Last month’s winners of the monthly Cape Cod Times Poetry Contest.
Seth García lives in Barnstable and is an MFA candidate at the University of New Mexico.
Inspiration poem: This poem was born out of a summer spent at home during the pandemic practicing acceptance and stillness. I wanted to pay deeper attention to memory, to how the mind retains what isn’t there, either because an event has passed or because a detail isn’t easily seen.
Study brush stroke and memory
By Seth Garcia
I woke up struggling to accept all the transient setup,
certain that the plums at home must still be filed in the early morning light; brush strokes
dream exit. The progress I once called results is slow.
How do we capture the ground
garnet dust mixed with mud on my hand, memory of
the heather hen in winter—the snow resting on a forgotten statue.
The way she called him once inexorable, how her laughter continued
from another room and even
in the street.
She was here with me
until a moment ago.
Detail of light in the dew. Returns to the old life
from which I once struggled to free myself.
One day, I swear, no one will be able to tell my subject
of its matter – the blood of the oil, the pearl of the star.
I continue even after I stop listening.
Orléans is the home of Ginia Pati; her poetry has been represented by WCAI, WOMR, chapbooks/anthologies and the Cape Cod Cultural Center.
Inspiration: Although 500 million years old, each perfect chamber of the nautilus is a pearly fragility, resistant to ocean depths that man has never reached. The nautilus shell near me offers wisdom every day; simply awaken and begin with one breath, in unison with all living beings…move through oceans of sorrow or joy, one breath at a time, consciously building to create one’s place in this world.
By Ginia Pati
Iridescent fragility every chamber of nautilus
lulled under the intensity of my fear the
trembling of my outstretched hands receiving
lifting it to the caressing stream of light
the infinite curve of its opulent hull
spiral in the secret depths of the ocean.
Slowly my fingers trace like on the lips of a lover
hovering awake at the slightest breath of life
the tiny chamber of its own original breath
suspended in only four chambers at birth
cold depths destined to live for decades
Each breath pushes its passage through the columns of water
from the indigo caverns to the dazzling sunlight above
each breath slowly builds a new chamber on top of the last
a repeating pattern predicting which one to follow
fragile deployment in a perfect Fibonacci sequence
breathtaking logarithmic spiral.
Your breath your human breath granted at birth
also brings life to every room you choose to build
passages from the darkest depths to living joys.
Brewster resident Lee Roscoe is an award-winning playwright and journalist, author of “Impossible?” and “The Mooncusser’s Tale”, as well as “Dreaming Monomoy’s Past, Walking its Present”.
Inspiration: First blizzard extinguished a few winters ago. Feeling isolated, enveloped by both time and the past, before the colonizers arrived on the (indigenous) lands and even before there were (indigenous people). Maybe just owls. And we may come back to that. A kind of enchanted and bewitching ghost dance for rebirth.
By Lee Roscoe
The trees lengthen, frail in the flying winds; beating against the pale snow.
Like a disease of misfortune
the gale; so strong that every black, frozen
white branch under his proclamations, torched
and crack of whiteness, with diamond and silver, rare elements,
discoveries of the brilliance itself, planetary, holding us back:
two frequencies, a sound, a light or its absence, twinned.
Dreaming of how to live and with whom in relation to what
Safe in shelter as the afterlife moves,
I land gently like the owl in its cloud of feathers, curled up on itself,
and autonomous. Yellow eyes turn calmly, protective
(see through a storm that was a Lear of rage hour after hour
making the world a scene of snow,
throwing himself at all the windows, obliterating the houses,
riding a white tide on the ground, moving the world we know)
I wonder where the other naked birds went in there.
Here in whitewood New England
Ancient in the tallow light before there was America
The moon floats behind my back like a flame.
The wind dries the bones of the night.
Rosemary Dunn Moeller lives in Hyannis. She writes to connect with others, to reflect on nature, and to understand the people in her world.
Inspiration: She was visiting her daughter who was about to give birth to a grandson when she found herself playing with the turntable on the dining room table her father had made six decades earlier.
Lazy Susan teetering in my life
By Rosemary Dunn Moeller
Dad carved the cutting board out of
12″ round maple hoop, riveted
small round of grooved wood, full of
ball bearings. I looked, reaching up
see above his work table. mom painted
green maple leaves, like our trees
front, on the edge. He sat and turned
on our table with condiments in the 50s at
70s. I had it in the 80s, our daughter
taken in the 00s. It wobbles more, like
earth seasons, lunar orbits. Same
ball bearings hitting metallic sounds.
He outlived my parents, maybe me.
Newly shiny, I watched mama paint the redhead
leaf veins with a three-bristle brush.
The Rogue Literary Society has published Barton Allen’s most recent collection. He lives in Harwich and Nashville.
Inspiration: “Penetralium”, my deepest sanctuary, arrived after seasons along Pleasant Bay, south of Orleans. From where I woke up, the sun rose just off or above the cliffs and shoals of Strong Island. Over the years – in the water, on boats, countless steps on sandbars, through the gritty work in the dirt of our seaside gardens, all amidst the beauty of the outdoors, and yet inside the love of troubled relationships – came words.
By Barton Allen
Waking up early in the hours, going green
Flare-up, on the edge of Pleasant Bay, just like the sun
Crests. Clair’s hips start –
No, his salty sleep. An empty, lip-stained water glass
And bright, this thirsty morning. A breath,
Crisp, as the steps of this dance begin themselves,
As rhythms with intention guide. Closer,
His skin is boned in the dark. Tides, summer,
My mooring chain. Soon the beach
I have to hang out before winter
And his fresh starter arrives. Or bulbs
Now I’m squirming in this bag that I’m cracking
Open to the passage on the patio. Strange clicks
She sends in the backyard, knockin’
Lilac trunks, forcing flowering. Changing colors
Throughout the minor day: yellow noon aloma
Bursts through the iced tea. Light flushed, suddenly,
Blues when you touch on the nuances. Those nap fears
With jobs to do, our lives not difficult,
But uncomfortable. Work the nourished regions. Me by storm
After claiming what is planted. Bulbs
Hide the puzzles, and no one
But no one can be sure. When she crushes the leaves
I tell you it is. Later, my God! Between.
Stay in my chair, nestling
Something terrible and being happy, secretly,
That the reckless beetles had begun
On the side closest to our garden.
Send a poem
Here’s how to send us your work:
Submit one single-spaced poem, 35 lines or less per month*
Poems cannot be previously published (in print or online).
The deadline for submission is January 1, 2021.
Submit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poems must be free of hate speech and swear words (profanity, vulgarity, obscenity).
IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL, provide your contact details: name, address, telephone number. and title of the poem; then, IN A WORD.DOC ATTACHMENT includes a poem without a name or any other personal information, so the poem can be judged anonymously.
Poets who have not previously been published in the Cape Cod Times are invited to submit a new poem each month; these poets previously published in The Times, 3 months after publication.
Poets will only be notified if their poem is accepted.
Poems will be selected by a panel of Cape Town and Island readers who are published poets and editors.