The (SCENE) Metrospace Poetry Contest Winners

(SCENE) Metrospace and City Pulse are pleased to present the winners of the (SCENE) Metrospace Poetry Contest, judged by Stephanie Glazier, assistant director of the Michigan State University Center for Poetry. The first place poem has been published in the December 5th edition of City Pulse. Many thanks to all of the participants! The views below solely represent the creativity and opinions of the writers.


Having given you so little

tonight I want to give you
            all the birches of my childhood,
their sadness.                                      
Take them
as a half moon                                                            
droops low
like an eyelid
brushed with silver shadow.
Take them
            as an apology
                        for my sharpness.

You cannot see your gifts:
the shavings of time
you carve for me,
                                    as easily as you draw curls
with scissors along a ribbon
to decorate a present
so I can finish one more thing
before we go;

            the way your wood-rough hands
                        capable of carrying anything, softened,                                  
                        gathered up my wisps of hair
                                    with a crescent shaped barrette;
            the slivers of me you’ve always known,
                        never demanding I be full.

Having given you so little
            I want to hold you                  
the way the birch bark holds its branch
coiling a little at the edges.


Only Metaphorical Fires Run Without Oxygen

Father would clamp my jaw shut,
and the flammable words inside would
smolder like doused ashes. 
I would sit in my bedroom and pick at my
words, scabs I never let heal.
I’d rearrange the times I could have spoken in my drawers like old
school-children’s footie pajamas.  We were driving through West Virginia or Kentucky,
and at a gas station there was a preacher. 
The fire in Hell is not metaphorical.  It is a real fire. 
When you
are there you will be unable to breathe. 
Thane whispered to me about how wrong the preacher was.  In the car,
Father pulled over and wretched me out of the backseat. 
I grabbed for the seatbelt, but its
woven plastic cut
through my fingers, slipping away.  My father threw me into a mulberry bramble,
and wrapped me in his security blanket.  I got
scorched in the process, the ask marks on
my back the tire
tracks of a car crash that police never investigate.  At the motel
I looked into the mirror.  I
stuck my tongue out at its crack.  It was swollen.  Everything that I ate the rest of that vacation
tasted blue.


fife lake

water has pooled in the bowl of evening
not velvet but onyx
bitten by jagged arrowhead tree teeth
shining hard and watery stars
free and sharp and free again

green apple vodka and goldschlager
mouthed cocktails floating
in darkness apple pie tongues
washed in lake water
and the afterimages of sunburns

never again will this sky star so brightly
before donny and kelsea become don and kels
new enough bending like pine trees
under conversation old as
the love of an awkward puppy

tomorrow there will bass drum headaches and
heaving on the sand but tonight
ice of the moon lukewarm and buoyant
we will sleep half-naked on carpets
rule summer with happy noises



Sea/sky seam
a single sunstruck blue
infinite unending distance

Wind ripples through unexpected wheat
collecting shoots in green waves
rolling to the edge of the cliff

Colliding with the upward flight of gulls
noisy and muscular
diving back to the beach

The crashing breakers
dig tiny crabs from safety
dashing them against the rocks

I do not understand the tides
sweeping sand out to sea
leaving kelp, discarded among the bones.

I only know
I lie salty, sweaty
drenched with the ocean

And you, my little crab,
lie stunned,
beached on my belly.


Untitled Red Poem

Like the smell of
old books, night-shade sidewalk
red soaked from the bar district;

a color in the back of your mind as you
held your glass and insisted on filling mine,

we are two volumes,
shelved side by side, or
read in mouthed words;
                                half-held on your tongue.

 “you say ‘oh my god’ a lot during sex.”

He looked at her in the backdrop of walls dingy with cigarettes and water stains,

“I’ve been described with a great many words…”
She picked up her pack from the floor, shook it to find the lighter, opened the box and took her favorite cigarette.

There was red in her nails as she brought the rolled paper to her mouth,

 “…but pious was never one of them.”


you course with red;
coarse with red from my fingertips,
red from my mouth.


To the Pastor at Easter Service

I sit
on a stuffy brown pew
in your stuffy brown church
watching the girl
in the green floral skirt
as she sways
in the cadence of
your too pious prayers.

She watches you preach
with wide eyes
like cymbals
as you crash toward
your climax about
death and the
doubting of Thomas.

You bid us to rise
for a hymn
but I’m still thinking
of her
and the slip-slide of
skin under fabric.

How amazing her grace
and the sound of her voice
as she is kind enough
not to notice me staring.

As I get up to leave
you beg me remember
the beauty of his
great redemption,

but I think I’ll recall
the supple curves
of her lips
and the shifting
dance of her
careless movements.


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