Friday, April 27, 2012

The Poetry Issue

April is National Poetry Month and Sound Off is proud to present a variety of poetry styles from local teens on subjects that are both whimsical and dark, clinical and close to the heart. Thanks go to the teens that submitted to us on their own as well as the students at The Watershed Community School for sharing their Creating Writing Elective.

The Little Things
by Zachary A.L. Stern

 Perception is a view changing in size.

The people around me, running about;

while I stand there listening to their lies.

Why do all they hustle, bustle, and shout

fancy themselves so well adorned in ties.

But I watch and learn what they try to hide;

they forget the love for life they once had.

In disgust, they glare at my life, implied;

See me as a nuisance barely clad.

Yet, I smile and wave, for them, confide,

for I can only see what they will not.

I am but a blind man tapping with canes,

and they may have my image set in stone,

for they will never see what I have sewn.

Adult comment: Zachary Stern is an accomplished artist (drawings, photography), actor and writer. He also plays the didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians, which he played at a recent Open Mic at The Rig.
-Director of The Rig, Frannie Wheeler 

Only Snow Flakes
By Phoebe James

Only Snow Flakes
It’s like taking a stroll.
Down that long pathway,
covered in snow.
And more coming down as if from the heavens themselves.
Powder floating, as I lift my face.
Drops of snow flakes land on my cheeks.
Like their kissing me.
Moonlight shines onto the sea,
this last time for me.
It’s Christmas time, and I’m not home.
With family, and friend, and a warm blanket.
Childhood has fallen,
and I’ve taken to this new world with no filter to my eyes.
It’s blunt, bold, and a bit frightening.
Where as before only the boogey man in the dark could hurt you,
and your Mom would just turn on the light.
But now evil hides itself in the daylight.
So there is no safe haven.
Only snow flakes, kissing your cheeks.

Adult Comment: I really love this poem of Phoebe’s, it is beautiful and very poetic; even though she swears she can not write poetry.  This sounds like it was straight from her heart.
I Made a Thousand Wishes
by Devi Randolph

I made a thousand wishes,

and tossed them in the sea,

where a tiny fish then swallowed them

and swam back to the deep.

At first I wondered where they went

and wondered where they’d be,

if a strange little fish had eaten them,

and didn't let them be!

So then I called for all of them,

to see where they could be,

and figured they were buried deep,

because none came back to me.

So I sailed away and hollered out

to the wished lost to me,

but they had all turned into rocks

at the bottom of the sea."

Author Comment: I Made A Thousand Wishes is one of a series of poems I did recently. I would draw a picture--any picture--and write about afterwords.

Adult Comment: Devi has always had a deep sense of the whimsical. Talking mice, interactive seaweed, and animated cats have always been the staples of her imagination. Why, at one time, we had over 1,000 mice roaming in our house...many with individual personalities and intricate interactions. I suppose it is not a stretch that she would write a poem about the journey of a wish or a conversation between the moon and a goldfish. I can't wait to see where the inventiveness takes her!

-Mother, Maria Randolph

by Jenny Karod


You with your eyes so blind

Ignoring the reality

You’re drowning in


You’re screaming

Screaming at the top of your lungs

But what for?

No one is listening

You wait

Wait for a sound

A reason

A point

But you won’t find one here

For this is your invention

This never-ending limbo of time


Choking the life out of you

Drowning the person I once knew

Angry tears

Crimson in the moonlight

You turn away

Love written on every page

Blankly you sit there

The darkness sharing your loss

The loss of friendship


A lost passion you will never forget

This lethal poison

Seeps into your skin

As the razor of lies cut deeper and deeper

The truth scarlet against the ivory pallor of your skin

Blood spills

But this is your gain

Your invention

Your lie

Another twisting tale that never ends

People fall in a pile at your feet

Bending to catch the tears shed

Never seeing the game that you play

You played it well

For this is your gain

The web of lies spun from truth

This is for you

You never saw the briny tears

The shock pouring through my veins

Never asked

Not a word

Now you’re tangled up

In the sticky web woven by your shaking hands

You’ve fallen down

No one can help you

Only you can distinguish the truth

For your heart knows what your head is denying

Warnings came to you from everywhere

In your ignorance you passed them by

But the sunny days will come

Sunny rays smiling brightly

Penetrating the darkness

Your heart will lighten

With every smile

With every word

You can be your own savior

A strength that forms a barrier against the sadness that consumes you

We can’t save you

Our words mean nothing

Your time has come

This is for you

Author Comment: I often draw inspiration from life that surrounds me and the people that I meet along the way. Writing gives me a sense of calm even in the most confusing of times, so really this poem was inspired by a time that I went through that hit me emotionally. People say write things from what you know, so that is what I did here. In the end, what it did was clarify the part that was difficult, so I could move on.

Adult Comment: Jenny's inspirational poem signifies the beginning of her own transition into adulthood and the start of her own journey as a writer.

-English Teacher, Jennifer Munson

Watershed Community School
Poems From The Creative Writing Elective

Poems reprinted with permission from Watershed Community School students

These poems were written by juniors and seniors in the creative writing elective at Watershed. Some were written at home and then presented in class; others were impromptus written spontaneously in class in 10-minute bursts. The idea behind many of the writing exercises was to play with language by inviting words to play unexpected roles: in the no-verbs poems, fast-moving verbs are pushed to the side of the road and the less speedy descriptive words like adjectives and adverbs take over. In the cliche-parody poem we took the cliche "life is a bowl of cherries," substituting another abstract noun for life, another kind of container for bowl, and a different kind of fruit for cherries. 
--Instructor Brian Boyd

Blueberry Mornings
A No-Verbs Poem Using Five Adverbs

by Clio Berta

Little petals with carefully
Smartly food crumbs
blueberry mornings and strawberry
milk from cows
kids from sleep in night,
Here the breakfast table
Strongly the food here,
the kids here now
butterflies and flowers with dew
fretfully hello to earth
and kids bright and surprising
a joy of
Here is the breakfast table
carefully smartly gently
strongly fretfully yum

by Clio Berta


I can’t

Golden tar
balance and
pressure on

there is
Me, You
I say

Poem-parody of cliche “life is a bowl of cherries”
by Clio Berta

Experience is like a basket of tangerines.
Peeling, peeling away.
The bright orange jumps out at you,
you see it and wonder and hesitate.
Then by touch you feel it is soft,
soft and thinkable and friendly.
Squish squash,
and then you bite.
You can taste the orange, bright object
the jumping one in your hand.
Its juice gets your skin sticky.
It’s is on you and in you and around you.
It’s there jumping in orange,
with orange for you.
The tangerine is experience.

Spring Storm
by Hannah Haendschke

Greenest grass
muddy mass.


synthetic jackets.


I love rain,
I say.
I love rain,
I say again.
I love rain.
Nobody hears.

You and me
in the rain.

I love rain,
I said.
I love rain,
I said, again.
I love rain,
you said.
And started to sing.

Did the rain wash you away in the end?

I walk
and sing
Splish, Splash
your song
of rain.
I loved you.

Youth Night Life
by Hannah Haendschke

Guts drunken-
Hearts drowned in two hour wisdom-
Thoughts fertilized by poisoned side street air-
Flesh moving to praise our freedom

Shouting solutions
light ships reality.

Dim brick building light
by morning sponge.

Cement tongues
the truth of the morning.

(Verbless poem with 5 adverbs)

by Sophie Davis
Translucently strong
below you
wearily blind by brightness
strings of golden red
fiendishly devilish
green and sharp vines
knives and stolen silver
hysterically scarlet

Concession poem
by Sophie Davis
I don’t believe that clouds fly on greasy air
that soot layers gently
beneath curled orange peels
that towers topple
from the weight of
seven billion
I don’t believe that a switch
can turn it off,
that a switch can
make the leaves uncurl
the sprouts leaf out and
the lake glitter,
but, look at the water
the enormous lake that is
our world
the islands that could disappear
but not while we’re still here.
Look at the comfort of our
If history were a weather report, it would always be partly sunny
look at the twinkling water.
No. I don’t believe that clouds fly on greasy air.

No verbs poem
by Fiona Boyd

The pond diaphanous
golden shades and
purple streaks

I clairvoyant
with fish – their breakfast
lunches and dinners

Tightly clouds
mist and fins
even ripples and

Selfishly I
splish splash
slimy and wonderful
goldfish and newts
refraction and pond weed

The water
a city.

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