The Contest

Check out Ellen Sandbeck's papercuts of the Buddha on the Facebook page "A Buddha A Day." Choose your favorite image, then send a wonderful piece of your writing, one page or less, on any topic, to You may win the original papercut of your choice!

Winning entries will be posted on this page.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winning entry from Pedro Albequerque

Morte do Náufrago Amor

Como sol que teima em
Dentro da minha
Que ilumina o meu
Em cinzas a me

E  náufrago em mar
Que enfrenta batalha
Tenta manter-se à tona!
Busca respirar afoito…

Pois amar sem ser amado
É Ícaro o sol a tocar,
Que desce mortalmente ao
Cego, pois apaixonado.

É amor que, quando é
Em buraco negro implode
Com força que tudo pode-
Em novo amor ressurgindo.

Pedro Albequerque

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winning entry from Ed Newman



It all begins with a sentence. With so many possible directions to go it’s hard to decide what will follow.

What is it that makes a good story? Well, part of it is engagement. In a world with so much background noise, with so many distractions, how do we engage the reader, to make him or her stop and take notice?

Oscar Wilde did it by being outrageous. And so it is that rock stars and artists to this day have followed this self-same path. Not all have done so with Wilde’s sense of panache.

Outrageousness is not an essential quality of great art, but at times it is useful for gaining attention. It’s a typical rock star ploy. Artist Francis Bacon took advantage of it. Marcel Duchamp did it especially well with his “found objects” making a mockery of critics and the art scene, without winking or letting on what he was about. The king had no clothes on.

Thus did Dylan sing, “even the president of the United States must sometimes stand naked.”

But how far can one go and still get away with it? What if the outrageous and audacious is so far afield that one loses his or her audience altogether?  Where are we then? Perhaps in a meadow, more often than not in a quagmire. Muck and mosquitoes and bad lighting, with indigestion, and usually without a compass.

So it is apparent that invention has its limits. That is, if we are to influence we can’t be arbitrary or so absurd as to be nonsense. Finnegan’s Wake is all we need look at to understand this. Fourteen years to create a meandering epic, strings of loose ends and word games, a postmodern debacle. Yes, this is what happens when literature turns abstract. There is little left to engage. Or an insurmountable mountain of indecipherable rubble to sift through for clues… to what end? We search for meaning at our own peril here…. But then, perhaps that is what Joyce was clowning about. Finnegan’s Wake is a mirror of his world view… Or is it?

No, nonsense is not our lot. Only when we abandon sense do we lose ourselves in it. But who wants to live there. I much prefer, as do most people, a hierarchy of values, giving a measure of importance to friendship, family, heritage and the hope of a better tomorrow.

In the end, it all begins with a sentence. And where we go from here is up to us.

Ed Newman

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winning entry from Liz Minette

A Poem for A Possible Buddha


Sometimes I am
the dog walker
of the brindle boxer
named Nikolai,
whose heart shines
through his eyes.

So, I am mindful
of this animal,
as we cross
the busy street
into the park.

I gently rein
in the rope,
curl its slack
like one step,
one thought and
ask Nik to heel
which he does
with a sigh.

We look both ways
then enter the
winding footpath.

As I unravel the lead,
Nik leaps ahead and then
side to side - he wants
a million smells at once.

We are just two more,
dog and I, on this trail
shared with bicyclist,
jogger, other people
out with their pets -
what about the couple,
pierced noses and lips,
with the albino ferret
on a leash?

There will be others
to follow, all of us,
that are right now
headed for home,
or on our way
to someplace else.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winning entry from Diana Pothast

The Search

The man walked to the water's edge

as the ground crunched and creaked.

The bitter cold took nips and bites

of cheeks and finger tips.

Rocks glistened with a band of ice...

edges lacey and fine....

The water gushed by, and around

the frozen winter ground.

He knew the spot where he would find

the treasure hidden deep,

a spring fed pond

meandering from a creek.

The sound of water pushing past

all obstacles in its way...

was more than enough to qualify

as the treasure of the day.

Diana Pothast

Winning entry from Anna Cook

Seek purity in unity

With freedom of thought

For drifters and dreamers

Will wander about,

All concepts have value

And no lesson is free

Several options surround us,

Selection is key!

Anna G. Cook

Winning entry from Eleanor Lerman


There is nowhere to begin but in metaphor:

the temples are as ancient as the fields of heaven,

the dead will be as numerous as the cobra’s coils

Thus may we understand our journey through Cambodia,

which is a dream, a luminosity, a message

buried beneath a heap of bones

In the market, there is a Frenchwoman buying a songbird

and we must remember that she is not at fault: she represents

only a sojourn in a distant latitude—only a woman in sandals

and a summer dress. Walking through the heat of August,

along a flowery road she sees pythons at her feet and dragons

in the sky. But she can tell us nothing, she is not the colonizer

though her presence on the road is, itself, a metaphor:

the blossoms are the pathway, the pathway is the Mekong,

and the Mekong is the infinite, which she is walking towards

Then there is the tiger and the lake, the lake,

the mountain and the stone. They represent mythology

and the power of mythology to redeem the natural world

which is, itself, the message, and the message is a metaphor

for tigers prowling in the darkness, for sacred lakes and

sacred mountains, for a stone that has been lodged

at the center of the universe, a stone that can be moved

Which is nature of Cambodia: to be the instrument of

incremental movement, the churn, the mill, the mind that

turns the sky’s machinery. Which is, itself, a metaphor.

that represents a woman in a market who buys a songbird,

who feeds it seeds and honey to restore to us our privilege

to live the days of jade, to cross the bridge of milky stars,

to turn our backs against the thin ghosts who will flee

the suffering country, to survive the coming war

Eleanor Lerman