Contests Poems

Poetry Contest Winners!

City High’s 2012 poetry contest has drawn to a close, and it was a remarkably strong year. Without further ado:

Congratulations to Annika Bergstrom, who was awarded first place in the contest for her spare poems “Milo” and “Jail Ditty.”

Erin Danielson is our second place winner, for her imaginative pieces “One Night” and “Silent.”

Third place is shared this year by Silas Berkson and Blake Cunningham for their poems “Untitled” and “Art of Fire,” respectively.

Finally, honorable mentions go out to Emily Braverman for her sonnet “I Know Bob” and to Daniel Stone for his poem “Hell.”

~ Read all the poems after the jump ~

“Jail Ditty” by Annika Bergstrom

Sometimes questions
are darker
than the answers.

Time brews,
roiling in a broth
of herbs and spices.

In the hours forthcoming,
how do you choose which lives to take?
How do you choose which trees to decorate
with early-in-the-season blossoms?

I watch you,
as you formulate
when next to strike.

“Milo” by Annika Bergstrom


fish out of water
but the water was black and riddled
strap molasses

and you’re my vial
my wizard sleep

your golden strand
catches the dreamer,
not the dream

i think what i’ve thought is nothing
compared to the nothingness here


someone was a seashell
without any velvet

my body into bits of his

(while you weep
i watch)
the water was riddled and black

there is a solidarity
in meadows failing

“One Night” by Erin Danielson

Open door to start car
keys, jangle, drop on gravel
a sea of rocks
my keys the needle in a haystack

On my knees
the moon like a strobe light
my hand stumbles across metal
I grope in the darkness

In the car I am
laughter ringing in my ears
my heart thumping in my throat
I blink, car starts

Reverse the car, I’m sweating now
Each car I pass
a star in the galaxy
I’m flying, surfing on shaky waters

A turn arrives
I watch it approach
My foot no longer connected
to my body

Smash a flashing light
Glass shatters around me
I’m flying through the air
My mind forever trapped

I am no longer
Another lost face
One night
One life

“Silent” by Erin Danielson

Her bangs slash across her face
The angle hiding her raccoon eyes
A mouth small and timid stands
alone on a pale face

Shadows fill a corner
There she sits, safe at home.
Unseen by the harsh eyes
a mystery

but inside a hunger grows

birds and people are sketched
on notebooks and walls
no detail is missed
years of watching, her proof

talent, just like her scars
yearning for a silent glance
but too afraid to share her world.

“Untitled” by Silas Berkson

There is a seed that plants in your brain,
capable of turning happiness and joy into pain,
It will grow gloom and darkness that fill your mind,
soon little enjoyments seem so hard to find.
And when you indulge in this saddening crop, you’ll feel life has no meaning and you just want to stop.
Stop caring, stop living, stop dreaming at all; you know you must make a choice but you choose to stall,
hoping that something will save you before,
you stand that stool up on the living room floor.
But there will be no sign for a reason to be, and you will accept this dark reality.
You know your chances of being happy are so very thin.
the noose tightens
and for someone else,
the seed cycle begins…

“Art of Fire” by Blake Cunningham

Whether big, whether small
Whether tamed, whether monster
Whether damned, whether adored
Fire is always attracting

Whether solid, whether liquid
In the summer, in the winter
Whether friend, whether foe
Fire always born to burn

Match sparks, gas bursts
Hot springs vacation, sun bath holiday
Inside earth, the shear of space
Fire never truly dies

The light, the smoke
Training patience, teaching alertness
You must learn or left in ash
Fire is master of survival

The spirit, the god
Breath and move, eat and grow
The desire, the anger
Fire is an enigmatic thing

“I Know Bob” by Emily Braverman

I Know Bob, the worn cap that crowned his head,
The jean jacket, decorated with soil.
I know Bob, he lives in every flower bed
A man who never slept, only ever toiled.
I know Bob, the haven he created,
The flourishing patches filled with life
I know Bob, his wisdom underrated
Always teaching lessons, never in strife.
A warm spring day shoves sprouts up to meet us,
Along with a blossoming memory,
Growing quickly, creating a vast surplus.
Each person Bob met all share a story.
I know Bob, though he is no longer here,
Through times and produce, I know he is near.

Robert (Bob) Braverman owned and operated Friendly Farms, an organic farm situated on
the south side of Iowa City. Along with his partner Sarah and his son David, Bob grew herbs,
vegetables, and flowers that he sold at the New Pioneer Co-op, famers’ markets and other
venues. Bob was famous for his farming techniques, his intimacy with the needs of soil and
plants, his generosity as a mentor and host, and his sometimes irascible nature. Bob died
suddenly in 2011, depriving the Iowa City organic farming and foods community of an integral
provider. Bob Braverman was the brother of City High teacher Tom Braverman and the uncle of
sophomore Emily Braverman.

“Hell” by Daniel Stone

I’ve been to hell more times than I can remember. As for you you’re living life
being free not giving a damn about me. I say hey you say go away and back to
hell I go. I was a host now I am a ghost living my life in hell. You might say it is
depression but I’ve got a confession I’m nothing without you. If I have to go back
through that door that would be 4*5+7*11 which is 97 times in being in hell. It’s
my time to out of this world but I’d like to say good-bye one last time.

We’d like to thank everyone who sent in their verse. See you next year! Or next post…

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