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Welcome to Estate 0807 in

Click the links below to read the winning poems for the Poetic Idol contest ending August, 2007.

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
Special Recognition


Kevin Craig


His cancer clarifies a bluish world,
makes real the urgency of living,
and within this new window,
I concede my preference,
for mediocrity,
he his need for goals,
achievement, a recorded history;
proof of his existence once he’s gone.

We chase the imagined portal
between here and now,
launch ourselves anew
in context to his dying.

We stop, for once,
to witness the morning lake,
its arguing surface peppered
with diamond slivers of sunlight
fighting to minimize
the effects of our waking minds.

His choice, a river--
he beckoned back to its lunar shores,
back from this silver lake
where moons carry neither weight
nor childhood memory.
Untouched by the impulse
of wanting, he heeds the call,
readies himself for the pull
of high tide.

In death
he will cement the knowledge
of his existence, and I,
drenched in mediocrity,
will kneel at his stone,
the final marker of his time spent
collecting meaningless milestones.

I will take comfort
in my lack of focus,
my dedication to a lake without tides,
a land without the haunting memories
of ancestors married to inertia.

His land returned to, his life defeated,
he will take comfort in arms
earlier abandoned,
sink into the earth that would not hold him,
allow those bones
to be kneaded back to the hungry soil
of the river from which he came.

As first place winner in the Poetic Idol Competition, Kevin won a prize package that includes a $200.00 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 a two week FREE Artella membership, which includes a subscription to the Daily Muse. Click here for contest details.

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Dee Hedani Andrilla

French Trilogy

Their gold crowns wilting,
sunflowers answer summer's
last call for prayer.

Monet's garden is
not my garden's twin. Oh well.
The weeds still love me.

In Paris, I kissed
the soft summer sky. Now I
know what blue tastes like.

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April Johnson

Sunday Breakfast

Would you like some philosophy
with those fried eggs?

Griddle sermons,
free advice like rivers
of fresh juice.

Greasy tongs lift crackling sausages
upon serving plates
dressed with buttered toast.

Jam-packed with social commentary
a side order of cautionary tales
dished out hot.

Gleaming forks await
their reason for being.
Someone asks,
What’s that burning smell?

Breakfast sizzles onward undeterred
arrival time --

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Special Recognition

Vicky Chavis

Twin Towers

In Corinth
honed parallel walls
line up, coppiced by weeds
that grew into trees
decorated by mist
or the hint of bells
on late night walks
along fractured footpaths
angling with some certainty
toward the sea.
Sun-starched columns
distressed from standing
too long in the sun and wind and
changing ideals discuss the past,
disintegrate into marbled chips, once
carved lovingly by hand in the time of Paul.
Elderly oaks and black olives, fig trees
and pine, trunks belted by the curve of years
can be overheard wrestling with myths, deciding which
fossilized bone chips belong to Sophocles, or perhaps,
Each time-laden tree insists it is he
who was buttressed by the Eucharist
when beautiful maidens dropped crumbs 'round their root beds,
and knew nothing would ever be so solid again, not any future trees
or towers that would rise and fall in less time than it takes to grow a man.

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Special Recognition

Michelle Retterath


Eyes blazing a fire fit for dancing,
Beating an invisible drum on the plastic table cloth,
He tells us stories that make me think there really is something
To being the one who slips through peoples' fingers
When they yell for you to come back or to never come back,
Like when the outhouse is floating downstream,
Faithfully reflecting the man on the moon, winking.

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Special Recognition

Michael Strayer

Or in a past life I was almost a Nobel Laureate

Today marks the discovery of
a spirit born twice of water
that fateful day in April, 1980,
freshly dead like a tattoo,
it crept through windy rivers,
torrent seas, the lowest desert,
and found its way north to the
Sierra Nevada--jagged womb,

The suburban hospital was once removed
from the primeval plight, nobody
suspected what pulsed in the arms
of my mother was to all who had
ears a fantastic reincarnation, was
deep like a river basin, was broad
like the expanse of delta cat tails,

What I was, what I am lies
beneath an undertow, a re-
circulating slave to the word
that traveled via drums and
tambourines, birds and trees,
through concrete and rebar,
spilling out of my mother's cradle
that day in April, 1980.

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Special Recognition

Kenneth Mowery

The First Jazz Solo

The final notes of a John Coltrane solo
hop and swirl around the room before
spilling into the darkened streets,
restless and adolescent, like prisoners
who have escaped into the protecting night,
casting wary glances over dark and rounded shoulders.

I begin to think of the very first person
who expressed himself by forcing breath
through the hollowed branch of a tree,
drawing the attention of the others,
gathered around the fire, amazed
to hear in his sounds,
the essence of the passing day.

Then again,
the first jazz solo
may well have come
from a young woman,
sitting alone beside still water,
slender silhouette silvered by the moon,
enticingly obscured by low swinging limbs
of aspen, pine and fir,
singing haunted melodies
borne on wings of such longing
as to wrench your very soul.

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Special Recognition

Christopher Angell

On Evenings Like These

The surrealists are incognito now
doling out their dreamy secrets
in a ceiling mosaic of blue tusks
on evenings like these

In the damp acrobatics of swirling
answers, crawling the rough carpets of
disappointments, down on hands and knee's
suffering for the missions of freedom

On evenings like these seeing what could be
in the knotted future of deep breathing weave
We have been almost completely entertained
in this culture of untouchable loveliness
Flirted with and teased, then commandeered
by an ambush of confusions, why are we not
together in the blankets embrace, fingerprinting
what we want to highlight and taste
The thousand and one flavors steeped in intimacy
on evenings like these, rain tapping the piano
of rooftop like in a romantic movie, rain
insisting we should snuggle in the longest limbs

Of love, wrestling every pleasure, coupling with
a perpetual mythology that calls on our divine
Because this is what the tongues want, elegant
tango, some firm interlude on a silk tapestry
Of truth, because inside you are even more
beautiful, on evenings like these the surrealists
Speak in the buoys of symbols and the bodies
Soul lingo, this place where are spirits go...

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