Summer 2022 Competition Awards
Winter 2022-'23 Competition
This winter, our platform asked contestants to share work that embodies a fear they have or are yet to confront. Since fear can manifest in many different ways, authors and artists were granted the freedom to express it in any way they so chose. The topics competition entries explored ranged from finite personal experiences to looming trepidation and anxieties.
Ink Bowl Master Award
Draped on My Bones
Mary Antonette Riotoc
Excerpt From "Draped on My Bones"
I. Mute Order
Staple lip against the other
Plaster them over old wound
Leave a taste of tarnished maroon
The steps to a mute order
First eight hours with the lips sewn tight
Air barely stays in body
Like labyrinths, paths, a study
Yet string doesn't set things right
Stomach howls wolf but she cares not
For the thirst for words sharpen
Scrape at throat like bitter bourbon
Yet stays in silence to rot
The hammering heart hides a crypt
In spaces, no ear listens
Where her bystander admissions
Lay to rest, like all hush-lipped
Follow these vows for mute order
Glimpse shackles in teeth chatters
Phrases pound, cause heart murmur
Quiet - a serial murder
About the Author
The Filipino youth has much to say, and I am one of the aspiring changemakers of the nation and the globe.
In short stories, essays, and song lyrics — excerpts of me and my insight are phrased. Every draft is a trial and another leap of courage. And among these moments of discovery, I felt an attachment to poetry. Its intricacies make pieces timeless because their imagery and creativity permit everyone to enter the poem's landscape and narrative. Hopefully, my literary works serve, welcome, honor, and believe in potential.
The perspective I come from is a masterpiece of the people I met, the environment I grew up in, and my big, rose-colored dreams. Sometimes I see life as it is, with reality painted on my plans. But I also view it as a cipher, an ode to history and the key that keeps the flame of hope for the future.
I’m not quite as polished at eighteen, but this Filipino youth has a big heart and the courage to continue expressing it through the power of language. I am Mary Antonette Riotoc, the girl who can.
The poetry collection narrates how fear rests in the shadows, imperfections, and markings on our bodies.
As a child grows older, society pressures them to outgrow clothes, hobbies, and phobias. But the weight of their commands doesn’t erase the horror — it only invites people to hide terrors better. And our body can be a testament to our experiences, choices, and unexplainable parts of ourselves.
The three-poem collection serves as an embrace to those who are giving their all to conceal them. In the aches of sweeping these under our skin, the weight of these phobias-turned-secrets can scar and bring forth a harder complexion.
Whether you stand or shake in the presence of it manifesting before you, may this comfort many that there’s no shame in draping fears on our bones.
Mary Antonette Riotoc
Quezon City, Philippines
Literature Category Winner
My idea for this poem was to write a piece that showed the great lengths that poets go to put together a piece. Much like growing a tree, writing poetry comes with time, anger, hardship, and a lot of struggles. With this piece, I wanted to empower people to write despite the career of a poet being long and daunting sometimes. Our words have so much meaning. So much weight.
About the Author
My name is Hayden Kasal-Barsky. I am a 20-year-old poet attending the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, currently studying Elementary Education, Special Education, and Sociology. Ever since I was seventeen, I knew I wanted to be a poet. Poetry helped me deal with the overwhelming feelings of anger and loneliness I experienced along with millions of other people during the Covid-19 pandemic. My only published chapbook, "I See You," was released last August by Bottlecap Press. On top of publishing additional chapbooks, I plan on writing a few full collections, and it's my dream to become Poet Laureate one day. My hobbies outside of writing include going to the beach, hanging out with my mom, trying out new food and coffee places, and doing anything creative.
Get me loose, catch me fresh-
Cuz as soon as the evening wind humms
This world is scratched beneath my rugged breasts.
There's adventure on the voyage of psalms,
There's beauty in a senseless mind.
Senseful taste in a fruity tongue- that is the poet.
Open your eyes, see my words walk down the street,
See the hate- feel the busts of blood on a city gate.
I'm a woman on so many levels,
But beneath the Xeroderma and antidepressants,
I'm a daughter. I am the daughter of the silenced poet.
Pull on my wild strings. I'm just a sound mind.
I work two jobs but I can't rhyme a line.
There's a glide in my stance. There's pride in my eyes.
A symposium of music in my heart.
But no open seats for love on my side.
You see, that's the way of the poet. The lonely,
It's the art of freedom, the craft of soulful expression.
But in the closet of my deepest soul
it can feel so soulless.
Just like a cradled gunshot wound
It creates my poetic makeup.
Honolulu, HI, USA
Purchase Author's Chapbook
"I See You"
(A Celebratory Poem to People)
Buy Now from Bottlecap Press
Art Category Winner
Society of My Imagination
About the Artist and Collection
I am an artist based in Delhi, India. The inspiration for my art stems primarily from my imagination, which is the greatest influence. I search for myself in today's society by examining my past from a different perspective. My background has greatly influenced the way I perceive this world.