After a week off, Cultured Vultures’ Poem of the Week is back and better than ever. The competition was as tight as it ever has been for this edition and after plenty of deliberation, we were able to choose a winner.
As always, let’s first take a look at the excellent 2nd and 3rd place poems.
3rd Place ‘Hinged’ by Gary Glauber
He saw the huge cast-iron gate.
Somewhere inside this barrier
she lived, attended classes,
found a new world beyond him.
Thinking she was the one
was a stupid notion at 17,
a universe of possibilities
coaxing them from innocence.
Finding others was only hard
when become a singular purpose.
It was like picking apples
late in the year after a dry season.
The popular ones had attitude;
the others reeked of desperation.
In blue jeans at a late inebriated hour
you could hardly tell them apart.
Like cattle grazing on the horizon,
love stood at a respectful resolve:
shaking its head, chewing the cud
of past relationships.
His preference for lace over leather
was a moot point, irrelevant,
a passport that every customs agent
urgently refused to check.
Left to his own devices,
he writes pointless words
to capture his frustrations,
to battle that imposing gate,
to remember and forget.
2nd Place ‘Dénouement’ by RC DeWinter
Our electricity blew the walls open. We destroyed everything – the house, garage and acres of land for miles around, a conflagration to rival Pompeii. I awoke covered in ash and satisfaction and smiled at the reach of our intersection. You did too, eventually.
I should have known such intensity couldn’t last, but, reduced to bleached bones shimmering eroticism, I was incapable of rational thought. I expected we would blow the whole damn world to smithereens but you turned coward and slipped out the back door while I was sleeping.
You sent me roses; why, I don’t know. There was nothing of love or delicacy about us. Our collision was a trainwreck of desire too long denied. But you, reluctant arsonist, sent me roses. They sit on my table as I wait for them to wither.
1st Place ‘Another May 22nd’ by Brandon Williams
There is a birthday card in the mailbox from a woman I’ve met a few times. My grandmother, my father’s mother, a memory of Church dresses and gag-me perfume. The card is always cute, always mothering, always guilt-inspiring – I reach for the phone.
She has a voice like a taco-shop quesadilla, thick and warm and greasy. We talk about my aunts and uncles, about Jana’s two kids and the baby on the way and Chuck’s promotion to lieutenant at the fire department and Steve who just made E-7 in the Corps and Jason’s running his own Taco Bell now and she’s great and I’m great and everybody’s doing great. I write down the genealogy updates for my mother. The conversation lags, as it always does. I look out the window, see a bird with blue wings dipping its head into a bush. If it comes out with a worm in its beak, with an easy metaphor or something life-sustaining, I don’t notice. I’m thinking about the next five minutes; we have this conversation twice a year. The pause stagnates like rainwater in a bucket, until she breaks it with the expected question. “Have you found Jesus Christ?” No. Then the long-winded explanation of the way he finds everyone in the end, gentle admonishments preceded by, “Well, you know I don’t want to pry.” Bible quotations, last Sunday’s preacher and his powerful message. The conversation is filler, aspirin for metaphysical headaches, a finger in the dam until her ultimate question breaks free. “Do you want to know,” she asks, and I say no. No, I don’t want to know anything about my father, about the correctional facility where he works or the way he’s turned his life around. She says she understands, but her voice is low and she ends the call after just a few more comments. “Someday,” she tells me each time, “you’ll want to know,” and each time I refuse I feel the rift widening.
Brandon in his own words: “A graduate of the University of California, Riverside. His work has most recently appeared in Black Clock, Connu, Solo Novo, and MIRAMAR. He was a finalist in the William Richey Short Story Contest. A product of northern California, he finds himself constantly called back to the Sierra Nevada Gold Country.”
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures may contain affiliate links, which may provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.