Poetry 99: junior high winners

CN&R’s annual celebration of National Poetry Month

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First place


A pregnant silence precedes the drop of the needle

Suddenly the quiet is filled by cracking, popping music

Bouncing off walls

Picking up the feet of


Within earshot

And carrying them straight into the middle

Of a spinning, battered floor.

The outside world does not exist here,

The delirious dancing of dozens

Drowns out anything beyond that small room.

They are letting their inner madness spill out,

Ooze over the dance floor,

Permeate the waves of music,

And imbue every one of them

With a frantic glee

Then the music stops

And they all return to the mundane.

Maya Klein



Wildflower Open Classroom student Maya Klein is a regular in the CN&R’s writing contests, and this is her second time taking home the top spot. In 2017, she won first place in the newspaper’s Fiction 59 contest. In addition to painting and drawing, Maya loves to dance, and she’ll be performing in North State Ballet’s production of Coppelia this spring.

Second place

Humans are Monsters

The swaying green,

The swaying air,

The strong base of tree giving

all its support, for the leaves,

The branches, will strive.

One cut and it’s over.

The humans got to it.

Mari Castro



Mari Castro doesn’t often write poetry; she says she’s more of a math person. This piece was for an assignment in her social studies class at Chico Junior High. In her free time, Mari likes to play softball and do karate.

Third place

mornings we missed

at 5 a.m., the silver full moon still shines bright

its light dancing on the tips of early morning raindrops.

soon, the golden sun peers out from the east

fading the rain in its warmth

so that soon, against the orange sunrise

a slight rainbow meets the moon

and together, they both fade

before we can wake up.

Anna Feller



This is Anna Feller’s second time placing in the Poetry 99 contest (she took second place last year). When it comes to reading poetry, Anna enjoys Sylvia Plath, and as for music, she says that lately she’s been into Mac DeMarco and Los Angeles psych-soul band The Marías.

Honorable mentions

Cats =^.^=

Everyday I’m always sleepy.

Food always makes me happy.

I use big sweaters to hide my fat.

I’m always awake at night.

I love being alone with a book.

I am a cat.

Gloria Flores Rivera



Looking at a Photograph

Webbed moonlight stretches across discarded dessert

Crumbs, peppering a dark table like something starry and celestial

One languid cat lying, blurred in the background

A cup of cold afternoon tea

Your one finger frozen,

Curled protectively

round the handle.

I remember perfectly:

The evening was for talking.

We hadn’t seen each other in years

We drank tea,

Ate cookies

And spoke on what we had missed in each other’s lives.

We cried a bit

And laughed.

But it was okay,

because we remembered

after all that time

that we really were good friends after all.

Maya Klein


beautiful but burnt happy but sad never the same

school is a store house isn’t a home

feelings are like waves they come and go

share your feelings but don’t speak

words are scary they make up the world

I could do anything but i choose to do nothing







Caroline Maddrix




Broken pieces held together,

I see this

And I shatter.

I hear a whispered “I don’t want to go”

Alone and filled with sorrow.

Just broken pieces held together.

I watch them lock away their nature

Hiding to fit the status quo

A tear then I shatter.

I see release and a broken promise

drip, a crimson red, to a pillow.

Broken pieces held together.

I see a leap or a life,

And the broken chaos that follows.

I shatter.

All these broken people,

Trapped in a breaking world.

I see these broken pieces held together

And I shatter.

Eli Jones