This poem won Editor's Mom's Choice in 2-Day Poem Contest 2013

the critics are all out tonight, a plaid lump of them

has festered in the corner, reciting headlines and statistics

flinging hyperbole from their intellectual trapeze


drawn by some primal current we have appeared,

children newly sexed, pockets full of poison,

a flirtatious gambit pickling on each tongue

awaiting the chance to be spit out

then ignored


those who relish cigarettes have flocked to the deck

stamp their feet to keep warm, turn shivers

into dance moves, grin sideways, hold out coy fingers

in a vice to bum a drag


here’s a desperate chemistry:

the froth of rank organic brews, kids in the back

sucking neon, its glow ripening the blood,

a fledgling dance floor contending with

a duo of sententious freshmen

who’ve clogged the hallway

with their fierce gesticulation


unfailingly we congregate in worship of ourselves

after the nine to five, grease our hair and thighs, then crawl

toward salvation: scrubby apartments with low lighting,

kitsch on the walls, a faulty toilet handle

and pasta skin stuck fast to all the cookware in the sink


garrisoned ’til dawn, we weave and spin

to the rococo squeal of old vinyl

and though we gain nothing from our exhibition

but a chronic record of youth’s wayward charm

somehow we stay proud, stick to the plan:

bob in and out of wakefulness

and wait up for the sun