2016 Winona Area Winners

My Stomping Ground

It’s a crisis of leadership and skill.
Taking more than possessions and hard cash.
Parks rotting inside from Emerald Ash.
Townies down the bottle, powder, and pill.
No wonder teens choose to Netflix and chill.
Trailer parks and curbs flooded with white trash.
Freight trains and airborne sand cause diaper rash.
True, all this negative is overkill.
In stale Winona where we share our scene.
Sugarloaf capped white glass shimmering snow.
I mix it dope tight like crank and caffeine.
Up tweeting all night dissecting this flow.
By dawn rise mind spun straight sharp like vaccine.
Stomping streets here, my hearts’ crisp fires glow.

Fresh Willy Churnpike
Winona, MN

Writer’s Ritual on a Winter Night

Outside, the hour is coloring snow a blue
that absorbs light and all signs of day.
Windows mirror; my face is what I view.
I turn off lights, stare out, then look away
in liminal altered state. I search and find
my fountain pen with chevron nib, and dip
a dark India ink. Nothing comes to mind.
I’m blank as paper, unlined and still. I strip
my desk of books and move the flower vase
to bare the beauty and open wide my heart.
My feet are cold. I find my socks and pace
around my desk, say: now sit, just start.
Describing crisscrossed tracks in snow,
the marks on paper lead where I must go.

Margaret Hasse
Saint Paul, MN


Oh, stop your tongue! I might bite off my own.
I visit you. Oblivious, you deride
the very kindnesses that, weary to the bone,
the nursing staff extends each day inside
this caring place. But you don't care at all
how much it costs them to keep you alive,
to lift their spirits up in this wrecked atoll,
marooned all day, helping elders survive.

Do you think your wheelchair is a silver throne
entitling you to roll roughshod down halls
without a smile or word of thanks to own
your debt? Your abusive language appalls;

nearby a goldfish swims, silent as sleep,
its shallow turns more eloquent, more deep.

Leslie Schultz
Northfield, MN