Please join me in congratulating Unbound Content’s 2013 Pushcart Prize nominations, listed here with the nominated poems in their entirety:
By Stan Galloway
Unnumbered days have passed
since we looked out on Waikiki,
but I remember still the ocean, vast
as love itself. The first night’s moon slow-burned,
by raw decree, in salty urn
of Cupid’s potpourri.
Out on the balcony,
in ruffling wind, we both discerned
the steady waves, assumed a guarantee
our bliss–as sure–would certainly outlast
the airy turn of moonlight cast
on water-driven churn.
Beguiled, I did not learn
each clap of sand and wave recast
the grain and substance of each small concern
to subtly alter facets by degree.
What does not last becomes debris.
Each now becomes the past.
–from Just Married
My Son Is Getting Married Today
–for Toby, June 15, 2013
By Corey Mesler
My son is getting married
today. The boy
who once left a note
saying: kis me in
the morning, be a surpriz.
Today, under the same
sky Adam, holding his
hid from beneath a tree of
knowledge, Toby will
stand and say the
right things. Then he will
board a boat as
large as all of life; he may
turn back once, and wave
for the benefit of all who
stand behind him and
beside him, heart held open.
–from Our Locust Years
By Jim Davis
In the shake of drunken conversation she is / overwhelmed by wonder.
After / years of quiet, she thanks the folded coaster / that she and her sister
are again close: childhood / preoccupations behind them. It is / no longer,
who’s the better swimmer? It is / no longer, what type of men will we
marry? Hanging / laundry, she said, when you write / while sitting,
conversation is / the only thing that sways // When you write from a ship
deck, your senses pitch / about a midpoint: horizon. / When you sleep
upside down, you drown / in conscience. You’ll know you have / made it
when your pockets fill / with sand. Remember, as you empty / seashells and
quarters on the bureau / by the bed, on any waking sea / our horizon is
comprised / of thousands of points / the equidistant limits of sight / blurred
by lines of heat / scripting off the bread pan fire.
After School Drives
By Brian Fanelli
Father’s gray Ford sat curbside after school,
Elvis Cs turned low because he knew I disliked
the King, preferred Johnny Cash, who he sometimes played,
dropping his voice low to mimic the man-in-black’s
steady-like-a-freight-train vocals. If he sang
loudly, windows rolled down on a spring day,
I slouched in the seat, worried
someone may have seen me sitting shotgun
with the out-of-tune driver. When he didn’t sing,
he asked me about girls, guitar lessons,
baseball tryouts. I gave curt responses,
half-sentence replies like any teen
concerned with being cool, even though father
picked me up daily, saved me
from the crowded bus, two-hour
countryside drives, made longer
in winter. Years later, after father passed,
I missed those after school drives, the chance
to fill silence with conversation, even those moments
he crooned so off-key even I had to laugh.
–from All That Remains
By CL Bledsoe
I have no memory of your voice. I can’t rewind
and play it back like some tape recording in the spinning cogs
of my thoughts. I have no records, no paint
splattered on the walls of the cave
hollowed between our lives that we two grew within.
That cry I uttered when I was pulled from you,
splayed before the world is also forgotten
So we are even.
The echoes have been long going,
but are now terminally forgotten, and I can mourn
the colors of all the days we missed by keeping eyes
solely on each other’s throats, but they’ve passed.
Mother, outside, today, there was a purple fire
like Mars riding down to trample us all. The world burned,
and was renewed in light.
I just wanted to tell you.
By Nicole Yurcaba
… and I had imagined that,
……….hand in hand,
……………we would walk
the gravel hill’s incline,
from peering passers-by’s gazes,
……….threatening to assume
more than half of what they saw.
–from Backwoods and Back Words (forthcoming in December)