Just One More Time – HONORABLE MENTION

Just One More Time… 

“To be drunk, in love, and in NYC,” just one more time. Thinking I am invincible; both invisible and bullet proof. Piling into a taxi after 1:00 am, heading uptown,
Laughing at traffic, sweaty and smiling, holding your hand, Our ears ringing from loud noises and recent music. 

Stopping at the bodega around the corner,
Picking up a cold pint of Frusen Glädjé and the
Sunday New York Times, just delivered but
Not completely assembled, and paying with a Hamilton Before bounding up the stairs of my walk-up flat. 

Waking up with a stunning red head in my bed
(And I married her, you bums). Grinding beans and Cranking up hot coffee in huge white cups
Seasoned with vanilla, half-and-half, and cinnamon sugar. Pouring through the paper, and then a hot shower. 

Broad shoulders sporting perfect pink Brooks button-down, Khaki trousers with a ridiculous Ralph Lauren striped cotton belt, Topsiders pre-tied with knots at the ends. No sox.
A splash of Paco Rabanne Cologne, only for her sake,
And bounding down the steps again into warm sunshine. 

Within a five block walk are dozens of brunch joints,
Most featuring generous Bloodys or bottomless Mimosas,
Eggs benedict, perhaps, or flapjacks with bacon,
Or a goat cheese salad slathered with Vidalia onion vinaigrette. Or waffles with a rich mysterious sweet fruit viscid atop. 

Our waitress makes an obvious pass at my date,
As if I need any validation of her beauty, wit, and desirability, Still, it’s not a bad compliment, I guess, and we
Share a smile and a knowing laugh. Her bill, with a decent tip, Disappears with a swipe of American Express. Feeling full of myself and awed by good fortune, I know The week begins, and back to the grindstone
Working hard and under pressure on things
That likely won’t mean a damn, still being paid handsomely. Life has moments worth living again.

(c) 2020 Jeffrey Manning

Jeff is a Managing Director with CohnReznick Capital and is based in the Baltimore office. His poems “Red Chief” and “Just One More Time” – a poem written for this year’s Valentine’s Day – are winning submissions in the Metropolitan Diary.

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Vincent – HONORABLE MENTION

VINCENT

After Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows and The Harvest 

Crows crowd the horizon Bleeding onto the canvas In curves of inky black— 

In a scythe, in a comma Indicating a pause and
A procession, though not Quite an ending— 

In a Rorschach test that reads Reads where will you go From here, there is nowhere To go from here. 

Home is on a different Horizon. 

Across the way, a farmer Burrows about in the foliage In that insistent way that Little clouds grow on trees. 

Every ladder he has ever owned Leads nowhere. Up, not away. 

And yellow—
My god, there is so much yellow. 

(c) 2020 Nooshin Ghanbari

Nooshin Ghanbari is a 2018 UT Austin graduate with degrees in Plan II Honors and English, and currently serves as communications director at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. When she isn’t writing, teaching, or singing, you can find her playing with her three-legged dog, Marigold.

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Explode

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Estuary (a proposal) – HONORABLE MENTION

ESTUARY (a proposal)

Meet me where the river meets the sea

Where my briny waves commingle

With your purity

Let your rolling river spill

Forever into me

Meet me where the river meets the sea

Sooth me with your supple sense of grace

Dilute for me my salty waters

With infinite embrace

Fall completely in my arms

In this sacred place

Sooth me with your supple sense of grace

Warm me with your waters from afar

Carried down from lakes and streams

Many though there are

You thank each tiny tributary

As though they all were stars

Warm me with your waters from afar

Calm me with your gently flowing tide

Save me from my roiling soul

With your river wide

Help my breakers to collapse

And be my only bride

Calm me with your gently flowing tide

(c) 2020 Chris Elliot

“Estuary (a proposal)” is one of five honorable mention poems from this year’s October Project Poetry Contest. Chris is a writer and musician living in Los Angeles, blessed with an embarrassment of quarantine riches.

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FIRST PRIZE WINNER

The silence after a poem is read

I enter a bowl of sky
humming wheel
a leopard’s lens
focused on the kill
then, shimmering
reflection soft
plover wing over water
waves water fall
into glass

This drink is nutrient dense
riparian cinema rife with
kinglet egret dipper rail
swallow swan thrasher thrush
kingdom come on wing again
I bow to the mother mind

She steers migrations
along earth’s meridians
lines rising through time
now eternal on the page

(c) 2020 Lindsay Rockwell

CONGRATULATIONS to Lindsay Rockwell, the FIRST PRIZE WINNER of our 2nd Annual October Project Poetry Contest! Lindsay’s love of poetry is born from her curiosity of unifying themes of nature, science and theology, as well as her mother’s literary passion. Lindsay is a medical oncologist with the Mass General Cancer Center in Northampton, MA.

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SECOND PRIZE WINNER

WHEN I REMEMBER THE TIME WE SPENT AT LAC EN COEUR

I think about a one-room cabin
with smoke-filled rafters
and the worn flashcards.
My little brother was learning his abc’s
and getting his q’s and p’s mixed up.
He had to start over each time
he got one wrong;
correctness was my father’s only
prerequisite for dinner. The year before,
it had been about tying his shoes,
but he couldn’t even get them on the right feet.

Bunk beds lined the walls, and I remember
hearing him in his shadowy recess
inventing his own codes,
rolling the letters around in his mouth,
tapping the cards on his baby teeth,
trying to make them make some kind of sense.
The rest of us sat in gas-lit silence,
having passed muster this time
(and feeling a little guilty-glad we had),
eating another night of trout
and trying to will him the answers
along those telepathic sibling lines.

Trekking that distance between
his bottom bunk and the head of the table
where my father chewed implacable,
he returned to be tested again
and again, each time assuming a new confidence
as he offered up the cards and himself.
Maybe he thought there was some trick
and that sustained him, or maybe
he was certain the odds would fall
for him sooner or later.
He hiked that relentless portage
long past dark. I sighed my invisibility
and tried to find solitude in focus.

One night my mother got a fishbone stuck
in her throat, and we watched her pain
supplant her child’s. Efforts to dislodge
the difficult bit didn’t help,
but my father just kept pounding her back.

(c) 2020 Melissa Simonds

CONGRATULATIONS to our Second Prize Winner, Melissa Simonds! Melissa is an English teacher currently working at St George’s School in Rhode Island. Her favorite things are her two kids, poetry, music festivals, and long walks in beautiful places.

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THIRD PRIZE WINNER

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer
after Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717)

I.
Rest your palm
on the soft, warm slope
between the old dog’s ears.

II.
Picture sunlight traversing the void
to ripen the cherry tomatoes. Bees earnestly pollinating
the cucumber vines. Your own hand, tired
but still pouring the olive oil.

III.

Look! how the candlelight
anoints your skin.

IV.
Kiss her.

V.

VI.
When sleep knocks,
let it in.


(c) 2020 Kate Horowitz
Photo Credit: Anna Carson Dewitt

Congratulations to Kate Horowitz our 2020 THIRD PLACE winner on her poem, “A Short and Easy Method of Prayer.” Kate is a poet, essayist, and science writer in Maine. Her work has most recently appeared in Mineral Lit Mag, Drunk Monkeys, and Moonchild Magazine. Find her online at thingswrittendown.com or on Twitter @delight_monger.

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BEST TEEN POET WINNER

CORONACATION

Usually I pick at my nails until raw skin is revealed;
But, I painted them blue this week.
Last week they were purple,
And the week before, yellow.
The couch has a permanent dip in the middle
From where I’ve glued myself all day—
For the past 3 weeks.
The superintendent just shut down school until the end of April,
Ensuring an abrupt end to my senior year.
Andy Beshear came on the tv
and closed all facilities promoting public gatherings.
My online classes
Are beginning to overlap;
I sit in one only to join the live-streams
Of two more.
All the time in the world
Lending me activity on top of activity
But no brain to complete any of them.
Slugging around these four walls—
Snow coats the earth,
Flowers springing pollen into the muggy air,
And leaves turning crispy.
I thought it was time for dinner, but surprisingly enough
I have only been awake for twenty-two minutes

(c) 2020 Katelyn Weldon

Congratulations to Katelyn Weldon, our 2020 BEST TEEN POET on her winning poem, “Coronacation.” Katelyn Weldon lives in Florence, Kentucky and is a senior this year at Dixie Heights High School. She plans to attend Thomas More University in the fall studying Biology and Spanish.

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Where is the future?

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No Argument

NO ARGUMENT


First the facts

Then the truth


The facts speak

For themselves

The truth sits

Silent

In your throat

Sensations

Floating

Unmoored

An abandoned boat

Washing to shore

After a storm


The facts warn

The truth

Already knows


The wind sits

Still

The wind blows

Fate moves

Toward

And away from us

As we debate here

Or there

There

Or here


The truth is every-

Where

The facts are only

Where they say they are

Right

Up in front

Of the classroom

Shouting, spitting, sifting

Through an argument

You can’t argue with


So

Not so


The truth—

Doesn’t need to prove

It’s right

It still sings

The song of your heart

All day

All night

It lets the facts

Speak

Without a fight


The truth knows

It doesn’t matter

Which way the wind blows

The truth is

the wind itself

Knowing the sky is

Only a backdrop

(the truth is,

that’s a lie—

the truth is also the sky)


Facts never lie

They climb on top

And try to unseat you

Lock you in


The truth is

Always

Your next breath


Ready for you

To go

At any time

Ready for you

To stop

©2020 Julie Flanders
Photo Credit: Marina Belica

April is Poetry Month Day 30

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