2014 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2014 Teen Poetry Contest Winners


High School Winner


Red is the color of blood and rubies
The dark glint of the madman’s eyes.
The sound of the heart as it thunders
Nearer and nearer to its demise.
Red is the color of fear
Bold and vibrant against a white-black sky.
Paint splattered--a canvas--left unfinished
A life--suddenly interrupted.
Red is the color of betrayal
Of revenge, a snake waiting to strike.
Rage rising, white-hot
Scarlet starbursts of pain.
Red is the color of courage
The fire of the burning sun.
Battle scars, a badge worn proudly
Wars fought, lost, and won.
Red is the color of hope and embers
Blazing light--a dying flame.
The spark before the inferno
The sour taste of shame.
Red is the color of love and lust
The never-silent song of desire.
Sweet kisses, stolen embraces
And still the broken promises.
Red is bitter--sharp as the knife-edge.
Violent, ungentle--not quite cruel.
Loud, wild--impossible to tame.

Asmaa Ahmed
Grade: 10



Middle School Winner

We, Robots

Colored rogue with empty hearts
You could not split a pair apart
They called it fun, I called it shame
That brought a timbre to their name
Lights would flash a bright alarm
The music thumping to disarm
And as the room turned smoky gray
Coherence slowly dripped away

And in the morning, rusted, weak
Black eyed with crumpled blotchy cheeks
They grind corroded gears and rise
Mechanically they wipe their eyes
Hide the toolkit, hide the parts
That once made up their metal hearts
All the nuts, the bolts, the nails
The brief excitement still prevails …
And still, the next night they return
Willing to let their conscience burn
They waged some whiskey for each breath
Inching closer to their death

The locksmith hands over a tiny key
You have arrived- what do you see?
They opened up themselves, surprised
At the lovely caverns filled with lies.

Anna Kondratyeva
Rolling Hills Middle School, Campbell
Grade: 8



High School Winner

The Music of Yosemite

Listen to the music of Yosemite.
Experience the rich, sonorous sound,
Of the Yosemite Falls trombone.
The vibrant symphony of strings,
As butterflies flutter through the air.
The melodious triple flute performs, full of mystery
While gliding in a forest enchanted with life.
Gaze at the beautiful Giant Sequoias,
Taking notice of the lone clarinet,
Chirping along with the birds.
Gasp, when you see Tunnel View
With El Capitan and Half Dome in sight,
Alongside the complete ensemble,
Playing a song that makes your heart soar with grandeur,
As high as the late afternoon sky, Above the dusky trees,
Past the twilight moon, And with the nighttime stars,
Lies a gentle harp, whose soothing notes sing a lullaby,
The glistening stars make you dream,
But you don’t sleep just yet,
For it starts to snow!
Not a rough, hard snow, determined to whiten the world.
But a soft, gentle snow, giving the world a fine white powder.
A piano playing a note for every snowflake falling out of the sky.
And there lies the conductor of all this beauty!
Change, the Spirit of Yosemite.
For every time you visit it is never the same.
An inner peace drifts over the land.
Listen, and listen closely my dear,
For only those who truly imagine can hear it,
Listen to the Music of Yosemite.

Neelufar Raja
Monta Vista High School, Cupertino
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

Wandering Heart

This world is filled
With the perfume of flowers.
I feel their love,
I feel their heartbeat.

Did you hear that soft sound?
Did you hear the wind's breath?
Did you hear the whispers of the trees,
waiting for me?

Who said those mean things?
Whose voice was that?
That insensitive facade was a mask.
Now love touches me.

In this twilight,
only I see you.
Now this tender wind,
bears my song for you.

As I sing an uplifting song,
feel my radiance beat from my shy heart.

My heart is full of painful scars.
But if I only told you I'd follow you,
my endless wounds could've healed.

No matter how long,
No matter how distant.
Our love is relentless.
though sorrows or troubles,
I will be by your side.

Serena Liu
Kennedy Middle School, Cupertino
Grade: 6



High School Winner

Sad Story Seeping from Wrinkled Mouth

Now Her pueblo is lonely and empty
Nothing but houses withering away with doors unlocked
Colorful clothes hanging to dry – waiting to be rescued
The echo of ancient winds singing cantos viejitos

But She will never return and the clothes will never dry
The rain is their damnation and the petrichor in the air is their salvation.

To Her the land is timeless
The people are ageless
And their youth is endless

But now they are old
Now they sit on sidelines holding their own
Their eyes are dry and their faith is high
Tomorrow they say goodbye.

“Yesterday I was young
Today I am done”

She is a still picture in my hands
And like this She shall forever remain.

Juan Zepeda
Gilroy High School, Gilroy
Grade: 12



Middle School Winner

Left Behind

Crumpled leaves in piles of crimson
Flowers swaying against the soft breeze
Dark brown hair and torn shoes
Arms wrapped tightly around me
One foot on the skateboard and one on the ground
His deep brown eyes sinking into mine

Then they shut
He turns around
Says goodbye
And skates away

The trees moan for him to stop,
The grass pulls at the wheels of his board,
But he’s unstoppable.

Please, someone come save me from the pain
Please, save me from the things I’ve lost.
I melt into the unknown
As the once hopeful winds carry me away . . . .
The one left behind

Macayla Del la Vega
South Valley Middle School, Gilroy
Grade: 8



High School Winner


I sent you blocks of characters
With droplets of silver sentimentality
Embedded within the cracks of wood
To which you brushed aside carelessly
Because I guess I hadn’t carved the art
As elegantly as you would have liked.

Sometimes you sent me splinters of characters,
With the meanings of your etches
As bland as an infinite blanket of sand.
Yet I folded them into the pockets of my mind
And took them with me as I faded into the stars.

Megan Gee
Los Altos High School, Los Altos
Grade: 10



Middle School Winner

Untitled 1

when my screams echo these abandoned halls of my mind
…will you be there looking for me?
when I cry my eyes out, after my family yells their feelings,
…will you wipe my tears?
can I sleep on your chest, so I can fall asleep
to the steady beating of your heart?
can I trust you
to hold me together
when I can't?

when all I have and all I am breaks like glass…
and after each blow
I will eventually shatter

can you pull me back together?

because I miss the feeling
of knowing that I make someone's
heartbeat faster than mine.

you make me feel loved….
can't you see?
…never leave 

because I missed you
before I ever knew
you were looking for me.

Annalise Chisholm
St. Simon Parish School, Los Altos
Grade: 7



High School Winner

It’s Time

The line in front of us has no end in sight


The clock ticks closer to the top of the hour, to something


Some of us have spent months or even years getting ready for this


Because the next three hours will determine our future


Depending on if our results are



They've opened the doors
We're filing in
It's time
For the
Ariel Bolingbroke
 Milpitas High School, 
Grade: 12


Middle School Winner

Little Innocent Box

a little innocent box,
dark maple, worn edges,
a flash of dull gold.
a little innocent box,
what could it possibly hold?
perhaps a glittering diamond brooch,
or a long forgotten daguerreotype.
alas our spirits dashed,
when the box creaks open,
for nothing is inside, nothing at all,
nothing, null, void.
but something glimmers, something twinkles,
something shines with unbridled light.
and up rises
the thing named Hope.
for from the depths of dark despair,
it bloomed into a beautiful flower.
a little innocent box,
look past the cover and maybe, just maybe,
you'll know who she is.

Allison Chang
 Horner Junior High, 

Grade: 7


High School Winner

My Side of the Wall

On my side of the wall, what you would see,
Are people trying too hard to be-
Like everyone else, normal, just the same,
From my view, it’s all a shame.
All a shame that their Love goes to waste,
Trying too hard to get a taste-
Of that fake Love.
On my side of the wall, what you would feel,
Are hearts as cold as stainless steel.
Eyes so deep, that you could drown staring into them too long,
And it feels weird...
As you can’t expect to feel right, in a place so wrong.
On my side of the wall, what you would hear,
Are shouts from miles away, that somehow sound near.
But again this is my side of the wall,
If you tried climbing over, you’d just fall-
Into the depths of spikes, as sharp as a broken heart,
That would dagger into you, tearing you apart.
Now how did I get on my side of this wall?
I was already broken, before I went for the fall.

Hazel Sanz
Sobrato High School, Morgan Hill
Grade: 10



Middle School Winner

Hello, giant

I look up to you, giant.

You are so tall

you must be friends with the moon.

Even bird live in your hair.

Can you see my house from up there?

Have you ever caught a shooting star?

Does your rough skin even feel my kicks?

How did you celebrate your 900th birthday?

Is that why you have so many rings?

You never answer my questions,

but we are still friends.

If a kid can be friends with a tree.

Sutter Keane
Oakwood School, Morgan Hill
Grade: 6



High School Winner

“Where I’m From” 

I sit in the shade of the magnolia tree
Whose ant­traced limbs sheltered me when I wanted invisibility.
Forever faithful, its skinny arms and legs never let mine bruise.
Two teddy bear princesses that defined my childhood universe.
Sugar brown, with fur soft as lamb’s ears, they ruled over imaginary worlds. 

I turn a page; the juice of pumpkin­colored persimmon fruit stains it.
To me it speaks of hours watching the same feeble tree swell, pregnant
With basketfuls of sweet fruit I hated because they didn’t look like apples.
My heaven came in November, when the pineapple guava bushes dropped
Green sugar spheres beside my feet. I stuck them in Trader Joe’s paper bags,
Eating them by the strainer after lazy evenings.  

To the spine I finger the glued remnants of a pink streamer, which recalls
Careless afternoons spent racing with my brother on a lollipop­colored bike.
When he’d fall on the carpet, laughing at me, I’d stalk to my room, slamming the door
To find solace with Harry Potter and Narnia’s Pevensies. Then I’d scratch the skin
My eczema reddened and dried, as I glanced between it and an arsenal of antibiotics.  

I liked silence. Playground fights that started with takes­one­to know­one and
Tag­you’re it I avoided, and instead I’d lean into a cushion of dirty clothes in the
Darkness of my closet clutching a coverless diary and my favorite chewed­out pencil.
Scrawled writing recorded a trove of dreams forgotten, crushed between
SAT classes and math competitions. I once wanted to dance ballet.  

Still, I treasure these words because they remind me where I’m from.
Now I am a seed blown out into wind, soaring wild beyond the dandelion.  

Ashley Chen
Saratoga High School, Saratoga
Grade: 10



Middle School Winner

we wear black because it’s zhu yu’s death

rather sentimental at first sight, isn’t it?
a dying girl and wilting flowers braided into dry tendrils
that poured over her cotton bedding

but the intensity in the room climbed
it was silent but unsettling as i smelled war on her mind
and she screamed in silence as it wracked her whole body
and her tortured spirit clashed against itself
again, and again
bloodied, and beaten
but again, and again

the doctors and nurses taunted their hostage
threatening to fire the missiles
unless she became one of them: monsters

she died before they could kill her, or at least that’s what the doctors say
we all wore black and it rained sunflowers in the hospital that day
oh, but don’t they know

those missiles won’t be prepared for zhu yu’s comeback

zhu yu
it rings of joy and patriotism
for it means freedom in our language
and yes, there is a difference between taiwan and china
a difference between the way we act, the way we speak
the way we think that we belong to nobody
because the next time i see zhu yu
she’ll be breathing normally in a chinese hospital
no, it will be in taiwan
no, it won’t be a hospital
she will be soaring through fields of sunflower, the liberty bell ringing
free, at last

Angela Lee
Redwood Middle School, Saratoga
Grade: 8

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