April is National Poetry Month, and Women of Mystery are joining the celebration by participating in the “30 Days of the 5-2″ blog tour. Each Monday of the year, the 5-2 posts an original poem in text and audio/video. The diligent editor of the 5-2 is poet, reviewer, and moderator Gerald So.
On April 24, my blog-mate, Clare Toohey, will join the tour and discuss one of her favorite poems from “The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly.” (BTW, Clare is one of the many talented “Voices of the 5-2.” Listen to her recent reading of “The New Ireland” by Seamus Scanlon.)
One of my favorite features of the 5-2 is the intriguing “signed confession” by the poet; it reveals the inspiration behind his/her poem.
Here’s the ‘confession’ by Stevie Cenko, the poet of “Why?” which debuted on The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly on November 25, 2013:
Stevie confesses: “When Crime Equals Horror – Occasionally, we read of a crime committed that is pure, evil horror. When I first learned of the horror Mr. Anthony Blakely suffered, I could only conclude Foster Rayfield Leon was sentenced to two life terms with one sentence for each eye.”
Her poem and her confession struck a chord with me.
As a retired 21-year veteran police officer, I know too well how some tragedies tend to haunt. Many of my stories have been influenced by a crime or a tragedy that has refused to let go.
Here’s the haunting poem, “Why?” by Stevie Cenko:
Star light, star bright, the last star I will see
tonight. Jacksonville will still always be
my home. I was the DJ at the Starlite Café.
I played rock, reggae and requests. I looked at
everyone. I loved to get them dancing and see
them hugging. I made friends with Leon,
a popular guy. One night, outside, he argued
with me, said I looked at his girlfriend, wouldn’t
play her request: a contradiction to me. He beat
me that night. I crawled a few blocks away
and passed out. When I woke up, my eyeballs
were sitting on my cheeks, my right ear sliced off.
A good Samaritan found me and phoned 911.
Leon received two life sentences:
one for each eye sliced out.
If you are interested in submitting a poem to the 5-2, check out the guidelines.
You can follow the 5-2 on Twitter @PoemsOnCrime. One of the hashtags in use is #30OfThe52
All April revenue from 5-2 and Lineup books and merchandise is donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry.
Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.