Each year I am determined to have one or two contests. Then comes the difficulty in locating a judge. Judging is not easy work so when I seek a judge, I tell them what the whole process entails. They will recieve mail from me almost daily and each will be a group of submissions. Sometimes there will be two and sometimes there will be many, many more. None comes with any identifier and I do not intrude upon the judge's decisions. It takes time, caring, talent and clarity to be a judge. Each time the judges for the contests have been stellar and busy poets/writers in their own right and yet have agreed to take this on. Mary has done an excellent job and selected from so much talent, the absolute cream of the submitted crop. Thanks to her and thanks also to Oonah Joslin (both wonderful "Ladies in Writing") who suggested Mary as a judge.
THE JUDGE'S STATEMENT:
I wrote the last line of my novel Night Surfing today...This is where the happiness begins... Before you start getting all jealous that I'm done with the book, my second, oh no no no no no no no. I've got a good first five chapters and now a great last chapter, but that darn middle is where you'll find me this summer, writing and rewriting.
And the same is true for the winners of this poetry contest. The winning writers did the hard work of honing down the piece to a place of sculpted word perfection. Not a line out of place, not an unnecessary word or phrase that was pretty or beautiful even, but didn't move the piece along. Always read your poetry out loud. When you do it often enough, you will start to hear the little 'dings' that make you stop and say, 'Hmmmm...does that REALLY belong?' It's tough. I hated rewrites when I first started writing.
Now I say a quick little good-bye as I kill my darlings. Never stop writing. And never stop sending your work out to as many contests as you can. We are all so lucky to have creativity in our lives. And we are all winners, maybe just not today...
BIO! MARY KENNEDY EASTHAM, MA, MFA was a 2010 Celebrity Achiever. Her work has been awarded over $20,000 in Literary Grants and has appeared in over 75 publications to include Glamour magazine and Paris Transcontinental. Her first book, The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget is now in its Fifth Printing and she hopes to finish her novel Night Surfing this summer. The Girl With Sand in Her Hair , her third book, is in the fun, 'I wonder what this book is gonna be about' phase. She'd like it to be 2011's The Lover. For more info about the author, check out her website at www.RP-Author.com/MKE
Because the Earth Does
Brooke Gale Luby
we all want to know,
“what’s wrong with the world?”
but we don’t want to hear the answer
we need newer medicine
to cope with the speed
of our world spinning
our inner ears are off balance
because we hear but we don’t hear
so we develop vertigo
and stay in bed all day
avoiding digging ditches and answering e-mails
surrounded by our TV personalities and down pillows
our pill box always within reach
while the world waits outside
and we know things are broken
things beyond the ache in us
so we follow the groan outside of our gated community
we stumble past strip malls and churches
we ignore the conman’s sales pitch and
can finally hear the ocean in front of us
so we run to the water
we rub our fingers on sharp barnacles
clinging to slippery rocks
till specks of blood drips out our hands
and something in the red wakes us up
and we let the waves lick them clean
the salt waters heal
on the sand barefoot we spin
not because the swirling colors melt the
world into something transcendent
a little like seeing
skyscrapers reflected in puddles
not because drugs run through us
or the sickness is rampant
we spin because the earth does
we crush blades of sea grass between our fingers
just to know they’re not synthetic
to know the fragility of things that grow
the fragility of us
So don’t medicate our minds
let in the pain
let it bleed
let it be destroyed
and then let it bloom
Because that’s what the earth does
"I was motivated to write this poem because of my frustration this technology and advertisement driven culture has on your soul."
Tonight, the moon inks shadows on the snow—
blank pages littering December’s garden,
blue deer ruminate on frozen chard
and cabbage: noiseless, lunatic, aglow.
The bees are stacked in catacombs of gold,
and bluebirds fill the pocketbooks of trees,
dream warms the berry-fattened bear, likewise
my wife lies deep in quilts against the cold.
Blow wind! Blow blue the mournful midnight mass,
and smudge the night with indigo again:
an elegy for parents, gone, and then
the news, the more-than-empty chair in class.
Outside, the garden lies as still as death
except for deer, the blue ghosts of their breath.
I was moved to write this poem when one of my students was killed the day after her 18th birthday.
Andrew Periale is an Emmy-nominated artist. His work has been funded by the NEA, Pew Charitable Trust, Jim Henson Foundation. etc. He has been the editor of Puppetry International magazine for 27years. His poetry has appeared in Light Quarterly, Yellow Medicine Review, and Entelechy International, etc. His text for L’Histoire du Soldat just opened with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. A member of City Hall Poets, he is the current Poet Laureate of Rochester, NH.
Close Your Eyes
A. J. Corbin
We can eat tacos and pico de gallo at El Canto,
the line winds ‘round,
hungry people stand in dusty pebbles,
wait for free corn chips, sweet prickly-pear margaritas, carne asada,
the fanning flamenco dancer
makes it all seem a brief moment.
But the night screams honey,
the almost full moon looks down
at saluting cactuses, tumbleweed, gnarled cottonwoods,
stars open the blackness in cool desert air,
in a flash we can be in a red Chevelle on Carefree Highway,
pass the rusty rocks of Sedona,
drive Route 66, hair blowing across mesas and vistas .
At the Crown Railroad Restaurant,
electric train overhead,
fries drip wonder onto a Formica table,
cracked vinyl booth,
a waitress who wishes she were anywhere else,
but an Arizona sunset can erase fate,
turn destiny to choice.
We can stay at the Econolodge
purple carpet, textured wallpaper,
swaying vending machines,
a magic mirror filled with nights of secrets
hangs in just the right place.
We can make memories; rub time
into the wounds of this earth.
Close your eyes, believe –
we can be anything.
about the magic that hides
waiting for blue eyes to remember.
I have framed the days lost
in simple black wood,
Maui 1987, June.
Goldfish glide so easily in a clear pond,
vines tangle, bamboo bends,
purple orchids preen, water lilies practice balance.
We watched with eyes as wide and hopeful as the sky.
But the picture does not show us,
who we were, bystanders gazing at paradise,
allowing it to slip away.
I take out the photo on days when it rains,
when I yearn for a different horizon
and to walk back into that picture,
feel the sun on my face and magic in my soul once more.
I was motivated to write this poem by the idea that all the magical moments we live are stored within us, waiting for our remembrance.
BIO: Louisa Clerici’s short stories and poetry have been published in literary anthologies and magazinesincluding; The Istanbul Literary Review, Carolina Woman Magazine, City Lights, Off the Coast, Shore Voices ,The Boston Poet, Bagels with the Bards #4 and #5, Do Not Give Me Things Unbroken,and Tidepool Poets. Louisa is the host of DreamSpeak, a popular venue for writers in Downtown Plymouth, Ma.
in memory of Josseline Hernandez Quinteros, 1994-2008
They found her with the things she carried—
sandals stretched like tendons without meat,
faded backpack blushing at the seam,
rough feet swollen like a canyon stream.
Sandals stretched like tendons without meat,
swept from Salvador into the border dust.
Rough feet swollen like a canyon stream.
Stay here, barked the coyote, prodding the rest.
Swept from Salvador into the border dust,
she heard a trickle between sizzling waves.
Stay here, barked the coyote, prodding the rest—
she clung to that, one slender breathing thread.
She heard a trickle between sizzling waves
as frail bones took her down the rocky slide.
She clung to that, one slender breathing thread,
and knelt to scoop the desert water free.
As frail bones took her down the rocky slide,
horizon was her brother, moving on.
She knelt to scoop the desert water free.
The sun still beat, although her heart grew still.
Horizon was her brother, moving on.
Somewhere her mother’s voice was calling her.
The sun still beat, although her heart grew still,
and felt the fierce Coyote growling, come.
Somewhere her mother’s voice was calling her
when friends trekked backward to the broken stream.
She felt the fierce Coyote growling, come,
eyes shut tight to the dazzle over everything.
When friends trekked backward to the broken stream--
faded backpack blushing at the seam,
eyes shut tight to the dazzle over everything.
They found her with the things she carried.
I was motivated to write this poem by a news story that moved me and reminded me of the struggles of my immigrant grandparents and of my own experience of the desert. I also have been experimenting with formal modes of poetry, and the pantoum (inspired by one of Marilyn Hacker's pantoums) seemed appropriate to this subject, a type of elegy.
ANGELE ELLIS is the author of two books of poetry, Spared (Main Street Rag, 2011)--an Editors' Choice Chapbook Selection--and Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press, 2007). A 2008 recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, her work has appeared in journals, periodicals, anthologies, and on a theater marquee (after winning Pittsburgh Filmmakers' G-20 Haiku Contest in 2009). Angele also was a prizewinner in the 2007 RAWI Competition for Creative Prose. A longtime community activist as well as a freelance writer and editor, she makes her home in Pittsburgh.
As the pure lamp blazes, I hold a sacred
Sapphire intently; it’s the only treasure I have left.
The cold Sapporo winter storms into the
Kitchen, chilling the warm sake.
I must search for a path out—
I may sell my heritage or
Steal a ferry ticket to the Seto, a fertile
Region for growing the future's seed.
I need a shrine, with
Offerings to Amaterasu who can banish the apparitions
That terrify me, like Kappa in the shallow seas.
May the horizon shine like the illuminating
Votive in front of me.
Reason: I wrote this poem shortly after the Sendai earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. That was a difficult time in my personal life, and as I wrote this, I realised that all suffering peoples-- from my relatively trivial uncertainty about my future to the victims of the devastation in Japan-- have an inner spring of resiliency that we can all tap into when needed.
Background: Amaterasu is the chief goddess of Shinto, the traditional Japanese religion, and is associated with the Sun. Kappa are legendary sea monsters from Japanese folklore. Sake is a rice-based liquor from Japan.