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Teen Poetry Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Teen Poetry Contest!

Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-15 | Ages 16-18
 



10-12 Year Old Category

First Place:
I Am by Kaitlyn

I am taller then a bush but shorter then a tree. I am a Chinese dragon, leaping into the clouds, gliding through the air. My scales are ruby, the color of my country. An aqua marine stone rests on my heart, representing the month in which I came into the world, in a shower of golden sparks. I am a maiden, smiling and singing, my skin glowing with a soft, sugar brown light. I am a cheetah, streaking across the meadow, the wind rushing through my fur. I am a deer, leaping gracefully into the woods. I am as soothing as the smell of fresh air, a warm spring breeze, the sight of lush green grass covering a hillside. I am water, lapping at the shore in peaceful waves. I am as bright as a star. I embrace each new day, with a light heart and my head held high. I wait, for those who I love. But most of all, I have an imagination. That's who I am.

 

Second Place:
My Falsehood by Greenleaf

A boom a crash a bang a clang The smell of gun powder and blood flood my senses The screams of lobsterbacks and patriots clog my ears I can see them Falling Falling down in a mass of red and blue Why am I doing this? Do I have something to prove? Why do I choose to pretend To be someone I am not? I believe in freedom I do not want to live a life Were others decide for us What if I had stayed home? Would I have such freedom as this? No I could never have as much freedom as this Here I fight side by side with these men, as close as kin But I must lie I must hide What would they do? If they knew who I was? If they knew they had made a woman their brother?
 

Third Place:
Life on the Boulevard by Hanah

A seed grows through the cold hard asphalt, Not knowing the battle for life has begun The seed grows more turns into a sprout, Not seeing the big black tire But the seed grows more turns into a plant, Not hearing the sound of a truck Still the seed grows more grows a flower And hopes, just hopes that someday Life on the boulevard will just get easier.



13-15 Year Old Category

First Place: 
What Poetry Means To Me by Jasmin

This is my outlet This is my novel The pages that will identify When I felt myself explode my words became bullets And my pen the trigger The times I couldn't live with myself When I let my past define me When they called me out of the name on my birth certificate My silence became my spotlight I spit because it's poison that fills my mouth This connection between thoughts and my story Knowing that my lines could give the type of closure I need The feeling when my poems tell me more about myself Things I've never even knew The stranger awakening inside me When I spill myself onto these pages This voice that testifies my life The truth that's held inside me When feelings of butterflies in my stomach Become locusts in my windpipe I'm ready to be heard The only way I heal The hurt that's been feasting in my blood The secrets in the pit of my lungs The air pumped from my chest to speak To read this hidden book Like the fairy tales told to me when I was younger If I could I'd strap these hands to my paper Everyday I'd write of fear, love, defeat Any possible feeling that has made me who I am The creation of puzzle pieces Glued together by destruction and the grace of God I was born to write Brought here to express myself Through the crumpled up sheets that roll under my bed I've lost some battles But those wars are history written in countless notebooks In the ink that runs through my veins These are peace treaties For the conflicts that occur within myself The only way I'd remember what I used to be How I free myself from this vessel My invisible podium standing right in the center of my floor The mouth that opens up when I am not brave enough to speak my mind The beauty that flows from my thoughts The forgotten bits hidden away only I can find My voice that speaks Behind the muffled sounds of cries for help This is the neosporin to my wounds The palm that caresses my cheeks The thumb that wipes away the tears The reincarnation of all my mistakes All of my accomplishments The words I've been called that Only make me stronger The heartbreaks that rattle in my bones Brittle pieces of a muscle that beats On the left side of my chest A library of untold tales Dusty covers With yellowed paper And ripped edges The doors to my soul Not only my eyes But the letters written by my polished fingertips This makes me feel alive It's what I'm made of I've built upon this soul idea My self worth My confidence My lies My mistakes Everything that leads up to what I become Will be written in these pieces Because standing in front of a room Filled with people that don’t like me At least I can understand This is my outlet The pages of my novel
 

Second Place:
Here's to the Kids who by Alexandria

Here’s to the kids who cry themselves to sleep When there’s nothing else to live for and they still push through the day Those days when absolutely nothing is going right and they still manage to fake a smile When they’re in a room full of people and yet they still feel alone This is for the kids who have been trying to hold in tears all day, and that one person comes around and asks them what’s wrong and they just break down This is for the kids who distant themselves because they can’t trust anybody because they’ve been let down so many times This is for the kids who have to find the strength to get up every morning The kids who’ve stopped fighting because they have no more fight left Here’s to the kids who cry themselves to sleep And nobody hears a sound Nobody notices because nobody cares This is for the kids who are never heard or listened to This is for the kids who want to be heard The kids who are tired of living as a shadow in the background This is for the kids who have no one to push them harder because they have potential Here’s to the kids who cry themselves to sleep Because they don’t have faith, and they’ve given up on life They have no one to cry on, Talk to This is for the kids who look okay on the outside but are broken up in the inside The kids who just want a friend The kids who believe in bad luck The kids who make wishes to stars The kids who’d rather die than be who they are The kids who don’t “fit in” with society The kids who are insecure The kids who have someone who loves them but all they can do is push them away because they don’t see how someone could truly love them and care for them This is for the kids who’ve only seen love in the movies The kids who believe in “happy every afters” The kids who stopped believing in a God Here’s to the kids who cry themselves to sleep
 

Third Place:
Strange by Jakayla

A Strange yet Vibrant Woman/Stopped me the Other Day I stood on the Frigid Corner/She said, "Baby, It's Okay." I Didn't Have a Coat/I Didn't Have a Hat My Tears Became Frozen/I Just Could Not Hold Them Back Her Voice Was Very Eloquent/The Words Will Stick in my Head Her Words Were Sharp Like Nails/This is What She Said: Rid Yourself of Fears/Put Your Problems to the Side The Race of Man is Suffering/Just Cast Away Your Pride There is No "I" in We/There's Only You and Me We are the Solution to Our Problem/Only We Can Set Us Free We've All Got Our Problems/Can't Avoid the Rain Grab Hands With Your Enemy/Share Each Others' Pain Free Your Mind from Chaos/Please Broaden Your View The World is Much Bigger/Than Muslim, Christian, or Jew Let Your Faith Present Peace/Your Spirit Gleam with Hope Your Story is Valuable/Don't Just Cry, Pout, and Mope We Stand in Community/All of Humanity Cast Away Your Ego/ It Will Help Stop the Insanity Compromise Your View/Learn Something New Education is Key/Gain a Perspective Worldview The Strength of a King/Ignites Within Our Souls There's Light Above Ground/Pull Yourself Out the Hole Which Continues to Hinder/Your True Star from Shining Don't be Afraid to Raise Your Voice/Can't Hear if You're Whining As the Elders Whisper Wisdom/Listen to Your Heart We Must Sustain Equality/Not Let Things Fall Apart Let Our Great Deeds Define Us/Let Us Not Live in Vain In the Spirit of Our People/Let Our Dreams Manifest Change Everyday Hate is Spread/It's A Moral Infection We All Are Unique/Going in Various Directions Give the Homeless Respect/Judge Further Than Skin Be an Example for a Child/Everyone Needs a Friend Change Your Expectations/Broaden Your Range See Good In All Men/Even When It Seems...Strange.
 


 

16-18 Year Old Category

First Place:
The Cycle by Juan

This morning I woke up and questioned everything I stand for. Just got done dreaming of everything I can’t afford. Knowin’ that when I get it, I will still want more. How Im’a make it out of poverty? I can’t be sure. So cold at picking locks I had to open up doors. Hung-over and barley sober, whiskey drainin’ out my pores. Disinfecting the minor cuts and the serious sores, Nana battling bill collectors as she cries on the floor. 17 and I’m in debt and can’t stop my mind from stressing. Just went to my street pharmacist and it’s pills that he’s suggesting. But Im’a take shade under the highest trees. Catch me on a good day you would probably think he hardly grieves, And eyes 3 shades of red, pain is all that he sees. I’m tired of going to school and working, Stealing my education because money is more important. I’m pissed and that’s for certain. 7.50 an hour, workin’ hard but barley workin’. You ever cash yo check and don’t got a dollar to yo name? Reach in yo pocket, touch that lint and feel ashamed. I swear I feel I lost it all for mistakes that I’ve made. They say it’s given back but it is never seen again. Got that fire in my mind and the art museum‘s inflamed. Forever carved in my arm, it’s flowin’ through my veins. They say money can’t buy happiness but it can sure make me sane. Trynin’ find a way to college—hell it could probably pave my way. Meanwhile my dad crying about that money on his books. Tuition prices scaring a nigga, he ain’t never had no money on my books. 2 pounds and 2 9s and that was all it really took, To have you caged from the world and have my life completely shook. Cuz we both got the same name, And just because I’m Jr. don’t Mean we play the same game. So I picked up the pen, and Today I had the game changed.
 

Second Place:
How to Love a War Torn Solider by Gabrielle

This is for Aunt Carla, mom, Tracie. Me and anyone else who has counted more bruises than resolutions You know how this poem ends… so you might as well make peace with it now, Ready your hands for the endurance, shred the cloth for bandages, prepare the rosaries…the funeral arrangements…the empty love letters When you meet him… at a college fair, outside of Walmart, at a poetry slam, at the end of a board walk you will know nothing of what he is for certain. He will neither be too handsome, nor too elegant The day you fall in love, his mouth will sprinkle your name like it is the last thing he is able to pronounce. He will repeat and repeat and repeat and he will not embrace you, he will instead examine whatever poise you still have left, he will ask to watch you dance… when you turn to walk away, he will spit your name up like he is choked chained He will call you his sunshine. Your soul will begin to unravel, THIS is his final magic trick, and when he urges you to promise… even after he is about to leave... Nod your head… say yes… always say yes The first time you disagree… he will slam you into his kitchen wall. Do not panic… do not try to escape… do not call out for help… do not act surprised... you knew this was coming … When he finally offers his lips… take them. Do not hesitate … take his arms, his legs, his toes, his spine... Kiss his soul with all the hope you still have left. Embrace everything THIS is the last time you may ever see him alive He will tell you of the others. Crazy insomniacs impatiently anticipating the next time he’ll return. Do NOT flinch, do not twitch your sweaty fingertips… do NOT slouch…. Stand up right you promised remember?!

When he leaves… do not chase him. Instead patiently await his return, After he returns, when you find him in his room tearing the sheets and burying his trembling palms into the wall his face… an ocean. Close the door. This is how he questions his ability to love his own life as much as he pretends to love you When he explains that he cannot love you… that he will never fully be yours. When he explains the bandages, the scars, the dances, the boots, the dirty camouflage uniforms, the flags, the guns are his sunshine, do not mourn… smile, bathe him... Wash his feet... you promised He is a king among thieves. The memories will start to claw away at his inner skin... The dreams will reduce him to bones. His OWN heart… will slaughter him. Allow his scars to bleed out, when he comes to you… be ready with bandages and prayers After the bleeding, the emptiness, the rummage, the sputtle… when his lifeless body is scattered at your feet. Remember the night he loved you.

 

Third Place:
Death Song by Avecita

I can hear the laughter of happy children

I can hear the crying of aching children

I can feel the pain of the tearing of the body

I can feel the deaths of unborn children

 

I can sense the pain as they crush the little skull

I can see the gore of flesh tearing into pieces

I can feel the suffocating suction as the vacuum sucks up all

There’s a dead baby in my arms, cut and bleeding

 

Is this humane?

Is this human?

Crushing babies’ skulls and tearing their bodies up in a vacuum

Just because they’re unwanted?

Just because they’re unloved?

Just because they’re unwanted?

 

This is the law

It’s allowed to run free

I can kill my children if it best suits me

I can end their lives in torture and agony

I can make ‘em die slow, there’s a list of means

It ain’t forbidden and the ways are hidden

Do you really know what they’re doin’ in there?

Butcherin’ up a child, you can’t hear his silent screams

It’s a sick crime against humanity

Yeah, and this is the law

Yeah, and this is the law

This is the law

This is the law

This is the law

 

There’s mercenaries out there getting away with murder

They smile in doctor’s suits promising it won’t hurt ‘er

Babies ain’t alive ‘til they pass through the birth canal

And we’ll get rid of ‘er before she gets through those waters

 

I wanna look away and close my eyes

But I just can’t wear a blindfold whilst millions of children die

If we’re a nation under God, why’s there blood on the floor tonight?

This is disgustingly wrong, this just isn’t right

 

Is this humane?

Is this human?

Crushing babies’ skulls and tearing their bodies up in a vacuum

Just because they’re unwanted?

Just because they’re unloved?

Just because they’re unwanted?

 

This is the law

It’s allowed to run free

I can kill my children if it best suits me

I can end their lives in torture and agony

I can make ‘em die slow, there’s a list of means

It ain’t forbidden and the ways are hidden

Do you really know what they’re doin’ in there?

Butcherin’ up a child, you can’t hear her silent screams

It’s a sick crime against humanity

Yeah, and this is the law

This is the law (ctd…)

(…ctd) Yeah, and this is the law

This is the law

This is the law

 

It’s insane killing, does it really make sense?

Just cuz they’re unwanted doesn’t mean they don’t got a right to live

It’s a massacre of the innocents

And these mercenaries are paid to get away with it

 

Just cuz it’s done in a clinic doesn’t mean it’s humane

Think really deeply, it’s all insane

Just cuz the person doin’ it has a degree

Doesn’t mean it’s right, doesn’t mean a thing

 

“Thou shalt not kill”, what do you think that means?

Thou shalt not kill anyone, doesn’t that include babies?

All life is holy, all life is sacred

Babies can’t speak a word, how can you hear their screams?

Their cries of horror and intense agony

Their shrieks to make it stop, cryin’ to their moms

But nobody hears

And nobody cares

And if anyone does

Are there enough?

Millions of lives are taken as we speak

Blood drippin’ off of hands and soaking the ground an’ trees

And what do we do?

We recommend it to mothers young and old

And as of the killers

We give ‘em a plaque of gold

All murder’s a crime, but not for the forming child

He doesn’t count, just the money an’ where it’s filed

Does anyone care about this innocent infant blood that’s bein’ spilt?

I was once a baby in my mother’s womb

And that’s why I speak, cuz I was a fetus, too

Are you gonna say I wasn’t alive?

 

I can hear the laughter of happy children

I can hear the crying of aching children

I can feel the pain of the tearing of the body

I can feel the deaths of unborn children

 

This is the law

It’s allowed to run free

I can kill my children if it best suits me

I can end their lives in torture and agony

I can make ‘em die slow, there’s a list of means

It ain’t forbidden and the ways are hidden

Do you really know what they’re doin’ in there?

Butcherin’ up a child, you can’t hear his silent screams

It’s a sick crime against humanity

Yeah, and this is the law

This is the law

Yeah and this is the law

Whoa-oh-oh

Yeah, this is the law

 

This is the law

It’s allowed to run free

I can kill my children if it best suits me

This is the law