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The many COLORS of being me

Is your face outer space? Do you want to go swimming with Fairfax, the wonder pup? Would you like to know where fairies dance? You're in the right place!

The March edition of Xpressions, our showcase for the creativity of young readers, will help you answer those questions. The work on today's pages depicts themes chosen by the artists.

Want to see yourself in print? Check out the themes and instructions for submitting your work for consideration.

_ NANCY GREEN, Xpressions editor

Camping

All alone in the deep, dark night

The wind screeching like a ghost.

The branches were like fingers,

Scratching on my tent.

Waves, like gunshots, popping in my ears.

Scared, shivering,

But safe in my cocoon.

If I stay in my world

Then I will not be found.

_ By EVAN GOEBEL, age 10, and JOSEPH GARRISON, age 9, Home school poetry class, St. Petersburg

The Puppy (Parody of "The Raven")

Once upon a summer morning, while I lay there gently snoring,

Putting off that morning chore of getting up and opening the door,

Suddenly there came a scratching, a scratching at my bedroom door.

" 'Tis the dog," I muttered, "nothing more."

Head upon my pillow soft, warm and fluffy, "Go away, you stupid puppy!"

She persisted scratching, scratching at my bedroom door.

"Oh my bed, my comfy bed, I must leave you soon," I said.

For the scratching, OH that scratching, still persisting outside my bedroom door.

Finally, my body rose, off the bed to follow my nose,

Leading me to the door, where the scratching is forever more.

Opening the door my eyes beheld a puddle, a puddle upon the floor.

I closed the door, and back to bed I tore.

Puppy, puppy, never more.

_ By CORY DALZELL, age 12, seventh grade, Meadowlawn Middle School, St. Petersburg

Dance Spirits

Red wind blowing from the south,

Warm fragrances vibrate off clay walls,

Toes tapping to beats of a blue style,

A textured orange instrument blares,

Bodies unable to keep still in humid air,

Dance whispers from every corner of the house,

Souls lifted to the sky with the rise of a yellow sun.

_ By JULIA JOSEPHINE MASONI, age 15, Palm Harbor University High School

I am

(Modeled after Stanley Kunitz's Halley's Comet)

Look for me

I will be on the top of my favorite tree

that tree I plucked the ripest of apples on

and built great tree houses upon.

Staring at the myriad of stars

while they're twinkling, they've created their own worlds

where nothing exists

and everything is perfect

I sit at the very top

stretched out, thinking philosophical thoughts

and of Freud, Marx and Plato.

The moon smiles a waning grin

she sings to me of my future

how I'll fall to the ground

my face in the murky quicksand of frustration

but I'll pick myself back up again.

Then, I say,

"Look for me

in all my earthly splendor

Father, I've joined you now,

clothed in all the opals

and emeralds

all that a maturing star can buy."

_ By EMILY GRIM, age 13, Tampa Preparatory School

A Nature Walk

The salt mist clings to your face

Squawking seagulls fly in a race

Seashells crunch under your feet,

As clear white sand comes to meet

Waves that crash against a shore

I wish I could stay one hour more

Crickets are clicking in the dew-covered grass

Birds are singing as they fly past

Buttercups awaken in the morning haze

The dew fades away in the sun-kissed rays

The sea of grass waves in the soft breeze,

As it seems to say "hi" to the forest of trees

While animals scamper on the carpet of leaves

Rays shine through the hovering trees

On the ground is a budding flower

Recently awakened by an evening shower

Shadows stretch as the sun goes down

The hooting of an owl echoes around

Leafless trees on which icicles hang

Empty nest where birds once sang

Fog drifts over a half-frozen creek

Deer tiptoe down to the water they seek

Silence is broken as the wind gusts by

Snow covered mountains beyond a gray sky.

_ By CHRISTINE WILLIAMSON, age 12, seventh grade, Bayshore Christian School, Seminole

If my face were outer space

My ears would be like spaceships

Aliens would live on my nose

My mouth would be the black hole

And my eyes would be like stars

If my face were outer space

My chin would be close to the sun

Martians would settle on my lips

UFOs would travel through my head

And I'd travel to Venus and Mars.

_ By CHRISTINE WILLIAMSON, age 12, seventh grade, Bayshore Christian School, Seminole

This Dark Hole

All alone,

I lie in this dark hole.

I have been here for some time

not knowing how I arrived.

Some strange comfort

is found in this place.

The still air,

The cold walls.

I contemplate what life was like previously,

simple joys and simple thoughts.

Along my journey

I discovered the truth

People and places are not what they seem.

They just occupy this alternate reality,

so the true one is hidden.

Digging deeper every day,

I yearn for something else.

A different world,

with different ways.

No longer scared,

I pick away the caked dirt

searching for more.

Still,

All alone,

I lie in this dark hole.

_ By RACHEL WATSON, age 18, 12th grade, River Ridge High School, New Port Richey

Fairfax

Fairfax, my golden blond-and-white mixed breed, was the first kid in our family. It all started when my mom was looking for some expensive purebred dogs. My dad took her to see some pound puppies, and she fell in love with Fairfax. My mom insisted that we name him Fairfax after a small town in California, which is another whole story. We have now had Fairfax for 15 years, yet the sparkle in his eye and the plume of his tail make him look like a puppy.

I will never forget the summer my family took Fairfax with us to Crystal River. It was lots of fun to watch him on the pontoon boat we rented. Fairfax would stand at the front of the boat with his straightest pose and his ears perked up. He literally was the bow ornament of the boat. When we stopped, Fairfax wandered around the boat asking for belly and behind the ear scratches. He saw us swimming and, after a while, he couldn't stand to watch us any longer. Fairfax made a plunge into the icy water _ talk about "Frosty Paws"! He seemed to forget the arthritis in his hip. That super dog leap tickled our funny bone. On the way back to the marina, Fairfax fell sound asleep. What a great memory of tired old Fairfax playing around like he was still a puppy!

People say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. That may be true, but that doesn't mean they can't do their old ones! Fairfax still brings in the paper, informs us when there is a message on the answering machine, and tells my mom when my brother and I go outside to play. They say dogs are man's best friend. They're wrong: Having Fairfax is 10 times better than a best friend _ he's family.

_ By NATHANIEL DiMURA, age 12, sixth grade, Seminole Middle School

Who Do You Admire and Why?

Writings from Mrs. Nancy Cregan's sixth-graders at Westlake Christian School in Palm Harbor

For my hero I chose to do my daddy. The way I feel about him is mixed, depending on my mood. Sometimes he irritates me and I say I hate him, but deep down he knows I love him and I am just saying words. Most of the time my feelings for him are happy or loving.

Sometimes I take for granted what he does for me every day. He feeds me and gives me a home to live in. He dresses me and sends me to a private Christian school. He is the one who pushes me to be a better person. One day when I will want a car, he'll be the one who will get it for me. My daddy will be the one who will send me to college.

I guess what I am saying is that I am very fortunate to have a dad who does all that for me. Some kids don't have anything that I have. I never really realized all that I have until Sept. 11, 2001. All of this is really a long thank you. Thanks for all of it, Daddy.

_ By KATIE ASTLE, age 11

My mom had a divorce when I was 2 and had to work two jobs. She took really good care of me. She worked very hard and now she has remarried and has become a wonderful mom to a 1-year-old baby boy named Ashton. My mom had to take the hard road, but it led her to the easy road. That is why I look up to my mom.

_ By AREANA CRUZ, age 11

My hero is my dad. I feel very comfortable around my hero. He does a lot of cool things with me, like projects, movies and dinners. My dad is a hero, maybe to everyone, since he is a doctor. He saves people's lives. My dad has been very busy these last couple of months and he always told me to never quit, and neither has he. A lot of people must look up to my dad because he is a doctor, but he always, and I mean always, loves to save people.

_ By RYAN PETRUCELLI, age 11

Poems from Sharon Agner's fifth-graders at Palm Harbor Elementary

Fairies

They dance on petals

Their wings soft and delicate

They live in deep woods

_ Haiku by EMILY JOURDAN, age 10

Skipping Stone

Weathered, gray, rounded

The stone skips across the stream

Ripples playing tag

_ Haiku by EMILY SHAY, age 11

A Spider's Work of Art

Sparkling bright with dew

Thin, wispy, fragile, yet strong

A web stands in place

Suspended in a corner

A hardworking spider's art.

_ By VICTORIA GAROS, age 11

There once was a boy named Spence,

Who tried to jump a high fence,

He broke his left knee,

Then fell on a bee,

That boy had no common sense.

_ Limerick by ELEFTERIA GAROS, age 11

"Where I Am From"

Poems by Karen Henderson's fifth-grade language arts classes at Garrison-Jones Elementary in Palm Harbor

I am from the lines I draw, that tell about me inside and out.

I am from the ripples of the waves that my water skis make as I launch off the wakes,

From the roller blades that carry me from house to house.

I am from the family that tells me "I love you" every day that comes.

_ By MELISSA MOGENSEN

I am from my grandma's stories about living on a farm,

Stories of getting in trouble with her brother, Don,

From stories in the corn rows and tricking the cars that came by.

I am from traveling to places high and low,

From swimming in lakes and rivers, to camping with the obnoxious raccoons.

I am from dance class and recitals, too, learning the routine is a blast,

But it's still hard.

From trying on costumes for the perfect size,

To sliding on my knees and making sure the timing is just right.

I am from my trampoline, jumping and doing flips,

From sliding when it is soaking wet to doing tricks when it is dry.

I am from a busy world!

_ By KERRY McKINNEY

I am from the baseball field, where pop flies, grounders and line drives

Fill the stadium with awe.

From 99-mph pitches that come at your belt, and

Where vendors yell, "Get yo' hotdogs here!"

I am from a loving family filled with joy and laughter,

From happy Hanukkahs to times of death and days of hard work.

I am from Israel, where people fill the streets and markets at every corner.

From giant temples, huge walls and great pyramids that fill my eyes in excitement.

I am from my room filled with posters of Rey Ordonez,

where I stay up all night and watch TV with my friends.

_ By TODD HASKEL

I'm from an old wooden swing set with a bright yellow slide.

From squeaking chain swings, that tower above the winter green trees,

From smelling the snowy-white magnolias as I soar past the long branches.

I'm from a preschool of teachers who have as much kindness as they do knowledge.

From a kindergarten with a faded white play kitchen,

From a year of friends that disappeared into new places and schools.

I'm from mountains with rustling wind and creeks in the distance,

Where the water splashes past the rocks.

From days filled with shimmering sunshine, where a glass of

Chilled water feels like five minutes of heaven.

I'm from a humorous family of smiles and frowns

With enormously big dinners filled with giggles and tears,

From two enchanting younger sisters who make your heart feel like gold.

I'm from a life of family and friends: TV or money could not take their place.

From times of unforgettable memories that would make your heart

Soar like a golden eagle.

_ By ALEXIS NIELSEN

From Mrs. Snyder's eighth-graders at St. Paul's School in Clearwater

October 1987

The whole world

Put its rhythm on

Hold

As I came in.

With my bald head

And my green eyes

Everyone could see

I looked just like

My dad.

I was the first.

Pink bonnets,

Freshly pressed booties,

Baby powder,

Soft nighties,

Cuddly teddies,

Pureed peaches,

Homemade carrot juice,

No tears shampoo,

Tiny clay hand imprints,

Itsy bitsy diapers,

French boutiques,

And hugs and kisses,

When all I really needed

Was lots of love.

_ By OLIVIA TEYTELBAUM, 14

Spring of 1988

In the middle of spring,

When the flowers were blooming,

Filling the meadows,

I came to life.

I was born in New York City,

I spent three years of my life up there.

Even though I lived up there,

I'm always cold.

I was extremely active when I was small,

I used to run all over the house,

Climb up the stairs,

And come down headfirst.

_ By ADEETI AMIN, 13

Summer baby

I was born in June,

On a hot summer day that felt like you were walking on the sun.

My mom said I used to dance in her stomach,

And I can believe that, since I love to dance.

That is how I got my nickname: ChaCha.

As I became older I grew into my own,

With long, straight hair,

And my sister had hair like sand on a windy day,

tight ringlets.

I got older and I got bigger, and my legs got much, much longer.

"Legs for days" they said, and still do.

I loved to climb, but I can't fit in the trees like I used to.

Too big.

My mom said I was always movin' when I was young,

And never stopped.

I was able to outrun her by the time I could walk,

Still can.

Sports is in my blood, same as my dad.

Fast cars and motorcycles are a common interest of ours.

Speed demons.

Now I am older,

It is too hard to do those things that I love.

Too much to do, to think about,

Homework, too many horrible things that are happening

In this world,

Too many concerns that fill your head,

Too much to deal with.

I don't have time for the wind in my hair

Or the pavement flyin' past.

Too old, as everyone says,

Too big. They are just silly toys.

But I want to feel the wind

I want to have fun like I used to.

I want to be able to climb again.

Climb away from this place we have to live in,

The world full of war.

But you can't get away from thousands dying,

Bombs exploding . . . from war.

So far we are all able to deal with this world of pain in our own ways.

Mine is writing.

_ By WHITNEY KAHLER, 14

Me

A newborn baby came into this world

On the morn of April 29th

The parents' dream finally came true

They got their baby girl

Her hair had waves like the cool blue sea

Her eyes were big and brown,

Sparkling with the dust of the stars.

As she grew to be a little girl

Her features became more noticeable

She was awfully short, and very loud

Who is this girl with the big, brown eyes?

She is me, Amanda.

_ By AMANDA CURLEY, 13

The Beginning: October 1987

I was born, way down south, in hot, sticky Florida.

I was born with a chubby face and dark-brown hair

And brown eyes. My hair is now blond,

My eyes, no longer brown, are green.

My sister hid behind the hospital door,

Safe from the sight of me being delivered.

She thought I was fat and ugly.

But, oh well, she was ugly, too,

Just like me, with big ears.

My shirts were many sizes too small

For my rotund belly, my dresses too small

For my big baby fat.

But things change, as things always do.

I grew too skinny: 65 pounds at age 12.

Bones sticking out of my shoulders and stomach.

But things have changed, as things always do.

I'm not too skinny, I'm not fat at all.

I'm just in the middle, perfect, as my mom always says.

I'm not very good at sports, though I like basketball

Very much. My room is too messy, I can't learn to clean.

My mom says that'll change, too, as things always do,

But I have my doubts.

_ By HARTLEY MILLER, 14

Xpressions appears the last Monday of each month inside Floridian. Please read the following instructions carefully before submitting your work, which must be based on the designated themes. Here are some upcoming themes and postmark deadlines:

APRIL: HOPE _ What does hope mean to you? What gives you hope? Thanks to St. Paul's School in Clearwater for inspiring this theme. Deadline: All entries must be postmarked by April 8.

MAY: CHILDHOOD MEMORIES _ Yet another theme inspired by St. Paul's School. Bring to life a memory of your younger days through writing, art or photography. Deadline: All entries must be postmarked by May 6.

Work may be edited for length and content. Please send your work, theme suggestions and comments to: Xpressions, c/o Nancy Green, St. Petersburg Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, FL 33602.

All work must follow the designated theme and be your own creation. Artwork must be on white, unlined paper, with the medium stated on the back (oil, pastel, crayon, etc.). Be sure to include your name (printed legibly), age, school, grade, address, ZIP code and phone number, with area code.

IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT YOUR WORK WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT THE INFORMATION ABOVE. Stories must be no longer than 150 words, preferably typewritten. We only can return artwork and photography, and only if you indicate that you want it back.

By Taylor Scott, age 7, second grade, SunFlower Private School, Gulfport

By Olivia Marger, age 7, second grade, SunFlower Private School, Gulfport

By Meagan Orologio, eighth grade, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

"I am ... a girl from many nations," by Veronica Lopez, age 19, 12th grade, St. Petersburg Catholic High School

By Caelum Schandle, age 8, third grade, SunFlower Private School, Gulfport

By Saleena Montalvo, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

Collage by Ashley Schick, age 15, St. Petersburg High School International Baccalaureate Program

By Lindsay Rapp, age 11, fifth grade, Skycrest Christian School, Clearwater

By Rebecca Draft, age 13, Bayonet Point Middle School

By Carley Bryde, eighth grade, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

By Maria Meyers, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

By Somkhith Chanthavong, eighth grade, Riviera Middle School, St. Petersburg

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