January 2018 IBPC poll


Dear Babiluians,

Our shortlist of 7 poems follows this message, each poem nominated by a reader, each vying for one of the 3 openings we have for the January 2018 IBPC competition.

Our poll gadget follows the poems. Vote for one poem only.

The poll will close Friday January 5 at 8pm. 

The 3 top vote-getting poems will represent Babilu. 

Voting is open to you, who is reading this, to all and anyone who would like to read the poems and vote. If you are not now signed in, please click the link in the upper right hand corner of this page. If you have not registered yet, click that same link.


you drifted into a Nomen nescio
sphere of the mind.
Undefined space packed 
with psychedelic images, 
tragicomic paradoxes.

Regression to an earlier time
of diapers, bibs, drool, 
night terrors.
Doctors say you’re chancy, 
might set the house afire, 
slash me with the kitchen knife.

When I whispered -Till tomorrow, honey, 
tears welled in my eyes: 
your mortifying -G’night, Mother 
stabbed my heart.
Wayward, outsize babe, 
snatched from my arms…

There’s a void in our home, 
-What now?
Twenty married years, 
so ephemeral, 
a fleeting presence by my side.
Must I reinvent myself?

Our cat dusts 
book-lined corridors
with her Siamese fur, 
ponders ‘Don Quixote’ yearningly, 
then whiskers your pillows, 
sleeps under them.

She and I need our zany, 
quixotic cavalier, 
even if you've been…

Note: Nomen nescio: No name, Lt. 


After my knock, her eye
squints through the crack.
My voice, already unsure,
is near paralysis.

Tremors pulse through my body.
The old lady stares at me,
I read mockery there.
“So pale batuchka," she says,
"like a freshly laundered sheet.”

Hand that held the hatchet,
mind that held the hand,
heart that fell to dark.

The streets are filled with eyes
that tell how it will end for me.
Every word, every sound
has eyes. Not a single nod,
not one child down the street
careening with youth,
can be released from
the deed’s web, stretching
the length my thoughts travel.

Head down, eyes slowly peer
to either side, scanning threats
passing by, through me,
through the pallid skin, taut, hungry,
over bones I can’t feel as mine.
Panic will be strewn over this day,
and every day of mine to come.

The water would end it, yes, the water; 
Ripples, what I will become is
a ripple. I will not carry this further.

Don’t look up, temples throb…throb.
I can’t focus on the sky,
growls of the landlady’s dog
stalk and hound my every move.

There is only a silent plunge,
nothing more at the last.

Why can’t I lose these details,
the shaky armed impulse
over the slight figure,
the source of so much blood,
so much blood.

The river waits, Sonia waits,
I can’t face her, I will wait,
not here…beyond all this;

hand that held the hatchet,
mind that held the hand,
heart that fell to dark. 


The tiny mouse that lived inside
my dry stone wall is petrified.
Her body couldn't bear the chill
and there she lies forever still,
inside my dry stone wall.

The pygmy shrew that found a heap
of brittle leaves fell sound asleep.
The snuffling mite consumed his last
then snuggled down to face his fast
inside the heap of leaves.

The jenny wren that settled in
the ivy quilt is plume and skin.
Her shivering frame has acquiesced
because she hadn't built a nest
inside the ivy quilt.

The feral cat that prowls around
my broken fence slips on the ground.
The frozen earth defies his claw
and winter's freeze has robbed his store
around my broken fence.

Now I sit in my cosy house
to think about the tiny mouse,
the shrew, the wren and feral cat
then place some balls of grain and fat
outside my cosy house. 


—for Jerry G.

“Come here, long-haired gadjo,
it will only cost you ten dollars. 
Small price to know everything 
about your future. You’re shaking; 
take off your glasses and lean back, 
give me your hand so I can riff over your life. 
You’re surprised I know you’re a guitar player. 

"A Romany drabarno sees everything; even the fact 
your lifeline ends on the missing finger. Don’t fret, 
you’ll live long enough to be immortal in their minds. 
Who are they? I see booking agents, your ex, 
all grateful long after you’re dead.”


I watch as the half-loaf of french bread climbs the tree across the street and think to myself why do they do it, how do they do it, how do they survive the winter up in trees like that. I know the radiation from the Icarus incident millions of light-years hence washes over us all like wind over waves of golden grain, like purple mountains majesty above breaded planes. I know there are worse things than winter, there are hurricanes, there are exploding suns that blanket entire quadrants of the galaxies with planet-sterilizing radiation. I think of mankind’s place in the universe and how fragile, how isolated, how alone we are. The synapses of my brain fire in unison perhaps in synchronicity with flowing particles or perhaps in spite of them as the squirrel drops the bread and it falls under the influence of gravity with a muted thud to the ground.



It's a strange twilight,
hanging over the middle of the day,
stealing the power of my eyes
to make things real.
The inverted shadows
hollow what is solid.
The skeletons of things
break at the spine.
You are gone.
You took yourself
away. If you return
it will be with thorns.


I'm sitting on the bench
outside the library
waiting for a cab
and breathing shallow.
She died. She died.
I still see her 
asking for more
creamer in her coffee,
never satisfied.
Then God told me to relax
God told me to relax!
I didn't need to
say goodbye. She
wouldn't listen anyway.
But God told me:


She stands behind him without
making a sound and acts
like she was his intimate muse.

He turns to look at her. She entices
him with one leg up to manhandle
her but he's not in mood.

His minuscule volume of Latin
blood simmers but it's remote from
an Ole Torero!

Besides, he prefers brunettes with
palm-size breasts. Not the frond type.
She doesn't qualify.

Her right hand raised straight up
above her shoulder
waives at him in a frozen stanza.

He chuckles at her brazen lewdness.
She's stark naked and doesn't know
she's not his type.

Nor does she smile.
Her blank expressionless face
has a wooden appearance.

She doesn't even wear
a Mona Lisa smile.
He garbles to himself

he'd never sleep with her.
She looks just fine on top
of the glass shelf.

January 2018 IBPC poll
  1. Vote for 1 poem:11 votes
    1. Certified
    2. The Haunting of Raskolnikov
    3. Homeless
    4. The Riff
    5. Squirrelly Thoughts
    6. Wednesday, Funeral Plans
    7. The Would Be Seductress


Sign In or Register to comment.