After receiving over 400 poems for our Bee My Valentine Poetry Contest, Shy Watson, Lauren Howton, and Josh Lefkowitz were selected as winners! Their work has been published on Valentines featuring artwork from JB Brager. Each Valentine is currently for sale for $5 at Snapdragon Flowers, the proceeds of which go directly to the William Way LGBT Community Center. We are SO excited and overwhelmed by the support we have received so far.
Since launch, we have raised $200 (and counting) in the name of love. Thank you. Thank you to all the poets who submitted, Snapdragon Flowers for hosting and propelling our mission forward, William Way for partying with us, Dockstreet Brewery for the beer, and every single audience member and participant (YES, Hannah McDonald!) who showed up and reminded us that love is resistance and our community is powerful together.
Read our three winning poems below!
ja rule & i both
“i’m gettin anxious
but patiently waiting for you”
& i feel that
to the core
i took a video of myself
smoking weed & singing along
to this, but no one liked it
within the first four minutes
so it was deleted
i was wearing only underwear
& was scared that someone would
is one of the only women
i can recreate
i accidentally left
for over two hours
then watched myself
like a voyeur
as i put up my tapestry
& danced in my room
shy watson is a poet & painter living in philadelphia, pa.
A day in your arms is like that movie The Godfather.
It’s pretty much the best.
Every time you scrunch up your nose,
my heart does an anti-scrunch, e.g., expands.
When you laugh, for me, in that moment
it is impossible to feel sad.
And when you yourself are burdened by blue,
I would cut off my arm as remedy.
“There goes the one-armed man,”
folks in town would say.
“He did it for love,” others would reply,
and the elders would nod with quiet understanding.
There are certain Sunday mornings, cereal
and silence, maybe a bird at the birdfeeder,
that fill me with such revelry, to the point
where it hurts all the much more when I remember
that we don’t actually have a birdfeeder,
and we are not actually we – I know this
because I have both my arms still, so I will keep looking
until I find you, can give you mine, can rest in yours.
Josh Lefkowitz won the 2013 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Prize, an Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry at the University of Michigan, was a finalist for the 2014 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize, and won First Prize in the 2016 Singapore Poetry Contest. His poems and essays have been published at Barrelhouse, The Offing, Conduit, The Rumpus, The Huffington Post, and many other places. He has also recorded humor pieces for NPR's All Things Considered and BBC's Americana.
I make bad decisions when I chase whiskey with beer.
And after I got in the shower and twisted my ankle up
over your shoulder and stuck my foot in my mouth—
even after I spit out some foul things—I couldn’t get rid
of my never-healed-broken-toe-size-eight-wearing foot.
I wanted to tell you that when I think of you I think of
your dirty socks, sheet lines on your face, rolling brownouts,
and the time in Fishtown we thought we maybe saw a UFO.
I accidentally made you cry hard as we looked for our mail key,
when I asked about joint health insurance and what to do with
a half dead rat I left lying in a trap behind your refrigerator.
You and I are like stray leaves floating down the Delaware, green
boat-like surface tension and rot. But thanks for folding
your grandma’s quilt over me when I was feverish.
Lauren Howton is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She is the managing editor for The McNeese Review.