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Neal K

August Lyric Writing Contest

The August Lyric writing contest is now open for entries. There will be a theme for this month’s contest. Because the kids will be going back to school soon, the theme is “going back.” You don’t have to use those words in your lyric, but the content has to be about going back to something: a lost love, your past, the home where you grew up, whatever.

Same rules as always (you can read them in full here) but in short they are:

- Send your lyrics to me by PM before the end of the August 20.

- You must have 25 posts to be able to enter

- Lyrics must not have been posted on the Muse before or in the same month's song contests

How & when to provide scores:

- When the contest closes, I will provide a list of the songs and instructions on how to submit scores

- If you enter, you must provide a score

- Vote for all lyrics except your own on a scale of 1 to 10

- Your scores must be whole numbers. No half numbers.

- Your lyric gets the average score you gave the others

- Scores must be in by the end of August 25

Neal

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She Smiles

Verse 1

Through snow in mid December

I’ve seen her push that cart

‘Cross West Main Street in Grand Prairie

To Kroger parking lot

She collects cardboard boxes

Sells them for a dime

With a smile she’ll push that cart

Until it’s quitting time

Chorus 1

She smiles because she’s happy

Bitter cold or blazing heat

She smiles when she’s hungry

With blisters on her feet

I’ve never seen her crying

Although she does without

She knows there’s a home waiting for her

She knows without a doubt

Verse 2

At sunset she’ll bustle back

To her home beneath the bridge

Even though her shoes don’t match

Content, with what she salvaged

She’s thankful for the sunshine

And warm days that pass her way

To strangers she looks hopeless

For her, a pleasant day

Chorus 1

She smiles because she’s happy

Bitter cold or blazing heat

She smiles when she’s hungry

With blisters on her feet

I’ve never seen her crying

Although she does without

She knows there’s a home waiting for her

She knows without a doubt

Bridge

Driving by her bridge today I saw the empty cart

Taped up in a crime scene that happened after dark

Her tiny lifeless body lay there on a stretcher

If I live to be a hundred, I never will forget her

Chorus 2

She smiled because she was happy

Bitter cold or blazing heat

She smiled when she was hungry

With blisters on her feet

I’ve never saw her crying

Although she did without

I know she’s finally gone back home

I know without a doubt

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Going Back To Rehab

Well, I’m going back to rehab for the 22nd time

I’m going to get counseled by a real good friend of mine

That bitch knows how to listen - man, she loves to hear me whine

I’m going back to rehab where they always treat me fine

They fixed my need for alcohol, they fixed my need for coke

My religious mania, my lifelong need to smoke

I needed to find something, and this time it ain’t no joke

I got this sex addiction and my monkey’s going to choke

I’m going back to rehab and this time I got it made

As a frequent visitor I get a free upgrade

I think I get a butler and I hope I get a maid

I don’t believe I’ll last a week unless I can get laid

Yes, I’m going back to rehab and this time it’s going to work

My wife is sick and tired of me, she thinks I’m just a jerk

She’s worn down to a frazzle, and she’s lost that sexy smirk

I’m going to get better or I think she’ll go berserk

Yes, I’m going back to rehab where I always feel at home

I’ll give my friends and family a little time alone

I’ve tried it on with all of them and tried it on my own

I’m hoping that in rehab there’ll be fresh meat I can bone

See, I’m going back to rehab where I’ll get my life on track

But I’m already planning my next angle of attack

I’m thinking maybe crystal meth or should I go with crack?

I love this place, the great thing is they always take me back

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Down in the Basement

Down in the basement there's spiders and rot

Christmas tree trimmings and flowering pots

A doll that was broken, an old army cot

Not going back down there again

Down in the basement the sunlight peeks through

At 3 in the morning, the moonlight does too

Seems I've forgotten how I know it's true

Not going back down there again

Down in the basement nobody can hear

The howl of the wind or the whimpers of fear

The face of the monster is never quite clear

Not going back down there again

The creak on the stair

The tune he would hum

Nowhere to hide

Nowhere to run

Down in the basement there was no escape

Those who could stop it would show up too late

He bled like a pig 'round that sharp metal stake

Not going back down there again

The creak on the stair

The tune he would hum

Nowhere to hide

Nowhere to run

Not going back down there again

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The Bride

There will be laughing and singing tonight

Dancing and drinking and feeling all right

A toast from the best man for a long happy life

“You’re a real lucky man, she’s a beautiful wife”

But there is a secret packed deep down inside

Everyone loves the groom, except for the bride

How could she ever let it get this far

It should have ended that night in his car

But a rain started tumbling so hard and so cold

A moment of weakness became life on hold

Such surface perfection, they make so much sense

But she sat on her chance to get off of the fence

Cos every time he said, “Dear, pinch me, I’m dreaming”

Her mouth couldn’t say what her heart was screaming

(bridge)

A hug from her sister, her dad takes her arm

She takes that first step down the aisle

Wishing to be anywhere else but here

The first of a thousand forced, veiled smiles

A churning inside that says it’s now or never

Five minutes from now she will promise forever

Her mother said her cold feet feeling would pass

But her heart knows too well what will and won’t last

He’s a wonderful man, she knows that this is true

And she thinks of all the guests that drove in or flew

But she isn’t convinced that she must see this through

Now she’s free and flies solo in Kalamazoo

There would have been laughing and singing that night

Dancing and drinking and feeling all right

A toast from the best man for a long happy life

But she knew that those words would have cut like a knife

Cos there was a secret packed deep down inside

Everyone loved the groom, except for the bride

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Long Way From Home

Verse 1

She's reading the last of her mom and dad's letter

Says, PS we love you, can you make it this fall?

But it's been such a long time since they've been together

She wonders if she would fit in anymore

Verse 2

Her uncle Joe passed away early that winter

The smell of his pipe drifts around in her head

She laughs and remembers the trick with the quarter

Closes her eyes but she's still not quite there

Chorus

She's a long way from home

Been a long stretch of road

She was somebody's child in a throw-away town

Her fairy-tale looks got her big city jobs

She grew up overnight--never looked back

But if time had a price she'd give all that she has

To be that little girl--from home

Verse 3

Her sister got married and there's a little one coming

The guy drives an old truck--works for his dad

When she thinks about what kind of life that thery're stuck with

It suddenly dawns on her what she don't have

Chorus

She's a long way from home

Been a long stretch of road

She was somebody's child in a throw-away town

Her fairy-tale looks got her big city jobs

She grew up overnight--never looked back

But if time had a price she'd give all that she has

To be that little girl--from home

Bridge

Lines crawl up and down her face these days

Time reminds her of how life can drift away

Chorus

She's a long way from home

Been a long stretch of road

She was somebody's child in a throw-away town

Her fairy-tale looks got her big city jobs

She grew up overnight--never looked back

But if time had a price she'd give all that she has

To be that little girl--from home

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Psychotropic Soldier

(ch)

Psychotropic soldier

Sweepings under the rug

Contained by manila folders

And new psychotic drugs

Adrenaline lovin’ junky

All hooked up by 19

Never gonna be some flunky

workin' at the war machine

(v1)

Up before dawn

Everybody yawns

Grabbin’ up gear

Finally, game’s on

(v2)

Focus on the road

Full metal load

Check it all twice

Scratchin’ at lice

(pre-ch)

See-ya in the show

Bro’ stay low

Knock em all dead

With some Rock & Roll

(ch)

Psychotropic soldier

Dreamin’ in combat code

The enemy's gettin’ bolder

Waitin' for ya down the road

Adrenaline lovin’ junky

Mythical Teenage King

Everyone’s smellin’ funky

Stress shocked human beings

(v4)

Gears grind low

gotta move fast

Stay on yer toes

Don’t be last

(v5)

Always in front

Keep within sight

like good grunts

We do this tight

(pre-ch)

Fire on the ridge

Now yer in play

Across that bridge

To another fine day

(ch)

Psychotropic soldier

Gotta slut, bitchin' M-16

Free world on yer shoulder

Hollywood movie scene

adrenaline lovin’ junky

Life's never been so real

Everyone’s movin’ spunky

Nerves are bein’ steeled

(v7)

Every rump humps

Take the offense

Show those chumps

a life past tense

(v8)

Mission in sight

Target acquired

makin' it right

with machine gun fire

(pre-ch)

One heart stops

Another beats fast

In the backdrop

You’re hopin’ it lasts

(ch)

Psychotropic soldier

Battle line chug a lug

Contained by manila folders

An new psychotic drugs

adrenaline lovin’ junky

Hooked you up at 35

Never gonna be some flunky

War makes you feel alive

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This Old Road

Verse

It’s been 20 years since I drove this old road.

Along this river, past hills and wide farms

Two hours from her house to mine.

Two hours to her open arms.

20 years have passed since I thought about her.

The years slip away and the memories flow.

We were just two kids, still in school.

And I traveled down this old road.

Chorus

This old road, my lost friend.

This old road, lead me again.

We shared too many smiles and too many tears,

To just let it go, somehow.

But too many miles and too many years,

Won’t let us go back there now.

Like the deep river, the memories flow,

Of two hours to her house, and this old road.

Verse

Our friends knew the miles would tear us apart.

Summer into fall, and winter into spring.

The year passed us by like the miles.

To me, she was everything.

Each stolen moment, I spent them all on her

But moments soon pass, and I needed to go.

With me, she always sent her love.

And I traveled down this old road.

Chorus

This old road, my lost friend.

This old road, lead me again.

We shared too many smiles and too many tears,

To just let it go, somehow.

But too many miles and too many years,

Won’t let us go back there now.

Like the deep river, the memories flow,

Of two hours to her house, and this old road.

Bridge

Two hours of road between her house and mine.

Two hours can be too much.

And I traveled down this old road.

And I traveled down this old road.

Chorus

This old road, my lost friend.

This old road, lead me again.

We shared too many smiles and too many tears,

To just let it go, somehow.

But too many miles and too many years,

Won’t let us go back there now.

Like the deep river, the memories flow,

Of two hours to her house, and this old road.

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Don't Fail Me Now

Verse 1

It was raining so hard angels were drowning

We were caught out on a perilous sea

Lightning was flashing waves were crashing

I thought it was to be the end of me

Chorus

Little engine, don’t fail me now

Help me get this boat back to port

We’ve been through worse; survived somehow

Little engine, don’t fail me now

Verse 2

Oil and steel have no chance against water

Solvents dissolve everything away

Natural borders bind Creation

Steel vessels rust; flesh and blood decay

Chorus

Little engine, don’t fail me now

Help me get this boat back to port

We’ve been through worse; survived somehow

Little engine, don’t fail me now

Bridge

Lord, if you’re open to my prayers

Please send a calm this way

This old shrimp boat is peeling in layers

Please send some sunny rays

Chorus

And little engine don’t fail me now

Help me get this boat back to port

We’ve been through worse; survived somehow

Little engine, don’t fail me now

Tag

Little engine, don’t fail me now!

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Blueprint

V1

Grand designs and well made plans

Fall apart in nervous hands

While the waste bin overflows

That's as far as this one goes...

C

This blueprint's blue

All marked with red

This blueprint's blue

This chart is dead

This blueprint's through

It joins the horde

And it's back to

The drawing board.

V2

'Set in stone' is not my trip

Pen poised in reluctant grip

Though I know you'll give me lip

I'm not ready to commit...

C

This blueprint's blue

All marked with red

This blueprint's blue

This chart is dead

This blueprint's through

It joins the horde

And it's back to

The drawing board.

B

Life flies by at a white hot pace

While I've procrastinated

But I enjoy this open space:

Structure's overrated...

C

This blueprint's blue

All marked with red

This blueprint's blue

This chart is dead

This blueprint's through

It joins the horde

And it's back to

The drawing board.

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RED

Been thinking about all those yesterdays

Things were different in a better way

Back when Willie's hair was red

Back before Country was dead

Waylon was on the radio

None of that Big & Rich show

That's when my heart was alive

The songs sung helped me survive

Now I don't understand the rules

Feel I'm drowning with a ship of fools

Sometimes I wish times would return to then

Go back to when you and me were still friends

Holding those grudges hadn't come to pass

Back when we thought all of our love would last

Back when Willie's hair was red

Back before Country was dead

Waylon was on the radio

None of that Big & Rich show

That's when my heart was alive

The songs sung helped me survive

Now I don't understand the rules

Feel I'm drowning with a ship of fools

The craziness of today has me under its sway

I need to find my way back to the better days

Back to the life I wish we had led

Back to when Willie's hair was red

That's when my heart was alive

The songs sung helped me survive

Now I don't understand the rules

Feel I'm drowning with a ship of fools

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Time is like a Train

When I stand still and clear my mind

I think about how long I have, and precious time

I landed in the right place, and yet somehow

I wish I knew then, what I think I know now

I’ve gained more than the lines on my face

Ingrained in my memory are the spoils of this race

The selfish moments, the few to be proud of

But no matter how much time’s left, it’s not enough

Chorus

Time is like a train

Without the slightest hesitation

Time is like a train

To an unknown destination

On a one way track

There’s no going back (going back)

When time’s like a train

I’ve seen life change with one goodbye

And cause bitter tears to fall from angelic eyes

I’ve ridden high enough to kick around the clouds

Then in a turn felt buried knee deep in the ground

Musical Break

Bridge

Now that silver threads run through my hair

I remember the stones in the road that put ‘um there

The ordinary days, the good and bad

But I’d do it again, if I had the chance

Chorus

Time is like a train

Without the slightest hesitation

Time is like a train

To an unknown destination

On a one way track

There’s no going back (going back)

When time’s like a train

Outro

Time is like a train

Time is like a train

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The contest is now closed for entries.... let the voting begin!!!

All members are allowed to score the lyrics; all contestants must provide scores or their lyric will be disqualified.

- Vote for all lyrics except your own on a scale of 1 to 10

- No half marks. Your score must be a whole number

- Your lyric gets the average score you gave the others

Please PM me your votes by August 25. The winners will be announced on the 26th.

Here are the songs:

She Smiles

Going Back to Rehab

Down in the Basement

The Bride

Long Way from Home

Psychotropic Soldier

This Old Road

Don't Fail Me Now

Blueprint

Red

Time is Like a Train

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We have our winners:

1st Place - 87 Points

Blueprint by Starsinmyeyes

2nd Place - 86 Points

Down in the Basement by Jonie

... and just to show you how close this contest was, there were three lyrics tied for third place, each with 85 points"

The Bride by Feegis

Don't Fail Me Now by Greybeard

Time is Like a Train by Kimberlyinnc

Thanks to all who entered, and special thanks to our non-participant voters this month, midway and Joan

She Smiles - Dottie

Going Back to Rehab - Alistair

Down in the Basement - Jonie

The Bride - Feegis

Long Way from Home - Zeek

Psychotropic Soldier - Tidepool

This Old Road - Traveller

Don't Fail Me Now - graybeard

Blueprint - Starsinmyeyes

Red - RKG

Time is Like a Train - Kimberlyinnc

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Well done guys!

I had "Down in the Basement" top, followed by 3 that I tied for second - "Don't Fail Me Now", "Blueprint" and "Long Way From Home".

I'd be curious to see the scores for my own, rushed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek entry! :lol:

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I'd be curious to see the scores for my own, rushed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek entry! :lol:

82 points.

Graybeard's "Don't Fail Me Now" was in first place all the way up to the last score that came in.

Neal

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Really liked 'The Bride' and Kim's 'Time Is Like A Train'. I thought with some tweaking, Kim, it would have soared. Nice job. I think I'll stick to the song section! (but vote of course!)...

Zeek

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My heavy favorite this month was Down In The Basement. I love terse even though I write wordy, and each word there seemed to be carrying a world of freight. I also voted The Bride pretty high, and Blueprint.

Alistair, erm. It takes a brave writer to take on that whole Pathological First Person thing. I was uneasy about the Rehab song, didn't know how it would strike anyone who had been through rehab, and probably didn't give it its due. When I see humor that seems to be making some kind of real-world point, it frustrates me not to be able to pick out what the writer is using that humor to convey. But at the same time, I could imagine being in a room while someone was singing this one, with the audience laughing their asses off, which is never easy to accomplish. And there's actual truth in the notion of sociopaths using what they learn in therapy to become even more manipulative than they were before. If I'd thought of the lyrics in that context they would have worked better on me than they did.

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Congratulations Starsinmyeyes for first place! I was pretty sure Blueprint was going to win and I’m happy it was your song!

Congrats Jonie on second place.

Congrats Feegis, Greybeard and Kimberly also, all good songs.

Alistair, I loved your Rehab! I thought it was hilarious! I honestly didn’t think it would win though because humor doesn’t seem to do well here. I think I had it tied with Blueprint for 1st place but I can’t swear to it.

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Congratulations to this month's winners. Good theme for Blueprint, Stars. You kept it up pretty well throughout, although I felt the song needed a bridge to break it up a little. Jonie, Down in the Basement put the image of the old Robert Mitchum film noir classic The Night of the Hunter in my head and wouldn't leave. Spooky piece of work you've got there, and very well done. I believe I had it pegged for second place behind Alistair's Going Back to Rehab. I don't recall who I had placed for third. Alistair, Rehab was spotless from beginning to end. It made me sick with envy when I read it. I found it reminiscent of Amy Winehouse's Rehab. I loved the character's attitude and the song is just chock full of hilarious lines, and "I love this place, the great thing is they always take me back" sums it all up perfectly. I hope you lay down a demo on this one and send it off to a few publishers. With the right bass line driving it, these lyrics are good enough to sell.

Good job by all this month.

p.s. Ooops! Almost forgot to congratulate the troika who finished third! Way to go Kim, Greybeard, and Feegis. After my top 3 picks, I had everyone else rated equally, so it's no surprise to me all of you tied. Again, well done.

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Congrats starsinmyeyes. A very well done lyric that set my mind off on a nice stream of consciousness. It reminded me of the saying "We make plans and God laughs". Nothing in life can be set in stone and every morning finds us going back to the drawing board. A nice clean slate on which we can make an entirely new blueprint. Whether or not you intended it, that's where your lyric took me.

I had it tied for 2nd with "Don't Fail me Now" - a lyric that appealed to my inner child, I guess - reminded me of the story, "The Little Engine That Could" Uplifting.

I had Alistair's rehab lyric in 1st place. I considered it the ultimate "going back" lyric. Very well written and extremely funny, IMO. I do get where Joan is coming from though - maybe some would consider it offensive. But I think Alistair managed to create a character that is pretty well over the top. I don't think there's much chance that even those who've been through the revolving rehab door would see themselves quite as bad off as this guy. :) For this reason, I think the 1st person choice was a brilliant one. The self deprecating approach has allowed many a comedian to pull of the most tasteless humor. I'm trying to convince him to work it into something he can do live at open mics.

Thanks to everyone who found my lyric good enough to get it into 2nd place. I was afraid it might be too dark to be appealing.

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My deep congrats to all, especially the winner. My first posting here, and I should have read the directions about the theme...oops...I had, "The Bride", at the top of my list. Rehab and Train were right up there. Loved the Basement piece also...

Alistair, I never would have put you on the rehab piece, but the writing was so tight I'm not surprised. :P

I'm dedicating mine to:

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

Captain Benjamin Willard (my personal favorite)

Staff Sergeant Barnes

Sergeant Elias

and the newest member...Sergeant 1st Class William James...although I think the director cheesed out on him...Probably due to pressure from our highly improved military propaganda machine...

And...to all our newest (real-life) 'skirmish junkies' who may now be sucking up "life" in the rear area, (a group with a terribly high suicide rate), Please, don't feel embarassed to reach out for psychological help other than anti-depressant medication. America wants you all-the-way-back-home, and happy...

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Congratulations, Stars - nice lyric. I especially like the line: But I enjoy this open space: Structure's overrated. Great.

Another solid lyric from you, Jonie. Congratulations on placing.

Alistair, I rated your lyric pretty high. Very well written. The subject matter and the style had me thinking it was Billy's.

Tidepool - nice post. Keep them coming. (I didn't realize there was a theme either. I'm going to enter the one I think I should have sent for next month's contest).

A lot of good stuff throughout.

Thanks to everyone who thought highly enough of mine to let me place.

Best Regards,

Feegis

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Congrats to the winners. I really misjudged this group of lyrics. The one I voted highest didn't even place. So much to learn, but I'm enjoying the ride.

Zeek, don't go. The rest of us in the bottom half need you amongst our ranks. Please come back each month and commiserate with us.

Trav

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Funny thing about Going Back to Rehab. It illustrates one of the interesting limitations of these contests being anonymous. If a jerk wrote the exact same lyric, it might be saying one thing (rehab is bogus, addicts are scum, etc.), and if a pretty nice guy wrote it, it might be saying something else entirely, like about abuses of needed support systems. Tom Lehrer or Andrew Dice Clay? From time to time I've read some pretty tight lyrics here by writers I couldn't stand personally, and if I didn't like what they were saying (what I thought they were saying?) their scores reflected that. Anonymnity doesn't give me the chance to impute the more subtle meaning, which I totally would have if I'd known the writer. Which does solve the problem of cronyism! Now I have to come up with something just as double-edged and see how it does...

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Congrats to Stars and Jonie!!! :) I am sure you are thrilled Stars!! Is this your first win? :)

I chose your Blueprint as my #1 choice with 2nd place going to

Psychotropic Soldier Nice job Tidepool

3rd place I had ties as well....(again, I wish we had the .5 voting so we could distinquish easier one being a bit better than the other and lessen the chance for ties) BUT...it's been said before..up to the mods ;)

stepping of soapbox now... B)

my 3rd choices were ties of

Long Way from Home

She Smiles

The Bride

Long Way Home- Thoughtful song Zeek and keep writing my friend, don't you ever quit..it was well done.

She Smiles- good yet sad story Dottie. I have really seen your songwriting take leaps and bounds.

The Bride- Feegis. very nice, sad situation but happens often, someone marrying just because the plans are mad or feeling pressured to. Had good flow to it for sure. :)

Really liked 'The Bride' and Kim's 'Time Is Like A Train'. I thought with some tweaking, Kim, it would have soared. Nice job. I think I'll stick to the song section! (but vote of course!)...

Zeek

Thank you Zeek... :) This lyric is something I really want to develop into a full song.

Thanks to all of the nice comments on my lyric Time is like a Train...and for placing it as tied for 3rd among such cool, well written lyrics this month. :)

Thank you, Neal for taking care of the contest!!

Kimberly

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Alistair S, Dottie, Joan, Midway, Jonie, feegis your support is wonderful, thank you so much. And yes Kimberly, it's actually my first placing of any kind, thankyou for noticing :) ! I'm feeling very lucky to have come away with the win.

I loved Kim's Time is Like a Train and gave it a 10, followed very closely by Don't Fail me Now on 9 and This Old Road on 8. Every entry had something great to offer this month, from the touching She Smiles by Dottie and Long Way From Home by Zeek, to Alistair's hilarious vicarious exploits at Rehab. Jonie's Down in the Basement made me type with the light on, and I enjoyed the rustic feel to Red by RKG. I thought The Bride by Feegis had some terrific lines in it, and tidepool's Psychotropic Soldier was punchy with tight pre-choruses. Thanks to everyone again, and of course thanks especially to Neal for running the comp as always :) .

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