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BAPC Annual Contest

BAPC's 37th Annual Poetry Contest Winners

Category #1    (5 line limit)                    Judge:  Malintha Perera

1st Prize:          Bandit by Juan Sequeira, Pleasant Hill CA

2nd Prize:         Heron by Eileen Malone *, Broadmoor Village CA 

3rd Prize:         At the Laundromat by Lisa Small *, Dublin CA

1st HM:            Yosemite, May 15 by Mary McCarthy *, Oakland CA

2nd HM:           tanka by Neal Whitman *, Pacific Grove CA

3rd HM:           Sometimes circles close ... by Jerry Bolick *, Brisbane CA

Category #2    (15 line limit)                    Judge: Catfish McDaris

1st Prize:          River of Delight by Dave Holt *, Concord CA

2nd Prize:         The Snow Woman by Claire J. Baker *, Pinole CA  

3rd Prize:         Forgetting by Lisa Small *, Dublin CA

1st HM:            Settling for the Earth by Catherine Moran *, Little Rock AR

2nd HM:           Berkeley by Barbara Saunders *, Berkeley CA

3rd HM:           Among the Five Senses by Britt Peter *, Richmond CA

Category #3       (25 line limit)                    Judge: Madeleine Corson

1st Prize:          Make a Living as a Poet by Anita Odena Cruz, Hayward CA

2nd Prize:         In the Cool of the Barn by Eileen Malone *, Broadmoor Village CA     

3rd Prize:         Moving Out, Moving On by Neal Whitman *, Pacific Grove CA

1st HM:            Traces of Memory by Catherine Moran *, Little Rock AR

2nd HM:           Sanctuary by Dave Holt *, Concord CA

3rd HM:           The Cliché by Donald A. Hagelberg *, Berkeley CA

Category #4       (40 line limit)                    Judge: Jared Smith

1st Prize:          Edith by Anita Odena Cruz, Hayward CA    

2nd Prize:         Observances by Dave Holt *, Concord CA  

3rd Prize:         Summer Eve by Catherine Moran *, Little Rock AR

1st HM:            Portrait of the Machinist as a Young Man by Al Averbach *, San Francisco CA      

2nd HM:           Tarantula by Lori Lynne Armstrong *, Pleasant Hill CA

3rd HM:           Arse Poetica (In the Flow) by Al Averbach *, San Francisco CA


* indicates BAPC Member

Special THANKS to Jan Dederick, Contest 37 Chair 

Contest 37 WINNERS CELEBRATION was held in conjunction with BAPC’s monthly open reading on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at Strawberry Creek Lodge, Berkeley. Here's a group photo of the winners who were in attendance that afternoon:

Dave Holt, Barbara Saunders, Mary McCarthy, Anita Odena Cruz,
Lisa Small, Juan Sequeira, Lori Lynne Armstrong,
Britt Peter, Al Averbach


Poems will be posted here February - April 2017

Poets retain all rights.




When I was a child in the hungry evenings

wandered the neon streets and dreamed of climbing

a pyramid staircase to the rainforest heaven

to steal a papaya star from harvest of the night


Juan R. Sequeira






As light between the shady haunches

of shallow fields of lavender decants

and a blue-gray shadow of a great blue heron

offers itself up to evaporation

—again, I think of you.


Eileen Malone




At the Laundromat


Late-night souls pause peering into dryers, half-raised from molded plastic chairs.

Drops on the fogged-up window cease tracking and sit gleaming.

Fluorescents hesitate mid-flicker.

Even his heart stops,

at smiling-her.


Lisa Small




Yosemite, May 15


Surprised by flurries of snow, we slowly

descend Half Dome, leave no boot prints.

I recall morning sun in the valley:

glimpses of white and pink dogwood,

mother bear with cubs on the river trail.


Mary McCarthy





          Inspired by Henri Rousseau and Garcia Lorca


a lion

a woman and mandolin

under the moon

rumors of a warm daybreak

Gypsy music in a dream


Neal Whitman




Sometimes circles close, sometimes

incense curls the chanting voice


that calls the wish that carries the pulse

that sometimes only speaks silence.


Jerry Bolick




River of Delight


One early morning, we saw Coyote

in the dry wash, hunting in Pine Creek,

as my daughter and I drove to school.


Her eyes lit up,

seeing a wild animal in the middle of town

by this last remnant of rustic road.


The day, which threatened the prospect

of another dull task, of sitting in a classroom,

suddenly brightened.


To discover the River of Delight,

in a child's eyes,

to watch as Joy comes barefoot

to splash in the waters of Innocence

on its journey to Ocean beyond,

is to recover one's natural state of wonder.


Dave Holt




The Snow Woman


She keeps on walking by

silently through the snow,

her weathered face

pale as typing paper,

footsteps heavy and slow.


How far has she been walking?

I saw her long ago.

She must have gotten lost.

Young then, I just waved

and skirted quickly past.


No one speaks of footprints,

sounds of treading that last.

Still, I see the stranger

walking through swirling snow.

She comes for me. I know.


Claire J. Baker






The sky was latticed with branches,

or maybe it was blocked

by leafy green and it was spring,

blanket at our backs

as we sprawled, spent.


The sun dappled your face, or maybe

it was slanting in sideways,

sparking on your beard,

on strands of my hair, loose

across flushed skin.


I'm forgetting the particulars on purpose,

evicting them from memory

in a hurry, shoving them out

under the crack of the door

just slammed shut.


Lisa Small




Settling for the Earth


He offered steps along the edge of space

where planets circled in the quiet night

and comets left their trails. We could erase

the mundane room, ascending to the height

of Saturn's rings and then begin to drink

the moon from crystal goblets in the skies.

My gallant lover held us both in sync

with cosmic tales and more galactic lies.

On naked sheets we loved, and brushed away

the city's noise. His measured touch was strong

with every earthly passion he could say.

We lay in soft embrace so very long.

            At dawn we kissed, but as he left, he turned

            to see if starlight in my eyes still burned.


Catherine Moran






On Essex Street, you strip

and soak at 112 degrees — with strangers

Who sigh to draw your gaze to their bodies,

Posing like statues come alive —

As if being that would be more remarkable

Than human-being


You pause before joining the spectacle

Feel the breeze brush your hair.

The resident cat winds her body around your legs,

Weaves her loose hairs into yours

Native plants shroud the yard

They hide you better than you hide from yourself.


Barbara Saunders




Among the Five Senses


The loving eye

Ultimately means acceptance

Whitman in the noisy street

The panorama, a wide acceptance

Tarn, the bay, the grass in our yard

Apricots in the high branches

The loving eye sans desire and wanting

The beauty of small hands

The aura of a nuanced voice


Britt Peter




Make a Living as a Poet


I do not know how to make this a livelihood

as I cannot even silence the muse.

I touched the tree frogs that sing to me, making

calls: mating calls as sunlight calls.

After I buried my father, I found a nest of

eggs hidden in the old house where he

used to swing from the hammock and

whistle his old song from the last war,

whose lyrics are about a boy waiting for his

mother lost in the jungle. The fireflies

came to him to shine the light in the

footpath. The crickets gave him directions.

The howls gave encouragement and

the lizards clear the path. I followed

the tune to the bush with thorns and

and I dipped my fingers on a chili plant.

I burned my eyes after I touch them with

my red fingers. My father said: Hush..

You have a lyric to give and bless me with

moonlight - coconut milk across my eyes.

I found eggs cracked open and birds sat

under the sun. I do not know how to make

this is a livelihood. Am I dying after the muse

touched me with the tree frog's luring calls?


Anita Odena Cruz




In the Cool of the Barn


I step out of the afternoon heat

into the dark cool of the barn


a drowsy summer air swirls

manure vapors, hay, sweet urine


orphaned mice creep cobwebby

to nibble a grain sack corner


from the loft baby owl mouths

open wide, quietly ask for food


a foxtail burrows into the ear

of a sleeping calico kitten


a rustle of straw makes a claim

a hoof bangs a board, a soft neigh


how elegantly integrated these creatures

how complex, how simple, how exact


orchestrating in the cool of the barn

all the deftly dignified things they do.


Eileen Malone




Moving out, Moving on


No one was home.

I was grateful for the packed bag

and map left on the porch.

I took leave without a word -

next day reported to duty.


Two words -

Fear and Courage

These are the two ends

of one linked chain.

It is no light matter.


I wrote letters.

But, what did I want to say?

A rough sort of content -

I did not have it in me

to attempt cheerful dispatches.


Back in the real world

I struggled to get up and go on -

to five with circumstances.

That is the least I can do.

And, the most.


A turkey vulture ascends -

the current bears him away

Odysseus had it right.

It takes ten years

to return home from war.


Neal Whitman




Traces of Memory


I rearranged furniture.

Four imprints of the cabinet moved weeks ago

are still visible

in a blue carpet square by the wall.

All the finger-smoothing and cajoling

cannot totally revive those smashed fibers.

They are injured forever.

The carpet never forgets.


I plastered a hole in the kitchen wall

with the imagined artistry

of Frank Lloyd Wright

to blend the patchwork with sheetrock.

White on white

should leave no trace of imperfection.

I can still see the faint traces of a line.

Walls will not forget.


Sharp words and critical comments

from a loved one

leave their own marks on my space.

I smooth those invisible lines

so no one else will notice or remember.

But I am forever a fiber of the carpet

and a splinter of the wall.

The imprints remain.


Catherine Moran






So many years

like nomads in a desert,

wandering with no place

to lay our heads,

until we arrived in this

sun-anointed valley.


Night in the meadow,

quarter moon adrift,

tangled in the pines

like sighs and dreams,

I'm sifting clues.


Chill air rolls in,

from a faraway sea;

fog-damp on the anise weed

awakens sweet fragrance.


Foxes return to their dens.

Owl to its roost,

But the cratered moon

puts on a hard face;

denies us sanctuary,

marches out of our sky.


Dave Holt




The Cliché


Acknowledge the cliché

which is said everyday.

Unwind what it says. Then twist up

the flowered words in such a way

so that they smell like a new bouquet,

never known by any nose before.

Something which you don't dare

to write, to speak, to pray.

Then walk away! Walk away!

Come to re-type on that

write-day which mirrors today:

the day on which you laid

down upon nude pages

the wisdom of the new sage.

Don’t delay! Don’t delay!

The life of value lives so that nothing

goes unseen, hence no one becomes

a sentence repeated in litany

known as the un-thought-of cliché.


Donald A. Hagelberg






I remember the warning not to get off the last train car—

— railroad sign scolding me from the last train station.

I counted the minutes with cold silences- that night

— the train entered the yawning mouth of a river

which— colonized my dreams with dead eyes of the fish.

The last time, I visited you said you trapped the fireflies

in your room— which filtered the air with fishermen's nets

—and gave me enough electricity to soothe the heat.—

"—Don't be afraid of grandma Noning" . I see Uncle Liberate

whose future is not disguised in his sleep. — I will be a doctor

he said where the school has a tower with a nest of eggs.

--A place where men speak a language of tiny bag brown birds

—the hands of women pulling the sticky purple cakes before

eating them. —the dance where I scrape my sides againstthe

trunks of tamarind trees. I cannot still see you in thedarkthe

warning not to get off from the last car to a yawning

mouth of a river-or hang myself from the railroad tracks.

The railroad sign scolding me from the last railroad mile as

I counted the minutes with cold silences — it is not over.

Before the sun rises— moonlight on the trees, I cannot

shimmy up the gnarled chico trees for the brown fruit-.

I still cannot touch - the fireflies soothe you from the long

summer heat before the moon dies—sunlight on branches—I can

climb as a lizard to feel the heat- energy like railroad tracks-

I can hear the crickets singing another the long pampas

flowers goodbye.


Anita Odena Cruz






From the muggings and thuggery,

life within the big picture,

I learned hard-earned humility.

Myself, I think of as forward trending,

gently bending. Body blows taught me

our perceptions cannot be depended on

as true ... necessarily.


I've boxed with God's shadow,

lived in his light, attempted retreat,

predisposed to contemplations,

punctilious clicking, one bead against another,

mulling over a myriad of truisms

I recited like careful rosaries,

repeating things that earn

blessings and approval,

unsure of their right fit

for the moment I'm in.


I don't know if my prayer ascends.

I shade burning eyes

from the flash of sky..

Try not to misread the horizon.


Found out I must in some measure

still trust. Must rely

on insights I personally own;

can't take him at his divine word.


Time to act, use the passion

that lives in our bones;

rehearse the instincts.

Speak from authentic knowledge.

Put away the scattered yarrow stalks,

Chinese coins, the thrown dice. Move

through the open door before it closes,

turn the sticking wheel,

give it to your Spirit Guide,

a guardian, an ally, someone who can steer.

Put pedal to the metal. Drive on towards dawn.


Dave Holt




Summer Eve


August night stretches to the end of black

with only a few starpoints

flickering like left-handed pieces of glass.

Dark pastes my skin

to yards of tangled sheets.


The spicy smell of persimmons

pushes back the curtains with warm fingers

beckoning me outside.

I pause at the windowsill,

but can't resist pursuing the fragrance

wafting through the languor of the evening.

So I slip out alone.


Only the tree bark notices my bare feet

starting out across the rolling yard

crushing rows of clover.

The night garden sits unprotected

on the lower rim of the field

listening to my approach with a furtive stare.

I am on the path to forbidden fruit.


The ripe persimmon tree is silhouetted

as if from ancient times on the edge of knowledge.

Dark leaves drape down over orbs of gold

poised at the end of every bowed branch.

Perfume radiates in curved swirls

drawing any wanderer into the pleasure.


I curve a branch just outlining the moon

and bite the rounded side of one perfect fruit.

Rich juices trickle along my skin,

dripping through waiting fingers

like forgotten grace.

Evening darkness whispers beginning verses

heard centuries ago of good and evil

in every bite,


but this time I won't share.


Catherine Moran




Portrait of the Machinist as a Young Man

          (for Jannie Dresser)


Jerry’s hands

flew his machines like swifts

Who came night shift

engine music in his hands


Geared his drills,

pirouetted his steel squares

to lands-and-turns

lightly on loose oil


Foot-pressed them to shape and face,

punched perfect handle holes,

carved smooth open O's

for rolling out mimeos


Steady and precisionist:

cut, trim, drill, bunparades

of ribbon shred,

metal shimmied into curls


Hour after hour

side to side, stack to stack

at piece-work speed

and night differential


Breaking rhythm

only for a cigarette

a half-hour lunch at 2

and only for the dawn


Gliding out of the lot,

metallurge, guiding his Impala

wide-wing through

half-awake Chicago streets


Shifting up, syncing down,

I imagine racing lights,

concentration needle-point,

wheel a compass in his hands


Al Averbach






It was one of those modeling shows, where every week

one girl who fails to please is sent away.

For this week's photo shoot, each had to pose

with a live tarantula upon her face

because, of course, now who would want a woman

who can't look beautiful and hot like that?


One model nearly got sent home right then,

she was much more afraid than all the rest.

Coaxed into trying it, she persevered,

good girl they said, and when the judges ruled

her picture was admired and she stayed.


In the still shot, she lay there with bedroom eyes

One eye at least, the other one was covered

by the plump sectioned body of the spider

the jointed legs curved over her smooth cheek,

their spiky hairs like her mascaraed lashes

and she was lovely, no one could deny it


and nowhere could you see the pleading tears

or all her hyperventilating panic

or shoulders bowed with shame as she was lectured

or sneering glances of her competition


but the thing is, I remembered, so I knew

how she felt to have that on her face,

the desperate whispers in her mind, lie still

How much it took to lie there, so compliant.


It's ruined fashion shots for me, you know,

more than a library of women's studies,

because I just can't unsee that damn spider.

I can't not see it, though it isn't there

on the billboard or the glossy catalog

or even on the eager, made-up face

of someone out on yet another date.


I can't not hear the echo of lie still,

I can't not hear the echo of don't scream.


Lori Lynne Armstrong




Arse Poetica (In the Flow)


As I write

My shirt is shrinking

Up my back.

Plum with brandy-poems

I swell,

Organs full.


Each to each.


I'm weeding the garden

With my mind

And deep-planting similes

To explode in reader light.


Let go,

My lines


They canoe

By simply

Saying so.


My reach, never longer

Nor more sure:

In fact right now

My arm's

Hanging out

On Ocean Avenue,

Pen in tow.


Heart open

To the tell,

To the next big bender,

To every after-thought

From every bar that's closed.


Bounce me,

Start a sonnet.


Al Averbach




Malintha Perera is an established poet whose work is featured in numerous journals. She writes haiku, tanka, cherita, micropoetry as well as longer poems. Her first published haiku book, An Unswept Path (2015) is a collection of monastery haiku. She resides in Sri Lanka with her family.

Catfish McDaris' best readings were in Paris at the Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore and with Jimmy “the ghost of Hendrix” Spencer in NYC on 42nd St. He’s done over 20 chaps in the last 25 years. He’s been in the New York Quarterly, Slipstream, Pearl, Main St. Rag, Café Review, Chiron Review, Zen Tattoo, Wormwood Review, Great Weather For Media, Silver Birch Press, Mas Tequila Review, and Graffiti and been nominated for 15 Pushcarts, Best of Net in 2010 and 2013, he won the Uprising Award in 1999, and won the Flash Fiction Contest judged by the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2009. Also in The Louisiana Review, George Mason Univ. Press, and New Coin from Rhodes Univ. in South Africa. He’s recently been translated into Spanish, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Mandarin, Bengali, Yoruba, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette Univ. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Madeleine Corson: Part anthropologist, agriculturist, and storyteller, creative director Madeleine Corson leads a design studio in San Francisco. Projects range from a five-inch piece of art that conveys the essential story behind a wine and its place of origin, to producing more than 35 books including a 300-page guideline for the preservation of Yosemite National Park, journals for Stanford University's Fine Art Museum, and a two-volume series for the American Institute of Wine, Food & the Arts. She is a co-founder of the West Marin Review, an awarded literary and arts journal that she and her team design and edit, with a small group of volunteer editors from Point Reyes Station.

Jared Smith's 12th and 13th volumes of poetry will be released in 2017.  He is Poetry Editor of Turtle Island Quarterly, and has served on a number of the country’s leading literary magazines, including The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, The Pedestal Magazine, and Trail & Timberline, as well as serving on the boards of literary and arts non-profits in New York, Illinois, and Colorado.  His work has appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in this country, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and China.


Contest 36 Winners in attendance at the 2/6/16 celebration in Berkeley.

Pictured left to right: 
Dave Holt, Jan Dederick (contest chair), Sherry Sheehan, Claire J. Baker (crouching), 
Daniel Philip Brady, Mary McCarthy, Gary Turchin, Norma King Green, C.O. McCauley

John Rowe,
Jul 30, 2016, 4:44 PM