Update: Apex Book Company revised their website, and my winning poem is no longer posted there, so I’m including it below.
Update the Second: On July 11, 2015, Tom Piccirilli lost his battle with brain cancer. I’m happy to say that his treatment did give him another couple of years to be with us.
What Makes You Die
Back in the day, death was binary
Alive or dead, on or off, one or zero
Now, there is no zero state
Hit by a car?
Pick a new body. We’ll restore “you” from backup
No worries! We’ll grow another one
It’s not about whether you live any more,
It’s about what you create while you live
Art is the new yardstick
Content is the new blood
The more you bleed, the less you die, so
Open a vein and try to keep up
Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself;
That is what makes you die.
— Stace Johnson
Original post below:
I got some great news today! Lesley Conner at Apex Publications notified me that I won a poetry contest that they sponsored as a way to promote Tom Piccirilli‘s upcoming book, What Makes You Die, due out on March 19th, 2013. The prize is an advance reader copy (ARC) of Pic’s book, which I will attempt to get signed the next time I’m in the same room with him. I’ve met Tom a couple of times before at readings here in Denver, and I can say from those brief encounters that he’s a good guy. I know he’s been inspirational to several of my writer friends, so I’m glad to be able to pay tribute to him in some small way by participating in the contest and dedicating the poem to him.
Tom has had a rough time of it recently, dealing with brain cancer, chemo, and surgery, and I’m astounded at how well he has been able to recover. He wrote about the experience in an essay called “Meeting the Black”, which you can purchase and download here. All of the proceeds from that modest purchase, as well as all of Pic’s titles at Crossroads Press, go to help offset his staggering medical bills. Go. Purchase and download it now. I’ll wait.
I have a few other poetry irons in the fire right now, and I hope to make some more announcements soon if all goes well. I’m thrilled to have some momentum behind my writing again, and I hope I can build on this opportunity. After all, I firmly believe that creativity is what makes you live.