As the snow began to fall, The Journal sent out a winter and holiday-themed poetry casting call. Our favourites from the contest are featured below.
The First Sweater
Paige Kedrosky, Winner
I put on;
Smooth against my skin,
Plenty to wear
As winter grows,
As December blows.
The trees are bare,
The leaves now shed,
Outside, the world is chilled and dead.
But we do not mind the grey.
The fires glow rosy,
And Sweater to Sweater we stay,
Warm and cozy
The Christmas Hymn
Raechel Huizinga, Finalist
Our starry eyes are burnt out,
our veins are swimming in coffee
Our shoes are coffins
rotting through the empty weeks,
collecting dirt and dust.
And then, suddenly,
It’s for children, it’s all lies,
and besides, we’re too poor
to buy it.
Walking along…walking along…
none of us meeting each other’s eyes…
What’s that? In the sky?
The grey winter gloom is blooming
little white flowers
that fall softly on the concrete
like bruised fingers kissing a cracked piano,
pouring music into everything.
So we’ll fish out our beat up hearts
like rusty pennies
and share them at the bar
listening to the music man play, getting high,
the kings and queens of Christmas lights.
We’ll hang them all over the city
we don’t need money to make things pretty
because, after all,
brightness is meant for ending darkness
and reaching through walls
not for making your cathedrals glitter.
Don’t be bitter, be alive!
We’re screaming and swearing and drinking and daring
Bing Crosby is blaring,
what the hell are you wearing
that sadness for?
You’ve made it this far,
and you’re not alone.
We’re all fucked up skeletons
dancing and singing like drunk silver bells,
young and shiny,
the old man’s violin romping through our skin
like Christmas carols on ecstasy.
To the business men and homeless,
to the refugees and presidents,
to the crackheads and millionaires,
and single mothers on welfare,
have a drink, and smile,
and share your blanket.
Say Merry Christmas
to the ones who have hurt you,
because every person – no matter who –
can find sleep
under the glow of Christmas trees.
Sounds of laughter
like cheap bottles of cherry rum
spill rosy warmth into the numb streets
that stick out like frozen bones
and into our broken homes.
Here we hold each other,
and kind words between friends
like tiny flames
are all the gifts we have,
and all the gifts we want.
This year has been full of teeth
snapping with hate,
spitting out fear and strife.
But at Christmas time,
we throw away the knives
and choose compassion,
selflessness, kindness, love;
all these to prove
Christmas doesn’t mean having perfection
to have peace.
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