By Greta Flanagan
He’s been here before. Back when he was a scuffed-kneed child playing imaginary games near the creek, making up kingdoms he would rule and laws he would create. He still remembered all the landmarks from his fictional monarchy. The tree hollow that he used to squeeze into was the master bedroom of his castle, the creek housed his many farmers and peasants, and the clearing in which he now stood was a battlefield, where he once would fight nonexistent enemies with a hefty branch.
Now, though, the clearing was a battleground. The dew-dropped grass was marred with dried gore; and the once pure, clean daffodils were stained scarlet. The surrounding trees were littered with bullet wounds.
He numbly brushed the desiccated blood with the toe of his boot. This place was changed. The once comforting memory of his childhood safe haven was now scarred with the horrors of the war. The glade would never be the same.
By Skye Johnson
I drove down 52nd street trying to find a place to park in this sleepless city. Hopping out of my old 2003 BMW sedan, I tightened my coat
and quickly walked to the door of the restaurant, escaping the bitter winter. 21 Club was my favorite restaurant when I had the money for it. I could
almost taste the mouth watering food when I walked in.
“A table for two please. My friend will be here shortly,” I told the waitress.
“Of course, right this way.”
I followed the lady, sat down and took off my coat. I stared at the door waiting for her to walk in. I haven’t seen her for years. Last time we saw each other it was the summer of high-school graduation. We’ve been in touch all these years, but haven’t seen each other since. I glanced up from the menu, and saw her. Vanessa was wearing a long black coat that almost exactly matched her hair. She looked around, saw me and smiled. Long lost friends finally meeting again. Like always, her skin was tan, her nails painted navy blue, and her contagious smile. We were always smiling when we were together.
By Melanie Aguilera, Winner of the Walt Whitman Poetry Contest
A cool gem in water catches my eye,
A glint of sunlight on its majesty
Emphasizes the water’s clarity.
To think that many are too vain,
And too oblivious-
To appreciate the eighth wonder of the world,
Many wake up for a thirst
For either a gem or a glass of water.
Put a line of people on the bank of the river.
Watch who runs for the gem,
And watch who goes for water.
A fight breaks out for the gem.
Lives are lost,
A child is left without a parent.
Many have torn clothing
and blood streaked cheeks,
Others are on the ground catching their breath,
Many are on the ground who will never gain theirs back;
Only one has the gem.
But at what cost was the gem so valuable,
That you had to hurt someone in order to grasp its coldness.
To the left is man,
Scooping as much water as he can into his parched mouth,
Swimming in the wonder that is water.
Enjoying the earth’s gift to him,
He has won more than any other.
Now tell me, do you dream of gems or water?
By Jennifer Velasquez
Sweat pours down my body in buckets. I can hear my heart beating loudly in my chest. A sea of faces are watching me from outside the ring, but they’re all starting to blend. My lungs are on fire. I think I hear my name being called but it sounds muffled, like it’s coming from miles away. I taste something warm and coppery in my mouth. Everything hurts.
By Shania Kuo
I remember, growing up, that my family always told me I took things for granted. And they were right.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to grow up. Nothing was ever enough for me. Not the toys, not the silly games we played at preschool. I always wanted more and I wasn’t shy about it. I would never be able to list all the times I screamed and cried when things didn’t go my way. The amount of times I said my parents never cared about me because all they did was buy new things for my siblings.
By the time I was a teenager, I was complaining about how much my life sucked. I hated everything about being a grown-up. I didn’t want the responsibility; I didn’t want to think about the future. I was stuck in the past, or the present, and I did a lot of stupid things. I hated being different. The stares that never existed in the first place dug into the back of my head and they made me want to scream and yell at the perpetrators that were never there. Rumors started. Sometimes I started them. Sometimes I believed them. Other times I was the subject of them. I lost friends, but I never made new ones to replace them. I failed tests, but I never thought about asking why I did. I lost at sports a lot, but I never had the dedication anyway. School was just something I did because I had to. That’s all there was to it.