Who am I? SLO County youths share poems of identity and diversity

April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.

Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at throughout the month.

[»» Start at the beginning]





By Zoe Curran, 15, Arroyo Grande

Nostalgia hits me in waves

Of looking in awe at people who seemed to be filled with confidence and warmth

Of scribbled drawings and dreams in notebooks and journals

Time passes and pieces form: I grow

Not only in size and hair and smiles

But in voice and passion and knowledge

Watching us

Awkwardly bloom like calves learning how to walk

Making mistakes as much as successes

Stumbling as much as Soaring

Doubts creep into my mind

About my choices and my future

The thoughts all teenagers know by heart

But I know that my life

Isn’t a puzzle

It’s a piece of art

A piece of art that isn’t putting piece by piece together

But an explosion of color, of expression, of walking blindly with hope

Self discovery will only happen

If you let it

So what I know now

Is to accept the art in life

And trust that this journey

Will create art

If I let it

~ ~ ~

“In Dubium”

By Meg Campbell, 16, Santa Margarita

Our voices rise in song tonight

In honor of Authority

Yet after all, it seems to me,

My faith is insincerity.

We trust the dissonance of voice

To carry us to sleep with hope;

These are the moments when I grope

For faith to carry us home safe.

A harmony can’t save this world;

Though there may be no purpose in’t,

I taste the joy of Beauty yet

In doubting and the hymns of heaven.

~ ~ ~

“Middle School”

By Landis Blakeslee, 13, San Luis Obispo

I see people winning, being awarded with gold certificates,

the color of my hair, the color of my hope.

Yet here I stand,

my ears open my heart pounding my prayers intensifying.

Then they call my name, my useless, meaningless name.

I walk to the front of the wretched class, step by step,

the floorboards creaking under my heavy shoes and heavy heart.

When I reach the front and take the yellowed paper,

they all begin to laugh

in their screeching horrific voices with judgment and impunity.

I gaze down at the heavy paper in my hand

and see that I had been given an award for participation,

an award for losing;

how quaint and painfully evil.

~ ~ ~

“I Am”

By Amea Haar, Los Osos

I believe I Am not in a world made to last forever.

I believe I Am only one step away from goodness,

Love, contentment.

And sometimes I Am only one step away from fear,

Cowardice, falling.

I believe that I can go from falling to flying on

Wings provided by another.

I Am sure of the air that will bear me up on my

Strong wings, provided by another.

And I Am sure I Am not alone.

~ ~ ~


By Colby Stith, 17, Atascadero

Today I saw a body

Warm touch but cold in mind

I beheld it beckon to light undying

Leaving the parasite behind

Lo I witnessed a deafened dance

Twirling in idle serenity

And shuddered in awe of its chords

As it sang in moaning melody.

What dreams did it travel?

What golden pathways did it take?

Had she strayed to far away

To hear three voices spake

I love you

I love you

Sleep Well

~ ~ ~

“The Weeping Woman (1937) Pablo Picasso”

By Daniel Tyra, 17, Los Osos

In terror a letter clutched

Eyes water from smoke.

A broken heart and a broken face

Skin melding with paper.

A soul crushed by tragedy,

A core plagued with empathy.

She sits in wait to hear news about her family.

A single year shrouds cheeks red from crying

She can hear the neighbors' children dying.

Devastation fills the room but still the walls are bright.

She shields her face in terror.

A soul crushed by tragedy,

A core plagued with empathy.

She sits in wait to hear news about her family.

~ ~ ~

»» There’s more: Click here to read the next set of poems

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»» More poems: In troubled times, SLO County poets seek to comfort and inspire