2011 Poetry Contest

Tenth Annual (2011) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners

2011 contest winners

Winners Back Row (left to right): Leanne Serrato (1st), Christina Mortellaro (3rd), Laura Neri (2nd)
Front Row (left to right): Jennifer Curry (body of work), Katie Clemm (4th), Shannon Mulrain (Math X)
Not pictured: Jade Scott

Award Poet Title of Winning Poem
First Prize Leanne Serrato Wisdom of Water
Second Prize Laura Neri Daddy
Third Prize Christina Mortellaro Distortion
Fourth Prize Katie Clemm Desire
Body of Work Jennifer Curry Oh Baby, What Fools We Have Been
Art in Me
Math X Shannon Mulrain Numbers
Math Y Jade Scott My Relationship with Math

Winning Poems

First Prize - Leanne Serrato

Wisdom of Water

Do oxygen atoms sit around planning
their lives based on who they are next to (Carbon, Hydrogen etc)?

If a couple of hydrogen atoms happen by,
oxygen-with its electronegative personality,
enters into a bond (short-lived as it may be)
with those Hydrogens
forming water.

Is water forever?
Does water think that now, since it is water, it better stay water?

Throw in some heat-
get a little steam.
Drop the mercury-
get a crystal lattice.

That is the wisdom of water-
it knows when
it is time
to move on.

Second Prize - Laura Neri


Staring at a drop of water

Makes me remember a time when time

And innocence were abundant yet not apparent to me.

Hand in hand we stood smiling as rain caught in our lashes

And dripped off our upturned noses

While in wonder we watched lightening sear the sky.

Sunny summer memories of pin-wheeling so fast

My feet lost the ground

And so dizzy they could not find it again.

And you

Tossing me into the air

And for a moment

Feeling like I'd never come down.

And I didn't have to

Until I grew up.

Third Prize - Christina Mortellaro


The feeling crashes into me like a wave,
It's unexpected yet not unknown,
I am familiar to the stabbing pain
That pounds in my head behind my eyes.
The distortion of reality begins once more.

I pick up a glass and heave it against the wall.
The glorious twinkling sound resonates in my ears,
I breathe in deeply and repeat.
Shards everywhere.

The wave knocks me over again,
I reach out to find salvation.
My arm grasps the soft pillow that held my tears and sorrow.
I violently shake and hit it against the wall.
Feathers everywhere.

As I stand the memory pushes me down
and my mouth tastes my own saline.
It reminds me of the sea and I'm drowning once more.
I kick the door but it will not budge.
I jerk and pound like those noises in my head.
It will never end. I'm knocked down to the ground.

Enraged and enthralled my destruction begins.
It pulls me to familiar places
Where my hands took the knife and struck.
Blood everywhere.

I look around my shattered world.
There is nothing but dirt and sand
When the waves leave me alone.
I lie down on the floor and stare.
When will it come again and
What will there be left to break?


Fourth Prize - Katie Clemm


Come bathe with me in the warm, muddy water.
It’s steaming with desire
Stay close, don’t go far
For trust is so fragile.
There is something yearning about you
What is it that you have?
Shall we discover together, I believe so.
I’m blurry through your eyes
Let us reshape our presumptions about each other
Mold our imperfections - our size
I know if I go, you will remember me still
It’s alright to trust me if you can
In that big heart of yours.
I touch your nose, the work of a carpenter with rough skin
You fell off the desk and someone grabbed your nose to keep you from falling
For that explains it’s length
I long to iron your body,
The result of leaving your skin piled in a corner
When God made your ears,
He must have used the wrong cookie cutter
And placed you in the oven.
The orthodontist shrieks at your overbite
But I think you’re beautiful.
Magnificent, enchanting.

Just give me five more minutes to look at you.


katie clemm

Body of Work - Jennifer Curry

Oh Baby, What Fools We Have Been

Headfirst into the wall
We have built day by day
One brick at a time,
One compromise at a time,
One less touch at a time

Until one day it was there;
Hard, cold,
And in the way
Of touching,
Of reaching,
Of being together.

We traded time
For bricks to climb
Building a stairway
To happiness,
The "good life"

What fools we were
To follow the plans
Without stepping back
A moment
To admire

And to realize
Those plans we made
Built nothing
But a wall

Of Busy
Between us.

Oh, Baby, I've missed you-
Where have we been?
At home, school, work, and
Back again...

Too busy
To look up
From where our feet were going

Too full of life,
Kids and work
To bother
With knowing
What things have changed

While we
Have been otherwise engaged....

What fools we were.


I feel myself foaming,
like soda that's shaken
the bubbles, they gather
until they explode.
I wonder what happens
when the lid comes off
of myself?

Settle down bubbles,
such small, small
that gather...
and gather.......
until there's no room.

Art in me (Body of Work)

Unfocus your eyes
Trained to see
Color, and line,
and follow
the shadows;
the undulating
where the lines
did not go.

Blur the edges a bit,
and perceive
what you do not see;
but what is there all the same-

The depth of color,
the muted,
the brightness,
the way the edges bleed
when you take away the lines.

Beyond the first look
there was more
so very much more
than can ever be understood
inside of a moment
- just waiting
to be looked at
by eyes that could see.

jennifer curry

Math X - Shannon Mulrain


One plus one equals too much fun.
Two plus two equals four single shoes.
Three plus three equals six enormous trees.
Four plus four equals eight wooden doors.
Five plus five equals a ten hour drive.
Six plus six equals twelve brown sticks.
Seven plus seven equals three more than eleven.
Eight plus eight equals sixteen minutes late.
Nine plus nine equals eighteen pennies to shine.
Ten plus ten equals twenty squawking hens.
Numbers, numbers, there everywhere you look.
Can you count the pages in your favorite book?

Math Y - Jade Scott

My Relationship With Math

Me plus math equals not a fun time.
I'm not good with numbers so I might as well rhyme.

Just the thought of math makes me go insane,
and when I leave class, I feel bad for my brain.

This minus this times the square root of x.
Maybe I’d like math more if it weren’t so complex.

I have to stick around to get my degree,
Luckily only 2 more classes 'till I’m officially free.

Of course not forever because math never leaves.
& I have to admit--it's one of my pet peeves.

Clearly math and I do not get along.
Can you blame me though? I get every question wrong.

I prefer things that are easy to find.
Unlike all these variables who aren't very kind.

So with all this being said I’ll end some advice:
If you want to take math, you'd better think twice