The Spoken Word

Like a cloud, sometimes the best poetry is organic, appearing right out of an unknown vapor.

 

Poetry is the unit my juniors start their year with.

Yikes!

P-o-e-t-r-y. I’ve found that students, from young to old, either love it or hate it. There usually is no in between.

How to get them started? Tupac’s “The Rose that Grew from Concrete.” Students tend to do well in understanding and appreciating the piece, while remaining focused along the lesson.

But…what to do with this type of poem, which is known as spoken word?

To assert the fact that every day we read and write, I have them compose one of their own.

But how?

I direct them to access their photos, social media accounts, emails, texts, calendars starting from June 1 until the first day of school, August 21. They had to write down what they did over the course of the summer: the good, the bad, the typical, the boring, even considering alternatives if they could go wherever and do whatever. With this free write, they are able to pull out the best nuggets – words, phrases, comments, questions to compile about 10 lines worth of a poem. Once with an initial draft, they are able to play with rhyme, diction and experiment with other literary devices to figure out their own style.

Here’s what a few of them came up with:

“Life Outside of Prison”

There’s one hundred seventy five days that I spend in prison per year.

The other eighty-four days I’m free to do what I please

I worked as a life guard and swam all summer long

if I wasn’t at work, I was in the pool practicing

Although I worked and swam a lot, I still had fun with my friends

I’d go to Centennial with friends and have deep conversations or talk nonsense

Sometimes, even after a long day at work or practice, my stomach would be growling like a angry dog, so I’d go eat

Although I was busy all summer, I’d still get to get out

And even though the tan will fade, the memories won’t

Summer 2017 was one to remember

 

“The Ill-est Summer Ever”

Summer time is the greatest time for everyone

but being sick made it the ill-est for me

Tearing ligaments and friendships

Mris and losing ties

I was sick till the end of July

From being stuck on the couch to friends with outside

but being outside for a week made me sick of the sun

I guess you could say I was beyond done

With two weeks left before school and I became acquainted

the thought of school made me ill with hatred

which made me sick again.

 

“The Smile That Never Fades”

Just an ordinary girl

Who lives an ordinary life to the fullest

Trying hard to get a job

Just so she can be independent

When she walks home from school

Some man said, “pull up on 6”

And she’s just shaking her head, laughing, saying, “Shat a disgrace this world has come to.”

She puts anyone before herself

Just to feel the satisfaction that she’s helping others

She sleeps through her problems just so they cant set her back

When she goes shopping, she dresses to her perfection

Her smile brightens up anyone she encounters that day

She speaks her mind, always holding her ground

She’s the goofiest girl

Anything can make her smile

It can never fade

It never can…

Or she wouldn’t be herself

 

“Summer lovin'”

Wow first day of summer and sleeping in begins

Until it becomes Sunday morning and you’re hanging with the Linz

Crack crack boom the fireworks begin doesn’t anyone know

The fourth was like 3 weeks ago

Bing bing bing the church bells begin to ring spending

One full week teaching children how to sing

Pitch black and walking the streets

Late night walks with sneaking out the back gate

When you gotta be up in 3 hours to dive on a dirty gym floor

That was probably cleaned about 3 years ago

 

“Life, and Death”

Born 16 years before, the year my Uncle lived no more

Death stole his life in a silent night because, he said, “what does he have to live for”

Carried him to his bed, he still put up a long fight

Ask what is the point of life, if you just end up dead

Stay thankful for the life I live, though some end it with a knife

Where I grew up some people lost their way, a lot of stick up kids

I still like to go back, though some still live life like army drills

I stay thankful for the life I live, so I try to preserve

Thanking those responsible for, the life that I don’t deserve

I always try to improve

 

I couldn’t help myself but to follow along with my own piece:

“Nonstop”

June came…

School stopped, baseball popped

Constantly resetting the pitcher’s mound to the 42 inches on the ground

Cleaning up catcher’s gear, two sizes to fit various rears

At least we made it to the playoffs, which created many scoffs

July went…

Leaving baseball back at the plate, so I could finally go on a date

A date without nonsense brought on by pointless distractions

Distractions based upon silly interactions that would not go away

Nor did they lead us to disarray

August arrived…

Books abound for my classroom library

I was so glad I said that “Hail Mary”

Since these would be well-used, and not abused

And my routine would become lean, or so I hoped, once again.

 

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