Tank Man Courage — begins tête-à-tête with a one-way tunnel out to Tiananmen Square, ends inevitably in fratricide: letters scribbled with the blood of the Big Brother, longing to spell freedom. The Gate of Heavenly Peace — was in part a promise to give every fallen body the wings of a guardian angel, in part a command for forced etherealness; in full an irony that could only belong to God Himself. The Forbidden City — was outside the palace doors. It was the capital of forbidden voice and forbidden silence; a forbidden country whose flags carved out man-sized holes, nation-sized casquets. Courage. Must I find a line of tanks that will trade off my livelihood for martyrdom; must I march into the cover of the Times Magazine carrying a briefcase like I only stumbled into glory.? Is it brave enough to walk over the footsteps of emperors, to remember,to remind, to remember to remind?
Third Place: Mariana Kovalik Silva from Curitiba, Brazil for “Tank Man.” Mariana attends Phillips Academy and is in 12th Grade.
Mariana Kovalik Silva is an 18 year-old poet born and raised in Brazil. She recently graduated from Phillips Academy, in Massachusetts. Her work is forthcoming in the Blue Marble Review and Passengers Journal. She heard about the contest through a fellow poet. Coming from a country whose past is tainted by military dictatorship, she is passionate about defending democracy and the universal vote. She is also an eating disorder awareness activist. Being awarded this honor reinforces her mission to write poetry that inspires critical thinking. This opportunity helps her demonstrate the importance of using poetry to discuss “non-poetic” images, such as those that propel social change.
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