Poetry — it is something special, something that lets me know I’m safe. When I start to write poems, I think of something warm, soft, and cuddly. I think of things I can say to let other people know that they are also safe. But there is something very weird about poetry and me, because when I write poems I feel like I also have to hide them inside something, like inside a rock. If I were to hide poems inside rocks there would be mountains of poems. And if anybody were to want to read any of my beautiful poems, they would have to peel the rocks as if they were bananas. I would pick rocks to hide my poems inside because it would be like gold inside mountains.

by Blanca, 8th grade
8037_rocks_with_mountain_smither_michael-nz.jpg

One day I was babysitting my little cousins, Jahlil, Naigwan, Zayna and Elija. My uncles and aunts had gone to a movie. They didn’t want to take their children, so I had to baby-sit them which at first I didn’t think was a very good idea. It was going to be a long evening for me.

My little cousin Elija started to cry seconds after they left. I gave him his bottle of milk. My cousin, Naigwan, wasn’t doing anything but playing with his dumb wrestling toys. My cousin Zayna started to cry because Naigwan threw a toy at her. I gave Naigwan ‘time-out’ for 30 minutes as if she cared.

All of a sudden something hit my head like a rock. My baby brother had thrown his bottle at my head and started to jump up and down, crying.

“Oh brother,” I said as I picked up the bottle. I took him in my arms, sat on the couch and rocked him to sleep. Then they all started jumping on me until they fell asleep. I put them in the bedroom and turned on the television to relax for a minute. I flipped the channel to the Apollo Show.

When my aunt and uncle arrived, all the babies were asleep. They were impressed and gave me 40 crisped dollars! I went to the shopping mall the next day. I guess it was worth babysitting my bad little cousins. I told them, any time!

by Kristina, 4th grade

I’m from the sopa de arroz, caldo de arroz, y
atole de arroz
smells coming from
the kitchen.
I’m from “You’re it” and “No, you are!” outside.
I’m from the buzzing bugs attracted to flowers, babies
crying in sync, and big books in disarray.
I’m from my grouchy,
old-fashioned, grumpy granny and
my irresponsible, regretful, marked-up
Mom.
I’m from “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that”
most of the day. “You did this wrong!
You never do anything right!”
I’m from the one-bedroom apartment packed
with five people’s noise that seems to penetrate
your mind . . . .

by Fabiola, 11th grade

There is a man walking in the rain
Looking in every building he passes
Hoping to belong somewhere
But being kicked out of every place he goes
And where he is accepted
He is abused
Not in a nasty way
But the way he shouldn’t be
As the man walks he says to himself
“I’m a waste”
And he wishes for the day when he can be accepted
Though it never comes
But as he stumbles and falls
Someone comes to his rescue
A man in bright clothes and shining in radiance
The sad man falls into his hands weak and brittle
Because of how he has been tortured
And he breathes his final breaths
Falling into a deep sleep
Then the bright shiny man whispers into his ear
“It’s okay, welcome home”.

by DeMarcus, 5th grade

Tanka

The flowers bloom.
Mist departs from the growing tree.
Ice softens into cool water.
The sun arrives like an orb of light
As the branches grow, piercing the day.

The trees grow from saplings.
The leaves redden like blood.
Loud sounds come slowly
As the trees sing their mournful song
When the wounds get deeper and deeper.

The small constellations
Darkening by the second
Are not looked at very much.
It isn’t the stars themselves
But the spaces in between them.

by Krucial, 4th grade

a blessing for Mom

May you hold the flame of fire in your hand
So that you shall stay strong.
When someone has gotten you upset
Just look at the flame of fire.
It will help you look at it differently.
When the world turns its back,
Just turn your back.
You are strong enough to take the pressure.
You will grow stronger
Because of the flame of fire
I have given you.
The flame is not only in your hand.
The flame of fire is also in your heart.
I love you, Mom.

by Amber, 7th grade

I dream with open
eyes of my Gramamá
at night and evening.
I feel she is hugging
me. It seems she is gone.
She is and I see her
night and day in
the mirror
where she brushed
her hair and put
makeup on. I like
the way she did that.
Her bed still
smells like vinegar.
I like that smell,
so pretty. I’ll always
love her.

by Ivette, 4th grade

To My Mama

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
before you or I die
to keep it real with me,
day by day.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
I apologize for not being
there for you when you needed me most.
The hurt I’ve caused you, you shouldn’t have to pay.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
although there were bad break ups,
horrible fights ending in blood shed,
it wasn’t your fault. I’m glad you didn’t stay.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
when my sisters came into the world,
I was worried about getting replaced,
but now I see you love us all in many different ways.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
sorry for being disrespectful to your husband.
I know you expected more of me
and for forgiveness, I pray.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
it’s been years since you’ve talked to my father as a friend.
He’s let go, so it’s your turn to let go of the grudge.
Try out a whole new friendship and indulge.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
I’m glad that since I’ve moved,
You’ve been more involved in my life,
taking away some of the strife.

To my mama, I would like to say . . .
that I love, adore, and admire
you for the strength you’ve had throughout the years,
without breaking down and crying buckets of tears.

by T’Keynah, 10th grade

The elementary school students gave a fabulous performance last night. Join us tonight to hear the middle and high school kids. You can pick up a free copy of Blooms too. Here are the winners who will be featured:

Mahid Aulakh
Darryl Wayne F. Beronque
Joshua Davies
Malkie Feigenson
Alyssa Flores
Paul Hussmann
Adina Lapine
Luigi Ramirez Vega
Timothy Streller
Eduardo F. Vela
Alissa Watson
Alli Willis
Victoria Alford
Marcos Amaya
Daniel Arenas
Samiah Aulakh
Raven Harris
Aubreona Jackson
Alex Vargas
Diana Yado
Dayana Flores
Cristian A. Garcia
Angelyca D. Jackson
Jairo James
Jaylon Jenkins
Luisa Luviano
Joseph Reyes
Crystal Sowemimo
Jeanette Vazquez
Chloé Charendoff
Sherlyn Galarza
Whitney Hall
Jomall Hasty
Maria Gallegos
Kayleigh Harrigan
Timothy Lacey, Jr.
Wynton Macklin
Angelica Martinez
Christina Noblett
Parris Powell
Nicole Salyer
Abel Arriola
Jasmine Ashe
T’Keynah La Van
Janicka McNeely
Niocca Owens
Laquonta Smith
Daniel Solache
Lildaniel Toomer
Krista Wilson
Laura Ying
Ariel Brigham
Caroline Hudgins
Emalie Kane
Shannon London
Jessica Harris
Yolanda Jimenez
Derrick Robinson
Nikita Vaughan

These young authors will perform their work at The Menil Collection tonight, May 7, at 7 p.m.

Cathleen Freedman
Brian Jackson
Stone Lack
Raphael G. Leonard
Jasmine Ortega
Jeanette Rodriguez
Christian Aguilar
Armani Artis
Fadila Farag
Isabella Ferguson
Emily Fox
Rut Gonzalez
Zoe Lovelace
Oren Pazgal
Randolphus Price, II
Grant Schneider
Sydney Katherine Schultz
Briceyda Zepeda
Thomas John Zepeda
Fariha Ahmed
Catherine Anderson
Jai Anderson
Caroline Birch
Jasmine Blakley
Emily Bradshaw
Irma Bustos
David Caballero, Jr.
Anna Calderon
Tatriana Campbell
Maria Cervantes
Julia Chavez
Nathan Chavira
Precious Fontenot
Melissa Garcia
Brenda L. Gonzalez
Will Goodman Goddard
Eduardo Haroldson
Pete Huggins
MaKenzie Kooken
Tinsley Maier
Jealousy Martinez
John Maurer
Charli McBean
Doraly Morales
Susan Nguyen
Keondre Osborne
Jacob Poe
Daniela Rubio
Jaime Sanchez
Jake Stern
Douglas Whitson
Fallon Williams
Mohammed Aiman Al-Ali
Christian Alonza
Sophie Daily
Hailey Davis
Anthony Del Bello
Arnulfo Diaz
Alex Dimatteo
Ujai Ekanem
Joanna Garza
Eleanor Gilbert
Elisabeth Gray
Giselle Hernandez
Lauren Kattapong
Angela P. Lara
Raymond Lucio
Mackenzie Mott
NaDarius Nealey
Joyce Ogbonnaya
Jacob Olvera
Karely Osorio
Max Perez
Brian Tan
Santiago Tellez
Samantha Torres
Stephanie Villanueva
Darion D. Waddle
Moises Zuniga

This is the season. All WITS writers are helping students select their best work, revise and edit it, and (finally!) publish it in a class anthology. Check out “Picking up a Spider” by Juan Montes. He has been working with WITS Senior Writer Giuseppe Taurino this year.

student-spider-507-resized.jpg Here’s the story by Juan:

On a late Thursday afternoon at school I saw a big orange spider on the ground. I was at recess with Adan. We were playing kickball. The spider was making a web for his home. The web was on the table outside. I was feeling brave so I wanted to catch the spider. Adan was nervous because he was afraid of spiders. I made a trap with my hands. I closed the trap at the top, and I caught the spider.

With the new Spiderman movie opening this weekend, Juan’s essay seems especially appropriate.

wits-young-writers-reading.jpgWriters in the Schools (WITS) presents the Young Writers Reading Series next week. Over 100 student writers from the Houston area will gather to share their work with the community. The readings will be held at The Menil Collection on Monday and Tuesday, May 7 and 8.

andrea-white.jpgEach night there will be a special guest who will congratulate the student winners. Monday night Andrea White, the first lady of Houston and author of the book Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083.will congratulate the students. On May 8 philanthropist Lisa Foronda, formerly of KHOU TV will be the guest speaker. Both readings are free. Please join us! lisa_foronda.jpg

Thank you for participating in the Writers in the Schools A Poem A Day program. We hope that you have enjoyed reading poems by WITS students during National Poetry Month. Please leave comments on your favorite poems. The students will really appreciate your positive feedback.

If you’d like to make a donation to keep the Writers in the Schools programs growing and reaching as many Houston-area youth as possible, please click here. We would like to thank the Houston Arts Alliance, the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Public Library, and the Texas Commission on the Arts for sponsoring A Poem A Day.

Thank you for celebrating National Poetry Month with WITS. Stay tuned to this blog for more writing from WITS students and writers.

The boy skips along the beach
In his paradise.

He stops and watches the foaming waves
In his paradise.

A crab scuttles around his feet
In his paradise.

The water laps against his toes
In his paradise.

The sand is his castle now
In his paradise.

He’s the king of all the beach
In his paradise.

He lies down on the sand, and
He’s in his paradise.

by Kevin, 4th grade
caballero-costa-rica.jpg

My site was nominated for Best Charity Blog!The WITS Blog has been nominated for Best Charity Blog at the Blogger’s Choice Awards website. After less than one month of experience in the blogosphere, we’re a rookie to the field. If you have a spot in your heart for the underdog, we would appreciate your support. In order to vote, you have to register first. Thanks!

The snake slithered through the garden,
The buzz of a bee,
The ribbit of a frog,
Scream.

The snake slithered through the garden,
The roar of a lion,
The dance of war,
Scream.

The snake slithered through the garden,
The oak tree whispers in the wind,
The beach’s salty rain poring down,
Frightened.

The snake slithered through the garden,
No where to run,
No where to hide,
Scared.

The snake slithered through the garden,
Blue,
Black,
Spots.

The snake slithered through the garden,
Anger,
Fear,
Hope.

The snake slithered through the garden,
Mars,
Moon,
Lost.

The snake slithered through the garden.

Nicole, 9th grade

Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
A horse is trotting over land.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
The horse is running faster to the river.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
The horse has jumped off the cliff to the river.

Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
She is in the water.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
She is swimming on her tummy.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
Hurry, hurry, she is swimming.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
Oh no! The horse is swimming toward the waterfall.

Sheshonshor Sheshonshor. Time has stopped.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor. Time is back.


Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
The horse is gone.
It is a shame to see it fall.

Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
It is night. Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
The ghost of the horse is alive!
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.
The horse is furious.
Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.

The horse is trotting to Mexico
where she was born.

Sheshonshor Sheshonshor.

by Chandler, 3rd grade

If I could fly
I would see the
top of the forest
and hear the
firm winds blow.
I could fly far
to the top of a
mountain and
see the bottom of the
ocean floor. The
whole world would be
free. There would be
peace and no
judgment. If I could
fly, I would leave my
illness behind and
stay in the sky.

by Bertin, 7th grade

Come with me
Let’s start a new story
Wake me up
from my past dreams
with the kiss of the future
Walk me to the balcony
Grab me by my hand
Let’s jump out of this bad plan
and maybe we will wind
up in the future
Boom. Are we there?

by London, 12th grade

It happened all of a sudden like my life was ending in front of me.
Water rushing through the door like surfing on a beach.
Climbing in the attic like dogs starving for food.

We had to walk through dirty water with the wind raging in every person’s ear.
It bothered me and made me want to stop, but I did not give up.

Right now I’m in a safer place in Houston,
but every time I walk by the canals I can see all my family and friends
wading through the water and I cry.
Feels like a piece of my heart is still missing.

And every night I wonder if it will happen to me again,
But instead of living through it, I die.

by Destiny, 6th grade