Poetry and Imagination with Laurie Filipelli 2021

This year’s Poetry & Imagination group began as eight separate Zoom squares but quickly merged into one creative force: the Anonymous Animals. Together these poets took collaboration and chance poetry to new heights. We studied surrealism, and wrote about dreams. We put fears and struggles into words, transforming them into hope and power. While our magic was that of a strong group dynamic, each voice truly stood out. Please enjoy these one-of-a-kind creations!



 

GROUP WORK


People Don’t Frighten Me (after Maya Angelou) [1]

By Anonymous Animals


“You try too hard”

“You’re not supposed to be this way”

“Do you even try?”

“Can’t you take a joke?”

They tell me this but I will

Not be defined.

Not give into your words.

Not stay silent.

People don’t frighten me

I will not run away.

Yet

Being ignored is watching the world through a glass cage

But being judged leaves you suffocating, strangled, torn apart

Even if its constructive, criticism can make me feel like nothing

Like maggots writhing in my stomach

But still I try

Though they try to drown me in their words

“Change the way you act”

“You’re doing this wrong”

“You’re not good enough”

I swim back up

And still

I believe

I smile

I fight

I will not

Lose hope,

Be used,

Stop trying.

Crumple into a paper ball.

People don’t frighten me

I hold on to

My music, hold on to

Those happy times

Memories, emotions of my past, pushing me

To my future

Most importantly

I may disappoint others,

But I will not disappoint myself.

I will not accept what they say is wrong.

I will not create my own heartbreaks

Through the expectations we think others have

I will always fight for the stars

And I will never stop trying

And I will always accept myself

Not perfect, but beautiful.

Human...


People will never frighten me.


Last Night I Dreamt...

by The Anonymous Animals


It was about an ominous silver slice

Of scintillating cheese running, running.

I was in Idaho. . .

I think.

Maybe not.

And in the sky,

An insipid serpent floated above and

Held a bumpy indigo quill.

His quill wrote about chasing stinky, fluffy monsters and

Watching golden butterflies eat the sunset

They were wearing shoes that were running, running to

My house in Idaho…

I think.

Maybe not.

Bright dragons of neon colors breathed fire and wore

Sparkling bronze earrings

Exuberant work! The dragons exclaimed

As they shook the tiny hands of the butterflies

I woke up, realizing what a strange dream that was.

And trudging through the

normal instances of my life.

In Idaho.

I think.

Maybe not

 

Eesha Hariharan


The Mountain of Success

The rocky mountain awaits me

The fog is clouding the air

Where can I go?

If I fall,

Rejection and failure await me

So I keep climbing

The mountain of success

Location in the center of hard work

Is the result of

Determination

Hard work

And passion

But

Honestly,

What is a view without a climb?


Mars

Mars

As dark as the night sky

When the full moon passes by

Cold, secretive

But once you arrive

It is anything but

Bubbling volcanoes

Rich canyons

Colossal mountains

Every nook and cranny represents something

Canyons—the downs of life

Volcanoes—the anger you can never control

Mountains—the climb

“Help!”

I hear the shouting

People asking

For help

They’re scrambling

Looking

They don’t know I have it

What they’re looking for

They have no ideas that I control their voice

They talk

Because I want them to

They’re not saying anything

But their tiny mouths are moving

And that’s enough

I am the only one who can speak

In a sea of fish

I am the shark

I everyone is red, then I’m green

I’m the only one to be heard right

Now it’s my time to shine

And no one can stop me.

No one can steal my thunder

People are my audience

Enough is enough

I let them speak

I hear shouting

Of outrage

Of distress

Of happiness

But then I’ve had enough

No one can talk

I silence them again

And continue my dance.

 

Leah Panga



In this world there is no gravity

Everything floats up and away

The oceans once filled with

Fish

Coral

And Manatees

Have all drifted away


Not all gravity is lost

Thanks to the sun that is

But all the engaging life has simply just

Vanished


Houses were still there

Since there was gravity then

But the inside however

Will always be a mess

So keep this in mind

Don’t eat stuff out of the blue


No one knows who or what took gravity

But they do know when

(Except the mouse knows all)



I take it wherever I go

From here to there

It likes it that way

It has no legs anyway

Only a face that’s black when it needs to recharge

But multiply faces when it’s awake

Which all depend on Mood

It loves it’s face outlined with a rose gold paint

And it’s arms

A pastel pink

With a button and holes to serve its purpose

When it was first born it had many siblings

All alike in style but different in color

But then they had to separate

They placed them in a crate

Filled with eight

They were very delicate

Like newborns

Then they were sold

Or adopted

As I like to say


Fear

Everyone’s fear is different

Some admit it

Because their brave

They don’t have the fear of being haunted

While the rest of us do

We have that shadow lurking behind us

Ready to attack when the time is right

The time when we break into tears

Knowing, believing that it will attack

Our tears taste sweet but in a painful way

In a way that we never experienced

Our skin feels itchy

But when you itch it

It burns

The difference between those

Who admit their fears and

Those who don’t

Is that they don’t care

About the shadow

They’ll fight off the shadow

Even though they’re scared

So fight for everything you believe in

And fight off that shadow


 

Zoya Sharma


Scrambled


Waves that flow like paint

Mingling in moonlight

To make me

Color on the canvas

Indescribable, crazy

Something I am

My emotions

Longing for something new

Something

Only the colors know



Aquarium


Silent, gliding

Twisting, turning

Practically flying

I know it sounds fun

But the breath on the glass

Spreads like cobwebs and cracks

And the kids scream if I get too close

While the moms try to take perfect photos

But I sleep happily

Knowing one day my

Friends and I will escape

This terrible place,

Life in an aquarium.


Underwater


Sunlight beams

Through the ceiling

A comforting silence

To hear your own thoughts

Like life is covered

In a diaphanous cloth


 

Ari Chaudhary


The Noise in my Head


Of course, I’m loud—

I have millions of thoughts

Rushing through my head.

Chaos swallowed up in imagination—

Crashing, Colliding, Combining.

Whirlwinds of color—

Vibrant yellows camouflaged as gold,

Scorching crimsons, bright, dauntless, bold

Smudged—no splattered—on what used to be

The dusty emptiness of my mind.

My world isn’t limited to what you

See, Hear, or Think


The World Through a Window


I’m able to see the world—

Vivid shades of gold and bronze.

Lemongrass woods

And a sweet cinnamon breeze.


I’m able to see the world—

A controlled mess of colors.

Peachy lighting and periwinkle clouds.

Spring storms followed by lacey white flowers.


I’m able to see the world—

But I can’t feel it.

I can’t taste the woods or smell the breeze.

I can’t hear the rain or feel the flowers.


I’m stuck.


Stuck in my glass cage.

Where my voice has no sound—

And falls like powder to the floor—

Sweeped away, insignificant as dust.


I Will Fight

After What I Will by Suheir Hammad


I will not

stay silent as you

haunt me. I will not

forfeit to your foolish games

that haunt me— that torment me.

I will not become

your puppet dragged along

By tearing strings, living

with an empty mind–

an empty body—

an empty heart—

I may blister and bleed and bruise

But I will not break or shatter

I will fight.

A crescent moon shining brighter

in your insipid darkness.

I will fight.

 

Maya Basu-Dasgupta


Music Box


I twist the lever in my fingertips

I turn it faster, the song skips

Into a whole new pace, just like that

It slips out of my hands onto the mat

It plays its last notes for the final time

As it breaks, the notes ring in my mind

Basically a death cry, nothing less

I sigh as a try to clean up the mess

The rug is completely covered in glass

I believe I have picked up all the brass

As I carry the glass I feel a tiny jab on my hand

I deeply cut myself but pain I can withstand

Although I might need some aloe to heal

I just use my bandaid to conceal

And all of this for a song

That wasn’t even that long


Stay Strong


I can stay strong

I can ignore the voices

I know I am better than what they say

How can I prove them wrong?

I can’t

I will continue to fall deeper and deeper

The voices ring again

The only thing my forgetful mind can think of is no

I glance down into this shimmery blackness

Then a stray thought goes through my negative filters

I can do this

This thought can give me power, energy

If I let it take over my mind

Stay away from this madness

I have to climb out of this nightmare

If I can hold myself together

If I stay strong


What Kind Of Person Are You?


“What kind of person are you”? they ponder, eyes flashing

I never understood that, I can’t find an answer matching

If I had to conjure a good enough guess,

And at least attempt to do my very best

I would respond with something a little like this

I am not at all only pure and innocent bliss,

Most people have layers and I can’t dismiss

That the ones I have I can resist

The urge to let myself fall into this hole

There is some time where I won’t be able to run

Where one trait takes over my soul

I don’t know the source of this madness

I don’t wanna fall in this deep, sticky blackness

But when everything is done,

I’m afraid I won’t be able to run

 

Sofia Avalos


Shattered Voice


Why is it

that there is

a hole in my chest

and a chasm of knots in my stomach?

There are twenty people

in front of me

as I rise up to speak.

But when I reach

the podium

their eyes crawl across

my skin

like maggots

and beetles

and suddenly I smile.

Grimly.

Twenty people?

More like twenty thousand

all of them

staring

staring

staring

and whispering

as I open my mouth.

Knots in my stomach?

Or how about butterflies?

I laugh.

You could say it’s something

like that.

As my steps

echo hollowly

the familiar taste

of fear

and bile

and vomit

shove their way to my tongue.

And the golden crown

of confidence

I had once been wearing

proudly,

so proudly before

now lay dull and

cracked and

covered in cobwebs

at the tips of my paralyzed feet.


The Faerie Queen


The Faerie Queen

tricked me

into giving up my eyes

(she needed a new pair of earrings,

the color of hot coffee and tar)

I should have never trusted her,

but her honey

smile

made me blissfully ignore the crown of

bone

on her brow.

So I stumble through the forest,

hot blood leaking from my eyes

and there are no more colors just

Black.

Black.

Black.

A cold sticky pool

of shadows and night

(without the stars).

I finally fall to my knees.

Sharp stones

and sticks

and glass

dig into my blistered skin.

And as I cry out,

I know I would not need

a pair of eyes to see the

pain

she caused me.


Raspberry


There are monsters in my closet

in my head

and under my bed.

You can’t see them, sure,

but let me tell you,

I know they’re there.

They hiss and laugh

as they revel in my fear,

until a trumpet sounds

and my hero is here.

A little cherry flame

clutched in my hand,

strapping on pink armor;

before saving the land.

And as I fall asleep

she always places a

kiss on my hair.

The little red hero

named Raspberry, teddy bear

 

Sam Deterling


Mixed with the imperfect hand, not the perfect Mixer. Measured with guess not by knife. Small eggshells in it instead of none. Not a perfect cake but still pretty well done. The icing isn’t perfect and it's a little lumpy but it still tastes good for the most part, and that's what's important, right? This cake is the cake of life. It's not perfectly measured but generally, it tastes pretty good. The

ingredients aren’t perfectly fresh, some are store bought while others hand crafted. No one's cake is perfect and they have some rotten ingredients but everyone's cake has some good and unique taste in it.


You’re not good enough”

This is what they tell me

Though it may not be true

It sears my heart like a

Burning pot of stir fry.


But it doesn’t anymore

Because it's not true

They may say

“You don’t act right”

I may not but that’s

What makes me, me.


After all I am a person

And if I don’t frighten myself

Then why should others frighten me?


A boy searches for his hearing. Looking for the coyote who stole it (his hearing is with a bird now). The boy is not aware of his surroundings and is snuck up on often. He can only detect what he can see. He finds a den and inside the coyote. The coyote tells the boy where his hearing is with the specific bird but the trickster coyote knows that boy can’t hear what he is saying. The boy is able to pick out the word bird. Now for the rest of his life, he shoots every bird he sees with a slingshot blind to the cries of his friends to stop being cruel.