Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Entries

Newest entries show first; scroll down to view all. To enter the contest, click here. Entries must be received by Aug. 5. Finalists will be posted on Aug. 12.

(with apologies to James Russell Lowell)
by Susi Gregg Fowler

Oh, what is so foul as a midsummer day?
Then, if ever, the putrid reigns,
when the wind brings a stench
that will make your teeth clench,
and even the atheists pray
for a wind to blow in that does not smell of skin
and the fetid, raw scent of decay…
and the faithful, on knees,
beg the gods-pretty please
take this godawful smell far away.

My Dog’s
Oh, what is so grim as late summer time? 
Then, if ever, the crazies reign.
I cannot comprehend
why I seem to offend
when clearly, dead fish smell sublime.
When I’ve rolled (ah, delight) in dead chum, it’s not right
to condemn me as if it’s a crime.
First she screeches, “No! No!”
Then comes the real blow—
She scrubs off all that glorious slime!

by Clint Farr

The salmon looked at me.
And both of us could see,
One of us would die that day.

I caught her on the fly
Sure it was she who would die.
What happened next, only I can say.

There was that first inkling,
My day would be stinking,
When the hook let loose into my face.

To my short lived but lasting regret,
A bear became understandably upset,
By a scream to wilt a wedding bouquet.

Alas my end did not come
At the claws of a mighty bruin,
But an attack of a swarming wasp gang.

See, my still heart relaxes
Less bear; more anaphylaxis.
The bastard bumped the stingers’ hideaway.

So dead as glass I lay.
Not fish - but me - that day.
The salmon a free and pristine piscine runaway.

The salmon looked at me.
And both of us could see.
One of us, would die, that day.

by Kelly Robinson

i 8
the salmon
that wr n
the fridge

& which
u bought
@ Costco
4 KT’s thing
after bookclub

4 give me
they wr delicious
so pink
& so salmony

by Barbara Belknap

Her dorsal is ripped,
The adipose in tatters,
Clutch of eggs long gone,
Nothing really matters.


by Barbara Waters

O salmon, my salmon

You rush upstream

Seeking space

Homing in by

An innate sense

Of place – of time

O salmon, my salmon

Your urge for mate

Meets my urge to

Fill my freezer

Who will win this day?

Who will last longer?

O salmon, my salmon

Tasty with lemon

And dill

A touch of horseradish

Your nobility reduced

To gastric pleasure


by Lou Lehmann

It was a dark and stormy night in a Transylvanian castle

When Dr. Frankenstein said to Igor, his vassal

“That corpse that you purloined  had a defective head

So I sliced it off and decided as it bled

That you must venture forth and get a replacement

For the monster that  I’m making down in the basement”

So Igor descended to search in the village

Hoping to find another body to pillage

But alas, he found none and knew not what to do
When a peddler appeared and said “I can help you -
For I heard that you searched and no corpse did you find
But I have an alternative, though not of mankind

And it may not be just what Frankenstein might  wish
But tell him to consider making his monster part fish
Because  I’ve got a  big dead salmon stored in my cart
Whose head he could have because that doctor’s so smart”
He could attach it with ease to that poor headless chump
Sewing it ever so securely to his bloody neck stump”

Well, poor Igor was desperate so he purchased that  head
And then told Frankenstein what the peddler had said
The good doctor screamed and ranted and raved
“ I have  no human head for the corpse that I’ve saved
Just a glassy-eyed head from a salmon now stinking
What the hell, Igor, could you have been thiniking?

But the storm was now raging, it was ever so frightening
And Frankenstein knew that he needed the lightning
Which would appear only briefly, his monster to zap
And his experiment he surely did not want to scrap
So the headless corpse they brought up from below
And upon it that salmon head they then did bestow

To a table they  strapped that thing with no feeling
And apprehensively opened the castle’s ceiling
Then the monster was struck with a lightening bolt
Surging life into its body with every volt
Part-salmon, part human, the creature then rose
Breaking its bonds, then scratching its toes

“What have you done to me?” the monster then cried
Do I have the soul of a man or a fish deep inside?
Should I be on the land or should I be in the sea?
But that’s not the worst that you have done to me
Far worse than this body, I now have no home
And I’m doomed  to be remembered in this atrocious poem.”

by Kersten Christianson

Oh, Buck Salmon, you mighty leaper -

king, silver, sockeye, chum and pink – tasty meat!

Anadromous being and populous ocean creeper,

finding your natal, freshwater stream is quite a feat.

You dodge the teeth of orca, the speed of sea lion,

and the crafty ruse of humans with fishing line and puppet herring.

Transformative in nature, your return to river makes you a new man

blindly following the hens with your flashy kype, shiny like Orion,

almost shape shifting with strong color-change bearing.

Egg fertilization and fellow salmon-littered bank stink is all part of the stock generating plan. 

by Lesley Thomas

It is an ancient Mariner,
And she stoppeth one of three.
“By thy long grey locks and putrid coat
Of slime from ten days on a boat,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”

A tipsy party on the way
from happy hour on the quay,
Blithe and donned in rich array,
No thoughts of Salmon on this day,
Landlubber jobs far from fillet.

She holds him with a skinny hand,
“There was a Fish,” quoth she.
“Hold off, unhand me, grey-haired loon!”
Eftsoons her hand dropt she.

She pierced him with an eagle gaze
Marked by chase of countless days,
Of midnight sun, and fog and haze.

“What is your saga dire to tell?
Let me by, you scaley hag –
The socioeconomic role you played
Under our eight-starred indigo flag
Of lengthy tale no Fish is worth,
So keep it quick and give us berth!”

“Water, water, everywhere – “

“No, about the Salmon, please?”

She fixed him with that glittering eye,
His comrades muttered, ill at ease.

Unhappy guest, he beat his breast,
Yet cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient witch,
The bright-eyed Mariner:

“My hooks are empty now of King,
Bottomfeeders are the thing,
In nets made out of plastic string,
Whilst circus ships as big as towns
Teem with prostitutes and clowns,
On decks the million tourists cram
To snap a pretty Instagram,
My troller now quaint museum piece,
I’ll sell it off, or maybe lease…
But an Ode to Salmon I can sing.”

“Let me by, you fearsome Dame!”
She held him yet with eyes of flame.

“Or prophesy of doom I’ll give
Fast forward from the times we live
Two decades hence, acidification
Prevents the tiny shell formation
Of the foodchain bottoms’ krill,
 And thus the mighty Humpy kill.

“On DHA the world was fed,
Until the last Sockeye was dead.
O Paean to Salmon I can chant,
Of poisoned waters I can rant,
Though I see you are a shill,
Who came to live here post oil spill!”

“Unhand me, Crone, I have no time,
For odes or rants or any rime. “

“Then, Brother, can you spare a dime?”

He went like one that hath been stunned
By gaff hook on the deck forlorn,
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.


by Geoff Kirsch and Libby Bakalar

O Salmon! My Salmon! Your fateful trip is done;

Spent all your milt on every egg along your salmon run;

The end is near, your stench is clear, some would say revolting

With hollow eyes and languid tail, mottled scales a-molting:

But O fin! fin! fin!

O king, silver, chum, pink, red,

There on the banks my Salmon lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Salmon! dead Salmon! Rise up and take my bait;

Rise up—for you the table’s set—and I must put something on the plate;

For you briquettes and marinades—for you some cedar planking;

For you they call, my dinner guests, hungry now from drinking;

Here Salmon! dear Salmon!

This hook inside your head;

I’ll pass it off that at my hand

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Salmon does not answer, his hump is pale and still;

My Salmon does not feel my snag, he has no pulse nor will.

Manhood anchored safe and sound, the voyage closed and done;

From angling trip, I still return a victorious fisherman;

Relax, O self-respecting Alaskans (who wouldn’t dream of serving spawned out salmon, not even to out-of-towners)!

I’ll just bring back the head,

For in the cooler store-bought decoy Salmon lies,

Filleted and cold and dead.

* With apologies to Walt Whitman and inspired by this past summer’s release of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” a real dead fish if ever there was one

By Robert Jaro
I once had a girlfriend named Nellie
One day she turned up quite smelly
She ate some old fish
It was quite a dish
It was the end of poor Nellie.

by  Marilyn E. Wheeless

Seagulls screech and argue over
dead and rotting salmon, vying
for the victim's choicest sections
and bantering with stomachs full.

Ravens chortle from the tree tops,
ragged wings attest to scrapes over
what the gulls reluctantly
relinquish after gluttony.

Eagles sit in silent judgment,
droping like stones among the
crowd below, setting off a cacophony
of noisy protest but no real dispute.

Silvery salmon, mottled and bruised
by life.  To such an end, spawned-out
prey for vicious beaks and talons,
returning, ultimately, to earth.                                                                           

by  Marilyn E. Wheeless  
Seagulls cry, wheeling, flapping,
a tempo matched by
salmon flopping.  Gasping
one last breath before
seagull's beak, bone-hard, yellow
twitches flesh from
slender bodies.
Feeding generations yet unborn
from generations ending.
Spawned-out salmon,
dying.  Life goes on.

by Barbara Waters

The reds are coming
Caught by hook or by dip net
Smokers are smoking

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