poem by Alex Cohen (age 15)

Human history has always been a conquest of metal:
The Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Steel Age,
All culminating in the final conquest of juvenility—
Who has a trophy, a glorified piece of metal
Against who does not.

The applause of meaningless people rings and echoes
Like some hideous, cyclonic thunder—
Again, again, and once more:
Constant repercussion off of gymnasium walls.

As kids, we were all told that everyone is a winner,
But that’s not true.
Some walk away, their arms buckling
Under the weight of their own grandeur and awards.
Others aren’t so lucky;
They walk away, tears pouring down their disappointed faces.

They offer a round of applause for the runner-up and third, But no one ever remembers the fourth-place,
The fifthsixthseventheighth.
Disillusioned to find that they aren’t good enough.

The only thing colder than the shiny surface
Of the award won by few
Is the cold shoulder given to the hoi polloi,
The people who never had, don’t have, and won’t have

2014 Scholastic Writing Awards Gold Key

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