ChiTeen Lit FestChiTeen Lit Fest

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

New You Haiku

By Eduardo Rodriguez

Change, motivation
A new me? Hesitation
New year’s creation

Make fresh better you
Different, contemporary
But always stay true

A new me? Can it be?
I see no change feel no change
This can not be so

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

On Home and Body

By Kyla Pollard

You do not blame the house for how it reacts to an intruder
For how an alarm goes off
And yet it is still unable to protect itself
You do not blame the house for how it is unable to speak
For how it can not say “Me Too”
After it has been robbed
You do not blame the house for the way it parades locked doors
And High fences
Do not blame the body for how it reacts to trauma
Blame the cause
Blame the intruder
For how an alarm can go off
And is still unable to be heard
Do not judge the body for loving the way it does
Closed arms
For the way it parades locked doors
And high fences
Look at the shots that have been Fired towards it
Look at the hands that have left prints on its valuables
Look at the battle wound that love left on it
Or how love made the body a home to invite lies into
Do not beat it up for how it chooses to heal
For the way it scars itself a closed wound
For the way it flinches back into a prayer
And shuts the door

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Enough is Enough

By Paola Beltran

1968, high school students from East L.A. walked out of school to
protest unfair treatment and lack of funds. 1988, students from
Gallaudet University protest because never in history of the school
was there a deaf president. 2018, students, parents, teachers,
professionals, employed, or unemployed are currently marching in
places like D.C., Chicago, Sacramento and 800 other cities across the

After the Women’s March in January, never in U.S. history have so many
individuals participated in protest. This isn’t just any other protest, it’s a
movement, where thousands of people are here to say that guns kill, gun
violence is real, and that never again should mass shootings be happening
in high schools or any other institutions.

Students, teachers, and people across the nation want to feel like
they can walk out of school without worrying about a gun fight. They
shouldn’t have to fear that an infuriated student can come in to class
with a weapon of this sort. Having a gun held to your head puts you in
a terrifyingly vulnerable situation where all you can do is hope that
they turn around and leave. People shouldn’t have to worry like this
especially when the government is more than capable of doing

The difference between 1968, 1988, and 2018 is the repercussion of
change. The students from East L.A. became a step-stone for Chicano
representation and civil rights. In 1988, the students who demanded
change, emplaced their first deaf president, Irving King Jordan. Where
is our change? We will not stop because enough is enough.

*Sources used: and

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Deep Dish

By Zilva Asif

Gunshots serenade the night
Gone from us now, had a bright future
Used to it, no longer phases us

It burned down before, the second city
Rose like a Phoenix from ashes
Chicago, it’s on fire again
The deeper you go, the more the flames flicker
Until you reach a stop, and it’s all dark
Same flames in the bleeding youth, dream chasers
Successful rulebreakers
‘How do you survive?’ to us it’s home

You see taxes, violence
Windy city, political climate
But it’s the world’s finest
Skyscraper city of the world

Down-to-earth,genuine, people
The smokey downtown air
Trains zooming by
Red line, an artery
Connecting destinations
Cubs or Sox, choose a side

Chicago, my forever home
A hot dog grilled to perfection
A skyline full of opportunities
A giant mirrored bean
Distinct weather, no spring or fall
Navy Pier, I didn’t grow at all
A beautiful city, loud and bustling
Oozing with talent

A city gone through the roughest
Still standing, almost united
A place known for its deep dish pizza
Gooey cheese, great memories
Lactose Intolerant

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

V-Day Massacre

By Zilva Asif

Valentine’s Day
Highschool five miles away
Expelled for disciplinary reasons
Now back with a .223 caliber AR-15 rifle,
Concealed in
Gold vehicle, keys in
Walking purposefully
In school, determinedly
Rifle out, fire alarm
Out of classrooms, confused not calm
Semi Automatic fire, one shot in the arm
Ushered back in class, Mr.Beigel, a sentry
Just another drill, a more realistic one, maybe
No drill, body crumpled to the floor
At the classroom door
2:23 pm
911, it has to be a student
East to West stairwell, quick movement
Social media, texts, a glimpse into the horror
Blood stained floored, horrific screams
‘My school is being shot up’, trembling hands,
Hiding in the corner
Bodies, bullet-strewn classrooms
Shhh, silence, no volume
Drops rifle, out the building
Among the kids running
SWAT pushing doors, who is it, 911,
Do we let them in?
Didn’t know who it could’ve been
Typical highschool student,
Maroon polo shirt
Surrendered without incident
3:41 pm
Suspect detained
Motives Unexplained
14 injured, 17 dead
No change,
Another statistic you just read

-wrote this after the Florida school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

(Growing up Female)

By Sylwia Szopa

When I was 5 I was told to play with girl toys
The ones that were pink
And the ones that sparkled
When I was 6 I wasn’t allowed to play with a boy
Because they were rough and rowdy
And I could get hurt
When I was 7 I was told I couldn’t be a race car driver
Or a mechanic
Because those careers were for boys
I could get dirty or hurt
When I was 8 I was taught to stay close to my parents
Because a strange man would kidnap me
When I was 9 I was told I could never go anywhere alone
Because it’s not safe
Always have an adult
When I was 10 my parents told me about girls that went missing
As a warning
When I was 11 my parents told me stories about girls that got raped
Because that could happen to me
When I was 12 I practiced screaming as loud as I could
So maybe someone could save me
When I was 13 I learned the best place to kick a man
So maybe I could get away
When I was 14 I learned to get out of zipped ties
When I was 15 I carried my keys between my fingers
And I mapped out routes to my house just in case

What have we done
We raise girls to be delicate
And then we expose them to the real world
We take their childhood away

Because boys will be boys
And girls will be careful

By ChiTeen Lit Fest


By KLevana (Keita Morris)


Tomorrow’s promise a brand new day?
We have fought
For what?
We wanted to be free
Now we are the only ones holding ourselves captive
Our slavery is giving into everything that sounds easy
Thank you society
For trying to prove to me it will be easier to be anything but Black
Models bleaching their skin because their not seeing the beauty because showing natural melanin like Lupita wasn’t even an option
Thank you society
For making Black look so dirty
As if the only way we can make it to the top is to please everyone but ourselves
That we will do anything to be famous
That we could only shake our behinds instead of standing behind what we actually believe in
That we are that desperate for fame
Is that what it takes?
That we are like crabs trying to escape a barrel we keep pulling each other back down
But where they lying
We crying for rights when we don’t even treat each other right
We are quick to put bullets through heads like it would solve the problem
So how do we expect any race to treat African Americans any better
As a people we make the world go round but everyone is taking their turn Gunning each other down
We have failed ourselves
We were to fulfill the dreams of Martin Luther King
But yet we are filling more prisons than schools
No more great things on the news
but what if the news was always filled with our rights instead of our wrongs
We must fight our demons and fulfill our purpose
and nurses
But No
More bodies dead then researchers
Fighting wrong fights instead of searching for answers
What about the cure for cancer?
Problems not being solved
Are we happy with who we are?
Ancestors were Strange fruits hanging from trees but
kids are tracing bodies on the the street with chalk
Isn’t chalk for playing games like hopscotch?
There is no difference in the storyline only time
We are dying
Black like the never ending night sky our culture should be never ending.
Let’s remember our past is the reason we are privileged with the way we are living
Is it possible that we could at least strive for perfection and make the devil angry
we could win no we will win
if we can become one
One love
One heart
One world
And our generation that will motivate the next generation to rise like the sun and stand
We will stand as one
We are tomorrow’s promise
Because this is a brand new day

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

The (Mexican) Girl Learning How to Breathe in America

By Jazmin Gonzalez

I swim in the sea of ignorance
Searching for a breath
But all I see is that all they see is my ethnicity.
All rrrrrolling r’s and accentitos
Todo broken English y spanglish.
And all I am trying to do is breathe.
Breathe through Mexican family parties,
Full of kids who’ve never known the real Mexico
And have lost their Native tongues,
And no longer understand “their” culture.
And full of older generation
Full of old ways of thinking,
Old accents, old tongues,
Old views.
Trying to breathe through people telling me
That my roots make me
A criminal, a thief, wrong
When all I’m trying to do is breathe.
Breathe through the smog surrounding me
Trying to suffocate me,
Hold me down
Because I’m a girl.
I try to breathe
Through the smog
Created by hearing a father tell his daughter
“A woman doesn’t have what it takes to be President.
You don’t have what it takes”
I learn to breathe.
I cut through the smog of oppression,
Patriarchy, racism, hate-ism.
I break through the surface
And breathe
Breathe in the words of
Frida Kahlo, Selena, my mother,
Breathe in the actions of
Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks,
And I hold these breathes,
While trying to learn to breathe my own words,
Breathe my own actions.
As a double minority (Mexicana and niña)
All you can hope to do is
Learn to Breathe in America

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

A Leap For the Unknown

By Sylwia Szopa

A leap for the unknown
A leap that could end all
I’m hanging
Barely keeping hold
The boys are laughing
I’m sweating
Already my muscles start to strain
The girls are telling me to get down
Almost there
Almost halfway
My arms are burning
My parents are telling me to get down
I’ll get hurt
Halfway there
A few more to go
The boys are telling me that I’m not strong enough
Not strong enough
I can’t do it
One arm slips
I can’t make it
My arms are burning
If I stop I’ll be fine
One girl is cheering
Telling me to go on
The teachers are telling me to stop
I’m too high off the ground
I want to
I need to
I can’t
The boys are grabbing my feet trying to pull me down
They won’t let me win
The girls are edging them on
Can’t they see they’re hurting me
Can’t they see I have no choice
It’s done
I’m done
I fall
I am spent
I did it
Now it’s their turn to prove them wrong

1 2 3
New You Haiku
On Home and Body
Enough is Enough
Deep Dish
V-Day Massacre
(Growing up Female)
The (Mexican) Girl Learning How to Breathe in America
A Leap For the Unknown