2020 Poetry Contest

19th Annual (2020) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners


This year's Awards Ceremony has been canceled due to the COVID-19 campus closure. Congratulations to this year's winners!

Special thank you to the Judging Committee: Doreen Bortle, Bob Knipe, Nicki Lerczak, Jessica Olin, and Jim Simon.


Best Body of Work: Gabriella Orfanides for The Pressure of Life, The Quiet Ones, and Waking on a Summer Morning

First Prize: Katrina McCracken for Running Home

Director's Choice: Alyssa Wright for My Cat Owen

Garbriella Orfanides
Gabriella Orfanides

The Pressure of Life, The Quiet Ones, and Waking on a Summer Morning by Gabriella Orfanides

The Pressure of Life 

Fears pelt themselves
At the insides of my mind
Doubt casts its sinister shadow
On the interior of my soul

I look. I listen
I see their faces. I hear their words
I try to make their wishes comes true
Their dreams actuality
Their fanciful hopes mine

Yet they never seem to hear me
My hopes
My whispers
My cries

They can’t see
The uncertainty in my gait
Or the quiver of my lips
My pale, expressionless façade

You’re getting older
They say
You’re going to do great things
They say
You’ll be somebody
Oh! What if I never am
What will I be?

Why is it always me versus them
They versus me
Never us
Or we

The fears prevail
The doubt flourishes
Uncertainty swells
The gap will be bridged someday.

The fears of now worry me
And pain my aching mind
And very young



The Quiet Ones

A man yells
A baby cries
Dogs bark
Cats meow
Telephones ring
Cars whir
Trains whistle

Silence never prevails
Over the necessity of sound

Watch the quiet ones, though
They have a way about them

They hear things others don’t
See things others don’t
Feel things others don’t

Their minds are so in sync
(It tends to scare some)
These folks (you know—the quiet ones)
They have a way of just understanding

They know a wife better than a husband does
See a child the way a mama can’t

Those quiet ones are powerful
You see, they have the power to listen
Not worried at all about saying things
(Talking is so overrated)

Listening is really just a paperweight
It tends to keep things grounded, secure
In place and proper
Paperweights are simple; yet they work
Like listening

Listen (do you see yet?)
Watch out for the quiet ones
The people you disregard
And name empty names
And never take seriously

They’ll sneak up on you
(quietly of course)
And leave a potent taste in your mouth
Like sour milk
Yet unlike sour milk
You won’t know what to think


Waking on a Summer Morning

Darkness. Light
An experience with no purpose or meaning
Soon to be forgotten

Then awake. Awake to the glaring sun
The glistening of morning dew
A little bird and its melodious cry
Not a care in the world

Senses comes together
Thoughts begin the process of tedious formulation.
Appendages tingle and wake
Yet that tingling eventually ceases

Pots clang in the kitchen
Dishes clank
Water pitter patters the steel sink
The oven sounds its warning cry
And the sweet smell of strawberry
Wafts through the hallways
Filling each and every crevice
With the unexplainable emotions of scent

Darkness again. Then light
Panic at 6:59
And a relaxation of muscles at 7:01
No wailing siren

Life and its uncertainty
They’re never too far away
Following us in every hope
Waking hour

Summer mornings
Taken for granted by many
Appreciated by few
Never really noticed until life starts.


Katrina McCracken
Katrina McCracken

Running Home by Katrina McCracken

Running Home

He was my buddy, my companion. He was always by my side.
He was rough around the edges, but had a soft heart inside.
He taught me patience and forgiveness. He understood,
When no one else could.
He loved to run, to race the wind. To feel it racing by,
Striving, like a young bird, to freely fly.
He loved to run, but most of all, he loved to run home.
The place where he knew he was safe, but free. Home.
That cold morning, while the dew was still wet upon the grass,
He ran home, alone; through the morning mist he passed.
Oh, to run again; to run home.
He will always be running, running, to his home.
Truly free and safe at last, My buddy is running home.

Dedicated to my horse, King, who ran home December 12, 2019.


Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright

My Cat Owen by Alyssa Wright

Owen the cat

My cat Owen
Sits near the window when it's snowin'

He climbs the Christmas tree
He is filled with glee

He weighs sixteen pounds
My love for him is profound

He is orange and white
And causes troulbe all night

Thought they don't share the same dialogue
His best friend is our dog

He likes to sleep on the floor
Or next to the door


He likes bells that jingle
And bags that crinkle

I'm sad I'm stuck at home all day
But Owen is happy that we can play