Montclair middle school students rocked the stage at the first-ever Succeed2gether/Montclair Literary Festival Poetry Slam and Short Story Contest, which drew some 200 people to Montclair High on March 31.

Judges noted the 30 performers’ precise and flavorful language, lively hip-hop rhythms and passionate social idealism.
“The news is the world is going to be all right,” said Nancy Star, a short-story judge, festival panelist and author of the recently released “Sisters One Two Three.”

“The poets were smart, deep, and (appropriately) angry! Hooray for them!”

Four professional poets also performed: Roger Sedarat, Rich Villar, Gisel Acosta and Vince Toro, the MC of the event.

The short-story contest drew 77 entries from Montclair High School students, with themes as diverse as social justice, murder and fantasy. The contest was held to raise interest in writing and to support Succeed2gether, a nonprofit educational program serving students in the district and from Essex County.

Slam Winners
First: Maggie Borgen, Renaissance, “Out of Time” (at right).
Second (tie): Daniel Moroze, Buzz Aldrin, “One In A Million”; Nzingha Mutakabbir, Glenfield, “Racism Follows Me.”
Third: Owen Duncan, Buzz Aldrin, “Born A Winner.”

9th grade winner: Greta Poglinco, “Desert Friend.”
Runners-up: Asha Ming Chukumba, Sonia Menken.
10th grade winner: Lily Bryan, Untitled.
Runners-up: Arianna Donas, Ellie Whittam.
11th grade winner: Taylor Milch, “My Friend Amira”
Runners-up: Lily Cunningham, Evangeline Unger-Harquail
12th grade winner: Nate Perimeter, “Pretty Good”
Runner up: Clare Hansell

Out of Time
by Maggie Borgen

Immigrants are seen as
Terrorists, burdens

But they’re human beings
Clockworks of society.
What are you not seeing?

One time
There were two girls
Living in a third-world country
They were four and five
Six years later, they lived in the U.S.
From one of the seven banned countries,
It took eight jobs before one would stick
Because only 9 p.m. shifts were obtainable
Especially for the other ten immigrants from the same ship

Let’s pause for a minute
Look at our time
Immigrants are being discriminated against
While we spit our simple rhymes

Enough time spent writing
Let’s get out and use it!
Immigrants get the brunt of the stick
Listen, I will prove it

Ten years later
Nine still worried of deportation
Shifts started at 8 a.m.
And ended at seven at night
Six per room
But barely food for five
Only four kids went to school while the others went to hide
Persecution in the States, citizens turn in three more
The two girls exchange last words
Now one of the girls is dead.

Because there was zero tolerance;
She wore a blue scarf upon her head.

Orphaned families aren’t decapitated heads
Muslims aren’t ISIS
Find other ways to fight this!

They’re running out of —
You’re running out of —
We are all running out of

This is a nightmare
But will we wake up?

We’re running out of —
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
It’s about time.