2009 Poetry Contest

Eighth Annual (2009) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners

2009 poetry contest winners

Winners (left to right): Mike Hoerbelt, Andrea Louis, Daniel Branciforte, Nate Palmer and Terra Bartlebaugh
(unavailable for photo: Sadie Waala, Ricky Howard)

Award Poet Title of Winning Poem
First Prize Nate Palmer Blackberry (Not Just an Electronic Promotion of Capitalism)
Second Prize Sadie Waala Self-Portrait
Third Prize (tie) Terra Bartlebaugh Spring
Third Prize (tie) Daniel Branciforte Bubbled
Honorable Mention - Body of Work Mike Hoerbelt I am
The Purpose is Possibilities
Excited to be Exhausted
Math X Ricky Howard untitled
Math Poem Andrea Louis A Haiku Poem

First Prize - Nate Palmer

Blackberry (Not Just an Electronic Promotion of Capitalism)

White bud in June
Bright Red in July
Purple bloom in August

Sharp thorns in your side
Maroon branches don't cost us
because you're outside and wild

Not planted by me years ago
But by great grandma as a child
Alongside the barn they Grow and wait

Seeds fall to the ground
Wind blows up their fate
Bugs fly all around, too quick

Bees land to pollinate
Each summer they're picked
Those thorns I hate cause me to bleed

With buckets in my hand
To the woods I leave
On top of hills I stand to look for Blackberries

Nate Palmer

Second Prize - Sadie Waala


Here I am
These are my hands,
the best i know how, and now
this is my spine, I stand
as tall as my arms will reach out
Here is my smile,
the line in my brow
curious, self-aware, here is my silence
a calming green stare-
my eyes, my nose
Here is my messy blonde hair
Do you miss me? It shows
Here is my laugh in the sun.
And in the silver-moon glow,
Here I am in my dreams
these are my fingers, my hands;
This is me.
I am unhinged and complacent
as I turn in my sleep,
These are my thoughts,
a greenish-blue sea
Here are the clothes I am in, here
is my skin, my freckles, my mouth
These are my words,
my voice in a crowd. These are my wide-open hands, my closed lips
I'm real,
You can feel
my heart beat
Here are my palms, my fingertips
This is me.


Third Prize (tie) - Terra Bartlebaugh


The raindrops drip,
On the window.
The air is cool,
Not warm.
Not cold.
Cool enough for insects that nest
in the flowers,
bringing promises of warmer weather to come.

terra bartlebaugh

Third Prize (tie) - Daniel Bronciforte


We held each other not too tightly,
Just right on the first night we met.
The morning light sent us to surface,
Our breath spilling into each other
As our bubble rose and burst sweetly.

I would breathe water if I had gills.
It's so safe in here, but I need you
With me or it all comes crashing in
Every time I open up again, ocean
Water tasting like cold fish and blood.

Wherever the tide pulls me, I go
Looking for you in the ocean shapes,
Sea maidens with their siren songs;
Jagged rocks, Neptune's diadem-
I'm drawn to them, if you are there.

Rolling plains drift in through the haze.
With an old oak oar over my shoulder,
I stumble inland to a shanty's strains
At the dock they ask me what I carry and Why I came,
Welcoming me to Fiddler's Green.

I find you there, looking lost as I am,
Building a bubble out of mud and vines.
We wash ourselves off in the high tide,
Breathe softly into each other, seal off The outside world and
float away again.

daniel bronciforte

Body of Work Honorable Mention - Mike Hoerbelt

I am:

I am not meant to be,
I am not a key fitter, puzzle resolver, or magnet.
I am out of place and always irregular, but
nevertheless, I am Rare.

There is no one like me,
You can not draw me out of a magic hat,
I am one,
Different from all 6.8 billion.

I am alone, not lonely.
My irregular thoughts make me special,
And for that, death is interesting.
Sad... no, Happy... no, Angry... yes.

Angry that I can't explain happiness and sadness
within myself.
Unable to express my feelings.

There is no word or words to determine me.
I am.


The Purpose is Possibilities:

The snow drifts on asphalt,
Wind picks up and blows the grounds heat away.
All that's left of plant life is cat-tails poking about the ice of a creek bed.

Every living thing is hibernating or dead.
All that can be seen is white- and clouds of translucent gray, Close to the
Earth's surface.

Zillions of my brothers run into me as I run into them.
Tumbling, turning, whistling through nooks and crannies.
I am attached to one of my brothers who is stuck to another, But another to one
of our distant cousins.
I am immediately crushed with my family and I soon get hot.

Now I am part of the gray translucent sky.
I never get to really know any of my zillions of brothers, I don't get to know
anyone unless I am trapped with them.
Then I may know at least one other.

We all have a part.
We say hello and do what we were built for.
We were all born at the same time,
And none of us has or will ever die.


Excited to be Exhausted:

I go to bed on a cotton soft pillow,
Exhausted from a long day at college.
My eyes feel like they have barely survived a sandstorm,
The burning treachery until I close them.

I turn the lights off,
Snuggle with the blankets,
Letting my weight within my limbs,
Soak into the bed.

I fly around the world,
Watching down below and out above.
The sun's light is absorbed by the clouds, Shadows that remain give them a pillow
like texture.

A dog licks my face,
I make love to a woman,
My father dies and I cry,
I fight a man for a wedding ring.

I wake to a man's voice,
Telling me of weather to come.
A song called "Beautiful Day" sounds off, And I blink my eyes about the shiny sun.
I yawn and stretch to a new breath,
And a tear is formed within my lashes.
I sit up full of energy,
Excited to be exhausted once again.

Mike Hoerbelt

Math X - Ricky Howard

Space extending with infinite sequence
provides the plane for my creation.
Parallel lines of time form with
an identity sprung forth from the equation.
Formulas provide boundaries to my work,
adding structure to its form.
As drifting radicals sparkle,
rotating spheres become the norm.
The hand of uniform motion is extended
giving a path for life to grow.
As chaos is forced to surrender
to the flow.


Math Y - Andrea Louis

A Haiku Poem

Algebra Dreaming
Math Numbers Graphs Equations
Wake Me Up Right Now

andrea louis

Nate Palmer recites Blackberry

Winners were honored April 16 at the 2009 Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony. Above, Nate Palmer recites his
First Prize winning poem Blackberry (Not Just an Electronic Promotion of Capitalism).