2018 Spring Contest Winner: 1st Place, Theme–Borders and Boundaries

Cross-Country Bus

by Charlotte Abernathy

 

Miles beyond midnight, beyond another state line,

past service station signs glaring from high pylons,

beyond remnants of a weary town, one last overhead

reading light clicks off. In the dark, drowsy voices

merge with the droning motor, the roaring tires.

Cold window glass rumbles hard against my forehead

as I watch moonlit hills rise and fall like ocean swells.

Distant farmhouses appear and disappear like small

boats afloat in a heaving sea. Fleeting images of shelter

comfort me all through the long unwinding night.

 

 

 

Judge’s comments

I was drawn to the category, Borders and Boundaries, because it is a subject that I ponder often and I often have lived in between places: countries, regions, cultures. These poems didn’t disappoint. The poets explored a lot of ground, figuratively and literally. And it was fun to explore with them. The poems that really stuck with me were those that took me someplace. The first-place poem reminded me of many Greyhound journeys: “Cross-Country Bus” captured the sounds, and the exhaustion, of those journeys as well as the simple beauty of “moonlit hills rise and fall like ocean swells.”

—M. E. Hope

 

 

Charlotte Abernathy began writing poetry after a successful 30-year career as a visual artist. Her poetry is enriched by the skills she developed as a painter—the ability to focus, pay attention, and interpret. She has earned dozens of poetry prizes, been published in several collections, and participated in readings and conferences around Oregon. She is active in the Oregon Poetry Association and Rogue Poetry Circle and has compiled six chapbooks.

2018 Spring Contest Winner: 2nd Place, Theme–Borders and Boundaries

Muggins Discovers His New Boundaries

by Dave Harvey

 

Full of years when we moved here,

he took to the back yard

like an old soldier,

patrolled his post,

lolled in the summer sun

(working on his kitty-tan).

 

Then a foreign cat came in,

and Muggins,

deep-dyed chauvinist

about foreign cats,

launched a silent assault,

charged at that strange cat,

which turned and ran—

knowing he was on alien land.

 

In a bound, he topped our fence.

In a bound, Mugs leaped for the top—

his old back legs no longer spring-springy—

he hit the fence about two feet low,

slid miserably back into

his own flower bed.

 

It was enough.

The other cat jumped

down the other side,

took off,

never came back.

 

And we knew our gallant, Holstein-spotted cat

would never leave our new back yard

on his own.

 

He had just discovered his new boundaries.

 

 

 

Judge’s comments

I was drawn to the category, Borders and Boundaries, because it is a subject that I ponder often and I often have lived in between places: countries, regions, cultures. These poems didn’t disappoint. The poets explored a lot of ground, figuratively and literally. And it was fun to explore with them.  The poems that really stuck with me were those that took me someplace. The poem in second place, “Muggins Discover His New Boundaries,” is a wry look at the joy, sorrow and discovery of the older cat, told with gentleness and humor. I smile every time I imagine the poor “Holstein-spotted cat” sliding down the fence.

—M. E. Hope

 

 

Dave Harvey’s poems have appeared in Summit, California English, Toyon, Verseweavers, and Encore. He coordinates and is often MC of the Down Towne Poets, a group holding monthly open mic readings in Talent, Oregon. He is the author of five chapbooks, three novels, and The Fifteen-Speed Cowboy, an account of his bike trip to Alabama, where he found his Birmingham Lady. She is Carol, a fiber artist, and they live in Talent.

2018 Spring Contest Winner: 3rd Place, Theme–Borders and Boundaries

Something There Is

by Kim Hamilton

 

They plead latitude

document 13

article A

hand the map of scars

back

 

folded in your lap

at crossing

the green skin

 

was a prayer

you made with your feet

and stayed there.

 

 

 

Judge’s comments

I was drawn to the category, Borders and Boundaries, because it is a subject that I ponder often and I often have lived in between places: countries, regions, cultures. These poems didn’t disappoint. The poets explored a lot of ground, figuratively and literally. And it was fun to explore with them.  The poems that really stuck with me were those that took me someplace. Third place “Something There Is” just wouldn’t let go and had me caught between perfect clarity and then that thing you see from the corner of your eye.

—M. E. Hope

 

 

 

Kim Hamilton has published in Spillway, Switched-On Gutenberg, DMQ Review, and Raven Chronicles. In 2014, her collaboration with artist Carolyn Krieg, Visitation, was published. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Kim Hamilton holds an MFA from Warren Wilson and writes, edits and teaches poetry in Southern Oregon.