Carmichael Crespo, 10th- Newbury Park, CA
Edward will never know he doesn’t exist. This Edward works in a tall library but doesn’t enjoy reading. Because of what I say after the next comma, he never will. For a facade of a man, one who exists only in words, he has some wisdom.
How many stories can be told in four sentences? How many stories are there in all the buildings? All the libraries? I knelt on my carpet and picked a scab off my lip, the blood fell on the page and spelled out these words, this is a run on sentence.
Like the urge to be careful in conversation, I find it hard to resist a hangnail. It isn’t the nail which hangs, but the skin. If we can call it a hangnail, can we not call this carefulness a hangstory? Its nearness to its origin decreases the more one indulges it, and the regret becomes clear when the blood starts to flow.
How many conversations have remained empty, unfilled with real worlds? How many “How are you” end with an answer the asker and the other will never remember? How many people exist only in moments moved past by all others? Is this what I am to you, a sentence that goes on and on but never enters reality, as you do, am I only these words between commas, if I end a sentence with a period, will I cease to have a voice?
I’m here, on this page, but only as long as you read it. I wrote the first paragraph of this page, at least, I would have if I’d’ve realized this sooner. The “real person” will write the conclusion, my time is ending. Goodbye.
I suppose I was wrong about Edward, which isn’t truly possible if I did invent him. Where did Edward come from? My mind? His?
Perhaps you invent Edward with your thoughts. You decide if he wrote these words, or if I did. You decide how many sentences it takes to tell every story. For a person who exists only in thoughts, you can still see the sun.
Chloe P. 7th - Jersey City, NJ
What do you want to be when you grow up?
So many times, my answer to this redundant inquiry has been rearranged and shifted
For, I’ve always needed a goal to work towards
Something to keep me uplifted
Ballerina, I would’ve told you, when I was age five
I admired their beauty, how they’re so effortlessly graceful
I thought, if I’m not that pretty, surely I’m shameful
But quickly, ballet seemed so far from reach
I became too aware of my body
It made me suffocate
I couldn’t breathe
So, veterinarian, I decided, when I was age seven
Knowing that I could help someone, put my mind at ease
Because whatever it was, no one had tried curing my disease
But the blood, and the pain, was too much to handle
I needed an escape, something that wouldn’t put me in shambles
Nine year old me thought that she had made up her mind
Comedy, she figured, wouldn’t get her feelings all intertwined
But she was quick to realize, a voice like hers wouldn't be heard
Go Orringer, 8th - Oakland, CA
Dear Dannie, it’s spring, wow,
Uncanny, about now…
Mama says I can go to the prom, can I please have a date?
I’m not the epitome of calm, vow not to be irate!
Spring come slowly, don’t back down,
I am wholly, ready for crown…
And though I can’t see you, I know your world
And how much you grew… becomes unfurled.
Winter is about to leave, it has hurt feelings,
Why can’t anyone believe? And shady dealings,
I know that I deserve better, so I want you,
I’ll keep writing this letter, hoping for new…
Give me the crown, and a prom queen dress,
I need a gown, did not mean to press.
I know you’re busy, I just want to dance.
I’m good, is she? Please give me a chance…
As Spring creeps in, as the world is anew,
Look at within, important as to who
You let in, be it me, be it not,
It’s no win, if I see, you in rot.
Dannie goodbye, hope you have decision,
Though I seem shy, you-me is my vision.
I’ll see you soon, I’m going to watch some tellie,
I crave no boon. Dearly, goodbye, from your Kellie.
Ophelia S. Di Angelo, 8th - Plymouth, CA
I have always been able to see it. The numbers.
I remember the day I mentioned them to my mother.
At kindergarten I drew this family portrait. Me, my mother (05-15-2012), and my uncle, Donny (10-6-2079). The teachers let us bring a picture to school for a reference. The numbers had always been there, so I drew them too, in a bright green crayon. I thought everyone could see them.
Later that day, I took the drawing home, insisting that Donny put it up on the fridge. After my dad left, Donny, being his brother, insisted that he move in and took over the paternal position.
Both my mother and Donny were confused by the random numbers that were written above their drawing-selves’ foreheads in green Crayola, though my mother eventually passed it off as my young brain assigning random numbers to the people I knew.
We honestly forgot about them. Until 2 years later. On May 15, 2012, my mother was in a car crash. She was on her way to pick me up from school when a drunk driver ran a stop sign and smashed into the driver’s side. A pedestrian who witnessed the accident called 911, while I sat at the school, alone and unknowing. Someone finally contacted Donny, who came to pick me up from school.
I don’t remember much, just going to the hospital and seeing my mother, the woman who raised me, hooked up to a bunch of tubes and machines, deathly pale.
The doctors told Donny that she was on life support and most likely wouldn’t recover, and I remember that being the only time I had ever seen my uncle cry.
Days later, he told the doctors to pull the plug, and I watched my mother take her last breath, my jaw dropping when the green numbers above her head turned black.
I tugged on the sleeve of my uncle’s wrinkled sweatshirt, a hard contrast from his usual leather jacket. When I pointed out the change in my mothers’ numbers, it must have clicked in his head that what I was seeing meant something.
“Hey guys! Long time no see,”
The four of us sat down, as the waitress (03-14-2035), came to ask what we wanted to drink.
Looking around at the three men sitting at the table, Donny asking Matt about football, and Nick ogling at a boy our age a few tables over (08-26-2087), I realized how lucky I was to have these people.
This was the life, and I couldn't be happier. Everything is gonna be great.
Boy, if I knew what would happen in the next few hours, I would not have said that.
Carmichael Crespo, 10th - Newbury Park, CA
“What is rippling?”
“Well- it’s how everything is here, you see how we move slightly
even when we’re still? How the trees waver back and forth?”
“In the wind?”
“In the stillness. I suppose you might not be able to tell, but look at my hand. See the circles?”
“Yes... they move around you, just like everything. What are you talking about?”
“There is a place that looks like the stillness of our pools.”
“Their waters ripple, and their world is still.”
“I don’t understand. Is it like a space between ripples, or where waters are constantly moving? Are they in the pools?”
“Well... I don’t know. I’ve seen their waters move like the ocean, but theirs have texture.”
“Did you ever go to this world? Have you ever seen it?”
“I see it in every pool, and visit it in the spaces between the wavering of nature.”
“But did you ever go?”
“Never, truly, but I have seen pictures and read of it.”
“Fake. When I swim in the water I do not go to this place, how can it exist?”
“If you haven’t been, and I haven’t been, how do we know someone could go?”
“Because you can.”
“Sure. Should I find a way? Should I buy a train ticket and say, ‘I’d like to go to the unrippling world, please.’ And they say, ‘Ah, righty-o then, enjoy.’”
“I don’t know. I would love it if you tried. But keep that unrippling place in your mind for me.”
“Thank you, Revaw. I hope you go someday.”
Revaw put the paper down. Shortly after that conversation, the man he had spoken to died. He had never seen this place. Something remained to be done.
Revaw and the man he spoke to lived their entire lives with the rippling trees, but now Revaw stood at the end of a row of tracks that stretched over the sea. He bent down and watched the wiggling of the sharp lines come together in a point far in the distance. Still blue water and flowing white clouds separated by an ever-thinning line.
The ancient ticket booth stood near on the beach. His feet imprinted the smooth sand with waves.
“Excuse me, is there a way...” The man at the booth gazed at him, recognizing a familiar look in Revaw’s eyes. He paused. The booth did not waver. The ticket in the man’s solid hands were comfortably unmoving.
“Here you go. Enjoy.”
It was a gift.
The train pulled in. An older train, one could tell by the slowness of the waves upon it. It was quiet and no whistle blew. The stairs did not creak when he boarded. And there he went.
He imagined how this train would look from the outside while it crossed the water. A shining, slowly rippling vehicle perfectly reflected in a polished blue mirror.
The warm sun and shadows moved across the wooden floor of the all-but-empty car. Revaw drifted into sleep.
He woke up slowly in the stopped car and looked at his hand.
Max M. 8th - Washington D.C.
In the false beauty of solitude, you may be fooled, to see it shimmer,
Adding kindle to the fire of the alone, you may feel happiness in this forsaken void,
But over time you will grow eager,
Wandering through the ragged dark,
Eager for a sense of comfort from others
In the deceiving warmth of summer, you may think that you do not need,
the warmth of loved ones, that it can be replaced, with the summer warmth,
which has dragged you into this ragged sense of false security,
You sulk remembering that the blade of society had plunged too deep into your soul,
While the online hive mind has convinced you that society has failed us, leaving you to fall deeper, into the void of solitude
Eliot M, 8th - Bethesda, MD
I am a joke (to laugh at)
I am a meme (to share)
I am a faker (to claim)
I have Tourette’s
No, I am not possessed
And no I’m not doing it on purpose
It’s not anxiety
It’s just how my brain works
It builds up
Like mentos and coke
It wants to be let out
I am not popcorn because I Pop
I am not dangerous because I Hit
I am not sick because I Sniff
I am not confused because I Shrug
I am not afraid because I Flinch
I am not a bird because I Whistle
I am a human because I feel
I am not diseased because I’m different
I am loved because I am me.
KiD, 10th- Berkeley, CA
Once upon a time, there was a boy who woke up every day wondering who he was. He
wondered what he should do with his life, life, he wondered what his purpose was. He wondered what it was like to do something so nefarious that even God can’t even forgive. He wondered who would care, who would reach out and stop him from doing it. He starts to think to himself that he’s living on his own groundhog life, heyday. In some sense he is. Every day he greets people with a great big smile and with a happy smile, but it’s hidden behind a mask. Is the mask real or rhetorical? The boy wonders why it is so hard to tell people how you really feel and why they feel like this. Why is it so easy to close yourself off and shut the door to others and conceal your true feelings behind a door with three different locks? He hopes he can find someone that can break down these doors. He sees the people that he loves so much and can’t go a day without but it almost seems like they don’t need him. It’s like they see him as a shadow that just follows them. It’s ok though cause it’s all in his head right? Those people feel the same way about him as he feels about them right. This can't be true because how can someone not care for him as much as he cares for them. The boy gives his heart out to everybody and that’s his only weakness. Once upon a time, there was a boy that secretly had a crush on such a beautiful girl, she was so pretty that she made him stop and stare. It was like she cast a spell on him. Every day he walked past her and said nothing. He wanted to say something but it was like he could. Every time he tried to utter a word he
couldn’t. It was almost like he had a lump inside of his throat. Maybe he thought he couldn’t say anything because he thought he was better off alone. Why would he think like that? Maybe it’s because he felt like no one really cared and liked him as much as he thought. Once upon a time, there was a boy who had asked the all-powerful being what was his purpose in life. Was he just some side character waiting to be cast into someone else's story or was he the main character waiting for his antagonist. Maybe he was the Antagonist of his own story. He waited hoping the being would show some type of vision or sign, but for all, he knows it never came. Maybe the being did show him but he was too blinded by his losses to see what he had right in his hands. Once upon a time, there was a boy who thought that he needed to change his lifestyle. He thought the best way to do that would be to change his perspective on life itself, maybe he should try to be more optimistic, and see more of the good than the bad. He thought this would be good for him. He would put himself inside other people's shoes to better understand them and build compassion toward them because understanding where someone is coming from can be the difference between life and death. Now the boy is rethinking his life choices. The people that he cares for keep asking him the same questions again. Are you ok? When that phrase comes across him he stumbles to think of the right words to say. That phrase makes him question his own identity because not even the boy knows if he is ok. Once upon a time, there was a boy that gradually started distancing himself from the ones he cares for. For the boy, it’s like everyone that he cares for just got off the Titanic, while he stays with the ship and slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Every day that same boat sinks lower and lower and his bonds dwindle ever so slowly. The boy is thinking to himself that he has a problem because it’s
almost like he chose to be by himself inside of reaching out, but he is reaching out but the more he struggles faster he sinks to the bottom. Once upon a time there was a boy who wished that all of the noise would stop. Sometimes the noise is welcoming and fun but lately the noise has been angry and distant. He finds the best way to calm the noise or at least minimize the sound is to put his headphones on and go. This boy started to think that his life is becoming less and less his. For the boy it’s like he’s involved physically but mental his mind wanders astray to a far away land that he calls home. The boy doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, is it because there’s too many options to pick from or is it because there is none that calls out to him. Once upon a time there was a boy that started to realize that he was changing; he just didn’t know if it was for better or for worse. The boy is trying to figure out if his problem is with himself or is his problem with the world. He also started thinking if he really has a problem or is he being dramatic and blowing things out of proportion. What if he got his problem from a family member that had issues in the past, nah that can’t be it though. Once upon a time there was a boy who had got used to spectating others and their lives. For him it was like watching his own T.V series in real time. He tried his best to interact with the cast but when he tried it didn’t seem right, so he sat back and just watched. By watching the cast he started to notice certain things that the cast would do. The boy was able to predict the show's outcome and every time he didn’t want something to happen in the show it happened anyway, no matter what he said or did it still happened the way he didn’t want it too. The boy questioned if he should continue with watching this show. Is this show really good for him and his health? So he turns off the T.V. and sits in the
darkness. Once upon a time there was a boy that thought that this day was going to be different, the boy thought this was going to be his day of rebirth.
Pradyoth V, 12th - Phoenix, AZ
The old Nantucket whaling ship
Now rests beneath the sea,
Her savage bow encrusted now
With barnacles and weeds.
In life she pierced the very skies--
How proud she must have been!
She strode the waves in search of prey--
How senseless was her lunacy,
Her grand, deluded goal.
The pasteboard veils of men and whales
Eliot M, 8th - Bethesda, MD
Learning to live with shattered dreams
Is being okay with silent screams
Heart rests on broken glass
The wave of sadness doesn't pass
Radial artery split and severed
Pain just can't be measured
Then it clicks
The pieces of the puzzle
Like a scavenger hunt
Except what you're looking for are the lost shards of your innocence
We wish for our dreams to come true
But we forget that nightmares are dreams too.
Students 6th-12th Grades