Proud Moments

Child Care Prosperity

Books, crayons, and toys...collected
Exhilaration, laughter, and noise...tolerated
Sobs, cries, and woes...heeded
Dirty diapers, runny noses, and stinky toes...suffered
Stacks of bills, sick employees, and endless stress...incurred
 
Wealth is how some define success.

---A. Law
First Place Drunk
 
Ran into doors, ran into walls;
fell to the floor, crawled down the hall.
Swaying as she tried to stand,
to get to the stage she held my hand.
 
Speech and Debate was never her strength,
forgetful and tongue-tied when she spoke.
But on that day, she ran the house,
chuckles, snickers, and giggles after every joke.
 
We were funnier than ever before;
as we laughed, the audience roared.
As luck would have it, she knew her lines;
we took first place at trophy time.

---M. Smart
Worth Fighting For

Success, my schoolhood friend, now estranged.
Romance, my native tongue, now foreign--as is English.
All I had once known about language, of the heart and tongue,
is now a twisted and jumbled mess
like riding an endless roller-coaster of emotion.

Mr. Sukany:  English professor, now my ESL teacher,
sarcasm and irony his tools for teaching,
a genuine, old-fashioned lover in the classroom,
ripping to shreds any writing presented.
I was sinking in the classroom of a heartless heartthrob,
a dry face rarely graced the classroom, as tears flood our faces.

The anguish of the semester approaches an end,
lacking in hope, filled with utter despair.
My weary, pessimistic finger now scans the gradebook--
a strange new feeling begins to emerge.
Sudden joy bursts from inside as I begin to spell my name:
     s-u- -C - C - e- yes, yes!
And love had found its way back again,
no more fears of interruption...
until English Comp II
to fight for my life
again


---C. Case
Singing in Strange Fellowship

Smelling the air as we swim in the sea,
all bright under His illumination.
We look up at the sun and down to the moon, before
we swim and fly with fish and birds, and end by
playing with dinosaurs, rhinos, and monkeys.
Exhausting, jumping, and moving,
the tiny child nuzzles his elder,
a foreigner to this place,
yet
familiar in every way.

--M Sanchez
Hacker

My shot at state was a 170-yard par 3,

the 5th sudden death.  Water to the left,
home to many unsuccessful shots,
an acre of beach to the right,
a breeze of sweet, fresh-cut zoysia grass.    
Though I approach this shot with more confidence than Tiger in red, 
I hit the ground two inches behind the ball,
dig a divot deep as my groan of disgust, 
One 7 iron…
One swing…
One shot…


--C. Gregory
Freedom

In one moment, a life can change forever.
I sit in this darkened room, all alone.
I see a crack of light under the door.
I see the shadow of footsteps.
They block out the Light,
and I leap at the knock.


--L. Mitchell

Soccer: Seconds to Salvage My Soul

The mischievous forward runs
down the field, like the devil
kicking a flaming ball. Her
blazing cleats strike
the ground as if trying to
leave her mark.

I focus on the hips,
for the feet can easily
deceive. They
tempt and trick all.

She swings her arms in a
clever way - so fierce,
I had limped away with
battle wounds.

Her eyes tell
lies, above these
grow horns of hate.

A smirk - flashbacks of
failure arise, this devil had
stolen my soul.

I can smell a cruel confidence,
as if a supreme spirit
guards her.

I stand
determined--determined to
retrieve my soul.
This Raider
will
not
pass.

--L. Larson
Life on Choices

A week in the Bahamas
away from home where
horrific thoughts burst in my head
of a place called Hell
souls separated from God

Return to Michigan
now with two homes
sleeping with peace
an acknowledgement of security
a soul with God

--A. Adams
Concrete Graduation

Four years in one place with
5-minute passing periods
and twenty-five hundred obnoxious voices
translucent as mist.

Character far and few between.
She knows my name but does
she notice my eyes?

She walks right past me without
the slightest acknowledgement.
Clearly she knows my name
but not  the self behind it.

Graduates waver as they walk
through the hallways A through H,
but I, my head held high.
As the diploma is placed in my hand,
my principal looks me in the eye.

--A. Schreiber
Disc Falls Like Rain

Silver surface slicked by the slicing rain
Dryness only lies beneath his palm
All at once my world begins to whirl
Surroundings I once knew
Fade together in a mesh of color
His fingers tighten their grip
Pressure building every second
Faster, faster spinning release

Freedom!

I climb the raindrops like a staircase
Attempting to pass the treacherous clouds
His hand is only a memory
A sudden jolt
Connecting with the ground

A job well done

--B. Turner
My Feet Have Nails

I am but a tool
A seldom-used weapon
I bring both embarrassment and glory
Today, the latter

Like a vault
My frayed laces provide security
Ever reliable
Steady, supportive, safe

I am an extension of my master
Like nails growing from his sole
my claw-like spikes grip the earth
Tear through all obstacles
The instrument of a predator
Chasing, pursuing, hunting

The ground blurs beneath me
Pushing harder and harder
I remain strong

With each step our confidence grows
Seemingly limitless energy flows through me
I sense the end approaching
My counterpart continues its quest
Until across the line we fly
Yet again we’ve passed the test


---W. Hansen
Fight when broken

As the semi-truck crumbles me
Broken glass and bent steel break my body,
drenching pants in blood and shattering dreams.
Rebuilding a broken femur with flat tires
trained as if hell bent,
pushing body past present limits;
to move from the side of the road.
Mother’s will brings new air.

---T. Watkins

Graduation

“Smart people” in the front row
nervous about walking first.
Feeling all grown up, or something.
Uncontrolled, independent, alone.
Time for college, change of pace.
High school achieved.

Great pride in the stride
while strolling to the governor.
Medal put around my neck
for being in the top five percent.
Shake his outstretched hand.
Validation received.

---H. Campbell
That Day

I waited in the terminal
taking a break from kicking in Phoenix.
Running on fourth down
just to get away from
the sin inside every bite of soggy, cheese pizza,
holding my breath on the dirty, leather seats
and the bickering of the old woman behind me.
That day
my cell stopped me from boarding
and booted me
all the way to Missouri.

--B. Jolly
Beyond the Lines of Victory

The static of the PA broke the silence. 
Sweat began dripping from my brow
as the rest of my body went numb.
The coach spoke of the blood, sweat, and tears
that win football games…
the same drops of blood, sweat, and tears
that won not only a trophy,
but unification of a team and community.

---Z. Haffecke

The Stillness of the Board

Motionless, I prepare to jump.
The posture and strength of the body,
the readiness of the mind as a leaf hitting the ground.  Below,

water swaying, echoing.
A distinct sour smell
like trash beginning to blossom
and salty air pinches the tongue.

Blank stares from people
add pressure to the board,
making it heavy and unsteady,

Back and forth
Back and forth
All that remains is
the stillness of the board.



--J. Bonds

The Next 50 Seconds

The gun fires.

One leg gone.
Everything depends upon the rising pressure.
Club in my hand, the weight on my shoulders.
The sweat dripping, heart pounding,
echoing in the ears, like the strike of a bat.
The hope of handing off the weight
replenishes strength.
The switch slicing through the air.
The final stretch. The pressure falling,
the weight shifting.
The baton handed off.

---C.  Knutter
Toughness
 
Last night is history
and history is history
Gotta end with a win
 
Battle of first-round losers
hoping to gain bronze
rather than be given fourth
 
Walking away
with third medal in hand
Gotta end with a win

---B. Huddleston
Andres

Far away is a boy familiar with death
who seems all alone, surrounded
by many.
Far away is a boy full of rage
who batters me with his hate
for deserters.
Far away is a boy broken by mental barriers
that separate his slow mind
from those his age.
Close to my heart is a boy, warmed
by love that comes only
from One.

---M. Walker
Eyes of the Alpha Male

The cub works, becomes stronger.
His strength promises visibility
The jungle echoes with the sound of prey.


The heart races and knees knock.
Instinct takes control

muscles move down the familiar path
The body becomes taunt--
taunt like a stretched, rubber band

Tension steadies the scope
Eyes focus the cross hairs, all else fades.
Then unison screams, booming like thunder

The path has changed

Only the cub and two brown pools remain
He searches the new, familiar brown pools.

---K. Edgmon
Coming of Age

I waited for a physical representation of my new identity
and I wanted their applause.
I received a green badge of courage, but
it didn’t appeal to the ones that should be clapping.
It wasn’t the anticipated mark of manhood,
but only the ones with scales, tales and low IQ’s.
I realize my deeds are no less valiant
when they go unpraised.


---L Landon
Helium

People treat balloons differently
Like a handicap

Can’t join in
Can’t be accepted

Judged
Beginning to shrink
Ignored
Struggling to stop air flow

Look in mirror  
Deflate some more
See the reflection
No more helium

Vicious cycle
Balloons are fragile

Like a handicap

---L. Fox

Judgment Day

Months of practice and hard work
All lead up to this one day


One judge
Sits on his throne in this big, cold room
Watching me squirm like a child in the principal's office


Four drums
Tuned to heavenly harmony
Not one lost note


And then
From his throne, like the voice of God,

He says, "Begin."

---K. Hultgren
Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed

In third grade I walked into a room with
about fifteen girls to recite my verses with pride.

Freshman year was decision time and the work
load would be heavy but achievable.

After ten years I walked on stage with a thousand
eyes on me, flashes going off, and a death grip
on my plaque.

---K. Stevens
The Big Move

My heart was burdened
For a place I never knew 
I begged for peace
Stubbornly I plunged into darkness
I spent my days in search of sin, but

Your mighty hands shelter me
Hold me in love and comfort
You are vigilant in love
Willing to listen.

I pray, live for you, and obey
Able to see your faithfulness and trust

---A. Childers
Racing for Gold

From the red track beneath my feet,
I feel the pressure of first lane,
seven other girls behind me.
My fingers were clasped
around the shiny baton.
The footsteps and breathing behind
begin to fade away.
As I turn the last corner,
my legs had no feeling.
Ahead, her hand held out;
I gather my last bit of energy
and give it away.

---T. Mangone
Fore

Bent grass
Short, thick, thin
Four successful hours of stroked birdies

Fairways are wide
Just like margin of error
Shots fall into place
Carefree, relaxed

Fescue, difficult
Sand, inconsistent
Water, impossible
Errors end in hazard

The pin stretch
No room for error
Perfection, Confidence
Finish strong

---B. Stevens
Meet Me in the Middle

Some like to be on top of the world;
others really don’t care.
I prefer to be in the middle
where there is no pressure. 
Nobody expects too much nor too little. 
As long as you do what you are supposed to do
I could have been an overachiever
or I could have failed,
but in the middle is where I was
and in the middle is where I will stay.

--L. Hopwood
Doubts

The place I left is warm and safe like a cozy bed.

The new place is like a dark cave.

Sometimes you have to choose the colder place to feel advantage.

---C. Ash
I AM on the balcony

you go through a burdensome life
you feel heartache
confined
trapped

you ask life's questions
you guess at purpose
the meaning
the point

you see the vastness of the sea
you sniff the salt
touch the waves
sense the breeze

you feel the pulling in your soul
you know the desire
the hunger
the need

you pull up a chair
to join Me


---J. Sones
High School Role Model
 
With votes on my side, I got the crown
Work with others for dances and games
Recruit and paint with spirit and spotlight
Changing by leading, to be the prime example
Rewards too great, memories that last
Wouldn't want to leave the highlight of my education days


---E. Hopkins
A New Day

The sweat drips down my face
like a popsicle in July.
I twiddle thumbs
Jerk my head at the sound of screeching tires
Grip tightly the “Oh crap” handle
Presses an imaginary brake
Shake with the sound of a honking horn
Not sure my nerves can handle my baby girl driving.

---A. Williams


Coming of Age

I waited for a physical representation
of my new identity, but still wanted their applause
It wasn’t the anticipated mark of manhood.
I received a green badge of courage
which was what I wanted, but it didn’t appeal to the ones
that should be clapping, only the ones with scales,
tales, and low IQ’s.
Though they cannot show their appreciation,
I know that my worth is not decided by the
recognition I receive. I wear my badge proudly because
even though it dosen’t go with red.

-----L. Loftin
A Musical Journey

Fear of the unknown causes a timid start

Beginning a measured journey
Signs springing up like opportunities
Not at a steady pace but always showing up
Words leading me towards the end
Enduring on
A form takes place
Building blocks of verses, chorus, and bridge
Closing on the end
Teaching a lesson
Bringing character
The end is reached
Experience is gained
On a musical journey

---F. Henbest
A Pawn to Your King to Check

An asphalt chess board on a hot day in Cleveland 
we will acquire knights from the 23rd king 
who has many followers: powerful knights and scared little pawns.
The knights of the 23rd king only follow 
their gold and crimson monarch; they have us in check. 

For three days the younger pawns wish for us to stay
to continue protecting them from the evil knights.
On day four, the first King gains a foothold
bringing  for some a quick
Checkmate.

---A. Lewis


The inner city filled with worries and regrets,
filled with fears and unfulfilled dreams not met,
black-on-black crimes, people stealing what's mine
In a hurry to find a safety net,
showing tears to win the bet.

Rural City filled with hope and dreams,
filled with a journey clearly seen,
freshman to senior, claiming what's mine.
Reaching my goals, with success on my mind
tears gone, becoming one of a kind.

---J. Brown