2014 (Fifth Annual) Poetry Contest Winners

1st Place Winner

Dirty / Clean - Matt Echelberry

The door is open, inviting me in
I stand as a man was intended
with smooth, cold tile underfoot.
I enter a haven and
rain makes its way ever downward
cascading over my skin, seeping into pores
For my brief time standing here
I forget the day's problems
the stress and worry they bring
The soap is lathered
spreading over the scars of time.
Then I rinse off today's filth
watching as it drops into the tub
with the white suds.
Sweat and grime have fused with the foam
moving in a procession toward the drain.
All of it swirls around the hole
taking a plunge into the world beyond
with a mournful gurgle.
I turn the handle feeling refreshed;
water continues to trickle in rhythm
as I emerge from my cocoon.
Steam has made a fog film over the mirror
and air is bottled-up warmth that,
for a moment, transforms the room
into the finest sauna money could never buy.
Now I must open the door and return
to what waits beyond these walls.

2nd Place Winner

Mommy Dearest - Jim Bennett

I've slashed my wrists,
Written my note,
Now mommy dearest has me by the throat.
I'm bleeding to death,
Mom doesn't care.
She screamed because I forgot to comb my hair.
I've cried my self hoarse, and
Lost my voice.
Can't explain to mother I had no choice.
Now I lie here,
This dark, somber place,
The hanging garden; death shows his face.

3rd Place Winner

Bill - Jim Goldbach

His voice is often in my head,
Like the lessons of a School Master.
In life's work, or efforts of the day
I go seeking the approval of a man...
Gone a dozen years.
He looks over my shoulder often, /billisms,
Billisms, taught during the many years of his friendship,
My apprenticeship of life.
Take what ya got... and make what ya need.
Iron lessons, taught gently by a man who survived.
Survived depressions, wars, life's tragic losses.
A simple man, a worker, provider, teacher, sage.
Arriving at his door unannounced.
Bill stopped his chore; your visit was the most important thing today.
As you were ... here's coffee!
Simple facts, holding no pretense
We lived them... proving...
The only important things in life, are each other!

He left suddenly, the way he wanted.
    His heart... just stopped.
        But his lessons,
            His Life,
                    In me.