Ekphrastic Writing Winners

First Prize: Griselda Castillo

Second Prize: Michael Hatcher

Third Prize: Layne Calabro

Honorable Mention: Leslie Soule

-Juried by Mairead Case-

Griselda Castillo:

how is a cypress like a peace officer?

neighborhood trap 

turns into neighborhood traps 

when the cops can’t tell 

the goodies from the baddies

the world’s turned to ammunition

caught the new american condition 

the transition is a warning to us all

WARNING: flashing lights

are closer than they appear

authentic violence now comes

as silence

in this life cannibals and children

link up online

let me tell you about

the sick and the sad

wrists cuffed

infected lungs

our kindred can’t breathe anymore

across america 

zen gardens fill up with baddies

their dark bodies strangled

by a cypress tree

i ask you simply

how is a cypress like a peace officer?

they both have knees that will

fuck you up

neighborhood trap

turned neighborhood traps

a traffic stop is a coffin

with my face on it

the TV shows pandemic or pandemonium

suggests a jab in the arm

can save the day

it’s been over a year

 we’ve been beading the chain

with a pellet of suggested drug use

dots of daily walks

stone offerings to the dead

killed by cops

confusing the goodies and the baddies 

Michael Hatcher

Open Mouth for Baddies

Most midnights are born black and without music, 

Until lips and teeth make them whole,                     

Until words give them life. 

So go to work.

Let the baddest women 

Empty out the monastery 

Wearing whatever they want.

Bedazzle the bustier 

Turn the volume loud 

Enough to make all make up run.

Bring them out banging!

Be them all bad. Be them,  the entire background.  

Be… smoke and mirrors. Be Special effects. 

Sound is the spell caster’s briefcase 

go to work. 

Hair wherever they want it to be 

Hips swinging like a pendulum

The night is not done 

Until every patron goes to the hospital 

At least once. 

That’s what happens when salacious meets satisfaction

You have no choice but tp, bring them out!

Before the city is overrun 

Before The holy Sun makes hordes of shadows 

And covers them in black and red background. 

Covers them in sand and emeralds,

And Here we go. A table full of bloody body parts 

And a table full of women using the severed hands of men

To put themselves back together 

all baddies,

All, breathing space and oxygen 

Until the drums come back. 

Until heartbeats are replaced by strobe lights, 

And it takes a miracle to keep the blood flowing. 

But the badies just keep dancing. 

There’s nothing new or forgiving about this place  

it’s a lectern for the unsettling,

Everyone that watches is going to be sick and turned on,

At the same time

That’s the way they measure it. 

If she’s really a badie there will be no drugs and no life left

If she’s a badie that body will be dancing in the same place tomorrow

Whether her eyes work or not. 

Shadows are born that way, 

the blood is in the music  

It’s the exit stage right, 

And reincarnate center stage,

It’s all the spirts in the room with their Hands up.

Chained to the wall if need be, 

It’s a movie 

Where everyone walks out 

But not the same way they walked in, 

It’s a take your jaw and leave your teeth 

Kind of event. 

Under no circumstances 

Should there be any hesitation

When the floor caves in and the trap door opens,

Just keep looking.  

She’s a badie and

The turn is coming. 

Layne Calabro

Beauty’s Path

Searching for home

In tongue-leaked lips,

Regal Beauty roams in

thigh-high silk and

rebounding brown skin

Relegated by signatures

an orifice of pleasure,

she clings to the 

cover page. A definitive

denim-bleached success

still grasping

among vampires

to reclaim esteem

Angry Ancestral

drops

build

drops

that eventually

flood a knife’s edge

ready to dissect nature’s

inconvenience

Blood smears

soul and skin-split

Lights flicker and shadows open her eyes

unleashing the impressions of her oppression.

Rage finds a home and

she finds the freedom –

that only death can bring.

Leslie Soule

Baddie Flair

baddie baddie baddie, flair

eyeliner lipstick eyeshield jewelwear

90s MTV denim moves

red light flashfilm horrovibe grooves

hypnotic carnival demonic twerk

it’s madness blood sex trance work

flashes of fangs in dark despair

green ribbons flailing pigtail hair

Puppet controlled by the Illumi-naughty

Cashcam held steady instafilm hottie

Eye-candy, drug-candy, entertainment player

Blood-covered, nightmare-making innocence slayer

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