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2015 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2015 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Campbell Library

Cupertino Library

Gilroy Library

Los Altos Library

Milpitas Library

Morgan Hill Library


Saratoga Library



High School Winner

The Hike

                                                            Air as fresh as morning pierces our skin,
                                                   as the sun begins its own voyage up to the sky
                                            Breezes fill the open space and paw at the green
                                    and the trees stand timeless and high          

                            Hill laugh at us, making no notion to abrade
                  as our footsteps are heavy and sigh
         Dangerous roads rebel against our feet
Thin rope railings stretch towards the sky

The waterfall roars its mighty breath
         and spits when it speaks to the clay
                  The creek whispers its secrets to the rocks,
                            which are written of years of what those waters say

                                      Fallen trees applaud us now
                                               for completing their clever maze
                                                         Home smiles and calls out to us
                                                                and we dream of doing it again one day

Ali Bell
Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

She cried
Oh how much she cried
These days, it was too often to count
And the people who did it
Where depressed themselves
They feel lost, hopeless
Like they were drowning in anxiety
And they needed help
So we offered
But then
We just got
With them
And their grip was so tight
And they wouldn’t let go
As much as we asked
As much as we begged
They held us hostage
And it hurt
Oh it hurt
But not as much as the words did
Oh. The. Words
There were too many of them to count
Ugly, Fat, Imperfect
Was all that people said
And it was painful
But the funny thing was
The words she never heard
Were the words
She wanted
The most
Beautiful, Perfect, Kind
No, stop
Because she hated imagining
A reality
That she could never have
She wasn’t good enough
She wasn’t “cool” enough
As society would say
And even though we all know
That it isn’t fair
We still follow society
We still follow its rules
So next time you say something
That can really affect a persons
Self esteem
Take a
Take a
And when you do
Trust me
Oh trust me
Things will change
People will change
Words will change
Oh how things will change

 Abby Gordon
Old Orchard School, Campbell
Grade: 7



High School Winner

Spoon Tongues

Sitting at the restaurant table,
my mom tries to pronounce Fettuccine Alfredo
while I pretend the sun out the window
is sucking the yellow out of my skin.

This is mutual.
When the street vendors in Shanghai
see that I cannot negotiate like them,
their yellow teeth hiss:
“American, American, American,”
and the blood that ties us,
(the red string of hope our ancestors held
as they boarded their dreams across the sea)

This is mutual.
Yellow asks me why my parents chose Emmeline as
my middle name.
White asks if Connie is short for something else.

This is mutual.
There are two tongues in my mouth
but only one lives at a time.
The other sleeps, in fear that its
sounds of Nature, its symphony of
single syllables—
(the same glass-cut vowels that make up my name,
promise a girl good health and peace)
will be mistaken as mere clanking
of dropping spoons

Connie Lu
Cupertino High School, Cupertino
Grade: 11



Middle School Winner

The Endless Cycle

I need something to do
What shall I read?
You think as you browse
at the library          

The smell of a new book
sitting upon its shelf
A squeal of excitement
as you recognize its title

The cover flipped open
to marvel the first page
Chapters fly by in a blink,
obsessing over favorite characters

Imagining yourself in the book
Gasping at all the right moments
Closing your eyes, sighing, appreciating
Feeling your heart race during every suspense

Reading the final paragraph, connecting all the dots
Only to close the book staring mesmerized at its cover,
Knowing the secret world it contains
Adding it to your universe

I need something to do
What shall I read?
You think as you browse
at the library

Shreya Kashyap
 John F. Kennedy Middle School, Cupertino
Grade: 8



High School Winner

Waves of sadness crash on the shore,
                                                The soul inside is still dwindling,
Sadness, emptiness, more and more,
                                                Hollowness keeps spreading,
The landline you threw was not far enough,
                                                Tides pulled me in too deep,
Waves of blue fill my lungs, making me cough,
                                                Drowning, drowning down steep.

Tasia McConkie
Christopher High School, Gilroy
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

(a Shakespearean sonnet)
Mount Everest

The climb to the top of the giant hill
Mount Everest, the worlds biggest mountain
It is frigid up there, it’s know to kill
Men climbing to find the youthful fountain

Sights are beautiful up at the summit
It was first seen by Edmund Hillary
There was no chance if he didn’t commit
All the way back in 1953

A rest at base camp to acclimatize
The wind hits my face like a stabbing knife
It is far too late when you first realize
You’re a crazy person risking your life

“I am at the top,” my mind says with glee
I think this is enough climbing for me

Kristof Sochan
Charter School of Morgan Hill
Grade: 6



High School Winner

Cradled in her torn, bleeding hands
lays a rusty compass
the glass cracked in the same way
her heart had shattered months ago

She clutches the compass with desperation.
mouth moving senselessly
heart beating irregularly
right there,
in her broken, bruised hands
lays the compass
an eternal hope that will lead her to the right place.

She doesn’t know that the compass is broken
The tenuous needle no longer points north
and she foolishly, infuriatingly, naively, clings to this oval object
that speaks of all her dreams and wishes and desires.

hope fear chance desperate stop stress fear help help help

And so
leaving bloody droplets of her identity as she traverses across the blizzard-blinded landscape
she stretches her lips out into what some call a smile,
but all I see is desperation and insanity
blind hope and blind fear,
as she clutches the broken compass.

Sana Khader
Los Altos High School, Los Altos
Grade: 10


High School Winner

every word in their language translates back to you

when i think about leaving,
i don’t think about broken beer bottles
lined up against the sink
or sharp voices bouncing off the bathroom walls
and stabbing the linoleum tiles.

i think about sitting in a crowded airport alone
with an unopened bag of chips in my lap,
studying the way strangers take their orders at the cafe
rather than watching airplanes
disappear into the sky.

i think about walking outside to the cement steps
with the door left open
and unwashed dishes sitting motionlessly
on the kitchen table.

the ashtray is clean
but there are ghosts living underneath the walls
and every morning,
i go outside to stare at the sky and describe what it looks like
and what angels are feeling
to the ghosts,

and they reply in a language
we both understand:


 Clara Marisol Dela Cruz
 Milpitas High School, 
Grade: 9


Middle School Winner


The feathers of life
The feathers of words
The feathers of pain
Pilling on your back
With each light feather
Comes a dark scar
They piled on you, never ending
But your confidence was always there
Lingering by your side
Telling you to throw the insults aside
Where do broken hearts go
You ask yourself
Its your to end it with a happy ending
Go grab your halo
And prove them wrong
Use those feathers
Into wings
Look, your flying 

Sena Atesoglu
 Magnolia Science Academy, Santa Clara

Grade: 7


High School Winner

The Problem With Today

The problem with today is

We victim blame.
            Boy forces girl?
                        She asked for it
            Girl forces boy?
                        that can’t happen

We point fingers,
            because it’s just those godforsaken [insert political part of choice here]’s fault

We make snide remarks,
            thinking it won’t hurt anyone
            because what we said was ‘funny’
            and it applies to us too… (kinda)

But the worst thing we are all guilty of?
            reading this thinking none of it applies to us

Anna Giubileo
Notre Dame High School, San Jose
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

The Need to Strive

Immigrants  called us the land of the lucky,
Lucky for us they came
Without their money and hard work
We wouldn't be the same

Many years later, some are still coming
To find jobs and a new life.
Why do we send them back?
Back to their old life of pain and strife?

Our families were once immigrants too
Were they not?
The things these people are seeking,
Our families once sought

We need to come together,
We need to strive
Strive for a country where everyone has jobs
Strive for a country where every race can thrive

Strive for peace and unity,
Strive for no homelessness
Strive for a country,
Where everyone feels like a prince or princess.

Don't turn them away!
They are in need
Can't you see their tears?
Can't you hear them plead?

Help me, help me please.....

Normandy Hays
Homeschooled, Morgan Hill
Grade: 7



High School Winner

A Midsummer Aubade 

Demetrius and his
double bloom
tulip, blush-colored.

Demetrius, knees
crumbled in plea, flower

resting in the hollows of his
palms. Demetrius, smooshed

stemjuice leaking
from his fingers. Demetrius, jaws
stained in red wine

from her blows. Demetrius,
murmuring Hermia like
a prayer. Are you

sure that we
are awake? It seems to me
that yet we sleep, we dream.

I pick up his
flower from the parkgreen.
He spots me

holding his flower
to my ribs.

I do not want
him to look, so he

sees. Me, fumbling
through the petals
like antique

pages, crimson and crinkled
and trembling. 

Margaret Zhang
Castelleja School, Palo Alto
Grade: 10



Middle School Winner

Apologies Are Hard

to the world, (a flurry of chaotic people watching out for only themselves),
maybe I appear calm and cool and collected,
but inside,
every nerve jumps and jolts at the smallest noise, because I'm sorry.
throughout the whole day,
everything blurs by like NYC traffic or the backdrop of a stage.
and then the very moment of the very highest fear
comes in all too fast with the ringing of the bell, rush of bodies, the sight of a face.
and every word I'd rehearsed disappears in a puff of smoke,
leaving me more stranded than on a deserted island, because I'm sorry.
so I feel like a mouse as I stand, pretend the sun blinded me,
and try my best to say the words that are every fiber of my being, because I'm sorry.
they don't come.
open and shut, open and shut, like a fish out of water,
I try and I try to get the desperate pleads all to come,
but one look at those brilliant blue eyes
and I am lost at sea.
hot humiliation scorches cheeks and ears worse than the reddest sunburn in the silence.
smooth, untouched, perfectly golden silence,
though crisp and cutting all the same like a diamond, glinting in the sunlight
it all stretches throughout the ages;
the Aztecs, the Greeks, and Babylon might fight a great bloody war; I wouldn't notice.
a clock is ticking by in maddening increments; accusing me of wasting precious time
and finally, I just whisper that
"I'm Sorry."
everyone says it, but not everyone knows it.
and yet, this doesn't matter, because it won't ever change:
apologies are hard--
...a soft and sincere voice tells me that
"It's Okay."

Kyra Jee
Raymond J. Fisher Middle School, Los Gatos
Grade: 8

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