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Union Writing Contest: Check out this year’s Poetry winners!

NYHTC - November 21, 2009 Share/Save/Bookmark

Every year, the New York Hotel Trades Council holds a writing contest for high school students who have a parent who belongs to the union. Cash prizes are offered for three categories of writing: essay, poetry, and fiction/non-fiction narrative.

Support for the writing contest is provided by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. Donald Rubin is the son of Jay Rubin, who was the first president of NYHTC and led it for its first 40 years. The writing contest was instituted with a two-fold purpose: to promote creativity among the children of members of our Union, and to reinforce and expand the foundation's central mission, which is to fund innovative efforts to transform society's institutions and to empower individuals to develop their full potential.

Here are the winning entries in the 2009 Poetry Category.

First Place: Tykisha Brown
Second Place: Lucy Cabrera
Third Place: Tasnia Ali
Honorable Mention: Ireneusz Habrylo

The Flower Pot

By Tykisha S. Brown

Foreign alien soles kiss trodden stone
Thankfully caressing its new foundation
Solid, real, tangible
A reassurance resurrected after elongated journeys
Basking in God's touch
High above waters, hills, valleys
Journeys weeks, months, years in the making
The lustful desire to feel the soil of the free
Taught to be rich, full, heavy and fertile
Craving to place its distant seed in the earth
With faith believing that it'll cultivate
Nurtured by its prosperous minerals
Trusting that this soil will accept and love its new companion
Embracing each other freely
Showered by heavenly waterfalls
Waiting to reap the joys of what they have sowed
However, no farmer is the same
Different reactions to unfamiliar seeds in its cherished earth
Leads to change
The seed and soil become unsociable
Embraces exchanged for cold shoulders
Acceptation and love for distrust and doubt
The seed's necessity is questioned
Rich soil turns to dust
Leaving the seed bare, naked
Lustful desires turn into realizations and fears
The once anticipated kiss and caress and embrace is no more
A handful of seeds in one hand
A handful of soil in another
No development
No progress
No growth.

The Real Victims of Genocide

By Lucy Cabrera

I wake up and take a shower.
She wakes up and prays for life.
I stare at the mirror as I style my hair.
She prepares to make a deadly trek for water.

She did not ask for this.
She does not deserve this.
She keeps living,
Though it gets harder every day.

While well-dressed men and women
Argue about the classification,
She watches her friends die.

Each day, men, with guns appear.
They shoot blindly.
They kill mindlessly.
And those that survive,
Wonder if they really are the lucky ones.

They wonder death
Would be an easier fate.
She wonders what happened
To her grandmother,
To her mother,
To her sister.

She survives,
But only as a shell.
She is a shell
Of the child she could have been.

She is nine years old,
But age is just a number.

Have You Ever

By Tasnia Ali

Have you ever
Found yourself tempting to steal
Because of the hunger you feel?
Digging in your pocket
Wanting to find a locket
Hoping to find something to sell
So you wouldn't go through this hell.

Have you ever
Felt the pain endured within
Because of the life you've liven?
You didn't finish high school
Because you thought you were too cool
The world has changed and you can't be the same;
So you hide in shame and have no one to blame.
Your misery is due to your history.

Have you ever
Tried to do good, but you end up failing?
You search for a bed at night
And after a day of searching for some light
You wake up wailing.
All your hopes and aspirations flowing down the drain.
You think it'll be better, but you're drowning in the pain.

Have you ever
Tried to take a look around,
But all you see is bleak?
You move a step forward
And your knees go weak.
You struggle to live your life,
Looking for some action.
You search for a way to get some satisfaction.

I have.
Gone through struggles and made it this far,
To strive this high with no one by my side.
Throughout the hardship of poverty
And the challenges I faced
I realized wasting my life would be a disgrace.

The Worker's Triumph

By Ireneusz Habrylo

The city's glow peaks in between trusses,
Staying behind, ceding dark sky to moon
Steel harmonies replace the harsh busses
A single train performs its famed bridge tune.

An audience of two grown strangers sits
One calm, one caught in painful thought and shame
In light: a worker solely rich in wits,
Beside a man with nothing but his name.

Tied by their meager class, not intention
One carries pay, one carries out their plot
Fluorescent face against dark tension
By money's rip they lose for what they wrought.

This night's poor song leaves both with empty hand,
But only one will labor and withstand.

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