Art and Poetry Contest Winners: Cori Bratby-Rudd and Anthony Bryan Cardenas

A Litany for Survival
-Cori Bratby-Rudd
 Audre Lorde – “For those of us who live at the shoreline…”
Hordes of silence, yet no peace.
She’s encased in ice. Frozen. Crystallized.
Too afraid to speak
Too afraid to move
Too afraid to be.
Have you ever felt like you wanted to dissolve?
Melt into the pavement and evaporate
Into the atmosphere,
Disband into a million tiny atoms
That will never reform?
Have you ever felt so empty you wanted to vomit?
Just to see if you still have something inside.
Do you know the bittersweet taste of misery?
Of a type of raw despair that never leaves,
Like a shadow constantly trailing,
Just like that one friend or maybe an enemy,
Who will always fester in your blood?
Do you know what its like to scream so silently,
That no one can hear you?
I do.
Well here is the key to breaking the ice
To shattering the walls and slaughtering the wait
Fuck everything.
Just escape.
Knowing “you were never meant to survive.”
I Am The Sun
– Anthony Bryan Cardenas

I chased a dream, and played along to my own glass fairy-tales,

and it all felt real; running down the streets of the days filled with sunsets.

I was convinced that the minute the sun hit the ocean, it was a moment to last forever,

and that I’d always feel the soft, warm touch of your hand joined with mine.

Together, we were a fire,

a heat and force so strong, it would take the coldest and strongest to bring us down,

and even when they tried, I metamorphosed my tears into knives,

screaming out rejection to the idea of leaving you,

because my heart could simply never commit again to someone who wasn’t you.

We stood in the waiting line of a scorching death list,

and suddenly we were skipped,

only to emerge alive and brighter than before.

I was the sun, and you were the moon.

There were no stars, no galaxies,

no other planets to break the silence of you and I,

for you were the stars, and the galaxies, and all the planets,

and together we fell on to an orbital path around each other.

You were my everything,

and when I woke up one morning to find a moon-sized hole in my chest,

I could only lie to you and say that I didn’t cry, one bit.

My stars were ripped out of the sky,

my grass ripped out of the ground,

my heart ripped out of my chest,

and my sanity ripped out of myself;

glass fairy-tales shattered into a billion pieces.

I can’t lie and say they weren’t real,

because for as long as I can see the road,

I will continue to walk with glass shards under my feet

and although I surrender myself to my sadness,

I am a Goddess.

I am the queen of my own lands and my own waters,

and I will re-build my stars and re-build my earth and replace it with happiness.

I am a lion,

running and roaring through the fields of grass so gracefully,

as to only acknowledge the one simple truth.

I am alive, and as I step from behind the curtains on to the stage of my life,

I will only emerge strong, and content.

I am the Sun.
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