Thanks to all those who entered pieces into the contest – we received numerous entries from talented poets. We have chosen one winner, with nine close behind earning honorable mention.

FIRST PLACE

My thoughts are wild (wt)

By Richard Truskoski III
I want to pour salt and vinegar
In to a pot and have new words
Come steaming out.

I want to corner quintessence*
And draw my pistol and scream
Are you the fucker who is making me think?
And where are the words for my thoughts
And how can I vibe you?

I want to be the cartographer
Of just one mind
I want to know that I know one thing
And hold that in my hand and raise it high
Like a child showing his father
The penny he found on the ground
And say LOOK!
This is real,
And there is no fucking way
This is nothing.

My thoughts are wild
But you’re hearing them now
And your brain is telling you
I’m either bullshit
Or something
And maybe my words are worth something
But I’ve said nothing new.

I’m calling myself out
Saying
STAND UP YOU FUCK
And say anything at all
When the world is just a
Few more particles absorbed in the sun
What I’ve said means nothing
But that I opened my mouth
Is revolution
Its war and genocide

I want you to call me a pervert
And call me a fucked-up
Stoned, burnt-out
Half-baked semi-intellectual
Who says things for a rise,
And to quicken a heartbeat.
I want you to tell me
I’m a copy and a rip-off
And some replica
Or tell me I’m
Jargon mumbo-jumbo hoopla.
I want to hear anything sincere
I want to read this in ten years and
Hate every damn word of it for ten minutes
And then admit I am still
The same lunatic I have always been.
My thoughts are wild,
Are yours?

*Plato’s fifth dimension being similar to the “soul”

The Keeper’s Paradox

By Julie Becker
There’s a secret to be told…

The hot box was alive.
The lights were dim,
and I leaned into him.
The beads of sweat rolled down our brow,
standing close amongst a moving crowd.
In the Russian tea room,
the bass, the beat,
the steady boom. boom. boom.
The darkness of the new moon.
In my highest heels,
the way we feel:
so close, so confined
in the hot box.

The rhythm rang out loud,
escaping the humidity of the crowd.
Box on wheels, take us home.
I no longer felt alone.
What I recall next of that
a long time had passed, and
I found myself in a forbidden land.
The neon light, four white walls,
six porcelain sinks, the bathroom stall.
I brushed and returned to sheets of blue.
You washed. We both came clean, all anew.
We were so engaged, so relaxed –
never such a magnificent parallax.

You laid beside me,
your hand for the callus
my hand for the healing –
together on the box spring.
Your skin was hot, was bare,
and we entered the goddesses lair.
Releasing our misfortunes,
laying in the grasp of hope.
I opened my eyes,
swallowed back my choke.
To my surprise a pair of eyes were staring back,
and you felt the passionate attack.
The rush of blood to our cheeks,
our serious expression, our minds were weak.
We closed them back: escape attempt.
The scene was set, all notions leant.
Bare back, bare hand. Bare back, bare hand.
Doing what we know we can.
Knowing all the while, we probably should not.
Material for Pandora’s box.

Again, the scene is red and gray,
details scattered along the way.
But I recall a breath,
our bodies motionless…
One single heat before the kill,
a little prayer before we derail.
So soft to begin, I,
never questioning an origin.
You, many questions to be asked,
many questions I would pass,
and answer with nothing more than this:
my seductive gaze, a gentle kiss.
Touching your ear,
fingers running against your hair.
I hear you breathe –
respiration in ecstasy.
I can’t remember every touch
or why I miss it, now, so much.
But after that, the moment came,
that would leave us never the same,
ever again.

The walls closed in,
the sky came down.
A mute fell over every sound.
My thumbs on your cheekbones,
our hearts, beat in time.
Our eyes, our lips, our noses, all fell in line.
The press so strong,
the moment so long,
when our bodies intertwined –
souls beginning to unwind,
and wind back up,
but now as one.
No longer the structure we once knew,
and there was nothing left to do,
but stay in our gaze,
as our minds cleared the haze,
we made that early day,
in the most unexpected way.

The box springs would cool
as we slipped into our subconscious.
Leaving every moment,
every touch behind us.
Succumbing to the clock,
knowing now it stops.
and what once we filed as history
is now ever so present, so blistering.
Holding hands, in cold silence
there we laid,
knowing this would be the night we made:

The secret we will never tell.

ice-cream seduction

By Zach Nichols
trust me—it’s just like the kid-rhyme,
take her to DQ and
she’ll scream for it.

you can pick up the virgins at church and
take them to Coldstone—
a cherry every Sunday.

Life as an Ember

By Cherin Gillies
cradle me ’til i’m coffin ready
You’ve always done it so well
fussing to hold my head up steady
to subdue my aims and quell

the world i know is a fire
an amazing view with burn
why not let me have desire
to test heat with brewing turn

me agape with curious eye
stare lone at sun crisp ember
wondering what’s passed me by
wanting to speak, however…

don’t translate my silence to rendition
while becoming so aghast
i tend to harbor willful ambition
resounding below my breast

but…

what will happen then
when Your protection molts away
will i cower in Your armored den?
or be caught by courageous sway?

I Filled the Gas Tank for Reasons of my own.

By Michael Davidson
Harriet screamed to the bowels of my sink. She stained my carpets. She
plastered the walls anew. All the neighborhood heard. Why she gave such a
scream, only I knew by looking into the bathroom. A shadow had fallen upon
her creation. Its weight was too much for her taste in decore to bear. It
was a flaw in the gilded tiles and the strawberry curtains. Her shadow
shattered the iridescent light that cast upon the room by careful
planning. Her shadow poisoned the pristine ambiance that she had created
by herself. She left the lights on and shut the door. We never went into
that bathroom again.

martini

By Kristen Byers
There at the bar you are
Sipping on your cigar
Inhale then exhale, the
Sweet smoke entices you
Taunting you telling you,
You can’t go anywhere
You can’t be anyone.

I’m pouring drinks while I
Ponder your worn out eyes:
Figuring out what is
Different about your face.
Something inside of you
Wants nothing more than to
Take no one home tonight.
Looking at me with this
Mournful gaze on your brow;
Sinewy frame with the
Lingering scent of your
Cigarette on the air.
Dying inside (something’s
Living behind your eyes.)

Audrey

By Jonathan Vereecke
Audrey Dear Audrey!
Your path lay within a sea of eyes,
A born heartbreaker,
Your love not made to hide.

Audrey Sweet Audrey!
Your beauty cannot be surmised,
Looks only passed by your talent,
To bring joy into many lives.

Audrey Silly Audrey!
Your personality is un-denied,
Sarcasm as thick as your father’s,
Quick wit is what you specialize.

Audrey Listen Audrey!
For you I am to rely,
To be carefully selective,
About the paths that you try.

Audrey Unshakeable Audrey!
Be true and don’t lie,
Let no one attempt to change you,
Your soul, do keep to fly.

Audrey Chatty Audrey!
Let your voice ring in the sky,
Always be willing to lend an ear,
Never let the conversation die.

Audrey My Lovely Audrey!
Someday you will lie,
Held within my arms,
So please do not cry.

Audrey! Audrey! Audrey!
I hope I get to meet you…

Six Things That Bug Me

By Alvin Makohon-Moore
6. The way you spend my money, your hands infesting my wallet like ants on a sugar cube.
5. That look you give that makes me feel as if venom-inducing mandibles are sinking into my back.
4. I hate your singing in the shower; it sounds like crickets being choked in mid-chirp.
3. The way your mosquito whispers constantly bite my ear at night.
2. Waking up cold in the winter because you’ve cocooned yourself, a selfish little caterpillar in the blankets.
1. The feeling I have that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to squash you.

backs of ears

By Ryan Long
You’ve never studied the backs of your ears,
The variegated folds and lanes.

I have.

I’ve touched the deep places
I’ve held open your eyes
I’ve made you see
Taught that wine is blood
That there are no synonyms

That turning out a woman who loves you
Is as good as the hot quiet room in which you sleep
And dream up words you’d give me
While Art flutters
Wherever you’re not looking.

Late Night Coffee

By Amanda Peterka
You like yours black,
I like mine light.
You let me try yours-
I choke on its bitterness.

My tongue burns
with the aftertaste of
coffee drank too soon;
steam wafts up into my nose
and permeates my entire body-
French vanilla perfume,
satisfying in the way
a roasted bed is
on a chilled afternoon.

You whisper in my ear,
and I smell black coffee,
and I feel your breath,
and it mingles with mine until it doesn’t matter
that you take yours black
and I take mine light.

I place mine down too quickly,
and a drop of caffeinated sweetness
drips over the edge
as if it lusted for more than just an
imported ceramic mug
sporting a clever phrase.

You link your hand in mine,
and I can feel the aroma from your mug
as it seeps into my own palm.
Soon you are caressing the back of my head
until I become the liquid
that scalds my insides.
In the morning,
I know I will awake with sour breath,
but when you kiss me
it tastes like hazelnut.
And you draw me close
until not even a coffee ground
could squeeze between us.

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