Don’t forget to vote

Hi everyone,

I’ll leave up the ballot boxes for Hall of Fame Poets of the Year until Wednesday at 12:00 CST. All the monthly winning poems are posted below the boxes so enjoy, vote, and comment. It has been a busy year!

Thanks from Portland,

David

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We’re voting for the Hall of Fame Poet of the Year

Hi everyone,

We have dispensed with the month-end selection of winning poets. However, we still have one item of business to complete from this last 12-month cycle, and that’s to vote our choice for Hall of Fame Poet of the Year.

Below I’ve posted a ballot box with each month’s winning Hall of Fame Poet listed. In case of a tie, I’ve posted both. Below that, I’ve posted each poem that won. Now it’s our pleasure to reread those winning poems and select the poet of our choice.

I’ve also posted a ballot box for the monthly winners among our young poets. So have at it and enjoy their poems too!



2011 Winning Poems, Adults

September
Passing Notes by Bridget Magee

I got in big trouble in class
For all the notes that I passed.
To the “Time-Out” chair I was sent
To sit and think and then repent.

So I sat and I thought,
But repent I did not.
For my notes were for Mr. Brown
To tell him his fly was down.

©2011, Bridget Magee

August

View from the Iron by Joy Acey
Spraying the starch, pressing the shirt,
Hot against the ironing board,
Made her give thought to her father,
Who hated the process,
Feared the watching, he kept trying
To make it go away.
He took his shirts to the laundry,
Where the crumpled piles, smelling of him,
Returned paper crisp fresh
On hangers wrapped in plastic.
The oldest boy, second of seven,
He figured this a treat
He could afford for himself.
The first, a girl,
Not quite right in the head.
It had fallen to him
To protect her from loose tongues
When they went to town,
He held her hand, helped her and the young ones
Buy penny candy at the general store.
One day while Mama ironed, Sister teased
And he gave chase around the pressing board.
She ducked to get away.
The board collapsed like their family.
The hot iron fell, hit Sister in the head.
The smell of burning flesh was drowned by her screams.
They took Sister away, he never saw her again.
But he had to mind the children on Sunday afternoons
When Mother went to visit.
The weight of her memory kept him from enjoying
The view from the iron.
July

Sour Luck by Cory Corrado
blushing-red pearls dangle
tantalizingly
from fertile boughs
appraisers of every feather wing to the feast
P E R C H
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand
pick
peck
pluck
deeeeelicious!
pick
peck
pluck
deeeeelucious!
sourliciously-sweet
to
the
ve-ry
last
pluck!
pick
peck
pluck
ONCE AGAIN
I’m out of luck!
pits dangle, frustratingly bare
sated birds scatter, never twittering a care
my-once-cherry-mood has turned
cheeryless-sour…
June
Such A Good Puppy, by Susan Carmichael
Basking in the summer sun
sated by the kill
how cunning are my hunting skills
to snare the espadrille
Tentacles of ribbon
flow from top the beast
teasing me to take a taste
of rayon cottons feast
Braided jute and turquoise canvas
oblivious to the queue
waiting for this so full predator
to finish off the shoe
This day of wild foraging
will find me in a crate…
but Sunday’s news sounds savory
just one more day to wait!

May

It’s Sneaky – Be Aware, by Jackie Huppenthal
I’m going crazy
out of my mind
that creepy little ivy
was the poisonous kind
I didn’t even know
that’s how this plant works
days later rash shows
it itches, it hurts
I try not to scratch
poor body’s rubbed red
each bump, swollen patch
keeps growing; it spreads
It’s vicious and mean
but I restrain; stay strong
apply calamine cream…
Still, recovery takes long
Well, I did learn a lesson,
how to ID and give care –
So now I promise you skin
I’ll watch out. I’ll beware!
April

Stay Out! by Mary Nida Smith
You are in my space.
My private space!
A space where
I feel happy.
Happy to enjoy
the space around me
without anyone
squeezing in on me
or conforming me
to their ways.
A space where
the wind blows
against my skin.
Where I can look up
watch the clouds
rush across the sky.
Birds fly playfully
Untouched wild flowers
grow in a natural state.
I want my space
unruffled and uplifting
to be a free thinker
to dream, be still
while lost in space.
In my space
my own
private space.
© By Mary Nida Smith
Halley’s Comet by Ken Slesarik
I could be curt and rather rude,
some say I had an attitude
for back in nineteen eighty-six
to Halley’s Comet I said this;
“Your show is such a boorish scam,
with freak facade so glib, not glam.
Then there’s your queer, lackluster tail,
it’s dreary, dull and downright pale.”
She growled, giving “the evil eye,”
and spoke to me while soaring by.
With vim and vigor, vehemently,
from outer space she said to me;
“Other comets may be brighter,
their gassy tails a little lighter,
but I can’t hack you talkin’ smack,
so boy you better watch your back.”
Today, I view it as a crisis
how that mass of dust and ices
can terrorize me all these years,
conjuring up my darkest fears.
So now in twenty sixty-one,
illuminated by the sun,
she’ll be back to power dive
and end my life at ninety-five.
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved
March
Sandpiper by julie Krantz
He scurries
to the water’s
edge on skinny
piper feet.
He roots
around the frothy
sand with spiky
piper beak.
He noodles in
the silky surf
for tiny clams
and eggs—
then scampers from
the rising sea
on
s
k
i
n
n
y
p
i
p
e
r
legs.
February
OMG! by Gay Fawcett
The first horse I saw
Took me by surprise
My daddy was wrong.
“This horse cannot fly!”
“Horse Feathers!” he’d say
Each time he was mad.
“This horse has no wings,”
I said to my dad.
“Horse feathers,” he said,
“Is a nice way to cuss.”
I planned to say it
When I got old enough.
The first time I took
Our Lord God’s name in vain
Dad took out the soap.
“It’s just not the same.”
If daddy had heard
What that V.P. gal said!
“WTF” she blogged
“Say horse feathers!” instead!

A Feather Drifting My Way, by Janet Kay Gallagher
Feathers shaking out of my pillow.
Did they drift past that big willow?
Or get caught in the leaves
Of those big trees?
Feathers come in many shapes and sizes.
Beautiful colors, several considered real prizes.
Soft and fluffy, hard and strong.
Protecting birds, allowing them to fly along.
Now shake and shake the bed tick.
Without losing more feathers, that’s the trick.
A feather pillow for my head.
A feather matress for my bed.
Life is a feather drifting my way
As I fall asleep on this joyous day.

January
Fathom, by Liz Korba
More than half of me is water
Drips and drops of H2O
More than half of me is water
I am rain, sleet, hail and snow
There’s a piece of me that’s ocean
I’m a little raging sea
And a bit of stream and river
Puddle, pond, a lake – that’s me!
More than half of me is something
That refuses to be still
I may wear down rocks, great mountains
Make a valley from a hill
There are times when I am able
To help living things to grow
And it’s true that I can take a life
Flash flood, an undertow
In great clouds you’ll find me floating
Though at times I’m underground
There are days when I erupt, make noise
Or not a single sound
Since so much of me is water
This explains a lot of me
But not all of me is water
There’s a part that’s mystery!
December

Weather Riddle, by Jane Heitman Healy
ROARING
like a lion defending its den
ROARING
like a trainload of quartzite
ROARING
like a race car lapping the track
ROARING
like heavy metal music
ROARING
like a mob of football maniacs
ROARING
like a migraine behind the eyes
ROARING
like eternity—
What am I?
The persistent prairie wind.
Climate Change in Faeryland, by Steven Withrow
All the trolls from the Kingdom of Klaarjj
Floated off on a large wooden barge
In search of high ground where the Flood
Had not drowned every field into mud,
And the rains of decay would not pelt
Night and day, and the sun would not melt,
As they’d heard it had done, sparking fires
In the realm of Prince Caspian’s Spires.
And running aground on the Islet of Ice,
Which once had been home to a nation of mice,
The Klaarjjian trolls stomped their furious feet,
For in this cold clime…they found nothing to eat.
In a sea without fish, flora, kraken, or whale
Rode a bright tale of hope on a gossiping gale,
And the trolls who were frostbit and hungry and sad
Repeated these words till they nearly went mad:
You will sail many leagues before morning,
You will cross many miles after dawn,
But you all will arrive without warning,
In a place where fine summer lives on.
And the troll-children sang in their Klaarjjian brogue
About Camelot, Oz, Shangri-La, Tír na nÓg,
And the echoes of Neverland, Narnia rose
Through the cloud-crowded skies, over empty ice floes.
All the trolls from the Kingdom of Klaarjj
Floating still on a large wooden barge,
And they follow the song of the breezing
That keeps their poor troll-paws from freezing,
That fixes their eyes on a haven that seems
As far as the stars and as close as their dreams…
And even in your world—have the rains started falling?—
It’s the voice of imaginings lost you hear calling.

©2010 by Steven Withrow. All rights reserved.

November

To Teach or Not to Teach the Classics, by Lisa Martino
Should I delve blindness to the word of old
And open their minds anew
Should I continue on the course ahead
And connect them, unscathed newborn
Or inspire, muse, arouse sleeping wit
Entice all, magnetic lure
Do I assist them, relate, painless thought
With modern themes, common words
It’s an enigma, a challenge to me
Ancient deliberation
Or conspicuously apparent sound
October
This Change, Wishing it Away, by Silindile Ntuli
I’ve seen the devil’s eyes,
Filled with hatred and hungry for torment.
I looked into those eyes; I was just a little girl.
Each touch, no each yank left a bruise on my skin,
Each drag made me scream out loud,
But my heart was suffering the most,
In a fog I could not understand.
A slap across my face followed by harsh words,
The smell of his body suffocated me,
That alone brought him to a smile.
I looked in the eyes of hatred,
Wondering what my crime was.
Till I found myself facing a knife,
I was not even five.
This sudden change was new to me,
But I knew it was evil at its best.
Send me down my angel,
Fling him down, throw him down.
I need help, because my soul is dying.
They told me about angels,
I need mine by my side.
Just a few minutes ago,
I was playing with my teddy.
Now my head is pinned to the dirty ground,
I am only a little girl.
Minutes later I’m sleeping on the ground,
Tightly holding my teddy.
My clothes are dirty from the dragging,
My body is in pain,
The kind I never knew existed.
My soul is filled with hatred,
And burning with anger.
Traumatized little girl,
Heart shattered into pieces.
I cry myself to sleep on the floor,
Clutching my brown bear.

2011 Winning Poems, Young Poets

May

Unbroken, by Ishani Gupta, grade 5

I’m two,
sitting on your lap
looking into your old eyes
You hold out your pinky
I peer at it…
“Promise me,”
You say,
“That you will
stay with me forever.”
I nodded my two-year-old head
And hold out mine.
I’m five
Packing my bags
With you,
We seal boxes
Tears stream from your eyes
As we load them into the car
I get in,
But you don’t.
You wipe a tear
I lean out
and whisper,
“I will always be with you,
Forever.
In there.”
I say
while pointing to your heart
You nod you 63-year-old head
and wave you hand
as the door shuts.
I’m seven,
Pushing past the hospital curtains
to find you,
Lying there.
I run to the side of your bed,
and grab your hand,
and repeat our promise.
We nod our heads
and look into each others eyes
I never thought that,
I would see you like this.
I sit there
Letting tears,
Drip from my eyes
until the nurse escorts me out.
Back then, I didn’t know
that we would
Never
meet again.
But now,
Every time
I gaze at the stars
I see your constellation,
Smiling down at me,
Pointing to your heart.
And there it is…
Our promise.
Unbroken
Teacher-Nan Valuck
MVCDS
Toledo, OH
April

A Visit Inside by Evan D. Abdoo, grade 6
That crooked dorsal fin
Gliding throughout the night
I hope I wont feel
His un meaningful bite.
The eyes of a devil
Stare blankly at my face
Like buttons on a doll
Or small black holes in space.
The jaw of a monster
His teeth are pearly white
I believe I can see
What he ate last night.
It smells rotten in here,
And I can’t see a thing,
But, I do feel feathers…
Is that a pelican wing?

Maumee Valley Country Day School
Toledo, Ohio
teacher: Jana Smith
Woodpecker, by Peter Meyer, grade 6
Whoosh,
A woodpecker flies by me
Only an inch of space
Between us
He has a bright red head
White stomach and black wings
I lose sight of him as he dashes between tall trees
From branch to branch, vine to vine
Looking for some bugs to eat
Making leaves tumble
Back and forth all the way to the ground
Vines swing like they want to be rid of him
He stops one last time
Before flying away.
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Toledo, Ohio
Teacher: Jana Smith
March

Here Comes the Sun by KnowEl Willhight
I walk out of the cathedral
The warm summer sun settling on my shoulders.
I walk down the steps slowly,
Thinking.
I look at the tree that she loves so much,
Loved-
That she loved so much.
Grandma had said “I remember the day she died,”
She always told me that she loved that tree,
And on the day her grandma died, she looked at it.
And she swore she saw her grandma go right on up to heaven.
She taught me and
She spoke of where she was going
She spoke of a place where people were always happy,
A place where the angels sing of
Peace,
Love,
Joy.
A place of light.
A place of pure light.
So, right now
I look at the tree,
With its roots reaching out towards me.
And I think of one thing,
And one thing only.
Her all time favorite song-
“Here Comes the Sun.”
“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and it’s alright”
I sing softly as I make my way down the steps.
I sit on the bottom step, and I look at the tree,
With its roots reaching out towards me
and it
Reaching up towards the sky.
Towards heaven.
And I say,
“It’s alright.”
Like I’m giving her permission
To go
To heaven.
And after I say that,
After I say those words,
I swear— just like grandma said
That I saw my grandma going right up to heaven.
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Toledo, Ohio
Teacher: Jana Smith

Spring by Ashley Swartz, grade 10
The root of a tree
deeply filled with limbs of spring
weather makes me sing.
Crescent City Jr /Sr High School
Crescent City, FL
Teacher: Lisa Martino
February

As I lay by Samina Hejeebu, Grade 6
The perfect green leaves
Hang everywhere.
The sun beams down on me,
giving me a sun burn.
Grass pricks my back.
Birds chirping songs.
Clouds snowy white,
Light, and fluffy
Like cotton candy.
I lay looking at this
For hours.
I finally see it,
A giant bird,
Gracefully flying through the sky.
Like it takes no effort.
A feather falls.
At first it shoots down to earth,
But then it slowly falls,
Swaying to the sides,
Back and forth.
Like it has nowhere to go.
Finally it reaches the prickly grass.
It falls gently on my chest.
Like it’s meant to be.
I sit up trying not to move it,
and look at the design.
It’s different shades of blue,
All blended together,
With the little hairs all going the same way.
It looks like something that
Can’t exist in a world like this.
I’ve never seen something this delicate.
I don’t touch it,
because I’m afraid I will break it.
But it’s so pretty.
I can’t just leave it there,
It’s part of the bird,
Part of the reason why it can fly.
What would happen if everyone
Took one from every bird they see.
We would have no more.
So I left it,
Even though it was so intricate,
So delicate,
that it would break with one touch,
It was the prettiest thing in the world.
Maumee Valley Country Day School
Toledo, Ohio

January

The Journey, by Courtney Clawson, grade 6
Trudge, trudge.
As I plod along, each step seems like an eternity.
My head aches.
My mouth is dry.
I am parched.
Suddenly, like a mirage in the desert, it appears out of nowhere.
I run now, pushing through the crowds, ignoring the
infuriated swarm of people.
I reach my destination.
THE WATER FOUNTAIN!
Slurp,
gulp.
The cold water runs down my throat with a tingling
sensation.
I take another drink, this time long…
and refreshing.
The water soothes my aching head.
I peer behind my shoulder at the aggravated mob of people,
realizing I just pushed through them to get to the beginning of the line.
And I prepare myself for the journey back…
with another sip.

Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, OH
teacher: Jana Smith
Water, by Jason Stiles, grade 10
Water
So gentle
So graceful
Water
So powerful
So strong
Water
So destructive
So devastating
Water
Destroys what it
Creates

Crescent City Jr Sr High School
Crescent City, Florida
Teacher: Mrs. L. Martino
December

Winter’s Crossing, by P. Andrew Pipatjarasgit, grade 6
The howl of the wind
Crosses through the forest
Sweeps the snow
and shakes the barren tree
The white blanket of snow
Covers the land into milkshakes
Branches creak and crack
with certainty they’ll break
The howl of the wind
twirls the sleet around
Ice deep in a nullah
Halts the water dead
The roughest of the elements
Cruel and brutal winter
Stormy weather arrives
and annihilates the sycamores
The darkness of the night
Blindly finding its way to the ground
With the gloom not heard in the day
and chilling of the air
The brightness of day
chops the night in half
A nanometre of light
Daylight will come
The whiteness of the snow
It shines on your eyes
Very quiet
The pitter and the patter
The day passes by and
the snow pounds down
and keeps falling
On the seemingly lifeless world
And evening comes
To fall on us once more
And back to the darkness
To the howl of the wind
Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, OH
teacher: Jana Smith
Sunset Thanks, by Katie Scott, grade 9
As the sun goes down and the winds whistle in my hair,
I remember them days when I always say Thanks Lord.
My mother always say, you are right,
all the pain I have and the suffering.
I Thank the Lord for all he made right for us
Thanks is a wonderful word. Thanks is joy and happiness
You can just feel the warmness and joyness
as your heart beat faster and faster
Thanks I say Thanks for the Sunset of Life
Crescent City Jr/ Sr High School
Crescent City, Florida
Teacher: Mrs. Lisa Martino

November

Without a Word, by Ella Foster, grade 5
Cries of laughter.
Joy was spread throughout the church.
Everyone was talking in hushed voices,
Yet all the sounds combing in my little head sounded as if
Every word a new little firework
Sent out on its journey through the sky.
She walks in everyone goes silent,
Her beautiful white gown flouncing as she appears,
So gracefully,
So silently,
So gently,
She takes a step forward,
My heart’s racing, another step
She walks down the aisle,
Her head raised as if she wasn’t afraid.
Maybe she wasn’t but I was.
As she takes another step
Her train floats over the petals I had softly strewn.
As she takes her last steps
She looks down at me and smiles.
Without a word she calms my heart.

Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, OH
Teacher: Nanette Valuck
Thankful, by La’ Joi Word, grade 10
Everyday I wake
I give thanks
To see the sun rise
I give thanks
For a family that is wise
I give thanks
Life, health, and strength
Nothing but thanks
To the one up above

Crescent City Jr Sr High School
Crescent City, FL
Teacher: Lisa Martino

Cries of laughter.
Joy was spread throughout the church.
Everyone was talking in hushed voices,
Yet all the sounds combing in my little head sounded as if
Every word a new little firework
Sent out on its journey through the sky.
She walks in everyone goes silent,
Her beautiful white gown flouncing as she appears,
So gracefully,
So silently,
So gently,
She takes a step forward,
My heart’s racing, another step
She walks down the aisle,
Her head raised as if she wasn’t afraid.
Maybe she wasn’t but I was.
As she takes another step
Her train floats over the petals I had softly strewn.
As she takes her last steps
She looks down at me and smiles.
Without a word she calms my heart.
Crescent City Jr /Sr High School
Crescent City, FL
Teacher: Lisa Martino
Thankful
Everyday I wake
I give thanks
To see the sun rise
I give thanks
For a family that is wise
I give thanks
Life, health, and strength
Nothing but thanks
To the one up above
October
Four Little Rain Boots, by Emily Rigby, 5th grade
A drifting leaf,
Mud sloshing,
Raindrop after raindrop,
Four little feet running out of a barn,
One little yellow boot on each,
Two little children.
Oh, how they run,
play,
splash,
dream.
If only they knew,
How lucky they are.
Curly red hair,
flowing,
bouncing,
shimmering,
Hiding the giggly face behind it.
If only they were aware of how much others envy them.
For, they still carry their innocence.
These happy expressions will stay happy for a while.
These two minds hold no knowledge of,
betrayal,
dishonesty,
cruelty.
Laughter floating around the rustic red barn remains loud.
And they begin to
spin,
twirl,
dance,
near the field.
Their lives are still sugarcoated.
And they should stay that way.
But change is imminent.
There’s no way around it.
Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, OH
teacher: Jana Smith

Let the voting begin

Hi everyone,

This month concludes the second 12-month cycle of Word of the Month. It doesn’t seem possible that we started this exercise two years ago. I’m grateful to all the poets who have shared their work each month. The twenty-four words of the month have inspired hundreds of poems, a testimoney to the creative spirit you bring to this blog.

I’ve placed the ballot box below and the month’s collection of poetry below that. I’m sorry that we have no poems by young poets to share but that should pick up again now that school is back in session.

The judges will also get busy now so we’ll have their decisions by the time we finish voting for the September Hall of Fame Poet. To remind you who our judges are, here’s a link with their names, pictures, and places to learn more about them. As always, I ask that you read their work and let them know you appreciate their time and talents. https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/word-of-the-month-poetry-judges/

October begins our third year. I’m leaning strongly toward dropping all voting at that point. I know that the judges must be needing their time back and the voting guidelines allow a poet to win only once in a cycle in each category, so that’s rather restrictive. Steven and others have suggested that we eliminate voting and simply enjoy posting our work and supporting one another with our comments. That is truly the spirit behind the idea of Word of the Month in the first place. I’ll let you know for sure about the new guidelines when I announce the winners for September. After that we’ll hold the election to choose the Hall of Fame poet of the year and that may be our final time to vote on anything.

1 Mr. Harker

teaches my 7th grade math class,
his bald head smooth as a goose egg,
glistens from the lights.

He’s nuts about numbers,
waves his arms.
Says, You should know this,
and starts writing zeros on the board,
carrying them on and on
to the next board, his arm circles.

A most important number, he says.
Nada,
zilch,
nil, oh, circle.

The additive identity of the integers.
Columbus egg,
void,
naught, ought, null.

Place value systems.
Zip
place holder,
zero, blank, nix.

Isn’t this exciting? he asks
and stares
directly at me.

Me, I’m not sure.
I think
I’m barely more than
nothing.

by Joy Frelinger

2 All My Teachers Are Monsters

If there’s one rule I never break,
It’s, “Don’t be late for Mrs. Krake.”
She won’t get cross, but rumors tell
She ate a kid who missed the bell.
She loves the punctual, lauds the prompt,
And those who dawdle end up chomped.
There’s no excuse she’ll tolerate.
Believe you me…now DON’T be late.

But worse by far than Krakie’s wrath
Is Mr. Boyle, who teaches Math.
He’s not so much an angry guy,
But watch out for his Awful Eye.
As he’s adding fractions at the board,
His Eye, that evil overlord,
Fixes you with vision strange.
It’s best to sit well out of range.

And last of all, there’s Miss O’Grine,
Who’s taught since Nineteen-Thirty-Nine,
Her lesson plan looks etched in blood.
A creature dredged up from the mud?
A teacher, or perhaps…a witch?
But something tells me not to snitch
To Mr. Black, our principal…
’Cause I am not invincible.

© 2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

3 yawn

fieldtrips are a giant snore,
especially to the zoo—
peanuts, pretzels, odors, poo (eeuw)—
until you see the animals:
monkeys, lions, zebras, bears,
tigers, hippos, snakes and more!

I saw otters slide off rocks, I saw toucans fly,
baby pandas ate bamboo as I went strolling by.
I never met a finer bunch—
of screaming shrews and horny toads,
ring-tailed lemurs, fainting goats—
but when my rebel belly growled—
my favorite thing was lunch.

When, at last, my legs got tired,
I hoped zoo-time had expired—
until I saw the el-e-phants
squirt each other happ-i-ly…
then I knew I’d rather be here…
than in my classroom nap-a-ling.

by julie Krantz

4 Class

Class is a fence:
Locked.
Can’t be bent
Morphed
Or
Stretched.
A thousand eyes hold you there.

Breaking out
Means flying
Above
The shackles
Chains
And
Brands.

First,
You need a voice
That sings;
A reach that
Soothes.
A torch
That leads.
Then up you rise… a personal ascension to upper class!

by Jeanne Poland

5 Class Work

This is labor of the lowest, bareknuckle kind:

the bending and stretching
of the farmer or fruit picker
as we tie the same shoes over and over, hang
glittering fish from the ceiling

the hefting and heaving
of the dock worker or trucker
as we haul in rolled-up rugs, drag
small but solid sinks and stoves into better spots

the sorting and stacking, shuffling and piling
of the secretary or stock clerk
as we stuff folders with important forms, fill
labeled shelves with puzzles and pebbles and paper

And all the while the labor of split-second decision:
just one, a few, or all?
address or ignore?
now or later?
sharp voice or soft?—

all the while a bear-down, breathing kind of labor
pushing each child further into
the light of the world, eyes wide open,
fingers unfurling to grasp tools for
the labor of becoming

by Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

6 Algebra Class

So what does X equal?
It does not equate to me.
Too darn many variables
lead to imaginary numbers,
and a multiplying pain
dividing my poor brain.

When we are old and grey
will anyone ever say,
“Thank God for Algebra?”

by Paul W. Johns

7 Class Clown

Ahead of his class,
a classic clown
with a costume-
problematic.

Although he excelled,
he was expelled.
The Dean was
most emphatic.

His pity plea
for some leniency
and his scholarship
was moot.

If you should go to
clown-school,
don’t wear
your birthday suit.

Copyright 2011
by Ken Slesarik
All rights reserved

8 CLASS OF STUDENTS

We are all put in a class
of our own as we develop
discovering who and what
we are in our daily walk.
Dominating
Goof-offs
Boring
Loveable
Over active
Successful
Book smart
Jocks
Nerds
Working class
Social class
Upper class
There are different classes
of students in every class
bringing their own uniqueness
into the world of class branding.
No student is odd or different
he or she is just in a class of their own.

© by Mary Nida Smith

9 CLASS OF ’68

Sister St Vincent, knew girls were indecent
sporting skirts that were short and unruly.
Outside before Mass, she would yell at her class
that “all hell will break loose from yours truly”.

But Our Lady of Guilt, didn’t have enough quilts
to cover all the flesh that was showin’.
As the girls stood in line, altar boys thought it fine
catching glimpses from gusty winds blowin’!

by Susan Carmichael

10 Classy Lady

She’s got Class
Heads turn when she starts to pass
Her little finger out as she sips her tea
When mad she slowly counts to three
Always dressed to the nines
Stilletos turn on a dime
On the dance floor she sways
No one turns away
Life is good when she smiles
People for her go the extra mile
Her kindness’ abound
A woman you want to be around

by Janet Kay Gallagher

11 Class-I-fied

“You wouldn’t want to be class-I-fied as one of them illegal aliens,” the hill man said and spat.
“Earthling, take me to your leader,” Blue Boy said, undulating fat.
“Shucks, Blue, you don’t want that.”
The old man added a hunk more tobacco chaw to his cheek.
“Them politicians will label you a freak.”
“No Earthling. One thing I learned in invasion class is to look like a computer geek.”
“Where’d you get the idea Blue that a geek would look like you?”
“TV waves showed pasty ones, ones like you, yellow and brown—some were blue.”
Blue Boy polished a brown spot off a waiving tendril, which threatened to turn a purple hue.
“Well, Blue, looks like your hide is shifting some.”
He tugged an overall strap with his thumb.
“Earthling what have you done? My sucker is becoming numb!”
Blue Boy wriggled about smearing more of the drops of tobacco juice.
“Well, Boy it’s like this—I couldn’t let you loose.”
The hill man smiled a stained-brown smile and spat another stream. “Looks like my tobaccy has cooked your goose.”
Blue Boy’s tendrils withered, his three eyes bulged, and he was sinking fast.
“Earthlings,” he whispered, “You’ve got sass.”
The hill man grinned and chuckled. “Nah, Blue Boy. But us hill folks we sure do have class and us Earthlings—we’re gonna last.”

*Vera Jane Goodin Schultz 2011
All Rights Reserved

12 The Worthy Expense of Charm School

She strode through the parking lot
her petit frame looking cat walk tall
in her shiny Jimmy Choo stilettos.
Burberry handbag swinging lithely from her sylphlike
arm, perfectly complimenting her sleek Marc Jacobs sheath.
Her hair was neatly arranged and shined with just the
right amount of product so her highlights fairly glistened
in the bright sun.
This angel of exquisiteness floated into her Lexus LS Hybrid,
twelve dollar latte in hand,
and began to take her leave of the place.
But in all her glory,
she forgot to look
left, right, left.
And pulled right in front of a pickup.
As Mr. Pickup hit the brakes and honked in rightful agitation,
he was rewarded with one, slender, impeccably manicured finger
held up in salute.
And then those dainty lips parted to expel a torrent of words
that would curl a sailor’s teeth.
Guess after buying all that flash,
she had nothing left for
class.

by April Sopczak

13 Passing Notes

I got in big trouble in class
For all the notes that I passed.
To the “Time-Out” chair I was sent
To sit and think and then repent.

So I sat and I thought,
But repent I did not.
For my notes were for Mr. Brown
To tell him his fly was down.

©2011, Bridget Magee

14 English As A Second Language Class
One heavy door that opened in
A hole where lock and key had been
(We needed to pass code.)
What kind of flame could cause concern
For cinder block and concrete floor?
The smell of sulfur in the air…
Perhaps that could explode…
Once storage space, now holding class –
(Not elements for science labs)
No windows, central air or heat
Were needed to pass code…
Still through the open door they came
With Buddha and a Sanskrit prayer
The Star of David, Crescent Moon
And Crosses made of gold and wood.
Chains, marked – I could not help but see.
In awe I knew I could not know
Such silence seeking sound.
First A…then O…that Y – sometimes…
U…and one day …
I
The word made flesh in sacred space
Inside one open door.

by Liz Korba
David

Let the voting begin

BULLETIN: As you know, only those poets who have not previously won in this category (Hall of Fame Poet of the month) are eligible to win during the same 12-month cycle. This cycle ends in September. Voters are encouraged to vote for the poem of their choice but, just so you know, the poets who are eligible to become August Hall of Fame Poet are Jeanne Poland, Beth Carter, Heidi Mordhorst, and Joy Acey.

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry that I haven’t commented more often this month but as many of you know I’ve been either out of town or writing most of the time. However, I have read and loved your HOT poems and am glad that you had fun with that word during August.

I’m posting a ballot box for the adult group but, alas, we only have two poems from our young poets and therefore cannot use a ballot box this month. But that doesn’t mean we can’t read once again and comment on the work of first timer Monica Marshall, who is beginning 8th grade in Republic, Missouri, and seasoned pro P. Andrew Pipatjarasgit, now a 7th grader in Ohio!

I’ve posted everyone’s poems below the ballot box so read, enjoy, comment, and vote!

My thanks to all,
David

POEMS BY ADULTS

“HOT” IN HERE?
by Steven Withrow

In a shapshot
that some hotshot
photographer dropped
on the hotel floor
are dichotomies
of tchotchkes.

What it’s Not
by David L. Harrison

This summer isn’t Camelot,
I’m confident I’ve not forgot
Conditions in that far-off spot –
Not too cold, not too hot.

Hugenot nor Hottentot
Would deny this summer’s hot.
I fear it is a Gorish plot
To prove a point until we rot

Or shrink to mummies like as not.
Pines are dripping galipot,
Sweat has melted down to swat,
We need rain but don’t get squat.

I burned my hand on an apricot,
My brain has shriveled to a dot,
I’m running out of rhymes for hot,
My tale is done, it’s all I’ve got.

Salsa Recipe by Jane Heitman Healy

Serrano, Poblano, and Hatch
Make up a spicy batch,
With lots of tomatoes
And Jalepeños
With onions and garlic to match.

Throw in Tabasco and add
A pinch of Cayenne. Don’t be mad.
Tears stream from your eyes,
What’s the surprise?
“Caliente! It’s too hot, you cad!”

County Fair Food by Jane Heitman Healy

Gitcher funnel cakes, piping hot!
Get ‘em now ,
They’re all we’ve got!

Corn dogs, hot dogs, chili dogs, too,
We got ‘em all,
They’re hot for you!

Walking tacos! Wrapped just so!
Hot right now,
If you’re on the go!

Roasted turkey legs! Hot to handle,
They’ll give you pep
As you skiddadle!

Deep fried Twinkies on a stick!
Try ‘em hot,
They’re a great pick!

Good August Day to all! Here is my August poem… by Susan Carmichael

“Is it me?”

I fly to the freezer,
fling open the door
and cram my head inside.

Eye to eye
with a chicken pot pie,
I mumble a heavenly sigh.

After a minute or two
my head I withdrew
Icicles prickle my cheeks.

My chin is red
scraped on frozen french bread
I look like a bit of a freak.

You see, the weather outside is frightful;
(Frigid temps and snowing a lot).
Even though the house is quite cozy,
Internally, my temperature’s HOT!

Swimmin’ Pool by julie Krantz

Swimmin’ pool, swimmin’ pool
I’m your local swimmin’ fool.
See your sparkle, see your blue
ain’t nothing comin’ ’tween me ’n you.

Swimmin’ pool, swimmin’ pool,
hot dogs, June bugs, summer school.
Feel your water, feel your ice—
Oooooooh—don’t that feel nice!

TIMID SOULS
© by Mary Nida Smith

Hot summer breezes
Cooks the flesh brown-
We stay indoors.
Cold winter frost
Freezes the flesh cold-
We stay indoors.
Hot or cold
We hide behind
Closed doors.

Ha Cha Cha
by Jeanne Poland

You think you’re so hot
Ha cha cha!
Burnt and blunt
Like blender blades.
Buzz off
You liquid-y creep
Before you beep
The smoke alarm!

Can’t Won’t Compromise? By liz korba

“It’s hot!” the Snowman said, “so hot!”
The Sun did not agree.
The temperature had risen to a balmy thirty-three.
“It’s wintertime and mighty cold.”
The Sun claimed from the sky.
Wind whipped as talks continued.
Could these two see eye to eye?
“It isn’t cold. It’s very hot.”
“It’s thirty-three!” Sun said.
The Snowman couldn’t change his mind.
The Sun, so mad, turned red.
“I’m going, Sun, or you must leave.
Your cold’s too hot for me.”
“What I call ‘cold’ is ‘hot’ to you!?”
“Yes, Sun, at last you see!”
“I see, but I will never change
My mind. I will not bend.
“Nor I,” said Snowman sadly,
“We have come to a dead end.”
With that the Sun – he went away.
And Snowman – he left too.
Each spoke his truth till darkness came.
Night had no point of view.

HOT OFF THE PRESS
by Cory Corrado

Purple-pink notes unfurl
Morning.
Blooms climb the staff, searching
For their perch.
Eureka! Clef-and-key perfect!
Glory echoes – d.
c. al fine.

The Dreaded “M”
by Beth Carter

I ripped off my gown.
Hubby: “I’m freezing in here.”
Those darn hot flashes.

UNHAPPY HOUSEGUEST by Jackie Huppenthal

Grandma and Papa
won’t turn on the air
so hot I can’t sleep
they don’t seem to care
ice fills the washcloth
that lays on my head
more was on my belly
but it melt, wet my bed

I hate this heat wave
I keep flipping ’round
no sleep, rest, or dreams
stale air hangs, surrounds
How do they take it
sleep so peacefully
stubborn, cheap, tough, or nuts
It just baffles me

(4 years later)
GRATEFUL GRANDCHILDREN

They took us with
all aboard a cruise ship
cause Papa was in the Navy
soft breezes, flying fish
gentle water warm, wavy

He was happy at sea
and Grandma, so was she
with food, bingo, shops and sights to see
a fond family memory

My sis and I, we got away
to stroll the deck and even play

daily dips in the pool
a nap on the beach
disco dancing…
feeling
Hot Hot Hot
never felt so cool!

ole ole – ole ole -ole ole – ole ole

hots by Heidi Mordhorst

one
hot hits with heady haste and a taste of hateful
oscillating over agonized octagon of a face
teeming up from torso to temples, tearing along the hairline

another
hot hides in a hungry heart, hinting out through hands
occasionally obvious or awkward, orchestrating octaves of
tipsy tenderness, of testing teasing touches

august
hot hurricanes hazily in, hibernating hurry under a hat of humidity
operating an undulating optometry on eyes
turning tarmac tacky, taking temperatures tridigital

how hot
are you?

Heidi Mordhorst 2011
all rights reserved

VIEW FROM THE IRON by Joy Acey

Spraying the starch, pressing the shirt,
Hot against the ironing board,
Made her give thought to her father,
Who hated the process,
Feared the watching, he kept trying
To make it go away.

He took his shirts to the laundry,
Where the crumpled piles, smelling of him,
Returned paper crisp fresh
On hangers wrapped in plastic.

The oldest boy, second of seven,
He figured this a treat
He could afford for himself.
The first, a girl,
Not quite right in the head.

It had fallen to him
To protect her from loose tongues
When they went to town,
He held her hand, helped her and the young ones
Buy penny candy at the general store.

One day while Mama ironed, Sister teased
And he gave chase around the pressing board.
She ducked to get away.
The board collapsed like their family.

The hot iron fell, hit Sister in the head.
The smell of burning flesh was drowned by her screams.
They took Sister away, he never saw her again.

But he had to mind the children on Sunday afternoons
When Mother went to visit.
The weight of her memory kept him from enjoying
The view from the iron.

POEMS BY YOUNG POETS

HOT by Monica Marshall, 8th grade
Republic Middle School, Republic, Missouri

The sun is beating down on my delicate face, the pavement below is cracking and popping from the excruciating heat. It’s so hot, a small drop of sweat races down my cheek. My skin is melting, my bones are boiling, I just need a cold glass of ice tea.

Down South Kaibab
By P. Andrew Pipatjarasgit, 7th grade
Sylvania, Ohio

Quite hot and steaming,
I’m running out of water
And shade is yonder.

Let the voting begin

Hi everyone,

We had fewer than usual poems posted in June, but they are all great fun and worthy of reading again to enjoy the diversity of thought that can spring from a single word. I’m posting the ballot box and the poems themselves below the box . We had no entries from young poets in June. Ah, to be young and on summer vacation!

For those of you who might not be familiar with how Word of the Month winners are selected, here’s a brief explanation. Poems are voted on each month via the ballot box, which brings in the popular vote. Some student poets really get with the program and have their parents e-mailing pals all over the world asking for their vote. One time I had more than 1,800 visitors in a single day and many of them were from other countries voting as a favor to a girl’s father. It’s all done in the spirit of having fun and at the same time drawing attention to the poems being posted. Lots of readers stop by to see what all the commotion is about, which is a good thing.

Soliciting votes from friends and family is by no means limited to student poets. Now and then adults also enjoy the challenge of gathering the highest number by tally time.

Winners in this category are called Monthly Hall of Fame Poets. When you win once in a twelve month cycle, you can’t win again but can still post poems each month and enjoy the comments and encouragement of other poets.

There is also a second category for WOM poets. Each month a panel of judges reads the poems and select their top picks. I call these winners, whose work is selected strictly on merit, our Word of the Month Poets. Again, you can only win once in a twelve month period.

Here’s link to see and read about our judges. They are all successful, caring people who volunteer to help Word of the Month. As always, I ask that you read their work and let them know you appreciate their time and talents. https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/word-of-the-month-poetry-judges/

1, An Admonition Against Egrets, by Steven Withrow

An egret is the perfect pet
And yet
I bet that you’ll regret
An egret once you get one.

You’ve never met a better pet.
She’ll let
You jet her to a vet
(Of course, you’re set to net one).

She struts her slender silhouette—
No sweat
As she wheels a pirouette—
But watch out when you pet one.

An egret, she’s a fret, a threat,
A debt
That you won’t soon forget—
But a wondrous white and wet one!
©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

2, You and I, by Sidanne

Lolling and drooling, I
lie in quiet repose
This is my life, no fooling
full of thorn and rose

When I lie, you
rest too, why not

face the night adeux
Less lonely, is it not?
While you walk, I
trot eagerly astride
Smiling happy sky
Waltzing side-by-side

I love you so, you
know I do so why
must you leave me, do
you know I always cry?

You are the alpha, I
Omega, hey that’s fine
Humans need control, sigh,
Who am I too whine?

You always feed me, you
remember my routine
And even tho I’m the king, you
may imagine you are queen

So feed me, love me, I
will forever love you, bet
You, controlling human, I
Labradorious, loyal pet.

3, Untitled, by Don Barrett

As I set here today in this swealtering heat
sweat pouring from my body from forehead to feet.
I pause to pray and surprisingly
I am speaking out loud,
I look up to see a single puffy cloud
it looks like a pet that once owned me
a big blue eyed hairy chow,he was spoiled as can be
most all my talks with god are
the silent kind from me.
But his answers are loud and clear
at times i just don’t see,
how hard the truth is to hear.
Praying not to let my loving pet die
knowing full well he was too sick to go on.
Now he lives in my mind
the memories forever saved.
I get reminders now and then sometimes
with a start-I thank god again for not letting
him be removed from my heart.

4, Noisy Ned, by julie Krantz

A little mouse
lives in my shoe—
his name is
Noisy Ned.
He sleeps all day,
and squeaks all night…
inside the shoe
beneath my bed.

Pepper Jack

I found a mouse
the other day
sitting on my bed.
He nipped my ears
and licked my toes.
Then he ran away.
I sprinkled pepper
all around
to make
that varmint sneeze—
but all he did
was sniff and say,
“More pepper,
please!”

5, Such A Good Puppy, by Susan Carmichael

Basking in the summer sun
sated by the kill
how cunning are my hunting skills
to snare the espadrille

Tentacles of ribbon
flow from top the beast
teasing me to take a taste
of rayon cottons feast

Braided jute and turquoise canvas
oblivious to the queue
waiting for this so full predator
to finish off the shoe

This day of wild foraging
will find me in a crate…
but Sunday’s news sounds savory
just one more day to wait!

6, Our New Puppy, by Joy Acey

I have a new puppy, she’s started to teethe;
the things she chews, you wouldn’t believe!

She bit a hole in my running shoe,
munched lions and tigers from Junior’s toy zoo.

She chewed the leg on the kitchen chair,
the family sofa and the Frigidaire.

Destroyed my backpack and basketball,
she even chewed a hole through the wall.

She ripped up carpet in the hall,
tore up Dad’s tools, and Mom’s red shawl.

She gnawed off bark from our neighbor’s tree,
punctured the tire on our SUV.

If she went to Alaska, I know what she do—
She’d chew huge holes in an icy igloo.

The President called on his secret phone
said our dog had chewed holes in the ozone.

Before this K-9 ruins my home
will someone please give
our puppy a bone?

7, Pet Farm, by Mary Nida Smith ©

A pet cow
is so relaxed
chewing her cud
to the sounds
of clashing teeth.

A pet piglet
tiny and cute
grunts and sleeps.
Grown its noisy
rolling in the mud.

A pet pony
can take you
for a ride
or dump you
on the ground.

A pet cat
or dog
as all pets above
can be found
on the family farm.

8, Letting Go, by Cory Corrado ©

Wrapped in your favorite mauve-and-white towel, you lie still- peaceful.
A vet-angel administers a dose of serene calm.
Stroking your downy soft fur- soothes me, my Beautiful.

Into my world you hopped, out of the green; coloring my days JOYful.
Your pitter-pattering made me pause; you became my spiritual balm.
Wrapped in your favorite mauve-and-white towel, you lie still- peaceful.

Your rabbitty antics made me whole-body laugh! Wonderful
memories enfold me; my heart begins to quiver and qualm.
Stroking your downy soft fur- soothes me, my Beautiful.

Injecting THE droplets of sleep, the vet-angel leaves, tearful.
I feel your breath-kisses on my face; your waning heartbeat in my caressing palm.
Stroking your downy soft fur-soothes me, my Beautiful.

I’m sorry I scolded when you nibbled the wires and cords – I hear myself say – regretful.
The caring angel returns; incredulous, instills another doze with shaken aplomb.
Stroking your downy soft fur- soothes me, my Beautiful.

I’ll be okay, I whisper, tears welling up. You may go, bunny… go. Thankful
I hum our good-night-bunny-and-sleep-tight ritual lulla-bye psalm.
Wrapped in ‘his’ favorite mauve-and-white towel, ‘he’ lies, STILL. Peaceful.
Stroking ‘his’ downy soft fur- soothes me … My Beauty-full …

9, My Pet, by Jane Heitman Healy

I asked if I could have a pet
And wondered what kind I could get.
“It must not shed, it must not molt.”
No snakes or hens or furry coats.
“It must not bark, it must not meow.”
No dogs or cats, no way, no how.
“It must not eat exotic foods.”
No iguana lizard dudes.
“It must not take up too much space.”
No elephants, no whales to chase.
“It must not have sharp teeth or claws.”
No crocodile or tortoise jaws.
“It must not swim or crawl or fly.”
Meet my pet rock Saul. Sigh.