Poem of the Week: ‘Eulogy of a Lost Man’ by Bethany Doherty

3rd Place

Rehan Qayoom
‘To a Friend’

After Parveen Shakir.

Girl! These moments are clouds
You let them pass and they’re gone
Soak up their moist touch
Don’t waste a single drop
Drench yourself for as long as
Your inner Earth remains thirsty
Listen to me, learn from me
Downpours don’t remember their way back
The summer brightness you go out to dry your hair in
Cannot read the road signs!

BIO: Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work internationally. He has published 2 books of poetry and several works of prose.

2nd Place

Scott Thomas Outlar
‘That Man on the Street’

A cascading tidal energy collapses inward,
suggesting that the center was never meant to hold,
let alone keep us all in a balanced rhythm.
For this, we must put our own hands in
and steadily beat upon the drums of ancient lore,
inciting a riot of future fractal prisms.

The goblet chasm is chaste tonight,
yet you drink deeply from youth’s chalice
in another vain attempt to deny the eternal Nowness.
One moment, One glory, One grace-
The soothing balm that magnetically attracts your skin
feels smooth as silk and lace within,
yet only diamond visions could assuage the lust for gold,
for, in truth, it is dirt and sand which truly makes us whole.

From the soil sweetly grows a righteous tree,
bringing a bountiful harvest of apples, oranges, pecans, and nectarines;
filling the sacred well of wisdom with deeper knowledge
which flows supreme against the whitewashed backdrop;
primal intensity flourishes before the cave of seven mirrors,
triangulated in circles of spinning rotation.

Vanity, purity, and raw emotion converge
as a hand reaches down through the clouds.
Picked, plucked, pulled away the lily,
signifying the final warning to the wintry city.
An abandoned building with ten thousand rays of silenced light
forfeits its power in perpetuity as the old shelter’s power dies;
no one saw the stars that night
as the atmosphere swallowed them dry.

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry and fiction can be found. His chapbook “Songs of a Dissident” was released in 2015 through Transcendent Zero Press and is available on Amazon. Scott’s full-length collection “Happy Hour Hallelujah” if forthcoming in 2016 through CTU Publishing.

1st Place

Bethany Doherty
Eulogy of a Lost Man

The Kraft had been on the stove too long,
Its white noodles giving over to the opaque shade of neglect.

Hands braced on the stove,
The atmosphere ringing with the gravity of a devastated man.

Outside, the air heavy with embarrassed tears, ripe with shame.

“They had people to come home to – I didn’t”.

Haunted eyes, searching for some reprimand, I cannot give
Some validation to the sentiment that would deem him dead, I cannot say.

Like dry leaves skating across the ground,
The sound of self-loathing grates on the soul.

BIO: My name is Bethany Doherty, 26, originally from Amherst, New Hampshire living in the UK with my Irish husband. I work with at-risk teens in the museum industry and volunteer for veteran associations. My mom used to write poetry a lot when we were kids, and I wrote for a long time without sharing any of my work. To me, I wasn’t the ‘writer in the family.’ Years later, I realised how much writing poetry has been a true pleasure of mine.

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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