This time of year, it’s more like “Teacher by Day, Teacher by Night.” Not that I’m complaining. I can honestly say, the only thing more satisfying than accomplishing my own creative writing projects (book three of the Evelyn Hernandez series is coming along slowly but surely), is to help my students accomplish their own. Please enjoy this collection of poetry from my soon to be high school graduates.
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Double Exposure, as the title of the anthology suggests, is the slightly out of focus way of seeing that comes from looking at the same thing from different viewpoints, from focusing on the same event from different perspectives. A that-was-then-and-this-is-now … or this-is-then-and-that-was-now induced blurriness brought on by a seeing of the past through the eyes of the present, and vice versa. In the case of my students, it is a forced examination of childhood at the very moment they are preparing to leave it.
The Double Exposure that results can feel as comforting as it is unsettling, as reassuring as it is disturbing, and as familiar as it is strange; mostly though, it just feels real. It feels true.
The Adventurous Boy
BY OSCAR VALDOVINOS-VARGAS
Actions that cause joy return with agony
As the boy goes back and forth,
Grasping two tight links that mean
Life and Death.
As the summit gets closer so does the risk.
Faces go from terrified to relief in a blink of an eye.
But wait, here comes the summit again,
Clasping tighter, feeling lighter.
Wearied Mother watches on dearly
Wonders if the leather wrap
Surrounding the child's head
Will come loose.
There is no Life and Death here.
Age BY KAYLEE ORTEGA
At the age of 1 she was able to have the brightest smile,
By 17 she had kept secrets and fears.
At the age of 1 her mom slices into the cake while smiling,
By 12 her mom screeches at her for bad grades.
At the age of 1 her loved one clutched onto her to take the picture,
By 7 she would realize that it would be a lifetime to see her loved one again.
At the age of 1 her father is beaming with happiness as the camera flashes,
By 3, her father's head is turned as he takes off through the door never to be seen again.
Let's do a playback.
At the age of 1 her father is beaming with happiness as the camera flashes,
By 4 her stepfather is filled with glee at meeting her for the first time.
At the age of 1 her loved one clutches on to her to take the picture,
By 15 she was clinging onto her dear loved one.
At the age of 1 her mom is slicing into the cake while smiling,
By 16 her mother is weeping onto her shoulder for her accomplishments.
At the age of 1 she was able to have to brightest smile,
By the age of 17 she was able to find it again.
BY JAZIVE QUINONEZ BELTRAN
At age 3 I didn't see much
Other than smiles and laughter,
Yellow dresses with bees and flowers.
At age 8 I saw more than I should have,
The purple curtains covering the bright light making it dark,
Fighting, accusations, breaking hearts, making tears.
At age 13 I would've rather been blind,
Late nights outside with my dog listening to the arguments
While staring up at the moon, asking for a stop in life.
No smiles, just stress putting itself on my shoulders,
Things I never figured I was going to worry about,
Problems that seemed to be eating me in every way.
At age 16, not sure where I lost myself.
Maybe in those eight hours of class time,
Lost in equations and definitions I don't seem to remember.
Appreciation by Celebration
BY LUIS AGUIRRE-HERNANDEZ
By the wounded black door, bandaged by tape,
Inches away, bizarrely placed,
Stood a tree with a radiant glow and glossy globes.
Yet by the tree there's a chair—
Taken by a wrinkled embodiment of cotton and silk.
Beneath the great tree
Were two children smiling with their presents at hand,
Their teeth gleaming while the cloudy walls stared.
Their mother, feeling awe-struck,
Readied and "clicked," and their expression never faded.
The season of blessing
Means more to those who were blessed.
And year after year their tree ﬂoated
Until it was time to put it in storage,
Hidden for next year because it was not supported.
With unﬂinching desire they always kneel—
On the faded carpet covered with unsynchronized dots
As the family watched on the decade old couch
Beneath the great tree
Were two children smiling with their presents at hand.
The Bewildering Beyond
BY CESAR DIAZ ANDRADE
The cold brisk mountain air falls.
The two cousins inseparable like the best brothers,
Explore the wilderness like none have before with such rigor,
Ignoring what kept them afraid in the past.
Suddenly as if to say, "You're free to explore,"
They sporadically splash as they walk through the wood.
They venture even further into the unknown.
Each hour but a minute to them.
The last rays of sunlight hits the tree tops,
The wind beckons through the leaves,
And autumn hues fall.
Amidst the rhythm of the night
There lies a benign owl under the cover of darkness
Keeping an eye on them, strangers.
The boys keep venturing through the forest
Each going further than the other one dares
Both proving themselves as men
As the silk moonlight falls on their cheeks.
One stops in his place with a sudden motion
As if all his long bygone worries and burdens
Flood back into him at once.
His other half stops, with worry.
Upon them lies the Stygian void,
Black with the hope of those lost in the darkness.
The naive little boys nevertheless keep looking for a way around.
The leaves rustle and branches break.
This void stretches across all they can see.
The void, seeing a chance, pulls one of the boys into the darkness.
Holding on by one hand, the boy peers into the vast emptiness,
The epitome of pure evil. The other boy fights to pull up his counterpart.
He frees him up in a majestic feat of strength and compassion.
They gather themselves and stare off into the wood,
Blind to the bewildering secrets beyond.
BY JACQUELINNE AGUILAR
Both with a huge smile
That went from one ear to another,
Both carrying a memory that would last a lifetime.
The air full of happiness,
Her eyes carrying a sense of satisfaction
That her baby girl was going to have fun on her special day.
A day where she would go to the moon and back
To show how much she love her and se her perfect smile.
BY YARELI HERRAN-FELIX
There she is, a young little girl so short she can almost touch the floor,
With curly hair the color of a tree trunk,
Curly Pigtails on her head and baby hairs coming out,
Who seems to have not one care in the world.
In a white holy dress playing dress up to try to be someone else than herself.
White telephone on her ear, with a smirk on her face,
On a table and chair as red as fire.
It was her second birthday where all she knew was happiness and laughter.
All she wanted to do was to play all day.
Being two means that you can just be you
And don't have to worry about fitting in.
Now she's a couple of days away from her eighteenth birthday.
Who knew the carefree little girl would be gone by this time.
She has decisions to make and needs to learn to be on her own.
She worries about what people think.
She has to learn to take on responsibilities.
The happiness is still there, it has never left,
But the responsibilities and her outlook on life have managed to change.
Who knows if she will ever be the same?
Many more birthdays will tell.
BY PIO BLANCO
On the glass, you see the shapes of old,
A tiny face, under the hovering black.
His factions were
Always fixed with a bright smile.
A smile that grew, flew up in the air
Seeped into your eyes,
And turned your grief to naught.
Stare at it too much, and you would see
Cats on the flee, birds of joy,
A blue, blue sky, and the white,
Oh pure white of clouds!
The girl next to him, his kin,
Made out of the same blood and flesh,
Her little teeth came out to spy.
On the occasion for their show
They could see the camera
Taking pictures, freezing time and space
For this scene, where everything was…
What was is no more. Just like time passed
So did his bright smile pass away.
The darkness of his hair rained upon his smile,
Covering the purity with wicked
Smiles and expressions insincere.
The harshness of the wind shook.
It broke, cutting the kindness away.
A vestige of what he was
Crumbled, in fear.
In the corner smiles a man...
Can You Guess Where I am?
BY EMILE SERNA
Nothing like a blazing hot summer day
In Southern California
Where the sun feels like it's only 4 feet away.
You feel it hit your back.
The only thing that can cool you down is
The blue, icy water.
You feel it on your skin.
When a breeze flows through you have relief,
For a second.
Oh, did I mention?
My feet are covered in dirt,
Not in sand.
BY ROCIO CEJA
Make sure not to miss
The look on her face
When she realizes
She's been immortalized.
Her face, that face
With the ability to contort
Into a scowl or the gleaming sun
Forever waiting for the chance
At a retake.
O, but don't let the pale color of her shirt
Fool you too.
Yes, white can crowd a room
But if the darkness lies dormant inside
It is absolute.
After all, hibernation doesn't last
Still, there's more to be done.
Even if time is an illusion
Hers is running out.
You can only try to understand
But where's the fun in knowing everything?
She lives by this
And she lives in that moment.
Castles in the Air
BY LEONEL GRANADOS
Soothing, incessant sounds sifted through to their ears
As the children chased each other.
The young redhead after her brother, who wore the ocean,
The eldest, wearing the sun,
Came to aid the youngest as he fell short of the safe zone.
All but one, without a worry in the world.
He wore the daytime sky,
But deep down inside, he wore nighttime.
The thought of the possessions in his left pocket
Preventing him from any movement.
The children stepped smoothly over the wind,
From corner to corner they were chased,
And from corner to corner they chased,
From one safe zone to the next,
The kids buzzed around avoiding It.
And yet, he stayed floating on the castle in the air.
BY MARLENE SEGURA ROMO
She only knew love, not darkness.
Her smile made the world brighter and you
Who held her. Insisting, Insisting.
The child trembled.
Innocence was quiet.
Innocence created lies.
Innocence made her forget,
Although her memory never went away.
She only knew darkness not love.
Her smile fading away,
But you who held her
Were pleased at the end of the day.
But the dream helped her stay awake.
BY YASMIN AGUIRRE GONZALEZ
The big smile on her face like
A little girl getting a new toy.
Her eyes shining bright as the stars in the
Sky. The bright pink socks and shirt,
Bring light to the house. The yellow
Glittery sphere on the tree, the other in
Her hand. The dad and mom with a long smile as
If they got a new car. Her baby sister with
A frown like an infant trying to reach a cookie
From the top of a table. The green plastic tree
Settled like a new building in the night.
BY CRISTOBAL MAGAÑA
There once was a boy who was pale as the sun,
Short hair, brown eyes with a green dirty baseball shirt.
He was playing hide and seek in the backyard, clueless.
Click, click, goes the camera.
The boy was clueless.
Mother Nature surrounding the boy.
The boy was clueless.
Who was that?
Blue, wrinkled jeans popping out in the corner.
Everything has a purpose,
Like Jack Daniels.
Who is there when you need him,
For some people.
Mother called the boy inside.
Dinner was ready and the family was hungry.
The neighbor picked up his clothes from outside.
The boy was clueless.
Who knew what would happen to that boy.
The boy was clueless.
BY YAHAIRA L. MONTOYA
The rippling water under her fingers as she reaches out,
A reflection, and water splashing causing drops to run.
Then the all so familiar voice, the one every child
Holds dear in their hearts. The one every child
Knows from day one. The sudden call of her name
Makes her jump and retract her arm.
Squirming with a frown off the ledge, giggles
After flopping down, waving her hands like wings.
The water that sprouts from the colorful instruments,
Looks like snakes escaping a tight space rather than music.
The instruments, covered in primary colors of red, blue, and yellow.
The drum, the trumpet, the xylophone, the saxophone, and the harp.
A sudden flash and click captures the small moment in time.
Another mother nearby hugs her own child.
A frown appears as the child escapes her embrace.
Quick like the water snakes of the instruments, her arm
Slithers around the child's waist and brings him close.
She whispers, his smile dies, his hand in hers, steps move
Away from the crowd, a smile on the mother's face.
Now the little girl smiles to herself, runs to her own mother.
One more glance, at the colorful instruments,
Before the "bye bye" to go.
BY OSCAR FLORES
Festivity and laughter,
The smell of homemade carne asada,
A small child in a bright yellow
Winnie the Pooh costume,
Two pearly whites peaking from behind
Bright red lips,
Wrapped surprises awaiting,
Toys, clothes, money,
All granted for this special occasion.
Legs elongating, weight accumulating,
Cruel vines lashing,
An unforgiving blaze
Radiating from the skies
Onto tender skin,
All for a few tattered bills
Tossed into a pit.
Expected to become the next Spartacus
With only two sticks and a stone,
Wrapped surprises dissipating,
Bright colors turned dull.
A Day of Holiness
BY MARIARLENE BECERRA
White like sacred doves,
Church bells singing,
Pure from the world,
By angels themselves,
There I stood,
Yet ever so innocent.
There I stood,
Protected from the world,
A world that forgives but never forgets,
A world that strikes and clashes with society.
Here I stand,
Innocent yet frightened,
For angels to care.
A Day’s Sightings
BY ANDREA RAPAN
No wind in sight.
A pure and sane bright day.
The flowers in the background accompanied with spring’s
An ever so slight breeze was felt inside.
Mom shouting, “A picture, a picture!”
Abuela’s comforting stare.
The stare that could make any place feel like home.
Oh that stare.
What I'd do to get it back.
And the young girl,
Stuck to Abuela by the hip.
Another playful day.
Absolutely no care in the world.
No thought as to all the yelling from the day before.
No care as to all the torment the unexpected divorce would bring.
The innocence still apparent.
Just today and her Barbies.
Just her Barbies and today.
BY MIRCA PATINO
Arms envelope her frail beings.
The delicate touch of her finger tracing over the forehead,
Over the brows, down the nose bridge to the tip,
As one turns to run and a scream escapes her lips
The other one stares...
Its eyes pierce her soul.
There is a flicker in her glossy pale blue eyes as her grip loosens.
A tear builds up till it overflows.
She holds the face of the one that stares.
The finger that was once at the tip of the nose has now moved.
It has pried the soft lid open and slipped inside.
Pressing against it’s pulsing eye.
It moves frantically like a fawn entangled in fragile barbed wire.
The soft tips that have reached in, now turned needles,
Slit the eye, and she shows it the true horrors of the world.
Endings and Beginnings
BY FERNANDA OJEDA
There always is an end to a beginning.
Each life has it's own finale.
As her life was just commencing,
Innocent eyes stared at aged eyes too young to realize,
Eyes could close at anytime.
He looked at the young being in his arms,
Her small face bringing a smile upon
His own wrinkled one.
His first, a girl with big brown, shining eyes,
Looking out in the distance.
Hearing his name, he breaks out of his reverie,
Leaning his head down to hers.
A wide smile plastered on his face
As the camera shutters.
She looks down at the photo,
Which has to be old as she is,
With a smile on her face,
Wishing she could see that smile one last time.
Each life has it's own finale, an end to a beginning.
BY RICARDO MAGAÑA
The portrait catalyzes the exposure of my front teeth.
Lucy made my heart beat rise during extreme weather evenings.
We were six living in a one-bedroom mobile home.
The ice in the cooler would cool the living room for a couple minutes.
Sweat and water drops were mistaken after showering.
We were dependent on bottled water and every so often
The feces was exposed due to a failing septic tank.
However, our joy was never challenged by
The dirt and gravel surface we had as a playground.
Our parent’s fieldwork was like our commitment to excelling in school.
Acculturation challenged our connection to our roots
As we became introduced to American food, language, and traditions.
The strict parenting insured the trees growth
Like an infinity y value on a coordinate plane.
Our birthday celebrations were like the coming of the shepherd,
The taste of the soda and a hamburger from Carl’s Jr. resembled
The emotions felt when taking the body and blood.
The joy, love, and peace of our earthly heaven
Surpassed the size and conditions of our social economic status.
BY ANEL MONREAL
La escuelita donde yo aprendo, green, white, and red.
Green, white and red being portrayed similar to the Mexican flag.
Verde, Green, representing hope.
The hope to continue being proud,
The hope to continue the learning of this wonderful culture.
The hope we have in these wonderful beliefs and traditions.
Blanco, White, which stands for purity.
Purity in the country, its religion, its beliefs.
Purity that you see in my face as a child.
The pure face to be proud of my culture.
The purity of the culture.
The purity we have to choose to believe what we wish to believe.
Rojo, Red, signifying blood.
Blood for those who died.
The blood of the people who fought for their culture.
Red to symbolize the love I have for my culture.
Red to signify the color of my blood running through my veins.
Red to symbolize the fighting many people did for the culture they love.
La escuelita donde yo aprendo mi cultura,
donde yo aprendo lo que es amor, pureza, y esperanza
por mi cultura adorada.
BY IVAN VARGAS
A kid lost, dazed, and dumbfounded like a deer in headlights
By the flash or his toy train or something.
The sound of giggles as his hands bring life to his train.
This only seems to disturb the unchanging, tired, sleepless face of his brother,
The one standing besides him.
A repetitive thought haunts his dreams,
The end of life, death.
The boy still laughing
As the goddess behind the flash
Reenacts the train noises.
No fear, but love all, were her teachings.
Side by side he stands with his brother
Too busy laughing as he brings life to his toy
And begins to imagine his train choo-choo-ing.
Unlike his brother besides him,
Sleepless, the undying thought
That haunts his dreams,
End of life itself, death.
Then suddenly the train comes to a halt,
Sounds of glass breaking,
A cold chill runs down his spine,
His mouth drops,
His hairs raise,
The undying thought
Now in his head
Not the loss of another…
But the loss of his b—
BY MARYLIN MONCADA
To capture it all,
Illuminating the purity
Of a child's laughter
That comes from celebrating a young year.
The candle burning duller
The longer its wax drips,
Its shining presence turned to shadow,
The moment submerged in the ocean of time,
A flash in memory.
The Floor is Hot Lava
BY VICKY VASQUEZ
The wind rustles the leaves and my hair.
My hands are tightly wrung around the wooden monkey bars.
I’m hanging on the edge of a cliff,
Molten, hot, fiery lava awaiting my fall.
My legs are stretched out in front of me.
I sway and swing to the next.
It almost slips away from my grasp.
With each grapple and thump of the wood against my palms,
Blisters begin to form.
Only two more bars to go.
My cheeks are flushed and sweat is plummeting down my face.
I sway and reach for the last.
My mother shouts, “BE CAREFUL!”
An “Uh-oh” escapes my mouth
Before a loud thud.
Frosted Buds of Spring
BY REYNA CABRERA LUCERO
The wind carried the leaves, the spirits, and their laughter,
to places unknown.
It tickled the curling caramel ends of their frazzled hair
And the bodies of the trees.
They felt the earth and her children kiss the bottoms of their feet
As they floated through time and cloven leaves,
Chubby hands tangled together,
No discernible beginning or end to the tight rope,
ropes do fray.
Strong turns to weak, light turns to dark.
Now is NOT then.
Now they have forgotten what it feels like to end the day with
Now they have forgotten what it feels like
to be weightless in space and society,
To not feel the weight of His hands
pushing their rounded shoulders
Further into their doom.
BY MARIANA LUEVANO
The innocent pair of overalls
With a Tweety on front, riding a black
And white motorcycle,
Wanting more than anything,
Freedom. The caring and glowing huge
Dark brown eyes wrapped
Up the future,
A future filled with
Pathways. The innocent pair
Of overalls with a Tweety on front,
Blind, the meaning of happiness. As the
Innocent pair of overalls grew, less it meant to the overalls.
The luscious black, straightened hair thought
Differently. Determination and grace bought goals. But the
Old pair of overalls comes and
BY ANGEL GARCIA
Dark, burgundy sheets on the bed.
The white bear: pointy red nose, red fluffy heart,
Hogging the side of the bed.
A father and his son:
Bright and gleaming eyes,
Mild, peachy tone skin,
Bright colored shirts of soft cotton cover their bodies,
The infant size mittens camouflaging.
Black nightstands eat away the positivity, trailing behind.
Miscellaneous items sitting like guardians,
The black mirror reflecting darkness.
White walls tell stories, truths, and myths.
Graduation Cap or Stuffed Animals
BY ELENA MORO
Short combed hair and a gaze so aimless,
Almost as if it were into blank space.
No intent to any action
Or how it may play out.
In the future when your world or animals are falling
There is always one safety net,
Success is in your aim.
I can see it creeping on you,
Subliminally in the black figure behind you.
Times like clothes are of changing
From pajamas to gowns,
Prom or graduation,
Was it last week when
You were playing with stuffed animals?
You won't forget.
BY VICTOR MALDONADO
A child, innocent as a child could be.
He falls, and laughs, and gets back up.
His clothes are grey like an elephant’s skin.
His sleeves are black like the night sky.
He was unsteady like a boat in a storm.
He had stuffed animals surrounding him.
They were guardians, protecting.
The window above showed glimpses of the outside world.
The boy just stayed in the one room.
He never thought of leaving the safety of that space.
He had only his stuffed animals to play with, because they were his friends.
Her Innocent Smile
BY KARINA SOLIS-GUTIERREZ
Her big brown eyes shined
As bright as her big smile.
Her shadow stood behind her
As she walked towards the light.
Her blue hair-ties bright as
Her chubby arms holding the
Weight of her chubby face.
Her innocent smile hiding what
She did, continuing her day as normal.
Little did they know she was
The one making the mess in the house.
His Only Wish
BY EVELYN RAMIREZ
A flower ready to bloom.
White walls so pure,
Delight is swept across her face.
Surrounded by her father's
Very brown skin.
Exquisitely draped in scars.
Full of desire
To break Chicano oppression.
His only wish,
For his little girl to be powerful,
And change the world.
BY ALEXIS SERNA
Hush little one, what's new? Awoken, haven't you?
Catastrophic killer cough keeping you up?
Or is it the sinister sniffles causing your suffering?
It's a shame, how illness is your name.
Tame for some time, but those were all lies.
Your demise, please let it be far.
Behind these bars you will not fly.
But why… Why must you inherit this pain,
This stain on your health, forever to stay.
All we can do is hope, your father and I,
With our floodgate eyes and shivering spines,
Our severed hearts and hazy minds.
Your eyes, they are telling me lies.
Please be strong… The doctors are wrong.
I Traced the Dots along the Paper's Smooth Surface
BY STEPHANIE JIMENEZ
I traced the dots along the paper's smooth surface.
What mystery did he leave for me today?
Each idea floating
And falling like bubbles.
The sweet smell of brewing coffee that lingered over my head
Was met with a sour scold from my mother's breath.
The birds awoke with the energy of the sun.
In the distance there were faint sounds of melodies.
I listened to the sweet songs made just for me.
As I looked
Down at my paper and discovered a blackbird.
BY WUILFREDO ORTIZ-HERNANDEZ
Tiny footsteps swooshed.
Where are you?
Tiny sounds came from the back end.
What was that?
The stench lured
from the cabinets.
What could it be?
Where could he be?
Giggles trembled the wooden doors,
the smell and laughter coming
from the same place.
Pop open the wood door.
could be heard across the world.
Now let's go change you.
Law of the Jungle
BY ROSALINA CASTRO-FRIAS
Shrieks of joy like the life of the jungle
Spill and flow from my mouth endlessly.
Crinkled at the corners,
My eyes are like miniature smiles on my face.
She coos, bubbly, through the tight line of her lips.
Adorning her body in tight parakeet green satin,
It snakes around her figure.
My heart beat slows, eyes wildly roaming, exhausting breaths puff out faster.
Dark leather, crocodile, with a strap at her side.
The door. Open. Shut. Darkness. Alone.
At the mercy of the law of the jungle.
BY ADRIANA MORALES-HINOJOSA
Surrounded in pink, but living in blue,
Two ponytails raised by hope,
Has a seat for a friend, but it's taken by a doll.
Children in the back, but the girl’s still unaccompanied.
The boys riding away in the distance are only a reminder
Of the loneliness that comes with being an only child.
Afraid to be alone,
Stays within the spotlight,
Lights directed towards the dark
Moment captured by mom.
Pretty pink princess she set out to be,
Bummy blue Barbie was all we could see.
BY MARIA GONZALEZ
Her eyes locked on curiosity,
Each page turned was a different story told,
The presence of her future self was there.
They read alike, they read to know the truth of one another.
A mirror proved their similarities.
Their brown locks were no different from
Their brown stones of sight.
And through the reflection she saw her mother.
Both just lay there surrounded by
The small bed, the small room, the small trailer.
The smell of dirt around the palm trees
Oozing through the small cracks of the home,
All hidden behind the portrait of the lens.
BY DANIEL MONTEZ
Click! An image captured in time.
An ear-to-ear expression masking the boy beneath it.
Staring at the ceiling in darkness, shaking hands pressed
Firmly against his ears, that fail to shut out the screaming
Through the walls.
Meanwhile, siblings run along playfully.
Perhaps with the same masking expression.
BY ILIANA MARIE CORONA
In my grandpa’s arms is where I'd like to be,
Being able to feel his arms hovering over me like a teddy bear,
Throwing me up in the air and laughing.
I was named his favorite mijita.
Visiting his trailers week after week,
Always reminding me of how much he loved me.
He was strong, loving, and very protective.
He constantly reminded me of why he'd wear his muscle shirts.
Take a wild guess.
If your answer was to scare all the guys away you were correct.
Getting picked up in his white truck felt like I was the coolest ever.
Wind hitting my face and jumping onto his lap in the driver’s seat
Is where I'd like to be.
See, weeks later he started feeling sick.
My dad then gets a call, and sure enough he was gone.
I never thought that would be my last goodbye.
In my grandpa’s arms was the place to be.
The Moment before It Was Captured
BY ASHLEY RAMOS
The moment before it was captured,
A memory that will forever belong in our hearts,
It hung there from the tree with confetti and
Candy inside, waiting. It turned in circles, hearing the twist in the rope
As the moment came near. Obediently he stood smiling, staring straight. Younger than him stood his other half,
Always together, an unbreakable bond, eager and excitedly unable to contain
Stomping on the cement. Stars shining brightly, illuminating the sky.
The joyous moment that was to be. Three two one cheese, snap.
A memory that will forever belong in our hearts.
At last the cheers of the crowd as both the boy
And girl prepared to finally live the moment they
Longed for. It was time to savagely hunt for
Their candy. The laughter and clapping of
Others brought the night to life.
New House, New Life
BY PAOLA RABAGO
New house, new life.
Unfolded house, unfolded decorations.
Time rushed, but enough for the holiday season.
Anxious for the presents beneath the tree as to living the American Dream.
Smiles ﬁlling the room as we rejoice to a new start.
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Goodbye old house.
Goodbye old life.
BY KAREN OYOHUA RAMIREZ
A walk into paradise is what you'll see,
Or at least that’s what you'll believe,
As just a four year old, that’s what you’ll think.
As soon as that bright flash hits. the true expression is revealed,
The blue room filled with what seemed to be paradise, shut out.
Behind, the innocent doll stood still.
We all we all we all,
The sound of a racing ambulance rushes to the mind of just a four year old.
Speed being the cause of the fear.
Nights out worrying for her life is what she consists of,
In a room of paradise nothing seems to heal.
Four years young yet twenty years old.
No light in such a kid, no light.
Out in a Rural Town, Lies
BY MANUEL AYALA
Out in a rural town, lies
a cold blooded reptile. The
wind whispers every now and
then, causing little commotion.
A car stops, distant from the patch of
grass. A family of five gets off of the
brown Astro Van. Smiles upon their
faces, as they stretch and yawn.
The sun shining down its blazing
face. The light blue sky guarding it like
it's prepared to fight. A sudden rush of wind
comes, balancing out the mood of the sun.
Kids yelling as they run towards the
tortoise. Dirt clearing the way for them,
acting like the ocean when Jesus
attempted to get to the other side.
The reptile finds himself getting climbed on.
The next second he's left alone yet again.
Did he do something wrong?
Mr. Tortoise—just a statue.
Player One and Player Two
BY JOANNA HERNANDEZ
Princess and dungeons
Dungeons and dragons
Dragons and Z
Anime watched 24 to 3
Pokémon caught in the town of colors
Lavender town was the scariest
Big brother to the rescue
Stopping all gym leaders
Red and Blue
Leaf green and fire red
Welcome to the culture Lil Sis
Gaming has a purpose
And yours will be discovered
At the age of 11,
Flashing lights will cause you to lose sight
And may stop your height
“Keep her held tight”
Sounds like Keppra, am I right?
But don’t lose hope
Brother will make sure you won't
You'll loving gaming when you're older
You'll meet your closest friends and boyfriend
Thanks to gaming
“It's dangerous to go alone, take this!”
Oh! And don't throw your fit.
BY VALERIE AYALA
The pudgy baby shows emotion:
Eyes that are as black as coffee beans
Display fear because of the bright white light,
A smile that says I'm happy, I feel all right.
She’s distracted and placed awkwardly,
Wondering, "Why have I been placed so up tightly?"
The red can't help but travel to her cheeks,
Swelling and becoming pinch-able.
If only she knew what was coming,
She would prepare for flight.
BY ABIGAIL LOPEZ
Holiday spirit in the air,
Presents surround the feet of children,
A tree so big a picture couldn't even capture it,
Ornaments and candy canes cover the mountain-like tree,
The two kids happy as can be
Share a smile from ear to ear,
Like the Cheshire Cat ornament on the tree.
What about the mouse from the boys fire red sweater?
Can it compare to their joy?
“Seems, madam…” BY SANDRA ROJAS
Fresh and sunny outside,
Small feet running around and playing with not a care in the world,
Patties grilling and flipping,
Fathers smoking and drinking and playing poker,
Is how it appears…
But these eyes know what's really going on.
Uncle Max on the phone, while Aunt Margret smells something fishy.
Cousin Peter with his red eyes seems a little jumpy on the basketball court.
Sister, pale looking face and swollen feet, shoving food in her mouth.
Father zoning out, feet taping and legs shaking, vein popping out in his forehead.
Clear blue water splash, splash, splash,
Aunt Martha holding her breath more than a minute.
Momma will always say,
"There is someone out there that is having a much worse day than you are."
Momma was right.
Any minute someone can die.
Any minute someone can hear the worst news of their life.
Any minute someone's world can turn upside down and blow up in their face.
Nothing is what it seems.
Life is like a clock;
It will keep going and every second counts.
Be happy even through the rough times. Have a smile on your face.
BY FABIOLA CORRAL
Bikini Top. Bikini Bottom.
Summer’s here. The sun shines.
The water dances. Body’s wet. Hair’s wet.
Too little to stand on the deep side, she warns.
Missing Tooth. Gap in between.
But not a care in the world. She’s free. She’s wild.
She can make her sister and cousin laugh.
She hugs them around as if there were
No tomorrow. Enjoying the moment.
Family. Childhood. Happiness. She’s having
The time of her life.
Mother takes a photo
A Smile in the Air
BY ADANETH JASSO
Her head moves around
So caught in this place
Full of arcade games and a play space.
She jumps when her turn comes up.
As lights shine upon her face
And glimmers upon her cheeks,
Her smile gives it all
And only gets bigger as she goes.
With her heart racing, so sincere,
And her family caught at her sight,
Setting herself to show them what she can do,
To get ready, set, and fly.
She elevates as she pedals,
A whirlpool of emotion grows inside her.
She begins to grip the wheel so tight,
But still widens her brown eyes
And pedals faster to be up high.
The smudge of pizza sauce stands out on her face,
However it's no bother.
You can never be wrong with two ponytails,
A pair of old, worn out white sneakers,
And a soft, yellow sweatpants set,
Riding on a bike that flies!
BY ISAMAR LEAL LUCERO
Her body was still, like a doll on a shelf,
Still on her mother's lap.
And as her mother grabbed her arms tightly as a knot could not let loose,
And caught at the glance
That was dry and sweet,
And she saw the flash of yellow bright light, SNAP!
Laughter in the air, eyes of dark brown everywhere.
And not a glance was there.
Still on her mother's lap
At a man's glance,
Shaking plastic rattling hoops,
And smiled, but the smile was not there.
She stood still,
Looked at a man’s brown skin,
Looked back at her mother,
Dripping water drops from the roofs of her eyes.
The mother let go of her.
The man held her tight,
Promised to bring down the moon and stars.
The sad river in her face was gone,
Relief of protection.
At a glance that brought joy,
Father was home,
And smiled, but this time the smile was there.
BY DIVA KHINDA
Little Diva knew nothing, for when she went to bed
It was as if everything went, poof!
Her mouth wide open for flies to go into her head,
Not a single care in her seven-year-old world.
Sleep was her getaway to wherever she desired.
Sleeping was the only way she could picture doing great things.
Naps at three o’ clock had to be sharp, but
Little did you know she was out by three ten?
Only thing she needed was
That old pattern pillow with the tiffany green blanket.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, she was out like a light.
Oh how deep was that sleep of hers, not a single care for the world.
Little Diva knew nothing, for when she went to bed
Everything she pictured was just in her head.
BY EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ PEREZ
Come on everyone,
Gather around the
Wow, I had it all.
Surrounded by bright
Estas son, las mañanitas…
Family staggered throughout
Tony in the bounce castle,
Dulce waiting for the cake
And Alberto waiting for
His sweet, sweet revenge.
Ready to frost my
Plump pink cheeks
And confetti filled hair.
El Rey David…
Yellow, tres leches,
Vibrant orange shirt.
Mom taking pictures,
Memories and reflections.
Mom, where’s my Da—
In white wallpaper
With yellow stripes
And even sunflowers
Sheltering from reality
For the most part…
In the blink of an eye
Surrounded by friends
“Here’s some napkins.”
Suit and tie.
Wrapped in gold,
Finger, neck, and wrist.
He’s working, son.
Ten to twenty-some hour shifts for nearly
Two decades. All for you.
Thanks Mom and Dad. My turn.
BY ANYSSA SANCHEZ
Baby bathtub, Baby Shampoo.
Yellow rubber ducky floating all alone, with eyes as big as hers.
Smiling with no care in the world.
Not knowing the real world and the bad people in it.
8-month-old child. In the care of a loving mother. Unknown father.
Water so mellow. So still. So calm.
A play pin for an innocent child.
Not realizing her actions will soon speak louder than her words.
Little girl happy to just be alive. Still breathing.
Splashing through the ways of life. The ways of other people.
Thinking at the age of six that everyone's thoughts and feelings were alike.
Soon will know that was far from right.
Two siblings. One more on the way. One more to come.
A big sister now. With little ones looking up to her.
Two father figures. One who came to be.
One who was there. And the other named reality.
Happy as life can be.
Little girl happy to just be alive. Still breathing.
Seventeen years old. The years to explore.
Ripped away in a blink of an eye.
Abstinence no longer an option. Mistakes. Secrets.
Heart breaks. The feeling of not being good enough.
Fearing disappointment. Happiness fading.
Missing the innocent, clueless child.
Realized her actions spoke louder than her words.
Seventeen years old. Seventeen years, still breathing.
Stripes and Plaid BY FABIAN SALAS
With their minds above all else
Oblivious to the tumultuous storms of rigor
That would encompass their journey in a future
Now they stand at the feet of acclaim
Joyously rejoicing over juvenile achievements
Acclaim at the hands of a popular spirit
While uncertainty lingers at every corner henceforth
Pride and achievement
The badges of life and misfortune
Where experiences are entitled to glisten
The young stripes unsure of how plaid can persevere
For stripes like toppling leaves
Tried by misfortune
And the interdisciplinary wisdom of plaid
Exceeding that which stands before it
The forces of life know not of what may come
Standing only to reason if they even come at all
However, these stripes must not fade
They must stand like the impregnable flag alongside them and with this
Independence and fortitude must linger undoubtedly
For at dusk, the stripes and plaid become white
Unified by that which is no longer juvenile
Acclaim at the hands of academic success
Their roads diverging in paths once dreamt
Converging by occasion to become one once again
To tell the tales of a new day
Summer of Waterfalls
BY JESSICA TORRES
The stone trail that we followed like Hansel and Gretel.
My hair that frizzed up like a cotton ball with the mist in the air.
Sweat glistening on small foreheads from the trek up the hill.
My brother and I surrounded by green at the height of our summer ventures.
Muddy shoes and muddy pants.
Our grinning faces when we reached the waterfall.
The absent look on my brother’s face once all had been done.
My sparkling eyes giving all, but also nothing away.
Forest hills as steep as the years ahead of us.
Crashing water amongst rocks.
Only having each other.
No more safe trips through the forest.
Twigs snapping and the sound of rustling trees.
Scattered leaves along the forest floor.
No longer following the trail side by side.
Instead, back to back.
Sun so Bright BY JENNIFER MARQUEZ
The girl with curly hair,
Curly hair and a bright yellow crown,
Whose white shirt is full of bright yellow suns that resemble her shorts.
She is smiling.
She is smiling next to a self-portrait that she drew,
Next to her self-portrait made of crayon, but she is covering many others.
Her portrait is colorful and on white paper,
On white paper and bordered on top of a red one.
Her portrait is colorful but barely visible, for the light from the camera has shined too bright.
That is not all that shines bright,
For the yellow background behind the red sheet shines too.
The yellow background with four self-portraits appears to only show half of itself,
Bordered with sheets of black and white cows standing on green grass.
She is still smiling,
Still smiling and being held by her uncle,
Held by her dark skinned uncle wearing a dark gray shirt.
She is being held up high, with one of his hands under her bottom and another grabbing her underarm.
She has him for support.
Support that every little girl needs.
Support that will never be taken for granted.
The girl with curly hair.
The girl with curly hair uses her uncle’s left arm as a seat.
The girl with curly hair and a bright yellow crown.
Swallows Swept through the Southern Sky
BY EDDIE LIN
Swallows swept through the southern sky,
While the chill breeze of winter air spread through the warming South.
Scraping the obsolete moss off the stone wall,
Revealing the truth underneath the green cover,
A naive toddler entered the frame.
Wrapped with clothes that will keep him warm from the frosty cold,
Holding in one tiny palm a slice of half bitten apple,
In the other grasping the joy of life in his realm,
Ran down mid the narrow alley,
With a smile at its finest purity,
And records the instant of history,
With the innocence of immaturity.
Underneath that smile,
Rests the secret that no one knew.
It is the fear of isolation,
That would bring him to desolation,
But that won’t bother him anymore
As the fear dilutes in the passage of time.
BY EVELYN FIGUEROA
Sunny day with a fresh breeze
Hitting my face, while on the swing.
Flower dress is my thing,
The sun so bright, forcing my face to turn pink.
Afraid to fall,
I hold the grip tight.
Feeling my pig tails move side to side,
Laughing, full of joy, while I swing.
Hearing my mother happily yelling, "Digan queso!" (say cheese)
To capture the moment and keep it forever.
!Tac, Tac! ¡Agua! ¡Tortillas! ¡Pan!
BY MARIA VEGA
Her smile so bright like the sunshine,
Full of innocence,
No worries just laughs and happiness,
Those toys built from mud,
Waking up to the loud chickens,
And feeding the big creatures.
¡Tac, Tac! ¡Agua! ¡Tortillas! ¡Pan!
Protected in the arms of her mother and the rebozo,
Like a momma bear protecting her cub,
Everything was as clear as water,
The beautiful garden of flowers left behind,
Suddenly she grew afraid,
Putting a stop to the wind,
Her big brown eyes full of terror,
Waiting to have many opportunities,
Not giving up,
She comes from those early mornings of delicious smells
To preparing herself for a great career.
Cultures completely different,
Never leaving her heart.
BY CRISTINA MARTINEZ
The moment’s ornament.
The fragile, innocent eyes as stars
of twilight fair. The sound of Las Mañanitas.
A little box with a flash captures the moment.
The boy from Coachella running away
from them all. Running endlessly
in all types of weather and conditions.
The other boy who is afraid of the “anchor.”
He knows what he did is harmful.
No escape; if done so he cannot bear to
see the shattered heart.
The girl who shuts out the sun
of the wax stick, is arriving toward what is
considered an “adult.” Decisions that will
make her future…
Heart broken about the path she is
going to choose.
No matter what path is taken, or on already,
you know what makes you happy.
Time, after Time
BY LUPITA SARAI SOSA
Red, orange, yellow,
The un-replaceable paint peals.
White washed out walls
With windows covered by lace,
Hiding what lies behind them.
Disappearing figures roam curtains and walls,
Watching as she cheerfully plays.
She glances at what might lie ahead.
A bird, imprisoned by its fears,
Held behind a black iron cage
Yearning for freedom.
A change captured by film
Brown hair, brown eyes
All the same except for what's inside.
Figures, voices, from the past all still haunt,
Yet she looks ahead, never to be found.
Two Years Old
BY ALVARO RUIZ
The cake is laid out on the table,
A number two candle lit on top.
The boy stands over the cake
With the wooden chair supporting him.
His fingertips are covered in frosting.
He wails his hands up with a smile.
The boy's eyes focus to the side towards a teen.
The teen's hair is black and oily and his shirt grey.
The teen puts his hands together and claps.
The singing and the sound of the clap fills the room.
It is heard by a room full of adults and kids,
One in particular, a female behind the camera.
Her face is smooth,
Her hands rough,
Her eyes baggy,
Her lips with a smile.
Her fingers click
A button on the camera
And then there's the flash.
The flash brings forth light.
No light means darkness,
Darkness means monsters,
Darkness means ghosts.
That was all in the past,
Just like old friends,
But memories still stick
Just like deep and silent secrets.
Up to Bat
BY FRANCISCO MONTALVO
Mine and his eyes covered
Green grass and a diamond
More and more people
In the shade
A slight curve
At the picture
It was my first
Before the pledge
A moment past and the slightest
Emptiness and the everlasting want
BY WENCESLAO BALBUENA-PATINO
He picks up the photo
He can't remember.
The kid in the photo is happy.
His mom would say he was a happy baby.
The kid is sitting on top of a sofa,
The sofa is covered by a blanket.
He remembers not liking it, but also using it every day.
He looks at the back.
"My happy son. Hopefully the last. -07/06/02."
He can see his mother smiling at the kid.
He can see how happy he used to make her.
The Velvet Dress
BY KRISTIAN LOPEZ-DIAZ
Very quietly I take my leave,
As discreet as I came here
Slowly I wave goodbye.
We lost our peace,
The world was still,
They wipe away their tears,
Accepting that he's gone.
He left nothing but the dress,
The velvet blue dress and the girl.
The one with the brown eyes
He couldn't return,
And she couldn't stay.
All that was left was the velvet dress.
La vida, La realidad, Descansamos.
BY MELISSA SAGUN-MUÑOZ
A hot summer morning,
4 a.m. and she could already feel
The heat of the desert sun.
Tired and aching,
Patiently waiting for her ride,
“Nomas es la uva, es un trabajo.”
Tired and aching,
“Adios mis hijas, las miro alrato.”
A kiss on the foreheads of her two,
Tired, sleeping daughters.
Two hours passed,
Las hijas con el abuelo
“Mijas quieren comer?”
Tired and aching,
Buscando al abuelo,
Sus mejor amigo,
El dia con sus “nietas hermosas.”
“Mijas ya llegue”
Tired and Aching
Arms wide open, hugs filled with love.
“Como estan mis chiquitas,
Vamonos a comer,
Tired and aching
White Snow Prints
BY ESMERALDA GARCIA
The thin sheet of white snow
Lay across the brown grass field
Smooth no longer
Like Craters on the moon
With small dips and zigzag patterns.
Thin sweaters, baggy pants, little white shoes,
Wide gray sky,
Small gray shadows,
White, Pink, Blue,
The colors of young smiling souls.
Short, high pitched titters escaped their lips
As white sprinkles cross their faces.
The shadows that moved in fast motions
Across the snow suddenly froze
And the edges of their soft pink lips turned down
As the short old lady with a red apple said loudly,
“You've enjoyed enough. Class time.”
BY ALEXA REYES
When we were young,
We ran around the playground having no idea of what we'd done,
Swinging on swings or sliding down a hot slide
On a hot summer day.
Remembering the times we told our friends secrets,
Secrets held together by lies.
Yet we all still laughed and held hands.
Outside the frame was a class
That had no idea of what's to come.
The school year came to an end
And everyone went their separate ways.
Friend after friend became more like acquaintances.
The ones who stayed
Were the only ones who truly cared.