"My Place".
It’s hard,
Waiting for happiness to
build a nest inside me.
It takes time
for the sprigs and thistles
to connect.

Other birds flap and flurry
Surrounding me in a race, a whirlwind,
Passing me in a moment
but never seeing.
I get lost a lot
in the middle of “Wait, stay with me. Don’t go.”
I learned being alone
isn’t about proximity but belonging.

I found a room today
With silken drapes
Open and inviting.
My wings lifted beneath me
And I entered
Through the glass of the air.

I found so many birds inside.
Others, just like me.
They never move,
Their ashen wings frozen in flight,
I study how uncontained they are,
And I feel home.

They don’t talk a lot.
But they sure can listen,
And I can be myself,

“Wait, stay with me, don’t go."
I say. And the birds in the wall
They stay.

I’m tired of waiting for happiness
To swoop in unpredicted.
I’m building my own nest inside,
With pieces of silk drape and ashen wing.

And together we sing the most beautiful song:
My wallpaper friends and me.
Valentine’s Gift
By Gregory Barker

I crowd surf on top of my adrenaline,
Endorphins pouring, heart beating wildly.
I survey the crowd with a ninja-like gaze
Hoping that I won’t get lost in the haze
Of the masses that sit in the crossroads today.
Like the mighty hunter, I wait for my prey.

Then, off in the distance, the lone zebra stands
With beautiful eyes and heartwarming hands
She jumps on the stage and reads pure poetry
My heart is enraptured in outstanding beauty.

Bobbie Gross stands onstage with a talent unvaried,
But sadly, the ring indicates that she’s married.
That’s one down, but six more ladies to go.
Who would be mine? That, I wish I could know.

Elena Van Horn, the next to perform,
Shares her message, so bright, cool, and warm.
She cleverly covers her subjects until,
Live volcanoes and ashes, the message distils
And my mind is left pondering just as my soul
Finds a sweetness and peace, and goes for a stroll.

I am brought back to myself by the next poet’s turn,
With a shock and a bound- my world is upturned
With tasty good imagery by friendly Melissa.
If I were Hugh Jackman, I’d play with charisma
The part of faithful listener, too.
In fact, that’s probably all I would do.

Gratefully, next another sweet flower
Arises to give us the tales of the hour.
Anna May is her name and I want to proclaim
That her words in her poems set language aflame.
Though she has a boyfriend whose name must be Vincent,
Her poetry still is always so brilliant.

The fifth of my seven fair ladies arises:
Jackie Argyle- always full of surprises.
Her words are oozing with love and romance;
Romance, and then just a little more romance.
She leaves me with just one question in hand-
… Could I be that 90s man?
No moustache here, so I guess not today.
And my name’s not Stephen anyway.

The next on the stage shares her heart’s deepest splendor
In words that would beat any drab Hallmark vendor.
Syndey Adams is her name and 10 is her number,
Her poetry pure, rare, and unencumbered.

Elise Angerbauer, the sweetheart of stage
Then takes her place as she reads from her page
About groundhogs and men in hats. Other sweet things
Like a sonnet with bacon flies and it rings
In my heart like the feeling of spring after winter.
When she leaves the stage, my heart feels a splinter.

How dearly I love these, my fine poet friends!
With every good word, my lone heart ascends
Into vistas unscalable, filled with emotion.
My soul plunges forward in deepened commotion
By beauty unmatched, pure and commanding
Ever outgrowing, ever expanding
With charity sweet and love everlasting.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m at Last Poet Standing.
This coming week at Last Poet Standing is a couple of firsts. It's the first ever Valentine's Day Last Poet, and it's the first ever Last Poet prompt that talks about Last Poet Standing. The prompt is "It's Valentine's Day and I'm at Last Poet Standing." It could certainly be a tricky one, but there are lots of directions the poets could take it. They could be very sappy about their love, bitter about their singleness, or joyfully accept Single Awareness Day. Of course, they could also take the chance to talk about the process of poetry and what it means to be at Last Poet Standing on any day. What kind of poems are you looking for? Is there something else you want from the poets? Sound off in the comments.
I Like Myself a 90's Man
By Jackie Argyle

I like myself a 90’s man
with his hawaiian shirts and all
I’ll kiss his mustache if I can

Mullets and cut-offs? I’m a fan
Acid wash will make me fall
I like myself a 90’s man

Bump’n Backstreet boys in his Sedan
Smash mouth ringtone for when he calls
I’ll kiss his mustache if I can

Woo me with your Alakazam
Cuz Pokemon? You’ve caught em all
I like myself a 90’s man

Watch Boy Meets World, I’ll hold his hand
And if his Mom’s not in the hall
I’ll kiss his mustache if I can

Bop-It Champ, so hot, understand
Some girls like dark handsome and tall.
I like myself a 90’s man
I’ll kiss his mustache if I can
I'm not sure what it was but I had an amazing time at Last Poet Standing tonight. Today was the week of 12 poets left and they got a whopper of a prompt: Villanelles. I've tried writing several myself, so I know how difficult it can be, and yet tonight nearly every poet nailed all of the rules.

That's really what Villanelles are, lots of rules. They have a certain number of lines, a strict meter and rhyme scheme, and these two lines repeat over and over again in specific slots, so you have to write it so that those two lines make sense. 

The emcees (Jacob is leaving after this week but there was a lot of people who volunteered to take his place) had a great idea, rather than pull names from a hat, they put each of the poet numbers on stage and had people shout out the poet they wanted to go. It was a good way to get the audience way more involved. They also asked some of the poets questions along the way, which actually led to some amusing moments.

Jacob (Emcee): How did you like writing a villanelle?
Gregory Barker: I like form so this was the easiest week for me.
Jacob: That'll be the only time you hear that tonight.

And while votes were counting they had all the poets come on stage and write a new poem one word at a time.

There was also some great poetry tonight. 

Anna May read a moving piece about what it was like to have bipolar disorder. Steven Duncan, clearly feeling the effect of immunity, wrote a poem about how hard it was to write villanelles (but hey it was in perfect form.) Some of the other highlights were Melissa Miner who made an impassioned plea for throwing all of our shoes out, including the squirm inducing line about her heels as tenderized meat. Andrew Horner, who is on his third Last Poet Standing go around gave what I thought was his best poem ever, form clearly suits him. His poem had him arriving in heaven only to be sent back to earth with a hundred bottles of spray paint. And another poet that I think may have a good chance to go all the way is Gregory Barker. Gregory has managed to entertain every week, this week he talked about his pursuit of a date with a girl with a grin that lived in Berlin. 

Of course as always one of the poets has to go. I was worried that it might have been one of my favorites Bobbie Gross. She started her poem explaining that form poetry is not her strength, and the repeating lines did seem to inhibit her usual imagination, but fortunately her terrific delivery, and excellent choice of disorganization as a theme to justify any minor technical problems sent her flying into the next round.  Unfortunately Carly Eggett did not. I was rooting for Carly, I had found her to be among the strongest poets each of the first two weeks, and while her "Big P Poem" wasn't her best work, I'm sure she would have contributed nicely along the way. 

Best wishes to Carly.

On the other end, Jackie Argyle stole the night. Her poem " '90s man" managed to introduce a strong nostalgia that much of the audience responded to. For the rest of the night the emcees were trying to hook Jackie up with one of the many 90's men in the audience. At one point a volunteer stood up in the back of the room, but didn't have the guts to come up. She'll have immunity next week.

Speaking of next week: The prompt is "It's Valentine's Day and I'm at Last Poet Standing." Which is to the best of my memory the only Last Poet prompt to ever refer to Last Poet Standing, we'll see how that goes. Of course next week is Valentine's day but what's more romantic than poetry. 

We hope to see you there.

Groundhog Rap
By Steven Duncan

Being a groundhog isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
There’s no one less excited about Groundhog Day than me.
People laugh when to my burrow I resign.
We all have our burrows - yours is just different from mine.

How’d you like a holiday about your insecurity?
Where others expose you out of obscurity?
Seeing my shadow makes my stomach somersault,
Six more weeks of winter is not my fault!

If you’re not catching the message I’m trying to install
Allow me, if you will, to break it down for y’all.

Whaddup, I’m the groundhog.
I’m in no position to be fishing for derision I’m just wishing that you’ll listen to my humble petition.
It’s a simple proposition and given my condition you can probably envision my repeated indecision 
but it’s time I just said it: Groundhog Day is superstition.
That’s all it is, it’s a boring holiday no one remembers anyway.
It’s time to break tradition.
Groundhog out.