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A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I entered an international poetry contest online. Later that day I was laughing to my friend about it, joking that maybe I could at least win some of the money. Today I received a letter informing me that my poem has been chosen as a semi-finalist (no, no money yet).

Does this mean I have to grow a goatee and start hanging out at poetry-bash coffee shops?

Here's the poem:

Evolution of a Pain
You need cheer, help, laughter, I'm there.

"No problem!" I say. It's part of me to give and love.
But it turns against me. What have I said, done wrong?
I was only there for you. How can anyone find fault in that?
But you do. It's never good enough, never enough:
Unwarranted accusations, finger pointing, diversions.

Why are all of your faults acceptable, expected?
I get blank stares in a white room. Everyone else is
laughing, playing, worrying - but not with me, not for me.
I scream silently in the middle of a crowded circle.
It's funny how no one notices. "She has it all together."
It would be a fun game if it weren't happening to me.

A movie, a drama not happening to me, yet I'm part of.
A silent film ruined by the static of unfulfilled needs.
A play filled with disinterest, mindlessness, carelessness.
Look around. Would anyone notice if I weren't here anymore?
Sadly I know the answer. Yes, they would,
but only because no one else would make everything better.

Instead, I smile. "What a happy put together person."
But the eyes tell it all, don't they?

Copyright ©2006 Jacqueline K Wilson
Author's Note: This poem is a 2006 current semifinalist in the International Poetry Competition.