week of October 8 - 14, 2007
This week presenting the winners of the
2007 (tenth annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:
see the complete contest details here
Janet Leigh Dowd
BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
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Gabrielle Mittelbach is a Los Angeles poet and the first place winner of the 2007 Poetry Super Highway poetry contest.
The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Gabrielle Mittelbach and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Sea of Cortez
The setting sun rains on the water.
We sit in after-dinner beach chairs
and watch pelicans dive for fish.
They spiral down like kamikaze pilots
with the engine cut, silent as knives.
As night falls, the mangroves begin to hum
and the water is warm as I rinse my dishes.
We've got five days' worth of fresh water in brown
barrels covered with blue tarps, but sea water
is good enough to rinse dishes or to wipe
sand from my feet or chili oil from my fingers.
I pick bits of tamale from under my nails,
little tamales they were, like baby's feet bundled
in corn husks, masa and chicken. I bought them
steaming from a kettle in back of a pickup truck
that was parked by the Pemex station in Mulege.
At the edge of the mangroves, mapaches make
their nightly appearance. From behind the lush curtain,
they creep onstage into the moonlight spot.
Their agile paws and long nimble fingers
clutch and tear at crabs' legs that click and wiggle.
In this swamp where I spend my days,
crayfish and prawns are rife. I swat flies, squat
in the stream and burn matches on the bank.
Among the tossed off shells left to dry in the sun,
hermit crabs search for new homes and I wonder
if crabs can see the burdens we carry on our backs.
At 4:00 am, a light breeze whips the tent flaps and mists
the canvas with a light spray of salt water and polish.
As a dim light radiates from the east, I hear
low whispers of whales calling down the shore.
One day I will answer and my certain rumbling will
reverberate through water and sand, from one island
to the next, from one creature to another.
One day I will answer in words that scatter the
beaches like seashells and driftwood.
Janet Leigh Dowd
Janet Leigh Dowd lives in Bluemont, Virginia. She is the second place winner of the 2007 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.
The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Janet Leigh Dowd and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Dry bones in Minnesota
You’d stand there arms crossed
in front, gathering your waist
with floured hands, a pause
from oven to table, your silhouette
perfectly framed in stained glass,
staring out over potted pansies,
eyes following the sagging line,
a clothesline too close to ground,
bird bath rimmed in chickadees,
dry bones and brittle branches,
skin cracked and peeling -
old birch out back reminds you,
your own sore dusted marrow.
You’d bend to tender roses hand picked
for you and he, now Grandpa’s Place,
a place which claims my roots,
in the yard out back among Queen Anne’s lace.
Thinking back now -
to earlier days of gathering;
lilies-of-the-valley, Becky, little bells &
cockleshells, kindling, and purple violets
placed within your favorite vase
upon the kitchen window shelf,
with little purpose hands,
where your tender gaze would rest
how I miss you, and all of Braham’s nest.
PJ Nights lives in Brunswick Maine. She is the third place winner of the 2007 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.
Visit PJ on the web here: http://www.geocities.com/pj_nights/mermaidpj.html
The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by PJ Nights and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
if I button my eyes tightly enough
if I inhale completely enough
this heavenly body will flow from
my lungs, follow along my arms
its inhabitants will funnel through
my fingers, blotting a blank page
a spider descends on a silk tethered to a tree
she has a precise spot on the sand in mind
is she terribly disappointed to be nudged
off course by a cat's paw puff of wind?
other beach dwellers are tethered
by their blankets and found things
hermit crabs in orange pails, spiraled
nests of grass green seaweed, a feather
the children battle the tide,
defend the homeland, erecting walls
of mud, sticks and clam shells
to shelter their sweat-built castles
the grown-ups resign themselves
to impermanence and migration,
kicking escaping flipflops, dragging
coolers & plastic boats to safer grounds
transient as well, the living surface
of the inlet, the once-only-ness
of its wind sculptured surface
& flamenco of light on its contours
we can claim the moment only in the moment,
our souvenirs but imprecise memories
if I unlatch, unhinge my mouth freely
if I exhale, puff out every atom of ink
a new world will rise up from
my diaphragm, pass through my heart
its eager emigrants will surge up
from my throat to people this page