Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. 
- W.B. Yeats


Deborah Greenhut


Poem with Parrots for My Dangerous Man

Murder, Querido, can occur in any language.
The moon remains the moon no matter what irons
we toss into its craters.
A telephone cabals, and your aggravation whoops into the night.
A ring of unease circulates the kith and kin.

Escuchame. Escribime. Give me some skin!
Dites-moi softly, how no two people have ever been so in love,
as my macaroon and I. Quote me from Kierkegaard,
fry a banana, you always looked well in a stripéd cabaña.
So our world rackets, like two hot maracas.

The long night's moon shines a full fifteen hours
and one minute. What will you do with your last moment?
I know what I'm doing with mine.
Bésame mucho. ¿Quizás? Mambo has a form, but not for me.
When Grandma died, the day was near that moon.

You sang fado, five-six-seven-eight. The New York sky was naked,
but occasional shawls overhung dreary spruce trees.
Some berries will linger long after the wind turns cold.
The gash of a tanager. The brazen silhouette of an angry jay.
News from Gibraltar. Distract me, prego, from everyone’s death.

Speak to the cultural use of a trombone. Slide or staccato,
the music tells what is dear, what kind of motion
we use to transport pity.
Thank you for dancing me low to the floor. The wind
blasts away everything unsecured.

So it puffed my mother into her grave. So it rudely bussed
my father into his own. So you demanded I play the piano
whenever shiva was sat in our home.
Forgiveness resides with the loros if one chooses
to hang by the nose. You are still here. Your lyrics chatter

way into the night driving your feathers where cigars should go.
Te amo. Je t'aime. Solas palabras. Genuch. All languages are as dead
as Latin for saying what you really mean.
The fires are hotter than you expected, more searing than Habana
dawns. You must like it here. The expectations are almost clear.

Cugat opened the twentieth century. Abbe Lane sat
on your father's lap. At one time, we had a photo of this:
We danced grandma's forks to “Brazil” in the kitchen.
Saludos Amigos. The Gang's All Here. Thank you for jamming.
Save your old cajones for the Devil.

So often you called me from under the sea. Simpático,
the nickname that you gave to me. O, where have you gone
my humpback whale? Our baby beluga
siestas in jail. He thinks to feast on snacks from the guards.
They are so human. You long for Truman,

the last Presidente to whom you were fidel. Too bad el jefe
disrupted your ventures. Our guerilla is petty
but your libido was grande.
I fainted whenever you brought me some candy. Look in your heart.
If that doesn't work, there’s always Tequila—
If you can find the salt and lime in Tico Tico doing time.


Deborah Greenhut of East Brunswick, New Jersey, has won the 2017 Princemere Poetry Prize for her poem "Poem with Parrots for My Dangerous Man." She has been awarded $400.

Runners-up are Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Andrea L. Hackbarth, Uche Ogbújí, and Ansa Stamper.

Earning special merit are David Ahlman, Dorothy Bendel, Renee Emerson, Ellen Birkett Morris, and Evan Williams.

Finalists are Lynne Buchanan, Colin Dardis, David Dixon, Whitney Huggins, Amy S. Lerman, Koby Omansky, George Perreault, and Colleen Reynolds.

Submissions for the 2017 prize exceeded 1500 poems. Thank you to those who voluntarily contributed $5 so that we could increase the prize money. And sincere thanks to all who submitted.

(Click the tabs above to see previous winners.)





Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. 
- W.B. Yeats