Smoke and Mirrors Winners

PoetryPlease's avatar
By PoetryPlease   |   Watch
4 27 1K (1 Today)
Published: August 16, 2009
Contest Winners

Normally, we here at PoetryPlease announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, but with this contest one person blew away the competition, and several others were dead even, so we'll only be annoucing the first place winner.

Congratulations to Aruchel, who wrote entry #5, "The Reel," the winner of the Smoke & Mirrors Contest! Aruchel blended the perfect amount of ambiguity and imagery to create a wonderfully imaginative poem. Great job!

Contest Entries (in order by submission date)

#1 Untitled by punkadelli

All hells broken loose, the levees are burst and there are cars running from my bridges to yours
The blockades are broken and no ones on scene to put them back up because
The flood's all ready here. I should feel scared, but I'm not.

The warning's been on the news for 3 weeks and the waters only knee high
I have time. The cars are all in flames and the waters on fire  
and it's scraping my thighs and racing up my shirt the longer I stay
But I don't want to leave now, no, I don't want to leave now
The winds racking through my hair and shoving me back telling me to go
But I can't and I wont
Because I love it here and nothings going to take me away
Tree limbs pulling on my arms and the debree is flying at me doing 90
but I'll just move out of the way because there are things I cannot leave here
And in a sick twisted way I want more I feel unstoppable.
The news couldn't concern me the fires could burn me, the winds couldn't move me
The debree couldn't break me because I am stronger then all of it
And I love it here. I belong here, and nothing will take me away.

#2 Untitled by ainekatt

It is a tiny monument of plastic and glass
To places been and opportunities passed
It sits on a dusty shelf, more or less alone.
Though often shaken in times before
The snow globe sits at rest, clear but purposeless
And although it is seen every day of every week
It is more or less ignored.
The world passes by
Sun fades the colored plastic inside
And although it risks not another crack in it’s hull
Life without being shook seems painfully dull
And so the snow globe seems to sigh
And to wish it hadn’t been placed up so high
For no one any longer tries to reach for this shelf.
The snow globe is sad: unwanted and unshaken and uncracked
And life is not life without danger
So it braces itself finally,
And dives off the shelf
To be caught and saved and shaken.
Or perhaps cracked and broken and forgotton.
Only the chances and the future can write the story.
And there is always a roll of duct tape and a box of chocolate,
Just in case the fall goes badly.

#3 In Spring by PaperDart

I go to the orchard, to a space
Beneath a multitude of blossoms.
Each flower is tiny and perfect,
Forming part of an intricate lace.

        I could wish the cold truth was less hard,
        But it's not: I felt the need to stretch,
        Raised my hand way up above my head,
        Where it touched a blossom, which it marred.

        Petals broke away and tumbled down,
        My careless touch the agent of Death.
        All this blossom's potential is lost,
        Sharp sorrow its solitary crown.

                The ease of that destruction lingers.
                I stare at the broken, scattered parts:
                Parts that are immutably unwhole.
                My gaze shifts to my guilty fingers. . .

#4 Solo by Mavracula

Limp and stiff
Hard and somehow shining
Case is off,
drawn in a single
move of a pro-

Scales up
and down
till strings get
warmed up.

Bend up,
bend down.
Make sure
strings can hold.

Under blinding
plugged in the
Marshall and


Strapped on
and secured
it gives out a note

Hammered on,
pulled off
clean sound
still somehow cold.

Neck feels
head is
body is
worn out

and all that remains after the ringing
is the white noise of the unplugged cable
just before it slips back in the black case.

#5 The Reel by Aruchel

A silver dancer, bright as satin sheen,
A pirouette - a releve - fondu.
Her twirling tattered dress is pure and clean,
Outshining all the crowd she dances through.

     A ruby dancer, swirling sun-bright flame,
     An arabesque - plie - a grand jete.
     His history so long he lost his name,
     With shreds of carmine cloth along the way.

Their steps are frantic, ceaseless - no relief -
A breathless pas de deux of wild skill.
     Encircling each other, joy and grief,
     The partners waltz, a tender touchless thrill.

They dance to music no one else can hear,
     And when it stops, their souls will disappear.

#6 Cotton by tashagladwell

There are all types, of course,
many common; the smoulder blues
grandmothers stitch over bruises that
still sting; the dusty greys
for chewed socks worn well beyond their
fifteen minutes, still chugging away.

Not forgetting the sun red,
straggled and drowned, washed up on the
living room shore, and lavished. Nor the heroic,
emerald green, branding bright teeth on
new, shiny buttons on expired shirts.

And there are the bolder, strapping young
cotton cousins of those old, smoulder
blues, surrounding the infamous ease of a
homemade blanket, an airy delight of white
for those cosy days that swelter.

But of all the stitches and stabs and
colours and drabs and patterns and slabs,
the victoriously blank cotton must be the
criminal; the unravelling cheek of the
cotton world. What nerve.

He sticks his head above the parapet and I
pick and pull and pulverise, unashamedly
wrenching his intestines through the
aortic mess of his seams.

And that's the end of him.

#7 Untitled by JenniferStarling

A rush is always how is starts-
the overwhelming bliss-
perhaps a moment, nothing more
but ah!  It's that first hit

that we'd tell to sell or share
our joy and happiness.
"We'll be OK- we're great!" we say,
"We were from that first hit."

And so we reengage, and when
we can't, we reminisce
upon how lovely we've both felt
since we had our first hit.

But, like a worry stone, we dull
nostalgia's loveliness,
habituate, and now there's nothing
quite like that first hit.

And now we try (though we deny)
to fill our emptiness;
redoubling attempts to get
the feel of that first hit,

but failing.  Now, we're just afraid
of being without it,
but when we try to stop, we're stopped-
still chasing that first hit.

A change is made when we both see
there's no more joy in it;
ingenious, our solution:
We'll each find a new first hit.

#8 Rope by thespes

The rope I carry with me
Is tattered, bloody, worn.
The edge is frayed and
Unwinding one fiber at a time.

Your rope is clean,
Sharp and whip-like,
But you do not notice it.

Nor do you notice my
Unclean rope
Hidden deep in my pocket.

#9 Untitled by Aurorae-Eagle

Rise early, to walk down main street,
In love. Hand in hand with her, walking past windows with TVs,
Shouting messages at us, telling us what to
Eat and how to spend our weekend.

Up in the clouds, is where our heads are. Bodies
Pulled down by the stereo-typical first kiss and proposal.

Take her by the hand, they say, then take her to
A bed in some dusty suburban home.
Kids a few years later, mediocre job gets them just enough to

Control freak on the radio,
Ornamental love in her heart,
Not the type of day I expected,
Tomorrow will be the same.
Reality sets in,
Oh my,
Late for work!

Of our lives.

#10 Fireworks by starlight-silence

Above my head
Carnations were bursting  
Pale pink and rose red

Petals scattered across the sky
In a bridal shower of sparks
Sweet, sweet July

Roses budded, burst and fell
While the silver jasmine stars
Spiraled and swelled

Trembling were the vines
Holding lilac leaves
That hovered above the wall of pines

Alien green daises shot
- Lighting up windows and eyes
Scattering paper like forget-me-nots

Yellow lilies and capsules of aquamarine
Cart-wheeled against the darkness
Then sunk like a submarine

They blossomed in flaming sensations
Rendering our minds quiet
As our chests rocked with the vibrations

Of one thousand flowers of fire
Glowing through the cloud of smoke
And sparkling like a sea of sapphire  

At the end of the night
When there is nothing left
On backs of eyelids, the memory blazes bright

Contest Details

PoetryPlease dug into its archive to come up with a great new contest concept:

Smoke & Mirrors

"Smoke and mirrors" refers to a deceptive or inadequate explanation/description of something, the source of the expression being based on a magician's illusion of making objects appear or disappear using mirrors and a confusing burst of smoke.

So, what does any of this have to do with poetry?

We want you to write a poem where the main topic of the poem is cleverly concealed. The point is to write about one thing while you're really talking about another. There should be no obvious hints as to what the real subject is; rather, you should let the imagery speak for itself. There can be subtle hints left throughout the poem, but never should you address the real topic directly. Again: let the imagery speak for itself.

Your poem could be either serious or funny. If we get enough entries, we may divide the judging into serious topics and funny topics, with a first place winner in each. You may indicate in your submission which category you'd like to be considered for.

So, how do I submit?

We're going back to the old style, with anonymous entries and open voting by the members. That means, you must submit you entry by note with "Smoke & Mirrors" in the subject line and your entry in the body. Do not submit your entry as a deviation. Any entry not submitted anonymously will be disqualified. After the contest closes, PoetryPlease members will be invited to vote for their favorite entry. After the winners are announced, entrants are welcome to submit a deviation of their entry.

Speaking of the contest closing...

The deadline for this contest is in one month, on September 15, 2009. :omg:

What are the prizes?

As is the tradition with all internal, members-only contests, there are no prizes (besides bragging rights), but if someone would like to donate something, please let us know by note. The winner(s), of course, will be featured on the club's front page.


Send us a note! :emailsend:

Official Rules:

1. Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated.
2. You entry must fit the theme, but creativity is encouraged, so only obviously misguided entries will be disqualified.
3. You must be a member of PoetryPlease to enter. To become a member, click here.
4. Your entry must be sent by note no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on September 15, 2009 in order to be accepted.
5. Your entry must not be (or ever have been) submitted as a deviation.
6. All entries are to remain anonymous until after the winners are announced. Any breach will disqualify the involved entry.
© 2009 - 2019 PoetryPlease
It's time to vote! Please make sure you follow the voting instructions to ensure your vote is counted. Thank you!
©2019 DeviantArt
All Rights reserved