Selections from LexPoMo 2023

Happy New Year and thank you all for writing with us last June! Jon Thrower and Arwen Careaga chose the best poems from last June. Together they will be co-editing the 2023 anthology. Scroll down to see which of your poems will be published! And if you’d like to help us publish our next anthology, head over to our Patreon!

First NameMiddle NameLast Last NamePoem
A.J.Rorschach Test
A.R.KoehlerIt’s Easy to Lie
AbraMcCurryOde to Summer
AdysonReiszStage Makeup
AlisonHrubyTwenty-Seven and Folded Under
AlissaSammarcothis thing I’m afraid to say
AllenBlairEven Days for Odd Times
AlveraLisabethThe Masterpiece of Friendship
amanikajtazovicMy Sister
AmyCunninghammec 600 jr
AmyLe AnnRichardsonEmpress of These Woods
AnEnbyWriterAnEnbyWriterWhy Pride is Important
AngelaKnightJune 1
AnnHaneyI Caught a Dragonfly in my Throat
AnnieGriggsYOLO, I suppose.
ArabellaLeeThings To Ask Yourself At The Time Of Your Father’s Untimely Death.
ArianaAlvaradoPoem redacted from a text
ArwenArwen5 a.m.
atmospheriqueatmospheriqueanamorphosis at the synthetic water store
AustinRathboneThe Algorithm’s Last Stand
AutumnColemana plea to mother earth
beckbeckkey to a coffee shop
BernardDevillePains of Sleep
BethanyRobinsonHe loves me. He loves me not.
BillBrymerRoad Kill
BillVerbleYou want breakfast?
BronsonO’QuinnVideo Game Haiku #18: Picross
C.RWelkerFiling Down
CallieBudrickwe still live in an RV
CaroleJohnstonlines found on my desk; I don’t remember writing
CarrieElamSpillmanShort Story
catherineperkinsThe Red Light
CharlieBillA Slip ‘Twixt Cup And Lip
CharlieKennedyThe ramblings of a love-struck nihilist
ChelsieKreitzmanI’ll Even Make You Meatballs
ChristinaJoyPlein Air
ChristopherMcCurryLove Me Like
ClaudiaLoveMairafter everyone was gone.
ColemanDavisCivil Twilight
ColetteCrownMorning Musings
CourtneyMusicCar Dates
CreodaWessexAlchemical Dissonance
D.D.R.G.D.D.R.G.the ledge
DanaWangsgardA Prayer to the Voting Booth
DeannaMascleWo-man in Three Acts
DebbieAdamsCooperDes Bisous Partout*
DebraGlennthat time between
DennisPrestonfrom my veranda
DianaWorthingtonLet it ride
DouglasSelfA Marine Who Doesn’t Own a Gun
dustincecildustincecilcarry over time
DwightMyfeltToday’s State of Mind
EEMoratorium (English Translation)
ElizabethBeckHe writes
EmilyWithenburyWhat If We Called It “Best Buds”
EricWWillisA Four and a Forty-Four-Year-Old Making Sandcastles in a Giant Green Plastic Turtle
ErinMathewsSand Queen
FrankieMellorRequiem for a Dream
GabeGabeWhisky Warriors
GenevieveRayThese dreams we sing for
GoldieGoldieHer orrery, winch-worked porcelain dancer, combing the grace from Georgie Shaw
GregFriedmanthe name of my god is blue
GwynethStewartWhy Cats Like Poets
H.A.H.A.An Ode to My Working Class Teeth
HatHatCuda Wuda
HBHB ElamDear,
IanBrenneri want my love don’t speak i haven’t
JMcCoyA Music Festival in Kentucky
j.shaver iiisleep
j.ltaylorthe afterlife of a plastic spoon
JasmineJasmineBreaking Camp
JasonWilliamsA broken record
JazzyJazzyOur 33rd Wedding Anniversary
JenniferBarricklowEight ways not to start a poem
JenniferElamSo Broken
JennyDaughertyNesting Doll
JerielleHanlonWhere it all leads
JessicaSwaffordA Chasm in…
JimLallyThe Exam
JonelSalleeTime Travel i
JordanQuinnWhen You No Longer Call
JosephNicholsRead Receipts
JoseyBryantA Fever Racing a Dream
JosieAngelThe Same Story Three Ways
jstpoetryjstpoetryStacy’s letter to Andrew
JulesUnselSimplicities of Need
JuliaJuliamany hands
KKa`imilaniNeither Do They Toil
K.NicoleWilsonThe Executioner’s Axe Is Neither Swift Nor Sure
KarenGeorgeYou’re gone 16 years now,
KatCodyEnvy’s Ashes
KateDoctorThe Price of Depression
KaterinaStoykovaerasure June 2
KathleenBauerwildfire season
KatrinaRolfsenAn Undocumented Farewell
KrisGillisSometimes Any Decision Is the Best Decision
laneylaneyi wore these leggings because you said you like how they feel under your palm and you didn’t touch my thigh at all
LauraFoleyKings Mountain
LaurenMyfeltWork Ethic
LavanyaSthe past makes us who we are
LaverneZabielskiMy Daughter’s Poppies
LeeChottinerCuban Mortar
LenLundhEaster Wednesday
LennieHayMy Appetite
lhmlhmWrinkled Women (a haibun)
LindaBryantGreat Mother
LindaFreudenbergerKindness List
LisaM.Miller56th birthday poem
LittleBirdLittleBirdFor B. Parts 1 and 2
LizPratherWhy Are You So Intent on Becoming An Artesian Well
LouiseTallenSweet Liberation
LUBRINABURTONDick-Swinging Contest
LucyJamesIt Rained Today
LukeBrannonmojave river night
M RHeltzelam anfang
M. O.ShadeGlamour
M.WellsWe Talk of Water and Death
MaddieColemanMy Thoughts Overflow:
MadonnaFechterHappy Mother’s Day
MaggieRuthBasilica of the Agony
MakiaAdkinsI Can’t Sit Still
mannygrimaldiA taste of my soul’s ruin with my lover’s affluence at my feet
MartaEDortonhaiku 11
MaryAllenBasis of Belief
MaryPottsSturdy Floors
MattF.In Living There is Succumbing
MayaPemblenot ultra feeling
MelissaOlsonoveractive imagination
MelvaSuePriddyBlood Lily Stands Tall and Stout In Back Porch’s Wind
MeredithDillIn Praise of June 2
MichaelMoloneyChild’s Drawing of Some Guy Surrounded by All of His Flaws
MichaylaGatsoslove & grief
MilesRedingLove poem #3
MistySkaggsLuxury Bones
MorganEvansA Hug From June
NancyGourdeAn Art Sale
NancyJentschThe Pasture’s Surprise
NaomiClewettHaibun for Cadence
NatalieP.Monetize, Manipulate, & Monitor
NatashaNatasha CollierOn overthinking
nelnelbrittle, used
OndineOndineWhere are you FROM From?
PamCampbellAn American Sentence XXIII
PamelaDaeThe Dog
PatrickJohnsonDentist Visit
QuesoQuesoFamily call
RachelBollmanRain Day
RaynyPalmerentry #33
ReganStrehlIf Only For A Year
ReidGoinsI am not (thank god) Bukowski
RiverAlsalihian ask
RyanConnorIt’s time to change the locks
RyanEbythe real
S. J.DeanSorry I’m late
SamanthaR.R.Something Small
SamuelCollinsFarmer’s Funeral
SawyerMustopohName of the Game: Shame
SeanCorbinRalph Eugene Meatyard
ShaunTurnerArs Poetica to the Blank Page
SheenaRollerWounded Healers
SonyaPavonaask me how i’ve been
SophieWatsonAbundance of Things
StefaniHellerPier 84
SteveCummingsThe dead flower
SteveMeadowsThe Call
SueLeathersDear Mr. Whitman,
SusieSlusherDo You Really Want to Know What Grief Does To Somebody?
SylviaAhrensBecoming the Daughter
t.m.thomsonIf I live to be eighty
TabithaDialNot Cut Down
the bluegrass warblerthe bluegrass warblermay flowers be june this year
TomC.HunleyTwo Foot Tall Poem
TonyWhearyFloating on swollen feet
VVcan we choose who we love?
VictoriaGrossCut (An Exploration of BPD)
wendyjettwendyjettCongratulations, It’s a Girl
Z.Z.Van TappanGetting the Message
Bronson O'Quinn

Is It Just Me or Did June* Fly By?

*and July, and August…

Dear Lexington Poets and Poetry Fans,

I want to start out expressing my gratitude for everyone’s participation and appreciation of our niche little project:

Thank you.

I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I genuinely mean it and want y’all to know how much it means that I am lucky enough to give folx the opportunity to share their voice, create while in an encouraging environment, and interact with other like-minded locals, ex-pats, and Lexington-oriented writers. So again:

Thank you.

Read more: Is It Just Me or Did June* Fly By?


As in previous years, I have some statistics about the event to share:

288 Poets

2,993 Poems

3,100 Site Visitors

179,649 Page Views


We actually had fewer registered poets this year (last year we had 299), but more poems (compared to 2,907.)

So yeah: after 10 years, the LexPoMo Writing Challenge still holds strong.

How Did You Enjoy It?

We want to know how this year’s Writing Challenge went. More importantly, we want to know how you felt about this year’s Writing Challenge, along with your feelings about the local literary community, the published anthology, and Lexington Poetry Month in general.

With that in mind, we’d love you to take this survey. (Click here to fill it out.) It should only take a couple minutes and is completely confidential.

Additional Spaces

One part of the survey is related to online communities, specifically Discord and whether or not to have a LexPoMo Discord server. If people would like that, I’d be more than helpful to accommodate the technical side of things. But I also am not personally interested in moderating and mediating conflicts within an additional online community.

While I’ve been relatively lucky that our group is so chill and hasn’t drawn the ire of anonymous hate mobs or 4ch@ń trolls, I also understand how much emotional, mental, and even physical labor is involved in maintaining a volunteer community of passionate people in vulnerable positions (since sharing your art is an inherently a vulnerable act). I don’t take that lightly and would not feel comfortable creating that sort of environment unless it were appropriately monitored and moderated with empathetic people fully committed to bettering the world around them.

So in addition to sharing your honest, anonymous feelings about the event, I would like any and all people to contact us if:

  1. you already know about a well-moderated, empathetic community who would happily host an online space for next year’s LexPoMo Writing Challenge participants,
  2. you would volunteer to moderate within a new Discord channel that I will create but I will not, ultimately, moderate and maintain.

If you’re interested, or have some concerns to express, please send a message through our contact form. If you have my personal email address, please use the contact form anyway, because I let my personal account build for weeks with unread emails before I purge (so you likely won’t be heard for weeks.)

For Next Year

And with that, I want to, again, thank you all. And even though it seems like a ways away, I’m excited to see what happens for next year!

Bronson O’Quinn


The Call

It is an itch you can barely reach,
a taste for — I can’t quite remember–
lemon? vanilla? lavender?–
a name you can nab the first letter of, only.

It is a kitten rolling over to show belly,
it is new clothes that knock out the old.
It is squeaking a hinge open
and stepping through.

Too long have I sat in the stadium lot,
eavesdropping on concerts I haven’t given —
too long have I wallowed in words
originated outside of me.

This time — more than a list
of productivity projects 
seeking that seductive tic.
This time, I will answer.

Registration photo of K. Nicole Wilson for the LexPoMo 2023 Writing Challenge.

Shaded Lunar Perspective

writing by moonlight
new obscured by clouds remix
fireflies dance darts



Bending beyond comfort,
unnatural angles dodge
bullets shot point blank
from derringer fingers,
pulling the trigger between
love and hate.

That hammer strikes metal,
copper tails
crack  black powder
telltale resin hangs
around your neck.

You clicked off the safety,
so smooth, one motion-
aim – click – squeeze
hugging damnation
like  it was our salvation. 

My joints popped
answering gunshots,
avoiding bullets,
believing I was saving us.


In Sickness and In Health

As I counted the dots on the ceiling tiles 
I recanted the number of times before
When I had counted the dots 
Different ceilings, different hospitals 
Sometimes states away from anyone 
So many times I was scared and alone 
But today you were steadfast 
 Swooping in to help me the very moment 
I needed you most, even when I couldn’t see it 
Through all the pain and past trauma 
You reached through pages of generational grief 
Lifted me up and made me feel like I was held 
In a way that broke all self preservation barriers 
Showing me that love can go the distance.


LexPoMo 2023

It is a time of putting word
    to word, to word
Fleshing out lines to elevate
    flourish grow some on
Their own.  Nurture.  Give them
Space and time.

A time of going nowhere and
ending up somewhere.  A time
for earth to speak and us
To listen.

Registration photo of E for the LexPoMo 2023 Writing Challenge.


Honey– candied sugar dripping in my hands, glitters like sunlight syrup, so smooth. It’s dripping down my fingers, down my arms, up like sleeves. Thick– it fills up my mouth and sticks to my teeth. Breathe. My eyes flutter closed in ecstasy– the first bite of chocolate cake. Nothing could be more perfect, it feels so good. Until I realize I can’t breathe out. I’m choking. I can’t get it off my hands, out my mouth. I can’t breathe. I’m so full. I can’t stop. Candy candy candy. Please take it away from me. It hurts but I can’t let it go, like melted wax burning my hands, encasing me. It was never my choice.


may flowers be june this year

and other calendrical adjustments wheel
us aloft and anon in a new time a new era it is

always so; you, shaking out the crust and dust of too old mud 
daubers that powder float away when my boot meets your thrust

knob for knob and bit for bob and tattle tan your hiding and seeking
and finding you alone in the shower you are slicked for the picking

up and lollipop licking my face and quick for the drilling up of your rod
and staff with my grip on the knowledge base of the erecting redirecting event

horizon, we don’t want to break free swirling we whee at the crushing gravity we are
in it for the whirl of the curve of the lip more than tip

top shape and escape is not the way
not the way round is the only

real game in town
my rained on again

sailor in port
hot chowing

his gut

of trust

choke out



I’m already exhausted from tomorrow.

Driving nauseatingly curvy roads

to attend a funeral.

I will have to wear the good boy mask

all day long.

And pretend I’m not uncomfortable

being in the church

of a God I don’t worship anymore,

not their God,

not the way they worship,

pretending that

the Supreme Court

didn’t just legalize


against people like me.

I already feel tired

and emotionally beaten down

from spending hours

with people who don’t see me

and probably never will.


I’m tired of being a spy

trapped behind enemy lines.