NFI North’s Miller Terraces participates in the Periscope Creative Writing Contest

August 9, 2021

On April 19th of this year six participants from Miller Terraces submitted poems to the 16th annual Periscope Creative Writing Contest. This contest is organized through the Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center here in Bangor, ME. The contest was open to anyone living in Maine who self-identified as being in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Any participant that was interested in submitting a poem had to meet the April 19th deadline for submission. There was no specific theme required, and the only guidelines were that the entries had to have a title, had to be original unpublished works, and had to be less than 1750 words. Other than that, the participants had free rein to be as creative as they wanted to be.

Prior to this deadline several groups on poetry were held here at Miller Terraces for interested participants at their request. On July 2nd four of the six participants that submitted entries into the creative writing contest found out that they were going to be published in this year’s edition of the Together Place 16th Annual Periscope Creative Writing Chapbook!

The periscope chapbook is an anthology of the winning and outstanding entries that were chosen by the panel of judges for the contest. Miller Terraces is extremely proud of the participants that submitted their works into the contest as it takes a great deal of strength and courage to do something like this. The participants that were published received a free book and were invited to read their poems aloud at the Together Place. The event took place on July 23rd at 3pm and nerves ran high as the participants prepared to share their intimate writing with their peers. The staff members that were able to accompany the participants took pictures and cheered on as the participants stood at the podium and read aloud to the attentive crowd.

Each participant’s poem was met with applause, and all of the people that attended the event sat down to eat a well-deserved dinner. Below are the participant’s published poems and some of the pictures that were taken at the event. Not all of the participants were able to share their poems at the event but Miller Terraces is very proud of the work that was done by all of our participants and all of the work that was done by Direct Care Counselor Stephanie Mattsen in order to get them to this point. Staff are currently working on creating a resource binder of creative writing contests and potential publishers for the future. Participants of Miller Terraces are already writing more and looking forward to these future contests.

Please enjoy the wonderful poetry submitted by our participants:

The Rain

I wanna take away the pain

I wanna take away the days

That you said you were down

I wanna chill if you’re still down

From your lips to your suitcase

You’re still down and that’s ok

You had money and you’re broke now

And that’s ok I want to find a way

It’ll be better days

We need to get away

To blow the stress away

I might as well change

Cuz I haven’t been the same

I might as well change

‘Cuz I haven’t been the same

A Story Never Told

Hello my name is unnecessary in a sense.

Don’t worry by the time I’m done, you’ll get the hint.

This is a story not of a person, place or thing,

But rather something new you could call it “Green”.

To understand this tale we must first explore my mental state, A complexity of ideas, daring and worth the wait.

However I’d avoid staring at the clock!

Unless of course it’s a gold Rolex watch.

For this folklore you’re set to endure,

Will be a journey into the art of delivery and nothing more.

I made it here through expression of how unique this story’s going to be,

Leaving you trapped in a plot as vast as the wavering sea. Though all in good fun,

Like a roller coaster riddled and head spun,

What I’ve done,

Is invited you to what it’s like to struggle with mental illness …..BUT DON’T RUN!

Better relax now that I’ve said it,

Your attention is all that indebted.

To a situation where not quite sure how it began nor where it will end

A life of uncertainty and confusion,

Some would say flawed and delusion.

I’d like to take it from the top,

Where 450 million people who live with mental health issues would like to stop! For consideration and understanding of their troubles, Rather than alienate, divide and electrify our bubbles.

By now you might ask yourself,

“When or where does this story unfold”?

I’d advise you start from the beginning of A Story Never Told

Virtuous Weather

A snowflake falls in your hand Let it melt

in your imagination.

Don’t worry, it’ll be quick

You don’t need patience

No More

My sister I’ve longed to ease all your pain.

I’ve longed to hold you in my arms and wipe away your tears.

I know the rage that abuse leaves in its wake.

I heard you speak and it was uplifting and door-opening to write this to you.

Some women and some men have been victimized, abused, even tortured, too.

But we have a legacy to leave to your children and grandchildren.

NO MORE! NO MORE! NO MORE ABUSE!

NO MORE SILENCE!

We need to shout it from the rooftops and sing it in the streets.

We must cry it out!

No More!

We have the responsibility to our children, grandchildren- we need to hold them in our arms and brush away their sadness of our stories.

NO MORE.

We must cry it out on the Web- we must write it on the billboards.

NO MORE.

Sister- I have heard you crying in the warm rain.

Bottled up for so long- finally exploding with passion and fireNo more again. No more again.

I can feel and hear your pain.

You spoke the other night and like a dam broke,

Words that cannot speak and sounds that cannot hear.

You shared yourself on us and the pain and strength and power of the phoenix rose up like we all rise up from the ashes, Screaming, crying, hurting and dying, only to be born again.

We are warriors hurting on the battlefield of abuse,

Fighting that silent rage, (just a little more, they whisper in your ear), Clawing, clamoring to get out, screaming, finally the explosion-

We- women, girls and boys and men too- need to band together shoulder to shoulder hand to hand.

Instead of being in competition we need to work together and rip away the shame and shout out the abuse. Instead of stepping on others we need to give them a foot up.

Instead of being blind to abuse we need to rip off the bandages of shame and guilt and self-destruction.

All of us, people of color, whatever our own race or nationality, the pain that circles the globe that we live on is screaming out for help.

The hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, cyclones, no clean water-

All Mother Earth is dying and she is dancing her death dance.

We need desperately to love each other,

To help each other heal-

And we need to heal our planet.

At this point we can make probably the biggest decision of our lifeEither we turns to drugs alcohol or sex to stuff back down the pain, Or we get help and get clean.

I know many of us have turned away from a God that was not there,

Who didn’t help

Who didn’t save usPrayers gone dry, Tears unheard.

Sisters, Brothers,

All you have to believe in is a Power in this vast universe

That can help you, That does love you, That will heal you.

If you doubt it you can test it by going to Al-Anon, AA, counseling,

Or just hang out with people who get it.

It will rub off on you.

Please- help is available!

Reach out to each otherHelp is available!

There are too many people who every day are committing suicidePlease don’t be one of them!

Believe it or not, you are one of those beautiful people that are just what someone else needs.

We NEED you.

Don’t let abuse win.

We love you.

We believe in you.

You are beautiful and special and unique and the only you! Happiness is just around the corner!