2020 Award Winning Poets

★ First Place Lower Division ★

Untitled

I’m just untitled, The song you have never heard,
The feeling you have never known.
I’m the question of why, of how, of what if.
I’m the silence that crowds your head,
The words that you always manage to choke up.
I’m the question that remains in your head.
Push me out—you can if you want.
But you will never know what words I held.
You will never know what poem was meant for you,
For us.
After all, I’m just untitled.

Jennifer Date
Hawthorne Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Veronica Cunningham
Classroom Teacher: Lana Sherman

★ Second Place Lower Division ★

The Man and His White Horse

The air smells fresh as a daylily
as the white cart pulled
by a white horse passes by.
The horse is hanging his head low.
A man all in black
with a black top hat
sits on the wooden seat
with a large box behind him.
The box has glass windows
and fringed, fancy white drapes.
Inside is a plain pine box.
The sky is cloudless, and I hear
the coach and horse
clop, clop, clop away
on the large dirt road.
I am an old house, empty now.
Leaves blow off the trees
and land on my sloped roof.
I hear cemetery bells.

Desmond MacKinnon
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 3
Poet-teacher: Seretta Martin
Classroom Teacher: Elizabeth Stewart

★ Third Place Lower Division ★

In a Magical World

I am a medicine man.
In my medicine bag, I have:
A bolt of lightning
sharp as a dagger.
With it I shine light on the world,
destroying every atom of darkness.
An egg, pure white and shiny.
I use it to give birth to the universe
and pave the way for all that exists.
A key made of metal, brighter than the sun.
I use it to open a door on another dimension,
to lock up evil in its rightful world.
When I fuse all three together, I get a clock,
and when I turn it on, I can start time
and begin the world again.

Jason Chen
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

★ Fourth Place Lower Division ★

A Strong Girl

I am the sky, big and blue,
but when I’m angry and sad
I mushroom into dark clouds.
What makes me feel better is seeing rain,
sliding down and glistening the trees.

Look! I’m a bicycle.
I have stubby rubber wheels.
Watch as I cruise along the sidewalk,
dinging my bell, giving smiles to everyone.

Call me the wind, a bluster in your ears
that flutters the feathers of a barn owl.
The twisting element of wind
strips the leaves off trees and swirls
around the bark of redwood trees.
I am water, solid yet flexible.
I can bend or break. I take many forms:
gas, ice, fluid.

In real life I am a strong girl,
TNT in a small package.

Alexa Sanders
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

★ First Place Upper Division ★

Fiery Hands

I want you to see hands gathered together.
These hands reach for thoughts hidden away.

Let your eyelids droop.
Let your mind take you to another place.

Take deep breaths.
See shapes arranged in all sorts of ways,

triangles as zigzags,
ovals as hearts.

See a parade of colors,
colors you didn’t know could exist.

See beautiful rosy-pink flames with a tint of orange
escaping the ends.

Yes . . . fire can be angelic as well.

Emily Lechuga
Bonita Vista Middle, Grade 8
Poet-teacher: Johnnierenee Nelson
Classroom Teacher: Katherine Kavouklis

★ Second Place Upper Division ★

Chiles en Nogada

I am from the Mexican blankets in my room,
from the crosses on the wall,
the big family pictures.

I am from the dark red chile peppers
that grow in the yard.

I am from the teddy bears and boxes of toys
from the Islas and Jaramillos.

I am from curly hair and brown eyes,
from Chinese checkers
and from loteria.
I am from las iglesias.

I am from natives
and Chinese immigrants,
from frijoles in the pot,
from chiles en nogada,
and from the screams to clean my room.

I am from those moments spent with my family.

Angela Islas
Bonita Vista Middle, Grade 8
Poet-teacher: Johnnierenee Nelson
Classroom Teacher: Katherine Kavouklis

★ Third Place Upper Division ★

A Dream Approaches

I want to show you a man standing on the beach
looking out into the aquamarine fish-smelling sea.
I want to show you the beach after a day of sweltering sun
shining yellow upon the beach like a flashlight.

I want you to hear the seagulls
screeching and whistling to their friends,
telling them of the crumbs left behind
from when the sun was still out.
I want to show you the yellow of the sun
falling behind the mountain
as the white shine of the moon prepares to take its place.

I want you to watch as the sky turns from golden-yellow
to a shade as black as the pupil of a person in the dark.
I want you to taste the salty air by the ocean
as the waves crash into the sand
and then start the cycle over again.

I want you to hear the wave tell a story of how it
repeats its cycle all day, every day, with no stopping,
whether the sun is high in the sky or hiding behind the mountain.

Lyra Rhoades
Bonita Vista Middle, Grade 8
Poet-teacher: Johnnierenee Nelson
Classroom Teacher: Katherine Kavouklis

★ Fourth Place Upper Division ★

I Am a Star

When I shine
I am a new phone
that everybody
wants.

When I am dark
I am a shadowy forest
that nobody wants to
enter.

Alyssa Sofia Gonzalez
Bonita Vista Middle, Grade 7
Poet-teacher: Johnnierenee Nelson
Classroom Teacher: Katherine Kavouklis