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Something a little less than a winner

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Entering contests is like dating. I know I’m desperate for attention and it’s likely to end badly. Yet I persist. Here are some of my latest losers in the poetry division. I’m not saying they’re putrid but the winner of said contest wrote a very good salmon haiku which you can read at:

The Salmon Project

The winner really has all the qualities of a good haiku – a clear voice, humor, an abrupt change by the last line.

After reading the winners, read mine.  They are technically losers, as all of us are who are not Angelina Jolie or Michelle Obama.  I like to think of myself and my poems as  slightly less clever and definitely  less marketable.

Here is one example which is WAY too precious.


under milk wood

 Waking Dream

Under Cottonwood,

Pale light and crystal creek bends

Bright salmon prisms


Literary illusions aside, it does little for me but make me feel like a nerd.

The next one is equally nerdy but in an Irish way.




 The Irish Way
Finn McCool grew wise

Licking a salmon-burnt thumb.

Trust the scent of home.


I like the second one better because it does speak a couple of truths to me.

1. Knowledge is most often gained accidentally

2. The smell of home can take you away.


Here is a last one to share as the others are way too embarrassing. This one I like because it was just a thought and it probably means nothing to most people who did not go to college with me.




Lox on a bagel:

Brandeis University,

Tastes of Alaska!



I have fun writing. That is why I do it. I have no desire to write a novel. I impress myself with my useless knowledge of the humanities. I am always surprised when someone reads this blog, but I do check! I’m not that much of a loser that I don’t want anyone to read it.


This weekend I will run yet another “sprint” triathlon.  The word “sprint” suggests that some people will actually be moving quickly. It is, to the untutored eye, another giant competition. I see it only as modest defense against death anxiety.    I like running, swimming and biking and can never, ever get anyone to do all three with me in one day, even for a short time. Out of 1800 women who will compete, 85 are in my age bracket. I will not win a prize. I will have fun. I will ride a clunky mountain bike, I will sing and ring my bell. I will eat snacks both before and afterwards, not in order to carb load for maximum performance but because I have started taking less of my anti-depressants and I can hardly stand myself.   Writing and running are age old remedies for depression, as are painting and walking, biking and swimming.  I suppose I could add baking and eating in there too.  If I add work then I could say I spend about 90 percent of my time on anti-depressant activities.  That puts me way above average. Perhaps I can win in one of life’s competitions, if I can just find the right one.







About polarflares

My head is so big because it has so many holes and air gets in.

4 responses »

  1. The oldest teaching that I can remember my dad giving me – and then repeating many times over the succeeding years – is that there is no such thing as useless knowledge. This certainly applies to the humanities!

    • As I age and observe the obsession with information in my life, I have concluded there is too much knowledge in the world and it’s a defense against anxiety. There can only be more grace and peace in the world with not knowing. I think the book Silver Linings Playbook talks about this – knowledge as a form of delusion and denial. It’s not like ignorance is great but at least it’s honest! :).

  2. I like The Irish Way. Sometimes we like to have the smells (taste and feel) of Home.
    Enjoy your triathlon.
    Ring your bell, sing your heart out and enjoy every snack going! Winning a prize may be optional, but it’s not necessarily the goal.

  3. I am, at heart, an old homebody. 🙂


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