1st Place: glossolalias
To Any Good Teacherthere was a patient man
who read my words and said
you could be anything
when i held no ambitions;
i will make him proud.
County LinesFog swallows the corn,
an unlit farmhouse eaten;
stars shine scarce
in the dark heather sky,
Dim lamps guide the road,
but each creates
a separate jaundiced clarity:
sight and blindness passing
in fewer frames per second,
confused Vaudeville captures.
Your eyes look blue tonight
when I can see them;
shadows fill your mouth and
Tio Hector came to stay two weeks after my fifth birthday. Snow crunched beneath his boots as he moved his cluttered apartment into our guest bedroom, piling boxes on the bed. While Papi stayed home to steam-clean the carpet, I went with Tio Hector to bring what hadn't fit to a musky storage unit, chattering on and on about how excited I was to see him. A day later, Mom quit work "for her health." I thought she might be dying, and I remember asking Papi how long she would live and if she was going to be in a hospital like Abuela.
I only received a half-smile and a dismissive wave, but Mom grew thinner, never smiled, and would stare at nothing for minutes or hours, listlessly wandering from room to room like a ghost whose freckles forgot to fade with the rest of her. Even her hair—alive with reds and coppers as if possessed by early autumn in photographs Papi kept on his desk—became limp and lackluster, often reeking of oil. When a year passed, and she wasn't much
naked kneesin high school,
you tore your acl playing
a sport you didn't care for,
and you hate that scar: pale
thick and protruding, saying,
"look here. ignore the golden
hair that collects at his thighs,
ignore the bruises from kneeling
on the floor. ignore his calves,
the sharp angle of them and look
at me. look at his knees, how
ugly they are. the thick skin
callused pale and littered with
you don't have to stand but
in lines you get uncomfortable
and you never wear shorts which
is okay. i don't wear them either
[for more irrational reasons] and
i think your legs are my favorite
part of you, contending with your
shoulders and chest and biceps,
with your eyes and cheeks and lips
and bones, blueish veins and feet,
your smile and copper eyelashes.
and you let me rub the softer skin
behind your bum knee, smiling
2nd Place: Vigilo
XXVmy hands will immerse: settle into a new sea, dig
in to find roots that swing far and wide
and up as a banyan tree.
Altair to VegaMany things have been handed to me over years:
a drum full of water, once. I threw it away,
but it returned, again, again, until I took it
under my arms and called it mine.
My riverdrum is full of water that is full of light,
but it cannot scoop up a brook of stars.
I have a wife. I lose her
like one loses grey hairs–achingly,
and with sadness, and old, as the river
of oil and water that parts us.
She may be bitter now,
and I, a fool.
– a dip an ebb a wave – in the seconds
of the river’s descent where I see you,
I feel a thousand birds under my feet,
their wings beating against my soles,
as if my feet had two thousand hearts.
I lose you easily–it should not
be this easy–because of
a swell, a crest, a wave,
The sound of a river is unflinching:
many drums beating without pause.
I have questions for her, like
a minstrel songs, many forms
of the same chord: can I still
call you my lover?
For you are a lover,
someone who is as warm and k
For One Long GoneFor One Long Gone
Turn. Now you turn, too,
there is a ship trailing soapsuds on the sea.
Curve and crane your neck
upward, her coral arches have embraced rust
as her somnolent lover shifts elsewhere.
The sea has made minute and shadowed
the Ship that moored herself to the sea.
Howl, Vessel leaving a fluorescent white trace,
relentless on ocean. An anchor lifted gently away
from a throat of whale song, creaking adieu all day long,
yet the waters are too shallow to hold the sound.
The Ship is gone, leaving behind a funeral wake,
which rests awhile and mourns: the Ship is long gone –
Plaintive, the lighthouse, her beacon, clinging
to a blue dappled exterior, bashful;
if only the horizon was forgiving.
Thirst of a Poetthe bards have bumblebees in their mouths,
for language is babbling,
a brook in a bowl, joy brimming;
billowing, rippling, surging
and spilling; sashaying down,
with a swaying sound (oh-so wistful, oh).
language is burbling,
an impish kiss of mouth from mouth;
bewildering, baffling, bemusing
and tricking; tumbling round,
to touch a fellow Fool and his nought (so wistful, oh),
and disturbs a Poet, who slips
into a dream of a vagabond
"where are you calling from?" he murmurs,
in his sleep, and the newspaper flutters
with a snore; then rests on his chin (just so, oh),
and language sidles past him up to me,
and places a river upon my lips,
3rd Place: HaveTales-WillTell
By Fifty,I'll publish or perish;
find someone to cherish;
move someplace phenomenal;
display an abdominal
physique to inspire,
which I shall acquire!
. . . Or perhaps, just retire.
Apotheosis: Prometheus Re-BoundI thought I saw each day flow by,
from final rest to birthing cry:
the total sum of deeds undone
are bleached beneath the blazing sun
and offered up to passers-by.
The crows will claw, the seagulls cry,
the terns will carry tidbits high,
the pterodactyls catch and run
I thought I saw.
But vivisect or vivify,
the price will never be as high
as back when I had purchased one
brand-new, and clearly underdone;
to Zeus in gratitude, I'll testify:
"I thought I saw."
Much Ado About Sound and Fury"His majesty seemed in a better mood this eve. One might almost say he was amused."
"King Claudius, amused? I was standing beside you, my friend; but I noticed no such thing."
"Did you not hear him chuckling as we took our leave?"
"That was a chuckle? To me it sounded more of a chortle."
"A chortle? Don't be ridiculous. It was quick and free, with a bit of a lilt at the end. Such clearly denotes a chuckle."
"A lilt it may have had, I'll grant; but 'twas also deep and throaty. Almost sinister. If anything bespeaks of chortling, 'tis that."
"Sinister? My dear friend, I love you like a brother: but such utter foolishness has never before forced its way past your lips."
"You don't deny it was as throaty in the middle as lilting at the end?"
"Of course not! King Claudius is a powerful man; 'tis no surprise he has the voice to match. I merely suggest that you and I of course mean this in the most loving of ways have clearly misplaced half your wit."
"No offense is taken; I shar
Religion Free DVD PlayerAs an avowed atheist, I've always despised overt religious subtext in my movies. So when I ran across a back-alley electronics shop offering "Religion Free DVD Players", I snatched one up faster than a Southern Baptist preacher could call out, "Hallelujah!"
Set-up was a breeze, thank Nobody. So the first movie I popped in was one of my favorites, The Wizard of Oz.
Well, by the time the angelic Glinda introduces herself to saintly little Dorothy in front of the Munchkin choir, I was already beginning to suspect that something might be off. And it only got worse, as her ragtag band of pilgrims undergoes their yellow-brick hajj to the Emerald Mosque: complete with the decadent drug-fueled temptation to abandon the journey; the air assault by, and subsequent ritual stoning of, Satan's winged minions; the circling of the Ka'aba while searching for its concealed entrance; the ultimate purification of Evil with a convenient bucket of holy water; the climactic meeti
Congratulations! And thank you all again for helping me celebrate!