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On March 22nd, Lev Leytzan: The Heart of Therapeutic Clowning, Inc. launched it’s first annual Poetry Slam, sponsored by The Jewish Press and the Jewish Week’s Fresh Ink for Teens.  The entries were gathered from high school and college students from around the tri-state.  Seventeen finalists were invited to slam for judges Jodie Maoz, Jewish Press and Shira Vickar-Fox, Fresh Ink for Teens.  The finalists passionately and poetically “slammed” their pieces, sharing a depth and breadth of poetry addressing the topic of Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick).  The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.

 

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1st Place Winner: Sara Raizel Jedwab (SKA -11th grade)

2nd Place Winner: Adiel Bandari (TAG – 9th grade)

3rd Place Winners (Tied):  Chayala Nachum (BYA – 11th grade) and Calev Sanders (DRS – 11th grade)

 

* * * * *

1st Place Winner
Sara Raizel Jedwab is a junior at Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlett, L.I.

Sara Raizel Jedwab

 

Dressed To Impress

I dress to impress
upon this little girl
the magnitude of her bravera.

 

I draw a too-wide smile on my face
to mimic the one she puts on display
when her family comes to visit.

 

I paint my face white
to copy her pale complexion
as she camouflages herself
in the jungle of bleached hospital sheets
to protect herself from another coughing attack.

 

I wear the big awkward shoes
to imitate the bigger pair
she fills herself
as she steps up to the plate
every time she is served a knuckle sandwich
which is the reason I wear the big red nose
to emulate the bloody one
she gets every time she’s knocked out
but wakes up from the anesthesia
and chooses to take another breath.

 

The Life of a Man

* The first stanza is a quote from Ernest Hemingway

“Every man’s life ends the same way.
It is only the details of how he lived and
how he died that distinguishes one man from another.”

 

It is only the details of how he lived and
not the end result that distinguishes one man from another
in this preoccupied with product society it is not the end result of
how he died in this preoccupied with product society
since every man’s life ends the same way.

 

* * * * *

2nd Place Winner
Adiel Bandari is a 9th grade student at TAG in Far Rockaway

Adiel Bandari

 

The Old Man

The old man stood up
His knees are shaking, his hands are trembling
He collapses onto the floor
His feet unable to bear his weight.

 

The old man stood up
Once a tall proud man
He collapses onto the floor
The weight of his life too much to bear.

 

Once a tall proud man
His knees are shaking, his hands are trembling
A shadow of the man he used to be
The old man never again stood up.

 

 

They Called Her ‘Special’

I know a girl, she looks like you and me
She had fair hair and piercing blue eyes
Yet, from the first day I met her, I knew she was different.

 

I was in kindergarten
She came in with an unusual face for a kindergartener
It was a platonic face, an emotionless face
She sat in a chair all day, without any extreme movement
And when she was asked to draw a picture
She drew a square, a perfect square.

 

In third grade
While all the other girls were skipping rope
She sat with a single doll
And combed her hair, over and over
Then dressed her with a dress, over and over
On, off, brush. On, off, brush. Over and over.

 

In sixth grade
The year of slumber parties, giggling, and new revelations
She studied
She had amassed a huge amount of knowledge and was often found in a corner with a textbook or encyclopedia
Yet sometimes I caught her staring at us with a confused look on her face
As if she didn’t understand why we were laughing or what there was to cry about.

 

However, it wasn’t until eighth grade when I heard it
Her music
She played piano
And not just any sheet music Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart
It was breathtaking
And that’s when I understood.

 

This girl wasn’t rude, she just didn’t know to say hello
She never drew a picture because she didn’t have the imagination to draw something
And the piano was where she channeled this confusion and loneliness
Her song was the call of an autistic girl.

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