2021 Frontier OPEN Winner: Fireworks by Chaun Ballard

Chaun Ballard has won the 2021 Frontier OPEN! A wrenching performance of the political lyric, read from right to left, “Fireworks” is the latest addition to our winners of the Frontier OPEN and the $5000 prize. Please stay tuned as we’re publishing the finalists throughout the rest of this week.



life of kind different a lived have to have would you fireworks enjoy to
Nye Shihab Naomi++++++++++++++++

erupted has city the
shells artillery into
:gunfire &
tongue the
:smoke with thick
drowning child small a like
waves the in
skyline another after
ended has
counter the at man the tell i
asks he
؟meat of kind what
podium the to steps president the
one which
matter not does it
burning is baghdad
warhorse a is america
buildings somewhere
falling are
counter the at man the tell i
restaurant a runs he
lincoln in
july of 4th the is it
flame a is city the &
angle every from
torch a is
little a eyes the chokes that
asks one no &
baghdad filmed who
burned city a night that
television on live
says rihab miss
rich is country my
؟poor so we are why so
counter the at man the tell i
little a confused is he &
؟meat of kind what
asks he
say i
us around all
:falling is sky the
expanse the into firing missiles
empty up coming &
city the around
shadow are buildings
pond cement a into diving
rubble the off reflecting light
another ask i
؟from you are where
arabic my know not does friend your
little know i when even
him tell i
understand not does he
is arabic my with problem the
with begin to little too far know i
patient is man the but
counter the left has friend his &
with begin to ordered i is it whatever prepare to
warhorse a is america
air in bursting still
own our not flags over
says mans the
like is this
fight a
says he
:smoke with thick tongue the)
:gunfire & shells artillery
:tigris the off reflecting light
flicker child’s small a
(waves the in
friend his be to want i
problem the are words my but
say i
replies he
problem means
warhorse a is america
fire catches who
field a through blazes who
harvest with golden
me tells brahim
arabic learn to need you
home one’s no of steps front the on
week that later
away taken is brahim
head my shaking sit i
war another
ended has
war another
؟independence whose
؟smoke with thick cities whose
so or 200
later bodies
returns brahim
poet the
body his
streets the above hovers
lights in
؟poet which
matters it—yes
iraq from am i
says he
palestinian am i but
friend his be to want i
friend my is brahim because
arabic learn to promise i
young still is night the
young still is brahim
clubhouse the of doorsteps the on
torch a is memory
little a eyes the chokes that
city a is 4th july

mean i

explosion one
trigger could



after Marwa Helal’s form, “The Arabic”




Chaun Ballard

Chaun Ballard is an affiliate editor for Alaska Quarterly Review, an affiliate reader for Ruminate Magazine, assistant poetry editor for Terrain.org, a graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a doctoral student of poetry. Chaun Ballard’s chapbook, Flight, was the winner of the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize and is published by Tupelo Press. His poems have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Rattle, The New York Times, Terrain.org, Tupelo Quarterly, and other literary magazines. Chaun is the recipient of a 2019 Alaska Literary Award. His work has received nominations for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and Pushcart Prizes.

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