A Little Perspective From Tom Church

I checked my e-mail some time ago, and noticed again the absence of any sort of notification from the websites I’ve been on the lookout for: World Poetry Movement, The Young Voices Foundation, et cetera.

With an air of finality, I directed the page to worldpoetrymovement.com. The big contest. The one I’d entered in November hoping to win a thousand goddam dollars, hoping to win even a dumb medal.

The winners were announced a few days ago- and I wasn’t notified.

Floundering, I ctrl+f’d the page and typed in: “Tom.” “Thom.” “Thomas.”

One Thomas. Thomas Lynne.

I lost.

It was much the same with the Young Voices Foundation, and the other measly little grant-reward contests I’d entered. I was, and still am, completely heartbroken.

I laughed darkly, tabbing over to aestheism in a last-ditch creative effort to write out a blogpost for everybody; I thought, I’ll write poems about what it feels like to lose poetry contests and enter them in next years’.

Up until this point, I’ve been very stingy about posting personal work on the blog, much in contrast with Erin, who loves to put her art and her writing in her posts. Which I like. Almost secretly am jealous of, because I just don’t seem to have the stones to do it.

But this loss blew me out of the damn water. I want to know what everyone and anyone thinks of my poem, and it’d really be unfair to talk about my loss and not share my work with anybody. So, at least this time, I’ll let everybody see. Maybe I’ve got a voice in the back of my head saying No! Save it, for when you’re famous! It’s not under copyright! But my inner Voice of Reason backhands that snotty, cocky little bitch every time he says something, and plus his voice is annoying anyway.

Here’s the poem I entered:

Stormthoughts: Books As Umbrellas

Cummings once said that the world laughs in flowers,

That the world is mud-luscious after Spring sends Her showers,

That patient balloon-men wait smiling for hours

And the tastes of mankind and war are sour.

 

And Sylvia Plath makes for bad bedtime tales,

“And they stuck me together with glue,” she wails,

And the shingles on rooftops fly off in the gale.

I look out my window and my breath is stale.

 

I return to my books, Dorian Gray keeps his looks,

Peter Pan bravely fights dastardly Captain Hook,

Pierre Aronnax spins water-tales in logbooks,

John Le Carré tells of burglars and crooks.

 

Sometimes I like to think Steinbeck was wrong,

That his “pains” found in “rains” are comforts after all,

For my reflections in puddles make me look very tall.

I think Sadness, like Madness, plays tricks on us all.

I know it’s not amazing, fantastical or brilliant. I know that the effort I put into it may be surpassed by many, many others who entered the same contests I did.

If there’s one thing that losing’s taught me, it’s that I should never stop appreciating those who believe in me.

Cheers to an honest-to-God shot at something big.

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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Comments on: "What It’s Like To Not Win A Poetry Competition… Or Several (Thom’s Thoughts)" (2)

  1. I like it. Nice word choice. It looks like something I would find in a book.

  2. Tom! Tag your work! This deserves to be read…!
    Erin

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