Introduction by Sofia Ortiz
In between child and adult sits the raw place that is the teenage heart. A fragile state of utter confusion, a blur of learning by experiencing. It is the awkwardness. The oddity of not knowing yet knowing too much. ‘Being successful’ and ‘following our dreams’ become antonyms because we are in the state they call ‘waiting.’ This is to be a teenager.
It can be extremely difficult to appreciate this place, this time, these moments. But we have been told countless times, by the broken records that are our parents, that these are indeed the ‘best days of our lives.’ Who are we to disagree? In this odd place, we cling to our own hearts and search the minds of others for answers of what it means to be alive. At sixteen we first learn the feeling of a broken heart because we do ourselves the favor of falling in love. At 16 we learn about stress because the homework is due tomorrow, and at 16 we learn about self-truth in the face of a bully. All of these experiences build these people behind each of these poems you read. They also break these people and make these people. These ‘best days of our lives’ speak volumes for what it will mean to march into our futures and what it will mean to look back on our pasts. But on this page, we live in the present and sit on the cusp. Because this awkwardness can be often surprisingly beautiful.
Although Generation Next is its own newspaper by and for teens, one focused on reporting on issues relevant to teens, we decided to break tradition with an all-poetry issue to celebrate adolescence. These are all poems written by the writers of Generation Next about what it means to be here, breathing inside of the ‘good old days.’
Here and Now By Seneca Johnson
I think I can feel the earth spinning
In the quiet, stale air of my childhood bedroom
I can feel the stardust bubbling underneath my skin
As I lose my breath laughing with friends
I can feel galaxies behind my eyes
While I breathe warm summer air over cool waters
And I’m glad I exist
Here and now
In my little corner of the universe
Seneca is a rising senior at the Santa Fe Indian School. You can contact her at email@example.com
The Work World By Luke Beingessner-Chavez
Like any other, I look to the sky,
To the planet that runs most people’s lives.
The world of work that turns to a rhythm
Paycheck to paycheck like a perfect algorithm.
While I gain many riches, I lose something else.
Something that I cannot buy back.
At the price of time, I am given pure paper.
While others are running and jumping and playing, I am inside- sitting and waiting.
But the trade is well worth it, it grants me the freedom.
The freedom to choose whatever I needed.
Luke is an incoming Freshman at Santa Fe High School, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Untitled by Gabriel Biadora
At thirteen, the universe was created.
Your eyes burned mine, sheen with hatred.
A singularity of hostility to confine and explode
Into a flower of life and atomic afterglow.
At sixteen, our souls dance outside of Cerrillos road
Through the freckled eternity colored indigo.
A shower of melodies from that Latino god, Apollo.
At seventeen, I know
The names of the new seas I’d cry
With every thought of saying goodbye.
But I laugh, knowing my love will haunt you
Even after I die.
Gabriel is a rising senior at St. Michael’s High School. You can contact him at email@example.com
Man in the moon by Sofia Ortiz
I feel the wind twist through my hair, beneath stars our spirits thrive
Pulsating through my veins resides the thirst to feel alive.
Inside the tiny Subaru, drifting corners far too fast,
I wish to stop the digital clock and force this night to last.
I have wasted time, gotten a taste of time,
What it means to hold a star.
Crappy coffee late at Denny’s, pure contentment in a car.
Keep turning up our music, sunrise coming far too soon.
But for now dance in the streetlights
Let our spotlight be the moon.
Sofia is a rising senior at St. Michael’s High School. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monsoon Season (Excerpt) by Aviva Nathan
In your absence,
My loyalty waned
And I fell in love with missing you,
I fell in love with cold sheets and unshaven legs,
I fell in love with dreaming you into
A Frankenstein of idiosyncrasies
I fell in love with hoarding your misplaced things,
Green leaves, pastel nail polish, water-stained paperbacks, fermented fruit
You trespass with
The nonchalance of a stranger in debt of an apology
But I’m too apprehensive with the expectation to feel something
To stop you
Aviva is a rising junior at Santa Fe Prep, you can contact her at email@example.com
A Birdgame Of Discovery by Hannah Laga-Abram
we forged our own capitals, neglected
banality, unplucked - gear
by gear - our new desirings.
and we throw interlaced fingers,
night deep conversations, elixirs mixed
of too much starlight and exhaust and hip
hop lyrics, tender interpretations of love/terror/truth
in the face of the tocking bigness,
that we can change its passage. still
wanting to touch
Hannah is a rising college Freshman. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org