Eccentric Poetry • 1st Place For the Beautiful Blond Girls, in Summer By Nettie Farris The petunias bloomed so heavy this summer they’re falling. Birds do not stir. Black seed pearls, invulnerable men. My heart is purple. My clean blue bowl on the kitchen counter, broken. The beautiful blond girls with flat backs and breast- bones are stupid and mute. Where are their fathers? Dead. Cool veins in a porcelain hand. I do not mourn them. Eccentric Poetry • 2nd Place In Elmer’s Backyard By Jean Tucker The life-size plastic Santa Claus slumps against the shed, melting slowly in upon himself like a man who cannot eat because his upper denture has fallen into the garbage pit, his red suit scuffed and bleached, his cheeks hollow with the sucking sound of hunger. When Mrs. Claus finds him gone (she has been too busy to notice, what with the peas to pick, the beets to pickle, the wasps’ nests to knock out of the eaves) she rubs some liniment on her bad knee. She does not notify the authorities. She goes back in the kitchen, fixes a pot of tea, thumbs through a travel magazine she found in the hair salon. She likes Aruba, sand like powdered sugar, red lounge chairs with matching umbrellas. And next to her— propped on an elbow, looking deep in her eyes— a bronze sinewy boy peels a mango, offers her a slice. Eccentric Poetry • 3rd Place Love, Cigarettes, and Suntan Oil By Sean Callahan You know those birds on the beach, The ones that run back and forth when the waves crash into the shore. What are those things called? Are they egrets? I think I’ve only been in love once. A true love. Not one of those infatuations, she’s got a great body, blah, blah, blah, type of things. But a truly deep love. The kind where I’d lay awake at night, wondering if she was awake too. Wanting, each day, to tell her that she was everything to me. That being around her made me complete. I never told her though. Even on that day when she came to me and said that she wanted to see if there was more to us than just friends. Something about hearing her say those words made me want to run and hide. So I did. Maybe they’re seagulls. I know that they’re not pelicans. Last week my roommate wanted to borrow some money. He’s always borrowing something, toothpaste, cigarettes, even the occasional condom. And he always returns what he borrowed (I mean he replaces it, he’s not bringing me back used condoms), so it’s not really that big of a deal. It just gets old after a while, so I told him I was broke. I felt a little bad, I think he had a legitimate reason for needing the money. I had fifty bucks in my wallet. You know the ones. The water goes out a bit and they run like hell into the sand picking out food, then just as the next wave comes in, they book it out of there so they don’t get wet. I wonder where she is now. I wonder where he was going. I think that they are Sand Kippers Eccentric Poetry • Honorable Mention Ode To My Teddy Bear By Tara Fambrough He’s crumpled in a brown mass beside my now slammed door. He used to be the source of my comfort. plush tummy soaked in tears, resting in my chunky arms. ripping emotions out of me, making me numb, during the fights, the screams, the pain. Now he sits on my bed; missing one eye, once soft fur, matted a different source of comfort. Instead of clutching him, I launch him across the room to slam the door... shutting myself from them, during the fights, the screams, the pain.