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Welcome to Estate 406 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the contest ending April, 2006.

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


Matt Beatty

Matt Beatty is a programmer-by-day, writer-by-night youth from the northern hills of California. He lives with his wife and two babes, currently residing in Utah's desertic mountains while finishing up his English degree. He loves the many facets of life and finds power in music, words, images, highways, campgrounds, oceans, the night sky, and so on. Spirited and always awake, he writes tirelessly and is at work on a first novel, among other things.

Tale of a Frozen Mountain Boy

Two lit offices in the tall romantic tower,
on the twelfth floor, lonely and looming and large.
A lighthouse for the dusk-people--
set aside in their longing, breezing by with the tower--
the only testament to an ephemeral existence.

Down the dimly lit stair with the nearby trees
and their not-quite-midnight silhouettes
that remember Vincent Price.
There's that little city: it reaches, it crawls,
it thinks it's a city and so it is, it must be.

Marching on slush, melting beneath my heated soles,
accumulating in even swaths ahead of and behind me.
Past the Wash Hut where the smell of fresh linen-air
wraps my head in a smoky shawl of lint and fluff
as it rises heavily into the night.

Near the busy doors of Liberty Square, a place I frequented
once, some other life, some century past--the future perhaps.
The sidewalk buckles with the weight of the feet,
those endless feet that trace its cracks
to the dried roots of oak, breaking above soil.

Such an ominous, inescapable mountain range,
it too shrouded in the same clouds wafting out below
from the forgotten chimney-mouth.
World do your worst!--For I shall thaw this frigid permafrost,
my wintry overcoat, my icy skin.

That view, those empty branches framing emptier greys
and the welcoming brickwork all along, near the 1952-church
where I stole a bough of fir just for its scent,
and in return those mountains stole a little of my sanity,
and a little of my little life.

As first place winner in the Poetic Idol Competition, Matt won a prize package that includes a $150.00 cash prize; an e-Chapook of his poetry (up to 20 poems), attractively created and published for his 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 his choice of Artella e-courses, the Artella eBook, "Behind the Veil", his choice of any e-Artella issue, and one month FREE Artella membership. Click here for contest details.

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Kevin Craig

Kevin Craig is a freelance writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada. He writes poetry in his spare time. His poems have been published in; Regina Weese, Captains of Consciousness, Poetry Canada, Jones Av. Journal, Word Weaver, Ink Spotter, BreadNMolasses and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine to name a few. His article, 'Be Your Own Poetic Muse', was published in Issue #8 of Artella's PassionPoetry newsletter. His website is

Madelaine Ave. Circa ’75

Bikes propped along their spines,
torn Banana seats
soaking up morning from the dewy grass,
their tires spinning out
Tibetan prayer wheel
rhythms as
Daryl Sittler flaps madly,
clothes-pinned prisoner of my chanting spokes,
retribution for
Dave’s defacing of Dryden.

Basement, musty,
Alive with the pungent air of dying pears
crab apples and blackened plums,
our secret hoard, gathered in a late summer
squirrel-style panic,
shirts stretched to bursting
from our covert backyard take.

Hockey sticks, once leaning steadily
against the fear-striking heat-spewing mammoth,
lay scattered about the chipped grey concrete,
randomly strewn,
or purposefully aligned?
hieroglyphic messages from basement clerics
or abandoned crutches,
the scattered remains of a secret furnace-side healing banquet?
These memories, all vague,
somewhat reminiscent,
like one’s tongue tip knowledge
of orange peels and mangoes,
but distant too,
more distant than the fleeting moment it takes
to hear the distinct flicker,
the bicycle spoke music
of a new generation’s prayer wheel dreams.

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Laurie Cuneo

I live a simple life in a charming old house with my husband, daughter, intuitive siamese cat and huge, hairy, lovable dog. My focus is faith, family, writing, gardening and living life with a romantic spirit.

My night sky

My night sky
is not black velvet
studded with rhinestones, but
a crazy quilt of constellations
- chaos and splendor -
goose down clouds thinning to chiffon.
My stairway to Heaven
is a zipper
with a broken tooth,
a pin-pricked finger
staining the silver steps...
longing for a thimble.

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Honorable Mention

Karen Stone

It Was Too Fast

It was too fast.
A snake strike.
The pain itself was nothing.
It was the speed that shocked.

And as I put the finger to my lip –
The whole world shuddered and changed.
The very walls around me revealed their mirrored secrets.

While time began to whirl and twist,
I saw myself,

(So slow of motion)
(Caught fast)

Take the hand away.
Lips now sealed with that ruby drop.

What happened next?
It changes every time I think about it all.

In my heart I know that I still stand in that high room,
Small and unfamiliar to me.
Still a little shocked at being hurt.
Still tasting the salt of my own blood.

That is in my heart.
For the rest, my lips are sealed by my own hand, my own crimson self.

I wander,
I seek,
I am buffeted from one dream to the next.
Time stretches then contracts.
A flash, a moment,
Just now and then,
I am there.
I feel heavy in my skin,
and under my fingers tip,
The velvet and lace of my skirts are both sweet and sour to the skin.

Time passes I suppose.
That is all I really know of time.
That is seems to us to go by.

My finger throbs, but I am not wanting to open my eyes,
To see again that dark and empty room.

So who is this face that hovers?
These eyes are open.
Shock, anticipation.

My hand moves toward the little sharp knife they gave me once,
to hide in my skirts.
And at the same time as I touch the cold steel, cold resolve upon me,

I am startled by the warmth on my face.

My cheek has recently felt another.
My lips are soft as pressed fruit and free of the crimson seal so long ago placed.

I look again into the eyes of this stranger.
His face scratched and bleeding.
His arms scratched and bleeding.
I put my finger to the crimson and touch his lips with his own salty blood.

The world shudders and changes about us.
Is this another dream?

I have had enough of sleep.

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Honorable Mention

Rob McCreery

The Ancients

I. John Coltrane

He uncoils his hidden mood around you
conspires with you in plangent, aching peals
this is manhattan in the warm night rain
a dusky cloak of spotlight and smoke
he knows you never knew him
but he makes you feel
a love supreme
as he did

II. Miles Davis

He suspends light brassmute shafts around you
thrills you with a perfect, unplayed note
this is the calm, dark, rolling shifting ocean
a strange suggestion of absinthe and dreams
he changes colour's name
but he makes you see
kind of blue
as he did

III. Thelonious Monk

He fingerplinks out starlight sparks to wake you
teases you with cryptic, rightwrong chords
this is beatnik cafes in the afternoon
a glad note that your dreams are real somewhere
he defies evening's gravity
but he makes you cry
'round midnight
as he did

IV. Epilogue

They made their new, fantastic constellations
then showed us their exotic, brilliant truths
their temple is a cool, eternal universe
a vast kaleidoscopic jazz of sounds
they strode as living gods among us
and we were in that number
when the saints
came marching in

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Honorable Mention

April Cooper

I Know (for Virginia Wolf)

“Five hundred a year stands for the power to contemplate,…”

when you grow up
eating white beans
and ham-hocks,
peeing off the back porch
of a condemned house
without plumbing,
and wearing your mother’s
wedding dress
for eighth grade graduation,
self confidence
is as unattainable
as your own room

when you birth
your first child
at the age of seventeen,
learn neither friendship
nor romance will
play in your sandbox,
and survive on three hundred
a month and food stamps
to earn your diploma,
the dream of composing poetry
is as impractical
as a prom date

when madness
creeps in to take
your wits hostage,
a naïve choice in a lover
leads to his gun
in your bedroom,
and your second child
is conceived in rape
rather than love,
freedom of mind
is as hopeless
as a safe place to sleep

when your days become
blurred snapshots,
writing research papers
while nursing at midnight,
picking lice from your
daughter’s corkscrew curls,
and crumpling into bed
alone and weeping,
the power to contemplate
is as unlikely
as finding a devoted father
for your children

“…a lock on the door means the power to think for oneself.”

my stories are not
hidden behind wiggling
door handles,
my insights strut between
silly songs and giggles
with my babies

my stories are not
opened with brass keys
tinkling on a silver ring,
my brainstorms swirl and burst
among homemade bubbles
in the back yard

my stories are not
bound by scrawls on paper
or pixels on a computer screen,
my tragedies bleed from
tiny fingers with splinters
and paper cuts

my stories do not
wait for a quiet room
to reveal themselves,
they run naked through
my house and office
when least expected

my stories learn with me
that privacy is a luxury
a mother must demand
after so many years of interrupted
movies, meals, showers,
and sexual tanglings

my stories gather in my lap
each day as the sun sets,
where I kiss them one by one,
tuck them in a pocket
of my heart and whisper,
“Our time will come.”

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Honorable Mention

Dawn Richerson

Becoming the Poem

I stammer. I stutter.
I stupidly sputter,
            then stop
the futile, frantic,
purely pedantic
reach into this clamor
for the poem I’ve lost
on some dusty shelf
inside maze of self.
            I breathe,
cease to hurry, worry,
see clear what was blurry.
I become the poem
I couldn’t quite compose
            and know
as I bear its light
hope grows and burns bright.
Live now through this meantime,
sans rhythm, verse or rhyme,
lay down perfection,
trust new direction,
            and rest
in the image-rich stream
of life’s languorous dream.

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