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`THAT'S THE WAY LIFE IS' POEMS AND DRAWINGS BY WESTERN NEW YORK TEENS

IT'S HARD TO SMILE

It's hard to smile with a broken heart
When someone splits you and your friend apart.
It's hard to smile when you fight with your friend. And you can't get together again.
It's hard to smile when you miss a friend
And the memories of fun times play again and again.
It's hard to smile when you have final thoughts of how bad someone was to you. You get no answer when you call your friend for someone to talk to.
It's hard to smile when things seem to not be going your way, but hold on and you will overcome ... someday.
"Smile"
-- Elliott Washington

MORNING

Tick-tock goes the clock,
The alarm rings, and puts you in shock.
You hit the snooze button,
Just five more minutes,
Then that time has quickly diminished.
You throw the sheets off,
Stumble onto the floor,
Your eyes barely open,
You try to find the door.
You jump into the shower,
Wash your hair,
Get your clothes on,
In the mirror you stare.
You pull your hair back,
Put on your makeup,
You just wish that you didn't have to wake up.
Eat your breakfast,
Jump onto the bus,
Why do I always have to be in a rush?
After the bus ride,
You arrive at your school,
When you drop your books in the hall,
You feel like a fool.
The day goes by slow,
Periods one through eight,
You have four minutes to change classes,
You do not want to be late.
The day is finally over,
The bell has rung,
Now it is time to go have some fun.
All of a sudden,
You find yourself thinking about the year,
The end of school is really near.
You should cherish all of the good times you've had,
You look back to the school and say,
"Hey, that wasn't so bad!"
June, July, August, September,
I have to get up again!
"OH I DO NOT WANT TO REMEMBER!"
-- Natalie Lohr

SHAME

I look and see myself
I know that some later day,
someone will be deprived of seeing themselves the way I do.
Deprived of this great privilege I have.
The river, white with the glistening sunlight reflecting
giving a marvelous assortment of colors across the gentle flowing liquid.
The gentle waves become harsh, and move more rapidly
The mild ride has come to its end.
The water flows over the cliff and falling,
gaining in velocity increasing its speed
its energy also increasing,
growing bit by bit stronger and stronger.
At last, the water reaches home.
It smashes on its front door,
Mist arises flying high into the atmosphere
the droplets fall, a refreshing drizzle appealing to all who gather to watch.
This cycle continues into eternity.
But soon,
Man shall come claiming and destroying all he wishes.
This once white glistening water is now black,
black as the cat no one wishes to cross
slowly
slow as the sloth rests in a tree in the Amazon rain forest.
When this slow, black "water" ride is over,
it will stop,
stop and dribble down the side of the eroded cliff.
When it reaches home
no glorious smashing will cause mist to arise.
The musty water just sits atop the muddy, polluted shores.
Then a young boy will come along, looking at the dusk water, he will say,
"Dad, why is this water so dark and thick?"
The father will pause and reply,
"Man has destroyed this water, son,
along with all the other beautiful gifts
Mother Nature has provided us with to look at and admire."
The father and son will then walk away.
The father thinking of that one glorious day
when he once was a boy, the once white water,
with the sunlight glistening in it,
feeding him back his own reflection.
-- Erik Kinyon

BROTHER

You must have been born to be so sweet.
You're the cutest guy from head to feet.
You've got the cutest dimples on your seat.
You must have been born to be my brother.
You've somehow turned into such a brat.
You write on the walls and hurt the cat.
You bang hard on the pans "rat-a-tat-tat"
Why do you have to be my brother?
You can't do anything on your own!
Every math problem you must be shown!
Hey! It's my turn to use the phone.
You're the zenith of annoying brothers!
Hey, what's up with this new girlfriend?
I like your new jacket; could it be on lend?
I didn't mean those words before; could our friendship mend?
Pay attention to me, I'M YOUR SISTER!
It's been 21 years. My, how you've grown.
You're in college now, all on your own.
I never see you anymore, only talk on the phone.
I miss you, my dearest brother.
-- Elizabeth Detlef

BASKETBALL

Basketball, basketball, you intrigue me so,
I wish I could block a bank shot like Dekembia or Zoe.
To rainbow a three beyond the arc,
Fire a foul shot with some spark,
Hit a fadeaway at the horn,
All that on an April morn.
Basketball, basketball, you give me many
Memories like buzzer-beaters at title games,
Followed off by a dunk by Penny.
Work it low in the paint,
Sky a hook shot while the fans all faint,
A technical foul makes Barkley growl,
And the fans all howl.
Basketball, basketball, you give me great moments,
Like Stockton to Malone on the alley-oop,
That brings down the record for a lot of hoops.
As Muntumbo receives his first personal foul.
The ball boy throws him a towel,
When he hits the shower
He's replaced by the second-string tower.
Basketball, basketball, the season is over,
No dunks by Air Jordan, Kemp or Shaq,
So all the players lay down
For a long summer's nap.
-- Brian Michalek

PEAK PERFORMANCE

Faster, faster, I can't stop now,
not even if I wanted to.
Go harder, be strong, faster, these words ring in my ears.
My breathing is out of control.
I keep gasping for air between my fake plastered on smile.
I swing my arms up in a confident motion.
5, 6, 7, 8 jump and reach.
I feel like I'm flying.
If I push a little harder I'm sure I will burst out of this building and soar in the blue above.
I keep forcing myself to continue because I would not be able to bear the humiliation of failing.
With one last burst of energy I finish with a triumphant smile.
The room is silent. I expect to hear clapping, Instead I hear a lonely voice, "Good, but this time dance with feeling."
-- Elizabeth Jahreis

UNITED

Different cultures
Different faces
Different foods
Different faces
A country unique is what we are
No country is like us by far.
Different perspectives
Different ideas
Different inventions
One country ideal
Different people mixed together
to form one nation.
One country unique.
-- Jermaine Younger

ALONE

Everyone feels alone sometimes,
That's just the way life is.
Everyone feels alone sometimes,
Just ask my little sis.
Sometimes when I'm alone,
I really can feel sad.
Other times when I'm alone,
It makes me feel real glad.
So if you ever feel alone,
Just do what I do.
Sit in a quiet place and think,
And don't let anyone bother you.
-- Katie Mastandrea

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