2016 Teen Poetry Contest Winners & Honorable Mentions

First Place, Grades 10-12

Paper Lanterns by Caroline P.

Books are swallowed by fire

words descend like dust.

Who will save them,

the things that fill us

with light,

give artistry

to dreary lives.

Who will take the pen,

light the flame,

allow the words to reunite

and books to rise.

Again they will sail

through minds like paper lanterns

                                                         across the sky.

>h3>Second Place, Grades 10-12

Picture Perfect  by Elijah J.

I see these plastic people, Barbie dolls.
With their dream houses and expensive cars.
And their plastic friends, at their plastic malls. 

Getting “white-girl wasted” at plastic bars.
Plastic masks are completely transparent.
Such a hollow frame, there’s nothing inside.
They need plastic Kens for plastic marriage.
They only love money, such plastic wives. 

But I’m plastic too, since I love these girls.
In their plastic party, life’s a child's game.
We’re just plastic kids in a plastic world.
I love plastic ones because we're the same.
We worship plastic idols, live or fake.
But it's trivial because plastic breaks.

Third Place, Grades 10-12

Recess by Regan F.

I can remember
that dreaded game of tag.
Those blue soccer balls that came,
like cannonballs,
over the fence.

Sitting to finish lunches,
singing songs,
inventing worlds.
The mulch that always snuck its way
into our shoes.
The yellow ladder
where I sat to read books
and have conversations
about superheroes
with a boy,
whom barely knew me,
but thought he loved me.

I can remember
the whistle that
called us to line up
and return to class,
the conversations
we tried to finish before
being shushed into silence.

I can remember
the scraped knees that led to printed Band-Aids
and cupcake stickers,
all the time we spent
trying to learn to flip over a beam,
the monkey bars—
forbidden because one too many students had fallen—
and the contest we made
of climbing up the long, blue slide,
a trivial matter we all thought held great importance.

Honorable Mentions, Grades 10-12

Chloe A.
Keighan S.
Eula C.
Samuel W.
Jonathan C.

First Place, Grades 7-9

Rain Window by Mira D.

Rain taps away




At my roof.

I like it when

Rain drowns out

The shouts

From below

Until they are nothing

And I disappear

Out the window

Down the fire escape

Of a small

Apartment building

across the street

Where worn shoes


Hand-me-down sweaters


Always have a hole

In the same place

Don't matter.

Where shadows are warped


Nothing is as it should be.

In the rain

Everyone sees the same way

A little bit fuzzy

And a whole lot cold

Drops fall from the heavens.

They are old windows

That are made from

Old glass

So that everything looks


And so that I can dance and smile

Away from the world

And nobody can tell the difference between




Second Place, Grades 7-9

Their Talk by Mira D.

They talk about themselves

In their brightly colored clothing

And jewlery

The outer shell to the shallow inside.


Drip from their mouths

Like a wet painting

Whose owner left it standing upright

On a blank piece of paper

And now

The sheet is drenched In colors it does not want

And feelings it doesn't need

I wish they would lay flat again.

Each one is a cookie cutter version

Of the next

Baked in exactly the same way

And while

Frosted differently

They all taste the same.

Details fall from their mouths

Like leaves on a tree

In a cold autumn breeze

That shakes

Even the strongest oak.

You can tell a lot by a person who only


Or maybe you can't.

Until the painting lays flat

The cookies are made right

And the leaves have Fallen

They will never know.

Third Place, Grades 7-9

When I Speak by Athena H.

When I speak you hear your name
When I speak the dog barks
When I speak you should listen
Because when I speak
You should of not spoken

When I speak the night is dark
When I speak the day is bright
When I speak it is magical
Because when I speak
You should of not spoken

When I speak the cat’s meow
When I speak to you
When I speak
You speak too
Do not speak when I am speaking
Do peep when I speak
Do not make one single no
Because when I speak
You don’t speak

Because when I speak

Honorable Mentions, Grades 7-9

Eric S.
Mina D.
Job C.
Rebekah B.
Sarah H.
Mira D.