In the month of April, New Hampton School celebrated National Poetry month with an all-school poetry contest. Poems were judged on form, tone, development, imagery, and language with cash prizes for the poem that showed mastery in all of these areas. Here are the winning poems for this year’s poetry contest.
“A Margaret Walker Inspired Poem” by Katie Matthews
For my peers, who get their hair pet like dogs and get micro aggressions spewed in their face constantly and hear racial slurs in the distance and feel everyone’s heads turn to them when a question about race comes up and gets side eyed when sharing their culture and has people comparing their skin tone to theirs when they come back from vacation and who are pegged as weird when not fitting into their stereotypes.
For my peers, who believe that they are only supposed to be heard on the court and field but not the classroom and the one who are supposed to be able to show everyone the dab, dougie, dutty wine, and disco and who are supposed the listen to nothing but rap music.
For my peers, who constantly think about every step they take and how the majority might perceive it and the assumptions that they make about them and how it may affect how they look at the whole race. The ones that feel like representative for a whole race at all times and must be perfect and must not get anyone upset or disappointed even if that cost them their own happiness.
I am calling to you. This is our time to stand up and make a difference. This is the perfect time because if our peers don’t learn the negative effects of their actions now when will they learn it. This is our time to show them our true selves and not the ones they expect us to be. This is our time to raise up and show our true colors, especially our blackness.
“The Candy Man” by Brooke Nolan
You see a man, late 60’s perhaps, shuffle his feet to the candy box.
“Take one” a sign says, he doesn’t care, stuffing his pockets.
Little does he know, his pockets were holey, and the candy was on the floor.
He comes to the store every day, sits on the couch by the window for hours.
He doesn’t speak a word, just laughs, and shares his bright radiant smile with everyone.
Unaware that his life is going to transform in seconds, he is in the perfect place.
“Chaos and Kindness”, the store founded by Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion.
A Roy Orbison Impersonator who had a stroke at 55, losing his ability to speak.
Having his guitars stolen from him, thinking that his career was over.
Until he met Justin and his band, who turned his life around.
But who knew this new beginning would be in his last six months of life?
Justin transformed his life in such a short amount of time.
Searched all over the country relocating his cherished guitars,
Brought him on stage for every performance on their most recent tour,
And got him talking, and even singing some notes, again, a special 6 months.
“New Year’s” was his favorite phrase.
“New Year’s” meant Justin, love you, and thank you.
“New Year’s” was his new language.
Who knew two words could bring so much joy?
So much joy in so little time.
On March 21st, Roy said goodbye to the world.
After having a medical issue and never fully recovering,
It was his time.
In what he thought was the fate of his late years,
His life transformed in the blink of an eye.
He may be gone, but we know he’s singing “anything you want, you got it” up in heaven.
And we’re singing it down here on earth. His legacy will live on.
“The Coin” by Georgiana Nicolosi
The bucket heavy in her hand tips letting rose-red droplets hit her soft, worn shoes.
Reaching high, words form bold and impactful.
Her fingers drag creating letter after letter.
The words are bright, mirthful, yet somehow somber.
The girl, dark, distant, mysterious, facing away,
Expression unknown hidden by darkness.
Skin mixed with shades of white, blue, grey,
Subtle, but still visible.
Quick, quick, but careful,
Make sure to straighten the decade old, paint covered stencils.
Step back, the red should be dripping, perfect.
Running she had seen wall after wall flash by,
Colors blurring in and out of her vision, images forming in her young, impressionable brain.
There, she stops lifting her brush,
Thick paint fills the gaps in the bristles of the brush.
Stroke after stroke the brush hits the blank canvas,
The words depicting a feeling toward her life.
Every day she sees the grass along the streets piled with garbage,
Flowing into the road like a flooding river.
Teens shot in the street,
There is sadness on every corner.
Dogs roam the streets, bones jutting out of their skin,
Fighting over a brown, rotting apple core.
Homeless people are everywhere.
At last the final word, BIG,
Small trails flow from the G like blood down the rough surface.
The words pop against the uneven grey wall.
An older man stopped, seeing her painting.
She was going to run for fear he’d turn her in or hurt her,
Instead he gave her a coin.
He told her it was for paint and to keep dreaming big,
Thanking him she took the coin.
Next time I’ll use blue paint she thought as the man disappeared around a bend in the building.
“ yum yums” by Jamie Holleran
when i first saw you
you seemed a bit jaded
so i gave you some water
and your color cascaded
you liked all the water
so i gave you some sauce
then i sprinkled in breadcrumbs
to top it all off
you’re sitting at the table
and you’re looking kinda steamy
you can see in my eyes
that this moment is dreamy
i feel this connection
like some gum on my shoe
and i’ve decided in this moment
that i’m gunna eat you
~mac and cheese~
Congratulations to all of our poets!