My Part of Town Writing by students from Krueger and Ed White Middle Schools in the Northeast Independent School District in partnership with Gemini Inkâ€™s Writers in Communities program in San Antonio, Texas
My Part of Town Writing by students from Krueger and Ed White Middle Schools in the Northeast Independent School District in partnership with Gemini Inkâ€™s Writers in Communities program in San Antonio, Texas readers and writers today and tomorrow Spring 2011 Funded by The Rackspace Foundation Writers-in-Residence Cary Clack, Trey Moore, and Lyle D. Rosdahl Illustrations Carolina G. Flores, and Regina Moya Design & Layout Anisa Onofre, Director, Writers in Communities Editing Lindsey Clepper, Assistant, Writers in Communities Rosemary Catacalos Executive | Artistic Director, Gemini Ink The authorsâ€™ work is edited as lightly as possible in order to honor the original voices.
Contents Krueger Middle School Cujo... Alan Johnson 7 My Neighborhood... Alex Ingram 9 My Neighborhood... Amanda Furstenau 10 Morning Jogger... Ana Ortiz 12 About San Antonio... Anna Vu 15 A Vase of Red Roses... Caitlin O’Brien 17 Mi Casa... Cassandra Hernandez 18 My Lonely House... Dexter Stigger 21 Dog Park... Dalia Castillo 22 My Rosy Neighborhood... Diamond Reyna 25 A Neighborhood Is... Diane Thongkam 26 My Neighborhood... Emetrius C. 28 Barbecues in My Neighborhood... Esmeralda Bugarin I Exchanged... Jennifer A. 33 Rosa’s Scary Dream... Jesus Neunfeldt 34 The Pond... Joel Rabago 37 A Colored Family... Joslynn Mayfield 38 Silver Astrid... Kimmy Tran 41 In My Neighborhood... Rebekah Ornelas 42 My Lake... Richard Milligan 44 Lost and Found... Stephanie Thompson 46 Hope, Flowing Smoothly... TyNeashya Maryland-McGee
Ed White Middle School My Room... Christopher West 51 Bullied... Kayla Wilson 53 Lost... Kayla Wilson 55 It Was a Girl... Michael D. 56 Outside on the Patio...Mérida Vela-Villarreal My Neighborhood... Brenda Garcia 61 My Mom... AbigailGonzales 63 My Life... Rae~Rae Broussard 64 Die For Love... Maria Flores 66 My Neighborhood... Rachael de Jesus 67 Bully-ing... Evelyn G. 69 My Neighborhood... Rae~Rae Broussard
Krueger Middle School
Cujo We searched for weeks but we could not find her. The broken wood, the dog running down the street. Made my heart into a slaughterhouse full of cows for weeks. Like the only fish in the sea I felt so empty. Like a seed in a salad. I just could not feel, but then like words in the Alphabet I start to get more feelings again. I felt love, forgiveness, but no more sadness. Like chocolate in Hershey, like the Russians in the cold war. I felt Alive, and whole even though Cujo is gone. I still remember her but no more sadness for her like tongues in a mouth.
Alan Johnson, age 12
My Neighborhood My neighborhood is made up of old people and cool kids. Most of the kids are wimps who don't like scary things. Well, my whole neighborhood is very scare-free. No awe-striking Halloween decorations, no festive fear-bringing costumes. The best house Iâ€™ve seen was an inflatable spider and a bunch of clowns playing dead. The candy is mostly Mexican, not the kind I like (no offense). Most of the houses keep the new people away with their secret weapons, roaches and dust.
Alex Ingram, age 12
My Neighborhood My neighborhood is a lovely place. When the night comes everyone is asleep. You can see the school down the street all nice and quiet. It is so brightâ€”the morning. The sun comes up. It shines in my room. Kids having a good timeâ€”all the boys and girls are playing together. The boys are playing football whale. The girls and I are cheerleading. Then when the nights come again everyone is in bed. Fire trucks and cop cars whirl going through the night.
Amanda Furstenau, age 14
Morning Jogger Oh, morning jogger, you jog around the neighborhood. Just jogging, nothing else. No Science in that. I see you every morning, as I walk to the bus stop. But you’re not alone—you bring your dog along with you. I remember that time your dog approached me. His tail kind of wagged as he sniffed my binder. But you told him to behave, and just took him away… Shame on you, lady. Shame on you. You jogged away, like you always do, And it seems like nothing will stop you. For neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, You’re always there to jog. Around and around you go, basically going nowhere. You jog anyway. Oh, morning jogger.
Ana Ortiz, age 13
About San Antonio When treasures create a trail, When the silence hovers over the trees, When the water ripples next to me, You are in San Antonio. Itâ€™s long one day, short another. When the sun roasts the day, Tomorrow will be hugged by clouds, And then it rainsâ€”listen to it. When it stops, the sun will come out Partnered with the rainbow. Admire it. San Antonio, you hold many colors. You hold many lives. I love you.
Anna Vu, age 12
A Vase of Red Roses
Simple enough, but who left them in the middle of the road so early on a Sunday morning? Where are they from? What do they mean? I glanced down the street both ways, making sure no one was watching, and I sprinted down the gravel grabbing the vase, not knowing exactly why. Once I reached the other side of the road safely, I took another look at the flowers. The vase was red, and the soil was rich, and the stems were like miniature trees. The flowers blossomed full of life. I smiled, and headed down the sidewalk, holding my new red roses.
Caitlin Oâ€™Brien, age 12
Brown, nearly alive, almost dead grass. Green BE-A-UTIFUL alive grass! Brown, but green in the shade. Dead white grass on one, And the last house… …green but more of a lime-green color of grass. Houses everywhere—is it, like, suppose to look like this? Like a neighborhood? Well, whatever it is, it is where I live. Every house is a different color, except for two on my block— My house and those copycats. Across the street green & white are the colors. The door they moved to the same side as we did (mi familia). I just totally love love love my neighbor’s house with all those pretty flowers! Red, Blue, Pink, Gold, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Magenta, And pretty much any color you can think of. It may be very different from where you live, but I don’t care because this is where I live.
Cassandra Hernandez, age 12
My Lonely House
The two-story house On the lonely cul-de-sac Screaming kids everywhere Dexter Stigger, age 12
Dog Park Dogs run about while their owners converse with each other. No one likes being the first one there because theyâ€™re the ones who move the equipment, but once someone steps up the whole neighborhood joins in. People who run with their dogs are normally going to a competition or are just energetic. The people who stand at the edges are usually just there to talk and hang out with their friends, or maybe just to take care of younger siblings or children. Although I hate the smell of all those dogs, I love hanging out and playing with them and their owners. Man, I love going because every time I go thereâ€™s a new dog. There are Pomeranians, bulldogs, Chihuahuas, tea cups, and once I even saw a poodle! They just love to run and explore. They go through tunnels, run through cones, jump over hurdles, and go over these wood sidewalk things that look like trapezoids from the side. Canâ€™t wait to go back! Just like the dogs mix and play, so do we in our neighborhood. No matter how different we are.
Dalia Castillo, age 13
My Rosy Neighborhood In my neighborhood…the seniors plant seeds in their gardens, and sit outside watching the birds, watching kids play, and looking at younger people run by their houses. I would know because when I run by I see them staring at me as my feet are stomping and I am huffing, and puffing. Most of the seniors who can’t put their lipstick on right, or bend down to tie their shoes, plant the bright yellow and pink flowers in front of their houses. And the older single men plant fruit, and vegetable trees. When you drive by people’s houses you can tell if they are old or not because of the color of the grass. The older people have bright green grass even during the winter. And younger people have brown greenish grass. The color of the grass, and plants could tell you a lot about people in my neighborhood.
Diamond Reyna, age 12
A Neighborhood Is The air is filled with gasoline, and the sky is smog People yell at each other from their houses They bark at each other like dogs and the dogs yelp at each other like wolves or a wild creature Kids play on their desktop or laptop, forgetting the outside and the economy Cars put their radios up all the way and go deaf the next day, blowing out other peopleâ€™s ears The city is never asleep, even at night itâ€™s still full awake A gunshot can be heard a mile away, maybe even more When a new building is made it is tagged the next day and it is never finished When someone moves out no one moves back Until next week or month or year or decade
Diane Thongkam, age 12
My Neigborhood Love is in my neighborhood. I say this because when I walk outside I feel loved just looking at my neighborhood. I walk inside my mama’s home as she cooks up a pot of oatmeal, and eggs, for me to get up in the morning smiling. Even though I feel mad my mom says, “Sweetie, I want you to have a good day at school ‘cause every day God will let you know how special you are when you prove to him you won’t let anyone doubt you.” So I leave and start walking to school happy when I look at all my friends. People who are close to me are so very special. I have friends who are silly but sad at the same time. I even have people who are my sisters from another mister and brothers from other mothers. This is all I have for now. Hopefully it is a story that will make y’all happy!
Barbecues in My Neighborhood In my neighborhood we light barbecues My mother and I wake up early and get ready to clean Then dad goes to the store and buys food There he buys: chicken, meat, tortillas, and vegetables Mom and I make arroz and frijoles When dad comes back we make salsa and pico de gallo While the flames in the barbecue pit start heating up Our family and friends start coming over We greet them with a hug and sweet, cheek kiss While the flames burst into action There we laugh There we sing And to the rhythm of the music dance with glee Then time to eat comes We sit, while still laughing And parents still talking Then everyone finishes, and we dance some more In my neighborhoodâ€™s barbecue
Esmeralda Bugarin, age 13
I Exchanged I exchanged a liking for Barbie dolls For bye-bye kitty dolls objects I replaced my liking for princess and fairies with vampires, werewolves and paranormal activity. I have an obsession with vampires. Them heartless evil cute dudes I have another obsession with darkness Even though itâ€™s scary Now, for Christmas I want a MONSTER HIGH doll. Now, all I want is Halloween to be forever. I listen to ESCAPE THE FATE until it busts my ears. My eyes burst in flames when I see pink I marvel and smile when I see a dead rose Have I mentioned that I love black, and love to read?
Rosa’s Scary Dream Soft-silky hair, brown hazel eyes that changed to green in the sunlight. Rosa was her name. Rosa lived on a farm. Violet purple was her favorite color. White picket fence around her house. Blue and white mailbox. Rose’s farm is right by a pond. A turquoise color fills the pond. Ducks and geese live by the pond. Frogs and crickets sing at night, owls have the perfect sight. Saturday morning—it was a beautiful morning. Rosa went to the other side of the pond on her chalupa to pick her favorite flowers, blood red flowers. 8:00 a.m. Rosa just got done picking roses, blood red flowers with dark green thorns. Rosa was on her chalupa, paddling across the pond when a storm forms in the sky. Rosa wasn’t expecting it to storm on a beautiful day, but I guess she was wrong. Rosa was trying so hard to paddle faster, so she could get to her house safely. Waves from the pond started to pound against her canoe. “Aye Dios mio,” she said to herself. It started to rain and that made things worse. The waves getting bigger, most of Rosa’s roses were falling out of her canoe and her paddle fell overboard and all she could do was hang on for her dear life. Rosa wasn’t a very good swimmer but Rosa had to swim to shore or else. Ten minutes passed and Rosa was still hanging on for her life. WHOOSH!! The pond’s waves flipped over Rosa’s canoe and she kicked and screamed for help. “Heeeeelp!!” She yelled out then she went down and sank to the bottom of the pond and the last thing she saw was her purple and white house, and when she was drowning she saw a beautiful white dove. Rosa woke up, gasping, on her bed. Lying next to her was a rose.
Jesus Neuenfeldt, age 12
The Pond Once you reach the pond, you will understand. As the sun reflects off the water, it shines like the brightest topaz, and when the sun sets on the pond, it seems like you could swim into it. Although everyone who doesn’t live in the community just thinks of it as any old pond. To me, it’s my favorite thing about living there. People have barbecues, and you can just hang out without any glares. The tension breaks. That’s my neighborhood.
Joel Rabago, age 12
A Colored Family A family like colors of the wind. Winds that scatter all over the world. An Aurora Borealis in the North Pole. A family nationwide, wherever I go, theyâ€™ll be my guide. I could be in the middle of a desert, the middle of the rainforest, Or the middle of the universe, Yet I always find a relative. Same blood, different color.
Same blood, different scene. Same blood, different voice. Same blood, different personality. Our differences do not matter. Like a bag of M&M’s, we’re different colors on the outside, But if you look deep inside, we’re all equal.
Joslynn Mayfield, age 12
Silver Astrid Astrid skidded down the street, her neon-green sneakers padding on the tiled sidewalk. Yes, tiled sidewalk. “And the people wonder why their economy’s heading to the toilet,” she said aloud. She halted as she saw the fish bowl stop sign. Spoke too soon, she thought. Astrid continued on her way, but something stopped her. Astrid froze, careful not to make a move. She stood still behind the bushes, watching the gang of thieves scraping the gold foil and silver spray off a glass house into a big brown cloth bag. Astrid sniffled, forgetting that she was supposed to be quiet. Too late. Within seconds, the thieves grabbed her and shoved her into a metallic blue van, her silent scream for help permanently echoing throughout the houses and streets, forever and ever. Silver Astrid Houses Seattle, Washington 98106
Kimmy Tran, age 12
In My Neighborhood It was in my neighborhood That the divorce happened Fights happened all night Long I donâ€™t know why it happened But every night My brother cried himself to sleep In that neighborhood We found no peace None what so ever Every night Yelling Fighting So much emotion Was in that neighborhood Always negativity it made the whole area Negative So much violence So much sadness So much pain And worry Of people leaving each other But in the end we still donâ€™t find peace What we find may be even better We become closer to our family
Rebekah Ornelas, age 12
My Lake The lake is a calm place overlooking the neighbors and homes. It is a place that provides peace for friends and families. On the holidays everyone in the neighborhood is outside having fun. The lake is what brings everyone together. It provides safety for people when things happen. It is also a great fishing spot, and a place where dogs pull the adults and kids into the water which is very funny. The quiet homes rest around the edges of the peaceful lake. The dogs are actually quiet but the kids are loud. On the 4th of July, fireworks fly above the lake, scattering light across the sky, and casting their reflections on the lake water.
Richard Milligan, age 12
Lost and Found Lost: My pet scorpion, his name was Squishy (yes he was very squishy.) But his nickname was shoe, because he loves going into my shoes. Last Seen: in my shoe. Details: He was a King Scorpion that hasâ€” Claws: long and knife-like Head: short and stubby Tail: long and curvaceous (yes he could cut off skinny jeans) Attitude: inclusive Scales: fat and long Found: Still in my shoe. :)
Stephanie Thompson, age 13
Hope, Flowing Smoothly
Flowing smoothly Once it was hope, now itâ€™s just water. It can fill our thirst, but gives us sadness Flowing into us, trying to take back what we took. Flowing into nothing but darkness.
TyNeashya Maryland-McGee, age 12
Ed White Middle School
My Room From the fluorescent bulb down to the many tiles that make up the floors, it’s mine. Above the sleepy-head of a wild dreamer, where my ambitions, hopes and ideas reside, the room stands for protection, comfort, ease. It’s mine. The Coca-Cola vintage signs that I see as I awake from sleep. The gift, a typewriter my uncle trusted me with. Gave me what I thought was at its end was just beginning, dozens of mementos past, future. And, of course, my music. My life. It’s where I go when I’m mad, sad or in despair. It is part of me. Christopher
West, age 12
Bullied I have been bullied my whole life mostly because, out of the crowd, I was little. When I was six years old, I had my personal bully. All she did was torment me. I was on the verge of tears at that point. She was the meanest girl I ever met, but one day, she was the one being bullied. I was torn: I didnâ€™t know if I should help that bonehead, or leave her to be bullied just as she bullied me. Bonehead has teased, mocked, harassed, and done anything possible to bully me, and despite that, I stood up for her and she never bullied me again.
Kayla Wilson, age 13
Lost... One day.
Thatâ€™s all it took
compared to the kind of guilt
to misplace a bracelet.
and regret One day
that I expressed
to receive it.
for two weeks.
I loved that charm bracelet.
to lose it. My $95.75 charm bracelet.
It was the first one I ever had,
and probably will be my last.
deep within the silent presence of humanity.
And I lost it.
Probably one or two charms hung from the chains,
Kayla Wilson, age 13
and each one held a special place in my heart.
It Was a Girl It was a girl at H-E-B she was my love she loved cookies she was my love I saw a girl, as soon as I saw her I loved her and she loved me we are in love, all day To see the girl that I love is a kiss in my heart.
Outside on the Patio Outside on the patio I feel like I am the only one here, everyone is quiet, I look at every single thing outside, I look at the trees and see how big and green they are. Things that you can’t really see like the inside of a tree You can see the end of the world you have to see it closely. When I sit on the grass, I relax, I feel so weird, that I think I’m the only person on earth. I see all the colored houses, so many colors—white, red and brown.
Mérida Vela-Villarreal, age 12
My neighborhood is sometimes scary.
Every five minutes there has to be a robber robbing. Most of the time my friends or my cousins hang out in the back yard and sometimes we get on the roof and then jump off or even sometimes we just hang around and talk or just joke around. Most of my friends are my next-door neighbors. My neighborhood is sometimes scary, as I said before. There are lots of trees. My neighborhood is one of those where I sometimes want to live, and sometimes I feel like leaving and going back to Dallas â€“ but I know that I canâ€™t. But my neighborhood is the best!
Brenda Garcia, age 14
My Mom Once you start riding a skateboard, wheels turning so fast, letting the perfect autumn air blow through your hair… When I lost my mom, I didn’t know what to do so I turned into squishy goo and cried for days. My mind was in a haze. I had nowhere to turn. I made up my mind and said, “I need something to take my mind off these things. I need to get my head straight.” That’s when I found “Taylor”—my new skateboard. She means a lot to me, with her smooth wheels and her maple texture that always holds me. It makes you just forget about all of your troubles. Fly away going to your happy place, just letting your mind erase—just having a good time. Forgetting about the past, because I’m learning to live life like it’s my last. And not making time fly away too fast. Just going with Taylor’s flow guides me, letting me not get hurt, and being like my mom.
Abigail Gonzales, age 12
My Life When I was little my puppy died for me. I was so upset I kicked the fence over and over until my leg broke. But I wouldnâ€™t be here today if it wasnâ€™t for her. A snake tried to bite me but got my puppy instead.
Rae~Rae Broussard, age 13
Die for Love Con un lápiz escribí tu nombre Con una pluma lo subrayé Pero al ver que no me querias Con lagrimas lo borré
Maria Flores, age 13
I get a flashback of the good things that used to happen around here like barbecues, or birthdays, or block parties. Doing my best to embrace the feelings from the past, I get a feeling that I once had of peace, love, happiness, and a good sense of home.
Rachael de Jesus, age 15
Bull and ing are two different words. Bull expresses the personâ€™s feelings like a bull. If it sees red it gets mad and ing means action so the bull takes action when something bothers him or when he/she sees the other person having what he/she would like to have. At least once At least twice One has been hurt But the urge is So strong We donâ€™t even think for a while. We all have been bullied, especially those that are shy. My friend changed throughout the year because she got bullied. She used to be the one getting bullied but word by word, hit by hit, she became the bully. I am sad for her. We used to be BFFs, but I had to let go.
My Neighborhood My neighborhood is full of LOUD quiet sounds Old people and birds wolves, deer and snakes Itâ€™s full of cats and dogs
women and children footprints of animals your footprints You also see footprints of people who will walk on this same path.
foxes and cacti and trees. This is my neighborhood When you look up you see
so beautiful and pure in the yellow sun.
When you look around you go back in time
Rae~Rae Broussard, age 13
back to when soldiers fought for San Antonio stormed thru my neighborhoods hills and forests to hide in the barracks You go back to when people were discriminated against because of how they acted, dressed, and looked.
When you look down you see footprints of Indians soldiers
Writers-in-Residence Cary Clack writes on local and national news, events and social issues. Born in San Antonio, he is a graduate of St. Gerard High School and St. Mary’s University (1985 with a BA in Political Science). In the summer of 1984, he was a Scholar-Intern at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, and he wrote CNN commentaries for Coretta Scott King. From 1989-1995, he was a trainer in nonviolence at King Center workshops for high school and college students. Clack has also worked as a substitute teacher in the San Antonio Independent School District, and is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. His book, Clowns and Rats Scare Me: Columns by Cary Clack (Trinity University Press, 2010) is his first book. Trey Moore, a poet and fourth-generation carpenter, holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Texas State University. He has traveled extensively (Alaska, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos) and has taught as a poet in public schools and juvenile detention centers, as well as at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas. His work has appeared in The Texas Observer and a number of anthologies, including Is This Forever or What? and Between Heaven and Texas, both edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. He has published two books of poetry—We Forget We Are Water (Wings Press, 2006) and Some Will Play The Cello (Pecan Grove Press, 2009) A Spanish-speaking Texas native, arts activist, and builder of community gardens, Trey’s poems investigate “our intimate, indivisible relationship to nature” from a city-dweller’s perspective. Lyle D. Rosdahl graduated with an M.F.A. from Goddard College and has been published in Tarpaulin Sky and Art Voice. Rosdahl facilitates and contributes to the website Postcard Fiction Collaborative, edits the Flash Fiction blog for the San Antonio Current, and is a writer-in-residence for Gemini Ink’s Writers-in-Communities program. A self-published work, La Loteria, as well as other writings, are available to view or download from his website www.lylerosdahl.com.
Illustrators Carolina G. Flores holds a B.F.A in Painting from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.F.A in Painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has exhibited throughout the southwest and her textile work is archived in the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, N.Y. Flores has been a Visiting Artist in the San Antonio Independent School District, the San Felipe del Rio Independent School District, the Southwest School of Art & Craft, and Our Lady of the Lake University. She is currently an upper level art teacher at The Winston School, a school for children with learning disabilities, and maintains her studio in the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center. Regina Moya was born in Mexico City and graduated with a degree in Communications from Anahuac del Sur University. She has also studied graphic design and journalism and has two published books: Memorias de Dos Mujeres (México City, D.F., Editorial Atomo), and Donde Anidan las Palomas (México City, D.F., Casa Juan Pablos). Moya has worked with WIC as both a writer-in-residence, and as an artist-in-residence, on various projects including with incarcerated teens, in public schools, and at the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter. She also writes and illustrates personalized children’s storybooks. Visit Moya at www.reginamoya.com.
A FOCUS ON READING AND WRITING FOR ALL Gemini Ink nurtures writers and readers and builds community through literature and the related arts. At Gemini Ink we believe human story in all its diverse and complicated forms and genres—from poetry and fiction to memoir and oral tradition—is essential to developing compassion and richness in both individual and community life. We encourage focused reading, writing, and exchange at every level, from elementary school students to incarcerated youth and from polished to the elder who has always wanted to record her family stories. Writers in Communities (WIC) sends professional writers into diverse community settings to work alongside students of all ages, needs, interests, and abilities in free workshops based in oral traditions, reading, and creative writing. Open Classroom, comprising Autograph Series and Breakthrough Thinkers, present writers of national and international stature—many of them recipients of major prizes such as the Pulitzer or National Book Award—in free public performances followed by audience Q&A. University Without Walls (UWW) offers three semesters of fee-based reading groups and workshops and also many free literary events, all led by professional writers, scholars, and interdisciplinary artists. Dramatic Readers Theater (DRT) features professional actors and writers interpreting literary works in free performances, often accompanied by original music. Contributions and donations of time and resources are gratefully accepted. For more information about Gemini Ink, visit www.geminiink.org or call 210-734-9673
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