Three finalist poems for Douglas Park

Congratulations to the three poets whose poems have made it to the final shortlist for the Douglas Park poetry mural and Word Play Way installation. The final shortlisted poets are Ariel Walton, avery r. young, and Jupiter Dandridge.

Each of these poems celebrates the legacy and future of Douglas Park and/or the North Lawndale community. Jupiter Dandridge, avery r. young, and Ariel Walton each root their words while also soaring into possible futures, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to share their word. Congratulations and thanks to our finalists.

Check out the final three shortlisted poems below. Our next post: the winning poem! Stay tuned for final news and future launch events, featuring each of the shortlisted poets!

The Shortlist:

Every house on Cullerton
Jupiter Dandridge
looks like a castle
On the porch
I sit underneath my Great Grandmother
in the same spot as everyone who came before me
& it’s so hot that the moon
is just the sun sleeping
So kids pick up silver smiles off the sidewalk
& throw them at each other
In the alley
all my friends jump on mattresses
with shoelaces for wings


Peace and Love
by Ariel Walton

Is what rose and will rise
as the seeds also known as children grow
Hearts filled with purity and hope
the future is what we’ll come to know
Less hate and more love
no fighting and more hugs
The very light that will shine on the darkness
healing each wound until we all progress
The very unity, in the word community
there is no I, only we
Together we’ll overcome all adversity
a unit, united we stand
Hearts exuding pure love and light
until we raise the vibration of our great land
North Lawndale


From This Stone
Avery R. Young 
From this stone, springs forth a wonder/land
with room for all kinds of flowers to bloom.  <–Added “of”
Violets, lilies, and even flowers too big for hands.  <–Added serial comma
Even flowers with thorns and fragrance that looms.
From this stone, a mountain of monkey-bars and swings.
A mountain of looping slides that will nest laughter.
A mountain with a crossword puzzle in the crosswalk, among other things  <–Added comma
that will reside with pride for many years after
we grow wings to fly away from North Lawndale
or acquire eagle claws on our toes to stay planted.
From this stone, issues a love-well
And a joy that heaven has granted.


About the Poets


Ariel Walton North Lawndale Native. Community Advocate, Journalist, and Film Maker. Dedicated to uplifting her community through her art and using her voice.

avery r. young is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, 3Arts Awardee, and executive for The Floating Museum.  His recent publications include The BreakBeat Poets, and Poetry Magazine. He is the featured vocalist on floutist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and is currently touring with her Black Earth Ensemble and his funk/soul band de deacon board.  Young’s collection neckbone: visual verses (Northwestern University Press) and its soundtrack tubman (FPE Records) are available now.

Jupiter Dandridge Jupiter Dandridge is a Poetry & Fiction writer from the Westside of Chicago. He has recently graduated from the Chicago Highschool of the Arts. He enjoys dealing with surrealism in his work and opening up discussions on the subjects he writes about.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.