Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Our Layover in North Carolina

I write because of things like postcards / I write
because they fall out of things like the crease of my
favorite book / where I keep my place / and they
remind me of things / like the time that we spent
together / that day

at the airport / we spent nearly five minutes deciding
which postcard we wanted during our layover that ate
away hours in time only measurable by tic-tac-toe / so
much tic-tac-toe / and cut-throat polish poker

we shuffled through the postcards / running our
fingers over each and every one/ I picked this one
because of the sparkles / you picked me because of my
devotion to words

you put the card on the counter and turned to look
back at me / you told me that we were only once in a
lifetime but that someday somewhere you hope to meet
me again in another / for the third time / and then we
left North Carolina

-Catherine Buckley

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

The Gardener

In pale starlight, the Gardener danced
Uneasy steps in foreign trance,
Following absolution’s thread,
Fearing desertion: puppet’s dread.
But on she dances, smiling wide,
While Luna’s pull dictates the tide,
And Sol looks on from today’s edge,
For in the void, all parties pledge
Allegiance to each other’s pull:
A vice-grip on the Gardener’s skull.
She only wishes to be free,
To dance like comets in the sea
Of stars that lie beyond her binds—
She wonders what out there she’d find
If she could break her ties with Sol,
Instead explore places untold.
But to Sol, she’s forever bound,
Constantly dancing ‘round and ‘round
A greedy ball of gas and flame,
Sucking her in to burn again—
Each pass she makes, barely a miss,
Forever stuck in loathsome tryst.
Daily perform her dance she must,
Though Solfire could make her dust,
For in the searing heat of Sol,
She keeps her garden from the cold,
And without Sol, the Gardener fears
A nothingness beyond her years.
So chained to Sol she has to stay,
For as the night melts into day,
Her flowers bloom, her creatures rouse,
Unaware of their Gardener’s vows

-Ethan Kinal, ’21

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Hierarchy of Dreams

I had a dream 

I was Taylor Swift’s best girl, riding the wave of normalcy, living under my parents’ name. I asked her if she’d want my spare bedroom to be decorated so she could put her feet to rest. I wanted her to relax. The flashing lights are not your best friend, and neither is your biggest fan. 

I had a dream 

I was in a well-lit prison, where there was no sight of grey. Only the silver ash of my best friend, a clairvoyant getting slivers of images to my freedom. She painted the landscapes I’d get over in my journey to civilization. The prison guard took them away, then slipped them under the pillow the night of my escape. 

I had a dream

I was kidnapped, in the land next to Wiccalocan, the private school of my dreams. I told them I liked it when they touched me, that they were my family. My best friend took the spare iPod and recorded our location, looking for some wifi to connect to to call for our help. 

I had a dream 

I was invited to a party at a cabin in the woods, with pretty blonde girls. I couldn’t see their faces. I really wanted to. Ask them if it’s too much, when the boys bothered them for some fun. I couldn’t stand the taste of rum and coke. The coke was too sweet. 

I had a dream 

I was yours. You, the one with soft words and harsh eyes. Scanning my x-ray-worthy bones, milky calcium and innocent eyes. Give me your sap, your shame, and I will give you my naked truth. 

Was it a dream? 

When you asked me what I really meant by that?

Was it really a dream? 

The glow in your eyes when I challenged you, or was it really true? 

Toppled like lego bricks, you build in my body like a benign cancer. 

I’m trynna be down, but all you do is build me up.

Was it worth washing me down in your cup? 

What is it about me that makes you bow down? Yet tackle me like they do in the Superbowl? 

I had a dream 

I won prom queen. Wasn’t a dream but  sure felt like it. A sensitive poet, at the top of something, not quite sure if ever useful of evermore life’s woes. A crown sits on my head, and on top is the halo you placed on that heavy thing. Heart as light as a feather, the serpent in my womb slithering all over your snake. 

I had a vision

Of a snake, coiled up and shiny black, like silicon black silly putty. Speaking of, you turn me into something like that. My words flow out like poetry when I am with you, my body’s muscle memory uncovering the angelic facade I carefully created to avoid incrimination around the reptiles. I hope they can’t tell how much I want to be defiled by your hungry fingers. 

I had a dream 

You were my poet. Mine, like Taylor Swift sung. I used to hate that bitch; now I see her light as if a spell was cast on me. 

Speaking of, do you believe in ghosts? 

Or only the things you cannot see?

When you said you didn’t believe in souls, 
I saw something shine in your chest. 
I called it mine. 

FOrm form form
Right, if I am your poet.
Or if you are mine

I cannot go on covering my shameful lust with pride
It might be fear, clinging on like mice
On the side of the road, 
Two tiny kittens hugging in an oyster
Clasped on my skin
Clashing dissonance
Is all poetry? 
There is no such thing as sense with you
No so much deadbeat
Or even Beat Poetry
Flappers with wings
You said my wings,
You said, you said 

Stretch it out, they said
(You said) 
It left you feeling hung, 
I’m trynna get you sprung

Anyways, the poetry must, well, you see, 
It must not be so fast, so elusive like it’s fleeting away
Ballet flats, strings intertwining light as my heart
(too fluffy)
I hate you, God!
(too aggressive)
I want you 
(too… porno…)

make sure it makes sense, 
people don’t like torture, 
I beg to differ. 

I’m scared of a lot of things
And a lot of things is you

-Helen Rahman

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Beach Rose

Rings in my bones
Orange in my lungs

I once had spongey, sea green flesh

I pissed in the sand,
Goaded the waves, 
Battled the tide,
content that I would lose. 

On a Sunday, the ocean came knocking
with imported skys
and electric sea foam

I answered. 

Knowing I would only be choked while my lungs had air
and cold until my hot blood chased it away

I grew gnarled in surrender.
With pink flowers and calloused buds. 

I have no more use for my salt hardened skin
Or my knotted bones

-Sophia Larson, ’23

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

The soft green-gray misting of a tropical backyard.

The cement floors, old construction, wooden, sheet metal tool hut and,
Rain… softly.

Pleasant cascade, a blanket of refreshment,
The place of home on the isle.

I walk out,
Flip-flops, small splashes,
No shirt, just shorts, warm-water-falling,
5-minutes shower, carribean typical.

The Sun, not hiding, not shy, just behind the foggy,

for a moment
The house behind me is tall, on stilts, we are on a mountain, surrounded by palm tree, vine, and
Steep incline, but vegetation abound, peaks in the distance,
The whiff of brown dirt, and fallen coconut,
Moistened palm branch, and rounded guanábana,
Cracked soda, indoor steam,

It’s family here.

Concrete, wood doors, metal bars on windows,
Rails, colored cement, cool tile floor, air conditioning, heat, but not dry, and
Soft couches, never silky, they don’t need to be smooth, they’re kind.

-Jorge Biaggi, ’23

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Not My Decision

not my decision.

not yet.

thief, knight of night.
he steals
those i don’t know,

toying with me.
seething death.
his has roamed around

my life.

he will decide.
no one knows 
what he looks like.
reaper, shrouded in darkness.

i’ll never know.
and if i did?
i would never tell you.
that’s not my—

-Sydney Burke, ’23

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Notes Left on Wooden Bunk Beds

Thick Louisiana air smacks my skin and says
honey, time moves so slow here even the river strolls.
And so I roll up my sleeves to welcome the mud,
not knowing that we were already old friends.

We ride through New Orleans neighborhoods in the back of pick-up trucks
while we pass by homes without walls and dogs without collars.
In some houses, all that’s left is the plumbing, a singular bathroom sink.
We try to keep our balance going over bumps,
avoiding dumpsters and piles of bricks, branches, drywall, and siding.
The bed of the truck creaks under our weight.
A maroon Chevy lays stuck between cement and a loblolly pine.

I look out from the balcony decorated with beach chairs and familiar faces
while an orange hue seeps through the street lights and into the night sky.
In the morning I hammer nails into wood into blue tarps into roofs.
The vibrations shudder up my arm but
we cannot have leaking leaving brown splotches that cost too much.
In turn for our work that feels less like work and more like faith
we receive bags of salty chips and slow, southern thank you’s.

And so I read notes left on wooden bunk beds telling me
about how a city can change a person,
about how we must trust the process and timing of life,
about how moments and places like these
will show you some sort of something,
whatever it is that you may be looking for,
but I don’t write mine.

I don’t write mine until the ceiling cracks from the weight of my ancestors.
I don’t write mine until the light shining in from my window fades to a static grey.
I don’t write mine until I’m home again with a roof and walls and it does not feel like a home.

Time moves much quicker here.

-Catherine Buckley

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

La Balada Ruidosa de Santa Cecilia


Breathe, and listen.


A passion beat, the battery of a drum-roll and the blaring of a trumpet.
Loud, deep, in the valleys below, the holiest choir of music, people’s music,

Blasting from the open windows of a bouncing Boricuan car.

The rumble is a Beat,
That familiar rhythm of pulsating drums and screaming synths.
It is an ode to freedom and volume, bombastic sound and shaking car speakers.
The quick scratches of a vinyl and the loud tongues of roaring rap lyrics,
Speak like horns of Fire,

With heart, they tell stories of home and of hustle,
Of people and of person,
Of loneliness and of loving.
With the roaring echoes of pride, and passionate power,
Their own anthems yell “TÚ ERES GUASA, GUASA!” or “CUÉNTALE!”

Are Victory Chants,
Battle Hymns,


Though some ears, they turn.
And many will scream back in agitation,
They are simply fearful of the sound of freedom ringing.
Afraid of the power,
Afraid of the difference,
Afraid of the meaning,

Of an island born LOVE of vibration.

But, The Fearful, they’ve forgotten something.
Forgotten el sentido that these rhythms bring,
And, sadly, never realize,
That lives worth leading do often bother each other.

So Listen.

Stand! And LISTEN!

To what exactly these massive Hymnals mean to Me.

I was born in the land of grapevine and olive oil, the fragrance of nobility not an unfamiliar.
I was raised into a life of power, prestige, and beauty, but I chose the path of sack cloth for faith.
This humility frightened my parents, who had me married off, but in my own piety I prayed,
I prayed to prove my husband a person of civility, his body christened by my own request.
He was enlightened, and remained honorable, and in sheer adulation of our devotions,

I sang.
Our wedding ceremony was one of riches, clanging chalices and overflowing drink,
But, in the midst of festivity,
In the heart of sheer warmth and intimacy,
I heard it.

First it was the timbre of a voice, rich and clear,
Singing the sweet praise of a blue sky above and a brown earth below.

Then came the shrill ring of a symphony of string,
Carrying bold plucks and waves of awe-inspiring, lushous, vibration.

Soon after, cacophony! Rumbling drums and uproarious percussion,
Inspiring the bodies and souls of the reception to jump, leap, and gyrate.

By then, the temperature had risen, and it was plain to all that this adulation, this Worship,

Was something different.

It was shameless, liberated, violent, and free.
It held volume, sweaty passion and vocal significance.
It was sound, symphony, and praise fried into one.
Loud, filthy, and fun rhythms of lifeblood and self, it was, in essence,


No more did holiness need to be confided to the realm of silence and servitude.
No more did shame and punishment need to accompany those who sang their praises aloud.
Since this moment, this Music, was far greater prayer than any twisted mystic could grant,
And, to me, this revelation meant something (or to you, my children, Algo).

I think of this something as I hear the love and glory that pours out of an open car window,
Sweet pounds and pulses of electronic warbles and a bass-kick beat filling the air with presence.
I think of this something as I see the lone guitarist string their solitude into a humid night’s sky,
Poems of loss and adoration leaving their lips in a downpour, their sincerity a sign of clarity.
I think of this something as I witness the foundation of a casa shake, quake, and crack,
The pounding of a thousand eager feet, the vocal unity of a hundred rising voices, just too much,
Too Holy,
For the mortal bindings of an Earth dangerously appreciative of silence.

Why is that?
I ask you each,
As a Martyr.
And nothing more.

-Jorge Biaggi, ’23

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Boxed Bones

Toss me in the tumult
Let me bleed without pain

I want no cozy cavern
Packed away safe and still

Let mourners come to a beaten rock
Let apparitions tickle the horizon
Let wet eyes wonder

Send my atoms headlong into the gyre
Fold me back into the soup

Let the crabs have their fill
I will taste through their tongues
Breathe in the brine

Let a hot August sky suck me up 
and a cool September pour me out

Let me rest without place
decay without trace

-Sophia Larson, ’23

Poetry Spring 2021 Edition Writing

Sand Spirals

rainbow umbrellas, 
cheap folding beach chairs, 
and bright red, plastic coolers 
scatter and mark territories 

waves crash, the water 
thins and stretches out, 
shrinking back into itself, pulling sand, pebbles and tiny white seashells in with it 

the sand, a damp tan 
where the saltwater made its mark, revealing the power of the moon 
from earlier that day 

salty air tangles my hair 
while I sit on top 
of my faded green “Life is Good” towel raking the sand through my fingers forming circular grooves around me 

hypnotized — I look down 
at the multiple spirals I’ve made 
and wonder 
what song I would’ve created 
if the earth were vinyl 
and I were its needle

-Catherine Buckley