October 17-23, 2011: Amber Decker, Brenda Levy Tate and Buxton Wells

week of October 10 – 16, 2011

This week presenting the winners of the
2011 (14th annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

Amber Decker
Brenda Levy Tate

Buxton Wells

click here.for submission guidelines

Amber Decker

Bio (auto)

Amber Decker, from Hedgesville, West Virginia, was the first place winner in the 2011 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by Amber Decker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Radio Silence

I have told you what I can, nuzzled your poor old wounds into
something manageable. I have collided with the blasted desert
and sat with you in the rain while you screamed. You tell me
you left your brother alone in that horrible place to die.
I tell you that even a lame horse will forgive and forgive, shiver
into and lick the sugared palm until the bullet comes.
The animal in you smells the storm and runs
for higher ground. You want someone
who is easy to forgive, so you give me roses and tell me
how I look like your wife, shirt wet and stuck
to my breasts, my dark hair shaped
into darker ringlets by the rain‘s small hands. Bravo.
When you came home, she called you broken and slammed the door
sudden as a gunshot. The neighbors heard it all,
pretended otherwise. Fat raindrops drummed away
at the slanted metal roof. In the morning, you found
a section of gutter pulled loose from the house, the flooded rose garden.
Your mind is a shattered leg you cannot stand on.
I am not your wife, and all I can give you are stories
from books and small words now and then like sugar cubes.
Sinatra sings from the television in the parlor with your brother’s voice;
Ginger Rogers dances black and white in your wife’s high heels.
The stars look down from space, little daggers
aimed straight at your panting heart. The night
will do what I cannot.

Brenda Levy Tate

Bio (auto)

Brenda Levy Tate, from Tusket, Nova Scotia, Canada won 2nd place in the 2011 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. She placed 3rd in the 2009 PSH Poetry contest (with a completely different set of judges) and also served as a judge of our 2006 and 2010 Poetry Contests.

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by R.J. Merritt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I have a feeling that there is just about one more good flight
left in my system, and I hope this trip is it. – Amelia Earhart

There is no more flight left – not even a drowning.
I have prayed to follow the albatross, who never lands
on earth but passes alone in the washed currents
where not even God bothers to look. But I’m no albatross –

merely a weka, cursed with uneasy pins that fail to rise.
The sun has set at noon, an illusion without mercy.
We starve for lack of time, but this is our inheritance,
from wet babies to wrecks in steel bed-frames.

A white gull swoops low, stretches like a scythe.
His round eyes glimmer; perhaps they reflect this
twisted scarf of a woman, pale with thirst and sand.
His wings won’t carry me when I am finished here.

My sad companion has faded among the tree shadows,
yesterday I think – perhaps before. He left his water jar
beside the fire-circle, where matches and stories flared
for awhile, then sputtered out. The last light is gone now.

I have no watch, no hours tied around my hair like bandages.
The bird and I both understand there is small distinction
between this moment and the next one. That it is no different
to have died this morning or ten thousand years ago.

There’s the same unknowing; the same empty braincase
that rolls around the beach until it stops with eye-holes fixed
on nothing much. Just endless turquoise I don’t see anymore,
and a smoke-smudge hanging on the curve of the world.

The gull laughs with accidental cruelty. A toothpaste-dollop
drops at my right elbow. Night of the Guano, I mutter. Great title
for my book, if I live to write one. But that might be hard,
as I have broken two fingers. They’ll detach themselves

in the endless winds that clean all corpses here – fish, seals,
rays, turtles. Me too, I suppose. I want to be buried whole, but
there’s this new matter of phalanxes marching over the dunes.
An albatross wouldn’t care about that. My white bird might

(he could pick me to pieces, bit by bit). He’s probably carnivorous;
we all are, under the sweet milk of our skins. Anyone – you, me –
would steal a finger when nobody’s watching. Except God, who
keeps his distance as I sleep. Tomorrow I will surprise Him,

awaken as Electra, maimed and gorgeous. Stroll past tide
pools where my teeth shine in mirrors, down to the sea.
Our Lady of the White Bird, crowned with foam. But Lord,
let me keep my hands. Leave me easier to reassemble.

Buxton Wells

Bio (auto)

Buxton Wells from Memphis, Tennessee won 3rd place in this year’s poetry contest.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Buxton Wells and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


If you should place the word
poetry in a poem, and that poem would be a poem,
then you should empty it of birds.

If they are in fact the vestiges of the dinosaur
then their lumberings have accelerated, their rapacity
undiminished, their successes multiplied.
Ineffable is a term of exaggeration.

My son—too young for Alfred Hitchcock then—
watched the birds in their thousands gather, to terrorize
and kill, first the people, then the suspense, and then
the picture, and was inconsolable.

In real life, they appear instantly, and carpet the lawn,
like little tyrants hopping in the grass, having a time—
or having no time, and slaves to that.
And this, I suppose, is living.

If they are among the species of Eternity,
we would study the ornithology, and the bird-superiority
of our kind. We would waste no time.


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