Friday, February 11, 2011

Why You Should Write Poetry When You're Bored

{In which you get to read poetry I wrote in high school}

One day as a junior in high school, I got incredibly bored at school. This, unsurprisingly, happened quite often; but that day I decided to write a poem about how bored I was (yes, really).

That might have been the end of the story had my mother not found out about some sort of contest at the local library. It was two related contests, actually — one for poetry and one for art. The library was seeking submissions for their annual teenage poetry book. There were cash prizes — $75 if you won first place in either contest, and $50 and $25 if you placed second or third, respectively, in the poetry contest.

My mom was eager that my sister and I enter the contest, and to sweeten the deal, said that she would match whatever prize we won. "Matching a prize of zero dollars is still zero," I pointed out. I grumbled and protested a bit, but caved in rather sooner than Diane because, as luck would have it, I already had a poem I could enter. That meant it would take but little work to oblige my mom and get a chance at winning some cash. So I spruced up that poem about boredom and called it my entry. For the art contest, I snapped a shot of Diane reading and Photoshopped a bird and some stars in the background. Not great, but Mom said it was better than nothing, and off it went.

I didn't think much of it, but a while later I got a phone call from the library. I'd won first place! I was only a little embarrassed by the fact that they'd had to correct a word in my poem. One letter, actually. But I still won! I was very excited. With my mom's deal, that meant $150 for the fruits of boredom. Pretty awesome!

And that's not all. The next day, we had a message on the answering machine - another call from the library. "Wow, um, we didn't realize the same person won both the art and the poetry contests," said the woman from the library. "You are a girl of many talents." I was pretty shocked, since I thought my artwork was terrible. And I couldn't believe I'd won both contests! I wonder if they were tempted to choose another winner? But they'd said that the entries would be judged anonymously, so I guess they were doing a good job of that. Winning both was still pretty surreal, though. But maybe there weren't too many entrants.

But anyway, that's how I earned $300 thanks to some scribbling and some quick Photoshopping skills. Who knew boredom could be such a great muse?

Oh, and here's my poem. It's free-form and it doesn't rhyme and I thought it was cool not to capitalize anything other than the title. I may have changed a word or two since then, but yeah, I actually made money on this poem. Amazing, huh?

Liquid Time

i wish that time would freeze with fun
solidify into a sheet of ice
like a giant pane of frosted glass
and then we would slide and glide
across the mirror surface
while glacial time crawls forward inch by inch
and the sun would not so quickly
melt the laughter into the past

i wish the heat of adversity’s fires
- the burning flames that make me sweat and cry -
would boil the brook of time until
it, and memory,
evaporate into white wisps of smoke
floating, dissolving, away on the breeze

but time insists on flowing free
a liquid that cannot be caught
it slips between my long fingers
like thought, like wind, like sunlight streams

neither does time heed my pleas
the hushed whispers of "hurry, rush, rush" -
in moments of deathly monotony
i can feel time fall away
drip by drip

Looking at it now, I think it starts off rather awkwardly, but it improves somewhat near the end. I do like the analogy of the different states of water even if the execution is rough. But yeah, it's a poem by teenage Linda! Aww, so cute, right? Hard to believe I'm not a teenager any more. Where did all the time go?! 

Anyway, thanks for reading, and if you feel inspired to write poetry about how bored you are, feel free to share them with me and give me all the credit for it! (But you're on your own for the cash prizes.)


  1. Wonderful. Great job on winning those prizes! The poem isn't half bad, either.

  2. haha that was a while ago. i was pretty surprised i won! glad you don't
    think the poem is complete garbage :)
    (i think i'm a lot harder on it since i'm the one who wrote it)