2012 Poetry Contest

Eleventh Annual (2012) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners

poetry contest winners

Winners Back Row (left to right): Leanne Serrato (Librarians' Choice), Laura Neri (Body of Work), Paul Lane (3rd)
Front Row (left to right): Autumn Piletz (1st), Melissa Fuchs (2nd)
Photo by Mike Garrett

Award Poet Title of Winning Poem
First Prize Autumn Piletz Thomas Bixton, 1888-1921 A Man Who
Second Prize Melissa Fuchs Runaway Train
Third Prize Paul Lane If I was a Flower
Body of Work Laura Neri Flee
Skin Deep
Moonlit Summer
Librarians' Choice Leanne Serrato Alphabet Poem

Winning Poems

First Prize - Autumn Piletz


 “Thomas Bixton, 1888-1921 A Man Who”


and the rest of the words

that cover, the last ashen tombstone

in the cemetery

surrounded by a broken, molding fence

down my quiet country road

have decayed under the pressure of


Oh, Thomas Bixton,

by my calculations I can see

your immortal soul

was removed

at 33.

How young.

“Thomas Bixton,”

your name passes through my lips into the air

which is much alive, unlike you.

This garden of emptiness

has heard a name

that hasn’t been spoken in


I wonder if your children

(if you had any that is)

were sad you


Or, perhaps

they were glad because you were an abusive drunkard

and that’s why you died so young.

Perhaps you were the ugliest man

any woman had seen

and could never be loved by the shallow

so long that you became depressed and committed suicide.

Maybe you were an appealing spirit

and won the secret affections of many women.

So many, in fact, that jealousy overcame them

and they took their revenge.

I look at all that is left of you,

Thomas Bixton

and all that is left is the


of you and me.

and here be

your elegy.

Autumn Piletz

Second Prize - Melissa Fuchs


Runaway Train


Pack these bags

Full of clothes and toiletries

Start the car and fill 'er up

Wash the windshields clean


And swerve into

The outbound lane

Drive without stopping


Every mile, a sign

A telephone pole

No communication


Nobody knows

Who you are


You hairs in tangles

Your eyes speckled

Roadmap hands


Endlessly driving

Cross-country until...


Empty gas tank


Flag the invisible

Oncoming traffic

A mirage of hope


Meander through

This desert life

To walk into a town with a garbage bag

Order a hamburger w/ fries

An ice cold beer


The waitress, Flo, asks if you're new

Shake your head as you chew

Thick beef patties

And then your name...

Stumble off your seat

Leave a tip

Cross the street

A train depot

Blot out the Arizona sun

With a new Marigold hand

Stunned by the heat


Lying on a bench on the platform

With the aroma of gasoline

Steel against steel

A freight train screeches

Into the station

Eying the idea slowly

As the train rapidly

Inches forward bound


Leap off the platform

Onto the gravel and tracks

Dropping your bag in the process

And chase the last portion

Of the freight cars

Jump higher to pull

Yourself up


Struggle to open the door

As you slam it

On your index finger

Throw yourself and the bag

On the pine-needled dirty

Train floor and

Ride off into the auburn sunlight

Melissa Fuchs

Third Prize - Paul Lane


If I was A Flower


If I was a Flower, 

A Flower I would be,

If I was a Bee, 

A Flower is what I'd Need, 

If I were a Pedal, 

Feet would be neat,

If I was a Wheel, 

I'd get Dizzy,

Dizzy I'd be, instead of me,

Me is I, and I is Me 

If Me was Me,

I'd be I,

Second Chance who'd be you?

You'd be who?

Not I, you'd be,

Not me, you see,

Cause if I was a Flower,

I'd Bloom My Best,

And if I were a Bee,

I'd wish to see a Flower like thee,

Till that Day, 

I'll be with Me,

The Best of Me that I can be,

And when I see that Flower I Dream, 

Will I Pluck?

No I wont,

I'll let Thee be,

Admire I will, 

Admired you'd be,

Change one thing?

I would not Dream,


If I was a Flower, 

This is how it'd be, 

But I'm not a Flower, 

I'm only Me, 

Not a Bee,

I'm Me you see, 

And till I turn into a Bee, 

I'll always only just be Me!

Paul Lane

Body of Work - Laura Neri




I spent much of my life imprisoned,

Held hostage by two golden bands.

Shackled and stumbling

In the blindness of love

And the naiveté of youth.

Where logic can be darkly manipulated

As easily as I was.

The tongue leaves scars that do not heal,

And bruises that cannot be seen

And do not fade.

Of course he loved me.

A dark, diseased love

That worked in collusion with my own pitiful self-worth.

Despite the pain, despite the anger,

To spite myself…

So many reasons why I should


For my marriage.  For my child.  For my God.

Forget me.

Fear is like a serpent.

Coldly coiled,

Pervasive and perverse,

Persuading me to


Bound by duty.  Bound by vows.  Bound and gagged

For seven years.

As I withered inside,

Like lifeless leaves by frost,

I became numb.

To bear the pain, the shame,

The weight of worthlessness.

It was then, when upon my knees,

I found a strength born from anger.

The fire of my rage burned through my bonds.

That is when I dared to flee.

That is when I chose to become free.



Skin Deep


I invite you to re-examine your definition of beauty.

To deny the politic standard of emaciation,

To equip the senses

To divulge the ancient secrets of allure.

Allow your eyes to linger, love

Upon my swollen lips,

The arch of my back,

The curve of my hip.

I challenge you to deny the fire in your fingers

That the softness of my skin ignites.

Or the pleasure derived from the weight of my breast

In your palm,

Rather than the painful hollow of ribs.

Observe the breadth of my thighs,

The length of my limbs.

How they wrap you tightly

As no fragile creature could.

I implore you to lay your body upon me

I will greet it with strength and passion,

Accepting your weight gratefully,

For I am not frail.

I am not small.

Bury yourself in my softness.

Perceive the passion in my eyes.

Succumb to me,

And then tell me,

Is that skinny girl

With her jutting bones,

Her skin drawn taut,

And her sunken, empty, eyes...

Is she more beautiful than I?



Moonlit Summer


I wait quietly, in that secret place

Inside of me

And hope the sun will break,

And stars explode the velvet sky

Glistening like shattered glass on pavement.

The summer air kisses my skin cold

And tugs my hair in its hands

So when I shiver, it is almost like sex.

The night smells so lush, and green and still…

As if it knows it is on the precipice

Of something subtle and great.

So I let the moonlight caress me like a lover

And hope you feel it too.


Laura Neri

Librarians' Choice - Leanne Serrato


Alphabet Poem



bizarre centurions

degrade efficient, farming gorillas

hiding in John Kennedy’s lemon meringue “no-odor” pies. 

Quaintly rustic stepwives tutor ugly, vulgar, whitish xenophiles yodeling Zulu.

Leanne Serrato