October 1-7, 2001: Will Roby, Rachelle Markley and Corey Mesler


week of October 1-7, 2001

This week presenting the winners of the
2001 (fourth annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

Will Roby
Rachelle Markley
Corey Mesler

click here for submission guidelines

Will Roby

Bio (auto)

My name is Will I live in Southeast Texas, and somehow I continue to write poetry

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Will Roby and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

first place winner
Poetry Super Highway
2001 Poetry Contest

Hunting the Clay

Peeling open the biscuit package, I hold
a spoon like a great weight Does this can
know what’s coming? I’ve just turned nine
with fragile shoulders and new tennis shoes
My brothers drink coffee with Dad, sugar it to hell
and pretend to enjoy I take milk, an ice cube,
and make stirring songs Mom folds the corners
of each bedsheet “Only shoot the skeet “

The shotguns are clean : we did it with brushes
in the garage The music was a snare drum oiled
and whisked For a week, my shoes will crunch
on filings
This is the Saturday we shoot Once a month, zippered cases, bright
shells, and four faces truck into the pine
smell of East Texas morning Cows eat less than a mile
from our targets “Be careful
not to wave the gun too far “

Each brother , older, has his own weapon I am left
to unzip, unwrap, and set up the disks Crouched behind the cardboard and skeet
I finger the lever Springs play like pianos
“Ready?” A roach teases the tip of
my right foot, my father coaches me
through the cinderblocks to “wait
for the response, and get ready “
John, the brother with facial hair,
mutters agreement I raise my foot
to crush the bug
One drop of his sweat falls, colors the gunmetal
with a puddle, the sheen of oil seperating from salt
water I see it shine across the field The skeet launch hums, ready His barrel
points at the sun
I pull, shout, and stomp the roach I am preaching
to the field from my bunk as the orange dove takes
springs popping For three breaths the target
hangs My laces frame the bug corpse Each of John’s barrels blast.

Rachelle Markley

Bio (auto)

My name is Rachelle Markley I live, work and write in the middle of the urban desert of Phoenix, Arizona I am currently enrolled in the creative writing program at Phoenix College I recently won an honorable mention in the Maricopa Community Colleges 2000-01 Creative Writing Competition for my poem When Women are Invisible.

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Rachelle Markley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

second place winner
Poetry Super Highway
2001 Poetry Contest

Waiting in a Mexican Restaurant:
Considering Caravaggio

Every time I raise my head I see the man
at the end of the bar lower his own
Alone at this table, I take up too little space He could be every man I’ve ever known
or none of them, and for a second
I wonder at the feel of his hair, 
and I meet his gaze with determination
forming on my face
Then he looks back up at the television
where a man in a blue suit speaks without sound
before a false blue city

I read somewhere that Caravaggio
never used blue in his paintings
But I found it, the deepest of blue,
hidden in the black robes of St Catherine And her finger rests against the rapier Steel imagines itself to be a cold icy blue
And I am thinking again of Judith It is the same face after all,
with her sword and a handful of his hair, 
which must be so moist and sticky by now
And poor Holofernes might think he is still dreaming
as he tries to meet her gaze
As he finds himself slipping
back and back
screaming without any sound
And there is no blue to be found
And on her face the determination
to finish what she has started
even though she has not yet found the bone
or maybe even though she has
I wonder at the feel of that hair
and the taste of blood in the throat
that always comes with the smell of it
The truth is that I want to know
how he got her to look like that
long enough to stop time
She must have been thinking of one of the men
or all of them in some alley with her skirt up, 
held in her moist hand
and the smell of her own blood
mixing with the cold night air
Or maybe it was just the idea of it,
thinking she could really do it Maybe that was enough
And when I raise my head again
the man at the end of the bar is gone
A small Mexican woman
with a single bottle of beer on a tray
passes under the television, which still holds the man
in the blue suit talking to no one, but now
there is only black behind him.

Corey Mesler

Bio (auto)

I’ve been a book reviewer (for The Commercial Appeal, BookPage, The Memphis Flyer, Brightleaf), motion picture script doctor, fiction editor (for Ion Books/raccoon), university press sales rep, grant committee judge (for The Oregon Arts Council), father and son Last year I won first place in the Mid-South Pro Chapter Journalism Awards for Feature Writing With my wife, I am own Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (125 years) and best independent bookstores.

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Corey Mesler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

third place winner
Poetry Super Highway
2001 Poetry Contest

Eden Sequence



We will tell the story of Adam
without embellishment,
just as if we were part of the tale

Marvin Bell

Adam wakes like a lion,
you know, the king
of beasts Thereís a woman
beside him She has
a certain shape to her
which pleases Adam but
confuses him, too Welcome to my garden,
Adam tries The woman
opens her legs
and Adam is a goner This is the first story You
may repeat it often.


Chin-Chin in Eden

Adam said to Eve,
“That swollen belly of yours,
what can I make of it?
Have you eaten already of
the forbidden fruit?”
Eve looked at Adam with
serpentine eyes “Foolish man,” she said “You are the father of all the
absurdities to come “
Adam walked into a quieter
part of the garden, his
head full of clouds, his
heart full of a rubbery chemistry.



The main character, the
viper, spent a lot of time
polishing apples in his
tree He was reminded of
the old joke about the
boy selling fruit for
$10,000 a piece When
questioned he replied,
“I only have to sell one “


Cain’s Dilemma

Cain was a man suffering from,
as Robert Bly would say, too little father Adam was aloof, wandering the
garden, lost in cloud cuckooland And, often there were violent rows
with Eve about ridiculous things, the name
of this or that flower or that strange
beast Cain looked around and found
himself a lonely man, a man who
wanted to leave a mark His idea was this:
he wanted to be the first something.


Eve, Eventually

In the garden
Eve walked around, disconsolate She had no one
really to relate to,
her husband was a bastard, a
solitary man Then when
everything went bad she felt
like she took a bad rap There was no justice In her womb were worms Banished, they
still had to create a world.

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