Poetry 99: junior high winners

Middle-school verse

Thea Oldfield

Thea Oldfield

First place


I like to think that violets

are the bits of galaxy

that angels cut out

to make the stars

I like to think that roses

were the lacy handkerchiefs

used to wipe up

the blood of our wars

I like to think that cherry blossoms

only fall when many people

feel sorrow all at once

so they can be a happy distraction

I like to think that everyone

has a pretty gauze veil that

blurs the vision of the inner eye

Try lifting the corner

-Thea Oldfield

Sherwood Montessori student Thea Oldfield already has one CN&R writing victory under her belt this school year, having placed third in the Fiction 59 contest last fall. Where her 59-word story was “pretty dark,” she said she tried to go lighter in tone for this poem. Oldfield says she’s still enjoying dancing at Dance Evolution Studio in Paradise, and is excited to start up at Inspire School of Arts & Sciences next year.

Second place

The Hard Worker

Born in Mexico.

Adobe house.

Came to the United States,

To help the parents

He hasn’t seen since

Age 15.

2 years learning English.

9 jobs.

6 days a week.

11 hours a day.

7 years later,

His own business.


New struggles.

Father of one,

Age 35.

-Isabella Vasquez

Isabella Vasquez

An eighth-grader at Achieve Charter School in Paradise, Isabella Vasquez wrote her poem as part of an assignment that tasked the students with writing about a person who had been through hard times. Vasquez chose her father. In addition to writing, the eighth-grader says she enjoys painting and learning about history.

Third place


Condescending miracles drop from cold wit

Choked on coincidental imagery,

Pandemonium of thought

Infliction of pain

Shocks of unlit forgery

Currency’s anger of unlit greed

Waiting for the next episode

Watching my life fly like a bullet from a chamber

Inhale, exhale.


-Colin Bailey

Colin Bailey

The Bailey family—regular winners in the CN&R writing contests—are once again generously represented in Poetry 99. Joining third-place junior-high finisher Colin Bailey are his younger siblings Cedar (second place and honorable mention, kids) and Clover (honorable mention, kids). Colin is in his final semester at Sherwood Montessori, and the avid skateboarder—and skateboard park advocate, with Fix Chico Skatepark —has added playing rugby to his busy schedule.


Day in and day out

Feeling lonely

Having no one to talk to


Remembering each time school came first

Never getting time with her

Oh mother, you work so hard

But yet I feel as if

You were never here

Just a lingering ghost

The whispers of computer keys typing

The bright and cheery home

Now is eerie quiet

Late into the night

You can hear frustrated sighs

The screaming of metal against the wood

The slap of her computer shutting for the night

Only to be opened tomorrow

-Jessica Mittag

A Day of Sadness

My dad has multiple sclerosis.

He didn’t have this as a kid.

It just happened.

We don’t know why.

Doctors don’t know why.

Or how.

Or when.

It’s unknown when it will happen

Just if you’re unlucky.

It is a very scary disease.

It is incurable.

People with this disease are paralyzed.

Luckily for my dad he isn’t.

My dad is loyal and respectful.

He will not make you mad for fun.

I look up to him.

He has not given up.

He is making himself healthier.

He is a very lucky man.

-Noah Siler


if you were an artist how would you paint me?

with deep solid strokes

or your brush sweeping softly

would you paint me by number

quickly filling the lines

or sketch me and take your time

would you use vibrant

or plain shades of gray

would you change me in any way?

would you gaze at me proudly

or ship me away

sometime in the dim light of the day.

-Zin Pollock-Dowd

The Universe

The universe

A concept most don’t get

It keeps its secrets

there are consequences for exploring

It is so big

even the greatest feel defeated

It is dotted with questions

That have yet to be answered

The universe

-Mario Giannini


The bookshelf was empty

except for one book

that one book the one on monsters

made the bookshelf full

-Judah Fairchild