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Kent State University
301 Satterfield Hall
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, Ohio 44242-0001
(330) 672-2067 (phone)
(330) 672-3333 (fax)
SELF-PORTRAIT WITH GUNSHOT VERNACULAR
All summer was one wet weapon
after another: barb of sweetgum
in the ankle, stranger’s knife blade,
the wasp stuck in your sneaker.
Rainfall kept the crack addicts
asleep in the church basement
amid remnants of the broken window.
O window, come again in glory
and the block will put a piece
of itself through you,
makeshift spear to the side,
stone to the back of the skull,
thunder of gunshot. Here,
we all know that sound.
If somebody flinch at firecrackers,
they may as well mispronounce
your name. This place is old
as a mother tongue. Here,
the world is always saying
Ya mama, Ya mama,
and you write poems
like they brass knuckles
or empty 40 bottles of O.E.
Believe in wildlife,
that snarl and sex,
glimmer of I, I, until death.
Most people stop believing
in lions after visiting the zoo,
but you seen too many broken locks
and this neighborhood is bordered
by a jawbone made of light.
Rhyme or die. Shoot or die.
Smuggle yourself out
like a banned book
This is the voice
calling to you in the wilderness,
its dark milk like blood in the throat.
--Michael Mlekoday, 2012 Wick Poetry Prize Winner
The Wick Poetry Center is pleased to announce Michael Mlekoday as the 2012 winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, judged by Dorianne Laux. The prize awards Mlekoday with $2,500 and publication of his manuscript, The Dead Eat Everything, by the Kent State University Press. Mlekoday will take part in the Wick Reading Series next year with Laux.
Michael Mlekoday holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and Kansas State University. He is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University and a National Poetry Slam Champion. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Sixth Finch, Anti-, and other journals. He is Poetry Editor of Indiana Review.