Poetry competition CLOSED 1st November 2020 10:14pm
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Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

Classic Corner Tribute: Ai Ogwaga

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze  

Welcome back to the Classic Corner Competitions, Part XXXV, in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most famous classical and modern poets of our time.

Florence Anthony was a National Book Award winning American poet and educator who legally changed her name to Ai Ogawa. She won the National Book Award for Poetry for Vice.

Ai ( which means Love in Japanese ), who has described herself as Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, Southern Cheyenne, and Comanche, was born in Albany, Texas in 1947, and she grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Raised also in Las Vegas and San Francisco, she majored in Japanese at the University of Arizona and immersed herself in Buddhism.

She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and various universities; she has also been a frequent reader-performer of her work. Ai holds an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine. She is the author of Dread (W. W. Norton & Co., 2003); Vice (1999), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; Greed (1993); Fate (1991); Sin (1986), which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Killing Floor (1979), which was the 1978 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets; and Cruelty (1973). She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program at Radcliffe College. She teaches at Oklahoma State University and lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

For more info visit: https://www.poemhunter.com/ai-ogawa/biography/


—Write a new ( non-previously posted ) poem honoring Ai inspired by any one of her poems.

—Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition, it must be linked to your page with the below information.

—Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Ai. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience, ambiguity - a wide range of factors.    

The Rules

1.Two entries per DUP persona allowed. Keep this thread clean of everything but entries until after the awards announcement is made. Comment on entries directly to the member's page if you feel moved to. Post any questions or concerns about the comp in the Classic Corner Discussion thread @

2. No extreme erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ).    

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300 ( UNLESS the inspirational poem is longer ).

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ). This includes visual and spoken word pieces.    

5. You must select #AiOwaga in your themes. The theme page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme. Make sure you hashtag her in your themes or you will be disqualified.

6. In your Author's note, provide the poem title ( even if the title of your poem is the same as Ai's ) as well as a link to the poem ( not website ) by Ai that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Ai, or simply swapped fresh words into her existing poetry and form, which could be considered plagiarism.

7. You may edit your entry up until the moment the competition closes and is locked for judging.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third  judge.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants!

Tyrant of Words
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Heads up, CCComp Peeps!

I found an amazing two part series about Ai at PoetryFoundation that will help anyone truly get into her mindset as she writes --- and writes from the perspective of other mindsets.


Let's keep any discussion about this in the Classic Corner Discussion thread @

Tyrant of Words
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[ Classic Corner ] The Myers Boy

Kill her,  
a voice inside  
says, Kill her.  

Wether it is mine  
or that I truly am  
a killer remains to be seen  
through these dimestore spectacles  
but we will see soon enough  

I pull the clown mask's string  
over head, securing its cheap  
plastic against equally dead skin  
facade I've worn daily for years  
knowing only with great certainty  
lifelessness begins at birth  
A blank space between song lyrics  
calls to me from beyond the cesarian  
tomb I was ripped from, abducted  
for use in twisted puppet showmanship  
----this on-staged, inhumane theatre of  
This is doing Judith a favor;  
she will become unborn  
---won't suffer another minutiae  
of this insane plane of existence  
Mom and Dad think I'm just  
a stupid kid with stupid toys  
but ... I'm smarter than I act.  
I know the Ritual of Samhain;  
I learned it from the Sandman  
entering nights in my dreams  
and it goes a little something  
like this, Sis:  
The knife goes in  
The knife goes out  
The knife goes in  
You thrash, hit the floor  
We do the Hokey Pokey  
You shriek, spasming some more  
Death's our only way to get out
It's okay to shit and piss yourself,  
Judith --- the show will go on here  
without you  
There's always someone else  
ready to clean up the messes  
we make of their so-called lives  
and confine us to homes  
for "special people" as if we were  
ugly words strung together  
stanza'd into forgettable poems  
Written by JohnnyBlaze
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non-entry entry

Tyrant of Words
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Notice: Rule #5 has been modified per the creation of the #AiOgwaga theme. Please make certain that you edit your themes to accommodate this tag!

Dangerous Mind
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How am I to comprehend you
in a Sunday suit, your starched pinstripe
feigning virtue while you sweat buckets
in a pair of patent leather sin.    
I cannot pretend what it is you need    
under this silky black magnitude    
of ruffled disappointment.    
Requirements for tip toeing around    
what the bedroom represents has    
buried me in guilt.    
There is never enough    
courage to slip into irreverent    
contours, your dusty fingertips grazing    
mangled, canyon depressions and    
craggy pink scars that    
yawn in outright boredom.    
The memory of what has been    
cut away, forms deep pockets bent on    
spoiling the fruit and tossing out    
any love that remains.    
You were once unburdened    
by my catastrophe and I was unsoiled    
by chemical castration.
Written by Eerie
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Tyrant of Words
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( After Ai Ogawa )

I could hear you, breathing    
around the next curve;          
I followed, toward the turret—        
its spiraled throat carved out      
to swallow my steady ascension          
until I was nothing        
but an insect, s p i n n i n g          
without one of its wings—        
clockwise. . . upward;          
each turn identical—        
stone-walled scenery        
around a columned spine        
of ribbed-steps          
until I reached its ingress.          
Have you ever entered          
the wind's wildest of hearts        
in the middle of its mountain caravan        
and felt everything at once—        
Om Mani Padme Om. . .        
I have arrived.          
Midheaven, ecliptical—her eastern        
ascension and western descension          
joined at meridian's intersect:        
neither heaven nor earth—          
yet, somehow, familiarity          
opens memory's gate          
to the known unknown.        
You become a Goddess, looming        
over all you rule below;        
Creation, tiny dwellings        
upon buried layers, all bones—        
alive and gone, dreaming          
amid earthen tombs.        
There are no skyward secrets—        
the Gospel of Truth          
whips attachments from you        
one by one: a handkercheif  
to shield tears. . .       
a ribbon from your hair        
becomes a multicolored standard—        
a banner of letting go;          
your thoughts, weathered          
as the fortress beneath you,          
now understand how easy        
it would be        
to fall—        
unify living and dying as one.          
Being human can be unbearable;        
we scale the highest heights possible          
to breach Death's distance—        
until forced to descend        
into the dungeon of Life        
because we're still breathing;        
or, that is what I felt you murmur        
in the language of wind       
as you brushed by: Go Live;        
my 'kerchief, spanning interspace—        
an insect, s p i n n i n g        
without one of its wings—        
clockwise. . . outward;          
my ribbon, a kite's tail        
having loosed its string        
spiraling into the skyline        
where only the dead survive.          
Written by Ahavati
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Tyrant of Words
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Eight-Year-Old Boy

I still remember that warm summer night,
The humidity doesn’t let you sleep,
Quick two-minute showers help but
Before you know it, you’re sweating again.
Drinking water also works
But getting up in the middle of the night
To use the bathroom,
For an eight-year-old boy, it’s scary.

The roof laminates are thin,
And when it rains it’s really loud,
You can hear everything through the house,
On quiet nights you can hear cats,
And sometimes even a mouse.
One particular night,
I got up to use the bathroom,
But before I made my way there,
I heard the familiar footsteps on the roof.
I went to the backyard,
And there he was.
It was a cat, black as night,
His eyes glowing by the moonlight.
In my head I said to myself
“I’ll hiss to scare him”
But upon seeing those glowing eyes
I let out a blood curling scream,
Woke up my grandma and aunt,
(And the neighbors) but I…
Didn’t make it to the bathroom.
Written by wallyroo92
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Tyrant of Words
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Dangerous Mind
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Through The Cane

I walk among the cane
where I kill her, feet still walking.
How would you know it was me
not redemption laying you bare;
girl I remember, touched as a blushing rose --
face down and wilted.
A crushed candy rock
you were drawn from
so long ago in my mind.
Earth gave us this: Each other.
We weep, but only from the wind
as it takes you with it.
A wagon rolls by --
the cut cane like limbs;
how gratifying are its legs, oozing  
crystal, feet left to sink lower
and run home to our barren souls.
We were together, and now
I push you along,
sweet, succulent girl --
a woman to be refined and purified
of your old, brown self;
bitterness killed by
a force within.
Written by PoetsRevenge
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Fire of Insight
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2 hrs. of Peace

The house is in disarray
Drawn to life in a trail
Her toys and stuffed animals lay
All lifeless and war-torn
Memories of a 3yr old’s tale
Her bowl lays -bruised and battered
A washed-up waterfall
Full of victims of the war
Those brave enough to float
In her oval ringed lake
Quietness brakes my train
All is still all is quiet
I hear the minutes tick by
Those precious anniversary
That tumbleweed through my day
The house is mine
Written by Sex_on_the_Joe (Joe-D)
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Dangerous Mind
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The Passage Contains Shadows

Time stands to pause,
from the everyday,
the too familiar,    
the knowing, of one's heartbeat.     
Consistent shadows,
in their progression,
pass through Cottonwoods,
that urge me on,    
to sit on this bus bench,    
where paint peels,
into curls, off old pine boards.    
Some remain with me, catching on spiders web,  others dance
with the breeze
that takes them    
to land in a heap nearby.    
Silver- blue Greyhound glides by, on her way, 
(without question)    
to where, she's gone

An expected glimpse caught, from the corner
of my eye.    
The same tired looking
man, wearing brown tweed,  His face like a wayward friend, that no longer
Stories, pieced together    
from these brief moments stored,    
in my memory that tells    
me he has traveled farther,   than he had ever planned.    
A downward smile    
and furrowed  brow
shows old ambition
I cannot erase the times
our eyes met, it's not
something I want    
His attention stopped,  grabbing hold
of the roadsigns
long enough to look
 my way     
I wonder if he,
is as pleased, to see me,
as I am, of him?     
Does he like, the way morning glories turn,
their blue faces
reaching high, with
determination as I do? 
Written by Valeriyabeyond (Dhyana)
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Fire of Insight
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White waterlilies, the pale beauty    
decapitated, the heads seemed detached from stem  
hovering, floating like childhood wishes  
and in reality; the darkness of the pond.    
Anchoring the self, in wonderment.    
Mothers words, my life's book of commands    
 a woman's adolescent need,  to be put to the sword    
hot kisses dreamed, the rapid percussion    
hard an stiff like starch, lay open the impenetrable fort.    
Familiar tune, the record scratched and worn    
the dog that sits beside the horn; obedient in need    
Bitten, taut Knuckles, as the strains of the bugle    
from the battlefield call, the cannons report!    
 Heartbeats forestall the corpses of anguish.    
Look behind? the adieu. Lingering like morning's    
soft awakened smiles. He took his leave,    
smart, in wars gold pressed attire.    
The reign's pull on his mount, that rears    
 cold, grounds fingers snatch Salome's dreams.    
Hunting diaries, scribbled old paragraphs.    
Dredging memories. but the image never lasts      
Written by slipalong
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Tyrant of Words
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Greetings, entrants ( and potentials ); this is your final reminder to double-check to ensure you meet the guidelines, i.e. - your themes and inspirational poem link. Also, double; no, triple check your entries for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. Between two beautiful poems on the same level of essence; the one with the fewest errors will take the trophy.

Check your enjambments. Check for repeated or extraneous wordage. Best of luck to each of you.

Fire of Insight
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-----  entry removed ----

Tyrant of Words
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Hi, Jennifer

It's nice to see you back in the classics once again; however, guidelines specifically state no erotica, and this entry would fall under such.

Conversation is the poem I selected as well. It's  a bittersweet poem involving a conversation between the poet and someone she loves who is now dead ( namely Robert Lowell, to whom the poem is dedicated ). Lowell died of a heart attack and Ai references his works in many of her poems; however, this particular piece is not erotic in the least.

While we encourage one to assume the essence of the inspirational poem as their own, the only prohibition is erotic, as this competition is open to all ages and cannot be labeled with an ECW. While you did capture an essence of death in yours, you did so outside of the guidelines. You are more than welcome to revise your entry; however, we must ask that it be removed on the grounds it violates the guidelines until revised. We don't want to encourage entries along the same vein.

Thank you for understanding.

A & J

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