2014 Poetry Contest

13th Annual (2014) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners

poetry contest winners
Left to right: Kathleen MacEwan, Margaret Aubel, Gail Reino, and Laura Neri
Not pictured: Kaitlyn James

The authors were honored at an awards ceremony in the library on Thursday, April 24. 



Body of Work: Laura Neri for Monsters/My Lady G/The Conception of the Word

First Prize: Margaret Aubel for The Snowflake

Second Prize: Gail Reino for The Spider

Third Prize: Kaitlyn James for Midsummer Night

Most Humorous: Kathleen MacEwan for '69 Camaro



Monsters by Laura Neri

When I was very young

I believed

That monsters were real

Toothy. Salvating. Feral claws.

In shadowy cloak


And fear


Until the cold age of reason



Fear is quite tangible


It is the cacophony of crashing cabinets

And cracked voices

Shrill, strained whispers


The pulse of red and blue refracted through glass

Dancing upon the wall

The rap of knuckles on the door


Fear is knowing that home is something that can be taken


It is the crunch of snow beneath bare feet

To humble and supplicate beneath unfeeling stone


Thoughts poisoned and scattered like the spiders

That could not be swept away


Fear is the soft voice that once sang lullabies

Twisted malignant and hoarse


I have learned that monsters are indeed real

Bearing little resemblance to the fantastical designs of childhood

And often cloaked in ambiguity


I have taken these things

And buried them

Deep into a cold, damp cellar within my heart

Where every dark memory is kept

I have erected walls to keep my monsters in


Fear is the wail of the black cat behind the mortar and stone.


It is not a creature hiding under the bed

It is not a bump in the night

It forever rings a black knell

And paints every moment with a coat of opaque unease

Fear- real fear- is seeing someone you love descend into madness


My Lady G by Laura Neri

I have watched you many seasons now

A tiny sapling

Nearly lost among viridian blades

So young and green in youth

Blossoming with a trembling innocence

Standing tall against the harsh rain

Never shying from a challenge

And then the summer of your youth seized you

Bowed beneath the weight of heat

Where lesser creatures fail

You thrived

Emeralds dripping from your lithe limbs

You were magnificent

Wanton and seductive in September

Garbed in your dress of many colors

You twirled and danced like a gypsy

And cast your gown gloriously upon us

Stripped to your bare bones

Naked arms outstretched to the sky

As if the sun could be pulled from the heavens

And wrap you in its warmth

But the air grows colder yet

And the sun calls less often now

Leaving you vulnerable and unclothed

But you, my queen

Remain regal in your castle of snow and ice

When winter lays its shimmering crown upon you

You are again beautiful

Yet coldly so

Daring any fool to steal your inner flame


The Conception of the Word by Laura Neri

It starts as a whisper

A lilting cipher in my ear

Sliding softly around my throat

A feather light iamb upon my lips

I flash my tongue

Part and shape

Around naught but air

Hungry and bereft of completion

The need consumes me

My hollow syllable becomes swollen

Erecting a long, full meter

Caressing my lobe with sweet seductive promise

It penetrates the unconscious

And fills me in a pulsing cadence

Leaving the banal hymen rent

Spilling its seed

Into the warm womb of my mind

It becomes complete and known

My fingers now heavy and pregnant

Place pen to paper

And rip from my abdomen

My legacy

Laura Neri
Laura Neri

The Snowflake by Margaret Aubel

People don't wonder about things beyond their understanding outside their compact ribbon wrapped bow topped existence,

beyond the box top metal plated faux wood marble mantle with the smiling pictures in golden plastic frames,

beyond the soccer practice football party chicken wing extravaganzas,

past their children school projects with macaroni spelling out math theorems long forgotten by parent's eyes,

things they never see or hear or touch or feel -

ah, feel, a lead weighted word that haunts our days and nights and never allows us to forget past pain,

isn't that the true nature of it, the inability to forget -

and you finally, finally have peace for a moment that feels like a day or an hour or a year, and you pray it would last,

but suddenly, without warning, a tiny snowflake of thought falls onto the

mountainous cavities of your brain creating chain reactions of flaming neurons

firing firing firing electrical impulses multiplying that snowflake thought into an avalanche of feeling,

crashing into that moment of peace and shattering it to a thousand pieces and obliterating the shards-

that thought can destroy any hope of happiness you ever had -

it can fill you with black tar hopelessness and irreparable damage that a razor blade gunshot pill bottle flying leap can fix -


dream, without dreaming, see, without seeing,

feel the dull numbness of hopeless days and nights and midnight monsters that reach out of the darkness inside you,

feel the pang of a thousand million billion thorns ripping the heart of humanity into a bloody mess,

feel the bubblegum super glue duck tape struggling in vein to hold the broken pieces of the soul,

struggling in vein to put it back together,

struggling in vein to find the starlight hope that tomorrow may be better,

tomorrow will be better, feel better, look better, taste better, BE better - 


why can't you just be better?

It's not real, you're too sensitive, don't take things personally, it's just a joke, a cry for attention, a phase, not real, just smile, it can't be that bad, what's so wrong with your life, why are you crying, why can't you just be happy, why can't YOU fit into MY view of how YOU are supposed to FEEL?

Why can't YOU be like ME?


The matter of truth is we are hopelessly abandoned inside our heads with an inability to understand what other people are going though,

how THEY feel, what THEY want to say, who THEY really are -

humanity is filled with fear, fear, FEAR of what they don't understand or see or hear,

they listen once and never do again, retreating back into their smiling pictures with the plastic gold frames,

back to their compact ribbon wrapped bow topped existence where people like US are not welcome,

the broken and torn who are too ugly hurt bloody shattered sad heavy dark to be around REAL people,

the REAL people who cannot handle being a friend to THAT kind of thing,

afraid that proximity to emotional leapers will tarnish the sterling silver plated bubble of comfort they have created for themselves,

to provide that desperately needed shoulder to cry on,

to help us put down that razor blade,

stop that gunshot,

close that pill bottle,

step down from that ledge,

because not everybody can do it on their own -

if you abandon we broken and torn, then we truly have no starlit hope for a better tomorrow. 

For a day, an hour, a minute, a moment, a year, a lifetime, stick with us -

listen, care, love us -

because we just want that snowflake to melt. 

Margaret Aubel
Margaret Aubel

The Spider by Gail Reino


The predator

Sometimes earned

Stowaway through dysfunction

Insidious, enveloping – The spider that wraps its prey to devour later

Shine the Beacon and Expose It

Shake It Free From Its Web

Grind It Into Nothingness

Walk Away

Gail Reino
Gail Reino

Midsummer Night by Kaitlyn James

The warmth and cool of a midsummer night mingles in the air.

A western breeze, so crisp and fresh, is blowing through my hair.

Dusk settles in the valley; sunset glances off the hills.

It bounces off the buttercups and shines through daffodils.

It casts its final embering hues across the sparkling lake

And dances on the ripples that the fish and ducks make.

Cats meow, and owl hoots, the birds all go to bed.

Crickets sing, and toads croak, as I lay down my head.

Through the open window, indistinctly out of view,

I smell the sweet and smoky scent of smoldered barbeque.

The sun dips down below the hills; the full moon rises high.

The stars peek out from evening's shawl like pinholes in the sky.

'69 Camaro by Kathleen MacEwan

I woke up today, not feeling right

I’ve been so neglected

So long has it been since I’ve felt the right touch

I feel unaligned

My timing seems off

And my parts just aren’t moving right

I’ve been ridden too hard for too long


It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my man

The one who knows how to use his hands

He can be soft and gentle with his touch

Or rough when I need it

He takes off my bra and looks under my hood

Then he lifts me up and plays with my undercarriage

I love it when his hands stroke me and bang on me

He knows exactly what parts need to be handled, which wires need to be sparked

He rubs me down and polishes me

I’m red hot like Cherry


Then he gets inside of me!

Now that I’ve been oiled down, my parts move so smooth, like velvet

I feel realigned

He shifts through my gears with ease

And makes all my tires spin

He punches my gas and I go from zero to sixty

He opens me up all the way and I feel like I’m going to explode!

Yes, Yes! Faster, Faster!


I finally reach my peak and my engine just purrs.


Every girl needs her mechanic

Kathleen MacEwan
Kathleen MacEwan