Math Poetry Contest

Yuba College
Math Poetry Contest Winners


Long Nights at My Kitchen Table

It's a pain in my eyes,
It's a pain in my hand,
It's a pain of a pain
And now I understand...
Since when is negative three plus six equal to nine? (I'll just pretend that didn't happen.)

Divide six and two,
Add ten to three,
Take a really quick break and then...
Why is everyone looking at me?! Don't you back away; you would crack too if your homework were this hard. Now, do we have any licorice left?

Come on, everybody! Let's play a game.
It's called Why Do These Problems Look the Same>
Do you know how to play? I bet you do.
Do you want to know why? Because you're in my class, too!

Now it's midnight and I have school tomorrow
And if I can't finish my homework, I'll probably just drown my sorrow in mint chocolate chip ice cream.
I have dreams of going to
UC Santa Barbara to complete a major in sociology

But that dream won't come true
If I fail, or worse, forget to do
This work.
And I've done both before -- it did look good on my transcript.

However, it's not over until the fat lady sings.
And I can't sing professionally so my phone will play the aria from "Carmen"e
Now it all boils down to this
I can't forget and I can't miss

Wish me luck!

---Caitlin Beck
2nd-place winner


When you add letters
To a algebra problem
You must think harder

---Drew Jensen
1st-place winner



Dendrites imploding,
Algebraic concepts exploding,
Oh why does my intellect diminish so quickly?
Confusion and anxiety appear so contritely,
Let my mind explore...
Word problems and more!
Order of operations,
Linear equations,
Slopes and percents,
X- and Y-intercepts,
Formulas and graphing,
The numbers and variables choreographing,
Absolute values and inequalities.
My mind can escape the whirlwind of perplexities...
At last, a break!
This is becoming a piece of cake!
Exponents ignite to my mind's delight,
Comprehension is in sight!
I can absorb polynomials galore,
And I can be sure to score!
My inspiration is clear,
To conquer my fears,
And be proficient Mathematician pioneer!

---Petrina Keene
3rd-place winner

Solving Problems

Mx+b might be a mystery to me
Though some might disagree, knowing algebra is the key
After you get rid of all the debris, and turn off the TV
I can almost guarantee, that the answer you will see.

---Sarah Jensen
2nd-place winner


Calculations running through my head
The probability of making it.
Extending towards the infinity
The variables I can't control
Swarming exponentially
Trying to divide them
Faster than they multiply
Equally exhausting
But the solution is there
Waiting to be proven.

---Juana S. Villa
1st-place winner


Math --- The Locked-up Door

Locked by an algebraic expression of infinite knowledge,
a knowledge of uncertain inequalities and perfectly squared logic,
a logic unlocked by a key of the profound curiosity to complete the most simple yet maddening of
and a right-angle sharp enough to dissect the seemingly endless trials and errors of human imperfection
displayed by pencil on paper,
but erased by the pride to move forward.

---Hugo Fuentes
3rd-place winner

The Trinity Hockey Solution

The following limerick poses a question. It is not my work and I do not know the information of the author, as such, no itation will be provided. However, the response, in limerick form is my original work and the former is included for clarity purposes only.

"Some students from Trinity Hall
played hockey with a wonderful ball.
They found that twice weight
plus weight squared minus eight
gave nothing in ounces at all.
What was the weight of the ball."

My response follows:

"Assuming a positive mass,
were it filled with a noble gas,
then two times one cubic foot
of helium may put
the ball neutrally buoyant on grass.
Tus, confusing the players en masse."

---Michael (C.J.) Cheek
2nd-place winner

F(x) + G(x)

Functions can move so fluidly,
Sometimes simple and linearly,
They can be slanted with some crazy slope,
Or can wiggle like sine, cosine or a vibrating rope,
They can make figures with parametrizations,
Or make a solution should they form combinations.

Alone they are independent,
But they can diverge or be convergent,
Functions can move far and wide,
Or be bounded by an asymptote where they keep to their side,
They could oscillate until they become nearly one,
Or go off into separate directions of infinity where there limit is but none.

But if they come so close to cross
A solution is formed and shows who's boss!
They share a point,
Maybe even form a couple of joints,
Should they oscillate and become one function
Even whole parts of their functions could be conjunctions!

The thought of a solution is so comforting,
Straight to the point without any grunting,
Hopefully one without i's or silly roots,
One that's terminating and doesn't need simplifying routes.
Oh, functions, you can be such hell,
But at least there's an end for the back of the book can tell.

---Emma Willard
1st-place winner


This Mathematical Path We Call Life

So check it out, it seems to me
That we all need a reason
Some feasible way to explain the controversy that I'm seein'
Underlying theme, it seems the scheme's embedded in our being

Several of our best minds
Long ago invested time
The signs they spied unwind the mind
Reveal fractals concealed in life

Cognitive strife, is our prerogative
Might just abolish the right to live
Equalities sublime

Take the time, to rewind in this parabola
Perhaps you will find that it's kind of extravagant
The vertex is a perplexing method
Of introspection bet the axis of symmetry
Within we shows me my reflection

Planted deep within our soul's
The sequence, Fibonacci's code
The road we chose spirals out golden
As long as this life we don't goad...

Perfectly rational, 1 to 1.618
This masterful design's divine
I've begun to run into fate

---Shaun Presley
2nd-place winner

Dyscalculic Confession

The less-known cousins of dyslexics
Receive not enough attention
failing math, dyscalculics-
-endure numerical dysfunction

Can't seem to solve expression
with thoughts divided into fractions
countless hours of dedication
arithmetic distractions

Mistakes made in calculation
triple-checking my division
time wasted on one equation
a dyscalculic confession

---Hugo Fuentes
1st-place winner



Like in math
Love is an equation
Add two hearts
Then subtract deception
Solve for X and you'll know why
Stay together and don't divide
Be happy and multiply!

---Alicia Villa
Honorable Mention

The Derivative of Love

There was a boy with bright blue eyes,
Who went by the name of Hue One 3rd Exx Cubed.
Now Exx Cubed would let our sighs
For a girl he liked by the name of Little Kelly Exx Squared.
She was so sweet she was so nice,
Mr. Exx Cubed thought for her I was derived.
But Hue's luck was not so great
See Little Kelly did not see him as a mate.
This little girl named Little Kelly Exx Squared
Now she derived a like for a boy, but this boy's name was Timmy Two Ex.
But Timmy did not like Little Kelly Exx Squared.
He said that he felt vexed,
Because his derived love was for Little Suzie Two.
Now here came the real question who does Suzie choose...?
It was no doubt in little Suzie's ming that she derived a like for her hero,
A tall blonde fellow named Billy Ray Zero.

---Rocio Rodriguez
Honorable Mention

Math in Nature

What a world we have received
Its glorious nature do we perceive
Its hints of math that seem divine
Embedded into earths design
Fractals are a wonder, seemingly endless
Snowflakes, seashells, lightning, portraying its finesse
Petals, fingers, trees altogether they've molten
A brilliant artistic number, a ratio that's golden
A hexagon in a hive, Geometry at its best
All the bees creating with nothing to protest
A Spider web, a sebra's skin, and illustrious grapevine
Math is artistic with its beautiful design
Web, dam, nest burrow, an eloquent hive
Stunning are these shelters, math used to survive
Math makes the world complete all the numbers we derive
Through its many sequences Fibonacci is alive
Up down left right it all can be seen
The world is full of math and anything in between
Math has been here since beginning of time
It has left its imprints even in this rhyme.

---Zuhra FNU
3rd-place winner


Life's spent figuring equations
Calculating uncertainties, variables, and degrees
These graphs and charts won't help me now
The formulas won't make sense
Where a+b was easy to me
I have failed to comprehend
The numbers have no absolutes
There's a negative under the square root sign
These powers and signs won't raise me up
This notations too long to condense
We combine and divide
The radius and diameter infinite
The polynomials not factorable
In the end under my square root sign
The i tells me it's imaginary
There was never a real answer at all.

---Heather Sutton
2nd-place winner

Analysis of You and Me

Bernoulli's Inequality
cannot constitute my quandary
for this convergence in probability seems less random when I'm with you.
No causation without manipulation
Nonlinear association
There's this logical disjunction when I'm proportionate to you.

My arms are an empty set
beget with hypergeometric opposites
Your game theory and intellect make me deviate from you.
I should've seen the base rate fallacy
the mean squared error of your mentality
When the outlier of my affection was unknown to you.

This damned heteroscedasticity
I should've tested my hypotheses
before I fell for prosecutor's fallacy, the prosecutor being you.
Separated by class boundaries
Correcting continuity
It's be a negation of reality f I ever were bivariate with you.

---Ashlee Pitock
1st-place winner



Frac     tion
Will I       hang
up-side         -down
or Right           -side-up?
Will I         end up
In Negative     infinity Or

y = x3 - 1/4

---Shauna Heidelberger
Honorable Mention

Irrational Mind

Damn you complex rational expressions,
Your twisted ways leave me in frustration
Your irrational ways
Deserve no praise
As I weep, without comprehension.

On the board in class it seems easy,
I go home and b egin to feel queasy
My brain is like flab
No help from My Math lab!
Oh how I wish math was more pleasing.

After some time, I start to get it
I no longer seem to fidget
No longer seeming mean,
Oh Crap it was just a dream
I awake to ... Partial credit!

---Martin Salyer
3rd-place winner

The Composite Functions of Life
(f o L)(x)

Life is a function, so short and complex.
The reason we live, we call f of x,
And while we assign labels, let L of x be life.
The composition of the reason we live, of life.

The variables of life forever change,
But our f of x is essentially the same.
The standard variable, substituted with life;
Makes for infinite solutions,
Those graphs a confusing map through.

Yet never do we see the sue,
Nor do we find understanding.
The answers to life are the "y" to that complex function:
"the reason we live."

---Jacquelyn Shelley
2nd-place winner

A Math Epiphany

I wonder what the absolute value of me would come out to be.

We are often defined by real numbers, but don't you think it encumbers us to a certain degree?

I would hate to believe the 9 digit number assigned to me defined my destiny.

Or that my length, and width play a huge part of who I can be.

My center is what I want the world to see.

Being a well rounded individual is my desire, so to think outside the square, I pull up a chair and
listen to those whose knowledge is higher.

I'd like to believe that if my input is greater than any problem I encounter, my output should
equal positive power.

However, i tend to question whether the complexity of this journey could and should be
simplified, or is it best to just enjoy the ride?

I've come up with a solution to this lifelong journey of mine, and it is to rationally decide the set
of points I will leave behind.

---Carla Rogers
1st-place winner


His Heart

The whole of his heart is equally divided into two parts
One near and one far
Half for her and half for me
Oh, this love is just forever negative infinity
Because of his unfaithful heart
If that's the final answer then I rather be apart

---Choua Yang
Honorable Mention


Love and math have a strong connection.
Sometimes, both could become frustration.
Both of them need evaluation.
Though, both of them have different definition.
Both of them need concentration.
But I consider it an attraction.
For most of people, it becomes a distraction.
That is why, Love and Math have a strong combination.

---Sumit Sethi
Honorable Mention


There was once upon a time
A square root who would always cry
He would sob and sob all day
For he felt full of shame
He was the square root of negative one
Oh God! What could he want?!
I asked him, what was the cause
Said he couldn't figure out who he was!
I explained he was imaginary
He thought the idea was kind of scary
Finally he was able to comprehend
It was then he lived happily till the end.

---Stephanie Cordova
3rd-place winner


The "sine" I had derived love from you
is when we "cosine'd" a house for two.

---Brittany Sheahan
2nd-place winner

Lost In Math 50

I have attempted math 50
at least four times
There was even a semester
when I did all of my homework online

First taken with professor Thoo
where I began to learn
but earning a grade less than a "C"
soon became my main concern

Near the end I dropped the class
I wouldn't make the grade
Then I turned to see if it was true
That math 50 is where I stayed

Pleased to meet young Dr. Stennmann
it was from Germany he came
He talked of lines that were parallel
And some with slopes and then
I thought oh boy I am lost in math 50
so I dropped the class again

Happy to see Joe Caputo
teaching my class this Spring
Now I'm sure this time I'll get it
His teaching is just the thing

This math semed to get harder
the more I tried
and in March of that semester
my little brother died
my heart truly broken
my head a mess
I was lost in math 50
I wasn't my best

Look at my new schedule
what is it you see
yep, I'm in math 50
this time with Dr. "D"

Now he's an amazing teacher
I learned a lot from him at last
Then I took my final
What I didn't pass

I sadly asked Dr. Davidson
why I didn't get a "C" He said, Lori I think you really get it
It's test anxiety

I cried then I laughed
and I said good grief
I am re-taking math 50
in total disbelief

I had to change my schedule
what will it be
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
is what was left for me

Now meeting early in the mornings
with professor Heaton
I've thought long and hard about this class
but I won't consider cheaten
Instead I'm trying, hoping and praying to God
this time I'll have it beaten

I will pass math 50 and then math 52
I don't care how long it takes
or if it's the last thing I do

I will not quit and be disgraced
to shame myself would be a waste
And on the day I finally shine through
I will give great thanks to all of young

---Lori Muniz
1st-place winner


For the Love of 3.14159

The Rules Of These Poems

3 - Poems about π
1 - Overall idea about π to each poem
4 - Beats in the meter of each line in the poem
1 - Same four part beat for the whole set of poems
5 - Each part is divisible by five
9 - Parts to each poem

The Architecture Of These Poems

There are three poems
Each poem is broken into nine parts
Each Part has two lines

Poem 1 - The discovery of π

Archimedes of Syracuse in a calculated move
Inscribed with in a circle a curious groove

Regular polygon only eight sides to name
This shape in circle would start π fame

Then repeated this shape circle circumscribed
A mirror image it was only larger out side

With pen and with paper he worked and decided
Twohundred twentythree by seven was divited

Known for fact this was less than π
Twenty-two by seven must be greater size

And so it began his great math experiment
With two Hexagons and a circle implement

He then decided more sides per poly
Closer the circle but this was his folly

His polygonal sides they grew in their number
He worked and worked sometimes without slumber

Enough! He said sides grew out of hand
Ninety-six is enough for this tired man

Poem 2 - The use of π

Ancient Babylonia the Greeks and the Egyptians
All were so fascinated and used π inscription

They built great buildings angle and straight
But building in round their math can't equate

These civilizations they had great men too
Who thought real hard about what to do?

All came up with slightly different variations
Some of them prayed with a mystic cantation

They all used π to make circles soune
Even in theatre they had their round

π Is used all through out our history
Great π is even used in geometry

In certain equations of sector and arch
Is used to figure out length and chart

This math alone has many neat applications
Such as the building of many military formations

Forensics and dimensions cylinders and more
What did I tell you there are applications galore

Poem 3 - The ongoing study of π

The stydy of π occupied the best
To study great π is one giant quest

Is π irrational in its unrelenting way?
Forever and always changing come numbers what may

The closes value of π still eludes us
This question is not science biggest fuss

To study great π is to study mathematics
Deeper mysteries lie still in the attic

Most math is done on a flat surface
Real life is changing with a purpose

π Can be used to help these grave situations
Adapting flat math with curved innovations

Take a triangle bend over a bowl
Take one step further use a black hole

A and B squared takes on a new meaning
Finite curvature makes your brain bleeding

These I know are quite fearful equations
π Will help you hardly any complications

---Trevor Sutton
Honorable Mention

The Limit of my love

The limit of my love
As I approaches U
Reaches high above
Stretching out of view

It's the same as 1 over X
As X approaches 0+ Can't be expressed in text
My love you are my hero

I'd taken aback by the degree
That you take my breath away
Never ceasing to amaze me
Making me want to stay

The slope of your love
Is to me a sine
I will fly like a dove
If you'l be forever mine

---Zac Law
3rd-place winner (tie)

You are as sweet as Pi
(dedicated to my ex-wife)

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Pi is irrational,
And so are you!

---George Cheso
3d-place winner (tie)

δ = εsanity

I am the epsilon,
He who lives in the world of the y.
Without understanding me,
Sanity becomes your limit.
He is the delta,
He who lives in the world of the x.
Believe in him,
And you will find a path most direct.
Walk with delta,
Let him lead you to me.
Together we will find your limit,
You sanity.

---Christoher Hall
2nd-place winner

My Life Through Algebra

If algebra has taught me nothing else, it has revealed how to solve complex problems throughout
my life.

Not gifted in math, I must persevere during thorny formulas, double check all of my answers,
and become even more prepared; much like overcoming dissension and strife.

To properly simplify an intricate rational expression is a superior example of a lesson well
For I have encountered scores of irrationals, and found that when broken down, most simply just
want to be heard.

There are times that quadratic equations resolve with more than one solution that works and is

When applied to our journey in life, is there any acceptable explanation, or reason, for one to
argue, fuss, and fight?

Numbers do not discriminate, they do not judge; yet expose a naked truth with accuracy and

A constant and a concept, I have access to when faced with my next moral judgment call or
ethical inequalities.

Yes, life can present us with various slopes, unkown variables, negative outcomes, and even a
few inequalities,

Due to algebra, I am ready; for I am organized and equipped, and have become well versed
in these multifarioius properties.

One may find never needing to calculate the area of a right triangle another time; never again
required to unearth coordinates to graph,

Thous, I choose to remember Pythagoras and this theorem, for if the positive results and the
goodness in life are notsquared....

One may just forget to enjoy each moment, take a deep breath, let go, and permit a healthy,
hearty laugh.

---Becky R. Martin
1st-place winner


Ode to an Absolute Value

I like an Absolute Value.
Math is something so True.
Life is not an Absolute Value.
Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math can make me so dizzy,
Its Theorems and Rules to Busy.
Life can completely Annihilate.
Demons in Man spreading Hate.

I like an Absolute Value.
Math is something so True.
Life is not an Absolute Value.
Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math puzzles can stimulate my Mind.
Math puzzles can cause me teeth to Grind.
But life so Tenuous, so Fragile,
It is gone, but Math will stay awhile.

I like an Absolute Value.
Math is something so True.
Life is not an Absolute Value.
Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

Math is in everything we Do.
A rock not given its Due.
Crowds so take with the surface.
That will change, but It holds place.

I like an Absolute Value.
Math is something so True.
Life is not an Absolute Value.
Its many shades of Gray, even Blue.

---Katrina J. Hopson-Donoho
Honorable Mention

Equation 4 a Better Life

To equal peace
We must subtract many variables.
Anger, hate and prejudice
Are the first coefficients
That must equal zero.
Nothing radical needs to be added
But what does need to be added is
Love, respect, and support.
It's an easy solution
After multiplying what we've learned to
The other terms.
It's an easy cube to break out of
With a simple degree of determination.
Don't be the divisor in life,
Be the one who unites.
Being positive will give you larger sums than being negative.
The greatest common factor between us all
Is that we are all have a heart.
The love we give needs to be constant and greater than any given before.
We all deserve at least a fraction of a chance and
We need to factor in each others thoughts and feelings.
This equation is easy as Pi.
All you have to do is apply.

---Annie Hill
3rd-place winner


Hello, my name is One,

I'm known to some as the "loneliest" number,

It's true I came into this equation alone,

When times get hard, I feel divided,

Like a fraction of my whole,

To solve it I have to pick up the pieces,

Stick them back together even when I'm null,

As myself I am blessed,

To be the only One who is capable of an answer,

Capable of graphing these times out,

Without using other numbers,

We are all trying to figure out our own variables,

If you could see as another One,

You and I have to leave alone,

As One I need no other variables,

I'm happy being the solution, One

---Christopher Makridis
2nd-place winner

The Girl Who Loved Numbers

There one was a girl who loved numbers,

the beauty of numbers;
for the golden, perfect spirals in
fascinated her, inspired her.
She ate, dreamt, and breathed numbers
without end, always in search of numerical perfection.
The soft curve of a graph
would captivate her,
the endless possibilities of a variable
would fascinate her.
seemed to grow out of her hair,
drip from her fingers,
spill from the deep recesses of her brain,
onto a page.

And there was a boy who loved her,
though he was to her like rain is to a desert,
But he loved her,
and she loved numbers,
and day by day she would discover more and more
wonderful things
that could be
And he would watch her there, in her small study,
and hoped for the day when she could
count his name
as valuable as that of pi.

As he was hoping, there came a day when he began to
ask her questions,
questions about numbers,
and she would answer him
and to the point,
so captivating were the number that day.
He persisted,
day by day,
to ask her questions, and soon he began to understand her search,
and she to expect his coming and questioning.
There was a day he
did not come,
and her thoughts were uncollected,
scattered and
She knew that some variables was out of place
without him there
to prompt her thinking with his questions.
She tried the problem again,
wishing he was there to ask her,
"What do you do next?"

And she did not know.

And rising, leaving,
she crept out into the green, waving world
that she had forgotten for so long.
But she could not find him,
and called for him from amont the trees...
but he was not there.
Darkness fell;
the perfect stars spiraled above her,
and thought she recognized their patterns,
she was lost
without the only living companion she'd ever had.
Despair is heave;
it sinks a person down like stone,
and she sank onto the cold ground
and waited...
and slept, at last, alone.

He found her;
with a touch of his hand, she awoke,
and realized that she had been looking for perfection
in the wrong place.
She looked into his face, hoping,
and her habitual eyes recognized the
the mean of the measurements of his face,
and it was imperfect, human.
"I've ignored you," she murmured,
with a look of sorrow,
"...used you."
"It doesn't matter anymore," he returned, offering his hand.
She tried again to find what she was looking for,
and tried to look into his heart in some hope,
and the eyes of her mind saw that the
mean of his soul was
perfect and true.
She took his offered hand, standing,
and he led her back to her small house
where the numbers lay waiting,
and he bid farewell, with promised to visit
and went away.
She watched his leaving in the still darkness,
and the moon rose over the horizon,
and she wondered at her new discover...

and she counted his name
as more valuable than that
of pi.

---Elizabeth Trefzger
1st-place winner


An Algebra Student's Journey

It follows him,
A black and shadowed wolf,
Snapping twigs beneath its paws
As the lead in his pencil breaks

In the agony of the unknown, the student turns
To retrace his steps through the darkness.
But the parallel lines of the path
Are undefined in the black of night.
    The wolf steals among the trees behind him.

Deep in the wilderness, deeper the night.
    The foreign numbers thwart him.
Black pines against a bleak and starless sky.
The clouds in his mind block even
The sallow light of the moon.

In the mist, he turns again.
Suddenly, somewhere, he glimpses the path
As it winds, jumbled, through his mind.
A flicker of light casts trembling shadows
As the dying flame of his hope flares.

His breath gripped tight in his chest,
He stains his eyes, reaching, grasping in the night,
But the path is lost again in the darkness.
Silence falls as his flame crumbles,
Once again,
    To embers.

The wolf closes in,
    A midnight shadow among the trees.
    Its restless eyes follow his every move.
Its panting echoes in the grinding
Of his eraser on the notebook page.

Weary with trying, the student falls asleep,
His head on his open textbook,
    Pencil gripped between clammy fingers,
    Paper wrinkled and worn beneath his hand.

His watch is ticking just past five AM when he stirs,
Dragging himself from his sleep because
    The wolf is still there.
        In the shadowed pages it waits
        For him.

Rising, the student grips his pencil,
The pencil with its lead dulled
From a dozen fruitless attempts.
    Yet he brandishes it again against the wolf
    As it yawns at him from the black numbers.

He does not notice the sapphire glow
Pushing up from the mountains and into the night.
Desperate, he retraces his steps again.
    Paws follow. They are crunching, slinking shadows,
    The sum of his terrors.

The path is still lost from him.
    He stumbles.
The wolf still stands in the shadows.
    He fears.
The trees still block him.
    He stops.

He wheels in his tracks to try a final time,
    To face the wolf,
      To face the trees,
        To face the unknown.

Determination pounds in his heart,
Determination to grasp the elusive solution,
To overcome the wolf.
Unwilling to let the blackened branches bar his way
He plunges forward.

And as he does,
The darkness shatters
As the sun suddenly pours over the mountains with glowing

It is the light of broken clouds,
The light that dissolves wilderness darkness into
The azure mists of dawn.
In amazement, the student gazes at the dust beneath his feet,
At the forest floor he had traversed through the long night.
It is the path.

Behind him, paws tread over the leaves.
    It is the sound of the wolf,
But he no longer fears.
Courageous in the light, he turns, ready,
His feet firm on the path.

The wolf near.
He waits, watching, as it steps from between the trees,
    The sunlight sliding down its sleek back.
Free from the shadows, its fur gleams in the sun,
But it is not black like starlit waters.
Instead, it shines golden, like the light of dawn.

Now he sees.

The wolf's tail sweeps the morning air
As it trots onto the path to follow him,
Its breath steaming in the crisp dawn.
It is no longer a black wolf of clouded nights.

Now he sees that all along,
The wolf
Had been only

A dog.

What this poem symbolizes:

The wolf symbolizes an algebra problem that the student cannot understand how to solve. The path represents the method for solving the problem. The student is lost because he cannot understand the method; the night and clouds represent his confusion, while the trees represent frustrations. However, the student perseveres, even though he feels like giving up. The breaking of day symbolizes the moment the student finally understands how to solve the problem. The student realizing at the end that the wolf was really a dog represents the fact that algebra problems, though sometimes completely foreign and exasperating, are nothing to be feared once understood.

---Larissa Miyachi, student, Yuba College
3rd-place winner

The Existence of a Line

I have been going on forever...

I am a line.
A line can be the shortest path between
two points,
but not I.
I am endless, enduring, invisible;
Scientists, school children,
have all tried to draw me,
capture me,
segment me,
but only double-ended arrows pay tribute to my passing.
So I go on,
endless, invisible;
I am the edge of the ocean,
the gray smudge of the horizon,
the boundary between day and night.
Looking back, I see eras fading.
Looking ahead, I see a girl,
who stretches out her hand and
tries to capture a
of me;
she erases with her pencil and tries once more...
Understanding dawns on her face,
and, for one brief moment,
in one sweep of her pencil,
I am a parabola
with no beginning, no end.
I pass the curve, and the arrow
signifies my invisible passing
in a new direction;
I saw so many things then,

I see so many things now...

---Elizabeth Trefzger, student, Yuba College
2nd-place winner


your face sphere-like;
a pale moon, only
not yet marked by life's many
unintended sadnesses
nor the unexpected joys:
the dips and ascents of a life graphed out
in its entirety.

You, my darling girl, are only just now beginning
where the smooth and laddered lines
of 'x' and 'y' meet
as if in a
quiet corner cafe.
You are innocent and perfect as zero.

In that ninety-degree corner
where at one time we've all begun,
you are yet unaware of
a world beyond the circumference of my arms.
As I hold you, I wish.

I wish to understand the overlapping
bell-curved lines of my grandmother's life, of her mother's
of my own mom's. Of mine
and now, of course, yours yet to be.
I wish to understand the repeating lines
we seem to plot for ourselves
one generation after another:
the same mistakes
the same triumphs.

I wish for you to rise above the statistics
that would clog a mind with its percentages
and defeat a spirit;
number upon numbing number
that would tell you who you are
who you will be
based on the length of your street
the angle of your home towards the sun
the location of your city's square common.

I wish for you to be that rare outlier of happiness,
that blip on the far right of the line people
cannot seem to fathom:
that unique space we all long to inhabit.

I wish for the plotted dots
of the lives lived out before your time,
to rise like bright stars around you;
a swirling funnel of light--
a guide as you plot your way:
graphing out a life.

My love for you is an equation of so many variables.
You are a beautiful force even as you start
clean and new:
(0, 0).

You are stronger and more complex than gravity:
You are

what holds me here.

---Melysah Seaman, student, Math 15B, Yuba College
1st-place winner (tie)

Add up Guns

Add up guns
Subtract a breath
In this Mess
Each life is an X

When did cultures equal terrorists>
Better answers to this equation
The education of the suppressed
That means more cash
So instead we intrude
Instead they regress

Blood Equals Access
Access Equals Oil

So it's time to factor out lives
See the real prize from religion
Not that they're the same
But appreciate their difference
Use Ghandi's words for peace
Not for the Middle East
Use them to understand not separate
Use them to Love not HATE

Add up guns
Subtract a breath
We're in a mess where we're all an X

---Christopher Makridis, student, Yuba College
1st-place winner (tie)



Seven plus seven plus nine
subtracted from eighteen plus five,
as the base of a fraction
drives me to distraction.
The answer cannot be defined.

---Caolifhionne R. Mears, student, Yuba College
3rd-place winner

The Night Before the Math Exam
The train leaves at half past three
Traveling 90 miles per hour
It rushes towards me.

How much time will pass
Before the train and I become
A single twisted mass?

The formula I've been given
To prepare for such a test --
What a crazy game of chicken!

The train is thundering just ahead!
Then I awake,
Safe in my own bed.

---Whitney Salis, student, Math 52, Yuba College
2nd-place winner

Newton's Folly

Is it Sir Newton's path we now tread
Or could it be Mr. Leibniz, instead?
The planets, how they twirl and glow
Can you derive their path? I know,
Who's conjuring described the elliptic
With arcane symbols strange and cryptic
Shall I make some subtle inferences
To the magic of finite differences?
And what is it about an apple tree
That can bend our will to gravity
In Principia he weighed the earth
A contribution beyond worth
Still! At this moment I proclaim
That on his shoulders I heap the blame
No doubt secure his spot in history
Alas, for me is ruined the mystery!
Before, in my own line of sight
There was naught but a stream of white
But now has been made pretty the schism
Laid bare the spectrum with his prism
Who sees a rainbow and has the nerve
To care only for area under a curve?
Though truly does not boggle the mind
How a man by himself can be ten thousand dyne?

---Jennifer Leimbach, student, Math 1B, Yuba College
1st-place winner



If I could but glimpse upon your edges,
Your never-ending possibilities
Would have the most profound effect
That anything times you is nothing except
What we started with but have not kept,
What you could be one day ...
A thousand ways I've tried
But nothing with you can I pay.

---Corey Sherrin, student, Engl 45, Yuba College
3rd-place winner

Isolate the Radical
Isolate the radical,
Eliminate the negative.
Impeach everyone in public office,
Start over again.

Multiply the sum of freedom
With the soulds lost in war,
How much does it really cost
Take the president's daughters,

Make them fight on the front lines,
See if he feels the same way then.
Take the number of troops lost,
Add the number of troops injured,

Don't forget to add the ratio of innocent killed.
All in the name of what?
The sum of all souls lost,
Is too painful to calculate.

How many more must die to prove,
That we are the "Super Power"
Stupidity plus Irresponsible leadership
Adds up to the blind leading the blind.

---Leslie L. Hazelton, student, Math 111, Clearlake
2nd-place winner

The Axis

On this axis in space,
This time, this place
Somehow, somewhere
We do exist.
Which plane and how,
Create the now,
I am sorry but I must persist.
Some may say my mind has gone
Because "I think therefore I am"
To place, to plot, to track are we.
Rene Descartes had it right with Cartesian.
The fist two axes are "Y" and "X" you see,
So logically, the third axis is "Z"

---Angela High, student, Math 21, Yuba College
1st-place winner


One Point in Time
As I stand on a plane,
I see one perspective.
A slight rotation,
and I can see another.
My possibilities are infinite
because I am one point in time.

---Lisa Harden, student, Math 10, Yuba College
3rd-place winner

The True Sum of His Being

His net worth was zero when he died,
a small dot on a data sheet,
a statistic on an invisible file.

Juan Carrasco, a fraction of light,
lived out his life in parallel orchards
where the sweat is bitter and cuts like triangles
of glass.

Carrasco lived a perpendicular life with the living,
never visible to the naked eye.
His average dark walnut eyes
did not call much attention.

The gray angle of his shadow
moving through magenta sunsets
faded before the remainder of memory
could make him whole.

And yet, I remember Juanito.
Note the outside, the crackled minuses of his being.
Not the presence that was invisible but the
diameter of a heart that vibrated with equal pulses of warmth
when he spoke.

His words were never charged with negative.
weapons that divided love.
His tools were small but larger than some.

Juanito would rise before the morning light and harvest stars
that had dropped in the horizontal fields.
At least, that is what he told the children who followed him sometime.

This was his true work,
not the harvest of purple spheres,
fruits that tasted like nothing.

His harvest was for those who needed wishes here on Earth.
For children and old ones that need them the most.

That is the Juanito I knew.
Not the numbers denying his existence
but the true sum of his being that equals human love.

---Magdalena Reveles, student, Yuba College
2nd-place winner

My Circumference

I'm lost in the circumference of a circle.
I run parallel lines inside my sphere.
I see trendy people with their acute angles.
They run around showing off their thin hypotenuses.
Run parallel lines inside my sphere.
I've seen ignorant trapezoids
Beating on helpless squares.
I've seen beautiful people
With wonderful interior angles
Destroying themselves
Over their obtuseness.
Never understanding that
Not all things are rational
That the square root of one
Is not always one.
And that exterior angles
Aren't always equal to
Their interior counterparts.
That what appears on those
Large rectangles in all of our living rooms
Is only the product
Of too many variables,
And not enough rationalization.
Run parallel lines inside my sphere.
It is the only sphere, I know
And the only line-- I know to walk.
It could be said that I'm trapped,
Watching, from the inside at all that
Transpires on my circle's surface.
I can live with that.
Because to me,
My line always faces front
And my circle always rotates
The way

---Zachary Torres, student, Yuba College
1st-place winner

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