Writing Contest Winners


1st Place

The Love Song of J. Timothy Eyman (w/ apologies to T.S. Eliot)

by Peter H. Jackson

Arrrrrgh! Nixoney chu-ga roalhop Eyman non-shaman

Hooog in facto. We Chinnok cho killa firebo an der baa baa

Healtee por err an errer! 1

Let us race then, Tim and me,

With a state budget minus a testee

Like an ambulance driver atop a burro;

Let us go, through pot-holed streets,

The corps d'elite.

Of restive days without police patrol

Simply to drain away the tax bankroll:

Streets that buckle like a snake

Of services funding we love to take

To lead to an overarching question . . .

Oh, do not ask, "Why even bother?"

Let us go visit and wind through the slaughter.

In the firehouse men come and go

Talking of funding imbroglio.

The black fog that rubs its back against the door

The black fog is smoke from a house fire that's behind the door

Licked the neighborhood with soot through the eve

Lingered because the firefighters have all moved to BC

Let burned into the grizzled soil of hell's kitchen,

Slipped over itself, finagled a nose dive,

And seeing property taxes capped and sealed

Curled about itself and smiled for the extra dough.

And indeed we'll have time to read

For the black smoky fog that tears our eyes,

Robbing us as we stare at the flickers behind the door;

But there will not be reading; there will not be reading!

To prepare a table to coddle the library lovers

There will be time instead to savor TV,

And time to doodle and drool on buckled streets

That lift and slam the doorways shut;

No time for you, but time for me,

And time yet for a hundred illiterate Timothys,

And for a hundred shuttered libraries and clinics

Before the taking of a toast from thee.

In the hospital the nurses come and go

Perplexed by a new outbreak of polio.

1 Ancient Chinook jargon, rough translation: "Arrrgh! Cursed, treaty-breaching fiends, may a smiling White Devil eviscerate your roads, your emergency and health services, and your quality of life and community forever and ever!"

2nd Place


by Ryan Tomas Flynn

Acupuncture and Prozac

I'm a modern boy,

Though I can't say I'm under the influence

And make it appear noble any longer

I can count the good politicians

On closed fist.

During continuous war,

Apocalypse, or mass massacre

I choose 'Off,' remotely, handedly.

Just missed being gay by minutes.

I return to my cursive to correct the "-r's."

I still dream of being great.

I'm familiar with my patterned habits;

I just sometimes choose to ignore them

I wax poetry slam bam.

I run when terrified.

I'm a distant distance from 12th grade dreams.

I've tasted transition and tripped upon a solid goal.

My plan is to teach one truth to one child:

'Life isn't fair.'

'But,' I'll yell back through myself in midst of lesson no. 1,

'Neither are we.'

I'll close the book and leave nightlight bright;

I've finished my job here, goodnight.

Can you read between the lines and find the lies . . .


It's coming to me high and sober,

All of these days reasoned and picked over.


It is in my mind to make a dollar;

You've found me out.

I'll rank it up there as one of my truly great sins.

3rd Place

It All Came True

by Mercedes Lawry

Louie lived next door

with an 8-ball on the TV

and a dad with a metal plate

in his head. The nuns

would have said he was one

of the bad boys. He told us

hit the dirt when a plane flew by.

I dreamed bombs.

On the wall in Settlemaier's basement

was a map of the world. Look

how close, we'd say, Alaska is

to Russia. Then we'd sit

on someone's porch and talk about

killing Khrushchev.

I dreamed end of the world.

Always coming out of the sky.

Slow enough to watch, helpless,

over and over, that dream

of darkness. Don't tell me today

is the end of feeling safe.

We never felt safe, running home

when the sirens blared, the bloom

of an atomic bomb in our sweet imaginations.

It was always going to come from the sky.

All those fears coming to rest

like a flock of birds on a wire, one

and then another. Everything real now.

The terrible came true.

Honorable Mention

premonitions, 2001

by Genevieve Johnson

Now, I half expect the easy warning

Like the earthworms

that morning last spring,

with their ancient animal

urgency pushing them up

through the garden dirt minutes

before the earthquake hit

They were writhing

to tell me something

Sometimes it seems like

the aftershocks anticipate

the disaster:

When the tiles started to rot

in the basement of the bookstore

—weeks before they actually crumbled

away in those forty-odd

end-of-the-world shaking seconds

—before the ceiling swayed

and we were afraid

the whole of Pioneer Square

would fall upon us

We should have seen it coming:

the layoffs, the caf頣losing the day after the quake

It was all there, the fallout

waiting for us in the cracks

between the bricks, buried in the silt

of south downtown on which our lives were built—

On the bathroom door

a message scrawled in red

indelible marker:

Be warned, the end is coming

That night, September 10th,

I could feel them rippling through

me, like I was the earth

and they were escaping

aboveground, out of me

As though they were telling me

the only certainty was fear

Get out get out

When the phone call woke me up

just before seven when

I knew it all before I saw it

happen onscreen I knew

nothing but could convince

myself that I've known all along,

I just didn't know how

to read the signs

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