July Poetry Slam

favorites, messy thoughts


Upon a red checkered blanket you lay, one headphone awkwardly lodged in your ear and the other being fidgeted with between your fingers. You power down your phone and turn off your tunes, now fully taking in the songful chirping and (finally) pollen-free air around you. Alas, you can breathe.

And breathe, you do. Falling into a peaceful meditation, your mind swirls with gratefulness for the arrival of summer—its breeze and ease. You’re pulled away from your trance by a sudden swarm of nearby voices. You open your eyes and see a crowd of people standing in a circle, one individual in the middle with a paper in hand. She stands bravely and boldly, speaking it seems.

You walk over hesitantly, deciding to see what this is all about. Standing away from the crowd a bit, you’re waved over by a stranger with warm eyes. “Come join, it’s an impromptu poetry slam in the park.” With that, you smile.

Welcome to the Messy Poetry Slam.

“Jay-Z Told You”

By Breanna Pierluissi


that ladies is pimps, too, so you could brush

the names he called you off your shoulder

along with the dirt his fingers dragged

across the seams of your t-shirt. Sexy,

he whispered. His lips pushed the word, coated

in liquor, through the skin around your spine.

Bitch, he said when you slid his alien

hand away from your neck and watched it drop

by the pleats of his slacks. You couldn’t brush

the stain of his smile away from your collar

bone, that shook to the beats of the best

rapper alive, because that grin outlined

what rap taught him. That when he doesn’t

know your name, bitch will do. That he shouldn’t

learn your name, bitch will do. That when he’s ready

to leave the party, any bitch will do.


By Lauren Bailey


To many

The idea of stepping into the unknown

Is familiar,

But phony.

A false reminiscence,

A nostalgia,

An experience they never lived.

One may liken it to an evolutionary hiccup.

A fleeting glimpse,

A memory they long since bid goodbye.

But it’s still there –




Waiting, waiting, waiting

And if there’s one thing you must remember:

Not everyone forgot.

“Cue Card”

By Siúbhan O’Donnell



To think

in Boxes- to

believe Everything

could be

Defined, Compressed, Stamped


Cue cards.

Intelligence- based

on a Number

along with my


to be Anything I wanted

to be

required a Grade: “follow this road, the map we provide.”

a heart Taught

to Memorise

not to


Feet instructed

to Follow

not to beat

their own


soul to march

Never to


And the goal:

to be



by Spurthi Kontham


Everything about you is soft.

Like sunlight tiptoeing its way

Quietly across my face

As I lay gently awake on a Sunday morning

Floating under a white duvet and clean sheets

I feel you as a breeze blowing

Delicately; Like a dandelion

Like the honeysuckle I sipped my childhood from

Your mind is supple marble

I brush my fingers over you, searching

Curiously discerning, discerning;

You are so lovely.

I would sell my years for a penny

For this moment–anticipation as you draw near.

This space between you and I

I tremble within it

“The Journey”

By Yuk-Ting Hua 



first i heard the wind’s solemn whispers

whining gossips of a faraway land

it gently pricked my ears, with grace and fears—

the beauty of a single teardrop

with my shining eyes i saw the gleaming skies

i was oblivious.

they were doctrines of that faraway land


treachery and tragedy intertwined;

romeo and juliet—

dead but never more alive


with beaming light, my glasses glowed

i hummed:

“love something and it would love you back”

my mantra, my lyric; my voice, my soul

gloomy clouds and brackish waves

blurring on— summer haze, still

i wore my shiny shoes; glossy and polished,

disco hits, appregios skips—up down up

and treaded on


strike of lightning!

and my heart burst, and it


and then away, the clouds left

it was the wind’s tenderness that kept me alive

and now thinking about it i’d rather die

“To the Fathers who have Daughters”

By Hayli Barnthouse


You try

You give up

You try

And I see you

But you can’t seem to wrap your head around a

young woman’s mind

What does she need?

How do I relate?

Should I be stern?

Do I comment on her weight?

How do I Father without her growing hate?

Well, I have some tips

coming from a young woman, who had TWO fathers

who both made some slips


Acknowledge her


Encourage her


Challenge her


Be vulnerable with her


Tell her you love her


Tell her you love her


Tell her you love her

Because when her friends talk about their daddy issues,

the only issue she should have, is that your dad jokes are really bad.


By Ashley Cortez


In the midst of everything I paused

Absorbing the satin touch of your flesh

An aura seemed to gleam around the surface of your body

Creating an atmosphere of pure elation

Being embraced in your arms

Was it karma or luck?

I found out once I was too moonstruck to talk

“The First Breath of Morning”

By Anna Karian


I feel like a balloon

On its final exhale

It was not popped

But untied with gentle motherly hands

The child is waiting

My body is like its ends

Ridged stiff and painted with old saliva

The air has been released

And yet the breath remains


By Crystal Holly


give me back the days

when you’d press me like a flower

against the wall

and whisper little nothings

so Cinnabon sweet

they’d swirl around

my head all day.

when we’d walk

spring streets coated

in magnolia leaves

you, mr. chivalry

curbside, protecting

every milky bone in

my body.

i crave

one more afternoon

tangled in sheets

with you,

fingers tracing

places i want

discovered by you


another beeswax flavored

kiss, to get me through

the solstice

not yet gone,

already missing you.

* * *

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  1. Definitely my favourite one so far. Epecially loved ‘Cue Card’ – so true and beautifully written

  2. Anonymous says

    “Jay Z Told You” is so damn great. Good work Breanna¡

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