That One Special Place


Walk Away


The Sailor


Indescribable Pain


Untitled 1


Taking out Trash


Untitled 2


Can't Hide


Forever Changed


Untitled 4


The Journey of Life


Untitled 5


Glittering Gold


What Burns Inside Us all


Without You


Untitled 8


 Untitled 9






Untitled 10


Untitled 11


Untitled 12


Dear President Bush


Through the Cemetery Gates









Short Story

Untitled 3


Untitled 6


Untitled 7


Looking Up


Grieving in Silence


Stupid Ideas For When You're Bored









That One Special Place

Hey, it's just me
no one special
i guess i am truly fitting in to my new surroundings
as well as can be expected anyway
i feel that i need to revisit
the place that i always felt i belonged
that place always smelled the same
always familiar and comfortable
that same pleasant peaceful fragrance
the last time i visited
so many memories came back
and i wanted to be there so bad
every day, but returns are rare
i have changed in so many ways since i left
it is hard for me
to walk into my new home
and know that the comfortable and familiar
won't be there
i love where i am now
but it will never be the same
i could sit in that one special chair
and read book after involved book
that is where i developed a love
for reading and writing
now i rarely do either
it just isn't the same
i know that new books
and compositions will be there
every time i revisit
but i find more than new books
i find new inspiration
that place brought so much to my life
and i miss that more than anything
about the comfortable and familiar
i just wanted to tell you
how special that place is
but more than that
how special the creator of that place is
i love you

11th grader
Winchester, IL
About the author of "That One Special Place"   I live in a little hick-town in Central Illinois where everyone knows everyone. I love to write and this piece expressed my longing for a certain place that always brought me peace. I can still visit whenever I want, but it just isn't the same. I hope you enjoy my composition.
Walk Away

I thought I heard him call to me
Just the other day
I turned around just in time
To see him walk away

He brought with him a whisper
A sea of broken dreams
Reminding me to stay away
For nothing is what it seems

He brought with him a memory
A tale of love so true
Reminding me to stay away
So I wouldn't end up like you

Now he lives all alone
In a grave no one claims
He once borrowed that heart of mine
Now only shards remain

He brought with him the death of me
The cause of all my pain
Reminding me to stay away
So I wouldn't love in vain

He brought with him an eye of lust
I was the target, I was the prize
Reminding me to stay away
I was so slow to realize

I thought I heard him call to me
Just the other day
I turned around just in time
To see my love walk away

10th grader
Newport, OR, USA
About the author of "Walk Away", is a 16 year old girl who has been writing since the eigth grade. Ashley's poetry takes a stand on many different issues, and her style at the time greatly reflects her mood.
Ashley likes to spend her time hanging out with friends and eating. She is a commited Christian who has aspirations of becoming a youth pastor so as she may help guide them and fulfill God's will for her. She loves music, especially bands like Relient K, POD, and Crash Test Dummies.
The Sailor

there once was a poor old sailor who lived alone on the sea
he was more happy and content than any real man could be
he fished by day
he sang by night
he could eat a trout in one large bite
he only sent letters every few years
until he died not of misery, but of beers
the only people who miss him are those who were in his band
for now the poor old sailor sleeps in the graveyard in the sand

8th grader
Wichita, KS, USA
Indescribable Pain

it hurts to breathe,
knowing you probably don't care.
it hurts to love,
knowing that that once made me happy,
and now i'm not, and i
haven't been for a very long time.
it hurts to see,
when all i see is you;
everywhere: at school, in my dreams,
in my mind, and right outside of my house,
right next door.
gosh, you look so good
in those stupid white clothes!
it hurts to smell,
cuz all i smell is that
scent you left in my mind,
of your cologne,
on my shoulder,
on my dress,
that night from the dance.
it hurts to think,
about the memories,
and how they all still seem so real.
Like you standin outside my window, in the middle of the night,
like the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.
it hurts to listen,
to hear the songs,
that remind me so much of you,
and how everything used to be perfect.
it hurts to remember,
of how you used to make me laugh
and make me smile, just by lookin at me,
looking at me like you were creating a mental
picture of my face, so that you'd never forget me.
it hurts to wake up,
knowing i'm going off to school,
and that i'm gonna see you with someone else.
it hurts to be happy,
knowing i'm not, and you are.
and most of all:
it hurts to live,
knowing that
i'm living without you,
it will be that way,
for the rest of my days.
it hurts,
because there may not be many days left.
it hurts to think,
that tomorrow, i may not be here.
it hurts to think,
that there may not be a tomorrow,
partially because of you.
and no one will ever know,
just how much
it hurts.
it's an indescribable pain,
and i wish it would just go away,
but as long as i live, and see you
everyday, it will forever stay.

9th grader
Belle Chasse, Louisiana
About the author of "Indescribable Pain"
My name is Ashley, I'm 14, I'm a freshman. This poem is about the struggles of having a first love, and seeing them love someone else. I like to write my thoughts down, and sometimes they come out as poetry. And they result in great works of art.
Untitled 1

I awake from my dreams,
And I miss you so much, so it seems,
But the mistakes I have made,
For the life of me, would never trade,
You came into my life for reason,
And I feel I lost you because of a fateful treason,
Though all along it was meant to turn out this way,
I'm just so sad that you're gone and I still have so much left to say,
But reality is the awakener of my life,
And for now I am left with the struggles and strife,
To grow stronger for all that I someday hope to receive,
Awaiting that someone who it is me they trust in and believe,
I want to finalize these dreams of you,
So I can reconstitute the things I loved to do.

12th grader
South Dakota
Taking out Trash

She cries all day
Trapped inside
All of the feelings
She struggles to hide
No one knows
What clouds her mind
Alone, she draws
Upon paper unlined
Of shadows deep
Within her heart
Dark, jagged forms
Until tears start
She looks at her artwork
And there her eyes stay
As she crumples it up
And throws it away
Into the trash
Her feelings go
She threw them out
So no one would know
Of her visions of darkness
Oh, how happy she seems
She's glad they know not
Of her shadowy dreams

10th grader
Grayson, Georgia
Untitled 2

The wind was howling, and
Knocking the branches of the tree
Against the window.
She sat up in bed,
Thinking someone was in the house.
She couldn't sleep that night, the lightening
And thunder was so close the house shook,
With what seemed like fear.
The tree branch slammed into the window,
Almost breaking it.
She quickly rose from her bed, the
Sheet falling from her body,
That was only dressed in a silk
Nightgown. She walked
Towards the window, and peered outside,
Passed the tree and to the street.
There was someone standing there,
Staring at her window.
She slowly took a step back,
Unsure of what to do.
She slowly parted the curtains, barley enough
For her to see through.
The person was still there, watching.
She walked backwards
Towards the bedroom door,
She reached for the knob, and
Took her hand away as fast as she could.
All of a sudden she realized
That she couldn't breath.
There was so much smoke in the air,
That it was all she was breathing in.
As fast as she could, she got down
On the floor, and crawled towards the window again.
She opened it as much as she could and called out
To the man standing outside.
But he didn't do anything,
He just stood there, staring up at the window,
Up at the girl.
He watched her as the door crumbled to ashes, and
The fire entered her room.
He watched her call out to him,
Screaming at the top of her lungs, but
He couldn't do anything. It was too late.
The bottom floor collapsed and
The top floor went with it.
Along with the girl.
Her name was Ivy Nickelson.
She died on her birthday,
The 11th of September 2005.
She spent most of her days, writing stories about
Anything and everything.
Her works would never be published,
Because they died with her in the fire.
We will forever remember

10th grader
Rio Rancho, New Mexico, USA
I love to write, mostly horror stories, and stuff like that. Hopefully when I get older, I can actually get a book published.
Can't Hide

The bruises she can't hide
So many times he had lied
The yelling and screaming
Can be worse than the beating

The sunglasses and makeup won't cover
How could he have ever loved her
She thought about running away
But he'd just find her out someday

She's trapped in a world she can't leave
Trying hard to believe
Of better days ahead she's sure
Love and happiness is the cure

She tries hard to wear a grin
But fighting a battle she can't win
Every time he says he's sorry
But that never stops her worry

It had to be the last time
He was committing a major crime
But now it's too late
She's walking through the golden gates

One night it went too far
She was headed for her car
She started to run
He pulled out a gun

You can guess what happened next
They laid her body down to rest
Now she lives up above
Where there is so much love

There is nothing sad
Or anything that seems bad
Jesus gave her a life less grim
Where time is spent worshiping Him

All there could possibly be
Is happiness eternally
Her life used to be sad and poor
But now she'll live forever more
8th grader
Andover, KS
Untitled 3

Everyone knew Isabel, and most everyone liked her.  Isabel with long, flowing brown hair and the simple round face. The same Isabel who never angered anyone unless she was told to, who only used her power for good. She was the prodigy.  She was the one with potential, with the bright eyes and the sharp tongue that all teachers hated, yet respected at the same time. Isabel was the prodigy, though she refused the title with equal stubbornness. To herself she was a simple girl, with no real talent. But the rest of us knew, we all knew that Isabel was bound for success. With her quick and piercing reactions, with her strong opinion on everything and anything, and with her frank stubbornness and sheer brilliance. Isabel was the shimmering jewel among a bed of rocks, at home as well as in school. She shined in everything, she was the untouchable one, the perfect one, the one you couldn't accept as true. She was the fast one, the smart one, the one who could finish her test before I finished my name. She truly was, the prodigy. Oh, I knew Isabel, well, I knew of her. But to me Isabel was unreachable, like the distant clouds that you watch from far, wishing you could fly free among them but knowing they would always be out of your reach. To everyone else, she was like water, that you try to grasp onto but it slips through your fingers and flows on. Our school wanted to hold onto Isabel, she was their shimmering jewel, their ever-moving cloud, their sparkling water.
No one knew of Isabel's other life, not one of them except me. I walked home each day from school, passing the tiny white house, with the burglar bar windows, the crumbling rooftop, and the beer bottles and cigarettes that littered the barren lawn. Every day I would walk home, with my hands clutching the sides of my white binder. She would always be sitting on the dusty porch, her knees curled up to her chest, a long and apparently epic book glued to her hands. I watched from the sidewalk, me with my frizzy black hair and chipped pink nails, me with my second hand blue jeans and my red shirt that had been faded to pink. I watched the perfect Isabel, with her jagged nails, bitten and chewed at, I was the only one who noticed them. She never saw me walking, and most often she kept her eyes down towards the book, her eyes not moving once. She never read the books, she only made herself look occupied, as she waited for the screaming to end. The screaming inside the tiny white house, the screaming that echoed beyond the burglar-bar windows. The screaming that I heard each day as I watched. Some days she would come out, the woman with the long, sharp nails, painted red. My mother called it the devil's color. She had long and sweeping red hair, with dark brown roots, that billowed down her large back, and her thick face was covered with too much makeup. It was the same woman who flung the door open, and stood her large frame in the doorway for almost a minute, huffing and watching her shaking hand clutch the beer bottle. Her whole body consumed the doorway, and her nails slowly clicked and clicked the side of the beer bottle, the devil's nails. Clicking, clicking, clicking. Sometimes she threw the bottle, at Isabel or the lawn, and sometimes she just held it with her red-nailed fingers. "Isa!" She would scream each time, her numerous chins shaking with each movement of her head. "What did I tell you about ignoring me when I call you. What did I tell!
 you about respect!" It was always the same. Isabel would keep her eyes turned down, her small hands clutching to the edges of the epic book. Her mother would grab her arm, pull her off the steps, and throw her into the house. "I told you about disrespecting me!" She would scream. Then she would slam the door behind her. Some things would fall, others would break, and then the tiny house would go silent. Sometimes I would walk on, reluctant to hear the inevitable sound. But sometimes I couldn't, my legs were frozen beneath me, glued to the cracked sidewalk. And I would hear it. A small girl crying, her sobs ringing in my ears and freezing my insides, until my very soul shook with her tears. The shimmering diamond, the sparkling water, the hurting child.
Not every day was like that, but most of them were. Neither Isabel nor her mother ever acknowledged my awkward presence on the sidewalk. Neither of them ever even glanced my way. So I kept what I knew to myself, and tried not to think about it. And each day the diamond would return, with the same sharp tongue and the same stubborn brilliance. Part of me wanted to believe I imagined it, but I knew that I hadn't. Isabel Rodriguez, the water, the cloud, the diamond, was Isabel Rodriguez, the abused. I had never though twice of things like that before Isabel, because I figured those things were so easy to tell. But no one suspected Isabel, none of them knew what I knew.
Isabel stayed unreachable for me until one day in the cafeteria, when she approached me. "You know, about my problem, don't you?" She whispered, clicking her jagged nails on the table's surface. I knew that clicking, and I was immediately reminded of the long red nail's of Isabel's mother. "What do you mean?" I asked, surprised. My mind had gone into shutdown. What was I supposed to know? How could I tell her I knew that? "I'm not stupid Mia, I know you've seen it. My mother, she beats me. I know that you know." She told me, still clicking the nails. "I-I do, but what does that-" She cut me off before I could respond. "Mia, she's gonna kill me, it's getting worse and worse every day, you have to tell someone." Her voice was shaking with pleading. "You can tell them, they won't take anything like that from me." I responded. Isabel shook her head. "Tell the police, tell someone. I need help Mia. I need you to help me." And just like that, she walked away. She became the unreachable again.
After school I took a different way. If Isabel needed help that bad, she could tell someone. I wasn't the one to help. I wasn't the one to change anything. I couldn't change anything. As I got home, I threw my backpack on the chair and fell back on the couch. Isabel's pleading words echoed in my head, "She's gonna kill me...I need help." I stood up, my whole body shaking, and walked towards the phone. With unsteady and unsure hands, I dialed the police.
They only got there just in time. Isabel had been hurt pretty bad, but she was alive. Her mother had been taken into custody, that's what they told me. I told everyone that she had moved away. I didn't want them knowing the real reason Isabel would never be at our school again.
I visited Isabel in the hospital a week later. As I walked into the hospital room Isabel's eyes opened. She saw me, but her expression didn't change.  My whole body surged with guilt, I was drowning in it. If only I had called sooner. Isabel's face was bruised and battered, and she had stitches across her forehead. "Who are you?" She asked, her voice hoarse and unrecognizable. "I'm Mia." I told her. She closed her eyes, thinking. "They told me about you, they said that you saved me. That if you hadn't called the police, I wouldn't be alive." I nodded, "I think that's true." She closed her eyes again. "They tell me that I used to be smart, like real smart. If you knew me, is that true?" She opened her eyes wide, hoping for a certain answer. I gave it to her with a honest smile, "Yes, you were the smartest one in our class. They called you the diamond." She smiled. "Wow, a diamond huh? Diamonds are pretty. Am I pretty without the bruises?" She asked me. I simply nodded. Isabel smiled contently. She stuck her hand out over the side of the bed. I held it. "Thank you, Mia, for saving me." She whispered. "You're welcome." I replied, and she smiled again.
Everyone knew Isabel, and most everyone liked her. To the rest of them, she was still the sharp-tongued, stubborn, perfect diamond that was bound for success. To them, she was still the prodigy, the one with potential. That's because none of them know her. And to me, she isn't the prodigy anymore. But she's not the brain-damaged thirteen year old who has no prior knowledge of her life before the last beating. That's what the doctors say she is. Soon after my mother adopted Isabel, and now she's my sister. Now, she's my friend. Now she's... my diamond. 

8th grader
Texas, United States
I enjoy writing, dancing, and going to the movies. I plan to be a WWE ring announcer and an author.
Forever Changed

I was with you through that time,
I saw your happiness as you saw mine.
And I knew your smiles were for me
I never knew that I could feel that much
for one person 

I was with you on that dark, bleak day
You warmed my heart with yours.
I held you close,
As my soul laid in your arms.

And I wondered why,
Someone brought you to me?
What did I do so right
To somehow deserve you.

You were with me the night
When the sky fell down,
You held me close
And I fell in love.

Id give up forever to keep you,
But I knew that could never be.
I knew I'd find a way to push you aside
And I now I pay the price, everyday.
I realize it's my fault
But now your gone,
It doesn't matter if I meant to or not
I can't believe I let you go.

And we don't talk
We just go about our lives,
Silently, never acknowledging what was
And that's the way it has to be.  

Wordlessly you look at me
And in that minute I know what I let go
I flash back into what seems to be a dream,
And I relive everything:

I see your face,
with eyes so blue
your smile is so bright, so alive. 
And it's a smile for me.

Your arms so strong as you hold me
With you I felt safer than I ever could've imagined.
I put my trust in you,
As you pulled me close,
you without a sound say the same.

I felt your heart beating,
As I saw you smiling
I saw my world in your eyes,
And finally knew the meaning of home,
that's what I found in your kiss.

You showed me what first love could be,
the intense bond between two people.
Letting go of their heads and surrendering their hearts.
And feeling the passion that runs deep in two souls.

The importance of following your heart
is what I learned from you.
You showed me how not to be afraid,
when love came knocking on my door.
And to let it in,
cause it could change me and my life forever.

But one final thing I learned was that
nothing comes guaranteed with a second chance.
And all the unspoken words wouldn't be a mystery,
that lies in our minds.
If we got over our foolish pride and talked

Maybe it would have ended all the pain and Heartache
And I would be safe in your arms,
as you in mine.
And left our lives linked forever.

But pride keep us apart
And  silenced our voices.
As we let first love slip through our fingers,
And our lives forever changed.

12th grader
Toronto, Ont. Canada
About the author of "Forever Changed" im just here to write and find some peace tonight...
Untitled 4

A beneficial traumarama is hard to resist.
Pity me insanely, but don't buy my tricks;
Here's the deal :
Direct knockout,
Uh...Oh...Be on the cover.
Picture us - merry fights,
On-again, off-again reasons to go.
Some thousands of pure, secret things
Give no hope.
So what draws me to know
Where is enough?

Unwind the signs,
I am guilty of a crime
You don't know.
It is you whose compliments overhaul me
Extreme emotion beats in me;
See why insults haunt -
Stay to hold
My ways.

I'm not great,
Take it as
The most ridiculous instincts explained.
Stomach-churling behavior displays
More than just elasticized bargains.
Behind the usual is the
Sizzling, soul-crushing world.

11th grader
North Branch, MI, USA
What can I say, not much, I'm your normal teenager, I guess. I just try to think a little more than I'm supposed to, and sometimes it results in poems, short stories and well, writings of different kinds.
The Journey of Life

I have my ticket, I board the train
It is time to start my journey
I read my ticket, I want to know
Where it is I'm going to
But all I see as I read...
Two words, 'Destination Unknown'

The train is moving at great speed
Time is ticking fast
People keep getting off the train
Until I am the last

Surely now is the time to decide
Where I want to go
But all the choices cloud my mind
The answer is too hard to find

I'm on this train as I write
Waiting patiently
Until on my ticket, it is revealed
Where I am supposed to be

And when that time finally arrives
I can get off this train
Knowing that wherever I may be
It must be the right place for me

12th grader
About the author of The Journey of Life. I am 16 years old and just started writing poetry last year. This poem describes my life at present, faced with many different decisions to make.
Untitled 5

Morning's dawn is gold;
The flower of Eden so bold.
The greens of yesterday fade,
To the grief and hue of day.
The sunset blazes red and violet;
For a moment, all things are silent.
As Nature suddenly turns dark,
Time again has left its mark.

8th grader
Dear President Bush,

   I was one with day at the seashore and I saw how the waves grew larger as they quickly approached the shore at the speed of a person's life. The waves reached the shore in a group and brought granules of sand with them; granules on top of granules, on top of granules. So at the end of a wave's life, the wave hits the seashore bringing many memories with it. Without one of those granules of sand, you wouldn't have the seashore. Life is but a granule of sand! We must grab a handful of sand before it gets buried by the tide! We must grab a handful of sand before it gets buried by the tide!

   The soldier's lives in the coming war with Iraq are more precious than life itself. They stand for the United States of America!, a free country that is like a candle to the rest of the world which should be lit by the candle of Israel. The soldier's lives in the coming war with Iraq are more precious than life itself. They risk their lives to rid the world of the evils that lurk in the corners. Hopefully as a result of their actions this world will be a world of peace rather than strife. The soldier's lives in the coming war with Iraq are more precious than life itself. They shall walk through the fires of war. Their straw will be transformed into ashes. Those ashes will be purified into the purest of gold! Those ashes will be purified into the purest of gold! I'm proud to be an American!!! I'm proud to be an American!!!

   Thank you President Bush for your leadership and action to make the world better. You are like a gardener that pulls the weeds and plants the seeds. You are a great leader to the soldiers. Keep roaring like a lion! When the snake slithers sneakily through the field to bite you at the heel, you must roar causing the snake to slither back into it's own area of the forest. The snake shall slither back to you once again. You must roar louder this time; get on your feet and show the snake who's bigger. The snake shall slither back towards you and attempt to bite you once again but this time you shall eat the snake and the snake shall bother you no more!
United States
If you put a candle in a dark room, the light shines on the darkness and makes the darkness light. People are candles in the way that they shine light on the darkness and make the darkness light. There's a wind which tries to blow out the candle so for those of you who are reading this, when the window opens and the wind tries to blow out your candle, thy candle buring and don't let the wind blow it out
Untitled 6

Star Jewel was one of few eight-year-olds who believed in faeries.  She would give anything to meet one, so she made faerie houses, left them cake, and did everything else imaginable to attract faeries, but to no avail.  Until one day she went down to the creek behind her house, where she kept her faerie houses, and she found a little man sleeping in one of them.  She sat next to the house staring at him in amazement.  All of a sudden the little man sprang up and realized that there was a little girl staring at him.  "What is your name, and why are you here?" he asked the girl with suspicion.  "My name is Star Jewel, and I am the one who built this house," Star answered with a grin.  "What is your name, and what are you?"  "I am Mr. Bandylegs the Hobgoblin," he said.  "And why did you build such a small house Star?"  "I want to meet a faerie," she said in a small voice.  "But I've never been able to."  "Well, you're in luck," Mr. Bandylegs said.  "I am a close f!
riend of Queen Mab and Princess Florella themselves.  And since you have been so gracious in making us these houses, which trust me, have been used, I suppose I can put in a good word to the Queen to let you visit Faerieland.  But there are certain tasks you have to perform to get into the Queen's good graces."  "Really?!  Would you really do that for me?" Star asked excitedly.  "Why of course.  Give me just a moment," the little hobgoblin said, and then he disappeared with a small 'POP'.
Star sat and waited for five minutes trying to imagine what Faerieland would be like when Mr. Bandylegs reappeared.  "Are you ready?" he asked her.  "Yes!"  "Stand up, turn around three times, and say these words: 'Take me to your faerie bower, take me on this golden hour, bring me to you, I beg you please, faeries dancing on the breeze,'" he instructed Star.  As soon as she did this, she was suddenly in a totally different world-Farieland.  Flittering in front of her was Princes Florella and other faeries of the court.  "Star Jewel, to get into Queen Mab's, mine, and the faerie courts good graces, you must go on a quest to receive the golden foxglove plant off of the island Tir Nan Og.  You will have to face the horrible Nuckelavee before you cross the enchanted lake to get to the island.  And after that you will have to face the Unseelie Court-they guard the golden foxglove.  It will be extremely difficult to get past both of them, let alone one of them.  To get past the !
Nuckelavee, I will give you this stone with holes," as florella handed Star the stone, all of the faeries cringed.  "It is normally used to protect horses from faeriefolk, and since the Nuckelavee is part horse, it will have the opposite effect on him.  Cut one of the veins on his mighty arm, drawing his black blood, and then throw the rock into the water.  He will then disappear, allowing you to cross the lake safely.  But you will have to face the Unseelie Court without my help.  Nothing I can give you will help you get past the but your own cleverness.  If you do not get past them they will snatch you up, and never let you go.  Follow this path down to the enchanted lake.  There will be a boat waiting for you.  Good luck Star Jewel."  And with those words, Princess Florella, Mr. Bandylegs, and the Faerie Court were gone.
In front of her lay a long path paved with stones, and lined with many strange looking flowers, plants, and trees.  Far off in the distance behind her, she saw the castle that Queen Mab lived in.  Star started walking down the path towards the lake, her eyes darting back and forth, taking everything in.  Finally, she saw the lake in front of her.  She ran to the little white boat, and pushed it into the water.  She started rowing the boat out, when all of a sudden, the boat started rocking violently and the water stared bubbling.  Out of the water rose a hideous, disfigured, half horse, half something else with one eye, and a torso with a head rolling back and forth connected to its waist.  It's massive, fleshy arm reached over the side of the boat to grab Star.  She screamed and the remembered the stone.  She pulled it out, cut a vein on the arm, and then threw it in the water.  The Nuckelavee let out a glass-shattering scream as black blood poured into the water and disap!
peared.  Star was extremely relieved, though a little shaken.
She paddled the boat across the lake to Tar Nin Og-a small island in the middle of the lake.  As she looked ahead of her, she could see a dark shadow shaped like a ring circling around something gold in the middle of the island.  Just looking at it gave her the chills.  At last, she landed on the island and as she walked onto the land, she heard an ear-piercing shriek.  She looked up and saw the evil Unseelie Court circling around the golden foxglove in the middle of the island.  Star quickly hid behind a rock, desperately thinking of how she would get the flower.  She surely could not just waltz right up and grab it because they would capture her.  Then she had an idea.  She gathered up tall grass and other various flowers and plants around her and turned them into a "little girl".  She sat the little girl in the boat, and then went and hid behind the rock.  She whistled to get the Unseelie Courts attention.  They stopped circling the foxglove and saw a little girl sitting !
in the boat.  They flew over to the boat and snatched up the little girl.  As they grabbed the dummy, Star darted to the middle of the island, grabbed the flower, and then ran back to her rock.  Just as she got back to the rock, the Unseelie Court passed over, cackling because they thought they had captured a mortal.  Star ran back to the boat and paddled away.  When she was in the middle of the lake, she heard shrieks coming from the island.  The Unseelie Court had realized their "mortal" was not a real little girl.  Thankfully though, the Unseelie Court had been banished to Tar Nin Og, so they could not follow her.
When she landed her boat, she walked down the path a little way and saw Princess Florella, Mr. Bandylegs, and the Faerie Court waiting for her,  "Congratulations Star," Princess Florella said as she approached.  "You are the first mortal to retrieve the golden foxglove.  Nobody else has been able to pass the Unseelie Court.  You have entered the good graces of all of the faeries in Faerieland.  We will now go to the palace to celebrate, and you will be able to meet Queen Mab."  Star was ecstatic beyond belief, and with a puff of smoke they were in the ballroom of the palace.  They had shrunk Star down so that she was the same size as the faeries.  Sitting at a table at the front of the elegant ballroom was Queen Mab.  She stood up and said, "Star Jewel, come forward."  Star approached the table trying not to scream with delight.  "You are the first mortal to ever retrieve the golden foxglove, and for that I will reward you.  Not only do I grant you passage to Faerieland at !
any time you wish, but I also grant you with faerie-sight.  You will have the ability to see the faeriefolk until the day you die."  "Oh, thank you!  Thank you so much!"  Star said with a grin.  Star celebrated in the palace with the faeries for a whole week, until she realized she had to go home.  "When I return you to your world, you will be back at the precise moment you left.  Star, you are the greatest mortal friend of all the faeriefolk.  Please come visit us again soon," Queen Mab said with a warm smile.  "How do I do that?" Star asked her.  "Why, just recite the poem that Mr. Bandylegs taught you.  Goodbye Star Jewel."  And with a burst of sparkling light, Star was back in the creek behind her house, sitting next to the faerie house she had found Mr. Bandylegs sleeping in.
Many years passed, and no matter how old she got, Star never stopped believing in faeries or their magic.  Every once in a while, Star would go visit faerieland.  And just as Queen Mab had promised, Star had faerie-sight until the day she died.

11th grader
Allen Park, Michigan
Glittering Gold

Some people just don't see
The things that are really and truly
They are too blinded
By greed, 
By certain types of metal
And shimmering things that come from
The bowels of the earth. 
The things that are truly precious
Are worth all of that
And more. 

Tears of joy,
Like the rain of spring,
Tears of compassion,
Tears of sadness,
Are all important
To our world.
Doing everything you can
To help your fellow man.
The world needs more of that
Than it does gems and jewels.

Really reaching out
To another human being,
Being there no matter what,
Really, truly caring.  

Making someone glad, and getting
A true and genuine smile,
From the kid
Who always seems sad,
Or anyone for that matter,
Any member of humanity.
People just like you
And me.

The time spent with friends,
Laughing and giggling,
And really living life
To its absolute fullest.
Even though people say
That you guys are positively crazy.

The expression of
A bride to be,
The beauty and sentiment
Of a wedding ceremony.

The song
That acts
As the shining sun,
Brightening your day
And your world,
Melting away your troubles
And cares.

The dance that unites
Instead of divides.
Where people who've never met
Don't even say a word,
But still have the time of their lives
Together as one. 

The spring air,
The graceful and mystical
Animals of the wild,
The purity and innocence
Of a very young child. 

The moments
When you feel
Like you could touch the sky,
When you know that God is real,
When you feel that you are alive,
And you love existence,
And you seem to be
Flying ever high.

Shakespeare once said,
"All that glitters is not gold."
Tolkien put a different twist,
On that famous statement
In the first line of his poem,
"All that is gold does not glitter."
I am no educated philosopher
Or renowned writer,
But I say
All that is truly gold,
Glitters with virtue,
And cannot be touched
By you, or me, or anyone else
Nor can it be tainted,
Not even by the devil himself.

You can't touch it,
Though you can feel it,
And when the moment passes,
It gets locked away,
Where it will be safe from harm,
In a treasure chest,
That rests in time's arms.

8th grader
About the author of Glittering Gold.  I am a person.  I am just like you.  I am no different.  I am. 
What Burns Inside Us all.

The Fiery hate that I loathe so much
The hate that burns inside me so
It builds and builds up so much
It makes you want to act upon your thoughts
It makes you want to do more than just think of the wrongs
Think of the wrongs you wish to do
Think of the wrongs that you love so much
Think of the wrongs you know you couldn't do
Think of the wrongs your hate drives you to do
And even to think of the things you will do
Hate determines your conscience at the time
Hate blinds the people who do the wrongs
Without hate there would be no murders
There would be no rapes, suicides, or things
For hate causes all of these things
Hate is the bringer of death
Hate itself burrows deep inside death
So deep inside that it makes you do what no one could ever do
No one with a sane thought could ever do
Murders are the symbol of hate itself
Murderers would not do things to others if it were not for hate
Hate drives people to do things they normally wouldn't
Hate is the veil that covers your conscience
It makes you do things without thinking of others
It makes you do things without thinking of yourself
Without ever thinking at all
Would someone do things upon others in such a way?
Without thinking of what kind of things would be done to them
Or the things that they will do to themselves
No is my answer for these questions
The evil burden that is deep inside all of us
Is the burden known as hate on this earthly realm
But to others, they know what hate really is
They know what hate is.  they know what it means
They know that hate is nothing more than human nature
And that as humans, we do what we were born to do
And the thing we are born to do is destroy ourselves
For nothing can destroy such a supreme species
Except the species itself
9th grader
I am...
A poet driven by his feelings & life
And all the things that surround him.
Untitled 7

She sat in her dark house covered in green, healthy, new vines. In fact, the vines were the only things belonging to her that were new. There were only a few rickety pieces of furniture in her one-story house; in her kitchen was a table with one solitary stool. In her living room there was but a single, worn-out recliner, and a coffee table that had to be propped up with an out-dated telephone book. In the corner of the room was a tall, menacing grandfather clock. And in her bedroom was an antique, brass-framed bed.
Her appearance was so grotesque that not even the spiders that dared to make their homes in hers were terrified to even glance at her face. Her head was long and thin with a deathly pale complexion. Her chin had such a deep cleft in it that it looked almost like two stubby toes without toenails. Her mouth, when closed, was a thin red line that stretched across her face. And when she smiled - oh, what a cold grin it was! Her lips would peel back, and her pointed teeth would be uncovered, all yellow and green and black with decay. Her nose was so long and hooked that she could see it clearly in front of her without going cross-eyed. Her hair was thick and long. But it stuck to her head, gathered into thick locks. They looked like yellow snakes slithering around on her head.
But that wasn't the worst part, oh, no indeed. The worst part was...her eyes. They were blue, with no white around them. Just blue. Her pupils were blacker than the hour before dawn. They were long, narrow tunnels that seemed never to end. And when you look into them, they close in on you mercilessly. You can feel your throat constricting, your lungs collapsing, and you hear a faint ringing in your ears. You gasp for breath as the tunnels suck you through them like a vacuum. The apparition you see last is unexplainable to you. You see two blue horns on a scaly black head, and a pair of massive, gray, reptilian wings.

Peter was bouncing his rubber ball out on the street one day. He had just come home from school. He got a 97 on his test, so his mother said he could stay out a little longer than usual. Just as he was about to bounce it again, he tripped on a stone and fell face flat on the warm tar, letting the ball out of his grasp. He looked up just in time to see it fly like a red and yellow comet over a tall wooden fence that led to someone's backyard. Peter had seen that fence before. And that house, which had green vines growing all over it, had been the subject of various Halloween pranks in the neighborhood, many of which Peter himself had taken part in. He had never seen the owner of the house very clearly through his Halloween mask. But now, it seemed that he would, for he saw no other way to sneak into the backyard for his ball. He trotted over to the front door of the house and knocked three times.
Slowly, the door creaked open. Peter gazed through the door into the dark house.
"Come in," said a rumbling, raspy voice. The words sent a quiver down Peter's spine. Hesitantly, he took a step across the threshold and closed the door behind him slightly, letting a sliver of light shine into the dark house.
"Um, sorry to disturb you," said Peter, trying to steady his quivering voice. "But my ball..."
Suddenly, he could hear footsteps coming toward him. A sliver of a woman's face appeared in the crack of afternoon light shining through the door. It was long and pale, with a hooked nose and a pile of writhing yellow hair on top of the woman's head. At first, Peter thought the yellow snakes atop her head were real, but when he looked closely, he realized that they were not snakes, but just regular hair curled like slithering snakes.
Peter let out a gasp as he caught sight of one of her blue eyes captured by the light. Oh, how they pierced coldly through his heart like a sharp icicle. It captured his sight, and the pupils drew him in. He found himself struggling to breathe, his head spinning like a top. He gasped for breath as his eyes widened in fright. His throat tightened like there was a noose around his neck. Just when he was ready to collapse, he saw two blue horns sprout from her forehead, and two gigantic gray wings spread from her back. The very last thing he saw was her cold, rotting grin as a blast of fire erupted from her open mouth, sending an overpowering heat wave surging over his entire body. He only lived long enough to feel the scorching burn as his skin roasted in the flames, the smell of burning flesh strong in his nose.

The next day, Peter's body was found five miles away from his house near a creek. The police never found the murderer, but they say the only thing that could have done something so terribly atrocious.....was a dragon.   

8th grader
Columbus, Ohio, US
Without You

If I was to sing a song,
I could only dedicated it to you.
If sung to someone other than,
It would sound incomplete,
As if a major part of it was missing,
And the tone used, somewhat incorrect,
The words, meaningless
And the power of it all, inexistent.
My body fails to contribute
As I stand alone upon the stage,
Without you, the excitement of it all dies
And the drum beat playing behind me
No longer resembles the pounging inside of me,
You're not there to speed the rhythm.
The amazed reactions on their faces fade
As I cannot sing to my full potential
From which you taught me to do.
You talents, and imperfections bring me talent and perfection,
Without you, the perfection of it all dies.

You walk in those doors,  I stand
So still, and cannot help but stare back at you,
A frozen gaze sets upon you now,
And the excitement builds.
I do not need to say a word,
My face says it all.

10th grader
About the author of Without You.  My name is Natasha.  This poem is about someone  I have began to have a lot of feelings for who I know is very much out of my reach.
Untitled 8

During the morning hours,
While gazing at the flowers,
I heard the birds sing a song,
And I sipped my cup of tea.
The tea reflected beauty.

I saw a nice and tall tree,
Within my delicious tea,
And a blue sky was above.
It all moved like a quick dream.
It all moved like a quick dream.

I then took a sip,
And closed both my lips.
A constant mint flowed down my throat.
I could taste the sky,
Trees and butterfly.

It settled in my stomach.
The sensation rather quick.
One moment was a lifetime.
It all was a cup of tea,
A taste of nature's beauty.

 Untitled 9

The other girls didn't work out all that well.
I "enjoy my own company too much".
But I think I'd like yours.
They all thought I talked too much, mostly about nothing.
I'm around you though, and it isn't like that.
I'm more considerate of what I say.
I want to impress you.
I'm worried about how different our friends seem to be.
Your other boyfriends were Neanderthals.
You're so much smarter than they ever were.
I think that I am too.
Every time we talk it's like I'm talking to myself.
Maybe those words weren't exactly the right ones.
I meant to say that you think like I do.
See what I'm doing now?
Maybe I do talk too much, when it's about nothing.

So when this conversation is over,
And you're thinking, "Why do I talk to that guy?"
I'll breathe a sigh of relief
And when my brain starts thinking again, from the thought gusts
I'll walk down the stairs from my room, till I
Arrive at the cellar door of my mind -
The door knob's worn from use -
And I'll put my head in my hands in the dark, like a dejected
alcoholic on the edge,
and I'll lament my own short-comings for a while, then wait around
for another girl:
just like you.

10th grader
Louisville, Kentucky, US of A

Burned in the stream of time

This pain is never ending

Wishing for what could have been

I'm left here comprehending

as time ticks by these feelings show

perhaps I should let these feelings go

Could it work out?

I thought things would change

But you'll never be different

And I'll never be the same

Your face it is scorn into my mind

I can't erase this memory

A picture of you and her together

Piercing my heart intently

You said that we could never be

Providing not a chance for me

And now I'm left here wondering

Just what we could have had

If you had only taken a chance

We could have defeated all odds

Had something worth living for

But now all my dreams have come undone

I'm left standing open armed

With no one to catch

I pull myself up from the fall

And pick up the pieces of my broken heart

10th grader
About the author of Burned. Hi my names Monica and I like writing, snowboarding, PUNK!, dancing, shopping and more:)
Through the Cemetery Gates

In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out in graveyards. Doing this does nothing to improve my clichèd black-clad-sad-kid reputation, but I really don't mind. Cemeteries are some of the last beautiful places one can hope to find anymore. Sometimes they're  the only place in an entire city that hasn't been paved over or ruined by graffiti. They're peaceful, too - graveyard calm and quiet is so thick that it seems to hang in the air like fog. The only sounds, if there are any at all, are those of your own muffled footsteps or the hushed sound of another mourner weeping somewhere nearby. The monuments themselves stand as silent sentinels, guarding the last refuge of the dead. All shades and sizes of engraved marble and stone serve as the very last testament of those who have passed on. Seraphim with lovely, graven faces watch over fallen lovers; cherubs with heavy wings look down on stillborn infants, SIDS kids, and other innocents who passed before their time. Crypts built !
above ground are evidence of those poor souls who couldn't stand the thought of their beloved's  worm-ridden body moldering away underground, and ebony monoliths mark the passing of someone who will remain immortal to the ones they left behind. Cemeteries do not only provide a place of closure for the grief-stricken; they are also a place of solemn reflection for the living. For those who haven't buried someone there, they can be a place for meditating, daydreaming, or thinking deeply about whatever might be plaguing you.
There are several cemeteries near my home; a sixty-acre tract of farmland in rural West Virginia. One such cemetery  is actually on my property, located on the crest of a hill in the archaic belief that there it would be easier for the souls to reach heaven.  The ancient pine coffins have deteriorated, marking the earth with foot deep, person-long depressions in the earth. About a mile up the unpaved road is a small family cemetery. It sits off the side of the road, and if you were driving by you might miss it entirely because there is no sign or other such indication that it is even there. It is home to the myth that if you park there at midnight, blood will stream down your windshield and the dead will rise up to claw at your windows and doors. Another, larger graveyard can be found on a road near my school. I don't visit it often because I feel that it's sanctity has been violated by the drunken teenagers who park there to smoke pot after football games.
My favorite cemetery is a half-hour's walk away from my house. The small church there has been abandoned for years, but mysteriously shows no signs of vandalism. What once was white paint has turned an ashen shade of gray due to long years of exposure to the elements. There is no way inside, but I'm sure that the pews and altar stand untouched, waiting patiently for an erstwhile congregation that is never coming back. I can't see inside to prove this because the windows are over my head, and even if I was standing on something in order to see in, the windows are covered with a film of grime that turns them black and renders them opaque. A tree towers over the side of the property near the road. It was struck by lightning and split down the middle a long time ago, but it continues to thrive. The symbolism strikes me as wholly appropriate, due to it's location and the popular faith in life after death.
The graves are separated from the pasture behind them by a low metal fence overgrown with trees and shrubbery. There are no remarkably large markers in such a small cemetery with the exception of an above ground crypt built near the fence. It's stone painted white, with an illegible bronze plaque  that at one time gave the name and dates of the deceased. Two small headstones flank it on either side, gray, plain, and completely unmarked. I imagine sometimes that the crypt houses a woman who died in childbirth and that the twins she took with her are beside her forever. All of the graves are old, the most ancient dating back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. The really old ones are recognizable by their chipped stone and weatherworn engravings. Some tombstones don't really look like markers at all, just circular pieces of stone embedded deeply in the ground. They belong to slaves, so I'm told. Two markers are separate by about twenty yards from the rest, made of matching brown ma!
rble and belonging to a man and his wife. A rather creepy one simply reads "CAIN," with no other names, dates, or anything else. The letters are shaped with rainbow colored marbles set into the stone, the kind that children play with; so I assume it's a child's grave. A tall white marker, one of the oldest ones there, stands near the church. It looks like a steeple, taller than me with a cross at it's top. A tiny angel kneels near the tree, gazing down with sad eyes at an even tinier angel laying below.
Sometimes my friends accompany me when I go up there; we sit amongst the stones, blow dandelion seeds, and every now and then decide to wax philosophical for a while. Mostly, though, I go up there alone. On pretty much any given summer day I can be found with my back up against the tree, reading, writing, or singing softly to myself. Often I just sit there and think, or make charcoal rubbings of some of the older epitaphs. Simply being there calms me and lightens my spirit. I feel a profound sense of love for those around me, even though I didn't know them in their life. I love them because whether they were good or evil, changed their world or changed nothing at all, they all met the same end that I too will meet some day. I feel completely connected to the world around me, so human and so empathetic. Cemeteries remind me of my true roots, and how very mortal we all are. Life will slip away from you like sand between your fingers, if you don't take the time to appreciate i!
t. Spending time  there has made me realize  that if I do nothing now, someday the only thing I'll leave behind is a stone with my name on it. I want my epitaph to be much longer than that.

10th grader
Frazier's Bottom, West Virginia
About the author of "Through the Cemetery Gates:" Kris resides in a rustic farmhouse with her parents, younger sister, and many animals. At fifteen, she aspires someday to be a chef at her own restaurant. She enjoys reading, video games, art of all varieties, and writing brief biographies in the third person.

Friendship is trust
Without trust it's known as a bust

Friendship is trust
No lies
Without trust it's known as a bust

Friendship is trust

Without trust it's known as a bust

Sisterly love
Brotherly love
Friendship is trust

Without trust it's known has a bust

The traits of love
The traits of compassion
Friendship is trust
Without trust it's known as a bust.
12 grader
Fairfield, CT
My names is Victoria and I'm 18 years old. I am finishing my senior year. I wrote this for my friends who have stood by me.
Untitled 10

When you look
among the stars, and the sky seemed to choke you
You dream of escape, to see what's beyond
The sky, the stars they seem to know you

Finally you get the chance
To go, to leave, to see the world!
Till your dying day you wish to be
Something more than 'just that girl'

You never got to tell him
So he still points and stares
You never told him how you love him
But would he really care?

8th grader
Looking Up

The hospital makes me shiver. Not because it's cold- after coming in from the freezing night, it's uncomfortably warm. It's the atmosphere. The chill, white walls, everything sterile, clean, crisp. It's the smell of medicine and the pervading sense of death concealed by air freshener.  No one is at the desk; I don't know where to go. Though I've known many people to check in and out of this hospital, and lived merely a block or two away for most of my life, I've never been inside. I don't know where to go. I turn to leave.
Nathan appears. His round cheeks are red, he's upset, and understandably. But he's brave for his age and looks composed. He's young, but I know he's seen pain before; I've always pitied and admired him. He brightens momentarily when he sees me, asks if my mother is with me. She's not here this time. She's not home from work. She's already been in for a visit, while I was at home, pacing and hesitating. Nathan droops and I buy him chips from the vending machine and take his hand. He leads me down the hall he'd come from.
Rita is crying again. I've seen Rita cry many times. Will gets to me, though. His arm is around Rita's trembling shoulders, even though they've been divorced for over a year now- what feels like ages. His eyes are red; I think I see him wipe a tear away as it emerges. It's always killed me to see grown men cry. They sit tensely on the vinyl chairs in the hall. Will looks up when we come in. He smiles weakly at me, and nods towards a door on his left, indicating that I can go in. I don't recognize the other three people in the room, but they're quiet, and I know who they are. The little boy looks at me sadly, blankly. I turn away. I don't want to know them. I don't want to recognize them. I won't think about them.
I push the door open slowly. Chad's in there. He makes me smile: he's telling Aiden about Diablo II, or some other game he's put on his computer from Alternative, against the rules. Chad's no stranger to hospitals. Maybe he's more comfortable here, or maybe talking about something stupid at a time like this is just the Chad thing to do.
Aiden. He's pale, where he's not red or purple or a sickening greenish yellow. His ample amount hair sticks out oddly from under the gauze, matted. His body, what's not under the sheet, is a maze of tubes, IV's, and stitches. Chad halts his computer game ramble and looks at me for a second. My face must be showing my fear and awe and shaky nerves.
"He's going to be fine," he says, but not in the reassuring voice you'd expect. Rather in a disgusted-at-your-stupidity tone, as if I'd just screamed at the sight of a bug and he was scolding me, "It can't hurt you."
"Look up," he says. I do. I have to laugh. A talking Steve Irwin doll is hanging from the ceiling by its feet. It used to be mine, a prized possession. I'd given it to Chad during his hospital stint. He'd hung it in his room by its feet.
Chad walks around the bed, hugs me, and walks out without another word. Left alone, I feel nervous. Silly, really, I've been alone with Aiden more times than I can count. Not lately though, I suppose. I sidle up the bed, I lean over. His eyes are closed, I can't tell if he's awake, or if he'd fallen asleep during Chad's spiel. I run my hand lightly down the part of his face that looks the least bruised.
"Nikki?" he mumbles, his eyes opening slightly. I recoil. I hated when he called her that. She would always be a cold and formal, "Nicole" to me. I know he's drugged and confused, but my chest aches at his mistake and the mention of her name. Unnecessary jealousy flares up inside me, I feel ashamed of it.
"Nicole.I mean Nikki.she didn't make it, honey. It's me," I tell him. He looks at me, confused.
"Where's Nicole? Tell her I'm sorry I wrecked her car," I don't have the heart to argue with him. Though, in a way, I feel a sadistic pleasure.
'You're precious Nikki doesn't exist anymore! She's gone! It's over!' I think, and want to slap myself.
"Can I get you anything?" I ask, but he's asleep again. Morphine does that to you.

I'd often wondered, daydreamed even (daynightmared? You certainly can't call it a dream, can you?) what would happen if one of us died, if one of us was in some sort of accident with our respective new companion. I'd always thought about, when he was driving to concerts or state borders with her, how awful it'd be. He'd be gone, unprotected in the airbagless passenger seat of the old Civic (his older brother once warned him, "Those are not safe cars," whereas he'd approved of my Accord. I remember how Aiden would mention maybe getting a Civic, before we'd broken up, and how my chest would burn and seethe. "You're unreasonable," he'd say.) and she, as the driver, would live. I'd be hysterical, I'd only be able to think, "If we hadn't broken up, this wouldn't have happened." and I'd be selfishly torn apart by the fact that he'd been with her in his last moments and even in the afterlife wouldn't hold anything against her.
Fantasy had become reality, but with what some people might call a "horrifying twist." The people, for example, in the waiting room.the ones I hadn't recognized. I'm sure they would have preferred the original version of the story. It was late, she'd gotten tired, she'd let him drive. As I looked into his sleeping face, a rush of mixed and utterly selfish feelings overcame me.
I'm glad it was her. I'm glad he's alive.
He's mine now. I know that. Without her, he's mine.
He'll never be over her. Never. He'll idolize her. He'll miss her.
He'll move on, to me. It'll be fine, I can win him back.
But never completely. He'll be racked with guilt. A part of him will have been
taken away with her. He can never get over her. I'll be only a cheap replacement. I can never live up to what he'll make her in his mind. He'll never be able to love me like before, because he'll always love her, because she's not around to fall out of love with.
I realize I'm right.
I want to swear out loud.
I want to kick his bed.
If he'd died I'd have known what to do.
Too bad I'd never want him to die.
"Tell Nikki to come in here."
Though sometimes I think I do.

I hug his mother on the way out. Will too, and the boys. The older brother, the unlikely prophet, hasn't made it down yet. The other three people have disappeared, not that I would have hugged them. I feel no humanitarianism right now. Only pure and undiluted selfishness. I catch myself hoping that they were bothered by my presence. I hate myself for this. When I step outside, the clouds have cleared, and the stars are as crisp and cold feeling as the wind. They're so beautiful, while I feel so ugly, in so many ways, inside and out and compared to her. "It's 3 o'clock we're driving in your car, you're screaming out the window at the stars, please don't drive me home." He taught me that song. She burnt him the CD. He loves the stars. Had he loved her?

I'll never know which he's looking for, now, when he looks up at the sky.

11th grader
Chelsea, MI, USA
Untitled 11

We journey this road, not in car, nor plane,
Understanding of it we cannot feign.

It's straight, yet winding, smooth, yet rough,
As we go, our egos think we're not tough enough.

At the nearest rest stop we don't really find rest,
Just some encouragement to do our best.

To make the best out of a bad situation,
And to calm our stress in relaxing contemplation.

We have different ideas of what the future holds in store,
Yet those who already have it good just want more and more.

We all want happiness, justice and peace,
Every brother, sister, nephew and niece.

Yet some in this world find it awfully necessary,
To kill and destroy their worst adversary.

Not only adults, but kids and teens, too.
What happened to God's messengers that we thought would come through?

Did they go short of hearing? Did they just up and die?
No, they heard the calling. They just didn't try.

Our friends are not our friends anymore. They stab you in the back.
Both faithfulness and trust are things that they lack.

In the eyes of starving children tears form and glisten.
Why won't the world just stop and listen,

To the girls and boys who make up our future
And may not live to be mature?

Who care about technology and gadgetry today,
When so many more important things are changing the human way?

While virtues like care and tenderness are striving to endure,
Things like hate and envy will always be there for sure.

Different types of prejudice have been around forever,
But who will be the one to say that we'll stop this evil together?

These issues are bumps on the road, the road we all must take.
Do you know what this road is called and what decisions to make?

8th grader
Columbus, Ohio, US

Grieving in Silence

January 13, 2001

I detest funeral homes.  We used to make fun of those places and the people who worked in them.  When she and I passed the funeral home on Cedar Street, we joked around about what it must be like to work in that stuffy house with all the stiffs.  We told each other all the jokes about dead people we knew, and giggled at how bad we were being – how we were being disrespectful to the dead.

It’s kind of ironic that the funeral home is on Cedar Street.  I read somewhere that cedar trees were supposed to be symbolic of life.  Well, I guess whoever built the funeral home on that street must’ve had some sick sense of humor because no aspect of that place personifies life.

I was actually inside that funeral home on Cedar today.  It broke my heart when I saw her looking up at me wearing more makeup than she had ever worn in her life.  And despite all the goo on her face, it looked so plastic, lifeless.  I didn’t want it to be true – I longed for her to leap from the casket yelling, “April Fools!” – giggling because I fell for her joke.  I waited there, staring at her for what seemed like an eternity, but she didn’t open her eyes and sit up. 

When I finally got the courage to tear my eyes away from the casket, away from her, it was at that moment I decided that funeral homes were detestable and that I never wanted to step inside another one for as long as I lived.

            Only when I got home did I ever shed a tear.  When I was surrounded by people, something inside of me wouldn’t let me show my emotion – my weakness.  I could only think of one thing while holding myself sobbing on the floor: Why did my mother have to leave me?

January 14, 2001

Whoa – I’m glad no one can read this.  That was a pretty heavy journal entry.  Before last night after the funeral home, I don’t think I’ve written in this in over a year.  I guess I just needed to write these things down last night so I wrote about seeing her – seeing her dead.

I think I’m gonna write a lot more stuff in here now.  I don’t want people to find and read it, and hiding things under your mattress is so cliché.  I’m gonna move it somewhere else.  Okay – I found the perfect place.  I found a shoebox under a pile of clothes in my closet.  And then under all that mess, I found my old ballet bag with all my ballet stuff still in it.  So I gonna put this diary inside the kinda stinky shoebox, put the box in the ballet bag, and then that bag under a heap of clothes in my closet.  No one will find this diary there – no one ever ventures into the “sty.”

That’s what my mom always used to call my room – the sty.  She wouldn’t refer to it as anything else.  She always said, “Go clean the sty.” or “She’s in the sty.” or “Go to the sty RIGHT NOW young lady!” 

She always used to call me young lady when she was mad at me.  Mom wasn’t mad all that often, but when she was, you stayed out of her way.  She reminded me of a hurricane when she was mad – all the way down to the eye of the storm.  Her yelling would come like tidal waves at first, being blown around by her anger.  She would get silent in the middle of her tantrum as if she was desperately trying to hold back her anger, but the white fury behind her eyes was ever present.  As soon as she got quiet, I knew it was the time to head for cover because I knew the waves would start roaring again.

I can’t stand anymore of this reminiscing – even if it was about her when she was mad.  I just can’t.  So I’m going to go put this in my shoebox, in my old ballet bag, under a pile of clothes, in my closet.

January 29, 2001

I haven’t written in this for a long time.  I haven’t wanted to talk much lately, not even to write things down in here.  I don’t want to feel anything.  And when I talk and write stuff down, I feel.

            That was why I didn’t say a word to anyone at school today.  It was my first day back in nearly two weeks.  I resent every one there – they all feel sorry for me.  Everyone pities me – they seemed to be dripping with pity.  But I came prepared – I wore a raincoat. 

They couldn’t possibly know what it was like to loose a parent – and I felt no reason to try to explain the feeling to them.  So I just kept silent – all day long. 

That’s why I’m writing in here.  ‘Cause I think I would go crazy if I didn’t let some of these feelings out.  I know that this diary will end up being my savior, my solitude.

February 2, 2001

I can’t relate to anyone anymore.  The people who felt so sorry for me when I first came back to school have already forgotten me.  They’ve already gone back to talking about the next party at Guy Pierce’s house, the cuuutest new outfit at Express, and the newest gossip – the new kid at school. 

Speaking of the new kid, he seems to be stalking me.  For some reason he was assigned to be in almost all of my classes.  It actually pisses me off – haven’t I gone through enough change already?  To make my life even more fun, some kid just waltzes in and changes all the girls in my class to flirting, giggling buffoons, making them more unbearable than ever!  I convinced myself not to care, so I ignored him just like everybody else. 

February 15, 2001

That new kid I mentioned in the last entry has been gone for a couple of days.  I wonder where he went.  Not like I really care, though.  It’s just weird not to find a gathering of giggling girls in all my classes with you-know-who in the center.  My classes have been eerily giggle-free.  This is some change that I wouldn’t mind getting used to!

Speaking of the kid, he actually attempted to get me to talk to him today.  As if he doesn’t get enough attention from the other girls, he thought he needed me to slobber all over him too.  I figured he would’ve gotten the drift that I don’t want to talk to anyone seeing as how I DON’T TALK TO ANYONE!  He must not have enough brains to go with all those muscles, but he’s always there smiling and cracking jokes.  He’s become the new “cool kid” in the senior class, to say the least.

            I used to be one of those cool kids – not anymore.  See how much you’ve screwed me up, Mom?!  Are you watching me suffer?!  I went from a popular princess to a dysfunctional outcast.  You know how you always used to yell at me to get off the phone and do something with my life?  Well, you should be happy with at least one part– I don’t get any calls anymore.  Dad finally had to rip out the extra phone line in my room – it was costing too much to have it – especially since I didn’t use it anymore. 

So, are you happy?  Huh?  Are you?  ‘Cause I’m sure as hell not!

February 22, 2001

            I can’t believe I let him get to me that way.  The new kid tricked me into talking to him.  What’s wrong with me – why do I keep saying “he” or “the new kid?”  His name is Jake.  I guess you could say he’s cute – all the girls in the senior class wouldn’t want him if he weren’t.  Sad, huh?  Well, he has curly brown hair that he can’t seem to control, depthless blue eyes, and a muscled, tan body.  Alright – I’m woman enough to admit it – the kid is hot.

Anyways, so for some reason Jake – notice I used his name – got it into his head that he was gonna come sit by me at lunch today.  I haven’t sat with anyone at lunch since I came back – and I like it like that.  Well, I wouldn’t say I like being alone all the time, but I’ve grown accustomed to it, and, like I’ve said before, I don’t like change.

            So anyways, as smooth as a cat, he slides in next to me.  As he whacked me on the back, he said good-naturedly, “What’s up, Celia?” – like I was one of his buddies or one of the girls from his fan club. 

I thought that if I ignored him, he would get offended and go back to the “popular table” where he always sat.  But he didn’t leave.  In fact, he kept talking even though I never responded to him or even looked up at him from my lunch.   

He kept babbling on about how he was dreading the upcoming Gilgamesh project Ms. Craft introduced today in English, how his lunch looked like road-kill that the lunch ladies were trying to serve by concealing it with a little gravy, and on and on and on. 

This jock strap wouldn’t stop talking!  Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I ripped my eyes up from my macaroni that I had been concentrating on so intently and totally lost it.  I didn’t yell, but I wasn’t speaking softly either.  I spoke with a kind of intensity that made Jake look at me in shock. 

These are the words I wasted on him that broke my record of silence.  “Would you just shut up?!  Why are you here?!  Why don’t you strut back to your table where all the girls there can drool all over you?”  I was on a roll – there was no stopping me.

I continued, “I know this will probably damage your ego, but I will not stoop to those sluts’ level and fawn all over you.  Your so-called charms have no effect on me.  Wait – let me take that back – they repulse me!  Now, this is the last time you will EVER hear my voice again – got it?  LEAVE ME ALONE!” 

With that, I threw my most menacing look his way and went silent once more.  I turned my attention back to my macaroni.  The cheese had started to solidify, making the meal look even more disgusting than it had before.

            What happened next surprised me, to say the least.  A moment later, from above me I heard his voice say, “I’m sorry about your mom.”  Something about how he said those five words made me look up at him again.  Our eyes met and he held my gaze for what felt like hours.  And then, as unexpected as his condolence, he picked up his half-eaten road-kill lunch, and strode away. 

I was dumbfounded.  I mean, how he said those words and the expression on his face when he said it.  There was something in his eyes that made me think that he really understood me – knew what I was going through.  There was a sadness there.  It was in that moment that I could tell that it wasn’t pity that made him offer his condolences – he truly understood my pain.

And ever since then, I haven’t been able to get that conversation with Jake Winthrop out of my head.  It bugs me that I let those words get to me so much that I just sat there, speechless, not knowing how to react.  I don’t want him to have that much power over me – I don’t want him to know me – know my pain. 

And now I’m balled up on the floor again, weeping bitterly, because the only person that might be able to make sense of this whole thing is gone – and she’s never coming back.

February 23, 2001

            After all the work I put in to try to keep Mr. Popularity away, he came and sat by me at lunch today.  After yesterday, I really don’t know how to act.  The part that really makes me mad is that he made me feel uncomfortable at my table, during my free time.  He just chatted on and on about more meaningless stuff.  Only this time I didn’t say a word – I didn’t even glance up from my chicken patty. 

Do you know how nauseating it is to sit for a whole half an hour examining the tumors in a school-made chicken patty?  Tip – don’t try it at home.  Once he finished his meal, he said goodbye, got up, and left – like the whole bizarre event was no big deal.  Only then did I lift my eyes to watch him dump his tray and return to his fan club.

            Arg!  This kid infuriates me!  How can he say something so intimate to me one day and then the next just chat jovially about Prom coming up? 

I still can’t quite put my finger on that comment he made yesterday.  No, not what he said, but how he said it.  I mean, plenty of people tell me they’re sorry about my mom, but it usually pisses me off, especially when people who didn’t even know her act like it’s a huge loss to them that she died.  As if they could be sorry – they never knew her, never knew me.

            But Jake didn’t say he was sorry like most of those other people…  Ah!  This is hurting my head too much to think about.  Why does it matter if I know why he said offered his condolences?  Who cares?  I have better ways to spend my time than worrying about this.  Come to think of it, I should probably go do that formal lab report that was due a week ago …

February 26, 2001

Guess who ate with me again today?  Nice try – it wasn’t the tooth fairy.  And true to my form, I didn’t utter a word.  In a way this whole situation is kind of funny.  The girls at the “popular table” are getting all pissy.  They can’t figure out why he keeps eating lunch with a freak like me when he can be eating with them.  They’re even more confused about why Jake Winthrop, of all people, keeps eating with me day after day when I totally reject him.

Actually, I’m kind of confused about that part myself.  What is this kid’s deal?  I’ve certainly never encouraged him to talk to me.  Now that I think about it, the only time I’ve ever talked to him, I screamed insults in his face.  As mentioned before, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box.

I’m sick of this though – I wish he would stop talking to me and just sit at his own table.  Then everything would go back to normal – that is, the normality I’ve established now that Mom’s gone.

March 20, 2001

            Today is the first day of spring and I can’t stop bawling.  Diary, do you wanna know why I’m bawling on one of the most beautiful days of the year?  I’ll tell you – because it’s Mom’s birthday.  The full affect of her being gone on her birthday hit me when I looked outside into the backyard and realized she hasn’t planted her flowers in her garden yet. 

Mom always used to do all the planting a week before her birthday so she could see the flowers blooming on her special day.  And then, on the first day of spring – her birthday, she would sit outside for hours, soaking in the sun and the beauty of it all – her masterpiece – the garden.  I don’t know any other way to describe her feelings toward spring except that she lived for it.

Mom hated winter almost as much as she loved spring.  I remember a couple of winters ago, right before Christmas, everyone in the state was in a tizzy.  The weather forecasters had been talking about a major blizzard for days.  Mom was terrified of storms – especially ones involving snow.

I remember her asking me why snow existed.  She saw snow as frozen contaminated rain that poisoned “Mother Earth” – as she was fond of calling anything outside.  It was Mom’s mentality that snow just ends up draining the life out of everything beautiful – the grass, the trees and especially her flowers.

It was quite a sight to see how my mom dealt with the issue of the blizzard that year.  She wouldn’t let me go to school even though the blizzard wasn’t predicted to hit until that night.  She didn’t go in to work and wouldn’t let Dad go either.  Mom just stared out the window all day – waiting and wishing for spring. 

And when the first snowflakes began to fall, she began to weep.  She cried at the thought of the snow, how it would swirl