Self-Definition

By: Patrick Wang

I am
the crystalline rays of the sun
refracted through evaporated dreams of a distant playground
my parents built for me.
Pass me through and see my colors.

Red blood, red bone Marlboro, red trailing off blue smoke
between you and me.
I’m crying
and you are so close I can smell your sweat mixing with ash.

“Man-up.  Real men don’t cry.”
I think about the swarm of limbs humming concertos of broken bottles and broken
marriages; holes in plaster walls.
The next time your hand finds my face, I don’t raise my arms up.

Instead, watching as red skin
marries blue smoke, birthing violet bruises.
“Am I a man yet?”

You don’t answer.

And my eyes grow like plums,
so ripe that
in the expanding darkness
I could be human.
 

Patrick Wang is 16 years old; he lives in Johns Creek, Georgia.  Fun fact: Patrick looks after numerous plants named after famous scientists.  His favorite is Copernicus Fernicus.

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

 



Echo Sonnet to the Past

By: Emily Sandberg

 

 

 

 

Echo Sonnet to the Past

 

 

 

From where may I begin what’s done?                           None.
And from there, tackle pain or relief?                              Grief.
But will I accept or will I shun,                                         Run.
If in my heart, there remains only one charred leaf.        Leave.
Birds encircle the mind to no avail,                                  Fail.
Aiming and floundering, stepping with haste,                  Hate.
Yellow eyes fixed upon the unspoken trail,                      Ail.
For is this the journey or is it waste?                               Wait.
Glad are you that time cannot reverse?                          Worse.
From now I’d leap, falling forward, converse.                  Curse.
For now the barrier constricts me here,                           Hear.
But I feel you pushing, saving from fear.                          Near.

I feel your words when my mind slips back,                     Back.
But for the future moments, your words, I lack.                Back.

 

Inspired by “An Echo Sonnet to an Empty Page” by Robert Pack
 

 

Emily Sandberg is 17 years old and is from Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA. Some fun facts about Emily is that she has three dogs that are all poodles, and her favorite band is The Shins. 



Green

By: Emma Dawson-Webb

Green

 

Green wallpaper curled in moldiness,

Radiates anticipation.

Intense eyes never yielding, 

Send them spiraling into chaos:

Both the beholder 

And the startling emerald paper.

 

A young woman aged by imagination 

Cradled 

In self-pity 

and machinations 

that overestimate her importance.

Green encases her, 

Into madness.

 

The rotting scent of the viridescent corpses sugars the house,

Like creeping fog, stillness rolls in.

 

Violent gore in idyllic wealth,

Green toxins trap, blinding her, 

To the border between life and death.

She does not sense the anguished bodies 

Covered in poisonous holes beside her. 

Marionette bodies 

To cure a loneliness 

She doesn’t know she has.

 

Emma Dawson-Webb is 15 years old and livs in Kittery, Maine, USA. Fun facts about Emma is that she loves all things related to color and she has a passion for writing stories and poetry based on historical events. 



What Remains

By: Aditya Nair

 

What Remains

 

During these lonely nights,
I go for a stroll in the woods.
The dark helps me think,
remember our lost childhoods.

It was here we used to frolic,
Irrespective of the time.
Oh, how quickly things change
Shorter than a lifetime.

All that’s left,
Are the remains of a tree
Which we used to climb,
Our kindred spirits free.

The woods are now silent,
Spare the hooting of the owl
The chirp of the cricket
And the fearful wolf’s howl.

Oh, how I miss those days,
When we had no fear
The untamed came and played with us,
As if we were their dear.

It’s strange how the forest,
Feels so much like home
Not wanting us to leave,
Letting us free roam.

The leaves drift gently,
In tandem with the breeze
Creating a melody so sweet,
Giving the mind a tease.

I wonder why we ever left,
A place as beautiful as this
It has enough to please us with,
Enough to keep us in bliss.

But such is human nature,
Running after material things
Thinking that with money,
They can live like kings.

Why can’t we all come back,
Away from the city lights
Relive those forgotten moments,
Enjoy these childhood nights.

 

Aditya Nair is 17 years old and is from Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. 

Fun facts about Aditya: He loves to sing and is crazy about super heroes,

especially Iron Man. He is also part of a bird watching club in his neighborhood. 



Fated

By: Agnes Garrett

Soulmates are a tricky thing.
Whether platonic or romantic
everyone seems to have one.

A common trope, appealing to old
and young alike.
An idea that the stars, maybe the universe,

Created someone for you.
With souls intertwined, like vines on a lampost,

Your soulmate
Is fated to belong to you,
your own perfect match.

But you may never meet.
Star-crossed lovers may never meet,
a cruel joke.

A soulmate who was made for you,
but nothing was said about being together.

Their identity, unbeknownst to you.
like person meets person and your heart knows.

It could be the boy in the record store with
cuffed jeans and scuffed sneakers,
hair reaching his shoulders.

It could be the girl working in the bookstore,
surrounded by the smell of dust and old paper.

Could have been an old crush,
one you hoped to be something more.
It was just wishful thinking.

Maybe you’re one of the few that get lucky.
Meeting the one, and you two just fit perfectly.

Maybe you’re one of the unlucky ones,
crushed by the feeling that the one you wanted
didn’t belong to you.

Wanting to scream, “I defy you stars!”
Á la Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo and Juliet, shaking your fist
to the sky.

You long to have a roadmap,
of who you are going to be with,
of the person who comes once in a lifetime.

In your lifetime.

 

Agnes Garrett is 17 years old; she lives in Richmond, Texas.  Some fun facts about her are -- she loves the show, "Parks and Recreation," and she speaks French.



Stella

By: Meira Colton

I was a little girl,
Just in first grade,
In a small town in Virginia.
She was my best friend.
She was the thing that made me happy when I was sad,
Who would sit in my lap when I threw a tantrum.
But she had to go sometime.
She died at 12,
When the time was right,
A couple months before our move across the country.
She was old, but playful; she was the perfect match.

Stella, 
We cried in the dark, using boxes of tissues,
All for you, all 'cause we missed you.
The tears where rushing down my face, sniffling every ten seconds.
Every time I see your picture I think about the good days.
You passed so peacefully.
We hoped you were just tired,
But we knew that you were gone.
Although gone, you are always in my heart.
At the sight of any Vizsla I go and pet them.
I will always be Vizsla-crazy, all because of you.
I love you, and I will always love you.

 

Meira Colton is 12 years old and is from Seattle, WA, United States


The Hateful Part

By: Olivia Griffin

There are many problems with this world,
From A to Z.
Some people don’t even know how hurtful it can be
When a man insults a woman
When a black person is shot.

Nobody realizes it can affect many people
We have differences the world cannot stand.
But I don’t get why we hurt each other. I don’t understand.
Thank God, most of these things don’t happen in Washington,

Heard about or not.

“You look fat in that dress!”
“She’s so ugly cuz she’s black.”
“If she’s Muslim, she must be a terrorist.”

Sometimes, I’m ashamed to be an American.
Sometimes, I wish that I wasn’t called a ghetto,

And the other people around me weren’t.
I’m sick and tired of it, and I want it to stop.

But it won’t.

Because, 
We
Americans
Think
It’s
Okay.

To judge us for our skin color,
Or our sexual orientation,
For our communication,
For our transportation,
That we are white Becky’s and black Monique’s.

They tell us to get a life.
They tell us to go back to our country.
They tell us that we are unimportant,
That we are ignorant.

But………
We are more than that.

We are in unison in our unique ways.

 

Olivia Griffin is 12 years old and is from Renton, Washington State, USA



A Cherry Tree

By: Stanley Zhao

A Cherry Tree

 

Vibrant crystals of white snow,

Waltzing in the wake of the chilly breeze,

Fluttering back and forth, right and left,

Towards the reaching hands of a lone cherry tree

 

The cherry tree, a soldier in a worn, barren land,

A survivor of the most fearsome winds,

The most daunting rains, the most playful children,

But its soul lingers 

At the hands of the worst of winter.

Branches lie naked, trunk sits stiff,

Roots rest hungry, leaves remain absent.

 

But

In a shower of snowflakes,

The cherry tree regains its beauty.

The snow adorns the tip

Of the slender, wooden arms

With twinkling lights 

And sprinkles the gnarled fingers

With icy confetti.

The chilly wind crowned its head

With a glittery veil

And the snow blankets the lonely roots

And embraces them in a cool, friendly kiss.

 

At sunset

Each snowflake reflects the soothing light

Of the sun,

Basking the cherry tree in a golden glow, 

Comforting the cherry tree,

And making it beautiful.

 
Stanley Zhao, 16, Portland, Tennessee, USA. Stanley is very passionate about world history and politics.


Women as Flowers

By: Ashley Hodgson

Unwelcome, amidst loose petals of late spring
of such white blossoms.
Each a little lace dress flitting about
at lofty heights,
all made up with make-up, brimming to bloom.

A laughable novelty
to be proudly gifted that corset-like dress.
Then told to wear it --
"Be unattainable. A lovely, pure white."

Upon the raw ears of a girl
a foolish color -- white sullied with apathetic ease.
Probably prefers her clay-baked overalls
sheer violet bruises, maroon-rose knees,
verdigris grass stains
over lofty standards of little white dresses.

Of young women in peak bloom.
Of buds clenched closed, fearing tongue of frost.
What to do with the aftermath of spring?

White cast aside to don mature black;
ditsy lace for womanly lingerie.
Left to gaze as unwitting sisters are plucked
from bare boughs of skeleton trees.
Extravagant funeral of mere, innocent change.

All from crippled ideology that would deny
all flowers die
 

 

 

 

Ashley is 18 years old; she lives in Greenville, South Carolina.  Some of her favorite things include casual conversation, aesthetic coffee shops, and of course, the rare full night’s sleep.

 



The Catalog

By: Deven Blake

The catalog reveals its entries,
they dance to and fro.
The librarians are posed as sentries,
protecting the knowledge that no one may know.

“Is this what you wanted?”
“Is this what you need
to stop the data
and its unlimited speed?”

“Is this who you wanted
to kill this disease
and stop the information
spreading through the machines?”

No, you may not see the glory!
And you cannot feel the thrill!
The hum of a million stories
is drowned out by the scream of the drill.

We whisper through the hallways
that we'd like to read the books
but instead we're labeled cretins!
and thieves, and baseless crooks!
And, yet, the catalog lays there waiting,
underestimated and all alone.

We're banned from reading its secrets
and we weep when the library is closed.

 

Deven Blake is 15 years old; he lives in Lewiston, Maine. Questions that inspired him to write this poem include, When we shift the location of analog data to digital data, who will control access to it? What will be lost? And finally, would it be best to have a soulless, forbidden catalog, or a limited selection of carefully guarded literature?

 

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