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Creative Writing Portfolio 20062007 Forest Park

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Title: Creative Writing Portfolio 20062007 Forest Park


1
Creative Writing Portfolio 2006-2007Forest Park
  • Lauren Agyekum
  • 11th
  • Mrs. Dowling

Click here to view my portfolio
2
Akwabba
Welcome
  • I would like to thank you all, the viewers, for
    taking a look at my portfolio. I hope you enjoy
    my writings as much as I enjoyed writing them. My
    writings vary from love and heartbreak to
    fictional letters. So now here are my writings,
    from me, to you. Enjoy!

Table of Contents
3
Table of Contents
  • Portfolio 1
  • Bob, the Neighborhood
  • The Generation
  • Emerald Kiss
  • My First Dive
  • Dear Martin
  • Writing Assignment
  • Poetry pg.1
  • The Flood
  • Reflections
  • Portfolio 2
  • Female
  • Number
  • Black History Month
  • Glass
  • Three Wishes
  • The Apollo Theater and Me
  • Athlete/Dreams
  • Reflections
  • Portfolio 3
  • Stillness
  • Waking Up on an Island
  • The Island, My Friend
  • Why You Should Come to my Island
  • Virginia Tech Strong
  • Monologue
  • Haiku Butterfly
  • Lyrical Superwoman Cries
  • Tonka Missing You
  • Brush Teeth Clean
  • Lyrical The Man Nobody Knows
  • How I Feel About You
  • Reflections

4
Bob, the Neighborhood
She walked inside the house not even bothering
to take a look out into her neighborhood. This
time of the day was always full of a whole lot of
nothing for Her. If you wanted to give her
neighborhood and her, names to compare their
difference, you would name her something
extravagant like Maximilliana, and her
neighborhood, just a simple boring name, Bob. The
streets were empty except for the random cars
trickling through filled with high school
students coming home from school. It was too
early to hear the loud care free laughs and
giggles from the smaller children who were still
being suppressed in school. It was too cold to
see butterflies twirling through the air and to
hear birds chirping as they soared through the
sky. Yet, it was too warm to look upon the roads
and hills and see the sight of winters first
snow. Even the sun looked down awkwardly on this
little neighborhood as it danced between the line
of whether to shine on it or not.
5
She remembered her old neighborhood perfectly.
The broken down looking townhouses were the homes
to her and her friends. The uncut grass and wild
looking lawns were the best to throw your enemys
house keys in she thought to herself cracking a
smile. In that neighborhood no matter what time
it was, people were outside. If there were no
children being reckless and climbing trees, you
could find the high school students all perched
on their best friends long set of cement stairs.
There on those stairs were the best times of her
life. Fights would break out, and first kisses
would happen. Enemies would be made, and best
friends would meet, she thought as she began to
remember Jonathan. The girls would sit by their
crushes as they all gossiped and talked about
what was going on in school and the neighborhood.
She began to reach out to hold her ex-boyfriends
hand Steven as if they were sitting on the stairs
together again. Her memories of her old
neighborhood erased the fact that they had broken
up after she was forced to move away from him. So
she kept reaching for him, and just when she was
about to touch it, her eyes opened.
6
She finally snapped out of her daydream and
stopped. She stepped back from the door and
turned to face the neighborhood. Her daydream
felt so real that she began to think that she
would turn around to find not only her old
neighborhood, but her home. Reality snapped back
in her head as she looked around and saw the big
lavish houses surrounding her. No broken down
shutters, no chipped paint, but such neatly put
together brand new houses. She looked down to see
only two stairs compared to the long set of
stairs back in her neighborhood. The steps were
empty, just like the neighborhood. Here she had
no name, and thats why she would always be, she.
Once again she began to walk back into her house,
except this time, she refused to look back at
this place her parents were forcing her to call
home.
7
90s Baby
Janellas feet pedaled down the stairs quickly.
She was dressed in her tight, dark blue skinny
jeans, white button shirt, a big red belt that
hugged her waist tightly, some red shoes, and red
accessories to match. Her big red earrings and
beaded necklace sounded like wind chimes as they
banged against her face and body. She may have
been dressed like a 70s/80s baby, but Janella was
a 90s baby through and out. Janellas mom,
Cassandra, watched as her daughter who was a
whole generation away, tried to portray her
generations look. Cassandra just laughed at the
attempt and continued to watch her daughter. She
tried to get her daughters attention, but the
technology of this generation was just
unmatchable. The technology Janella sported
clashed with her outfit as you saw the complete
differences of generations. Her ears were filled
with ear plugs that traveled down her chest to
her hip, where not only did her jeans sit, but
her iPod was strapped. And as if that wasnt
enough, her fingers were moving quicker than a
crowd of ants on a bread crumb, as they pulled
out her T-Mobile Sidekick 3, flipped the screen
open, and began text messaging her friend.
Janella, like most teenagers, had mastered typing
a whole paragraph of information in less than 30
seconds without even having to pay attention.
8
The door rang and Janella gave her mother Im
not going to get it look. Cassandra walked
towards the door to be greeted by Janellas loud
obnoxious friends. One was pregnant, one smelt of
weed, and the other stuck her nose up as she
entered the house as if she was too good for all
of this. Cassandra just stood back and continued
to watch the generation at work. Soon the Channel
4 news was being changed so that BET was on,
despite the fact that Janella already has an iPod
in. Dont you all want to learn whats going
on in the world? Cassandra asked the children
after they turned from the Breaking News. The
four girls looked at each other and laughed.
Mom who cares about that stuff? We are still
young, and nobody cares about politics, Janella
answered for the crowd. Yea, thats our cue to
leave before we get the whole dont you know how
important this stuff is? speech, the pregnant
girl echoed in. They all began to laugh out loud
and headed towards the door. As a typical
teenager Janella walked out the house with no
hugs or kisses. Cassandra just watched her
daughter leave the house.
9
And Cassandra just looked down and shook her
head. Not because she felt that this generation
was so different from hers, but maybe because
this generation was too similar. The mistakes of
her generation had been made, but this generation
hadnt learned from it. She watched as her
daughter and friends, the future of America,
walked out the door more concerned about the mall
than the world they would soon be in control of.
10
Emerald Kiss
When our lips meet Its like we have a kiss of
emerald Its so pure and unique Like that
beautiful stone Yet makes people as green with
envy As the gorgeous stone itself The feeling is
explosive yet so soft It feels like Mixed sparks
with the night stars Its a feeling only you can
give me Its a feeling of love A kiss of
emerald When our lips meet
11
My First Dive
I felt the cool water splash against my ankles
and freshly shaved legs as a rambunctious boy in
his hillbilly accent yelled out, cannonball!
Usually I wouldve been irritated, but the
beaming hot sun had my skin baking, and the cool
water was as relieving as a cup of hot chocolate
after being out in the winter snow all day. I
struggled to navigate through the endless crowd
that surrounded the pool on this you could cook
an egg on the sidewalk kind of day. Im sure
that if people were looking down at this suburban
neighborhood from an aerial view, we would look
like a group of ants when they attack and cover a
fallen bread crumb. I couldnt wait to place all
my stuff down and then jump off the diving board.
See, today was going to be my first time, and I
was so anxious. I felt how you feel when you are
getting ready to ride a roller coaster. When you
are climbing up that long hill, then you finally
reach the top, and the only place left to go is
down and you take that one last breath as you
plunge down those roller coaster tracks. Why
are you so nervous? asked my best friend. She
stood in front of me pulling at her belly button
ring that sat on her flat stomach. Her blue
bathing suit with the gold streaks matched her
flip flops. She stopped playing with her belly
button and began throwing her black hair into a
sloppy bun. What if I dont pop back up? What
if I drown?! Maybe I shouldnt do this! I
exclaimed. I was taking off my tank top and
shorts to reveal my white batching suit with
polka dots. My stomach was without a belly button
ring but it was still as flat and shaped as my
best friends.
12
Girl, Im telling you. You will pop right back
up, I promise. The water will push you up. You
are not going to drown. Plus, Ill be there in
case you need me to save your scared behind!
Shayla laughed at me. We both laughed and giggled
for a little bit longer. We didnt know if we
were going to stick our toes in the water or just
jump in. We both looked at each other and the
same sinister smiles spread across our face.
Immediately we both tried to push each other into
the refreshing pool. After the joking around, we
both dived into the shallow end of the pool,
making great big splashes. The cool surrounded me
and cooled my baking my body. The cool water felt
so good I almost forgot about my dreaded task I
had promised to do. Okay lets get this done
with. You know what time it is, its time for you
to jump off the diving board. Shayla wasted no
time trying to get me on the diving board. She
was already ruining the great feeling of jumping
into a cool pool on a hot summer day. We just
got here! I dont want to get back out,
because-because- because my body is adjusting to
the temperature, and I dont want to have to
adjust to it again! I stuttered hoping she would
believe me. Yea okay whatever girl. You better
get your butt out and lets go to the diving
board now. We will get it over and done with
early. I think you going to have fun, so stop
complaining and lets go, Shayla argued and
grabbed at my dripping wet arm. Shayla tugged at
me and pulled me towards the steps of the pool so
we could walk out. I just couldnt resist the
anxious feeling that was in the pit of my stomach
anymore. A part of me wanted to run from her
while the other part wanted me to jump in the
pool from the diving board with a sense of
accomplishment in my head.
13
After being dragged out of the pool and to the
other side of the pool, I stood in line for the
diving board. There were only about three people
in front of me including Shayla, meaning my time
would be up shortly. Shayla turned around and
looked at me as it was her time to jump. She
flashed a big smile and then she was falling
deeper and deeper into the water. She arised and
swam to the edge of the pool as gracefully as a
swan. For some reason I had a feeling it wouldnt
be that easy for me. At last I took a final look
at Shayla, the lifeguard, and the beautiful place
I had come to know as my earth, my home, my life.
The diving board had drips of water that cooled
my warm feet. Here was the roller coaster feeling
I had been talking about. As I stood on the
diving board I looked down and as if I was on a
roller coaster looking down at that steep hill.
Next, I took the leap. My whole body became numb
as I my mind just went blank. Not even the hot
sun was affecting me. It was like I was taking
that plunge on the steep hill of the
rollercoaster. I landed with a great splash into
this cooling oasis. The next few seconds were the
longest seconds of my life. I finally stopped
falling deeper and deeper and for a second I just
sat in one place. My mind was racing as I was
wondering when was I going to come up. Finally it
happened. The water pushed me up at a steady pace
and my face broke the surface and I saw my earth,
my home, and my life again. Maybe I didnt swim
as gracefully as Shayla did, but I reached the
side of the pool and climbed out with a huge
smile of accomplishment on my face. Shayla gave
me that I told you so face as she realized how
much I had enjoyed that jump through the air.
14
The next thing you knew I was running back to the
diving board to take my second, third, and fourth
jump. On my fifth jump I stood behind a girl who
had the same scared look I had on my first jump
ever. She turned and looked at her best friend
like I had looked at Shayla for support. She
turned around as she felt embarrassed about how
long she was taking at the board. I smiled at her
and told her not to worry and to just take her
time. She took a big deep breath and jumped into
the water, and I felt the water splash against my
legs and my freshly shaven legs. Usually I
wouldve cared, but today the feeling of water
splashing on you was the greatest feeling ever.
15
Dear Martin
Dear Martin, You wanted to know how Ive been
feeling lately. I have experience every emotion
possible in this civil rights fight. Pain. That
is all I seem to feel these days. I know Im
suppose to be this strong figure so that I can
help blacks everywhere, but Im starting to feel
weary from it all. I just dont know what do
anymore. They say as a man I shouldnt cry, yet I
continue to shed these tears. They say as a child
of God, I should not hate, yet these feelings are
beginning to surface. They say as a black man I
am not worthy and not equal to a white man, and
Martin, Im beginning to give in.
16
Why must they make it so hard for a black man
trying to make a name for himself? Do they not
see how hard I work day in and day out to become
the athlete I am? I shed my blood sweat and tears
into the this game, but nobody wants to see that
because of my dark skin. As a matter of fact, I
know they all wish to see me shed blood and
tears, literally. Martin, never once have I
harmed a white man, so why do they wish to harm
me? Why because God made me beautiful in my own
way? Why because God knew diversity was one of
the greatest things he could bless our world
with? Martin, people sit here and ask me when
will I give up? They are all sitting around and
waiting to see me fail waiting to watch me
collapse. And yes there are times where Im ready
to give up, but my heart wont let me.
17
Martin, never once have I harmed a white man, so
why do they wish to harm me? Why because God made
me beautiful in my own way? Why because God knew
diversity was one of the greatest things he could
bless our world with? Martin, people sit here
and ask me when will I give up? They are all
sitting around and waiting to see me fail
waiting to watch me collapse. And yes there are
times where Im ready to give up, but my heart
wont let me. Martin, they ask me, Jackie when
will you learn, there is no place for a negro in
this league?. And through all the pain and
feelings of just wanting to give up, I just pull
my head up high and tell them the day my Negro
skin turns white. Martin, yes there are times I
think I am failing, but I never will give up.
Because Martin, I have a dream too. Sincerel
y, Jackie
18
I Love Him
I love him, I tried to convince myself, as I
forced myself to kiss his soft lips. The soft
brown couch we were sitting on contoured to both
of our body shapes. The spacious room was silent
as we were the only two in there. His big hands
held my waist and his soft brown face pressed up
against mine as he kissed me. Love and happiness
filled his hazel eyes as he felt the warming and
soothing sensation of love. I forced myself to
smile and give him the same in love gaze he was
expressing to me. I always had good days and
bad days as I struggled to love him as much as he
loved me. Some days I was truly convinced that my
heard pounded for him and only him. There were
those days where my heart felt like a flower, and
he, the sun, made it grow and blossom into
something so beautiful. Then there would be the
bad days. My lips wouldnt want to kiss him as he
hungrily kept coming back for more. His corny
jokes and anxious moods wouldnt make me laugh,
but instead make me frown in disapproval. Pain
and a look of confusion would shoot through his
eyes as he pondered what it was he had to do to
please me, the love of his life. If only he knew
there was nothing he could do, and that it wasnt
him, but me who had the problem. Today was one of
those bad days.
19
I pulled away from him even though I knew he
wanted to kiss some more. A sly smile spread
across his face showing his perfectly straight
and white teeth, as he thought I was playing a
silly game and trying to tease him. He came in
for another kiss and I pushed him away once
again. He tried to laugh off his rejection, but I
knew he was hurting. I just didnt know what was
wrong with me. Whats wrong baby, you dont
want to kiss me anymore? He teased me poking at
my stomach. My eyes suddenly turned away from
his as I tried to figure out what was wrong with
me. Why did I not feel like I loved him anymore?
This boy was so in love with me, and he would
stop at nothing to make me happy. Jay, are you
listening to me? Come on lets go on a walk, he
suggested to me. I knew a part of me was still
ashamed of being gay. Taking a walk would lead to
him wanting to hold hands, an action I was still
too scared to do in public. My heart began to
pump faster and faster as I began to think of
people looking at us, and judging us. My little
54 body couldnt stand up to these bullies of
the world, and I began to worry.
20
Sebastian quickly jumped up, grabbed my hand, and
began dragging me towards the door. At first I
truly believed that I was fooling people, as I
made it look as if we were just two guy friends
having a good time. I would shove him and punch
him in his arm when he made jokes or said
something dumb, to imitate other straight boys
that I had seen walking around. We laughed,
talked, and gave each other enough distance to
look like friends, and only friends. Yet
Sebastian wasnt ashamed of his sexual
orientation like I was. I could feel him inching
closer and closer to me as we walked through the
sun warmed boulevard. I tried to think of any
reason possible to take a couple steps ahead of
him, but I couldnt. He was moving in on me much
faster than I could think, and we were about to
be in the heavily populated city park where
everybody would see us, the gay couple. Right as
we walked through the opening of the fence, he
grabbed it. We were two boys walking into the
city park, holding hands, and everybody was about
to see.
21
Sebastian, why do you want to go to the park
anyways? The park is so gay, I said trying to
put it down and get him to turn around. We are
gay Jay, he giggled. Then he realized the
seriousness on my face. What, are you ashamed
for people to see us like this? He asked in an
angry tone. Are you really that ashamed of us?
Are you going to let society tear us apart John,
because if you are, let me know, he interrogated
me in an irate voice. Whatever, lets go in
Sebastian. Im not ashamed and Im not scared of
what people might think, I just didnt feel like
going to the park. But whatever Ill go in with
you, I tried to explain in a brave voice. A part
of me knew that if I lost Sebastian I would hurt
for a long time. We held hands and walked on the
cobblestone path to the bench. The 100 yard path
seemed like a mile as we underwent the many
stares and pondering minds of onlookers. I didnt
blame them, how many gay couples do you honestly
see walking around holding hands and announcing
it to the world? Exactly.
22
We finally reached the bench and I quickly pulled
my hand away from his as I used the excuse of
pointing to something as the reason. But
Sebastian wasnt even worried about my hand
anymore, his eyes stared deep in mine and I knew
he was thinking about kissing me. I just didnt
know what to do, and my body became numb as he
put his lips against mine. I just knew the world
was staring at us, and I didnt want to open my
eyes to see it. All I heard were remarks like,
Faggots!, and GOD made Adam and Eve, not Adam
and Steve! I was so embarrassed. Finally I
opened my eyes to the scolding world. I saw
people laughing and gawking at us, because we
were not like them. A fire began burning in me,
but once again, I did nothing. I sat like the
little quiet puppet I am, as I let them
manipulate my actions. Sebastian just sat there
and laughed it off, as he loved the attention,
and was far from ashamed. I just couldnt take it
anymore. I got up and hurriedly walked away from
the bench.
23
Jay, what are you doing?! Sebastian screamed at
me. Ill call you later, okay? I just really
need to leave right now. Bye! I screamed
back. I finally got to my house and just cried.
Why was it so hard to be gay in this society? Why
did nobody accept us? But the bigger question
was, why could I never stand up for myself? Or
why would I let them control me, and make me hate
somebody so special in my heart. I just closed my
eyes and cried myself to sleep. I just prayed
that tomorrow, would be a good day. Maybe just
maybe it would be.
24
And they say To be black you must be poor To be
white you must be rich To be Hispanic you jumped
the border To be African you play in a ditch To
be Asian you are smarter than the other To be
Native America you are Runs With Stick Because
you are black you must go hard You must only
watch BET And want bling bling and fancy
cars Being Hispanic makes you ride in cars of
ten Means you jumped the border And no matter
what country you are from, you are Mexican And
the Asian jokes never fail You must eat cat and
be intelligent And of course work on nails And
they still say To be black you must be poor To
be white you must be rich To be Hispanic you
jumped the border To be African you play in a
ditch To be Asian you are smarter than the
other To be Native America you are Runs With
Stick
Stereotypes
25
I hear my teacher say She begins to try to
memorize Our class of only 10 people size See she
has no computer software To mark whose missing or
there She doesnt even have a roster So she never
knows who exactly will be sent to her We have to
write our math in the ground We learn to add,
subtract, and round Her teachings we never
doubt, We listen, and 224 we shout She tells us
we dont need textbooks And we dont need good
looks She just says all we need is our mind And
what we wish to learn, well find We sit around
and listen in a circle in the dirt We just try to
learn, no time to play and flirt To many we may
look dumb Our minds may seem numb We learn more
than you may know See our knowledge is a constant
flow Yet nobody will ever think that of the
children Those stupid children who sit in a class
of ten
We The Children
26
The water hurt me The water hurt me Vanessa?
Vanessa? It hurt my body as it threw me to the
ground Quietly silencing my screams and any
sound Where are you? Where are you? The water
brought this pain The water brought this
pain Charles? Charles? It brought along my broken
heart Filled with emotions that it tore apart The
water took it all The water took it all Where are
you? Where are you? It took away my house Filled
with my jeans my doll and my favorite
blouse Daddy? Daddy?
The water hurt me The water hurt me Where are
you? Where are you? It tried to suffocate me And
blind me so I couldnt see Mommy? Mommy? The
water brought this pain The water brought this
pain Where are you? Where are you? It brought
along my tattered mind A cure they still are
trying to find Family? Family? The water took it
all The water took it all Where are you? Where
are you? Why did it let me back up to see the
daylight? Yet take away my only family in that
unfair fight?
27
Reflections
  • The conflict story was the hardest piece of
    writing for me. It was so difficult because it
    was not easy to think of a conflict to base my
    story on. I overcame this by thinking of my life,
    taking a conflict and distorting it.
  • I am most proud of my conflict story. Im proud
    of how I put together the conflict and created a
    good short story.
  • I dont wish to use neither my Autobiography or
    Character Sketch. I dont wish to use these
    because they are non-fiction, and I dont write
    as good stories when they are non-fiction. I
    prefer writing and sharing fiction stories
    because you can be more creative.
  • 90s Baby- She watched as her daughter and
    friends, the future of America, walked out the
    door more concerned about the mall than the world
    they would soon be in control of. This is the
    best sentence because its a good concluding
    sentence and it expresses how the mother feels
    about her daughters generation.
  • I Love Him-Jay, are you listening to me? Come on
    lets go on a walk, he suggested to me. This
    sentence is where I bring along the twist in the
    story, and it prepares you for the rest of the
    story.
  • 5. Strengths-This person is very descriptive and
    uses good sensory detail.
  • Weaknesses-Sometimes it takes too long for the
    person to transtion.

28
6. My conflict story, I Love Him. Because there
is such a strong conflict, I can continue on with
it, because I sort of had an abrupt ending. 7. I
would want to change my, Dear Martin letter, into
a poem. Ive never really written a letter in a
creative way, so that sort of challenged me. I
believe I could change it into a really good poem
though, because it expresses so much emotion. 8.
I believe my conflict story reflects me best. It
reflects love, confusion, and trying to fix a
situation that you are in. These are three
emotions I have been going through for a while,
so it definitely reflects my personality most. 9.
They all really liked my conflict story and liked
the twist in it. So it inspired me to not make
all my writings so obvious in the beginning, but
rather draw the character in, and then begin the
plot. 10. Dear Lauren, Girl your writing was the
bomb! I really loved them, they was the truth!
Your Stereotypes and I Love Him, were the best.
Girl I was feeling all them stories! Dont stop
writing, we need more black sistas like you! Well
girl Ill hit you up later. Keep doing you!

Sincerely, Winter
29
Female
  • A creature so divine and fine within
  • A creature whose love is far above any other
  • A creature thats strong never wrong with their
    instinct
  • A creature who has never bought but fought for
    their freedom
  • A creature whose eyes never lies or betrays you
  • A creature whose lips perfect a kiss like no
    other
  • A creature who makes and creates our babies
  • A creature who will stand and demand for their
    rights
  • A creature so pure and mature to the touch
  • A creature whose soft skin will win any guy over
  • A creature so kind with a mind so brilliant
  • A creature that we know as a she, a female

30
Number
You are just another number in my mind Just like
all the others and far from one of a kind You
have always been just another cruel statistic The
living proof that no good fathers is a fact so
realistic You added on to the large number of men
who leave their beautiful kids And you made me
another child who had to grow up fatherless Just
another number on the charts of drunken
men Another man whod prefer a Corona over his
own children You are just another sad number who
was so weak they had to beat their wives One more
man who felt so miserable and little that they
had to ruin others lives You would drink and
leave for days without even a phone call Then
come home and slap my mother down just so you
could feel tall
31
Number contd
You robbed me of the title of daddys little girl
And left me to grow up without my father in this
world The pain and hurt that you made me witness
and my mothers eyes She tried to be strong but I
heard all her late night cries Such a beautiful
woman who took care in everything she did And
your weak self left her alone to take care of
four kids Another number of a single parent who
was far from wealth But guess what she did it,
without your damn help And she did it without you
giving a cent for child support And she fought
for us by herself instead of taking you to
court So I guess in the end I should thank you
for all the drama you caused Because I gained so
much, while you, well you lost
32
Number Contd
You are a number that made me witness weakness
first hand And I thank you, for now I know what I
DONT want in a man You were a number whose
drunkenness was suppose to infect me and make me
fall But I thank you for being the early
explanation on why not to drink alcohol You are a
number that caused my brothers to rebel But yet I
still thank you for allowing me to witness and
conquer hell
33
Black History Month
I sit down and look around my class. White pale
skin sits in front of peanut butter skin which
sits in front of dark brown skin. Laughter and
talking takes place, as happiness knows no skin
color. Different cultures intertwine as they sit
in this one little classroom and mix with each
other. And to think that just a few decades ago,
this could never happen. My dark skin could never
sit behind her white skin, and especially not in
peace. My education could never consist of the
same nice books the whites received. The
bloodshed that occurred just so this could
happen I picture Martin Luther King Jr. as a
more modern day Harriet Tubman. He tried to save
his people and walk them to freedom. He risked
his life just as she did, every time he fought
for us. And I cant forget the unsung heroes
whose name I will never know. The people who
fought so I could sit behind her white skin in
peace. The people who fought so a white teacher
could teach me, a black student, in peace. A
month could never celebrate what these people
did. A lousy morning tribute couldnt either. But
I will appreciate them this black history month,
and the other eleven months of the year. And so,
I snap back out of my daydream, and sit as my
white teacher teaches a classroom that is far
from segregated.
34
Glass House
  • Something people usually dont notice about me
    is how sensitive I am. I am like a glass house,
    and I constantly take the rocks that people throw
    at me. I try to stand tall like a brick house, as
    I try not to break down on the outside. But my
    inside stays like glass, and I shatter. I try not
    to let my bricks shed a tear, but it is a talent
    I am so inconsistent about. There are days my
    bricks can laugh and block all the rocks away,
    and others where my glass cant take it. I try so
    hard to take the rocks lightly, but they always
    hit me like boulders. And lets face it, there is
    not much a glass house can do against a boulder.
    And my family and friends, they are no help at
    all. They say be strong like a brick, as they
    throw their bricks at me. I try and I try to be
    stronger, yet just as I begin to transform, they
    break me down again. And there I sita broken
    glass house. Have you ever tried to build, a
    broken glass house up again? Every time you pick
    up a piece you cut yourself, causing more pain.
    So then youd rather not build it up, and rather
    leave it broken. For the pain you go through to
    pick up the pieces is not worth the pain of
    another rock breaking it down again.

35
Three Wishes
  • Whispers surround her as she finally has time
    to take a seat in a small café, and have a few
    moments to herself. Its been a while since she
    has been able to escape the office or the
    everlasting business calls and paperwork she
    receives at home. That makes even the small
    fraction of time of five minutes, seem like a
    vacation. A question pops into her head, what if
    she had three wishes? and she begins to ponder.
    She sits back and reflects on her life since she
    has climbed up the corporal ladder. The climb has
    been hard and tough, but the money at the top of
    the ladder made it all worth it in her eyes. She
    has betrayed loyal friends and taken advantage of
    the nice for her benefit. She has gladly taken
    the help of others, but in their time of need,
    could never help out. Deceit and selfishness
    drove her to the top, where she found her dirty
    money, lots of it too. Family members who raised
    her, suddenly werent important enough for her to
    share her money with as they sat in debt or in
    sickness as they could not pay for medical
    treatment. Driving a brand new BMW or living in
    the nicest house, had soon become more important
    than loved ones. Men had become useless to her as
    they never had enough money for her or enough
    assets to make her look better. Her image of a
    rich and luxurious woman took over her world, and
    anything to the contrary was dismissed. Yea, she
    sits at the table of the café all by herself. The
    people at her job talk bad about her, and she has
    come to know it. She doesnt feel the power of
    love or the power of a warm touch. Yea she has
    too much money to count, but she cant even
    count one friend. Money has provided her with
    every material thing she could ask for, but
    robbed her of every happy and genuine emotion she
    could feel. Its funny how rich she was on the
    outside, and how very poor she was on the inside.
    Yet she thinks about the question, and comes up
    with her three wishes more money, more money and
    more money. Her five minutes are up, and its back
    to the lonely climb to the top for her.

36
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • Ohh yea, I sang as my fingers interlocked with
    a lucky female fan in the audience. I had made my
    way down from the large Apollo Theater stage,
    into the crowd, and found a girl to sing my
    ballad to. Even with all the screaming and
    jumping fans surrounding us, it was as if she and
    I were the only ones in the room. My notes came
    out flawlessly as I slowly inched closer and
    closer towards her body, holding her. My shirt
    and pants were being tugged in every direction as
    every girl wanted a piece of me. I finally ended
    my last note and began to pull away from the
    girl, keeping deep eye contact with her. I smiled
    as I saw what my good looks and my smooth, deep
    masculine voice had done to her. Her body was
    limp and tired as her excitement and disbelief
    had taken over her senses. Fighting and tugging,
    I finally became free from the crowd and returned
    back to the stage. I held the microphone in my
    hand and took a bow as the screaming crowd
    showered me with whistles, screams, and applause.
    I took one last look at the applauding crowd and
    smiled.

37
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • Revealing my actual surrounding, my eyes opened
    snapping me out of my daydream. My stage, also
    known as my bed, stood beneath me as I looked up
    from my bowing stance and saw my reflection in
    the mirror. My female fan, also known as my
    little sisters teddy bear, sat on the floor
    flopped over. The audience consisting of dolls,
    books and anything else sitting around my room,
    reminded me once more that I had let my
    imagination get the best of me once again. I
    looked down in my hand disappointed as I saw my
    brush, far from a microphone.
  • Dreams. It seems that these days thats all a
    black man has to hold onto. I should know. I was
    a 22 year old black man who had nothing but
    dreams. I wished for so much in life, and
    sometimes felt as though my dreams were as
    possible as pigs flying. All my heart, soul and
    mind knew was music. There was nothing worst than
    being gifted with something so beautiful, and not
    being able to share it. A part of me wanted the
    fame, the fortune, yet another part of me just
    wanted the attention, to have people look at me
    and be proud. See, I didnt get much of that at
    home.

38
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • Get off that bed James! screamed a female
    voice as she burst through the door and looked at
    me. This is not the Apollo! You need to stop
    dreaming and go get yourself a job! You really
    think that white man is going to let you
    perform?! Boy, stop dreaming! How many times have
    you been hired, to find out that it was all
    just a big scam?! I refuse to support this and
    watch you get heartbroken again! I wont be there
    at your opening night. Nobody will. Man, if your
    daddy was here she trailed off.
  • Ma! Not this again! Why you always trying to
    bring me down?! Aint it good enough Im trying
    to make it in the world?! Daddy loved that I
    could sing, and he would want me to make it! I
    yelled back.
  • Remembering my daddy, my moms face began to
    change from a scowl to saddened and weak look.
  • No, your daddy would hate this James! Look at
    you, you dont support nothing in this house!
    What kind of example are you?! No wonder why
    Clarissa left you! she said back vindictively.

39
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • After years of hearing this ridicule and
    negativity, my heart still hadnt grown immune to
    it, and still suffered some pain. I fought back
    the tears as I realized my mom was serious about
    not coming to the opening night, but my heart
    stung even more when she mentioned my ex
    girlfriend, Clarissa, that had left me. She had
    said my dreams had taken over my life, and that
    she just couldnt handle it anymore. I slowly got
    off the bed and didnt even bother to argue with
    my mom. At least not when she was like this.
  • I just shook my head and thought of the white
    man she was talking about. Fran Schiffman was
    his name, and he was responsible for the
    reopening of the Apollo Theater. The Apollo
    Theater had once been open many years before, but
    only for the white folk. Mr. Schiffman was
    promising a new Apollo Theater. He promised he
    would be hiring black acts, and even cater to
    black audiences. He was my one and only chance in
    this city of Harlem. I had already been hired as
    an act, and was suppose to be performing opening
    night, but of course so many black folk
    questioned it. Nobody really believed a white man
    was going to really help us out and let us
    perform. My mom was the biggest skeptic out of
    all of them. She forced me to believe that my
    reality was nothing but a dream I was still
    holding onto.

40
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • Grabbing my coat, I began to walk out of the
    apartment building and into the streets of
    Harlem. It was the year of 1934, and Harlem had
    turned into a predominately black area. Walking
    down Harlem was like walking through a musical,
    as every five minutes you heard some type of
    music being sung or played. After walking about
    two blocks, I finally reached Terriqs apartment.
    He was my pianist for opening night at the Apollo
    Theater, and this was our last day to get
    everything right.
  • Flying by, went the time as our practice came
    to an end. Terriq and I looked at each other,
    both thinking the same things. Our mouths stayed
    shut, but the looks in our eyes said everything.
    We were putting all our trust in a white man,
    something we had done before and ended up
    heartbroken. I said good-bye to Terriq and walked
    home.
  • When I reached my apartment, I brushed past my
    mother without saying a word. There was nothing
    left to say. My heart still hurt from the
    altercation this morning, but I refused to let
    her bring me down. There was something about the
    white man that I trusted. I just knew he wouldnt
    betray me like the others. So I hopped into bed
    and let my dreams carry me to unknown places that
    night.

41
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • The sunlight awoke me the next morning, as if
    it were my own personal wake up call. I looked
    around and smiled as I knew the big day had come.
    My anxious legs took over as they rushed me
    around the house chopping my normal 30 minute
    morning routine in half, to 15 minutes. My legs
    had me running down to 253 W 125th Street, where
    the grand Apollo Theater stood. All the acts were
    on their way in as we got ready to prepare for
    that evening. I found Terriq and we smiled, as we
    had never seen each other in such proper clothes
    before. We looked good in our slick black suits,
    with our hair looking like little afro puffs. We
    talked, practiced, and anything else to pass the
    time. We were successful, as the next thing we
    knew, we were being lined up and told our order.
    My heart dropped as they told Terriq and me that
    we were first.
  • Fran Schifmann went out there to introduce
    everybody to the opening night. His white face
    stood out amongst the black theater filled with
    mostly black faces. He talked and talked, but not
    long enough, for suddenly he was asking the crowd
    to welcome Terriq and me. Applauding and
    screaming, the crowd warmly welcomed us on stage.
    Nothing could have prepared me for the hundreds
    of faces glaring at me, patiently waiting for me
    to start. Terriq nodded at me as he began. His
    fingers gracefully touched the keys playing the
    beautiful song we had written together. He
    glanced at me to cue me in, so I could begin my
    part in the duo.

42
The Apollo Theater and Me
  • My song of love started to flow out of my
    mouth. The notes came out so naturally, as if
    what I was doing was just a normal part of life.
    The crowd swayed back and forth as my love for
    music took over my nervousness and I glided all
    over the stage. Getting ready for my second
    verse, I saw her. Clarissa was in the stands
    starting up at me, as the words of the song, that
    I had secretly written for her, touched her
    heart. Once again my legs began to take over as
    they took me from the top of the stage to the
    middle of the crowd.
  • I held her in my arms, and a feeling overtook
    me. I began to sing with so much more passion
    that I ever could have imagined. The room became
    silent as I saw only her. Our eyes stared so deep
    into one anothers, and we could see into each
    others souls. I ended my last note, and I was no
    longer oblivious to the crowd. Clarissa looked
    limp as every emotion began to run through her. I
    felt it too, the feeling of falling in love all
    over again. Remembering where I was, I pulled
    away from her and the crowd and returned back to
    my place on stage. I looked down at her, and
    notice her speak the words, I love you. I
    smiled as I looked down at her, the girl who had
    been in my dreams all along. Of course, my mother
    was nowhere to be found in the amazing crowd of
    the Apollo Theater. She was at home waiting for
    me to come home heartbroken again. She had seen
    me dance and sing before, but this time, it was
    different. This time, I wasnt dreaming.

43
Athlete Dreams
  • A recovering athlete
  • Is what I have become
  • I have been to the top
  • Just to fall to the bottom
  • The bottom is not just a soft ground
  • But more like a rigorous ditch
  • And I must sit here and climb myself out
  • Just to make it back to the top
  • No the climb is not easy
  • And its far from glorious
  • My hands are scraped from the rigid wall
  • And my pride is hurt from my constant falls
  • But yet I get back on the sides
  • And try to make it to the top again
  • Its a slow and painful journey
  • But believe I will make it
  • With my love for the sport as my inspiration
  • And the ever consistent quality of persistence
  • I will climb out of this ditch

Dont tell me my dreams are impossible Or that
they are dumb Dont make my thoughts of
success Seem just like a childs
fantasy Teenagers have dreams too Ones they are
willing to fight for Ones that are more important
to them Than the latest trend or gossip A dream
is all you have to hold onto In the world these
days The only thing that will come true If you
are willing to fight for it Fight for it and it
will repay you By working to coming true Fight
for your dreams and never give up Because your
dreams will never give up on you
44
Reflections
  • How have you developed as a writer this semester?
    (What have you learned or what skills have you
    gained?)
  • I think I have developed a writer in many
    different ways. For one, I have improved on my
    grammar. I have also learned how to use a variety
    of different sentences to make my writing better.
  • What lessons about writing can you apply to other
    classes?
  • I think the amount of practice you have to do to
    for writing can be applied to other classes. You
    have to write as much as you can to become the
    best writer. This is also true for other classes,
    you have to practice the work and problems as
    much as possible until it becomes easier for you.
  • What do you feel is your best piece of writing in
    your portfolio? Why?
  • I think the piece, Number, is the best piece of
    writing in my portfolio. I poured a lot of
    emotion into it, and managed to keep my feelings
    in a neat rhyming format.
  • What strategies have you used to overcome some of
    the challenges of writing this semester?
  • Keeping a good flow when it comes to my poetry
    and trying to vary my topics that I write about.
  • What were your strengths in writing?
  • My strengths in writing are that Im very
    creative and unpredictable.
  • What areas do you need to continue to develop as
    a writer?
  • I need to continue learning how to limit my
    stories and not drag them out any longer than
    they need to be. That means I need to recognize
    what information is not important or essential to
    my story, and take it out.

45
Stillness By Scott Russell
I agree with the thoughts and feelings of the
character in the essay and understand how he
feels. I do think all people, married or not,
sometimes need to take time out for themselves to
clear their heads. I believe that there are
issues not even a significant other can help you
with, only yourself. I also think there are times
we move too fast through life. The only way to
cure that is to slow down and be still, and let
life catch up. When you move too fast through
life, you ignore little problems, and instead of
going away they stay with you and resurface,
until they become an annoyance or a bigger issue.
This is why I agree that people need to take time
out of their lives to reflect, like the character
did. It is a very helpful and soothing matter.
46
Waking Up on an Island
My five senses were impaired as my eyes and
mouth remained closed and my body was still too
tired to feel. With the two senses I had left, I
could hear splashes of water and breezes of wind
as they hit my window pane. I could also smell a
salty scent in the air. My mind suddenly began to
awaken in curiosity as my senses picked up
foreign characteristics. The usual sounds of cars
flying by were nowhere to be heard. For some odd
reason, the screams of suburban life seemed to
be silenced. At first my laziness outweighed my
curiosity as I decided to ignore the peculiar
sounds in an effort to remain comfortable in my
bed. But finally the loud splashes of water
became too unbearable to ignore, and curiosity
lifted me off my bed and towards my window.
Slowly I forced my feet to drag across my soft
bedroom carpet in order to find the answer to my
questions. I pulled away the drapes and took a
look outside. I rubbed my eyes as I refused to
believe what I was seeing. Once again, I took
another look, and once again my eyes showed the
same scene. There was sand surrounding me and
water all over the place. I seemed to be on an
island.
47
The Island, My Friend
48
Why You Should Come To My Island
Dear All, I want to talk to you about something
important, life. Its not about how long you live
it, but how much you enjoy it. If you were to die
tomorrow, would you be able to look back on life
and say you truly enjoyed it? Be able to say you
lived it to the fullest? They say life is about
opportunities, and today I am about to give you a
once in a lifetime opportunity that will allow
you to live life to the fullest. In the
beautiful waters of the Pacific lies a sandy
island. An island full of tropical fruits and its
surrounding waters filled with luscious seafood.
And today I am asking you all to come and enjoy
this island life. Not as a tourist, but as a
permanent resident. I have chosen the 15 of you
because you all are the kind of people that would
produce a wonderful lifestyle and example to
future generations that will come after us. Yes,
this means we will be producing children and
raising a whole new society. Wouldnt you love
for your family tree to have a branch in the
beautiful islands of the Pacific? Now, it may
seem impossible for 16 people to run an island,
but it truly isnt. Each one of you has special
attributes that will help us flourish. From Sandy
the baker to Joe the politician, you all have the
necessary expertise to make this new nation grow.
I know that as everyday people working everyday
jobs, you feel as though your voice is never
heard. Well now I am giving you that chance to be
heard, the question is, will you take it? Life is
what you make it. Do you want to have your
children grow up in a peaceful nation where their
minds are not constantly terrorized by the wars
and murders they see on CNN? Do you want to help
create such a nation? Do you just need a change
so that your life can be filled with great
memories instead of dull moments? If so, then
come with me. Im giving you the opportunity, now
its up to you to take it.
49
Virginia Tech Strong
I wonder what went through their minds. I wonder
what they were thinking when a gun was pointed at
them. I wonder what it felt like to see their
classmates get shot at. Worst, I wonder what it
felt like to see the killer, be a classmate. I
wonder who they yelled for, who they prayed to.
What memories flashed through their headswhat
moments they realized theyll never be able to
partake in? How do you react when your life is
threatened? How do you stand up to a gun? How do
you understand why the innocent shy kid who sat
up front life was takenwhile yours is still in
tact. How do you be as strong, as the students of
Virginia Tech were that dreaded day?
50
Haiku Butterfly
Fluttering swiftly
Decorating the blue sky
Flies the butterfly
51
Tonka Goodbye
Lyrical Superwoman Cries
Running down her face Fell a tear Slipping from
her eyes Slow and quiet Allowing for the world To
see her Knowing her no more as fearless
Memories came back As I wore your favorite
shirt That you left for me The day that you went
away And left me here all alone
52
Memories came back As I wore your favorite
shirt That you left for me The day that you went
away And left me here all alone
53
Wake. Yawn. Stretch. Yawn. Stretch.
Rise. Stretch. Rise. Walk. Rise. Walk.
Shower. Walk. Shower. Brush. Shower. Brush.
Teeth. Brush. Teeth. Clean.
54
The Man Nobody Knows
Do you all know That man that walks That lives
his life On beaches in Cali Is a man who Has left
his kids All three of them With no good-bye Sand
in his toes Holes in our hearts
55
Monologue
Its Mothers Day today, but I dont have much to
celebrate. While all my friends are out with
their moms, Im here, with my dad. Its been ten
years since shes been gone, but the pain is
still the same. I was so young when she left, so
I dont remember much. I remember walking into a
hospital as a young girl, and being hugged by
family members, as if that would heal any pain. I
remember the man in court apologizing to my
family and me for being drunk that night and
taking my mother away, as if that would heal any
pain. But when it comes to my actual mother, I
dont remember much. Sometimes I try to just
close my eyes to remember her scent, her smile,
even just her laugh, but I just cant. I have her
pictures to look at, but its just not enough. Her
pictures dont tell me how nice she was or how
mean she was. Sometimes I want to go to daddy,
but every time I mention her name, his eyes swell
up with tears. Maybe one day he will be able to
talk about it, but until then, Ill just close my
eyes and try to remember her.
56
How I Feel About You
There was a time I hated you And wished you
someone else From your laugh to your looks I
wished you someone else I corrected your teeth
and straightened your hair Wishing you someone
else I even dieted you and starved you Wishing
you someone else You never used to be good
enough I wished you someone else But now things
are different You refuse to be someone else You
wear you glasses and flaunt your gapped teeth You
wont be someone else Your hair is cut and way
too thick Yet you wont be someone else Your skin
is dark and your body far from thin And you still
wont be someone else There was a time I hated
you, well me, But now I refuse to be someone else
57
Reflections
How have you developed as a writer this year? I
have learned so much, so I have applied this to
all my writing. My poetry flows a lot more,
instead of me forcing rhymes. My short stories
are more descriptive yet not too long. What
lessons about writing can you apply to other
classes? I can apply the lessons about correct
grammar, figurative language, and details. What
do you feel is your best piece of writing in your
portfolio? Why? I feel the poem, How I Feel
About You, and my monologue are the two best
pieces in my portfolio. The poem is just so free
and really expresses me, and I really like how it
came out. My monologue is very deep, and I like
the emotion that I tried to get across to the
reader. What strategies have you used to
overcome some of the challenges of writing this
year? When it came to poetry, I had to overcome
the challenges of not forcing rhyme and rhythms,
I just had to let it flow. What were your
strengths in writing? My strengths are my
details and the emotion I put in my writing.
What have you learned about yourself this year
through your writing? I have learned that I am a
lot better than I thought I was. I thought all I
could do was write little cute poems, But I have
learned that I am very capable of writing short
stories and monologues something I never thought
I could do before. What areas do you need to
continue to develop as a writer? I feel I just
need to continue keeping my rhythm and not losing
focus when I write.
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