SLO County residents’ poems celebrate National Poetry Month | Week 4

This group of poems by young people from San Luis Obispo County marks the last week of National Poetry Month. These poets fully embrace the free verse, or unrhymed, poetry form. They write clearly and directly, approach things head-on and reveal a broad sensibility and a rather astonishing understanding of the real world. They also use individual and unique responses to life — even when they are writing about the same thing, like love, play or loss.

The variety of poems about loss of loved family members is especially poignant. The poets’ emotional expression belies their early years, revealing their inherent depth and strength. Emotion is basic to poetry. If words are the tools, like paintbrushes are the tools of painters, then emotion is the paint of poets. Note the emotional range shown here — from indifference to pain, from resentment to gratitude. These youngsters are already adept at knowing themselves, at posing the questions that life brings up and often never answers.

Our thanks to The Tribune for helping all of us celebrate the art of poetry. Its tradition of publishing poetic works every week during April is one of the delicious benefits of living on the Central Coast. We especially thank Sarah Linn, Tribune entertainment editor, for her efforts to keep the finest of the arts in the forefront of our minds. Thank you, Sarah, from us all.

Marguerite Costigan, San Luis Obispo County poet laureate

An American Soldier

A nation’s culture

resides in the hearts

and in

The souls of its people

Not in its ego and power

Victory of a nation is not won by losses or gain

But through the will

and pride of its soldiers …

the attitude and fight of its people

Dead or Alive

Captured or free

Weak or strong

You are a soldier and

No matter what you do

or who you are

or where you are

You’re never out of the fight.

You’re never defined by

your appearance or your strength

nor your abilities or disabilities

but by your actions and pride

You are …

An American soldier

And you’re never out of the fight …

Luke Stephen Johnson, 14, Pismo Beach


I come from a loud family,

When we’re together it’s like a pack of hyenas,

A family that loves,

A family that brings out the best in me,

Like I don’t have a care in the world,

A family that has its ups and downs,

But always seems to come around,

I’m so happy to have the family that I do have now

Sechelia Valdez, 14, Arroyo Grande


Butterflies in my stomach when starting a soccer game.

Soccer is life.

It makes me throw up happiness.

when scoring a goal is like cameras flashing on you while

doing celebrations.

Fouls are penalties and freekicks fear goes into you

feeling scared, thinking of missing the shot.

Getting a red card is like being a pig making fouls and

hurting people.

Brayan Salvador Arreola Cisneros, 13, Oceano


I miss my grandma

I wish I had more memories with her

She was a great grandma

Kind, pretty and helpful

She was like a caring mother

That would do anything to help her kids

But she is gone now

Everyone misses her

She was a great person

And her memory will never fade away

It will always be in our hearts

Ameena El Sayed, 13, Grover Beach

Hey Henry

My grandma always called me Henry

She always wrote me letters saying

“Hey, Henry how was your month?”

We were so close like peas and carrots

To have what death can touch

Her life lived mine

Her words were gifts

A fearful thing to have, to hope, to dream and to be

To remember this brings painful joy

I read your letters to bring joyful noise

Remembering you with peace in my heart

I will always love you with all my heart

Tucker Inman, 14, Arroyo Grande


His eyes were blue like the sky

He could fly the sky

He could do anything in the sky

He was one of a kind

Who died having a fun time

He would whine and cry

When he wanted food or our time

He was soft like a bear

From the forest of the air

He was depressed

Depressed like the ocean

With no settle movement

For us to care

Jeremy Jerome Watkins, 14, Arroyo Grande


Life is once, it’s never twice

We should love it and never hate it.

Life is like a flower blooming from the ground

Ready to have its life.

We should be happy even when it’s bad

Life will never be perfect but we should make it worth it

Life is like a flower dying

From the ground

After the period of its lifetime.

Maggie Cerda, 13, Oceano

Life is short

History with my grandma was not long enough,

The short time we spend together was the most precious of my life,

During school my mind would count the passing time like a clock,

Impatiently awaited for school to end,

When I would arrive home I anxiously waited in the living room,

When my grandma would come home on her wheelchair, it was the happiest moment of my life,

With one look I could see the wrinkles on her face,

To me her wrinkles were the softest in the universe,

Every morning and night she’d give me a goodnight kiss,

Every kiss was like a spell,

When I go to sleep she is my guardian angel

Rosa Elena Gonzalez, 14, Oceano


It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.

But what is more painful is to love someone

and never find the courage

to let that person know how you feel.

Maybe god wants us to meet a few wrong people

before meeting the right ones,

so that when we finally meet the right person

we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

The gift of love is like a present on Christmas.

It makes me feel special.

But love is hard to find like a pair of two matching socks.

Love is when you take away the feeling,

the passion and the romance of relationship

and find out you still care for that person.

A sad thing in life

is when you meet someone

who means everything to you

only to find out in the end

that it wasn’t meant to be

and you just have to let go.

Michael Noriega, 14, Grover Beach


Music calms me down, excites me,

trips me out, makes me happy,

makes me feel sad

in a car,

on a walk,

doing homework,

in the shower,

or anything else

I usually have headphones in

as loud as can be

my speakers thumping to the beat

music is powerful, a movement like Martin Luther King

when I work out it pushes me

to parts of myself

I didn’t know were there

music makes me empowered

it can also make me feel weak

Iszaeah Arissol, 14, Oceano

My Life

My life is crazy like a roller coaster but not as fun.

And most people wouldn’t understand.

That’s why I must pretend,

Pretend to keep others from feeling guilt or pity

And I do say I don’t mind it because I’m used to it and where I

Come from you shouldn’t expect any better, but

Seeing others with no worries makes me feel even better,

Like it’s a way to get out of my troubles but

Once I found out people and some friends pretend like me

I really started to think

And it did hurt to know others have the same or

Even worse pain than I, pain like a knife

stabbed in the heart

So I changed

Changed to keep them happy, changed to make them smile

And now I changed to keep myself happy.

Gabe Olivas Rosas, 14, Grover Beach


Being noticed,

Most people take this for granted,

They actually don’t know how important it is,

Until it’s too late,

As if to losing a beloved family member,

You become unknown of what to do,

Or what you do,

You miss yourself,

Because you didn’t get noticed.

Skyler Brownsilva, 13, Arroyo Grande

Once and Soon

once we were 5,

once we were 10,

soon we will be 20

soon we will be 50

life goes fast. it goes like a roller coaster.

when life goes slow, it’s like a cruise flow.

life is a snap in the face.

once, you were 5.

soon you will be 20.

Madelyn Morrison, 14, Oceano


Reading is one of the best ways to ease your mind.

It helps you relax.

It takes you to a new world.

Every book is like a new adventure.

Each page sparks more curiosity.

Reading helps you in many different ways.

It’s a good way to calm down.

Ever since I started reading it made my vocabulary a million times better.

Shyanna Cash, 14, Oceano

School and videogames

I sit in class, with a stone cold face

Wanting to snooze

I think of my comfy bed

I comfort myself in my desk

I sink in my chair

Like an alligator getting ready to strike

I put my head on my arm

I doze off


dream of a life I wish I had

Life is hard like a game where teachers are villains

You have one shot

You win or lose

I hit a hard object

I snapped my head up leaving my day dream

I look up at my classmates

Laughing at me

Like I was the world’s best actor

Vivian Farias, 13, Oceano


In summer,

I love the way I feel the graceful heat,

In fall,

I love the sound of leaves below my feet.

I love the smell of spring flowers,

(they smell oh so sweet),

winter is really cold,

but also really cool,

yet the best thing about the seasons,

is spending time with you.

Talia Ramezani, 9, San Luis Obispo

The Broken Shield

My Aunt was the sun in the rain

She was my light in the dark

My shield, my hope

The kind one, the funny one

She was like a second mother for me

With a puzzling disease

Even when she was broken

She’d fix the broken pieces

But her shield was slowly breaking

And her heart slowing down

Then her shield in a million pieces

Never to be repaired

But my shield is strong

With the pieces of a broken shield

Ashley Walsh, 13, Grover Beach

The Forest

The forest is a home for the big and the small,

For the strong and the weak,

With the early birds sing

To the sound of Mother Nature voice speaking with the wind.

The forest is like the city

And the animals are like the people

Working hard to make the forest a safe place for their children

People are the same as animals

We want to make the world a better place for our family

Ashley Walsh, 13, Grover Beach

The Game

Success is a game

waiting to be played,

Life can neither stop

nor reset,

Throttle through the tough time

Take a hold of victory …

Walk through the flames,

become stronger

and smarter,

Never give up on your dreams,

Nothing worth anything

comes without a price,

this game is called life …

and it’s waiting to be played

Kyle Allen Barrios Auberry, 14, Grover Beach

The Wall

(The Wall) was built

It surrounds them from freedom

Closing in it hard to believe

Why does this happen to innocent people

Shoved from the other side of freedom

Tears running down their faces

From people wouldn’t care

Burn their money away on luxury

Should us the people help not hate

Daily lives die just crossing the lava to the other side

Wishing to see water again soon they die

Harsh winds like a tornado blow them away

Their eyes see fire

Their body is like the dead that came to life

I say let them be free

Let them explore

Become one with the land

Juliana Cisneros, 14, Oceano


That little girl who used to be all smiles

is now gone

She left a little early, but slowly trying to

Come back to life

She has two lives to live at once

She isn’t herself anymore

She doesn’t just think about

herself anymore

because now she cares for a

baby boy

with brown eyes

lots of dark brown hair

dark tan skin

and chunky

The baby boy is the little girl’s other life

She lives.

Rebecca Jara, 14, Oceano


Skating is like flying,

Every time you jump

You go flying forward,

Like someone is pushing you,

But your feet are like magnets

They don’t come off the board,

When you are pushed you can

Do cool tricks in the air, and fun

Obstacles to challenge yourself.

Jake Langston, 14, Grover Beach