Prize Poetry

Pongo Poetry Prize - July 2010

This is the third winner of the Pongo Poetry Prize! Following the winning poem, there are links to three great poems that received Honorable Mention.


Watching Her 
by a young woman, age 16

i've watched my mother all of my life

i watched her let my father beat her till her skull broke open and bled across the hardwood floor

i watched her recover from that incident, return to my father, and become pregnant with yet another child whom she'd always ignore

i watched her struggle in chaos and self punishment while she filled her 135lb body with vodka, beer, and rum

i watched her get so angry at my older sister that she'd beat her till her fragile 98lb body was forced to become numb

i watched my mother live the life of an addict, an abuser, and a manipulator

i watched her try and hide these things that she'd always reveal until the day i walked down the street and watched her do something she couldn't conceal

i watched my mother do these things till the day she had successfully pushed everything, including her children, out of her life

i watched her unconsciously toss and turn in a dirty sleeping bag on the rainy seattle sidewalk of lake city way

yes, i've watched my mother all of my life
but sixteen years into watching i choose to no longer watch her strife


[Author Statement: I wrote this poem, “Watching Her,” while digesting my feelings around my mother’s struggle along her path of addiction. Her once sweet, intelligent, creative, and caring self was dragged down into a deep ditch that I call addiction. Though these qualities still remain, her ditch became so deep that light can no longer reach them. Writing. It’s my outlet. Whether I’m feeling weighed down with sadness or bursting with happiness, I am always able to lay my hands upon a pen and paper. As I scribble down my thoughts, my feelings, my memories, I detach from that which holds me back in life and I am truly free. No one can stop me from saying the things I so desperately need to give voice to. When I write, I play by my rules. This is where poetry comes into play. I can follow a famous structure like that of Japanese poetry’s Haiku, or a European form of poetry like the English or Italian sonnets. Yet if I want to write outside of the lines, challenge my creativity by creating my own structure, or simply having no structure, that is what I do. With writing comes freedom: freedom of expression and freedom to be you. This is why I write. And this is why I encourage other teens like me to find their configuration of freedom. Whether it is through your written words, song, or dance, find your outlet and never let it go.]



Honorable Mention, October 2010
Memory
My Best Friend Is in Love
Addiction

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