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spacer.gif   2013 Pushcart Prize Nominations Announced
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 11:15 PM
Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name .
ChicagoPoetry.com is proud to present the winning poem in its 2012 Best Modern Poem Contest as well as the six poems selected for 2013 ChicagoPoetry.com Pushcart Prize Nominations.

The following seven honored poems (along with the poetry of 56 runners-up) appear in Journal of Modern Poetry (JOMP), a 100-page, perfect bound volume, which is the fourteenth installment in the Poetry Cram series, published by ChicagoPoetry.com Press. In addition, the recipient of the Best Modern Poem Award received a $200 cash prize. The honored poets and poems are . . .


Marcia J. Pradzinski, Skokie, IL

The Scent of Chicken

I watch my father bone perch at the dinner table.
    He edges a table knife between the flesh and spine,

lifts the body away from the skeleton
    and pulls up the frail ladder of bones that gave

shape and structure to the fish.
    A ladder of years separates me from my parents

but they stream back to me in the scent of alewives
    on the lake shore sands

where my father holds my hand
    on long Sunday afternoon strolls,

or in the heady fragrance of duck blood soup simmering
    crusty bread baking, waiting

for a slathering of butter spread by my motherís knife
    and a chat at the kitchen table.

Even in childbirth, my belly splayed open
    to deliver my son,

the ghost of a memory arises Ė
    I imagine the scent of chicken

but am told, No, no cafeteria near here by the nurse
    as he continues to stitch and clean me.

Only weeks later when I visit a live poultry shop
    where I went with my mother does the smell hit me,

and I know my mother was there
    at the birth of her grandson with her Polish blood soup.


Marian Kaplun Shapiro, Lexington, MA

Finding You

I canít find you anywhere tonight
where are you    hidden in the bone of me
hidden in the blood of me between
my toes    in the skin that flakes off
in January     stuck in the earwax
that collects itself into dams of deafness
under salves for my splintering nails
wrecked by dry air     winter   age,
in the wrinkles (forehead, neck), freckles/
sunspots/ellipses footnotes
ibids and e.g.ís, et al.ís, rests
and repeat signs    in the dewey decimal
system of my memories which fall out
of first-apartment bookcases which didnít
come with adjustable shelves so taller
volumes have to lie sidewise, make-
shift bookends to the upright spines
more than I can count, always more, give
some away and others show up shiny
with their brandnewness.     Where are you?

                                  the problem is
you are everywhere and every day     you
wonít sit still and I canít set
you down and I canít draw your portrait
in front of me you keep shape-shifting
into speckles on the kitchen wall
and on my skin and into water-marks on
my stationery and into the jingling of
the Good Humor truck, all those words,
poems, songs, anything that unsays
not here


Beatriz Badikian-Gartler, Chicago, IL

Packing for the future:
       (after Lorna Crozier)

Take a pair of socks. Thick, blue or brown,
wherever you go, youíll have to walk. A velvet
pouch to hold the words, the seeds. White
underwear. Pounds and pounds of laughter
wrapped tightly in a rice paper sack. A few
golden coins, a water bottle. Just stuff
one bundle and put a stick through it, carry it
on your shoulder. Leave town walking
backwards to wave goodbye to the trees
and the neighbors. Packing for the future
requires discipline: know what youíll need
and take what you wonít. Take a pair of socks,
thick and brown, leave the rest behind. Paper?
Pencils? Who needs them! Speak your stories
to anyone whoíll listen. Ask them
for a chicken leg in return, a slice of raisin bread.


Donna Pecore, Chicago, IL

Transitory Mash-Up

ďThe world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along
a path to perfection. No it is perfect at every moment,
every sin already carries grace in it."
Herman Hesse

feet move to no known rules as I search for sin to play in
falling pitter patter rain an ambient soundtrack of cosmic music
bouncing riffs tickle my soul dances to ďthe light fandangoĒ
castanets keep time and feet move knowing no rules

whoot whoot! she is electric vibes running hot
hotter than a summer days concrete steel reflections reign
hotter than cool jazz blowing warm vermillion boiling blues
running running running summer night sweet sweat drips
hours past time fueled by passion's heat forced to walk on burning
asphalt cauterizes the heart one ten in the shade ten four me
ten for you to keep the beat stay in time and share
cool beans as love sprouts dust bunnies tremble
as lightning strikes thunder growls watermelon grins win

timely cooperation bringing broken parts together
where sunís heat cracked clay field to be restored
by a rainstorm's mud puddle transformation
street side splash and dash as moonlight slashes dark
dreams suspended animation of graphic panels viewed
one at a time where a leaf floats hope on the black surface
I'm just a Zephyr of combustion filled memories
wind drifting choices to use your parachute a silk cloud

that spreads sunshine disperses dark rain clouds that rush to read
the last page accelerates the indescribable excitable
trees shake limbs as leaves rattle whisper secrets
that are not really secrets finally time to remove all doubt
find the sin is in the not the not the not
so watch the grass grow and bud's bloom, and then
clean out your closet


Jasminum McMullen, Oak Park, IL

The Abandoned House

The windows are broken with tears that moistens the ground dirty
reflecting bits of shiny glass, web like in appearance
The thread the widow spins unraveling the love I no longer give
surrounding my feet that ache from walking with a broken heart that
sits on a sill of regret leaving gelatinous stains of unforgiving that
dries and cracks like chapped lips burning
in the place that stores fire
poked with iron, the crackling sound of my love consumed to ash
I needed the warmth so I burn all I have to make
warm again what was left frozen in open freezer doors long after
the fridge has gone out
Bulbs of light blink hesitantly dangling from a cord of hope I
pull on and off till the cord snaps in my hands the
sounds of over from your lips stick to my footsteps like stray
toilet paper, stairs I ascend to reach the door of the bedroom
off its hinges when pushed open and the sound it creaks raises
the hair on my arm as I lay on dusty covers that
smells of our love, faint but there
As I weep tears of deepest sorrow praying that God hears
Better off flies in through the shuttered window with a clipped wing
its wing tip suspended upon a shard of glass taunted by the
slight wind, threatening to fall into the depth of my swollen eye
sockets, I call out your name in the hall that echoes nothing
I am voiceless as the structure shifts quickening my descent down hollowed
stairs, My hands caked with dust from the banister that falls as
soon as it is cleaned like the love between us, diminished
I grab the knob and turn making it out as the door
slams shut latching on to its lock and I standby witnessing with
reluctance to leave the collapse of
the abandoned house


Lois Barr, Riverwoods, IL


It wasnít a big bang
but a series of soft
pops like champagne
bubbles bursting open
or the sizzle of
water on a fiery hot
skillet cells splitting
regenerating and
splitting again
gurgling of bubbles
buoyant bubbles
born on waves
warm magnetic
repetitive rhythmic
a sweet soporific
lullaby of creation
turned to waves
crashing on rocks
soon enough.

Banging didnít start
Ďtil the age of stone
then God woke up
and paid attention.


Nancy J. Heggem, Palatine, IL


I caught you there
crystalline drop
on the tip of a leaf
just after sun rise
as earth warms and
night fog creeps away.

You had traveled
across the Gulf
from the mouth
of the Mississippi,
that bore you
through twenty locks
from the green fields
of Iowa and the chalky
cliffs of Illinois,
where you lingered
as white snow blown
down in great gusts
from Canada.

It amazes me to
imagine you
joining winter rain
drops on a Koi
pond in Kyoto.

Yet, for one
split second
you are mine

Sorry. All the free copies of JOMP have been distributed. Three hundred copies of JOMP were given away free to the 63 contributors as well as to 100 audience members at the book release reading that was held at Viaduct Theater on October 24. If you would like to purchase a copy of JOMP from the extended run for $12 though paypal, please CLICK HERE.


Note: Click Here to find out who received these honors and to read the selected poems.

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