2012 Teen Poetry Contest Winning Poems

High School Division (Grades 9-12)

1st Place: "The Old Woman Who Goes to My Church" by Meghedi Tamazian

maybe we really can't do anything about all
these worldly problems. there are too many
hotels here and maybe there's a rhyme or reason
to the way He acts or maybe there isn't and that
old woman who goes to my church who tripped
and became paralyzed from the neck down always
told me that once you start feeling like a tourist in your
own town, it's time to get the hell out of there, honey.

most old people i know lost the spark in
their eyes when they heard their lover's
intake of breath for the last time. the old
woman who goes to my church who tripped
and became paralyzed from the neck down
still has a little bit of twinkle in her colorless eyes.
here eyes aren't really colorless, i just don't know
the names of the colors in them so i'll just call them
colorless because sometimes, that old woman
who goes to my church who tripped and became
paralyzed from the neck down is too colorful,
so her eyes need to be called colorless
to balance her out, know what i mean?

now i can't tell you too much about her, but i can
tell you that her and her wife have always wanted a
child but no one would be their sperm donor because
no one supported their love & their decisions and they
thought why should a lesbian couple be blessed with a
baby when other 'normal' couples were still anxiously
waiting for their chance to be parents?

i don't know why the old woman who goes to my church
who tripped and became paralyzed from the neck down
tells me these things and i don't know why she thinks
i could relate because i am not an old lesbian woman
with colorless eyes and a colorful heart sitting in a
wheelchair and praying to God that heaven's doors will
somehow still open for me, but i've always been a good
listener so i'll listen to her until her eyes turn to
colors that i can actually name.

she tells me that she doesn't belong here
and no one accepts her- especially not our priest,
& she says she just hates all the stares she gets
in church and all the wrongwrongwrong things people
say she has done, like how she has defied God and
disappointed her parents and made everyone die a little inside

& i tell her
"looks like it's time to get the hell out of here, honey"



2nd Place: "I Miss You: Words from the Past, Present and Future" by Ray Hilger

To form an idea via spoken word.
Not for an award but to be heard.
Stories can range from any category and from any territory.
Let me give you an outline of mine.
My name was designed from sunshine.
A genuine shine from the divine,
I was blessed with a sturdy spine.
All was fine until that pipeline reached its deadline.
Suddenly my life's goldfinches were caged by twenty-four inches.
That's all it took for my world to be shook.
My dad fell two feet with that pipe on the stairwell.
No warning bell or even a help yell.
Excel six months but my dad is not well.
Like a bad spell he can't life a barbell or even walk to answer the doorbell.
The sad thing is, no matter how bad he got, I never shed a tear.
Through all my fears, that burned my heart near severe.
Dear Dad, I am sincere but the mere look at you is like a scary movie premier.
Another year passes and I still appear childish.
But I know the truth about replaced goldfish.
My wish for the last ten years was meant for you not to have a bent spine.
To be the kind of dad that I need for me.
Every present I resent because every cent of mine
Should go to invent a supplement to end your torment.
I am of your decent but with your consent I wish we went
And spent all the seconds we still have unspent without relent.
In my mind I replay the content of that event.
It kills me inside because I see you slip on the tears that I should have cried.
I should have put my pride aside.
I verbalize my testify that life terrifies me
But I am willing to recognize this agonize.
I use life's knife to plant my pain.
I pray for the rain to keep me sane.
I see that the moon is waning
but I know in my brain and in my veins that I shouldn't complain.
I will retain all his wisdom I have attained.
His life will remain as I maintain what he's gained.
Let me explain to you that my story will never be chained or detained
but rather a story that will continue to need a tissue.
Because I learned in this issue that I will cry until the day I say,
I miss you.


3rd Place: "The Sky May Be Gray" by Evangeline Reid

We can try not to trip on the cracks, step over them, hoping to
avoid running one through our hearts; we are cautious as we
dance. Only one of the roses you give me is wilted. I just turn it
so I only see the pretty side, and we just dance and dance and
dance, and when we tire, we sway, because we cannot stop for
fear of what we'd fine: weeds sprouting through the cracks,
broken glass and empty tires full of lies once spun and miles
worn until they cracked and crashed. So maybe we'll dance with
our eyes closed so we never see the wreckage. Maybe if we just
cling tighter we'll make it through the storm, but I served your
dinner cold. I wrote to tell you how I thought it was; I had a
feeling, and I knew, but my pen ran out of ink, and I could not
speak the words. And to think we'd feel betrayed if one of our
eyes had but strayed beyond the face before us, searching for the
truth. We danced on until the snow turned to slush, turned into
rain to feed the flowers that don't grow on this crumbling
pavement we can't seem to see. The summers spring, and the
winters fall until it all merges into one, and it's been so very long
since we've looked at this romance; my bouquet is just a
withered glimpse of memory, but we dare not let go. This is all
that we know. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been worth it
to scrawl the words in even blood, to tell you how it is, rather
than dancing our last dance together and taking our last breath,
then collapsing to the ground, to lie among the dirt and glass with
all of our regrets.


  HONORABLE MENTION:"The Unspoken Truth" by Christine Ramirez

Tears rolling down my cheeks are heavy stones
Honest and brave yet so hidden from you
Try after try my breath snaps like bones
I want to succeed oh I really do
My hope is to one day be satisfied
Drowning under constant disappointment
Wishing to one day not be classified
Now failure can find its own appointment
I will not give in so that I am told
The feelings so strong that I am so close
Must stay on the road and always be bold
That second of panic and I just froze

Emotions can be thrown and given a toss
But effort and will can never be lost


  HONORABLE MENTION: "My Art Teacher" by Hannah Zeeb

Her fingers dance the painting
across the blank canvas
you can do this
to start is the hardest part

Slurping the soggy cereal
pointing at the page
this needs more shadows
Oh, you have the time

Looking for her glasses
found atop her head
add more colors
There's more to white than white

Laughing at a joke
That she makes herself
the shape needs more dimension
A painting can be alive

Staring at the picture
that just took me months
I think it looks fantastic
Confidence, just have confidence

Saying her goodbyes
she will see us all next year
never stop painting
Never stop being you

Touching the cold body
who is laying within death
you will live forever
I will never forget

**authors note** I wrote this poem after I found out that Mrs. Funke, my art teacher for most of my high school career, passed away from cancer in the fall. She inspired me to do my best and work hard at everything I do from art, sports, school, or just my life in general. She made my high school experience very memorable. Thank you, Mrs. Funke.**