Award Winners Poetry

Ars Poetica

I have often wondered whether there is any beauty to be found

in the midst of feelings such as these:

Regret,

Resentment,

Heartbreak,

Loss,

Distrust,

Melancholy,

Utter despair.

I wonder whether they deserve recognition within poetry,

such a sacred and comforting place.

But then I think if these feelings deserve

a spotlight anywhere, surely

it is in the lines of a poem where

one might read of them and find they are not alone.

I wonder whether what I feel and therefore

what I write is not for this space.

It feels as though I have ventured into the land of taboos

speaking of my brown skin.

And how I burnt my hair trying to make it soft

and fine and shiny, silky smooth.

How I wanted to be without any curves at all,

just like the tall, ruby lipped, willowy girls

I called friends in school.

How I wanted to be pale and be described in pretty ways

such as fair and porcelain.

I have often wondered whether my story of life

deserves space in a place like this- in poetry.

Can I write of being eight and the date of my birthday

already being insignificant because what mattered more was whether

or not I would have food the next day?

Can I write of how my hair was matted with knots and my

clothes never fit me because they were someone else’s first?

Can I write of being eight and already knowing what it is to

be weary of soul and constantly dreaming of better days?

Can I write of these brutal, ugly, horrific things?

I think, as I needed

Maya Angelou

and Toni Morrison

and Audre Lorde

and Gwendolyn Brooks

and of course Phillis Wheatley-

perhaps others need me too?