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Poetry: Benjamin A. Giler

Writing Contest home

Benjamin A. Giler, Burlington VT
The Writing Contest for Young and Adult Writers
Winner in Category: Poetry Age 12-20

Clean cloths through poetry, or visa-versa

our washer and dryer run twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week
the cat,
speckled and hairless,
flies by in a car with the top down
he makes but one stop
and with his new tuxedo in the trunk,
he's off again
he seldom looks back
he seldom smiles
just like me
just like me exercising the boundaries of my social life at ten o'clock at night
     in the middle of town with the same people walking by me every five
     minutes or so
i don't smile
and they don't bother to glance in my direction because they don't know that
     Every night i come home to clean clothes,
or that i've left the television on in my bedroom
we look forward to its warmth,
myself and the girl that approached me at eleven that same night and asked:
"what are you writing?"
we look forward to its homely glow
just as we will look forward to the moment when i realize that i'm only
     dreaming and find myself in my bed and,
to my amazement,
find that my throat is sore
i won't be cold because the television will still be on and i will find it residing
     right next to my head
the warmth will come to me in the form of channel thirty-two
and there's a knock at my door
the cat,
with his tuxedo ripped,
stumbles in and makes his way onto my bed where he assures me that the car is
he emits a tiny giggle
i too start to giggle
but i don't smile
i giggle because i know that when i turn off the television and go to bed,
i will get up in the morning,
put on clean clothes,
and tell her that i was writing a poem


the downward movement of a marble-sized cat

a cat,
the size of a marble,
and with a face clean-shaven
walks by the corner candy store doing inappropriate things with economy-size cans
     of whipped cream
he smiles and flags down a taxi
smiles and stumbles into the backseat
and tells the driver,
"it's all downhill from here"

bad table manners in a casual downpour

the way he eats is barbaric,
his hands slide half-way down his throat and he never clears his plate from
     the table
pieces of food cling to his whiskers
he tap-dances his way to the living room telling everyone that they have no
     right to stare
he presses his lips up to the television screen and breathes in deep
myself included,
breathes in deep
I exhale only when I'm convinced that the roof of my garage will keep the
     Rain off my head and she pokes her head through the open door and
     Interrupts my concentration
She sits down beside me and presents me with a dollar bill
"that is worth one hundred of your thoughts,
all of which I'm willing to hear," she tells me as I let my head fall onto my
     shoulders rocking back and forth in my wicker rocking chair humming the
     tune I heard him sing at the dinner table while watching him shove his
     radioactive, neon-yellow fists down his throat
he peels his face from the screen once more to step outside and stand beneath
     the leak in our second-story gutter
he runs his fingers over his scalp and the rain water trickles into his open
he stares at us through the garage window from outside on the lawn
he invites himself in and snatches the dollar bill from my hand
his nose is cracked and peeling
his toenails scrape against the cold concrete floor as he makes a casual exit
a casual escape with one hundred thoughts
a casual get-away with twenty-five pounds of mashed potatoes in his stomach
     and his hands down his throat
the cat,
food clinging to his whiskers,
vomits on the pavement,
and tap-dances his way downtown,
telling all the people he sees on the way,
that they have no right to stare

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