2014 Third Annual Bowen Poetry Slam

Dear Readers,


We are taking a break for the summer to regroup and will have new articles in September for you to think about. During this break if there are things that you would like to comment on feel free to Tweet @ARSocialChange or hit us up on Facebook.  You can also send us e-mails at socialchange@ualr.edu.  In the mean time, I wanted to leave you with a glimpse into an event that we had the privilege of sponsoring.  This is the third year that this event has taken place, but the first year for the Journal’s involvement and we are excited about the possibilities this event offers.


On April 28, 2014 at noon, the William H. Bowen School of Law hosted the 3rd Annual Poetry Slam, in conjunction with the First Annual Bowen Stress Less Fest.  The Poetry Slam gave Bowen students and faculty the chance to hear some original law inspired poetry from our classmates, as well as the poetry of our Emcee, Judge  Vic Fleming, a local author and judge.


Here are the highlights of the day.


deorated table

Our first Poem was by Chinelo Bivens, entitled, On How To Deal With The Question.

Mr. Bivens presenting his poem.

On How To Deal With The Question

Good afternoon class

With this being my last class we shall discuss how to

Deal with the question

Remember you are here to learn to be attorneys

and we can’t afford to have you stumbling over

the one question you are sure to be asked

Now the question can come in in various forms

but can be generally stated as:

How can you do what you do?

When responding it is important remember

Your answer can take several paths

and you should chose your answer after considering

the desired destination and the kind of journey you wish to take

Supposed for instance you wish to give a direct honest response

you might say something like:

I wake up every morning and promise myself to keep me ethics intact

and I go to sleep every night knowing I did just that

There is an elegance in simplicity even

the lay person can admire, no?

But if you’re anything like me

you might be seized by a rather impish desire to tease the questioner

for daring to ask the question as if they have earned an answer

In such a situation you might spout words like

system, justice, checks, balances, everyone, and deserves

reference real life situations or make up hypos

take the proverbial socially conscious high ground and hurl invective

like hypocrite, liberal, conservative, disillusioned, ivory tower, and ignorant

analogize yourself to doctors, mechanics and garbage men

Be sure to adjust for grammar and local lexicon

as it would be a shame to waste such a shining example

of righteous indignation and locution

finally as you are winding down exit appropriately

I prefer the dramatic withdraw but usually a small excuse me

will suffice

So for those who may slept through

the cliff notes look something like this

Question, consider journey and destination

insert words and exit

The last three years have been the most fun

I never want to have again

and it is with joy in my heart I bid you adieu



Following Mr. Bivens, Evelyn Gomez Presented her poem entitled, Highlighted, Tabbed, Underlined.


Highlighted, Tabbed, Underlined

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

First year BARBRI gave us highlighters,

so my casebooks became yellow, pink and blue smears because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

I started to just underline the important things

My texts were full of professor quotes because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

RWA stole my patience and my soul.

My ALWD manual became a sea of sticky notes because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

Finals threw me for a loop.

My notes were a rainbow cornucopia because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

I clerked and was given a research assignment.

My desk was strewn papers with neon marks because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

I don’t feel ready to go out into the big cruel world.

I really hope my firm has a lot of highlighters because

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

I am a law student so everything I have is

highlighted, tabbed, and underlined.

Next, Sarah Rigg presented two poems that she wrote, one of which was written for her Law and Literature class, taught by Judge Fleming.

Ms. Rigg presenting her poem.

Is It Thee or Thou?

In any Case, this is my Ode to Bowen Faculty.


Professor Terrance Cain,

Forever will I say your name in vain.

You haughted and you taughted,

Your pomp, yeah, we never bought it.

While you’re voice was loud,

And your words were kickin’

Still, this law thing I’m thinkin bout stickin’

Even though, one time I talked about Hooters’ chicken.

I tell you now that suits and basketball,

Are NOT actually the end all be all.

You could learn a thing or two,

Or even a jig-a-ma-roo.

Now, Professor Johnson,

You are actually,

NOT from Wisconsin.

You know a heck of a lot about the FRE,

But let’s just keep that between O.J., you & me.

Those absences?

Yeah, those were due to knitting club,

I can even show you my ticket stub.

About these antics you’d always tease us,

But, to me, you’ll always be, Sweet Jesus.

Professor Silverstein,

About contracts you opine,

I learned that they in fact do not curve,

But, instead have a bottom line.

Under my constant questions, you did not topple,

And, I promise now, I will estoppel.

Ah, Kahn-Fogel!

Oh, I just cursed, and for that I am sorry sir.

With your mind extraordinaire,

I would call if ever on Millionaire,

Or dare I pray upon the deux Professor Oliv(air).

I would have to question, but-for-in-fact,

The amount of one’s consumption of Jack.

Ah Kahn-Fogel! Oh dear, there it is again,

And for that, I am sorry my friends.

For those professors I have not named,

Does not mean I think of you with disdain.

Forgive me, my brain is tired & can’t think of names to rhyme,

It is after all, the dreaded finals time.

All of you, I will not lie,

Your finals have probably made me cry.

In all my classes being called on I would dread,

Because my face would turn a bright shade red,

Yes, yes, like that which sits upon my head.

As a graduating 4L,

I’d say, I’ve been here for a spell.

Even though I’ll be leaving Bowen,

It won’t be without quite a bit of knowin.’

But before I take leave and get goin’

You all must know…

That the impact that you have made,

On this paper alone cannot be laid,

Nor my gratitude ever fully betrayed.

Gratitude to you all for taking the tall order,

And not running straight for the border.

To all the Bowen faculty and staff,

Thank you for putting up with us student-riff-raff.

We think we are so clever, and super punny,

But I leave you now, kind sirs and ladies,

To go off and try to make some money

To buy  my mom’s very first, big Mercedes.



POEM – Law and Literature, Spring 2014



In Spring 2014 in Law & Lit,

Thought I could learn no more,

Turns out, I gained quite a bit,

Despite me about to graduate,

And my head filled with hot air.

The musings of Judge Vic,

I very much enjoyed and with

song and word he is quite slick.

Many Crosswords and haikus

Of him will carry always many clues.

Over the spring I have come

To the conclusion that I do not

Speak English well, no sir,

I can barely even spellll.

What words are, mean more now.

Words are the butter to the bread

And what I’ve learned,

something that I don’t get in my head.

I am not good with words sideways,

On paper, on screen, or  on byways.

Words are always at play,

In the courtroom, in novels, or

On tongues in every way,

Even simply in the time of day.

While words can resound a name,

I may identify a face with ease,

I am not apt, I will stare in vain.

If asked to name a person by calling,

Words are sometimes cross,

Other times, uplifting,

And other times down,

But when a friend comes around,

Words are not to be tossed.

Words fill the papers of authors,

They morph from ink into stories,

A snapshot of people’s lives told,

All the tales of falls and glories.

Trials are word contests,

Heightened by inflection,

Thrown about at one’s best,

And bounced back by those

Who are on a fact-finding mission.

Words turn into weapons

Acting as swords for attorneys,

They are twisted and spun

Used as thread by each jurist,

Until either judge or jury is won.

Words are truths and lies,

As Free Radicals would vow

For survival over unheard cries,

Because they are those who take others’

Stories for their own.

As Gann tells us in True Crime,

Crimes do not take words,

But steal people’s dignity and lives,

Words of crimes committed can be the screen

Behind which a killer sits, until clues are seen.

Words create scenes and themes,

In order to finally be able to spot,

I will continue to balance on beams,

Until , I may at last mark the dot.

Words are pieces to a puzzle,

Whether it be evidence

Or the puzzle be one that’s only

Purpose is to befuddle.

Presidents, journalists, and baseball players

Are groupies of Will Shortz and his New York game,

He still works on it daily, not to please

But to frustrate, and is not even waiting for fame.


Following Ms. Rigg we heard from Joshua Stramiello and his poem entitled, My Apology.

josh 1


My apology

I am here to apologize.

I am young and I am inexperienced”

Mathew Mchonohey delivered these words in a movie.

I think they are Too true to be spoken by a real person

If we are perfect in our innocence, no sin done yet from which to repent then why

Is this youth is a curse?

Again I am Silently hiding my fear. Hoping that no one else sees that I am just a boy masquerading as a man.

Every morning I walk past the bookstore, I see  my classmates dressed in suits for their interviews. Sitting on the donated church pew disguised as a bench they remind me of  children on easter. That friend of mine should be in his Blackhawks jersey, not in a 3piece suit.  He isn’t comfortable, he isn’t himself. Because he doesn’t want to look young. Or inexperienced.

So Instead of embracing, he apologizes for it. Slicks the hair to the side. Prints a very official looking resume

And hopes that nobody calls his boss from the water park.

I am here to apologize.

For two things I never had a choice in.

I didn’t pick the year I was born more than anyone else in this room.

I can’t buy experience, I cant trade for it. I am limited to acquiring it at the pain staking speed of one day at a time. Don’t think I have forgotten that.

I don’t know any better.

I didn’t know what the job market would be like in 2014 the moment I decided I wanted to be a lawyer in 2004.

I don’t know how courtrooms work. I am unaccustomed to how to grease the wheels of justice.

I will probably file unnecessary motions. I will  improperly cite something, somewhere…for years.

I am young. I am inexperienced.

So wet behind the years that I haven’t figured out that every black man is guilty. So naïve that I think that people should be able to marry whoever they are in love with. So young that I haven’t yet learned what a woman’s place is.  No one has taken me aside and explained how the world works.

So when I don’t understand banks that take away families homes on technicalities. When I have trouble with the government spying on our emails like a orsen wells novel, please remember my tender years.

I am young and I am inexperienced.

That is probably why I still feel like I can make a difference. Why I don’t care how much money I make. Why I want to be a lawyer to bring justice to people who cant find it, not to the highest bidder.

Its probably why I have been unable to climb mount Olympus. Why I haven’t yet fed all the starving children. Why there are still homeless people standing at the corners surrounding my law school begging for some kindness.

I apologize that I don’t have political power yet. That I haven’t acquired the means to fund programs. The expertise to train the next generation. My generation.

As I daydream of saving the world.

making plans full of childish optimism for this country

When I go about making Little Rock a better place.

Please forgive my mistakes, they will be many.

I will apologize one last time

I am young and inexperienced.


I try not to think about how many generations have said the exact same thing.


We also had two other entries that were read by proxy.  One was an untitled poem, by Andrew Rindahl.


Maybe McConaughey made you cry

With his speech in A Time to Kill.

Perhaps you prefer a pair of pumps

To your scuffed-up old espadrilles.

It could be your dad didn’t like your degree

In writing that was so…artistic.

You traded in poems for memos and briefs

And stopped him from going ballistic.

You possibly wanted a house in Chenal

Or maybe a cruise or a Lexus.

You researched the jobs that would pay you the most

And here you are, cruising through Lexis.

Maybe you, like Bruce Wayne, were a witness to crime

And then swore to put bad guys away.

Or perhaps it’s because you can “handle the truth”

You want to become a D.A.

Perhaps you are truly a lover of law,

A regular Atticus Finch.

Like him, when you’re fighting majority rule,

Your conscience will not move an inch.

Maybe it’s one of these reasons for you,

Or maybe it’s none or it’s both.

But when I ask “Why did you choose this career?”

Remember that you’re under oath.

The other was by Saddie H. Jones, entitled The Law Student.


The Law Student

Once there was a law student

Who met another law student

They both had good note taking skills

One was good at outlining big ideas

The other was good at breaking the ideas into bite-sized chunks

They decided to form a study group

On the night before finals

One law student went to the library

We’re having a study group meeting

And you’re all invited

And he went up to every person

And said you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re all invited

And then he went to every study room

On every floor

And beat on the doors

And said we’re having a meeting

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re all invited

Then the law student

Ran up and down the stairs

And up and down the hallways

And in between the desks

And threw all the books

Onto the floor

And shook everybody’s hand

And kicked all the walls

And made copies of things

Without paying for them

And ran out the doors

With unchecked-out books

And the buzzers went off

And he still kept yelling

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re invited

And you’re all invited

To the meeting

Because of the generous donations by the Bowen faculty we got to give Starbucks gift cards to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place as well as honorable mentions.

Our first place winner was a tie between Mr. Stramiello’s My Apology and Ms. Rigg’s Is It Thee or Thou? In any Case, this is my Ode to Bowen Faculty.  Third place went to Mr. Biven’s On How To Deal With The Question.  Honorable mentions went to Ms. Gomez and Mr. Rindahl.  Everyone in attendance got to enjoy the poetry as well as Jessie Burchfield’s brownies, which, while not vegan, were delicious!!

top 3 with advisors


We at the  Journal  hope that you all enjoy this brief poetry respite as much as we did.

We will see you again in September!  If you are really missing us, you can always take a look at some past articles and we welcome any comments you may have.  As always we are open to submissions from anyone who has a scholarly article about Social Change and Public Service, especially those that have ties to Arkansas.


Have a great summer!



Alexis Cook



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