POETRY CONTEST - WINERS ANNOUNCED
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE THREE WINNERS
OF THE ANNUAL POETRY CONTEST!
FIRST PLACE, MAUREEN WOODCOCK FOR:
A Mourning Cope
Be wary. He's dead and widows embroider.
Scattered lover's sins are drawn together,
tiny black stitches, forbidden to be full-sized.
Dead, his goodness is padded and enhanced.
It stands high and gaudy, a golden dragon sewn
to the back of a shogun's silk kimono.
Be wary. Widows live and they embroider.
Their eyes have weakened. Their truths
are sloppy, looped and tangled nots.
SECOND PLACE, MICHAEL MURPHY FOR:
Pity the Plumeria Tree
Pity the poor plumeria tree:
no white flowers again this year;
its green, oblong leaves fall
before their prime again, expose
its skeletal frame like a desert fossil.
We’d never asked all that much
of the plumeria---neither the shade
nor the elegance the others give---
only that it be a privacy screen
between our patio and the passersby.
Perhaps it thinks itself the orphan
we’d adopted, the child with atavistic
traits we could not recognize, the one
whom teachers sent home with notes,
the kid who missed the open goal,
the young man who left for the hills
with The Wanderers---the son
for whom we’d kill the fatted calf
if only he’d come back home to us,
be the new leaf on our plumeria tree.
THIRD PLACE, MARK MELNICK FOR:
I was a Free Man Once, in Saigon
I spent my last piaster
And we danced away the waste,
Radiant in the O.D. past tense,
Content, two dying moths ablaze.
She’d walked in slow, through smoky haze,
In the heat of another Bien Hoa night game,
The only blonde in that death-drenched pall,
Ignoring all who watched but me.
It felt like we might last till morning,
And I shrugged away the lanky frenchgirl,
Placed a quiet one-fifty P
In her cool and practiced tiny hand.
The night was ours in this very last place,
Two short-short-short short-timers there,
A duffel-bag drag and a bowl of cornflakes,
We’d both fly home in the gray good light.
I was a free man once, in Saigon.
I made a choice between two souls.
The first is gone and almost old now,
But the blonde remains, and the memory she stole.
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