Time for another round of the DWT Poetry Competition. If you want to check the previous rounds just visit the Competitions category page.
Previous rounds got over 200 votes each, so thanks for all the readers who are taking the time to read the poems and vote on their favorites.
As usual we have some thoughtful poems today, so check them out.
1. A Mustache for Everyone by Garrett Burnett
A lip looks too bare without any hair be it lady or gent or tiniest tot
It’s clear a mustache delivers panache, style that cannot be sold or bought
No matter the gender or age, it will render each wearer a look debonair
But if you can’t grow one, you still ought to show one; a ‘stache doesn’t have to be hair
A grease smudge or marker, whichever is darker; bristles from combs or toothbrushes
Rope, string, and twine are equally fine; use feathers from sparrows or juncos or thrushes
Draw it on, glue it on, tape it on, screw it on; put on your mustache however you must
Human biology owes an apology, handing out whiskers, innately unjust
Mustache-based fashion has stirred up our passion; all the imposters must go
Beards are too much and sideburns too little and goatees have drifted too low
Pencil thin or curled at the ends, like Salvador Dali’s or Errol Flynn’s
Bushy, dapper, dappled, svelte, walrus-like like Roosevelt
Snidely Whiplash, Fu Manchu, surely one is right for you
Empty and bare a lip, like the Sahara, could certainly use an oasis
A “mo” should spring forth just a bit to the north and be groomed on a regular basis
Sculpted with wax in reds, browns, or blacks; distinguished when white or when gray
A suitable face is the one that is graced by a line that bisects it midway
2. Kamikaze Text by Pete Calderone
With a buzzsaw bravado
Defenses now vexed
3. The Invisible Entertainer by S. Winter-Hudelson
An hour before nine strikes,
He paces floors, forehead in hand.
Finally, Pianoman’s feet drag his body
to the bar
He enters Rosie’s and pours a Pabst,
Slips five-ones in his bowl
And slides behind the spinet,
seen by none.
Fingers leap-frog ivories
And tunes fight smoke
Begging for claps
He croons “Moon River”
Then a version in jazz to self-amuse
A lone fan cheers,
most are numb.
Wobbling, slobbering bejeweled old fools
Stuff ten spots in tip bowl
And request words and music
he knows not.
Breasts pressing his arm,
Two too red lips exhale stench to
Breathy beer strains of sexy songs
known to most.
A stupored couple staggers toward the stage
Holding more than dancing.
When beat and step don’t match,
The crowd, drowned in liquor downed long ago,
And four hours crawl to an end.
He covers the keys and rotely winds the cord
to his mic.
He exits stage left,
The bill-brimming bowl
Tucked under his arm,
his sole reward.
4. Christmas Search by Marilyn Donnell
Shepherds from the hillside bound,
Left their stock and came to town;
Searching for a baby dear,
Worshiped Christ as they came near.
Swaddling clothes, stable dim,
Manger cot, what Joy: it’s Him!
Wise men coming from afar
They were searching for a Star.
Its guiding rays through darkest night
Led them on with Hope, Truth, Light.
In that stable, in God’s good time
Found Jesus, Savior for all mankind.
By this Babe, God’s Own Son,
Came Good News for everyone.
Searching for Redeemer Child
Sent from God, Savior mild.
I will follow, like them will find
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Divine.
5. Dreams by Robert Fenhagen
When I was a child.
Vivid dream that I remember.
Standing atop a circus trapeze pole—tall, very slender, very scary.
I wasn’t scared.
I dove off of the platform.
Flying down very fast to save a woman.
Life went on.
Trying to save others from killing themselves—I can’t.
But I can dream.
6. Untitled by Ginger Dexheimer
I never thought the valley could run so deep
But I have walked here for so long upon these tired feet
And I have stumbled, falling, into it’s darkest pit
Clinging to the edge by my fingertips
Crying “Lord help me, lest I fall and be no more.
I’ve just lost the strength for the battle that lie before”
Then softly, so gently, I feel Your embrace
Holding me to Your heart, wiping the tears from my face
7. How to Create a Ballerina by Terry Coffey
Our dog whirls and twirls in dizzying swirls
Front paws outstretched, big ears pointing straight back
The day they found her she was skittering
Back and forth across a busy highway
Aimless, friendless, alone in the wide world
Her heart full of worms and her ribs showing
It took six hot dogs and much cajoling
To coax her shaking frame into the car
Doses of arsenic rid her of worms
A steady diet hid her ribs again
Every day I walk her down to the park
Every day she dances with excitement
Shaking off my emotional baggage
Breaking through my jaded, cynical crust
All it took was six hot dogs to create
A hairy, 50 pound ballerina
A dancing miracle of renewal
Proof of the power of love and hot dogs
8. The Voice Within by Salvatore Buttaci
In her last years she explained it away
by saying she was afflicted with
a touch of poetry. Her lungs rasped
with words that had strayed from a heart
heavy with secrets to confess in metered lines.
A touch of poetry in the trembling
of her gnarled fingers that gripped the pen
against the white field of paper, shaking
out words like seeds dreaming of springtime,
like the hand wave of a queen tossed at crowds.
She had spent her days in the busy vocation
of housewife and mother. In good health
she did her best to make a difference
in all their lives, but for herself, she ignored
the voice within that begged her time.
A touch of poetry in the way her thin lips
quivered when she mouthed the rhythmic words of
a heart bursting with the need to dictate
those escaped moments, those tiny joys and sorrows
she had experienced once and needed to write down.
The years had galloped by. Evenings she lay in bed
remembering and could not sleep. The years
had galloped by. And her pen would tell the stories
line by line: ink and tears, tears and ink—a legacy
of sorts. She hoped they would find her in those verses.
She’d go to sleep and dream herself away.
A still life, old woman with folded hands,
mother, wife, friend, neighbor, recorder of dreams.
What, they’ll ask, took her from us? She seemed fine.
And if they read those notebooks lying there,
read each poem that filled her lungs, coursed through
much traveled arteries, spoke to her in lonely times,
said all of her reasons for being born and living long,
they will be comforted and treasure those words she touched.
9. The Sweet Taste of Chocolate Melting on her Tongue by Rachel Green
In the door of the fridge is a bar of dark chocolate,
a good third of it eaten but still plenty left
she eats a single square when she gets an urge
for the stuff, it saves her eating a bar from the local shop.
Not that she minds the walk –
it’s not far and she can take the dog
his eager paws pulling her down the hill
until she yanks on his chain with a cross ‘stop pulling’
and he bows his great Shepherd head as if he knows
he’s been too boisterous and he’s really sorry
for at least a few seconds until he remembers
the wood is just through this snicket here –
Are we going to the woods, mum?
Through the woods and left through the estate where dogs bark
and she does a shuffle step dance to avoid the litter
and the dog mess other people leave;
past the council bins and the repossessed houses
to the open-all-hours except lunchtime
where she ties up the dog and pushes open the door,
the shrilling bell announcing her appearance on the CCTV.
Milk today, and tea bags and a loaf of bread –
medium cut means more slices for the money –
and her fingers linger over the chocolate bars.
No. Not today. She has that stuff in the fridge.
10. Untitled by Claire Collins
And God said to me
“If you wish it
You may go to Earth
For a visit.”
And I said “Sure!”
And God said,
“Are you certain?
There is great despair
and unhappiness, there.
They kill each other
and threaten the planet.
Here it is calm and serene.
Are you sure you want to go?”
And I said, “Sure!”
93 years later, I returned
and God said, “Well?”-
“Oh, it was just as you said-
death and destruction,
despair and unhappiness.”
“You regret it then?” God asked.
“Oh no,” I said,
I saw a daffodil and a seagull.
I ate an apple and smelled bread baking.
A man held me in his arms,
and I held a small child in my arms,
and I saw the sunset over the water.”
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14 thoughts on “DWT Poetry Competition: Fifth Round”
After reading these poems and voting, I saw that Mr. Burnett had the lead of about 30 votes when I cast my vote.
While refreshing the page (about 5 minutes later), I see he now has 93 votes. Personally, I find it difficult to believe that someone can gain an upwards of 60 votes in five minutes–maybe Mr. Burnett has a lot of friends–I don’t know. Statistically speaking, it seems questionable when the next leading contenders are at 20 and 10 votes, respectively.
I like #10. It is so easy to see all that is wrong with our world, but yes, there are seagulls, warm bread, children, and sunsets. Nice work, Claire. I hope you will think of a title for it.
Loved the mustache… I voted a bit prematurely, before reading the others…but I really liked it so my vote is cast.
@Trisha, keep in mind that over 30,000 people received an email with a link to the competition just when you did, so it is very likely that you caught the “rush hour” of voting.
We haven’t had problems in past competitions, and I really like to think that no one would cheat to win a small poetry competition like ours.
I hope you are right, Daniel. I was thinking that it was really nice this time that at least during the first four rounds, there hasn’t been a “stuffing of the ballot boxes” like we all had suspected during the last story contest. We were averaging around 200-some votes per round.
Be that as it may – it is still a great competition! As writers we feel a certain vulnerability as we toss our poems and stories out there. I always appreciate the comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms.
Thanks for giving us the vehicle…
This doesn’t seem fair to me. I think poems should load randomly. Look at the numbers of the first poem. It’s so long, that the odds are people will not read all poems on the page. Do you agree?
@trisha and @tmg: I am flattered by any amount of votes for my poem, few or many. By the time I saw it was up, it already had about 100 votes (which was quite a surprise). I certainly hope there has been no “stuffing.” What’s the fun in that? I wrote my poem for my daughter and entered it with the hope that someone else would get a kick out of it, and not because I thought I’d win anything. In any case, thanks to Daniel for giving us a forum for sharing.
I loved the flow and the imagery of #3. Having a father that has played piano all of his life, set in scenes just like this one, it was very reminiscent and I thought very well written.
@Alan, that should have no influence. On round three, the poem number 10 won, and on round four the one on the 9th position.
I noted trish’s comments re the jump in votes and noted that when I voted Garrett had a 2% lead but during the next two hours he quickly fell behind by 90 votes or more. You stated “Personally, I find it difficult to believe that someone can gain an upwards of 60 votes in five minutes–maybe Mr. Burnett has a lot of friends–I don’t know. Statistically speaking, it seems questionable when the next leading contenders are at 20 and 10 votes, respectively.” Since S. Winter-Hudelson is now 2% ahead and made the same jump and %margin, I can only assume that it is believeable and statisically possible.
The Mustache took me back a thousand years… a boy looking at my father wishing that I had my own mustache. Now 40? years later and I have never had one. I am very sad now. 🙁
As a barroom officianado of smoke-filled rooms of sexual cultural repression from stupors of barley and hops in a frenzied self-fulfilled prophecy of “Whiskey River Take My Mind,” I must admit Ms. Hudelson’s poem takes me back to less interesting days as a U.S. Marine in Barstow, CA’s “California Country” where, not only was I a witness to what she describes, I no doubt (if I could remember as I was in a stupor of barley and hops) was one of the actors. Nicely put in verse.
Christopher T. Winter
As a middle aged woman, I found the first line of the Mustache a bit off-putting and couldn’t finish the poem! I’ll try again to read it knowing it was written to a little girl, but it’s gross thinking about women with mustaches.
im in love wt poetry u cnt knw dat unless u col me