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ArtsEd celebrates Poetry Month through Poetry Vibes: Voices of our Youth

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!  We’ll be doing it again next year.  Please enjoy these incredible voices for another week.  If you have any spoken word or poetry to submit during the year, please send it to or to

We at AHB want to acknowledge that the land on which we live is within the aboriginal territory of the Suquamish People. Expert fishermen, canoe builders, and basket weavers, the Suquamish People live in harmony with the lands and waterways along Washington’s Central Salish Sea as they have for thousands of years.

We know you’ve got something to say, and we’d love to see it! So come and share your *poetry or *rap with us.  Please complete this Photo/Video Release Form. You may also upload your recordings within this form or submit them and your YouTube or Tik Tok videos to:

*Content must be age-appropriate & not explicit


Forgotten blood. 

by Corah Grogan 

Old tales, old stories.

Forgotten language, lost to time.

Once loved and proudly used, now never spoken.

Appearance seen as a white mask.

Irish and Polish blood now the only given answer.

The tribal half not believed, and language made fun of.

Death of ancestors by association and other prides sealed years ago.

Thoughts of repressed native memories recalled from the blue.

Old stories and the forgotten language now make their way back to a stage.  

Maybe not now, maybe not soon, but maybe someday those tribal memories and that forgotten language will be wiped of the inflicted sentence that was set all those years ago. 

And maybe that native blood will take the stage it once ruled long ago.



Your Voice
by Elliot Martina 

Stand up for what you believe in, be a new voice in the crowd, speak for what’s right, so that justice may freely go around.

That’s easier said than done because I don’t know where to start, all the future is in our hands so we have to do our part.

People that have come before us have really messed this up, probably 70 % were racist or sexist, but…

The future is ours now so lets fix this before it gets worse, because everything would be so much better throughout the universe.

So if you want that beauty, that love, and that freedom…

Get everyone to stand up in what they believe in.



Who Do You Remember? 

by Abby Huck 

Say a name.

Who is it you remember?

Who it it that the world

will remember?

Will it be the one who stood tall

but who watched the world from far away?

The one who took the wealth.

The one who took for granted the

work of the ones 

with nothing?

Who took from

the people who worked for something

and found the reward of their work

in someone else’s hand?

Will you remember the one who 

used a broken clock of justice?

That kept




on a time when they had fame stolen from those below?

Or will you remember

the ones who 


ran the world.

Because you are only in power

if enough of the people let you be.

Each individual

will leave the earth.

but if you make yourself part of something,

you will live in it 


And they will remember you.



Eternal Memories of a Spectator  
By Saiya McElderry

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.

I sat in the theater with Lincoln, heard the footsteps, watched the bullet assault the air

Not only that, I was the ground the theater sat on, the wood it was made of, the workers who

sweat it into existence

And as I watch empires tumble, figures fall and melt into my dirt I still give and give

Through every woody muscle and the oak heart, I pull more forest from empty ground

Fill what I

the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass

Has torn apart- trust that I remember.

I am hated and loved and kneeled on and kissed, I accept descended tears

the countless rings of ancient trees as the spirals of my fingertips 

to cover the hot magma beneath with my own scorched hand,

so not to burn the souls of the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass

 and I remember.

I am not gratuitous in the history I meddle in, still forever a spectator

-I remember it all.

I am forged by every spill of blood, however it comes (buckets, pails, rain, drip, pricks, pools)–

I remember every drop.

as I guide the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass, through our shared tribulations

Perhaps it’s a curse, a gift,

-to remember. 



The Seed of Hope
by Alden Lemon

Sing the heavens

And hark

For the seed had been sown

The seed of hope

Was in fertile soil set

The seed once flown by a bird

Hurtling through the troposphere

And dropped from a height 

Was like a bomb

Towards a dwelling on a hill

Into a pot–not one of soil

But barren as a desert

It was the woman that saved it

The woman who owned the cottage

Gently she took the seed 

And sewed it in a wooden planter

Where over months thrice

And much caretaking–the seed

Sprouted into a beauty

The rose



Fragrant, and

White as snow

Is a token of hope

Even to the hopeless



Rose for a Prisoner/Daisy for Real Estate Listings

By Saiya McElderry

Which is More Alive:

Rose in Concrete, constricted by cement

Doomed to soon die,

OR potted, packed, little white daisy doomed to survive?

The rose: let it soothe deep lament,

Visit a dry aviary cage of metal (and bones) (and time)

Surprised, wings broken, someone drops on cracked knees 

Cement -dribble of blood and cement -rose bud

A smile?

The daisy: is jealous, 

They are not a heavenly innuendo of renewal

They are a result of corporate annual sprucing

Why does longevity make it less precious?


Back to the dying rose:

For half a


Let it

 Thrive, then crumble, deconstruct

Anything rather than 

be plucked.



We’re All In This Together

Written by Emery, Arman, Miles, Isaac, Stefan, Erin and Mike

A tunnel without light is not a tunnel

and darkness must have a dawn

When times are tough, we stick together 

Let’s sing about it in this song

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this forever

We watch our watches, we stare at the clock

Things need to rearrange    

We gotta get up and realize

that we’ve got to make the change

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this forever 

We’ll pull through every obstacle in our way

With peace and love and caring

Supporting each other to realize

The world is best for sharing

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this forever 

When day is done, when it gets dark

When it’s time to go to bed 

Only then we realize 

The good things that we’ve said

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this forever

A tunnel without light is not a tunnel

and darkness must have a dawn

When times are tough, we stick together 

Let’s sing about it in this song

We’re all in this together

We’re all in this forever, forever



“I Think I Need to Come Home”

An interview with Rena Priest, new Washington State Poet Laureate, about the meaning of home and the music of language.

Check it out here



What I Wish I Could Take Away

By a young person, age 17 


When I was young, I used to wish I could take away

all my family’s problems, like my mom’s struggle

to get the bills paid on time, her coming home late

and needing to fix a meal,

my grandma having to take care of her mom.


Today I wish I didn’t add on to the problem,

getting in trouble a lot.

Instead of getting in trouble,

helping out with things.


Everyday I wish to make my family smile

when they see my face.


My wish is the color of light sky blue–

the color that reminds me of happiness

and freedom.


It is the sound of a warm summer breeze

and the ocean hitting the shore,

like when we used to go to Canon Beach.


My wish feels like that warm tingling sensation

when you’re going down a roller coaster.


My wish is always involving my family and those I love.


My wish is never for self-gain.


My wish is a piece of me,

the piece that is loving

to those I deem




A Militia Soldier Like Me 

By a young person, age 17 


I used to look for a toy like me, a toy with brown skin—

a Native American and African American with long hair.


The absence made me wonder  

if he were real would he go through

the same thing I go through?

If he’s been through what I’ve been through

Would he take it lightly or harshly?


I used to look for a toy like me,

hoping for an image of myself to hold—

a toy that a friend would need with an open ear

and walk down the long road with me 

and explore the world and try different foods. 

But all the toys I found seemed like they were made

for kids that don’t know much in life

like knowledge, corruption, integrity, and responsibility.


Looking and not finding, I felt I’m all alone

which made me isolate myself from others.

Sometimes I blamed my actions because my emotions

were too hard to bear.


Because I couldn’t find a toy like me, 

I learned how not to depend on others

and work things out myself.

Learned how to pat myself on the back

when nobody else would.


Now that I’m older I understand that life was full of mistakes.

I have to work hard to get what I want because I know

I’m a very intelligent, 




Dear Ms. Hauge,


If my life was the earth

you would be the sun,

making my day even brighter,

making my trees of hope 





My forgiveness is like an old tree.

It stays there for hundreds of years

until there is nothing left

to forgive.




My love is like a delicate flower

waiting for the right time to bloom,

and when the right time comes,

love is everywhere!





These “Invisible Beauties” poems were part of a 3rd grade Wilkes Elementary School Arts in Education residency by AHB teaching artist, Vicky Edmonds.  Edmonds is a poet and teacher who uses the written and spoken word as a means of looking further into the mysteries that are still unsolved in our lives.  “Copyright 2000, All Rights Reserved.  For information about use of these templates please contact: Vicky J Edmonds, “Invisible Beauties” poetry classes (206) 937-0700.


I Hope

By a young person, age 16


I hope the end of every year

will be followed by a good new year.

I hope the weakest dog will find a big juicy bone

I hope the fiercest storms

will only cause goodness.

I hope every empty room

will eventually have someone to live in it.

I hope gunfire in the distance

is just fireworks.

I hope when life passes that my kids are doing good.

I hope the angriest person in me

will learn not everything is worth getting mad at.

I hope the loneliest person in me will discover love.

I hope the most lighthearted person in me will forgive.

I hope my life goes 180.

I hope I get out.


My Heart is No Longer…

By a young person, age 18 


My heart is broken

It has been since being brought to the light of this world

My heart is scarred, torn, and beaten darker than the night sky

My heart is swirling with pain and hatred

leaving no room for joy and love

My heart is empty filled with webs

and dust left from time of unease

My heart was gone until I met you

My heart is no longer broken,

my pieces placed together by glue

My heart is no longer starved, 

wounds from suffering of time have lifted like a warm breeze

My heart is no longer angry, 

it rings forth with choirs of passion and ecstasy

My heart is no longer deserted

but full of our joy

My heart is whole, your pieces complimenting mine,

finishing the puzzle of my life.



I Still Speak

By a young person, age 17

i’m quiet, but i still speak.
sweet, tangy words play at my lips,
rolling from my tongue,
but are met by a wall—
a disconnect,
unable to reach the paper or the world.

maybe it’s because of old memories,
that cause current fears,
to collide with my thoughts,
causing an internal chaos,
that chains my mouth shut.

                                        Pongo youth author

Will I Ever Hope Again?

By a young person, age 15

I’m in a trench too deep to be dug
I wonder if I’m able to climb these rocky walls
that stand in front of me
I see the dark clouds rolling over my head
Soon I can feel the cool, wet rain on my skin
As I drift to sleep, I hear a voice
through the rocky walls of the trench
I feel someone touch my arm
I jump to my feet
to find another young girl in the trench
She cannot speak a word

I know she was real
One night she said I hear someone up there
We looked at each other with excitement
We both screamed
Help! Help us! We’re trapped down here!
But no one heard us
The rain came down hard very hard
It felt like rocks
Soon the trench was a big pool
I knew how to swim but the little girl didn’t
Soon the trench was filled to the top
The little girl and I came out alive
There was nothing for the trench to swallow again
The little girl has found her family
and is now living peacefully and happily with them
And me?
She actually pushed me into the next trench
which did not get rained in

As I drift off to sleep once more
I say, Dear God, just take me now


When I was 13

By a young person, age 15

I remember a time when I was 13
when I was discovered
when I started
to find
to feel
to regret
to remember
to acknowledge
to have myself
to be
to know pretty
to know it hurts to love myself
to sing

Dedicated to my mother

                                      Pongo youth authors


I step on an opposite.
The game has begun.

One fat bishop, stinking of overripe cheese,
grins and leans toward me,
hurriedly undos my bun but–
Flash– Too much murder to do.
He is off, those in his path melting like butter.

One rook, dark blood on her hands,
Halts, sees me.
In a nose wrinkle, I am discarded.

I skip through an opposite.

Peter the knight is there, I wave hello.
He waves back, bloody mouth, falls.
Silverware clattering, machine-like.
I move on. 

One of a different type sees me, tries to lunge.
She misses, bun flying everywhere,
Sweat and frustration transform her.
The game makes us beastly.

Suddenly, she is gone. The sun.
Her crown a brilliant ray,
Her smile the moon–untouchable.
“Your majesty!”
Is this dream? Her dark hand extends,
towards mine and then–


Death of a star must not be in vain!
I skip through the opposites
Someone screams
There will be blood melting this board

A gap
A gasp
The clatter of flesh like the knife

And then,
Golden pillow gone,
The king stirs.

His smile is bleu cheese,
His crown from Walmart.
“Don’t hurt, sweetie.”

Suns don’t get called sweetie without consequence.

My blade flashes;
he fully awakens
and admits defeat from me,
a Queen. 

               Angeline Hamilton, 7th grade Hyla student

Pongo Poetry Project Overview

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at two flagship program sites in the Puget Sound region; the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility, and the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State.

Many Pongo writers are youth of color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. Pongo poetry writing offers youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing.  

Pongo believes there is power in creative expression, and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. In sharing the work of those they serve, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery.

For an opportunity to learn Pongo’s trauma-informed techniques for facilitating personal, healing poetry in your classroom, therapeutic practice, or community space, join their training on May 22nd . And to support the publication of Pongo’s 16th anthology of youth poetry, The Story of My Heart, join their book fundraising drive here.

Jay, 8th grade student at Woodward Middle school

If you or anyone you know is in distress and would like to talk, there are folks out there who want to help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), the Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386), The Crisis Clinic of the Peninsulas (360 479 3033) or find hotlines outside the United States at this link.



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