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> IBPC Winning Poems, 2011, Congratulations Poets!
Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 10:44
Post #1


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for January, 2011
Judge Kwame Dawes
Congratulations!


First Place
Infield Chatter
by Michael Harty
Wild Poetry Forum



You don’t hear the old chatter these days,
the third baseman’s chipping staccato
to your right, the random hoot from first,
behind you a warbled stream, a doubleplay
duet like meadowlarks celebrating summer:
that chorus of monologues, chanted mantras
of got-your-back, comebabe humbabe
shoot that pill, rock and fire, you’re the one,
but you’re not the one any more
and the game has changed.

It’s a poor imitation, just the very young
in their home and away jerseys
and all they know is batter the batter
with empty crescendo, like practice
for the talk shows. In the end your best stuff
is thrown into shadowed silence,
the seats half empty, the sun
sunk below the grandstand roof,
the birds gone mute,
even the children grown old.



It is not easy to make fresh a poem about time passing that uses a sports metaphor at its core, but this is a beautifully managed poem. The final image of the sun falling behind the grandstand roof is so evocative and so perfectly moderated for this poem: “the bids gone mute,/ even the children grown old”. The second stanza is the heavy counterpoint to the playful game with words, sounds, and the perfectly captured richness of baseball chatter which is hopeful until those final three lines of the stanza: “…you’re the one,/ but you’re not the one any more/ and the game has changed.” It would be easy for this poem to sound like the ranting of an old curmudgeon complaining about how things have changed, but there is a delicacy here, a self-reflective sadness that undermines any hint of arrogance; and in the end the poem is not about baseball because it is really never about baseball, is it: “...In the end your best stuff/ is thrown into shadowed silence,/ the seats half empty,…”For its pitch perfection, its tidily shaped classic structure, and for its understated honesty, I really like this poem. --Kwame Dawes



Second Place
Death Artist
by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Writer's Block



Six foot five Kiowa
with one leg,
Sada stretched across a booth
in the cowboy
and oil worker’s bar
like he’d conquered a country.

He sketched with carpenter’s
pencil in a Big Chief notebook.
Nobody bothered him,
except to buy him a drink
from a distance
as if to settle a debt.

He lost his leg in Nam,
wore a long green Army coat,
medal pinned to the lapel,
tall black cowboy hat,
eagle feather
stuck in the beaded band.

He painted murals
of ghost dancers and totems
in acrylics–faster drying
than oils, not as fast,
not as permanent
as bullets.
Brush had replaced gun–
medicine against wolf
prowling inside him.



The poem is a character sketch. The efficiency here must not be overlooked. In four stanzas the poet offers us a way to see a man who is of course fascinating even if a bit of a cliché. But he is what he is and sometimes people are clichés. What the poet is able to do is find some very fetching images to turn this cliché into a poignant poem. First there is the simile of the man stretched across a booth “like he’d conquered a country”—fitting for a soldier returned from a war where that is exactly what did not happen. In the second stanza we find another simile of people buying him a drink from a distance, “as if to settle a debt”. Again, the lines are densely packed with ironies and yet accurate to the moment. Finally, the image that ends the poem: “medicine against wolf/ prowling inside him” brings us to elegant and haunting closure. These are carefully constructed images and they work well. The character sketch is superficial. We don’t know the man any better, but what we do have is a powerful portrait from the outside barely looking in. --Kwame Dawes



Third Place
The Borrow Pit
by Allen M. Weber
Muse Motel



When Earle would say, Need you, Little Bro, I’d always come
running—that’s the way it was. On a visit home from the Navy,
he tells a tale of swimming from torpedo tubes, how his men
take fear to folks you’d never read about in the Daily Gazette.

Growing up, Earle could tread water forever—had to be tough
in the pit by the blueberry fields: the water gets dark, real fast;
the steep mud bottom holds your feet, so there’s no way to rest.
A neighbor boy drowned there—cramped up, maybe, slipping

right under, without calling to his friends. We weren’t allowed,
but some nights we’d sneak down, with a six-pack, to skinny-dip
till the farmer’s hounds got to howling and we’d know that soon
the screen door would bang shut, and we’d see his flatbed Ford

as bouncing balls of light, clattering down the dusty path. Tonight
a black Buick glides in—One Nation Under a Groove and something
like joy pulsing from the open windows—some city boys muling
uncut coke from Chicago. I take one look at Earle—those blue lips,

how they stretch across his berry-stained teeth, and even before
he lifts the grocery bag of money and glinting metal from the trunk,
I understand: not everybody’s leaving this field tonight. Then Earle
tosses a shotgun and laughs, Hey Brother, still like to climb trees?

The lonely maple quivers and startles my skin with an earlier rain.
Hugging a lower branch, oiled steel ices my cheek. Between leaves
I make out that Earle’s showing off—got all three flocked together,
bowed down and kneeling, facing the edge of his still moon water.



Were this poem to lose the heavy “prose-markers” festooned first stanza, we would be looking at an elegant narrative poem of such delicately observed emotion and such carefully shaped detail. The line, “not everybody’s leaving this field tonight” is a powerful turn of the poem that studies the understated casual violence of the scene. The poet has an important gift, the ability to discern what is important and interesting in a moment. In the narrative poem, this gift is critical—it makes all the difference in the world because it is, ultimately, the thing that allows us to see the poem in the moment. This is well demonstrated in this poem. --Kwame Dawes




Honorable Mentions

Pack Ice
by Bernard Henrie
The Waters



I will go to the pack ice
and when others return
I will stay behind.

I carry my long knife,
tar black strips of fluke meat
and boots sewn by my wife.

But I have no hunger, no
thirst for the vial of vinegar.
I go pure like the great sea
before the whale boats enter.

In the all day sun
I dry my straight hair
and briefly expose my chest.
I call like a white bear
as my father once called.

My eyes are grown small
as the eyes of fish, but I see
my wife gone over the floes,
not looking back.

My brave dogs strong
as bone hooks.
They pull into white ice.

The great walrus I hunted
and lost in the snow,
death heavy snow with no water
hiding falls in broken places.

I will see you again.
I will wait for the great aurora
to swim in the sky
as sea animals tossed in waves
the color of kerosene and gasoline
spilled on the ice.



Even though I can’t be sure of the accuracy of the arctic details in the poem, what carries powerfully and beautifully is the sense of aloneness, the resignation to the kind of pure emptiness of being alone—a purity akin to the combined desolation and possibility of “the great sea”. The final image, of course, is jarring for the basic way in which what reads like a poem about the natural world (timeless), becomes defined by time, by the contemporary world of “kerosene and gasoline/ spilled on the ice”. Any poem that manages to offer us, “My brave dogs strong/ as bone hooks” is coming from a promising poet. There is something here, despite the occasional imprecision in the poem. --Kwame Dawes



The Forgetting Water
by Brenda Levy-Tate
PenShells



Let fancy still my sense in Lethe steep – Twelfth Night

A woman must have created such a river -
one chance at erasing all her memories,
even the better ones. Heaven, it appears,
is set apart for patriarchs and handsome
boys who please God more willingly.

I shake on the bridge’s edge, listen down
at the current as it sucks, mutters, sucks,
mutters. Sullen infant - barely contained
by its dam – froth rising through a mouth
prepared at any moment to break open.

Green steel rocks me, lulls me, salts
nuggets of rust in my eye-corners. I catch
myself just in time. But this is my temptation:
to balance here like Athena’s bright owl
on a twisted limb. I scan the night for blood.

Overstep, swoop into this field of foam -
my own predator, my own lost prize.



There is a wonderful evocation of sound and movement in the line: “at the current as it sucks, mutters, sucks,/ mutters” that describes the body of water flowing under the bridge. At the surface, the poem seems to be flirting with the idea of suicide, but the epigraph reminds us that the inclination towards self-destruction is often prompted by a resignation to the fact that one no longer wants to contend with the tyranny of memory, the haunting of those things we would rather forget. So the poem. In this sense, the poem takes some interesting risks. Its problems are not insignificant, though—the reliance on the Greek mythology for a certain cleverness is cliché and unnecessary—no real effort is made to engage that allusion. Also, opportunities are lost because of the distraction of the “owl” image which turns the core metaphor of the poem towards that of an owl in hunting. An unfortunate shift, but one that does not completely obscure the deft craft at work here. --Kwame Dawes


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 10:57
Post #2


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for February, 2011
Judge Kwame Dawes
Congratulations!


First Place
Exile
by Lois P. Jones
PenShells



You shall leave everything you love most:
this is the arrow that the bow of exile shoots first. — Dante Alighieri


Memory impales like an old cut of wood.
It leaves me in this field — a scarecrow

with the sky for a head gathering clouds
for a lost country. Stripped down to nothing

but this owl on my outstretched arm.
I think of how your mother draws you out

of the Packard for the view. Somewhere
on your journey from Alexandria to Genoa.

At the top of a hill you look down
into yourself. Florence unfolds in front of you

in a river of green silk. Vineyards and olive groves,
red roofs aflame in the August heat,

the Palazzo del Bargello and its prison of ghosts.
And you weep with visions of a man in red robes

and eyes so full of rain. Years later at the tip
of a question it comes back –

the country you could not save,
the poems you wrote to douse the blaze for a land

that forgot its noblest son, the fever before your collapse.
I say that exile is a kind of death where loss is found

in every beautiful thing – a postcard, a sunset, a sonnet,
the way light kindles a wooden floor, jasmine

and rose water, moonlight on the tongue. The truth is
nothing ever leaves you and hell is an illusion

of landscape. Take these wounds worn in wood. The heart
hollowed in dust. I’ll bring what’s left, to burn.



Here is an elegant meditation on exile marked by statements that suggest wisdom—something felt deeply and understood even if only via the imagination. One actually believes that “the truth is/ nothing ever leaves you”, and because we do, we are willing to take the leap and believe also that “hell is an illusion/ of landscape”. The recurring wood image does not always hold up: how does an “old cut of wood” impale different from a new cut of wood, for instance? But that is a small thing, almost completely redeemed by the line “Take these wounds worn in wood”. Poets must pay careful attention to the tiniest things like prepositions and articles. Sometimes the care shows up beautifully here, sometimes it does not. Nonetheless, this is fine poetry when it is in full song: “I say that exile is a kind of death where loss is found//in every beautiful thing—a postcard, a sunset, a sonnet,…” beautiful stuff. --Kwame Dawes



Second Place
Green Holly Man New Year, 2011
by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review



When I wake I feel guilty; it’s been a year since
I met you last, but something draws me to the forest
where you have summoned me in the past.

Since your wrists were cut, I sip you secretly
like wine. The barbed edges of your touch still hold me
captive as birds peck and flock to red winter

berries. Snowy wind rattles my windows and I know
you are chiding me to walk with you on this first day.
I gather greens and abandoned birds nests and form

my life into a wreath. Later, when I weave blue jay
feathers and attach acorns I remember how your eyes
change as you become what I want but can never have.

I fear this is the year you will leave me completely, the year
when I leave the mewling of you down by the shore,
and ice covers the lake. I’ll not watch for you again.

Later, when I undress in the mossy dark, I notice my legs
have scratches like train tracks. I know then, you are gone.
The ice on the lake is frozen enough to walk on.

Your hands will not touch my shoulders like a rough
shawl. When I walk the lake alone this winter, fish
and turtles rearrange themselves in the silence underneath.



It is easy to dispense with the simplest flaw of the poem—an over abundance of “I’s”—easily mended with deft syntax and constant vigilance. Beyond this minor flaw, this is a splendid poem—haunting in its evocation of loss and obsession, and unsettling in its treatment of guilt. But its grace lies in the language: “your hands will not touch my shoulders like a rough/ shawl…”—that is fine work and we see much of this throughout. Importantly, not everything makes sense, and even the causal assertions, like the suggestion that the presence of scratches are clear evidence that the “Green Holly Man” is gone, seem believable because the persona has been well established as capable of such leaps. As much as most of the poem happens above the ice, the final image speaks to the kind of necessary rearranging that is taking place below the surface of thought, feeling and action. In other words, the poem ends with a fine metaphor that is both visually affecting and insightful. Nice work. --Kwame Dawes



Third Place
the necromancer
by Milner Place
PoetryCircle



he promenades the hours
of night

hearing
all animals around
grunts scuttlings
curses outside a closing bar
woosh of wings
squeak of bat
spit and screech
of lusting cat

he weaves
the secrets of the dark

summons
a swift horse
mounts to ride
through fields that spring
invested in
and dew
has roosted
on the grass

conjures a sun

gallops beneath
the lime of new-born leaves
to a sea that argues
with a brittle shore

where ships
are busy and the whales
pipe
through their vents
outrageous songs

back
to his loom
he starts
afresh

again

again

and yet again



“Roosted” has to be the wrong verb for what dew does on grass, but this turns out to be one small hiccup in a fine balancing act of rhythm playfulness, rhyme and the necessary weightiness of fable. The leaps are appropriately surreal, and the poet somehow manages to keep us enthralled by the idea of some kind of nocturnal creature—easily an artist—who finds the subjects for his weaving in the happenings of the night. There is, though, very little at stake, no apparent risk for the necromancer, which deprives the poem of urgency, but what it loses there, it makes up for in craft—the managing of rhythm and the use of repetition. It is musical in as much as poetry does achieve music, and the management of the elements that create this music is nothing to sniff at. --Kwame Dawes




Honorable Mention

House of Ash
by Mignon Ledgard
conjusction



 ”Y ha seguido, días y días,
loca, frenética.
en el enorme tren vacío,”
–Dámaso Alonso

I walk into a poem that happens in a house
where a woman paces from room to room to room
—alone.

She holds her head
she holds a candle and a pen
to sign her name and sign her name and
sign her name in the cold dark.

The noise of silence
the crowding absence
the flickering madness.

I hear the deafened noise of Lima
on this yellow Sunday
without electricity: no sound of static
no piano
no jazz beat.

Trees serenade: their usual murmur
through Sunday-slow traffic
without the clack of castanets.

Lost to sea are the castanets
and all the books
which lightened voyages to unknown places.

Unknown places and faces without features
perceived by the ear
behind the eye that fills in the empty spaces.
My mind wanders.

My skin receives the light
and responds through its multiple eyes;
sometimes it cries
yet almost never yells.
Then it is the nose that hears.

The nose guides the wound towards
the alcohol
the gauze
the unguent.
Something inside listens.

Something inside follows and follows instructions
from ancient blueprints
to apply gentian violet
on the open skin. I unfold.

Then fold the spine to kiss his hand,
take his feet
one at a time,
separate each toe to clean his wound
which is my wound
which is the wound of the woman in the house.

The woman who is alone
alone the house and the woman
alone he and she

—ashes turn in the mausoleum.



This is a poem that manages to hold me all the way through. Its pleasures are not a few and they have to do with the wonderful repetition, and grand imaginative leaps that are quite satisfying. The thing is that sometimes one is drawn to a poem for what is even if much of what is there does not need to be there. Here is a poem that could use a blue pencil. What would go would be the things that show the poet working too hard to be clever and to make mystery of something that in its poetic core is mysterious enough without any help. For instance, one need not overstate the “unknownness” of the places—a voyage somewhere is enough, known or unknown. In the same vein are the too clever constructions, “the noise of silence” and the “crowding absence”—which are essentially clichés and unnecessary. And the final line of the poem, decent enough (even if improbable) on its own, is something of overkill after a poem of such force and after the quite lovely title. There are also small moments of carelessness like “the deafened noise of Lima”, which, I suspect, should read, “the deafening noise of Lima”. None of this obscures the narrative of lonesomeness, aloneness, and something teetering on madness, and this is captured, not so much in the telling, but in the way thought works—the repetition: “The woman who is alone/ alone the house and the woman/ alone he and she…” --Kwame Dawes


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 11:07
Post #3


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for March, 2011
Judge Kwame Dawes
Congratulations!


First Place
Best after frost
by Mandy Pannett
The Write Idea



Mysterious how the medlar ripens,
softens, rots like Camembert – inexorable
in its breakdown, this progress into mould.

A smutty fruit: Shakespearian – seaside picture-
postcard rude, designed to raise a belly
laugh with hints of bums and holes.

Blettir- the word for overripe, for this slimy,
slurpy process – such an aromatic term, so
French this feel of rainfall in Montmartre.

Rain and footfall; blood-red light: A tale where rain
was far-off drumming; louder, thundering, tumbril
wheels; a ripe and rotten group …

or not of blood but garnet-red: a medlar jelly
sweet for Spring’s return. So suck this flesh and luscious
rot: Best after frost, they say.



This is such a wonderfully sensual poem whose tension lies in the pleasure of trying to describe something so physical with word. Just look at the shape of that first stanza—in terms of its syntax, it engages us immediately as if we are in mid-conversation, and then the the construction of the final phrase: “this progress into mould” is rich with contradiction for the progress is towards rot and decay, towards death. The poet happily employs assonance and alliteration through, and yet these do not draw undue attention to themselves. Then the vocabulary—punch, seemingly crude words that puzzle and surprise for their strangeness or marked normalness: “Blettir”, “tumbril” and “bums and holes”. I suppose what most appeals to me about the poem is its sentiment—the idea that we must enjoy this decay even as we observe its inevitability. What a full and fit word “suck” is in the last couple: “so suck this flesh and luscious/ rot: best after frost, they say.” A pleasure to read. --Kwame Dawes



Second Place
Two Doves
by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review



I would have made a bad mother, you said. Shuttered
milk eyes, the way I search for white deer

where there are none. I saw one once, a freak
of nature, a ghost or a symbol of some other god,

one I was sure to be jealous of. You said so many things,
I could not love. We had two wash basins side by side,

“renew thyself”, you said. And the thought of cleansing
my body so close to yours, within minutes of that pass;

all I could think was the sponging off, the tinkling of water
against skin like wind chimes, never to be put into a breath

or a thought. The roof, at this time, housed a family of doves
and they taunted me, cooing and brooding overhead, scratching

and clawing on the roof. What did they want, I wondered?
If they wanted peace; I wanted them to be different

like the white deer. I wanted them to raise their family
and shove off, leave us to our business. I think I wanted

to be an inky bat, waiting to creep the bedcovers, waiting
to steal your breath. Poised as I was to write it all down, leave

my own bloody mark. I wanted to suckle your blood, snatch flies
from the air. All women want to eat their babies, I told you.

You will say I have imagined this when our affection
is pure. I think that my journal is not free enough to talk.

Maybe the sponge and water know the truth of it.
When I put my nose to the crumbs of skin, when I bring

the fountain of you out to the garden, the worms,
the ready earth, are thirsty for what we have.



Here is a poem that will reward constant reading. The psychological complexity is not forced and is no trite thing here. There are lines resonant with insight and feeling that stay with us, force us to review them again and again to find whatever we can find in them: “Maybe the sponge and water know the truth of it”. The bathing image, the sensuality of it, the idea of bodies so close together, representing the very distance that seems necessary despite the hunger in this speaker to want to be closer, closer than could be healthy: “I think that my journal is not free enough to talk.” The poem, however, decides to be free enough to talk the unspeakable, almost animal impulses of love and attended fears of decay and death, and this poem achieves so much. At times the syntax loses its naturalness, but this is a small, easily remedied glitch in an otherwise compelling poem. --Kwame Dawes



Third Place
Middle-Aged Man Photographed In Zion
by Bernard Henrie
The Writer's Block



Owls stare from dark eye sockets.
Each cheek in the museum photographs
dry as Gaza.

I see my own face
in the black and white portraits.
The autistic gaze of a dog leaning his nose
from an automobile window.

That was the year Ambassador Bolton
suggested Israel attack Iran, Fatah rockets
drifted over Jerusalem and water turned bitter
in Ramallah.

The gallery shuts down. The night watchman
passes with his flashlight from window to window.

I sit for coffee, the pages of the Jerusalem Post
ruffle in the salt laden breeze from Galilee.
I walk to the Wailing Wall, but cannot think
what to pray.

The stars in irregular rows begin their silver stare
over the old city and the Occupied Zone.



It is striking how photographs in a museum are the first window into the disquiet of the city, but soon the speaker is outdoors, drinking coffee, reading the Jerusalem Post, and what appears to be a commentary from outside of the “real” space becomes a dispatch from the “front”—the kind of dispatch that reminds us that the fronts are constantly present in our lives no matter where we live these days. The most eloquent and powerful line of the poem is so subtly rendered it could be missed: “but I cannot think/ what to pray.” A fine poem. --Kwame Dawes




Honorable Mention

Feed the Snake
by Michael Creighton
The Waters



–on the road to Gangotri

The sky is clear when a smiling girl
offers to lead us up the trail that connects

the road by the river to her village in the hills.
After an hour, she tells us to sit and rest.

“This pond and that tree are brothers,”
she says, “and we leave milk on these banks

to feed the snake that lives here.”
My seven year old son shakes his head

and asks: “But is the snake real?
Have you ever seen him?”

She shrugs:
“But why would we want to see him?”

Behind us, a dozen crows rise
to scold a passing hawk.

In the valley below, yesterday’s rain
flows toward the Bay of Bengal.



Sometimes poems find us, and the good poets know when to grab onto them. This is a moment of profound wisdom—the kind of wisdom we find in proverbs on in the mouths of those who have seen the world in its most stark realities and who have found a way to live in that world. The poem revolves around a simple punch line—“But why would we want to see him?”. The curiosity and skepticism of the child is addressed by the pragmatism of the girl. Here rituals are more important than their results. The symbolic suggestion of the scolding crows is a tad convenient, but the simple truth of the idea of the constantly flowing river is elegantly caught in the final lines. One image would work. A small matter, though. --Kwame Dawes


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 11:16
Post #4


Mosaic Master
Group Icon

Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for April, 2011
Judge Judith Fitzgerald
Congratulations!


First Place
Motown Layover
by E. Russell Smith
The Write Idea



Three time zones east of yesterday,
still I rise early. A pale moon fails.
I find a coffee, walk the vacant streets.
The horizon of an ailing city
rises out of ashes, dark against
a glowing sky of blood and roses.

A carrion crow relieves the owl of
its night watch of my wakeful hours.
High-spirited Sunday sparrows,
starlings, larks and winter finches
forage in the gutters; no other life.

This cruel cold may cauterize
two years of weeping lesions.
I fly before the dirty weather strikes.



Moving, deeply disconcerting, gorgeously clean in its poetic "devices," "Motown Layover" simply causes time to stand still for one glorious nano-second, that space before the onslaught of dirty weather's cloudstorms gathering at the edge of the other's consciousness. Rarely do readers fail to cringe when reaching the end of the line only to discover the poet damned-near destroys credibility when concluding same a preposition with (apologies, Mr. Safire). This poem, however, turns that proposition on its head, expanding, contracting, the quietly calculous crunch realised in the final word, "strikes," the one which brings readers back to the beginning, to the stunning opening line, "Three time zones east of yesterday." Strike a cloud? Wonderful. --Judith Fitzgerald



Second Place
Papa
by Yolanda Calderon-Horn
The Writers Block



I roamed like a leaf between your limitations
and mine until the day after you were discharged.
Peter drove you to my workplace; you stepped
out of the van with a smile I later added to my
collection of favorite accessories. The sun

was a welcome sign on your slender face.
Hospital gowns are for the sick, Papa.
But you in a Cubs t-shirt, painter pants
and leather sandals gave breath to winded
hope. Un abrazo para mi niña.

Your branch thin arms embraced me.
The sandalwood in your aftershave
treaded softly on my cheek. And I
recalled being 19, in my white gown,
wearing remnants of that scent
as you cried: her mother and I do.

Wellness came upon me- a wellness
that could have whispered:
you were under your Papa’s weather,
clouded by his chest pain, sluggish
kidneys and diabetic seesaw.


Saw you, and I stopped roving
from hope fixed to a big assignment.



A refreshing lyric penned by an original thinker, the poem works because the title's compression yields up recognitions moment by moment till "winded hope" expires, replaced by "hope fixed to a big assignment," enlarged by the accessorising sun's enjambment, that unforgettable smile a tattoo of joy in the sorrowing grief. While the ordinary details carry readers inexorably to the poem's kick-in-the-head closer, its contents, telegraphed in that pivotal moment when "wellness" grants the speaker a sort of second sight, from "seesaw" to "saw" (sow to seek). That subtle collocation alone, not to mention the way in which "Papa" recasts lovely touches of the Romantic movement, makes this entry a near-masterpiece along the lines of Wallace Stevens or William Carlos Williams, say. Family. Loss. Faith. The wounded works. --Judith Fitzgerald



Third Place
Advice to Self in Guise of Other
by Fred Longworth
Wild Poetry Forum



Feel your body—
how it speaks to you in words
that are not words,
the way the voice of rushing water
finds the ear of the riverbank,
or a troupe of sycamore leaves
tap-dances against the silence of the woods.
At this very instant,
your thighs are chatting softly
about the contours of a chair.
Your shoulders tighten and release,
as they babble about the argument
you had this afternoon.
And your heel is becoming friends
with that bit of stone that slipped inside
your shoe. Hear the voices one by one,
or draw their tongues together
like the chatter of a mountain trail.
Now, I’ll be quiet, so you can listen.



The title of this keeper says it all: Pronouns, both personal and impersonal, wreak havoc with hacksaw hearts and silenced souls. Beautiful. The craft demonstrated in images both startling and familiar does not occur by accident. Each word in the poem belongs exactly where it lands, softly, before listeners understand they hear the most holy, most eloquent language of all, the music, the measure, the divine alignment of faith against faith, of hope in hope, and breath, not death, not dying, no . . . Rather, stopping to listen, to absorb this blizzard of sense and language in the harmonious chaos of "the chatter of a mountain trail." --Judith Fitzgerald



·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 11:29
Post #5


Mosaic Master
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Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for May, 2011
Judge Judith Fitzgerald
Congratulations!


First Place
Ophelia Speaks
by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review



I had a river once. No one shared what I had.
I had you, mansion of tears. My love was forever
a country boy, dusty, bumping along the road
looking for a gang of Magi to join. He found a star

to follow, he was a tart seeking fame and alas
the skies found their fiery boy. They stole him,
plucked him down and put him under the ground
to grow, to grow not white birch or a prayer tree

the others tried to climb upon. He is all in green,
my love; he will ferry us straight to the North.
And me? I was fashioned out of petals, rain
and garland paths. When you enter my halls of water,

call me daughter. I am a studded and baubled rose,
gathered in fennel and rue. Rosemary
for an uncrowned Lady. Remember me. What I could not
say, they took that from me too: I speak to the fish.

In my kingdom of carp, all my Princes know
who they are. Make no mistake, there is no hidden treasure
in frogs. They stray away from me, always my lot,
they nibble and taste but they don’t stay long.

The moonlight drapes their green throats in luster
like ermine. All these dazzled spirits flutter and descend
on my lips: ruby-winged darter, gold ringed nymph.
And you, who said I never had a treasure worth keeping?

How can I live without a name: a father or a brother?
I beg you, call me daughter. The turtles lay down
their robes before me. We have no need
for jewels, no Queen to steal my pearls.



Where do we begin after we've already dove head-over-hurt first into that sublimely controlled, frigidly fixed, and cataclysmically chaotic pièce de réjoycement "Ophelia Speaks" intimates, animates, implicates, and articulates? Where, indeed. "Ophelia Speaks." And how/ls, heart-attacking, soul-wracking, and brain-whacking utterances of every devastating ideational structure potentially in possession of its inherent realisation. (Ophelia Speaks.) "OS." (Does she ever.)

S'pose a scholarly soul might cite the poet's deft technical expertise (best evidenced in its unflinchingly down-and-dirty divagations or investigations as well as its near-obsessive attention to line compression, Byronic illusion, or Plathtic disingenuous illogicollusion when "it" gets down to "it," so close to "id," even closer to "ego," the delicate balancing act see-sawing between altruistic strands of love (self) and apposite streams of hatred or fear (ego). The rest? Just news that stays news.

An exquisitely shaped achievement of the highest magnitude, "OS" rips our hearts to shreds, smashes our skulls on Babylonian rocks, carelessly plucks and plants us squarely in the beautiful downtown muddle of diddly-fuck until that instant when tangential effluvia and inconsequential extrania give up the ghost ipso-quicko. Spectacularly — cf. Guy Debord's give-and-take on same in his seminal work, The Society of the Spectacle (http://www.judithfitzgerald.ca/spectatoes.html) — encarved upon readers' memories the moment the poem rearranges the new world ordered, the one simultaneously within and beyond ourselves.

Interweaving such as "He is all in green" or "these dazzled spirits flutter and descend / on my lips: ruby-winged darter, gold ringed nymph. / And you, who said I never had a treasure worth keeping? // How can I live without a name: a father or a brother?," amplifies the way in which compression intersects with concision to shiverously gorgeous effect. The wordworks, finishment's flawless imaginative outposts, go with the everslow evenso flow. Love limned in the details. Life embraced unconditionally at large (at first, at last). Looking over shoulders. Resisting salt in wounds. Practising admirable restraint à la Conrad. Frantic prantics. Crime-time rhyme :).

Tethered to decadent moorings, the poetic vessel sails calmly through Poe's maelström eddying at the delicate edges of near-transparent verglassic skin. The scope's eternity times grasp exceeding reach on this gawd-forsakin' twenty-worst century planet. (Baudelaire and Dickinson stand down. Rimbaud stands up. Spectral Whitman rises.)

Think spaces, elisions, gaps, and syllable air among allusive riches, chiasmus, the kind of linguistic abutments for which one invariably gives thanks that now-or-never instants remain indelibly preserved by the light of a blood-orange moon that turns out her light (precisely when she's most needed, natch).

Think sorrowful sea crashing gently against humanity's protracted withdrawing roar, the rush of a generation unto its complementary closing, the wholly and fully realised scaffolding enabling participants to happily drown in the drench and dazzle of the poet's signs, significations, thefts, themes, and endlessly shored-up schemes. Ah, the mag-pied magnificence enwrapped with something-special deliveries; and, make no mistake, another angle on a heart unpacked emerges. (Bonus gloriosus?) The grand tradition, the resonant rendition, the heart-whacking works. (Plath beams, the uneven lines complement the structured solidity telegraphing either adoration or immolation. Passion or poison. Prince or frog? Does it matter? Yes. And, no.)

Cast off pearls, plucked eyes, the rue of indifference. Here, the edge of sanity's coherent enough to communicate the essentials intertwined, travelling from jewels to Magi no less, a singular submerged metaphor built to endure death by dreaming for a lady who once owned a river. Lady Lazarus? (Why it matters? No. And, yes. The Future becalming what remains of a present gone long. Mercy taking flight.)

Here (hear), Ophelia struts her off-handed elegant stuff upon the stage/s accumulated over millennia in a poem so utterly amazing in its subdued and succinct virtuosity, the ultra-condensed mini-epic's closer, its ka-thudding final lines involving that "Queen" and those "pearls" (plural), executes a backward glance at a garden and Eliot's corpse hoves into view accompanied by not one (but two) — "Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!" — while forcing each and every reader to address the future (imperfectly rendered) armed with another angle trained up on "lady of situations" (patterned upon The Tempest's Ariel). It almost echoes without saying both Narcissist and Martyr trade places in much the same way colour functions in Tristan & Iseulte, « Les fleurs de mal »; or, sans façon, Charon himself (navigating the Styx or Acheron).

What an accomplished tour d'bliss-bless finesse, indubitably worth its weight in withits.
--Judith Fitzgerald




Second Place
brief
by Dale McLain
Wild Poetry Forum



I found the blue one on the bottom of the cage,
dead in the way that only birds can be,
a feathered husk. It weighed no more
than the memory of an unremarkable day.

I might have worn it on a thread, an ornament
of sky and sad curled feet. Things die.
We are such unheeded orphans, afterthoughts
at best. Our histories are barely mounds
upon the earth’s resilient back. Our stories

find no audience. The long nights consume
the heart, the heft of bone, the light
that someone might have cherished.
We are fistfuls of feathers, so insubstantial

we fear the wind and the crush of wheels.
It would take so little for us to fall,
to be wrapped in a shred of lace
with only a suggestion of blue to mark
an epoch that once was winged.



An outstanding lyric among many cut-above compositions this quarter, "Brief" immediately captures its reader's attention laying down exquisitely original lines and startling breath-catcher phrases — from the way "it weighed no more / than the memory of an unremarkable day" to "an ornament of sky" or "the earth's resilient back" (identifying but a trio of its stunners) — that build towards its subtle conclusion concerning the fragility and tenacity of both our humanity and our environment(s), those grounded in the sensorium and those founded upon physiological, psychological, and bedrock standstill. Profoundly gentle yet never maudlin, wistful yet never wanton, "Brief" dishes up an imaginative slice of living better electromagnetically meshing in the moment while simultaneously transcending it. Finely honed to a near-elegiac exactitude, the poem sticks to one's ribs, its many layers consummately polished and supremely controlled by inevitable stanzaic arrangements to bring the work's persuasive — although hardly pedantic — ingredients together in a veritable food-for-thought feast. Form and content blend seamlessly, oddly complementary, given jouissance's brief ecstasies, unevenly accurate, drolly contained, and masterfully restrained. Unforgettably lovely. Why? Primarily because "our stories / find no audience" (but "Brief" nevertheless preserves them with compendious care and precision). --Judith Fitzgerald



Third Place
End of the Road
by David Durham
PenShells



At the end of the road is blond prairie
where a broke down truck left us,
stopped short of rotten fence posts
beside a tumble of thistle weeds.
You spoke to me then as if a wind
that sweeps grass and soil; an arid voice
choked on barbed wire’s song,
reminding me that a furrowed brow
is a restless prairie’s cemetery
and regret a ghost town.
It is a weathered memory, but not unwilling.
You leaned against the faded red fender;
blue jeans, stained with clay, loose
about your hips. Your skin like sunlight
through branches of a cottonwood tree.



Inscrutably ambiguous, either the best or worst of poems, "The End of the Road" deploys shop-worn phrases to sublime (or sardiculous) effect. Dramatic irony or temporal fluidity never had it so good (or has it?). The sententious speaker gently skims and peels skin-thin realms of memory's dominant driving force to reveal an integral character central to our collective (or nearly unconscious) recollections of an earlier era (sans irony. Or not).

Apparently, given the offhand style balanced by sly alliterative internals, externals represent the timely and timeless, the quotidian trite but tricksy, an elementarily essential stratum unique to homo sapiens. Thanks to the author's veracious nimbletude, readers either accept the exaggerated yet admirably sustained clichés at face value or see, all too clearly, through the cottonwood true, despite the contradictionaerial imagery. Lacking middle ground, "The End of the Road" cranks up the shaft a notch, challenging — almost — for even the most accomplished post-apocalyptic filmmakers; and, then, automagical automobility. (Cormical.) A faded red fender. The submerged Wallace-weathered metaphors redeem these lines of toothless tiger perceptions overlaying sere slant projections, digressions, interruptions, distractions, and reformulations across one league of notions. Or, courageously approximate the cinematic scope swathing this work (which works. Or doesn't). The nifty thrifty morphs into the piece's underpinnings, its fragmentary yet consistently inconsistent philosophy: It takes two takes to fire on all four cylinders. Win. Place. Show and tell. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis (or what the hell).
--Judith Fitzgerald


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 28 11, 11:55
Post #6


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for June, 2011
Judge Judith Fitzgerald
Congratulations!


First Place
Natural Alchemy
by Michael LaForge
PenShells



In the old growth tangle of Lighthouse Park
somewhere on the Seven Sisters Trail
near Song Bird Meadow, I am struck dumb.

There is nothing new about the nurse logs
nestled on the forest floor, roots angled skyward;
nothing about the moss, the western hemlock,

the sudden granite outcrops,
gulls and ravens, crash
of distant surf on naked rock.

Even this giant red cedar rising up before me
like a thousand years of sky-crowned history
is not unusual. Some trick of breath, perhaps,

but something in me suddenly
grows still and mighty
as that monolithic tree

and a voice comes like ferns
stirring in a downdraft:

It is just like this; just like this.



If, as Dr. Marshall McLuhan averred, modernist poets deliberately mix up the five elements of rhetoric, then "Natural Alchemy" proves his main point, namely that fractured times require fractured responses to them, despite the tightly knit three-line stanzas (save for the echoing final set, brokenbroken, broken), precisely because the speaker's "struck dumb." Although not a propagandistic screed lamenting the loss of nature in our virtually extinct environment/s, the brief yet superbly controlled lyric does indeed advocate for an ecology of mind, body, spirit, and the gratuitously sacred spaces reminiscent of the work presented in Alice Oswald's 2005 anthology, The Thunder Mutters: 101 Poems for the Planet, say, especially those entries from Heaney, Whitman, Hopkins, et.al. Neither sermon, lesson, nor manifesto, "Natural Alchemy" ranges across the universe to arrive at the base of "this giant red cedar" which, in turn, tracks back to the nurse logs, both literally and figuratively, the fecund and the fallow, the essential and existential combining and recombining in that necessary stillness: Just? Justice? Sanctuary or cosmological suicide? The choice is ours. (The title throws one for a loop, so diffuse and wide-reaching, from cosmetics to Homer, Snyder, Thoreau, Pound, Anand, to . . ..) Then, of course, both Shakespeare and Wordsworth would approve; but, truly, I kept thinking of Ian Hamilton Finlay's 15-word "Estuary" included in the Oswald offering: "RUSH SEDGE COUCH MARRAM BENT / CURLEW WHIMBREL GULL LAPWING TERN / ESSO MOBIL BP EXXON SHELL"; and, yes, that historically protected beacon of light in the rapidly descending darkness, the one carrying with it the universal illumination of the final lines, of the fact it is JUST like this, "For the rain it raineth every day." --Judith Fitzgerald



Second Place
Tonight the Pendulum Still Swings
by Tina Hoffman
Muse Motel



I like my new place, to tinker ~ ordered
a new Kassel clock, was thrilled when it arrived.
I sized it up right away, chose a special spot
for display and hammered it to the wall
with a soup can – the only hammer handy,
tools lost by some errant mover guys.

The clock looked level, not cock-eyed; its
dark, rich wood sat up straight against
my creamy new walls in its place of honour.
An empty space exists where its pinnacle
should sit, now with its threads stripped.
“Some assembly required” part of my bargain.

I’m not a carpenter nor as precise as a clock-
maker, but at long last, the penultimate moment:
I attached the pendulum to the clock’s inner guts.
Gave it life with a gentle thrust and thirty twists
from the shiny brass key that did come with it.

Tick, tock, tick! Hooray! Now time to adjust
the bottom weight for pace. I placed trembling
hands on its gold-rimmed face to set ornate,
pre-calibrated hands; tied time to red LED’s
of my always right cable box and waited for chimes.

I am still waiting as tonight, the pendulum still swings.
The sun inevitably sets in the west. I finger the clock’s
key as its hands follow the pendulum’s lead like
a musician to metronome. It ticks, tocks, ticks then
clicks as the chimes finally ring, nonstop. Incessantly.



Do you know what you do or do you think exclusively of anyone but you, of anything but those go-to snapshots featuring skid-rose angles, one relentless need-to-throw lurid glow (or more likely, given the greed to succeed, that sacral altar where the wholly ruthless grin while human beings — Tick! — falter, Psalm or Psalter, gratuitous shelter)? Somenone vacates, relocates, lucidly dreaming, within or without time, appreciates the itinerant still standing, still thwarting these versions, those visions, that porous air textured, withering, swithering, palpably gleaming, thus and hither, guilty heroines where heroes go grinding, winding, grimly binding, formally blinding, sign of the time-smither, the whiff of a whim of a laserlight shim, internal rhythms / rhymes / trim rims; but, you raise high the roof beam moon-blanched blue and calculate the key, the grandfather clock needing not needling, one obsessively gorgeous habit of precision grievously spindling, singing the news, brindling the blues, oblizzerating your hearts and bleeds. Faces stasis, sere, sincere, yours newly sheer, signs truly clear, holy fool's goad glitter glowing, growing, going, gong. Express An Other, My Sister, My Brother; but, HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME . . . Its place, its articulated motion, its punctuated devotion — And, then or when? — sounds its resting gutter, seeks its nesting grace, blasted expansion mutter, second-hand concision, first-class Hail-Mary space — say, sway, background merry-go-ghastly carnivalistic half-past broken hurt gone astray, liquid encharmment, hypnotic bedazzlement, frissson in splendid array sonically missing; but, still, you hear: Life in the past-cast lane — magical, melancholic, uplifting — O, Kassel Tale, what counter-blast time, Poet? Vector trajector — Just when you need just enough to remember this too shall prevail in the glistering sublime; and, yes, you freely do know the chart, the flow of it, the terminally temporal feintly beaten tick stir, trickster, our miraculously collective wholly mechanical industriotically shattered heart. --Judith Fitzgerald



Third Place
Listening to a teen poetry slam on NPR
by Mike Talbert
The Town



The sense was too scant
and rarely piquant,
the slam was rap-rant

mostly rap for sure
expression not demure,
emotions were pure

teen-age esoteric,
verse so hyperbaric
of things hysteric

yet i had the fate
to anticipate
lines first rate,
no ego masturbate

words of immense
redolence
of little sense

beyond example:
an acne pimple,
keep it simple;

color you words azure,
avoid manure,
seek a cure

with your hustle,
create a tussle,
and please don’t rustle

idle lines that leave me bewildered



East of E-Den's brillicious technotartency —
Either sour gripes or the grapes of rap —
Flippin' urban posse of gutsy goombahs
& guidadaistic honchettes ranking honour
Alongside more traditional phenomena —
Beatification, pinballistics, credit scores —
We now return disenfranchised signifried
You to your regularly skedded miracures.
--Judith Fitzgerald


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Sep 27 11, 11:32
Post #7


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for July, 2011
Judge Tyehimba Jess
Congratulations!


First Place
In the Waiting Room
by Greta Bolger
The Waters



My daughter says I want to hold a baby
as though she senses the ache in my own body
to feel a featherweight, feather-haired being
resting with all trustingness in my scarred arms.

Holding onto life can seem as certain as the sun,
even as the chill world presents hard evidence
to the contrary. Up above, the ornate ceiling tiles
provide a silent dialogue of X’s and O’s –

O like a baby’s hungry mouth, X like a mother’s
cradling arms; O like the endless passageway of long life,
X like the iron gate that abruptly slams shut,
the shock like a gunshot, heart like a target.



I like the way this poet is interested in such an intimate moment, a time in a hospital after some tragedy. I think the best decision was the move into the space of the ceiling, where they bring us the image of the tiles we have all seen before, the religious reverberation of O, each refrain recounting a story of loss that hammers home in the last line. --Tyehimba Jess



Second Place
A Scarecrow Speaks to its Maker
by Teresa White
Wild Poetry Forum



You’ve gone and done it:
crucified me on a wooden cross
when I have no sins to appease.

I might fool the chickadees,
the sparrow, but not
the unbelievers.

My arms stick straight out,
my thirst unrelenting
as scavengers peck my button eyes.

A swift wind has carried off
my porkpie hat. I grow thinner every day,
straw inching out.

The crows are in the corn;
chaos is afoot. Come get me.
Oh maker, lay me down.



Here, the poet adopts a persona and describes a relationship with the farmer. I got position of the scarecrow, the act of abandonment that translates to the human, and a strong closing that suggests the carnal and the possessive. An effective and calculated risk that pays off. ---Tyehimba Jess



Third Place
put on your suit face
by James Browning Kepple
conjunction



there’s a corncob hat underneath the fedora,
it fits well into the curvatures,
in the sun we wear two hats,
one on the other, to align our heads with heat,
we feel this mother earth rise to the feet
and we dance a dance of simple lines
some betrayed
some highlighted,
there in the bask of the light

and if in the dark corners of your mind,
you crumple the felt, you squeeze cotton,
we will rebuild

put on your suit face, the one you’ve had hidden,
down deep in the corners of your memories,
you remember all those gritty streets,
you tell the children of such plight
and our served dastardly after, as a poser of blight,
no I am just a showman of the south,
zip your lids kiddos, cause daddy’s gonna fight

and you sequester the information, you fold neat,
place back pocket plead in attempt to repeat,
yes we do this, no we do not do that,
these kids are tripping on mushrooms you gotta see ‘em live

but we don’t live do we in our old age, our adages,
we look dull and black hole to the fire of youth,
for once where we were burning rubble,
sucking in the industrial heat to the teeth,
they see only our stories, our comic book truth,
and deny that we were ever youth,

to trick the transatlantic, to suffrage the swell
we hold on dearly to our defeatist optimistic
one more party to throw
one more stand to be made

and thrust thereafter, we remain
patrons of the suitface



I don’t really ‘get’ everything in this poem. But I enjoy the risks the author takes with the ‘suitface’ the invitation toward obfuscation, and the twists and turns we go through that take us from the mushrooms to the “dull and black hole to the fire of youth.” This kind of desire to stretch the language shows a lot of promise. ---Tyehimba Jess



Honorable Mention

Shell Game
by Fred Longworth
PenShells



The father handed a conch shell to the son.
Put it to your ear—he said—
and you can hear the ocean.

The shell felt big and heavy for small hands.
The boy held it this way and that,
and finally wrestled it against his ear.
He heard a rushing sound, like when
he got down on hands and knees, and put his head
to the vent for the air-conditioner.

He was just old enough to understand
similars—how the rusty hinge on the gate
into the alley sent the same shiver up his spine
as the bantam rooster at Uncle Henry’s farm.

And so, the way that the sea, the blower behind
the wall, and the conch shell kind of
came together was a fun surprise.

The boy put the shell to his ear again.
He remembered how waves crashed
onto the beach, how the noise rose and fell.
The shell seemed different. The sound it made
was always about the same.

How does the shell do this?—the boy asked.
The father smiled. Tomorrow, they would drive
to the cove, take the stairway
down to Sunny Jim’s Cave in the sea cliff,
and listen to the huge, deep musical notes,
the wind fingering the grotto like a bassoon.



This poem doesn’t try to do more than recount a very simple moment, with very simple language. I’m impressed with that choice, and the ability to sound common place in a space where one is expected to strain toward depth and meaning. Wise choice not to try too hard, and let the day speak for itself. ---Tyehimba Jess


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Sep 27 11, 11:47
Post #8


Mosaic Master
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Group: Administrator
Posts: 18,891
Joined: 1-August 03
From: Massachusetts
Member No.: 2
Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Winning Poems for August, 2011
Judge Tyehimba Jess
Congratulations!


First Place
Section 8
by Opie DeLetta
Wild Poetry Forum



this was a prayer with unmade bed
shades drawn in the distance
dogs bark
children laugh
a rusted swing squeaks
as a rabbit limps in the road
a kitchen clock rewinds
every frame black
9mm glock on cracked glass
smoke curls on the oak floor
a list of dreams
thumb tacked at the door
ice cream truck
doppler song melts like
ferryboat lights in the yard
sleeping garden gnomes
in the distance
a young girl jumps rope
dogs bark
on a rusted chain
children swing
a rabbit in the road



Section 8 is an exercise in simplicity and gravity. The poem lets the scene tell the story and leaves the reader questioning the story all at once. The line breaks blur the distance between meanings, from the swinging children to the rabbit in the road. The poet understands the necessity of image. --Tyehimba Jess



Second Place
Solstice
by Allen M. Weber
Desert Moon Review



Did you see me, Dad? Under the humid moon, he’s somersaulted—barely a splash.
Watch me, Dad! For one sprawling moment he crawls through a deepening prism.
Suspended like a mayfly in amber, he is baptized. Will you swim with me, Dad?
Maybe later, my boy.
Yet in hazy summers ago, I otter beneath a flickering

surface; reflections blaze from lakeside bonfires. At the cool mud bottom, weeds
caress my ankles as I re-breathe the air between puffed cheeks. Still my father
waits—a lighthouse at the end of the dock—the cherry of his cigar glowing,
fading, while twists of smoke and maybes climb our diminished night.



Solstice brings the reader into a world where the father is a shadowy lighthouse, one that we know to be flawed and somewhat indifferent, but constant and loved at once. ---Tyehimba Jess



Third Place
Ode to What Settles
by Toni Clark
The Waters



What settles is what stays

after the transience of houses
after the horses and the boulders

particles, dust and ash, leaves
and water after the wind’s ruffling.

The fog in the valley, mist on the pond.

What’s left when the rest has burned
or blown, what drifts toward twilight.

And after the chaos of yellow windows,
evening deep into the hills.

The silence when you open the door
to an empty sky, the sparrow on its bare branch.

Our rooms late in the day, creaking
and sighing, the rocker coming to rest

sediment in the bottle, the last
of the wine in the glass

our bodies gone quiet beneath the blanket,
lives into a pattern, knowledge into the bone.



Ode to what settles meditates on the all that we are, from the dust to the sound of the bed to the drift toward mortality. The author knows balance and tone and risk. ---Tyehimba Jess


·······IPB·······

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

"I believe it is the act of remembrance, long after our bones have turned to dust, to be the true essence of an afterlife." ~ Lorraine M. Kanter

Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

MM Award Winner
 
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