty
bottle of Dewar’s and a sheaf
of unfinished poems.


What is home and how does it define us? Is it the place we spent our earliest years? A beloved city? A country? Home is a part of both our conscious and unconscious thought. In “Houses,” home is not only a physical displacement but an emotional one where mama “hung on every word” and jonquils “bloom like madness.” The underlying metaphor is unsettling and aptly rendered in a few telling phrases which furnish the reader with both the narrator’s history and its present state. Close attention to enjambment and caesura allow the reader to feel the despondent tone a house can hold and its lingering legacy. --Lois P. Jones

  • November 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Rapture
      by JJ Wiliamson
      Babilu

      Second Place (tie)

      Red Spider Lilies
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place (tie)

      The Big House At Mambalam
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place (tie)

      What Have I Done to Thee O Muse
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place (tie)

      World Affairs
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Morning
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      A Can of Grandma Figlioto’s Pasta Sauce
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

  • October 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      We Could Use an American
      by Mignon Ariel King
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Dante’s Outer Circles
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Time of Move
      by RC James
      Babilu