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“When creative writers use the alphabet to provide the structure for a piece of writing, it’s called an abcedarius.

— Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing

Dajsha Brown

As we dance around swing our arms up and down
Bow our heads
Cry out prayers and shout
Dance a little more till we get it all out
Everyone’s beginning to feel free
Has lifted a weight off of thee
It’s an amazing feeling
Just to be in the house of the Lord
Kindled spirits
Lord thank yous and Hallelujahs
May God bless you
Never would’ve made it we sing
Our pain has gone away
Questions here all been answered
Rejoice in our hearts is what we need
Sheds of tears are now of joy
Today is the day the Lord has made
Using our hands to clap out the service
Very happy
Welcoming smiles from the old ladies
Xylophone the kids play
Yes Lord the preacher preached today
Zips up jacket! It’s time to go.


“Developed in Italy, where it was the basic pattern for folksongs, the villanelle became very popular in France in the seventeenth century; today, however, it’s seen as a kind of poet’s Mount Everest: You attempt it because it’s there.

The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem of five tercets (three-line stanzas) completed by a quatrain (a four-line stanza). Two lines in the poem repeat throughout the entire poem, in a specific order.

There’s also a rhyme scheme sandwiched in between those repeating lines. It goes aba for the tercets, and ends abaa for the quatrain. As you read, you probably don’t overtly notice the structure, if the villanelle is doing its job.

Here are some famous villanelles:

The Waking, by Theodore Roethke

The River, by Gregory Orr

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas

Here are some villanelles we created:


Through My Eyes
Adriana Gonzalez

Through my eyes
society makes me sick
Alternative Facts are just lies

with Mexican made ties
Every belligerent word is a trick
through my eyes

They don’t realize
with skulls so thick
Alternative Facts are just lies

Aryan blonde hair, blue eyes
The rest quick grab a brick
Through my eyes

We wish we could cut ties
but the noose is thick
Alternative Facts are just lies

We hear them a million times
but still it doesn’t stick
Through my eyes,
Alternative Facts are just lies.

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Almond Brown Eyes
Samar Slaughter

Your almond brown eyes
have me captivated
Don’t be shy

When you look at me that way I surmise
everything will be okay, I’m infatuated
with your almond brown eyes

I won’t tell you any lies
what I say is not fabricated
Don’t be shy

If I stop and stare please forgive me, I apologize
I can’t help but be fascinated
with your almond brown eyes

Almost a year, and you still give me butterflies
For these moments, oh I’ve waited
Please don’t be shy

With each day, you still take me by surprise
Life feels so much better, less complicated
because of your almond brown eyes.
Don’t be shy.


Averyonna Henderson

You’re making me angry by saying I’m angry
You always in my face
In fact, I’m feeling incredibly hangry

Sitting in this cold room gives me gangrene
I wish I was off in space
You’re making me angry by saying I’m angry

Give me some hot wings, nice and tangy
Before I spray you with some mace
Because, I’m feeling incredibly hangry

I’m ready to go home, frankly
get the heck out of this place
you’re making me angry by saying I’m angry

You think Im angry, just cuz I’m cranky
But to be honest I feel like I’m losing this race
Maybe I’m just feeling incredibly hangry

I’m just going to sit and stare at you blankly
until I can get out of this place
Cuz you’re making me angry by saying I’m angry
In fact, I’m feeling incredibly hangry


Ariell Shaw

Oh my God, I want to sleep
Sleep is like a brand new pair of headphones
If I can’t sleep I’m gonna say bleep

I need a whole heap
uh sleep, my back moans
Oh my God I want to sleep.

I most definitely cannot keep
doing this, staying up late watching TV shows
If I can’t sleep I’m gonna say bleep

In class today, you won’t hear a peep
from me. I’ll be asleep so
dear God give me some sleep.

I need a deep, deep
sleep — or else I’m going to turn into a clone
of myself. If I can’t sleep I’m gonna say bleep.

If I can’t sleep I’ll think a creep
is watching me. I feel the tiredness in my bones
Oh my god I want to sleep!
If I can’t sleep I’m gonna say bleep!

America Poems

Check out the following America Poems from Ms. Murphy’s English class:


Country of Beauty
Jocelyn, Tia, Christian, Tony, Martese, Ceree, Richard

Being yourself,
Singing with open mouths,
Their strong melodious songs.
The smell of pizza, Popeye’s, White Castle
I am the darker brother.
They’ll see how beautiful I am.
Put aside the race differences
And stand as one to face and fight
A common enemy.
All of us singing America
The whole hemispheric familia.
America looks great
And messed up.
We need each other’s talents
To continue prospering in life.
From hip-hop to country
To pop music.
I, too, am America.
We can make America beautiful.


Jasper, Lucas, Mya, Jaleah, Paul, Keshawn, D’Avion

The whole hemispheric familia.
Singing with open mouths
Their strong melodious songs.
Each singing what belongs to him or her
And to none else.
I, too, sing America.
But now I sit here in the silence.
But I laugh.
What has America become?
A melting ground of greed
And downfall.
I am the darker brother.
I hear America singing
The loud police sirens
I hear
And the loud screams drift off into the air.
We flush our toilets with cleaner water
Than families in Flint, Michigan drink.
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
They’ll see how beautiful I am.
Grow like sea weeds
But it’s called beautiful height.
Beautiful height, beautiful height.
Stay out of the conflict America,
The crosshairs are aimed at your head.


America Has Not A Specific Title
Janei, Roneisha, Yasmiiah, Joseph, Riley

America is individually unique,
But together as one.
I am judged by someone that
Doesn’t know me.
People say God Bless America.
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
I hear America singing.
I hear America singing,
The varied colors I hear.
To be American looks like
A beautiful meadow
With 318.9 million demons
Running through and through.
They don’t know what they’re destroying
They’re blinded by the lie
Of America.
Each singing what belongs to him
Or her
And to none else.
Singing with open mouths
Their strong melodious songs.
Besides, they’ll see
How beautiful I am
And be ashamed.
I am the darker brother.
They’ll see how beautiful my family is.
I, too, am America.
America is not us,
But we are America.



But tomorrow I’ll be at the table when company comes.
But I laugh and eat well
And grow strong.
It’s like having friends and family around
Like they don’t care.
A brother dies,
Another says man I swear.
All of us grow strong.
We leave long.
Just like a song.
Besides they will see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.
As no one else talks to me
I sit in silence
Close my eyes
Look around
It felt like I was being blindfolded.
Hearing strong words can hurt.
It’s love.
It’s like you wanna share a cover.
Pull and lug.


James, Kristian, Elijah, Taijah, Malique, Lanae

America has restarted.
America is hard.
I hear most people
Arguing outside my window.
Being American should mean
Being free
And not being judged.
It should mean we are caring
To everyone
Or not.
It’s feels like a breeze blowing freely on a summer night.
America is biracial.
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.
I hear America singing,
The varied carols.
Singing with open mouths.
Their strong melodious songs.
The whole hemispheric familia.
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
Let America be America again.
It’s my turn to oh say what I see.


Land of the Free, Home of the Brave
Nuri, Key-Key, Sydney, Shamaria, Vaughn, Clint

I hear America singing.
Singing with open mouths,
Their strong melodious songs.
Bass so loud you can feel it
In your heart.
Give us that Latin beat.
It’s my turn to oh say what I see,
It’s my turn to oh say what I see,
I’m going to sing America,
With all America inside me.
Singing our brown skin.
What belongs to the day–
At night the party of young fellows
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And I grow strong.
I, too, am America.


We Are America!
Amara, Lila, Xia, Brianna, Patrick, Sarai, MaKayla, Jessica

I hear America singing,
The varied carols I hear.
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.
Let us go back into history.
More than what the eyes can see.
Morenos, Chinos, gringos y latinos.
The whole hemispheric familia.
They’ll see that I’m no different
From them.
Nobody’ll dare say to me
You’re voice will never be heard.
Although the chains are off.
The door is locked.
Yo tambien soy America.


From Singing Fluent Hawaiian to Fluent English
Elise, Mia, Sydney, Micah, Taylor, Jocelyn, Jermaine, Iian

Singing out brown skin
Into that what and red and blue song.
Singing our different tones.
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
America is a thanksgiving dinner
Full of diversity.
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes.
My country tis of thee
Sweet land of irony.
Each singing what belongs to him or her
And none else.
I am the darker brother
I am the lighter sister.
Owao no American Oiaku
The day what belongs to the day
At night to the party of robust fellows.
Yo tambien soy American
I, too, am American.
America smells like a boy’s gym locker.


The Lighter Side of Darkness
Amirah, Ace, Sarah, Myla, Bryanna, Shi’Yana, Alijah, Alexis

I know it’s been said before but not in this voice
Watashi g utau America
I, too, sing America
I am the lighter side of the darkness
Educating my brothers and sisters to sing the song of acceptance,
so we can chant “L’ Chaim!” (to life!) as one healed nation
At dawn the voices of the brave, loyal, free
singing our brown skin into that white, red, and blue flag
With a voice just as strong
Maybe they’ll wonder who’s singing
“America, the country built on liberty,”
Yo tambien soy America
I, too, am America


Someday America
Elizabeth, Aniyah, Isabelle, Michael, Jade, Rachel

I’ll no longer be that ugly kid
Nobody’ll dare say to me, “Eat in the kitchen.”
They’ll see how beautiful I am.
This is the song of America we don’t sing.
The song of extraordinary women.
America is full of people who will judge you for who you are
Each singing what belongs to him or her and no one else.
We do not know acceptance
America is spelled ameri-KKK-a born in the mind as slaves.
To be the foundation of racism is embarrassing.
Someday America will become as one
Because I’m American I’m expected to be loud.
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs
Everyone can be America
“I’m going to sing, America!”
I, too, sing America

Narrative Poems

“There are two basic kinds of poetry: narrative and lyric… Narrative poetry uses some of the same tools stories use: character, conflict, story.”

Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing

Here are several narrative poems written by GCAA creative writers:


Samar Slaughter

Ya know, a little fish once told her.
When you feel like you can’t keep holding on to
Just keep swimming but,
The further & further she swims the more distance there seems to be
And she doesn’t know how much longer she can take This sea cause you see ,
Her body is aching with each painful stroke
As she feels the water begin to tip toe down her throat, Starting to fill her lungs & pump through her veins,
As she tries to find the right words & sentence them in Her brain, she’s been tired lately,
And when she’s tired it shows up in her face
And in her body language , topped with puffy eyes
And weak thighs, she just doesn’t understand,
Why she has to wear this mask,
Like some unfinished painting,
But the artist didn’t quite finish the task,
It hurts man, at a young age she realized
That you don’t need water to feel like ya drowning. Drowning in tears and fears
All her imaginations and dreams begin to disappear,
She tries to hide & disguise her eyes all black & blue,  But covergirl you can’t cover,
What that man has done to you.
And with the blood on her face mama tells her
“Baby this ain’t the way love suppose to taste.”
So with nowhere to run & nowhere to hide,
She wiped the blood from her mouth,
And tears from her eyes,
And if victory was sweet
She pronounced herself the bitter loser.
Still tryna find excuses for this man to abuse her,
What’s the old saying ?
If loving you is wrong then I don’t wanna be right ?
But baby girl how much longer did you think,
you could win this fight?
How many restless nights & times losing ya appetite? Thinking this man would always bark and never bite.
That one day he might wake up & treat you right.
See in my eyes you deserve the world,
Nothing less, nothing more.
How many times has he laid his hands on you ?
Damn are you even keeping score ?
See to him it’s like a game,
And he keeps coming back for more ,
Each time much stronger than he was before .
Never thought I’d be saying this
While she’s lying on the kitchen floor ,
As if she’s given up
And it ain’t no reason to be here anymore.
Never thought my inspiration would become a victim,
Damn near hospital patient,
Because the man who “loved” her my father of course, Couldn’t look past his insecurities so he creates hers,
Of course,
My only question is why dad ?
Why me or my mama ?
Your easy breezy beautifuls,
Ya covergirls ,
Ya shining stars.
But it’s clear you only cared for creating more scars .
Not saying I don’t love you,
Or you don’t deserve love too.
Just saying maybe you’re a covergirl,
Tryna cover your black and blue.


Shane McDaniel

You never how it feels to be me
I had people talk about me ever since I was 13
Going around school every day, just trying to get my learn on
but I just kept hearing people singing the same song.
Ew, he’s so ugly! He’s so fat.
He might got head, but he got no back.
Oh shut up! What does that even mean?
I might not be so fresh or so clean,
but listen now cause I have the power
for someday I will be somebody living in a great big tower
If you can see me now, oh yes sir,
I got so many gifts from God with his awesome powers.
He gave me the gift to draw that I can use my hands,
He gave me a voice to sing for nature, oh it sounds so beautiful
And he gave me a body to dance so I wouldn’t sit still like a statue
So listen to me now since you’re a bully and a hater
God gave me a soul to be a leader and a creator



My aunt unlocked the door and it swung open,

I stepped in slow keeping myself aware of my surroundings,
The floor creaked beneath my feet,
Like the dead branches of a tree,
Drifting in the wind
Smoke filled the room,
Like a misty haze over a open field,
And a vibe,
An uncomfortable vibe,
Hit me in the center of the room
I was not wanted here,
And neither was my mom or sister,
My grandfather stepped from around the corner,
And when i saw him,
i knew he was my grandad,
Cause he had the same eyes that my mom did,
So warm i felt i was standing by a fireplace
An old lady sat across the room,
Her face had more wrinkles than a ruffled blanket,
A scowl was set in her face,
Like a mark set in stone,
This was my aunts mom,
The woman my grandpa cheated on my grandma with
My grandfather made his was towards us,
He ended up standing right in front of me,
I looked up at him nervous,
He was so tall,
I was like a child meeting their favorite sports player
He hugged us all,
And i wondered how his arms were long enough to do that,
But all of a sudden he grabbed my arm,
And my body felt warm,
It reminded me of my mom holding me in bed,
Singing a lullaby as she rocked me back and forth
And as i looked at him,
I realized,
This is where my mom gets her love,
This IS my grandfather
Need The Cure

When they all have said the same thing, its difficult to be so accepting.
Not all of the men have the same cologne that I’m used to
When you’r used to one smell.
Its hard to lift a new one up to your nose and smile.

SO STOP TRYING TO TAKE ME into your toxic arms.

There only one cure to this broken disease
Thats my own father. But looks like I’m stuck with it forever.
So don’t be open because its convenient, for you.
Dont say you love me like a daughter because you want me
to accept you. You know how I know you’re full of it?
Because you don’t look me in my eye to love. But you know who does?

My cure!

Unfortunately that’s not you.



I Can Dream, Though I Choose To Be A Realist
Walking in the door after taking the keys out of the lock
Sitting there in the chair, sunglasses on her face
She jumps at the sound of the door closing
It’s 1:30pm
Why does she have sunglasses on?
What time did she get home?
I know it’s not “2 or 3” as she says
It’s still 1:30pm
Why is she mumbling about the electricity?
Does she think it’s out?

I know it’s not

The TV flickering and the lights across the arch disprove that
I’ve already made my assumptions
I go and look in her bag
A bottle of what was “Simply Lemonade” rested on top
It wasn’t just lemonade though, I know this
Maybe partially, but not just what it originally contained
I already knew this, but this was only confirmation to the situation

I stab the bottle with a knife

It doesn’t need to be useful, it’s already served its purpose
Plus some that wasn’t its purpose
I’m not a stupid little b*tch
But she believes otherwise
I go downstairs and quickly change clothes
The ones I’m wearing are covered in dirt from work and smell like dog
I quickly throw my phone in my bag
My wallet with my licence goes too
Though it takes a few extra seconds to do so
I’m not about to do what she wants to
The last thing I need is to drive illegally
I already was going somewhere before this situation arose
This only encouraged me to leave quicker
One wagon
Sat in the drive with a radio I built the wiring harness to and Montana licence plates
A car that has gotten me out of a lot of problems

I already have those keys in my pocket
Sat on the street with scratches down the passenger side
A car that got me into a lot of trouble
One sports car
Sat infront of my car that is parked in the drive with a damper interior than desired
A car I influenced the purchase of more than I should have

I take those keys as well

It’s not like she will need them
She can’t use them anyway
Not legally, morally, or safely at least
But, knowing her, if she had the opportunity, she’d do it anyway

I tell her what I’m doing

She really doesn’t seem to like that idea much
I try to leave out the front door
My hand nearly getting shut in between the frame
A quick getaway was vital
The hoodie is already a large disadvantage to this

I’m still not a stupid little bitch here either

A locked door to the back sits closed
I change that
It no longer sits locked or closed
She can’t stop me

I’m leaving*

My car sits around the corner
A glowing safe haven I had never been happier to see
I feel like she’s going to be standing there
Patiently waiting until I’m visible to do something
Anything to prevent my get away
The closer I get, the more aware I am
She’s not there
She’s nowhere to be found
I unlock my car, throw my stuff in, close the door, and lock it
I look at the porch

It’s empty

I look in my mirrors that are absent of her presence
I shrug, turn on my lights, and throw it in reverse
I see her come out the front door
She’s just standing there, staring, mouth agape looking through the screen

I have never pulled out of that driveway as fast as I did then

It’s legal, I find out
I had full intent to return them
After anxiety thinking she would call the cops and stick them on me
Montana licence plates put on a black car
With dents and rust spots containing a small kid with red hair who looks about 12
In the driver seat
Yeah, a hard to miss get away vehicle
It’s unlikely, but still an unshakable feeling
It didn’t happen
I never got pulled over
Or interrogated
Or brought in

An even if I did I would have been fine

I consider it that I saved a few lives
Prevented the risk of someone losing their life
Or at the very least
I eliminated a potential disaster in the making

I’m still owed an apology, I think
One that’s honest
One that says
“It won’t happen again.”
Not just for this time, but for a lot of times in the past
I know they won’t come
Not anytime soon it seems

I can dream
But I choose to be a realist

It saves the heartbreak from even approaching

* I’m leaving for now, I know I’ll be back no matter how much I don’t want to be

You’re The Top!


Last week in Musical Theatre Lit, students were given the following instructions:

Goal: Write a version of “You’re The Top” praising musical theatre and narrating the first few decades of its history.
Role: You are a composer and lyricist in the style of Cole Porter.
Audience: You are selling this song to lovers of show tunes who have limited knowledge of musical theatre history.
Situation: Imagine that you are selling this song to students of musical theatre.
Product: A set of unique lyrics imitating Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top.”

  • Your job as lyricist is to pay tribute to and celebrate musical theatre AS WELL AS to educate your listener on the history of musical theatre from 1900-1939
  • You are also experimenting with Cole Porter’s unique style of songwriting, with a focus on nimble rhythms and rhyme
  • “You’re The Top” is known to be a “list song,” so its format allows you to list the different elements that influenced the origins of musical theatre
  • You may choose to copy the style of “You’re The Top” very closely, rewriting the lyrics line by line, or you may choose to adapt it more loosely, focusing on rhyme and lists

Here are a few songs we wrote:



You’re The Top
by Magnolia Mulvihill & Sophia Beiermann

At songs musical, I’m so juvenile
That I always laugh at shows
Especially that old classic Anything Goes
But minstrel shows, cause many rows
Objectifying women is a gross tradition
Ethnic caricatures are as well!
And though New York City was not too pretty
Times Square was full of people
who thought it was swell

You’re the top!
Since the 1900s,
You’re the top!
You took all the punches,
Though your rep is bad, you make me glad all day
You’re Irving Berlin,
From Tin Pan Alley,
to the Broadway stage!

You’re Florenz,
in the Ziegfeld Follies,
You’re Jerome and Oscar in Showboat
My voice is so flat, that my singing class yells STOP!
But if baby, I’m the bottom, you’re the top!

Ol Man River’s so good it makes me shiver
On the other hand Showboat‘s solemn,
Julie La Verne was kicked off
for miscegenation

You’re the top!
All the girls would wear frills
You’re the top!
You’re all acts of Vaudeville
You’re a singer, dancer, actor all in one
But you’re very racist
Minstrel shows are graceless
For that you’re shunned
You’re George Cohan,
“Yankee Doodle Dandee,”
You’re Bert Williams,
social commentary,
You’re on strike, Actors Equity Union
WWI changed broadway’s style to be of patriots
and if baby, I’m the bottom, you’re the top!

You’re the top
You’re a star
Like Fanny Brice in Follies
New Amsterdam Theatre was seen as the crown jewel
You’re not artificial
You’re subversive and admirable
You’re Joe,
played by Paul Robeson
You’re Cole Porter
composer of Anything Goes,
Although he was rich he connected with the Depression era…
keeping Americans…
on the top!!


You’re The Top
by Kynedra Murray & Senecy Jackson

At poetic, he’s magnetic
That Flo Ziegfeld’s one of the best
He showed off that man’s broad shiny chest
To let the rest fully expressed
They loved swaying and sashaying
Those Follies raised the bar
But those ditties had to be pretty
At least it’ll tell you
how great they are

He’s the top!
The Irish Immigrant
George’s the top
Patriotism, he’s feeling it
He’s still giving his regards to Broadway right now
He’s the highest top hat
A Shakespeare’s sonnet
He’s milk and honey
He’s the star
He’s Yankee Doodle Dandy
He’s the smile in my ever loving heart
One worthless check, a total wreck, a flop
But if baby, I’m the bottom, you’re the top

His words poetic are not pathetic
on the other hand Bert you shine
He gets his point across the line
Black face divine
One of a kind
Now gifted humans like Vincent Youmans
Might thing your song is bad
But I got a notion
I’ll second the motion
But baby you’re not a drag

She’s the top
An unconventional Follie
She’s the top
She’s Napoleon Brandy
She’s the shining light
She’s a Jewish comedienne
She’s the laugh in my belly
A sight to see on the telly
She’s the woman behind her man:
Fanny Brice,
You’re the top!


You’re The Top
Aniya Woods

Musical Theatre,
Where the expression
of full-bodied emotion
takes much devotion

Minstrel shows form its roots
Escapist music during the Great Depression
Showing others to look
in the other direction

Gather around to a place called vaudeville,
showing off the individual acts
Performances remarkable and a bit
odd as a matter of fact

Some had plays, some may sing
Fanny Brice was full of it
The audience would laugh so hard
they would fall to their knees

Broadway is like the solid gold colored brick road
leading to fame that was hiding within the subway
George Cohan chilling on the runway

Thirteen Ways of Looking At…

This week GCAA creative writers imitated Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  This exercise allowed us to practice our image-making skills, as well as practice using the four building blocks of poetry: words, turns, lines, and stanzas. Here are some of our creations:

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Love
Averyonna Henderson


Slumped over a desk
hair a mess
eating less


Tears like a
fire hydrant
pouring out
with force


sitting at a two-top
in my red bottoms
sipping on some iced tea
staring into his hazelnut eyes


Yvonne and Avery
manis and pedis
Number One Nail
Love like
Beauty and the Beast
(and she’s the beast)


Intimate and affectionate but not
Sleepovers and movies


I use black soap every morning
and every night
Saint Ives lotion
It makes your skin real
Sometimes a little mascara


my chubby little best
Making sure I don’t sleep in class
Getting me fieldtrip forms


The four for three:
An apple pie, a Rally Burger, some fries, and a
Love like granny food
(except it’s Rally’s)


Teacher is the TeTe
Teacher this
Teacher that
Never say thank you
But I feel it


I would say father and daughter
Daddies don’t know how to love


We don’t internet love
We don’t participate with these
lame kids
And they ways.
Internet love
like tattoos.


My cellie
Like my husband that I don’t have,
it always


My baby
Black and white
green eyes
not potty trained yet
but I love him so


Thirteen Ways to Look at Thread
Clare Whyte


Somewhere between
a rock and
forgetting your face
the red thread
that once held our bodies
tightly together
is now dull and frayed
so much for soulmates


There’s a hole in my sock
and I can stitch it closed
there’s a hole in my head
and fishing line
can close that too
there’s a hole in my head
what thread should I use?


follow an ant
along a piece of string
and watch
as dimensions are folded
and tiny creatures
move through time


although you have carried my thread
from here
to there
your voice calling
is what truly unravels me


a spider has moved
inside of my head
she spits her silk thread
and slowly weaves
her delicate web


out of all the people
in this whole world
I tied myself to you
now hold out your hand
you still have my red thread
knotted at your fingertips


play your guitar
and softly sing
tell me
that this is what it means
to pluck a string


take a fine tooth comb
to that mess of hair
after a thousand knots unknotted
and a hundred times through
there will be enough dark strands
gathered in the sink
to sew shut this gaping hole
sew shut this gaping hole


did you listen to her
when she screamed out your name
you played her throat
like a violin
cords and tendons
and your bloody bowstring


we were woven together
my dear
written by the fates
and I will shred this tapestry
back to the heartstrings
it once came from


my hair
my beautiful hair
pulled out strand
by strand
until I went down the drain
along with it


I am the snake
that bit your lip
tied to each other
by a red string
which I took scissors to snip
we are made for each other
fated lovers
we are both lying through our teeth


there must be something wrong with me
scans and tests and
brightly colored pills
touch tangled wires to my skull
read your machine
and see
just what kind of monster
I might be

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 11.06.41 AM

Thirteen Ways You Could Experience Dissociation


Waking up and you hear a loud noise
Someone talking louder than normal
A name
Why is a name being yelled into an empty house?
It takes a moment to realize the noise is your own name
That is your name, right?


In a crowded area and you begin to notice small details
The color of people’s eyes or a small hole in their shirt
It takes a moment to realize
But, someone you’re looking at looks a little bit more like yourself than anyone else
You can’t see yourself standing 10 feet away
That’s not possible
Is it?


In the morning when you’re getting ready
You look into the mirror
You’re scared
The person that’s looking at you isn’t you
Who is that?


As you sit in class
All the sounds around you suddenly are one sound
Only loud static white noise
You can’t understand what anyone is saying
Do you even speak or understand this language?


Walking into a store
You only need one thing
Nothing else but this one thing
When you walk out of the store you look down
You’re confused
How did you get here?


As you are chewing the food you picked
Suddenly you’re confused
This isn’t what you bought
You weren’t eating this moments ago
Where did this come from?


Driving down the road
Stopping at a stop light
You snap back
You wonder how long you’ve been driving
You can’t remember when you left
It takes you a moment to remember where you’re going
Wait, where are you going?


As you’re walking down the hall
Your eyesight blurs
As though it is going out of focus
Like a faulty camera
When it comes back into focus
You’re unaware of how long your eyes were unfocused
So many things have changed
Where are you?


You look down
This isn’t you
It isn’t your body you’re looking at
You don’t look like this
Who is this?


Someone asks you what you did that day
Or maybe what you ate
Or maybe if you even have eaten
Suddenly everything that has been done all day is gone
It takes you a moment to remember what happened
It did happen, right?


Looking at a computer
Or maybe a book
Suddenly every word is no longer a word
But instead just a string of symbols that have no meaning
You don’t understand what these symbols mean
What is happening?


As you are with a friend in public
They go behind a corner or get lost in a crowd
Suddenly you are questioning if that person ever really existed
Did you make them up because you were lonely?


Suddenly you are not here
You are not where you were just standing
The conversation that you were in is not longer there
It is a fully different conversation
Where did you go?


Life seems like a made up concept
A dream that can be reversed when you wake up
“That’s a lie
This can’t be undone
There is no pause, rewind, or fast forward
You are real
This is happening
It’s not a dream”


I think you’re lying

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Thirteen Ways to Look at the Girl Next Door


Perfectionism is key.
In each movement, monologue, or miniscule moment.


She is rarely home, always out working, striving
striving to be better


A picture says a thousand words
and hers say two
She isn’t all she seems
She is mock


Perfectionism is key
Although she will never live up to the
expectations she is given


She is rarely home, always trying
to escape the disappointed looks and
stifling gender norms.


Her smile doesn’t quite reach her
eyes just close enough to hide the bags
under them.


Her makeup covers what a few hours
were tear-stained cheeks.


She is so giving, always handing out
the pieces of herself she doesn’t keep
anything to protect herself


Her Perfect is cracked


Her picture is torn into two
stories. One of talent, skill, success, & perfect.


The other story is of her shortcomings,
disappointments & failures.


But still she is your local girl next door.


Five Ways to Look at Video Games
Shane McDaniel


Getting up early, waiting in line at Gamestop.
$60 in your pocket, excited to have your game in your hand.


The doors finally open,
everyone cheers.
You’re next in line,
it’s all yours.


Running home,
Ripping open the plastic protecting your game.
You go to your room,
starting on your game console.


Opening up the plastic case
the smell of the new disc hits my nose
Taking the disc from its case,
I put it into the game console.


Sitting alone in my room,
it’s dark and the only light comes from the TV
I get up and jump around as the words “Final Fantasy XV”
come onto the TV.


Turning up the volume on the TV
The sound of the game’s music fills the room
A bright smile forms on my face
And before I know, 4 hours have passed.
With the few snacks I brought,
the day was made:
Game Day!


Thirteen Ways to Look at Religion/God
Sophia Piasecki


At the end of the street there is a
It has three walls and vines that grow
On the inside
Where a cross might be


Organized, excusable
Organized, excusable


Thank you for the
Food that
Did not
Put on this table.


God is good.
God cares,
About your precious
Virginity and tells
You to save it.
And sends you to hell
When you don’t.
God is good.
God sees,
The sick, the
Poor, the
And does not
Raise his finger


Stained glass figurines beam with light,
Someone speaks loudly,
As I stare at my shoes
Young and never having a say
On how I spend my sundays
To come to realize I don’t even


Bless us oh lord,
With these
We are about to receive
Or something like that


El diablo
Le diable
Il diavolo


Thank you lord.
Jesus christ.
God damnit
Oh my god.
Oh my lord.
Jesus fucking christ
Go to hell


My dad grew up
With god.
my dad now lives
without god.
He grew up,
Wanting to become a priest.
And 30 years later
He turned atheist.
God works in
Mysterious ways
Doesn’t he?


How can you believe?
I’m not judging
I just want to know.
How do you believe,
I’ve always wanted to learn
But have had
Self doubt.




I want to believe,
Not in god,
But in something better.
I want to participate,
In something better.
There has
To be something


The gathering of people
Of diversity that
Believe in one
One person
is truly
Truly beautiful.

America Poems

In honor of/response to inauguration day last week, English I read 3 poems about America by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Julia Alvarez (“I hear America Singing,” “I,too,” and “I, too, Sing America”). Then, in groups of 7/8, they created found poems that blended the lines from these poems with their own ideas about what it means to be American.


¡All America!
Maxine, Aaliyah, Kennedy, Chase, Eli, Lizzy, Autumn

Wake up, count your stack, you have to pay to live, to keep up with the pack.
America dabs to every beat that the government makes.
¿Que quenta?
Your words are not priced,
Until you sing justice.
America sings talent.
Belting our canción.
I sing because I am American.
They don’t care about us.
Women make America.
Like reversing to your favorite song.
Your schedule in life is discrete,
Work, eat, sleep, repeat.
Under the sun
Ese sol that shines on everyone
America is rich–us poor.
As divided as oil and water.
I am the darker brother,
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table.
America is diverse and unique.
America is a mix of emotion.
As strong as a bull.
Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am.
I, too, sing America.
All of us singing America.
Yo soy Americano.
Whatever happens, you are still American.
All America.


What is the America We Live In?
Alex, Helena, Micki, Aiya, Kameryn, Stajah, Auhn’yai

Arrogance spilled
Flowing like ocean water.
Where the poor build the bridge from one side
But the rich burn it from the other.
The espionage
Spider web of a system
Creeping around to get by.
To the desperate eyes and reaching hands
I know it’s been said before
But not in this voice.
I, too, am America.
They’ll see how beautiful I am.
Even though we live with faults,
We rise with volume.
But we’re not quiet.
All of us singing America
Their strong melodious songs.
Singing our brown skin.
America is unique.
We are all America.


I Am America
Charles, Maunya, Jennifer, Sheanique, Marco, Arturo, Dewon

I hear America singing.
All of us singing America
Into that white and red and blue song.
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to no one else.
It should be blithe and strong.
I, too, am America.
They’ll see how beautiful I am.
The hatter singing as he stands,
Hated, yet praised.
Let America be America again.
Use it to your best ability.
We are a family.


Alex, Helena, Micki, Aiya, Kameryn, Stajah, Auhn’yai

America’s like a bullet proof vest
Like a sunrise in the morning.
I’m going to sing America
With all of America
And grow strong
It’s my turn, to oh say what I see.
America is filled with all kinds of people
That lead to one origin.
Red, white, and blue stripes.
I, too, am America.


I, Too, Am America
Jardyn, Amouree, Neva’eh, Kortez, Ashton, Marquis, Mijah

All of us singing America
It’s my turn to oh say what I see
And grow strong.
America is like mother nature.
One day the weather will be like this
And the next it’s different.
We never know what is going to happen.
We hide from crime
Up the spine of the Mississippi
Through the heartland.
Worrying about the color of our skin
I am the darker brother.
Where we are free.
America is beautiful.
We dress in our wacky colors,
Talk in weird voices.
America is a bouquet of flowers,
But beautiful.
They’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.
But I laugh
As if I owe them something.
Nobody’ll dare say to me,
Eat in the kitchen.
We fight our own battles.
We will not bow
Or break.
I, too, am America.


The Dark Side of America
Mya, Makyla, Jaida, India, Davion, A’Nya, Savannah, Kaycie

I know it’s been said before
I am the darker brother.
Through the deep dark tunnels
That’s been held for years.
America fights like brother and sister.
Most people think America is just violence
Gunshots sing like the fat lady
In an opera house.
Broken promises.
Broken Dreams.
Money hungry
And full of people with greed.
America is like the student who gets the credit
He doesn’t deserve.
America be trippin’
But even though you be trippin’
You still are very unique.
I hear America
All of us singing
Singing with open mouths
Their strong melodious songs.
Belting our brown skin into that white, red, and blue song.
The delicious singing of the mother,
Or of the young wife at work,
Or girl sewing or washing.
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.
Maybe, just maybe
I like being imperfect.
America they will see
That you shine like the sun.
No one should feel ashamed
To be American.
I am who I am.