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:

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CoverGirl
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.

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Untitled
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

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Untitled
Anonymous

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,
Warm,
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
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Need The Cure
Anonymous

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.

YOU’RE NOT FATHER
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.

GOODBYE!

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I Can Dream, Though I Choose To Be A Realist
Anonymous
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
One SUV
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

Downstairs,
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!

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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:

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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!!

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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!

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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

I.

Stress
Slumped over a desk
hair a mess
eating less

II.

Tears like a
fire hydrant
pouring out
with force

III.

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

IV.

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

V.

Platonic:
Intimate and affectionate but not
Sexual:
Sleepovers and movies
Parties

VI.

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

VII.

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

VIII.

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

XI.

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

X.

I would say father and daughter
love
But
Mm—mm
Daddies don’t know how to love

XI.

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

XII.

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

XIII.

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

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Thirteen Ways to Look at Thread
Clare Whyte

I.

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

II.

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?

III.

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

IV.

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

V.

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

VI.

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

VII.

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

VIII.

take a fine tooth comb
to that mess of hair
maybe
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

IX.

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

X.

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

XI.

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

XII.

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

XIII.

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

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Thirteen Ways You Could Experience Dissociation
Anonymous

XIII.

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?

XII.

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?

XI.

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?

X.

As you sit in class
Listening
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?

IX.

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?

VIII.

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?

VII.

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?

VI.

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?

V

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?

IV

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?

III

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?

II

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?

I

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?

0

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

I think you’re lying

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Thirteen Ways to Look at the Girl Next Door
Anonymous

I.

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

II.

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

III.

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

IV.

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

V.

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

VI.

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

VII.

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

VIII.

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

IX.

Her Perfect is cracked

XI.

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

XII.

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

XIII.

But still she is your local girl next door.

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Five Ways to Look at Video Games
Shane McDaniel

I.

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

II.

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

III.

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

IV.

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.

V.

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.

VI.

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!

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Thirteen Ways to Look at Religion/God
Sophia Piasecki

I.

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

II.

Organized, excusable
Crime.
Organized, excusable
Extremities.

III.

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

IV.

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
Entitled
And does not
Raise his finger

V.

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

VI.

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

VII.

El diablo
Diabeł
Le diable
Il diavolo

VIII.

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

IX.

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?

X.

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.

XI.

Excuses
Exclusions.

XII.

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

XIII.

The gathering of people
Of diversity that
Believe in one
Thing,
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.

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¡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.

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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.

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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.

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America
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.

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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,
Different
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.

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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.

More English II Sonnets!

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Untitled
Mario Harris

Inner love, devoured by doubt, empty.
A light powered by people’s words.
Chosen to change your flaws and standouts.
Overdosed by society HERDS!!!!!

Selling yourself to fit in to cover pain.
Gay never being accepted…but why?
Instead of overcoming, you work.
STUCK WITH A CURSE YOU WISH WOULD JUST GO..die.

Looking into the mirror crying “BUT WHY’!
Kept inside a cage by doubt and fear.
“Never being loved” is what you hear.
Hoping someone will come to catch your tears.

But loving these flaws, show I love myself.
Loving these flaws is better than wealth.

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Untitled
Jynese King

The thought of you makes me think of the future.
That soft feeling I get when your name is mentioned.
My heart? The victim. Your love? The abuser.
This love feels like another dimension.

Our connections on a different level.
Our mindset is almost the exact same.
Feels like I’m the winner and I’ve won a medal.
In this love I have no worries or even shame.

The pain fades as soon as I hear your voice.
I hope to spend my whole lifetime with you.
Stuck in this love like I have no other choice.
Good or bad i’m always here for you too.

You are my love, no one can change that.
You are my girl and that’s always a fact.

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Untitled
Roberto Stone

Getting called to the school because you were bad
Yelling at your mom cause you were upset
But you being in trouble makes it worse
The Care you had was not for your pets.

Waking up late I rush you to school
You wake up and get out of bed slow
Race out of the car to friends to be cool
Expensive hospital bill for stubbed toe.

It was hard putting you through college
Upset to have to get you out of jail
It was hard to see your new gained knowledge
I would rather pay than see you fail

Although you’ve caused me a lot of trouble
To see my son graduate know I love you.

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THE UNFORGETTABLE
By Aliena Yost

Handsome, eye shocking, so memorable!
Simple but perfect, but diff’rent, but there.
Our separation, unavoidable.
Once in a lifetime; my love is so rare.

Your  only memories are in my mind.
Sweet memories I don’t want to forget.
My love now is clear, before I was blind.
My heart is not ready to move on yet.

You like women’s hair that branches and curls.
The way you hold her in your arms, so sweet.
The way I see you with that girl, her pearls.
You two laugh on the same pulse, beat by beat.

To me  you unlock my heart from it’s cage.
To you I’m a ghost you’ll never engage.

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Untitled
Lacey Swanson

Volleyball is my very favorite sport,
I bump, set and spike to earn a big win.
I’m my happiest when I’m on the court.
Number twenty-four is my lucky fin!

My team is like a gigantic family,
We all work together to take no loss.
My heart pounds so very rapidly,
Feeling of goosebumps makes the ball easily cross.

My mom says no more playing volleyball,
Because my ankles are always hurting.
But I just want to play ball that’s all,
And I’m so ready to be in healing.

When I play volleyball it is all fun,
And the best thing is I don’t have to run!

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Why?!
Mardell Frost

Oh, how I love her beautiful glimmer,
Took a picture and placed it in a file
Perhaps you could’ve left a shimmer
You made everything worthwhile….

Oh, how incredible you were, a strong woman
The sunshine you would bring into my life
And when you left my whole light blackened
If god could’ve given me one more nite.

My perfect square face so irregular,
Better than any other you’ve ever had
You love to dress me up mostly in fur
When you took it off oh how it made me so sad.

If some didn’t know I am a Iphone
She upgraded me just to get a clone.

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Just a Craving
Ray Lela Wilson

Know our love must be like a phantom.
We’re an idea, but nay physically there.
We are everyone’s forbidden anthem.
This is the dark, but alluring night’s stare.

Really, I crave for the complications.
Yes, I know to touch, but not feel.
Love’s complications bring dedication.
Distance between our love is to kill.

Tell me that you would simply by for me.
Would you bring my cravings to life lover?
Chance of negligence of delinquency
Never this read it’s already over.

But this fantasy nothing but a dream
In reality beautiful it seems.

Prose Poems

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“Prose poems are poems in blocks of type, usually one paragraph or sometimes two. The prose poem looks like prose (prose is fiction and creative nonfiction, work that is formatted in traditional paragraphs). Sometimes there are characters, but not always; a prose poem can be all description. It has to be read with the same amount of concentration as a poem, because the stage setup we are comfortable with in fiction — scenes, characters, images playing out in our mind’s eye in real time — may not exist. There may be strange, surprising, or surreal situations. The prose poem may not be a story at all; it might be pure emotion and feeling and description. A prose poem usually employs the heightened language of poetry: images, sounds, and feelings, with more overt rhythm to the words.

Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing

In Creative Writing, we wrote prose poems riffing off the definition of one word, in the style of A. Van Jordan’s “Afterglow” 

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negro*kill*skate \~\ 1. One who is not only successful within the skateboarding community but also shreds, demolishes, dominates and kills his competitors 2. A person who does not care what people say, cause he’s damn sure gonna do it anyway: This is the depiction of practice makes perfect\This is to all the mistakes cause one day they’ll be worth it\This is the griptape to keep my feet in place\This street skating from place to place\This is the speeding up to keep up the pace\This is the busted lip to add to the bruises on my face\This is the long nights, the early mornings to learn new tricks and trying not give up on em\Where I’ve skated so hard my Nike shoes start to distress on their own\Where as the sun sets the park begins to close and it’s time to head home\And I untie my shoes\breathing heavily\in my silver Toyota I lay back ready to hop on my board again.

— Oscar Nshimirimana

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Extra \~\ adj 1. Beyond or more than what’s expected. 2. Feeling of proving oneself because no one bothers to listen. Listen to its cries of attention that it spares from that person, place, or thing. /Why you have to be so extra?/Forcing  itself out in the open because its desperate for attention./Fighting within that inner peace. But because the attention is needed so bad. It gets what it want. /Like a little kid screaming for its bottle. Making it determined to do whatever it takes to get it. Feeding off that it gets bigger, bigger and BIGGER. I can be extra!!

— Chastity Smith

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Cuz\~\ 1. A justification for my actions. 2. A way to hide behind a cloak of mystery when I don’t have a reason. A reason to have people wonder why I do what I do and what type of person I really am. A way to confuse my parents when I feel they ask too many questions. I use cuz to make the puzzles to situations incomplete. Cuz is my cover up, my devious partner in crime. A bad habit.

— Elijah Bivins

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Martyr\~\ n. 1. A person who voluntarily suffers from the Greek for witness: as in one who is witness to. Also: someone made brand new. 2. What they have made of me\related to: the person I am pretending to be. 3. Someone who has lived too long in cataclysm\ and within just the right amount of masochism. 4. All of the mothers who stay\never compelled to leave\even when he hit you with the ashtray\for their babes they sleep next to the lion each night\slowly eaten alive like Catholics in the ancient fight\The refusal to renounce\and all that it surmounts\When he asks for a sacrifice and you don’t even falter\saying praise be to you, god of a blood-stained altar\What I’d do for your glory oh Lord\the lengths to which I would go to preserve your holy word\gladly die at the end of your sword\as long as everyone remembers me after

— Clare Whyte

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The following poem contains a word that many consider offensive. In writing this poem, students were encouraged to pick a loaded word that carries weight for them. This poem fit all parameters of the assignment and emphasizes the negative connotations of this word. 

Nigger\~\ noun 1. A derogatory term devaluing one of a darker skin color: the victims of prejudices, subject to cruelty far beyond the works of the devil himself 2. The name given to me by my oppressors and neglecters reducing me to the level of an animal declaring me 3/5ths of a human being in the American constitution\This whip to my back\With a branding on my chest to match\This fire lit the match that sparked a hatred inside of them for the skin I’m in\This hanging from the trees where the leaves have fallen\This cotton sort as pollen that I am allergic to not only the pollen but the lies the lies told and twisted tied, tied around my neck like the nooses that took the lives of real eyes that recognized real lies\This is the taking of my land\This is the denial of my religion\This is the harsh reality my people were forced to live in\This is over 300 years of tears\This is the feeling of true fear, where that saying sticks and and stones may break my bones doesn’t apply, because I promise that words hurt worse than broken bones.

— Samar Slaughter

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Love\~\ adj 1. The feeling when you see a newborn’s brand new smile. 2. The taste of chicken as the season coats your taste buds\Walking down the aisle with your wings out and red carpet flowing behind you to grasp the breath to say, I do.\Warm crisp wind blowing your face with the spring sun shining against your face and the smell of barbeque flowing up your nose.\Hearing the sincere words of him say, I love you.\Singing in front of people who appreciate the uniqueness of your voice.\Looking in the mirror. His last name.

— Kayla Rollins

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Chicana\~\ n. 1. A Mexican-American girl born in the United States. 2. The daughter of immigrants\a girl who doesn’t belong to just one world but two yet doesn’t quite fit in either\a mix breed\a mutt\a human being who is given circumstances that mean she has to work harder than anyone else to be equal, because she is not only\female\minority\first generation American 3. a Fighter\a Survivor\a Conquerer

Adriana Sophia

English II Sonnets

Check out the following sonnets from English II:

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Untitled
Halley Stein

Through the rehearsals we’ve had together
And starting from a little five-year old
You’ve been protecting me like a mother
There was never a moment I was cold.

You’ve giv’n me a home full of memories
You have been my treasure with purity
Now I have so many special stories
That I can tell with such clarity.

You’ve done countless things for me through my life
Taught me lessons that cannot turn to dust
You have taught to me diligence and strife
And there is nothing I adjust.

And though I may wander to something new
But Dance, I will always belong to you.

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Dear Star
Mariama Adero

I’ve never loved something so much in life,
So little body, yet such a big heart
Your immense energy never brought strife,
Although, the fear of a bath made you fart.

We’re real different, but you’re my other half
When I cry, you cry, and that’s vice versa
Yet after all that you still make me laugh
Running fast around like an impala.

Yo, I wish you were here right about now
Man I can’t believe you left me so fast
With your mixed colors, kind of like a cow
This is true, my love will forever last.

My feelings right now, man I miss you Star
Running on your dog paws up there so far.

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Love Is An Idea
Jocelin Berra

Love, you’re not perfection nor my ideal fate.
You’re something that is twisted in my mind
With the constant thoughts of any risk I’ll take,
Yet my mind wonders about you; until you unbind.

People are sure to say, you’re Beautiful
But I truly believe that is a fable.
Yet may I be somewhat like any fool
And fall for one of your beautiful labels.

Yes, I am a fool for your amazing stunt
And your warm comforting flame in my heart.
But I have no pleasure in your heart hunt
Therefore I am the victim that’s torn apart.

Even though love, you torn me apart still
I fall for you and you keep my heart filled.

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My Love
Arrius Blue

Oh, how my true love is not of this earth.
My love is kind, patient, and forgiving.
My love always reminds me of what I’m worth.
Oh-Oh, how my love is forever charming.

Oh, I’m in love, I sacrificed my life.
He’s given me mercy more than I can bear
How my love promised me an afterlife
My love is so rare, no one can compare.

Oh, how I left my love; I broke his heart.
I betrayed my love for hurt and pain.
Oh, I pleaded, please give me a fresh start.
Oh how my love for you has never changed.

I thank God for everything you’ve done.
And I will help you win souls one by one.

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Naf
MaLiyah McGruder

You come to life whenever it’s bedtime
Your mood is either one or two or three
I only like to use you in night time
Flat and distant always staring at me.

The time I’m with you is like no other
You can come at me either hot or cold
Clung to you like a child to their mother
Just know to me you will never get old.

Heart like a cord no power without it
While I look at you with petals and lines
If I find the right spot you can’t doubt it
While you blow with many winds in my eyes.

Dear, Fan you help me sleep so well at night
You always find ways for it to feel right.

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Untitled
Qineya Dunlap

You’re so greasy and fat and delicious.
I can take all eight. I might get it late.
When you’re down my throat, you’re so vicious.
You’re so good and really worth the wait.

You could give me ulcers, and that’s not really good.
You keep me warm and toasty. You are so hot.
You are the best and you’re from the hood.
I’m never gonna cheat on you, will not.

I eat you too much. My stomachs gonna rust.
After a while you taste like trash.
I can’t go without, you are like a must.
You are covered in spots like a robot.

You are selfish and keep me all to yourself.
I don’t share. I want you all to myself.

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Untitled
Lillian Selligman

The darkness in this world can be scary.
Their dogs and barbed wire guard mistakes.
We view them through biases we carry
But hatred conquers all paths we take.

It hangs over us as we wander,
A simple idea shrouded in mist.
They cling to us as we look in wonder,
For there is a universe they have missed.

But the unease we feel is drained from us
And faces we remember reappear.
The vast horrors we have watched we discuss,
They are dangers we face for being queer.

Live on! We beg you imagination!
Pass and we’ll meet our conflagration.

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Untitled
Nila Wright

I can’t help but love your nectarous taste
I want to devour you now everyday
I crave your sweet juices without it i’m displaced
I will admit I want you in my face

If I stuff my face of you I’ll feel better
I  savor your taste so I eat you very slow
I know I’m wrong it’s a guilty pleasure
Should you really taste this good my taste buds say so

You taste like delicious strawberries
One of my favorite freaking flavor
Sometimes you even taste like blue raspberries
Yes indeed this taste you also favor

You are the best freaking pack of fruit gushers
So so  freaking good and like no other.

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Cold and Shine
Lainey Jester

I must love her and I must love him most.
His warm sun shine won’t won’t create a monsoon.
I must love him and I must love her most.
She’s calm, so cold, an anchor called the moon.

Yin Yang works too well to describe their love.
Her anchor dug too far into his crust.
He was a ass and she was a foxglove.
Born of hostility, they had no trust.

But I am earth between the moon and sun.
The stress of gravity pulls us apart.
They can’t leave me. I will become undone.
I pull them in tightly, so they don’t fall.

Having to pick the parent I love more.
The pain of this choice I cannot endure.