September 29-October 5, 2003: P.J. Nights, John Poch and Marc Awodey

week of September 29-October 5, 2003

This week presenting the winners of the
2003 (sixth annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

see the complete contest details here

PJ Nights
John Poch
Marc Awodey

click here for submission guidelines

PJ Nights

Bio (auto)

P.J Nights lives in Brunswick, Maine She teaches physics and astronomy further inland, and is the senior poetry editor of MiPo Her poetry appears in print in Animus, Penumbra, the 2002 Slow Trains Anthology and the textbook, Language of Prejudice
Her works have been published on the web at Apples & Oranges, Steel Point Quarterly, The Green Tricycle, Erotica Readers & Writers Association, Slow Trains, CleanSheets, The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal, MiPo, LotusBlooms, the muse apprentice guild, Lingerings, Mind Caviar,  Amoret, the Emerald Collection, Ophelia’s Muse, Tasha Klein’s Gallery, Hoot Island, Writer’s Hood, Tryst, La Rosa Blanca, MiPo Print, and Erosha Her poetry has been recognized by the IPBC, NPAC and the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll She was chosen as the Poet Laureate for the Spring ’02 edition of Amoret’s Emerald Collection
She won first place in this year’s contest.

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by P.J Nights and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

three parts wormwood, one part Solomon’s Seal

it starts with one word
and then I find myself adding
all the accoutrements

.to sculpt a space
.where you might appear

to chorizo, I scramble in some eggs
over a can of sterno
c’mon, john, look! my swiss army knife
has a spork and a toothpick!

.the once-empty sleeping bag
.rises and falls with your snores

yellow needs more definition
you aren’t the type to materialize
saint-like in a solar flare, 
no special glasses needed
or pinholes to peep through

but rub it to butter-yes!
the burnished blonde wood
of a vintage Guild

.and your voice curls
.in the nest of my belly

manias-addictions, obsessions
I’ve the pen, the perfect nib, 
the blackest of India inks
with which to write yours down

on a square of paper
that I fold upon itself nine times
(no more creases possible
in such a shape)
to slip beneath my mattress

.where you’ll leave your mark,
.a purple bruise on my spine

invocation-incense burned
in a waning moon, my lips around
that first embryonic word

.one of yours

John Poch


John Poch (Lubbock, Texas) earned an M.F.A in Poetry from the University of Florida and a Ph.D in English from the University of North Texas. He was the Colgate University Creative Writing Fellow from 2000-2001 and now is a member of the creative writing faculty at Texas Tech University. His chapbook of fifteen sonnets, In Defense of the Fall, was published by Trilobite Press in 2000 He won The Nation/Discovery Prize in 1998
John won second place in this year’s contest

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by John Poch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why I Just Dropped the Nature Bouquet

Like a cocoon full of its writhing moth, 
at the park’s edge, lying beneath a tree
a couple struggles almost secretly
within the thin white sheet they have brought
Daylight still and nearly home from my walk
around this summer-baked Lubbock lake
bubbling with methane gas or maybe
catfish gasps, I am close enough to see
she is on top In the fingers of one hand
I hold what I’ve found: a dove feather, 
several sprigs of curly willow And
a butterfly wing Nothing in the other
She must think me strange She sees
I see Where are the police,
neither of us will say She softly sighs
something to the man below, but he won’t
look over He is hardly there, his eyes
must be rolled back so far in his mind
dissolving like pills In assent, 
he only nods he mustn’t, for a moment,
move or breathe Silly me, I want
to comfort her I am close enough to tell
that two wisps of her hair are falling spent
over them like long dark tassels of a veil
We are all close to something here
For a moment, I roll my eyes upward
like him, but not as deep into the sky They are waiting for me to disappear
I am looking away, but I can’t look away
Who looks away at the end of the world?

Marc Awodey


Marc Awodey writes poetry full-time His work has appeared worldwide in a number of publications, including Humanitas, Writer’s Journal, Plainsong, Portland Review, Lexicon, and Midwest Poetry Review His first collection of poetry, Telegrams from the Psych Ward and Other Poems, was published in 2002 Awodey, who holds an M.F.A from Cranbrook Academy of Art, is also an award-winning art critic, an accomplished visual artist, and the 2000 Poetry Slam Nationals “head to head” Haiku Champion He lives in Burlington, Vermont, with his family Marc’s third place winning poem is a section of his book NEW YORK a haibun journey

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Marc Awodey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Numb Flesh

         virgins stalk dumbo
dressed in black like Ezra Pound
before  his  capture

 Talented, abused people His eyes could not meet
any other eyes  David muttered
  dull              obscenities
upon seeing a few exposed boards
of hardwood floor smothered
under green   linoleum There are many talented people                          Pickled eggs
 in a gallon jar  A table cloth A greasy vinyl table cloth A scab of dried ketchup      reddish brown
and cracked  rots  on a greasy vinyl  table cloth         Rhymes like raw colors danced
an odd little jig behind his eyes   Moor Door Whore Deplore Ignore           Semaphore-  he grinned  over Semaphore It reminded him of boats
in distress, and that he was still wearing
his pea coat He had once watched a gutted cabin cruiser
              get way hauled away
onto a hill of slime- at the city dump
  sunk- stabbed in the back
  by a guy in Oakley sunglasses,
and a filthy captain’s hat
acting like he was      nervous
about disposing of a fiberglass boat that way    as seagulls circled and laughed The dump in high summer   
has an indescribable    fetor    An unwashable  stench     It just needs to wear off
           over    time
Jim Morrison yowls
don’t you love her madly
            as    the glitter ball
john Berryman                         
growled     at a wide-eyed
sophomore class-   you will never know
the old navigator would soon hoist sail
farewells to the wind  
fly     for  the edge
           to savor
the syntax of obscurity’s
blank verse   sonnet

in the night
manumit these
let me be-     

dumbo, dumbo, drum
   in and out the artists go
     waxed before they wane
frayed sheaf of vanities
my advantage       
for Waskow-
maybe  you   should move!
 the artists carp
   of cold lofts
i’ve survived              on    ice
twisting through gutters
dumbo-  my mind
       paris green
soon-    erasure marks

i wish haiku were fiction
i’d give a
 for it to be so

it’s an evil journey-
   no eurydice- why go?
without beatrice
   i’m  lost
cock    fights
don’t you love her
joey heaves   

let’s call it  haibun
shoot my insulin-   weaving
 men’s room
        no Stanhope

in the trash
diabetics should not drink-
let’s call this   eating
  and then
boston after the reading-
let’s call that                   talking

where has Waskow gone?
him and grad school Eric
dumbo studios-
two hours this dive
stuck-  a pinned down frog
on york street  
spinning     haiku   tops

wrinkled leaves
kid artists- jabber     walking
hearts quick,  hearts tranquil
on the rocks
good friday
york street lights
          glow redder
dumbo grows fatter
o  k
stranded here-
got no keys
into brooklyn
can’t read subway maps

fatalistic  plan
it’s like playing
     a tabla
  how my fingers tap
squeezing new york ticks
maybe we’ll see something
  we escape the lips    
my harmonica
it’s back home-  snow entombs
i’d   play it  here

dumbo-     lofty met-
rip the F from MFA
  i should warn Eric
i should
         cast   this   out-
a message in a coke can
      drifts down
lake champlain

dumbo dumb     foul     play
disgust marauds
my griege gut    no-
      this ain’t haiku
Kerouac        i think
seeing Issa-
hallucinated his haiku

now   joey    goes    home
my crisscrossed vision cannot
quite   make out my home
love    fear     loss
   home      sea
nyc   brooklyn  boston
  vermont   met   dumbo

some ulla-lulla-
borrowed blanket
         for guinness
all down the

everyday- i  guess poorly
place,  win,        or show?
dumbo chum      dumber-
how come
you don’t teach?
i only know
        confer cigarettes
Ulysses- green puffs
sailing  through my spectacles
blindly       wandering
dumbo- you hammer
thanks for showing me
this grin
       a fine evening
york street-   thanks
this helmet fits just fine
 -makes    the welkin

on his beat boots
 camels became parliaments
       while night
slaughtered him

twenty bucks-
greek town,
       new york   
has a thousand eyes
i only see lines
-bottles in lines
-rest room lines
can’t unencrypt them
   where is Cezanne?
where are the pigeons
i didn’t feed at the met?
   the kids   double   up
   to shade  couple,  and
connect  dots  with soft
   five      marlboros-
Giotto’s angels roll
into purgatory
new artists appear
sir, can i have this seat?
i say-
                  help yourself
he smiles, nods his head
thinks it’s a figure of speech-
  i     near      psychosis
poems all amplified
the long grin- the figures
of speech
budweiser is swill
one blue match
from the Stanhope
game shows from                 hades
    foreign tongue-
de paroles vacante
       et  ce corps
         symbolists grope-
drunken bastards- hash eaters
         stillborn in a jar
misshapen   haiku
this poem will only fail
when it    is     published
  get me  out of     here     
dumbo- acronyms
abound  like     no
           don’t say it
      it’s getting too tight
17 gaunt syllables

the    butcher                splatters

 and our roman heads!
 weeping for red tuscany
 what could i have done?

Eric- you must smoke!
what good is grad school if you don’t
yes-    smoke   like a      ham
blitter dall gumbo
my fear and dear vermont
 i will tumble there
salons  of  boston!

i will come and read to you
of paris          green bronze   
where the fuck              Waskow?  
-how can i illuminate
chained to a      damned stone?
artists leave
artists arrive
from frozen york street-
they crave the warm seats       i lust haiku truth
how few books you really sold
how few oil paintings
how few marlboros
is that box really crush proof
is budweiser      gall
     must gold   be so foul

is   alle kunst ist lokal
for real? if so why?
             why bother going?
to new york city    ever?
shun Cezanne?  haiku?

Dante!      Orpheus!
guide my ambergris to light
     Ulysses- your bow

where in hell     
i can dig no deeper here
it beats
it’s still warm
is this not enough?
must i throw it on the bar
      drag it

through the snow?

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