(how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game

by John Wilks
The Write Idea
First Place, April 2018
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


love is akin to gravity, the weak force that embraces all,
that holds planets in thrall, much as my cupped hand holds my lover’s balls

I wanted to write a story about where I was when the bombs
began to fall, the smiling man whose bearded face filled my crosshairs,
the trigger that I failed to pull

I have a title, but no words
to follow, do not know the rules of Kimberly’s Game (she says rhyme
predicates a lack of reason)

the forecast is for snow, for winds
to sweep down from Siberia and augurs that most English form
of hysteria, when we sow rock salt across the marriage bed
and do not give a frozen fuck

let us return to love, to love,
to Hallmark verse and top ten songs, to lists of virtues, lists of wrongs
and pretend drawn hearts make us strong

I have another tale to tell,
a sequel to a false account of London in postmodern times,
whose ruins are a monument to paranoia and cement
and faces monitored for crimes, not innocence, but the amount
of information they can sell (remember pussy in the well?
she is still drowning, sound the knell)

I wake up when I want, when light
over-peeks the curtains and kids scream all the way to school, while you
present me with your morning wood

love is not greatly understood,
the universe does not appear to hold sufficient love to prove
its own existence, no matter how nonsensical that may sound

no more fairy stories, no more fairground rides, no coloured bulb lit
circles to wind the dark around, no nights beneath the magic mound

it ends where love ends, where games reach their conclusion, one final throw
of that weighted dice, that last piece taken from the board, that marked card
sneaked back up my sleeve, that table overturned, that fiddled score card
thrust into your face, you loser


Scabrous, sarcastic, surrealistic, the poet deftly handles a winding narrative equal parts lust ( love is akin to gravity, the weak force that embraces all/,that holds planets in thrall, much as my cupped hand holds my lover’s balls); unrequited storytelling (I have another tale to tell/a sequel to a false account of London in postmodern times), and crooked games of chance and love (it ends where love ends.... where games reach their conclusion, one final throw/of that weighted dice.) --R.T. Castelberry

  • 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