"They"

Savannah Leonard

1st Prize

Long Poems

The men looked fragile,

Slim and limber, like deer.

Their hair, long like elves.

Their muscles, defined, and,

Hidden behind soft, flowy clothing.

They lived as nurses, teachers, and servants.

They were sold off to richer families,

Wives were meant to increase their money and status.

They stay home, tend to the children.

They go out and supply the family with food.

They tend the gardens and feed the animals.

Men enjoyed roaming and chatting with friends.

The women were strong and fierce, like dragons.

Their bodies were built with strong muscles.

Their hair was short ensuring no distractions.

They worked in the lumber yard or the brewery,

They held roles in office.

They ruled with strong minds and hearts.

Women went to war and learned to fight.

They wore heavy clothing and forged their own tools.

But men and women shared on thing in common;

The ways that they moved on the floor.

There aren’t many forms of art that speak to both genders alike,

But dancing was something everyone enjoyed.

Men and women could swing to any beat.

For once, men acted like women and women were men.

Despite their fragile demeanor, men could be tall and lead.

And women could be submissive and lean on the chests of their men.

Through this one simple sport, things felt good, felt right.

Things feel like they are true.

Men can be strong,

Women can be weak,

And things were different.

"Who did this?"

Martha Flores

2nd Prize

Long Poems

I have a secret. Please don’t tell.

Think it all you want once you know.

Write it on the walls of your wondering mind,

But never speak it aloud.

 

I am an addict, now I have confessed,

Now you know, and I do not feel pressed,

You say I am one in a million,

But let me explain,

 

Day after day my skin screams for release,

My blood itches to escape my pores,

Most times I could control it,

But others I have no recall of where the scars came from,

 

It offers me the world,

But will I gain it and lose my soul?

I only take the release,

A drop at a time,

 

I never took more than a few,

Because I know what it would do,

I was never ready for the relief,

Until that day,

 

That day I lost myself,

My addiction swallowed me whole,

I escaped to be with it,

Anticipating our time together,

 

My tools quickly grew tired,

Rusting under my dry DNA,

They begged me to stop,

But I wanted more,

 

Finally I was ready to go,

 

Two quick swipes was all I did,

One on each limb,

So know you know who took my life,

My grave-digging kin.

"Your Rules, My Game"

Christine Evans

3rd Prize

Long Poems

 

The Board is set, and

This is how you play,

You place the pieces,

Then run away,

 

Throw me in jail,

For breaking your laws;

Use your hammer,

To crush my claws,

 

If you command me to bow,

I will fall and pray;

Cage me up,

I will sing and sway,

 

Burn my books,

And I will be warmed by the flames.

Sure, I will play by your rules,

But I will make it my game.

 

Curse my causes,

And I will reflect the spell,

Because Karma is a bitch,

And you will rot in hell.

 

Walk on me,

And the world will trample over you;

Judge my soul,

And yours will be judged, too,

 

Lead your rebellion,

But leave me to mine,

Because a world without diversity

Is a world lead blind,

 

So, give me this respect

And I will give you the same,

Because I will accept your rules,

But I will play my game.

 

"Last Kiss"

Nate Aubin

1st Prize

Short Poems

 

I was torn from sleep deep in the night,

to walk beneath the moon’s albino light.

My father had said there was work to be done,

in one hand his knife and the other his gun.

 

We’d heard the dogs barking and followed the sound,

a crippled buck was all that we found.

Its leg a tangle of crimson too ravaged to heal,

his only escape the kiss of dispassionate steel.

 

Unhesitating, my father knelt over the beast,

and did what was needed to grant it release.

And there in the dark it dawned on me,

good men do what’s ugly but necessary. 

"The Wedding Dance"

Seth Minceberg

2nd Prize

Short Poems

They twirl through the room

Lovely flowers

Red, blue, and yellow

I stand there

Black as the night sky

Gazing around

They swirl through the room

Pretty flowers

Green, orange, and violet

A movement catches the eye

My attention is captured

A rush of air

Pure and clean

A burst of sunlight

The flowers still

A beam of radiance

She glides to me

All follow her passage

She brightens me

As the sun does the heavens far above

We stand

And then

We dance

Through the room

Through a field of flowers

Yet as high above them as the sun and sky

I am the sky and I hold the sun

Above even me

"Queen of the Night"

Mark Walters

3rd Prize

Short Poems

She walks in beauty as the night

Lonely ambers reflecting light

Prowess walks in stealthy socks

A dreadnaught prowls on slender hocks

 

A darkened form leaps to the fight

Claws unsheathing slash outright

Her prey, unwary of the fray

Falls silent, lifeless in the way

 

The huntress mouths her bloody meal

Retreats on darkness well-shod heel

Home now, she knows she must kowtow

And begs her master with "meow!”