July 22-28, 2013: Lisette Alonso, Maggie Westland and William Doreski

Lisette Alonso, Maggie Westland and William Doreski

(the judges of the 2013 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest)

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Lisette Alonso

Bio (auto)

Lisette Alonso has not yet mastered the art of bio writing. She is a native of south Florida who loves the warm waters of the Atlantic but hates beach sand. She spends quite a big of time fretting about her children, the future, and any combination thereof. She used to worry about the end of the world, but feels that’s been overdone. She is honored to have been invited to judge this year’s contest.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Lisette Alonso and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Teeny Bopper

The 7-Eleven marked the corner
of 26th Street and Lejeune Road.
During August’s onslaught of heat,
we used to sprint across the avenue
for Slurpees and Tiger Beat magazines.
If the pages contained words, we didn’t
read them, just plucked out glossy
images of boys with thick hair
or men who played boys on TV.
Then tacked them to our walls
stucco, plaster, cement block.
We made love to their images
with words and sighs and sweaty palms.
Careful not to tear the delicate folds
in that quartered center pinup.
This was before we knew real sex,
only the language of reproduction
vagina vulva vas deferens
pencil diagrams that showed
a uterus like a clenched fist,
fallopian tubes with curling fingers
cradling ovaries smooth as chicken eggs.
But beneath that a subtle throbbing ache
we didn’t have the words to describe,
instead we dreamed of becoming
wives with famous last names,
hoarding lunch money for the next
issue and orchestrating elaborate
futures where we would present
our adult selves to these men
and in the flesh they would finally see us.

Ode to a Fighting Fish

You were a docile prisoner,
the fight in you abandoned
to a Malaysian rice paddy
along with the bloodworm
and mosquito larvae,
brine shrimp and daphnia.

Maybe it’s the Pisces in me
that loved your little circles,
the tastes of surface air
as if testing the atmosphere
before cannonballing
from your crystal clink.

I found you suspended
mid bowl, gills collapsed
you appeared poised
to take that final leap,
face turned toward the rim
fins combed back
like mermaid hair.

In those last dreams,
I imagine you sprouted legs,
planted newly blossomed feet
across my end table,
trailing water and leaving
incomprehensible prints
in the dust.

Body cradled in a net,
I bear your slight weight,
deposit you in a dimple
at the base of an areca palm.
Inside I search the bowl
for ghost ripples,
then in the still water
my own face.

Maggie Westland

Bio (auto)

Maggie Westland writes in prismatic perspectives:  physician, scientist, woman, traveler. A lover of all things verbally musical, she especially enjoys poetry as performance.  Her
poetry has been published in anthologies including If We Dance, Daybreak, and Above Us Only Sky, as well as in British and American literary magazines, both on-line and in print.
Her words can be heard on DVDs and pod-casts.  In 2012 Maggie received 3rd prize in the
Poetry Super Highway contest and 1st place in the City of Ventura’s Art Tales ekphrastic poetry competition. A featured reader at various venues in Southern California, Maggie can also be found on You-Tube.  Google Maggie Westland to find more of her poems or check her website at www.maggiewestland.com

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Maggie Westland and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Were houses small or trees more tall
alive with leaf sprung like a song.

Beside the roof outside my room
a peach reached up for me to groom.

I climbed through window frame to top
of shingled porch to edge of drop.

My own sweet pick of ripe ripe fruit
mine for the grab or spear with tooth.

The best of eating free to raid
when young and hungry, unafraid.


Mrs. Eifler paid me well
for taking on an up-ward climb.

My job to pick the cheery fruit
that grew too high for her old limbs.

Bow legged, yet both lithe and quick
with rattan basket hung from wrist

tart jewels gathered from the crown
were mine if basket-fulls came down.

I took her challenge every June
ate my way up to tree top’s bloom.

William Doreski

Bio (auto)

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent books of poetry are City of Palms and June Snow Dance, both 2012. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Atlanta Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, and Natural Bridge.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by William Doreski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The North Corner

Water seeps in the north corner,
snowmelt after a heavy rain.
For twenty years the sump pump

handled the mess, but now the flood
has detoured to the far side
of the basement, where a slope

lets it pool. Wet-dry vacuum,
mop and bucket, a trash barrel
with a submersible pump, long hose

to the furthest reach of the yard.
Too old for this drama, I slump
at my desk and hope a freeze

defers the worst for a week or two,
leaving me space to meditate.
The rain continues a morbid

telegraphy. I can’t read it,
have never mastered the code.
Maybe if I fry an egg or two

the sizzle of the pan will ward off
the swamp-dark threatening. Daylight
has yet to rise from the snow-mush.

Maybe it won’t. Maybe the dark
will extend its undulations deep
into landscapes still unchallenged

and drape their carcasses over me
in a slur of muck and gravel.
The flood rises in utter silence

until the chortle of the sump pump
reminds me that under everything
in the darkest of strata something

still evolves, dividing cells
with digital simplicity,
expecting soon to compete.

Depicting Your Ghost

My painting of you sprawled naked
on your slat-back wooden chaise longue
has excited much attention
at the biennial salon.
You may not recognize yourself,
white against the peeling white slats.
I’ve depicted not exactly you
but your ghost. That’s why the canvas
looks blank, although I expended
several gallons of house paint
and wore out a couple of brushes.

Still, the judges knew it was you
because they’ve imagined you naked
so often in the primal moments
of dream, those that occur moments
before dawn when the rain peters out
and the sky blushes with energy.
I see you’ve dragged your husband here
to boast of the impact your portrait,
full-length in its creepy shimmer,
has made on the critics and the crowd.
You didn’t believe you had a ghost,
but now that you see it embossed
in many layers of plain white paint
you apprehend the depth of it.

Of course your ghost is unclothed.
All spirits go fresh into spaces
geometry can’t describe. Posing
yours lounging on the chaise longue
took much artistic liberty,
but I admire that antique bit
of furniture. Maybe one day
in a slapstick gesture it will fold
you up and squeeze the ghost from you,
and then you’ll see for yourself
how sensual such vapor can be.

Shoe Tree

Every time I pass this tree
a ladies’ shoe falls from it
and flops on the grass. Always
the same or same style shoe,
a black low-heeled pump bearing
a wee brass ribbon on the toe.
I’m afraid to collect or even
touch the shoe, so have never
brought a sample to the police
to urge them to investigate
this shoe-tossing tree. The woman
who owns this property rules
the town select board. She claims
four hundred and fifty acres
of stony mountain slope braced
against a stoic but pliant sky.
This isn’t her shoe. She wears only
athletic shoes with gaudy
plastic trim. Not that she moves
quickly, being in her eighties,
but chooses comfort over fashion.
The tree must be growing shoes
the way honey locusts grow
rusty banana-shaped seedpods.
Maybe it’s a locust mutated
by radiation blown from Japan.
Maybe it just doesn’t like me,
and prefers this subtle expression
rather than dropping a branch.
When I pass I’m tempted to run,
the shoe-flop on grass sinister
as the whisper of a killer.
But the tree, when I gaze up
into its sunny umbra, presumes
its own innocence, a phoebe
tweaking the light with the creak
of its song, a squirrel peering down
with an elf-look I can’t challenge.

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