Poetry 99—high school

2015 high-school winners

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High-school winners

First place

Chest Motel

Ghosts roam my rooms,

the rent left behind is bitter pennies and tobacco pulp.

I worry,

that like seatbelts, the wrong things

have made me exist.

What mass graves crack together in my knuckles?

Every animal remembers being small

Fight or flight, burn or bear

I have taken lives like a semi-sweet Chicago

and not even tasted them in the blur.

Every person, after all

is just a temporary place to sleep.

-Sylvia Pape, 18

Sylvia Pape has nearly always been a top finisher in the CN&R’s Poetry 99 contest over the last four years. The Inspire School of Arts & Sciences senior is an avid writer of poetry and flash fiction and even started a poetry group on campus, The Beat Nerds. After graduation, she plans to follow in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps by becoming a third-generation Chico State student.

Second place


Hovering on the edge, between here and neverthere,

Dissolve the floors of memory.

Slip twixt the mists and the quiet trees.

Not a needle rustles; sweet is the night-air

In which diamonds glimmer, the pale moon gleams

On a dream-like figure, in starlight bathed.

She dances by silent pool.

Tinúviel! Tinúviel!

Nightingale’s soft cry

Echoing up the timeless expanse.

Girdled by magic, kingdom eternal

Hovering on the edge between here and neverthere.

-Aline Ingelson-Filpula, 15

Even though Aline Ingelson-Filpula is an avid reader and enjoys writing poetry (and taking fencing and kung fu classes) in her spare time, The CORE Butte Charter student’s focus is on taking classes toward a biology major. This is her third time placing in a CN&R writing contest.

Third place

Michigan Missed Again

in the dark, she thought of Michigan

it’s a little odd, going alone

call her a hypochondriac but

the thrashed sound of her breath

scared her

but her brother did it, he did it

his fault, his fault

Caleb left her, Kathy bereft

the kids, the kids

his fault, his fault

on a mass clash flash

back to the evening

shirts on their backs too thin… too thin

hey! sis’ grab, sis’ yank, squeeze

hush now, little ones

as breath sounds

before they stopped

it’s a little odd.

she feels nothing, in the dark

thinking of her brother


-Teddy Greenfield, 16

In addition to reading (Dickens, Tolkien, Gaiman, etc.), studying math, acting and writing poetry for “the sake of doing it,” Inspire School sophomore Teddy Greenfield keeps himself busy learning different musical instruments, from clarinet and saxophone, to bass to “pretty much” the entire brass section.

Honorable mentions

For One Night Only

I have not lost all my anticipation,

but I have misplaced it from time to time

gripped it in my fists like open water.

When I go out I put it on a leash like a small child, the other parents flick ash.

The stories of my age caress

an idea of hidden worlds, quiet individuals whose words drag like swords of a higher quality.

Shove a nickel in the slot and watch the smoke screen secrets,

all this time I have been breathing in and

have yet to breathe out.

-Sylvia Pape

Birthday Poem

Lifeless, between the two forces,

realizing that I’ve drifted,

curiosity of the April mist,

dull, walking in the olive shadow,

distraught yet cold appreciation of my pride and

my dreams are always right.

That is why I’m continually available for the makeshift dull life;

I’ve wandered into incarceration.

-Austin, 17

fish industry

she will knock, she will enter

she will slowly stock and fend her

off the cleanest raft sent floating

by her house, the tar is coating

up her ears all while she hears

their drumming flesh is beating

and the clash of knives defeating

that foul fish-exuded stench

as they lie dripping on a bench

while she passed, all but the last

never learned to do such things

as making hemorrhages or swings

she was only taught to sew

ever watching ebb and flow

into loud form, sift the foam

her wonderings to wait

’till culminates her wake

-Teddy Greenfield

Nude Croquet

Emerald eyes, tiny lies

Wishing makes the heart grow fonder

Walking your feet hurt much longer

Listen to the click inside

A heart too stripped to coincide

An avalanche of rooted words

The buzzing earthworm gets no bird

Chimes of the melancholy carpenter sing

From drip dropping mine shafts with no gold to bring

Each silhouette figurine propped on a shelf

Watching an image of losing one’s self

Each strand of hair sticks on end

With a sky to crumble and bend

Then a person emerges, as nude as the day

Opens the door to say

“Let’s play Croquet”

-Zoe Karch, 15


Thought’s soft grey curtain edges fray,

Fate steadily stitches with needle and thread.

Time speeds on: bright race-wheels, ticking, ticking,

Two wills shall clash: Nature or Man?

Those marching lines! Illusatory

Gleaming Progress, straight, orderly rows.

Manifest Destiny here, not done.

Who is master: Machine or Man?

Still, wind whispers through pale shreds of banner-cloud

Licking amongst bright spears of sage grass.

In pale spring morning, under white chill foreboding

Storm weeps with heavy heart, bleak tale unfolding.

Is there hope? It’s in Fate’s devising.

Hand in hand, will mind succeed?

Will Progress give way to Harmony?

-Aline Ingelson-Filpula