Poetry Essay/Prose Short Story

By Carla

        The first day that I met her, I had no idea that she would make such an impact on my life.  She was about five feet, two inches tall with dark coffee-colored skin.  Her thick black hair was a mass of tight braids, which, like her personality, went in a hundred different directions.  At just fourteen years old, petite, lively Shmeka Jones had a smile that could blind the rising sun. 
"Carla, why don't you take Shmeka today," the special education teacher suggested. It was the first semester of eighth grade and, in an effort to get out of homeroom everyday, I had volunteered to be a helper for the special ed. class.  My job basically included keeping an eye on Shmeka in the mornings and safely delivering her to her classroom before the first period bell rang.  I tried to force a smile as I trudged over to the rambunctious little girl with the devilish grin.  I was not too very excited about being saddled with the wildest student in the class, but decided to make the best of things.  "Hi!" I said with forced enthusiasm.  "My name is Carla."  "Hi Cahlah!!" She said without skipping a beat.  Instantly friendly, she grabbed my hand and practically dragged me out the door.  "Bye Fogel!" she hollered to her teacher, tossing a quick wave over her shoulder.  I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me!
"How are you today, Shmeka?" I would ask each morning, and the conversation would takeoff.  Once Shmeka started talking, it was hard to get a word in edgewise.  She would chatter on and on about school, her family and even stop to ask me questions, eager to hear about my life.  Though her speech was slurred and, at times, incoherent, her face was always alive and full of energy.  She would smile up at me as we ambled down the hallway, her eyes dancing with mischief.  I would often get lost in my own thoughts, worrying about the day's tests and unfinished homework.   But the sound of Shmeka's happy laughter ringing throughout the halls could always snap me out of any negative state of mind I was in.  She always seemed so happy to be alive, grateful for the day.  That is what I liked the best about her.
As time passed, the two of us began to grow closer.  My initial thoughts about the "wild", or so I thought, girl who was, undoubtedly, "up to no good", were long gone.  I began to grow very attached to her and looked forward to our morning visits.   She would proudly show me her new corduroy short-alls, exclaiming, "Daddy bough' them for me!  They're pink!"  I would tell her how cute they were on her and that they matched her rose-colored socks perfectly.  Soaking up the praise, she would continue on with stories of the previous afternoon and all of her friends.   I knew all about Brad, who threw toys into the fish tank.  And about Lamonte, who loved to wash the dishes, sang the Mr. Clean television jingle and took nutrition very seriously.  "Eat your greens, Selma Green!" He would say.  Nobody knew where that one came from!  There were days when I would look down at her smiling face and wonder, "how can she be so happy?"  I would try to picture myself in her shoes.  I was s!
o fortunate to be considered "normal" by society's standards.  I could not even fathom a life of constantly being spoken down to, treated like I was helpless and just having the knowledge that I was not like the rest of the kids my age.  None of these things seemed to bother Shmeka.  She held her head high and walked through the hallways of Lanier Middle School like she owned the place.  Little Shmeka knew more people in that school than I did.   She was on a first-name basis with practically everyone, including most of the teachers and every last one of the administrators.  "Hey there, Shmeka!" they would call out with a big smile.  She loved the attention.
Some mornings we would sit in Mr. Roger's room, her favorite teacher, and she would draw dozens of pictures for me.  I have kept them to this day.  Their bright colors and crooked stick figures still bring a smile to my face.  When I crack open my eighth grade yearbook, cannot resist flipping to the very back page.  Crammed in the upper right corner, the page reads, in large, shaky writing: "to Cahlah, love Shmeka."  
Little did I know that my attempted "escape" from eighth grade homeroom could result in such a close relationship.  The time that I spent with Shmeka was, and still is, very special to me.  She taught me more about myself than anyone ever could.  I learned that there is a part of me that cares deeply for other people and that I can truly make a difference in someone else's life, and someone else in mine. 
10th grade

"This is going to be great!" Alice certainly seemed excited about playing a joke on Marilyn. I was scared, however. I had never really been a part of a practical joke before. I just nodded my head whenever Alice said something about the prank we were about to pull on Marilyn. I was too nervous thinking about not messing up my part of the plan to respond with actual words.
We made our way around to the back of Marilyn's house. I shivered as we waited for Darcy to show up from checking on Marilyn. Even though it was already the beginning of April, there were still at least two inches of snow on the ground, and it was very windy.
"Hey!" Alice and I spun around to meet Darcy's face. She giggled when she saw us. "You should have seen the expressions on your faces! It was hilarious!" Darcy giggled some more and then settled down. "Just think of what it's going to be like when we play this trick on Marilyn!" Darcy's big grin faded from her face when she saw my expression. "Hey, Jane. What's the matter?"
I sighed and explained to her what was on my mind. "I don't know. It's not like we're doing anything wrong. I mean, it's just a practical joke, right? But we all know how much Marilyn doesn't like to be scared. She's going to get really mad at us."
"So what if she does? She'll get over it. Besides, it serves her right for playing all those jokes on us."
"I guess you're right." But I still couldn't shake a rotten feeling. I did my best to clear it out of my head and focused on the directions Darcy was giving.
"So here's how it's going down. I'm going to climb up to the second floor with you, Jane. We'll climb into the house through the window, and you're going to stay at the top of the stairs on the left side, so she'll have to run to the right. I'm going to be at the end of the hall by the bathroom. Alice, do you know your part?"
"Yeah. In about eight minutes, I'm going to go to the back porch and sneak in through the back door. I'll pop up in front of her with the knife." Alice pulled out a big rubber knife she borrowed from her little brother. "She'll get scared and try to run away. I'll chase her up the stairs and into the bathroom where we spray her with shaving cream."
"Good. Everyone have their ski masks and shaving cream? Jane and I will see you later, Alice. Oh, by the way, the door's unlocked and Marilyn has her headphones on and is facing away from the door, so she won't see or hear you until you're right in front of her."
With Darcy giving Alice her final instructions, we made our way to the side of the house. I could see that this was more than just a little joke to her. This was sweet, sweet revenge for all the stupid April Fool's jokes Marilyn played on her.
We scaled the trellis and slipped in Marilyn's open bedroom window. This was the easiest part to plan because Marilyn always leaves her window open. We crept to our designated spots and waited. I was shaking with all the tension. All of a sudden, I heard a thud and a scream. I could see Darcy's smiling face down at the other end of the hall. I peeked around the corner of the stairs and saw Marilyn racing up the stairs with a figure dressed in black and a ski mask pulled over her face close behind. I knew that to be Alice only because I was dressed the same way. Marilyn was almost to the top of the stairs. It would be my turn soon. As I was getting ready to spring into action, Marilyn's body came hurtling toward me, and we collided. We both fell to the floor, and Marilyn dropped something. It was a cordless phone. "That can't be good," I thought to myself. Marilyn quickly picked the phone back up, and scrambled to the other end of the hall, only to be startled again by Darcy. !
The last thing I saw as Alice was dragging me to the other end of the hall was Marilyn slamming the bathroom door behind her and locking it. Darcy was pounding on the door.
"She locked it! I can't believe she was actually smart enough to think of locking it!" We were pounding on the door when we heard Marilyn's shrill voice call out to us.
"Okay sleaze balls, get ready for trouble! I just called the cops, and they'll be here any minute to arrest you." We stopped pounding on the door and just stood there in shock. In moments we heard sirens and saw police swarming us and taking us away in cuffs.
"Wait, wait!" Darcy screamed. "We're her friends! It was an April Fool's joke!" Everyone stopped and stared at us, then at Marilyn.
"Is that true, miss?" a tall officer asked Marilyn.
A big smirk crept over Marilyn's face. I could see she was planning something that would make us regret ever having played this trick on her. She opened her mouth, and said "I have never seen these girls before in my life."
9th grade
LaGrange, Illinois, United States
Perfect World

When will the world be a better place
When we are blind to every race and face,
When we can see behind every truth and lie,
And love the person who lives inside?

Why are people so heartless and cruel,
Sinking deep into a pool
Of monotony where you can't submit any new rules
And conformation is the only safe tool?

When will everyone learn to see
Each side, even if you can't agree?
In a perfect world which will never be seen,
Love and acceptance are the most precious commodities
11th grade
Birmingham, AL USA
I love writing poetry to express my thoughts when nobody will listen.  I also like singing and drawing in my spare time. : )
I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation

I saw the best minds of my generation
Walking the streets of the neighborhood
Reading the books unnoticed

I saw the best minds of my generation
Riding the bus
Ignoring the stares as they breezed by
Taking care of their family
When they were the ones who needed taken care of

I saw the best minds of my generation
Taking times for others
Studying their environment
Working for themselves
Entering the black house they call their own

I saw the best minds of my generation
Locked in the crack house
Waiting for mommy to come back
Playing patty cake with the strange man
The one momma gives money to
In exchange for the stuff in the bag

I saw the best minds of my generation
In a world of Temptation and Damnation
9th grade
I am a young black poet.  I aspire to be a writer and a singer, and truly believe that I will be someday.
The World Beyond

A thousand skies have hurt my eyes,
Through the window of the past,

Black and dreary my soul is weary,
My heart locked in an iron cast,

Ripped and torn my body worn,
The darkness creeps behind,

My throbbing heart in many parts,
One will never find,

All is lost with no costs,
I must go away,

Death and life always in strife,
A prominent world of gray,

Uncanny sovereignty of reality,
That which sees no bounds,

Many spots in which that rots,
All my moral grounds,

An immortality technicality,
That mortals must agreeably strive,

To this place without a face,
All will ultimately arrive,

One will see that he will be
Here throughout eternity,

Not in hell one can tell,
But a world of neutrality.
11th grade
Minster, Ohio, USA
Another Crying Day

Another day in a crying
girls life, tears fall from
her face, fall onto the stone cold floor.

Beaten down by the only
person in the world
she has,
her mother.

Another tear falls,
falling onto her body
that has no soul.

As she remembers the day
she was put out in the cold,
by the person who was suppose
to be her own.

Now half dead from the cold,
from the blood running from
her body she sees an

An angel of glory, hope, and
freedom from just
another crying day.
9th grade
Jacksonville, NC/USA
I'm 15 years old and am locked up in a training school.  I wrote poetry in my free time which is a lot.
I here different stories about a lot of girls and boys.  This was my own and the people with me made me
see that.  Training school is not a good thing.  But if you have to go to learn a lesson and see what life
really is then maybe you might just need to go.

I pushed the door to Stratford Academy open and walked into the main lobby.  The rain was pouring outside and I was dry even after running through it all.  It was strange enough, but I ignored it thinking it was normal.  I looked up and noticed a poster made by the cheerleaders hung from the ceiling.  It was painted in red and black for some reason and it said: "Eat mur Eaglz."  I smiled at the humorous banner.  I dislike my school mascot enough, now I obviously have someone on my side. 
I walked passed the banner and made my way down the blue and gray hall.  The poster fell from the ceiling and made almost no noise.  I turned around and looked at the fallen thing and noticed it began crumbling right before my eyes.  It then transformed into a black rubber ball and rolled into the girls bathroom on my right, pushing open the door and everything.  Once the door closed I made my way on as if nothing happened. 
The high school hallway was almost abandoned like usual when I get to school in the mornings.  In the second senior locker bay to my left one of the lockers was opened.  Inside of it sat a high school boy I have never seen before.  He just sat there reading a book and laughing almost like a retarded person would laugh.  Suddenly the laughing stopped and I saw him spit at the book and then throw it at me.  "No like!" he screamed.  The book came no where close to me, in fact it only got about five or six feet away from him.
When I made it to my locker I turned around and noticed the whole school seemed to be behind me.  They all had arrived at the same time wearing pink shirts.  It was weird, but I casually thought it was normal.  Facing forwards down the hall I then saw Stephanie Kent, my ex-girlfriend.  She ran up to me and gave me a hug.  We sat down in the locker section not saying a word.  I lowered my head and she put an arm around me.  Then she began talking like I'd never heard her talk.  Stephanie was never a talkative person and she told me she was going to a friends house after school. 
When I looked back up I noticed I was not at the same location.  I was in a giant ballroom in a mansion with gray marble stone everywhere.  I stood up, slightly confused.  Stephanie looked innocently up at me like she always does.  "What?" she asked.
Then I realized I was in my boxers and let out a startled curse word.  Something spun through my mind at that moment.  How stupid! I'm dreaming!  I'm so slow, how could it take me so long to realize. 
"You're not real," I said rapidly.
I began spinning around in a circle just to stay in the dream like the books told me to.  I span faster and faster then came to a sudden halt facing her confused face still sitting there.  "You are a loser," she said.
"Bye bye, Stephanie," I said.  Then, with the snap of my finger, Stephanie disappeared.  I love doing this, I thought to myself.  Everything seemed clear now.  I was dreaming and the spinning gave me the ability to stay in the dream.  Now I had to do the regular lucid dream test.  This is a usual warm-up routine I often do once I reach this point. 
Stretching my imaginary body, I slowly let myself drift into an open state of mind.  Here I am.  Dreaming.  The warmth of pleasure crept around my senses giving me the indication that I was fully conscious and aware of how everything was working.  I couldn't resist the smile that crept up on my face.  The smile was probably even on my real body.  The body that was sitting on my bed right that minute.  Think, Josh, think, I thought. 
I then imagined a mirror and one appeared in front of me.  It was one of those oval mirrors that stood on a brass stand.  I reached my hand to the mirror and motioned it to come closer to me, and like a supernatural force, the mirror glided toward me as if it was floating. Even though it was touching the floor, it continued it's ghostly movement.  Once the mirror was directly in front of me I held out my hand to signal it to stop.  The mirror did just as I had gestured for it to do.  There was no reflection of me.
Then I reached out my hand to touch it.  My fingers glided off the surface and I didn't really seem to touch it, but go through it.  My fingertips created a metallic ripple effect onto the surface.  A common glitch that my mind created.  Okay.  I'm warmed up now, I need to start having some fun, I thought.
Once again, I stretched myself and cleared my mind to avoid confusion in the dream.  If I thought of too many things at once, something horrible would end up happening.  Something horrible like waking up.  So I viewed the world around me.   
  The mansion scenery was there.  The grayness of the ballroom-like area cast a depression over the dream, making it somewhere to avoid.  Not something really of wealth but something of evil power.  In a way the mansion had it's own gothic overview casting evil as the overseer of the depression. 
No more of this, I thought.  I cast my eyes forward onto the gray landscape.  My body stood straight and tall against it.  Where to now?  I imagined myself on a beach and I began to hear waves crashing onto the shore before any visual came in.  A beach, I thought.  But what kind of beach?  Pearly white sand of course! 
And with the thought of the pearly white sand in my mind came the disappearance of the floor below me, being replaced with the gorgeous sand from heaven.  The very sight of the sand gave off a glow of diamonds and jewels found nowhere else on earth.
Now I need the waves and ocean water.  The wall to right of me began to shake.  May the water take over the wall, I thought.  With that in mind, the wall slowly cracked open and poured droplets of water onto the floor.  The cracks enlarged and began to break open.  Soon the wall was quickly overthrown by the power of the water and the right side of me became an ocean with violent waves.
"Calm down," I said aloud.  My command halted the violent waves into a more relaxing surf that soothed up against the shore.  Now what do I want next?  I need to add the perfect beach landscape.
Blue skies appeared over my head as I envisioned the perfect daytime sequence.  A few clouds would be good, I thought.  A scattered clouds all through the sky.  They were all streaks of cumulus. 
"Perfect.  Now I need to add more to the left side of me."  Dense palm forest was what I wanted, and it's what I got.  The green textures spun out of the ground and sand, making it look like some new type of Miracle Grow.  I added a flock of colorful parrots in the jungle.  It couldn't get much better.
The dolphins all played out in the distance, jumping up out of the water and splashing back under like small children.
"Hey, wait a second," I said.  "Who created those dolphins?  I sure-"
"Caw! Caw!"  A seagull flew above my head and out toward the narrow straightway of beach.  I just shrugged my shoulders.  Maybe my mind was still playing games with me.  Still contributing to the dream, even though I was supposed to have full control of it.  No need to argue, I thought.
Once again, a big smile approached my face as I marveled over my own creation.  Then I imagined a force pushing me upward and soon I began to float.  This has always been the number one thing for me to do in a lucid dream.  Sighs of satisfaction escaped me as I lifted off the ground and began to push forward noticing the landscape.
Wait a second! I'm still in my boxers!  The flying slowed down a little then I imagined wearing something else.  A pair of cargo shorts covered me and a white T-shirt came on.  The force pushing me to fly picked up as I commanded it and I flew around the island.  I was only about five feet off of the ground.  Life higher, I thought.  So with that, I felt the invisible hands of a giant pick me up below the shoulders and thrust me up into the sky.  It was an elevator going at high speed upwards.
"Whoo-hoo!" I yelled.  The island below me grew small.  The dolphins became nothing but water bugs in the distance.  The invisible giant let me go on my own when I was about two hundred feet up.  I felt myself floating.  The thought where to go approached in my mind.  Lowering my head, I noticed jelly fish in the water swimming in schools.  They were just pink dots against the aqua blue water. 
Higher, I thought.  It would be better to go higher.  So once again the invisible hands through my to above the atmosphere.  Now the island was just a small dot.  I could see the whole world from here.  Just a vast part of ocean.  
It was midday here.  Maybe sunset would be better.  The sky turned orange and it was like something out of a painting.  The few clouds that were settled off in the distance turned a navy blue.  Below me, the water reflected the orange sun settling over the horizon.  Behind me the sky was turning dark, and the stars were beginning to show.
Diving time, I thought.  I kept floating but turned my body straight downwards toward the ocean.  I formed a diving motion with my hands.  Time to rock and roll!
I let my flying ability push to a rocket force in no time.  I must have been going a thousand miles per hour towards the water.  The wind rushed at my clothes, whipping them violently against my body.  I felt my cheeks flapping backwards like out of some comedy movie.  The water was about a hundred feet below me in no time.  Before I could even think about anything, I felt the water engulf and swallow my entire body.  I closed my eyes.
When I opened them, I found myself in a world of amazing color.  The orange rays of the sun shone upon the coral reefs.  The fish swam and curved around me.  Awesome, I kept thinking.  The schools of fish swam by me, unafraid. 
I began to swim deeper into the coral.  It was a huge pit growing darker on the way down.  The dolphins I saw playing earlier appeared and began to swim with me.  I laughed as they curved around me.  I then thought about flying again. 
The energy came back with the thought.  The energy of force that lifted me and carried me to the surface of the water.  As I flew upwards, the two dolphins spiraled around me at the amazing speed I was going.  When the surface opened it's doors to me the dolphins jumped up through the air with me for ten feet, then crashed back into their home.  Their home in my mind.
I found myself flying about twenty feet above the tree lining that surrounded the island a few seconds later.  My body was dry after escaping the water.
"Wow," I whispered to myself. 
Things couldn't get much better than this.  It was amazing that I could reach deep down into my mind a create something so vast.  It felt so good.  So real.  The wind curved around me and it didn't make me shiver, and the temperature felt great.  I could actually feel it! 
I flew up into the sky again using my friend, the invisible giant.  Once he let me go at an incredible feet above the island, I rushed forward with my arms outstretched like a bird's wings.  I was Peter Pan on his way to Never-never Land.     
The island then started to come to an end due to my choice.  It then faded into a city at night.  I was high in the clouds and could only see the lights of the busy town below.  There was so much for me to do in so little time.  My mom could turn on the light and wake me up from this dream, or even worse, my dad. 
The force pushing me to fly let go and I fell down into the city, miles below.  I felt like a small child as I did flips and cartwheels on my way .  Where to go now?  When I reached the bottom I swooped down through the streets and flew passed all the cars.  Pedestrians my mind randomly created waved to me and I waved back.  The neon signs of different areas zoomed passed me.
Some signs read:  JOSH'S DREAM WORLD CASINO, DREAM WORLD BAR, THE DREAM PLAZA HOTEL, and LINGERIE XXL.  I nearly vomited over the last one, obviously that wasn't my choice, but my mind's again.
  It was a combination of Atlanta Georgia and Las Vegas.  Neon signs, huge skyscrapers.  pedestrians, motor vehicles,  a huge Panasonic television, a football stadium, and everything a real city would have.  For some reason all these elements were not my choice.  It seemed I didn't have control over the dream landscapes.  It wasn't something to get angry at, but it was interesting.
"Look, it's JOSH!" said a voice.
I looked down and saw a child standing along the sidewalk.  Then a bunch of people crowded around the small girl.  She pointed toward my flying figure. 
"It is him!" said a man next to her.
The crowd started cheering and clapping for me.  I floated there, a little confused about where all this came from.  Then more crowds came in and started pointing.
I have to get out of here, I thought.  I was beginning to feel disturbed about what was going on.  Back on the beach I thought.      
And I was there again, standing under the peach sky.  The waves washed up soothingly against the shore and against my bare feet.  I closed my eyes and felt the wind caress up against me.  Then I lifted my face up to the sky and slowly let out a small snicker.  Strange how I can control this dream, I thought.  What could make this moment much better?  The thought came to me as I lowered my head forward and saw the world's most beautiful girl.  Another element my mind created.  Nothing to argue about on this one.  Oh yeah!
"Hey stud," she said walking up to me.
I felt a smile lift up to my face suddenly.  Now I know how to do this!  I reached out to her and she began to smile back at me.  Her brown hair swayed gently in the wind just like the palm trees were.  The aqua blue eyes stared at me with pleasure.
We came face to face looking into each others eyes.  She was the woman of my dreams, literally.  She began to move in closer to me. 
"I think I know what would make this moment better," she said.
"I know.  Me too," I replied.
She smiled and moved in closer to my face.  I put my hand on her hip and-     
'Click'  The light blinded me as I found myself sitting back in my bed staring up at my ceiling.  No!  This can't be happening! I've woken up! 
"School days, school days, good ol' golden rule days!" I looked toward the door and saw my dad singing with a smile on his face and a coffee mug in his hand.  He had the scruffy just-out-of-bed look on him.  I go from seeing the most beautiful girl in the world to seeing this!  Anger rushed through me, and I would have gotten up and beaten him senseless, but I had just woken up and had no energy in me. 
I recalled everything in my dream and quickly grabbed a pencil and jotted it down in my dream journal as a successful lucid dream.  It was an accomplishment.  All that training paid off and this was my best lucid experience yet.
The trick here in a dream is to just see how your mind works, and how beautiful or horrible you can make things.  Dreams can seem so real or seem so counterfeit at times, but the true reality lies only in your open mind, not in your knowledge.  Your imagination is the key to every door you unlock when you lucid dream.  So next time you dream, be aware and conscious, not locked up and unconscious. 
9th grade
Macon, Georgia
I'm 15 years old and I like to chill out in the summer.  I enjoy listening to all sorts of music except for teeny boppers.  I like to read other works by teenagers too.  I enjoy running and spending time with my friends too. 

The broken soldier weeps cold
icicle tears upon the
dull surface
of his bayonet.
They shatter, flinging their pieces
to the wind.
He is hurt.
He is misplaced.
Quietly, his bottled cry goes
around his boot soles and now here comes
a crawling teardrop;
like a stillborn,
so sweet, so cold, so dead,
so fitting.
11th grade
West Linn, Oregon, USA
About the author of Soldier:  Shirley writes poetry and prose for her high school Literary magazine, Kaleidoscope.
Quench for Survival

Stare and gaze
Into the flame
I'll give you the light
As we confide in the dark
A dark shadow cast
By dim candlelight
Oh isn't that
Such a pretty sight
Watch as the wax burns
Melts off the sides
Drips down your skin
Into your hollow shell
The darkness consumes you
Overwhelms you
Where do you turn
Where do you run
Dead end
End of the dead
Folding into the deep despair
Screaming cries of confusion
Choke on the vomit
Drown in the tears
Blinded from the blood
Poured down your eyes
Creeping down your spine
A hopeless shriek
Lift me off my feet
Angel calls
Where are they now
Forsaken wings
Now turned to dust
What was once found
Is now lost
The truth is a butcher knife
I am the meat
Make me into
Your holiday's feast
Well done?
Or medium rare
Just don't torture me
Just don't say
That I wont see
The light of day
Who do I fall back on
Where do I hide
Who will I melt into
Will I survive..?
9th grade
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dreams Do Come True

       "Hurry up guys, I don't want to miss the plane," I screamed across the airport to my mother, brothers and sister.  I was so excited to be able to ride on a plane.  I could not imagine what I would do if we missed our flight.  This would be the most important airplane ride I had ever been on.  We were to all leave the airport at 10:30 on Wednesday morning.  I did not want to take a chance and not be able to go to Arizona.
       The trip would be one of the best I would ever experience.  My dad was going to be playing in Super bowl XXX.  He had played football since he was seven years old.  Since then, he had the dream of playing pro football.  When that dream came true, he turned to bigger and better goals.  He started out playing football for the Atlanta, Falcons.  He played with them for 13 years but found no chance of winning a Super bowl there.  He decided to try another team and better his chances for his dream to come true.  My family then moved to Dallas, Texas for a year so my dad could play with the Cowboys.  The Cowboys went on that season with a winning record and defeated the Rams to go to the Super bowl.
       The plane ride to Arizona took what seemed like days.  I was ready to get to our hotel and see my dad for the first time in almost a week.  All the football players had to go early so they could train and get use to the weather.  I remember being so hungry and smelling the peanuts and Coca-Cola, but not being able to eat anything for the anxiety running through my blood.  On the plane trip, I met many families of football players that were very nice and could relate to the feelings I was going through.  This feeling was almost indescribable.
       As I walked off the plane, I could smell the dry scent of cactus trees.  It was a smell like I had never smelled before.  When I looked around me, I could see land in every direction. There were not very many buildings like I was use to in Dallas.  The land was flat and brown.  I had never seen so much dirt in my life.
       We went directly to the Buttes hotel as soon as we got there.  We rode over on a big navy bus that was sent to the airport especially for us.  The hotel was the largest and nicest hotel I had ever seen in my entire life.  It had 3 waterfalls at the entrance of the building.  The sun was then setting and you could see the light hitting the waterfalls to what seemed like to me was a rainbow.  As I put my nose in the air to get my first fresh breathe of air since the plane, I smelled chicken wings, ham, and many other smells of food.
       There was a short, bald headed man that was in charge of getting us whatever we wanted.  He gave us a speech about how we were there to be taken care of and that if we needed anything to please notify him at once.  I couldn't understand why every person we had come in contact with was being so nice to us.  All we had to do was ask and we received it.  He told us that there would be dinner served for us at promptly 7:30 for anyone who would like to join.  I looked at my mother, who was in awe herself, and asked her why they were doing this.  She leaned down towards me and gently said, "They want it to be just like our dreams."
       The game was scheduled for Sunday, January 30.  It was the day that my dad's dream would maybe come true.  The night before the game I was nervous for him.  I wanted him to win and be able to experience his dream.  He had worked so hard and for so many years that he deserved it more than anybody I could think of.  I knew he was nervous of losing but he was very confident going into the game and told me I had nothing to worry about because God was on our side.
       The day of the game, all the families of the players were taken and put on a special bus that would go straight to the football field without the traffic.  As we arrived to the field, I felt chills go up my arms.  This was what my dad had been waiting for his whole life. The crowds of people were already rushing into the stadium, the noise level increasing every second.  I smelled the popcorn, hot-dogs, and pretzels as it came closer and closer to game time.
       My family, including my Mom, brothers, sister, grandparents and uncle, all went to our seats.  Our seats were fairly good, on the 35-yard line or so.  As the team ran out onto the field, I looked to find my dad.  I told him that before the game he should look up in the stands to find us.  I knew that would be hard because of all the people but he knew approximately where we were sitting.  I spotted him with the defensive players at one side of the field.  I saw him looking around and I knew he was looking for us.  I waved my arms high in the air.  He saw me and waved with a gigantic smile on his face.  I was so proud that he was my father.
       The game started off very fast.  Before I knew it was half time and we were winning 24-10. The half time show was filled with singers such as Patty LeBell, Janet Jackson, and Billy Rae Cirus.  They all wanted to show their talent in front of thousands of people.  The game resumed and was soon over.  We had defeated the Stealers, 37-17.  That was one of the happiest times of my life.  They showed a picture of my dad over the big screen and he was crying.  I saw that and knew how happy he had to be.  He had worked so hard and deserved it so much.  I learned a major lesson fro this.  I know now that you can never give up on your dream and it is also amazing to know that not everyone's dreams can come true, but his did.
10th grade
Buford, Georgia
The Holocaust

Here I lye
Alone in the dirt
My body is feeble,
My heart does hurt.

My family has gone,
Left me to die.
I have no more friends,
No one to say goodbye.

Strip my clothes away from me,
Show my skin and bones.
Look what they have done to me,
I was never left alone.

God please forgive them all,
The don't know what they've done.
They must have been confused,
For they thought they have won.
9th grade
Chicago, Il
I am 15 years old, but was only 13 when I wrote this. We were studying the Holocaust and were assigned to write a poem based on a picture. This is what was produced. I have written many poems, in which a good number have been published in books.
In & out

It's black
But it could be white
I wonder ...

Out ...
It's white
No doubt about it
That's why people think she's pretty
That's how she got her scholarship
That's what made her popular
It's also why she looks down on me.

I'm white
I'm black
B-L-A-C-K turns people off
I wonder...
Why it's ok to be black inside
Why it's a crime to be black outside
I search high and low for the answer
The whites sneers at me
The yellows laughs at me
The blacks understand me
But none gave me the answer.
I told myself not to give up
Still searching.
9th grade
A New Beginning

Deep, dark.
The abyss surrounds me.
So quiet, so alone.
I can't stand to think.
Breaking waves engulf my mind,
And crash into the rough sand.

I am a complicated puzzle, 
Pieces strewn.
Some missing.

Like a prisoner of war,
Alone in a world of constant darkness.
Nowhere to turn.
No one to turn to.

I ignore their outstretched arms,
The welcoming smiles.
Their warm expressions turn to stone,
And I walk away.
10th grade

Crack! Pop, pop, pop!  I had torn anterior crucial ligament, otherwise known as ACL.  The simple,  three letter abbreviation may not seem like much, but after much excruciating pain and a whole lot of research,  I have come to find that these insignificant looking letters make up one of the most important parts of your knee.  If you tear your ACL, you might as well sit out the rest of your sports season..
Before my last basketball practice of the 2000-2001 season, I did not even know the ACL existed.  Up to that point I had never had any serious tears in any ligament or tendon, only broken bones.  But, as I went to throw my last pass of the year to a well-trusted teammate, I felt one crack, three quick pops, and the next thing I know, I was on the ground screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God! It hurts! It hurts!"  I had torn my ACL.
About two hours after my little incident, our respectable team trainer, Trainer Tom we call him,  who was called from work to take a look at my leg, took one glance and moved my leg from side to side and told me the worst news I have ever heard.  "Keri, I'm sorry, but you've completely torn your anterior crucial ligament," he said.  The first thought that ran through my mind was how bad could it possibly be?  If it's so important how come I had never heard of it before?  I could not have thought more wrong.  It turned out that the ACL is the major ligament for movement in your knee.  The once stretchy-like band was a useless piece of tissue floating in and around my kneecap.  The only way to get the knee back to 100% is by way of surgery and many physical therapy sessions to get strength, coordination, balance, and stability.
After I had heard the first piece of bad news, I felt nothing more but hopeless and pitiful.  Being out of sports for half a year is not a fun sounding idea to me, especially not with a whole summer of major softball tournaments ahead of me.  The doctor told me it would be quite a while before I would even be able to walk correctly, much less playing sports, and I will never take having two good legs for granted again.  When my doctor told me I was going to have surgery  I felt astounded and in much disbelief.
Going into surgery was probably the most dispiriting event of my whole ordeal.  How could something that will help so much scare me so much?, you might ask..  Well, for one the unbearable pain that was involved, and being told complications could possibly arise gave the me a disturbing gut feeling. Also the nurses wrote "No! No!" on my unhurt leg just to make sure they did not operate on the wrong one was not too assuring.  Nonetheless, I hoped that everything would turn out for the best.
About two weeks later, after my surgery,  I became so weary of those early morning talk shows I could have burst.  I spent almost 14 whole days lying on my back unable to move my left leg. My pain medication was giving me back spasms, making me one very edgy and unhappy individual! Talk about feeling helpless! Someone was there to cater to me whenever I needed them, but after a while even that got old. I felt too needy. 
I spent all my time on the couch worrying that something would be wrong.  I was so scared that I would not be able to bend or straighten it soon enough and scar tissue would form, initiating the need for another operation.  The pain was so excruciating that  my exercises were the absolute last thing I wanted to do. I knew that if I wanted to show the doctors up and have a quick recovery,  then I would have to bend and straighten my knee as often as possible.
I was very nervous about my first physical therapy session.  But as it turns out, the hell that I was expecting was actually quite relaxing.  The physical therapist massaged, iced, and used electric stimulation to strengthen  my knee.  All I know is it felt great.  I couldn't wait for the next session! 
Yet again, I couldn't be more wrong.  I was already temperamental from my medicine, but having to wing it without my crutches just wasn't working for me.  It was too soon for me to be walking without crutches and for some reason my therapist couldn't figure out that the pain was just too much.   As you can see I was not a very happy camper!
Overall, though, my therapy has not been too overwhelming.  I have to go back to the doc soon and after that I will begin my strength training and eventually begin to run and jump like a normal teenager again.  While these past couple months have not been the most exciting nor comforting,   I have learned so much about myself mentally, physically, and structurally.  What I can do and am capable of.  I am determined to over this impediment in my life, and I am determined to do it faster than anticipated.  It's time to show all the therapists and doctors what I am really made of!
10th grade
Buford, GA, USA

turning in solitary
teenage rage
marred by small movements
inside this cage
i don't know what came this age
my silent revolution

can't walk this way again
somehow I'll know
which way to go
but for now I'm content to stay
under the shadow you create

living by accepted mistakes
until my sleeping life awakes
locked inside the dreamy states
awaiting the sudden form life takes

can't decipher what i say
with any luck I'll stay this way.
10th grade
San Francisco
I'm a sixteen year old servant to seclusion, swording simple sanity, singing subtle songs about subdued sailors of star-glazed sights.
My savory syllables: serendipity.
March First

I remember I was
staring out the window
when I saw you.  It was
raining outside and
the sky was heavy with
sad smothering clouds and
there you were with a
silent glare in your eyes.
I think you were oblivious
of the rain and how it
was soaking your clothes
and saturating your dry lips.
You were ignorant to how
it was softening you skin
and how it was filling your
subtle emptiness.  You were numb
from it.  And I was numb
from you.  I heard someone
call my name and I remember
that I didn't hesitate
to turn my back against the
window and the rain and
your poignant stare.  And I
remember that I walked away
from all that you were becoming
and all that I found myself
standing for and growing to be.
10th grade
this is true. didn't exactly happen this way, but these were my feelings on who someone was becoming. i wrote this back in march, it was originally titled March First, but i began thinking about the person i wrote it about...and how much i loved them, yet i couldn't be there like i used to because it was really hurting. so what the title is basically about - i just wanted to tell them i loved them, even though i was distancing myself from them. 

Someone send me away,
Far beyond the reach of hate,
And there I'll be complete,
If I ever find that place,
But will I be alone?
Left to swim within my mind,
And what becomes of love?
When miles interfere,

I cannot shake the thoughts,
Of moving on and letting go,
A certainty in loss,
It's everything I've grown to know,
That when goodbyes are spoken,
A meaning lies beneath the words,
As if fate had got it wrong,
And we're not so surprised,

Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Not a whole lot to say about myself actually...
I'm 19...I'm stuck in a routine of work and sleep...and the odd smoke break...

Please, if you like my work, send me an email...feedback means a lot!  Thanks =)

Dylan stared up into an empty morning sky.  He was alone now, there was no denying that, and as he walked the reality of that fact set in like the dying summer, permeating deep into his soul.  She was gone now.  There was no returning to that paradise which had existed within the warmth of her touch, and the smell of her hair, and the warm summer nights they had spent lying together on the hood of her car staring into a limitless sky.
Though it was early autumn, there was an unusual chill in the air.  Dylan pulled his jacket tight to his neck and braced himself against the air as he walked into the wind along the decaying city streets.  The dilapidated building called to him, reaching, feeling, understanding, his loneliness and abandonment.
"Morning Dylan," greeted a cheerful elderly man from Dylan's building whose pug faced Bulldog walked besides him.  They were both largely overweight.  Dylan wondered which one needed the exercise more; the owner, or the dog.  Dylan managed an awkward smile,  "Hello Mr. Antonopolous, how are you."
"I'm just great Dylan, just taking Sniffles here out for a walk.  You know he did the strangest thing the other day."  Mr. Antonopolous said laughing to himself.  "climbed out to the roof on the fire escape, dambest thing I've ever seen." 
"That's great Mr.Antonopolous, Dylan replied managing a weak and unconvincing smile.  "I'll see you round."
"Later Dylan" Mr. Antonopolous waved still chuckling to himself as Dylan walked off.
Loneliness settled deep into his limbs as he continued walking.  The heavens opened up and the cold rain fell soaking Dylan's clothes and chilling him to the bone.
Lightning streaked across the gray, tumultuous sky.  Dylan sped his pace, dodging in and out of shop awnings and overhanging roofs until he reached the door t his building, climbed the stairs to his 3rd story apartment and opened the door.
The door shut heavy on rusty hinges, groaning and sighing until it slammed into the dull green frame.  Dylan settled into an old armchair with the stuffing spilling from its innards and tried to watch television.  After flipping through all the fuzzy public access channels at least five times he grew tired of the news and hospital shows and the constant white noise and static accompanying them.  Moving to the sofa, Dylan picked up his old guitar, struck the first chord and began to cry.
His tears hit the cold wooden floor loudly, in perfect time with a rhythm which blended with the beat of the rain on the windows, and the hum of the radiator, and the soft strum of his guitar into a song that could only be described as sorrow.  The melody was that of the wind through the trees, the buzz of the streetlight, and the prayers of a thousand innocent children.  And the song was called knowledge and it was the saddest song the world had ever known.  I was the song sung by Jesus Christ as he died on the cross and the dirges sang by Adam and Eve after they had attained the knowledge of good and evil.
As the tears fell the rhythm sped up faster and faster blurring the line between site, sound, and soul.  Faster, Faster into the recess of memory as pictures flashed before his eyes. A girl, a kiss, (his fingers flew across the strings) blinding stage lights reflecting in deep, blue eyes.  Faster, faster.
A knock on the door interrupted the rhythm.  Dylan placed the guitar in its case and stood.  "Its opened." There she stood in the doorway, dripping from head to toe.  Her jeans were muddy, and ripped.  Her sopping T-shirt clung to her body outlining the graceful curves and contours of her hips and chest.  She brushed back her dripping, red hair and smiled; and her smile was one of the lightning and of the thunder.  The light from the streetlights outside shone on her face, illuminating her features with an unearthly, iridescent glow casting long shadows on the ceiling and the wall as the door shut reluctantly behind her.
The shadows began to dance as he picked up the guitar and struck the first chord.  Then she smiled once again and laughed.  And her smile became the music and her laughter became the lyric.  The shadows on the wall danced faster and faster until they too became a blur.  The present flashed before them like lightning winding its way heavenward across the black, night sky.  Sunrise, shadow, still kept secrets and unspeakable longing; they were the song and the song was called laughter. 
And the shadows danced along the wall and Dylan's finger flew across the strings and his guitar wept for pure joy.

11th grade
Grand Rapids/ Mi/ USA
The Author resides in Grand Rapids Mi
He enjoys writing, playing guitar and singing in a local band.  All comments may be e-mailed to
I hope to here from you and hope you enjoy this work.
Hypnotic Backfire

Passing me through
Coming to you
The fire you do
Cold water so blue
Turn it on
Now I've won
Let it go
Voices low
Pulling you down
Hear your own sound
I've got you
You're turning blue
Catch you under
Voice like thunder
Enjoy the play
Thunder in the day
Made you fall
Lost your call
Going dull
Eating skull
It is your last
Comes on so fast
11th grade
Sulphur Springs, TX/USA
About the author of "Hypnotic Backfire".
I use poetry to release what I may be feeling at that particular moment.  I started writing poetry just last year and don't plan to stop.  I hope to become a published poet when I grow older.  I also plan to start writing novels.
Mystic Confusion

Try to sort through this life's mystic confusion
Think you're at peace but its just an illusion
Looking toward humans but God's the solution
Still we flow lost within sin's evolution

Emerald forests meet silver repression
Sweet silver waters meet silent aggression
Kindness and peace are kept in dark regression
Leaving the world in a sin stained depression

Yet tiny hope in each soul gains rebirth
Purged of all worry all sin and all mirth
Rising the spirits of children of Earth
Showing in God's eyes our great and true worth

12th grade
Washington DC
I am a researcher poet and helper.
Hurt Me

You say that you love me
Then leave me stranded
I love you so much
I just can't stand it.

You move further away
But beckon me nearer
I don't understand yet
I'm beginning to see clearer.

You hurt me and rape me
I am not myself
Why do you torture me so?
This is a living hell.

Abuse me more
There is no tomorrow
I'm sinking deeper and deeper
In a pit of sorrow.

You promised the world
And you gave me grief
I blame you for this
You lowly thief.

This won't hurt will it?
I asked from the start
You assured me "No."
Then stole my heart.
10th grade
Twin Falls, Idaho
My name is Christina and I have never written poetry before in my life. I wrote this as an assignment in literature and my "creative juices" just started flowing. It's all about the inspiration. I am a Sophomore in high school and writing poetry will probably become my now hobby. Later

Gone, gone away, are the dreams of a better home.
Gone away are the hopes of a better life
Away are the friends I'll never have, the joys I'll never find, the dreams, I'll never catch.
Far away, in a distant place, is the island on which live my dreams
Away, they stay, so far away, though they visit once or twice
Go and catch your dreams that fly on silver wings please take my advice
Don't let your hopes and your dreams fly away, grab them and hold them tight

7th grade
Marble Falls, TX, United States
I am 13, live in Texas, and I love to sing, act, and write.
Lost Childhood

When I was little,
Everything seemed so big.
That big branch,
Now looks like a twig.
Everything is so large,
Through the eyes of a child.
The worst pain ever felt,
Now seems so mild.
Everything was simple,
There were no woes.
As you get older,
Sadness is everything that goes.

My childhood is over,
It went by so fast.
When I sit alone,
I ask myself, "why didn't it last?"
The days seems so much darker,
Than yesterday.
I wish it would come back,
And never go away.
My wishes are stupid,
I know that now.
The feeling inside me,
Is like sweat on a brow.

The innocence of a child,
I once held in the palm of my hand.
Now slips through my fingers,
Like grains of sand.
I would like to return,
To a land I once knew.
But now I realize,
It has disappeared like the morning dew.
The fog in my heart,
Now blurs my sight.
Everyday in my life now,
I must struggle, I must fight.
11th grade
Galway, Connacht, Ireland
Okay ... hello all ... all I wanna say:)
Untitled Poem

There is a light so orange
it is too orange to stand there
and kiss you -
so sorry - but one day
on a train with appropriate music
playing in both our ears
the same, we will walk
in between two veering cars
and stand by the bathroom door
or walk to the end of the line
with hands tied or around backs
or touching so lightly like
that first precious time
in a bus in Paris traffic
a roundabout in front
of the opera house...
the elbow gently in my side on
the arm so often taken now
i will remember each second
of our young spring nights
i will leave soon to regret
the tardy time, the inevitable
taking of your hand in mine.

12th grade
London, England
Let Me Go

Strive me
From my possibility
And I
Shall snap back in vengeance
Deny me
Of my imagination
And hear me weep
Turn your eyes away
And never come again
Or follow me
To wherever our heart's so desire
Tulips and green pastures
Sound of rushing water
Through the cherry blossoms
If only my love could be as sweet as thee
11th grade
I hate...

I hate everything about him,
I hate his eyes,
I hate the way he makes me wanna cry.
I hate his smile, I hate his laugh.
I hate his heart,
I hate him for stealing mine and tearing it apart.
I hate his games,
I hate his lies.
I hate the way he makes me wanna die.
I hate him for doing this to me,
I hate the fact that he can't see, how much I love him, and that he is meant for me.
I hate that even after all this pain,
I still want him by my side,
helping me put together my broken heart and shattered pride.
But the thing I hate the most of all,
Is how I don't hate him at all.
12th grade
Eau Claire, WI
The Blue Jay

I sit in my kitchen eating ice cream,
After an hour of exercise.
Over a month lost twenty pounds,
Not knowing today could be my demise.

Suddenly, this I say, on the window sill,
Sat a little blue jay, watching me very still.

I finished my ice cream and threw it away,
And was surprised at what the bird would say,
And didn't know what for,

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

"What's the harm," I thought out loud,
"I've exercised, I'm very proud,
I'm not going to turn into lard,
What the heck, I deserve a reward!"

I finished the ice cream for the second time,
And one o'clock the bell just chimed.
It was a beautiful afternoon as I looked out the door,
But behind me, that stupid bird,

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

Not thinking about it, as if by instinct,
From the fridge, got sausage links.
Cooked them up until golden brown,
Sat at the table and wolfed them down,
Then flying from the table from the door,

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

In a trance by this demon of day,
In a bowl on the table fruit lay.
I took a few and ate them to the core.
I thought it would be satisfied but,

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

Stupid bird telling me to have more,
The hair out of my head I tore,
And went to open the pantry door.

Food, blessed food!
Took out a can of beans, of peas, of corn, and greens,
Put them in a stew I did,
Cranked up the heat and put on the lid.
Sat at the table starring at the jay,
Looking me in the eye,
Having something to say.
I cried! People could hear me from shore to shore,
The disgusting bird said,
"Have some more."

I ate all the fruit waiting for the stew,
to the stove the blue jay flew.
I took off the lid, it was done,
And the bird stared at me,
As I began to feed.

I finished it all,
the pantry was empty,
I had eaten myself poor,
and echoing throughout the house,

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

"That's it! That's it!" I had lost it,
I searched frantically on the floor,
and there a shining can of tuna!
I had to have some more,
I had to have some more!

The bell chimed,
It was half past four.
I lay there stuffed on the floor.
And the bird flew to me,
my stomach was sore,
And yet it persist.

Quote the blue jay, "Have some more."

Off the floor out of the kitchen I run,
Open the closet door and got the gun,
I aimed at the blue jay and took the shot!
And threw him into the frying pot!
Lips smackin' and finger lickin',
M'm M'm M'm Love that chicken!
10th grade
Tioga, Louisiana, USA
About the author of The Blue Jay. 
  I, Aaron, am a sophomore at Tioga High School in Tioga Louisiana. I wrote "The Blue Jay" in 2000 and got the idea just out of the blue while taking a shower. The poem really has no inside meaning or contemplation value. It is just supposed to make you smile.
"My Dearest Louisa"

"You have two hours to write your letters."  The guard roughly threw Sir Thomas into his filthy cell.  The key turned behind him, and Sir Thomas looked around.  The cell had no furniture, save a small, wooden table and chair, and no source of light except for a tiny, barred window.  A small shaft of light came from the window and landed on the floor.  Sir Thomas smiled grimly at it, and looked around. On the table there were four sheets of paper, ink, and a quill pen.  All hopes of escape were quickly given up, and Sir Thomas moved to the little table to complete his final task.  He took up the pen and began to write.

My Dearest Louisa,
I have so much to tell you, and not much time to do it in.  As you already know, I am in Paris, and was staying at Pierre's inn because my brother needed help.  Unfortunately, things aren't working out the way I hoped they would. I am to be sent to the guillotine at dawn, which is two hours from now. I might as well start at the beginning.  As you know, my dearest wife, I have continued to remain loyal to our King during this ridiculous uprising from the peasants.  Up to two months ago I only contributed money to the cause, and provided shelter to those on our side, but then I got the letter from my brother desperately asking for help. My brother said that the revolutionaries of Paris had plans to burn his house and take him prisoner, and he had found out through a servant. I set off for Paris the day I received his letter, telling you all I could in the short amount of time I had before I left. I was able to successfully evacuate my brother to the countryside where he will b!
e safe from the horror of the city.  A good thing too, for his house, and all of his remaining possessions were burned the next day by a mob of revolutionaries. The mob was not, however, satisfied with just ruining my brother's house.  They wanted a wealthy prize to carry off to the guillotine, and were infuriated to find my brother away from home.  The mob's thirst for blood had to be satisfied, so they tracked me down as a replacement for my brother.  Three nights ago while I was asleep in my room at the Pierre's inn, that very mob came and took me from my bed.  I was carted off to one of their prisons, to wait for my execution, and here you find me, an innocent Frenchman imprisoned by his own countrymen to be killed for a worthless cause.  My greatest pain, however, is never seeing you or the children again.  You will be able to get on without me though.  My position will insure that you are provided for and taken care of. That is, unless the revolution reaches you at the chateau.  Please kiss the children for me, and always remember your adoring husband.


Sir Thomas breathed deeply and wiped away a tear as he signed and folded his letter.  As Sir Thomas was sealing it, he heard the key in the lock turn, and he rose to bravely face his fate, stepping into the small sunbeam.  The burly, and oddly uncomfortable looking guard filled the entire doorway, so Sir Thomas could not see around him.  As the guard stepped into the cell, Sir Thomas could see that the guard's anxiety was caused by a gun pointed at his back.  The gun was being held by a well-dressed and very determined looking lady.  "Hello Thomas," Louisa said, " I got a most interesting note from Pierre last night."
8th grade
Colorado, USA
I got the idea for this story from A Tale of Two Cities.  I 'm a big history buff, so the topic of the French revolution seemed fun.  I love reading, but do not aspire to be an author.
Peace of Mind

Enter the world of dreams
through the open crystal doors
into a place where space
and time cease to exist.

Wrap yourself in the blanket
of sweet and fresh aroma
which surrounds this eternity
unknown to all but you.

Climb the towering mountains
whose peak ascends into the heavens.
The heaven, vast with boundless
limits filled with wispy strands of cloud.

Descend into the fertile valley
among the fragrance flowers
that sway to the rhythm of
the delicate dancing wind.

Yield by the edge of the lake
full of lushes water
that trickle from
an everlasting spring.

Glance at the reflection
cast upon the serene surface.
What is there to see,
but the empty soul itself?

Be not afraid and
seek a meaning
find the missing piece
of all your hopes and dreams.

For when you depart from here,
weave your dreams together,
make what was yours to begin,
so that your life may be fulfilled.
10th grade
Wauwatosa, WI
Hi, my name is Nikki and I love to write.  This is my first poem that I've written and it's about finding solitude.  I hope you'll like it.

Who says
what beauty is
to the heart that awaits
that traditional beliefs
are true in the importance
of the features of ones face
Who says
thee shall marvel me with glamour
yet thou hold no intelligence
but stands in glimmer
Who says
that I must
look upon the outside
when much of the beauty
lies in the inside
We spend too much time
hoping to find the best of the handsome
when the real guys stand strong
before us
when his appearance doesn't
satisfy society's wishes
and we put up a fuss
Who says
I must follow such foolish deeds
when the shadows of glamour
don't satisfy me
If one holds the beauty
inside one's soul
then beauty travels all over
through each vessel
comes outside through every pore
this is when
I love thee more
Who says
what beauty is
to the heart that awaits
It is me who asked
the insulted thee to come and be my mate
I seek the one who holds the glamour in truth
this is proper beauty
one can not lose

10th grade
Southfield, Mi
About the author of Beauty
I love to write...I hope to become a famous other of fictious novels one day. Instead of keeping a steady journal I write poems to express my thoughts.  One day I hope my name is  memorable for my writing...that is my dream.

Sometimes there are moments
When I am afraid
Afraid of myself -
Of what I have become
Or of what I could be.
I'll look in the mirror
And gasp in the horror -
There is a girl
Staring right back
That I don't recognize as me

Worse yet, there are times
When I look in that mirror
And realize I
turned into the person
that I never wanted to be

It is during those moments
That I want to run 
But if I ran
I still wouldn't escape
My own terrible fear of me
11th grade
I write
Sadness & Fear

Like in a Thunderstorm
When a child cries in fear
Louder and louder he cries
Yet no one comes for him
His fearful cries rise up and up
The anguished sound fills your mind
And never let's go

Like a child crying for a lost friend
His hollow cries fading, yet echoing, on the wind
His sad, pitiful cries echo the cold, lonely, bitterness in his heart
He feels the sadness of never again having a friend
The wind blows harder, he can smell the storm
Hear the grass and trees move

He can feel the icy rain of a winter's storm
He walks the street that is his home
He looks up into the gray winter clouds
He feels the ache in his heart
The icy drops drip down his face
Yet, he knows not if it is the rain or his own salted tears
The bumpy road is the road he always walked

And here this child of the street has grown
He still cries out in fear when a storm's thunder roars
His hollow cries still echo through the wind
Always for that friend he lost
The harder the wind blows the louder his cries
Always his anguished cries will echo and never will anyone come
Always he'll cry out in sadness and fear
11th grade
Baltimore, MD, USA
My Sprit

A shadow of my spirit,
Watches the sun set.
Never made for sharing silly dreams.
The eyes fill with tears. They are not mine.
I disown all being saddened by the passing of the light.
Stone, no I must be stone.
Slip into the calm water and let it push me in its way.
Drown, no must drown.
I was not put here to watch the sky.
Lending nothing sacred to this place,
I shall float into the forest.
It shall be me, it shall envelope all my spirit.
The shadow watches me between the glitter.
Far too quickly for the hand of grace.
How I fear it, how I fear it.
Falling there are fractions of my being.
All my dreams are wasted in the floods

11th grade
Not Yet

It's not Fair, It's not Right
it takes talent, it takes might
an unreachable goal
an unending hole
always falling, never calling
halfheartedly trying, slowly dying
sometimes you just have to let it go
11th grade
Atlanta, Georgia
If you think this applies to you, then it does.
Murder in Malibu

            Sam Archer struggled past the crowds of children and exhausted parents. He was glad to be off TWA flight 501 from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Holiday weekends were the worst time to fly. "Wouldn't you know it," Sam thought,  "only I would  catch an assignment on July 4th.
He stretched his six-foot frame and removed his sunglasses. He looked around expectantly because his client, Joe Nemo, was going to meet him. Sam gave Joe a description of himself when they spoke on the phone yesterday, and finalized the details of  Sam's assignment as Joe's bodyguard. "I'll be wearing jeans and a UC Berkeley T-shirt." Sam told him. "Dark hair, good tan and about 30 years old. I'll meet you right outside the gate."
Suddenly, someone tapped Sam on the shoulder. Instinctively, he turned around
ready to protect himself. "Hey buddy. Take it easy." said a middle-aged man wearing a strained tan windbreaker, baggy slacks and carrying a hat as squashed and wrinkled as his face. He must have been about 50 years old, judging by the lines around his eyes. "I just wanted to know if you are Sam Archer."
 "Who wants to know?" Sam replied .
"I'm Harry Nemo. My brother hired you to be his bodyguard. He asked me to pick you up." "Why the change in plans?" Sam asked. "Let me bring you up to date while we walk to my car." Harry almost whispered.
As Sam and Harry walked towards the parking lot, Harry continued to whisper
harshly. His neck muscles strained and  his bald head was turning red. "Somebody took a shot at Joe this morning while he was on the beach outside our house in Malibu. He was lucky to get away. He won't go out of the house now. Can't blame him really. Anyway, I know he'll feel a lot safer when you get there."
            "Nice car." Sam complimented Harry as they got into a long pine-green Jaguar.
            "This is Joe's car. I just borrowed it."
            "Any suspects? Did you call the police?" Sam asked.
             Harry turned from the wheel to peer into Sam's face. His breath was sour and his voice sounded nervous. "I'll let Joe brief you on that."
            "This is the life," Sam thought, as they drove through the winding streets of Malibu. They turned off the main road, onto a private lane that ran like a straight hair though dark green trees. They kept on going until they reached a spectacular house. "Who lives here? Madonna?" Sam asked jokingly. Harry grimaced as he opened his car door and started towards the front porch. Sam followed at a distance, taking in the splendid excess that was Southern California.

             "That's funny..."said Harry, "no one's answering the door." Sam could hear the
loud buzzer sound over and over again as Harry pressed it frantically.
             "Maybe he's taking a nap." Sam offered.
             "Joe has an extra key somewhere..." Harry muttered, searching under the polished rocks that decorated the small Japanese garden at the entry. "Here it is!" he cried as he grabbed a rusty key.
             "Great security," Sam mumbled to himself.
 As they entered the house, they heard a piercing scream. "Call the police. I'll see
what's going on." Sam said calmly.
            "Don't leave me here! I'm coming along!" cried Harry.
            "Make yourself useful. Check your brother's bedroom." Sam instructed.
Sam rushed from room to room on the ground floor. He finally ran downstairs and
entered what appeared to be a large room for entertaining. He called out  "Anyone here?" while he took his gun from the holster on his leg. He started at the first door on his right. Nothing but an empty bathroom. When he opened the next door, the room was pitch black. He fumbled for a light switch. Finally, floor lights flicked on and Sam realized he was standing in a home theater. "What money can buy." Sam thought as his eyes became accustomed to the dim light.
"Sam? Are you in there? I can't find Joe." Harry yelled .
" I think we might have found him now..."Sam said softly as he discovered what
seemed to be a body crushed under the weight of the theater's fallen chandelier.               
            "WHAT?" Harry screeched, as he rushed into the theater. "Oh my god! It's Joe." As he sunk to his knees he cried "Is he dead?"
 "I'm afraid so..." Sam replied as he looked for signs of a pulse. "I'll call 911."

Sergeant Alice Jefferson watched as the coroner removed Joe Nemo's body from
the house. She was medium height with dark brown hair and piercing green eyes. She was very business-like both in her dress and her manner.  She turned her attention to Sam Archer. "And who might you be?" She asked.
 "Actually, I'm supposed to be Mr. Nemo's bodyguard."
 "Remind me not to hire you. "Alice smirked.
 "Very funny. I just arrived to start working when all this went down."
 "Can you give me a statement for the record Mr...?"
 "Archer. But my friends call me Sam. And yes I can."
"Alright Mr. Archer. Just tell me in your own words."

"Not to much to tell...I arrived with Harry Nemo - Mr. Nemo's brother. No one
answered the door. So Harry found an extra key and we let ourselves in. A few seconds after entering the house we heard a scream and we found Mr. Nemo at the bottom of a big chandelier. That was about an hour ago."

"It sure looks like a terrible accident." Alice Jefferson remarked. "But of course
looks can be deceiving. You say you heard him scream?"
Sam answered "I heard somebody scream and I didn't see anyone else around.
Where's Harry?"
"We've let him lay down in the living room. We'll question him after he has time
to recover from the shock of finding his brother dead." replied Alice.

 "One other thing I guess I should mention..." Sam added. "Mr. Nemo hired me
because he said that someone threatened him and according to Harry , someone took a shot at him on the beach this morning."
Alice frowned. "He didn't report it. I just checked on this address with
"Sorry...I really don't know the details because I never had a chance to talk to
Mr. Nemo." Sam apologized.

 "You know I have to ask you to remain in LA for the next few days." Alice
stated. "No problem. My holiday weekend is shot anyway." Sam groaned.

"Excuse me Sergent Jefferson." A fresh-faced young patrolman interrupted.
"They need to see you in the theater right away." Alice Jefferson started towards the theater with Sam Archer close on her heels.
The senior crime scene investigator turned towards Alice and motioned her
forward. Alice brushed her long brown hair from her face as she knelt close to the blood-stained carpet and chandelier.

"This was no accident..." The CSI said. "Look at the supports holding the
chandelier. Someone clearly has cut them. They tried to fray the edges so it would look like an accident, but we're getting traces of steel particles from a knife."
'That makes things more interesting." Alice commented. "I think it's time we
talked to Mr. Harry Nemo."


"If at any time you feel like you need to stop, Mr. Nemo,  please let me know."
Alice Jefferson said reassuringly.
Harry Nemo looked even older and more withered. "If this will help find my
brother's murderer, I  will do my best."
Alice paused for a moment and then asked "Why do you mention murder, Mr.
 Harry flinched and seemed flustered. "Why...I don't know if it's murder or a
terrible accident, i-it's just that he's had so many problems lately..."

"What kind of problems?" Alice asked pointedly.
"Well...he's been having a war with the neighbors on the right over the property
line...I even heard them say they wished he would just disappear."
"Anyone else?" Alice asked while writing in her notebook.
"Umm...his old employer was threatening to make trouble for him. I guess Joe
knew something about his business, he was employing illegal aliens. I think he threatened Joe...but I don't know how far he'd go. Luckily for my brother, he inherited the bulk of our parents' estate, so he really didn't have to work anymore." Harry continued.
"Aren't you forgetting about the little incident this morning?" Sam Archer said
from the corner of the room.
"Oh yeah! S-Somebody shot at Joe this morning!" Harry stuttered nervously. "Were you with him at the time Mr. Nemo ?" Alice asked .
"No, no. He just told me on the phone. When he asked me to pick up Mr. Archer
at the airport..."
"Do you still have the key that you used to enter the house today, Mr. Nemo?" Alice inquired. "If there were no signs of forced entry, then somebody else must
have used that key to get inside and tamper with the chandelier. There might still be some residual finger prints on it." She explained.
Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Oh...I think I put it back." Harry said.
            "Actually Harry, you didn't." said Sam. "I saw you drop it in your jacket pocket. It's probably still there. Let me get it for you." Sam picked Harry's jacket from the back of a living room chair. "Wait! Let me get it..." Harry yelled desperately.
           "No problemo, Harry. I've already found it." As Sam gingerly removed the key, a small remote control slipped out of Harry's jacket and fell onto the floor.
"Sorry man." Sam said. "Let me pick that up." As Sam grabbed the remote off the
floor, he accidentally pushed  a red button at the top of it.

A piercing scream rattled the walls. "What? What was that?!" Alice shouted,
jumping to her feet.
            "It's the same scream I heard when we came in the house..."Sam revealed.
            Harry turned pale, as if he'd seen a ghost. "I don't understand...how that happened." Harry said lamely. "Oh, I think you do." replied Sam.  "It was a setup wasn't it? And I was your alibi! I'll bet you a week's pay that the murderer is...YOU!"

            Harry 's face flushed and turned red.  "Impossible! How could  I have done it ? I was there with you. Why would I kill my own brother?" Harry shouted, pounding his fist on the coffee table.
"When you pressed this remote control," Sam said,  throwing the remote on the
table,  "Joe Nemo was still alive." Alice, when the autopsy is done, I predict you'll find that Joe Nemo has a substantial amount of sedatives in his bloodstream. Our friend Harry was going to say that Joe needed to calm down because of all the threats and  the attempt on his life. But he drugged him and placed him underneath the chandelier. When we separated to look for Joe, Harry actually went to the theater and finished cutting through the support ropes."
"But...but wouldn't you have heard the chandelier falling?" Harry asked weakly.
Sam paused for a minute then Alice quietly said "The theater is soundproof. No one could have heard the chandelier fall."
"And no one could have heard Joe scream from inside the theater, unless the
scream was pre-recorded and played on speakers in the house."
"I never saw my brother today! I just spoke to him on the phone! I came here the
first time today with Archer. Prove that I didn't!" Harry stated defiantly.
"Actually, Harry, you were here when you picked up your brother's car to give
me a ride from the airport."

Alice Jefferson stood and looked at Harry Nemo. "You have the right to remain
silent. You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you.  Anything you say may be held against you in a court of law."

Sam Archer shook his head and thought, "What money can't buy."

                                                       The End
7th grade
Hong Kong SAR, China
About the author of Murder In Malibu
I'm Chloe. I am 13 years old. I was born in California, but have lived in Hong Kong since I was 5. I like to read, write and draw. I won Time Magazine's drawing competition for my age category in Time's special Hong Kong 1997 magazine edition. I hope to be a professional cartoonist when I grow up.

Always brash and boisterous spirit
Solitude of the crude, endless sea
Breathtaking cloudless skies consume
I, embracing loneliness
Unearth the vintage carnivals
Escape a blurring destination
Photograph the complicated
saga of life
10th grade
Belmont, CA, US

Sit down and watch the world keep on going,
How the hate keeps growing,
And the silence is still there.
Sit down and watch the world not stop,
How all these people's lives drop.
And no one will ever care.
Watch the hypocrisy, the hate, the fear.
Watch it all, and then drop your tear.
You're scared too, but don't know why.
You just feel like dropping on your knees to cry.
You don't know anything, just what you feel.
But that's enough to make everything else to painfully real.
You're cold inside, no sweater will do.
You're shivering now, is it cause it's cold, or cause of the truth?
The truth that this world keeps hiding,
The truth that is so obvious yet so blinding.
The reality of the meaning,
The meaning of everything.
The everything that makes you.
And now you know,
So stand up, and go.
9th grade
Caracas, Miranda, Venezuela.
I was born in Venezuela in 1986 and have lived here all my life. I have enjoyed writing as far as I can remember. I live with both of my parents and two brother, 22 and 16, and my older sister, 26, is about to get married and is living with her fiancÚ. My dad is a lawyer and my mom a photogropher. I am not the ordinary teenager, as i suppose there is no "ordinary teenager in this world. I speak both spanish and english and enjoy doing a variety of stuff, but especially going out and party and have fun. I hope you understand my writing and can relate to it =).

Today is the day. Carpe diem. Today is the day that I shall profess my love. There you are. You look so beautiful. I see you from across the hall, and I know what I must do. I must tell you what you already know, what I feel inside me, and what I know you must be feeling. My green eyes catch the your deep blues, and a silent bond is made. I look down at the ground. Today is not the day. I can't tell you that I love you today. It would be too rushed. You're with too many friends. Do I really want to profess my love to you right after you've eaten garlic french fries for lunch.
And yet something is bothering me, something is amiss. I've been hinting at it for months, and you are a very bright person. You must know that I like you. You must know that I want nothing more than to hold you while you shiver, my arms wrapped around your quivering stomach, and to tell you in a warm, soft voice that it's all right. I want nothing more then to tell you how beautiful you truly are and to look into your bright eyes and discuss arguments that the greatest minds in the world have made. I want to talk to you about the test and how it was for you. I want to talk to you about how Snuffelufagus was way cooler then Big bird, and that cheese tastes better when it's mixed with green eggs and ham.
And then it hits me, like a sack of potatoes. The thing I've known all along finally right there before me. I mouth the words, to make them real, but my lips cannot partake of it. They can't believe that it's true. They can't believe that I love you, and that you don't love me too. No, they won't perpetrate this sin against humanity. The angels cry out, and the clouds form in the sky, as if to weep for us, for what might have been. My love, my yearning, my passion for you, they haven't gone. They whirl around my head and a miles a second, along with the questions. Why is this happening? HOW CAN THIS BE?
I must let you know.
I must bring justice to the world. I have scream out from the rooftops to let the world know that I, Joshua C*** H***, do love you with all of my being. I must look at your soft, oh so soft, face and see it turn away, away from me and the love that must be, and tell me you don't love me. It must get out, must be said. This unspoken bond can go on no more. I must tell you.
9th grade
West Bloomfield, Mi, USA
 I was writing this, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some help or advice. I know that it's not very good, but I do try hard. It's how I really feel. The girl in this is an actual girl who I have an actual afinity for. Please, if you have any comments about it, e-mail me at
Why Can't We Drink and Drive?

The following is a phone conversation between a 911 Operator and a distressed woman on her way to work: 
911: Hello, 911.
Woman:  Hello?!  I'm on the highway right now and I am in serious pain! I don't know what to do! I don't think I can keep driving like this!
911: Okay, calm down ma'am. Now, tell me what's wrong.
Woman: My coffee, it spilled all over me!  The cup-holder broke, and the next thing I knew I was drenched in smoldering hot coffee!  It sloshed all over my lap and arms and burned my legs!  A couple of drops even splashed into my eyes!  The pain is just too much to take! I can't stay on the road!
911: (scolding the woman) You know cup-holders are dangerous!!!  (thinks to himself: What an idiot!) Give me your location and I'll send an ambulance for you. And remember, next time, use a thermos!.....

Everyone knows that the morning commute to work can be tough!  Who can resist grabbing a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice on the way out or stopping for a steamy cup of their favorite blend on the way to work? The answer is: nobody! When 7:30 AM hits, java-sipping junkies emerge onto roadways everywhere. With one, or no hands on the wheel, they juggle their cell phones, pull down their sun visors to check their hair and make-up, and manage to glance at the road, just in time to swerve back into their lane. As they zoom into the McDonald's drive-thru, they order the Biggie-Coke to give them the morning caffeine rush they crave.  With one good shove, the cup is forced into the tiny circular indentation on the console of the car. You know . it's that thing that you toss your loose change in.. c'mon, that little cutout that you drop your crumpled gum wrappers in..  That's right! It's your cup-holder!
There are many variations of the standard automobile cup-holder. Most cars, like the one that I just described, come with a shallow, circular cut out in the consol.  The problem with this is that most cups are either way too large or have their own original shape and cannot be crammed into the generic, four-inch plastic circle.  If a cup does not fit snugly and securely, it will slide around, sloshing out liquid with each turn of the wheel or tap on the brakes. With drinks spilling so casually, do not be surprised when a trip home from Chik-fil-a leaves you with a lap full of lemonade!
If you are not "lucky" enough to own a car with a built-in cup-holder, then you might have thrown away your money on some of these other ingenious ideas. For instance, K-Mart sells a standard car cup-holder for under five bucks, which can be hooked to the ridge between your window and door.  Another product currently on the market is the black, folding model. This design often comes in older model automobiles and can be easily folded away for convenience. "Then what's the problem?" you ask, "These models DON'T work!!!"
We have all heard horror stories of people's cups spilling all over on their way to an important meeting.  Upholstery, belongings, and especially, clothing, wrecked! All because of a cheap piece of plastic that cannot do its job.  You are probably like all the rest of the suffering, dehydrated drivers in America and want to be able to safely take your beverages with you. 
If you still insist on using worthless cup-holders, then I suggest that you explore a more, functional and affordable model developed by a team of dedicated men and women at Churchill Designs. Before manufacturing this revolutionary, properly-functioning product, they considered the many components that they should be sure to incorporate.  For instance, they wanted to design a holder that would accommodate all cups of a variety of sizes and shapes.  They added a spring-loaded bar to their plans that would hold tight against the side of the cup and prevent it from spilling.  As you can very well see, this is a cup-holder that might actually work! This could be the cost-efficient, car/kid/adult-friendly cup-holder the world has been waiting for!
Now on the other hand, if you are like me, you have decided that yourself and cup-holders do not mix, then I urge you to follow these words of advice: "Cup-holders stink!" Do what I did, throw away every cheap, flimsy cup-holder that you own and invest in Tupperware thermoses! For one thing, these remarkable creations are leakage free! You can snap on the top and toss the full container anywhere. Never worry about ruining your new khakis again! Another thing, these bottles are insulated and keep warm beverages toasty and icy drinks cold.  So, throw away those cup-holders, America! It's Tupperware time!
10th grade
The Bean Trees   

No relationship can compare to the one between best friends.  A best friend is someone with whom you can confide in, have fun, and even fight with; a person who knows all about you, everything from your first love to what brand of toothpaste you use.  Taylor and Lou Ann have this unique relationship in the book, The Bean Trees.  They stick beside each other though thick and thin, always offering a shoulder to cry on or a companion to laugh with.  Taylor and Lou Ann are best friends, and like the saying goes, "opposites attract." 
Lou Ann and Taylor are definitely opposites, personality wise.  Lou Ann has very low self-esteem, mostly powered by her past relationship with Angel, and does not posses a great deal of confidence.  She is timid around other people and has a problem getting what she wants out of life.  The day that Lou Ann first met Taylor she said, ".here you are, so skinny and smart and cute and everything, and me and Dwayne Ray, well we're just lumping along here, trying to get by."  Her feelings of inferiority were already beginning to come out.  Throughout the novel, the reader can pick up on how much Lou Ann truly admires and loves Taylor. 
Taylor is strong, energetic and daring, everything Lou Ann longs to be.  After growing up in Pittman County, Taylor was anxious to make it in life; accomplishing things that she never could back home.  She never hesitates to stand up for herself and speak her mind. Confident about the person that she had grown to be, Taylor cannot understand why Lou Ann is so harsh on herself.  To Taylor, life is what you make of it, and she makes everyday count.  
Though each very different, Taylor and Lou Ann have a lot in common.  The first day that they met, the two realized how alike they were.  They were both single mothers, struggling to raise a young child by themselves.  Both good listeners, the women could tell each other anything.  Some nights they would stay up, talking for hours, trying to understand one another even more than before.  They would talk about their pasts that they were both so eager to escape, sharing story after story until the next morning.   They began to function as a family: looking out for each other and sharing the household responsibilities.  In a way, Taylor and Lou Ann's friendship was a sort of therapy, a new beginning from the way their lives used to be.
After spending time with a person, it is only natural that certain aspects of their personality begin to rub off on you.   This was definitely true for Taylor and Lou Ann.  Their time living together was a learning experience for both of them.  Lou Ann was very tuned into children and seemed to be an expert at raising them, which Taylor was not.  Taylor found out that there was a lot to motherhood that she did not know but Lou Ann was there to help her.  She could always offer Taylor advice on what Turtle needed and how to keep her safe from danger. 
"I had a dream." Lou Ann said, "The angel came down, I guess from the sky, and he said: I was sent to you from the future of this planet.  Then he told me my son would not live to see the year two thousand."  Lou Ann was always worrying; fearing a tragic, premature death for Dwayne Ray.  Taylor was always quick to calm her down, pointing out the humor and impossibility of each situation. 
Taylor served, not only as a comforter, but also as an example of the person that Lou Ann had always aspired to be. Taylor was never at a loss for words, always knowing exactly what to say, leaving Lou Ann longing for her kind of courage.  After living with Taylor for so long, she finally began to realize that she had a say in her life and that she no longer had to depend on Angel.  "I've gotten so brave hanging around you," Lou Ann said towards the end of the book. 
The Bean Trees is a novel that most of its readers can truly identify with.  Taylor and Lou Ann are real characters, facing real-life situations that most people can relate to.  It is remarkable to see how different Taylor and Lou Ann are from when they first met.  Taylor is now a full time, responsible, caring mother who has had enough true-life experiences to last a lifetime.  Lou Ann, a once-weak and spineless woman, has learned to face the world head on, achieving what she wants in life and living by her own rules.  No matter how much these two women changed, they still share the tight-knit bond that best friends do.  However, now, they are family.   
10th grade
The Perfect Land

Flying over the windswept moor,
Fairies slumber, dragons snore.
Water nymphs do drench and splash,
Battling stags do twist and thrash.
The elves, asleep upon toadstools,
Hungry wolves on their dream hunt drool.
A silent chime, a tiny bell,
Breaks the creatures sleeping spell.
The Kingdom awakes with a sigh,
The sun from the moon does fly.
Fairies gather around their ring,
Fairies dance and fairies sing.
Elves run along, with cries and shouts,
parrots fly around and about.
The beasts fun seems to have no end,
A night of cheer they plan to spend.
A sorcerer sits in a quiet cove,
turning the trees to violet, and mauve.
Upon an island one would have missed,
Through the dark and blinding mist,
Sat a treasure, one of old,
A man turned to solid gold.
Leprechauns, on clovers dance,
Goats hop, and frogs prance.
Mermaids explore the deep blue sea,
Going where they shouldn't be.
A silent chime, a tiny bell,
Recreates the sleeping spell.
All the beasts are now asleep,
Their next day playing within their dreams.
Flying over the windswept moor,
The Perfect Land in view no more.

7th grade
Elizabeth, Illinois, USA

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