I received a record number of entries this month! I think that the theme of equanimity resonated with a number of readers. This month, I am excited to announce that we have our first international winner!
Ojo Taiye is a Nigerian poet whose work appears in the Rumpus, Glass Poetry Journal, and a number of other places. His poem, “Hereditary Blues,” has a subtle connection to the theme. I appreciated the way his work made me pause and think.
Due to challenges related to international transactions, this month, I made an exception and gave the prize directly to Ojo himself. I definitely didn’t anticipate having international poets enter this contest, so I didn’t anticipate this issue. But I think it’s a good problem to have!
for some years now, you lay out your blue-coated pills & thank them
for their taste buds: the dilating seas that neatly occupy your bed
with a living dream. the sky today is made of your lover’s breath. you
realize your love for him is like a city on fire: mother of all balm &
each growing desire is a wing shaped by time. you dream of homeland
only in your poems. this is always what you wanted: to hold your
breath when no one else will. all day you watch for the mail—lost in
the reverie for some news from a distant place. you are an un-happy
thing—a grey country quietly waiting for the catastrophe of its own
beauty. haven’t you travelled enough—to end the chore. to be lost in a
suspension of time. it maybe the coldest month of the year— & you are
an odd spot of calm misled by want. how your imprecise side stayed up
to watch the sun eat the moon. this morning you woke up to snows &
skies of laughter not enough—