A pleasant surprise

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 8.32.27 AMI logged onto Facebook in an idle moment yesterday, and discovered that I was a finalist in a poetry contest I’d entered months before, for Split This Rock. Ok, there were nine other finalists, and three winners, nonetheless…

The contest was judged by Mark Doty, a poet I’ve mentioned here several times. I love the brilliant transcendence of his work. Here’s a copy of the winning poem–I wrote it in reaction to the epigraph I quote at the top…it made me immediately think of things I find hard to reconcile with the concept of Nirvana:

The Tenth Time

Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten
                          Hô Xuân Hu’o’ng

The disposable diaper
in the meadow

The morning at the DMV

The razor wire on top of the chainlink
around the concrete
around the school

For every black man in college
five behind bars

What happens to the eyes
as the argument flares

The blueprints for the gas chambers,
meticulously filed

The invasion

The story of the invasion

The story behind the story
of the invasion

The ones
who knew to profit from it
Meryl Natchez

I’d put a poem by Mark Doty here, but the contrast would be too great!

4 thoughts on “A pleasant surprise

  1. Congratulations on your poem. That must have sent a zing up your spine!
    Thanks so much for your package, I put it on the bookshelf and await the proper time to dive into the past.


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