May 202010
 

The judge and his dog

After an orgy of gin & tonics, a sleepless night, and a long, heartfelt discussion with a blue dog, the judge (anonymous) has rendered a decision. (Remember him in your prayers.) Below, please find the poetic finalists for this year’s contest.

“Spam Villanelle” made the final cut for its outrageous inventiveness. Julie placed two poems in the top five which will no doubt embarrass her, but what can one say? Gwen Mullins, obviously. And Anne de Marcken for the lovely juxtaposition of the inner and outer sea.

There are some wonderful poems in the entry list, all worth reading, especially dg’s  (alas, he can never win) and Jacob’s sheepfold poem written after reading Tristan Tzara and Natasha’s cell phone poem and Anna Maria’s snake poem and Julie Marden’s students’ heart-breaking poem. And more. It’s amazing to see the NC crowd pitch in and enjoy writing for writing’s sake, to try unaccustomed forms and genres. In pretty much every villanelle, there was a moment of inspiration, a line with zing, a bit of quirky humour or a thought well-turned. I love watching these contests unfold, watching the minds at play. It’s also lovely to see Sage & Sarah join the fray and the general atmosphere of welcome and support. Five months and it already seems like a special place.

2010 Villanelle Finalists

Spam Villanelle

When will we meet again?
Can’t you answer the call?
Re: Order status 56041

It’s cold, don’t keep me waiting
Here is my number
When will we meet again?

Lovemaking bliss can be yours too
Reward your experience with marketable degree
Re: Order status 56041

Is your cell phone always busy?
Message you sent blocked by our bulk email filter
When will we meet again?

Let’s meet as usually
Your lady will not believe her eyes
Re: Order status 56041

We seek for you all day!
Come upstairs!
When will we meet again?
Re: Order status 56041

Gary Garvin

—————

AT PLAY

This is the way I play:
cultivating the Art of the Clever
whenever I have nothing to say.

I’m upset with Cleverness today
though sometimes he’s my lover.
This is the way my head plays

with me, the not quite innocent way
a lover does, our purposes severed
whenever my heart has nothing to say.

My heart, my head – their display
of appetites in me is hand delivered.
This is their way – the play’s

the thing wherein the bray
of Head projects while Heart withers,
having nothing quite as loud to say.

Head, Heart whispers, find a clever way
to end this. Do it one way or another.
This is the way I play
whenever I have nothing to say.

Julie Larios

————

Lovers and daughters slip and stray,
Laughing ungently at outstretched heart.
They will not linger; they cannot stay.

Like an errant skiff pulled from the cay,
The undercurrent serving its treacherous part,
Lovers and daughters slip and stray.

Shout from the shore, drink the drowning day,
Forget they planned to leave from the start.
They will not linger; they cannot stay.

Usher them toward safety into the quay,
Clasp them tight even as they depart;
Lovers and daughters slip and stray.

Still they go, they slide away
Like souls, they’ve mastered that sweet art.
They will not linger; they cannot stay.

Let them go and learn to pray;
Navigate by a new star chart.
Lovers and daughters slip and stray.
They will not linger; they cannot stay.

Gwen Mullins
——————
Tsunami Watch

We wait for a change we can see,
Beside one another on a seatish rock
On the inside edge of the sea:

Gulls lift all at once, barges swing on slimy
Rodes, that hummock was more submerged thirty seconds ago—
We wait for a change we can see.

Everything is a sign or just the way it ought to be.
Does the ocean swell? Do I?
Inside the sea that is inside me?

Avid, I take the measure of each reed,
As if it is my first morning temperature.
We wait for a change we can see.

You take a photograph and call it “before tsunami.”
You look right into us—I, off, for some small mark
On the inside edge of the sea:

An indication that we, at least, will not be
Swept out with the tidal surge as
We wait for a change we can see
On the inside edge of the sea.

Anne de Marcken
———————————-

The Art of Ratty-ness

The art of being ratty isn’t hard to master;
so many people seem filled with the intent
to be like rats. And ratty-ness is no disaster.

Try being ratty every day. Accept the fluster
of uncaging inner rats. Days spent
on the art of being ratty aren’t that hard to master.

Then practice ratting farther, ratting faster:
Sharpen your teeth like a rat, get mentally bent
like rats, since ratty-ness is no disaster.

I ratted out my inner Cat. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three inner Hamsters went.
The art of being ratty isn’t hard to master.

I lost an inner Dog, a blue one, loved. And, vaster,
an inner Whale that sang, an inner weeping Elephant.
My inner rat destroyed them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–And then my inner rat ate you (confession: I was plastered),
my inner Muse, as if you were a hot dog wrapper on the floor. It’s evident
the art of being ratty’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it! No, don’t write it!) like disaster.

Julie Larios

  3 Responses to “Finalists for the 2010 Numéro Cinq Villanelle Contest”

  1. Doug, I am so proud to have my offerings honored. Gary’s Spam poem had me all the way, it took me by tsunami for its pure inventiveness, though I do want to tell Anne de Marcken publicly how much I wish I’d written those gorgeous lines, “Avid, I take the measure of each reed, / As if it is my first morning temperature.” That’s such nice writing.

    Fun, everyone! Thanks.

Leave a Reply