WINTER 2011 - 2012
As selected by our readers
($500 SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE)
Were they kind to you, my son?
Did they whisper sweet nothings in your ear
Promises of redemption as they
Strung you up?
Was the world with you, my son?
That fateful day
When all was perfumed with to-be
And yet-to-be and already past
Did you smell the crowd,
Feral, sweating –
A hint of frankincense or myrrh.
The road ahead is not easy, my son.
Too many weddings at Cana have passed
Without incident, without joy, without miracle.
And yet I am here
I am with you
The candle still burns
The bush is unconsumed
And the stars shine in the fathomless
Savagery of the night.
Scott Remer, OH, Beachwood High School
($100 SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE)
Nassau and Beyond
I’m with you in Princeton, Where you’re too much of a stranger to know me but I can tell you who is 18 and who is faking so that you don’t get any more questions, you writer of death poetry I chatter-upper of Hispanics on lunch break who think I’m among them and wanting to sex them I’m with them for a moment that is thicker than the times when I am with you. With you on Palmer’s Square, ripping away Math Prep, contact Will, Learn Italian from Sandra ‘12 I take them all down and it’s not all so great here, I say, maybe it’s your company. With you on Witherspoon where you are never hungry but the bread smells good and the yogurts all fresh you say taro root is the flavor of misunderstanding so I taste. I’m with you in Princeton, where you decide not to go Pre-Med and here in this one place that celebrates Einstein’s birthday there is a church on Nassau where once a loon burned down the balcony. Polo men are ugly like aliens coming out of This Side of Paradise there are few birds here, McCarter Theatre did you know is where Our Town began because these people are too smart for slowness so when they finally stop their halting feet get published. At Shop of the World I buy a golden Saraswati she costs me fifty dollars you say who the hell is she I say goddess of knowledge you laugh and go traipse inside an eating club, drink, and I am with myself in Princeton a golden stranger in my hands.
Bindu Bansinath, NJ, North Brunswick
“BEST OF ISSUE” NOMINEE
Woman in Art Nouveau
They’ll show her paint a-splatter, Pollock’s streaks of yellow-red-black
yellow like disease, red like blood, black like darkness
smother it in clear coats of angst, call it Fractal, Billion-Dollar Art
And the sweat of mediocrity will drip from her skin, said inferior
to those of a man who spilt his rampant emotions on paper
as if Art was an accident to a man, to a man—
And they’ll bring out untouched canvas, call it Genius, Emptiness Portrayed
frame it in gold, spoon it in silver, feed it to masses agape
as if that plain caviar was anything more than little beads of disgust
and disgust from her mouth will come a-spilling in tiny little words of rust
flowing, flowing, just as volatile than Malevich’s white tempera paint—
So they’ll think that a woman can’t create like a God, can’t even be
as good as Picasso’s geometric shapes on paper—and a sin it will be
if she curved the lines, see with naked glass and watercolor eyes
She was not as lunatic as the Modernists of her time
And they’ll say she suffers twisting lines and leaves into hair
filling them with smoke like voluptuous Athena figures rising from the sea—
stark contrast to the box-man almost poorly-drawn, almost politics
a challenge to the tastes of the norm. But with the bent stroke of a brush
and Nature’s bowed form, she will bring back an ancient Art simply reborn.
Geil Merana, CA, Clovis High School
“BEST OF ISSUE” NOMINEE
Mourning with Isis, Queen of the Nile
An unmerciful flooding is the only circumstance
which can return us to chanted beginning.
That, you must understand, picking up the pieces of corpse (of brother, of body)
laid into geometric shapes near a roaring Mediterranean.
My brother is gone as well. We can share each other if you are willing.
But remember I am mortal, my loss was in a kaleidoscope
city, yours one of tearing and desert need.
Pieces of your brother-lover Osiris mark where pilgrims still emerge
in Tunisian dye on the banks of a yellow lotus
Nile, while my own grief is justly contained within some marked Canadian plot,
neglected at best. Forgotten at worst. There are no gold-tooth incantations, no psalms.
And rebirth remains only the destiny of deities,
Horus emerging gilded from that goddess womb
as a testament to bone, life, absence, star.
Still my brother will never touch
between my legs like yours did,
and I will never have a sun for a child to remind me.
It isn't unfair. It is actually more than noble. Your priestesses are robed
in satin and European pearls, dancing savage toward water:
while I seem to be the last in my personal procession of loss.
Cathy Guo, CT, Daniel Hand High School
“BEST OF ISSUE” NOMINEE
Letter To My Father
Daddy, the umbrellas have begun to unravel
I am fucking an older man his name is Time and
his moustache tastes like wire
The storms are purple electric in New York tonight
Seventh Avenue is brimming with leather
the girls in their boots and eyelashes
My wedding gown is made of water, Daddy
I dress and undress and it still does not cover me
There is skin murmuring beneath it:
yours, mine, Mama’s-- Time’s touch is a mumbled pause
Only the rain can hear(our skin
is similar in the way it absorbs sound)
Through the mirror this dress becomes the
bone of a mutual beginning, sliding off my hips
I don’t want to be married
In my dreams, these storms are swaddled in cloth
and you are dripping with silver
Diana Mellow, NY, LaGuardia High School of Music and Art
ALL OTHER CERTIFIED NATIONALWINNERS WINTER 2012
The Purple Butterfly - Leah Katz, CA, Shalhevet High School
Battle Drums - Yinan (Nancy) Wang, NJ, East Brunswick High School
Tempest - Caitlin Zufelt, ID, Skyview High School
A Stone-Hewn Wonder of the Past - Abigail Wharton, WA, Home Schooled
Future Unbound - M. Alexander Turner, UT, Viewmont High School
Two Tendrils - Paul Finger, NC, Queen's Grant High School
Telephone Wires Singing - Elizabeth Tello, GA, Berkmar High School
Once was Lost - Lorin Allen, LA, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy
Bubblegum Scum - Michelle Berry, CA, San Dieguito Academy
A Poetry Reading - Hayley McKie, MA, Alonquin Regional HS
Vancouver, 1990 - Nina J. Lu, MD, Montgomery Blair High School
A Dying Lass to Her Daughter - Ailey Irvine, UT, Weber High School
For Titan - Christian Baker, IL, Woodstock High School
Eyeward - Ryan Dieumegarde, GA, Mill Creek High School
Being of Mystery - Saria Brown, GA, Allatoona High School
drops falling on my head - Karina Kak, CA, Evergreen Valley HS
Our Propensity to See with Little Eyes - Hendley Badcock, GA, Brookstone School
lazy eye - Julie Pham, NY, School of the Arts
Bushwhacked - Maya Gouw, NC, City of Medicine Academy
burnrate - Braden Root, TX, Lindale High School
The Deception of Nostalgia - Elysia Webb, OH, Beavercreek HS
We Could Be - Michelle Lew, CA, Monta Vista High School
Weightless Burdens - Tess Bartell, MN, Princeton High School
Paradoxical Happiness - Jonathan Yi, NJ, Northern Valley Regional High School Old Tappan
Anxious Atrophy - Gullnar Syed, VA, Midlothian High School
THANKS TO ALL!