Here are the winners of our first poetry contest
Editor's note: While we thought we had a mathematical formula that would make a tie among our winners virtually impossible, the editors at the RN&R once again proved we're better at words than math, and Marilyn Melton and Eric Brooks did indeed tie for first place in our first-ever poetry contest. Congratulations to all our winners and runners up. Thanks also to the more than 300 people who entered.FIRST place:Untitled By Eric Brooks
Eric weaves the tragic, natural and perverse into webs sometimes a little too recognizable. He also likes to look at pictures, and can be found wandering the streets of Reno doing just that.
it is tuesday.
morning has quietly passed on to afternoon, to evening, to night.
there is a crack of bright coming through the shaded window from the street below.
the cat moves in a slow motion stretch,
then quickly coils back to a dreamless sleep next to an ancient porcelain heater.
i touch her softness, feel life inside with invisible antennae.
together we wait.
a year ago we stepped over cracks while touching smiles and carrying sacks,
from the market down the road.
i want to dance while cooking.
rather than sound,
carrots and onions play an orchestra through scent and taste.
the knives need sharpened.
the garbage emptied,
but the dishes are clean and the cloth napkins stacked perfectly on top of the humming refrigerator.FIRST place:The Passing of a Bridge Over Time By Marilyn R. Melton
Artist-writer Marilyn Royle Melton is a fourth-generation Nevadan whose interests are art, the humanities and history. As a life-long (80 years) resident of Reno, the city's future is one of her greatest concerns.
Purple hills and majestic mountains
Embraced the verdant valley
That trappers, gold miners and pioneers
Traversed on their way to the sea
The route brought wagons and cattle
To cross the meandering stream
That came to be named for the Paiute guide
Who led them west to their dream
A succession of spans carried traffic
Over the Truckee’s current
But smashed by heavy loads and snow-fed floods
Down river they were sent
Myron Lake built a hotel and bridge
And bought the surrounding land.
Lake’s Crossing became a lusty Wild West town
Under his command
But when the railroad from California came
In eighteen sixty-eight
The growing community officially became
A place to celebrate
The proud Silver State of Nevada
Welcomed the new city of Reno
Founded and christened for
A genuine Civil War hero
Businesses flourished, gamblers,
Rascals and scoundrels did too
Schools, banks, homes lavish and humble
Were erected as the town grew
A substantial world-class overpass was needed
To link the banks of the river
Imposing, attractive, and strong enough
To carry streetcar and flivver
On the site of the original pioneer trail
A fine concrete structure was erected
With electric lights and wrought iron rails
Reno was at last well respected
Completed and dedicated
One hundred and six years ago
Her life has been turbulent and wild
Both above and below
Horses, carriages, buses and trucks
Joined the strollers promenades
While celebrations, libations and festivities
Shared days with many parades
Now after decades of pounding
By flood-born debris
The thoroughfare’s charm and beauty
Will become history
Preservationists and citizens raise
Their voices to lament
The last days of Reno’s pulsing heart
No pleadings can prevent
In twenty-fourteen the Virginia Street bridge
In pieces she will fall
Another part of our history gone
With the purge of the wrecking ball
We say goodbye, farewell
Our treasure of memories intact—
Gone with the Mapes and other lost icons…
We loved them like friends, and that is a factThird place:Tuolumne By Sparky Allen
Sparky's favorite poet is D.H. Lawrence. She's a potter, a skier, and into drought-tolerant gardening with lots of boulders. Her personal hero is Bullwinkle J. Moose.
<c>Did you detest
this alien life:
your voice lost
in monotony of daily song?
keening above you
in the blue;
between granite walls,
his beating wings
center the void,
and the pulse
of your sad blood.
are made small
at the caress
of a raptor’s breeze.<c>Sonnet to Bacon By David Wohler
What porcine splendor doth on hearth becrisp?
From field and dale the haunch of heav’n afire,
What alchemy brings forth the fragrant wisp?
Ere twilight bids to still the day’s desire.
’Tis not the bread of heav’n nor its wine
But flesh of fauna wild in fields of green,
That’s rendered from the mortal into brine
Our taste of Zion ere we sing that final keen.
Feast now while dancers still ascend to flight
Till curfew steals the gleaming of the day,
Turn not nor meekly cower from the light
Yea, dine upon the bounty of the ley!
Give thanks for piquant strips so lean and fair
From noble shoat recumbent en plein air.Gutenberg By Jim McCormick
in a dark reign
bent low and squinting
over his high table.
a candle’s prancing radiance
illuminates quill dipping
in a black solution,
wet to dry,
letters decanted from words
pour into sentences,
indecipherable to every man
but he who holds to a cryptic vow.
of Mainz on Rhine,
cuts loose letters
on the single sheet
and casts about
for different text.
He ladles each face
in a blue-gray element,
sets them single file,
a line that will issue
to any person
at any time.Intention By Suzanne Swan
It’s so attractive to start over,
do it again and get it right this time.
Like a full box of crayons and blank report card,
the glimpse of pure love in that first kiss,
hopeful anticipation before the first stroke
when all eighteen holes can still be par.
Or life-changing resolutions on New Year’s Eve
to exercise more, work less,
build a nest egg, give to others,
be more loving, more decisive, more organized
or a thousand variations on a theme.
But crayons break,
love can be elusive,
the ball still curves out of bounds,
and resolutions fade into the shadow of ingrained habits.
This year I’m replacing resolutions
with intention and belief,
the intention to have a healthy happy beautiful life
and the belief that I deserve to attain it.
So when I start to feel anxious, unsettled, angry, or frustrated
I will gently remind myself of that intention
And just observe what happens.
Like a sculptor working with stone
I believe I will remove the unnecessary,
and chip by chip,
reveal the beauty that life can be.
Every moment is a new beginning.Shards of Obsidian/ Edge of Black Rock Desert/ 1972 By Alex Angelo
We come upon them in morning light, after a long night of shooting stars. Shattered but purposeful, fragments of eternity, sheltered in Earth. Unknown time gaps human purpose.
The curvature of the Earth (only visible here) sets limits to our wonder. Ancestors passed this way over a century ago.
One perfect arrowhead floats up between them; polished craft of survival. Nothing in these broken forms knows more than we do, or less. Voyaging through the arc of time, they arrive in our visionary questions, telling garbled, dusty truths to our lost remembrance.
Another day in the sunlight, glinting up to the mute mysteries posed to our descendants.This is the Last Day of the First of Your Life By Timothy Michael Rhodes
There is no end, there is no beginning
toaster waffles bury the city of angles
missionaries assume the position
fork you, fork me
they wield their steely blades
we defend with plastic spoons
we are the beating heart of the beast
the hands, the feet
and if we fail, break down,
who needs necromancy
replacements are plentiful
“Out of my way”
the Great White Sale has begun
from the hills of Afghanistan
where blood red poppies soothe our souls
through the rest of the world
who cares how much blood is spilled
as long as black ink
continues to flow
to the bottom line?
New Madrid & San Andreas
cry out “It’s not my fault”
no, not theirs but ours,
yours, mine, we are the king makers
who look the other way
wrapped up in the latest from
the evil empirewhat hungry children you have
the better to cloud your vision with
what stupid children you have
the better for cannon fodder
we’ll leave no child behind
what a large military/ industrial complex you have
the better to crush you all to dust
dust to throw into our eyes
dust that must be cleaned up
by underpaid imported wage-slaves
eating frozen waffles
and preaching the gospel of capitalism
demonic voices in the city of angles where
there is no beginning, there is no endMy Rattlesnake By Matt Sherer
National Geos and sixth grade science revealed
a little biology: reproductive parts, triangular
heads, brunette blotches, and sit and wait
predation. Others found you. Me, I met impostors—
relatives, I suppose. But their forked tongues kindled
no threat, just curiosity, and to them, I gave little
warmth. After years, some coming of age, I saw you
twice on the same day, roused by the pulses
of my passes.
Now, I need to know why it worked this way,
if you too prefer the solitude of mornings, what charms you,
and where you sleep at night. I grapple amid impulse
and instinct, envision reactions if you were to emerge
from shadows of boot or foot of bed, or coil in the breast
of my den, this crib, and if I’d strike first, or if I’d settle.An Ode to my daughter By Frances Beckett
Bikini clad bodies lying side by side
Laughing, sharing, so much to confide
Childhood memories memories temporarily at rest
Today, the present, is this now the best?
Oh daughter mine, I love you so
You’re grown up now, the years come, they go
You make my life joyful, oh don’t let it end
Cause once I was your mother
Now, magically, we’re friendsJohnny's Dead By Jeff Opfer
Death he came a-callin’; he said, “My boy it’s time to go.”
I looked up from my bong hit and said, “Wait a minute, bro.
This weed I have is sticky green and stony as can be.
How about you cop a squat and smoke a bowl with me?”
Death he scratched his bony scalp and set aside his scythe.
“I suppose I could take a couple rips before I take your life.”
Now I was scared but played it cool and packed old Death a bowl.
“So,” I asked, “where am I going when you cut loose my soul?”
Death he grinned and flicked my Bic and took a deep breath in
And pointed through the floorboards, down at the place of sin.
“Fuck it,” said I, and we finished that bag, both stoned to the core,
Then Death pulled back his hood and asked, “What’d I come here for?”
I patted my roommate on the head, who’d passed out from drinking beer.
“I believe you said when you came in, you wanted Johnny here.”Black Holes By Vonda Lea Novelly
I’m oh so tired of Quasars & Pulsars,
And all that gobbledygook.
Like big black holes that binary systems
Are always revealing
In their endlessly circling loops.
There’s Nebulae of glowing gas.
That once were stars they say.
And galaxies that spiral,
Like Andromeda and our Milky Way
That are set to collide one day.
But don’t you worry, they’re not in a hurry
And won’t happen for a zillion or more.
But I keep coming back
To those things in the skies,
The hungry black holes without any eyes.
It is a fact they’re here and there, and big and little, too,
And go about their merry way
to eat the light when due.
Until one day, there’ll come a time,
When they have gobbled ’all,’
And then will be the final crush of even time and space.
Then something will be nothing, and
Nothing’s what’s left of something,
So something could never have been.
It tis the end of all I fear,
Things upside down and backward.
But, wait a minute, can this be?
Because nothing is nothing with no beginning,
and nothing beginning could ever be ending.
There’s no upside down nor right side up,
Nor backward nor forward they say.
And it’s now that I hear of parallel places
That have no black holes.
They’re universes, not traces,
So they do not suffer the end of all days.
So don’t you worry ’cuz things will change
At a place where physics is in refute
And quantum mechanics the one to compute.
And the parallels, universes with means,
Reside in an ever-present now it seems.
So what about those scary black holes?
Are they the doors to parallel places?
Existing to ferret out all of our final traces?