Born in 1982, Amber Decker has been many things besides a poet– a sales girl, a rodeo princess, a security guard, and a warehouse worker to name just a few. These days, Amber lives in West Virginia and spends her free time reading fantasy novels, playing video games, traveling and attending college. She does the “poet thing” semi-regularly on her blog: http://roughverse.wordpress.com, and she’s beyond excited to have the opportunity to help judge this year’s Poetry Super Highway poetry contest.
The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Amber Decker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Trick Or Treat
there is a prayer scrawled on rice paper
in the bottom of a bowl that sits
on the lighted porch of a house
whose residents take themselves and the devil
we have no use for their prayers
we have come in robes and bed sheets
and plastic masks with hungry mouths
and a demonic lust for jawbreakers
although I may have seen the Virgin Mary
or Jesus in the blood of the eggs
we sacrificed on the altar
of their front door
(originally appeared in decomP Magazine, October 2007)
you boarded a plane to Las Vegas,
bound for a supporting role in a wedding
you did not believe had anything to do with love
or with the blessings of any sort of god.
Earlier, we’d made love on an old mattress
on the floor of your best friend’s apartment,
the hard shell of your suitcase banging
into my knee, your mouth wet
with the harsh scrape of my name.
There was little romance in it,
only the frenzy unleashed
in the face of the not-knowing,
the possibility of unhappy endings, cutthroat desire.
I do not love you. Or, rather, I love you
as I would love a deck of cards
while waiting for a train or a bus. You are
something to keep my mind and hands busy.
You are safe, predictable,
blond and vanilla as a Playboy centerfold.
Our goodbyes fly across a crowded room
like small white birds.
At the ticket counter,
you kissed me with lips smooth as Carey Grant.
In the car, the radio played songs to name
every sort of love that does not bloom
in my heart for you, and the long white lines of the road,
like dark-haired college boys
with bodies pale as ghosts,
took me home to bed.
Brenda Levy Tate
Brenda Levy Tate lives in southwestern Nova Scotia on the banks of the Tusket River, with three cats and a dog – all adopted from shelters. Every morning she walks her camera through her gardens to the shore, hoping to capture both the familiar and the unexpected – an eagle drowning a loon, a fern spangled with dew, two fishermen drifting on the current. As a poet, she tries to do likewise, turning from visual images to verbal translation of her own perceptions. She has published three collections, the latest being Wingflash from Pink Petticoat Press (2011) and is working on a fourth that combines both poetry and photography. Her work has frequently appeared among the winners of IBPC poetry competitions and she was named by IBPC as one of its top ten poets of the decade ending in 2010. Brenda has also received several Pushcart nominations. This is her third go-round as judge of the PSH contest.
The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Brenda Levy Tate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I shape this poem – a continent
crowded with words, refugees
in some internment camp. Tiers
of wire keep them from touching
each other. The space outside
races into dunes, where a lonely
hawk scours the steel air, finds
nothing. He cannot eat children,
racked arms, melting-moon eyes,
unpalatable even in his need.
For every cramped and broken
line, another voice diminishes.
Mothers with huge bellies, babies
much the same, all pass under
my fingers. Keys clack and thud,
skeletal falling-downs. I stumble
over a turn, wince at my cut sole.
The end has arrived like a dust sun,
plunging among the hills. I can lay
no further tributes here, before
these unmarked graves. My hands
print the glass as I stare through,
outlines of bones – mine or theirs,
it is impossible to distinguish now.
The dead are buried in white paper.
Their only names are what I invent.
Tern, Tern, Tern
The glacier that left her this beach
(twelve thousand cold years gone)
made no plans for sanderlings
or the waver of abandoned lives.
Every stone shines under the morning
and foamwater pulses up, back, up – over
its highest ridge from yesterday.
Rockweed wrack, woman-wreck.
Arctic migrants loop and scoop the sky.
They scythe toward her, then lift
easy – shrugging the magnet’s pull.
She can never manage half so well.
The fog sneaks in, merciful to the one
who wears her sorrow like a red shirt.
It will surely darken to match the millennia,
fade by the coming of the next great ice.
But meanwhile, the seabirds swing their pale
blades. She sidles through mist – crabwise,
tender. At the harvest, she begs, let me fall
and die beneath sharp,
(from Wingflash, by Brenda Levy Tate, Pink Petticoat Press 2011)
Buxton Wells lives in Memphis, Tennessee. He has published online with Umbrella,Poetry Super Highway, carte blanche and others.
The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Buxton Wells and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Zeroth Year
He stared and stared in the camera well,
the crimson carpet flooded the sunken stage.
And there, in the mist of peoples,
in the auditorium, the heart he’d dragged
and dropped out of time in his throat
was caught, a river mouth choked
on its own drift—gorged in winter,
hysterical in flood.
He jumped from the railing, flattened out
and hit the mudbank square,
missing the water. His laid-open mouth,
his heart above the head of the passes
counted his blessings backwards
in river miles.
He would’ve grounded, topped around
before he drifted far.
A Line of Sight
On I-40 west of Amarillo, westbound,
far from home, you glance off to the right
and see all the way to Saskatchewan,
somewhere north of Nebraska. Along this
meridian a tourist could stand and relieve
himself on his way to see gorgeous scenery,
even the badlands—looking for some bluish
hump of mountain range, some redrock
escarpment in Utah, low water in Lake Powell,
power lines to Phoenix and L.A., Carmel
by the perfectly pacific rime of the ocean’s
edge, part of one of the ribbons of that
continuity, like a tearaway strip on a mailer,
opening to a continent, or one of a thousand
islands, opened to the main the prosaic bulk
of the interior, mountains and flats, like this
stretch just west of Amarillo, before the blue
mesas appear on the western horizon and the
trip becomes visually ‘eventful’, while the
sphere would resume its curvature and its
difficult music, a pale yellow describing
the arc from here to Saskatoon. You might
call a halt along this line before you strike out
west and reach the sea, where land ends and
the rock-spirit begins, where its adherents,
being privileged like towers to stand and
stare, take up towering as an avocation.
Along this line a pilgrimage would spoil.
Here the colonizer and hater of settlements
are one man—tall hawker, tender of house
and garden, founder of the ocean view.