Words Aloud Contest

Words Aloud is incredibly appreciative to all applicants of our summer poetry contest. The contest and subsequent fundraiser were a great success and raised $877 dollars for our 2019 festival!

Special thanks to the donors of our silent auction items, Blue Herron Cruises, Sauble Golf & Country Club, The Grey Gallery, Nakdbasics, barebirch & The Southampton Olive Oil Company.

The festival is also tremendously appreciative to a few extra fabulous people, whom this contest would not have been possible without. Thank you to our judging panel, Yvonne Pelletier, Anne Duke Judd and Brian Henderson, as well as Dreamer’s Creative Writing & Coffin Ridge Winery for sponsoring this special event.

Our judges combed over submissions from Ontario to Texas. The winner of our summer poetry contest, Katya Zinn, resides in Boston. Please join us at the festival to hear her read her poem, “Animal Cruelty.”
Second and Third places were also awarded to local poets Harry Posner & Danuta Valleau, respectively.

Congratulations to all of our contest winners!

Animal Cruelty

I am 9.
I stand

before 15 disinterested 5th graders
brandishing torn magazine page

all soft lines & hard edges
kitten-eyed pleading sparkle
uppercase sans serif shouts

this was no oral report
I read an exposé on
the fur industry; now

Mrs. Bilowitz’s entire homeroom
needed to know as I did the tale
of the kitten whose baby teeth
traversed flesh fur & bone to
part company with her paw

skewered by sticky metallic fangs
that they might cease dressing
in slain skins for school; audience

of snap-toothed boys in snapback hats
I didn’t shake the nickname PETA
until I was a freshman in high school.

I am 15 the year I leave my body
like a forgotten coat in Tyler Stormel’s silver Audi
& isn’t this the cruelty of children
to pile upon the open wound of caring?

Stand up for something
& nobody can look down on you

I thought, but this was no place for principles
not with cups to be drained & unshaven calves
to be shamed & garrisons of matching denim-stamped asses
guarding the fenced spit of grass where bitches gathered to

groom their claws. I remember suffocating
as a grown man’s boyish blond curls
tickled my bare bellybutton. Self-amputation
is no more choice than suicide

deliberate fall from flame-licked window.
Tyler Stenzel’s Audi had no sunroof

but when my therapist asks
about the pile of splayed limbs in the open maw of his backseat
I look down on myself
a moonlight spill staining seatbelt-studded leather, as though through
the skylight of a burning building.
Knives are not made of kitten’s teeth

or splintered bone turned whetstone by will to live
but no soul in 7 hells of brimstone deserves to die
alone in a trap of anyone’s making but their own.
I am 25. I know too many men who wear fur
like they grew it themselves, like the whole world is winter, & hide
helps predators stalk unseen amongst prey. I am 9. I am sent home

arms laden with leaflets for the Gifted program. Mrs. Bilowitz says my mind
is like a steel trap. I am 25. I am sent home with hands full of weighted stones
my therapist says are designed to trap untamed minds within their
respective bodies. I am 25. My body is the steel trap. My body is disem-

-bodied stump of fur matted crimson, is raw-tongued revival
of silver snapping shut, is metal mouth, hind leg, liberation

casualty. I am 18. A man with a spring-loaded jaw
tells me he sees me for so much more than my skin.
I am no trap, he says. You can’t blame me for your limp

body survives what mind cannot. Darling, I only wanted to hold you.

I smile.
& I ask him if he can see
the blood in my bared teeth.

-Katya Zinn

Where is our Howl?
(for Allen Ginsberg)

In this digitized, punch drunk
parched and pixilated webcast of a dream world
where is our Howl?
our jesters outing bare-assed kings
who’d eat our hearts for hors d’oeuvres
fling the leftovers into cold rivers?

Where is our Howl?
our shape-shifting shrieks
our screeching vultures
wheeling through the ‘machinery of night’
our fight or die hips belted with clips
filled with killer queries
our Moloch hunters
the connectors
the love junkies immune to IED’s
buried in the sands of samadhi?

Where is our Howl?
our driving beat jazzed with horizons
songs that turn data-drugged minds away from cranked-up cities
away from ‘Who gives a shit’?
and where is our anthem for peace
John and Yoko dans une chambre Quebecoise
folded into the question mark of each other
naked in the pool
sitting seiza in the matrix
goin’ down the road like a tripped-out fool?

Where is our hundredth monkey in the Octagon
choking out Hector ‘The Doomsayer’ Crivo?
where is our chance for atonement
for letting down a generation
born into 9/11 and Rwanda
fed cyberfood and cyberthought
logo-dressed by corporate hacks
and where is our chance to admit that we failed you
in our acts of blindness?

Where is our Howl?
sentences dancing dangerous in air
words to inspire an unbending will
to galvanize steely truth
to incite the flare of incendiary devices
tossed under the body of the Beast
as it slouches towards Midnight
dragging our souls like tin cans
behind a funeral car’s farting buttocks?

Where is our Howl?
our prayer for a new millennium
our secret wish incanted from cliff tops
decanted into the sacred chalice
evolutionary Soma
proto-cultural psilocybin
the high so high that down is up
and the lies of the governors
float away like milkweed puffs
on the winds of change?

Where is our Howl?
our archetype of touch
the new language that crouches in the cracks
like Nietzschean ninjas in the bush
waiting to drop onto muscled backs
and with a silent flick of blade
cut throats bloated with contempt
bury them, hide the tracks?
Where is our burn-song
our take back die Nacht der langen Messer
the one key moment
the play of ideas in the lock
that unhexes and dezombifies
that shows us that we could be
as brilliant as whales
as bee hives
as turtles
as wise
as owls
and as relentless in the hunt?

Where is our Howl?
our now-song bleeding red
our heart-sick warriors sacking another Rome
our artists making millions
while marketeers beg for bread
on the craven streets inside their iphones
and those who pass by the hungry
suddenly lose their looks
and the world is seen for what it is–
a wall of pretty anaesthetizing meat hooks?

Where is our Howl?
our here is what is
our migration-ready wings
buzzing like reeds in a sax crazy bebop band
where is our music, the new currency
our quality of mercy
our well of good will
and who will stand up
and speak for the Moon goddess
grow a Jewish beat poet beard
wear androgynous sandals
become the black wolf swaying
to the swoon of civilization’s discontent
take Gaia’s battered face in his hands
kiss her full on the mouth
make love to her voluptuous lands
and bray through her orgasm
into the concupiscent darkness of our times

-Harry Posner


parallel ridges of methane ice
lie perpendicular to the shore
of Sputnik Planitia where
the smallest amount of solar heat
in a day lasting six on Earth
is enough
for frozen nitrogen to transform
from solid to gas,
bypassing a liquid stage

the night you left
we continued on,
encumbered by details

in candlelight
washed your body with water
warmed, lavender scented

it was Lisha who led me out
to see the mist
that drifted in around the birches
we planted for you

your body dressed and
still as stone
I stood outside
in a fog so dense I could not see
beyond the top step

I stayed with you
and before dawn
curtains of green, purple
lit the sky
and distant

-Danuta Valleau