April Poetry Fundraiser

Day 30: The Last Day!

One Month Later (day 30)
by Mandy Berry

Not much has changed
except for the weather.
I’m still
a living Jenga game,
half-toppled,
prone to screaming and hitting lockers
and locking my thoughts away
until someone pays me for them.

Now I’m being paid for them,
and there’s only half a record of me;
some poems on a website with zero traffic,
and a few more in a notebook,
along with unfinished
and crossed out
verses
about why my thoughts have relapsed
and how a pulsing purple dubstep rock track
can sustain me more
than therapy.

Certainly not enough for anyone to see
who I am.
Nonetheless, here I am,
here’s my poetry,
and through rising unbreakable apathy,
I wonder:

Was this worth it?

****

Before the Month is Over
by S.A. Bowden

 

To my readers and sponsors
Also homage to Edgar Allan Poe and Rupi Kaur

I need to tell you
You have stayed with me for
Thirty days and thirty poems
(A Lent of sorts, perhaps?)
I almost can’t believe I did it
When I thought I was not much of a poet
Yet here we are
With a collection of words strung into poems
That maybe don’t even make sense to you
They illuminate these captured moments of this tumultuous month

Through roller coaster highs
And lows that hit me like a baseball
I wrote
Through experiences past and present
Both all too relevant
I wrote
Through sickness and fainting
And through long and active days
I wrote
In moments with only three lines of inspiration
And those with lines and lines pouring out of my pen
I wrote
On topics as huge as God
And as humble as a penciled drawing
I wrote
On spring mornings
And in the last hours of night
I wrote
Poems that were more eloquent, personal, polished
And those composed hastily with no revisions
I wrote
Each a literary mosaic tile
A piece of me
I think I will miss these little intimate moments

Because of you I have written about
Girls, dolls, grief, toilets, silence, religion, despair, college, anger, weather, joy, high school, forgiveness, suffering, and more
The external and internal fused together
Because of you
I have reached into myself
And spilled the contents of my heart
Poured shot glasses of my soul
I hope you like the taste
I have shared my innermost thoughts and feelings with you
Do you realize how dangerous and comforting, how terrible and beautiful that is

You put my hand to the paper to feel a beating heart again
And made me rediscover these bits of love
When I thought I wouldn’t or shouldn’t really love again

I hope I have given you a little something in return
I hope one of these poems strikes a chord with you
Or makes you think, or inspires some feeling
Or brings you a moment of pleasure

You have done so much for me
That the words seem so inadequate
But there are no more poems
So all I can say now is
Thank you

❤   S. A. B.

****

Untitled
by Sam Yoseph

My strong, daring soldier,
Spread your wings and learn to fly.
I’m here to let you know
That it never hurts to try.

Look into the windows to my soul
And see what lies behind.
We don’t have enough reason
To see if we had crossed a line.

We don’t know the meaning
Of our reason to exist,
Though I must continue to insist
It’s so much more than this.

This is our world to conquer,
And our world to change.
If you want to make a difference,
Make the world know your name.

You got power by the deepest,
Darkest, depths of your soul.
So continue to grow to
Let this generation be known.

We are the kids of the future,
We are shaking in our steps.
We are still here unable
To fight alone with what we kept.

Remember who you have,
Your allies above all.
Don’t go down, don’t surrender,
The enemy will fall.

Stand strong with what you have,
And give it all you got.
Believe me, I’m fighting too,
This battle won’t be naught.

Our purpose is still,
We’re here to create.
Curse the people that say otherwise.
You choose your own fate.

We are strong, we are powerful,
We matter, we will glow.
Fight society’s shambles
With all that you know.

We will stand here victorious,
Courage by our side.
Because finally we felt
What it feels like to fly.

[this is a thanks.

to all the people that have made me who i am today.

i’ve become a more confident person that is less afraid of what people think of her. it’s easier to smile and do my best to inspire others to shine.

this is me saying i will be there for you, if necessary.

many people have influenced me and my life in many different ways, and i want to be a change in someone else’s life too.

so this is for those that told me i mattered and that reminded me every day that life is good. i can go to sleep every night knowing that there will always be better days.

i’m still a dreamer. and i hope you are too.]

April Poetry Fundraiser

Day 29

Daniel at the Bat
by S.A. Bowden

Inspired by “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

To my little brother Daniel, and to Emily

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the RPBL Barons
But it wasn’t gloomy either.  Nobody was really carin’
Who would win among the primary schoolers clad in green and gray;
On this overcast and windy morn, I came to watch them play.

I hadn’t seen a single game that Daniel played this season
Bogged down with school and college work, I had my flimsy reasons;
But I was his big sister, and support him I would do;
On a field wet and muddy with a puddle at base two.

The bases loaded early on, I clapped for every hit;
But my attention span could only hold out for a bit;
And the thoughts swarming through my head of college, writing, school
Pulled me away from the game and into my mental pool.

Then from four or five throats there rose a “Woo, Daniel!” cheer
For #10’s turn had come, the reason I was here;
Two dozen eyes or so were on him in his bright white pants;
And I smiled to myself to see him take a leftie’s stance.

The pitcher threw the ball, and Daniel hit it his first try;
The kidlets started running, taking bases on the fly;
One home run, and then two, we cheered, but nobody kept count;
It wasn’t about winning we knew, having fun’s what it’s about.

The last pitcher came and hit, the players made it home;
I thought, Perhaps I’ll make this the topic of today’s poem;
Then Declan’s grandma called me out for not paying attention
And Mom explained I’m thinking about a future institution.

She gave me some advice, nothing I hadn’t heard before;
And I found my thoughts and fears drifting to college even more;
I was trying to escape it and enjoy a day at the park;
But I couldn’t escape the difficult choice before the May 1 mark.

Top of the next inning, balls were flying from coaches or the tee;
I squirmed in my seat from discomfort and anxiety;
For Daniel’s sake I tried to watch but just couldn’t do that;
And so I almost missed seeing Daniel return to bat.

Different hair but same brown eyes, left handed just like me;
He held his bat correctly, no need for any tee;
Once more the dun sphere flew, they say, but far right from the bat;
It didn’t hit its target, it struck Daniel in the back.

A few cries rose, Dad came running, my brother squatted there;
Covered his face.  I saw him crying from my fold-up chair;
But still he stood, and still he hit, and still he ran the bases;
But afterward he ran to us spectators in our places.

Mom gave him hugs and kisses as Daniel let himself cry;
The grown-ups rallied round him with hugs and kind words, and I—
I wasn’t sure just what to do but couldn’t leave him there;
So I got up, gave him a hug, and kissed his sweaty hair.

As Daniel ran back to his team, Declan’s mom smiled at me;
“The magical sister kiss,” she said, as if it was all me;
“I don’t think he sees my kisses as magical,” I said;
“I bet he does,” she answered, but I had doubts in my head.

I didn’t meet her eyes, my eyes were seeing other things;
Nostalgia and bad memories that flippant comment brings;
My private truths re-hitting home like baseball, loud and clear;
Now Daniel’s on the field, my eyes again are filled with tears.

God assigned me Big Sister, and I had a job to do;
Protect my little siblings and stay by them through and through;
But I did not protect them, for a cruel world prevailed;
And left me with the feeling that as a sister I have failed.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in me— I, never mighty, have struck out.

 

****

 

Candy
by Sam Yoseph

You remind me of chocolate.

Soft brown hair
In wild, crazy curls.
It\s nature
Is pure instinctual.

Big ivory eyes
Filled with curious affection.
It\s motive
Is to show the beauty of dance.

Smooth caramel skin
With hands that touch art.
It\s purpose
To capture all eyes.

Jingling tiny laughs
That make me smile when I hear.
It\s idea
To spread happiness.

Comforting unique smell
Of home and safety.
It\s reason
To attract those that are kind.

You remind me of chocolate.
Bitter but pleasant,
And sometimes an acquired taste.
But always, you can count on to be sweet.

April Poetry Fundraiser

Day 28

Fingernail
by S.A. Bowden

We watched The Silence of the Lambs in forensics
I am a big girl now
I’m not afraid of scary stories like I used to be

But when the guard got his skull smashed in
Blood all over the floor
I covered my ears, instinctively
And that voice in my head I knew well
It’s just pretend it’s just pretend it’s just pretend

The scariest part
Was the fingernail on the wall
With the blood left in stripes
Like a prisoner’s hopeless tallies
From women trying to claw their way out
That’s such a scary phrase
Claw their way out
And Catherine crying and screaming
All alone
No way out

The image haunts me
And makes me reach for my Elmo

****

 

More Than a Trilogy
by Sam Yoseph

Book One
Speaks of a traveller
Who carries stories
Filled with adventure.

Book Two
Speaks of a sister
Who purchases tales
Sprinkled with romance.

Book Three
Speaks of a child
Who creates paint
Matched with blooms.

Book Four
Speaks of a merchant
Who sells pictures
Scented with rain.

Book Five
Speaks of a taker
Who takes time
Wasted with others.

Book Six
Speaks of a giver
Who gives life
Granted with love.

April Poetry Fundraiser

Day 27

Pre-Spirit Fair Haiku
by S.A. Bowden

Marshmallow brownies
For a dollar they can give
Temporary peace

****

Small Jellyfish 
by Sam Yoseph

Small jellyfish,
It’s a big world out there.
It’s filled with humans
And dogs and cats that have hair.

Small jellyfish,
It’s a small world in here.
It’s filled with octopus
And eels and turtles that hold dear.

Small jellyfish,
It’s a dangerous world out there.
It’s filled with snakes
And tigers and eagles, so beware.

Small jellyfish,
Its a safe world in here.
It’s filled with starfish
And crabs and stingrays quite near.

Small jellyfish,
You were meant for something big.
So don’t stay in the ocean
And explore the floor and dig.

Small jellyfish,
You were meant for something large.
So don’t put your life on hold
And begin to take charge.

Small jellyfish,
You are meant for something more.
So spread your wings to fly
And look deep with your soul.

April Poetry Fundraiser

Day 26

The Table
by S.A. Bowden

To my fellow seniors

“I don’t see what Trinity brings to the table.”
Mom and Dad both said this to me
Sitting on either side of me on the sofa
The cluttered coffee table in front of us
As we finally got around to discussing colleges

I didn’t know what to say
They were kind of right maybe
I couldn’t say Trinity has
Hopkins’s big name
Or Washington’s writing house
Or Georgetown’s Catholic presence

I didn’t tell them the only answer I had
It brings itself to the table.
That’s a lot.

I wish I could bring myself to the table like that
Emulate some confidence in myself without any safety nets or
Any need for justification for myself