2018 Youth Winners

Dime Store Surrealism

Dali performs a death defying stunt
With paintings bric-à-bracing on his back.
With just a helmet and a Spanish grunt
He journeys down the moist wet cul-de-sac.
When he was five, he found a wounded bat
Come morning ants were eating it alive
Our Chava, ever the aristocrat
Devoured a mouthful with tremendous drive.
The ocelots are swimming in his suit
As one leaps from his kneecap to a tree
He tells him hush and like a rotten fruit
The rabid ants pour from his ears as he
Amidst the chaos takes time to observe
The cauliflower’s logarithmic curve.

Maryam Azizli
Vancouver, BC, Canada


When I behold an addict on the street,
Enraptured in a cloud of toxic smoke,
I think of love. It makes us feel complete,
Til we forget the taste that made us choke.
We fill our lungs with death to feel alive,
Romanticize our jealousy and pain,
Against our neighbors and our friends contrive,
Since love’s the prize, we count it all as gain.
We crave its heat; without it we feel cold.
We need its high, its passion and its joys.
The clouds of smoke that from its tip unfold,
Do obfuscate the truth: that love destroys.
But in the end, illusions burn to ash;
We stub it out, and leave it in the trash.

Karen Li
Apex, NC

The House on 93rd Street

You know of a house that’s built of dust and stone
The air is thick and smells of days now passed.
The door creaks shut. The boards beneath you groan,
Painted by light from the other side of the glass.
Scurrying whispers rush from beneath the floor.
They climb the wooden walls and brush your ears.
Rosy handprints drip from the walls and door
And tell you stories of loudness, then stillness, then years.
Footsteps that are not yours creak over your head
They belong to friends of the ghost sitting in the chair
Whose blood is cold and dry and too-dark red,
Forever saying last words in a prayer.
You love this house, built out of dust and stone.
For though there’s no one there, you are not alone.

Emma Nasseri
Topeka, KS