Manufactured to Perform

by C. Albert
criticalpoet.org
First Place, December 2009
Judged by Majid Naficy


I love how my organs are shaped
the same as anyone’s, manufactured
to perform: a heart that drums,
filtering twirl of kidneys, liver,
lungs that bellow on.

I hate how weak my machinery is
that a noise of germs, single-coated parasites,
scatter harmony. My tortured body
has become parts upon my bed. Nowhere
that doesn’t hurt, except my funeral.

What is it that comes back, silent as air,
to lift an invalid? Not heart, liver, kidney, lungs,
but a tenacity within the drum,
the twirl, the bellows.


I chose these four poems randomly as I was reading all poems alphabetically. To my surprise, not only do all four selected poems speak about the issue of death and dying, but, somehow, they also make up a whole and complement each other respectively. The first poem sees human body as a piece of machinery with a drumming heart, filtering kidneys, and bellowing lungs which only the tenacity of its parts can protect it against disabling germs. --Majid Naficy

  • December 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      By Waterloo Station
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      Patagonia Lost
      by Sylvia Evelyn
      Babilu

      Third Place

      I just wanna come home dad
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      The War Bride
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Beethoven Dying
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      Ain’t Got Time To Die
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

  • 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