Used To Be*

August 13, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Gary Wade

Used to be
there in that field
a barn half ruined
but still it stood in beauty.

It’s gone now,
shadows of its foundation
erased by plows.

Vacant now, that field,
from it only
a ragged cloud of
blackbirds wheeling, rising.

. . . . .
Gary Wade has been a Bellinghamster since 2005. He is fascinated by farm barns and has photographed many of them. His poem “Used To Be” was inspired by a barn he drove past for many years, then one recent autumn it was gone. There was nothing there but blackbirds gleaning a cornfield.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Gary Wade. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg .

Abuela*

August 6, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Julio Enriquez, 12th Grade

Who drinks tea in the morning
And reads the Bible each afternoon,
Who is short as a Mini Cooper
And has hair white as snow.
Prays to God in the morning and at night,
Thanking Him for another day of life.

Who is genuine care,
From Te Amo and I miss you.
Who doesn’t care if her clothes don’t match,
Or the shape of her hair in the morning.
Who tells stories twice, distracted easily
by the view out the window.
Who likes to eat sweets as a little snack,
When told she isn’t allowed.
Takes advantage of non-guaranteed days.

Who wears her lavender purple gown,
As she kisses me goodnight.
Who always walks with one foot forward,
leaving a trail of old perfume and love.

Who waited for us on that brown plush couch
When we came home from school.

. . . . .
This is Julio’s debut as a writer. He attends Squalicum High School and will be graduating this June and become part of the class of 2017. This fall he plans to attend the University of Washington to pursue a business major. Although this is Julio’s first time having his writing published, he is a published artist, too, with his 2nd grade drawing of a turtle on the back of one of the WTA buses. Friends and family are very important to him, and he wants to thank everyone for all their support from the past years that helped him be where he is today.

“I wrote ‘Abuela’ in my creative writing class one afternoon. I was inspired to write this poem because I wanted to do something to honor my Grandma. She unfortunately passed away about 2 years ago but she will forever be in my heart. I hope my poem can mean something special for everyone that reads it, just like it is for me.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Julio Enriquez. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

summer fun in Auburn

August 2, 2017

August in Auburn, Washington, means AuburnFest and this year’s all-ages event will include two entertainment stages, a beer garden, food vendors, craft and specialty vendors, community and non-profit vendors, a car show, a literary showcase & small press fair, as well as several free activities including bocce, face painting, two Artrageous hands-on art activities, an indoor playground, the discovery playground, a spray playground, and much more.

The Literary Showcase lineup includes:

  • 11:00am to 1:00pm Poetry Workshop: Write what you want, when you want to, and how you want to write it presented by Jack Straw Fellow and Artist Trust Fellow Robert Lashley
  • 1:05 to 2:10 Novelist Dennis Brooke presents: Storytelling Techniques to Influence the World — 3 Powerful Tools for Writing, Speaking, and Presenting
  • 3 to 4:55 Open Mic Poetry Contest with emcee Christopher J. Jarmick (non-contest open mic as time allows, contest winners announced at 6:00pm)
  • 5 to 5:55 Featured poets: Auburn Poet Laureate Marjorie Rommel; fisher poet Patrick Dixon; story-teller Sharon Nyree Williams
  • 6 to 6:55 Prize presentation for the Open Mic Poetry Contest winners, followed by featured poets haiku guru and photographer Michael Dylan Welch; photographer and poet Lorraine Healy; Stranger Genius Award nominee Robert Lashley
  • 7 to 8 Q&A: Discussion on the Writing Craft with panel: Robert Lashley, Dennis Brooke, Marjorie Rommel, Patrick Dixon, Sharon Nyree Williams, Lorraine Healy, and Michael Dylan Welch

It’s all happening at Les Gove Park, in Auburn, 11:00am to 8:00pm, on Saturday, August 12, 2017. See more, including book fair participants, poets and bios on the Striped Water Poets page.

Possession*

July 30, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Marlene Chasson

Tall, gaunt, sharp shouldered
She stood there on the porch.
Her face mirrored her years
And her hands made it plain
That those years had not been easy.
They gripped the porch railing
Once freshly painted
It was old and chipped
Like the house itself.
But it was her house now
And she would tend it like a child
There was plenty of time
With him gone.

. . . . .
At age 85, I am one of the oldest poets in the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. As an amateur poet I have been writing poetry since I was in grade school. Over the years, a number of my poems have been published in a poetry anthologies, school and college newsletters, and a some contests. My husband and I moved to Bellingham four years ago from Raleigh, North Carolina. Before I retired I was a teacher and social worker and from 1989 until 2001 I served as the executive director of a state advocacy organization for older adults in long term care.

The poem “Possession” was written about my father’s stepmother. She raised my father and three of his brothers and was also the caretaker for his father when he became sick in his later years.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Marlene Chasson. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


2017 Walk Award
By Richard Widerkehr

Yesterday, the water tossed me on the reef,
jarring my back, scraping my right wrist.

Don’t fall out of the ocean, says Linda.
I line up a break in the coral

with the fifth thatched shed.
Lying on my back, held by waves,

sea held by blue sky, sky held by the earth,
and the universe — it’s held by what?

*

I’m standing in the green shallows.
Whomp. Something hits the water

hard like prop wash. Wings thrash.
A brown pelican’s next to me.

The thing has a bill, big as a thigh bone,
that opens and closes.

. . . . .
“In the last five years, I’ve submitted and published widely. I like to sing and play music at a bar called the Green Frog. I used to be a teacher and a case manager with the mentally ill. I’m retired now. My Boynton poem was written at a resort called Akumal in Mexico and worked on later back in B’ham. My third book of poems, In The Presence Of Absence, will come out from MoonPath Press this fall.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Richard Widerkehr. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Ready…set…Marathon!

July 19, 2017

If you are planning to participate in the 2017 Poetry Marathon or half-marathon, signups begin tomorrow, Thursday, July 20 at Noon Eastern Time, and continue through July 27. The full marathon will take place on Saturday, August 5, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET, and it will conclude at 9:00 a.m. ET on Sunday the 6th. The half marathon will run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on August 5. Each poet must write and publish on the blog one poem per hour. To register, go to The Poetry Marathon website or watch for the link on the Poetry Marathon Facebook page.

Reverie*

July 16, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Marie Marchand

Poems come to me in the dark
when my eyes are healed
when I do not distinguish
my body from the air.
          In a dream the poems come.

When I awake the words fall
from my skin and I forget
the misty-eyed soliloquies
I’d composed like Keats
          though I remember him.

I always remember John Keats
who led me through the forest
to the Emerald inside the rock
our true love carved in stone.
Holding his hand I traipsed in the wake
of his tousled amber hair.
          He wrote odes among the trees for me.

When you believe in reincarnation
anything is possible.
Love can be written
          centuries apart.

. . . . .
Marie Marchand has been a poet full of passion for 30 years. Her love for John Keats, which she imagines to be reciprocal, is what inspired her winning poem “Reverie.” She tries to make the world a better place by doing small things like stopping the resumption of below-ground testing at the Nevada Desert Test Site. She is the board chair of the local affiliate of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and works for the Bellingham City Council. She has a Masters Degree from The Iliff School of Theology. Her poetry often explores and intersects with faith. She and her 16-year-old son have lived in Bellingham for 12 years. Her poetry blog is MarieMarchandPoet.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Marie Marchand. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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