Poem of the Week: ‘Lobster’ by B. Diehl

3rd Place
‘Derogative of Wanderlust’ by Alice White

Enchanted charms on masks, yet not enchained
with Chai Lattes, following nocturnal stains
a bliss to hold onto the attaché!
sealed adulation.
on this sinistral wandering, the ‘I’ is his protege.
the long for twitter is a sparrows disgrace
the stroller’s irony – no road to ease
a lease to meet – when it’s not paved for?
a meal to eat – when it’s not paid for?

another casual Friday on King’s Road.

BIO: Alice White, a 23 year old currently studying for her BA in London.

2nd Place
‘The Cigarette That Burnt’ by Niharika Pandey

The burning white stick sticks to the folds of the fingers of your left hand
While the other one has my arm around it as we stand
On the edge of the bridge,
That bridges the distance between the separate lands.
I glance sideways, my eyes on the white stick
Burning in between your lips.
My heart cries, “Smoking Kills”!
You are nonchalant.
The relief that your lungs feel when the smoke exhales;
The heart trapped between the drugged lungs do not notice
As my fingers loosen the hold on your arm,
Loosen the bond that was once so firm.
Alas! I slowly walk away
And to my dismay
You don’t look to your right.

You don’t get the drift of the emptiness on your right arm
Because the blazing stick on your left sits so firm.

Now I am on the other land

While you are stuck in the middle

Unaware of the choice you made.

To fidget soon, to succumb later

You left my warmth and chose ‘its’ shade

1st Place
‘Lobster’ by B. Diehl

I got a call back
from the temp agency this morning.
They said they could offer me
about 2 weeks of work in total ––
8 dollars an hour for cleaning
picture frames at some dirty factory.

So I’m supposed to come in
to fill out some paperwork today.
I’m supposed to take a drug test.
I’m supposed to wear khakis.

I get in my car and start making
the 50-minute drive over to Branchburg,
wondering if I’ll run out of gas ––
wondering if I have enough
nickels in my cup holder
to stop for a gas station burrito.

I try to remember what it feels like:
that worry-free feeling
of seeing a comma in my bank balance.

I try to remember 5-star hotels,
compulsive shopping, the taste of lobster.

If I work hard enough at this job,
breathe in enough dust, throw out my back
at least once a week, maybe they will
keep me around longer than 2 weeks.
Maybe they’ll keep me forever.

Maybe they’ll dangle a lobster in my face
whenever I think about leaving.

But is that really what I want? To forget
what it’s like to struggle? To forget
the real value of green-dyed paper?
Do I want to be greedy, ungrateful,
and think with my wallet as my heart
is replaced with a lump of frozen coal?

I’m making a U-turn. I’m pulling into
a gas station and asking for 95 cents
of the regular. I’m breaking
my rearview mirror. I’m eating the glass.

BIO: B. Diehl is a poet, quasi-recluse, and cat enthusiast from Phillipsburg, NJ. He is the co-author of the poetry chapbook Temporary Obscurity (Indigent Press, 2015) and author of the full-length poetry collection Zeller’s Alley (White Gorilla Press, 2016). His poetry has been featured in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Straight Forward Poetry, Poydras Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Torrid Literature Journal, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Five 2 One Magazine, and more. When he is not writing, you can usually find him at home, hanging out with his cats and/or feeding his social media addiction. He still lives with his parents.

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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