Skip to content

Poems submitted in 2024

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

by Martha M. Feliciano, 2024

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner 

Poetry, essay, story, play 

I’m not sure which way to sway. 

Make it shorter, make it longer 

Not sure which way will be stronger. 


In the future or in the past 

Which one is the best to cast? 

Which to choose, I know, Wow! 

I’ll make it in the present, Now! 


Will it be love, or an adventure? 

Just not sure which way to venture. 

Pride, or greed, or virtue true 

Still not sure which one to do. 


And to the characters, should they be 

Happy, sad, or just angry. 

Should they be really good, or really bad? 

Or maybe they’ll just be half mad? 


Now I’m thinking as to whether 

They should even be together. 

Away these two could be carried 

Maybe even to get married. 


Is it really such a crime 

If my story’s not done on time? 

Should I leave my story due to time 

Behind and change it all to rhyme? 


I’ll start again, I’ll watch the time, 

Yes, I’ll make it up in rhyme. 

OK, I’m ready to start again, 

Oh, my goodness, where’s my pen? 


So, I look both far and near 

There it is, behind my ear. 

Now for my glasses a search is lead 

Yes, that’s right they’re on my head. 


I’m settled in, ’bout to begin 

On my face there is a grin. 

Getting ready, about to see… 

Can’t believe, I gotta pee? 


Yes, I know it’s not a crime 

If this isn’t done on time. 

At least I know I can’t get fired 

‘Cause finally I am retired. 


Finally, all settled in 

Then my clock starts chiming in, 

“Read the plaque upon the wall. 

Where it says for one and all. 

In this home there are no winners, 

If they don’t get their chicken dinners.” 


The clock ticks off, as if to say 

Not to waste your day away. 

Wasting time with indecision, 

just get started in that kitchen. 


I call out, “You’ll be just fine, 

All I need is one more line.” 

A voice calls back, “Don’t worry dear, 

I’ll get myself another beer.” 


I work and work on line by line 

Everything seems to go just fine 

And everything does seem to rhyme, 

But don’t forget to watch your time. 


On my leg I feel a paw, loudly now my cats do call. 

“You must know that it’s a crime not to feed your cats on time. 

In this home there are no winners, 

if we don’t get our chicken dinners.” 


When I called out one more time, 

“Not to worry, you’ll be just fine, 

All I need is one more line.” 

Then I heard the clock strike nine. 


Could someone else please be the winner? 

Just this time to get their dinner? 

Heaven help me if I’m wrong 

To have written until dawn. 


Ahh, I’m feeling a little stronger 

But can I hold out for much longer? 

Is it really such a crime, 

Just to search for one more line? 


Ohh, I know it’s getting worse, 

As I search for one more verse. 

I tell myself I’ll be just fine, 

If I can get just one more line. 


Tried to stop on the next day, 

but the words won’t go away. 

Haunted me, “you’ll be just fine, 

All you need is one more line.” 


Yes, I know it’s not a crime, 

If my work’s not done on time. 

But, my family’s getting thinner 

Should I start their chicken dinner? 


I hear a voice I know quite well, 

Coming through clear as a bell. 

“Eine Frau darf nicht vergessen” (a wife must not forget) 

“Um zu leben, muss man essen.” (To live, one must eat.) 


Kirche, Kinder, und die Küche 

(church, child, and the kitchen) 

Simply means to stop your bitchin’ 

And get back cookin’ in your kitchen. 


As the plaque says on the wall, 

There it states for one and all, 

“In this home there are no winners, 

If they don’t get their chicken dinners.” 


Now they say, “She is much thinner. 

She should have made their chicken dinner.” 

They hear my voice come from my grave, 

“What do you mean, I can’t be saved?” 


Surely it is not a crime, 

Not to have things done on time? 

I thought that I would be just fine. 

I just needed one more line. 


The people call, “She is a sinner. 

She should’ve made their chicken dinner.” 

Cause of death was not a crime. 

Death was due to too much rhyme. 


They hear my voice one more time, 

“Can I get off with just a fine?” 

The Cat Court hollered in this time, 

“Let the punishment fit the crime.” 


They thought and thought and did debate 

What would be a true fair fate. 

“Let the punishment fit the crime. 

Take away her one last line.” 


“Now it’s left to her decision, 

Can she truly now envision, 

That her life can be just fine 

Without finding one more line?” 


“Or will she lead a life of crime, 

Tellin’ her family they’ll be just fine 

While searching for that one last line. 

As her family gets much thinner 

Waiting for their chicken dinner.” 


As time did tell, and we all knew well, 

That the writing on the wall, stated there for one and all, 

“In this home there are no winners, 

If they don’t get their chicken dinners.’ 


by Mia Tsaktsirlis, 2024

Mia is her name,

Known as “T” in the game.

She has long brown hair and is very tall,

Her favorite sports are basketball and volleyball.

She is an athletic girl standing at five foot nine,

With a tan skinned face and piercing brown eyes.

She loves to drink refreshers and iced tea,

And can probably find her wearing a graphic tee.

She loves a home cooked meal, totally a foodie,

And especially likes to cuddle up in a hoodie.

She has two cats, naturally is an animal lover

With a love for the beach during the hot summer

A big homebody at heart,

But for coffee, she’ll definitely depart.

In her heart, family holds a cherished part,

Her rational mind sets her apart.

She loves to have a good time with her friends,

You could say that is where most of her happiness depends.

My Baseball Dream

Anonymous, 2024

My Baseball Dream


The risky path to becoming a College baseball player

The smell of the fresh green grass

The feeling of being up at the plate

Bright shining lights up in the sky

Crowds and teammates screaming your name

Everyone says you won’t make it

The injuries you will face on the way

Teammates chanting your name when you’re up on the plate

The dark sky, eating up the baseball

The ball falling from the sky like a falling meteor

The feeling of making contact

Having a catch with your teammates and friends

Coaches yelling across the field

 This is the path to my future of making it big


After Dawn

by Anne Kelly-Edmunds, 2024


dissolves into morning’s

shades of February gray

a backdrop

for skeletal trees

their buds-to-be

only a dream


by Maria F Rojas, 2024


Trying to be the only smile around 

Radiating sparks from my pearly whites, 

receiving nothing but frowns 

Standing in a crowd of a hundred 

on the subway car 

Madness inspired by frustration drives people 

One train car containing nothing 

but stories full of pain 

The daily cortisol

of rushing down the stairs 

Probability of falling: high 

The need to catch the next train 

surpasses the risk 


Different lives packed together, 

not one familiar but tightly squeezed 

All random strangers with ongoing thoughts 

Closed by the border of their mouths 

They see, think, 

then quiet down out of fear of society


Many facades, 

only locals detect sincerity 

The fear when a homeless person walks by


reminds me of the police report on the news last night 

about five stabbings in the train 

chills in my body 

Constantly investigating body gestures, 

seeing if my car will be the next victim

No other choice but to take that same system 

because it’s 2.90


The innocent questions of a baby New Yorker, 

“Where is the 6?” 

Compared to “Where is Port Authority?” 

From the pickpocketer 

with angry expressions

The face tells a story, 

the words deceive

One learns to differentiate 

with the scars of scares 


The inaudible words murmured across my seat 

Unable to pinpoint a face, 

none to see, looking down, 

typing away their souls

A phone takes away the power of talk 

No social interaction, 

so we befriend technology 

No hellos, no sweet asks, 

no, please, and thank you 


When walking into the subway, 

reality hits

The hidden truth opens up 

when the subway doors unlock 

A new future at every stop, 

walking in to meet what lies ahead 


The wave of regret strikes 

when there’s an emergency stop 

and my mind remembers my fight with my mom 

last night

Flashes before my eyes 

I’m suffocating with strangers in a metal box 

No way out, no touching the third rail, 

no oxygen 

Too many rules

to remember when a disaster strikes


I’m trapped 

I’m living in a nightmare 

I’m just trying to get to school 

I have a math test next period 

I’m running late, 

cutting it too close to that first bell 

My mind forgets s=rθ, 

occupied with escaping a possible end 


The agonizing moment 

of being left under the Earth 

with people who aim to hurt 

I need to yell 

but I must hold my composure to save my life

I want to hold onto someone 

and not this cold pole

Someone who can comfort me, 

but who are these people? 

Their eyes full of sorrow, 

overwhelmed by deadlines and schedules 

No one seems to care until death is facing them

One turns their attention to the tiny red light, 

ignored until it’s the last sign of hope 

A red button can’t save a life 

It can dictate to others when it’s about to be taken away

But, yet again 

this is a regular 8 AM routine

*The unfortunate adrenaline* 


What has life become? 

The mysteries of the NYC subway are held in my mind, 

all close deaths 

none successful at taking my life in a breath.

The Mask

by Maria F Rojas, 2024

The Mask

I’m afraid.

All I am is a girl 

who has the world in her hands.

Is that real or a phrase to drain the life from me?

I have pains. 

No one asks them.

They ask for my prettiness in foul moments.

They ask for my gentleness in a rough world. 

They ask for my calmness during a storm.  


I weep after seeing the bloody sight of living,

and what humanity must put up with.

The world is melting 

and it’s fiery hell is burning my soul,

reducing the level of me in my body and

creating an abyss in my thick bones.


Using people’s influences as my band-aid. 

Stepping into the wrong path.

Taking the pill of freedom.

She said it would only inflict ecstasy.

“I thought it would ease my pain.” 

The doctors say, 

I now need a soul cleansing from the euphoria. 

It was deadly fun. 

I’m just a girl with mistakes as her past. 


Setting foot in reality.

I’m back to the routine of 

being under pressure to be a red diamond.


reflecting on what I see and am: 

Seeing the bloody wails of my mother and I 

being made up of a red heart and insides 

stand a chance. 

But I thought diamonds were precious and rare.

I see a future with my coat as dark as my life.

Opaque in its brilliance, not radiating light, and 

afflicting gloom on others.

My friends, too, black in their shine, 

all influenced by the outside.

No longer feeling unique am I?

Coping and pasting.

Still urging to be as red as the sea.


Confused in my thinking: 

Am I made of flesh or standards?

Two opposite wholes I must wear.

Working until midnight, 

fixing my masks in the mirror to pass life standards. 

Seeing much to be erased:

Cleaning up my mistakes, 

picking up my self-esteem, 

adding on a shiny smile, 

pulling out thoughts and

wiping away my fats.

I know perfection is all that defines me. 

But life is a straight line

and I can’t be messing it up with my zig-zag ways.


I heard tales as a child of life as love,

not feeling dead because of it. 

The injustices all go through. I could change them. 

Would life allow me to correct the wrong?

Or would it treat me as an error for pursuing the “impossible?”

I’m a part of a system that plots to kill me.

My purple eye bags show my endurance.


Suppose to

take the screams and frustration of the world,

but it can’t take mine. 

Instead, it silences my cries for a breath 

while drowning in rejections.


The thought of opening my jaw to speak burns my mind. 

Too much work.

I’m not lazy. I’m just putting up with what some say is life. 


Urging to be back in my euphoria when it gets hard:

I want to speed 100 on the highway and feel the privilege of being alive. 

I want to go to the top of the Empire State Building and see how little life is.

I want to climb Everest and understand how valuable oxygen is.

I want to run a marathon and thank my body for being perfect in its mechanism. 

I want to travel the world and see the beauty of my home, which I take for granted. 

But how could I risk it again? 

I should distract myself by 

checking off the strength of my disguise.

I can’t be seen.


If breathing were not natural, 

my exhaustion would have chosen to give it up.


by Courtney Harrington, 2024

Cats are marvelous creatures,

With their soft fur and cute features.

They run and play with delight,

Bringing joy and happiness day and night.

Their eyes, so bright and filled with mystery,

Hold secrets of ancient feline history.

They curl up in a cozy spot to rest,

Dreaming of adventures, they’re truly blessed.

Their purrs are like a melody,

A gentle hum that brings tranquility.

They rub against your legs, so warm and sweet,

Claiming you as their human, a bond complete.


by Charlotte Heotis, edited by PM Heotis, 2024

The goblins are a comin’
They’re traipsing up my walk
Some look mighty ghoulish
Speaking in such a gibberish
They have unearthly grins
Some I’m sure are aliens
There’s animals and ghastly insects
And humans with grotesques defects
Fairies dancing on the lawn
Even a cavorting little fawn
Do you think this is all a dream?
Of course not, it’s just Halloween!

Awaken My Soul

by Charlotte Heotis, edited by PM Heotis, 2024

Awaken My Soul

Guide my ever thought and deed
Comfort me in times of need
Set my course upon the sea
Lay my path in step with thee

Awaken My Soul

Do not leave me at the great abyss
Take me to the precipice
Let me glimpse your plan for me
Then shift your winds and set me free
Should I from grace dare fall
Give me a loud awaking call