teen
submissions

Visit the library April 1-26 to vote for your favorite!

1

Paradise

Paradise is different from so many
Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Paradise could be an island in Hawaii
It could be with family and friends

What’s paradise to you?

Paradise to me is
A world of peace
A world without hatred
A world where your differences don’t tell you who you are
Where labels don’t exist
These are just things they don’t make you who you are

I’m not saying that all the world is like this
So many people are kind and thoughtful

But how could mere sixteen-year-olds be so cruel
Be so mean to make others feel

Worthless

So all I ask is for people to think about their actions
So my paradise can come true

2

I Once Had a Friend…

I once had a friend who loved green,

In a moment, you’ll see what I mean

She painted her dog

To look like a frog

I think that is a little mean.

3
4

Wet branches slashing in my face,
Painting lines of cuts across my cheeks
As I haul myself over mossy stones
Tripping on mushrooms, sliding on once crisp
Fall leaves matted with evergreen.

Mud crawls up my blond-haired calves.
Behind me, the furry mass towers,
Roaring into my back, flinging globs of saliva
Into my golden hair.

From the gaps between twine-tied sticks
We shoot arrows out the fort, throw potions
My sister’s pale blue eyes reflect the beast
Of our imagination.

We gather reindeer moss, berries staining the insides
Of our pockets.
Acorns slip through my fingers, she slices mushrooms
With my pocket knife. I was oldest
And recieved my knife first. I was proud
Of it and carefully cleansed it in the river water
After she finished.

Leaves of scented plants, fern petals
Infused in our mushroom batter,
We bake the cakes over the snapping pinewood fire
Wedges of sunlight slide backwards towards the sun
Muting the sky into dusk. Before bed
We remove our cakes from their cooking rocks
In the fire and leave them for squirrels,
decorated in flower pollen and raindrops.

5

Who Are You?

I am a threat to the security of the world

I am the world’s greatest gift

I wonder if they will remember my name in fear, or flowing adoration

I hear the call of society and Wall Street, begging me to come home

I see myself in the fountain of youth, living on in essence for eons to come

I want it all, and all of it and more

I am a threat to the security of the world

I pretend to love, pretend to care, but only I can see through myself

I feel the pain of my ancestors on my back, I feel the heartache of their failures

I touch rock and it’s turned to diamond encrusted earth, double the size of Rome herself

I worry that I am not enough

I cry for those not as perfect as me, those who will never know my name

I am a threat to the security of the world

I understand what it means to be human, and I understand what it means to be me

I say nothing and masses of crowds flock to kiss my feet

I dream of ascension, rising above it all

I try to be one with the Earth

I hope I can reach you soon

I am a threat to the security of the world

6

I’m From

I am from the infinite headbands stored in my pink kindergarten room, from octopus detangling spray and flu medicine.

I am from the soft spoken creak of the stairs and the rush of early morning spring air streaming in through the skylight window.

I am from the chachachachia plant that died in one day, and the apple tree in my backyard.

I am from the candy canes lining my walkway in the winter and loud voices, from Puppa Henry and Bubba and the loud mouths.

I am from sarcastic banter thrown back and forth over the dinner table and the two second grudges.

From get down from there and please go annoy your father.

I am from the forced psalm Sundays every year but only ever psalm Sundays. As if the existence of psalms at Church was finally a good enough reason to attend.

I am from two dark Italians yet pale and blonde, from lemonade caprisuns and drawing with lucky charms.

From the time my parents left me at ballet for a couple extra hours and the day after when I quit, the time I sang all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth because it really was all I wanted.

I am from the photo album that has made each and every one of my friends and family laugh when they see my whole childhood captured in photos.

Underneath my bed ordinarily placed in a shoe box

Holds everything that has captured my love since first grade.

From a person who wishes to remember and chooses to continue this is what I’m made from

7

Thanksgiving Poem

I am Thankful for…
The Warm food around my dinner table
My kind family sitting down around me to
Being able to go underneath the sheet without being worried
Being able to walk into a house after school
For heat being circulated around my house keeping me warm
But I know I should be most thankful for my family and friends that are beside me everyday.

8

The Generation
The generation of cruel words
Of hateful comments
Of the irrevocably broken
Of the dead but walking

The generation that assumes
Assumes that the only way to achieve happiness is being pretty
Assumes that if you can’t lose weight, you’re fat
Assumes that if you are skinny, you’re sick

The generation of stereotypes
Stereotypes that all African Americans are “ghetto”
Stereotypes that all Asians are “smart”
Stereotypes that all Caucasians are rich stuck-ups

The generation that hurts
Hurts others so they can rise above
Hurts themselves to ease the pain of being them
Hurts friends with “light” insults that dig deeper than they could ever think

The generation that kills
Of taking pills to take a life
Of overdoses
Of orange bottles and white coats

The generation that skips
Skips breakfast
Skips dinner and lunch
Because the only way to be popular is to be skinny

The generation of depression
Of drinking to stop the pain
Of taking drugs of fake happiness to make the sadness leave, if only for a little while
Of sticking needles into their arms
And shot glasses in their hands

The generation that discriminates
Discriminates against any who is not like themselves
Different religions
Different ethnicities
Different lives

The generation of judgements
Of whispers behind hands
Of fake smiles and fake friends
That leaves loneliness and hatred

WE are the generation
The generation that kills for being yourself
The generation of heartache and heartfelt smiles
The generation of people

We are the generation who shouldn’t judge others for being different
Who shouldn’t judge ourselves for being us
Who shouldn’t have to be “skinny” and “cute” to be popular
And who should embrace that we are all human

We are the generation who only seems to feel depression and loneliness
Who thinks that the only way out of the abyss the live in is death
Who thinks they are all alone in a sea of 7 billion people
Who thinks that they aren’t loved because every day they suffer through

False accusations
An unloving family
And backstabbing friends

But you are loved
You are beautiful
You have friends and family who care about you
And who would never want to see you hurt or killed because you feel you aren’t good enough

Because when you die
That’s a decision, a permanent one
No do-overs, no second chances
And the pain you think is ending is only being passed on to the people you love

So stop thinking that you will never be good enough
Stop thinking that there’s no hope for you
Because there’s a whole life out there waiting for you
All you have to do is reach for it

We are the generation who can be who they want to be
Girls can be politicians
Boys can be singers
And children can change the world

We are the generation of fear
Of mass genocide and kidnapping
Of wars
And living through terrorism

And although we didn’t start all this, we are the ones who will end it

9
The Dutiful Daughter
The dutiful daughter truly understands in her mind and heart
The words that are duty, service, and sacrifice.
She has a duty to serve her family,
At times sacrificing her own welfare for that of her family.
She chooses the happiness of her mother over her own, every time
Because she understands that she is someone who has already given too much.
She freely resigns from her wild spirit,
Taking on a tame one instead So that her parents won’t worry so much anymore.
She silently renounces what made her seem unsteady, unpredictable
Making the choices her parents would approve of
So that they will rest easy in the night.
She will never fully relinquish all the thoughts and possibilities
Of all the things she could’ve done
All the dreams turned to ashes
Ashes that she let the wind disperse lest they constellate
She witnesses the vivid dreams of others come to life, become reality
But she remains bound by her duties, that of a dutiful daughter
Understanding that she has the duty to serve and that service requires sacrifice.
The dutiful daughter is an individual of extreme selflessness
An inimitable creature of heavenly inner beauty.
She understands that her self sacrifice will never be expiated
But also that given the chance she’d do it again.
And in the end, she goes
In silent acquiescence into the night
With a heavy heart in hand and pen,
She writes her solemn resignation from herself
Understanding that in the end,
They will sing no requiem for her
But that this is the choice she’d make again.

10

Legacy
I hope that they’ll remember me, not by
Just my accomplishments, but also all
My hopes, dreams and aspirations and why
I ran out of time to fulfill them all.

I hope that they’ll remember what I came
From. An immigrant orphan, overlooked
I wised up, rised up, from nothing I became
A founding father. I left the world shook.


Remember me by those who tell my story
The soldiers I served alongside in war,
The one who claims I stole his fame, his glory
Service, sacrifice, what it was all for.

Remember me by what I created
I brought a nation out of bankruptcy
With the Bank, for which I advocated
It saved America financially.

In the end, Burr, my friend and enemy
Somehow you remain a part of my legacy

11

Chance and Fate meet on rare occasions,
To share their revelations and fixations.
Once in a blue moon,
Favored by fortune,
They meet without deviation.

Out of the blue,
Just gone half past two,
Fate and Chance collide.

More by accident then by design,
Their lives intertwine.
An old friendship begins anew