A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Creative Writing

Tenth Grade Poetry


Kara McBurnett 

We walk about our tired paths each day,

With past travails and future deeds in mind,

Important stuff (not bland in any way)

Unique and special insights we devined.

Each one of us, the first to live so full,

The first to blaze our way through virgin fate,

The needle that precedes each strand of wool,

The single scout compelled to deviate.

Convinced that others copy and conform,

And think the thoughts our spoonfed world serves hot,

Alone, we dare to step outside the norm,

Alone, we think the thoughts that they cannot.

Yet we all play this universal game,

The very definition of “the same.”


She Wished She Never Learned How to Read 

Lily Zhong

Clicketyclack, clicketyclack.

The sound of long, manicured nails tapping against flat screens filled her ears with deafening white noise as she walked down the long narrow hall,

Faces partially lit by artificial light peered up at her, blinding.

Black eyes pierced through her, glaring.

Head down, she continued to walk as

Silent, sweaty judgment trickled down the back of her neck,


Clicketyclack, clicketyclack.

What were they typing?

What thoughts lay behind those glaring black eyes?

What living, breathing monster were the clicks and the clacks birthing?

She couldn’t know unless she caved into the stupid impulse to tumble into the endless dark abyss of words and images.

She didn’t want to know,

But the questions haunted her,

Threatening to push her over the edge.

She fought the flooding urge,

Deflecting attacks with her shield in hand, knowing she’d ultimately fail,

Knowing that in a few seconds, one of those strikes would break her shield, rendering her unable to control her actions.

Then it happened.

All it took was the next wayward glance her way,

Followed by that scornful leer.

Both were barely audible amongst the blanketing white noise, tapping.

Tap, tap, tap

She heard it: the cry of her shield splintering, her defense crumbling.

She jumped.

Clicketyclack, clicketyclack

The sound of her nails tapping against the screen

She read the words, wishing she’d never learned how to read

“Fatass, sluttyass, punkass bitch,

Lying ass, sorryass, dirty little snitch.

Wipe that shit off your face; stop being such a whore; I’m gonna fucking get you;

All caps: DIE BITCH!!!!”

And on, and on, and on.

Her sight slowly failed her as tears pierced her eyes.

The words blurred into a monotonous chant, lyrics to the painful song reverberating inside her head.

Her breath quickened as the sob lodged in her throat grew bigger and bigger.

The words steadily burned her,

And as she inhaled the smoke emanating from her own charred body, she choked, lungs burning.

Now, while the true siege raged on:

She armed herself with words of love,

Built an airtight wall around her damaged heart,

And waited.

And waited.

Cracks wound their way through the wall, and she panicked,

Hastily covering them with mortar,

Never realizing that it was the foundation of the wall itself that was the problem.

She pooled so much of herself into fending off everything outside the wall

That she never found where the damage was truly taking place:

Inside the wall.

For, inside the wall,

The song kept playing, and the tears kept flowing;

The lump kept growing, and nothing was slowing!

Until one day, the cracked wall collapsed,

Crushing what was left of her heart

“Finally,” she thought, as the walls closed in, “everything is fading.”


The sound of the razor as it fell to the bathroom floor?

Clicketyclack, clicketyclack.


There once lived a lonely old man at the edge of the world

One night, a roaring wind brought to his door fear, darkness, and,

Hidden amongst it all,

A single seed.

The seed had nothing at all,

No home, no family, no hope,

Nowhere to go.

So it buried itself deep into the moist, dark earth

Hoping for an answer,

Or maybe even a means to an end,


The storm, as with all storms, soon blew itself out.

Faded away, replaced by

The sun, sprouting warm, rosy rays;



Jeremy Liu 

America, a nation fair and just,

Of people persistent and resourceful,

On them the fate of freedom we entrust,

A task fit for a people so able.

But beyond the horizon looms a threat,

Those who would wrest power from the people,

Who ideas flow freely do not let,

Whose regimes are oppressive and brutal.

In truth, not exclusive to lands afar,

Here, some seek to censor opinions,

These modern “political commissars”,

To pen and paper they will not listen.

Democracy is built upon debate,

This perfect system let us not mutate.


No Title 

Brian Kirz 

Dear, or Cara, or Querida, or Chère,

I write to express my fascination with the impairment you have caused me,

the maddeningly flurried state of my heart: my hurrying pulse,

the swooning and somersaulting dance of my stomach, convulsing

the subtle sweating of my twitchy palms, the irregular and

clumsy beat of my heart gaining speed and temperature;

the constant magnetic force of your presence leans me over towards you,

(so of course my hapless hopeless lovesick being swerves closer on cue,

caught by the slightest sigh of your voice in a sound or a breath)

drowning my words and thoughts to death, pounds sweet murder

deep down in my veins and away at temples until

I am ready to scream. The poet trembles

at the thought of speaking but even if I weakly attempted to open

My mouth, in my doubt every would-be word would be wasted in your direction,n

cringing at its own imperfection in passing as when a gorgon shuns a mirror.

I will have trouble speaking as you continue to stare.

Were it not for these bold letters anchored in a sea of ink, painstakingly

buoying my courage in the case I do sink – I’d hate to be

one of the silent and miserable left to slouch in the defeat of never having spoken,

alone, tormented, bitter and broken, as the rest of the springtime youth

profess, pick flowers, and passionately embrace on the doorstep – Instead (of me)

I pine, write, and hope that perhaps you will perceive the sense in this insanity.