The Big Green sought poets from far and wide (read: local students through Facebook and mass e-mails) to bring our readers the best of the best. After careful and meticulous observation of all of the poems, we\’ve selected two winners at the top of their game and eight for honorable mention, not too shabby for MSU. After an overwhelming response from local poets and way too many good poems to sift through, it seems as if we\’ll have to make this an annual event. Now it seems the time to say, drumroll please (rather, snapping fingers at their mark)
And the winners are:

Orion Town, in Slabs

By Matthew Milia
The yelling, the holler, Anne—my dark damn Lord.
The muffler shop she thaws standin’ right front that froze landfill.
Silt slush, the taste of big metal homes and dumpster-white domes blendin’
Dusktime who sings that kind of sterile starry sound, sayin’:
“A sky that hovers peaceful dead
But dries out all the livin’ instead,
And seeps down through the ground’s prayers.”

Daddy and his Potomac girls—his sweethearts and snowflowers.
They cobblestone their dark ways past the ski lift rust glowin’ with headache.
A boulevard tree, a dim tree on top the wiry ‘lectric ridge
Surging nothin’ but love and the pant of overheatin’, goin’ on ‘bout:
“We are all humbled by sim’lar things
The pilings of night and the pain that it brings,
Frozen deep in your love’s lawn in layers.”

All this, child, and my town wheels me ‘round, shoutin’ off:
“SHE will BE standin’ there,
‘Neath the frozen bluff.
The moon’s legs will come skatin’
Down the hill intimidatin’,
And I’ll be harmed by what I’ve farmed in my
Nightmares.”

Confession

By LaToya Faulk
It has been 5 months since my last obsession
Forgive me father for I have fenced in thoughts,
and a wayward pen. You see, what I destine and what
precedes to run over and spill upon the pages are always
never what I’d intended to be.
However, what was not to be is somehow…
I cannot seem to sustain it.
It subdues a figment of me. It is I.
No, A she. A Delilah .
One who listens keenly, then at night tiptoes
angelically through a crowded room.
And yet…
Who could resist the seductive wit of such a pen?
It is a secret tongue of daring threat.

And those eight who received honorable mention? Get ready for some more snapping action– here they are:

Mona Lisa

By Beth Holstrom
Rain comes
on days filled with plans
that wipers smear away.
Another slippery yellow dash on the pavement
laughs with every blink
teasing me,
the only yellow glow seen today.
I can’t even enjoy a cigarette
each raindrop on my arm,
another annoying reminder of my ruined day.
Chills are inevitable,
remedied only by sweatshirts and coffee,
the flame and gas igniting warmth
underneath my goose bumped skin.
The smell of unfinished plans
drowns me.

Untitled

By Valerie van Tine
There is a town that lies in peace,
Devoid of oil, soot, and grease.
The water is pure, the animals clean,
Not a flaw is visibly seen.
In this town are rows of houses,
White picket fences, not a single mouse.
Green front yards, and flower gardens
That frost has never seemed to harden.
This town is blessed to be perfect
And it is, to some effect.
But if one took another look,
One would see the cover doesn’t fit the
cover doesn’t fit the book.
The inhabitants of this little town
Are cursed in agony all around.
For it is impossible to be happy
Unless one has first had misery.

The Afternoon Train

By Gautam Dhar
Then he sits down with his own cup of tea
And waits by the stall for the afternoon train
The autumn winds wail like a lone wolf’s cry
And takes him back to a small-town lane

His eyes grow weary his fingers grow frail
The tea tastes sour like tears in his eyes
An old man’s pride is buried deep down
Down in the ocean, oh up in the skies

The afternoon train, it whistles and screams
He rubs his eyes and prays he would find
A face that he knew, was once so dear
A face that he lost in whirls of time

The train pulls away while he stands by
With smoke in his eyes so full of regret
Sitting by the stall he dwells in the days
Lord, those times he never can forget

His thoughts grow dim each passing day
He still yearns for dreams foregone
An old memory just fading like the sun
But fire in his heart still carries on

As I pass him by, he cries out loud
\”Love\’s not a veil, oh boy show it all
I didn\’t know so she went away
I\’ll die alone here by the stall\”

He sits down with his own cup of tea
Every now and then watches trains go by
“Oh my love, I wait just for thee”
Holding his tears he sings with a sigh
Guess I know now why raindrops fall
A soul in regret can make heavens cry.

Saginaw Morning

By David Wendland
Memory timber
Fell with the weight of a tree
And father just stood there
Straight spare the bend in his knee

And the Saginaw morning
Waited like the fog on the train
Tracks soaked like the
Socks of a shoe in the rain

Father forgot that
He had been a husband of two
Delicate women
Mama died ‘fore us kids grew

And the Saginaw morning
Gathered like the corn in the field
Patient and falling
To gold like the sun on its heels

Father forgot that
He had been given a name
Initials on cufflinks
Stones on an old riverbank

And the Saginaw sunrise
Burned like the soul of a flame
Blue heart calling
Out to the red on its face

Space

By Alex Polzin
Just recently, a few weeks ago
I wrote a letter to NASA
In which, I detailed my dreams
Of baring my feet into the moon
And leaving our atmosphere for some clearer air

It’s hard not to wonder while lying on your back
On top a three tiered scaffold in the middle of the
Bands marching field in early autumn
With a girl that braids flowers and things in her hair
As if they care she would say
And she read lots of books within fifteen or so
pages of finishing them
I’m in a draught she would profess
And she taught me
Sometimes epiphanies come through just breathing
And she’d damn me for making her the girl with
Flowers and things in her hair (to me)
We were anything but grounded then
And I’m afraid that’s as close as I’ll ever be
To getting away from here

A reply came in the mail so long after
A return-to-sender would have been more encouraging
Some coincident memo and a pamphlet that said, ‘no’
Wasn’t even capitalized I remember
And it was then I learned that I should have written in crayon
If I wanted someone to hold my hand and tell me
how possible things were

Gray Area

By J. Nicholas Wilson
Coal black oaks borderline the gray. Scraggled
onyx towers, guardians, morbid definitions of
black and white. The gnarled trees grab, bay, creak,
only the wind has not slept for Winter. February
surrounds the man’s black, the tree’s black,
the shadow’s black. Only where he walks
is there recognition of the in-between.

Dark empty Midwestern time of year,
stale biting air, like noses of a thousand
mosquitoes. Perhaps there’s an east coast salt wind
near, unseen, not far off from the gray road.

Why does he walk alone? His world has become
this black and white, an old movie, film noire.
Gray areas left on lapels and suit coats. No white,
no snow, no innocent beauty. Path’s cobblestones
give brief relief. He had a wife once, and a child.
Now she sits at home draining the last remnants of
his wallet’s contents. The boy, in college, doesn’t
feel the need for a father anymore. Having fell victim
to the negligent, banal days when he was too busy
providing for them.

Expansive alabaster skies drowning reality of
monotonous daily life. Naturalistic fallacy kisses
his forehead, bestows brief forgiveness. The cobblestones
hear his pain, his quiet struggle. He has friends here,
on this barren, ancient, click-clack road.

Masked

By Alissa Harding
I see her reflection waver
A filmy mirage
Uncertain
She begins to make her mask
Paint across her cheeks
Like clay in the desert
Mirage of a warrior
Self-conscious and afraid
Dark around the eyes
A raccoon painting its way
Through the night
A final touch
Lips stained
And away from the mirrored light

Light Covers Sight

By Nick Vandermolen
With the cold kitchen floor beneath me
and the still sweaty cell phone pressed firmly against my ear.
You tell the truth.
From the dark end of your heart, to the light end of mine,
words of truth spew forth.

Tears were in your voice.
Sorrow was in your soul.
Brandy was in your blood.
Your words hit my ear like a mechanical drill
Rotating routers digging deep
into my heart,
hitting nerves and navigating my soul.
Your drunken wisdom told of true reality.

Each darkened word that reverberated in my ear
Told a critical critique of the hypocritical nature of modern Christianity.
“I am a Christian,” I thought,
“A modern day superstar.”
Your words revealed what my pride covered heart
never showed me in the Bible,
but was their none the less.
Your intoxicated screams shed light on my hypocritical nature, my loveless,
selfish self.

“A Christian is supposed to spread light to the dark, not give all the light to
the light.” You cried as you told me the story of the good Samaritan.
You are the Good Samaritan.
I am a selfish superstar with white robes and bright lights. In all my fame, all
my forgiveness, I forgot my mission. We all forgot our mission.

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