Page 1

I Am a Fish in the Sky creative writing by middle school students of the North East Independent School District in partnership with the Writers in Communities program of Gemini Ink literary arts and ideas Fall 2005 “I am a fish in the sky. I don’t know where I am. I am a leaf falling into an unknown ground.” —”Question” by Samantha Marin 6th grade Driscoll Middle School

Cover illustration by Mark Anthony Lopez ©2006 Gemini Ink

James Michener once said, “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotion.” This publication represents writing from students involved in the third year of the North East ISD-Gemini Ink Writing Project for Middle School Students. During the fall of 2005, once a week for twelve weeks, Gemini Ink writers worked with selected students in our North East ISD middle schools. During these sessions, students became writers, expressing their imaginings, their wonderings, their whimsies, their reflections on paper. In this publication, we are so fortunate to feature the work of those students whose courage allowed them to share their most personal and unique “swirl and swing of words.” Virginia Guerrero NEISD English Language Arts Program Coordinator

Gemini Ink Writers-in-Residence Kristi Beall Cyra Dumitru Dave Rutschman Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. Kirk Walsh

Thanks to the following for their support of this project: NEISD Associate Superintendent for Instruction: Alicia Thomas Executive Director for Curriculum Compliance: Don Dalton Executive Director for School Improvement: Carol Harle Director for School Improvement: Paul Garro Coordinator for English/Language Arts: Virginia Guerrero Secondary Literacy Specialists: Nancy Gregory, Honor Moorman, Amy Stengel NEISD Middle School English Department Chairpersons NEISD Middle School Principals and Academic Deans GEMINI INK Executive Director: Rosemary Catacalos Managing Director: Rachel Christilles Operations Manager: Pat Wall Director, University Without Walls: Nancy S. Borris Director, Writers in Communities: Bett Butler PR Director: Lynn Gosnell Development Coordinator: Kristi Johnson Interns: Michelle Mitchell, Rene Villanueva, Pilar Martinez

Students’ work has been edited as lightly as possible in order to most closely honor the original voices.

Chapter 1 Bradley Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Dave Rutschman

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School


Hey, J.J. Hey J.J, have you ever wondered why clouds look so much like other things? Hey, J.J., have you ever wondered what zero gravity would be like? Hey, J.J., are you hungry? Sometimes I wonder if you ever listen, J.J.! Hey, J.J., why are you the only one I can really talk to? Hey, J.J., do you do anything other than lay around? Hey, J.J., I want to eat, are you hungry? J.J., hey, J.J., have I asked you that already? Hey, J.J., am I backtracking? Hey, J.J., where’d you go? Lacey Barkhurst 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 6

Fuzzy tails of fur, going Down the trunk of the tree. You never notice the cute little Dickens, but they’re there. Cute, fuzzy, little dickens, They are squirrels. Brown, blue, black and gray, They are so cute and fuzzy. Sami Burgess 7th grade

Grandfather Yes, it was my grandfather, Who helped the fire department People knew of him saying: that man is blessed and loved. He helped, Jumping down off the fire truck To save people’s lives Time and time again. He helped people if there was a flood. Coming home tired And hungry. He loved to clean, But not to cook. Oh, grandfather, Who helped me through rough times. I’m loving like you and sometimes angry, Grandpa, loving and helpful. Jazmin Alvizo 7th grade

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School

Freedom to write . . . Freedom to write Not freedom to live But freedom to dream in print. Closer to freedom to dream, But farther from freedom to live, Because we dream about it. And we realized what we have, and don’t. Not really freedom, but freedom with borders. Amy Blanks 7th Grade

A tree, like a thought or idea. Seeded, then spreads its soft green leaves. The bark is the protective resources, carefully beside it. The spirit is the root itself, the foundation in which the thought existed. From its cage of the mind and out into the world. To where it spreads its wings and soars onto paper. Not as a branch but as a whole. A whole that will forever be, once rooted in the rich, dark, loamy soil of the brain.

A Day in His Shoes He woke up not knowing what to do in that brief second your brain turns on. He gets dressed thinking whether he is wearing the right clothes so as to not be made fun of. Then he goes downstairs, pouring a bowl of cereal, not knowing what is in it, trusting what the box says. Then he gets in his mom’s car and heads to school for the long day ahead. He arrives at school getting ready for his first class. Then it happens. Someone runs up to him and knocks his stuff out of his hands and then slams the locker closed. He doesn’t do anything about it because the boy is bigger than him for fear of getting hurt. Then he goes to class knowing that the same boy will do it again. If you were that boy, how would you feel? Most of the time you’re the boy who picks on the little kids just to make yourself feel better. Don’t stand for it. Get some help no matter the cost, it can’t be that bad. Kean Short 7th grade

Samantha Guz 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 7

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School

Memories As a child in Lytle, TX, I remember my summers were hot and my winters were very cold. Having birthday parties that lasted for hours under the oak trees with my big family. On the other hand, school was interminable and a little on the boring side. Staying up late was exciting. Getting up early to go to school or shopping in San Antonio was a tough task. Playing on the monkey bars and swing sets was enjoyable at the age of seven, now at the age of twelve it isn’t very fun. Having friends had its advantages because some were always there and some were rude. When my mom gave birth to my brother, I had a difficult time accepting him because I always thought I was going to be the only one. Jazmin Alvizo 7th grade

Sounds of the Tree I know the sound of the tree as it brushes against my window. Tap, tap, tap goes the tree. It’s dark outside and it seems like the tree is wanting to come inside my warm, cozy house. I can’t help but wonder if the tree is lonely. The night is nippy, and I’m asking myself if trees get cold. I get out of bed and peek out of the corner of my curtains. The tree is wearing a sad, droopy face like it really is lonely and cold. It starts scraping against the window, and then starts tap, tap, tapping once again. Julia Case 7th Grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 8

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School

Enjoyment Hope and Joy

when you think of Death you would never think of Spring,

In the cool breeze you’ll feel it . . . The hope in your heart, the joy on your Face, overtaking your space. Leaving no place For trouble, or sorrow.

but they both bring showers, either of tears or of rain. when you think of Spring, you would never think of Death, but they both bring a new beginning,


either of life or of the year. Like a river it flows, Like a river it grows. Like a leaf it can be blown away. Like a smile it can be given away. Like paper, it can be shredded. It’s my friendship and you trashed it. Frowning It’s nice to see you smiling, You know, Laughing and not crying. It’s nice to hear you knowing You’ll always be all right. Annisa Cervantes 7th grade

Spring and Death are so alike, just maybe not in your mind. Faryn Ptasnik 7th Grade

Memories Memories. The mind is a wondrous thing. It controls everything you do. It also records everything you do, touch, see, hear, taste, and what you feel inside. These recordings are called memories. Our whole lives are recorded in our brain. People think that the older your memories, the more you can’t recall until you completely forget them. But it’s not true; some memories are deep in your mind just waiting to be uncovered once again. Kat Dominguez 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 9

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School Grandpa, As I leave your empty driveway My pen you are magic.

I look back to wave good-bye.

You fly across my paper with a mind of your own.

You aren’t standing there;

I cannot stop you or slow you down.

I peer through the window at your empty blue chair.

Your ballpoint tip is rolling and rolling,

Where are you? Of that I am not sure.

Creating these symbols that our minds turn into words.

I walk around your house, into your shed.

You are connected to my brain with an invisible force

It’s quiet as a mouse.

That moves my hand automatically.

Why are you not there?

Some of the greatest pieces of work started with you,

You’re not gardening or picking off your fruit.

And a piece of paper.

I can’t find you anywhere.

You help me express my thoughts and feelings

You’re not building or creating or inventing.

Without being self-conscious,

I am feeling so very empty.

And who would have thought a simple invention could be so magical?

I look into the sky.

It seems you have a never-ending flow of ink that can show the world

Now I’m able to say good-bye.

How I feel.

I have found you once again,

You spill everything I know or can imagine onto paper,

This whole time you were in heaven.

And for that I thank you.

Though I’m not able to kiss your face,

Ataly Asher 7th grade

I know you’re in a much better place.

I am a fish in the sky • page 10

Sierra Weber 7th Grade

As she sits by the window,

Chapter 1 • Bradley Middle School

Alone looking outside, She writes in her notebook. Is it the truth? Is it a lie? As she writes about her visual descriptions, no one knows why. She looks outside like She saw a cloud fall out of place, But there is no expression on her face. She comes back to her desk To revise and edit her writing. Her story is about two football players fighting. The bell rings, It’s time to go. She screams and says, oh no! It was her time finishing Her football player writing. She said it’s time to go.

What’s going on? Lots of things are changing. I don’t know why. What’s going on? People and friends are moving every day. I don’t let my emotions show, though, I keep them at bay. What’s going on? The ozone hole is getting bigger, Tivo and the Ipod are the next big thing, what’s going on? What happened to the simple pleasures of life? Like going to the park to swing or making your own Halloween costume? Everyone and everything is going digital, what’s going on? Time is flying by way too fast that the start of this story is now in the past. Everyone’s rushing to do something. What’s going on? Nothing is the way it was. Mario, ??, Pacman, and Digdug have changed. Classics are becoming renewed. What’s going on? People are walking billboards for just about anything, plain shirts are now on a compost heap. What’s going on? The world is changing. It’s not going to last forever. What’s going on? Jesse Wolfe 7th Grade

I’m glad I got my idea By looking out the window! Bebe Jones 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 11

Chapter 2 Bush Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Kristi Beall

Chapter 2 • Bush Middle School

Most Richly Blessed I asked for strength, that I might achieve I was made weak, that I might humbly learn to obey I asked for health, that I might do greater things I was given infirmity, that I might do better things I asked for riches, that I might be happy I was given poverty, that I might be wise I asked for power, that I might have the praise of man I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing I asked for— But everything that I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my Unspoken prayers were answered I am, among all, Most richly blessed.

My Dog

Felicia Alofaituli 7th grade

My dog is yellow She is a friendly fellow She is a fatty Her belly is really flabby Chris Payne 7th grade

Let Go You walked by me with no intention Of loving me But what you didn’t realize was that I would always be there Always in your dream, and Always in the back of your mind You never wanted to love me But you couldn’t hold back You began to trust me, Trust me with your feelings Trusting me to help you up When you fell But then you let go, You let go of me With one last breath Then you left Elizabeth Mills 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 14

Chapter 2 • Bush Middle School

Lost in Keys to Inspiration One key to life is inspiration Open the first door and you assume you have inspiration But there comes inspiration again and again

My Hyper Dog

So until there is inspiration in your heart Moving you forward through life, There’s the key to inspiration coming again and again Amber Howard 7th grade

Wind The wind is in my face With my dog right beside me The wind is in his face With his tongue hanging down The wind is in my face

The End As he looked at me I haven’t seen him in 10 years He cried his heart out As I stared at him Not knowing what to do I said When you gave me up, That was the end I grew up and have made my choice This is now The end Ashley Vargas 7th grade

Golden Lab Hyper Max Chasing after the race car Pressing the button on the remote Running as fast as a cheetah Golden Lab Hyper Max Chasing after me Down the hallway Running as fast as the wind Always by my side Moiz Ratani 7th grade

Brian Harvey 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 15

Chapter 2 • Bush Middle School

The look, the love, the lesson As I walked onto the field with glee I knew something was going to stop me I got up there, ready to bat I thought I was good and I wanted to show them that Bat to my right shoulder, feet on the base, I was ready to hit the ball over First Base As the pitcher came to lift his arm--Strike One, Strike Two. Man, was I wrong. Walking back with my head in shame, I saw some of the crowd laughing at me. I had failed! I had missed! I let my team down. Why do I have to be such a big clown? I’m a loser, a fraud. I can’t hit a thing. I’m on the path to failure, you see. Quit! Give up! That’s what I said. There’s just too much against me. My parents in the crowd, you see, To watch me reach my destiny. When they stood up, I saw their face and just to me it clearly said, “Get Up and Win That Game!” As they called my name again I went up to bat again and try my luck. My hands went faster with my mind, And man, I missed again on that dime.

I am a fish in the sky • page 16

I started to wish that I had stopped before One failure was enough. I’m no good as a player now. Why get up and try run? But in the booing crowd I saw Once more my parents’ face So anxious to get those points and finally win the game I had 2 strikes, but also knew I only had 1 chance To hit the ball over that fence and make my parents dance. As the pitcher pitched the ball, I knew my only fate The ball was to hit me now, right in my ribcage. I lay right there on the ground silently, as tears dropped from my eyes. There is no sense in running anymore, three strikes, I’m out, Why try? The strength to rise was gone and my hope had flown away So far behind, so error-prone, a loser all the way The thought of my parents that I would soon have to face Suddenly flashed through my face. Then an echo sounded, Get Up and Win that Game! You were not meant for failure; you are not a disgrace. So please, please, please get up and win that game. For winning is no more than this, to rise each time you fall So with borrowed will, I stood up once more and walked to take my base. As I then looked to the crowd, I firmly stood my base. Still holding my wounded spot, I said, “Win or Lose, who cares?” The important thing is I didn’t quit and I thought that was fair. As the pitcher pitched the ball and the batter had to hit, I ran to Second, then to Third, then to Home Plate I slid.

Chapter 2 • Bush Middle School As my wounded soul crossed the plate, the crowd gave me the roar. 3 times I had fallen, 3 times I had risen, too far beyond hope to win. As I saw my parents’ face, I said, “I didn’t do too well.” My parents looked into my eyes and said, “Jordan, you rose each time you fell, And to me that’s the spirit you needed to win. I could tell. So really to me, you won the game and never really failed. When things seem dark and hard and difficult to face, the memory of that little game helps me on my way. For all of life is like that game with ups and downs and all. And all you have to do to win, is rise each time you fall. They still shout in my face today the things they did before, but another voice in me says, Get Up and Win Your Game. So every time I fall now and think I have no will, I will hear that voice again to keep on to win my game. Jordan Anguiano 7th grade

Truth Reveal your true form, The path leads to achievement, All of the honor, Passed to the greatest of all, Until we are there again. Evan Tan 7th grade

The Fatal Flaw A broken land Unhindered by time A twisted land With unimaginable grace and fury A motionless land Paused by a broken reality An accidental land By curiosity was caused A doomed land The work of the fatal flaw

Life Life Life is what makes me tick Life Life is everything to me Without life, I wouldn’t be alive Life Life is my immortal soul Life Without that I would be no one Life Life is what I care about Life I take care of my life Life I do that by not doing drugs Life Life is what some people don’t care about Life Because they do drugs all their life. Life is what makes me tick. Chris Bannister 7th grade

Chris Wilson 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 17

Chapter 2 • Bush Middle School

a reign of chaos a barrage in the future cities decimated instantly people falling down in seconds buildings are collapsing dragons flying overhead a line of graves in a cemetery a reign of chaos established Austin Parsons 7th grade

Maybe Miraculously we’re placed together Amazingly I see you…Inside Sometimes I think you see me Only to go into a sea of doubt Now I wait, I wait for the time When we truly meet. Kassie Soza 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 18

The Unexpected Love is like a dove It unexpectedly splats On your head Just like everything That happens in your life Like the look on your mom’s face After you told her that you were smoking Or maybe when your little brother walks Through the front door and half of his face is gone Because he fell off his bike Whatever happens, something is always going to SURPRISE you… Erick Vilches 7th grade

Spring They look deep into me. Past my eyes, across my face, All the way to my soul, Warming the winter within. Hannah Erb 7th grade

Chapter 3 Driscoll Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Cyra Dumitru

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Flames of Love

Nevada Nights Stone Clear, with a mixture of purple and green, rough yet smooth I toss it in the air it comes down heavy in my palm A crack down the side as if it’s been through a lot So pretty, as if God made it by hand as if it was blessed by an angel as if they sent it in the ocean and it floated to a bay and ended here When I hold it it seems as if it is a prayer for all those soldiers out there fighting for America from sea to shining sea Alexis Doerr 6th grade

A cool and beautiful time my eyes are set on one goal Must see the horses those beautiful wild horses I look up and see a beautiful herd right in front of me My eyes dazzling as they gracefully run Their coats are gleaming and tails are flying all through the Nevada terrain I watch every step, movement, sound they make Then one second, they are gone All that’s left is dust I’m speechless speechless for wild horses. Alyssa Lester 6th grade

Raven Rodriguez 6th grade

Trees trees everywhere bursting into flames, fire, fire that now imitates what my life once used to be, colorful but scary. Tara Cox 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 20

Flames burn within the depth of my heart as they do in yours. Water is near yet not near enough. Flames break out of thin air within our souls, resembling anger, rage, sadness watching something dear fall and crumble to the earth, break down within a mysterious path of love.

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School



Bumps all in a row with a shape that reminds you of something that your mind just can’t place. Rough and smooth all at once. A contrast that’s hard to understand. Colors that have no name. Colors no human can copy.

Why does this bead strike my interest so? The misty purple color floating in place, randomly swirling about. I look hard

Like an ungrown cornfield, all seeds just freshly planted, only these bumps never grow. When put in the sea where it belongs, the water – a gentle hammer – will slowly wear away the rock, taking its time. The colors look blue, but then they should be gray. The green isn’t there. It seems to be but with a trick of light, it’s gone, seemingly not wanting to be there. Oh to watch it slowly disappear, watching the water unmercifully take a rock apart, until it is all over the world. Thank the sea for letting it travel the world all at once. Thank the sea for letting it do what I can’t. Aida R. Guhlin 6th grade

and realize what confusion there must be inside. I remember once, walking down a hallway, my eyes glued on my shoes, studying them for the 50th time as people wildly pass me. Some unknown force drove me to look up. I saw so many faces, so many shirts, shoes, pants, earrings and necklaces. Dizzily, I looked from one to another, unable to move. I forced myself to return my gaze to the floor, once again

Middle School Stew This stew reminds me of middle school because there are paper clips. Paper clips remind me that there is a chain forming, getting longer and longer as my life in middle school is getting shorter and shorter. This stew also has puzzle pieces that remind me of my life because every day is like finding a piece to the puzzle. Every day is a different day. When I say every day is a different day, I mean every day we learn new things and go home to our families. Life is short but if you think about it, it’s a puzzle waiting to be finished. Helen Downs 6th grade

gaining control and walking away. Connor Plasters 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 21

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Fall? It looks like fire: the orange, red and yellow simply beautiful.

Fire of Emotions A burst of flames. A blend of oranges, yellows and reds together light up the sky like a torch. We stare in astonishment. It’s heat reflecting on us. The flames crackle, spitting sparks in the air. The wood and bricks feed the fire’s hunger. We feel the fire’s anger, hunger and joy. We now feel the sadness as the flames die down leaving thick black smoke twirling in the air like ghosts. Alexa Rogers 6th grade

The river flowing and the trees in the breeze. Is it fall already? Listening to the beauty of orange, red and yellow, the leaves falling and the birds chirping. All this is music to my ears. Oh the joy of being outdoors. This joy should be held with your family, The people for whom you should really be thankful. Kaitlyn Denton 6th grade

Fire Red, yellow and orange flames seen from miles away. A house is burning minute by minute. A family tragedy of goods. Fire trucks and ambulances rush to the scene. After hours pass, the flames finally die out. Surprisingly nobody is hurt. Left in the woods of Arizona, the family has to find a new home. Tyler Krueger 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 22

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

In the Beginning

My Life is Like A Messy Room

Within the day, like three different worlds standing

My life is like a messy room. Everything everywhere.

at the same points. Different senses coming from the same heart. Created by a circle of immense pieces leading into the

centerfield like an empty baseball field, with no feelings to cry for. Clear turtles at the two ends, watching over the entire universe. Soon they will vanish and our bright green earth will become like two eyes beginning to form a face of truth. With the two eyes like hands on a steering wheel, turning our earth into a flower which will attract beautiful creatures to begin our true planet again. Danette Gonzalez 6th grade

The puzzle pieces on the floor remind me of my different friends who I have been making. In my messy room crayons are on the floor that have been snapped in half. I think about my friends because we have broken apart from each other. I sit in my room and think, think, and think. Karen Snider 6th grade

River of Dream Transparent shell smooth sides like angel wings taste of a clear spring fresh fragrance of new pine quiet and cold as if dead. Angel gives him the gift soft as eagle feather falling from the sky. It glides, drops to the river of dream not wanting to leave, it turns clear like air. Maya Grant 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 23

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Collage Stew

Reflections Upon a Rock The smooth inside gently running across my fingers. Rough and jagged edges all around the sharp curves that follow the rock through and through, lightness as it flutters through my fingers.

Buttons, paper clips, beads, puzzle pieces. What do these objects remind me of the most? Middle school; the glossy white buttons down my shirt. Paper clips snuggling many papers together

The many puzzle pieces in this stew are so similar to middle school.

as the stacks pile up on the teacher’s desk.

I start to compare. Getting puzzled on my

Shiny, sparkling, smooth beads are what

work or puzzled about who’s my friend

catches my eyes. The beads have colors of the ocean;

and who’s not. I could go on and on but

blue, sparkly gold and dark clear. It is as if I am there.

eating this stew is what I am going to work on while it is not too hot. Preslie Olson 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 24

It seems like a piece of the rock was broken off, maybe it came from the ocean or it might have belonged to some type of animal or just from a bigger rock than it. It seems like it was part of a flower plastered and preserved like a seashell shape. It makes me think of going to a tropical island or a jungle safari. Cutting down tall grass and thick vines, I feel a quiver run up and down my spine. It takes me to a place that I’ve never felt before. Shanice Shipp 6th grade

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

The Poems of Middle School Beads weave together to make you and find out who you are and what you want to be. The paper clip is a friend who holds you together so you won’t fall apart. Crayons draw who you are, what you want to act like, what you want to be, your dreams, hopes, style and love. The puzzle pieces are the person you are, your friends, grades, favorites. They will all fit together to become you. Natalie Fyffe 6th grade



My life is like a necklace. It has many different beads, as it grows longer it has more beads.

I feel the smooth texture of the shell. It is hard but looks easy to break. It looks shiny and bright like heaven, yet it tastes like nothing. It reminds me of the past, of beautiful people who I know and once knew.

My life is like a puzzle piece. one piece waiting for another to be found until the puzzle is complete.

It reminds me of summers on the beach with the graceful and shiny ocean that I saw from the condo room. The few cracks remind me of the holes on the beach. The rough parts remind me of seaweed.

My life is like a paper clip with many turns many possibilities.

The other side makes me think of me being in the deep ocean surrounded by vicious sharks! Aaahhhh! This shell is beautiful. George English 6th grade

My life is sometimes like a broken crayon. It is broken, sad, alone waiting to be once again reconnected. Antoinette Pho 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 25

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Flames of Love

A Face Full of Flames As the flames rise higher I begin to see a face, a face as if it wants to look at me. It begins to wander, the face looks down, around and then all over the place, and then stares at me again. I get scared and start to think a big scary monster is staring at me. Emmalea Wells 6th grade

Looking at a Photograph I see flames blowing in the wind. Water flowing like fish swimming. A building going down. Bricks nearly hanging on. It makes me feel so sad. Opening doors to see light. Closing windows to keep away. Allison Adams 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 26

Flames burn within the depth of my heart as they do in yours. Water is near yet not near enough. Flames break out of thin air within our souls, resembling anger, rage, sadness watching something dear fall and crumble to the earth, break down within a mysterious path of love. Raven Rodriguez 6th grade

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Middle School Stew As I walk in the hallway I look into room 2010 to see pieces of a soul laying on the floor while people launch them into the air with their hands. Still on my journey to Gemini Ink I see girls wearing mini-fish that hang from a fishline around their necks, beads that try to say hello on a wrist and I see fall hanging from their ears. As I pass by room 2021 two boys are fighting over a utensil. It breaks into two like it keeps reborning. The bell rings as teens bring departures to their non-moving trains. As I enter the room the teacher says tardy. Joaquin Kray 6th grade

Eternity Mirror While Feeling a Shell

A pot filled with water can look like a mirror

While feeling a shell I wonder where it has been. By feeling it you know the texture, but what would you do to know where it has been?

but when filled with pebbles it looks like it goes on and on. When you look hard, the water can paint pictures for you.

This shell reminds me of a time when I was in Spain collecting shells with my loving family. Some of the time when I am in school, I wish I was on the beach again seeking hidden shells. Danny Dyjak 6th grade

Derion Young 6th grade

Pieces Rearranging these letters to say “free man.” This says loudly, “You’re not a small child guarded carefully, you’re a FREE MAN.” Joelle Kemp 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 27

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

A Woodsy Feeling I feel the smooth surface and the rough top. It lays in my hand as light as a feather. So small like a young mouse. Look at its presence, feel the forest all around. I feel the strong wind as I hike down the trail. I see a squirrel pick up the acorn and take it to its burrow. I wonder: where did the acorn come from, how long did it lay on the ground? But I will soon find out on my journey through the woodsy forest. Rachel Perez 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 28

Fire and Water Fire burning like anger. So hot it just doesn’t seem realistic. Unstoppable, it destroys everything in its path. The flames go on forever, neverending. Water clear like calmness. Rocks fall to the bottom. Heals. Brings life. Puts out the fire of anger. Tony Richmond 6th grade

Niceness I look up at the big blue sky, all is peaceful. Until . . . I hear a scream, I look around seeing where it came from. Then I spot a little girl crying. I run towards her as fast as I could. She asks if I can help her ride her bike. I say yes. Fastly her frown turns into a big smile. All around I could sense and feel her happiness and joy. I know I have done good. Yvonne Valdez 6th grade

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

The Moment I remember the moment on that beautiful day, the sun shining in my face like a giant flashlight. As I walk down that road I hear birds chirping in the distance and I smell fresh baked apple pie sitting in the window sill, it felt perfect, no noise. Just peace, peace and quiet is all I need. CJ Starling 6th grade

The Waves Round and round I turn the bead just like the waves of the ocean. I step out into the cold, beautiful water of Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. You can see right through the clean water. Fish swim around my feet. My toes wiggle from the tickling gills. I feel so at home in the blue blue water. Waves come back crashing into my legs, knocking me off my feet. Onto the sandy beach where I see a red kayak. My sister and I jump in and go out to sea. Suddenly we have gone out entirely too far. The waves knock the kayak back and forth. We are heading for the great abyss not knowing how to turn back. We begin to yell for help. A scuba

diver comes near and guides us back to our dad. We give the scuba diver thanks and he swims away. I look at the bead my veiny hand is holding. It is almost pressed against my face I’m examining it so closely. I give it a big smile as it will always remind me of my trip so Hawaii and our kayak adventure. Meghan McCarthy 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 29

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Hawaii The wind gently flowing through my silky hair, wonderful sounds linger around me, the sound of the ocean echoing softly, the smell of happiness, staring at the cloudless blue sky, and the thought of wonder is there in my mind. Hailey Sindelar 6th grade

Good Evil Dreams

There is no such thing as the evil that walks upon us

Light stretches like a river over a black sea of dark thoughts, but from the middle, a big yellow light shines above me.

but we are the bricks that can hold up only so much of this evil

I jump to touch it then I get a warm feeling throughout my body. My feet touch the sea. I jump again and land in a room filled with happy thoughts from all the people who dream. I go from thought to thought feeling good for the kids who hope of fulfilling their dreams. Chris Lee 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 30

even today there may be more explosions in the deepest part of our hearts that can only be stopped with our souls. Taylor Bazajou 6th grade

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Discovering a Shell The pointy edges poke my fingers as I feel every part. With its smooth base, how I love the texture. Its curvy ends make the tips of my fingers move in a half-way circle. The smoky color reminds me of the smoke over a warm camp fire on a starry night. As I toss it in the air, I catch it in the palm of one of my own two hands, and discover that it feels as if it weighs almost nothing.

Smooth and Slick Smooth and slick as water, as if being pulled straight from a river. So small it could be an eye for seeing into another dimension, a dimension of soft relaxation where you run wild and free. A place of hills and valleys filled with flowers, a place like home. Skylar Bluebird 6th grade

Audrie Abdallah 6th grade

Question I am a fish in the sky. I don’t know where I am. I am a leaf falling into an unknown ground. Samantha Marin 6th grade

Dancing Butterflies The butterflies are doing a fast dance that is red like an apple in a tree, black like the night sky, orange like an orange and green bracelet on my wrist, blue and white like a sweater, garnet like my grandma’s birthstone, yellow like a banana and violet like my jeweled purse. Dancing on the air and on a flower or in the emptiness flying one by one after another in the distance. Rebecca Neal 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 31

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Plane Ride

What I Find

I nervously stand in the big airport looking at the airplane’s blue round surface. Each step I take makes me thing about what might happen in South Dakota. The ride here was so bumpy it felt like I was being shook up by someone.

Pieces of puzzles broken up as our life is when we add new people to it. Beads rolling around in circles like when we do in

I step off the small plane with long strides, and feel the snowy weather tingling down my spine. Mounds of snow and fields of ice are everywhere. Watching my feet sink into cloud-colored snow, I notice this is what it will look like all winter. Step after step, I can feel its cold wetness seeping into the tiny holes in my shoes.

Sunset Seashell

South Dakota is made up of mostly highways and crop fields. As eagles and hawks land in the soft snow, their heads bob up and down and side to side.

A seashell that looks like a wide open and empty sea.

Taylor Barragan 6th grade

Waves of blue, light blue and a very light blue!

A sunset setting on the empty sea.

Christy Garcia 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 32

a Ferris wheel. Fish beads in the stew remind me of going fishing with my dad. A leaf bead reminds me of fall when the leaves fall or blow away. A purple bead is shaped like a rock as when I go hunting. Beads with letters on them trying to spell something as we did when we first learned how to write. A paper clip reminds me of school when teachers collect papers and put a paper clip on them. Sarah Greiner 6th grade

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Middle School Stew Middle school is a puzzle. Doesn’t make sense until it’s all put together.

Lava Rock The rock looks like a bunch of rocks together. It is boiling in thick lava in hot, hot temperatures. It is the hot stone of a volcano.

My middle school stew is like being in a classroom. You have your preps, nerds, teacher’s pet, popular kids, the people no one knows, oddballs, and the class clown. In the stew you have crayons, puzzle pieces and beads. They all get joined together. Everyone is different. No one has the exact same style, just like a pile of beads

I wish I could explore the inside of a volcano and see dozens of rocks. First I go in and the lava is boiling inside. The lava rising barely touches me, it feels like a hot summer. with different designs, none alike. Some trying to be like others, yet not even close. Everyone is like a fish going to the new big, deep, blue sea and nothing you have seen before. In a big place, you are so small, having other things swallow you whole. Samantha Lozano 6th grade

I try to get some lava for a close look. The cup melts before my eyes. Forrest Lockhart 6th grade

Rock Climbing This rock is square with rough edges. It is light red, white and clear and has no smell. It reminds me of when I rock climbed. I can feel the rough edges on my hands, the loose rocks slipping under my feet. My hands slipping off slippery rocks. Amy Veilleux 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 33

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

Middle School Stew Important Things!

So many points and corners just like life, but there are

The things that are important to me are my family, friends and my skateboard. My family is important because if I didn’t

curves too. Like oopses. There are homework passes. But as the days go by it feels more like a puzzle. One by

have a family I wouldn’t have a house, food, clothes or anything else. And my friends are important to me because I wouldn’t have anybody

one, day by day. Crayons remind me of elementary

to talk to or play with and do all kinds of stuff that people do. And my skateboard is very, very, very important because that is what

where. What a beautiful day!

I do everyday and that is what I want to do when I grow up, so if I didn’t have my family, friends and my skateboard, I would die. Zachary Saenz 6th grade

school when things were easy. Butterflies fly every-

Sabree Webster 6th grade

The Jumping Poem We were jumping over and over again in a garden outside of a restaurant. My friend and I were jumping over a rock to get to another rock. There was a small pond in between the rocks. We could only jump one way but I wanted to try to jump from the little rock to the big rock. I kept on trying but I couldn’t get off of the small rock. I felt that I had to! So I said, “Here I go!” I jumped and fell into the pond and hit my knee on the rock. Emma Edwards 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 34

The Plate of Confusion Once you first look at it . . . it really makes you wonder. But inside this plate of wonder there

life, because school is like a puzzle and you want to do your hardest to piece it together.

The Rock I Chose The rock I chose has a different meaning.

are things like puzzle pieces and letters. The puzzle pieces remind me of my middle school

Chapter 3 • Driscoll Middle School

It flows with lines of color, like nightfall. Then there are beads with letters on them. It reminds me of my English class. Japanese letters can remind you of

When I put it to my ear I hear the sound of wind in the trees. The rock flows with the feeling of happiness but then lonely. Amber Hicks 6th grade

social studies when you are paying attention to your teacher. There are letter beads that remind me of the letter “J” for “Jalexa”, my name. Jalexa Goggins 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 35

Chapter 4 Eisenhower Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Sheila Kirk Walsh

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

I Am a Stone I am a stone. I sit along the river bed and watch the turtles and dead fish swim by.

I dreamed that I was swimming in a pool at a hotel with my brothers and mom. And I went down into the pool and saw the grudge and she was waving at me and smiled and was coming towards me. I got up from the pool and I saw a plug. My mom said it was time to go to the hotel and I started to talk about Molly who was the missing girl at the hotel and she was not the only kid missing at the hotel. The next day, my mom and brother and I went to the pool, and I forgot about the grudge and went into the pool and saw her again and she was waving and smiling at me and was coming toward me and almost got me, and I told everyone to get out of the pool and pulled the plug and she was gone and the kid was found.

I’ve been thrown around many places and I have yet to find a comfortable spot. I rot away and parts of me has become sediment but I keep on traveling and rotting until I turn into many pieces. Inside me is a beautiful golden wonder for my insides are made of gold.

The Missing Kids

But that is a part of me that is untold. for my outside is of a ugly brown and I’m a weird shape of round. I am a stone. I sit by the river bed and watch the turtles and dead fish swim by. Nigel Slaughter 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 38

Ashley Maldonado 7th grade

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

Hurt I am angry people do not care. They throw us, step on us, and sometimes that hurts.

Rain Drip, drip, drip. The sound of the rain slowly hitting my roof in an unknown rhythm. I ran outside, pure exhilaration. I anticipated the feel of cool water cascading down my face like a waterfall.

Sometimes I think that people need to think. They need to think… if they were a stone would they like people to step on them? Inside me it is beautiful. Bright yellow animals are everywhere. And when they step on me, it is like a tornado tearing through the town. The only place where I think that Over there it is beautiful with I would be safe from being hurt no trees. Just land. is across the river. And over across the river the sun always shines to where on my side it is like a dark gloomy dungeon. My side is filled with trees and people and mean animals are everywhere.

Other kids from the same street have also come out of the houses. They hollered and screamed, some even got a bucket, filled it up with rainwater and dumped it on himself. The rain seemed to laugh with us by the sound of it when it rained harder. Lu Liu 7th grade

Sometimes it hurts to be a stone. Ashley Hensley 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 39

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

My Old House Stone I am a stone. I am gray, but inside I am a green popping jelly bean. Every night I invite tickle me pink over to play with the lime-orange monkey ball. Then a kid would come and throw us in the water for a swim. I took my bath in the water with no soap. Laura Foss 7th grade


First there was my room. It looks like a garden.

How does the moon shine? It reflects off of the sun. But does it really?

Then, there was my grandmother’s room with a big antique bed.

On the other side, are there aliens who have big, shiny, bright spaceships? Or are there giant flashlights that shine on the moon? Making it glow bright? Or maybe there are Lots of little glowworms inside the moon? Could be. You can’t be too sure. One good thing you know of, they are always moonbeams. Annalise Kohrs 7th grade

Here’s where the living room was With our grand piano. There’s our four yards which I loved to tend to. Behind my house there was the Bay High Tiger Football Field. There was our shed where my Aunt Amy and I liked to work. My aunt’s room looked like a jungle. Finally, there was our kitchen. It has copper pans all around on the walls. Stephanie Malcolm 7th grade (This piece was written by a student who lost her home during Hurricane Katrina.)

I am a fish in the sky • page 40

Do You See What I See? Do you see what I see, a deer in the white winter snow as if a spider in an old man’s beard. Do you see what I see, cotton candy on a stick as if muscles stretched taut over bone. Do you see what I see, dice rolled out of a cup onto a table as if a stampede of bulls. Do you see what I see, oars on a boat rowed as if candy canes swooshing away.

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

A Child and a Colt A child in the backyard is like a colt in a field. As the child runs around with his mom a colt is thundering through the field in a race. The child laughs. The colt whinnies. The child dirties his colorful clothes but the colt keeps its shiny coal black coat. When the day dies the child goes inside and lies down on a comfortable bed while the colt finds a patch of grass to gently lay his head. They have both had a fun day And tomorrow it will be the same way. Tyler Holland 7th grade

Do you see what I see, a sunflower surrounded by bluebonnets as if a noticed cat surrounded by dogs. Do you see what I see, headlights on a car as if a bobcat’s eyes staring into the night’s moon. Did you see what I saw? Megan Darrin 7th grade

I Saw I saw a big white door that was white as snow. I saw a doorknob cold as ice in my hand. I saw a room full of pictures that reminded me of the past. I saw my parents’ bed big as the room. Lesslye Moya 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 41

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

Perfect Dream Once I had a dream, I was a wolf. In our pack there were about 30 other wolves. Wolves of all shapes and sizes. Brown wolves, white wolves, grey wolves, even pink and blue wolves. I was a black wolf. My mother and father were the pack leaders. They were the brown wolves. We lived in a beautiful place. There were crystal clear waterfalls that ran into the river. There were smooth brown mountains and fresh green grass. There were big rocks, as grey as a cloud on a rainy day. Only here it never rained. It was always shining and the sky was baby blue like my eyes were. Everybody was always happy. Nothing bad ever happened. It was paradise. Everything was great, then I opened my eyes: It was all a dream. Although it was many years ago, I will always remember it. It was my perfect dream. Marissa Elizondo 7th grade

My Favorite Place in My House My favorite place in my house is my bedroom. I like it because it has my computer in there. I love to talk on AIM. I also love to listen to my iPod. It is awesome. I never feel alone in my room because I am always talking on the computer phone or listening to music. My kitten that is brown, black, and white always plays in my room. Her name is Mable. My room is lime green and bright, bright pink. And that is why my bedroom is my favorite place!!! Brittany Handy 7th grade

Stone I’m happy to be a stone. You may think I’m gray and boring. You may think I’m hard and ugly, But I’m not. I’m a carnival of fun. I have fireworks bursting inside. Tickle me pink, Elmo red, cloud white, jelly bean green are my colors that burst inside of me. I’m my own eighth wonder of my world You may think I’m gray and boring. You may think I’m hard and ugly. But I’m not. I’m just me. Taylor Allam 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 42

Chapter 4 • Eisenhower Middle School

Do Fish Hear the Rain? “Pit pat pit pat on I hate the rain,” said Jim. “I wish it was always sunny!” “Now, now, Jim, just think about it—the rain is not that bad. It is much worse on the surface.” “How would you know, Marianne, you have never set fin up there and if you have you would be dead right now!” “But I have heard stories. Up there when it rains, tiny drops of water fall from the sky and get everything all wet… “Like down here.” “No, no, no, Jim. That is called a fluid.” “Oh, well, no one knows everything.” “So when it does rain, people can not go outside or swim or anything else. For us, down here, it is just an annoying sound that we have to live with.” “Well, I guess you’re right, Marianne, but that sound gives me quite the headache.” “I know, Jim, I know.” “Well Marianne, would you like to join me for a spot of tea?” “Of course, Jim, that would be delightful.” Victoria Gautreaux 7th grade

The Kitchen I Grew Up In I got splashed by the drip of my sink’s faucet in the small white kitchen. I saw the refrigerator with dirty doors almost falling off. I saw the small oven that was still on from the last time we used it. I was the rugs underneath with stains all over them. I was pots and pans with colorful spiders in them. I saw the small white kitchen I grew up in. I looked at the tiny kitchen window at the big ugly “for sell” sign. I felt the cold doorknob in my hands as I opened the door never to come back again. Christi Neumayer 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 43

Chapter 5 Garner Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Dave Rutschman

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School Hello My name is New Orleans. Come and Talk to me. Ask me some Questions.

Ask me Where people Go and have Fun. Ask

Ask me did I ever Have to worry about Hurricanes besides Betsy. Ask me was I prepared For Hurricane Katrina Or were my people, houses, Streets, and buildings Ready too!

As me do I want To get well. Do I Want to be alive. Up and running again.

Me did the people Who used to stay in me Love or hate me.

Ask me do I wish I could go back in time Before Katrina. Ask Me do I want my People back.

I am a fish in the sky • page 46

Want to feel their Footsteps as They walk my Streets. Hear Their voices as They conversate.

Hello, my name is New Orleans. Come And talk to me, I have More to tell you. Bian Hines 8th grade

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

How to See My Imaginary Friends Make your in your out.

Handicap Sign

Go into public and see something silly.

Exhausted and worn, A lost and forgotten soul, Left to rust In the junkyard of life.

You’ll start to see their feet. Go watch Pooh Bear with your little cousin, ten times. Wow! Here come the hands and legs. Draw a liger or some other kind of cool creature.


Make a funny face. Hair, eyes, nose, and mouth.

Life: It’s a crazy little thing You can’t run and hide from it You can’t yell and hit it You can’t see it or hear it You can’t know it You can’t stop it

Invent a new phrase. Now which of my friends do you see? Hey, wait, that one’s not mine! Eileen Bentley 8th Grade

Grant S. 8th grade

But . . . You can know about it You can have it And, You can love every minute of it. But just remember it doesn’t last forever, so don’t waste your time alone with it. Eileen Bentley 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 47

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

Handyman No Escape

Sounds of machinery fill the air. Bright lights come from the aisles. The smell of oak fills the air. The cold gray floor stares up at me. “Help needed in the gardening department.” I am always here, Either for a bolt to Fix our picnic table, Or a lightbulb to brighten Up my room. I love coming here With the handyman . . . My dad. Kirsten Avery 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 48

Every night, I sit in bed, Thinking about The story I just heard. Then I doze off to sleep, Still thinking About that story. Alison Moncravie 8th grade

The throbbing in my head, The aching of my heart, It’s all so much pain, My world is now dark. The screams never fade, The faces always stay, Of all the people I saw, On my very last day. Without even a warning, I fled into the night, Sighing, crying, screaming, Running for my life. It was all creeping up on me, And I couldn’t escape, Tripping, falling, bleeding, My heart slowly breaks. I fall off my bed, The nightmare has passed, Crying I realize the truth: You can’t escape your past. Briana Perez 8th grade

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

Wishes Sitting down near the window pane While drops of clear glass diamond run down Thump, thump go the drops of tears Bomb, bomb goes the constant drum Clash, clash goes the vibrating tampering Down near the river the ducks are quacking Up in the sky the clouds are rumbling Close to home I hear someone crying Curdled is the roar of a lion Evaporated in a stream of speeding cars But none of that matters because The things I did today are enough to make me happy My wishes came true And all that I wanted I got Thanks to you

Monterrey Mountains as far as the eye sees People everywhere, crowded streets, MP’s with automatics on each corner Streets filled with horns, screaming and blood The smell of markets, what a horrible smell Children all alone, the crowds thick as concrete Still nowhere I’d rather be Family, friends and cabrito, goat meat The meat, goat, beef, chicken, whatever It’s all good in my book Then we leave, I say goodbye to Mexico, the streets, corners, and goat meat. Zachary Rubiola 8th grade

Elizabeth Gutierrez 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 49

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

Turtles Dreams; the limits are broken I can only see What’s in front of me I can only touch What I see. I can only hear, What’s meant for my ears.

I see those tiny shells lying in the sand, And I think of how the turtles come to land. Their mother from the ocean brought them here, And she left them proudly with a tear. As they hatch and crawl out of their sandy hole, The world around them will for once and all show.

But I can see the rim of the galaxy When I dream. I can feel the brilliance of a newborn star When I dream. I can hear the sighing of an old planet When I dream. In this world I’m limited by small-mindedness And walls that enclose me. But in my dreams I can reach infinity And not be stopped. Debbie 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 50

More than half of the babies will survive, And go on to live their lives. They will make it to the water. Looking, I see their quarter-sized feet Trying to swim with a pitter-patter. The others will try, But will unfortunately die. Of their sibling’s life, know they never will For I see that tiny shell lying so still. Ashley Costello 8th grade

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School



At a young age you played for the experience, But in middle school you played to make friends. In high school you played to try to get into college. In college you play to make the NFL, But once you make the NFL and make millions of dollars, You play because it’s a game. Campbell Wallace 8th grade

A small speck in The midst of white It’s beauty hardly Noticed. Cassie Lerette 8th grade

In My Closet The tiny space between my shoes and hats is this little capsule of thoughts. Whether I’m filled with anger or joy, I just sit and think. I feel my thoughts surrounding me and bouncing off my head and realize the cause or reason for my feelings. It works as if it were magic, all problems find a solution, and all solutions find a cause. When most kids are in trouble, they might be sent to a time-out chair or a small corner, but as for me and my parents, we all know my little thinking square is in my closet. When I get in trouble and am sent to “think about it” I find it quite a pleasure. I just close my eyes, breathe, open my eyes and count and there is no longer a problem. I think it just might be like a magic corner to me. In such a small space, as I think that my life is falling apart, the carefully painted green walls will catch me and pull it all together.

My Room In my room, It’s quiet as can be. No one can hurt me, Or so it may seem. In my room, I feel safe. Safer than at school. My room is where I’m comfy. Also my room is really cool. In my room, I can be invisible, So no one knows I’m there. Because I know no one really Cares. My room is the place, The place I’d rather be. The place where I am safe, And where I Can be Me. Rachael Alvarado 8th grade

Ana Meraz Guerrero 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 51

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

Tell Me When The House I Call My Home Knowing what I know, Seeing what I have seen, You would fall back dead. At the outside you might Only see bricks and color Of white paint, But beyond these walls Lies my home. One I will always love And cherish. Once Upon a time, I assume I was happy In there In the house I call my home, In the house I hid my soul. Alexandra Notzon 8th grade

Somebody tell me when, When will prejudice stop? When will slavery end? When will the people of America come together as one Before we are hunted like fox Trapped like dogs, And treated like rats To understand the quality of unity, Living and building together? Please, tell me when. Somebody tell me when, When will people stop killing their own kind? When will the criminals come to their senses? When will the people who think that it’s over Realized that there had to be a beginning in order to come to an end? Please tell me when. Somebody tell me when, When will I die? When will I know how to deal with The mountain in the road. When will I conclude that life itself does Have a true meaning, but only one who Has a possibility of what it may be can answer me? Please, tell me when. Ivoris Lee 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 52

Chapter 5 • Garner Middle School

Poem Poem,

Ode to a Clock We’ll Get Over It

Poem, Poem, Poem. That is what I’m writing. Poem, Poem, Poem, Poem. This is what I do. Poem, Poem, Poem, Poem. This is how I write it. Poem, Poem, Poem, Poem. Now my poem is through.

The world’s at war with itself, We’ll get over it. Starvation, shelter, finances, AIDS, just a few of the problems our society has. We’ll get over it. Eviction notice, beatings, Shootings, a few of The things I’ve witnessed. We’ll get over it.

Clock, oh how your big hand Moves slightly faster 60 times before your little hand Hour by hour, minute by minute You talk to me in your Own mysterious silent way. Speak, speak, Mr. Clock, A minute has passed, An hour, and I know this Because you have told me so. Jay Nash 8th grade

Penguins, sea lions, llamas Koalas, some of the abandoned animals. We’ll get over it. Speed bumps, blockades, All the other things I mentioned, We’ll get over them. Just another tree in the woods That will soon be cut down. We’ll get over it. Briana Franklin 8th grade

The Tree The tall, dark tree Standing still, leaves ruffling And then the first falls. Jeannie Blackmon 8th grade

Nick 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 53

Chapter 6 Jackson Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. Inside this body my mom who looks like me, she cooks delicious chocolate chip cookies, and she warms my heart up with happiness. There are voices going all around the house, my dog barking at the birds, my dad screaming at the television when a football game is on. I have my dancing shoes on and dance all over the place, a volleyball bouncing off the wall, me swimming in the cool blue water inside this body. There are dreams of going to college, to be a famous dancer, to get married to a kind man inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. Inside this body my hometown is Chicago, The city that never sleeps, the bright lights shine in your face at night. There are sizzling hot pizzas from Naples, delicious fat juicy burgers from Lucky Burger, rich chocolate malts from Sonic. Inside my heart there is a smell of a vanilla candle in my home, there is also the smell of hot chocolate on an icy cold day, inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . German. Amanda Burmeister 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 56

To Daddy Daddy My big strict teddy bear. I had him all to myself. Sleepless nights wondering . . . Will he love the baby more? Will he still love me? He’s mine and I don’t want to share. My big strict teddy bear. I trip and cut my knee. I run to my daddy I don’t want to let him go. His tear soaked pants smell like his cologne. The baby is here. he loves us both just the same no more, no less I do want to share! my big strict Teddy Bear. Danielle Aguirre 7th grade

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School (Poems entitled “On a Question of Race” were inspired by Michele Banks’s poem by that name.)

A Father Named Clarence My father’s name is Clarence. No, not Clearance! He is a preacher when he shouts like a preacher when he talks. He is a joker, when he says “Mama” jokes He is over protective when it comes to B-O-Y-S or the talk! He is big like a dark brown balloon. Six feet to be exact, but don’t Let the gray hair fool you! Yes! My father name is Clarence No! Not Clearence! Angela Littlefield 7th grade

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. Inside this body, I have my father’s brains and my mother’s personality. Inside this body I have the beautiful sight of Colorado’s snowy mountains and the scent of Cedar trees inside this body. Inside this body I dream to go to college and become a successful surgeon. Inside this body, I have my mom and dad telling me what to do and giving me advise about things I’m confused about. But I stop and simply write down . . . Italian. Haley Caldarola 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 57

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

My Father

For my dad John Barnes IV

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have chicken Alfredo cooked to perfection smothered in Alfredo sauce inside this body. I have my mom Rose who is my second mom loving and caring, my brother and the death of my dad flowing in my veins giving me new life inside this body. There are dreams to go to college and become a doctor inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There are dreams to be the best Volleyball player and the sound of the bouncing of the ball inside this body. I have the sound of my violin playing softly and rock loud yet peaceful inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . Confused Hispanic Felicia Cantu 7th grade

My dad, I could never be more proud of him he’s always a good man his personality is happy and great he’s very tall he’s loving toward his family he’s caring toward my mom and I he’s a hard worker I love him so much I can never let him go. Evan Barnes 7th grade

Father Poem

For my dad Roger Mims

Dad you are marvelous. You are the greatest dad any girl would want. I really love your personality. You are such a joker. I know you love me and I love you too. That’s why I’m glad I have a father like you. Tamara Clay 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 58

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

My Father A serious man was in the military Came home with love and comfort looked at everyone big and scary, yet worked hard every day growing old, I turned his hair gray. My Father, someone you can trust, when you are down you go to him. as big and hard as the earths crust. The light around seemed quickly to dim. When he speaks his tone a deep sound. When angry you want to creep, Around, out. You hear him with a large shout. I love my father once you get to know him You won’t even bother Not the negativity in him, But the father inside. You’ll get to love him, just as soon as I let him go.

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. Within this body there is a cross and a Star of David from my mother and father. There is love and sadness with a hint of curiosity from my cousins all over the world from Alaska to Columbia. I have the language, which has not yet found its voice inside this body. My brother and I have everything we could ask for from love to sadness inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . Hispanic Rose Cantu 7th grade

Rudy Deleon 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 59

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read.

Michael/Father M onkey I nsane C ool H appy A ll over weird E nvading L oving. F unny A wesome T rusting H andy E xclamatory R ock and Roll Christa Halvorsen 7th grade

There are Sonic Oreo blasts, Dr. Pepper, hundreds of McDonalds items inside this body. There is the smell of smoke, Christmas time cookies, the smell of my daddy’s Old Spice Cologne, and vanilla candles inside this body. The voices of my mother telling me what to do and father telling me to always be smart inside this body. I have dreams of going to college and getting married. I have the sound of dogs barking and rain falling from the sky inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is the sight of my grandfather who died two years ago. The shadows of my father who I choose to be like when I’m his age inside this body. Playing poker with my family and loving each minute I spend with them, playing volleyball with my best girl friends are inside this body. There are the sounds of millions of Spanish words, my sister acting like Brittany Spears in the shower, and my puppy growling at me for food. I have the memories of the Bahamas from my dad getting married and the pesky ticks from Missouri always haunting me in my dreams. But I stop and simply write down . . . German

I am a fish in the sky • page 60

Crystal Cardwell 7th grade

To My Father

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

(Read italicized font all the way down then regular font all the down.)

My father has always been with you! He treats everyone magical. He is extremely A different way and makes hard working and very You feel like and individual independent. He knows not a crowd. He may not how to take you to the always have time for you Stars when you are below but when he does he will the roots. He treats you a treat you like a princess! special way like he has A princess that has her own land a certain part in his heart for you and a princess that is the specialest! that no one can take away A princes that has her own he is a little over protective Crown, with Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, but he will also try new things and amethyst stones! Kaitlyn Garcia 7th grade

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have Papa John’s delicious pizza inside this body. There is the Old Spice that my cousin wears inside this body. I have the sounds of my clarinet and my piano inside this body. Mostly I have my mom, my dad, my sisters and my brother inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have punk rock music inside this body. My sisters, Amber, Angel and Andrea as well as the voices of my friends and family are inside this body. I have Colorado, New Mexico Georgia and South Padre Island inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . Hispanic. Amanda Elizondo 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 61

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. The taste of warm flavored Parmesan food of the Italians, the frosty cold taste of New York style cheesecake tingles inside this body. The sweet smell of the perfume “Fonsy and the sweet sensation that briny our noise. Incense of coca butter and the wet smell of baseball field that bring our nose pleasure inside this body. The feeling of walking onto a new place, it feels like your heart won’t stop many different feelings rushing and 1000 emotions inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is the full moon that I go to when I’m yellow. The night sky, the sounds of the wind gently brushing up against the fall oak trees inside this body. I have the smells of an old pipe made from red wood and engraved Arthur Guerra around it and the smell of the pipes smoke, as the man pipes away, inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . European. Art Guerra 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 62

To Sandra When you feel like running into the dark. Count all the stars in the peaceful sky. It is the times . . . your memories come back, since the day . . . she said “Good-Bye.” When the moon comes into your sight, or you feel the touch of the calm wind. ASK the white sphere in the sky, or the breeze in the air for her kiss. If you fear the storm in the brink, or the high wind in the night . . . It is grandma who took a break and wanted to hug you tight. Benjamin Gutierrez 7th grade Inspired by poem by Trinidad V. Sánchez

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There are the sounds of trains passing me in the middle of the night. The sound of raindrops falling on my window telling me that someone is crying inside this body. I have the smells of cologne from my dad after a hard day’s work inside this body. I have the dreams to travel the world and get a college degree for teaching inside this body. But most of all I have the voices of my family or always talking around me inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is the taste of sesame chicken (Chinese food) from Asian Buffet after a long days work inside this body

Daddy Like a mirror you reflect on me your thick hair and faithfulness you can See in me. Determined and goofy you follow your dreams. Your calm and caring which anyone can see. So that’s why I want people to see you in me. For Eden Benevidez Lorrayna Benevidez 7th grade

The house of my grandma, her voice always telling me how much she loves me and her kisses on my face are inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . Italian. Tara Morton 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 63

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have the voices of my family speaking Spanish, people speaking English from Britain, my pet’s barking/meowing, and my parents talking inside this body. I have these dreams of going to college, becoming a veterinarian, traveling the world and buying a nice big house inside this body. I have places of going to Italy, for their pizzas, England, Alaska, Spain and France. I want to visit Mexico, California (my birthplace) inside this body. I have these games that are video games, car-racing games Monopoly, and my favorite physical game twister inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is rock music and some classical music when I sleep and rock music in my computer and radio inside this body. I have the sound of my clarinet notes when I’m practicing and I have the sound of the violin that I used to play inside this body. I have the sights of the mall in Hollywood, the Santa Barbara beach and the Santa Anita Mall in California and playing in the snow at the Sequoia National Park when I was eight years old inside this body. My memories of fracturing my elbow, getting hit by a car and getting my first dog and two cats and making my first ‘snowman’ inside this body. But I stop and simply write down . . . Mexican American or Hispanic.

I am a fish in the sky • page 64

Lorena Rodriguez 7th grade

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have another woman inside of me; she is always by my side and never give up, and this woman is my mom inside this body. I have the smell of cigarettes inside of me that reminds me of many people my dad and my grandpa and uncle Brad who I love so dearly inside this body. I have dreams of becoming an actress, traveling to beautiful places, such as Paris and Australia to capture the beautiful sights inside this body. I have sounds of the bat pounding the ball into the outfield past the fence – Homerun inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have many foods inside of me, Italian, Mexican, salads, tons of every kind and the moist chocolate cake that tingles your taste buds with every bite inside this body. I have the smell of my mothers Paloma Picaso that makes me smile when the scent tingles my nose, because it reminds me of the never-ending love I have for her inside this body. I have sounds inside my body like when the crowd is cheering because you just won the championship game inside this body.

Poppy For Ted Poppy, Oh Poppy mirror of me Oh how can it be so wise but not me. Father to me brother to me Chaplin at jail father a make Guidance you bring and joy to be you. We fight at night but rejoice at day. Poppy, Oh Poppy. Britt White 7th grade

But I stop and simply write down . . . German Indian. Taylor Smith J7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 65

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is the presence of my grandfather’s pipe smoke, and my grandmother’s art. My domain is filled with my parent’s love and my Big Dad’s will inside this body. There are presently, the sounds of my dog’s snoring, and my horse’s whinnies. The words of songs are engraved in my open mind inside this body. Here are the smells of cedar wood burning and my grandpa’s cigar smoke. I myself am engulfed by the scent of clean hay, spread on the barn’s floor inside this body. Ever present is the voice of my father telling me to never give up. The voice of my grandmother praising my art and hugging me is inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . I don’t know. David Brewster 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 66

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have football running through my veins and I have the Philadelphia Eagles inside this body. I have the many sounds of loves honks and screeches of the cars in the early morning traffic trying to get Jackson Middle School inside this body. I have the games that I play, making lay-ups in basketball, forcing a fumble in football and hitting homeruns in baseball inside this body. I have the Mexican heritage the mariachi music, the empanadas and the fiestas inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . Hispanic Christian Garza 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 67

Chapter 6 • Jackson Middle School

Father Poem You are N I ce and thoughtful and you always have new ideas. You’re L oving, and warm like the sun shining down You’re a Good j O ker and you always make me laugh I’ V always loved the way you’ve been there for me. You’re a gr E at hair stylist, Y our strong and you almost have a 6 pack, Y O u’re the best. You’re a very U plifting person. You your own In D ividual Th A nk you for everything D ad I love you very much with all my heart! Decembra Cervantes 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 68

Father Poem Ten years go by as you pass me by, it’s been so long since you’ve seen through my eyes, tell me one more time why you can’t come, because you say you have to work, even though I know you’re lying, I sit in my room crying. I tell myself just one more chance, I’ll give you one more chance you didn’t call me on my birthday, I had to call you. You didn’t call at Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other special holiday. I hope you can see, what you really mean to me. You say you’ll be here, though you’re never near. I wish I had a loving dad, who’s always there to care to love and share those happy moments I never had with you. I know I probably never will get those times back from you but that gives me more time to find the true who in you. Jessica Acosta 7th grade

Chapter 7 Krueger Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Dave Rutschman

Chapter 7 • Krueger Middle School

Why Uniform Why . . . Why . . . Uniform, Why . . . Why? Yellow . . . Why a yellow uniform . . . Why? Yellow collared shirt and khaki pants, It is so vibrant, and ugly, So despising, and I don’t understand The concept of uniform. It is like being trapped in a locked Room, or being in the nut house, because We can’t express ourselves. The only way we can express ourselves Is in hair, belts, shoes, and accessories, But not the big part, CLOTHES. Why can’t we live, why can’t we breathe, Why can’t we wear the lovely new Clothes we bought last week, why Must we look the same and Can’t express our individuality, My question is why . . . Why uniform? Sereena Kalin 6th grade

A Day at the Beach As Jacob and I swam out into the open beach, we felt something swim between us. Then again, once again, and again. We stayed as still as can be, but we didn’t know what was swimming between us, but whatever it was it was big! Then out of nowhere, a giant sea monster jumps right over our heads and its tail falls on both of us and pushes us all the way down to the bottom of the ocean. We swim up as fast as we can and try to catch our breath without getting eaten. After we catch our breath, we swim back to shore as fast as we can. We were so tired we couldn’t take one more step before resting. Then I woke up to my dog licking my face. Thank God it was just a dream, I said getting out of bed. Adrian Estrada 6th grade

The best thing to do when you are sad, bored, or have no friends is to sit down or lie down and listen to music. Some songs you may relate to, make you feel like they’re talking about you. When I’m listening to music, I think about my family and friends. My family has a different melody from other families. You always worry about what will happen. So you should listen to a song and calm yourself down. Songs may get you more angry or sad or happy. Like my family will always change tempo never knowing what will happen. Every time I listen to music, I lay on my full-size bed with my two dog stuffed animals. My family and friends are like music always changing. Happy, sad, mad??? Kimberly Vu 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 70

Chapter 7 • Krueger Middle School Once a bird saw a Mexican parade. He knew that he wanted to be a dancing cockroach. Although he didn’t know about the terrible things that happen to cockroaches. The bird got a job as a dancing cockroach but it wasn’t the same. He wanted to be a real dancing cockroach. Next he tried to find a magician who would turn him into one. So it happened. Little did the bird know that he was going to be small! Later he said, “I wanted to be big, not small. This is not right.” The little cockroach could not change the magician’s mind, so I’m sorry to say that this story ends in a SPLAT. Elaine Gonzalez 6th grade When I listen to music, I sometimes can relate or know what she/he is feeling because there’s my friends showing how they may have the same feelings, and me too. Me and my friends say I wish I was them living the life of riches and stuff. But will it ever happen? Just like Britney, Mari, Raven, etc. Well, thinking into the future but for now it’s just at school dreaming of how it could be but in the end sometimes we feel just like a book thrown to the floor that nobody wants to pay attention to. Elizabeth Colon 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 71

Chapter 7 • Krueger Middle School

Lacy How to Make a Difference There are many things to do So you can make a difference. Help someone, Compliment someone, Conserve something, Recycle something. Stand up and be counted. There are many things to do So you can make a difference. Cameron Blount 6th grade

Lacy thinks you are her Brother or sister Lacy barks like a thunder Storm, she whines like The baby birds, she loves You and me She runs like the wind She is my baby and then She comes back to be my Loving dog Lacy. Dalea Kamberling 6th grade

Sugar Rush (Based on a true story at Krueger Middle School) Candy candy candy! Sugar sugar sugar! I’m in 6th period, listening to Mr. Fisher say to me, “Get the teacher’s attention! To the left of the clock!” Which I’ve already memorized. I am having a sugar rush. As I’m going crazy in the need for something sweet, I start hearing Mr. Fisher say something but all I hear is blah blah blah. Ring! goes the bell. Mr. Fisher holds me back and starts telling me something, but the sugar rush is getting higher. The next thing you know I take off running after people with candy, I take it, eat it, the next thing you know . . . well, guess. I served three days of BMC and that is what happened to me with the sugar rush. Alejandro Lopez 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 72

Chapter 8 Nimitz Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Trinidad Sanchez Jr.

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School (Poems entitled “On a Question of Race” were inspired by Michele Banks’s poem by that name.)

On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. San Luis Potosi, Mexico is where I was born, with that I know all about the years in Mexico with my family inside this body. Every morning waken from my alarm clock, I forget about my dreams, but with the smell of tamales I feel I’m back in Mexico with my grandmother inside this body. As now I’m older I remember my dreams, friends, and crushes I had when I was young, remembered I feel cold as if I’m in Chicago now snowing inside this body. Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and New York is what it started, my friends, smells, dreams and more inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . I’m pure Mexican Monica Pescina 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 74

MY FATHER makes me My father makes me . . . feel unloved as if he doesn’t care. My father makes me . . . feel as if I am unable to do things right. My father makes me . . . wish I could have gotten hit by that big red truck. My father makes me . . . wish I hadn’t been born. My father makes me . . . go outrageously crazy when he yells at my mother. My father makes me . . . feel like there’s no hope in the world for me My father makes me . . . want to give up and just die. My father makes me . . . wish he were a better person because I love him dearly with all my heart even though he can make me feel these ways. DrumNerd107 7th grade

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

My Grandfather For John W. Adams (my grandfather) When I was only three weeks old my grandfather gave me coffee. My grandfather has always been there just like a dad. He has no idea how to speak Spanish. When my grades are low he helps me. If I don’t get my homework surprisingly he does. When I get into trouble He’s there to help me out. Some times he can be mean, surprising and unpredictable, but most of the time my grandfather is nice and encouraging. My Grandfather. Crystal Rios 7th grade

On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have some memory about my great grandfather funeral all the tears inside this body. I have a dream of having a great career not having to be supported by a husband inside this body. I have a specific taste of my grandma’s arroz con pollo and Chinese food from Beijing Express inside this body. I have Reggeton music by Pitt Bull and Dacy Yankee sounds of baby’s crying and baby’s laughter inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . it doesn’t matter what race I am, I am who I want to be. Evelyn Lopez 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 75

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

My Mother Mama, mama You are so bright, Mama, mama You always hug me tight You are like an eagle Who brings me joy And a hawk that protects Me with love. Mama, mama Will you stay with me Tonight Mama, mama Now I want to hold You tight. Lynda Williams 7th grade

On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have the great video of Ciara and Bow Wow’s song “Like You” and I have Eminem’s funny song “Lose It” inside this body. I have the loud radio my sister plays when I wake up and the smell of peanut butter cookies fresh from the oven inside this body. I have the voice of my mom saying, “With those bad grades you’re not going to get anywhere in life!” They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have someone in my head tell me to do the right thing, when I know that I’m going to do the wrong thing. I have good and bad memories of my Tía Helen which makes me laugh and cry. But I stop and simply write down . . . Hispanic Ashley Cruz 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 76

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. There is spicy chicken burger 50 enchiladas, 100 eggs and there is rap rock and R & B inside this body. The sound or death as a cat dies the sound of a dog barking and birds chirping, the smell of dogs, smoke and Pine Sol are inside this body. The voice of my mom telling me to clean my room, or Lincoln Park. My first slap from my mom is inside this body. The dreams are nightmares, night after night. My places are my dad’s funeral when I first met him is inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . Mexican Daniel Esquivel 7th grade

My Father For my father You have been honest for fifty summers. Your kind words make people happy. You are funny as a clown. You are more caring than anyone I have ever known. Whenever I see you it makes me proud that you are my dad and it’s nice to know that you’ll be here for me every step I take. I am very glad that I see you everywhere I go. You are very giving that I can see, you are my wonderful dad! H.D. 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 77

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

I Dare You Mi Papi Mi papi me hace sonreír He also makes me laugh I love to see him dance around. Aveces mi papi es serio. Mi papí es inteligente. He shows me new things. Aveces mi Papi se enoja. Pero, casi todas las veces son por mi culpa. My papi can get pretty LOUD when he speaks. but I still love him! DZ 7th grade

I dare you to love me I dare you to cry I dare you to be happy and never say good-bye. I dare you to care I dare you to laugh I dare you never to give-up and say “It will last.” I dare you to smile, I dare you to have fun, I dare you to say sorry and just run and run I dare you to forgive I dare you to forget. I dare you to live your life to the fullest. I never say: “I regret.” I dare you to trust me I dare you to take a chance I dare you to be yourself and do a little dance.

I dare myself to put away the blade I dare myself to stop I dare myself to take a look around and see what loving, caring people that I have Vincent Casares 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 78

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

My Father For my father To me I have two fathers. I have a two-for-one deal. One of them is God and the Other father is my real father. Ever since I was born, they Would always love and take care Of me. They would always take me to school, or to the clinic, or even through my teenage life. The one thing that I want to learn from them is to be loving and honest. But I know that they Will always love and take Care of me. And I know I will take care of them, too.

On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have delicious caldo de rice in my stomach that flows through like soda in my mouth, it taste good inside this body! I hear voices in my head that when I get home my mom says, “Clean your room or do your chores” inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . Leslie Rosales 7th grade

Whitney Santos 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 79

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

My Father On a Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I have a simple time when I have to be regular. A simple time when to be free and escape from my chains inside this body. I have an invisible person who tells me what to do. It has a way with slowing me down inside this body. They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . Billy Rubio 7th grade

My father Can jab left to right and Do 50 push-ups with one hand. He can walk up stairs And down while doing a Handstand. He could lift me up over his head. He can be exiting or adventurous. But what he wasn’t good At was controlling his anger. He would come out a beast, His voice roaring like a Lion, but never roared at Me. He controls it a lot Better now. But the most Coolest thing he can do Is use his heart to love Me. Lauren Gutierrez 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 80

Chapter 8 • Nimitz Middle School

On the Question of Race They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. I love the taste of pizza and the cereal, eggs in the morning and candy during the day inside my body.

Father Poem

I am a rocker, I love metal and the classics, but outside people see me as liking RAP, R& B like the song “Kim” and Texans inside this body.

My mother is cool hey love is smooth as wool my father wants the best. He won’t give up or rest my sister really small she really my brother like you tight they don’t pull nail or bite my cousins are small she smallest of them all.

Hear the sounds of via busses run day through night, dogs barking, my alarm clock awakes me each morning, hearing yelling and screaming in my house inside this body. I’m missing the smell of paint from my father, the candle scent reminds me or my mother the yellow cake on each of our birthday are inside this body They ask me to write down my race and I think and think very seriously and consider writing down the truth and have my answer read. But I stop and simply write down . . . I am ugly complicated trying to fit in society.

Matthew Tellez 7th grade

Stephanie Trujillo 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 81

Chapter 9 Tejeda Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Kristi Beall

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

Oblivion Space, a marvelous wonder, a never-ending oblivion, for there was never a beginning. Traveling through the infinite stars, is such a wonder, one can only dream of This dream will live forever because there are too many stars for one person to count.

Friends Friends are forever (Even though they may fight) But when you stumble upon a best friend Everything seems right You can talk on the phone Or go to the mall Because your best friend will always Help you up when you fall You can have a sleepover Or both bake a cake Spending time in the fall leaves And winter snowflakes Yes, friends are forever (Even though they may fight) because friends will always love you with all of their might Catherine White 7th grade

Derrick Bender Link 7th grade


for infinity. our souls soar only last for so long, Physical Bodies Although our Josh Taliaferro 7th grade

Art Paintings and sketches, creations of wretches A piece of art, a piece of heart, Capturing the flow, the movement, and the life All of it, with the precision of a knife. Priyanka Thupili 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 84

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School


Big Blue

Met in 6 grade What a wonderful year th

We’ve been friends ever since Going on our second year A friendship so true and filled with joy But there was crying too at the movie Raise your voice We’re so much alike It freaks people out

There was a great blue whale swimmin’ in the sea. And then all of a sudden he started lookin’ at me. I didn’t think they existed; I thought they were too big. But of course I thought the same thing about those smelly pigs. Oh shmazzley snap? I fell into the sea. Then that big blue whale decided to eat me. I’m writing this poem to try and better my mood, Trying to get my mind off this already chewed food. Pavan Dhesi 7th grade

We call each other twin While we prance about

Friends Through times of blue Thick and thin, They’re with you.

No matter what we do It’s Max and Em Swimming and singing And jumping around

Having such fun In second period band

Making up songs On our clarinets

Our friendship will last Forever and always And I just can’t wait For our road trip before college Emily Daniels 7th grade

In the hardest of times When you need advice They never leave your side. Elizabeth Bachle 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 85

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

Slow Down 2 People There’s two people in this world who I deeply care for, Only because I love them so much, It’s not my mom. It’s not my dad,

Slow down, Take a minute to think What am I missing As I rush back and forth Never stopping to listen Never stopping to share Erin Kelley 7th grade

A Woman A woman with heart A mother with love A friend with advice A co-worker with help A role model with examples A sister who cares My mom Hannah Benoit 7th grade

But it’s two people who are barely Even in my life, She’s my role model, and he is, too, She has raised me from day one And he has cared about me for a long time, How do I know? I don’t. Love is too strong for words. Sarah Baker 7th grade

Mixed Feelings Happy, sad, mad, upset We laugh, we cry, we yell, we scream, But no one knows how we actually feel inside. You look, you see, you ask, you hear, But that feeling that you feel is not there. You tell, you speak, then you know What you feel deep inside: Mixed feelings. Jorden Smith 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 86

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

The People Bits and Pieces

The people you meet in heaven Are the people you already know They helped you on your journey That ended awhile ago

Bits and pieces that fit together Tiny pieces that go any which way The ones that formed me The same ones that still do Ever stacking Ever piecing To form the person who’s always me

They had a hand in everything Like the ring on your finger And all things in between They are a part of an old chapter in your life That will help you start anew So trust these people through pain and strife And eternal happiness will come to you Stacie Rydell 7th grade

A Book A book is your friend, A companion to read, Understood is it, But understand it cannot, A friend that does not judge you. Joshua Parker 7th grade

Franklin Olumba 7th grade

Perfect Vase Trying to leave this world of hate, Trying to find a peaceful gate, With no violence or any sin, Where everybody is welcome in, The perfect place for you and me, Where love runs deeper than the sea, Fields of hope and skies of trust, Where there is no reason to lust, We are all equal in this perfect place, Where we are all as beautiful as a perfect vase. Cody Parker 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 87

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

He’ll Be There

It’s where I go for a caffeine high The extra sugar makes me jump to the sky

When you feel alone And you got no friends on the phone And you’ve reached an all-time low He’ll be there He’ll be the one to pick you up And the one to tear you down When you’re sitting by yourself He’ll be the one who is around No matter where you are In your room or in your car He’ll be there He’ll be your light and your friend He’s the one there ‘til the end He’ll be there to hold your hand And be the one to help you stand Whoever you are He will be your shining star

So next time you want a little coffee, Hot chocolate or even some English Toffee

Emily A. Kolb 7th grade

Starbucks! Would you like a frappuccino? Chocolate latte cappuccino? Starbucks is the place to go For your coffee obsession to grow At Starbucks, people are laughing and talking I get Starbucks gift cards In my Christmas stocking

Forget H-E-B and go to Starbucks! Emily Jose 7th grade

Connected The chain that holds us together Is the one that can break us apart If turned the wrong way It might break a heart All connected we stay Until someone breaks away Becca Zwart 7th grade

Reading A gateway into a different realm A cryptic message within text That can only be decoded by me and no other A message only I can see A message that is a portrait of me Ben Thomas 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 88

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

C.O. Colorado Snowing, cold, hot chocolate We used to ski The winters were fun Snowdays were the best Fireplaces, family, snowboarding Colorado

Why I Hate U


You say you don’t want to Hurt me Ooops…too late

Life is like a glass of water It can be half-filled or half-empty

They say give him time To see

It depends on which way You look at life

Now I’m too tired to wait I thought I could depend On you

If you look at life In a negative way, The glass is half-empty


You just made me cry That’s why I hate you

If you look at life In a positive way, The glass is half-filled

Trapped under rocks, or Trapped at heart, Either way you’re trapped.

Ashley Burke 7th grade

Brooke Griffith 7th grade

Lost at sea, or Lost in misery, Either way you’re lost.

The way I look at it, The glass is always half-filled Allison Bakutis 7th grade

Austin Schell 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 89

Chapter 9 • Tejeda Middle School

The Barnyard

Soldier or Dad

The lowing of cows The bleating of sheep Serenade me softly As I fall asleep

Soldier or Dad BOOM! There goes another one But he won’t leave Not until he buys his little girl A birthday card

the clucking of chickens A sun that is weak Keep me awake On a day that looks bleak I say farewell To my rustic home As I set off Into the unknown Connie Wang 7th grade

In this Big Empty Space Friends are important in this big empty space Even if you do something wrong, they’ll tell you face-toface You two will be different and not the same Even though you two might have the same name They’ll also help you with homework that you don’t get And they’ll hold you to your word even in a bet So if you’re down and feeling blue They’ll treat you real good and make you feel like new Now if you’re bored and want to play They’ll stay by your side for the whole day So in this big empty space you’ll need a friend A good friend who will stay by your side till the end Trenton Blanchette 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 90

Soldier or Dad Everyone’s running home But he wants that card No one listens to him Three days later It happens again He found another perfect card But no one let him buy it Once the bombs go off Soldier or Dad My dad is both Kiyra Crooks 7th grade

Chapter 10 White Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Sheila Kirk Walsh

Chapter 10 • White Middle School

People Like Us

Jumping on Clouds

Hi, my name is Natalie. Me and my mom work at a corner store in New York. We get over 500 customers each day. You imagine that. My family is not wealthy so my mom and my dad have to work. And you want to know something, I have to work, too! It is very hard coming home from school and getting ready for work. Instead of going home and doing homework I go to the store and work for about 5 hours. I get home from school at 2:45 and I get off of work at 7:45. The good thing is that my mom is with me the whole time. After work I go home, take a shower, then do my homework, and then go to sleep. You think that you have it bad doing chores when you want to take a nap? Well, I have a job and I am only 10 years old. And in the bad times I still have to work.

One day I was at the Empire State Building and I was looking at the clouds. So, I thought to myself “These clouds are great for jumping!” So, I took a step to see if it was safe and it was. All the clouds were close together so I went jumping and had the best time! I did that for about four hours. Then, I took a break to eat. While I was eating I called my friend so I could ask her to come to the Empire State Building and she said yes. So when she got there, she saw me waiting for her by the edge of the building. When she came over I asked her “Do you want to jump on some clouds?” She thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. She said that that was all right. I went first so I got on and went to the next cloud. She got on and was a little scared but when she started to jump she did not want to get off! We went on for about five hours and then we went home. She asked “Do you want to go tomorrow?” I said “Sure!” So every day we went. Well, every day we could!

Christina Flores 6th grade

Kelsey Shumate 6th grade

Once Upon a Stone Once upon a time there was a stone named Shaquida. She lived in a tropical rain forest. “It is very beautiful,” said Shaquida. She lived in a tree at the right of the coconut tree. Shaquida had long reddish brown hair. Inside her hole is beautiful. She has pictures of her twin daughters, Arquisha and Marquesha. They are both 11 turning 12 in June. To be exact, June 27th. They are rich. Their hole is four stories high. They each have their own floor and kitchen. On each floor, there is five rooms. They have friends named Shaday and Justen. They lived next door and go to the mall. They each have a credit card with $2,000,000 on them. I wish I had that much money. They bought hats, clothes, and shoes. Their dad is a hip-hop rapper named Bow wow. They will go on the road with their dad. He is going to San Diego. They are packing right now. “Have fun,” said Shaquida. Arquisha Thompson 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 92

Chapter 10 • White Middle School

Tornadoes “Where do tornadoes come from?” asked my little brother Charlie. “I don’t know. Maybe from the raw anger in the heart of a man.” Or maybe a tornado forms in the mind of a child, thoughts swirling, ideas spinning. Could a tornado be what makes us feel angry or could it be what makes us scared? Maybe a tornado is just another person like you and I. A person who takes from others, a person who doesn’t care. Or possibly a person who comes from a place of unhappiness, where it feels it has to take away from others. “I don’t know Charlie. I don’t know.” Paris Singleton 6th grade

Some Bacon in the Room Some crispy bacon is on a plate on a soft bed. A red bowl of spaghetti is on the green couch.

The Black Flame Candle I see a yellow light under a door. I open the door very slowly. I see a bright candle. There’s another light in the kitchen. I go downstairs taking it step by step. I find another candle. There appears to be one last candle. It’s in the restroom, but this candle is different. This candle has a black flame. Manuel Rosario 6th grade

Some chocolate chip cookies are in the new fridge. There are little crazy monkeys in the dark attic. They are screaming like a snowman on fire. Alex Pitula 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 93

Chapter 10 • White Middle School

Home Sweet Home Long vacation to somewhere new. New bed, new scenery, and different people. Gone for a long time, I want to go home. This just isn’t the place I know. Back home, three months later. Things aren’t the same. I know soon it will all be perfect. My mom is finally going to make a home-cooked meal. It feels like normal again. I missed my dog, cat, and my bed. I run to my room. My bed is nicely unmade, waiting for me to dive onto that fluff of cotton. I go back to school and see my friends. By the end of the day, I can only say “Home sweet home!” Kathryn Riggs 6th grade

Skeeter It all started when I got my dog. It was a week after I got him, he started to sleep-walk. On Mondays and Fridays, he wouldn’t stop sleep-walking. So, I took him to the vet, and the vet gave him medicine to stop it, and it worked on Mondays, but not on Fridays. So I took him back to the vet. There was nothing she could do about it, so he still sleepwalks. He goes into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator door and eats all of the canned dog food. Then, I will go and get him and pop him on the nose and say “No!” Miranda Sheppard 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 94

Chapter 10 • White Middle School

Homesick I am rock. I live in a shoe, but not any shoe. A red shoe (that’s cool, right?) and it stinks really bad. I can’t handle it! Really horrible smell, kind of like rotten eggs mixed with that skunk smell. When will she take me out of this shoe! According to her laziness, I’ll be in here for another seven months. I cannot wait that long! But, wait, who will take care of me! I’ll be smashed in a million pieces! Or I’ll be thrown in a filthy green river or probably into the sewers! Oh man, I need to stop complaining or I’ll be out of here soon! Monica Lara 6th Grade

On Mars There I was sitting in a restaurant on Mars’ I think it was called The Shnizmar Joint. I was there all alone looking pathetic when my waiter came to my table to take my order. He said, “Ticky tacky cobtono.” I politely said back, “Excuse me?” Then he repeated himself. I didn’t think of it much and ordered. “Can I get a burger and some fries?” The weird looking man walked away so I assumed he was going to get my food. I waited for about ten minutes until the same man came back with a shiny silver platter. Then he handed it to me and said some weird words and walked off. I took the top off the platter and saw a delicious looking burger. I slowly took my first bite, and it tasted unusual. So, I called my waiter and said “This burger tastes like flowers!” Then, he said some weird words and walked so I just ate it anyway. Tatiana Larson 6th grade

When I’m 64 When I’m 64 I’ll raid the senior buffet with ardor. My pants will be so high up, I’ll give myself a weggie. My skin will be so baggy that when I look out the window, I’ll look like a hound dog. My legs will hurt so bad that I have an elevator instead of stairs. I’ll get on my bike out on the road. I’ll put my helmet on to cover my big glasses that will like a window of bullet-proof glass. When I arrive at bingo mart, I play some bingo and win against Mr. Stewart. Keaton Bohrmann 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 95

Chapter 10 • White Middle School

SK8 Boarding My name is Jesus. I love to sk8. Sk8ing has always been my life. Every time I skate the vibration from the board feels good. It feels like you’re at a spa getting a foot massage. The wind that goes in your face while you ride feels like a sunny day at the beach on the shore. The bearings inside the wheels, you can hear them rattle as you sk8. It sounds like a rattlesnake rattling its tail. That’s why skating has been my life. Jesus Gonzalez 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 96

Chapter 11 Wood Middle School

Writer-in-Residence: Sheila Kirk Walsh

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

The Other Body “E=mc2!! The sum over the kinetic π=2.” “What? Where am I? What am I?”

Special Rock You would be surprised what lies inside a rock. Go deep into the rock beyond the edges and you’ll find my pet fish Josie. Her room is turquoise blue with a round purple bed that has a sky blue canopy with rainbow sequins. She has a red oak desk in the corner of her room. On top of her desk is a desk calendar, pencil holder, pink laptop, and a purple desk lamp. In the middle of her room she has a big screen t.v. By her bed, there is a rainbow rug. So next time you think about smashing a rock, Think about what may lie inside a rock. Samantha Jones 6th grade

I looked down, and I had four paws and a tail. I looked around and noticed the beautiful landscape that I stood on. There was a meadow that seemed to stretch on for miles and miles. There was a patch of sun yellow sunflowers in the meadow. A pond laid aside the patch of sunflowers. The pond was as blue as the sky. I could smell the fresh flowers scent and hear the bees buzzing around to collect pollen. There was a big rock that looked like a mountain in the winter. I climbed to the very top and suddenly realized I could never climb that high. Awesome, I have become an animal that I’ve always wanted to be. I heard footsteps all of sudden. I saw a gigantic shadow looming over me. Someone or something was behind me. I finally reached the courage that was hiding inside of me and ran like the wind. Okay, you don’t have to call courage. More like fear. First, I ran into the patch of flowers. I knew that the flowers could hide my scent. I could hear the footsteps getting closer and closer. Gotcha! As soon as I heard that word I sprang and ran into the lake. I hoped that he couldn’t swim. I thought I was safe, but I was horribly mistaken. All of the sudden, a shark came and snapped his big shiny teeth at me. We both raced on in the lake. I heard the shark talk, but I couldn’t make out the words because they were in Spanish. (Weird, huh?) I jumped out of the lake, shook the water off me, and continued to run. I heard footsteps again, and I stumbled and fell. I turned around (finally) and saw my reflection in the mirror. I was a fox! Spencer Hudak 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 98

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Song of My Curse People say everyone has a gift, But my gift is more like a curse. It’s not the kind that you can just lift, Because if you try it will become much worse. They all think that I’m wrong, And what they say is true, Until I start to sing a song, One that is sad and blue. Someone starts to shed a tear, For this song is of my curse, They start to think of what they hear, While I continue to rehearse. As I finish the last verse, I see how the people act, Because this song is of my curse, And it, they now know, is fact. Jessica Stevens 8th grade

A Shrouded Celebration My ancestral line is shrouded in a celestial mist from friend and group. I feel as though the grains of sand in an hourglass are falling into a sinkhole. I fear that I may never recover artifacts from caves and mountains of time. Never do I reveal these findings to my mysteries. My heart inundates with guilt as of seeing strangers able to speak the tongue of my ancestors while I cannot hope is what I have and continue to have. I celebrate this heritage of mine, but do not speak of it. I feel compelled to learn my verse but cannot. I want to shout what tribe I hail from but do not for I am Still having a shrouded celebration. William McCoy 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 99

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

The Horror Outside The sun was as bright as ever on that day, years ago… I remember it distinctly. I was watching a play called, “Super Hero Man” when someone in the back row suggested to someone else, “This guy seems crazy, should we shoot him?” Apparently they were murderers, because the pandemonium in the crowd immediately stopped when an arrow hit “Super Hero Man” in the chest. He lay there, dead, as the crowd was screaming and running away. Among this crowd was none other than a fellow named Glenn. Now, Glenn was a courageous man, not afraid of… most things. On this day, he wore a dark green T-shirt, with horizontal light green stripes. Anyway, while this “courageous” man ran in fear, he tripped and knocked over none other than, the very man who shot “Super Hero Man” Glenn got up faster than him, and ran like heck faster than he was before. Because he had tripped, Glenn was behind the crowd, and didn’t know where they went, so, he started running until he heard a voice call, “Hey! You! Over here!” Glenn looked around to see where his voice was coming from, and it turned out to be from a man holding open the door of his house. Glenn instantly ran inside the house, the murders not far behind. After he ran inside, he followed the man who let him in, he lead Glenn into a room, where another man was already sitting down. “Come in! Have a seat!” The man told Glenn, “While I go and get some food for you fellers” Glenn did what he was told, and sat down. Glenn and the other man waited a second, and the man who let him in came in with some food. I can’t remember what kind of food it was, but Glenn ate it right up! The man asked, “So, what’s your name, boy? ‘Cause I hates them city folks” “My name is Glenn,” Glenn replied. “So, you are one of them city folks, hunh?” “Well, yeah!” “Hmph! You suck!” “Hey!” At that exact moment in time, the murderer’s car just pulled up in front of the man’s house. Another man got out of the car, his name was Josh. After Josh got out, the murderers got in, and abandoned Josh. Glenn was arguing with the other 2 men about a more used name: Bob, or Jeff.

I am a fish in the sky • page 100

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School They heard the crashing of the glass front door, and rushed over to see what caused it. When they got there, Josh was underneath the door, badly injured. They heard running footsteps, getting fainter, and fainter, and fainter… They knew that the murderers broke in, and started panicking. The man who let them in was trying to help Josh; blood was all over his hands. Just then, out of nowhere, a GIGANTIC, mutant, spider fell down from the ceiling, grabbed him, and took him away. The other man suggested that Glenn should get some items to help Josh, while he stayed there and kept watch. Glenn, once again, did as he was told, and started looking for a first-aid kit. A half-hour later, Glenn returned with a First-aid kit, and only to find that the spider dug a hole in the ground, and Josh was nowhere to be found. The man was as bloody as ever, laying there. Glenn asked him, “Was it the spider that did this to you?” The man replied, “No, *Cough* it was…it was… the mur…ur…murderer!” Glenn then noticed that the other murderer just ran out the door. Glenn passed out. A few hours passed, and Glenn awoke to find the man appearing to be eaten by the spider, instead, the spider licked him, washing away the blood, and crawled away when the murderer, the man right behind him, ran in from nowhere, and shot Glenn in the leg. The man started to strangle the murderer to save Glenn, as Glenn ran toward a gun that he found lying on the floor. The murderer turned, and shot the man in the head. Glenn limped back, he yelled with the ferocity of a bear, “You son of a…” BANG!!! Glenn shot the murderer right in the lung, but this did not kill him, so he pulled out his crossbow. Using his last shot, Glenn shot the murderer again, right between the eyes. The murderer has fallen, dead. Glenn started walking home. He was out in the street, that’s when it happened. The other murderer, wielding a lance, and riding on horse back, had the man who let Glenn in under the icy grip of death. Josh was not far behind, but was too slow. Glenn couldn’t run with his leg, and started limping as fast as he could. The other murderer was two inches away from Glenn when the spider jumped out of the ground, and knocked the other murderer down to the ground. The murderer stabbed him repeatedly, but the spider bit off his head. A few moments later, it was the spider’s time to go, and it went to a better place… afterwards, Josh walked over, and told Glenn,”You know what’s funny? We are scared of things that where actually trying to help us, but we still run away in fear.” “Yeah…I wonder why…” Charles “The Yellow Dart” Blake 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 101

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

I Wonder Why The Rooms A little dark colored fan hangs above the dirty rug where my dear companion sleeps. The dishrag lies next to the old sink as if dead. The dusty piano keys are lonely from not being touched. You see the room’s radiant glow when the moon shines through the vine-covered window. You feel the tension of the small machines doing their work. The darkness surrounds you in the crowded garage and you know you’re all alone. Marissa Cain 8th grade

I wonder why the snow is white and I wonder why the lightning strikes why fire burns and ice melts why love hurts if it can’t touch or why revenge is sweet if you can’t taste it? Does ice melt because it is depressed, or does fire burn because it’s angry? If revenge is sweet, does it taste like candy and does love hurt like a broken leg? Wonders in the world, some no one can explain, like how the stars shine bright or why some people are impolite. Wonders, wonders, a million questions, only one hundred answers. Colors, shapes, and numbers, all still questions with now answers as more and more come less and less are answered. Fire, water, earth, and air elements are a mystery. I wonder why the earth is ground. I wonder why the water freezes or why air is cooled. Scientists wonder. Even Albert Einstein wondered and asked questions. Why tigers pounce and why do we ask questions. So love still hurts and revenge is still sweet and fire will always burn and we will always have questions to ask and to answer. Joshua Stines 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 102

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Trapped I saw the blue dim light flickering on and off repeatedly. I saw lightning strike fast and with a “boom” hard to the ground and it also smelled like spicy chicken….

Nothing Is Ever What It Seems

I saw the curtains of an old messy room move ghostly and really scary. It was also cold.

A bird flies backward past window. Pigs fly toward the horizon. Cats and dogs get along as if they were two of a kind.

I saw a tall old oak tree ready to be cut down just standing there staring at me….

Silently, beneath the earth’s crust, Hell freezes over. And high above the clouds, angels lose their wings. The line between reality and insanity disappears completely.

I finally saw the gate of the corner of my eye over the oak tree. “Sheesh,” I said “What a long trip…” I told myself.

“This must be a fake,” you may say, but I assure you it’s not a dream. Sure all these may seem impossible, but who cares? After all, that is what we thought of space travel and how the world is round.

Alan Valenzuela 6th grade

Sure, it might seem impossible that it’s beyond our reach, but keep this one line in mind, “Nothing is ever what it seems.” Jennifer Stevens 8th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 103

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

No No No (okay maybe) I stand scared unable to cry. The oars on the boat rowed as if running on air. I saw a spider on an old man’s beard. I thought of an egg in a bird’s nest, waiting, picking its way out.

Tell Me The waves hum a soft melody. The birds sing as loud as a loft giant. The sun is mad. It tells me with how firy it is shining in my face. The clouds tell a story all of their own. They tell me life is hard, but I can comfort you.

I feel sorry for the bird unable to breath. No matter how hard he tries he can’t get out.

The moon has a soft light tonight. Someone is in morning. The stars a dimly light. They are afraid. The sky tall buildings tell a story.

I felt like a gray pirate walking up the satin plank as if a cat about to get in the water!

They say, When you can’t see the clouds, I will take you back to this point and time.

But kept telling myself it’s just a test!

Kelsey Hare 6th grade

Emily Torres 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 104

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Safeness of My Own Space I smelled the warm, crisp apple pie On the edge of the counter slowly drifting toward my nose. It was soft yet chewy, sweet yet tart. I smelled the fresh clean striped sheet’s edge their way around the corner mattress. I smelled the safeness of my own space. I smelled the fresh green grass growing up the side white picket fence. I smelled the warm summer breeze and could tell some one was having their Sunday barbecue. I smelled the old, calm bubbles pop as some one got in. I smelled the lavender soap wash of his face and down the drain. I smelled chocolate wood cover the floor. I smelled the rich red candle wax drip on the beige brick on the fireplace.

My Own Prison The window was shut tightly. I want to be let out. All escapes are locked. I wander desolate halls. Their inscriptions make me ponder. Hope is now a distant dream. I hold my life in my hands like a porcelain figure. So delicate, so fragile. And I drop it to hear it shatter as my heart has done. My love is to open sky as my loathing to murky waters. The place I’ll fall into so calmly. This watery grave has set me free. Stephanie Terrell 8th grade

I smelled the wet sticky mud on my tires after a long weary bike ride. I smelled the openness of being with my own thoughts. Katelyn Czarnecki 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 105

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

I See, I Hear, I Smell, I Feel, I Taste! I see children playing all around me. I see adults paying late credit card bills. I see dogs in the backyard chasing a cat. I see cats chasing mice through a foggy window. I see freshly fallen snow scattered on the ground. I see everything before it even happens. I see their world. I am their world, a rock. I hear the faint laughter of children from down the block. I hear the frustration in the adults’ voices saying “$375 dollars.” I hear the dog panting from running around. I hear the cries of the cat and the squeaks of mouse. I hear the snow trickling down from the sky beneath me. I hear everything before anybody does. I hear their world. I am their world, a rock.

I feel the children brush up beside me… is that a cotton sweater! I feel the pot roast gliding down my throat. I feel the breeze of the dog run by me. I feel the cat also run past me. I feel the snow gently falling on my tongue…mmm….water flavor. I feel everything before everybody. I feel their world. I smell the overwhelming smell of candy from children. I smell the food that the adults are preparing pot roast, mmm…. I am their world, a rock. I smell the odor of the dog and the musk of the cat. I taste the children throw snowballs at me. I smell the catnip of the cat and the cheese of the mouse. I smell the freshest smell you can smell…uhh….oh yeah, snow! I taste the pot roast gliding down my throat. I taste the fur that feel off the dog…eww…dog flavor. I smell everything before the smell is even made. I taste the cat’s catnip. Hey, this is not peanut butter. I smell their world. I taste everything before everybody. I am their world, a rock. I taste their world. I am their world, a rock! Janelle Outterson 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 106

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Circles Why do we walk in circles when we’re lost? Is it because when we don’t have the presence of an internal compass and it’s the only direction possible for our wandering bodies to go? Is it that we smell our scents when we wander without knowing it’s yours, and you simply think it’s the smell of the way home? Could it be the optical illusion around us manipulating our eyes to convince our brains that a particular direction is the right way to go? Do we listen to that imaginary friend each and everyone of us has buried in the back of our mind to tell us the right way to go? Can we taste the right direction in some weird almost impossible to experience?

Can we feel the footsteps of a person going in circles but we misjudge them very wrongly and think it’s the right direction? Or is going in circles when you’re lost just mean you’re almost through the cycle of life and your death is soon to come? Or more basically are we just pacing because we want to pace in circles while we are lost in our thoughts, thinking about another shape to pace in? Mercedes Banks 6th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 107

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

A Bird’s Nest There is a nest in our attic! It’s not any old attic, it’s our attic. And it’s not any old nest; it’s a bird’s nest! My favorite animal. “Oh Mom, please let me take care of it,” I said. “No way,” my mom said. “Even though there are baby birds?” “Well, maybe, but I have to talk to your dad.” “Okay.” Well, during the night I thought all about taking care of the birds. Questions went through my head. Will I be able to care for the babies or will I fail? Chris Shoemaker 6th grade

I Am Poem I am my own friend who loves to laugh. I wonder why I’m my own friend. I hear myself laughing for no real reason. I see myself in a two-way mirror. I want other friends beside myself. I am my own friend who loves to laugh. I pretend to have other friends. I feel my tears dripping down my face full of warmness. I touch the unknown that no one else knows of. I worry I’m the only I’ve got. I cry cause I have no friends, but me. I am my own friend who loves to laugh. I understand I have no friends but the one in the mirror. I say I do, but I don’t. I dream I would have more friends than I do now. I try making friends, but I can’t. I hope one day I’ll have a real friend to talk to. I am my own friend who loves to laugh. Caitlin Bentley 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 108

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Am I in Love? I realize when I look in your eyes I see my life in slow motion and I see your devotion. I often wonder how this be, when someone as perfect as you found me. I wonder what to say to you. I wonder what to do. Do I laugh or smile? Or do I stay calm for a while? I look out the window to see if you’re there. If you’re there to run your finger through my hair. I try hard to keep my sight. I seem to think of you day and night. I have a feeling that I can’t describe. It’s an unrecognizable vibe. You don’t seem to care What I wear or how I do my hair. Would you be sweet and useful? Would you be caring and truthful? Will you hold me in your arms when I cry? Would you be heartbroken if I were to die? When your lips get close to mine, my feelings get all mixed up and entwined. I feel my heart skip a beat. Blood is rushing to my head to my feet.

I feel butterflies all around, but then I get nervous and stare to the ground. But then I get scared. Will I be prepared? Will you break my heart? Will you rip my love a part? I’ve never met someone like you, who makes me tremble and not know what to do. I’ve never said this before, so I don’t know what to do, but I know I am in love with you. Mercedes Luna 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 109

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

The Demon As I ran down the deserted hallway in the hospital, I heard an echoing screech somewhere in the vastness behind me. I stopped dead, and listened. The screech sounded again, closer this time. I didn’t dare take the risk of death, so I continued down the hallway at a run. The soles of my worn shoes slapped against the marble floor as I ran, full throttle, to the end of the hallway. The hallway seemed to get longer as I ran, preventing my escape from the approaching creature. I chanced a glance behind me, expecting the worst. The worst is what I saw. A colossal demon chasing me. It had piercing red eyes, horn-tipped wings, and a body that was all black. This only scared me more. My fear turned to speed as I finally rounded the corner of the hall. A flight of steps leading to the lower level was not too far ahead, so I bolted toward them. I descended three steps at a time in my haste, and ended up falling. As I got up I realized that the demon had vanished. I didn’t know whether to be worried or relieved. As I walked down the hall, I soon heard a noise like sharp steel scraping across a metal platform above me. I looked up, and my worst fear was confirmed. A ventilation shaft was directly above me. I completely lost power over my legs as the scraping grew louder. I had no choice but to stand and watch as the shaft burst open. The demon began to emerge, and my brain clicked. Once again, the race was on. I could feel the hot breath of the demon upon my neck as I desperately searched for the exit. I soon grew tired, but I had no time to stop and rest. I kept running, now thinking all was lost.

I am a fish in the sky • page 110

Chapter 11 • Wood Middle School

Just as I was about to accept my fate, the exit came into view. Hope and faith now mixed with my fear, allowing me to run faster than I ever could have before. I was going to make it out okay, I thought. But I didn’t. At the exact moment I opened the door, the demon finally managed to take hold of me. Its claws tore into my flesh as I struggled to free myself. It seemed futile, but I kept trying. Soon enough, I was free. I burst into the outside world, bleeding and exhausted. “What kind of hospital is this?” I asked to no one in particular. “Letting demons run around freely when there are patients.” I started walking home. Then I started running. Joshua Alejandro 7th grade

I am a fish in the sky • page 111

GEMINI INK is the only community-based center for literary arts and ideas in San Antonio and South Texas. We now serve annually more than 4500 readers, writers, and literary performance-goers representing a diverse sampling of our community’s population. Four programs currently serve our mission: •Each spring and fall, the Autograph Series presents writers of national and international stature in a community-wide public program. Previous Autograph Series writers have included Annie Proulx, Margaret Atwood, Grace Paley, Tim O’Brien and Phil Levine. •The University Without Walls (UWW) offers three semesters of workshops, classes, readings, and events led by recognized professional writers, as well as artists and scholars whose work relates to writing. •Dramatic Reader’s Theater (DRT) features professional actors interpreting literary works in a reading format, often accompanied by original music. •Writers in Communities(WIC) sends professional writers with specialized teaching experience into a wide range of community settings to work alongside students of all ages, needs, interests and abilities. WIC writing workshops have been offered in schools, justice settings, neighborhood community centers, and healthcare facilities, among many other venues. While in residence, WIC writers help students create dynamic writing projects, often reflecting their own lives, that challenge, celebrate, inspire and enlighten. Most WIC residencies culminate in the publication of an anthology of participants’ work and a celebratory public reading.

For more information, visit; or call 210.734-WORD (9673). Toll-free: 877.734-WORD (9673)

I Am a Fish in the Sky  

creative writing by middle school students of the North East Independent School District in partnership with the Writers in Communities prog...