California Coastal Commission

GRADES 10-12

Thoughts We Have Getting out of the Car in Monterey

Night in the Philippines has fallen
and usually we think nothing of it
as we go about
checking our watches and tempers
our laundromat costs and taxes
and our kettles and language

But today is different
today we clamber out of the backseat
and the wind shocks us
the sun is too harsh on the sea
and the sea too wide to look across it

So instead we imagine across it
thinking of the boy
with lips wide and elliptical like banana leaves
as he melts into his hammock

Listening to dogs bark
and cars rattle over the potholes
the rain falling like slashes of black ink
and the neighbors
laughing over the last bowl of squid curry

Elise Wing
Grade 10, Kentfield


I Remember

I remember my dad in some sense
I remember how he dashed across the water in his brand new surfboard
I remember not being able to surf alas I was only 4
I remember going up to the beach house with my brother
I remember the way he would look down at me before he went out across the waves
I remember how uncomfortable wet suits were
I remember getting my very own boogie board
I remember the long winding road back home that made my brother carsick
I remember the piano that was seated upstairs
I remember when we sold the beach house
I remember engraving his name in the sand and watching the waves roll over it
I remember laying ashes in the sand
I remember how the inviting waves seemed like a far off world in the distance
I remember why we didn't go there anymore
I remember sitting in the front row wearing a black dress
I remember it all as if it was yesterday
But he is gone now and nothing can change that
He is still here but not in person
He is probably just at the beach
Watching waves roll in and out
Riding the waves like a knife against butter

Peri Benjamin
Grade 7, Tiburon


Resilience, Big as an Ocean

High tide
smashes the shore
and pulls creatures back
into the deep, deep blue.

Exhausted, the tide recedes,
yet pools of life remain in a chain
like a necklace on her breast.

Life is resilient.
Tide pools carry life,
however small
and seemingly unimportant.

Yet have you ever seen a tide pool?
Have you seen
graceful Anemone, waving her slender arms
Hermit Crab and his scuttling walk?
Have you felt Starfish,
with her textured skin?

These animals must be strong
to survive a difficult life.
Strong to hold on while
waves pound and pummel.

Each creature's life is important.
Direct or indirect,
these creatures' lives
are joined to ours.

the high tide returns
with another spurt of energy.
Hang on tight!

Aaliyah Ramirez
Grade 6, Fremont


The Marlin

It swims swiftly through the sea,
Twisting and turning so gracefully.

It darts through the water: Swish!
At 96 km per hour a fish.

It flies through the air in a single leap,
Then plunges straight back into the deep.

It swims slowly to get a little rest,
An amazing creature, maybe one of the best.

Purva Marfatia
Grade 3, Cupertino


Carmel Haikus

The path to the sea
Trees, leaves falling. Animals
Brown fur, old bridges

The ocean water
Splashing people, pushing sand
Making it darker

When we walk in it
It feels our toes. By the sea
Tiny sand angels

Aidan Hernandez-Stevens
Grade 1, Sacramento