First Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
On April 23, 2011, during what is known in Mexico as Semana Santa — or “Holy Week” — I went swimming off of the coast of an abandoned beach at the edge of the northernmost jungle in the Americas, Los Tuxtlas, and a rip current sucked me out to sea.
Four other foreigners and I were the only people on the beach; we were a 20-minute hike from our rental vehicle and about an hour from the nearest town of Catemaco, a small lakeside pueblo known primarily for its shamans….
Third Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
In April of 2011, at the age of 60, singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow died. When I heard the news, I walked into my hallway, and stared at the gold record of her album, Second Childhood, which hung on my wall. I floated back to when I first met Phoebe. In 1973, I had just become an assistant recording engineer at A & R Studios in New York….
Second Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Essay Award.
In 1959 I was a nine-year-old freckled blond kid wearing a Red Sox little league hat just to the left of center, hungry for swings at wild pitches and the chase of impossible fly balls. On Saturdays after games, my father brought me to the newsroom where he worked as city desk editor for a small paper struggling to remain a daily….
Winner, 2013 Literal Latte Short Short Contest.
By the time he gets there the calf is dead and has been for some time — the meat will be sour and rank by the time it gets to the hooks in the ruined barn; it won’t even be good enough to grind up for stew meat. He sees dollar signs dead in the water, but what’s another lost five hundred dollars at this point?
Melba had been running around Cherry Creek with a knife lunging after white people. “Just another crazy nigger,” the cop who brought Melba to our ward said. The cop smelled like rawhide and cigars. His leather belt creaked when he took off Melba’s cuffs. This was 1970 Denver. Martin Luther King was only two years dead. There’d been riots in Denver after he was killed….
On our hill there was a trail to the moon.
Our black dog found it, beat it into the ground with his paws.
It could be supposed that he hated moons,
that his ferocity was more than dutiful….
Someone is reading her. She lures him
out of childhood just walking past him in the hallway
trailing the scent of open sky, green leaves….
With precision and alacrity, aloof as machinery,
she shucked past selves like shrimp shells,
as down time’s squared steps she came,…
I’m not thinking of Pennsylvania, but it comes anyway,
popping up in the distance once I’ve travelled far enough,
but it could just as easily be Sri Lanka/Mozambique/Argentina;
if you let yourself go, there’s no telling where you’ll end up;
First Prize, 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award.
These nights I slip down into sleep
in minutes, freed from a lifelong
ritual, the slow obsessive surrender
of my vigilance….