this old
friend of mine
who gave me my first
and only award for poetry.

it was
near 3 in the morning

and we
were drunk
on cheap vodka,

how we couldn’t
get published anywhere

and never
won any awards for our work

we were
standing on this corner

to call it a night

he looked up
at the street sign
and saw that it was Wakefield Street

he handed me
the bottle and said:

i now award you
the prestigious Wakefield Prize

he was drunk
and couldn’t say it very clear.

like they
say in the books,
it’s the thought that counts,

and that
was the first
and only award

i ever got

and Rick
went on to give up writing

playing the
piano and guitar.

he taught Econ
in a very well-known college

one day
he’d had enough

stuck his head

the oven,
looking, i suppose,
for whatever remained
of his music his hopes and his dreams.

Image credit:Orkhan Farmanli

Since 1970 John Yamrus has published 25 volumes of poetry, 2 novels and one volume of non-fiction.  He has also had nearly 2,000 poems published in print magazines around the world.  Selections of his poetry have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Swedish, French, Japanese, Italian, Romanian, Albanian, Estonian and Bengali.  His poetry is taught in numerous colleges and universities.  MEMORY LANE, his newest book, is a look back at his childhood in a Pennsylvania coal mining town in the 1950s.

His website is: johnyamrus.com