March 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 March 2018 IBPC competition, C. Wade Bentley our esteemed judge.

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

The poll will close Monday, March 5 at 10pm. 

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.


is more essential
than a belief in the divine. 

Especially how it was taught me
that it exists only
by the grace of faith. 

Birds on the other hand
and their fleas mind you
are an everyday occurrence. 

Besides, it's for others to believe
the unbelievable. Not for me. 

As far as I am concerned
the divine is the rat
inside my home
that keeps me periodically awake
with every nibble
like it did last night. 

Potato couching in the evening
I sometimes see him
with the corner of my eye. 

A blurred ghost zipping by. 

He's probably a morsel
of the holy trinity
because the moment I focus
my elderly sight on the little
son of a bitch he's gone
in less than the blink
of my third eye. 

It's true to its ghostly presence.
That's what I believe.


Tallulah, Louisiana,
fields endless
with baby elephant-ear
tobacco leaves,
hanging shreds
of cotton
and tangerines.

I knock
on a paint-peeled door;
shuffling, rustlings inside
the shotgun shack.
A white-haired man,
pipe, dark glasses,
cracks open the door.

Sorry to bother you,
they tol’ me
further down
you’re a guitar player
tol’ me
you make the box talk.
I got one here,
you wanna 
give it a workout?

What you drinkin?

What’s your pleasure?

I won’t say no to gin.

I’ll be right back.


Lucille’s laying out 
on the rumpled bed,
in a thin flower-print,
blue and white dress,
face down, still.
Blind Son 
holds my Martin,
tunes to open,
takes a Prince Albert can
off a shelf,
slides it up and down
the strings.
They whine and cry
like Robert Johnson’s
when the devil
tuned it
at the crossroads,
Highway 8 and 1.

Shor do lahk this gitar.

He speaks gently 
to Lucille, wakes her
from half-sleep,
asks her 
to sing one ‘a 
the ol’ ones. 
She rolls over 
on her back
and in barely audible voice
born in honky-tonks 
and roadhouses, 
she sets time dancing 
in booze delirium .

Billie Holiday tones,
woman’s blues, 
jazzed into spaces 
between pain 
and wonder,
joy and betrayal, 
floating memories
of dance halls 
and protective, 

Lying there, 
she introduces me
to a blues-land cyclone
people carry all week,
every Saturday night
from dusk 
to daylight;
doin’ tha Cakewalk, 
tha Shimmy, Swingout, 
tha Buzzard Lope.
Slingin’ barbecue, 
gamblers’ cards 
on the table,
and homebrew 

She sings time 
into enduring, 
generous strokes
of celebration,
joy borne out of
brutal history.
Her ancestors move 
ghostly limbs 
in languorous gestures 
of survival.

I’m quiet
as she turns back over.
I’ve lost words
for what I’ve heard.

I summon up:

Lucille, I hope
you’re feelin’ better

“Better awready, son”

I leave the guitar behind.


I entered the hardware store,
scanned the shelves for light bulbs,
40 watt equivalent, long life,
when this African woman, dressed 
in a gold, green and red Sudanese robe,
motioned in my direction and asked,
“Which one is best?”

She held up two pails and waited, 
with an expectant expression, which said,
I want you to be honest.

"That one has a wider rim 
and a sturdy handle, and holds 
a little more water, I think; 
but the other has elegance 
and style, catches the eye 
with its beautiful shade of blue." 

She smiled, 
gave a cordial and engaging nod of the head,
strolled over to the till gently swinging 
her new blue bucket.


The seams of the baseball #41 
found in the gutter of Mexico 
Avenue beside Utah Park 
the first day of Spring are 
stitched tightly in red darts that
hold together two figure-eight
pieces of sensitive blonde calfskin
like infinity encircling itself. 

The number is handwritten in blue ink
I think of the Nazi found hiding
in Argentina, his thin translucent
lampshades tattooed with blue numerals.
Perhaps as a reminder, a memento. 

My insides wind tightly like 
those of the baseball.

I wonder how many baseballs
can be made from one calf skin,
how many are needed each year
to replace those lost beside the road.

I worry about the calves
those poor naked calves 
alone, in the fields, 
in the cold Montana winter. 


You promised transformation if I bit 
the apple of your lust. We would be 
together, your dark trunk's cool coil 
dry against the wetness of my sable. 

You promised a tongue not forked, 
but one to flick, flick at the bud 
buried in pink, as your black eyes 
blinked at the quiver of my heat. 

You promised a new living 
beyond the flat bright world 
he and I came from. Day after day 
sameness, eternity's torture. 

I promised to light you up, illuminate 
your coiled darkness, but I lied.


The brown unmoving steppes
hypnotise in noonday light: 
brushwood, arid rock,
thirsty silent earth.
Their unrelenting semblance 
of mesmerizing hues,
appear to be a craving,
a numbness or a void,
crying out for some transcendent passion
offered up by mine own heart-

In a dream, I stole those powers
by flying to the dome of startling blues.

A godly meaning in the skies
revealed only to my patient eyes.


The snowshovel
waves like a feather
and the cold white powder
gathers and tosses
puffing through the air.
The neighborman
dances, holding the
snowshovel's hand.
And when he 
nears the end of the song,
a friendly door behind him
opens and a woman's face appears.


March 2018 IBPC poll
  1. Vote for 1 poem: 13 votes
    1. Bird & Rat Watching
    2. Lucille, Blind Son, and the Prince Albert Can
    3. Making the Right Choice
    4. Montana
    5. Promises
    6. Steppes
    7. Winnipeg
Thanked by 1Gracy


  • Posts: 0
    Thank you, Rus, for including my late posting. I was going to tweak it a wee bit, but my cat got very ill and I've spent two days with her interned in a nearby veterinary clinic. Turns out she's diabetic, but an Ecograph also shows a growth in the intestine and lots of fluid in her abdomen that has to be drained to get a good view of her pancreas and other organs.She's 18 years old, so it's complicated. The vet seems reluctant about surgery, because it would mean removing part of her intestine with the growth in it. Can't be done via larascopy. She's home now, not too comfortable, but properly so it goes. Sorry for venting here, but I love my cat and feel sad. 
    Best to all for these great poems, Gracy 
  • Posts: 655
    Congratulations to Kenny! His poem Montana came in first in our poll. So Montana will represent Babilu for the March 2018 IBPC contest.

    We have a 4-way tie for 2nd and 3rd places. Here are the poems that will require a randomizer to select two poems from:

    Richard's poem: Lucille, Blind Son, and the Prince Albert Can
    JJ's poem: Making the Right Choice
    Jim's poem: Promises
    Don's poem: Winnipeg

    The next 2 posts will be to announce the randomizer's selections.

    IBPC Babilu Poll 1803.jpg
    479 x 479 - 36K
  • Posts: 655
    The 2nd poem representing Babilu this month is Jim's poem Promises !
    IBPC Babilu Poll Tie Breaker 1803 #1.jpg
    689 x 307 - 48K
  • Posts: 655
    Our 3rd & last entry for the month, is Don's poem Winnipeg !

    Our 3 entries for the month are:

    1. Montana, by Kenny
    2. Promises, by Jim
    3. Winnipeg, by Don 


    The 2 poems that were not selected by the randomizer, hopefully will be nominated and sent in future months. The quality and joy in those poems were missed only by the randomizer:

    Richard's poem: Lucille, Blind Son, and the Prince Albert Can
    JJ's poem: Making the Right Choice
    IBPC Babilu Poll Tie Breaker 1803 #2.jpg
    682 x 304 - 44K
    Thanked by 1Gracy
  • Best of luck, gents. Three strong contenders for this month and all worthy representatives. Well done!



    Thanked by 1Gracy
  • edited March 9 Posts: 0
    I like that, Rus!  Congrats to the three great poets who will represent Babilu in March! 

    "The quality and joy in those poems were missed only by the randomizer:"

    ^:)^ =D>
  • Posts: 0
    Thank You Rus!  Good Luck Everyone..... Power to Babilu!!
    By Our Powers Combined.... :)

    Kenny A. Chaffin
    "Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama
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