Sr. Daisy Bello earns distinction


Erik Heindlmeyer

  Sr. Daisy Bello is this year’s Poet Laureate.

   The competition for the title of Poet Laureate was intense. Seven judges, including five teachers and two students, read the 24 submitted poems; each chose a top three from the stack of anonymous poems.  An unprecedented fourteen poems claimed spots in the judges’ top  three ratings. Six different poems were rated first, with only Bello’s poem rated first by more than one judge.

   Ultimately Bello’s poem “Do you know me” claimed victory.

   The poem sprung from an English assignment; Bello selected a beginning and concluding line from two shuffled piles. The lines “I want a red dress” and “Of my name” provoked powerful personal experiences for Bello, and she utilized those experiences and those of her close friends to craft a piece she felt lots of girls could relate to.

  Instructor Kristen Bentley, one of the judges, appreciated the “subtle, not in your face, rhymes” and the shift in voice between the thoughts of the speaker and the thoughts of those around her. “I felt it was an emotional piece that could’ve been linked to the #MeToo movement.”

Do you know me

I want a red dress.

But rumors are spreading,

Whispers that I look better with less.

I have no clue of where I’m heading

Yet here I am.


Walking down the alleyway

Her hips sway,

Short skirt, blouse, and skin

Tempting others to sin.

With lips that with forever say…


You watch my lips

Like you watch my every move.

My heart no longer skips

When you look at me and approve.


She has many labels;

She calls herself Daddy’s little girl

While she’s dancing on tables

and tugs on her curl.


Look me in the eyes

Where all my demons hide

You come near me in disguise

But I already noticed what’s inside.  


There’s a stoplight

You licked your lips

And promised you don’t bite

But you will never catch a glimpse

Of my name.

  The contest has two runners-up this year due to the extreme difficulty in selecting a winner.

One of the runners-up, Sr. Alexis Moore, wrote “The Sun Combusted One Morning.” Moore is part of the Creative Writing Club and wrote her poem independently.


The sun combusted one morning

As I was brewing my coffee

The pot sputtered to me

Our time,

dense as the bread we chew,

was crumbling.

An aside,

A fixated light

Illuminated flowers blemished

Outside my kitchen window

And a golden gate

Not far off

In the distance.


Receding waves

toss me their baggage of remorse

From my kitchen

I sit in still and I sit and I wait

In a moment fixed and stationary,

For my coffee to simmer

Slowly, half heartedly, down the drain


Indeed did I

Brew coffee I’d never drink

The sun’s misinterpretation

O’ my praiseful inclination

To seize the day


Within me

And after it’s frolicked a while

The shadows appear to me

Coffee seeping through my ceiling


O unfurling distress

Upon my thinning brow,

An empty pot

I stare at!

A sun combusted

I process!

Some situations you simply cannot allow

The wind to shave such indiscretions

Down to nubs

Noticeably the golden gate

Across a distance of sacred mourn,

Beckons my name

And I am lifted

My oven left on

I abandon

All I have been taught


And know


will come


  Sr. Juliana Malinowski, the other runner-up, wrote “Warning.” Malinowski also wrote her poem for an assignment; she had to choose a title from a list and write a poem around it.




There are bad people:

Reprehensible, vile criminals,

Murderers of young and old, who lay in muck and grime.

Shadows who loom in the dark

Seeking cruel misdeed.

Villains who reek of malevolence

and possess a strange biofilm of immorality.

Or maybe ordinary-looking fellows who set out

To lure the weak and surrender to their own



They creep in our streets and neighborhoods

where the children run.

Their affinity for destruction alone

Defines their being.

They worship something incomprehensible to the average mind;

They revere something unknown.


Let us banish them, fight them, hurt them.

Or do we understand them, listen to them, heal them?


For the empathic individuals

Not seen the darker roads traveled

by bad people, or perhaps good people

Lost, disguised by evil, controlled by thoughts

not true to themselves, what shall be their bane?


Have they fallen down a hole to

who knows where, looking

for a hand to pull them out?


For the less empathic ones

Who do not see the value of a life

Or a life that once was (up to their standards),

Who’s to say our lives matter more than the lives of those corrupted and plagued?

Who’s to say that there even is an “our” and “their”?


You think justice lies

In the prevention of immoral actions

Rather than in the correction of wrongful behavior.

Failed have we when one of our own

Diverges from the path of righteousness

And into a seemingly inescapable abyss,

And we abandon them.

What will become of us

When we shun our own,

When we ostracize our own?

A responsible society we are!

Are we too committing a crime by accepting fear?


Though surely, we sin when we shy away

From the souls searching for an escape route.

When we don’t understand the minds of men

And we leave them bruised,

Take no surprise from the consequences:

a waited battle brews.


The West Ottawan appreciates all those who submitted poems; you made the job of selecting the winner very difficult.