2022 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2022 Teen Poetry Contest Winners


CAMPBELL LIBRARY

High School Winner

 

Under the Sakura Tree

wind flows...
...as smoothly as the distant stream
birds chirp...
...as happily as the bleating kids
grass moves...
...as gratefully as the prancing deer

The atmosphere seems nice.
But it still feels as if something is...
...missing

Under the sakura tree
I can't help but reminisce,
all the times we had together

Under the sakura tree
I can't help but remember,
all the times

when we smiled
when we laughed
when we danced
when we were happy

Remember?

Under the sakura tree?

shiny bronze to mark the day
kind words to soothe the soul
everybody dressed in their best
crocodile tears when money changed hands
the beat coming to an end
the wail to move everyone aside

I want to forget.

Zoe Chew
Prospect High School
Grade: 9

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CAMPBELL LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

Young Love Story

— —Girl— —
Confidently
Played

— —Boy— —
Anonymously
Loved

— —Heart— —
Consequently
Ripped

Zsazsa Beckebanze
German International School of Silicon Valley
Grade: 7


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CUPERTINO LIBRARY

High School Winner

Beneath the Tidal Waves

 

I bathed in the sea,
An ocean of flowers,
Colors so vivid and bright,
Soft carpet below my feet.
I glimpsed: Wired teeth under beaming smiles,
Madmen dancing with youthful abandon,
Bodies drenched in tears of fear.
I listened: The choir chanted festive tunes,
Twisted melodies of extravagance,
Hysterical outcries shattering my heart.
I inhaled: A storm of sweet senses,
Rushing into my nostrils,
Choking me breathless.
What hid beneath this blue-sky imagery?
This impenetrable fog?
This blinding hallucination?
Sweeping apart the curtain of lies,
I reached beyond this super-saturated world,
At last realizing the terror of reality.
We are lost at sea,
Our strengthless limbs swinging helplessly,
As pouring rain pierces our skin like needles,
As tumbling waves bruise our guts like punches.
Yet in our naive minds,
There is a flower field under the sun,
Where we smile from ear to ear,
Where we sing cheerful melodies,
Where we breathe in the spring aroma,
Where pain, like shadows,
I nowhere to be found.

Alan Jian
Homestead High School
Grade: 11

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CUPERTINO LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

Who Am I?

 

Who am I?
I am shattered, sharp shards of glass, scattered across the ground
I am broken, a heart in pieces, not sure which part is truly me
But my question to you, but also to myself, is this: who am I?
Am I the girl from Pakistan, licking the juice of ripe mangoes off my fingers?
Or am I the girl from Michigan, playing in a blanket of sparkling snow?
Or am I the girl from California, building sand castles at the beach?
I do not know
They tell me to spell neighbour, favour, colour, and flavour
Without the u
They tell me to spell mangoes, judgement, potatoes, and volcanoes
Without the e
But I don't
Can't
Yet, at the same time,
I spell realize, socialize, memorize, and sybolize
With a z, not an s
So, in the end
I am not just one of these people
I am all of them
I am a mosaic, made of glittering, colourful fractals, each piece a special part of me, meant to be
honored
All coming together to form something remarkable
Something beautiful
Something unique
Something that cannot be broken and cannot be shattered
That something
Is me.

Zahra Syed
The Harker Middle School
Grade: 6 

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GILROY LIBRARY

High School Winner

Courageous Confidence

 

Raise your voice

Above the crowd

Confidence is a choice

Have the courage to be loud

 

It's easy to forget

the power of a single word

but time can be stopped

once emotion is heard

 

this ocean of silence

drowns all discontent

suffocating quiet

they just don't feel it yet

 

until one voice

carries over crystal waves

the endless sea is broken

by murmurs of the brave

 

Raise your voice

Create waves of sound

Courage is a choice

Have the confidence to be loud

Caitlin Yang
Christopher High School
Grade: 11

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LOS ALTOS LIBRARY

High School Winner

 

My eyes flash open.
A ray of light
Gleems upon me.
A clock that reads 8
Stands besides me,
But even though the sun shines bright,
As I gaze past the curtains
The sky is gray.

Like a mountain that reaches to the sky
A paper pile of anxiety looms
Behind me.
Sitting down to the ticks of a clock,
I start to move my hands.
There is no sound,
As the world sits still
And time itself seems to have stopped.
Looking to the sky once more,
Still gray.

I dream of a world,
Where the grass is green and the sky is blue.
The sun shines a brilliant yellow across the land,
And I am alive.
But once again,
To a clock that reads 8,
And a sound of gentle ticking.
The color form before begins to fade,
And I see that the world around me,
Is still gray.

Matthew Carlson
Los Altos High School
        Grade: 10 
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LOS ALTOS LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

blooming memories

 

I am from work, wearied eyes and soft fleeting smiles,
from cluttered tabletops and color-coded notes.
I am from the tree roots nestled under the soil, burrowing deep down.
I am from the cherry-wood bookshelf,
the countless lines of a thousand words
whose crisp turn of a page I remember
as if I still could hear it.

I am from pastel chairs and subdued lights, from Monet and Manet paintings

I'm from the tied ribbons on gifts and the paintbrushes swirled in color,

from gel pens and sheet music. I'm from toasted bread

with jam slathered
and mouths full of barely comprehensible words I can say myself.

I'm from the best and the worst, wavering lucidity and strong hand grips.
From what my ancestors lost

to the privileges,
the good luck, we have fought to keep safe. Under my bed is discarded toys
spilling old stuffing from the tears.
a explosion of the past
to erupt in my dreams.
I am from those bright memories —
forming before I realize —
blooming on the family tree.

Ellie Lin
The Nueva School
Grade: 8
 
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MILPITAS LIBRARY

High School Winner

 

Sing in Me, O Muse

you are sacred as a song
sea-whistled by a siren,
a low hum soaring in to a high note
whistled by the wind.
you are threaded into
half-nightmares, half-daydreams
and spinning fragments of half-awakeness
i struggle to piece together.
you are a puzzle unsolvable,
an infuriating enigma dangling riddles
before my eyes.
seen clear across
the rollicking ocean
conquered by Odysseus,
you ask, and i answer

Nichelle Wong
Irvington High School
Grade: 12 

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MILPITAS LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

 

Kumquats and Adolescence

Becoming a teenager is like biting into a kumquat for the the first time.
Appealing, bright, new on the outside.
You are assured it will be sweet.
Then you sink you teeth into the plump orange fruit.
At first, confusion.
A mere split second later, the bitter juice floods into your mouth, between your teeth.
Brain-cramping, paralyzing sour.
Your eyes and brain fog up, you can't feel anything.
The before you can truly get a grasp of whatever in the world is going on,
You start regaining your senses.
"Hm, I can taste something else."
Could it possibly be... sweet?
It's sweet!
You weren't tricked.
The whole ordeal leaves you confused and none the better.

Aanjuli Das
John M. Horner Middle School
Grade: 8 

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MORGAN HILL LIBRARY

High School Winner

Reflection

Mirrors are boring and bring about pain
Silver surfaces scathe with aluminum stain
I can see in the portrait the person I fear
And reflect upon what I projected last year
It's hard to tell change from refusal of life
Consequences are grave and they cut like a knife
If the person I was in the past saw me here
Would the static-filled girl shed a genuine tear?
If I talked to a tempting interpretation of me
What mindset would she convey, what world would she see?
And how long could we last until one turned to dust
Looking back on the past makes the memories rust

Caroline Drayton
Ann Sobrato High School
Grade: 11 

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MORGAN HILL LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

 

Shadow Paint

a girl found a can of shadow paint
made by ghosts and shadow haints
a drop spilled on her book
something happened as she looked
on corner of page 17
was soon nowhere to be seen
in the silhouette of the drop of paint
was a shadow, oh so faint
by itself, on the floor
the can of liquid seemed to pour
now she's just an echo,
nothing more

Seerit Kamboe
Britton Middle School
Grade: 7
 
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SARATOGA LIBRARY

High School Winner

 

for my grandmother
and the way / she creaks in the kitchen
sadness seeping from her feet. gleam stuck to her
throat. she smiles when she sees me / piles
rice on my plate saying i look too thin. she looks thinner, skeletal
frame swathed by saris. i wonder at the weight
in her shoulders and i picture her young: hair dark and oiled and a wink in her
face, years of wrinkled worry scrubbed away /
thatha ten years older and her marble toes quivering
at the edge of a cliff --
they push her. call it tradition: a blindfolded
bride, dreams snapping like strings of pearls.
ajji who wanted to be a teacher. ajji who was set
on a shelf / silver wife / silk hands
reduced to spoon.
i think there is a field somewhere, grasses
swaying under a fat yellow moon /
heavy with whispers drifting from pursed
mouths. prayers falling like coins / she trusted
god. clasped her hands and knelt. imagine Juliet
if she listened to her father: hair cleaved into promise. obligation a scar
on her calf. girls burned by time then
forgotten;
tucked away into sepia albums. oh
grandmother, this blood. this memory. this
lace netting generations. you and your mother
and her mother and her mother
all the same / weary and
pining for lost iridescence. i wonder if it
ever stops.</style="text-align:>

*ajji = grandmother
*thatha = grandfather
Maithreyi Bharathi
Saratoga High School
Grade: 10 

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SARATOGA LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

Always and Forever

His fingers,
Soft and warm,
Wove between mine
Like the long shoots of a grapevine.
His eyes
Were two grieving fireflies
That rained affectionately on me.
His hair,
A marriage of rich, liquid gold and silky brown,
Sunbathed carelessly under street lights.
The sun danced to a single melody.
I’ll love him,
Always and forever

His hands,
Weathered and quivering,
Waterfall from my grasp,
Beckoning a new source
Of warmth.
His face,
Fried with flax freckles,
Is angled at
The concrete floor.
His feet,
Weighted and slender,
Float away into the distance,
Not turning back.
The wind rouses me with a crisp slap.
I’ll love him,
Always and forever.

His arms,
Sinewy and craving,
Will be wrapped around another
Like a used bow
On an empty wrapping box.
My heart
Will be pierced
By the long tip of a sickle.
My cheek
Will be sliced
By an icy bead.
Still,
I’ll love him,
Always and forever.

Ava Cai
Redwood Middle School
Grade: 8

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