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1st Place Long

My poems used to be tragic.

My words were full of depression.

I used to breathe in darkness and spit its bones onto my paper in a somewhat beautiful structure of rhyme.

I associated tragedy with beauty,

An odd pairing that tends to walk hand in hand

down the street of the rubble that fills the hearts of writers everywhere.


That was before Someone.

Someone taught me that although darkness is powerful,

Light will always overtake it so long as I uncover it.

Someone taught me that tragedy and beauty are popular

But beauty and spontaneity are mesmerizing,

Someone taught me that I no longer have to trip over the dusty boxes of depression

Which sit in the middle of my streets of rubble

For I don't need to take that path.

Someone taught me that I can walk off the path,

Someone taught me that I don't need to follow the structure that many have set before me.

Someone taught me that people are interested in tragedy but that people value happiness.

Someone taught me about hope and laughter and love.

Now, my hope trumps my fear

My laughter overtakes my tears

And love is the light that that fills the darkness.

Someone loves me.

Someone is my light, my laughter, my love.

Someone said that I am his world but

I know that Someone and I share the world

And together we make it spin.


Now, I write of light.

I have no structure but am immersed in the joy of spontaneity.

Now I no longer write underneath the ground but rather I write amongst the stars,

Twinkling and scattered with a random pattern that is more beautiful and brighter than anything I've seen.


Now I write of happiness.

"In Bed with Literature"

Samara Roberts

2nd Place Long

I finally resolved to read no more

My brain could not handle

The building pressure

  • What will I say?

  • How do I tell them I can’t think

  • any more?

  • ...not today.

I shrug it off.

I crawl into bed

And there They are there

Chunked up between the covers

The ancient drawling stories

I’ve been avoiding

  • Come to bed with us

They whisper

  • I want to but I don’t

I moan back

I pick them up

They’re so heavy

  • Time

  • Time

  • I don’t have the time

  • I don’t have the guts

  • I don’t have the feeling

  • You want me to

It’s hardly something I could fake,

Sleeping with literature.

"Never Knowing" 

Yasel Ramirez 

3rd Place Long

They are supposed to be happy,

They are supposed to be getting ready

For prom, ACT, SAT, college, and Friday night games.

No prom, no ACT, no SAT, no college, and no Friday light games.

They are supposed to be ditching prom and go get high instead.

They are supposed to be making a play for Friday’s game.

They are supposed to be kissing their mothers and fathers’ goodnight.

They are supposed to be locking themselves in their rooms and studying.

They are supposed to see pencils and erasers on the floor

Not their friends.

They are supposed to meet their mom after soccer practice,

Not lay on the floor in a pool of their own blood.

They are supposed to be going to class and falling asleep during the lectures

Not going to therapy and being scared to close their eyes.

We are supposed to be raising awareness

This can happen anywhere.

It has.

We raise our flags midway, but do not say a word about it.

How can we get used to this?

They were young.

They were teachers who cared for them.

They had a family back home,

They were supposed to sit down at the dinner table and talk about their day.

Now their families sit down at the dinner table and stare at the empty seat.  

They were terrorized in their own front door.

How many more until we say no more?

Their names are were

Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenburg, Chris Hixon,

Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alania Petty, Meadow Pollack,

Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, and Peter Wang.

"A Knock on the Door"

R. LaRue

1st Place Short

A knock on the door

A hand on the knob

A welcome and smile

A door closed


A heel on the hardwood

A briefcase on the desk

A family photo in the wallet

A suit on the floor

A dress soon to follow

A missed call

A hospital unable to reach

A man busy with

A woman not his own

"Written on the Bus"

Samara Roberts

2nd Place Short

He held winter

In those palms

Cupping my jaw

My car

A bubble of 80 degree


Floating in the

Pinkpurple sunset

And we were slowly



"Take Me Home"

Jade Menchaca

3rd Place Short

I see the gleam in your eyes,
As you move from person to person at this damn holiday party,
And I can’t help but feel sorry for you,
You say, “This is my date.”
And you drag me to meet people who see the differences.
You are like a rose and I am the thorn,
You are the sunlight and I am a cloudy day,
You are the life of the party and I never leave my room.
And I can see the yearning in your eyes for me to suddenly pop to life
But that’s the thing,
Your world keeps turning on and on while I’m stuck here.
You have been to China,
You have met famous authors and singers,
All I have ever done was meet doctors who simply tell me the same thing over and over again.
But I hope you don’t leave me in the cold,
Because maybe one day I will be like you,
Maybe one day you’ll be proud to take me home,
Or maybe you’ll fade away like all the others.
I see the gleam in your eyes as you introduce your new lover only a year later at your engagement party.

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