Voted on by members and editors alike,
twelve poems competed for the honor of 
Favorite Poem of 2004.  
Here are the results.

Winner of a $30.00 Electronic Book Gift Certifiate

I WRITE  (Free Form)

how to write a poem

find a pasture fence that sags with honeysuckle
breathe deeply   hold the sweet scent in your
lungs   exhale   breathe the way you do
when the doctor listens to your heart 
with a stethoscope   linger by the roadside
until sunset    once home take pen and paper 
breathe in   exhale   your breath will be poetry

Carol Cotten, Galveston, TX, USA


Arachne’s Daughters, Micah and Me

I trade a thread of rust for hers of umber. 
We met in the dusty streets of cities that don’t exist. 
I had written about mine. She had illustrated hers. 
We stood on each other’s thresholds, 
Looking into a land of “oohs” and “ahhs.” 

The shuttle flies back to me with a contrail of silver. 
Laughing, I stomp the pedals of our loom, fling it back 
Winged with the gold of distant suns. Between us, 
We weave images with words and colors. We are 
The warp and weft of the worlds we share. 

Threads fine as spiderfloss, threads thick as wool … 
We work out the tangles with patient fingertips. 
We watch nature and mankind, blend fantasy and reality, 
Sculpt silk and sand. This is our passion, our discipline. 
Even if we were blind our hands would know their way. 

The loom sings the deep-throated music of our love 
For this weaving of words, for the friendship we share. I 
Send off summer-colored yarns and receive tropical sunsets 
In return. The moments of our lives glitter in the sun. We 
Inspire one another, make our threads brighter, stronger. 

Cerulean peace, fizzy crimson indignation, white hope: 
We weave our lives together with these threads. We cut 
The cloth from its frame, hang it flapping for all to see, 
Holding tight to each other. Tapestries. Histories. Yes. 
We are Arachne’s daughters, Micah and me. 

We weave fate in pictures and fiction…some times in fact. 

Elizabeth Barrette, Charleston, IL, USA



Dame Bremerton 

She was over seventy when we first met, 
already shabby after a life among the dives 
and cribs along First Street and lower Pacific, 
decked out in fur and silk when the swells dine. 

She could drink, waltz and flirt all night, 
but in the day raise steel and iron in defense 
of her country against the Red menace. 
Swabbies were her first love, but, oh, Leathernecks…! 

These last forty years, she’s been abandoned – 
the elite left for younger, fresher facades; 
bars and dance halls closed until the few left sit 
near her frayed bodice like warts. 

Winters in this region have been California mild. 
I wish for a severe season, several feet of snow 
and ice to cover her blemishes, so I can pretend 
she’s the lusty dame I danced along the upstairs hall. 

Gary Blankenship, Bremerton, WA, USA 



Harriet Tubman, When Wolves Howled

Wolves, not hounds
Her heart leaps with relief and
Simultaneously her body collapses with same.
Fingers draw snarls into river-mud 
Striped with leaf mold. 
Dreadlocked curls welcome the civil coolness 
Of clay against her cheek
Dampness seeps into the curl of her ear 
So weary, each muscle weeps.
Her father’s image tumbles into focus
His blindfolded eyes when she said goodbye, 
Last time this life.
He’ll answer The Man, integrity intact,
“No, I ain’t seen Harriet tonight.”
Her jaw tightens with courage
She levers herself up on shaking forearms 
And plots the path to the nearest sycamore
Refusing to feed the dream
To an animal so menial 
It sings for its supper.

Heather Jensen, Cheyenne, WY, USA


YES, FREEDOM (Conversational Narrative)

Freedom in Johannesburg, South Africa

we stand on the corner in the orange rays
of the setting sun, holding up a tatty
chalked placard: " Help me pay the fine - my
dog ate Thabo Mbeki's shoes" - the shoes
of the president busy bringing money and 
houses and hospitals and jobs to the likes 
of us standing here on the street corner begging
day after day. they say that there will be a 
chance for me in the new democratic south
africa because the economy is improving 
and more black people are driving mercedes,
wearing gucci and buying houses in bryanston
which is why I stand here on the corner near
the bmw garage hoping for a few rand so that
I can buy a bottle and some glue, so that 
I can experience the freedom of our recently
freed land. there is a poster of Mandela on
the pole above my head - I like looking at 
it especially when the fumes swirl around 
the channels of my brain, freeing me from
my poverty, from my despair and my pain.

Gillian Wilkinson, Saxonwold, RSA


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