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Welcome to Estate 108 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the Poetic Idol contest for Spring of 2008.

Where they are available, you'll also see photos of the top three winners, and read their biographical sketches.

Poetry Gardens of Fame Index

First Place
Second Place
Third Place
Honorable Mentions


Megan Elaine Davis

Irreverent Prayer

Thank you, rain.
Not that you choose to fall.
But I thank you
as I might thank leaves
or I might thank lily pads.
Sometimes I walk in water barefoot
empty handed, empty headed,
only to smell smoke
of distant campfires,
only to hear whistles
of miles off trains in the fog.
Sometimes I thank rain
because I feel too small for God.

As first place winner in the Poetic Idol Competition, Megan won a prize package that includes a $200.00 cash prize; an e-Chapook of her poetry (up to 20 poems), attractively created and published for her personal or commercial use; public status as Artella's Poetic Idol in Residence; a feature interview in an issue of e-Artella; guaranteed publication in an e-Artella issue; free enrollment in her choice of Artella e-courses, the Artella eBook, "Behind the Veil", her choice of any e-Artella issue, and a two week FREE Artella membership, which includes a subscription to the Daily Muse. Click here for contest details.

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Matt Beatty

New/Old (there's a Polaroid in everything)

There's something outside, tingling and singing in
the arctic night air.
I am a foreigner in my own town. Something indicates
to me that I am elsewhere, alone, someone else perhaps.
I crunch across frozen mud to the steps of the
video store, then return, toss the rented film on the
passenger seat
like an old pro.

The ground is littered with icy cakes of snow,
like abandoned mattresses laid end to end.
This place is new, though old,
foreign, though familiar.
It could be anywhere.
I wear brown mittens and the polar skies bite
at me.

There's a Polaroid in everything:
the diffuse glow of red traffic lights--
small red giants
reflected off my frosted windshield and through my glasses
until a dull glow batters my eyes;
the exhaust spouting from the car beside me,
idling at that same dying traffic light;
the plumes of laundry heat and furnace steam,
erupting upwards from ancient ramshackle buildings,
spiraling staircases of smoke;
the two boys in jumpsuits,
beating palms together to keep their fingers alive,
standing outside the state liquor store,
exhaling clouds of vapor--
Everything is translucent;
this strange world a fog,
a winter landscape seeded with sparse
signs of life.
Lights dim and heavy eyelids close all around me,
and I traverse rocky black asphalt that
smiles up at just me,
only me--
it is worth seeing, observing, watching and
waiting for.

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Janet Paszkowski

In the Coming Light

Nestled on a pillow-topped bay
window bench, she gazes
toward the bottom
of the hilltop street
Autumnal stars yielding
to a faint constellation
of automobile headlights
flickering through the fog

Bare legs drawn to bare chest
a spiral notebook across her knees
she writes with the Oxford Dictionary
of Quotations at her side

The alarm clock jolts her reverie
He plods naked from their bed
and glances into the bathroom mirror
weaving fingers through dusky hair

emerging shaved, showered and spritzed
while whistling with his white shirttails
poking through unzipped navy trousers
while she continues to write . . .

The triangular knot of his bright red tie
saddles his Adam's apple and looms
like a hangman's halter around his neck
- the perfect canvas for a quotation

to stream like a stock ticker at the bottom
of her mind's eye . . . If men can run
the world, why can't they stop
wearing ties? How intelligent
is it to start
the day wearing
a noose around
your neck?

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Special Recognition

Patricia Kennelly

Blind Date with Mango Custard

at Shiva's Indian buffet,
where I meet all of my blind dates
I don't waste my time with your chatter,
of my smoky eyes

my feelings are only clear
when I talk about the fresh curry leaves
and the house-made chai

fill my plate with samosas
topped with tamarind chutney,
more Vindaloo please, it's spicy
here the chef has a nice touch
with the cardamom
and the masala dosas from Bangalore
lacey, crisp and hot, overflow
with fried onions, curried potatoes and peas

it's you that I dream of, your ripeness
it's here where I swim with you on Sundays
my legs and arms slide through
your exotic creamy core
while the fresh mango pieces
that float by like fair-weather clouds
hold me up

for the love of decency
Shiva, destroyer of bad habits
relieve my ache that I may not leap from my seat
before the plates are cleared.
as she always does, she leads me, leaves me
while I alone embrace
once again, my true love lives
in a bowl of mango custard

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Special Recognition

Sara Kleinebrucke


In my palm rests a certain shell;
Ordinary to most eyes, its curves and sunbleached linen walls
Yet, I sense that you would know,
If I placed it in your hand,
What a gift from my heart it was, as all I have to offer,
A relic that survived the seas embrace for a long and uneasy ride.

The palest ribbon of loss
That for so long bound our deepest bones
Now flutters like a flag of surrender over the dunes;
Truly would you cross over to where I stand?
My bare feet set at the water's edge,
I breathe in salt and memory.
Would you close those open miles
And reach across the sea
To linger next to me
For the next few sunlit hours?

The seabirds wheel and dive
On the watercolor sky, while
The restless ocean glitters, mineral and wet,
In this sunshine,
This transient gift of fleeting gold.

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Special Recognition

Amy Bardwell

Snapshots of Downtown

the scar of crumbling bricks, dangling
slabs of wood, pipe, and rebar
dirt smoothed rough and uneven
over the city's secret doorways
into passages into
the pigeons packed tighter than life
on ledges so thin they fade

at my feet, a single white feather
floating haphazardly in a clump of dead autumn leaves
when I touch them,
they crumble with a brittle snap
but the feather

a camo cowboy passes me without a pause,
smelling of cigarettes and stale tortilla chips
dressed like that, he must be
a hero to someone,
even if only to himself

when I step inside,
the women speaking loudly and pompously
of Art suddenly whisper

dimmed stagelights: waiting
to be filled with sound and substance; for now
the room is holding its breath in silence
as a single candle wavers between life and death
on an abandoned tabletop, tossing the reflection
of light
onto the windowglass
in the reflection,
the light is steady

two trains crash by at once,
their thunder extending much further
into the distance than their own length
crushing the night
with cacaphony

everybody on 1st Ave speeds

empty tables of romance,
candlelit for two and begging for purpose

an older couple in leather jackets leave
the restaurant to
dance a few turns on the sidewalk
beneath the streetlamps, the
stars, the towering night

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Special Recognition

Kate Chadbourne

The Wedding Shower Lesson

The things we live with
make a home for our thoughts,
for there is a mind at work
in every thing which answers ours.

All day we are talking
to the chairs, the mugs, the pictures,
the dishtowels, the gas-stove,
the bookends, the flowers, the lamps.

All day these objects
arranged in our rooms
tell us the news of the world
and stories of ourselves.

We are like the nautilus
who seeks the truth of herself
and dreams the shimmering
spiral of a house.

Or, like a patch of earth
that wonders what it might bear
and wakes to find violets
and starlings alighted in its yard.

But not alone do we fashion
the intricate whorls;
not alone do we feather
the earth with daisies.

For someone lends us
sands and pearls,
and some friend sends
the bird to sing in our branches.

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Special Recognition

Lisa Carrick Heeg

Vibrations in the Labyrinth

The phone is ringing and ringing, harmonic tremors.
I should answer it; it’s you and you will have much
to say, to complain, to bemoan.
My ear is the open sea into which you spew unceasing
all the burning trials of your life, bitter lava.
The troubles that cling to you like
the stubborn smell of cigarettes
seethe in the spiral of my labyrinth, threaten explosion
if I cannot subdue the force of your discontent
within me, my scorching doom.
Quiet, quiet, be quiet for a minute, Mama.
Ask me how I’m doing and just listen.
Still your angry magma to see: I am
your calm extrusion, glistening reprieve.
I am a green island full of life.

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