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• 2008 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry •

Winners & Finalists 2008

Winners & Finalists for 2008 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

First Place: “Cleaning Up at the Hamtramck Burger Chef” by Don Winter
Second Place: “jumper” by Kevin M. Hibshman
Third Place: “in the poetry section of brown university bookstore, providence, ri” by Zoe A. Jaimot

2008 First Place Winner: “Cleaning Up at the Hamtramck Burger Chef” by Don Winter

Cleaning Up at the Hamtramck Burger Chef

Nights at this place
boss lines spray bottles up
across the counter. He says the red’s
for shelves, the blue’s for toilets,
and the white’s only for stainless steel.
His eyebrows frown, but when
that bastard disappears into his office,
I spray what I want
onto what I want.

Some nights his wife lifts
her ass onto the counter. She points
out turnover skins I missed.
Looks like she’s been slept in
for years. Those nights I time
his trip to the bank so I can chase
her with the white bottle.
And I catch her and squeeze
the little Chef faces stitched
over her breasts.

But most nights the boss
looks right through me. His wife cleans
the salad bar, and yells
at the bits of mustard and dressing.
As if they were to blame
for all this. One night boss yelled,
What are you sittin around for?
Go home and get yourself
a piece of ass. I turned to him.
I am a piece of ass.
He laughed at that,
so I said it louder.

2008 Second Place Winner: “jumper” by Kevin M. Hibshman


sorrow in the face
of the wafer-thin girl.
child-bone borne through the
heart and arteries of bedlam to
be suspended in deathless flight.
she got the world figured out,
all right.

Kevin M. Hibshman was born in Philadelphia on the now-defunct Naval Base; his father was serving as a medic there. The family moved two years later to Lititz, Pennsylvania, where he spent the remainder of his childhood. Life in a sequestered village was alienating, and Kevin sought refuge in music and poetry. His first influences included rock poets, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, and Patti Smith. Later, he fell under the spell of the Beats and began to take writing seriously. Kevin performed in a few rock bands and music projects during the late 80s/early 90s. He has edited his own poetry magazine, Fearless, for nearly twenty years, as it transformed from print zine to eZine. Over the past two decades, Kevin has released many chapbooks and broadsides, and his poems, reviews, and collages have been published in numerous magazines worldwide. His most recent chapbook, Incessant Shining, was published by Alternating Current in 2011. Kevin resides in Pennsylvania with his artist partner, William, and his cat, Siouxsie. Find him on Facebook.

2008 Third Place Winner: “in the poetry section of brown university bookstore, providence, ri” by Zoe A. Jaimot

in the poetry section of brown university bookstore, providence, ri

When you ask me where are the poets of today—

I can answer you emphatically
that I have seen them skulking
among empty spaces full of pages—

When you ask me where are these modern versifiers—

I can tell you that I have seen them
continually among a fog of books—

And I have seen these geniuses of writing classes
haphazardly thumb through volumes
while they sit among smashed verbs—
that go nowhere on shelves
inscribed and perfect bound
with words that would be
wishing wells for these thick talkers—
for these borrowers of sentiment—

for these poets that carefully
coif and spike their outer anonymity
with streaks of purple angst—
looking like rock stars drugged
by just the proper dactyls
of urban trendiness while
these same self-proclaimed new age poets
circle endlessly in apparent boredom—
like vultures eyeing these aisles to swoop
on those unsuspecting few—

who stop unaware
of this purposely planned introduction
to the “rap” and “spin” of modern verse—

Today’s poets spring silently at their prey—
on boots better made for stomping than alliteration—
and casually pluck their own books from the racks—
and smile with a look of practiced sincerity—
while turning to say, “This person’s pretty good”—
and then ask, “Have you read anything by them?”—
“You really should, you know,” they say
with just a tinge of hipster/peer pressure in their tone—
“Everyone says it’s better than an orgasm,” they add
hoping to lure you with visions of quick sex—
always remembering to look deeply
as they speak the false phrases—
hoping by the guile of personality
to achieve an apotheosis—
they could never reach by words
better left honestly alone.

Luminaire Award Medallion Designers

Special thanks and acknowledgment to Devin Byrnes and SuA Kang of Hardly Square, for their creativity in designing our annual medallion imprint. Hardly Square is a strategy-, branding-, and design-based boutique located in Baltimore, Maryland, that specializes in graphic design, web design, and eLearning courses. Their invaluable design expertise has made our annual awards come to life. Learn more about our medallion designers.

Transparency for 2008 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

Judging spreadsheets and final reports will be updated here shortly.