Contests Archived

Poetry Contest About Choices
A poetry contest about choices. Twenty lines maximum. One poem per person, please. Winners will be published in my new anthology about choices. Published date around December 2016. Thanks to everyone who entered. The contest is now closed.

First place: Regina Puckett “Their Pool of Pandemonium”
Second place: Tanda L. Clauson “If You Want to Exist Do Not Choose Left”
Third place: Kate Ann Scholz “About Choices”
Honorable Mention: Mona Dawson “By My Choice”
Honorable Mention: Elaine Webster “Whispers of the Lake”
1. Vee Byram March 13, 2014 at 10:50 am
On my fiftieth birthday, I met my daughter for the first time since she was a few days old. At the park, at the appointed time, a woman walked toward me.
I hugged her. She felt stiff, so I let go.
She handed me a gift. Inside the gray box was a rose pin.
Hot tears spilled. I handed her a small photograph. “Here’s the picture I asked the adoption agency to take.”
She looked at herself as a newborn. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
I hugged her again and this time she hugged me back.
2. MonaDawson March 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm
By My Choice
I do not look before I leap, I do not think before I speak.
I do not listen when I am warned, I do not learn from my mistakes, I’m scorned.
I only know the way I feel, I only know my love is real.

3. Mary Lou Haugh Submitted 2014/03/13 at 3:26 pm
Last Night
Illusions are full of life. They feel like
deep beliefs and ancient myths. They
took the lead through dreams, the
catastrophies that have come and gone
through me.
Freedom is my only resource now.
No attachments, no excuses, no songs
to sing, no need of that. I rid myself of lies
and hope, everything but my truth & love.
It’s time to live, to let go of comfortable ideas
handed to me; instead, I make my work count
with every word my pen now calmly puts to ink.
Last night, a place of revelation
lead to a Private Refuge.
Like a wildflower, full of deep magic
and the lure of life, I seek my nature
pure and clear, like clean water from
the well of cosmic oceans that come
from glass mountains on the other
side of dark nights.
By Mary Lou Haugh
4. Vee Byram Submitted on 2014/03/13 at 10:54 am
I stand on my side of the river.
You stand on the opposite bank,
our pain mirrored in the water.
I cry out, “Come across.”
You cringe, turn away.
I don’t understand.
Softly I say, “Please.”
You hold your ears;
my word falls short.
I wade into the torrent,
to meet you part way.
Icy chill stops my breath.
You put one foot in,
pull it right out,
tell me no, you can’t.
I crawl back to shore.
Legs frozen, my body
shivers in the wind.
The words of healing remain unsaid.
The current of pain is too strong.
5. Kate Ann Scholz March 14, 2014 at 8:58 am
We very seldom have choices really.
Because choices are an illusion,
From the minute we are conceived and born
We move forward in states of confusion.
Indoctrinated and conditioned
We are individually structured and raised,
And conforming is subtle but strong
To follow our life/culture is valued and praised.
It is hard to make changes from this norm
Regardless of choices we see,
Conformity is expected
How can we break free and just be?
Whatever the culture and expectation
Of that time is the road we travel,
To escape or live different it seems
Would cause our families unravel.
Conformity, conformity becomes our only option
What else is out there, we don’t even know,
How can we break free and be who we are
From this conditioning and strong undertow?
6. Mary Palermo March 17, 2014 at 12:34 am
There’s always a line within our head
To do what’s right, when wrongs have lead
To reap the fruits for sufferings sake
When thoughtless regrets have tempest takes
When shadowed blossom’s mist and die
And valley cads just laugh and cry
When festering wounds rule woeful storms
Their twisted rally shaped human forms
We etch deep strokes with stylish flair
The urge to purge, we cross when dared
Within this battle of inner slew
A bottomless well, a conquered you
Volleyed shots of battery-shells
The jaws of death, the kiss of hell
Who will rise at thunder’s gate?
A horse, a hero, or blundered fates?
Hung smelted horns remain askew
That bright land game ‘tween him, and you
To prove the best man’s valued worth
Your ego buried, your destiny berthed
Copyright September 2013 by Mary L. Palermo
7. Elaine Webster March 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Whispers of the Lake
My choices often find me
standing alone in deep water.
I dive unafraid—
cutting through the resistance.
Shouts from shore warn me of danger.
A loved one hopes I won’t drown.
He has resuscitated me before—pushed air into my lungs,
until I spurted.
But I can hear the whispers of promise.
The secrets the lake holds about
those that failed at their attempt to swim.
They did not stop, until eventual death.
It’s those whispers of hope—
I look to find in friends.
Aloneness is easy, comfortable and sure,
solitude is a place of peace.
Yet a shimmer off the water
lures me one more time—
to try—until someone
pulls me under, from below.

8. Tanda L. Clauson March 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm
If You Want to Exist Do Not Choose Left

Perhaps because it’s sinistral,
I cannot comprehend
Leftness. Left is
An enigma… an unsolvable riddle.
Nonexistent in memory… Nonexistent in reality.
I enter a room without a door
Without a door, I cannot leave.
I eat my food and like a waltz
I whirl about, and magically,
My plate of food is here. I eat.
Although I’m told I came
So near to finishing my plate, I dance
And magic shows my plate is full again.
Like Zeno’s arrow I cannot move.
Though people tell me yes,
I know no left.
My universe is right.
Left is… a riddle… sinistral.
If you want to exist – Do not choose left
9. M. Zane McClellan May 1, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Not Much Choice”
Abandonment is a painful exile,
an exorcism of the familiar.
A powerless isolation pervades,
adrift as human flotsam and jetsam.
Samaritans become perpetrators,
substances become solace and escape.
Patterns of self denigration imprint.
Poisons are mistaken for poultices.
I survived a systemic negligence,
emancipated to uncertainty.
Trails marking my past, overgrown with weeds.
The lonely woods dark and full of despair.
Parents made a selfish choice to leave me.
I must make one to always love myself.
Some days I find it difficult to do.
On those days, I choose to love much harder.
Copyright 2014
M. Zane McClellan
All rights reserved
10. reginadee2014 May 5, 2014 at 11:33 am
Their Pool of Pandemonium
Each day there are so many challenging choices
So many that I’m left confused by the babbling voices
Each one is shrieking and shouting to do that or this
How will I ever decide which ones to keep or dismiss?
So I’m covering my ears and shutting them all down
Before I fall into their pool of pandemonium and drown
Copyright 2014
Regina Puckett
All rights reserved

11. gkarlkumfert June 4, 2014 at 11:45 am
by G. Karl Kumfert
It was my choice, and I chose poorly.
I was true to my principles.
I didn’t give in to special interests.
I trusted my gut.
I was strong.
I knew numbers could be manipulated,
Evidence could be fabricated,
And people complained no matter what.
So I tuned it out — all of it — and stuck to my guns.
I made the tough choice.
I kept my promise.
And I expected to live with the consequences, effortlessly.
I was wrong.
Instead of critical thinking, I was just critical.
Refusing to compromise, I forbade myself to see.
They were my opponents, after all.
How could truth possibly be on their side?
12. Lani Longshore June 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm
Choose the Moon
Take one small step
Foot in front of foot
Journey’s end visible
But distant
So far that colors change
Air thins
Muscles ache
Plant your heel
Push against stony ground
Stretch sinew, bone, intent
Grasp the horn of the crescent moon
Breathe in the ether
Choose your next challenge
13. Patrick Coyle July 1, 2014 at 9:18 am
Thread Finger Bowl
These words: thread finger bowl.
What would I choose to make of them?
We thread words from our minds and hearts through our fingers
— holding a pen, a pencil, or moving across a keyboard.
We choose words to put onto a page,
into a text, an email, a manuscript, a poem, a song.
We may chant them,
we may strike a singing bowl,
we may pray with them,
we may finger our beads,
we may dip our fingers in a holy water bowl,
we may reach ourselves or another.
14. timetowritenow July 1, 2014 at 9:20 am
Thanks to everyone who submitted poems. The contest is closed. I will send the entries anonymously to my friends who are poets for a consensus on the three top winners.

Previous contests:

Western Flash Fiction Contest  October, 2013.  Note:  the two winners’ stories can be read in Written Across the Genres an anthology available on Amazon.

We did it. After the two judges of the Western Flash Contest had opposing winners chosen, I took the four submissions to the members of my writing classes to participate in the judging process.

The first place winner is Jeremy Milburn for “The East Coast Dandy”. Congratulations, Jeremy. Please email me so we can get your story into my anthology.

Second Place Winner is Emily De Falla for “Devil or Angel”.

Thank you to all who submitted. Writing a story within 500 words is not an easy task and you all did very well.

See you at the next contest.


Please submit a flash short story with a Western theme DUE OCTOBER 25, 2013. Word count is under 500 words to include story arc and character arc. Please submit to the reply section on this page with your link at the end.

I suggest you check out Wikipedia’s  definition of the Western Genre. It will inspire your muse as well as give you guidelines for the story.

Winner will be published in my anthology, A CLASS OF MUSES, available for purchase in January, 2013.

 Flash Western Short Story Contest

  1. I couldn’t resist the challenge. Here is my contribution. “East Coast Dandy”



The first place winners are Lani Longshore, author of DEATH BY CHENILLE, for her poem “Armistice” and Julie K. Royce, author of PILZ, for her poem “Questions”.

The two Honorable Mentions:  Susie Crumpler for “Untitled” and Peter Dudley, Author of SEMPER and FORSADA, for his poem, “Tipping Point”.

Requirements for the poems were:  Submit a four stanza poem of four lines each about children.  Entries due September 15, 2013. Only one submission per person.

The prize is a book and announcement of your win on social media.   Please add your links at the end of your entry.

  1. Bittersweet

    First born to college.
    Remember first smile, first words, courage.
    Everything practice until now.
    Think I can manage somehow.

    A wisp of time, move-in day.
    Friends’ goodbyes, essentials purvey.
    Classes selected, roommate picked.
    Daughter’s ready, I conflict.

    Boxes loaded, car packed full.
    Meet the roommate, push-pull.
    Aren’t you leaving? Plans limbo.
    Time to let go. Time to go.

    Stay a little longer.
    First day at college.
    See you soon, friends await.
    Time for mom to celebrate.

  2. The Child

    Stanley is the kicking,
    the spinning in the park.
    Our days are finally taken
    over by a frenzied life.

    The biting tells
    us he is too much
    for others. The TV is great
    for him. Life is still.

    He sleeps. He doesn’t tell
    us about his favorite shows.
    There is a sighing. A change moves
    throughout the house.

    Stan is all upstairs,
    we only hear his door
    and the screams
    of video games.

  3. Armistice

    Tiny fists
    Kicking feet

    Quiet voice
    Controlled face

    Toddler pouts
    Retrieves his toy
    Fury forgotten

    Mama smiles
    Continues their walk
    Tantrum forgiven

  4. From Preschool to Old School

    I want This and I want That!
    I love you right now, until we’re in a spat.
    We’re Best BUDS forever, until you make me mad.
    But you’re the FIRST call I make, whenever I’m sad.

    In preschool we played and laughed and cried
    Loved making sandcastles and yummy mud pies.
    Later shared sweaters, secrets, even boys who were friends.
    We knew that our sisterhood would never end.

    Our parents couldn’t get it,
    Restrictions? Unfair!
    Who cares if we’re flunking?
    It’s all about makeup and Hair!

    Those friendships helped mold us into who we became,
    Some stayed, most left, as life led us down lanes.
    Childhood memories in the end, is what often shines bright,
    With sweet dreams to remember from morning to night.
    Twitter #Janlovestowrite

    Jan Loves To Write Blog

  5. pi314chron


    I can still see your toes
    tickling those legless sheep –
    clouds – plump as pillows.
    Kicking toward heaven,

    bound by chains, you swing
    in the arc of my holding.
    The evening sky is the color
    of a bronzed baby bootie,

    the oak tree a gray silhouette.
    For perhaps the thousandth time
    I catch you at your backward peak,
    tug gently down, send you away

    again, your blonde pony-tail
    straight out like a flag.
    When it droops, you return,
    which is the part I like best of all.

  6. Sheila Bali
    September 12, 2013 at 11:05 am (Edit)

    Playful Children by Sheila Bali

    Playful children comb the coral beaches.
    Tumbled glass and
    egg-shaped shells,
    hide in tiny wet-clenched hands.

    Rolling waves crash the seaweed shores.
    Sprays mist and
    sun- baked feet,
    sink in specks of grainy-sands.

    A giggle’s heard, a teasing follows.
    Wind breezes and
    parched tongues,
    taste the salty bits of crusty granule.

    Shrieking seagulls soar the darkened sky.
    Clouds bellow and
    rain torrents,
    as playful children sprint for home.

  7. ON WITH THE SHOW by Terri Ledbetter

    In a line, I follow you
    March, march, I have no clue
    They watch me with their smiling eyes
    I hope I don’t trip, just keep lifting my thighs

    I’m on display for all to see
    I keep marching on so nervously
    They call it stage fright for that reason I know
    I think I can do it, so on with the show

    It’s almost over, and now it is done
    The applause is so loud, now this part is fun
    I hold my head high, I strut and I sway
    This isn’t too bad I really must say

    A dancer, an actress or even a singer
    I let my hope grow and my wishes to linger
    I could be a star, a celebrity
    Or I could stay as little ole me


    I spy a toddler with a bright red Safeway card,
    I spy a loving dad holding up his charming ward,
    I spy the big sister packing up the shopping cart.
    I turn to my son and smile with a happy heart;

    I see the big boy that he is today,
    Sipping the nectar of his toils of yesterday.
    An author he is that just published a book,
    A novel that you may read on paper, Kindle or a Nook.

    I knew him as a toddler, yes, a toddler who wailed
    In the grocery store for an item he wanted held.
    I swell with pride at the mettle he has shown:
    A junior in college, writing a book of his own!

    I ponder the Safeway kid, what he will be
    Past his adolescence; a celebrity?
    For all the challenges they often present,
    Kids are a delight, bright and effervescent!

    • Susie Crumpler

      From the moment you woke, your purpose was mine.
      The scent of your newness, too sweet to describe.
      Never before, had my life been so clear.
      To protect you from hurt, and eliminate fear.

      So warm in my arms, I’d kiss all your wounds.
      I watched as you grew, when days felt like years.
      No sun in your eyes, no weight on your shoulders.
      Then years flew like seconds, and pow, you were older.

      Your height fooled us all, and love found you fast.
      Exposed and so brave, led to shock that foreseeable day.
      You cried in your room, and I sobbed in mine.
      You for your love, and I for your pain.

      This time I could not, step in front of the bus.
      The bullet passed by me, and hit you full force.
      I could not accept, that growth equals change.
      And as hard as I tried, you would not be the same.

    sitting all awobble on the carpet
    baby stretches to grasp at a plush bear
    fingertips brush as he topples past it
    parents’ laughter fills the room

    sitting tall on the banana seat
    boy spreads his arms to capture the wind
    wild whoop crumples to the pavement
    parents tsk-tsk over the stitches

    sitting on the floor amid textbooks and laundry
    teen holds a trembling phone
    he presses buttons and the girl answers
    parents spy through his closed door

    sitting behind the steering wheel
    fingers knuckle-locked at ten-and-two
    he stares down life through the windshield
    parents reflect in his rear-view mirror

    My site:
    My blog:
    My twitter: @dudleypj

  10. Trinity Adler

    Pink bows and bright clothes will decorate her life
    She’ll keep a teddy on her bed dressed up for sleepytime
    Barbie shall be her confidant where all her secrets go
    And mommy’s there for comfort in times of joy and woe

    Daddy will be her closest friend,
    He’ll right her when she’s wrong
    He’ll teach her sports and science
    So she’ll grow up smart and strong

    She’ll want to be a doctor
    Or fly high and far in space
    Or a princess in the movies
    Who sings with style and grace

    There are no limits for her
    No rules to tell her no
    She’ll be born into the best time
    For a girl to dream and grow

  11. Unconditional Love

    They come is all shapes and colors
    Are born larger than a breadbox
    Or smaller than your palm
    Arrive home to families or to single parents

    They bond with one or many
    Give their love unconditionally
    While they age faster than you
    Their energy knows no bounds

    They faithfully await your arrival home
    Whether you’ve been gone all day
    Or just to check the mailbox
    Tails wag at the joy of walking

    They hunger for loving hands
    To scratch their ears or rub their bellies
    And gladly adore you in return
    Our furry, four-legged children


May to June 2013 Title Contest Scroll down to see who won.

On May 13th, I posted the following:

Here is the Iambic Group Poem, Glen Meisenheimer guided us to produce at the Poetry Workshop last week. There were 12 participants, but we forgot to title it. Any suggestions?  Please reply with a title and we will vote on the entries. The winner will receive a book by the end of June.

The time she waits on none who tarry long

Instead she dances t’wards her scheduled end.

Ignoring worries; seeking pleasure’s song,

She hopes to make the day a lasting friend.

The other side of time we know is death.

She nudges us along to paths not sought.

Although we fight for every passing breath,

The end will come to all no matter what.


22 thoughts on “Contests Archived”

  1. Hi Carla Rose,

    Thanks for your entry, “Tunnel Freedom”.

    Readers, check out Carla’s book on Amazon by clicking crystalbaby above her entry. She’s a colorful writer with deep insights.


  2. Jennifer King, poetry instructor and director of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center, gave us the final vote for the winner of the group poem title contest. The title is ………… “Cadence” by Violet Carr Moore!! I asked for a second and third place designation too. Vi also won the third place for “Time”. Vi is the past president of the California Writers Club, Tri-Valley Branch. She has won a writer’s basket with two books and a few other fun items. Visit Vi’s blog at:

    Second place winner is Sheila Bali for “Point in Time”! She will receive a book the next time she comes to class in Dublin, hopefully Monday. Sheila Bali is writing a historical memoir of her escape from Hungary as a child in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution. Visit Sheila at her blog:


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