Moving Words Competition 2021 Winners
This year’s Moving Words Competition 2021 six winning poems were selected from 211 poems by this year’s judge, Arlington’s 2nd Poet Laureate Holly Karapetkova, who also has a poem on display. View the poems below and on Arlington’s ART buses from February through September 2021.
Jona Colson, W. Luther Jett, May-Mei Lee, Lori Rottenberg, Michele L. Simms-Burton, Rana Jaafar Yaseen
Ode to Post-Virus
By Jona Colson
It will be here again.
The summer with its vow
of greens and ripening.
It will be here again—
the world we know.
Our short life in a long day
of light and touch.
It will be here again,
and we will find what we lost.
By W. Luther Jett
Washington Grove, MD
When a stone
is raised above another, who
shall be lifted and who
shall do the lifting?
Who is kept down
and who will be the keeper?
did the tower become
The American Dream
By May-Mei Lee
In the distance, I see my mother
as she gathers kindle from the side of a road in Toisan while
my father kneads pizza dough in the Woodies’ basement Sbarro
where my two feet now stand in Gucci sneakers
worth wages formed by tired hands.
My Father’s Voice
By Michele Simms-Burton
Sounds like thunder on a summer day
When the Great Lakes spit out their discontent.
His voice levies the scent of peace when
Ailing times slashed my dreams into fragments
That cautionary voice words trapped in stutters
Syllables creeping from tongue to air
Yet I tasted each one held them like
Pearls hoping to find a way a way.
Pearls from Paradise
By Rana Jaafar Yaseen
I invite certitude.
Stars come down to help.
As we leave our past stories to break away, we dress up.
Such a joy!!
I walk this path, onward, perpetuating this unstoppable resurrection.
I just walk…
A book is in my purse.
Light is within me.
I embrace one word: rise.
Suns, like beads, surround my ivory neck.
By Lori Rottenberg
You are the day of short sleeves in March,
the bouquet held behind the back,
the giggling group waiting in the darkened room.
Named only for yourself, you carry
no weight, gliding in the glorious
center of your own moment.
With your sunburst face, you teach
that love is not a cup but a window:
hearts cannot overfill, instead they open
to the infinite we are willing to admit.
Poet Laureate Poem
By Holly Karapetkova
Poet Laureate of Arlington, Virginia
A wall is not needed;
a fence will keep nothing out.
Let the weeds run wild.
Let the chipmunks burrow under
and find their way around this open yard.
There will be wildflowers here
and small winged insects
who know how to keep themselves.
They do not need our help.