Arts & Culture

SLO County residents’ poems celebrate National Poetry Month | Week 3

In this group of poems, one of the young poets writes: “I imagine myself running, simply running …” Instantly, I am a kid again in a one-room schoolhouse in the Appalachians, listening to the school bell clanging out “Recess! Recess!” Then children explode out the front door and run for the farthest schoolyard limit — run for freedom, for basketball, for acting out cowboys and Iroquois, running for fun, for magic, for their lives. Without really wondering why.

These days, I mostly picture youngsters bunched together, laughing, with their iPod-connected ears, their fingers flying over laptops, iPads, smart phones, connected to everything, running with light fingertips all over the world.

Some old schoolhouses are still there, but look how far children and teens can outrun them now using fingers instead of legs, their minds like hungry lightning. Knowledge is all around us. We are running away from it or toward it. It doesn’t matter — we’re just running!

Marguerite Costigan, San Luis Obispo County poet laureate


I am as graceful as a gliding gazelle on the surface of the water,

I am as fast as the blowing wind.

I wonder what it would be like to walk on land but I am bound

with the water.

I hear the sounds of seagulls calling and waiting for me.

I see dolphins prancing out of the water like beasts from the


I want to feel the sand on my feet but that would be the end of

my sailing days on the water.

I am as graceful as a gliding gazelle on the water, I am as fast as

the blowing wind.

I pretend I am a race car driving through the waves.

I feel fast and free

I touch the waves when I race through the beautiful open sea.

I worry if I go to fast I will hit the rocks of the shore.

I cry when I see endless piles of plastic, hurting sea life and me.

I am a race car racing through the waves.

I understand that if we don’t take care of our ocean all the

beauty will be gone.

I say keep the oceans clean and bright so that I might sail in

happiness again.

I dream about sailing the world seeing parts no one has ever


I try to feel anger when the ocean hurts me when a storm

comes but I can’t it’s so beautiful.

I hope my dream comes true to sail the world.

I understand that if we don’t take care of the oceans all the

beauty will be gone.

I am a sail boat.

Takota Clarke, 12, San Luis Obispo


When blue mass quarrels under

Things that crash and sound like thunder

Rise above the ocean blue

And tumble away the rocks born new

Day after day repeating

The seaborn foam eats at the bay

Never will it stop

Turning stone into microscopic grains

Letting many boulders drop

And the mountains don’t regain

They fall apart as if by an unknown pain

Wind howls all night long

Even in the morning when the birds sing songs,

Water ever carries hills away

Leaving many a hoodoo to stay

And the lands scream in pain

At the acidic rain

To stop turning their mountains into


Cole Fairchild, 10, Templeton


People expect me to be the best basketball player they’ve ever seen,

They think just because I made the team, I’ve been playing my whole life,

They don’t take into consideration that I hadn’t even picked a ball up until last year,

They expect without knowing, and then judge me,

“Dude, you suck!”

“You’ll never go pro!”

“Why do you even play?”

Then they expect me to react,

They expect me to sputter out some comeback,

And instead I work harder,

One more shot, one more dribble, one more crossover,

And when I make it, they’ll expect me to forget,

But I will always remember what motivated me.

Andrew Foley, 15, Nipomo

Justin Morrison

A man who is very generous and very strong.

He is one to meet and have a drink with him.

He is one that you want to be around everyday.

He is one who had a smile hidden behind a serious face of his.

He is one that many people have not met but met in dreams.

He is one who fought in the Vietnam War and saved people.

He was the Morrison we knew that could be the leader.

He still leads us to the right path to success.

He is one who we remember and want to be like.

He is one to be serious with yet laugh at one point.

He is the man who stands tall and never gets pulled down like the

American flag standing.

He was like a series of books to keep reading and to not stop till the end.

Madelyn Morrison, 14, Oceano

My Life

My life is like a car

because we’re both strong and

we both run fast and also able to

run for miles and miles, we’re

both very heavy, and we’re filled

with gas and water and able to

drink it very fast, but most importantly

get our hands dirty every single day

Rivaldo Arellano, 13, Oceano


At the age of ten I lost my nana.

The cries filled months to come.

All happiness destroyed.

She walked slower than a slug.

But her personality shined through

She was kind and spoiled her great grandchildren.

Her smile blasted though anything sad.

But after ten years of living with her

she left.

The months of mourning over

with the memories I have

I am filled with a better peace

Devon Womack, 14, Grover Beach

No Filter

Papers rustle, zippers shut.

A wise man once said that truth is Beauty. So write a poem, don’t

Sugarcoat. Tell me something Beautiful.

Across the sea, there is a boy

Who has to find his family dinner

From a garbage pile.

In a court of law there is no evidence

For a crime other than sheets which

Could have been stained by anything.

On the corner of the street

A life drained by a bottle. Broken

In shards of glass on the sidewalk.

There’s the truth, sugarfree.

There’s the world, no filter.

It’s a mystery

How many beautiful moments aren’t photographed

By people who could capture the world

Not behind digits and pixels but

With nature’s perfect lens:

The eyes.

Katie Bischoff, 16, Grover Beach

Peaceful Paradise

The sound of the waves whispered in my ear

Secrets of relaxation, peace and paradise

The waves rolled over bits of stone and shining shells

Caressing the sand gently

The sky was spot free

The sun was resting for the night

Projecting soft hues of

Tangerine and blue

Over soft, wispy clouds

The birds flew with their bodies covered

Their silhouettes shadowing the light

It looked like a painting

And felt like a picture

But the melody of the waves made it feel like life

Angela Enterline, 14, Atascadero

Stars of My Mind

Her soul is a galaxy;

Easily missed, from afar,

Among the sea of stars,

Yet still warming her minute expanse of universe.

Fiery suns of emotion and thought rise from stars’ iridescent ashes,

Carefully, painstakingly assembled;

Cautiously released to the scrutinity of the constellations,

But the heavenly bodies are too distant to take notice.

Ten thousand burning celestial spheres and more,

Adorned with abstract planets and unclear comets,

Twirl through her cosmos, flashing and dancing all too fast.

She is bound together by fine strings of gravity and motion.

But you’d never know, with the warmth and care and balance,

At her very core,

Dark and yawning,

Lies an all-devouring black hole.

Sydney Holt, 14, Atascadero


You were my heart and soul,

The only one I loved.

You left me stranded,

Feeling like a rabbit being hunted.

Whenever you were here

I would always smile.

But after you’ve gone

I feel alone

As if you were never here.

I remember the times

Your black fur shone

And you were flesh,

Not dirt and bone.

The thing we shared

Will always stay

And you will forever

Be buried under a stone.

Grace Allen, 13, Arroyo Grande

Suddenly Running


I find myself running.

I don’t know why I don’t know where all I know is that it’s away from here.

My mind runs,

to a different place.

I imagine myself running, simply running.

Landis Blakeslee, 12, San Luis Obispo

The Lonely Cafe

The leaves weaved in and out of the dark alleyways

Pulled by the crisp November wind

With me as I headed down towards Main Street

My way illuminated by a few streetlights

Along the edge of the pavement

The leaves passed me as I stopped by the corner

Where lay the lonely cafe

Where we used to get coffee

To warm us from the cold

Of September of last year

But now the little cafe brings

No welcoming warmth

Only sweet coffee and bitter memories

Katie Padden, 15, Nipomo


I looked to my right, and suddenly felt powerless.

That person, in the doorway, I knew him.

That look in his eyes made my breath turn shallow.

The taste of disgust arose in my mouth.

Our past was negative, but it was also impulsive … and exciting.

Why was he here? What did he want?

When he started toward me, my mouth dried up.

I couldn’t breathe.

My heart beat faster with every step he took.

When I dared look upon his face, I swore there was a hint of a smile.

Not a warm smile, it was a smile that said he was here for dinner, and I was the main course.

Our past was ravaging my thoughts, refusing to remain buried.

My heart felt like an old wound being reopened.

It ached with a pain that could not be soothed.

All of his shameful deeds, I had tried to forget them.

Now I wondered, was that the right decision?

Has he changed? Come to apologize for his actions?

All the questions … too many to count.

This wretched memory of his countless wrongdoings was back, unburied, for all to hear.

Madrid Holland, 14, Nipomo



beautiful, fast

sniffing his dinner

crunch of pine needles underfoot


Annabelle Demarest, 10, San Luis Obispo


Dark clouds overcome the sky, I start a deluge that keeps hitting your roof.

When you reach outside you inhale my musky, dusty, and dank smell.

You feel the heavy humidity in the air, pressing down on you.

I grab on to your window and get too slippery and roll off.

I fall into your slippery, wet rain boots and soak into your socks.

I come landing on the grey sidewalks, making small cold puddles.


Sophia Box, 10, San Luis Obispo


today in the office

I spotted something small as a pea

as I did my work

you said hello to me

it’s hard to explain

why you caught my eye

you must have been looking for pie

I don’t know much about you

but it’s sad to say

you passed away the same day

your life was taken away

by a simple cup

now it has me in a rut

Vivian Avant, 13, Grover Beach

A Storybook’s Magic

A storybook’s magic,

will draw you

To its core.

You will fly,

Through unknown worlds,

Of joy,

Of darkness,

Of sorrow,

Of gloom,

Of light.

You will fall through its doors,

Turn into a king in his castle,

A wizard of dark magic,

A peasant child, whipped by his father.

Then this magic of a storybook,

Will make you turn into an object.

A key to a hidden door,

A witch’s cauldron, bubbling with a potion of death,

A magic crown of glory.

And then,

The storybook,

Will turn back

Into an ancient leather book,

Not wanted or read,

In an adult’s head.

But loved and treasured,

In the mind of a child.

Isobel Ridley, 10, San Luis Obispo

A list of things I am and am not

I am not early morning responsibilities.

I am not red lips and rosy cheeks.

I am not summertime tan lines, or French tip fingernails.

I am not a pallid marble statue of Central Park.

I am not worthy of that many gazes.

I am not Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

I am not Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby,” I am not a Shakespearean sonnet,

I am certainly not a masterpiece.

I am, however, late night phone calls.

I am overgrown and untended gardens.

I am greyish cracked sidewalks, and rusted mailboxes.

I am the yellowed and neglected letters.

I am comprised of slightly sharp, untidy love ballads and amateur freestyle jazz.

I am the abstract painting before anyone “got” the genre.

I am the rejected author’s pleas.

I am an emotional poetry slam,

and although I am not a masterpiece;

I am pieced together with brilliant and beautiful possibilities.

Sarah Mosichuk, 17, San Luis Obispo

‘If I Were a Mermaid and You Were a Unicorn’ by Jim Warren

A sunlit day discovers a fantasy.

The sky blushing pink,

trees waving myrtle green,

a reflection of a girl and a horse

immersed in a dream.

The water is calm,

allowing them a short-lived eternity.

Her gentle hand reaching,

its head bowed tenderly.

Friends in reality

brought closer by a horn in a reverie.

Hannah Hagy, 14, Atascadero