Poetry Contests

21st Annual (2022) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners


Thank you to The Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion for generously providing prizes.
Special thank you to the Judging Committee: Doreen Bortle, Loy Gross, Jessica Hibbard, Nicki Lerczak, and Brodie McPherson.
Winners will be honored at the college-wide Student Celebration of Excellence on Tuesday, May 3.
Congratulations to this year's winners!


Best Body of Work: Charina Gray for Sing the City, Painting, and What Makes Her

Honorable Mention - Body of Work: Uriah Howard Allis for As We Wait for Cups of Chamomile to Cool, The Sower, sic erat scriptum*

First Prize: Gyandro Marselia for A Taste of Miss Liberty

Second Prize: Bailee Murphy for Yes Sir

Third Prize: Lydia R. Hofmann for The Song of the Seasons

Most Humorous: Isobel Scarisbrick for Writing is Hard

Sing the City, Painting, and What Makes Her by Charina Gray

Sing the City 

A low thrum in the air
The show’s over, but midnight
Draws her curtain and the real
Chaos begins


Buildings shake and shiver;
The whole city quivers as
Skyscrapers unroot and
Dance on their foundations


The streets gurgle
And sway while sewers
Stretch through grates and
Asphalt into the sky with
Tendrils of aching stench


Bricks laid dormant
Reach out to every shuddering
Lamppost, bulb, and neon sign


The people—
Countless bodies: they chitter and chatter
Roil deep in their roots and
Sing to the city their history
AAEEEAAA they chant


The city sings anyways
Metal on metal and
The screeching never stops



You pentimento:
You are a ghost, a
Sightless thing sitting
On the crooked neck of Picasso—
You see double, upside down,
Curling over the edge of canvas
Knowing-all and invisible.
You hide in the vibrant and colorful,
Tuck away in each line,
Curve, and swirl of paint
Because you are abstract yet elegant,
Bold yet subtle,
You deceive the eye and
Reveal yourself in the lamplight.


What Makes Her

We are the druids.
We carved our hearts out of the Redwood,
Scooped our hair from algae-ponds.
Damp and frigid, we trudged the mountain peaks
To sing to the forest and desert, sea and jungle,
Our voices molded from soil and so
Coarse and crumbling it poured from our lips
And formed crevices in the earth.
We are the mothers of land.

Charina Gray
Charina Gray

As we wait for cups of chamomile to cool , The Sower, and sic erat scriptum* by Uriah Howard Allis

As we wait for cups of chamomile to cool

lean in; meet
  the center
of my eyes:

   a galaxy

empty to obvious design
or even the chaos of these quarters
bearing your soul.

  Our pupils are the blank page

of a starless sky.

  This answers a question at the periphery

  of our lives:

We are the precious entirety
of being intently here
and intensely human.


The Sower

Cut me through–
to the core,
to the pip,
to the split
sparing the silt
from the seed.

Expose me
to acrid air.
Help me find
fields charred to ash,
purged to make way
for next year.

And this season
let me breed in the wake
of murmurs and prayers for life to take root.

Your botanical fragrance
snags in my chest, spores catching
light, chlorophyll caressing the path below us
where my fruit falls from its weight:

an offering.

Chew, swallow whole, or spit out seeds
and bitter bruises.
Pluck me from a limb aloft
in the breeze, begging you to stipple
my flesh with your teeth

Break me in two;
cut me through;
set me free.


sic erat scriptum*

  Love [sic.] is like a        cut, it can heal only after stinging stops.
Love [sic.] is like    lightning striking suburbs, cities,  apartments, a home.
Love [sic.] is     empty space.
  Love [sic.] is     afraid
     [of unknowns , of us, whole truths, white lies].

Love is not a tired metaphor, simile, story, allegory:

Love is.
Love is.
Love is.

Uriah Howard Allis
Uriah Howard Allis

A Taste of Miss Liberty by Gyandro Marselia

Writing from between
the Wonka walls themselves.
A both physical and mental prison
disguised as a tasteful wonderland.

For she is sweet,
like a warm sugar cookie
with a delicious filling of
promising possibilities
bursting on the sides
each time you take a bite.

Freshly baked
in an oven of brutality
at degrees of poor intentions
placed on a nonstick sheet
made of racism and inequality.

Miss Liberty,
promising an ideal dream
fresh, fruity, juicy, watermelon sugar sweet explosion of tasteful hypocrisy.

A taste, so rich, like honey,
just poured from the comb.
Virgin, pure, thick like blood,
rested in hexagon shaped chambers
on luxurious beds
and capitalist pillows
under soft military sheets
to keep it’s warmth of glory.

Miss Liberty,
a blessing for the palate indeed.
A tender traitor’s kiss
on the lips and left cheek.
A forceful hug on the tongue
a sudden bitter stab
in the back of the throat
with a curse of confusion.

Yet, greedy, like a hungry child
on mother’s breast we eat
the poison that she feeds
and proudly claim her
as “The Land of the free”.

Gyandro Marselia
Gyandro Marselia


Yes Sir... by Bailee Murphy

The words carry such weight
“yes sir”
You could never know the hurt you cause
“yes sir”
The uniform gives me flashbacks
“yes sir”
“Aren’t you grateful I gave you this opportunity?”
“yes sir”
“Shut up and take it before someone hears”
“yes sir”
“If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you”
“yes sir”
“I’m sorry, it’s your word against his…”
“yes sir”…..
“Here’s your discharge paperwork”….
“yes sir”…..
“Did you know that you’re 8 weeks pregnant?”


…….”no sir”………

The Song of the Season by Lydia Hofmann

The breath of Spring.
It is the smell of the lilac,
the colorful bird's wing.
It is the first stretch of a kitten’s back,
the soft bleating of a kid.
It is the babbling water, melted and freed.
The cackling of chickens, for something they did.
It is the first stubborn green weed,
the cold air and warm breeze.
It is the laughter of a happy child.
The opening of buds, in trees.
Oh, the breath of spring, is ever so mild.

The sigh of Summer.
It is a pleasant midday sleep,
the cicada’s tune, a longing hummer.
It is an image, in the wavering heat.
The splash of cool lake water.
It is a handful of sand thrown into the air,
the laugh of the sun's daughter.
It is a soaked towel and dripping swimwear.
The flickering of the lighting bug.
It is a dry copper grass, dancing,
the marshmallows roasting in a fire’s warm hug.
Oh, the sigh of summer, is so entrancing.

The murmur of Autumn.
It is the many bright and stunning hues.
The red maple leaf, at the leaf pile’s bottom.
It is the unpacking of fuzzy coats, and warmer shoes.
The golden wheat swaying in the breeze.
It is the ruby apples on a loaded branch.
The slow shedding of the sleeping trees.
It is the winds whipping through a quiet ranch.
The morph from one season to the next.
It is the farewell to long days of light,
the descent, of life's apex.
Oh, the murmur of autumn, is warmth’s night.

The whisper of Winter
It is blowing white dust.
The beauties that do so well to hinder.
It is a reset of all things evil and just,
the strong will live to see the sunrise;
it is the separation of those to die.
The bed of life, as it sleeps where it lies.
It is the covering of the blue sky,
the frozen glory, of a thousand snowflakes.
It is a forever fight, that is so futile.
The great silence, surrounding land and lakes.
Oh, the whisper of winter, is brutal.


Lydia Hofmann
Lydia Hofmann

Writing is Hard! by Isobel Scarisbrick

What’s a good word to end a rhyme?
It needs a beat, it needs a time
Writing is hard! Anyone will confess!
But when it comes to writing…

I’m not the best.
You need the right sounds; you need the right feel
You need to make sure that it feels really real!
You need new ideas to grab their attention!
Their notice, their focus, and— Oh, did I mention?
You need to describe what you want them to see!
Whether it’s cafes, or love, or even a tree!
Everything counts! Yes, each little bit!
It’s so overwhelming, and— Oh! I quit!