I leapt*

October 14, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Jacob Murphy, grade 12

Against all odds, I’m here, leapt from
Incoherent haphazardness and desolate parenthood.
Pardoned from hell, set out to breath clean air.
I leapt. Free from motel hopping
With empty bags derived
from Walgreen shopping.
Free from pitching a tent
Momma pressured from rent
And yet I still leapt from my last cent
To bring you flowers
I leapt. From the path forged from fire and wrath,
and one hell of a left hook
To light, love and one hell of a hug
I leapt. Free from the yellow brick road,
free from training wheels
love to the world
Free from chains, dancing as we twirl
Free from sadness, laughing till stomachs curl
I’m free.
I leapt. Free from following orders, break ’em bosses
9 to 5 on the weekends, making their mac sauces
This time around I’ll be in no one’s footsteps
They are stuck in a 10 1/2 size box
My step is endless.
I leapt.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Jacob Murphy. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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The Invitation*

September 30, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Ellie Osterloh, grade 9

Oh Death, come in and sit down by my side
Though your elusive white dress may deceive
You’re the Queen of Sorrow, changer of tides,
Not as the masses of people perceive.

I dare your subsequent waves to tempt me
Your presence inspires a fiery rage
Walking the dark road, your white light I see
Some declare you villain, few call you sage.

You riddle me, and know I won’t answer
But I can’t keep myself from wondering
Where’s hope with diagnosis of cancer?
And yet, the confusion is comforting.

I curse you, bless you, and know you will stay
But Death, for now, I send you on your way.

. . . . .
This poem was inspired by the loss of my mother to cancer two years ago.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Ellie Osterloh. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Homeless*

September 16, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Stephen Palmer

The car I live in
gray as my futureless life
rain on the windshield.

Green dumpster cardboard
shelters me between downpours
I can’t stop the wind.

Constant daily wait
charging phone on bus stop time
wheelchair in the rain.

Sun is my alarm
campsite my sanctuary
downpour dictates pain.

Lines for soup kitchen
queuing up at the mission
showers at the Y.

Voices surround me
torrent within me surges
melancholy rage.

. . . . .
I was inspired to write “Homeless” because it’s something I know about and I wanted to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Having nowhere to go in foul weather, as in Bellingham, is the most miserable existence a person can have when they’re homeless.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Stephen Palmer. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Langston Titles*

September 2, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Emma Thario, grade 11

Her voice is like a Juke Box Love Song
Even when she has a Bad Morning
She’s like Daybreak in Alabama
When Sue Wears Red
Her appearance is like a Bouquet of bright red roses
she just wants Acceptance
to feel that her Life is Fine
whenever my Quiet Girl journeys away
The Weary Blues
of the April Rain Song are what I sing
I travel to the Night Funeral in Harlem
Where there’s no Sea Calm
Yet all I can see is my Genius Child
In my Dream Variations
I see her dancing among the stars
That can’t seem to out shine her light

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Emma Thario. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

On Mornings Like This*

August 19, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By KJ Vande Bossche

On mornings like this
when pieces
of the sky
are still missing,
I leave you
warm in bed
under sheets
soft as old t-shirts
to look for them.

. . . . .
KJ Vande Bossche (Van-duh Bush-shay) is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, cat-owner and motorcycle rider who lives and works in Bellingham. KJ graduated from WWU decades ago with a degree in English and plays with words on a daily basis.

“On Mornings Like This” was written early on a winter’s morning while sitting quiet and alone on the couch watching the sun come up and sipping that first cup of coffee. Previously published work can be accessed at kjvandebossche.com

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by KJ Vande Bossche. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

The Blue Whale*

August 5, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Elizabeth Vignali

I was lamplight when night fell. I was speared
and flensed, minced and melted.

I was notched from upper jaw to tail fluke
with your insufficient rulers.

I was lather and varnish, fabric and rope.
I was corset, collar, whip and toy.

You brought home my rorqual heart.
Displayed my boat-large parchment

skull in dusty museums.
You drove cars beneath my arched ribs.

But you could not catch my decibel moan,
my hymn to the silver path.

I am barnacle coven and seaweed plantation.
I am a salt-slapped planet to a thousand

open-mouthed moons. We sing louder than your
engines. We sing despite the sonar shroud.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Elizabeth Vignali. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Menopause, the poem*

July 22, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Barbara Weed

We arrive, tempest-tossed,
way up the beach.
Alive, thriving, and dried.

Hormones are oceans
Of push-pull emotions.
Amazingly, gratefully, spent.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Barbara Weed. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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