A collection…by Dani Klein

Children

By Dani Klein

Is there anything sweeter than the voices of children?

Such songs shine through snow like pale seashells on beaches.

Through blizzards and thunder there’s one star that’s shining

The smile of a child whose small hand is reaching

A smile may make a dark day feel lighter

A smile may make a coward a fighter

Stand without fear and your fear shall not show

Others can make you feel more than you know

If our voices could tie knots

By Dani Klein

Sit and

Stand

And watch and

Hear the voices they will sound

In the darkness

And in the light.

Invaders

Guests

They will listen if you tell them

If our voices could tie knots

We would make a rope

So we could sing our way to heaven

If my shoes could sing

By Dani Klein

If my shoes could sing

They should scream

Their soles are worn and laces ripped

They should shout with glee I

Fly through the city

I pound and sprint and lift off the ground

My feet

Are moving fast

You may not see them

See me go

If they should sing I should

run

Secrets, Secrets

By Dani Klein

Secrets, Secrets

Are no

fun

How can you have

fun

when you are being torn apart?

Your lips are

as open as ever

while also shut

tight

Good people hate secrets

They attack you inside and

leave scars

The bad ones don’t

even know that they are filled

With lies

Dance

By Dani Klein

And you dance

Across the room

You lift your

arms to the sun

And spin

And spin

And you spin

The earth and

the earth spins the sun and

the sun spins the moon and

the moon spins you

and you

dance

Wind

By Dani Klein

Wind will

push and it

will hurt and

wind will push and wind

will scream

and you will cry and

you will cry

because it will hurt

and it will not

Listen

because it is

the wind.

Phone

By Dani Klein

On the phone I can hear you but

I cannot feel you

on the phone I cannot touch you

On the phone I cannot see you

But you

are miles and miles away so please

pick up the phone

Eye by Lauren Chase

The eye of the storm is a fascinating thing

It holds itself with a monster of chaos

 

The eye looks out for you in times of danger

Carefully pulling you into its grasp

 

The eye of the storm is a fascinating thing

A shelter, however small, of serene stillness

Storm by Lauren Chase

The merciless waves

Pound my little boat

As it tosses and turns

In the rough and rampant sea

The wind tears at my sail

Making me spin, spin spin

 

But I stay in my little, little boat

The one thing that keeps me from drowning

In the vicious storm

I weather the storm with my faithful boat

And as the storm dies

I give thanks to my strong, resilient little ship

The Storm Rider

The Terror Poem by Alex Berkowitz

Disappears in the dark of the night and the mist of the moonlight.

It roams around the dark waiting to embark.

When you see it you see the face of a monster, a terror, an unspeakable thing.

He comes from the dungeon of the skulls and the home of the crows.

Nobody ever goes there, if they did they would be bare bones.

The earth underneath us will shake when it is awake.

Sometimes it prefers little children to ridden.

At dawn it goes back to come upon the pile of bones.

When it feeds it sees the faces of every little face of fright.

Watch out it might get you too.

 

“Finding the Light” By James Jabara

To say that they were a happy family would be true. But it didn’t last long. Jarko was spray painting with white paint on a black wall. Vandalizing, he hid behind a dumpster so his light brown hair wouldn’t give him away. His black hoodie slightly blended with the black wall he was painting. He took precautions so he wouldn’t get caught and killed by Alpha Guards, elite soldiers who would do anything for their leader the Alpha Lord (AL).  Because the Lord could do anything and controlled everything, the laws did not apply to him. No one had ever seen his real face before, only his snow white eyes under his decorated white mask. The act of antipathy that Jarko performed that day, spray painting a negative comment about him, was illegal but had a purpose.

Years ago, while Jarko was asleep, the Guards took his mother and father. It was a forthright order from the Lord. Jarko woke up just in time to see bulky dark shadows on the street hop into a Guard vehicle with his parents. His parents were screaming as the vehicle moved down the dirt road, heading to the city. Jarko recalled his father’s last words, “Fight back.” They were never seen again.  His grandma later explained how Guards got rid of “criminals” and why his parents were taken. Apparently, they were taken because they forgot to give their monthly “salary” to the AL. This was a tax paid directly to him, and everyone had to pay it no matter their income. Salaries were as unfair as rigged carnival games.  His parents were dirt poor and didn’t have enough money to buy food, so they tried to circumvent the system once.

But, the AL never gave anyone a break. Jarko’s hatred for the AL was growing like a fire in a dry forest. Once on a “touring,” where the AL goes to each sector of the country and gives a speech, he announced that there would be a statue of him in each town. Jarko was there to see the first statue go up. What annoyed Jarko was the fact that the citizens hated the AL and his statue, but pretended to like him and clapped when the statue went up. This sickened Jarko, because he realized how 1 person could strike fear into 10’s of thousands of people. He felt like the only one protesting. Many events like this made him catch fire. He did his best to try and rebel by doing things like writing negative comments in public places, or rebelling in other ways. Rebelling became a part of his life. But he always felt he needed to do more, and alone he could not overthrow or affect anyone or anything. He needed a team, and he would find one.

One night, Jarko heard loud knocks on his door. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! He was going to open the door, but he had vandalized that day. Consequently, His instincts told him that it was the Alpha Guards. He grabbed water, food, and ran to the city. As a result, he lived on the streets for 4 days. When he got home, he spotted a note on his table. An anti-Lord rebellion was asking Jarko to join them, their main base in a faraway place called Alleytown.

“So it wasn’t an Alpha Guard!” Jarko grumbled. He knew that joining this group could make more of a difference than anything.  So Jarko left town and started a long journey that took him through 7 sectors of rugged and dangerous Mexican villages. He was struggling, with little food and terrible shelter, and had almost given up. During his 4th day, a newspaper he picked up from bus stops along his journey informed him of some good news. His sector had finally stood up, because the statue was so tall that crops weren’t getting enough light. He was proud of his sector. The next day, he read that his sector was bombed, 400 dead for speaking up. Enraged, Jarko wanted to punish the AL. Suddenly, near the base, an Alpha Guard attacked

him. He quickly realized that by himself, he was no match for the Guard. He was a gnat, waiting to be swatted. Finally, he saw 2 people about his age, wearing red bandanas and carrying homemade weapons. Ultimately, he was struck one last time, then blacked out. When he awoke, his left shoulder was in great pain. He realized he was in a room, lined with many homemade weapons and young people wearing bandanas. As if it was planned, they all chanted together, “Welcome to the light.”

 

“The Unknown Hero” By Brandon Hotchkiss

The crowd went wild. It was now only a one point game. Boulder Bulldogs: 42, Aspen Wildcats: 43. Just three minutes before that we were down by 11. This may have seemed like any other game, but this was the championship game. This decided the winner of the Colorado Basketball League Playoffs. But, this was the biggest game in our season. We were the underdogs, just looking for the win.

¨Let’s go Bulldogs! Let’s go Bulldogs!¨ The wood ground was shaking. The wood floor was a monstrous earthquake. Nine seconds left and we needed to get the ball back. We intentionally fouled their point guard as we knew, he only shot 50% from the free throw line. 1st shot, miss. 2nd shot, another miss. Colin, our superstar grabbed the rebound. He pushed his long blonde hair out of the way. The whistle was as loud as a gunshot, timeout.  Watching from the bench, I sat there as the starters walked towards Coach Doug. Yes, I was on the bench. It feels like I have not played all year. Being on such a good team, my opportunities were immensely limited. To play in the game was all I wanted to do.

I started to drift off from the huddle, ignoring Coach and everything he was saying. I looked around the gym. Light blue paint covered with pictures showing teamwork and courage surrounded the court. The beige court was very plain, covered with feet marks. The fans and I were silent, laconic to see how the game ends.

“Hunter! Listen up! You are going in the game!” Coach yelled at me. His bald head was shiny, you could see the lights from above. “Eric’s ankle is starting to hurt, we need a replacement.” After he said that, I couldn’t deduce why Coach wanted ME in the game, I didn’t even make a shot all that season. “Okay listen up! Give the ball to Colin. He is our top shooter. Get him the ball!”

Then, the whistle blew once again to get the game going again. The ball was inbounded from the opponent’s basket. Ten seconds, Colin quickly brought the ball up past half court. Nine, the other team trapped Colin, leaving him unable to shoot. Eight, Colin bounced the ball under one of the defenders legs. The ball was running towards me.

“Hunter, you got this!” Colin told me, but I wasn’t listening. I was in the zone, this was my time to shine. Seven, I had a wide open jumper and shot the ball. My light brown hair waved in front of my blue eyes and freckled face. Six, the ball soared through the air, it felt like it was up for a century. Five, the ball started to fall. I rushed the shot knowing that I did not put enough power on it. Just then, the ball bonked of the front of the rim, it was off. My face froze in disbelief. I was so muddled. I thought I lost the game for my team. Four, the other team started to celebrate, thinking the game was over. ¨Hunter! Grab the rebound, there is still time left!¨ Coach screamed from the top of his lungs. Three, out of everyone’s surprise, the ball bounced right back to me. Next, with two seconds I did a crossover on the defender, making him fall and bringing him to his knees, and did a step-back to create space between me and the players sprinted towards me to block my shot. Shooting the ball instantly without thinking. I was more confident on this shot than the first. “BUZZ,” the buzzer loudly sounded. This shot decided the game. Make it and my team wins its first ever championship. Miss and we all go home in utter disappointment.

Swish, the ball went straight through the basket. The crowd was stunned, too surprised

to even cheer. No time left, the game was officially over. The officials handed Coach Doug the trophy. He instantly gave it right to me.

“Hunter, you can keep this. You won the game for us. I expect you to come back and play with us, as a starter, next year.” I nodded back at him and smiled, knowing then that I was definitely going to.

 

“Two ‘L’s’ Make a ‘W” By Jamie Gordon  

It was about noon on the playground of the shaky public school building. Everybody was huddled inside the cage of the poorly painted blue tennis court behind the school.

It was recess and Esteban, my worst enemy, and I were scheduled to play a match of tennis to decide who really was the best tennis player in the school. I showed up, in my raggedy cargo pants with many holes in them, and my dirty t-shirt that my mom found at the second hand store. The cargo pants were new when I got them for my birthday, or that’s what my mom said. She forgot to take the tag off of them which said in big red coloring, “The Salvation Army”. I had my old tattered tennis racket in hand, that has definitely seen better days. The grip was getting so worn because I always squeeze it when I’m anxious to make me feel comforted and at home. I got the racket on my seventh birthday in my old apartment, before we had to move because the rent was too high.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ghetto tennis court, Esteban was there, in his expensive brand named clothes, which were never bought at half price at the second hand store. His greased black hair glistened in the sunlight. He was sitting down with all his friends talking to him, hyping him and giving him water. It was about a month after our big move and I didn’t have any friends to fan me or give me water. But there we were, the two best tennis players in the school, one rich, one poor.

One with the school on their side, and one with only luck and a battered tennis racket on their side. It’s like the whole world wanted me to fail and humiliate myself in front of the entire school. Right before the match started, Esteban walked over to my side and said to me dead in the face, “I hope you don’t lose to me too badly, I don’t want to clip the wings of a little birdy who can’t fly.”

Well, the match went on, no matter how unwilling I was. Every time he served the ball, it felt like my heart was beating so hard, it could bounce out of my chest at any second. I lost to Esteban 3-0. He won three rounds and I won none. He completely demoralized me, making me feel helpless and useless. However, I did get three points against him in the second round, other than that I lost terribly.

Ten years later, I and Esteban were both competing in the Australian Tennis Tournament and I had the opportunity to play him again. Again, I was faced with the same decision, play Esteban and have the chance of humiliating myself not once, but twice, or quitting before I play him and lose my chance at the $35,000 reward, my only chance of going to college.

That night, as I laid down in my cold rickety bed, I thought about it, I thought about how losing to Esteban made me feel and what it did to me as a tennis player. I also thought about how beating him and having a better chance of winning the grand prize and finally being able to live in a nice house and get to go to college would make me feel. Beating Esteban was one of the only things I have ever wanted to do.

Then and there I decided that my costly college education and money towards helping my mom rent a functioning apartment was much more important than dealing with the humiliation again. A couple days passed and it was finally the day to play Esteban once again. I felt nervous beyond compare. The match was about to start, it was a full stadium. Every seat I could see had a person in it.

I was getting ready to go out onto the court, but I couldn’t do it. There was just a gut feeling of humiliation and lose that made me feel like I couldn’t play. It felt as if there were one hundred elephants sitting on me, making me unable to breath. I just sat there, feeling nauseous, until I saw my mom walking towards me.

She said, “Why are you crying”, in her slightly scratchy voice, “Even if you lose, you lose, but at least you can have the proficiency of trying. I know you, Will. If you walked away from this match right now, you wouldn’t be able to look at yourself in the morning.”

I looked at her, my eyes full of tears. She was in her favorite blue sweater that she got from her mother before she passed. Her short curly hair that came down to right above her shoulders was sitting calmer than I was. I thought to myself, she does have a point, if I left I couldn’t handle myself. I walked onto the freshly painted expensive court. I played my heart out, making it hard for Esteban to win. I didn’t give up, I played and played, until it came down to the last point of the last round.

We both won one round each before and this one play would be the game He hit the ball and I ran to receive it and then I slipped. The whole moment went to slow motion. My old shoes’ soles had worn out. I lost the match that day. I was heartbroken. I and my mom were walking out of the stadium until a man stopped us, telling me that he was a college recruiter and he was offering me a full ride to one of the best tennis colleges. He said to me something I will never forget, “To watch one learn tennis is one thing, but to watch one play tennis, is prodigious.” That day I learned that sometimes, you have to take the loss to be able to get the win.