We are now accepting submissions for tournament #5: FORGETTING IS WORSE THAN… Submissions must be non-fiction stories about your life. Think micro-memoir. Deadline: March 17th. $5.25 USD. Click here for submission details. The winner takes home 35% of the $ pot and the runner-up takes home 15% of the $ pot. Go here to read the results of our previous tournaments.
1. RUPA WOOD
If I Were Truly Free…
Before the wedding I was a different person, one who tolerated convention. But you rolled a cigarette outside the hall that felt like a tongue dragging up my back. We lay down behind the tables in an empty auditorium. The sound of your voice changed me. The relentless rain outside. For a short while the room belonged only to us. I should have changed my name instead of going back to my family. I should have taken your hand and showed you how to steal cars. We should have burned away into the future I only have in dreams.
2. MARK TODD
If I were truly free
I would warrant broken bones
break sweats in 4/4 time
see movies on my own
eat dirt from misplaced dives
tread heavily on ladders
run circles around ignorance
(with verbal acrobatics)
share psychic revelations
throw bare feet over coal
speak up in crowded spaces
paint Breonna on my wall
make calls without rehearsal
acknowledge where I’m from
sing more than stolen chances
(during Happy Birthday song)
zipper merge like I’m supposed to
swim longer than pebbles throw
and tell more than just two people
hey you know that I write poems?
3. KATHERINE SILKE
I remember that time
that one boy
whose name I’d draw in delicate loops
my first name with his last
on the schoolbooks protected
with brown grocery store paper bag~
That time when I couldn’t wait until after fourth-period
with craned necks we sought one another
in a cavernous hallway
holding hands as we rushed down a staircase packed,
surrounded by delicate clouds of musky teenage boy
and Love’s Baby Soft~
I was raised to believe God saw the things we did
So I imagined He covered his eyes
For my will was free
He gave it to me
4. SARAH CHAVERA EDWARDS
When the spell on my mind is broken, I will dump every pill into the white porcelain and feel satisfied at each little ripple then flush away the evidence of what once was. The neurons firing in elaborate patterns creating pathways never meant to exist would finally cease. The uttermost emotional spaces reaching beyond normality would be gone. The label of Severely Mentally Ill would slide off of my back and pool into the dirt at my feet. I will walk away as it seeps into the earth until not one drop remains.
T5. KAREN DEBONIS
If only I’d screamed, “I’m his mama and a mama knows when her child is sick.”
But that voice was locked inside, a tiny Russian doll nesting in the womb of the next and the next and the next bigger doll until the largest was merely a shell of shellac with a painted smile. If the voice were freed, the gloss would splinter, the smile would shatter. Then who would the doll be? What would be her purpose if not to guard against unpleasantries and make others happy?
And if the fissure breached her core, who would save her son?
T5. GINA SAMPAIO
Know what’s fucked up? I felt scared in a restroom again.
Know what else is fucked up? I wasn’t even in a bathroom when I was attacked.
I felt brave when I got him arrested; when I stood up to him in court.
Maybe I can channel that courage when I have to go into a restroom, a preventative salve in case of post-trauma trigger.
Know what’s fucked up? Only around 6% of rapists ever spend time in jail.
Know what else is fucked up? My rapist served twenty years but I’m the one that’s never going to be free.
TOP-6: Author Bios
Rupa Wood grew up in London, England with a garden full of rabbits. An immigrant to Canada, a daughter and grand-daughter of political asylum seekers, she is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring the philosophy of commonplace magic. Rupa is a post graduate student at Oxford University studying Creative Writing.
Mark Todd is a teacher and emerging writer from Northern Ireland. He is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast where he first studied contemporary poetry and creative writing. He currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he is learning to hone the craft of poetry while trying to stay warm.
I’ve been a writer since the third grade, when I was assigned my very first book report on the journalist Linda Ellerbee. I was a reporter for local newspapers on a part-time and freelance basis while raising my two daughters. Prior to having children, I taught middle-school English at an alternative school in Spring, Texas. Today, I reside in Florida, and work with legislators on the state and national level to advocate for healthcare and women’s rights. I’ve recently completed my first novel and am working on my second. I have been previously published in The Feminine Collective.
Sarah Chavera Edwards is a Chicana writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her writing focuses on mental health, the Mexican American experience, and random tales of childhood. She is currently writing a memoir of her experiences with mental illness.
I’m a lover of micro-essays, and 100 words may be my sweet spot–my Tiny Love Story that appeared in the NY Times in 2019 was also included in their 2020 anthology. I also love the long form, as in book-length, as in memoir. Mine–“Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price”–is currently available for representation. “Locked Inside” is a reflection on that story. I live with my husband of thirty-eight years in perpetual quarantine, or so it seems, in upstate New York. More of my story and writing can be found at www.karendebonis.com
Gina Sampaio began acting publicly at age four and keeping a journal at age fourteen. By forty she figured out how to combine those two passions with blogging and storytelling. In spite of never having a really good idea about what to be when she grew up, she’s somehow exactly what she always wanted to be.
|Matches played||Wins||Losses||Win %||Average Vote %||# of votes||1st Place||2nd Place||3rd Place||Prize winnings $ in USD|
|Sarah Chavera Edwards||3||2||1||66.67||77.78||7/9|
|Casey Mulligan Walsh||2||1||1||50||50||3/6|
|Patrice Assiongbon Sowanou||2||1||1||50||33.33||2/6|
|Jean Ann Owens||1||0||1||0||0||0/3|
|Round 1||Votes||Round 2||Votes||Round 3||Votes||Round-Robin Final||Votes|
|Most wins = crowned tournament winner.|
|Rupa Wood||3||Round-Robin Wins||Round-Robin Losses|
|vs.||Rupa Wood||2||Rupa Wood||2||1st Place||Rupa Wood||2||0|
|Mara Beneway||0||2nd Place||Mark Todd||1||1|
|vs.||Susan Niz||1||3rd Place||Katherine Silke||0||2|
|vs.||Patrice Assiongbon Sowanou||o|
|Patrice Assiongbon Sowanou||2|
|vs.||Sarah Chavera Edwards||1||Mark Todd||1|
|Sarah Chavera Edwards||3|
|vs.||Sarah Chavera Edwards||3|
|Jean Ann Owens||o|
|vs.||Gina Sampaio||0||Mark Todd||3|
|vs.||Mark Todd||3||Katherine Silke||0|
|vs.||Casey Mulligan Walsh||0|
|Casey Mulligan Walsh||3|
|vs.||Katherine Silke||2||Rupa Wood||3|
|vs.||Karen DeBonis||1||Katherine Silke||0|