2019 Teen Poetry Contest Winners & Honorable Mentions

Grades 9-12

1st Place -  Shower Thoughts by Susie W.

Why am I afraid to walk down the streets alone at night?
Why do people assume that because I’m a woman I won’t put up a fight?

Why are young girls being sexualized and taught that’s just how it is?
Why must I accept that it’s just a game of his?

Why do boys have to play with trucks and girls with dolls?
Why won’t anyone help a homeless man up when he falls?

Why is it a crime to love who you want to love?
Why are clothes made only for skinny girls to fit like a glove?

Why can’t a woman have control over her own body?
Why isn’t there love and respect for everybody?

Why are families seeking a home being torn apart?
Why don't I have control of my own heart?

Why are black men instantly seen as criminals?
Why is none of this hate in our society fixable?

Why are there still people without clean water in Flint?
Why do I have to apologize for my words and repent?

Why do people think women are just making it up?
Why are our schools STILL being shot up?

Why is our education system such a mess?
Why is almost every student depressed?

Why is it wrong for men to show emotion?
Why is trash being dumped in our oceans?

Why are women treated like objects?
Why is no one being educated about sex?

Why am I a slut if I wear a nice dress?
Why am I a prude if I don’t want to impress?

Why are others trying to dictate who I can be?
Why can’t people of every race, color, and ability be free?

Why can’t all religions exercise freely?
Why isn’t there LGBTQIA+ equality?

Why do slips of green paper run our lives?
Why are people getting the healthcare they need to survive

Why is beauty the only desirable trait?
Why do people use an old book as an excuse to spread hate?

And finally, the most important thought I’m gonna share
Is why does no one seem to care?

2nd Place - The Stuffed Bears by Sarah T.

They sit, stitched and woven,
a line of fluffy sentries,
watchmen staring from
atop the scratchy tower of carpet.
Their dark, bottomless eyes
catch every movement,
every dream in the midnight.

Some wear thin, frayed fur,
Others still display a curved smile
and a little heart on the chest
that beats in nightmares and movies.

There is no escape from their gaze
unless you condemn them to the prison
the bed.

But that is harsh when their tiny
arms and soft bellies
collect tears from a sobbing heart,
when they hold a broken face
in a warm, furry embrace.

They are the keepers of time,
never moving, never commenting
as you trade overalls for jeans,
pigtails for straightened hair.

What would they say if their
mouths were opened,
if a gleam appeared in their beady eyes?
Secrets and hidden things
memories and forgotten laughs

But for now
they simply stare
at the wallpaper you hate,
at the refuge of the bed,
at the photographs of friends
who have replaced them.

3rd Place - A Society of Serenity by Saba A.

As the time moves forward, the colors of the scene are patient.
Waiting for eyes to land on them to prove their distinguished allurement.

A symphony of birds,
singing to their own rhythms.
An incandescent glow,
as if the sun is protecting this array of life,
leaving spots behind closed eyelids.

The Costa Rican sky resonating a pure blue shade.
The feeling of dry grass on skin,
soft and buzzing with the distinct chatter of underground life.
The warmth of the air thick and fluffy
like what everyone thought clouds felt like as a child.

The buzzing of animals
in the expanse of the field.
An illimitable horizon of dense forest.
The harmonious sound
of groups of insects,
with no intention of harm.
The delight of seeing
a beautiful bird.
One you've never seen, not even in dreams.
A view to expatiate any imagination.

This nature is a form of physically existing peace:
a consistent collection of living things.
A society of living beings communicating, the animation of grace.
Why is such an existence taken for granted?
Do we feel our form of life
is superior to that of nature?
Superior to a serenity
that we ourselves cannot replicate?

Honorable Mentions

Your Nature, My Nature by Alicen K.
The Broken Shore by Sarah T.
pretty girls are dangerous by Grace F.
Soul Lenses by Alexander K.
Morning Drive by Evan K.
Open Hours by Meghan E.

Grades 6-8

1st Place - The Laboratory of My Life by Kiarah H.

Want to see something explode
Add some anger
With some attitude
And put the burner on high

Want to see something implode
Take some envy
Add in some hate
And watch it go up in smoke

Want to see something melt away
Water it down with patience
Add hope as a cleaning agent
Then take it off the burner

Want to see something come together
Add some love and kindness
And pour in the beaker some trust
Watch it simmer and cool

2nd Place - Where I'm From by Ikramullah N.

I am from the clouds and smoke and the loud noise.
I am from the white brick house with plants inside.
I am from the red poppy fields.
I am from soccer games with my sister Waja and my brother Sebgatullah.
I am from always wanting to be number one.
I am from the “brush my teeth today?”
I am from respect for God and praying the Quran
I am from Jalalabad, Afghanistan. A city broken by the war.
I am from the stories my mother told me of when I was a fat baby.
I am from pictures of my mom on the bedroom wall.

3rd Place -  Overcome by Kaitlyn A.

Overcome that you are last to be picked in kickball
score a few points, and you'll show them all
Overcome the time you were bullied because of your natural hair
keep on doing what you do, even if you might get stares
Overcome the teasing of your African customs
don't change who you are, no need to be adjusted
Just because you're unlike everyone doesn't mean you must change
you're not behind anyone, ahead, just on a different page

Honorable Mentions

Wishing Seed by Sabrina S.
The Lines by Lauren F.
Gold Dripping Eyes by Rebecca Ann S.
Father to Son by Sakhee S.
Middle School by Azaarine H.