This week, we are back to the Rock River Poetry and Prose Contest winners, and will begin featuring honorable mentions.
The two poems we offer this week offer a glimpse of ordinary life, looked at through a lens that Emily Dickenson calls slant.
In one, we visit a cash machine; in the other, we encounter a dragonfly amidst the tumult of various medical machinery.
Coincidentally, both honorable mentions are from Massachusetts.
The first is by Mark Wacome Stevick, from Gloucester, Mass.:
At the cash machine I think how easily
zeros become hundreds thousands millions
even when Im just hoping for ten. Circuits
evaluate my credit, then a sharp 10-spot
spits into the cubicle: I am worthy.
Right outside the door stands a pay phone
thatll trade these hundred paper dimes
for anybodys voice I want to hear
or book the next flight to a coastline
where juniper and cypress survive
whatever numbers the tropics can dish out.
My card returns. I order my billfold and
exit. Though the evening is mild, the walls
of this building radiate heat, and my cheek
against the hot bricks leaves a dark spot.
They survive by leaning over, even in calm.
The second is by Marion Kaplun Shapiro, Ed.D., from Lexington, Mass.:
ER, IV, EKG, CAT, BP…
Letters float, genderless
angels, wings sheer as dragonflies
whose airy bodies circled our canoe
last August on the Concord River.
Almost out of human range, their tiny
cymbal voices sang to us, hmm-ing
round and round, soprano guardians
asking nothing of us at all.
Dragonfly, I hear you
in the hum of the heart monitor, in
the sigh of the blood pressure bulb
as it exhales, in the spongy soles
of the nurses shoes, the squeal
and squeak of the dinner cart. Unto
us you are given. For no reason,
free, and without indemnity.
The Rock River Times is pleased to present these interesting poems. They were chosen not only for their interesting perspectives on everyday situations, but also for their style and form. Notice the uniform four-line stanzas (quatrains) in the first poem, 24-Hour Teller, that blends seamlessly with the speakers narrative line.
Also notice the uniform eight-line stanza (octet) in the second poem, ER, IV, EKG, CAT, BP… as well as the surprising focus on the dragonfly amidst medical machinery. Both poems infuse surprising images of the natural world into a mechanical, technological world, devoid of sweetness. This is the stuff of good poetry!
From the Aug. 23-29, 2006, issue