This week's title is Neurobiology Of Love. The final entry time this week is 11pm (UK time) 19th October 2018. Predicted prize fund is £50!
Guest judge Jack Cooper received your entries with thanks, and attacks the tough job of judging - read here...
18th September 2018
Deciding on a theme for Hour of Writes is a tricky business. It must be precise enough to inspire writers to create pieces with clear connections to the theme, but broad enough that each entry will be unique. Of all things Attack And Receive could have been inspired by, it came from a playing card in the franchise that dominated my childhood: Yu-Gi-Oh. With such an aggressive phrase, I was hoping for war, embittered couples, and intrigue. I was delighted to find all this, alongside some whimsy.
I was immediately drawn to Entry 3155, which explores a situation too many of us will be familiar with. It reminds us that those who suffer from violence often turn to violence, that this cycle is not easily broken. Entry 3155 also shows that there can be a lot of power in simple language.
Entry 3160, Red Poppy Boy (gets what’s coming to him), has a lovely rhythm that drives the reader through a story of addiction and consequence. This can be seen especially in the second stanza, with: ‘an A1 stealer / all state receiver / a total syringe believer’. Successfully employing rhythm always makes a poem more compelling.
With Entry 3163, we see a regular structure and rhythm used to great effect. The images were very vivid, essential for communicating a story with such a degree of movement and as many changes in scene. I particularly enjoyed the shift in scale in:
‘Zipping through the midges and the dragonflies / We crest the spikes and fall into a murderous scrum’,
making the poem more dynamic and cinematic.
For me, Entry 3159 was the obvious winner. Gentle and concise, the piece takes us ‘inch by inch’ through a race. The poem is dense with imagery, and it is a credit to the author that they evoked such a strength of feeling in me with so few lines. I keep returning to:
‘The last water gone / Like legs / with nothing left / except blisters, cramp, / tiredness beyond enduring’,
drawn by its subtlety of rhythm and simplicity of language.
Thank you to everyone who entered. Judging this competition was a wonderful excuse to sit down, have a cup of tea, and immerse myself in varied poetry and prose. You each responded to the prompt differently, making this process an absolute pleasure. I hope you all continue to write great work for Hour of Writes, and for yourselves.
About The Judge
Jack Cooper works at the University of Oxford, in a laboratory that uses the sexual courtship of fruitflies as a model to understand core features of development and behaviour. His poetry has been longlisted for the National Poetry Competition, and shortlisted for The New Poets Prize and Segora Poetry Competition amongst others. Stephen King, Final Fantasy, and K-Pop are the great loves of his life.
Neurobiology of Love
Do not suggest that one cannot feel the longing
For another individual.
Do not imply that neurons simply navigate and transmit
signals to modestly control our ability to move, breathe, see, think.
Do not offer me that rash rhetoric of equivocation
Defending the notion that love is not ingrained in the very depths of our being.
No. The winding, twisting, interlacing tubes of intensity
Trap the very core of what it is to love.
Inside is like a spring, crystalline pool heated by the tender rays of sun.
Coiling all around and leaving no area unmarked.
The intensity runs boundless like water plummeting south
Against a creased face of a mountain edge.
Nerves, carving out their path, staining all around
Without hesitation chooses for you.
No democracy in sight but a struggle for power that you will surely lose.
No choice in who, nor when, nor how long, nor how much, nor how little.
Relinquish all thoughts of conscious control and leave
It to the dictator.
So phenomenal it is to love.
So phenomenal it is to be loved.
Yet, how preternatural it is when the desired equilibrium is not present.
When red, bloody flesh is torn away, revealing those woven tubes. You see.
There it is.
Harassing your every moment of clarity.
Screaming at you.
Forcing you to listen.
Usurping your composure.
Stabs you with jolts of intense burning.
Stabs you with piercing sensations.
Stabs you with eventual numbness.
The pain clings to you tenaciously like poison ivy.
Its grip tighter and tighter.
Love is mellifluous music on repeat.
Love is a somnambulist in which you never escape.
Love is beyond limerence.
Love is lachesism.
Love is ethereal, almost ineffable.
How does love provoke such a plethora of endless definitions?
None right. None wrong.
And still. Why is humanity bound in an endless stream, condemned to follow
The stains and paths set out for us by those interlacing tubes?
Because, to put it plainly, that’s what it is to be human.
So, be scared; be terrified, if those nerves merely control your ability to move, breathe, see, and think.
- Apolonija: Fantasy, fantasy world, fiction, fiction stories,
- skybleu: To be happy is to question your own sanity, because happiness in a world of chaos can only mean that life has finally driven you crazy.
- safemouse: Does anybody know if the 2016 annual is still coming out? Filled in my blurb for it a while ago and not heard anything.
- Maje : Thankyou all for the reviews, the weekly deadlines, together they helped me become a better writer - all the best
- Octopoda: Hi there, just wondering if anyone knows what is happening with the site? Thank you
Alan Turing; Code Breaker, Pioneer,
You lived in this country like a bird
nesting in the mouths of gargoyles.
I don’t know where your death is marked.
When a kiss splits my lips,
when a touch bruises skin,
I remember you.
When I feel the love of another man,
when I feel its urgency and joy,
I honour you.
Last Week's Winner!
Winning entry by jaguar
So I am lonely and wrong,
my mouth forms the words
like whales breaking the surface
of water, pink inside grey caves.
I’m an expanse of ocean
away from tipping my sorry
into your warm ear, my tears,
rivulet nose to chin, drop off.
I need to be cold and wet
because this mistake scalded me,
my skin crisped away from my flesh,
everything was rendered down
to spears, blubber, whales.
Just as our feelings
are meant to become
secret from each other, my regret,
this is classified,
not for you to know.
Endings are aggressive things,
seagull shrieks and swoops,
this sorry tears me so, yet
it must emerge
though you won't hear it.
by runner duck
He was a secret
Black with pleading eyes
and a sniffling nose
he had to be hidden
Classified they called him
and it stuck
even as she saw him for the first time
and wept tears of remembering
he's so like Sammie'
she had said smiling and crying
'It's my Sammie'
Funny how she could remember the name of her first dog
but not that of her first born son
but he didn't mind
not any more
For now his only worry was how to get
Classi in and out
without the others seeing.
No pets they had said
He didn't care though
to see her smile
to see her eyes shine
and the dogs tail wag
was all that mattered.
His wife squeezed his hand later in the car
as Classi slept
in the back
worn out by all the fuss.
And his mother slept
in the home
with a tennis ball under her pillow
and the faintest of grins on her ninety three year old
paper thin face.