Summer 2020: Student Poems from the Pandemic

Updated: Aug 3

Then, Now, When and How


I believe in then, now, when and how,

the moo of the cow coming from where the green grass grows.


I believe in when and how, now and then, the regretful, sad moan

of the lone whale now headed for home.


I believe in our ancestors who cultivated civilization, yes.

I believe in that, even the little scurrying rat,

the tap, tap, tap of the winter rain.

I believe in early civilization, yes, yes, I do, but the vision of it

is now, then, when, how... it has grown so sophisticated and for that,

it is lowly rated by me.


I used to believe in bells, buttons, rings, and rockets with sprockets.

Now I don't - it's not my way of life.

I believe in sustainability, subsistence.

I believe in the elk, the deer - the cry of the moon calling out to the sun

to deplete the darkness of dawn.


I believe in myself, the ocean, the motion of the waves.

I believe.


by: Micah Jacobs

Poet-Teacher: Jackie Hallerberg

County: Sonoma


The Light in My Hand


In the palm of my hand there is a light that

travels with me.

It whispers to me I am the pearl of the ocean

I am the light of the moon

I am the sunny eye and the swaying dragon.

It goes to a place of shininess where a river starts and by

that river it leads me to the moon.

When it is done it leads me to the ticking and tocking

of the pocket watch.

It shows me the way of the spark.


by: Ariel J. Jauregui

County: Sonoma

Dear Baron Shahé

Quarantine is like being a fish in the ocean,

scared and vulnerable, not knowing what’s out there.

Covid-19 is the shark that’s chasing after all of us.

The school of fish means more food for the shark.

The ones that stay away, have a better chance to survive.

I’m one of those fish, scared of the world, not wanting

to leave my home because the predator is ready to attack

at any moment. I live in fear, not wanting to be hit

by the monster that is out there killing people one by one,

not wanting to be a part of those numbers, not wanting

to be the one who dies. It’s a scary world we live in.

We never know what will come next.

Best regards,

Claudine Azilazian


By Claudine Azilazian

County: Los Angeles

Dear Baron Shahé


I’m hoping this letter finds you in great spirits.

All thoughts, emotions, and mental expectations

Have been halted due to this shelter in place order.

All forms of communication, social interaction

with friends and family seems a thing of distant past.

Oh, when will we ever experience normalcy or even

breathe freely without restrictions or lockdowns?

Spending countless hours thinking how someone’s

lack of responsibility placed the entire world

into this position of uncertainty.

Best regards,

Alique Klahejian


By: Alique Klahejian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron Shahé


By the end of the day, my phone’s and computer’s batteries are dead and I end up with an immense headache. I am now well acquainted with the Amazon delivery guy, and my bookshelf has exploded. The crow that always flies over our house, when this little bird sits on the powerline and chirps, is named Treasure Hunt, and the little bird, Ex. Ex marks the spot. I thought it was amusing, but my sister is now worried for my sanity. I blame it on being cooped up all day. To entertain myself I get a bag of M&M’s and microwave them. Then, I get one in my left hand and one in my right, and hold them up with my fingers. Then, it becomes a competition as I squish them to see which one cracks first. The uncracked champion versus the next M&M in line, and so on and so forth, until the last M&M standing. You may find my champion M&M in the envelope I mailed you. Please forward my champion to the M&M headquarters for breeding purposes.


Thank you,

Aleen Kojikian


By: Aleen Kojikian

County: Los Angeles

Dear Baron,


I’m a bowl of soggy organic wheat waffles cereal from Whole Foods. It was the only option available; it’s quite good actually. Cultural and societal standards seep into every crevice. They ponder; they revile my appearance. Before they consumed me, they were just thoughts.

“Friends” treat my loyalty like the bowl, an outsider. They think if you break it, you can just buy a new one, a replacement; cleaner than before, unused, untouched, stable. Do they realize a new one is a backstab? Lingering is a backstab.

Almond milk is my heart, vegan. I miss someone I’ve never met. I love someone I’ve never meat. How did I establish that relationship in my head when they don’t even know I exist? Their acting gave it all away, so profound, so emotionally abusive. Its familiarity is making it addictive. No matter the warp it puts me in, I crave it. It’s dominant, but it was a joke from the start. It broke the internet.

I placed a spoon in the fridge the night before. Why? I knew when I woke up my eyes would have the reminisces from the hours of leftover curdled water I had shed until 3:36 a.m. Double the size, size 24 to be precise; font Arial not Times New Roman, and not double spaced. They were single-spaced, thin lining, red. Minus the subduing of outside forces I have repressed myself from those whom I thought I knew. They did it first. “A relationship isn’t about one person trying to force a connection. If It’s not reciprocated, move on.”


--Natalia Agadjian


By: Natalia Agadjian

County: Los Angeles


The Fifth Season


Dear Daydreamer,


I walk through the rows of roses admiring their beauty.

The clouds are swirled into a series of perfect wisps.

The birds have taken it upon themselves to make music;

I tip my gold Crown as a greeting when I pass by each of my people,

Ignoring the hissing Serpentine hiding in the bushes.


It’s Spring. At least I think so.


I wave to the bees in the buttercups.

The soothing sound of the Golden Streams lull me to sleep.

The sun kisses my skin with soft, warm lips.

Life feels like nothing more than a lucid dream.

I search for shade, but that’s where the Demons hide.


It’s Summer. At least I think so.


The sky bleeds a beautiful orange,

Even the slightest breeze gives a shower of brown leaves.

We sit around the campfire watching the smoke float up.

The harvest is bountiful this time around.

I disregard the dancing shadows peeking from underneath the pile of leaves.


It’s Fall. At least I think so.


I skip through the paths of perfectly shoveled snow.

I spot every animal’s burrow,

Each unique snowflake, handcrafted and carved by taloned hands.

The last Unworthy Rose pokes its head out the snow,

But before it can see the light of day, the phantoms snatch it from its roots.

It’s Winter. At least I think so.


The once perfect utopia is shattered.

The patchy cardboard buildings collapse to ruin,

Leaving dents in the ruler’s mind.

Her Crown can’t protect her anymore, for paper is no match for rain.


It was Gold. At least I think so.


The Serpentine have poked holes in her bubble with their venomous fangs.

It’s on the verge of bursting; no dream is strong enough.

She runs until her legs can carry her no more,

And karma is right at her tail.


You’re okay. At least I think so.


I hear a distant popping noise, and I’m awoken from my dreams,

But I’m still trapped.

The wolf wore the sheep clothing as a perfect disguise.

The dream wore reality as a perfect imperfect disguise.

There was no one to abandon me, so I abandoned myself.

Sugar and Salt. At least I think so.


The Serpent is strangely quiet, but never silenced.

The Demons wait for the chance to unsheathe.

The Shadows lurk in the woods, hiding between the pines.

The Phantoms sit on a brick wall, watching me with crooked smiles.

I sit among my throne, a Grave of Dreams.


It was inevitable. At least I think so.


For even the last Unworthy Rose needs both sunlight and rain to bloom,

But I only received heavy showers.

Sincerely, Sophie Shahinian… At least I think so.


By: Sophie Shahinian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron Shahé,

I no longer have the freedom that I used to have.

I am now trapped within four walls.

If I attempt to escape, it can result in sickness and death.

I have to wear gloves and mask to keep myself protected.

I have not seen anybody in months. It is scary out there.

It is unbelievable how a simple situation can escalate.

--Berlyn Kendirian

P.S. Shipping may be delayed due to Covid-19.


By: Berlyn Kendirian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Father of the School I Attend,


I found a bomb in my yard a few years back.

I found it while I was digging to plant flowers

and while watching two white doves create their nests

on the tall tree, in the corner, left on the street I was living on.


The bomb—covered with white, flowered lace—

was beautiful and unique. It was nothing compared

to other bombs. In the middle, there were two

large white roses, poking out from the inside.


The bomb had water in it, keeping the flowers

hydrated and alive. Captivated by its beauty, I took it

home and used it as a decorative piece.

I added it to the shelf where I keep my Swarovski.


As time went on, like all flowers, I witnessed the shedding

of petals and leaves. The top of the bomb stayed barren

during this period. Nonetheless, the flowers growing

from the inside still had strong and healthy roots.


The barren pistils didn’t make a difference

to the beauty of the bomb. The petals always grew back

when spring came along. Besides, I cleaned up the mess

on my shelf with two swipes.


One time, I forgot to fill the bomb up with water.

Naturally, the petals wilted away. The stems, though dry,

stood still. The roots turned to vulnerable dust.

The fallen petals and pollen turned the dainty lace dirty.


I tried to clean the lace—stained by the pigments—

in my yard, as I watched the neighbors have a barbeque.

I saw a small burnt paper fly through the wind.

If only the lace wasn’t dirty, I could’ve joined the fun.


I spent my day washing a bomb.

I miss you greatly.


Sincerely,

Ellen Vartanyan


By: Ellen Vartanyan

County: Los Angeles


Web of Emotions


As the days go by, my body begins to weaken.

I stay inside all day, away from illnesses

without realizing what is ahead of me.

My heart crumbles when I think of my friends,

knowing we will be separated for a while.

Yet I feel a new side of me spring forth from the back of my brain.


It’s a sign of independence and maturity.

I understand what the real world is like.

It’s not everything we dreamed of as kids.


It’s scary, a bit harder than we think.

This is quarantine. A lot harder than I thought.

I will be ready to move on and start a new chapter.


By: Levon Shenian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron Shahé,

I sit here in my home surrounded

by four thick walls. The local newspaper

is filled with dullness. The VHS tapes

have been worn out and stopped working.

The orange tree, that produces those bright,

juicy oranges, has stopped giving fruits.

I used pick and squeeze them. The neighbor

next door finally moved out after she saved

enough money. She always wanted to move.

I send much love and hope all is well.

Say hello to your daughter from me.


--Emily Markarian


By: Emily Markarian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron Shahé,


I wake up every morning

to a beautiful sunrise. I eat breakfast

with my eyes barely open. I begin

my schoolwork until I go outside

for a break. I watch the birds fly

from left to right, chirping to each other.

Then, at lunchtime, I eat. I finish

my schoolwork until night. I realize

my days are about eating and doing

homework. I need better days than these.

I wake up the next day. The cycle continues…


Your student with gratitude,

Anthony Keshishian


By: Anthony Keshishian

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron,


As time flies and walks, I’m still stuck

in a cage, stuck in a prison, frozen in a game.

This life is broken, but I still find a way

to strive through it. I look into the future,

and I don’t remember the past.

I feel as if I’m controlled,

and the only time I’m in control is at night.

My brain feels like a boat;

the more it tilts the more I lose.


Yours truly,

Your student,

Alex Kassardjian


By: Alex Kassardjian

County: Los Angeles


Darkness


Dear Baron Shahé


My thoughts are everywhere. I look

at my right. I see a blue sky covering

people’s struggles. I look at my left.

I see a dark sky pulling people into sadness.

I get called by two of them,

yet they still feel the same.

Respectfully,

Natel Artin


By: Natel Artin

County: Los Angeles


Dear Baron Shahé


Where did the years go?

It only seems like yesterday…

So many fond memories to cherish.

The day we separated is the day we stopped…

The day we meet again is the day we rejoice.

With gratitude,

Mihran Simonian


By: Mihran Simonian

County: Los Angeles




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