Information Finding Championship - Season 1 : Round 21 entry

in informationfinding •  8 months ago

I know, it's the contest we've all been waiting for... or... er... the one I've been waiting for! The challenge is to write a poem and submit to @apolymask's Information Finding Championship. If you're interested in participating, here is a link to this round:

For my entry, I am submitting a form poem called a sestina. This is a form poem that follows a strict pattern. The poet chooses six words with which to end each line in the first stanza. Those six words are then repeated in this pattern:

First stanza: ABCDEF

Second stanza: FAEBDC

Third stanza: CFDABE

Anyway, it goes on from there, for a total of six stanzas. You must then end with a tercet (three lines) that uses the six words within them. There is a good Wikipedia article for those who want to read more that explains the form in detail:

The words I am using are Nick Moss, solo(s), spotlights, Chicago, Bukowski, and bar.

For reference, Charles Bukowski was a wildly popular novelist and poet who is universally abhorred by academics. I had many debates with colleagues when in graduate school about his work. While Bukowski would never win a pulitzer, there is something raw and refreshing about his poems, and I read him when I need to free myself up or when my writing gets stale.

Bukowski worked menial jobs at the post office and had some kind of skin condition that caused his face to break out in boils all the time. When he was alive, he drank heavily and got into a lot of fights. In the poem, I refer to things like the Bukowski rukus.

Nick Moss is a Chicago-based blues musician who eventually became a friend. I haven't seen him since I left Chicago, but he, his wife, and I used to have a lot of fun. He also worked as a bouncer, and one time, when a fight broke out, he settled things down without skipping a beat on stage, and I thought it was really funny that he broke up a fight and immediately got back to work. This poem is about witnessing that experience.

Recent photo of Nick Moss, courtesy of Wikimedia

Sestina for Nick Moss

When I heard your songs on late-night radio, Nick Moss,
I knew I had to hear you play guitar solos,
live under the red spotlights
at Rosa’s Bar in Chicago
where men with Charles Bukowski
beer guts brawled at the bar.

When I went, the bouncer tried to bar
me, but they let you, Moss,
nothing like the obnoxious Bukowski
performing his crude poem solo,
into even the roughest Chicago
joints cause you would play under those spotlights

for nothing. You sweat, red beads of spot-lit
sweat, and owners fed you spicy ribs at their bars—
they knew patrons didn’t come to their Chicago
Westside joints to hear Nick Moss
play, though each note of your solos
exploded like the boils on Charles Bukowski’s

face. And like Bukowski,
you controlled your audience the spotlights
made invisible. Once men fought while you played a solo,
and there was blood on the bar
the fire engine red of your guitar, Moss,
on the coldest Chicago

night. But this wouldn’t be Chicago
without one legendary Bukowski-
like fight. And when they fought, Moss,
you stopped playing under those spotlights,
marched to the bar
like a bouncer working alone,

then parted the men and returned to your solo,
standing on the stage large as a Chicago
skyscraper. The cops came to the bar
and drove the brawling drunks of the Bukowski
ruckus to the station, and the spotlights
lit you up, Moss,
they lit Nick and his guitar blazing its solo,
those blood-red spotlights on a cold Chicago
night, the Charles Bukowskis passed out at the bar.

Disclosure: This poem has been in the works for me for awhile. If it is supposed to be written during the length of the contest, I can withdraw this entry. As I have mentioned in my posts, it takes me years to complete poems but want to ensure I am following the rules.

Thanks again to @apolymask for informing me about this contest and to @plushzilla for informing me about more contests -- this has been a lot of fun :)


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Much more then I could do. Impressive.


Many thanks!

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I am honored to be featured -- thank you!


Your welcome 😊 keep up the good work!

Awesome! I am so glad you entered, and as far as the rules, I believe as long as it is poetry and it has not been placed elsewhere you should be fine. I love it! Good Luck!


Thank you very much!

Very impressive indeed! Welcome to the contest @laurawhite! To be honest I don't know much about poetry, but I have learned what a sestina is! Very interesting and well put together. This got my gears turning for future rounds! Keep up the good work! And good luck in the @ifc!


Thank you, very kind of you. This was a lot of fun to write. I’ve been having a blast with the @ifc contests and look forward to seeing you there :)


@laurawhite This was a tough round with a lot of great entries, but for some reason I keep coming back to your poem. The style was extremely unique and well part together with precise details. It also taught me something new, which is one of the many things I love about the @ifc! You have my vote for this round! Good Luck!

Wow i could just imagine how long it took you to finish it


Thanks @xomegax! I am still tinkering with it. I can’t quite put it to rest :)


Oh i see il look forward to the refined one☺


Well, I should finish it up. How long can you tinker with something? For years in my case.

I noticed on your profile that you'd like to share about English. There are some great contests through @ifc. You can also search #informationfinding. Glad to meet you here, and I hope to see your work in an upcoming contest!


Hahahah im already part of it since round 3 i saw your entry good start hope you win


If you scroll down on my blog i won round 11☺


I see your not yet in the discord server here

Thank you for your entry @laurawhite! This is a great poem, Good Luck and I look forward to reading more in the future!


Thanks for the kind words! Looking forward to following along @ifc


There will be more posted as the Rounds continue check back soon!

Wow. Really deep and impressive poem! Well done. Definitely a lot going on there and a very vivid story is being told. That's really cool you made a poem about your friend. Sounds like quite the character! :)

In regards to the part about "Disclosure: This poem has been in the works for me for awhile. If it is supposed to be written during the length of the contest, I can withdraw this entry."

No worries! There are no rules about that sort of thing, it can be old or new poetry, just anything having to do with poetry. :)
Thanks for the awesome entry!!


Great! And thank you for the compliment. That's high praise coming from you :)

I liked it, you could have entered the first part where you explained the poem type style and method in the "teach us something" round, that is a pretty cool poetry method, and me being only a hack I enjoyed reading how to make them. And a very fine poem, and a valid entry to the contest. I hope to see more entries from you, we all like the talented, like you and well, we also like the hacks like me....hmmm...I think I just said I like myself...well I do. ;-}

Great work @laurawhite. The poem itself stands on its own telling how hard you worked on.