April 2014

What’s New · Poetry Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our 3rd Annual Poetry in the Garden Contest! The winners will read at the Main Library’s Poetry in the Garden series on April 1st at 7:00 p.m.

The Winners

Sowing Wheat, 1934 by Cathy Hale

Between the scowling Daughters of Revolution
and a somber painting of Wyeth’s father,
Arthur Dove’s landscape swirls. The museum closes

in five minutes, but Dove’s farmer pushes through
a green passage towards me, and I want to taste
the mineral tang of freshly furrowed rows, rumpled

like bedcovers. He is dwarfed by vines
that tendril beyond the frame,
by a towering tree with fruits like apostrophes,

or tadpoles. We don’t see the bread lines,
the new suburbs that spill past the city limits, just
trees that flame green, arching into the wet sky.

The plow’s wheels creak and the farmer
clicks his tongue to urge the team on, collars shifting
about the shoulders of his comical pair,

neither oxen nor draft horses--more wooly mammoths
or some other gentle, extinct creatures with blurry
outlines, long-lashed eyes and bright red tongues.

Some might assume the farmer, in his yellow slicker
and black hat pulled low against the spring chill,
is extinct as well. But he is alive

and sowing wheat, his pace a steady rhythm
to brush strokes that churn
across the canvas’ intersecting threads.

Tattoos by Rae Hoffman

Because I want to give the mortician something to laugh at.
Because we're so serious all the time.
Because there was nothing better to do.
Because my friend had a needle and a bottle of India ink.
Because the body is not final.
Because my mother told me no.
Because there are some things you don't want to let go.
Because the only way to remember a mantra is to put it on a rib or thigh.
Because I had money I didn't need.
Because I had bare skin I didn't like.
Because all my friends were doing it and are still doing it
and will never stop doing it.
Because my ancestors were tagged against their will.
Because if there's anything I can take back, it's not history.
Because if there's anything I can change, it's myself.
Because If I can celebrate anything, I will.

NY Has an Itch by Beth Szymanski

There is a squint in the eye of the city
No one notices from here. Stark street lamps
Disappear uptown. Deep in its heart
The city wants to move. It dreams
Of uprooting itself.
It would like a pair of sunglasses and a Mai Tai.

It rolls Bora Bora like heady cigars
Around its giant busy tongue. The blind click
Of heels rushes about; everyone else
Wants to be here. The bustle
Never leaves Soho.
A lounge chair, suntan lotion and women in bikinis.

As the sun streaks loud the city glints
Strains underground. People on trains scream
And cling to each other. Deep in its heart
There are so many who need it.
Being a city is thankless.
To wriggle its feet in sand and forget the rest of the world.

Things I've Learned from Games by Nick Bascom

Hiding is fun only if someone eventually finds you.

A rope of light can reveal much; it can also freeze you in place.

Gripping tighter won't make the line any stronger—you must get closer.

A dare is a riddle for the heart, and truth forever a risk.

e are always asking for permission when we should be begging for forgiveness.

You can hunt with words alone; a whisper can snare a sleeping tiger.

Someone is always snatching up the bones from beneath you.

You must test your own limits when there are no boundaries, no rules.

No girls will ever be as lovely as the first girls who played beside you in the grass and sun.

We are always calling out and waiting for a response.

You can never evade the ghosts in the graveyard forever.

A chain of children linked arm in arm is a symbol of all we have had and lost.

The bad egg turns his back, but still he throws his cry behind him.

You must gain ground while others are too terrified to move.

You will always be pretending to be someone older, someone more responsible.

Nothing is as satisfying as a truce.

The heart is never more virtuoso as when flying on a kiss chase.

The world is divided into fox and geese, but everything can change with a touch.

Don't let the music stop—it means another friend must go.

You must imagine new places; people have been hiding in the old ones forever.

Love is unlikely, so don't leave it to chance—smash the bottle and step across.

The Judges

The poetry entries were judged by a committee comprised of professional poets. Judging was anonymous and the judges’ decisions are final.