Second Place – 2020 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

“‘If a Girl Kept All Her Kings in the Back Row’ is full of personality, voice, and image.  Adam Figueras’s mostly end-stopped lines feel like a series of declarations…or should I say a series of dares?  This is a tour de force in vernacular.”

Jericho Brown, 2020 Hopkins Contest Judge

If a Girl Kept All Her Kings in the Back Row

– A found poem from The Catcher in the Rye

St. Louis Priory School

If you really want to hear about it, I was surrounded by jerks.
I’m not kidding.  Strictly Ivy League.
They were all just a bunch of actors; they didn’t even care
if a girl kept all her kings in the back row
or not.
What a racket.

Don’t ever tell anybody anything.
People never believe you.
People always clap for the wrong things.
People never think anything is anything.

All you knew was, you were happy.
a tear plopped down on the checkerboard,
then you broke all the goddam windows with your fist, just for the hell of it,
and she picked up the menu off the desk and read it.
I think I was more depressed than I ever was in my whole life.

Some things are against my principles and all.
Some things are hard to remember.
But the sun only comes out
when it feels like coming out,
and if you were a fish, Mother Nature’d take care of you.
Next time you see her,

don’t knock yourself out or anything.
Give her my regards.
And ask her
if she still keeps all her kings in the back row.