May Poetry Slam

favorites, messy thoughts

Shapeshifting clouds, bluer skies and pinker peonies, grass-stained totes. Jeans lose their legs, summer lurks on the horizon, and a newfound zest lives within you—a zest embodying a desire to create and express. With a pen in hand, to your notebook you go. Your hand dances across the page and heartfelt emotion bleeds.

A few days later, you see an ad for an open mic poetry slam encouraging anyone and everyone to share their work…something called “The Messy Poetry Slam.” And it’s tonight.

It’s now 8pm, and you’ve found yourself in an unfamiliar room amongst unfamiliar people—your breath unsteady and a weathered piece of paper in hand. Next thing, you’re on stage behind a mic and before a crowd.  “Hi, my name is…”

Welcome to the Messy Poetry Slam.

A sonnet:

By Rachel Strachan


a love over many moons

To compare you to the moth and the flame
Is a great injustice for thee, as the moth
Only yearns for the hollow light of the tame
Whose mocking glow leads to fatal betroth.

Balanced on the Deity’s mastering palm,
Your full-bodied figure, possessed by light
Captures my heart’s stray love and provides balm.
One cannot escape your aura of night.

But the treachery of thine radiance
Leads me to mistrust your eternal glow.
Your lunar dissipating coherence
Disrupts my faith in you causing such woe.

Your potent opulence revives the weak.
In the setting sun, it’s your face I seek.

“Fringe of morning”

By Iluka Enright


We walked through the Japanese night

cheeks flushed

eyes bright

coats glistening

drops of rain

stars in our eyes

foreign porn magazines

and beer

we sat

knees touching

country music filling the small space

content concentration

bangs too long softly against the ground

beneath scissors not meant for hair

the fingers holding them not meant for hair either

“we’ll just see how it looks in the morning”


Steffi Che


How do you see me

through a glass of water-
obtuse pupils in artificial dilation,

fishbowl head and
jam jar heart,

with doorknob lips
You were so diluted-
but anytime now,

you will refract
the freckles of
And my paper face,
which remembers yours
too clearly,

will irrevocably
catch on fire-


by Emma Fretts


your eyes like beams searing through me
my cheeks now flushed, my body is heat
my heart, i can feel it melting, dripping
erupting with every atom of impulse in me
like a rippling waterfall flooding the floor,
i’ll leave it for a moment, if you want it, it’s yours
infatuation’s never seized me so strongly before;
electrified, my body knows not what to do but
if my soul could detach, it would softly kiss you
surround & caress you like a breeze from the sky
in strokes and swirls of every emotion of mine
like a watercolor painting, our auras collide
blending passion, connection, sensations of all kinds
once more i’ve been raptured into this daydream
you and i, cosmic souls drifting, no gravity
this euphoric realm, one i don’t want to leave
so i wake, catch my breath, gaze at you and repeat


By Bronwen Armstrong


The drought’s over.


Like the ancient voice inside of you wants to celebrate reflection again

You can fill up your swimming pool now;

Pour bottled water over your face with reckless abandon

Recline into the warm foothills that you call your home

The golden light will welcome you, but harsh sunlight will remind you that nothing good comes in abundance.


By Christine Mañanita


I was in seventh heaven.

The night sky had embraced the full moon,
The crickets chirped and the trees swayed to the gust of wind that passed us by.
You, sweetly smiling, talked to me with your captivating voice.
You held my hands in yours
And looked at me with your dark brown eyes
As we strolled along the park on that warm, summer night.
That is how I remember you.
You and me.

My alarm clock suddenly goes off
And I on my soft, white duvet awake
To a heavy heart and
Blurred images slipping out of my head.
I look out my window
Seeing the sun still hiding in the darkness of the dawn.

This scene looks familiar,
I murmur to myself.
As hard as I could,
I try to remember.
The night sky, hands intertwined, a lamp post, green grass, a boy.
All of these come to my mind.
Unamused, opaque.
And this is how I forget you.
You and me.

“Somebody’s Brother”

By Jenn Roberts


The boy sitting quietly in the back of the class,
The man with his ears covered tight during mass,
The child with his mind and his mouth out of sync,
They are not related, but are more alike than you think.

Like hair color, eye shape, or the size of your shoes,
There are things that you don’t get the power to choose.
“Why are you like that?” Is something that you’d never dare say,
For their response would be they were created that way.

But the mind’s different it seems; people think it’s all alright,
To make light and make fun of someone’s internal fight,
When the reality is that the mind’s not a game.
Health of heart and of mind are exactly the same.

It is nobody’s choice and it’s nobody’s fault,
So it’s time for our world to take a moment and halt and think,
“Why say that cruel word? Why not love one another?”
Because that’s somebody’s son, and that’s somebody’s brother.

* * *

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