Olympian Poetry Contest Winner: “You–or rather, me”

Congratulations to junior Oli Baker, The Olympian’s Inaugural Art and Writing Contest Winner in Poetry. Their poem “You–or rather, me” piqued our judges’ interest. “This poem does a wonderful job of evoking memories,” said Poetry Judge and CVHS English teacher Eric Unti. “I love the specificity of the details and imagery: ‘eating clementines/That I peeled one by one for you,’ ‘your mouth, the wholly/pink of you,’ ‘until you were a ball of yarn.’ There is the bumpy cheek, the dry hands, the warm cat, the microphone, the pixels, the handwriting. Their metaphor, personification, detail, and multi-sensory imagery that is vivid but realistic and all works together seamlessly.”

“For the longest time I thought of myself in the third person,” said Baker. “It was easier to feel what was happening if it was happening to somebody else and slowly, I started to view myself less of a “me” and more of an “us”. It’s easier to take care of someone else than yourself.”


You一or rather, me

I remember those days 

We lived like they were nothing

Eating clementines 

That I peeled one by one for you.

I remember laughing with you 

And seeing your eyes crinkle 

I remember living life 

Like we would live forever. 

Didn’t we? 

I think about your mouth, the wholly

Pink of you, how 

Your essence was so 

Bundled up and intertwined 

And how you doubled back 

Upon yourself 

Until you were a ball of yarn 

Collected and massed 

In a clump. 

I remember your 

Cheek, bumpy, your 

Hands, dry, your 

Mother calling you in for dinner.

I remember the call 

Of the blankets on your bed 

Urging me back into 

Warmth, the cat on my lap 

That knows me better than I do.

I remember that bubble 

Building up in my throat when 

I heard you say that joke– 

I don’t even remember what it is.

I only remember that raw 

Laughter scraping my throat. 

I remember that day when 

We talked for hours and I 

Felt your hand on my shoulder 

Before I said something stupid. 

I remember the feeling 

Of raw raw desperation 

Coloring my cheeks and staining my nose

Bright Red 

I don’t even remember what I wanted

Did I want you to stay? 

Did I want my clementine? 

Did I want everything to go back

To how it was? 

It didn’t 

Didn’t it? 

I don’t remember 

Didn’t we live forever? 

Some part of you did, maybe. 

Some part of me didn’t, maybe. 

I remember the microphone at my lips

And the color of the pixels on my screen

When I stayed up past my bedtime 

As long as I could talk to you. 

I remember your letter 

In my hand and the indent 

Of your script and the 

Feel of your handwriting on my fingers.

I remember when you told me 

Saudade 

And I still haven’t forgotten what it means.

I remember when you said that 

We wouldn’t find what we were looking for yet

Maybe we would soon. 

Did we?

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