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1st place $50
By Amy S. Rodriguez, Lynwood HS

Her story

I’m here to tell you a little story
Through words that ironically rhyme
It will take a little while so sit back
And try to have a good time

It began a while ago
Thirty maybe forty years
A little girl walking the streets
In her sad eyes nothing but held-back tears
And even more horrible
That which every child fears
On her way to a neglectful home
Love and care from her mother unshown
Her father unknown
This at only seven
Neighbors curious as to who she was
Offering her scraps to eat
Sympathizing towards her because
There were no shoes or stockings on her feet

Crossing the border ends up in L.A.
Ask anyone who knew her and they would truthfully say
That little girl worked her a** off supporting her sis and bro
While her mother took off to live the life of a ho
Coming back only to exploit then went
Her daughter was the one paying the bills and the rent
Only mother her siblings ever knew
Making sure they were always fed even if it was just potato stew

She sees the chance gets married moves away
Turns out he is a son of a b***h and now she has to pay
Puts up with the hurt the pain the humiliation
Was the physical punching bag to every aggravation
Forced to hide when the rent was due
Cuz where was the bas***d? no one knew
It’s a later time she is pregnant with the third
But instead of feeling blessed this a**hole not listening to a word
Punches her in the stomach a girl? this is unheard
Fortunately baby lives fifteen years to the date
Would not be brought down through all that hate
From a man no not a man a helpless piece of sh**
Cuz a real man would have gotten it
A real man would have seen the beauty by his side
That gorgeous woman his wife his bride
But that gorgeous woman soon left with her four creations
Protecting them with herself through all those confrontations

Today is a different situation
After a long struggle arriving at her destination
Her baby’s grown a fifth brought onto this earth
But this from a man who deserved his birth
A house of her own heck she got two
To prove to anyone that is what she could do
Takes sh** from no one you can see with your own eyes
And god help the poor bas***d who even tries
You see like this beautiful woman there is no other
Ladies and gentlemen I have the  honor the privilege of sayin’
That little girl that woman is MY MOTHER

2nd place $30 (tie)
By Araks Ohanyan, Wilson MS


I see a tree with blossoms white,
Awake by day, asleep by night.
I gaze at its branches, reaching high,
The green leaves speak, the flowers sigh.

I want to reach as high as the tree,
To touch the heavens and be so free.
I want to bloom as the flowers do,
Sleeping in winter, then starting anew.

So what must I do to be like the tree?
I must plant the seeds of my destiny.
Then water them with patience, faith, and love,
So the tree will grow and tower above.

2nd place $30 (tie)
By Bianca Ricoy, Jefferson HS (Los Angeles)

Sonnet 1

It traveled quickly through the open door
A rush of intense heat and chills galore
Removing the earth from beneath my feet
Inside of a flower, its nectar sweet.

Soon passion enflamed through both of our eyes
His voice gently swaying my hips and thighs
Moved by sounds of salsa on our first dance
Knowing that fate brought us both by chance.

This eternal love is like the blue sea
Crashing in rocks, but it will always be
Fear covered me like blankets of night sky
Hopes that true love would never truly die.

Inevitable love may pass or stay
But our memories never fade away.

Honorable Mention
By Sylvana Insua-Rieger, Beverly Hills HS

New Constellation

I only have to raise my gaze to see that star bunch
Tonight our dark sky is hole-punched
Ferverously (stars.)
The lightest light streams to us through the spaces
Stabbed in the black velvet far above our faces
You learned to fly to fetch for me
The moon, the long-time hunter of my awe and glee
Stars glow so the moon’s brightness is immediately faded
As she has finally been presented to me with enthusiasm slightly tainted
Well, thank you
(But good night.)
I’ve wished for the sky’s biggest pearl for ages
That I have it makes me crave some changes (stars.)
I duck and run out of these landing cages
And draw (stars.) over the moon on these ancient pages

Essay contest: Overcoming a fear

“I could never do that.” Have you ever said that about doing something that terrifies you? Everyone has fears. For some people it’s speaking or performing in front of a crowd. For others it may be taking tests, flying or needles. Or the fear of swimming in the ocean or doing things by yourself. What is the fear you would most like to overcome? Tell us about it. How does it impact your life? Describe a time you were faced with your fear and how you handled it. Have you tried to overcome it? What could you do about your fear?

Include your name, school and telephone number with your essay. The staff of L.A. Youth will read the entries and pick three winners. Your name will be withheld if you request it. The first-place winner will receive $50. The second-place winner will get $30 and the third-place winner $20. Winning essays will be printed in our September issue and put on our Web site at

Mail your essays to:

L.A. Youth
5967 W. 3rd St. Ste. 301
Los Angeles CA 90036