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message 1: by Amy (last edited Oct 24, 2011 08:23PM) (new)

Amy (AmyKing) | 516 comments Mod


On a forked willow branch,
Divining reflections above the river,
Soaking sun so lazily
He surveyed all, including me.

I waited for a simple nod,
The granting of an audience.
He turned his eyes as if to say,
“Do you still need me to blame?”

I eased closer to say no,
To say I’d made amends with Father
And shifted blame onto His Daughter…
He hissed and walked across the water.

--Max Reed



Fading fast, the sun, its exit
Squiggles in the dark, expectant.
Ribbons wrap around the air
As dusky hunters vast appear.

Digits spread to glide and soar,
And whispered squeaks that rise to roar
In massive ear, the voice proposes
Shifting shapes to be decoded.

Trapezoidal flap of wings
Triangulates insectoid things
That circle spirals in the night;
Pursuit by paralleling flight.

A hit! A hit! A hit again,
Though wily prey may dodge and spin.
Repeated thousand times and more,
The stomachs filling score by score.

Then as the cracking of the dawn
Injects its pour of rays upon
The curve of earth, and cave enfolds
The cloud of hunters drifting home.

--Elizabeth Brau


Uncle with Landscape—Kansas, 1954

The corner of the farmhouse, worn by wind
that has warmed fields for centuries, is bent
and sullied to the color clouds will carry

in April. Spades and rusted buckets lean
against a toppled silo, rows of wheat—
still green like lawns—converge, a vortex

of earth that’s bent, retrieved by pausing light.
A boy is standing, six or seven, hands
in overalls and hair shaved army thin.

His teeth are white as Sunday shoes,
clean arms not yet tanned by earth or grease.
His glance, below center, turns away from sun

towards ground as if the day’s not possible;
that on some lost acre, black and white
photo in grandma’s album, he’s become

the lines of fields, the sway of thinning wheat,
the passing shadow, brief and cloudless night.

--Benjamin Vogt


Why Wyoming?

--a sestina for Jennifer, who asked

I've been up
with the wind, trying to write down
an explanation for this charmed
move. In Cheyenne the light is strange,
no trees to shadow the beauty
of the prairie. The truth

is, Wyoming is hard to love and truth
demands recognition of its harshness. Up
on Jim Mountain, beauty
surrenders its solace and stares down
on the rest of us. We are strange
to this landscape, which has charmed

so few. We have been charmed
before and always, the truth
is hidden by expectation. Strange
how truth is exposed: a Coopers hawk glides up
to Elephant Rock, as the sky bears down
on this spare beauty.

In Issaquah, beauty
was simple, the forest charmed
by beads of rain, which came down
with the certainty of truth.
We all looked up
to Mount Rainier, that strange

volcano floating over Puget Sound. So strange,
like her sister Helen, who's beauty
soothed the landscape and then went up
in cinders. She charmed
us into inattention, then demanded truth
with a terrible insistence that rained down

in rock. Now the woods, downed
in ash, mock the flattery of strange
transients like us, who betray truth
by looking only for beauty,
for that charmed
acre to never give up.

Up on Medicine Wheel, Wyoming is down right charmed.
Strange how her beauty is a hard uncomfortable truth.

--Sara C. (Koeeoaddi)


Stoned in the Woods

What’s that swaying in the sumac;
that humming in the sassafras?
Are those chickadees, twittering
in the thicket, or are these trees
just glad to see us?
Look at all those bees - too stoned to sting,
too bombed to buzz - distilling pollen
from all that butterfly weed.

When those dragonflies near the pond
are comatose, we’ll use cattail reeds
as straws, and snort nectar from hyacinths
like hopped-up hummingbirds.
At dusk, we’ll sober up with the bees
over by the vetch and the sneezeweed.
Afterwards, we’ll be so hungry, we’ll want
to eat trees; so remember those blackberries
near the carved-up beech, the blueberries
in the meadow.

And don’t worry!
When twilight gets the blues and Luna glows
like a silver sun, we’ll sell that moonshine
and put all our honey in memory banks
so we’ll have something to live on
after this day and these sweet dreams
and this paradise have all gone to pot.

--John Sokol


My Mother Demonstrates How To Escape From A Plane Crash

Although she has never flown on an airplane, my mother sits on a low stone wall at the entrance to the cemetery and tells me she wanted to move to New York City and become a flight attendant. I am kneeling in green grass in front of a chest of drawers searching for socks not worn at the heel, the sky above us blue and tufted with motionless clouds.

My mother will die never having her stomach drop, never feel ears popping from the altitude, the heaviness that settles into limbs, the shallow breath that comes with thin re-circulated air, the way a body adapts to unnatural, human flight.

When she was a girl, a flight attendant was one of the most glamorous jobs in the world. The crisp uniform, jaunty hat, kid gloves and matching luggage all reeked of worldliness, something to benevolently hold over the heads of those other girls who spread legs instead of wings, invited high school sweethearts to climb aboard and permanently ground them.

In this place where I will bury her, my mother stands at attention, mended socks on her hands, and demonstrates the drill she learned from a manual: The exit doors at the front and rear of the plane, and with her arms outstretched as if poised to fly, the escape hatch over each wing.

--Collin Kelley


--"Constant" by India

--"Georgia O’Keefe Looks Over Her Shoulder" by Anne Higgins

--"In the Patch" by Gay Partington Terry

--"How To Save Your Own Neck After Fifteen Ways To Stay Alive by Daphne Gottlieb" by Deborah Hauser

message 2: by Jim (last edited Oct 24, 2011 09:19PM) (new)

Jim Spain. (Rimeriter) | 27 comments Hmmmmmm !!!

message 3: by Edie (new)

Edie Schmoll (mensapoet) No comment.

message 4: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn (TheArtist) | 25 comments I liked all of these. It's a near tie between Moccasin and Stoned in the Woods, but since I can only pick one, I choose Moccasin.

message 5: by Gay (new)

Gay Terry (gTerry) | 3 comments Pleased to have an honorable mention in this company

message 6: by Emily (new)

Emily Elst (Emily_Elst) | 3 comments Sadly missing David: These Words

"These words
that trickle
could not care
where they
have been
what role
they played
famous verse
a speech
a curse
or something worse
it matters not
to words
like these
if they offend
or cheer
or please

Feel it's worth an honorable mention, so I am using my comment as such. I like to see poetry that take it's own shape as well as the more traditional verse style:)

message 7: by Tichaona (new)

Tichaona Chinyelu (tichaona_chinyelu) | 967 comments Finally! I'm early enough to actually vote!

message 8: by Rose (new)

Rose Boehm (rosemaryboehm) | 2650 comments There's only one I can vote for. The rest just doesn't measure up to "best" of all the entries. I'll check back over the honorable mentions and I'm quite sure to find a more deserving poem among them.

My vote for the one and only poem that truly represents excellence : Why Wyoming? by Sara C. (Koeeoaddi)

message 9: by Byron (new)

Byron Gordon (ByronGordon) | 9 comments Moccasin gets my vote.

@ Nipaporn - Ever poet knows their verse is the best ;) The trick is to keep playing the game until you wear out the opposition and they admit what you have known all along!

All tongue in cheek, of course, please take no offense.

message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg  | 797 comments Why Wyoming
Difficult form;lovely poem.

message 11: by KT (new)

KT | 8 comments Uncle with Landscape is my clear favorite in this contest.

message 12: by Liz (new)

Liz Mourant (aeonic45) | 64 comments this month is real slim pickins...shoulda entered this month though I always lose as another poster wrote. Shucks.

message 13: by Melica (new)

Melica Niccole (MelicaNiccole) | 1 comments I vote for Chiroptera!

message 14: by Stella (new)

Stella (stellam) | 3 comments They seemed more like novellas than poems to me I didn't really like any of them, sorry

message 15: by Janet (new)

Janet | 103 comments I vote for Why Wyoming?

message 16: by Meg (new)

Meg  | 797 comments I'm baffled by folks taking the time to say things like no comment & slim pickins. Oh & I should have submitted my genius poem, I would have won!

Dewd,no comment? Then don't.

If you have nothing good to say. Say nothing. Or at least make it constructive, thoughtful critique.

message 17: by ina (new)

ina | 3 comments Meg wrote: "I'm baffled by folks taking the time to say things like no comment & slim pickins. Oh & I should have submitted my genius poem, I would have won!

Dewd,no comment? Then don't.

If you have nothing..."

Just what I was thinking, Meg.

message 18: by ina (new)

ina | 3 comments I'm always impressed when people can write sestina, let alone ones that are coherent, so it was a close call for me. However, I'm going to have to go with "Uncle with landscape" - the imagery is so true to the plains midwest, just exactly captured the life and teh feeling.

message 19: by Louise (new)

Louise | 137 comments I vote for Moccasin.

message 20: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 419 comments Why Wyoming?

message 21: by Meg (new)

Meg  | 797 comments Guy has impeccable taste!

message 22: by Guy (new)

Guy (egajd) | 419 comments Thanks Meg ;-) So, if I were to say that you appear to have that very same quality in you too, that wouldn't be in any way self serving, would it? LoL!

But WW is both an exceptionally well crafted sestina and a beautifully expressed poem. I think easily the best in this group of finalists.

message 23: by Meg (new)

Meg  | 797 comments Easily that!

message 24: by India (new)

India | 9 comments Why Wyoming is my choice. Although My Mother Demonstrates How to Escape from a Plane Crash, with its prose style, has images that grab me.

message 25: by Collin (new)

Collin Kelley | 6 comments This was a great group of poets to be included with. I appreciate everyone who voted for my poem.

message 26: by Meg (new)

Meg  | 797 comments @Collin, terrific poem. Moving and lovely! You ought submit it to some print journals!

message 27: by John (new)

John Sokol (johnsokol) | 10 comments Congratulations, Colin! Wonderful poem!
To my knowledge, there's no copyright on the
word "sneezeweed". :) Thanks.


message 28: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (SandyCrow) | 49 comments Okay...I ignored the email reminder and meant to check it later...and now it's too late! I HAVE TO START LOOKING AT THESE SOONER :D

message 29: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Hauser | 7 comments Congratulations to all the finalists. Thank you for the honorable mention.

message 30: by Liz (new)

Liz Brau I am very honored to be chosen as a finalist this month! Thanks to Amy and the other contest panel members for all their work. I am enjoying this group very much and reading everyone's work is one of my favorite pastimes.

message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian (magicboyd5) | 16 comments Why Whyoming defenately!

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