I Walk Alone

Posted July 16, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Wynton’s eyes see the night in a whole different dawn,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.
Listening to the music that takes his mind away,
Not into the night, but a whole new day.

Ignoring the world that continues to die,
Sad-hearted people harmoniously cry,
But not Wynton Macklin in a world all his own,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

X-girlfriend’s shoulder colder than an igloo.
His best friend is dating who?
It won’t matter to Wynton unless it’s lyrics to a song,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

As the world falls apart, Wynton is left alone.
Keep calling but reality won’t answer the phone.
So Wynton stays proud as he grows alone,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

by Wynton, 9th grade
Westbury High School


Posted July 13, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

frida_kahlo_self_portrait.jpgShe is bleeding.
It looks like she’s angry.

She’s probably mad at her husband.
She doesn’t look like she’s in pain.
She’s letting the bird hang on her neck.
She looks like she got out of a wreck.
The thorn branches represent her anger.
The monkey is messing with one of the branches.
The cat is hiding behind her neck.
The cat might represent her anger too.
It’s a black cat.
She looks serious.
She looks like if anything gets in her way,
She would mess something up.
The flowers represent her sensitivity
And the butterfly.
She feels like nobody respects her or
Pays attention to her.

by Victor, age 17, Texas Children’s Hospital – Renal Division

HISD Applauds the WITS Summer Camp

Posted & filed under Notebook.

The Houston public school district (HISD) recently showcased the WITS Summer Camp on its site. Here’s how the story begins:

A blank page is not exciting to most people, but to a writer it signifies that anything is possible. Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a private, nonprofit organization in Houston that offers creative writing programs to students in grades K–12. In a classroom setting, writers teach students to transform thoughts and feelings into powerful words that take readers to new places.

To read more, click here.


Jennie Kolter Elementary third-grader Payton Campbell(left)and West University Elementary third-grader Celeste Debnam took a summer writing course from WITS Senior Writer Amy Lin (center).

Hope That Makes Me Strong

Posted July 12, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Hope is like a perfect day to have a picnic. sunburst.jpg

Hope is like an ice cream sundae.
Hope is like a milk chocolate bear that
melts in your mouth.
Hope is like having a good secret waiting to burst.
Hope can be a good thing gone bad.
Hope can be something bad turned good.
Hope is like when something bad goes
wrong and out of something bad,
something great comes, like a bright light coming out of gray and misery.
Hope, to me, is something I hold on to patiently for the day that my hope comes true.
My hope keeps me going on days when I want to lay down and die.
My hope keeps me going.
It’s like a passage,
a choice.
Do I want to give up or go on?
Without hope, I would have given up already.
Hope keeps me sane.
Without hope, it would be tragic and miserable.

by Amber, age 18, Renal Division of Texas Children’s Hospital.
(graphic art by Shawn Lewis, via flickr)

Beep, Beep!

Posted July 9, 2007 & filed under Notebook.



Unable to speak, except
For the occasional, “beep, beep!”
watch others as they watch me.
Escaping Wile E. Coyote’s futile
attempts to catch me,
and backfiring his plans, with all
the perilously placed boulder, and exploding dynamite.
Too bad he never calculates correctly.
Listening to the children’s and a few adult’s
Laughter, while Coyote runs off cliffs or
Stars form around his head after head-on
Collisions. The laughter gives me strength,
Humiliates Wile E., and gives an invigorating
Energy off. I am proud to be able to help
Give off fun and be a reliever of stress.
And now as Wile E. Coyote is trying to
Capture me with another ridiculous trap
Doomed to fail, I run close to Mach 2,
Never breaking a sweat, foiling his plans
Once again.

by Kevin, 7th grade, WITS Summer Camp


Posted July 6, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

The Scent of this City

I am just a stranger walking in different directions.
I go up, I go down, whichever way. My reflection is lost and clouded by urban smog
The scent of this city is sticking to my skin.
I fight to take clean breaths and realize I am sinking to my surroundings.
I hear her shoes splashing on the wet concrete.
The anxiety pulls me apart.
It goes into my veins and sticks into every part of my body.
Where does this end and do I begin? Why is my future in her hands like this?
She keeps it dangling on a string; she pulls and winds it around to keep me on my feet.
He looks into my eyes and asks me what’s the matter.
I don’t answer because he reads me like a book.
I became a collection of the thoughts and memories of what I did wrong.
I am a pile of broken bones and a mistake I once made.
But I am admitting that I messed up.
I’m begging and pleading for your forgiveness:
“Please don’t leave me, I need you,” I say.
If only I had a way to make this fly faster than I am falling for him.
What drives me insane is having no control.
I have no choice but to wait it out and leave it all behind.
I have to trust in his empathy to forgive,
And her vanity to forget.
I have to find myself in this mess.

by Gaby, 12th grade, WITS Summer Camp

The Siren

Posted July 5, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Her face is soft, but worn to bone
From years of salt and sea.
Her eyes, the hue of crystal ice,
She never can be free.
All day, she lies upon her throne,
Dreams of formless sands.
The pearls she catches in her hair
She clasps within her hands.
Her smile, cold, her teeth, pale white,
A soul of liquid steel.
The freezing waves, the sunlight’s warmth,
Her heart would never feel.
And though she waits for time to end,
She swims beneath the moon.
With crimson tears and lost regrets,
She sings the Clair de Lune.

by Alexander, 9th grade, WITS Summer Camp
(Art collage by Jupiter Designs, via Flickr)

I Am Like a Flower

Posted & filed under Notebook.

I am like a flower that grows into what it becomes and moves on. I like to play, run, and all kinds of things. I am like Benjamin Franklin fulfilling his dream and doing what I want to do and being what I want to be. I am not an empty blank page that no one cares about. I am not like a pen that is forced into being. I am a woman and I am saved. I am not a crayon that gets put in a box. I am like a bird being free in the air. I’m like a caterpillar that flies into a beautiful creature. I am a spirit that goes through the world.

by Bryanna, 5th grade, Nehemiah Center

4th of July

Posted July 3, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Ode to Watermelon

Juicy, melony, watery,
seedy, tasty, good to eat, cuttable, the red fire under
the green grass on the black rood.

by Treveon, 3rd grade, Nehemiah Center

Get Published!

Posted July 2, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

iandmymothersm-art-stonesoup.jpg Stone Soup is one of the top journals publishing writing by kids. They accept stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and art. All the work in this magazine is done by children ages 8-13. For more information about submitting your work to Stone Soup, click here.

Another Op

Posted June 27, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Speak Truth to Power
Opportunities for Poets 13-27 years old

For the second year, Youth Speaks is partnering with the Sundance
Summit: A Mayors’ Gathering on Climate Protection to host a spoken
word competition on global warming. Whether or not you’re thinking
about global warming, or even really care about it, we want to hear
from you. What we want to know is: Do you think about global warming?
And if you do, what do you think? And if you don’t, what’s in the
way? It’s a pressing issue and we’re convinced that smart young poets
from different cities, different backgrounds, and with different
perceptions about global warming, environmental injustice, and
poverty can provide important leadership. We’re looking for poets
from across the US to speak on this issue now in a way that will get
Mayors to listen and act.

We’re hosting an event as part of Brave New Voices in San Jose on
Saturday, July 21st, that will be filmed by the Sundance Channel, and
we’re accepting poems right now to choose the ten finalists who will
perform for the opportunity to be one of 3 winners who will take home
$500 and a free trip to the mountains of Utah to perform to Mayors
from across the country in September. Last year, George Watsky
received a ten-minute standing ovation from the group of Mayors
ranging from San Francisco and Anchorage, to Seattle, Minneapolis,
and rural Georgia.

Rarely do poets have the opportunity to speak directly to a group of
political leaders and lawmakers who are there to listen. Here’s your chance.

Send us your best spoken word pieces that will help hundreds of U.S.
mayors understand how young people think about global warming (or if
you don’t, why don’t you)

Tell them the stories that only you can tell- from your community,
your neighborhood, your family, your dreams & your perspective.

Tell them what you see, and what you don’t see happening.

Tell them what you want, and want you don’t want to inherit.

Tell them what you need them to do.

These may be pieces about air so dirty your friends have asthma or
about news reports that say someday your city may sink. Or, these may
be pieces about why global warming isn’t something you have the
luxury to think about or why it’s not an issue that you are
passionate about. And if that’s the case, tell us what is? And what
would need to happen to make global warming more of a priority for you?

Why is this a contest worth entering? Ten submissions will be
selected, and those poets will be invited to compete at a special
session during the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam
Festival on July 21, 2007, in front of hundreds of people and a panel
of judges, who will select three winners from the ten.

Then, the three winning poets will receive $500 in prize money, will
be featured on the Sundance Channel’s The Green, and will be flown to
Utah this September to perform their piece at the 2007 Sundance
Summit for the attending U.S. mayors.

This is truly a chance to speak truth to power- directly- and to
inspire Americas’ mayors to go home and take action. Help them
understand what you need them to do.

They are ready, and they are listening.

How You Can Enter:

Poets between the ages of 13-27 are welcome to submit up to three
pieces of original work (each piece should be a maximum of 3:30
minutes long when performed) along with a cover sheet that includes
your name, age, place of birth, current city of residence, contact
information, and title(s) of poem(s).

Submissions can be sent via email to this email address or by
regular mail to:

Youth Speaks – Global Warming Contest
290 Division Street, Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94103

All submissions must be received by 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time,
July 8th, 2007.

What You Can Win:

On July 12th, 2007, 10 poets will be notified that they have been
selected to compete during the special Speak Truth to Power about
Global Warming session at the Brave New Voices International Youth
Poetry Slam Festival in San Jose, California, on July 21, 2007 where
three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges on stage.

The competition will be filmed and short 2-3 minute films will be
produced and aired on The Sundance Channel’s The Green. Additionally,
up to 5 entries may be included in a Global Warming Poetry collection
produced and distributed to the mayors attending the Sundance Summit
as well as to hundreds of others mayors engaged in a worldwide
movement to end global warming

All three winners will receive a prize of $500 and will be flown, all
expenses paid, to Sundance, Utah, to perform their work at the 2007
Sundance Summit, September 9-12, 2007 and will be invited to
participate in the event, and possibly travel to a handful of other
U.S. cities as part of the Sundance Summit art exhibition and tour.

Rules and Details: The goal of this contest is to inspire political
action and to speak to those who can make a difference. The judges
will seek out constructive and truthful messages that can lead to
hope. We are not looking for poems that bash the administration.
Instead, we are looking for the real stories and the real voices that
can tell these stories.

The Sundance Summit is about influential people coming together and
working together to solve a global problem that threatens humanity.

Submissions must adhere to PG-13 language guidelines.

Poets will retain rights to reproduce and perform their work any time,
anywhere, but the Sundance Summit will own the right to reproduce all
work submitted.

Click here for more information about the 2007 Sundance Summit.

(Graphic design above by Geoff McFetridge.)

What I Love by Tripp

Posted June 25, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I love to swim in
pools and play
Scooby Doo games
and dress up as
a dragon and draw
pictures of teddy
bears and play
baseball with my
daddy and eat
celery and carrots and
broccoli and do
stickers and sing songs
and color with markers
and make crafts and
ride bikes and 4-wheelers
and jump on
a trampoline and swing
really high.

by Tripp, age 5

I Am, a poem by Cecily

Posted June 21, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I am a snake slinking in the sky.
I am the blazing yellow of the sun.
I am a soldier wanting peace.

I am a time line traveling
in the night before dawn.
I am the spiky vine of a plant.

I am a shining pearl in a rough clam.
I am an electric guitar rumbling again.
I am the Milky Way in the world’s well.

by Cecily, 4th grade

(writing prompt = Delight Song by N. Scott Momaday)

One Op

Posted June 20, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

collage.jpgGirlspeak is a pro-women web-based literary and visual art magazine that seeks to provide a platform for those who identify as female. We aspire to enlighten our readers about self-love, healthy lifestyles, activism through art and awareness of the world around them. Girlspeak is a safe, diverse, tolerant and positive space.

Girls ages 12-22 are invited to submit original paintings, drawings, scripts, screenplays, lyrics, prose, fiction, non-fiction, plays, spoken word recordings, graffiti art, collages, short stories, monologues, or photographs.

E-mail your work to this address. Remember to include your name, age, school, home address and phone number, e-mail address, and a brief bio.

Deadline for Submissions is Saturday, July 21st, 2007.

Calabazas (Pumpkins)

Posted June 19, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

El hombre y la semilla

pumpkinseeds.jpgEl hombre siembra la semilla. La semilla le da el fruto, y con el fruto el hombre puede hacer dos cosas: comer y vender. Así vive el hombre; cuando come, se mantiene fuerte y saludable, y cuando vende, puede con el dinero darse gustos. Puede comprar cosas que lo hacen feliz, puede comprar ropas, comida para él y para sus animales. Puede comprar además semillas, abono, y tierra.

Con esa nueva tierra, el hombre puede cosechar y dejar a sus hijos una buena herencia. El hombre trabaja duro para ayudar a su familia. Siembra y cosecha todo el día hasta que llega la noche, después va a su casa y se da un baño de pies a cabeza, se limpia las uñas, y se sienta a la mesa para cenar. Lo que más le gusta es tomar café. Se levanta muy temprano, y antes de que cante el gallo, el hombre está en la cocina friendo un huevo y calentándose una taza de café fuerte. Luego cuenta las semillas que sembrará ese día, se viste y le da un beso en la frente a su mujer que todavía está durmiendo. La hija lo siente irse, y sale a despedirlo.

Todavía no amanece, y ya está el hombre sembrando semillas de calabaza. Esas calabazas darán de comer a su familia, servirán para hacer frituras y sopas y también para vender en el mercado.

The Man and the Seed (Translation)

The man plants the seed. The seed becomes the pulp. Then the man can either eat or sell the pulp. The man does both throughout his entire life. When the man eats the pulp, he keeps himself strong and healthy. When the man sells it, he can buy a lot of things with the money he earns. He can buy, for example, clothes and food. In addition, he can buy new seeds, fertilizers, and land. He can make himself as happy as any human on the earth can be.

The man works hard and takes care of the seeds all day long to help his family. After the sunset, he goes back to his house, takes a shower to relax, cleans his nails, and dines. Nothing is more enjoyable than drinking coffee, thinks the man. He wakes up very early, goes to the kitchen to fry an egg and heats a cup of very dark coffee. Then he counts the number of seeds he is going to harvest that day, puts on his clothes, and kisses his wife on her forehead while she is sleeping. His daughter hears the sound of the door and runs to say goodbye to her dad.

There is still the moon above the world when the man begins to work. He places the pumpkin seeds underground. The man will feed his family with those yellow pumpkins of the future. They will be used to prepare soups, to decorate the garden on Halloween, and to sell in the market.

by Alejandro, 6th grade

Rapping for the Dads

Posted June 17, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

This Father’s Day rap by Akeem and James is about teen dads who don’t get to see their children. (Time = 2 minutes, 30 seconds.)