Award-winning Poems

 

A Winner of the 2017 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest
Published in the 2017 Chapbook

Reverie

Poems come to me in the dark
when my eyes are healed
when I do not distinguish
my body from the air.
In a dream the poems come.

When I awake the words fall
from my skin and I forget
the misty-eyed soliloquies
I composed like Keats
though I remember him.

I always remember John Keats
who led me through the forest
to the Emerald inside the rock
our true love carved in stone.
Holding his hand I traipsed in the wake
of his tousled amber hair.
He wrote odes among the trees for me.

When you believe in reincarnation
anything is possible.
Love can be written
centuries apart.


A Winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest
Published in the 2020 Paterson Literary Review

Etty

Farmers found her last postcard in a field.
She’d thrown it from the train
on the way to Auschwitz.

“We left the camp singing…”
were among the last words she wrote.

Good God. What do you write when you’re on your way to Auschwitz?

Something
beautiful.


A Winner of the 2020 Eugene V. Shea Contest
Published in Tiny Seed Literary Journal

Breathe

Every Sunday morning
Buddha wakes us up
reposed just as he was
the night before
when sleep delivered our
tense and hurried minds
from the world

Every Sunday morning
he invites us as we stumble
sleepy-eyed, coffee in hand
to the serenity garden—
that leafy place tucked away
in a lush meadow of our minds
beyond a curve, upon a hill
impossible to get to most days
with all the detours and
distractions along the way

Every Sunday morning
we accept Buddha’s invitation
to sit on the supple earth
and listen to the stream

We straighten our backs
and breathe
waiting for the singing bowl
to transport us
to that place of peace
where our knotted shoulders unfurl
and we release everything
we never needed to carry
in the first place


A Winner of the 2020 WyoPoets Chapbook Contest
Published in Watershed

Letting Go of Grief

speaking out
was the moment
I realized my power;
hiding secrets in a shell
magnified an ominous grief
diminishing my vision and voice;
so I allowed the truth to flow out of me
down the steep hillside I had been climbing
to quench the hot and dusty gulch below me and
make a new river from which thirsty birds now drink


A Winner of the 2020 WyoPoets Chapbook Contest
Published in Watershed

how water flows in love

we became one
when our separate rivers
overflowed and got diverted
in the flood
when gravity brought us
down the watershed
and from the source
we conjoined and emptied
to the sea


First Place 2019 Wyoming Writers Traditional Poetry Prize

How Words Set Us Free
A Sestina

Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows
and accidents of one person’s life.
~Eavan Boland, Poet

Keats, Wordsworth, et al. taught us about poetry,
How the heart that was buried now begins.
In our quest for beauty, we listen to and distill language.
This desire is a dance in the shadows.
We sit wondering about our mishaps and accidents,
Our mood a pendulum—adoring, then despising life.

How do we, in our brokenness, approach this hollow life?
With a multitude of inquiries, we create poetry.
An end in itself, these gifts of words are not mere accidents.
Humans record our experiences where memory begins;
We keep them hidden under a staircase of shadows,
Over-reaching for what is beyond our known language.

We seek to hone our skills in order to expand language,
To make for breadth and loveliness in life.
Instead of exploring, however, we resist our shadows.
But when putting pen to paper, we are saved by poetry:
A container, a mirror where our voice begins.
Books and letters written in truth have never been accidents.

Sometimes there are minor and forgivable accidents.
Together we stumble before discovering shared language.
That is when this taste, this zeal begins.
Our identity becomes clear and we scream: “This is my life!”
And on a cloud, we fall asleep in the dream of poetry
And in the buoyant vacantness of shadows.

In art, chiaroscuro uses contrast to accentuate shadows.
On canvas or film, any artist has original, even brilliant, accidents.
Take this: We didn’t know we’d be set free by poetry,
By this desire to connect through the beautification of language.
While holding hands through history, we built a life
Never knowing where the sacred story ends or begins.

There is a fairy tale that says when love begins:
It is when we finally face the shadows
And accept them as inextricably linked within the marrow of life.
While we still wrestle within the memory of myriad accidents,
Our brains start to heal through the sweet balm of language;
We jettison shame and accept our whole selves through poetry.

Loosening our grasp and letting go is where joy begins.
When peace and happiness arrive, these are not accidents,
But the result of a beautiful and blossoming life.