twenty-fifth chapbook

2019 - twenty-fifth

The contest chapbook, “twenty-fifth,” Cover Art – “Echinacea” by Barbara Smith Gilbert, is available for a $10 donation (plus $2.50 for shipping). The chapbook can be found at Inklings Bookshop or by contacting Ed Stover, 509-833-8577.

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets presents just a few of the fine examples of the 2019 year’s prize poems.

Enjoy a sampling of the twenty-fifth chapbook from 2019…

Joanna Thomas:  First Place

bou•quet (boo-kay)

n. 1. the scent of sugar, clover, anger,
rot. 2. a hardy aversion to fools. 3.
arrested momentum; or, the roller
coaster ride of trial and error. 4.
something floating in a nameless yeast;
also, soft mud, its yielding skid. 5. the
quiet pathos of spent passion. 6.
nightfall, furling her sails; or, the moon,
come snugly to anchor: We lay
enveloped in a watery bouquet of
7. magnolia; nostalgia;
edelweiss, white as wool.

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets

Joyce Hernandez:  Second Place


our house we built
by mouthfuls
the way ants do

sealed it smooth
as the wasps’
paper blimps

we were such fools
to forget windows

so wise, though
to find a door
in the cellar
below the waterline

swim free

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets

Terry Martin: Tom Pier Prize 


As darkness gathers
we build modest shrines

(ravens clothed in night
words inked in lines)

to praise what is left—
husk, pod, bone, leaf;

the strangeness of dusk,
the sweetness of grief.

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets

Kathleen Stancik: Judge. 2019


A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
                                                                                 –Franz Kafka

Beware the poem with serrated edges,
blade of forged metal. Stretch your
tongue across its vowels. Bring it back bloody.
Brave its brooding rhythms. Feel the bruise
of blue-black petals blooming from a crack
in a line. Taste pollen as it spreads
into places you’d forgotten existed. Wince
as you’re sliced through your stem.

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets

Kathleen Smith: Honorable Mention

How The Texture of Grief Changes

At first, I knew how it would unfold:
I would lose my fear in your dark eyes
and your small, strong hands would dig,
ever so gently, through the rubble
until they found my heart. Like disaster
relief, peeling an onion, or the way snakes
get new skins. We would go slow and be tender.
We could get lucky and live again.

I didn’t know then how love gathers
at the center and surges like a single iris
blooming. Its sudden power surprises.
Its bulb breaks unnoticed. Small flakes
of casing cling and scatter as it muscles
to light. We know this now.
We have found old stories littering
the bed like confetti at this grand opening.

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets

Joseph Powell: Honorable Mention

Two Boats

Two bright boats rock with the waves.
Their anchor-lines stretch and slacken.

In tranquil moments shadows revolve aimlessly
On the sun’s leash, but the more you stare into reflection

The more it stares into you, coloring what you see.
Love is the rope stretching into the invisible.

How deeply we believe in the thinnest tethers.
What’s spirit but motion against our moorings?

Yakima Coffeehouse Poets