Poetry 99 teen winners
I will tell you in a few words who I am
I will tell you of the mountains
That lay beneath pale skin
And I just might be okay
With you taking this tiny piece of me home
Where it will no doubt be lost
Under dirty laundry
And yellowing photographs.
Being a poet
Means giving parts of yourself away
Like jewels at a street fair.
It means trying to find yourself
In the broken glass on the sidewalk;
The thing people discard
Without noticing its beauty.
Amber McCready, age 17
Amber McCready was our second-place Poetry 99 winner last year and also took second in the Fiction 59 contest last spring. Along with this winning entry, the Chico High senior has an honorable mention this time around.
One Small Favor
My heart melted and
Oozed out the soles of my feet,
Filling my sneakers with grief.
Puddles of black ice grew sandpaper spines,
Softening my jagged appearance and tempering my boundaries until
Every joke fell flat.
But the midnight ice was thin enough to break through
To the subterranean home of garden gnomes below.
Resting where low-light flora grow,
They let moss cool their naked feet.
Reaching up through the manhole of my design, I know
Atlas bought a lawn chair long ago.
What rests on his shoulders
Can hardly compete <pbr>So won’t you please massage my feet?
Hugh Hammond, age 17
A senior classmate of Amber’s at Chico High, Hugh Hammond won third place for his Fiction 59 submission in the spring. Inspiration for this poem hit him in just the nick of time—the night before the contest deadline—and he wrote this piece with just hours to spare.
The flies, the flies, the flies,
Oh how I wish to pluck their wings and poke their eyes.
But to leave them there only so they couldn’t see,
and run into things ever so constantly.
And I wish I could trade their incessant buzzing for horrifying screams,
so then I could always hear them occupying my dreams.
Brooke Acevedo, age 17
Brooke Acevedo is also a senior at Chico High. She loves poetry and writing about everyday things that evoke emotion and energy.
What We Contain — For Anis
Life is worth wondering about,
Like why some people have a handful of heart grenades
And others have a heart full of hand grenades
And some of us
Still can’t tell what we contain.
Life isn’t fair, and we both know it.
We’ve both got hiding places for poems
And poems for empty spaces
Can shake the dust.
An ecstatic wine glass
bouncing with frenetic jerks
the wine swirling in the goblet
gently sipped down a man’s gullet
the twisting stem like a gumball machine
the bending light reflecting off the bottom
the glass is only half the story
the wine inside doubles the glory
Daniel DiGiovanni, age 13
Before We Came
String the wood,
Sharpen the point.
Tied to a straight stick.
Then pull back the string
And let it fly,
When the buffalo come by.
You hold the bow in one hand
And the arrows on your back.
Atop the great steed of yours,
Who dares to say that is savage?
For the beauty of the world
You fire like a brand.
And the superior kill you will bring
With one tanned hand.
You’re the true Americans,
The Natives of this wild land.
Andrea Nattress, age 17