Dimensions in Education Today

Live Poets Society of NJ


The Dictators
     after Pablo Neruda

A granite fountain stands in the center of an open plaza,
paved with gold. The trickling of water fills the empty
square and floats to carved stone steps, to heavy iron doors.
Shadows fall from razor peaks darkening the grand palace.
Splashing water journeys up blue tiled walls, above
the flag pole. The banner sings to the fountain,
telling of the suffering of its people.

Eight boys shot for daring to laugh; fathers executed
in the soccer stadium; children jailed, children burned.
Mist swallows their stories as it ascends, rising
past snowy mountains that gouge the sky, rising
to a cool sun. Beyond even cloud, where sky
fades from blue to black, mist whispers to the night,

wind listens and hardens into a fist, rolling and spinning,
crashing down upon the land in a torrent of rain. Streams churn
to brown rivers, swell, rampaging across the barren desert.
Dams burst, concrete and steel ruptured, flung into oily water
like copper casings from a machine gun. This spreading fury
engulfs the land, parting only for mud homes, toppling the city.

Steven Fredericks, MT, Big Sky High School

You smiled a laugh and bit back the giggles spilling like secrets
from each side of your mouth
handing back the wicker basket trimmed in bright plaid
you whispered it’s a surprise and only winked a quick wink.
and even when you bent down and twirled me around,
citrus skirt swinging like forties jazz and the tips of my heels clattering
down the pavement like carousel horses and when even blind men
could see the red rose prints in lipstick that trailed all down your cheek,
you only grinned, and chuckled, e’ una sorpresa, carina,
and waltzed me down the cobblestones, the sway of the picnic basket a beat behind,
and so we skipped and hop scotched and flirted with salacious tango
down the streets all slicked with lost raindrops.
and this until you sealed each eyelid with a kiss and shut my mouth with the taste of
stale coffee and dark bitter chocolate, and slipped a Look! into my ear.
under a dripping tree lay the city, that grand old dame,
but you nodded away from the arches and columns, up through the leaves, and said,
imagine that, victorious again against shooting stars and the eternal city, cara – but
make a wish make a wish before the sky falls down and we wake up, this must be a dream
and when the sunshine knocked politely on the pillow I grinned
and lapped up the taste of stale coffee and bitter chocolate.
Judith Barr, MD, Holton-Arms School


The Risen Day Settles

The luminous star enclosed the world in a veil of beauty
Semi-translucent, like running water dripping between fingertips
Into the rock-strewn bottom of a clear running stream
The aesthetic image twisted and aslant as departing wind
Sent with an empyrean message and he, zealous to perceive it
Shadows of ghostly forms collected at the edges of the windowpane
Sinking into mirth and rising into light, mournful deaths with joyous life
Continuously drawing strength from the eternal source
Perpetually, a windmill grasping existence from a cursive river
With its bent and crooked fingers, churning endlessly
Gathering bits of woven air and holding it in an embrace
His hands rested upon the windowsill, dust coated paned glass
The paint having cracked and fallen away with burdening age
The walls of the house sighing in seniority
All staring at the ruinous asphalt with its weather-worn trees
Lightning strings dancing amid tangled sinewy branches
Resplendent sage dressed leaves adorning
Paltry arteries and veins along each sustaining torso
With the calm ease of one contented in passing sleep
As the pleading sun falls by the hand of encroaching night
Rachel Pong, NJ, Clifton High School


Speak to me in a language I can savor,
Ride the waves of pleasure until we can rest no more
On the cliffs of emerald,
Washed with shiny diamonds
As the nymphs could no longer sing their praises
Savor the un-enchanted glory
And pain infused with absinthe
Buttressed by the filaments and filibusters
Frantically seeking a mirage on the moon
Feel the truth,
Bite into it,
Crave the sweetened fruits that basked before your birth
The sun never knew the light,
Children frighten away their innocence.
He laughed,
The truth we poured out
Of the chicory flasks blessed by Shamans and shakers
Weaving flaxes of organza and orgiastic wonder
The graceful swans of forever highlighting in
Their Grimm tales what cannot be.
Ariela Silberstein, NY, Hunter College HS


Stop Stealing Me From The Lawn

Try balancing on one leg
When barren is the soil
Death of self - the poison in the keg
A writhing mind to keep coiled

Suffocating under the plastic sun
Yards of meaningless green
Bury the seeds of this empty scene
Reality has begun

Stop stealing me from the lawn
Shaking the ground I have set
Darkness dwells in your dawn
Long time my heart you've had yet

Leave or weeds will be sowed
Pink fork possessed by night
Stands strangled in green-hosed plight
Go find yourself another flamingo.
Britton Tuck, GA, Bleckley County High School

Black and white photo
has no Technicolor dreams
it is what it is
Daniella Litvak, CA,
Orange County HS of the Arts

Collapse of the Wildflowers

Fading into the sunshine, defeated dreams bend
Until the passion, red with struggle, succumbs.
The drops of a pale, cold liquid fall from the sky,
Running into a stream, like the path my life must follow.
Thanks to you, who planted red roses on my mountain of wildflowers,
I will never write so intently that my hand burns
And flows into the oblivion of expression.
Around me, the winding ivy is curled about a pole,
Defined to the point that exclusion sins for precision.
Houses of trees and sun-baked mud cakes are flooded by acidity.
My vision, forgotten, mourns the loss.

This voice, rare and undetectable, appealed to me.
I heard its feather-whisper of humanity and sighed.
The half eaten meaning will not engulf my soul again.
Blank objectivity has become this mass of lines and congruent angles.
Blink, follow, cease to question.

A single, arched tree grew in the midst of a field.
One by one, the people sacrificed themselves and
Reconstructed their world until it became an unbroken circle,
Like this crimson rose upon my table.
Lindsay Oberst, GA, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School

(in random order)

A frozen orange grove by midnight – Steven Shwartz, MA, Algonquin Regional
Alcoholism – Kate Litterer, PA, Danville HS ……
Bounty – Ashley Sheriff, IL, Morgan Park HS
Shame – Katelyn Myers, PA, Harrisburg Christian School
Upon Waking – Jessica Shults, OR, Wilsonville HS
hymn to a poet – Casey Metheny, VA, Massaponax HS
Shifting – Maria Iu, CA, Los Altos HS
Lloyd Dobler is an Enigma – Dana Fine, IL, Princeton HS
Leaving – Nadia Bulkin, NE, Lincoln East HS
Unexpected – Tina Hwa, NJ, Whippany Park HS
Stranger in an Echo – Yuting (Casey) Jin, NJ, Governor Livingston HS
Untitled no. 4 – Kathleen McKillip, NE, Marian HS
Moment – Jordan McGirk, IL, Hononegah Comm HS
Ray of Summer Darkness – Katherine Blaisdell, HI, Hilo HS
Bad Weather – Gregory Young, AL, Alabama School of Fine Arts
Tangerine – Meagan Hall, CO, Wm. Palmer HS
Dragon – Andrew Adamak, WI, Cedar Grove-Belgium HS
A Gentle Rest – Jacklyn Zumek, WA, Central Valley HS
The Slaughterhouse – Lindsey Sebastian, SC, Eastside HS
September Fog – Jenna Valentino, NJ, South Brunswick HS
The Infinite – Jessica Hoenig, TX, Lake Travis HS
Homesick – Lindsay Wilson, IL, Buffalo Grove HS
A Moment Apart – Anthony DeAngelo, VA, Kempsville HS
The Moan of Eons Gone By – Irina Shkyar, CA,
Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies
Geisha – Elizabeth Connelly, NJ, Brick Twp HS
Ella Sprinkled With Ash – Rebecca Rose Parker, MA, Needham HS
Invocation – Brian Spielberg, MI, East Lansing HS
Walking Through The Snow In Silence – Allison Schmidt, NY, Somers HS
Garden Gloves – Amy Anderson, MN, Edina HS
Largo, Florida – Erica Trzeciak, IL, Lyons Twp HS
Wind Through The Reeds – Amy Marschall, MN, Holy Angels
Bring Back, O God – Jennifer Schuller, TX, A&M Consolidated HS
Want Your Money – Tony Braca, PA, The Hill School
Poem Citing Numb – Melissa Keller, AZ, Flagstaff HS
Delta Degrees Celsius – Lunia Collado, RI, La Salle Academy
Cedar Swamp – Kathryn Hogan, MI, Southfield Christian School
In the Basement, 1962 – Anna Resnick, MD, Friends School of Baltimore
Another Way Home – Shawn Q. Fu, MA, Phillips Academy Andover
Sunrise – Prerna Nadathur, MN, Roseville Area HS
Land Across the River – Mary Wu, CA, Woodcreek HS
The Tempting Tree – Christopher DeBoever, CA, La Habra HS
De Vita Longa (Of a Long Life)– Meredith Zern, TX, Northbrook HS
Angels in the Sand – Caitlin Donald, OR, Franklin HS
Life Everlasting – Kate Reno, KS, Blue Valley HS
Moist lips form words…Katrina Sohriakoff, CA, Scotts Valley HS
#14 – Adam Bloodworth, GA, Eagles Landing HS
Linking Butterflies – Morgan Roe, MT, homeschooled

Thanks to all of you for helping to make this year’s contest
the very best that it could possibly be.

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