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2001 Putting Our Heads Together Poetry Contest

   

First Place:
    

Fear The Constant Numbing Pain
by Pheeb

How much can you endure?
Have to keep moving
every step of the way
How dearly do we have to pay?
To have some comfort in our lives
Hours pass but drag their feet
pain marches on, there's no retreat
try so hard not to complain
at times sadness like a shadow
always just at your side
you can't run away
and you can't hide
take a pill and hope for relief
just a few hours, maybe more
paint on your smile
and say a little prayer
give me just one day
I need a break for awhile

2001

Second Place:

The Rainbow
by Ann Graham Price

The jackhammers are at it again.

Pulverizing, grinding,
They tear gaping holes in my cranium, make
Crumbling ruins of my temples,
Churn my insides like loose gravel,
Scatter me in little pieces like so much rock debris.

Three days the misery has gone on,
And still there is no end in sight.
Who knows how many more days it will go on,
How much worse it will get,
How long my daughter -- sleeping beside me because of last night's
thunderstorm --
Can subsist on peanut butter and Cap'n Crunch?

I turn tortured, streaming eyes toward the closed blinds,
And there I see a streak of pink.
Bright pink, almost like neon, but prettier:
At once softer and more intense.

But no. When I put my glasses on, the streak disappears.

Glasses off again, the streak reappears.
Then it happens. The whole window glows pink.
It is warm, it is ethereal, and even in my agony,
It feels like magic.
What is this show that breaks through the blinds at the window,
The blinding pain behind my eyes?
I wonder, but cannot look.
The jackhammers have pinned me to my pillow.

It is Katie's eyes that do the looking for me.
Katie, whom I worry for so often when I cannot be fully there;
Katie who I am certain will be damaged for life by these episodes,
Like the daughter of an alcoholic, except I don't drink.
But all else is frighteningly similar.

This morning, though, she bounces to the window,
Pulls the shades open all the way to the top,
And announces the panorama playing out in the sky.
"Oh, Mom," she gasps.
"You should see this rainbow. It's gorgeous!"

It is.
It stretches clear from one end of the block to the other,
A perfect arch of color set against a bank of mauve clouds.
It stays and stays and stays,
And we look and look and look, my daughter and I,
Her brown eyes shining, my brown ones streaked in red,
Mother and child joined in one of those powerful mystical moments
Where Nature's sheer beauty and magnitude overtake everything:
The pain, the undone dishes, my disappointment in myself for failing
her.

And for those moments, at least,
Our world is transformed into something we will always remember
together,
Always know to be meant just for the two of us.

And for those moments, at least, it is enough.
It is enough.

2001

Third Place:

Fading Away
by Ashli

The pain engulfs me
Deeper and deeper I fall
This trance becomes a way of life
I can lie without blinking an eye
And I smile, yet inside I am dying
Why let on I am fading away?
I once was vibrant...full of life
Now black and white, I sit, and try to make red
Though no color could mask how helpless I feel, but if I 
pretend no
one will
know.....
I'm fading away.

1999

More 2001 Poetry:

 
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