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    “Lesser-known Figures of the American Revolution” First Prize – Khamiah Quinones

    Khamiah Quinones

    Lydia Darragh:
    An Important Revolutionist

    Lydia Barrington Darragh was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1729. Lydia Barrington married William Darragh, a friend of her family, in 1753. After a few years, the Darragh’s moved to a Quaker community in Philadelphia. William worked as a tutor while Lydia stayed at home and, together, they raised 5 children. During the American Revolution, most Quakers were neutral and did not support either side, but the Darraghs secretly agreed with the Patriot’s freedom cause.

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    “Lesser-known figures of the American Revolution” Second Prize – Jonah Krasa

    Jonah Krasa

    James Armistead
    How James Armistead went from slave to spy.

    Some time in the 1760’s James Armistead was born on a plantation in Virginia. In 1781 James Armisted became a spy for the French and Americans. He was sent to go into the British camp in Yorktown, Virginia while the Americans and the French were planning to attack Yorktown.

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    Black History Month Essay Contest – First Prize

    An Investment in the Human Soul – by Chloe Coe, PGHS Sophomore

        As the daughter of former slaves, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune only dreamed of creating the change that she and many young African Americans had forever longed to see in the world. On July 10th, 1875, Bethune was born into a family consisting of her mother (Patsy McLeod), her father (Samuel McLeod), and 17 children she would call her siblings. 

    After the civil war, her newly freed mother continued to work for the family that had previously owned her until she was able to buy the cotton farm from said family. Bethune worked alongside her family on the farm until she was able to attend a newly founded boarding school in North Carolina. She was adamant about utilizing these newly granted privileges in order to prove herself to anyone and everyone who had ever doubted an African American child’s abilities and determination. 

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    Black History Month Essay Contest – Second Place

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – by Maryam Baryal, PGHS Freshman

    On August 1, 1920, Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, Virginia to a black tobacco farming family. A few years later, her mother passed away during childbirth, leaving Lacks’ father a widower with ten children. Knowing he could not raise them by himself, he moved his family north, to Clover, Virginia, where he divided up the children between his relatives to raise. Henrietta was sent to live with her grandfather who also happened to be raising her cousin named Day. In 1935, at the age of fourteen, Henrietta had a baby boy with her cousin and four years later, they had a daughter. In 1941, the couple decided to get married. 

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    Black History Month Essay Contest – Third Prize

    Marshall “Major” Taylor – by William Coen, PGHS Freshman

    Every Sunday morning, I ride a “Greg LeMond” road bicycle, named after a famous cyclist who won multiple Tour de France races in the 1980s. I now believe that instead I should ride a “Major Taylor” road bicycle, if only it existed.

    In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cycling was one of the most popular sports globally and Marshall “Major” Taylor was the fastest sprint cyclist in the world. His greatest of many accomplishments was winning both the one-mile and two-mile sprint races at the 1899 World Championships, held in Montreal. To this day, Taylor is the only African-American to become a world cycling champion. Despite facing unconscionable racism, Taylor persevered, demonstrating his cycling talent in a sport dominated by White men.

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    Why They Will Never Learn

    by Erin Smith

     A doe runs across

    The road, in front of a bus

    Her young fawn follows

    The Ghost of Eliza Tash

    by Rachel Cope

    My parents lived on an old homestead out on Carmel Valley Road for about seventeen years through the 1970’s and the 1980’s. Many scary experiences – creaking noises, inexplicably displaced objects, and general spooks – occurred out on that homestead throughout those seventeen years but none as nerve-racking as the wildfire that my father refers to as the “asshole fire” that was started by their “city slicker” neighbors. The wildfire got so close to their house that they were forced to evacuate immediately. Once the firemen arrived at the property, they noticed that an old lady was hosing down the house, using water from a nearby water tank in attempts prevent the fire from overtaking the house. Multiple times the firemen on the scene told the old woman to leave immediately so that she wouldn’t be harmed by smoke inhalation or be burned by the fast moving flames. But the obstinate woman would not relent from her task of hosing down the house. Frustrated, the firemen eventually gave up their efforts to move the woman away from the house and continued on with the task of putting out the blaze.

    A week later, my mother went to turn on the press pump, which would fill up the water holding tank, and she discovered that the pump was disconnected. Not aware of the old woman and her protective actions, my mother quickly contacted the forestry department to see if the firemen had tapped into their water source during the emergency. The department proceeded to ask the firemen that were credited for putting out the flames if they knew anything about the disconnected pump, and they said no;  however, they did ask if the old lady that was hosing down the house when they arrived at the ranch was doing okay. That curious question led my mother to investigate further, and eventually she discovered that there were no water marks on the property windows or anywhere else where the firemen said that the woman was hosing down the house. My mother, already suspicious about ghostly occurrences around the property, and remembering the history of its original homestead (which was owned by the prominent Tash family) that burned down over a hundred years before the new house was built, concluded that the mysterious firefighter that helped to put out the “asshole” blaze must have been a ghost! To this day, my parents and the firemen on the scene still believe that the ghost of Eliza Tash was protecting the house at 43515 Carmel Valley Road on that day to prevent the same demise that claimed the once cherished Tash family home.

    And yes this is a true story.

    Hello Little Birdie

    by Naiya Biddle

     Hello little birdie
    How was your day?
    Mine was most excellent
    If I should say

    What now little birdie?
    You seem a little sad
    What is the matter?
    Missing something you once had?

    Don’t cry little birdie
    It’s going to be okay
    What’s done has been done
    And so comes another day

    Don’t worry little birdie
    It won’t hurt you
    Although it is tempting
    Just to rid myself of you too

    Who now little birdie?
    Oh, your dear friend
    Where is he you ask?
    It doesn’t really matter in the end

    But you want to know little birdie?
    That’s fine with me
    He’s in the attic
    He that use to be

    What have I done little birdie?
    You already know
    Have you not heard the screams?
    Have you not watched my show?

    Am I ill little birdie?
    Not as far as I’m aware
    He thought I was
    For I did give him quite the scare

    What is wrong with my hands little birdie?
    They are stained you say?
    And so they are
    I think I like them this way

    Are you scared little birdie?
    Are you aware the end is near?
    Don’t you want to see your friend again?
    Come now, I am here

    Goodbye little birdie.

    Last Breath

    by Golnoush Pak

    The world around me is quiet

    Like there is nothing
    Not even a single soul…but me
    Sitting on this old chair
    My mind surprisingly empty of thoughts
    As I stare at nowhere…
    Toward emptiness perhaps
    I can’t even feel myself breathing
    My heart doesn’t beat
    I feel just like this old chair that I’m sitting on
    With an old soul
    Showing few signs of being alive
    It’s not bad … It’s peaceful
    It is the peacefulness of the chair I feel
    Footsteps coming towards me
    A fresh, happy soul sits upon my lap
    A smile forms on my dry lips unconsciously
    She is young and very energetic
    She puts her hand on my arm
    “Sir, are you alright?”
    Her voice is sweet
    Minutes rock slowly
    Until I am no longer chair
    I hover above my creaking frame
    I see the girl
    Sitting in its lap
    She will likely walk away
    But I don’t want her to
    Desire is still within me
    Her living spirit brings me joy
    Makes me believe there is hope
    Even in this place beyond hope
    Where I see my body from above
    And I see hers
    Leaving me
    In stillness



    Plea for a Green Thumb

    by Rachel Cope

    How hard could it be to grow a strawberry?
    The vast fields in Watsonville grow thousands of them,
    but this gardener, broken in spirits, wants just one.
    A single strawberry without any dents or discoloration,
    no mold or mildew filling the center;
    no puncture holes from hungry bugs;
    no more infestations of pesky green aphids,
    And no more broken stems.

    All she’s asking for is one plump, red strawberry-
    something to boost her broken ego-
    something to show her that everything she touches does not always die-
    something to reassure this tired gardener that she is not a failure-
    just one strawberry.


    by Meriel Glysson

    I yearn for the bliss of serenity
    As my whole life flashes before my eyes
    And death’s sweet call tears me from reality

    Obscure thoughts warp my mentality
    Dizzy and spinning in knots and ties
    I yearn for the bliss of serenity

    The hostile mind commits brutality
    Filling the world with hate and lies
    While death’s sweet call tears us from reality

    Life is an unending spiral of abnormality
    Trying to grasp a light to arise
    Yearning for the bliss of serenity

    With the mindset of mortality
    We collect our memories so no one dies
    When death’s sweet call tears us from reality

    To obtain the purist state of equanimity
    One must obliterate the thoughts we deemed unwise
    I yearn for the bliss of serenity
    As death’s sweet call tears me from reality.


    by Shyla Atchison

    Again, it’s hard to stand.
    I need your crutch.
    Dionysus, take my hand.

    I want to reach your holy land.
    Bless me with your touch.
    Again, it’s hard to stand.

    Dionysus, let me disband.
    It’s all too much.
    Dionysus take my hand.

    Without you my will is weak, and
    You’re the only thing I can clutch.
    Again, it’s hard to stand.

    Dionysus, you turn bad to grand.
    If it isn’t asking too much,
    Dionysus, take my hand.

    You always understand
    The only help I need is your touch.
    Again, it’s hard to stand.
    Dionysus, take my hand.


    The Psychologist

    by Lawrence Haggquist

    The social experimenter cogitates
    over lurking variables
    that threaten to slip like shadows
    past the fortress of his experimental design.

    Outside the walls of his intellect,
    rain soaks sidewalks
    where students,
    having escaped random selection,
    scurry along brick walkways,
    past the ivy beards
    of buildings,
    to their classes.

    in the cool basements of Psychology,
    teams of rats huddle in cages,
    like prisoners at Auschwitz,
    awaiting their assigned torture
    by electric shock, or brain lesioning,
    or perhaps starvation.
    Sad to say,
    but maybe they have it better than Zimbardo’s human prisoners,
    who cower in cells
    on cold cement floors –
    dehumanized, naked, and shackled to one man’s wild hypothesis –
    or Seligman’s puppy,
    shivering alone in his corner cage,
    having lost his will to even move.
    It’s no wonder
    that Harlow’s chimp
    doesn’t think his wire
    mother loves him.

    the experimenter cogitates over hidden variables,
    the ones that sneak up
    from beyond consciousness
    and attack
    the black mystery of ink blots,
    stifling all the troubled screams
    that reach out
    from inner-darkness –
    from beneath layers
    of hidden pain.

    the scientist cannot even be certain
    that puddles of rain
    will not,
    in some unknowable way,
    smear the contours
    of sadness.

    Final week of CSU Summer Arts Fest

    Week four of the CSU Summer Arts Festival is July 22-27.

    Read more…»

    The Birth of Allegory

    by Lawrence Haggquist

    is simple, as long as you
    let her do some yoga breathing,
    making certain she alternates nostrils
    to balance the yin and yang of your verse.
    Once you set her to practice,
    your synecdochic neurons
    should keep
    in mind
    the tantric
    of her breathing,
    while your pungi-pen
    charms poetic words
    from their basket of
    otherwise obscurity –
    to hang them,
    for a moment,
    on display
    in a
    sway – their
    reflecting light
    from a full moon
    that gleams
    night –
    the white
    eye of the
    Taiji –
    the only symbolic hope
    you see left in the dark
    realm of the literal.

    326: An Event In Santa Fe

    by Rudolph Tenenbaum

    An event in Santa Fe.
    The grand opening of a cafe.

    The sign of a goose is above.
    The manager looks like a bum.

    No food. No drink.
    They invite us…to think!

    We are anxious to make a call.
    We are anxious to shop at the mall.

    Our printer requires new ink.
    But we think we might try to think.

    We arrive in a thoughtful mood.
    No drink. No food.

    Not even a tiny fig.
    But our thoughts our big.

    We reflect on life and on death,
    On the sky’s infinite depth,

    And on humans’ eternal strife,
    And, of course, on the meaning of life.

    We are anxious to make a call.
    We are anxious to shop at the mall.

    Our printer requires new ink.
    But we think we had better think.

    To us even building a fence
    Will make little sense

    Without knowing why
    We live and die.

    We decide to ignore the fuss.
    Of the time remaining to us

    We are trying to make good use
    While time’s cooking our goose.

    Poetry Out Loud

    by Lawrence Haggquist

    A translator for the deaf,
    intense, yet self-effacing,
    gesticulates from an orb of light
    off stage left.
    Her swift fingers pantomime a voice
    emanating from center stage.

    That young voice,
    sharp, commanding,
    and quickened by emotion,
    delivers the war poem, ‘Dover Beach.’

    “Listen,” it urges,
    “you hear the grating roar of pebbles…”

    – Silence ensues,
    as thoughts vanish into meditation.

    California echoes through the voice in subtle cadences.
    It lives by another beach on a rocky coast,
    whose rocks, not yet pebbles, stubbornly resist eons of erosion
    by the pounding sea,
    retaining the proud integrity of ‘rocks.’

    But “Listen” on evenings when the tide tugs strong enough
    to push them from cups of sodden sand,
    and you will hear the rocks tumble over each other,
    like words colliding in a fathomless sea of silence –
    clicking and sliding, clattering and shifting,
    beneath the groans of hungry sea lions
    yelping for attention out in the tranquil bay.

    And as your mind roams from that granite shore toward the edge of meaning,
    you know the pebbles recited from the stage mean more than Dover Beach,
    more than war and the fading poignancy of love.

    Among the audience,
    listening and absorbing, I cannot help reflect
    the owner of that spotlight voice –
    tall, slender, and utterly convincing in his solipsistic rapture –
    has never heard, and never will,
    the “melancholy, long withdrawing roar”
    of which the poem speaks;
    nor have I, separated as we are by genes and generations.

    But I have heard rocks rumbling beneath the sway of tides
    and have felt a loneliness both instinctive and eternal in the sound.
    And I have looked out across the solitary ocean in twilight,
    over its cold, endless, moon-dappled indifference,
    longing for something more intimate than Nature.

    Tonight I listen to a poem recited for those who hear as I do.
    Yet I also enter the world of the deaf,
    as each stanza is deciphered into gesture before my eyes
    for those beyond the reach of sound,
    while from the quiet universe expanding at stage left
    The “turbid ebb and flow of misery”
    roars just the same;
    or, maybe not the same

    Pacific Grove’s Poet-in-Residence Sun. June 16 noon on KRXA 540 AM

    KRXA 540AM
    Dr. Barbara Mossberg
    Produced by Hal Ginsberg
    June 16, 2013
    c Barbara Mossberg 2013
    I asked you with your ears to ask again Yes and you did and “here” we are! Hear hear! It’s Bloomsday AND Father’s Day, both biggies for poetry, we’re slowing down for our Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, Produced by Hal Ginsberg, and Sara Hughes. As it turns out, the connection between father’s day and Bloomsday is rather extraordinary. Bloomsday is the day Read more…»

    Pay Us Fair Wage

    by Sabrina Riffle

    Age makes no difference it is always the wage.
    A cage, my sisters and I are stuck in from dawn to the end of the work day.
    What do we make of this? Is equality not what we stand for?
    Why can they not pass the act to decrease poverty with fair pay?
    Why can we not fathom this unexplained inequality that has happened to generation after
    Generation, day after day?
    Chain us for four more decades and he will still be the CEO of everything, of anything.
    We will stay in that cage, not paid
    Same education yet unfair wage.
    Close that gender wage gap, I will nap no more
    He will not keep us in those sleeping chains,
    Open up this Supreme door and listen to what I say,
    We will stay, unless you pay us fair wage.

    Communion at Lovers Point

    by Edward Jarvis

    They have cordoned off this
    cove a mile west of the pupping
    grounds. No other in recorded
    history has come here to give birth.
    The harbor seal and her
    newborn stir with the swelling
    dawn-light, the tiny mizzle
    seeking a teat as they lie a
    linear fathom from the waterline.
    A gathering of humans witnessing
    on the low cliff above the popular
    community beach surrender
    the long claimed territory for what,
    in situ, has been reclaimed for
    these few days, the suck and slurp
    of first communion a duet
    with the swish of tide on sacred sand.


    by Rudolph Tenenbaum

    The banners we decided not to carry.
    The women we decided not to marry.

    The roads we decided not to travel.
    The codes we neglected to unravel.

    The lives unlived, the feelings disregarded
    The law defines as property discarded.

    A life, a wife, a dream, a precious stone,
    Just anyone may claim them as his own.

    And look! As everyone picks up the pieces
    The value of the property increases.

    And we acquire quite a different vision
    Of what we once rejected with derision.

    We notice the women’s grace and manners,
    And those banners, those proud banners,

    And those tiresome, but quite enticing roads,
    And those intricate, but quite intriguing codes.

    The finders jubilate displaying every item.
    It would be wrong to hate ‘em and to spite ‘em.

    We spot the wheat left out by the reapers
    And curse the law proclaiming “finders keepers.”

    He’s an honest man, with his honest words

    by Disha Singh

    He’s an honest man
    With his honest words.

    A reformed man
    A devout man
    A truthful man
    (So they say)
    A man masks
    The man with all the cards
    In his hand the secrets
    Power and Control
    The center of the universe
    The heavens can’t compete
    He’s the dealer
    The jack
    The gambler
    To him a game
    The Black and The White
    Jaded words
    The glitz and glam
    Shattering lights
    Breaking and falling
    The sinner, the corrupt, the
    damned, the depraved-

    Ah, but no,
    He’s an honest man
    With his honest words.

    Man in the Moon

    by Lyla Mahmoud

    Stars flicker regretfully,
    bound by the ink blanket of infinity,
    as they gaze through liquid windows,
    hoping to catch of glimpse of the quivering globe.

    The man in the moon observes.
    Perched upon God’s gaping smile,
    his eyes spilling milk into the cauldron of creation.

    Lips of silver dust,
    nose of  broken stone.
    His ears obey the pull of silence,
    echoing through heavy water.

    Watch the man,
    and the stars aching with remorse,
    wonders ever present at their softly glowing fingertips.

    In the Earth, in the Sun,
    all the ancient bodies weave in this empty universe,
    but cannot learn to create paradise;
    their powers veiled by the dark shadows,
    of God’s swollen womb.

    Earth Day and Our Community Garden

    The plots are sold out and there is a waiting list for pieces of 7,500 square feet of garden space. Families, students, children, Service Learners, veteran gardeners and those just looking to enjoy a gorgeous day with nature came out to celebrate Earth Day in Pacific Grove’s Community Garden. There were displays and educational programs, crafts and a pot luck, a blessing by Khenpo Karten Rinpoche and poetry with Pacific Grove’s Poet-In-residence, Dr. Barbara Mossberg, plus our Poetry Out Loud champion Arwa Awan, and spontaneous music from Susie Joyce.

    Read more…»


    by Josh Massey

    Our ancestry has put us in a loop
    Although we may heal, we use the same crutch
    Something keeps sending us to jump through hoops
    Man’s experience has grown out of touch
    Developing new methods to old goals
    Man has kept himself in an endless rut
    Activities repeat for newborn souls
    Multi-floored mansions mimic clay built huts
    Cycling backwards, blinded by the ego
    Closed minds deafen us to sounds of progress
    A species shackled, throughout time we go
    Forever in grade school without recess

    Ignorance holds us back like cancer
    Some talking monkeys searching for answers

    Enough with Inane Analogies

    by Maya Mueller

    My existence, like the puzzle of a maze—
    Not because of the intricacy, you understand,
    Or even the frustration.
    But more because
    So many paths are walled, cut off, selective
    The realms of my Earth contained within the ignorance
    Of parallel, ink black lines
    I could always shock the audience,
    Drawing hoards of swallowed gasps
    As the insolent graphite scratched beyond
    The firmly printed boundaries.
    But that—to the synchronized sigh of relief from onlookers and policeman alike—would
    Meddle my reality.
    And that would be too exhilarating
    For my delicate, pretty red heart.


    by Disha Singh

    The golden figurines
    silver cups
    glinting crystals
    A veneer over the truth.

    Quaking palms
    clenched jaws
    clouded vision
    This is what I hide.

    With eyes reverted to the past
    hands clasped in motion of prayer
    whispers of memories
    Pry into my worst nightmares.

    Resticted chest
    shallow breaths
    constricted throat
    Stifled sobs devour my shouts of pain.

    Blinking the moisture away
    little grey soldiers build the walls
    donning the false pretense of life
    Fixing a smile on my cold face.

    Am I happy?


    by Golnoush Pak

    Night . .
    Stars . .
    Darkness . .
    Again . .

    A cloudy day
    My room
    Full of anguish
    An old friend
    My soul
    Don’t even say a word
    My Mind
    Like a madman . .
    Every second
    A part of my life . .
    Every breath i take
    Loneliness . .
    Old friend
    The road
    . . . . . . .
    And yesterday
    Memories . .
    A pen and a paper
    Old friends . .

    A stomachache

    A headache
    My hands
    Freezing . .
    My legs
    Shivering from tiredness
    My eyes
    Burning . .
    My lips . .
    A soul full of memories . .
    And suddenly
    Eyes become wet
    Soul’s disheveled even more . .
    My cheek wet
    I am . .
    A madman . . .
    . . . . .


    by Disha Singh

    The desire of the world swirls around us
    in blowing, gusting winds.
    The desire of the world mills around us
    until all of the lights dim.

    We may die today,
    we may die tomorrow.
    I don’t know what to say
    except I’ve seen the world’s sorrow.

    There is not much left to see
    since everything around us is engulfed with fire.
    This is what happens when we let our yearnings be
    the destruction of everything begins with desire.

    The desire of the world blows around us until the end of time.

    Poetry Out Loud 2013 – our representatives’ poems of choice

    Competitors may choose from a list of poems chosen by the National committee. They must learn about the poet and the poem before using their work.

    Champion Arwa Awan chose two poems by living, American poets for her recitation, as did runner-up Malia Graciani. Read more…»

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