2011 Moving Words Poetry

The six winning poems below were selected from nearly 300 poems by competition judges and area poets Myong-Hee Kim, Sami Miranda, and Dan Vera.  View the six winning poems on Northern Virginia Metro buses from April through September 2011. 

2011 Moving Words Poetry winners are Leia Darwish, W. Luther Jett, Holly Karapetkova, Jess E. Stork, Charles Edward Wright, and Suzanne Zweizig.


2011 Moving Words Poems


How It’s Measured

We were born hiccupping—

grew up

all Thelonious Monk: a sync-

opating genius misguided    sick

misunderstood. We lived in the im-

provised rhythm of unusuality:

if the heart skips

             enough, it stops.


--Leia Darwish




When We First Met

At some point that night

I set fire to my hair; the smoke

lingered for days. The taste

of hot oil on our lips

became a brand.


--W. Luther Jett




Before Language

We walk the streets, pulling leaves from the trees,

petals from the flowers. They wouldn’t last but now

the net of the day catches them, pins them in the albums

with the photos we will never show to anyone.

The clouds pass over us like words we might

one day say to one another; we have no use for them.


When it rains, we pull the letters off the shelf,

wear them on our heads, tuck them behind our ears.

They hang there as though their only purpose were adornment.


--Holly Karapetkova





The Musician’s Suitor

“How much does a song cost?”

asks the musician with his bow casting

dark shadows on concrete walls

his plucked melodies soothing

the screams of the metal beast

an anonymous Orpheus against spray paint graffiti

his notes struggle to wake phantoms

as they shuffle to the escalator

coins falling softly from their palms

muffled by the velvet lined case


--Jess E. Stork




The Hydrologic Cycle Trades My Muddy Creek for Her Holy River

“It’s fine to see

the glass half full,”

I tell her,

“just keep evaporation in mind.”


If the glass

is half empty

(she answers)

you can expect rain.


--Charles Edward Wright





       Married A Long Time

         Elisa’s                                 Abraham’s

                        thoughts are like

birds flown                  horses hitched

to the mountains.                                  to a plow.

Sometimes                                           Row by row,

            they return                    working the books

with tumbled stuff                                they hope to find

         for nests. a bright fruit.


          --Suzanne Zweizig