Prairie Light Review Poems

by Nathan on April 23, 2014 (PoetrySchool)

This semester, I had the opportunity to sign up for a 1-credit class that helped with editing College of DuPage's literary magazine, the Prairie Light Review. This magazine allows for students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community to send in poetry, short stories, photographs, and works of art for their chance to get into the magazine. The spring issue--which focuses on the theme of hunger and sub-titled "The Emptiness Edition"--will be coming out in two weeks. I decided to submit four poems, each somehow dealing with hunger, and I'm very pleased with how they turned out. Reprinted here are the four poems I sent in.

Arguing With a Werewolf

This one is the favorite poem that I wrote. The poem isn't actually about a werewolf, but of an external/internal, good vs. evil struggle. I just chose the image of a werewolf because it represents two sides hungering for control: The human against the monster, which is what this is supposed to represent. The beast lines are italicized to distinguish them from the human.

We're arguing internally

We're arguing eternally!

He wants out, this beast within me

I want out, I want to be free!

Ravenous in his desire

I burn with hate, burn like fire!

The side of me I can't escape

The same side that will watch you break!

He taunts, he presses for control

To shatter your heart, claim your soul!

Leave nothing left but horrid rage

I'm predator and you are prey!

He has to stay, kept deep inside

Why do you fight, why do you hide?

This is my nature nevermore

Go back to what we were before!

I was the monster I now fear

But now you're soft, we disappeared!

There's only me, you're nothing but

A fantasy you conjured up!

It's what I say, to keep you down

To keep me locked beneath the ground!

Inside my heart, clasped within bone

To rot and die as one disowned!

I let you free for far too long

Once there was us, once we were strong!

Every morning I was waking

To what we were undertaking!

Nightly carnage that we beget

With evil thoughts and dark intent!

But now those days are gone and black

I want them here, I want them back!

Not again, for I have command

No! You're weak, you're just a man!

I resolve not to let you loose!

Your will tightens, just like a noose…

You see it yourself, feel it too

Those days are gone, my time is through…

No more control, no more release

You are master, and I am beast…

You're weak, and now I'm unafraid

You're predator, and I am prey…

The roles turned round, the roles reversed

The cursed man free, the free beast cursed…

I won't surrender to this pain

You're predator and I am prey…

You won't take me, won't get away

You're predator…and I am prey.

Seat Hunt

Amusingly, this poem was more of a spur-of-the-moment idea that I just tried to have fun with. It describes the annoyance of various situations where you just can't find somewhere to sit. I guess it was inspired by my taking the bus to school, so thanks to Pace for the inspiration.

Buses, stadiums, concert halls

People move like billiard balls

Looking for a certain seat to take

And don't you hate it when you find one claimed?

"That's for my friend, cousin, brother"

Now we have to go and find another

There's five of us, but only two there

We won't separate, won't even dare.

There's a bunch, in the middle of the row

Past legs and bodies, away we go

"Excuse me, sorry, can I get past?"

Like fighting a river that's flowing fast.

Alone, on the bus, no seats remain

But I keep an eye out just in case

"Stop requested" are magic words

To start the struggle through the herds.

You see their eyes, the predators

Looking, waiting for their turn

To find the seat they think is best

To sit down, smile, finally rest.

Every day, a new hunt dawns for some

To find that seat when legs are numb

To rest the body, let it lie

Enjoy the show, the ride, the drive.

I Hunger For Something More

This poem represents spiritual hunger, looking for something beyond than what the world gives to sustain us. While I never explicitly refer to God (only in passing with the word "Hands"), this poem is inspired by my own faith and what that faith strives for.

You can give me cash

All the fortunes of a thousand kings

You can give me love

But it won't ever be enough for me

You can give me air

But I'll always forget how to breathe

What I hunger for

Is something you can never bring.

I am not sustained

By the food I grew with my own hands

The life I planned out

Slips through my fingers once again

No matter how much

I eat, I find myself hungry and then

The process repeats

On and on, without foreseeable end.

What I hunger for

Are not the riches of a life I made

What I hunger for

Instead are riches of a life I gave

What I hunger for

Is for someone to look into my face

And smile and say

They're proud of me for finding my place.

And where will that be?

Here, at a desk, at a shop, anywhere

Writing of hunger

And eventual fulfillment, love, and care

Using all my gifts

To impart a story with a lesson there

To tell them the truth:

There is no hunger that we can't bear.

We can be sustained

By food we can't grow, but food we can eat

Created by Hands

That fill empty stomachs with joy so sweet

No matter how much

We eat, we'll never grow full or weak

Our hunger over

But with food always there, just in reach.

What I hunger for

Is the day we feed the human race

What I hunger for

Is to see full souls, famine erased

What I hunger for

Is for someone to look into each face

And smile and say

We'll never grow hungry, not in this place.

The Mountain

My final piece, this was a concept poem detailing a mountain climb. Check out the shape of the poem itself. The image of the poem as a whole is what I was really striving for. I thought it would be a fun challenge, which it was. Bear in mind, I know zilch about climbing mountains, but of course you could always substitute some allegory for metaphysical hunger here. Whatever floats your boat.

I

Am

Not

Down

I reach

Shaking, crawling

Extending, poor frozen fingers

Numb from the chill, so vicious here

The wind my foe, every breath difficult

Every step is agony, every heartbeat loud

Pounds inside its cage, impatient, waits for rest

But not without complaint; so it fights against me too?

Inner and outer, this struggle is what's keeping me alive

Though it tries it's hardest to destroy my body, a paradox

This mountain seeks to kill me, and my heart seeks to break me

But wait…now I can see the end; the climb, the struggle is almost done

I have arrived, finally at the top, finally where I've struggled to reach

I lay down on the softest mattress the mountain could ever provide

My enemies battle me no longer; they know they are all beaten

By my drive and my ambition; I am the winner of this match

I am the winner forever, the champion you couldn't beat

You fought well, tired heart; you fought well, mountain

But neither of you beat me; rested, I stand and survey

And prepare to leave here, begin the trek down now

Return to the world below, the world I belong to

Going down is easier, faster, takes less time

No more fighting, no more crying

Heart is silent, bit like snow

Silent, quiet, contented

Soft, gentle, fulfilled

Hunger's calmed

When I reach

Bottom

Tired

Rest

Now

Those are the poems, and I'm proud of all of them. They were fun to write, and I'm glad of the experience I got working with PLR as well. I'll be joining them again next year in the fall, and I plan on sending in more submissions over my second year at COD.

Tags: PoetrySchool

Comments

  • I enjoyed reading them all, Nathan. You amaze me with your creative talent.

    Comment by Nancy Elliott on April 24, 2014

  • Ahhh...love reading your work! And I beg to differ - you have climbed a mountain - maybe even a mountain or two! Love you!

    Comment by Becky Michel on May 16, 2014

Leave a Comment

Submit Comment