Darkroom poetry

Photography is a powerful beast.

It documents the joyful, the strange, the powerful, the pivotal. Who can forget the shot of a young man standing down a tank in Tiananmen Square? Or the Vietnamese girl weeping after napalm has burned off her clothes?

Needless to say, images evoke emotion. Sometimes, they even compel us to form stories, interpreting what we see.

Such was the inspiration for these poems and photographs. Students in Angelia Perkins' advanced photography class at Lawrence High School anonymously submitted photographs to peers in Joy Clumsky's creative writing course last spring.

The writers interpreted the images through poetry. The photographers later were asked to write about how their images had been interpreted -- similarly or differently than the way they had intended.

The collaborations offer a glimpse into the creative minds of a few of Lawrence's budding artists.

Take a look.

Unable to Leave

You hold a power over me.
Tangled have I become
In your twisted web of lies.
My lungs tighten,
Suffocating slowly, pleading for fresh air.
Nothing can I do but stay
And wait for your return,
Wait for your ugly, manipulative words
To enwrap and devour me again.
You hold a power over me.
Leave, I would, if I could,
But I cannot free myself from your grasp.
Every time you linger near,
My body freezes, and I lose control.
Memories of flesh meeting flesh
Cloud my thoughts.
Gone are all ideas of reality.
Gone are all thoughts of consequences.
Gone is the knowledge acquired from experience.
I become expressionless,
Your puppet to abuse as you please.
You hold a power over me.
I watch your eyes as they invade my soul.
A dance of death out of a mystery tale, it is,
And I know not what to do.
Will you just go away,
Or will I will you to stay?
Either way, it's a dangerous game.


By Niki Smith

-- By Whitney Juneau


By Ali Dankenbring


Poet of my lifetime, heal.
Wisdom of my final hours, cry.
The bell tolls no more, no more.
Merry days long since spent
Flower me in death.
Miracle of my youth,
Light of my candle thick and bright,
Daughter, my daughter, you remind me so
Of the man I loved that long time past.
Flame for all youth
Pass on again in these eyes of powerful blue.

-- By Andrea Haller

Naiad Boys


By Brooke Goodin

There is a river
Where the cattails grow
Taller than I.
That is where the naiad boys play.
Some have hair of moss green
And eyes the color of rain,
While others dance too fast to see anything.
The bring me shells
And pretty pebbles
In this place where the naiad boys play.
They tell stories of gods
And of wars that lasted a thousand years
In this place where the naiad boys play.
When they get older, where do they go,
To the lakes,
The oceans, or seas?
I don't care about that,
As I play my childhood away,
As I imagine and dance their dance,
And tell stories and rhymes
In this place where the naiad boys play.

-- By Rachael Beaumont


Monsters are nearby, I know.
Their menace is cleverly hidden from view,
Like familiar faces,
Smiling and sweet,
Yet full of betrayal and deceit.
I will not surrender
When darkness descends
For I possess an insurmountable defense.
While monsters creep and crawl in the dark,
They plot to besiege my bed.
All that safeguards me from them
Is my tawny, little teddy bear.
The monsters scoff and smirk
At my camouflaged combatant.
What folly! Monsters ought to know
They cannot pierce the indomitable will
Of a coat of fuzzy fur
Or that cutesy, cuddly smile.
My trustworthy friend
Stands strong to save me
From monsters in my head.


By Zoey Ramberg

-- By Rebecca Siahaan

Spirit of the Woods

Among the woods
Floats an unseen presence,
A girl lost to the ages
So many years ago.
Did she suddenly vanish
Into the darkness of the forest?
Only those who believe in spirits
Can perceive the cloudy apparition of a girl.
She roams freely in the earth,
The water,
The sky,
A part of nature,
An angel of God sent to Earth
To generate life in the wonders of nature.
Spirit of the Woods they call her,
A girl lost long ago.


By Kylah Young

-- By Johnny Santiago



By Nicole Andregg

The twisted telephone cord
Spirals and intertwines,
Looping and turning.
The interconnecting loops
Bind the tight knots.
Just as the cord tangles,
The people it connects
Begin to spin their fate together
As each one speaks
Across the line.
Everyone is connected by these,
These lines and wire.

-- By Patrick Michalowski


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