Student Poem

True Music


Playing an instrument is like reading a book
With each stroke, the plot thickens and creates a hook
It starts off happy, until disaster comes
Music explodes like thunder then is followed by quiet hums
Caused by the disaster no one knew would come

Music begins returning as a hero appears in the gloom
Slowly, a magnificent crescendo fills the room
For the hero began the battle with the dreaded evil that lay before him
The song’s intense, as well as the battle
But the hero is winning, and his rival starts to cower

For the battle is finally over
As peace is restored to the land
Both with song and story
Beginning to end



Kevin is an eighth grader in Janet Freece’s Language Arts class at Mt. Solo Middle School in Longview. I visited last month and had the pleasure of hearing Kevin and many of his classmates recite their own poems as well as classic poems like “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service and “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. They had also worked on a project “interviewing” dead poets, and turned some of their questions on me. Congratulations to Janet for creating so much enthusiasm in her classroom for poetry!

Student Poem

Little Magics


They loved pie, and the small
chew toy in the yard.
They loved the pat
and the emotional tug of a friend,
they loved run on sentences.
They loved the higgeldy piggeldy topsy-turvy
up and down over and out sound.
They looked at the glass
purred and ate.
They popcorned, gnawed, and
squeaked, and they loved it.
They hid, then scratched.
They hated that.
They loved helicopters
and screaming for no reason.
They loved skipping
the middle and going to the end.
They loved mixing and
not matching.
They enjoyed poems
They loved words
They loved and loved
every sound and feel of all the
little magics
They loved song
They smiled at Alexander
the Great, and they understood
every second.
They loved chicken
They loved me.
They loved random hum
like messy classrooms
and they loved sayings
and not endings.


Cameron was a fifth grader at View Ridge Elementary when he wrote “Little Magics.”  He worked with me through the Writers in the Schools program in Seattle.

Student Poem

This is the poem



This person is Taylor, whose wacky noises and lip piercings
tell a story all its own.

This person is Tyler, who’s always there to put the broken pieces of shattered reality back together.

This person is April, who’s home to me, a mom, who’s always there for me.

This person is Dawson, whose jokes hold then shatter like the fiery explosions of the fourth.

This person is Corey, who’s due to be a dad, and who’s waiting for the day the water slides.

This person is Britney, who’s Corey’s first real love, and who is also waiting for the water to slide.

This person is Virginia, who’s quiet and shy, a little misunderstood. But, she is my best friend.

This person is Shanon, who’s outspoken, sometimes funny but a little pushy.

This person is Hay Hay, who’s always here at Marshall, and who’s always there to help bail me out of an NC in math class.

This person is Tabitha, who’s been a sister to me my whole life, but was never blood related.

This person is Anastasia, who’s Tabitha’s daughter, and who’s a little bit obsessed with littlest pet shop, and moshi monsters.

This person is Jaden, who’s Tabitha’s son, and who’s obsessed with video games just like his deadbeat of a dad.

This person is Cindy, who’s psycho, a compulsive liar, and a bad case to be Shanon’s mom.

This person is Ron, who’s always tried to hard to make everyone happy.

This person is Marge, whose love kept me happy as a child, but the only thing i have of hers, a necklace, only brings sorrow.

This person is Dee, who’s a second mother, and who shows that no matter what, you can power through any obstacle.

This person is Joe, whose heart is always in the right place.

This person is from my dream, who’s helped me look at the brighter side of things.

This person is Leroy, whose love for his workshop, wife, children, and grandchildren, like me, show us to cherish the time we have together, cuz life doesn’t last for eternity.

This person is My Father, who’s always haunting my dreams never stopping once to let me forget all he’s done to me.

This person is me, a girl who’s always searching for meaning in this world, like a single river looking to find a vast ocean.



Teah is an eighth grader at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, Olympia. Thank you, Teah.

Student Poem

Negativity and racism roams through our society, it’s something we can’t get rid of, permanent like a sharpie.
I can be the nicest person in the world, or your worst enemy, switch like a light switch.
The realness that I write, I can make your mind twitch. Make you think if you should stop or keep reading, why stop now? You have to hear the happy ending.
Step by step my confidence starts to rise, it’s a good morning, and I’m glad to see the sun rise.
Listen to my words and let them take you on a joyride. Fly so high, drive past Mars, glare at all the stars and shake hands with god.
Visit all my friends that never got a chance, where their first mistake was hopping that fence, trying to be someone they’re not.
Having their pants dangle by their thighs, walking down the street throwing up gang signs.
They loved being “hood” they loved it with a passion, with a flag out their pocket, yes that was their fashion.
Bullets fly through the air and now their life is flashing.
I guess so much for a happy ending, but take notes from my words of wisdom.
Life is dangerous so be careful with what you say.

Trey, 16 and a student at Franklin High School in Seattle, participated in the 2012 Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program at the Northwest African American Museum.  He and his fellow curators worked with writer Daemond Arrindell on poems based on  the Northwest Gallery exhibition, “Xenobia Bailey: Aesthetics of Funk.”

Student Poem

That Man
by Blake (4th grade at View Ridge Elementary)

In that
movie I wish
I could be
that man.

that man
can do lots
of different
kinds of tricks
like back flips,
front flips, 360’s.
Oh and you can’t
forget the triple
4.9000 trick.

That man
is a magician
and an action
figure. There’s this
really special trick
that he does and
he never does it.

People say that
man has to show
us but he says
what are you
talking about.

And I say
that man is awesome.


I’m pulling this poem out of my personal storehouse of student work from View Ridge Elementary in Seattle, where I have worked through Writers in the Schools for five years now. “That Man” makes me laugh every time I read it, guaranteed. Thanks to WITS for helping to make the world go round.  –KF

Student Poem

It looks like the inside of machinery.

Fuming, working different emotions endlessly.
Never stopping, it turns these gears called emotions
…but all this machinery is now leaving.

Being blasted away and burning as it leaves the earth’s atmosphere.
The flame is made of all sorts of colors.
Yellow for my mellowness,
red for my anger,
blue for my curiosity,
orange for my danger.

All that’s left of my negative emotions lay in rubble.

Fear, of others watching me
…judging me on moves I make.

Hatred, the blood boiling feeling whenever a thought
that provokes anger crosses my mind.

Then I see a package, floating down on a parachute.
The box is bursting with all the emotions I never meant to send away.
Sense of family returned,
acceptance and love.
The best was beauty…
natural and glowing of utter flawlessness from inside.

Falmata, age 15, partipated in the 2012 Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program at the Northwest African American Museum.  He and his fellow curators worked with writer Daemond Arrindell on poems based on  the Northwest Gallery exhibition, “Xenobia Bailey: Aesthetics of Funk.”

Student Poem

First Impressions – Inner Expressions
Poem #2

by Octavia, age 15, Garfield High School

If art is healing then sickness is not being able
to express yourself.
If sickness is not being able to express yourself,
funk is the cure…
Curing your heartbreaks, curing your loss,
curing your loneliness, curing the cause.

Funk sounds like laughter louder than their whispers.
Funk feels like healing…
healing the pain that caused so many tears.

Healing feels like you getting over a struggle…
a rash spreading rapidly that has weakened your body
and taken over your soul with no way out.
Screaming is pointless because you’re the only one that hears.

My mother’s tears, from her eyes, to her cheeks, to her ears
…she was the strongest through it all…
smiling through her pain is when she’s the prettiest to me.

Funk is music.
A generation of self-expression and fun
…my grandparents with high afros and high shoes.
Funk is the cure of a sickness no one can control.
A healing process that makes all troubles disappear
and all the tears fade away… all the memories grow faint.

Funk makes life easier…
easier to drown out the hate, easier to ignore the doubt.
You can’t be mad, can’t be sad. You just let funk take over.

Funk is when you’re you.
It’s when you’re smiling to destroy the ones that like to see you cry.
It’s when you’re standing tall, upsetting the ones that like to see you fall.
And, when you are being yourself,
no one can take that away.

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) Youth Curators is a community outreach program that introduces local teens to the Museum world and encourages their creativity and expression through themed projects. The 2012 project, First Impressions – Inner Expressions, was co-facilitated by Daemond Arrindell who led the students in a process to write and speak their opinions. They became familiar with navigating rhythms, owning their expression and connecting to the power of words. Much of the inspiration for the spoken word was derived from the current NAAM exhibition Xenobia Bailey: The Aesthetics of Funk.

 Octavia will present her poem along with other student poets on Saturday, April 7, 2012, 1:00 – 3:00 at the Northwest African American Museum to celebrate the exhibition opening and the 2012 Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program.


Student Poem


Hide and Seek
after a painting by William Merritt Chase

by Xuan Tran


Inside the dark
the girl is running
She passes the chair
She passes the door
Toward the curtain
Unknown to her
a pair of eyes
keep staring at her

The dark running chair
The door passes the girl
Inside the curtain
The unknown eyes
staring toward the room

A dark girl
stares at the door
Unknown to the curtain
The room passes the eyes
Towards the chair

The running curtain
Keeps passing the chair
The girl stares
at the unknown eyes
A pair of darkness

Passing the door
A pair of eyes
The room stares
toward the dark
The girl inside the chair


Xuan Tran is a student at Seattle World School, formerly the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center.  Xuan wrote “Hide and Seek” during an after-school poetry class offered by the Vietnamese Friendship Association and the Jack Straw Foundation.