Why You Taught Me Loving in a Way That Feels Like Hate

by Midnight Moon
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, July 2014
Judged by Suzanne Lummis


Because a red rose has shadows in her creases,
and she sings love songs at midnight
in a saloon by the same name.
Because of this, I’ll remember you
and the red rose city you put me in.

Because bachelor insects climb through shadows,
in the wailing, red rose city of insects,
hypnotized by desire, by her smell,
and because you touched me when I was too young
to know the difference,

I came swimming up from loneliness
into a world of flashing red roses
and thorns.

Because no red petals ever clung to you,
and you had no poetry at all,
I took it all.
I became the one who knew
what you could never know, if it weren’t for me.


This one rolls out a ripe, heated, nearly over-the-top imagery that could hardly be more different from the first two -- but how wonderful that contemporary poetry offers up this variety. "The bachelor insects climb through shadows/in the wailing red rose city of insects" seems reminiscent of Lorca's early surrealism, and it's gorgeous. I love how the closing sentence doubles back on itself, and its meaning seems to fold and unfold. --Suzanne Lummis

  • March 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      September Heat
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      At the Cancer Center
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Third Place

      At Last Ghazal
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Died Last Fall
      by ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

  • February 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Grand Central Station
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Back Stage
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      VFW
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block