November 26, 2008

last call for 2008 submissions

Deadline for 2008 submissions is December 15th. Submissions sent after this date will not be considered. The Young American Poets staff will resume review of materials on February 1st, 2009.

Want to submit? Read our submission guidelines here.

We would like to thank once again all writers, readers and fellow bloggers that have kept this project alive with their contributions, comments and advice.

(We're just taking some time off from editing duties. The (almost) daily posting goes on!)

The Young American Poets team

November 25, 2008


I wish that I would have been there to follow you to the bars
to hand you pen and paper to capture your stars
instead of clowns handing you demons inside glasses
that made you more evil with each passing possession

been a tape recorder for your burning vibrant mind

been the sky for you to speak your stars onto

been the blank storyboard for you to glue your
cut-out cartoon characters and captions onto

been the empty notebook pages for you to sing
the symphonies of your mind and heart onto

been the film for your camera eyes to burn
hot stares and hotter pictures onto

captured these flashes of brilliance

caged your words before they flew away
to islands of forgetfulness to roost forever out of reach
and then released those words onto your mind's island
to where you could travel, aboard ships of your imagination,
to call their names -those birds- to your hands
to sing once again to you
to project those songs into the skies

but now, those birds will never sing for us
we will never hear their songs in your words
we will never hear of those other trips to your inner islands
or to the outer streets, vibrant and charged with electricity and souls
we will never even know where to find those birds to call out to them
to have them perch upon fingers
to educe lost, fragile, unknown songs from their throats

because the map to your inner islands - it was stolen
by those demons inside glasses
lifted from your lips before you could even
plot the coordinates to draw that map
stolen from inside your mind
melted into candle wax puddles
drowned in the alcoholic flesh of those demons

so we -I- will never find the way to your lost treasures

and I can only hope that there is some truth in reincarnation
some way that souls revolve in grooves on records
are songs spinning back around to be replayed
in diamond needles as the records turn

because if that be true
then maybe one day
I will hear you sing again

nicole nicholson (Milwaukee, WI, 1976)

November 24, 2008

mon visage

On this stage of life, we are just actors
Interacting with other actors with differing factors
And each effect is caused by the improvisation of these reactors
And each reaction has an equal and opposite causational direction
So we read faces and scripts but the words on not written for affection
The sentences you need are in my eyes like pages from your library collection
When I feel sad you change facial expressions but why?
I have not told you what to say next but still you say the correct lie
Because isn’t that what any of us tells, fibs and fables to make other’s knee high
We want to make ourselves feel better, but our character prevents such
So we read our lines off the faces handed to us as we walk with no crutch
But still, to emotional lies and being happy with just one person we clutch
So in this Globe Theatre we are all portraying the same anthropomorphized
And we react to others reactions until our own expressions cannot be prophesized
I wish to no longer be falsified and I need my own face back after being disguised

steven walsh (Rochester, NY, 1987)

November 21, 2008

ritalin nightmare

gorgeous spells for cast aways,
poppy fields, a new pair of shoes,
the likes of thelma svirsky,
the naked poetess,
reading her mildly erotic, mildly outdated
and mildly boring verses
before an audience of drugged up
ADD affected children

these profusely extravagant,
ludicrous attempts at celebrity and stardom
i watched from the last row,
near, so very very close to the emergency door
my face was dyed green by the exit sign,
trying not to be one of them, not wanting to fit in,
stretching verses to reach a second octet and
holding my first conscious erection with a hand in my pocket

* * *

all memories get messed up when thelma appears,
even now, like, two decades after,
even now, when time is not time at all,
it's just hot air inside a green balloon,
a dead folk singer making passes at the local beauty queens,
who happen to be siamese sisters sharing genitalia,
receiving the farewell of their lives, off to the statewide pageant,
imploding in confetti that looks like vomit and feces

and sitting right next to me
the girl who would not talk to anyone
so skinny you could break her in halves just by looking at her
thelma's teeth are melting, it's horrible, and i shout for mother
but i can't speak so i turn to her, the speechless girl,
holding her hands when someone points out i'm not wearing
any pants and thelma shouts and i kiss her, the silent girl,
saving me from a sure death and waking up in a puddle of sweat and pee

jonathan s. baker (San Diego, CA, 1984)

November 18, 2008

ok, well, you can break up with me if that's what you want but i need you to pay me back your half of our trip to mexico

you said you enjoyed every single minute of it
our romantic escapade to los cabos
the food, the shopping raid with my credit card
the expensive hotel i booked for us

and now it's been a week or so we have returned
back to our routines and you
immersed in your halted projects again
whining over quitting you day job

listen, i can't be more supportive than this
taking care of the house
paying your ever growing cell phone bill
and your terrier's vpi

so when you came up to me last night
saying you feel strange with me lately
i say, well, it's good to know because
it's been some time now you've refused all intimacy

at first it was your business partner leaving you
high and dry that was affecting you
and now you just say you don't know
mexico was nice, but of course there was no sex

and you won't resist three questions in a row
until you open up, honest for the first time in who
knows how long and say you want to break up, tears
fake as the papier-mache fruit you bought from that young artesano

do what you will, i really don't care, but i need
you to pay me back your half of our trip to mexico
and that had you snap, and you shouted at me
and had the nerve to call me jerk and a loser

when you are living under my roof, let me remind you
feasting on specialties and sushi from my fridge
pushing my friends into investing in your demented projects
wearing my dead mother's jewelry to benefit dinners

of course i don't need the money but i can't
play the fool here, i need to have some pride
i'm not treating you like a prostitute
just asking you to pay me back for that trip

because that was a week of hope i had for us two
that was yet another attempt to impress you
dance around you, do whatever it takes to make you happy
and still you didn't give a damn

stewart pellegrino (Hoboken, NJ, 1972)

November 11, 2008

be it now or be it never

kiss ride play pray
don't swallow spit your pride
blackmail your way
make the ends meet and tell your tale
choose wisely who your enemies will be
'cause they will be your only friends
watch carefully:
expiration dates
system requirements
the small print in contracts
disclaimers and conditions
all is subject to change without notice
accessories not included
batteries not included
picture for illustration purposes only
choose wisely and promptly and then choose again
no you are not blind this is just beginning

let go
let the sounds flow
let the meaning of words dissolve
let the air in, let the poetry out
let go off me
let go
repeat like a mantra
choose wisely who your enemies are
'cause they will be your only friends
fasting blind, dying fast on empty stomach
a sign of the times
a longing siren lamenting it all

hear the sound of words
waving and weaving nothingness
to become something erectile
and then hit the ground like cobblestone
pearls snooker balls

be it now or be it never
be it green or be it grayer
hit the ground
let go
let dissolve

the verse boiled down
watered down the words devoid
and the poetry upholstered
balding one hair at a time
a mantra that speaks of air
and pain bleak sounds that pair
the long awaited promise of candy
and gucci eyewear something fragile
not the type you expected
one size fits all you can handle plus
the shipping after taxes
why'd you care?

slamming down the trees
comparing better monkeys and playing
the piano the muddy keys and score like
faded watercolors
another sweet tragedy too many
for me to bare
my empty knuckle my bare hand awaiting
not giving nor waning
teddy bears with grizzly paws and deadly skins
for winters there across your street
where men die and people stare
the bell goes ding and fuck goes claire
go mix mingle and share
go pray

choose wisely because there is no second place
there is no medal
just a bus ticket back home
ride and kiss
ride as if you dare

bruno smith (Providence, RI, 1974)

November 10, 2008

landlock state with boiling river

a headache is all i need to stay out,
to think clearly, the waters are up to you,
dinner is up to you, and yet you chose to shoot
the satellite tv dishes and you know how
the neighbors won't call the cops just shoot you back,
playback, swim against a tide of broken barley
relax and think about the time already spent
two years ago i got married in vegas and divorced
in little rock, but i was never good enough of a poet
to write a true cowboy song, no golden ring but
a miracle of a boob job, saline-fill
but cowboys these days are not what they used to be
and poets these days are all over the place
screwing the metrics, sparing the message, teaching
just causes unheard of, a rocky chain disgrace
and horror, moving in then moving out but always
lingering behind on a wheelchair:
elegance i presume is what lacks
here, the lightning, the nuts and bolts,
the preemptive wars, the make-up,
all shook up for the rest of the day,
there is no future and there is no justice,
but there's enough fake orange juice to feed
a whole planet and then fix a couple screwdrivers,
three ice cubes please, feeling so sorry,
landlocked and about to swim against all odds,
about to jump in boiling water, the saline-fill,
the sally fields of this neck with no woods,
the boiling river, the weather channel as oracle
for the time already spent, squandered

evan longhorn (Tulsa, OK, 1979)

November 7, 2008

three stanzas for jerry, now he's gone

for Jerry Beauvoir-Ramirez, my friend and mentor

the space is defunct
windows are going kerplunk
john has left the building
and i live wired to a stolen typewriter

you had your chinese proverbs
one for every occasion
talkative like a chatter bomb
wise and warm like apple pie

even when you die
you take it like a serious project
having it your way, disguised
in old college sweaters you never attended

of course i had more than three stanzas
for you my friend, we miss so much your wicked wit
and resourceful liquor and wine cellar,
the triumph of blue collar over corporate America

for you, globalization was hookers from Albania
twin janitors from Uruguay
the cheap cambodian food joint at the end of 13th Street
and easy access to hardcore japanese manga

yeah, that was your subtle revenge
on everything imposed
on your bad luck as the smartest of the outcasts
may your awful taste be appreciated wherever you are now

jordan mcallister (Des Moines, IA, 1983)

November 5, 2008

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

The sixth-annual Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers, presented by the Kenyon Review, is now open to high school sophomores and juniors. The winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop in Gambier, Ohio, in the summer of 2009, each runner-up receives a partial scholarship. Entries must be submitted through the month of November, using the Kenyon Review Submission Manager.

Further reading:

The Kenyon Review

Past Award Recipientes

Call for Entries at the Kenyon College website

wet gunpowder

you borrow the car
mapquest her new house
drive for two days
and two nights
living on french fries
crossing statelines
not knowing exactly what you doing
not knowing what you looking for

you'd love not to be on this old buick
but drive a delorean instead
and go not to her house
but fly to the not so old times
when both of you were happy
(not so very much she would later admit)

there are no visions
no fuel for scribbling notes
wet gunpowder leaves a poet with no option

you stop at arby's
puke in the ladies room
get a token of southern hospitality
and your ass kicked

now you are definitely lost
now it's time to go home
was there any place to call like that
now you see your face on the stained mirror
and your eyes are yellow
your gums receding
your belly bloated

wet gunpowder makes the poet go mad
after the horrific confirmation
of history repeating itself endelessly

you borrow the car
mapquest her new house
drive for two days
not knowing exactly what you doing
not knowing what you looking for

you borrow the car

daniel bennett (Washington, DC, 1979)

November 4, 2008

nameless and disturbing state of mind, part two

It's not apathy
nor guilt
it's something else
for which I can't find a name

It's not about nightmares
becoming real or pain still
growing here
None such issues are my concern

If I knew the name
I could grab it all the way
But they say you can't beat
what you can't explain

All and all is about
time running back and forth,
the same awkward feelings of yesteryear
multiplied by ten, twenty

Plus confusion and delusion
a plenty, frenzy
and trendy, forever lazy
in my myriad apologies

It's nothing I can describe
Nor it makes me uneasy
It just drags me down
Every day yet another half inch

And in the long run
when I notice the apparent
movement I try to smile but
it's impossible

Because it's not apathy,
it's not pain, nor plain
getting older; but then it just maybe
the sheer horror of being here and being alive

david weinglas (Montevideo, MN, 1978)