THE IBPC BOARDS
Winning Poems for February 2008
Judge Fleda Brown
by Lois P. Jones
All I want is a single hand,
A wounded hand if that is possible.
--Federico Garcia Lorca
Beautiful man, with your brows of broken ashes
and eyes that migrate in winter,
a hollow in your hand
where the moon fell through.
I could have kissed your mouth,
passed an olive with my tongue,
the aftertaste of canaries on our breath.
But the shriek of the little hour
is spent, and there is no road back.
The day it happened
there were no good boys
or dovecots filled with virgins,
just a sun imploding
like a sack of rotten oranges,
the scent of basil
from the grove near your home
and the piano that still waits for you.
No one will remember
the coward who shot you,
but the sheets,
the white sheets you sail on,
by Mitchell Geller
Desert Moon Review
Before the South End had been gentrified
and not a single latte had been brewed
on Tremont Street's still raffish, dodgy side
there was, on Union Park, an interlude
of wanton joy we later saw collapse;
a brief, Edenic interval of grace
before the second-hottest guy at "Chaps"
bore lurid lesions on his handsome face,
and soon, in weeks too sickeningly swift,
required -- at thirty -- that bony white cane.
Six short months and his mind began to drift,
in gaunt, enfeebled, piteous waves of pain.
We soon, alas, grew used to sights like this,
the idyll having changed to an abyss.
by Adam Elgar
The Writer's Bock
Is anyone there?
In the scent that purrs
along the folds
of these old clothes
and in the sting
the tender fossils
heaped in this casket
from a translucent slipper
from a drowned lover’s wing
teeth and fingernails
hinted against the skin
a trace of distant birdsong
an inheritance of knives
and so many kinds of hunger
lies a patina of stifled rage
We are this also
Is anyone there?
too intimate with God
Look how he shoulders faith
like a loaded rifle
certainty at odds
with memory’s sepia smudge
Here they all line up
these dry and bone-hard joys
fit for hate-darkened lovers
It all begins at dead of night
a whimpering boy
sure only of sleep
We are that also
Black Man Carrying Alligator Suitcase
by Bernard Henrie
The Writer's Block
Only I know how my heart feels,
to lose from the beginning
and gain slowly, to give away
with both hands.
To enter rooms that fall silent.
The withering looks
and absentminded curiosity.
I listen, but fail to speak.
The cascading loneliness,
the deluge of expectations,
the grades and judgments
which leave me empty.
The feeling is not new,
but expressing the feeling is new;
I write more often in my diary book,
scribble to myself, gawk at myself,
fix a permanent record of what I know.
I smile like a man from the country
wearing the wrong clothes in the city.
Or when you leave work early
but miss your train and rest
on a bench in the idle station.
Hawaiian Chicken (not a recipe)
by Alice Folkart
A fine flock of feral chickens
flutter and budget beside Pali highway.
Feathers ruffle, rusted by the rain
downy breasts blackened by mildew.
Rooster-king alert, proprietary, bright-eyed,
herds wind-up chicks toward the hen-harem.
Tiny brains in weensy heads search out
tasty tidbits, wriggling worms, juicy grubs.
Scratching, slicing with skeletal yellow feet
in the rotted leaves at the very edge of tangled forest.
Raging traffic roars a foot away,
as unreal to them as distant galaxies are to us.
by Laurie Byro
About Poetry Forum
The bag my mother carries coos
like a muffled baby owl. She hides it on
her side like a purse with gold and silver
coins left to spend. When she moves it gurgles
like a sooty faced bird, more raven than eagle.
She is self conscious, afraid it will fly away
without her. She fears her life will be set loose
like a snake in its hungry beak. What is left,
after the surgeons cut part of her away,
is this graceless winged woman, a white gown
instead of plumes, a thatch of broken weeds.
The doctor has no magic tricks up his sleeves. She sits
on her nest incubating regret, hums while morning
streaks the sky red. She waits on her little clay throne.