From soul to paper: Week 4 of The Tribune's 14th annual celebration of National Poetry Month

April 25, 2014 

More local poetry: Week 1 » | Week 2 » | Week 3 »

Editor's note: We received more than 300 poems this year for “From Soul to Paper,” our annual ode to poetry. As in past years, we asked San Luis Obispo’s poet laureate to review all of the entries and select the best works for publication. We’ve published these on Sundays throughout the month of April in Central Coast Living. Thank you to everyone who submitted a poem, with special gratitude to San Luis Obispo poet laureate Jerry Douglas Smith for reading them all.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” — Karl Menninger

This week’s poems come from young people again. They portray what is real and relevant to the poets.

They speak of close family relationships, puppy love, of warrior athletes and kittens. They boast of confidence, of believing in themselves, of confiding in at least one other person or pet.

That’s the power of poetry. And of knowing at least one person who encourages your potential and helps you be successful.

— San Luis Obispo poet laureate Jerry Douglas Smith

Leanna Newby, 16, San Luis Obispo

Cracked, worn, Time has drawn art upon,
Fading visage of Youth,
Now Fate is ominous in dawn,
She never lacks in couth.

Lively, new to World’s wonders,
Intent, young sprout listens,
The tales of how Greed plunders,
Making studies prisons.

Instead, explore, love freely, dream,
Travel through desire,
Openly embrace flower’s beam,
Reside by endless briar.

Through raging turmoil, strife, and pain,
Surround but never drowned,
My dear, you still have much to gain,
By ceasing to be found.

At last racing the dying tick,
Lest my life fail before,
These things relayed had spoken quick,
Enigmatic encore.

The Track
Kristina Smelser, 15, San Luis Obispo

Freshly painted just for today,
I wait in earnest, anticipation at bay.
My rubber exterior welcomes the arriving feet
That thump my surface with a soft steady beat.
The red-clad official calls that it’s time
And sprinters line up from lane one to lane nine.
Blocks are plopped down, pricking my shell
The pistol is fired with a crack and a yell.
The spiked shoes bolt immediately out
And follow the short yet tortuous route.
Soles pound me like a tidal wave striking sand
Oxygen above me is in high demand.
I can now feel the leader, striking with conviction
As the finish nears, I warm from the friction.
Shouts approach the runners, as does the ending
And energy surges through those who’re contending.
Torsos lean forward, just before the line
The gap between each man is ever so fine.
A winner is joyously declared, handed a plaque
The rest cry mournfully — all because of I, the track.

a bad night’s sleep
Lucas Abroms, 15, San Luis Obispo

as i crawl into bed,
pulling the sheets above my head,
i got to bed late,
that alarm bell i will hate.
i keep tossing and turning,
my stomach is churning.
tomorrows the big test,
have to get my rest,
if im going to be my best,
in the morning.

now my jammies feel too tight
nothings going right,
my pillow feels like steel,
i ate too big a meal.
is that the sun already rising,
an excuse for the teacher im devising,
got to get to sleep,
if im going to be my best,
in the morning.

Kitten-Sized Sonnet
Sadie Mae Mace, 14, Paso Robles

The cat’s tiny paws scamper across the floor.
She flexes her claws as she prepares to pounce.
Don’t jump hard! The toy mouse only weighs an ounce!
She looks like a figure from ancient lore.
Cats embrace life with unabated galore.
A stealthy approach; no sound will announce.
With one swipe of the paw, the mouse is mid-bounce.
Flipping and turning, it sails out the door.
Through the bushes and fence, the cat loses sight.
She looks high and low, determined to win.
The owner comes out; sees a battle begin.
The saucy cat seems to say, “Let me fight.”
The owner refuses, instead brings her in.
She says to the mouse, “We will meet again.”

Tanner Ourique, 12, Arroyo Grande

Helmets hitting
Pads clacking
The crowd going wild
And roaring like
Billions of lions
Receivers running as fast as cheetahs
The plays that change the game
The loud booming hits that go through the crowd
To the forty all the way down to the end zone
This is football

Chase Gargano, 15, San Luis Obispo

I do not care for small talk.
I do not care about the weather.
And how the family is, or the dogs.
Or how you got a flat driving the interstate.
Or how you passed the first test but,
Failed the next.
And I certainly do not care about your flaws you believe you have.
I care about you.
I care about how you feel,
Why you say the things you do
What new music you like.
Who’s your favorite writer. Or poet.
What’s your stand on women’s rights.
What’s your stand on most things.
What’s your stand on me?
Where am I in your world. Your universe.
Your head.
I care for you.
Do you care for me?

Mona Lisa
David Bloom, 14, San Luis Obispo

I see many people
From far and wide
Yet I cannot see
What is to my side
I dislike my job
I wish I could hide
Not a companion to talk to
Or a friend to confide

And yet I still
Sit here everyday
Wondering what it’s like
To run away
I yearn to be free
And lead my own way
But still remain here
Waiting to decay

I long to see things
And I just keep wishing
But I remain in the Louvre
Unable to move.

The Rivalry
Riley Mete, 15, Atascadero

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that brave-hearted man skilled in the sports of
football and wrestling,
after being placed on mat and field
fighting for the proud Atascadero.
Of these adventures, Muse, daughter of Zeus,
tell us the time the man fought beside his brothers
in the grudge match of the ages,
against the dreadful Bearcats,
only seeking victory.
On that emerald tundra, the man and his team battled ruthlessly,
delivering powerful blows making the game unbearably close.
When the magical fourth quarter was finally reached,
the man and his team grew stronger hearing the war cry of their people.
Edging the lead over the Bearcats, they held strong
with a defense as impenetrable as the Armor of Achilles.
The clock ticked zero and that strong-willed man finally had that victory he so sought.

Shawn Crowe, 14, Pismo Beach

Waves of life
Healing with love
Sands of peace
Frees the mind
Bring new
To a new life
Fresh water shimmering
Like a beautiful diamond
Cleansing the soul
Warm breeze blowing like
Hot massaging rocks­

Cami Love, 15, San Luis Obispo

Rolling, streaming, pouring down your cheeks
Infused with sweat, makeup, and salt
The heaving of your chest going up-down-up-down
As if you were the first person to cross the finish line of a marathon
Legs that turn to Jell-O
And are no longer useful in supporting your body
Crumbling like the Wicked Witch of the West
Slowly and unintentionally
On the frigid and vile slabs of cement
In the heart of a bustling New York subway station
The mind draws to a halt just as the train that screeched to a stop
People of all kinds engulf and ignore
The silent yet piercing scream for help
The fist gradually loosens tension
As the top eyelashes gently begin to kiss the bottom ones
Strength is regained; cross body bag is over your shoulder
And in a matter of seconds you’re off to hail the nearest taxi to NYCS

Anthony San Diego, 14, Shell Beach

Art is a way to express yourself
Art is like changing the world in your way
There’s different ways of expressing art like cubism, sculpture, building, drawing
I like to draw
I do hand drawing
My family thinks I’m the best sketcher
I draw in my planner a lot
I draw on my pencil case
I draw just about any place
When I draw it is like the pencil has a brain
Art is like opening your brain into yourself

Perfect Two
Amarilis Peralta, 13, Grover Beach

One love in your lifetime
It could be anybody in the world but,
There’s always that one special person you
First laid eyes on
Love could take you to the sky or it could
Crush your feelings to the ground
You could just hug him like it was
The end of the world
Hear his heart beat like hearing music
All the way to the moon
He would be the tears you cry if
You guys ever split
Sometimes you notice that he’s
All you need
Take the both of you and you could be
The Perfect Two

Tyler Rocha, 13, Grover Beach

Run like the wind
As fast as lightning
Hold onto the ball, like it’s your baby
Don’t let it go! Hold it so tight!
Pretend it’s a dream
Don’t let anyone change it
Now it’s your chance,
Your spotlight,
Your glory,
Make the best of it
And not any less of it …

Collage of the Sea
Layly Roodsari, 14, San Luis Obispo

The boat swaying gently in the calm green ocean
The cry of seagulls as they dive for their prey
The iridescent scales of a fish under water
The coarse salty taste of the ocean spray

The pearly white clouds on the distant horizon
The burgundy shade of the muculent kelp
The rough sanded edge of the timeworn deck
The sea lion’s stout-hearted yelp

The crest of waves pounding against the sailboat
The saliferous droplets in my eyes
The constant drone of the unsteady swelling
The noble reflection of the sapphire sky

The unruffled feathers of the regal pelican
The successive quiescence of the tide
The gurgle of chuckling dolphins
The breeze’s soft-hearted sigh

The golden rays of the canary sunrise
The shimmery surface of the sea
The briny aroma of the frothing ocean
The mosaic of turquoise, a beam

City Bus
Shannon Donahue, 15, San Luis Obispo

His unsmiling face stares at me
As I slide my bus card through.
His eyes are hidden behind reflective sunglasses,
Like an insect, seeing; but not with eyes.

The same obnoxious beep follows me
As I scan the bus for an empty seat.
One not next to a homeless person,
Or one absent of those ever-present unidentifiable stains.

Before I find a spot, the bus starts.
As I stumble into a seat, I notice the lady.
She coos into a blanket covered stroller.
The old man next to her tries to peek at the baby.

But she is too old, too eccentric, to be a mom.
As the man and I try to glimpse the infant inside,
She whips off the pale pink blanket to reveal her
Life’s possessions: a garbage bag of stuff, and a cat.

Poems are hard
Seth Van Middlesworth, 13, Pismo Beach

Poems are so hard
It takes so long
Every time I write one
It sounds like a song

Poems are hard
It hurts my head
After I write one, it always
Feels like I’m dead

Poems are hard
I look at the clock
The clock frowns down at me
As it goes, “tick, tock, tick, tock.”

Poems are hard
I am glad I’m done
This was more painful to do
Than staring at the sun.

Lucero Castro, 14, Oceano

Just had surgery
Shows he has bravery
Like a warrior about to
Fight a battle
Can you guess who?
Yes a five month old baby
A baby boy named Alan
Courageous as if he had to
Defend the world
A warrior.

French Toast
Samantha Wright, 15, San Luis Obispo

As I sit here
Scraping my plastic knife across that floral printed china plate you got me for my sixth birthday
I can’t help but see your smiling face
In the vacant seat across from me

I miss you, you know?
The last four months without you have been a living hell
I smell you on all of the furniture
I hear you calling my name
Telling me that the cookies I made for you were burnt to a crisp
And still, I can’t help but see your smiling face
In the vacant seat across from me

Today is Wednesday
The day where you spun me around our cluttered kitchen to Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits
Then sat me down to eat so much French toast that my stomach felt like it would burst
I tried to replicate your recipe
But it wasn’t the same
Nothing will ever be the same
But alas, I can’t help but see your smiling face
In the vacant seat across from me

Martin Luther King Jr.
Eduardo Aguirre Rojas, 13, Oceano

Martin Luther King Jr.
He was a grand leader
He defended civil rights
He was a good dreamer
He was as steadfast as a tree
Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech one day
He said all people should be treated the same like the hands of a clock
Martin Luther King Jr. will be remembered in honour.

The Fun of Dirt Bike Riding
Joe Manuele, 14, Arroyo Grande

The dirt bike stomps like a predator chasing its prey
The piston roars like a lion
Rocky hills grind under my wheels
The mighty oaks inspire everyone
As the predator comes
The wind goes to a stop
All I see is the dirt kicked up
As I fly by.

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