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These pieces are selected for publication by YWP Staff, mentors and this site's Community Leaders. If you wish to participate in the selection, contact Susan Reid.


Sep 30
audio 3 comments challenge: General
Layjmo's picture

The Box

The Box

The idea that people aren’t the same

Seems to be something our minds cannot frame

Young people want to “fit in” and “be cool”

But is that really how we’re getting through school?

Kids are stifled, trapped in this cookie cutter

Our unique abilities tossed down the gutter

Too scared to show who we really are

But tell me, will that truly get us so far?

It seems we’re being trained to fit into a box

The way we all walk, the way everyone talks

Moves alike, identical syllabic flow

But what is it that we’re trying to show?

That we’re all able to be one and the same?

To follow societal rules in the avoidance of shame?

The alternative isn’t so bad, it turns out

Just showing the world what you’re all about

Where is the problem in that, I ask?
Sep 20
poem 0 comments challenge: General

If I Could Fold the World

Once I folded an origami rose,
Layers of curled petals spiralling,
Gently leaning back in the sun,
Wrapping in close to itself.

Imagine if I could stretch my arms and reach,
miles and miles
the North Pole with one hand,
the South Pole with the other.
Folding the northern tip of Canada down to the equator.

People would dance, arms curled around each other,
The world would gently lean back towards the sun,
The world would wrap people in close to itself.
If only I knew how.

The instructions are not folded away in a drawer,
Hidden among layers of paper.
Leaning back into my imagination’s sunfire,
I must find my own way,
Wrapping my hands close around the idea,
that will let me fold the world.
Sep 18

Sunset at Puget Sound

Sep 09
AboutToSnap's picture

Sunny days

Sep 06
emily.hess's picture

The Planet and Her Colors

blue, and murky gray.

When I think about my planet
I think about her many colors,
I think about,
browns and yellows,
and reds and the rarity of purple.

And when I think about my planet I am afraid.

As I grow up
my colors become less vivid,
more industrial and smog
and polluted and black.

And when I think about my planet I am afraid.
I want to hold her in my hands and
show my future children the colors of the world,
I want to show them green and blue
and rainbows.

I want to show them that all their favorite colors were given to them from the Earth herself,
and I want to show them that they too can hold the planet in their hands.

When I think about my planet I am afraid,
because it is mine,
as well as yours, and hers, and unfortunately it is also his.
and we are far too often taking her
Aug 21

Foggy Photographers

Taken atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
Aug 14
poem 2 comments challenge: General
Lynnez's picture

Day Dreaming

Aug 10

what i will tell the hairdresser

Freedom, I used to think,
was long hair billowing
behind me in the wind
split ends and bed head and braids
down my back.

I used to mourn when
the girls I knew with long beautiful hair—
red, mostly, like tendrils of fire—
cut it all off.
Who would shed their phoenix feathers?

Now the hair which I took such care
to grow out, always growing out,
weighs upon my neck
strangles me when I lay it on my pillow,
little coils of rope, still wet.

I think I know those girls-turned-women
for I, too, thirst for an unfamiliar freedom—
one where the wind strokes my shoulders
instead of toying with dead cells—
a new kind of confidence, power, beauty.

When before have I wanted to shed the past?
Aug 06
poem 2 comments challenge: Left Out

The People I'd Rather Not Be

The people who know what to say.
The people who say what they mean every time.
The people who talk, talk behind others backs--it makes them cool.
The people who are loved by everyone.
The people who get the inside jokes.
The people who want to be in the circle,
and The people who are...

I am not these people.
When everyone's talking,
I'm not.
I'm listening,
until I say something.
And then those people go quiet.
You could hear a pin drop.
Because what I say is not what they want to hear.
They want the funny.
The teasing.
The flirting.
They want the right thing every time.
But I'm not those people.
I don't have the right words to give...
But then, they smirk.
Almost turn away,
but not quite.
Inviting me in, kinda.
Almost daring me to make a comment again.
Just so they can smirk at me.
Aug 05

Pieces of Home

This summer I’ve dedicated a great deal of my time to learning Mandarin and relearning my Spanish.  In the process I have met a great deal of people internationally who are wonderful.  A common request is to see photos of where I’m from, because they’re all interested in what life in America is life, so I have been taking a lot more photos (despite my lack of photography skills) to show them.  This summer has been particularly special to me because I will be attending college in Massachusetts starting this fall, and although I’ll be returning it’s been a little more bittersweet and sentimental.  I was going to write an accompanying poem to make up for my photographs, but I think these are better left alone.
Jul 27

Angry at Myself

When I'm afraid that I will get angry at myself for something,
I avoid it.

You see,
I don't like being angry at myself
So when I am angry at myself
About something I haven't done yet
Or am not doing,

I do other things.

A crossword puzzle
Eat some food
Check my email
Reread the instructions for the forms I should be filling out
Watch Netflix

Because I hate being angry at myself
For things I know I should have done
Or should be doing
In the sense of
Things I quite truly, really ought to be doing
Not just those "should"s that we feel pressure from despite their lack of reasonable source.
They're the should's like writing letters to my grandparents
Cleaning my room
Merely logging on to YWP
Starting college placement exams
Clearing my dishes from dinner
Responding to that text from last week.
Jul 23

Our Star-Spangled Foot Print

2007 CE
the year US annual carbon dioxide 
emissions peaked at
7.37 billion tons
-544 million tons of
potential exponential renewables
and recession
derived decrease in industry
over the next 7 years

As of 2016, 
one american = 4,600 pounds 
of carbon annually.
Population of the land of the Free
(ly cooking themselves in their breath):

4,600 x 323.13 million pounds
 of satellite-computerized
frigidly air-conditioned shiny black SUVs
fueled by the blood of the earth
Jul 19
Aidster21's picture

Pen and Paint

Jul 18


Sometimes I forget
That my vases,
Porcelain and decorated with intricate cerulean details,
The result of years of hard work and sweat,
The ones that are now shattered, jagged, and ruined,
Scattered on the marble floor in shards,
Appear merely as wooden blocks to the passersby.

To them, it was once a sturdy tower
And it will be again, as if time had waited.

To them, my problems appear small and ordinary,
Easily fixable.

I wish I had known this earlier.

(author's note: basically the previous poem, but with some edits and also I recorded me reading it.)

Jul 14
maxwellz's picture

YWP Annual Anthology

Jul 04

Bloody Freedom

Dear America,
What would have happened if we never stole this land?
Never polluted it with our cold superiority,
our ships swarming with sickly death,
our flashing bullets thirsting for blood.

If the people native to this land,
who tended it as a arboreous, continental garden,
were allowed to remain, 
in entirety?

Rather than as the scattered splinters
of the last tree standing
in a sacred forest,
burned to the ground
by the unquenchable flames of greed.

Dear Europe,
how do you feel that your reckless descendants
have polluted The New World
worse than the old?

That they have crushed it beneath 
hundreds, thousands, 6.5 million pairs
of heeled boots and polished dress shoes,
stilettos and Nikes,

Toppling the refuge of ancient forests,
Soiling the clear waters with the mud caking their soles,
Jun 23

Proud to Be

I wrote it on a flag.
His flag that flew from here to Florida and then home
With him.
I will miss you more than I even know yet,
I wrote.
 My blue permanent maker letters
Bled into the white nylon stripes.
Yes, I filled two of them;
Wordiness runs in my genes, in my ink,
And apparently on nylon, too.

I skipped the red stripe so that my message matched everyone else's.
But still, it didn't
Because I used two stripes.
Jun 19

Civil Rights Speech (Verbal)

Throughout history we have been fighting for equal rights. Either for our own or someone else's. Women’s Rights. African American Rights. LGBT Rights.

We recognize these movements as we see them happening all around us. We oppose or support them. We rarely stand in the middle.

As we watch these movements barrel downhill we watch people trying to spear these movements to stop them.

Destroy them before they reach the point of no return. Their criticizing comments hold us back from taking all the steps we need too.

This is why racism and sexism and homophobia and all other hate still exist.

We have heard the speeches, the comments, the subtle rebellion. We have seen all that has been done to stop these movements.

I have seen the movements. I have heard the hate. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream, and I have mine.
Jun 11

To the Girl I Know as Strong

To the girl I know as strong,
I'm here for you, my dear,
Whether it be through light and happiness,
Or treachery and fear.

As long as the sun rises in the morning,
And sets in the dusky night,
As long as the mountains stand tall,
And the ponds shimmer light.

Whether it's when life gets tough,
Or a heart bleeds rougher, 
Some tears run dry,
Or there isn't any suffer.

Whether it be huge,
Or maybe just small,
May our ideas grow big,
Or we have none at all.

Darling, maybe they won't understand,
Or maybe they can,
But it won't really matter,
Because together we stand.

To the girl I know as strong,
I'm here for you my dear,
For whatever you may need me,
I will always be right here.


Jun 06

Again & Again