Friday, December 12, 2008

What the Dust Seems to be Saying - Claire Jackson

What the Dust Seems to be Saying

She sits in the house alone.
The sun trickles in, but she's always in a dark room.
Her eyes have long spent all the tears in her body.
A pain so deep her bones are weak and hurt to the touch.
A chill runs through the house and through her body,
but it doesn't matter -- she's always cold now.
She slowly closes her eyes and thinks back--
Back to a time when she smiled.
Back when the house was beautiful
and smelled of lavender and Pinesol.
Nothing was dull. Everything was in its place,
shiny and clean. Fresh flowers always on the table.
Something always baking in the kitchen
for when he'd get home.
But now -- all light, hope, and love is gone. Done.
Or at least that's what the dust seems to be saying.

The Silent Storm Inside My Arms - Ben Hedges

The Silent Storm Inside My Arms

Don't smile,
You haven't won.
My will is not dominated,
My resolve is not weakened.

You struck first,
My back now against a wall.
A cup, tipped over,
But not all of the liquid has escaped.

I pick myself up.
There is a silent storm inside my arms.
You shoved me, I should break you.
It's push come to punch in my own mind.

But I won't, because I care.

I care for the people I love,
there now, resisting my intent.

I care for my environment,
And the negative effects that would be brought upon it.

But mostly I care for you.

I have been trained many years of my life,
in ways of doing harm.
And though you have mistakenly judged this book by its cover,
it's merely a story I want you to read.
Though I am confident that your hurt would be greater than mine,
I will let your territorial pissings hold.
But don't smile,
Because I have won.

What Dead Birds Listen For - Peter Seiler

What Dead Birds Listen For

In the silence, the cold silence,
A glazed eye begins staring,
The shallow moon reflects,
Making the black pool seem alive.

There was a song before,
It went something like:
I want to live today,
For the sun is shining.

The eye can seemingly see,
But cannot possibly hear
The song that before was sung
And what dead birds listen for.

The Way the Sky Would Like to Touch the Snow - Ruth Patrick

The Way the Sky Would Like to Touch the Snow

Falling away, frozen, I think that's how it feels
sort of like your heart, I guess
when you gave up on me
last year

but I drifted down slowly, light and geometric,
scattering on the winds swirling eddies
trying, hoping against hope
to climb back up into your frozen grace

My tears
froze into spider web rainbows
on the face of the clock which counts down the time
between then and now

and now
white winter rages again
but your rage has never cooled
cold as your soul, cold as the tears I cried
when they from into frost ferns on the windshields of my eyes
rendering my sight
barred and smoky like jail room shadows
thawing slowly
in the warmth of the ashes that fall
from my cigarette's ember
like pale soft snow, swirling in my warm breath
as I blow them
away from the pages of my book.

They rise, reluctantly,
fall heavy and soft
the way the sky
would like to touch the snow
and I finally realize it really was already over
even then.

Death Trap - Cynthia Gomez

Death Trap

Can I add a minute to this day?
I've worried enough to create molecules of time.
They grow with each thing I can't control.
Reproducing faster with each debt I must pay.
They diminish with each carefree moment I have,
And keep me still from taking risks.
What Death wears,
His cloak drenched in minutes gone by
By people like me who beg for more
Let me add a minute to this day.
It will blur and slow down time
I will slowly blur down time.

What I Thought to Myself on a Dark Interstate Between One Home and the Next - Robert Tippin

What I Thought to Myself on a Dark Interstate Between One Home and the Next

In fourteen years I will be old.
I do not know what the future will hold,
When I am old,
In fourteen years.

Come find me and tell me
What it was like to be young.
But I won't remember,
For I will be old.

I am horrified,
And bitterly cold;
For in fourteen years from today,
I will be old.

The Concealed Weapon in a Smile - Mike Hodge

The Concealed Weapon in a Smile

The one that was there for you since day one,
just wanting to know,
and be helpful in every situation possible.
Grasping life at every
moment just to let it go.
Yeah, you talk a good talk but
can you walk a good walk?
Your kindness is a syndrome with no cure.
As good as you can make a person's day
It makes me realize that you have a
concealed weapon in a smile.
It has been used in many murders
but the cases always ran cold.
Trust me. I know.
The games you play will no longer exist
and I will win this battle.

In Death's Library - Cassandra Kaul

In Death's Library

There is a stillness about the room
as sunlight attempts to cut
through the layers of dust
covering books that outline
the births of nations
and the fall of empires.

It's a quiet place that holds
the secrets and stories of humanity's lifetime.
The light shifts as a cloud blocks
out the sun and there is a change
to something far more sinister. The library
becomes a macabre display of history
shrouded in pain. A table in the corner
is revealed by shadows peeling away
to show its secret.

Lying innocently on the blood red
table is a book containing a delicate
script describing the lives
and death of humanity. Each page
is a temptation, a desire to know
the end of the next life.
As the shadow steals back its prize,
the light penetrates and the haze recedes
into another library with a book lying
innocently in the corner,
in death's library.

My Heart's Narcotic - Hayley Darpel

My Heart's Narcotic

After the third or fourth break
your return slowly sickened me.
I knew you weren't the answer
but the past's relentless achings
told me otherwise.

I was young and love was
How many time would we
hurt each other before it would end?
Then you'd come back, oh so sweet,
my heart's narcotic.

I needed nothing more
with you around.
And when I
left you in the end,
our very end,
the pain couldn't be dulled.

For you made me crave you.
I thought I needed
your love to have love at all.

There are times when
I yearn for you.
But then I remind myself,
the side effects are far more
brutal than the love I got
from my heart's narcotic.

the silent storm inside my arms - Alyssa Reeves

the silent storm inside my arms

The lightning struck where thunder failed to give warning:
a harsh blow in springtime afternoons.
We are all left
with smoking trees
and towers
and TV antennas.

Where tall cliffs once stood straight and strong,
the rocks now rest in a crumbling pile.

The clouds stooped low and blinded out the sun,
so I embraced the tempest as it mutely raged.

Steaming geysers release hot streams over rolling hills;
cold rain falls on even the most beautiful of roses.
The distant quake erupts without a sound,
a shudder detectable only when you hold your breath
and feel the shifting in the gentle breeze.

The breaking heart is still the beating heart.
We’ll pray on these tears for years,
and I’ll hold tight
to the silent storm inside my arms.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How Do You Spell Love? - Mike Hodge

How Do You Spell Love?

Throughout life I always
wanted 2 know the answer
2 this question. I sometimes ask myself, "Do
people actually know how
2 spell this word?" I gave it a lot
of thought and it took me
4-ever 2 realize that,
it's not as hard as it seems.
To you it's spelled L-O-V-E. To me,
and throughout the struggles
that I have seemed to overcome,
it's spelled T-I-M-E. That's all I ever
wanted from you, and you never
gave it to me. I sometimes think about the ways
you say you loved me,
but did you actually mean it?
In today's society you must show love to get love.
The pressures that I face and
the daily struggle of your presence frightens me.
Will it ever change? I think not because
Through my whole life
the way YOU spelled love . . . was wrong!

A Day Lost - Michael Hemmer

A Day Lost

The winds break against the glass
with a soft, screeching whistle.
The glass responds with a low moan
as it flexes from the strain.
I feel a slow cold creep in
as the air filters through.
My gaze is set.
The white mess
still fills the air outside,
no end in sight.
This blessing turned curse.
A sip from the spiked drink,
a whisper in my head,
I am stuck.

Heaven's Relief - Hayley Darpel

Heaven's Relief

Snuggle's off-brand breezed my nostrils
as the last clean shirt left stroked my hair
and bounced over my nose.
8 am is too brutal for the tranquility of Saturdays
but Mom and Lance chose to paint
outside my basement window that morning.

Turning to pick up my basket of laundry,
the brown pillowcase veiling the small view
I had to the world saved me
from seeing more than I could manage.

Metal ladder rungs
as my heart
plunged into my stomach.
The scaffolding,
my step dad,
shadow silhouettes forebode
dark and doom.

"Oh, God, help! Help,
God, help!" His voice rang
behind the crash. My legs
functioned so fast
I can't remember screaming,

A dozen stairs were few to none;
the front door made of foam.
His body lay
Fresh blood
shook my body hard with fear.

Mom ran to his side
slowly speaking sagacity to my shuddering.
As I grabbed flustered, frightened,
my brothers waked
and their tired eyes tried
to make sense of the scene.

Time held destiny
as the screaming sirens calmed me.
But they took so long and the bleeding
went on. He moaned and neighbors
watched like museum spectators.

When trucks matched the shrieks
and lights brought all forms of relief,
the traumatic flash-back
brought comfort through panic
as his stifled cries stung my strength.

"Oh, God, help!"

Then I knew whose tender hands
would calm his trembling fingers.

The Language of Poetry

1. Pick one of the phrases below and write a poem in which:
a) the phrase you’ve picked is the poem’s title
b) the phrase you’ve picked occurs at least once in the body of the poem
2. The poem should not be end-rhymed, but it should observe the basic conventions of free-verse prosody.
3. The poem should be less than 30 lines in length
4. In addition to using the phrase you’ve selected, the poem should try to coin at least one truly memorable epigrammatical statement: a statement which is:
a) rich in metaphorical meaning
b) has the ring of wisdom yet is fresh, not hackneyed
c) is abstract (which has the breadth of a generalization) yet has a concrete “feel” to it
5. Although the poem should be in the riddling, epigrammatical language of poetry, it should have an air of authority; it should make a kind of sense yet not be easily paraphrasable or interpreted. In other words, it should have “poetic meaning.”

1. The long odds in the evening
2. The heart’s rust
3. Cold bacon, cold eggs, cold potatoes
4. The left-handed daydreams of the missing ski (shoes, hat, etc.)
5. The slow kiss the spider gives the fly
6. The way the sky would like to touch the snow
7. The thief who is also the locksmith
8. At Death’s picnic (funeral, party, etc.)
9. At the starling’s wild parties
10. In Death’s library
11. What Death has for breakfast
12. The silent storm inside my arms
13. The patient ambushes of the shadows
14. The habits of the clouds (stones, grass, etc.)
15. Mr. Joy (Mr. Fear, etc.)
16. What the dead birds listen for
17. What the dust seems to be saying
18. Why (how) the moon divorced the earth (the sun), (the ocean divorced the land, the sky divorced the ground, etc.)
19. The heart’s hot climate
20. The franchise of the night (the moon, autumn, etc.)
21. The concealed weapon in a smile
22. The secret that wears an old suit
23. What Death (Time, Boredom, etc.) wears
24. The erratic weather reports of the heart
25. The metaphysics of cockroaches and kings
26. The moon’s white shares we (I, you, etc.) own
27. Dragging the sea for your shadow
28. Bribing the river
29. On the right side of the sun
30. The blameless life, complete in its white package

Seasons - Cassandra Kaul


As the temperature drops,
her leaves turn.
It is time for change.

A quiet descent brushes
along her face in a delicate
whisper. It is time to slow down.

The snow blankets
her limbs as she begins
to yield under the pressure.
It is time to stop, just for a moment.

When the cold and darkness
seems eternal, the sun
emerges and warms her.
It is time to grow.

Swish - Kaela McWherter


After forty minutes of pure
Energy-draining commitment
A few seconds is all that is left to endure
As the ball bounds
From the shooter’s hand
Through the net
And to the floor with ease.
All that is left
Is the sweet sound
Of the soft shifting
Of the net
In the aftermath of that final shot;
Leaving one team ecstatic
While the other devastated.

rebel's resignation - Ruth Patrick

rebel’s resignation

you ask for sound and sense
but there is no sense and thus the sound is all
nothing for nothing
nothing is all I have sometimes, it’s what you acquire
by having too much, no true desire
I give you sound in randomness
so I’ll scrabble together this random mess
as I float smooth and light like a thistledown
down ragged raging torrents that tumble down
and around and drown my sorrow in salty spray
shattered then spattered and flung too far
far away
tearing my heart apart
to acquire in this dark sweet release forbidden to me in
days dark depth, drawn too dense to see
these humble sounds as I stumble down dizzy
and death defying, crying and dying and not really trying
reporting resorting, in sport or in sorting my sins
and the fringes I fail to relate to
raise rabble and laughter and shatter the soul of
my hope blending blameless as blood
in passive pools, plain in pale plaintive puddle of pain upon pitiful paths
paved like grave graves’ graven images
fallen in flames
and remains as an after taste
shaded and jaded and faded inane and insane
say the way will be clear
clearly I’ll never escape
but my soul still shatters
in patterns
in fragments
in fractures of cracks in the blackness
in beads on a string all in order and order begins
to assemble again

lost at sea - Alyssa Reeves

lost at sea

the pounding waves explode
over my deaf ears and
salt dumps into my veins.
a frantic impulse invades my limbs
when the surface fails to break
and I am lost in the tide,
hidden deep beneath the sparkling blue:
death disguised as paradise.
the sharp sea erupts in my lungs
and slices without mercy through fragile fibers.
up above, the heavens split
as ambition slides beneath the swell.

Below a Christmas Snow - Robert Tippin

Below a Christmas Snow

A lonely road through scattered leaves,
The forest darker than you please,
Snow that falls will ever play
With nature’s lows and shorter days.

A mother’s child may sled with ease
Upon that hill, upon the leaves,
That scattered but a month ago,
Are covered now with Christmas snow.

But far below,
Down deep below,
The snow so dripping wet,
Lie leaves
Once covered in winter snow
That we, so soon forget,
That we so soon forget,
That we so soon forget.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Waiting - Kaela McWherter


With each passing second the world changes
Along with those in it. All these changes
Bring about decisions we all must make.
People can choose to spend their time doing
A variety of things, only some
Are worthy of capturing the precious
Seconds we are given in our short lives.
Many choose to waste this limited time
Choosing to wait for things to come to them,
Instead of them making a difference.
Much change could be made if all chose action
Instead of waiting for acts to happen.
All want change, but seem content while they wait
For others to act while they just complain.

Sound and Sense

Using whatever prosodic resources that you need -- line breaks, rhyme, alliteration, rhythm, spacing, stanzas, line-length, internal or end rhyme, repetition -- write a poem in free verse whose prosody, as defined above, conspicuously governs the reading of that poem. In other words, the poem's "sound" should conspicuously echo its sense, somehow; so that if asked you could convincingly demonstrate the poems prosody functions. The effects which you achieve must, ideally, be reasonably subtle yet not so subtle that you alone can perceive them.

Porch Perception - Hayley Darpel

Porch Perception

I tried something new early this morning.
Sitting on my front porch, or lack thereof,
with my Pike’s Place coffee and enjoying
the wind rustling leaves about in the air.
Everyone is on a morning mission.
On my small concrete porch, I was alone
with my mug of coffee, just as people
were in a bubble of peace on their walks.
The only difference was I was viewing
them on their journeys and they had no clue.
However, they weren’t my only interest.
I saw the colors blowing from the branches.

As each piece drifted apart one by one,
these people’s eyes were distant like the sun.

Call of the Sea - Kara Engelken

Call of the Sea

I’m closing the chapter in my book,
Life, I say good-bye to and step away.
Leaves change and so does my heart.
There is nothing left for me to stay.
A new dawn breaks within my soul,
An estranged awakening that I see.
Beams clear thoughts and fade the dark,
Longing for something I have never seen.
The yearning has been too long ignored,
No longer will I pretend not to see.
As sailors long for the ocean’s waves;
So away, too, my new world beacons me.
Embracing the adventure of my dream.
Away from the prairie; away to the sea.

The Sonnet - Ben Hedges

The Sonnet

The words on this paper form a sonnet,
an intricate, yet structured display of
one’s thoughts, understanding and emotions.
The words won’t tell you outright, their meaning.
But there is depth to them, you must agree.
For language speaks more than what is spoken.
Beauty is hidden from the surface so,
you must dig, discover what has been said.
In just fourteen lines, an epic is told,
something so large encased into something
so small, and precise. The sonnet is a
quarter that gives you only a brief ride
into the author’s soul. This is where the
sonnet will end. Have you learned anything?

My Street - Michael Hemmer

My Street

As I walk down this dark road, I look
Back to the lights behind me and prepare
For the cold, silent mystery ahead.
As the warmth from the light behind me fades,
I know all I can do is continue
Walking or stare back into the past,
But the past has its wounds so I must walk.
The dark unknown before me is daunting,
But I must not fear what I cannot see
And do all that I can to reach the next
Light that is hidden up in the distance.
Just as the warmth fades from behind me,
I know that the warmth will soon be here to help
But that makes the cold bite so harsh in the dark.

Flawless - Mike Hodge


Her eyes, as bright as the stars in the sky
catching my emotions I touch and feel
her soft smooth skin against mines. We embrace
this connection of love for each other
even through tough times she lets me know that
one woman is my world of all women.
Her sweet words of comfort, so kind, so soft
Touches me in depth like no one else could.
I have been blessed with a queen who love me
for me, not for what I have, or appear.
As my lips meet her cool forehead it sends
sensation through her body, and comfort
in her soul to let her know, she is loved.
A stroke of perfection considered mines.

The Cabin - Claire Jackson

The Cabin

A cabin sits quietly in the snow,
as the sun sets on a cold winter day.
The cabin, once new, now sits aged but still
remains sound. The glowing windows like eyes
show it’s warm, weathered soul against harsh winds.
Waning wood tells a story about life.
The walls have served as a sanctuary
from storms and the tough world outside the door.
While white slowly falls and rests on the roof,
the fire inside burns steady and strong.

Dance of the Midwest Tornado - Cassandra Kaul

Dance of the Midwest Tornado

In a circle of women one stands out.
Her eyes flash in danger as she begins.
It is an ancient dance that consumes all.
The gold adorning her body begins to sway
As hips whip out in a rhythm unknown.
Her movements seem like a controlled chaos,
But it has become a buildup none can stop.
Beats start building with every twist and shake,
Coins clash together as breaths grow faster,
And drums roar and pound out the beat of her soul.
As sweat pours down the plains of her body,
Her body rips through the air perfectly
in sync, and she’ll twist and turn endlessly.
She stops. Coins settle and breaths slow, until next time.

Window Sonnet - Ruth Patrick

Window Sonnet

What you want to give me is a window
through which to view your world beyond my own
where the morning sun shines in to warm me
with light to show the way to love and truth;

opening to welcome warm spring breezes
and laughing neighbor children as they play;
to shut against the cold of winter nights,
safe-shelter me away from falling rain.

Oh what a gift of life and joy and warmth
this seems to be, when looked at from the inside.

But I am just a sparrow flying free
you give me just reflections of the sky
I in love and trust receive them gladly;
enter your deception, die against glass.

At the Canyon - Alyssa Reeves

At the Canyon

After the fight in June, she left for good.
Her journey carried her west to the hills:
She sought her solace in the arms of God
And rested each night underneath His sky.
Out here the world holds lyrics in the leaves
And sunlight breaks through passes in the clouds.
The highways cross just past the mountain’s ridge
Where vultures hang on branches by the stream.
The weary traveler dries up in the sun;
The birds swoop down to make of him their lunch.
She turns to write a letter to send home
To tell them all the view here steals her breath.
These words are all she has and they are lies,
Half-truths that are no comfort to her heart.

I Miss the Fight - Peter Seiler

I Miss the Fight

I miss the fight that we used to play,
Being so grey I miss the color Jess,
I will let you get any dishes that you like,
You should know that I would be what you like,
I wrote a sad song that lasted every day,
The same strum the way that I always play,
It is not the words in which I sing,
It’s the feeling that means everything,
I would trade away my voice for one touch,
The voice that I have is far, far too weak,
As the touch that will never be from you,
As the snow that will melt and seep down deep,
As the heart that will utter your name Jess,
I will always no matter love and wait.

The Conversion of Faith Craven

The Conversion of Faith Craven

For her it was a game with no defeat.
She valued noting, felt no sense of shame.
And dying being that which she would seek,
It was no loss, no win, but just a game.
Her husband told her, “Dear! Our children weep
To see their mother drunken in the street.”
The sky-blue cotton curtains filled with dust;
And ever-present sadness stained the walls,
With black, and hungry anger, greed and lust
Like sin’s dark ink was seeping down her halls.
But suddenly a light with mighty speed
Tore through her lying in a dirty stall.
And Jesus softly whispered to her need
“I’ve come for you my dear; I heard your call.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Debra Baker - Hayley Darpel

Debra Baker

I came to know him well,
my close friend, Bill W.
There are times,
when I wish Gary
would have tried to know Bill
sooner than he did.

I fought through the ugly times
and cautiously enjoyed the seldom happy ones.
Oh how those times seem so artificial now.
When my heart ached with despair,
I just looked down
and smiled selflessly
at the three faces
that were the reason
I held on.


Write a poem which satisfies the following criteria:

1. The poem is exactly fourteen lines in length.
2. Each line contains exactly ten syllables.
3. Although each line has ten syllables,
- a. the poem does not sound stilted; it should read naturally;
- b. there should be no obvious extra padding to stretch a given line out to the required length.
- c. Except where you try for special effects, the line breaks should be at appropriate places, where natural pauses would fall.
4. The poem should be rhythmically homogeneous, without sounding mechanical or sing-songy.
5. The poem must develop one extended metaphor. For example, "The Silken Tent" compares a woman to a tent.
6. The comparison must:
- a. not be picked up briefly and dropped; it must be sustained and explored at length. It must for the basis of the poem.
- b. It must be fresh and surprising, not trite and obvious
- c. The comparison must, like the one that forms the basis of "The Silken Tent," have a point to it -- a point that is subtle enough to require an extended metaphor.

There's No Place Like Home - Cynthia Gomez

There’s No Place Like Home

She turns the music up to sway her Cuban hips
And looks at me in a way that says, “They don’t have this where you’re going!”
We all know tomorrow I’ll exchange my sunshine for sunflowers.
And everyone laughs, including me.
The humid breeze blows on those palm trees
(The ones that have been there since I was 10)
And they wave goodbye to me.
The cool on my feet, the hot against my back, and the familiar in my heart.
Thank you, God, for Sundays in Miami.
I study the texture of Papi’s blue eyes to be sure
I will always have them with me.
And I go over it all until I know I won’t forget.

Taking the Plunge - Ben Hedges

Taking the Plunge

I’ve got ten seconds,
at the most.

If those yellow shirts get their hands on me,
a good night’s gonna go bad in the worst way.

I can’t fathom how I got up here,
it’s hard to fathom how I’m going to get back down.

The air is filled with noise,
thumps, crashes, screeches, screams.
Long haired demons thrash and wail behind me,
Feeding off of the energy,
of a sight I can now see for myself.
The pulsating sea of bodies is an amazing vision.
I’ve never wanted to be a musician,
but I sure as hell want to
for what time I’ve got left up here.

Speaking of which,
the fuzz is just within reach.

I raise my arms,
my onlookers do the same.

I jump, they catch.
I’m a raft on the river of hands.

My Pain - Michael Hemmer

My Pain

Burned, scarred and etched into my brain,
Your name still hurts me.
Any attempts to heal the festering
Only results in more pain

I will not let it rest.
Like a nail through dry wood,
I pound my sorrow down
Deep into the festering wound,
In a feeble attempt to make the pain stop.

But like a child that can’t leave a scab alone,
I pick and pick, pestering it,
Through the pain, reopening the horrible gouge.
As though I cannot get enough of it.

My thoughts still dwell on the past,
This pain, and the future.
I know no reason why I carry such a scar

Limited Pressure - Mike Hodge

Limited Pressure

With 21.3 seconds left
I feel as though this
Is my last chance
Rivalries united
Memories reoccur
It all revolves around me
The star, the best, the leader
My heart thumps as I
Only hear myself while
Fans cheer and
Jealous ones boo
Breathing heavily my body
Sweats profusely
Was it worth it?

From Little White Dove - Claire Jackson

From Little White Dove

The Great Spirit, whose voice echoes
in the wind around me, shows me
the lessons of my people
written in the leaves and rocks.
I remember tired warriors crossing over
the hill with grim victory:
the battle won, but the war being lost.
The grass was stained red for two moons.
They say men with pale faces are coming
to take Mother Earth from us
and destroy our people.
But our arrows are steadfast and strong.
This earth will forever be ours.

Asylum - Cassandra Kaul


The vaulted glass atrium
and daisies greeted me.
With the sun shining
in my eyes,
I checked in.

Rich green walls were broken
up by soft, cotton blue
pants and worn white slippers
brushed along the wooden floors.

I didn’t see
their faces. I was too afraid
to look up and see
smiling faces as I sat down.

She sat down and I
looked up for a moment too long. Her young face
was all smiles. She seemed so happy.
A far cry from the broken woman she was.

Years of fighting and drugs had torn
us apart, and three months
at the asylum had made
her whole again.

The nurse came by and handed
her the cup,
with her little pills
to match her pants,
and my eyes.

An Indoor Campout - Kaela McWherter

An Indoor Campout

I was ready for a girls’ night in:
A night full of fun and randomness
Including the tent to be pitched
In the basement. That action in itself
Caused the problem in that getting the tent
Out of the attic caused
My literal downfall.

As I went for the tent in the dark, cramped attic
(Unable to see where I was stepping)
My friends heard my utter shock as the floor gave out
And I dangled helplessly above the garage.
As my friends rushed to help cushion my fall
I fell to the ground surrounded by insulation and shattered ceiling pieces
Staring blankly at the new lighting I had provided.

After a few stunned moments
My friends could not believe I was fine
(With the exception of my soon-to-be lovely bruised battle scars
That I would carry with me for several weeks)
And we laughed it off and continued
With our fun, and pitching off
The tent I worked so hard to get.
Allowing my newly discovered strength (both internal and external)
To carry me through and
Give me one night never to forget.

Elegy for America - Ruth Patrick

Elegy for America

Under God’s own perfect sky
on this mower once fueled with pride, roaring,
raising the smell of spring
I ride three acres of perfect lawn which once
made me king
of this high hill in suburbia
American dreams
of more than we need more than we want
enough to flaunt and more.
Now it is gone.

I am banished.
Factories and franchises fallen to ruin and my
job downsized;
six-figure income --- gone.

My pension won’t go far
in this shattered empire
where energy is a rare and priceless
for lack of which
my world has died.

But the grass keeps growing;
keeps me mowing.
Maybe I should trade this mower for
a cow
and a plow
and plant tomatoes
sweet corn
and strawberries.

The Post-it Note - Alyssa Reeves

The Post-it Note

Julia – I know you’re
probably still mad about
the cupcake incident, but I
swear it wasn’t my fault.
I just want you to know

that I love you.
And I’ll bring home those
chocolate cookies you like
because this week
they’re half price.
Love, Mitch

To the girl that I love (who dates somebody elses) - Peter Seiler

To the girl that I love (who dates somebody else)

You were in my dream,
For a brief time.
We were on a ski lift
And you were laughing.

Naturally, I tried to kiss you,
But you avoided me.
You grew so angry,
And I was disappointed.

The scene disappeared,
I went on to other things.
You were gone.
Gone from me.

The Ice Storm that Came Through When I Was Young - Robert Tippin

The Ice Storm that Came Through When I Was Young

I never saw the morning
The day the icy storm fell.
I missed the rose-red sunrise,
And the birds that weren’t there.
Only whiteness
Only bleak.
There was a cat, but he could barely move.
I could hear all the trees give up their branches with a crack!
I couldn’t go outside,
For my mother’s fear of the cold.
Families lost power, money was lost, trees were ruined,
But I loved it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jerry - Cassandra Kaul


His hair was always disheveled,
but it fit the flannel
shirt and jeans he wore
every day to the greenhouses
to tend to his petunias.

He tended to his guests
and with the art of a true
salesman. He won over
the crowds and sent everyone
home with a piece of himself
in the shape of a delicate petunia.

By the end of the day
when everyone wanted to leave,
he stayed. He wasn't done,
there was too much to be done.

With a look of Herculean determination,
he was ready to begin the task of counting
his income from the sales of his hardship.

With gentle pushing the nurse
Started the count.
"Jerry, what is ten plus thirteen?
It starts with a two."

"I'm not stupid,
I'm just retarded,"
was uttered in anger that
belied the gentle face.

"Jerry! Don't say that about yourself!"

His face showed an intelligence
Society wouldn't allow him.



Write a poem which satisfies the following criteria:

1. The poem is in the first person singular.
2. The poem's title provides information which the reader needs in order to know who is speaking and to understand the situation which the speaker is talking about.
3. The poem should not be end-rhymed, but
4. The language of the poem should sound like conversation (it should be in the dialect of the speaker), but it should be rich enough to qualify as poetry (i.e., actually a little richer than ordinary conversation.)
5. Most of the poem should be a reminiscence about past events.
6. Through the way in which the protagonist tells the story, he or she must inadvertently reveal something about him/herself. In other words, the poem should exhibit some dramatic irony.
7. The speaker should be convincing, sound authentic.
8. The poem's dramatic irony -- the speaker's blind spot -- should have significance beyond being merely a personal foible.

Señor Young - Hayley Darpel

Señor Young

To be hip, he let 7th hour spray his bald spot
blue for spirit week.
Poor Señor Young
never stood a chance;
with a class of terrorists sending text messages and throwing notebooks
full of answers
to the nearest amigo daily.

When he thought class couldn’t get more rambunctious,
finals day
proved to be the monster
of all days.
A food-binged student, who
shall remain nameless,
went full-bellied and empty-headed
up to Señor’s desk.
Acting as if he were going to report a deathly illness,
this malo estudiante
vomited chunks all over
Señor’s favorite
wool llama sweater.

After months of court dates
along with his CNN fame,
Señor Young returned
to crazy Spanish classes
and his Krispy Kreme coffee.

Rolando Gomez - Cynthia Gomez

Rolando Gomez

As casual and unknown to the mind
A movement
Such as a scratch of the nose or
The unconscious foot which steps before the other
He came out of his room
In his underwear.
His brothers, which gathered there on Sundays,
Paused their conversations to look over and greet him.
But all he did was raise his hands and argue with no one
Over lies and truths.
Not knowing the difference.
He imitated the very discourses of the man who made him this way.
Of course a boy of six years could not possibly comprehend.
He processed it the best he knew how.
As he spent his life this way
Not knowing another world but the one behind his eyes
Unable to change the blankness of his face
At his father’s embrace
His brothers wondered if their love was known
If he felt warmth as they did.
When the brothers’ father passed away
They mourned for days and then they knew.
They knew Rolando felt cold and warm
And weakness and fear
Because two weeks later
Rolando died, too.

The Warrior - Ben Hedges

The Warrior

His gloved hands grip the wheel.
Reins to a snarling beast,
Ready to tear down a quarter mile strip,
Into the horizon.
Clad in leather and fiberglass,
He sits caged within the creature.
The vibrations of the engine, violent.
A chaotic heartbeat from a ticker
Fueled by chemicals and fire.
Its master is aged,
Spending 60 plus years figuring out ways to blur reality.
His senses are in tune,
Knowing every facet of the monster he created.
He had taken this trip so many times before,
It was natural to him now, a routine.

The tree divides him,
From what will be his enemy for the next 10 seconds.
A red light holds him back,
Always giving him one last chance to see reason.
The light vanishes, streaming yellow lights tease,
Coaxing his chariot into an uncontrollable rage.
Yellow blends to green,
The Warrior breaks the chains,
He finds pleasure in speed,
and sees the mundane keeping pace with everything else.

Jason Wildasin - Mike Hemmer

Jason Wildasin

Wild Assassin walked up to the wind.
Outside Robert was holding the slightly
Modified flashlight in one hand and a lighter in the other.
“This is going to rape,” Wild Assassin stated. He was
About ready to explode with excitement
We all were
But he kept it hidden.

The fuse dangled helplessly out of the flashlight
As Robert lowered the lighter to it.
If it all went wrong and the hours were wasted
On this then it would have been all Jason’s fault,
We rarely took anything the “satchel” carrying,
Sister’s tight jean wearing kid did very seriously.

Robert ran back into the house with only the lighter in hand,
The fuse shortened, and shorted
And shortened,
Until the flashlight detonated, casting
An emerald green blaze on the surrounding house,
A booming thunder that echoed for what sounded like miles,
And sent metal flying through the night.
All of us hit the floor,
Except Jason.

BWJ - Claire Jackson


He sits at a kitchen table surrounded by
his two life-long best friends, his sister, and
the counselor, holding the letters from his
little girls begging for their daddy back.

A shell of a man with tears flowing from
his already-glazed eyes is trying to cope with
this reality: the bottle or life.
All the scotch and water in the world won’t
take away the pain he knows he’s caused or
shut out the past that turned him to the bottle.

He opens his eyes looking back into those of the
ones who love him the most. He sees the years of
hurt and desperation for sobriety. He knows
a life that is poured from a bottle isn’t what should be.
He used to be in control, he used to hide it all, but there’s
no hiding anymore. He looks up asking God for
Hope and says,
“I’ll go.”

Haley Hawthorne - Cassandra Kaul

Haley Hawthorne

She was a high school dropout
and a student
with too much to learn

She let go of everything
as she inhaled her final thrill,
and took a descent
no one could control.

As she opened her eyes
to lights and sirens,
she heard, “Hawthorne, like the tree?”
“No, like The Scarlet Letter.”

Peter DelNero - Kaela McWherter

Peter DelNero

After four years of
Being buried by books
And all that accompanied
Being a high school student,
His day had finally come.
He was someone that everyone in the school knew of
Regardless of if they had actually met him or not.
He began his ten-second walk to receive
His much-earned diploma;
His entire face twinkling,
As his graduation cap was equipped
With small Christmas lights glowing brightly
As he bouncily crossed the stage
(Which overlooked more than four hundred graduates
And an arena full of people watching)
And proceeded to hug everyone on that platform:
Despite whether or not he knew them
Or vice versa.
The weight was lifted for a moment,
As he walked down the stairs and returned to his seat,
As he completed one goal
And is immediately surrounded by many more
As college and the future moved closer to his present.

Scott's father - Ruth Patrick

Scott’s father

When we raced sailboats on Sunday
I never won.
The wind was wild that day.

Youngest, and most afraid
I came in 4th of 4
and felt a failure.

Scott’s father
talked to me
He never had before.

“It doesn’t matter
that you came in last
or by how far.
You finished;
others quit.

I’m just tickled pink
you raced.”

Scott became a race car driver.
No surprise.

Years later
I heard Scott had
and died.

His father’s words
echoed in my mind
“I’m just tickled pink
you raced.”

Homer Linebaugh - Alyssa Reeves

Homer Linebaugh

He wore overalls and a brown fishing hat
Though we never saw him leave to go fishing.
Mostly he spent his time being retired and
Working in his shop, building doorstops
That looked like kittens and wooden flowers to paint
And stake in the yard.

On warm afternoons he stood at the fence and watched
Us toddle around in the backyard,
Saying little but multiplying his wrinkles
As the sun baked his smile.
Occasionally, we slipped through the gate and joined
Him and his wife Mildred.

He painted his past for my dad in hour-long conversations
And proudly showed him the silver dollar
He swore his great-grandfather had carried
During the Civil War.
“It saved his life,” his voice was eager like a child.
“A bullet hit this coin and it should have hit his heart.”
My dad (I’m not sure why) didn’t let him
Savor the sweet piece of luck.
“Look at the date, Homer”
From my spot on the floor, I thought the old man stopped breathing.
“That bastard!” he muttered.
“Homer, not in front of the kids.”

Bob Ross - Emily Ross

Bob Ross

Here is the old house
and the rotting sycamore
whose sawn limb he pulled down
to make a place to hang a swing.
When it fell, the branch came straight down
on top of him.
His daughter screamed
when the leaves brushed her face.

Three times
he forgot the children at school
and one of them had to haul the other home in a wagon.
The sidewalk was pasted slick with wet leaves
in the freezing dusk.

He planted tomatoes again every year –
watched the sun, whistled,
and tucked the baby plants in,
sometimes next to the shrubs.
They never grew.

Jack Jameson - Peter Seiler

Jack Jameson

Jack was a hard dairy man at 76
Though soft before tragedy
When his first wife died in her sleep

Mary, his second and recent wife
Was truly a beauty he loved
Though she did not treat him right

“I’m leaving you,” she said at dinner,
“For you are not the man I need
Being too grumpy, stubborn, and clean.”

Jack does not respond
He grabs the familiar leash
Lights a pipe to walk the dog.

Out for nearly an hour
He spots his friendly neighbor
Shouts, “I’m walking the dog,
Don’t care no how!”

Wet Willy - Jason Stricker

Wet Willy

Willy Ward, who slept for a whole week,
Finally awoke in the nothing but glamorous town
Of Coffeyville, Kansas, where he and some of his great friends
Went to school.
The day was a cold, rainy
Post-winter afternoon. The smell of poison mud could
Burn the nose of anyone who never lived there.

Surprisingly jovial on such an ominous day,
Noon was approaching. He was sick of all
Of his roommates griping about how there was nothing
To do on a day like this.
He yelled, “Let’s get off our asses, and have fun
Like you know we can!”

With that, Holly, Mike, and I went into our rooms
And changed into our bathing suits. Soon after,
Mike and I grabbed all the soap we could find, and
Poured it into a large trashcan full of water.
Next we kidnapped Willy,
Staked him to the ground gently,
Dumped the trashcan all over him,
Threw mud pies all over him,
And encouraged people to join in.
They did.

And after all that fun,
That would seem like torture to any other,
We slid into him, aiming for the surface of his head,
Trying to make it explode!
Willy took it so kindly,
And was so honored that he could
Be the resource for unforgettable fun!

Aaron Pile - Robert Tippin

Aaron Pile

We loved his music,
The years we knew him best.
We thought we knew him
But none,
None could guess.

A witch he met in college.
She took him far away.
From all he cared
And stood for,
Till late one winter day he vanished.
He fled
He went away
She took him away!
And it was snowing outside.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Story Telling

Write a poem which satisfies the following criteria:

1. The poem is in the past tense.
2. The poem is no more than thirty lines in length.
3. The poem is in the third person, about somebody (a protagonist) other than yourself, somebody colorful and vivid enough to make for interesting reading. The protagonist should be nonfictional (You might select one of the more eccentric people you remember from high school) unless you can, as Louis Simpson does in the poem "Caviar At the Funeral," create a convincing fictional character.
4. The poem should not be end-rhymed.
5. The title of the poem should be the name of the protagonist.
6. The main body of the poem should present a scene (as in a movie) dramatizing a telling incident in the life of the protagonist. The scene might well center around some kind of initiation experience, certainly around some experience from which the protagonist learned something important about himself/herself, about the people around him/her, or about both. (Experiences which resulted in disillusionment are often particularly suitable for such ultra-short stories.)
7. The background of the main character or characters should be sketched in my means of digressions.
8. The scene should show the protagonist faced with a situation in which he/she must make a decision.
9. From the decision which the protagonist makes, the reader should gain some insight into the protagonist.
10. From the way in which the author presents the scene, the reader should get a sense of the author's judgment of the character.
11. This judgment should be very tactfully suggested, by innuendo, through hints and through the author's tone of voice., not blatantly stated.
12. Though told with great economy, the story should contain enough physical details and images to enable the reader to vividly picture the story's central theme.

Collision - Hayley Darpel


Peel away the layers of me
My innocence sheds first.
Then comes the courage.
No longer is bravery an option.
Vulnerability seeps from
open wounds.

Your mind is a divided highway.
One day stuck in blind traffic.
The next, the road is clear.
Crosswalks don’t exist.

Falling deep into the
hole of your third failure.
These random situations
no one else sees. You are the
common denominator.

Putting everyone through another domestic
drama. Saying you’ll land on your two feet.
How do you not break and
fall when your shoulder bear
broken hearts?

Learning - Kara Engelken


She lies upon her bed
I wonder what she’s thinking
I know her heart still beats.
But I wonder if she knows why.

Outside the window plays the world
And eyes are always searching,
The mind swallows the world whole
While no one is watching.

To free a soul the body must die
So there is freedom in death,
To trap a soul is to give birth
So imprisonment comes from life.

The mind clenches at the sign of learning
From years of abuse and lies
Knowledge is the key;
Trust is the door;
Open it and walk inside.

Coward - Cynthia Gomez


Carried in on a
Lover’s daze
Waiting frantically
Thinking of
What can happen

Seeping in
Getting away here and there
Now loving but
Looking over its shoulder
Still vulnerable

And it catches
It holds
It’s true.
It holds
Sanity together.

Before and After - Ben Hedges

Before and After

The doors open, folding in on themselves,
a yellow carriage carrying the weary and worn
returning from a mandated eternity.
They’ve seen hell with breath still in their lungs
now they come back for hopes of heaven.
They stand in uniform, move in uniform,
across the charter threshold,
The driver extends gratitude,
not enough to cover their actions.

A man exits, his black boots taste the surface of home.
A good Christian.
His body always untouched by toxins.
Striking a match, he lights a Camel,
trying to trade a physical poison,
for poisonous memories.

A man follows, his eyes take in the sights of what feels right.
A hard-edged behemoth.
Emotion a distant relative in his life.
His wife embraces, he crumbles,
his fatigues now a permanent home,
for tears from a stone face.

Another man follows, he takes in the air of a place nearly lost.
A young scout
So much yet to see and already a witness to so much.
His foundation approaches, armed with a smile and salute,
he returns the advance. A cub paying respect,
for a father’s guidance.

Life Too Short - Mike Hodge

Life Too Short

Laying there helpless on life support
As time ticks away like a time bomb
Not concerned about anything or anyone
Relishing the depths of life as it comes
Soon we will mourn the death of a man
Who strengthens us on a daily basis
Wishing we could replace our life for his
Realizing that it won’t happen, we still
Continue to pray.

Driving on a rainy, dark road of South Carolina
Looking like an endless tunnel
With white stripes rapidly passing
One by one.
At the same time wanting and urging the feeling to be home
We talk about life experiences we faced so far
And within seconds the vehicle is upended
With the sound of a blast, hitting the car
brings flashbacks from what sins I have done in the past
A wake-up call from my reality nightmare.

With two kids and a cheating, divorced wife
He is financially low, and jobless
With the economy is in a state of emergency
It’s harder than ever to obtain success
He receives no family support to help him during this rough part in life
When faced with adversity, he decides to make a decision
He robs.
Thinking that life is lavish and with doubts in his mind
It comes to an abrupt end.

Resentment - Claire Jackson


Through 18 years you were there for
every dance recital, ball game, and school
assembly. I knew your love was genuine
and the grandparents’ day card messages came
from my heart. But when the key holding our
family together turned over, his black gold turned
your eyes green, and your back towards me.

Thousands of square feet in the north end
of town. A big yard, swimming pool, and
five bedrooms – a dream come true. A purchase
to the good life. But square footage and yard-of-
the-week can’t keep a family together.

Middle school was already hell, and you—
you made it worse. Words, the Internet, and
the two friends I had were your weapons in
blasting a hole inside of me. Noting to comfort
the hurt but half-assed prayers to Jesus and
little white pills.

Looking into the mirror, I see a heavy black
cloak of memories weighing on my shoulders.
I know the need of letting go, but I don’t want
to start the process. Anger intrudes into my
daily routine because I have yet to reconcile with
the past, and remove the weight.

The Shuttle - Cassandra Kaul

The Shuttle

The doors open and I step
up into the vessel
that will take me to my
next destination.
A journey.

The sun is a quiet
caress, gently guiding me
through the sea of blackness
as the glass amplifies the blinding truth
of distance.

Bodies glide across
the river styx as I stop
for a fraction and see
their bliss.
I rush on.

Game Day(s) - Kaela McWherter

Game Day(s)

Everyone wants and needs the chance
To act like a kid now and again;
Going back to the good old days
Of playing Monopoly and
Bending the rules, so you always win.
Enjoying the escape from reality
And entering the realm of fake money
Being handed to you and having the ability
To buy houses and hotels in a matter of seconds.

The crowd piles into the stadium and
Instantly the atmosphere heightens
As it gets so loud that you struggle to hear yourself breathe.
You lose yourself in the excitement of the game
As everything moves quickly
From one play to the next.
Then The Play happens as the crowd chants
Touchdown! And if possible
They erupt even louder as time
Expires and the elation of 50,000
is overwhelming.

As humans on this planet
We are expected to
Move from day to day
Like pawns accomplishing one goal and
Quickly moving to the next
In the never-ending task
Of successfully surviving
Life’s little game.

Dreams - Ruth Patrick


Play pretend, imagingin
futures unlivable,
dragons and magic
sisters friends and memories
reaching for the stars
time passes gradually
too much

Give me a voice;
I will be a rock star.
The world will take notice;
give me existence
or give me death.
Love is a bitter cliché.
Will I never win?

rises to meet me.
Vision and prophesy give way
to the chaos of my home of unrighteous
Let Zion rise.
Redeem me, let me
keep my peace.

Build me a castle of dreams.
Sometimes illusions are all we need
to fight the fears of born false hopes
and face the pain
of having been deceived.

I’ll wear a gauzy dress with veils and pearls;
a gypsy child posing as the queen.
You, the enchanter, shall play the king;
magically transforming into what I need.
Time is a temple of dreams.

You are me and I am you and we
create each other
Words are all I ever had and it was
and never enough
I will turn the tide
I will return
I will ride this wave crashing down on me
into my destiny of dreams.
For when I left I vowed I would return
but then I learned the place
only existed
in dream.
I will be there.


Gluttony from the Get-Go

Gluttony from the Get-Go

They brought us home after four weeks:
4 pounds, 4 ounces – a three-package deal.
The heart monitors screamed occasionally,
Panic to the untrained hear.
Gently shake us when we forget to breathe.
The warm bottle is too good to let go.

My favorite was root beer,
And my sister liked Sprite.
I’d get all excited so it swam down the front of my shirt
And pooled in my lap.
My dad handed me a paper towel and said,
“Kid, you’ve got a drinking problem.”

We started up at 17, 18, 20.
The law’s a loaded obstacle;
Slip beneath it like a hole in the fence.
When everyone’s doing it, you welcome the shots
Because we’re young and invincible
And we believe even real bullets
Are made of rubber.

In Anger - Peter Seiler

In Anger

There was a fly buzzing
Around my head.
I struck out so ferociously,
But missed.
How I wanted it dead.

Down, empty, the flask drained
Into her throat.
She didn’t want to hear anymore,
Or see.
He’d had sex with somebody else.

Sixth hour, chilly waking, the house
Was a wreck.
It was not to be cleaned,
By me,
Not this time.

Big Move - Peter Seiler

Big Move

Black coat asked the grocer
“may I have paper?”
“only plastic,” was replied
The main in the coat
Was new to the area.

Skinny dog slinked in the alley
Worried to be caught or seen
Bruised, he had run away
The back restaurant door opened
With meat scraps a man called.

Kindergarten student tugged mother’s skirt
“Mom, I want to go to the creek.”
His mother sighed and shook her head
“There is no creek here.” He did not understand anything
yet but the old home.

Young woman stared from a cubicle
The building loomed like despotism
“will you take that date tonight?”
Young man asked again
She looked at him, this move was hard.

Old lady was petting her cat
Watching people walk by
Her husband had made her live on a farm
She moved to the city when Jim passed
She thought she would love it.

Calm Before the Last - Jason Stricker

Calm Before the Last

Before any storm,
Strikes a calmness that causes anxiety.
Everyone who experiences it
Sits or stands impatiently for the arrival
of the first big blast or the sudden downpour
to follow.

This storm seems to be no different,
Except for the feeling. Everyone is awaiting the calm.
The quiet and gloominess are hints that this storm is vast.
After days of quiet gloominess are hints that this storm is vast.
After days of not being awaken by sun, but by fear,
The weather hasn’t changed. But there’s a storm coming soon,
In the distance.

The storm seems to be a no show. All of the sudden,
The loudest thunder cracks the sky in pieces. And clouds hang
So low, that the sky actually seems like it’s falling. Treacherous rain
Makes everyone sprint for higher ground. After experiencing those ten minutes
That feel like forever, another calm hangs for three seconds.
Then, right in the middle of Kansas,
Waves are coming from every direction,
Peaking at hundreds of feet,
Curl over like the perfect tube,
And race to destroy all that’s left
Of a country that stood higher
Than the rest of the world.

Watching a Man I Know Age - Robert Tippin

Watching a Man I Know Age

Picture the man, only black and white,
And gray
Picture his youth.
Feel how he smiles,
And carries his weight
With Grace.

See his face grow grim.
Watch his features harden.
Noting is as sleek.
Nothing’s as smooth.

Tell me what you see.
Tell me it’s not him.
Then again,
It is him
But it doesn’t seem like him
Tell me again
That it’s him
Because I can hardly believe.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Write a poem which satisfies the following criteria:

1. The poem must consist of three, four, or five short numbered sections.
2. No section should be rhymed.
3. The poem should have a title which:
- a. gives the reader at least some clue as to what the overall poem is about;
- b. like the title "Religion Back Home" and "Eclipse," the title should be both literal and figurative.
4. Each sections should be a complete little poem in its own right, very concrete and rich in imagery, and with its own sense of an ending.
5. Each section should, like all achieved poems, in a way that is both indirect yet vivid touch upon a different facet of the poem's overall theme.
6. All the sections of the poem, despite their differences, should contribute to whatever the point is which the overall poem is trying to suggest, but the poem should not read only like a list of examples because:
7. The whole--the sections taken all together--should be greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, the whole should be a kind of metaphor.
8. The point of the poem should be sufficiently subtle and complex to require the strategy outlined above.

The Last Smack - Hayley Darpel

The Last Smack

Shaky, pursed line of contempt
his stormy gaze scalds my insides
waves of skin flow from my brow
fearful, but persistent
anything to change his mind
I raise my chin and peer
through polished emeralds
dripping with empathy in
hopes to rouse his love
but his razor sharp palm
draws back like a bow
out puffs the welt speckled with the
same purple blood he shares

Never-Never Land - Kara Engelken

Never-Never Land

She wrote for no one would listen
Her words were never interrupted on paper
She could ignore the world holding a pen
Insanity seeded
Distancing reality with dreams
Living, breathing, believing imagination
Words were her weapon, her defense
Her life
Desperation aided the unhealthy attachment
As necessity drove her away
Fear of dependence upon her dream world
She grew up…
Like memories too old to remember
Only empty castles remain
Like the Rome Coliseum
Once alive now a skeleton

The child in her needed the world
The woman needed to be free

Seventeen - Cynthia Gomez


In that very moment
While it was still unknown
Not having the
To know
The foresight
To see my own
Frustrated me.
My body the same
But inside
A Life
A Life inside
And unknown to me
At seventeen.

On the Cover of Rolling Stone - Mackenzie Goodwin

On the Cover of Rolling Stone

In the dark
I wake to the electric orange of your cigarette hovering
An inch above my face
The purple black vineyard of alveoli in your lungs
Pressing cold, sore blood up underneath
The tattoos you etched on your own skin
After Desert Storm

Swollen singular lines no my fingertips
Speak a dozen words
As your twin daughters smile limpidly at me from their frame
You bare your wolf’s teeth, the worst I’ve seen this side of Appalachia –
And grin – a dull, disfigured warmth from the unclothed florescent lights
Vibrates, as wrinkles, like curtains on a Vaudeville stage draw open, obsolete –

In the distance, I perceive the snares of a bass drum insinuating unnaturally into the side of my neck…

Ignored Affection - Ben Hedges

Ignored Affection

You are here beside me.
I feel comforted by your presence,
But you do not see me standing there.

You speak to me.
I soak up your words taking in your past and future,
But you do not hear my voice swinging back.

You welcome me.
I enter your world, see your sights, make my time yours,
But you make me feel like a stranger in a crowded room.

You lie to me.
I’m told that my feelings should not be tarnished.
But you provoke the storm clouds over my head.

Through Death - Michael Hemmer

Through Death

The voice comes through the plastic, familiar
But unusual, almost like it is hiding something.
Then the cold wave comes crashing through me,
Replacing all the warmth from the world with cold shock.
Everything freezes.

A weight falls upon my shoulders,
I am paralyzed by its sudden burden. A presence enters
The room, one I have never known before. Death
Places his hand upon my shoulder in sympathy
And leaves.

The onslaught of clichés come forth in a feeble attempt
To give me comfort, yet somehow they help. I start
Comprising a list of all the now unimportant tasks I need
To accomplish before I hit the dusty trail through Nebraska.

Eyes reddened from the long drive winding through the fields.
The faces of relatives welcome me, though distorted by
Grief. The only real comfort I receive is from the faces of my brothers,
Both pillars of strength in which my burden is shared.
I glace past them to the empty chair he sat in every time
I visited, it was void. A new piece of reality set in
As another wave of cold shock passes through

I stand alone staring down into the wooden casket, his empty
Body sets before me. I hold back the tears as long as I can as
The Final Wave of the cold hits me, my body now numb to the shock.
My brothers join me and with a silent nod we all three agree.
This man, at 77, left a legacy that has only been partially written,
And it is up to us to pick up the pen.

The Final Moment - Mike Hodge

The Final Moment

Creating memories like scrapbooks
That has just completed its last page
Baccalaureates and several rehearsals that lasted for house
While anticipating for years
For that 10-second walk of success
This moment has finally arrived
Nervous as a bride would be on her wedding day
We Thank God that this day has come
We all hear the cheers from people and clicks
From cameras like guns shot with no bullets
As 912 proud students walk with the dignity like soldiers
Names being said in chronological order waiting to be seated like
Customers at a restaurant
Anxiety. Nervousness. Fulfillment. Sadness. And being impatient
Flows through your body
All at the same time thinking,
Where has time gone?

I'm Sorry, It's a Brain Disease - Cassandra Kaul

I’m Sorry, It’s a Brain Disease

The tests were done a week ago,
And these ten minutes have become
A lifetime.

Little stuffed wolves line the walls;
Precious, fuzzy, smiles forced
Onto beastly faces.

There are no smiles in this
Monochromatic hell-hole.
This is the doctor’s office.

As the doctor walks in
The beasts bleed back into the walls.
I don’t know what I want to hear.

Anything but this.

Why - Kaela McWherter


Into the lifeless hospital I crept
Wandering slowly as if in a somber trance.
What could I have said at a time like that
Because truly nothing would help and even
Heart-felt words would have felt like broken glass.
I walked in and saw my friends and parents of two, though
Soon to be one after
A mere twenty-two days
Sitting and staring off looking for
Hope or something to make it
Better. We sat there a long time
After a long while it was time to head home
Knowing I would keep this moment with me forever.

Prodgial Son - Ruth Patrick

Prodigal Son

His hair is looking better than the last time;
a random shaggy mane of white-boy dreads.
I reach out and he hugs me looking away and never---never
meets my gaze.

We speak in half-formed riddles. Still
the same old game, a battle
neither one of us could win.

“I’m making glass again”
(Pipes and hippy-charms with shrooms and leaves)
I do not state my religion. He does not hide his choice.

I sincerely praise the beads. We barter.
“5 dollars is a tank of gas” he tells me
standing by his Prius.

I Call Her "Harriet" - Alyssa Reeves

I Call Her “Harriet”

Morning pierces the sky with such fervor
that I am roused from my sleep
in a panic; like a 2 a.m. phone call
urgency pushes at the blinds.
Will today be different?
The world awaits.
Pull them up to reveal a dark reality:
Death hangs outside my window,
a dumb silhouette before the blinding light.
Small silk coffins shudder
like nervous hammocks.
Connect the dots.
An eight-legged ambition carried out flawlessly.
Premeditated murder.

One High E of Two - Peter Seiler

One High E of Two

Ping! The mandolin string breaks.
The bobcat opens his eyes.
Looking down from his perch
At two decisively alone people.

What should bring this?
Cuckoo clock ticking, the ball rolling.
The pixie bob leaping and crushing
The paper ball.

No one had touched the mandolin. . .
A bottle of wine much lowered
Breathed very little.
And so was she gone.

Encore - Jason Stricker


Lights, after being dimmed for eternal seconds,
Disguise my shadow in the darkness,
Hindering my appearance while on stage
For the conclusion of my first performance
In an arena.

All of the “It will never happen(s)” and the “You’ll never make it(s)”
I have heard, even sometimes from my own mouth,
Represent all the fans on the sold-out floor,
Deeming my own platinum success and golden effort.

After taking a brief moment to soak in the feelings of joy and accomplishment
The crowd’s screams escalate,
Demanding to perform my Grammy-winning piece,
“The Cigarette Lighter’s Anthem.”
Still on stage, lighters pop up one by one,
From front to back. And soon,
This enormous coliseum is lit
By Bics of every color.

And my shadow, as well as my face,
Re-reveals itself
Stepping out of darkness
During this time of pure ecstasy,
If such a feeling exists.
I look to my drummer,
Far behind my place onstage,
Snap my fingers seven times,
And wait for his stick
To whistle through the air,
Unleashing freedom and passion
Onto the faces of three drums,
And three thousand people.

Laser Eye Surgery - Robert Tippin

Laser Eye Surgery

Light bursts, blinding my eyes,
As calming clatter
Fills the operating room

“It will all be over soon”
Are her words – somehow – wildly untrue
To my sightless, aching eyes.
But I want to see . . .

The splendid crackling orange of fall
And deep, brown soil
Cradling greens,

A slice cuts the surface.
The hands withdraw.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day Jitters - Kaela McWherter

First Day Jitters

Try to get to bed early, and when you
Cannot bring yourself to sleep
Rest in bed staring at the ceiling tiles
Wondering if your new roommate
Is feeling the same nerves which of course is true.
You have a random conversation until
Finally sleep overcomes you
And before you know it the most terrifying thing happens:
The Alarm goes off! Frantic and exhausted
You pull yourself out of bed;
Wondering why did summer have to end?
You see the herd of sluggish moving students
Pile into the various rooms trying
To fight off butterflies about what the teacher
Is like and why they foolishly signed up for a morning class
When they could still be in their warm bed dreaming
About the end of dreaded finals week.
As you begin to wake up the sense
Of oh what have I gotten myself into sets in and
You wander around campus like a fawn
Learning to use its wobbly legs.
The day crawls on as you manage your way
From one class to the next and then
Your last class ends! Freedom, or so
You would think as you soon remember:
I have homework and more classes tomorrow.
The non-class aspects of college get you through
The rest of the day as time sprints forward
When one is trying to avoid homework and the realities
Of college life. But it is all fine because at least you
Survived one day.

Images and Indirection

Write a poem which satisfies all of the following criteria:

1. The poem must be no more than fourteen lines.
2. The poem should be like a scene from a play.
3. This scene should present realistically, with great concrete detail, a true incident from you life -- either the first time or the last time you did something or found yourself in a dramatic situation which permanently changed you. (The best type of subject matter would be an "initiation" experience, for example the death of a relative, your first kiss, playing hardball for the first time, etc.)
4. The poem should be in the first person singular, like Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy: i.e., it should read as if you were reexperiencing the incident, aware that your remembering were being overheard. Even though it is premeditated and carefully edited, it should appear spontaneous.
5. For this reason, it should be in free verse, not end-rhymed.
6. The poem must consist of a few images which create an emotionally suggestive atmosphere, that imply emotion in the narrator (the persona) but
7. The poem must not use abstract words that name feelings. For example, do not use words such as "happy," "sad," "angry," etc. Do not describe emotions in terms of your body (e.g., "my heart is racing," "my palms are sweating," "my stomach is growling," etc.

Miracle Behind the Curtain - Hayley Darpel

Miracle Behind the Curtain

She lay there like the Christmas turkey:
exposed, ready and eager to be helped.
With no inclination of the
beast to flee her bulging belly,
she waited for the ready signal.
Bligs of green beeped “Go!” and now
her heels molded into the stir-ups.
This was the maternal moment these
four females came to witness.
Sisters became eager cheerleaders
and I became a mid-wife, the hand to be squeezed.
I told her with a grin, “He looks
beautiful!” when all I could see was
a sap-covered head with a couple hair on it.
And then the beep retreated.
She flopped back like a whale after it breeches
and we drove on with feedback and laughs.
The seconds weren’t so persistent when she felt
like the reason she came was about to be
revealed from behind a big velvet curtain.
It seemed this day was the reason I had my hands
and she took full advantage of them
when the next blip reared its ugly head.
The seam broke and the crimson drops began
to flow. At that instant, I was grateful she
chose the epidural. The words “umbilical cord”
broke my daze as I saw the baby’s blue face.
A snip, a tie and a cry later, the doctor held
him up so she could behold his glorious features.
Too thrilled to wait for more beeps,
she grasped the love of her life in her arms
finishing the process of childbirth.
Sniffles and tears filled the room as the boy
was named Hayden.
A gargantuan meaty creature was birthed
shortly after and talk of calcifications baffled me.
When the time came to show her new joy
to her father, she did it like a magic trick:
pulled back the less-than-velvet curtain
and happily showed off the boy she popped out.

Un-love me - Kara Engelken

Un-love me

Break my heart like a metal pipe through my chest
Make my face the craters on the sides of cliffs
Use me like my body was your punching bag
Break my arm like a pruner does the new branches
Throw me away like I was a nursery doll on clean-up day
Love me like I were air in your lungs
Don’t hate me like a mad man hates sanity
Don’t curse me like a criminal does his wound
Now un-love me the way you unwind your shoes

Relax - Cynthia Gomez


I feel it as I park
My car in the garage.
My aching feet walk
Towards the door as
They slip off the shoe
Restricting its partner.
Already the sensation
Puts me at ease
Urging me to undress.
Abruptly I take off the articles
Drenched with the day’s
Grime and guilt.
I turn the knob to unleash
The things my body needs
To recover.
Eager to exhale, I jump
In and begin to feel the heat
Burning the stress off my body. Killing
The memories of today.
Not thinking of anything, but
Closely monitoring my problems
As they go down the drain.

After a month alone and forgotten - Mackenzie Goodwin

After a month alone and forgotten

It fell
All fuzz
And liquid acid rancid
to your outstretched feet
This verdant microcosm reminiscent of the
Primordial soup
From whence you came (yourself)
Flowering cold
and tenacious as that same Sunday morning
from its reluctantly vapid vessel
with white audacious blooms
an Exodus; an onslaught,
as though fleeing the putrid obscurity
of some despotic
coffee-cup regime.
You stand,
So strong
It paralyzes.
As the stain seeps disquiet –
A miniature sea of unwated life—floating
mucus-like upon the memory;
An artifact from under your desk
A ring of promise, you laugh
It leaves in memoriam;
A black lesion
on virtuous cream carpet,
A slime half-corpse betraying
a façade of ceramic
Valentine hearts,
An experiment undone,
A culture uncultured.

A Hurting Hand - Ben Hedges

A Hurting Hand

Staring at one another
That’s all it comes down to in the end
A field of green separating two bulls
one going home rich, the other poor.
Towers holding the weight of multicolored plastic
They may not be worth thousands
But they’re the ticket to thousands.
You lift your cards, he does the same
The plastic whispers its secrets.
He strikes, the field is littered.
You glace at the mess,
A junkyard of treasure.
You look at him, his darkened specs are a shield
So you look elsewhere to hear the words that his lips won’t speak.
He is motionless
A self-portrait of himself he leaves behind in his stead.
You grip plastic, more than he has offered
Adding to the chaos in the center.
You are both digging graces
But you have to risk digging deeper
If you want to reach the surface.
The corner of his lip rises, the portrait smiles
The hammer on the pistol ready to fire.
One hand grabs currency, the other cards.
Segregated royalty is revealed
A 10 and the only four letters of the alphabet you care about stare at you.
The bullet penetrates, your towers crumble, and yet
The slate in the middle is swiped clean.
Time to make another mess.

Service - Michael Hemmer


Pull the vehicle over the pit with the
Tires screeching against the concrete. Let the engine run
A moment too long to heat the oil up.
Exit the vehicle and go below,
Where the soul of the machine sets with
Moist heat filling the dark empty pit.

Glance at the plug and quickly calculate
Its size from a distance and grab
A hand full of wrenches, still greasy
From the last five vehicles
Loosen the drain plug and listen as the
Hot, blackened fluid rains into the
Vacant oil pan

Once all the life-blood from the vehicle has
Dripped away, find yourself the filter and
Remove it, feeling the still warm oil trapped within.
More of the blackened filth comes forth,
but this time do not let it all slip away
Collect a droplet on your fingertip, the warmth
Seeping into the grooves of your fingerprint.

Twist the new filter into the old slot and
Leave the now uncomfortably warm underbelly
Of the vehicle and pop the hood. The guts
Of the vehicle sit vulnerably before you,
But all you want is the yellow ring.

Replace the old blackened oil with the vibrant, golden
Fluid that flows over the rugged pistons. Pull the
Ring and feel it wither as if it was alive as it
Glides up the tube. Make sure the oil set perfectly
Between the utmost and minimum mark, and
Let the vehicle pump its new blood through its
Metal veins.

Sensational Woman - Mike Hodge

Sensational Woman

I can remember it like it was yesterday
The way she used to stroke my face
Gently feeling my defining feature
Like a blind man would with Braille
Asking God, “Why take her life at this time?”
Feeling like a father who has lost his only daughter
Staring into her perfectly shaped eyes
Reminds me of pearls on a tropical sandy beach
Realizing her last hours as she lays in bed
As cancer controls her body as a jockey would his horse
Holding back sympathy and the tears as they begin
I knew she would be pain-free as I start to mourn
Because where she is headed no pain is necessary
No hurt, harm or danger
A smile that lights up venues
And a heart that made anyone feel loved
An angel which is pure like a stream in mountains
Who is now sitting high and looking low
On every obstacle I attempt to jump
And every trial that I defeat
Mother, thank you on making me the person I have become

5, 6, 7, 8...

5, 6, 7, 8…

Walking into the dance studio and seeing
the walls of mirrors and barres lined up against it
like tall pines reflecting on a lake
bring excitement to any dancer’s heart.
Anticipation of class is accompanied by
music as you put on your worn-out dance shoes.
Stepping onto the floor and looking at yourself
in the mirror you remember what brings
you back to class every week despite
sweat, blood, blisters, and sore muscles.
The music makes you feel alive and
because you can’t sing or play piano,
this is how you express yourself—
through movement that is born from
the music pulsing inside of you.
You dance without thinking—
the best way to dance.
As you begin stretching, warming up, and
fine-tuning your technique, the hurt-so-good
pain deep in your muscles is a reminder of the
work you have put into this.
Pointing, leaping, turning, stretching,
falling, hurting, pushing, succeeding,
always trying to make your actions speak
louder than any words ever could.
Dancing through the routine over and over,
nearly ten times, you are tired and sore, but
you understand this is how good dancers are
made: through determination and you want
to look perfect on stage.
Feeling grace flow from your steps and
knowing this is where you are supposed to be
makes dancing worth all the time and pain.

The Knitting - Cassandra Kaul

The Knitting

Tying the knot is the vital part.
Double it to be sure.

Not too tight,
or it won’t slide
on the needle for you to stitch

The itchy cotton blend scratches
your fingers as you begin
the knitting.

Casting on,
counting as you go
not too little,
not too much.
Knit 1, Pearl 2.

Knit 1, Pearl 2 become
the routine.
Knit 1, Pearl 2. Turn.
Knit monotonous, Pearl easy.

Your life for a moment becomes a series
of Knit 1 monotonous, Pearl 2 easy.

Knit 1 monotonous, keep going. Pearl 2 easy, never stop monotonous easy knitting. Stop.
Is it too
Has it become a long, drawn out scrap, a remnant of what it should have been?

You begin the end
and stitch back in, and tie off.
Not too tight
or it will be misshapen.

Cutting the thread is
a release.

Knit 1, Pearl 2 become
a jumbled mess of loops.
The look messy, completely

You put it around your neck and,
jumbled, itchy, cotton blended loops are more.

They’re warm.

Road trip to the Pow Wow 2008 - Ruth Patrick

Road trip to the Pow Wow 2008

Sleepin’ late
loungin’ on Labor Day, then
head east through early-fall
mid-morning construction
paper hills pasted
to the sky.
Feel the dust-hazed breeze sucking
their depth dry and
flat like a child’s collage.
Yellow brick road rolled out like
masking tape through green slopes scattered
with rich golden hay-rolls
to tempt Rumplestiltskin to
work overtime on the holiday.

Paint my van full of family in the foreground.
Racing trains, cows
like sheet metal cowboy cutouts
waving on hilltops.
Wild sunflowers sprinkle the roadside.
Sparkle-bright farm ponds,
Silos and windmills,
Graveyards and cornfields;
kids see
nothing but Game Boy screens.

Topeka, no Emerald City this
one big bad neighborhood
hidden in tress
sprawling ‘round
one green dome-riding
shoot for the stars
follow his feathered shaft
in spirit
not direction
ride in
his shadow remembering
years we rode this trail;
other lifetimes
other selves who once live here.

Take California
--Avenue, not
the state of my birth or youth--
past golden arches, Burger King,
Taco Tico turned to a hair salon
painted pink,
to Twenty-Ninth Street
--Game Boys beeping in the back seat--

Dillons’ ATM turns
card to cash, Rumplestiltskin
would be green with envy.
Big wad of green in your back pocket feeling
like a high roller.
Roll on back to the road
as birds flock around a
camo-tan water tower
towering in the postcard sky
with cliché cotton clouds.

Just as
Cliché Game-Boy-playing echoes
of our own youth argue
and wonder in the back seat
“are we there yet?”
Watertower Mothership
rises through the mist
like a six-legged octopus on tiptoes
white as Mother Mary
standing to bless the entrance
of festival grounds.

My Name is Noel - Alyssa Reeves

My Name is Noel

Just past mid-December
when a nightfall of snow gives way
to a dim morning of dull diamonds
covering the ground, the trees,
the roofs, the cars, the roads,
the stillness of the campus rouses
invisible, child-like magic
in the hearts of 20-somethings.
Waddle outdoors in seven layers.
Sharp winds cut beneath your nose
and across your exposed cheeks.
Spend the next several hours trudging
around ankle-deep in
fresh, flawless precipitation.
Step onto the untouched plots
of powdered grass.
Welcome to a sacred acreage.
Snow surrenders beneath wet sneakers
and echoes between Hale and Waters Hall.
For hours, admire quiet flakes drifting down,
silhouetted by street lights.
Daylight fades into the ground.
Make your way inside where
a wet trail of footsteps
follows you to the bathroom.
Peel off your damp outer shell.
Cheeks are read and burning
and fingers tingle, as if being licked
by a cold flame.
Shuffle to the kitchen in an undershirt
and shorts and socks.
Sip hot chocolate and reclaim
your chilled appendages.
Consistency is comforting.
Every winter the world is spectacularly silenced.
Rough edges of buildings are softened.
The absence of sound is beautiful.
At night, the stars
are magnified
against the blackest firmament.

How to Survive the Fifth Grade in Large Glass - Emily Ross

How to Survive the Fifth Grade in Large Glasses

If you look down, your summer Keds seem absurdly distant.
A week ago, you may have leapt around,
near-sighted and content on the sweating grass,
but just scuffing now over school carpets is precarious enough
with your new glasses in this new place.
Try not to look down.
Instead, examine the tight row of desks and girls in front of you.
Even the backs of these elaborate school-day hairdos are
gelled smooth and taut
and though you may suddenly feel that you have misspent your summer,
notice too, please,
how their heads must ache.

Prerequisties - Peter Seiler


The fluorescent lights were flickering
dim when about 60 of us yawning
vivaciously peer up to listen to an older man peering
back with beady and detail-hungry eyes.
We were about to begin covering in lecture what had been covered
so many time before and I was quietly pouring
for myself a half warm
cup of coffee from my dented thermos.
It was near 8:00 in the morning
and all the walls up down and around
seemed white washed almost discouraging
distractions with a cold but fatherly sort of discipline.
The man in the front of the room continues to flail
his arms attempting to reach to the class of disinterested
and unenthused students, I took another sip of coffee
and feeling more awake yet increasingly bored. . .
I have heard this lecture a thousand time before;
I can only crack a disdaining smile
in a heartfelt attempt to be listening
like a tired cat acknowledging his owner as he is being disturbed.
When we finally are dismissed
the notebooks and pencils and book bag zippers sigh
in relief as my comrades and I flee
before any more information need be entrusted to our persons.

I Got Ms. Crocker Beat - Jason Stricker

I Got Ms. Crocker Beat.

You need a heart, a heart with feeling.
And keep it open to help with the healing.
You’ll soon find out we can show emotion.
It’s the weaker of us that tend to hold it in.
And then you have to have a way with words.
How else could you tell someone what they’re worth?
Let your feelings know that these weapons could hurt.
After we’ve cooked the raw feelings, the pot must be stirred.

Comes the pain, the pain of truth.
How you handle it is up to you.
You’ll soon find out that it hurts like an oven burn.
Tough to swallow, another lesson learned.
Next you need one of your lonely head rhythms.
How else would you move if the music stopped spinnin’?
Let your rhythm in words combine to make some music.
To make your song, take your words and rhythms, fuse it.

At last,
You need an inspiration beautiful.
It’s your song alone, you can choose to be spiritual.
Set your oven for five hundred degrees,
And it’s your best work if it doesn’t freeze.

Making the Cough Better - Robert Tippin

Making the Cough Better

Just step up to the cabinet
Even though it is hard
For you
Right now.
Look past the pain killers—
Heaven knows you could use them
For your aching skin
And pounding head—
But no!
Your cough-ripped lungs
Like tattered soldiers call you on
To find that vial of stuff
Which, when drunk, would seem to kill
With the taste.
But, think, to the dying the bitter tastes sweet
But you are not dying!
You just have a cough,
SO carry on in your quest.
Aspirin, no! Benadryl, no!
And then you see it, glowing red
Like the life-flowing blood inside you.
Drink (it scrapes you as it slides down)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Poem of Instruction

Write a poem which satisfies all of the following criteria:

1. The poem reads like a set of instructions
2. The poem describes an activity which you know well, something more people are familiar with, but:
3. Instead of giving the reader literal instructions, you are trying to capture in words the feel of the activity by:
3a. hitting the reader with surprising metaphors and similes
3b. selecting a few details which comprise the essence of the hidden lore of the
activity (For example, if you were writing about how to get through a boring
class you might recall things like deliberately making one leg go to sleep or
crossing your eyes; if you were describing a snowball fight you might talk about
the moment when a harmless snowball begins to become an "iceball.").
4. The poem must not be end-rhymed.
5. The poem must be titled.