Award Winning Poetry

First Prize

2009 Benicia Love Poetry Contest


portrait in a hot tub

Curled on the wooden edge

of a damp and frothy hour,

white as a geisha, wrapped,

like a towel, around Wonder

drowsy with hunger I try

to add us up

by the random sum of his parts.

The knobbly knees,

the toes like crickets,

lax, irrelevant; the fingers

rolled, the eyelids

curled, the eyebrows

odd, imported, as if from

some blurred and ginger Manchu dynasty.

O timid Samurai,

those lips of softened, melted wax

that scholar’s face

so delicate and


does not explain

the way you ruffled

my shy idiocies, dug up

my trilobite passions,

knelt, and brought

hot tea to my heart --


to see I drank it.

Third Prize

Journeys Category

2011 Ina Coolbrith Annual Poetry Contest


Someone always is.

It doesn’t matter how.

The state is complete in itself

like a mushroom or a grave.

Someone is lost,

and the place they’re in

fits nowhere on their agenda,

won’t show on maps

or satellite photographs.

Someone is lost.

Whether adult or child,

they are afraid,

haunted by disappearing earth.

A world that once contained

hairdryers, fences, crowds

now is only a track among the bracken.

Someone is lost.

Whether or not there are search parties

doesn’t matter to them.

They are just as lost

as if no helicopters were churning.

Someone is lost

and it might not be a forest;

it could be a love affair or a hospital bed.

All we can do is report that we’re searching.

Someone is lost.

It happens sometimes.


that’s the end of the story.

Second Prize

Benicia Love Poetry Contest, 2014

Recipe for Marital Peace

She picks up the sweater

from the bedroom floor

as if the breach between them

could be closed by tidying things.

It is a token of her faith.

Good housewifery will lead to

marital fusion. Keep the lawn trimmed,

the house painted, and the marriage,

like the clapboard, should weather well.

In the kitchen, she kneads dough

until her thoughts pound out smooth.

The argument, like this bread,

must be leavened and left to rise.

By evening, they will once again

find each other digestible.

Third Prize

People Category

2012 Bay Area Annual Poet’s Dinner

Urban Hermit

Single at seventy,

sanguine, but so alone -

or so we think. She disagrees and says,

Use your eyes, friends, use your ears!

The grit that sits in parking lots,

the fungus slowly seeping into speed bumps,

they witness me.

The coke-can sculptures

in low vacant lots,

the weeds with crinkled heads

filtering the sunset;

the slanted afternoons hung down

unraveling on the plaster,

they cherish me.

The dying sapling on the corner

with its leaves that droop and dart

like schools of fishes, dancing

whirlpools into Autumn windshields,

they applaud me.

The rusty stairway to the fire escape

where no one ever stands,

the undeveloped alley with

its walls of brick on either hand;

we mutely fray down to decay together.

We will not renovate.

We’ll be torn down. But

they accompany me

into loud anonymity.

Not once –

never once in my life –

have I been alone.

Second Prize

Spaces & Places Category

2012 Bay Area Annual Poets’ Dinner

Where It All Happened

In a year, there is silence

at Ground Zero.

All the body parts

have been mailed back -

but not enough for everyone.

Someone is just a stain,

a gout of corruption on a tire tread

driven ankle deep in ash that day

over lumps that were the dead..

“He knows where the bodies are buried”

is forevermore an obscene joke; and if

Bin Laden doesn’t know the punchline,

how can we?

Someone I love is just a mote

on a migrating updraft in Spain.

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