Jillian Louie – HS of American Studies – 2020 Award Winning Poems

Jillian Louie, 12th Grade
The High School of American Studies at Lehman College
Tribute to Mr Murphy – omurchadha1@juno.com
New English teacher: Mr James McSherry – jmcsherry@hsas-lehman.org


the winter begs for mercy on broken knees and worn-out jeans,
she tried to turn herself into a gun
but the hollowness wasn’t enough.

you reach for crooked alleyway encounters,
steal her purse and his heart,
have you ever mugged someone so beautiful?

she tilts her head and you are a ghost.

but you love me,
don’t you?

tell me you do,
tell me you’re not miserable tangled up in my chafing veins.
tell me you’re awake when it is three in the morning
and I am terrified of Virginia Woolf.

your shadow opens on an empty stage,

welcome to the party! the mad hatter is dead, i
shall lead the ceremonies to lower gun
to chest and man
to dirt.

diamond-tipped shovels to breakthrough December’s embrace–
laid forgiven in nameless concrete grave
glanced only by neon lettered lights.

— Based on My Heart and I by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I fear I am weary, my heart and I.
A bit of passion through and through
But nothing ever speaks the truth.
The cards and open serenade
In front of friends and foe alike;
a stillborn silence settles twice
In me, my heart and I.

I wheeze, I tire, my heart and I.
A fling with love no longer stable
To care I fear I am not able
Without a safety net or guard.
In truthfulness, I might remain
A commoner to royal pain
I can’t repeat, my heart and I.

A bit alone, my heart and I,
I sit polite, no happy grin,
I’ll never let you in again!
Indifferent, but he wanted me,
The glance not more than conscious choice,
I’d run to him without much poise.
I am still here, my heart and I.

A broken sound, my heart and I.
Much like a bird whose wings go slack
I beg like Winehouse, don’t go back.
No longer do I meekly fall;
A dalliance of upper crust
I run around but never touch.
No more “my dear’s,” my heart and I.

In this I mark, my heart and I,
A figure-eight of fantasy,
The world has now brought you to me!
The day of turning heads and eyes;
Yet when I wake I still breathe out,
The air is but grey-black smoke now;
I do not hope, my heart and I.

But I am strong, my heart and I
The careful stitching not undone
Repaired with deeply forthright love
In debt to friends from foreign lands.
Here comes again, the man to tempt
But I am clean whilst he’s unkempt
No more indeed, my heart and I.

If I had loved, my heart and I
A combination lock removed
The locker painted over, blue.
No longer will I have the past,
But loved I had, crashed meteor
I hope one day will fade some more.
I am content, my heart and I.