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Poetry Contest

Winners Year 3


 The two winners for January
Category: "Moms and Dads"


I remember the heaviness of my dad's pants and belt
And how they seemed inseparable like varnish on cabinets.
I remember his shoes being this unobtainable size
That I could fit almost my whole arm inside.
And the smell of leather and work and musk.
And then, like a great idea at three in the morning,
The memories walk away in code words and pictures,
vanishing on the tip of my tongue.

I see my legs aren't growing anymore, and my belt has been
around my same Dockers for as long as I remember them
Draped like peanut butter over my jelly chair.
My shoes neatly sleeping under have been a half size bigger
than my dad's since the tenth grade, and my childhood
rolls around the back of my brain like mouthwash.

His habits, bequeathed to me, become a shirt I put on every morning.
I laugh through my nose like him. Words interrupt my vocabulary
Like "davenport" and wondering what "ails" this world.
And as I watch his face wrinkle with laughing like shattered glass
and his eyes that remind me of babies,
I am terrified that I won't grow to be exactly like him.

-- Submitted by Renton Rathbun from Taylors, SC
e-mail: beefoven@gateway.net



The two winners for January
Category: "Moms and Dads"


One yellow morning I watched you asleep in your bed,
your eyebrows crinkled in certain dream,
and I remembered a time when I was small enough
to curl up inside those arms,
to breathe mother's breath.
I would feel your body rising and falling
with that same delicate rhythm beating beneath my own skin.

Your hands that would hold me, now torn with age,
retain some of their tender youth in mine.
Those artist hands that shaped me,
that would brush hair from rain-streaked cheeks,
that took my shoes off when I was lost in embryonic sleep,
that cradled my insecurities,
that sharpened my defenses.

Oh, sweet giver of life,
time has settled in your crevices
and lost itself in the lines of your palm
that told stories of lives gone by,
of smoke-soaked skin -- the sweetest scent for me.
Fingers that curled my ponytails,
that broke picking roses for my hair.
Hands that held a legacy of stories time forgot.

Now I am learning what it is to be a woman,
to be a mother of a thousand breaths
And I am like your fingers,
an extension of your hands.

-- Submitted by Meghan Curley from Long Beach, NY
e-mail: DRGNFLIE@aol.com



The winner for February
Category: "Coffee"


Latte's, Mochas, Cappuccinos abound
But poor ol' Joe is nowhere to be found.
Espresso's "the thing," "all the rage," they say.
Do you take yours skinny? Tall or Grande?
If it keeps you up way past your bedtime,
Drinking "Decaf," instead, is your best line.
But if, like me, you don't go for this stuff,
Then join my quest, mind you it may be tough.
Our mission's quite clear, we just want to know
What happened to our plain ol' Cup o' Joe?

-- Submitted by Tamara Sue Bernick
from Aloha, OR
EMAIL: tsbernick@bpa.gov




The winner for March
Category: "Springtime"


None have known the love I've shown
unbidden from my eyes
None have seen the grass so green
or perfect azure skies
I laugh out loud at those young and proud
who think they own romance
And humbly sing my ode to spring
and dance the new spring dance

Few have lost or count the cost
of nature's loss of time
Few can say they've ruled the day
or conquered every climb
I challenge all both great and small
to take her by the hand
And dance the dance that brings romance
and feel the fires fanned

Some may see each rose, each tree
and all the great outdoors
Some will gaze through mist and haze
the land, the sea, the shores
I will take her hand and make
the most of every chance
And humbly sing my ode to spring
and dance the new spring dance

-- Submitted by James Patrick Cole
from Spring Lake, NC
e-mail: greywolf@netquick.net



The winner for April
Category: "Toothaches"

I probably should have brushed them
Flossed and gargled too
Then I wouldn't have these discolored pegs
And breath like an old shoe

Yes, I can stand the ugly
Eat mints to kill the smell
But when I get a toothache
It's nothing short of hell

The pain will throb and travel
Makes you wish that you were dead
I've got to find a dentist fast
Before I amputate my head

-- Submitted by Goody Quam
from Warwick, ND
EMAIL: ksquam@stellarnet.com



The winner for May
Category: "Cats"

A shadow moves across the street
Under quiet lamplight's glow
Seeing only padded feet
Like footprints in the snow

A warrior watching through the night
For a difference in routine
A simple motion through the light
That makes ones eyes go mean

When daylight breaks, with lamps no more
I hear a scratching at my door
Slender, sleek and witty waits
To enter through my palace gates

Sleep and eat and dream all day
My shadow rests before tonight
When mice and predators come to play
My shadow waits behind the light.

-- Submitted by Kathleen C. Fijalkowski
from Las Vegas, Nevada
e-mail: kathleen.fijalkowski@nellis.af.mil  



The winner for June
Category: "Vacations"


We're going on vacation to visit the beach
We'll all be gone for more than a week.
Our bags are packed, filled to overflowing
With flashlights, batteries, and lantern lights glowing.

I've ordered the news to be forwarded each day
Packed all the toys so the kids can play.
We're taking the dog, and both the cats
Instead of leaving them all at the vets.

We've hired a kid to mow the lawn,
But decided to take the houseplants along.
Our water is bottled and packed in the car,
As is a port-a-potty, so we can travel far.

Our swimsuits and play clothes are all in bags,
The kids' swimming floats, separated with tags,
A camp stove is in there, a fridge to keep things cool,
A few books to read before returning to school.

There's just one little thing that keeps nagging my mind,
Am I leaving any trivial thing behind?
If I am trying to get away and be free,
Why am I taking it all with me?

-- Submitted by Cynthia Hammond
from Greenville, South Carolina
EMAIL: cleech88@hotmail.com




The winner for July
Category: "Traffic"

I rise from my bed at five each day
bleary eyed and half asleep
I stumble through my morning tasks
so weary I want to weep

Fed and dressed I finally go
from the apartment to my car
and though I've hurried, done my best
I know I won't get far

I pull onto the freeway ramp
With a heart so full of hope
That maybe this will be the day
that I finally learn to cope

With bumper to bumper traffic
so thick I want to shout
"I've had enough, it's way too long
Please, just let me out!"

But that's not to be, I soon find out
and I think it's really a sin
to leave for work at six a.m.
when I don't arrive till ten

-- Submitted by Margie Sue Hess
from St. Louis, MO
e-mail: msuehess@earthlink.net




The winner for August
Category: "Leaving Home"

Packing up the night before
scattered boxes on the floor
sifting through my memories
brushing off the used to be's

The photographs are in my hand
oh yes, that time was really grand
and there I am in my pink dress
my hair in bows, what a mess

Our dog that died and the rat that got loose
and oh, there's Felix, our pet goose
These are moments I'll always treasure
this sentiment, too sweet to measure

It seems too fast that I have grown
to now be living on my own
far away, so far from here
oops, there goes another tear

Well it's time to go, the truck's pulled in
I'll have to shake this state I'm in
I'm on my way, so here I go
waving sweetly, so they'll know

I'll scatter photographs along the way
to keep the memories of today...

-- Submitted by Leslie Stewart Schafer
from Lake Worth, FL
e-mail: lurlei1@evcom.net



The winner for September
"Love-the second time around"


Sweaty dances, heady flings,
Touches, kisses, highschool rings.
Burgers, baseball, fairs and rides,
Sun and water, truths and lies.
Lots of break-ups, lots of starts,
Overactive, pulsing hearts.


Sweet romances, golden bands,
Long, slow walks while holding hands.
Traded secrets, sacred vows,
Kissing in a brand new house.
Rocking babies, locking eyes,
Building up a paradise.


Children, grown, have all moved out,
An empty, silent, chilly house.
Lifetime partners in their graves,
Lonesomeness that comes in waves.
A waning moon on frozen snow,
John Denver on the radio.


A single glance, a warming spark,
That wakes an ancient, dusty heart.
Paper kisses, herbal teas,
China cups on balanced knees.
Waltzing slowly up the stairs,
A second chance with one who cares.

-- Submitted by Rebecca Adams
from Grand Ledge, Michigan
e-mail: Salem667@aol.com




The winner for October
"Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals"

"Sir Chuck the Pang Exterminator"

When woes beset maturing joints,
with loathsome pains at crucial points;
to get relief, right now---not later,
call Chuck, the Pang Exterminator.

One patient brings her aching back,
which creaks and cramps and seems to crack;
Chuck kneads her spine like doughy bread,
'till every thought of pain has fled.

Alas, no sooner that that's licked,
the patient says her neck is cricked;
she holds one ear flat on her shoulder,
a mournful sight to each beholder.

A dauntless smile Sir Chuck displays,
he reaches for magnetic rays;
the sound machine cranks into gear,
and muscle cramps all flee in fear.

"Oh thanks," we hear the patient blubber,
her neck now rolls around like rubber;
her grateful eyes are all aflutter---
no verbal praise seems fit to utter.

Then wham!---the front door slams wide open,
in staggers Elroy, blindly gropin';
"My back! My back!" he whines aloud;
it's plain to see the man's not proud.

"I need massagin'!" Elroy claims,
plops on the floor, and there remains;
and in Chuck's mind, there's no mistakin',
that this big turkey's simply fakin'.

The sound machine has one black knob,
which Chuck turns 'till he feels it throb;
he lifts the wand, which now is spittin',
and tries to pick the spot most fittin'.

The buns both seem quite fit for cookin',
but not with several others lookin';
and Elroy's shoes are much too thick,
to melt his toenails to the quick.

But Chuck is not so quickly thwarted,
he knows how every nerve is charted;
he looks, and stares, and contemplates,
until his sharp brain compensates.

With ample wads of cellulite,
there shows a site which looks just right;
the tailbone rises bare as brass,
a target Chuck cannot surpass.

One moment Elroy moaned and grunted,
the next, his feigned distress was stunted;
he stood erect, completely cured---
a second treatment was deferred.

-- Submitted by Timothy R. Oesch, MD.
from Oak Ridge, TN
EMAIL: oeschplace@sprintmail.com 



The winner for November-December
Category: "The New Year"


They say that time can heal all wounds
But I prefer to say
In truth that time can wound all heels
And haunt them in a way
That makes them sorry, if it happens
That they have a conscience.
Most of us, we can recall
Contributing to nonsense.

Or antics we perceived to be
Funny when we did them,
Looked at analytically,
We wish that we could rid them
From our guilty memories
And bring on absolution
Which each year we try to do
And make a resolution.

Oh time's a curing thing all right,
Although it goes so fast,
Here's hoping that your New Year is
Better than your last.

 -- Submitted by Richard J. Bischoff
from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
EMAIL: bischoffrick@hotmail.com



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