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Just Buffalo gratefully acknowledges the funding support essential to making our Writers in Education programs and this publication possible:

Buffalo Board of Education

Children’s Foundation of Erie County

Marks Family Foundation

Cameron & Jane Baird Foundation

East Hill Foundation

Western New York Assembly Delegation

Writers in Education 2008-2009 Programming provided in partnership with: Erie 1 BOCES Volume XVI • Wordplay is a publication of Just Buffalo Literary Center Cover art: Rich Kegler • Page design: Julian Montague

Welcome to Wordplay Welcome to Wordplay 2009, Just Buffalo’s annual publication of the most outstanding student writing produced during our Writers in Education programs. The past year has been marked by tremendous growth: not only did Just Buffalo move its program offices into the WNY Book Arts Center but our Writers Corps worked with over 30 schools across Western New York, engaging more than 4000 students. Our biggest year yet! And so, our theme for this issue is growth. From the smallest kindergartener’s dream of flying over rainbows to the high school student’s musing on the magic of books, Wordplay reveals just how much wisdom and wit, innocence and insight a young mind possesses. Students of all ages learned an impressive array of poetic forms, from abecedarian poems to villanelles, as well as everything from bookmaking to playwriting, flash fiction to memoir. We are proud to report that we have expanded our Writers Corps, broadened our Picturing Poetry programs, and are excited to do even more in the coming year! Just Buffalo is privileged to work with devoted teachers and supportive principals who open their classrooms to us. As you will discover, we collaborate with educators and students from all grade levels; there is no end to how creative writing can enhance a school’s curriculum: • First graders wrote poems welcoming caterpillars to their classroom and stories describing the adventures of their butterflies out in the world. • Fifth graders inspired by “going green” turned to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, composing meditations on nature and creating their own handmade artist’s books. • Ninth graders worked with a playwright to deconstruct Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and, in turn, created modern love stories for the 21st century. • Tenth graders wrote documentary poems inspired by Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. And the list goes on! The writing exhibited within these pages—culled from over 600 submissions—is an ongoing reminder of the power of the written word, an inspiring testament to the immense creativity contained in the hearts and minds of Western New York’s young writers. It is our hope that you will share our sense of awe and admiration for the student writing selected here. For even more inspiration, we cordially invite you to visit our new website devoted to learning through the arts:

Laurie Dean Torrell Barbara Cole Executive Director Education Director

Heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the teachers, principals, parents and, most of all, the students who contributed to the success of Just Buffalo’s education programs in the 2008-2009 school year: Akron Central Middle School Akron Elementary School Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence, P.S. 18

Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192 Bilingual School, P.S. 33 Bishop Timon—St. Jude High School Community School, P.S. 53 Como Park Elementary School Depew Middle School Discovery, P.S. 67 Stanley G. Falk School Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 156 Hamlin Park School, P.S. 74 Highgate Heights, P.S. 80 Houghton Academy, P.S. 69 Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212 Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute, P.S. 39 McKinley High School, P.S. 305 Northwood Elementary School Our Lady of Black Rock School Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School South Park High School, P.S. 206 St. Joseph School St. Mark Elementary School Tapestry High School Waterfront Elementary School, P.S. 95

Special thanks to Just Buffalo’s Empire State Partner Schools: Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56 & P.S. 156 Principal: Michael Gruber Assistant Principal: James Fredo Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64 Principal: Michael Gruber Assistant Principal: Parette Walker as well as Highgate Heights, P.S. 80, our collaborative partner with CEPA Gallery Principal: Gayle Irving-White

Just Buffalo Literary Center is a member-supported non-profit organization. Our members play a crucial role in Just Buffalo’s success and are greatly appreciated for their support. For more information about any of our programs or to become a member, please visit our website: or call 716-832-5400.

JUST BUFFALO Wordplay VOLUME XVI•2009 Editor Barbara Cole Cover Art: “Wordplay” Rich Kegler Photographed by Lauren Tent Page Design Julian Montague Manuscript Preparation Hallie Winter Picturing Poetry Insert Preparation Amy Meza Luraschi Lauren Tent Photography Jon Hand

Just Buffalo Administration Executive Director Laurie Dean Torrell Artistic Director Michael Kelleher Education Director Barbara Cole Finance Director Kris Pope Collaboration Executive Assistant Lynda Kaszubski Collaboration Receptionist Hallie Winter Collaboration Grants Writer Kathleen Kearnan Marketing and Publicity Coordinator Robin Brox

Meet the Writers Corps José Felipe Alvergue is currently a student in the UB Poetics program. He holds an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, School of Critical Studies, and has published in avant garde journals like Nocturnes and Black Clock. His book, us look up/ there red dwells was published by Queue Books last year. José first began teaching poetry, music, and visual art to K1 students in 2001, with a focus on bilingual retention through the expression of language in all its possible forms. “Kindergarten and 1st grade students understand poetry better than anyone else, because for them Language is a constant game of discovery and learning. I think we tend to lose that feeling of unpredictable meaning which allows them to make associations in such captivating ways….I met every class and my time with them as an opportunity to enjoy the moment of possibility.”   Karima Amin is a native of Buffalo, NY, who strives to preserve the art of storytelling in performances, workshops, and author visits for story lovers of all ages. In 2002, Karima was invited to share her stories in Senegal, West Africa. The author of a children’s book, The Adventures of Brer Rabbit and Friends (Dorling Kindersley, 1999), as well as several original stories which have been anthologized in African American Children’s Stories: A Treasury of Tradition and Pride (2001) and Grandma Loves You (2003), she also has produced several recordings of her retellings of traditional fables and folktales. Her CD, You Can Say That Again! (2004), earned a Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award in 2005. “Knowing that every culture has its stories, I believe that storytelling is a perfect medium for teaching about the customs, traditions, and history of a people…. listeners come to know that we are united by common human experiences in spite of our differences.”

Linda Drajem taught English for over 25 years to secondary students in the Buffalo Public Schools. She held the position of Staff Development Coordinator for the WNY Writing Project in 1997-1998. For the past nine years she has taught writing to undergraduate and graduate students at Buffalo State College, as well as supervising preservice English teachers. Recently she published a volume of poetry, InnerSessions, with two other poets. She holds a Ph.D. from UB in American Studies, M.A.H. from SUNY at Buffalo, B.A. in English from D’Youville College. “My own evolution as a poet and writer began with stories, first on the radio, then in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and later the classics…I began to write creatively only after I was immersed in the WNY Writing Project, writing workshops with Just Buffalo, and, especially, one given by local poet Jimmie Gilliam. Out of these experiences I discovered the joy of finding poetry in everyday life. More importantly, I learned how vital encouragement and response are to beginning writers.” Christopher Fritton is a local artist who holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.A. in English from the University at Buffalo (2000), as well as an M.A. in Poetics from the University of Maine at Orono (2005). He is a published poet and professional artist whose work often integrates technical and scientific language with sentimental humanism in small, handmade, limited edition books. “When I’m teaching, I try to draw from as many different influences as possible; I love to incorporate visual art, music, and popular media into discussions about writing. It not only helps students connect with something that often seems impenetrable, but also frees them to experiment with countless formats and styles.”

Monica Angle has twenty years of experience as an art educator including teaching studio art and bookmaking to children and adults. She attended Harvard College, pursued advanced courses in printmaking and bookmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and was educated as a geographer at Pennsylvania State University. She has exhibited works combining painting, printmaking and bookmaking since 1995, with solo exhibitions in academic and commercial galleries in Buffalo, NY, Charlottesville, VA and Minneapolis, MN. “As an artist and as an art educator, I find that creating a book allows us to have an experience with familiar materials, which encourages us to look at those materials in a new way and invites personal expression.”

Jerome Joseph Gentes is a Lakota-Gros Ventre American Indian. He received his B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with Maxine Hong Kingston and Peter Dale Scott and taught playwriting. He received his M.F.A. from the Graduate Program in Writing at Columbia University, where he studied writing forms and modes from American Indian oral traditions to avant-garde screenwriting. He has been published in The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Sightings, Out, Bandicoot, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Byzantium, Fourteen Hills, and The Writer’s Compass. “Few experiences have fostered my growth as a writer like the experience of being a teaching artist. I regularly find “models” of writing for the students, but they and their work remain the least self-conscious and most living, breathing, working, examples of writers and writing that I’ve ever known.”

Susan Hodge Anner is a poet and playwright whose work has been performed in New York, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C. Her most recent play, “Letters to The World,” was produced in 2007 as part of The Infringement Festival in Buffalo. She also teaches playwriting in the University at Buffalo’s Theatre Department. “My grandfather wrote philosophy books and besides encouraging me to become Miss America 1975, he also encouraged me to write. It began as a way of expressing the many things I couldn’t say out loud, thoughts, dreams, desires. Later it became a way of reaching out and understanding others, the ultimate act of empathy, to get inside another’s skin and imagine what it’s like to be them.”

Michael Kelleher is  the Artistic Director of Just Buffalo Literary Center. In addition, he conducts bilingual writer residencies in Spanish and English. He is the author of two collections of poems, Human Scale (BlazeVOX Books, 2007) and To Be Sung (BlazeVOX Books, 2005).  “My favorite part of teaching is seeing how poetry reaches the students who are hardest to reach: the ones who tune out, the ones who disrupt, the ones who sulk in the back row. It is almost inevitably those kids to whom the writing of poems means the most, because it offers them the chance to say something their own way, in their own words, without being corrected, and it is often those same students in whose eyes I see the light shine brightest.”

Sally Bittner Bonn is a poet, performer and teaching artist who earned her B.F.A. in Theatre from Syracuse University. She has been featured at poetry readings in the Rochester area and throughout southern California, as well as at the 2001 National Poetry Slam in Seattle. Orange is the most recent of her chapbooks and her work has been included in several anthologies. The Director of Youth Education at Writers & Books where she also teaches creative writing to children and adults and curates the 25 & Under Reading Series, Sally has been working with children in creative and academic environments for the last twelve years. “It is my hope and intention to create a pandemic of joy. Joy for language and joy for the sense of community that comes from collaborating. Children need to learn to love language, their own language, and find the power of using their own voices.”

Margaret Konkol is a Ph.D. student in the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo. She received her M.A. from the University of Virginia and her B.A. from Reed College. Her poems have found homes in Damn the Caesars, Little Red Leaves, Small Press Collective, Rude Girl Press, Buffalo Vortex and Love Factory. Currently, she is at work on a long poem affectionately dubbed Instruction Manual for Self-Created/Self-Alienating Calendars. Her article “Creeley in Age: Negative Poetics in Robert Creeley’s Late Work” appears in Jacket 31. “Poems develop out of local conditions, the political atmosphere, and daily social realities. Similar to a plant that develops shoots where the sun shines brightest, we write ourselves into the spaces we want to explore. In the classroom, I am excited to discover how every writer, every young poet, finds in poetry a way to ask new questions and uncover deeper textures of her or his own experience.”

Robin F. Brox is a poet and educator making her home on Buffalo’s West Side. A graduate of Amherst High School, she earned an M.A. in English from The University of Maine—Orono in 2005 and a B.A. in English from UB in 2001 after beginning her undergraduate career at Barnard College in New York City. The founder of Saucebox, a women’s performance series turned small press, Brox produces handmade chapbooks, broadsides, and other book arts. “Poems are the ornamental plants of literature; they come from seeds of inspiration, grow of urgent creative necessity, and burst into blossoms that reveal a truth so astonishing the world is made new. With my students, I feel honored to share in the creative process, from moments of frustration to delight, confusion to expression, poetry growing into their minds and out of their imaginations.”

Laura Nathan authored the forthcoming Insiders’ Guide to Houston; her writing has also appeared in Redbook, Cooking Light, The Writer’s Chronicle, ArtVoice, and the forthcoming anthology Screwball Television: Gilmore Girls. Previously the editor of the online magazine InTheFray, Laura has taught writing and communication skills to students in Houston, Austin, New York, Chicago, and Buffalo. She received her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Bennington College. “I fell in love with writing in the third grade, thanks to my language arts teacher, Mrs. Maxwell… who represented what I think a teaching artist should be: someone who encourages students to write creatively, to ask countless questions, to think––and write––outside the box. Someone who facilitates a lifelong love for writing and literature and gives her students the confidence they’ll need every step of the way.”


Meet the Writers Corps Born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Pamela Plummer is the author of two volumes of poetry, Skin of My Palms ( 2004) and Meditation on Ironing Boards & Other Blues (1994). A recipient of the Hughes, Diop, Knight Poetry Award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Drumvoices Review, The Ringing Ear, Obsidian III, Eyeball, WarpLand , and Bum Rush the Page––a def poetry jam anthology. A social worker and educator for more than 20 years, Pamela is an alumnus of Lafayette High School, Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, and has a PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The students and teachers with whom I’ve worked are some of the most incredible individuals that I’ve ever met. Creating a space for writing and exploration of language with them has been pure joy.” Sherry Robbins is a poet, teaching artist, and free-lance writer. She has conducted creative writing workshops throughout New York State and abroad since 1977 and works with thousands of students each year.  She is also an arts-in-education consultant for the University of Coimbra in Portugal and for Portugal’s Belgais Center for the Study of Arts. Sherry has two books of poetry, Snapshots of Paradise and Or, the Whale. In 2005, she was named the New York State Teaching Artist of the Year by the Association of Teaching Artists. “I would like to say how much I treasure this work we do. It keeps me reading, watching, listening to, and thinking about new ideas, and the sounds and shapes used to express them. Meeting young people from all over the map of circumstance and geography reminds me on a daily basis to pay attention and respect to their courage and to what Keats called “the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.” Old truths and new growth are at the core of quality arts education.” Gary Earl Ross is a professor at the University at Buffalo EOC and the award-winning author of more than 170 published short stories, poems, articles, and public radio essays. His books and staged plays include the children’s tale Dots, Matter of Intent (winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America), and the just published Blackbird Rising: A Novel of the American Spirit. A member of Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Mystery Writers of America, Ross is playwright-in-residence at Ujima Company and in 2008 was awarded a Constance Saltonstall Foundation Fellowship in Play Writing. “Working as a Just Buffalo Writer in Education has exposed me to the wonderful potential of so many young writers that I find my own writing energized. In many students I have seen the IT––drive, creativity, verbal playfulness, and insight––that makes a writer possible. It is my job to nurture that IT, to help a student take the next step on his journey toward writing well.” Siobhán Scarry holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Montana, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English at the University at Buffalo with an emphasis on 20th century poetry and poetics. Recent honors include a fellowship to the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and poems chosen as Editors’ Choice in the Fineline Competition for the Prose Poem (2003, 2004, and 2005). She has taught creative writing, composition, and literature at both the university and high school level. “Teaching writing is a natural extension of my work as a creative writer…. My classes are at once laboratories where we study poems and their many forms, workshops where poetry gets “made,” and conversations in which student input is a vital part of the learning process.” Divya Victor has lived and learned in India, Singapore, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Seattle. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing—Poetry and is currently working towards her Ph.D. in English at the University at Buffalo. Her work has appeared in ambit, XConnect, ixnay, generator, dusie, President’s Choice, P-QUEUE, and Drunken Boat and is forthcoming from Little Red Leaves Press. “As a kindergartener in India, I used to practice writing the alphabet with chalk on a 10” by 10” black slate. I am told that I could never get beyond the letter “H”—the slate was simply too small. I did not know how to continue writing once I reached its edge. It was thus that our home’s terracotta tiled terrace was made available to the practice of the alphabet. With chalked hands, and on my knees, I encountered language under a noon sun for years. In teaching poetry, I hope to invite young learners to go beyond that ‘H’, and into the world as wielders of a powerful tool: language.”

Kaitlyn Abel: 22

Zachery Hollander: 17

Kiera Quinlivan: 8

Romeiro Amos: 19

Melina Homsi: 14

Musa Raqib: 20

Blake Antoszek: 11

Andree Hoolihan: 25

Nathaniel Regester: 23

Nathan Areualo: 18

Charise Hunter-Bell: 33

Alexander Riesz: 31

Liz Bailey: 35

Kadeja Jamison: 16

Sean Riley: Picturing Poetry

Gianna Balassone: 20

Tajé Jones: 27

Tyler Ringwood: 21

Mrs. Bauer’s class: 9

Chloe Karmazyn: 13

William Ritchie: 36

René Benoit: 25

Amiyah King:

Shania Rivera: 15

Janay Brooks: 21

Emily King: 24

Alexiss Robinson: 29

Benjamin Brownell: 27

Emily Law: 25

William Saint: 21

Julia Brundin: 12

Devin Londos: 24

Joselyne Santiago: 23

Maddison Budniewski: 9

Alexander Lutkoff: 12

Stephanie Santiago: 35

Ceaira Butler: 23

Caroline Magavern: 15

Riley Schmidt: 32

Nick Buzzanca: 35

Isabelle Mahar: 9

India Seychew: 16

Kayla Carpino: 31

José Martinez: 19

Crystal Shaw: 30

Autum Carter:

Kaitlyn Mayrose: 26

Tamia Shipp: 22

Zoe Crapsi: 9

Mia McClain: 14

Kyle Slomba: 15

Olivia Crowley: 17

Caitlin McNamara: 14

Andrew Straw: 30

Mrs. DeMarco’s class: 26

Susan Miller: 29

Jackson Tarr: 8

Joseph Demmin: 31

Sadi Mohiuddin:

Janine Elliott: 33

Morerees Montgomery: Picturing Poetry

Grace Van Vessen: 11

Kaitlyn Fellows: 8

Debra Morton: 29

Isabella Wadsworth: 10

Tarah Foresta: 36

Jacob Moslow: 32

Thomas Wagner: 11

Robert Gardner: 15

Irenee Nkera: Picturing Poetry

Brianna Wasik: 13

Fatir Glover: 18

Fatima Nor: 24

Zahra West: 22

Emma Goldman: 18

Nathan Null: 33

Melissa White: 26

Tatyiana Gordon: 21

Prince Page: Picturing Poetry

Jonviér Whittington: Picturing Poetry

Stephanie Guynn: 30

Natasha Panepinto: 11

Brendee Winfield: 10

Marla Hairstan: 26

Tajunique Parker: 16

Jacob Yots: 8

Joanna Haque: 14

Lauren Penksa: 8

Melanie Zachritz: 34

Christina Harris: 28

Kianna Pierson: 19

Rodney Henry, Jr.: 27

Isaiah Pride: 17

Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry

Matine Uwangabe: Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry A unique learning experience combining photography with the literary arts Taught collaboratively by Just Buffalo and CEPA Gallery

Picturing Poetry

The Tree Light and dark will they unite or not dark and light who will win the fight‌

Sadi Mohiuddin Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted, P.S. 56

The Feeling It is art not just a picture. It spreads like a bird in the air.

A Huge Round Box I can see the world as a huge round box with tiny little people trapped in until it is time for them to go back home violence and poverty surround this huge round box a shadow of darkness covers the earth this shadow represents evil evil is winning the world is silenced But one thing that stands out is hope

I felt like I was a small person. I looked then I saw what the picture meant. It felt like I was being chased by insects. It really meant something beautiful.

JonviĂŠr Whittington Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted, P.S. 56

Irenee Nkera Grade 6 Our Lady of Black Rock School

Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry

The Tree The tree so tall it seems that I am a tiny little animal. Oh tree I wish you were my friend. You were a seed now you are a tree. You and I are nothing alike. But we both grow.

Sean Riley Grade 6 Our Lady of Black Rock School

Help Me I can taste the stump’s salty human-like tears. But why are they there? What has happened to this poor tree? As I analyze it I begin to touch, and feel. I feel the stump’s rough and bumpy edges. Bump…Bump…ridge. I can hear the tree’s cries, they pierce the holes in my ears. I cannot help but feel guilty. What can I do? Nothing. I simply cannot do anything. I am witnessing a murder. I can smell the blood of the once-before tree (sap). As it runs down the tree’s bark a puddle has formed beneath my feet.

Amiyah King Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted, P.S. 56

Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry

My World The Little Girl and the Spirit In my picture there’s respect with People that join together to Help each other with smiles And niceness, careful, helpful Clean so in or around them There are cousins, moms, dads Aunts, friends, family in the picture One girl is not only lifting her Spirit she is lifting her body In my picture the most respectful Thing is that she is helping With a hand

Prince Page Grade 6 Highgate Heights, P.S. 80

My world is a world with branches and trees that are like people. Shh‌Listen. Do you hear them? They speak. They speak words of wisdom just like my grandmother. My world is a world with whistling winds. These are the winds that put me to sleep at night. My world is a world with a rushing stream of adventure. My world is a world where there is a bridge, a bridge to cross to get to the other side. If you want to live in my world.

Autum Carter Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted, P.S. 56

Picturing Poetry

Picturing Poetry

What She’s Thinking

Morerees Montgomery Grade 5 Highgate Heights, P.S. 80

A Girl what Is she Thinking To do good Do bad to take Some thing Is she really Happy is she Just smiling For the picture Maybe maybe not Is she good or not Is she a loving person Does her family give Her respect or does She give them respect More important is some One going to teach her Respect or is she Going to teach herself So she may be learning Respect now she is still Little and does not know a Lot she seems that she is Lazy and not giving respect So we just have to teach Her we have to give her love and care And T. L. C.

Hope In my little sister’s eyes I see she is happy and tall as me. The world feels upside down it looks like the room has no colors or things her eyes are like the earth big and beautiful in my eyes. She will be a good person her arms are like a long road with power. Her life is a dark room and mysterious.

Matine Uwangabe Grade 6 Our Lady of Black Rock School

If I Could Fly

Butterfly butterfly, flap flap flap flies to a garden tap

(Inspired by Tar Beach)

Tap tap, Someone is there, who is it? Why it’s Another butterfly, flap flap flap.

I would fly over a rainbow

Jackson Tarr

to see the colors every night.

Grade 1 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Lauren Penksa Kindergarten Como Park Elementary School

They’re red not green. Are they 15? They’re Black as night. They never fight. They’re

Rocket Ship

White and light. They start out as a caterpillar. A caterpillar, a caterpillar. A long long way. They

The rocket roars at me

Change into a pupa. They come as a butterfly.

lets me sit on its seat

A butterfly, a me oh my. A long long way.

a silver bird flying through space, landing on earth without

Kiera Quinlivan

leaving a trace.

Grade 1 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Jacob Yots Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Myrtle the Turtle

My book

I am a turtle

My book tells me

My name is Myrtle

information. It makes

My shell is black and green

me really happy. The

I am friendly and never mean.

pages tell me secrets.

I can live up to 100 years

The cover makes a

I have no fears

picture come in

My shell has an amazing smell

my head.

At the end of the day I go to bed

It gives me laughs.

In my shed

The words scramble in my

And inside my shell, I tuck my head.


Mrs. Bauer’s class Grade 2 Houghton Academy, P.S. 69

Unicorn I’m a unicorn in the air I’m never mean and always fair.

If you take a butterfly to school On Friday, my butterfly said to me, “Can you take me to school?” “Well, sure.” She got dressed. She asked for a snack. Then we walked to school. When we came in, everybody looked at us. My butterfly messed up all the papers. The teacher was mad. She gave her a timeout. Then it was lunch. The butterfly made a mess! Then it was time to go home. My butterfly disliked the bus driver!

Kaitlyn Fellows


Grade 1 Como Park Elementary School

I walk on the ground. Sometimes I make a horse-like sound. I can both fly and walk. To tell you the truth, I magically talk. I’m nice and never mean. I have to tell you I’m never seen.

Zoe Crapsi Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Isabelle Mahar Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Olmsted #64 Olmsted gives me an A+. I always hear it calling. It cares for children. It lets us go at one o’clock. It keeps us smart for College. Olmsted puts new stuff in your head. Olmsted is kind. Olmsted is caring. Olmsted will tell you to come. Olmsted calls you. Olmsted cares.

Maddison Budniewski Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64


A winter gingerbread man story

If You Bring a Hamster to School (Inspired by If You Take a Mouse to School)

One day a boy wanted to have a gingerbread man. So he did. It was winter. He took

Today I’m bringing a hamster to school. “Mr. Nutty, get your clothes on.”


“Let me brush your hair and pack your lunch. What do you want for lunch?”


“Okay, now we can brush our teeth. Make them shiny. Ready for school?”


“Wait, we have to get our jackets on and go. Look it’s the bus. Let’s go. We’re at school. First we have to do our morning work.”

said, “Where are you going?” The gingerbread man said, “You can’t run from me,” so he ran from the penguin. Next he slipped into a polar bear. He said, “Where are you going?” “I have run from a penguin, and I can run from you, too!” “Oh can you?” Next he slipped into an Arctic fox. He said, “Where are you going?” “I have run away from a penguin, a polar bear,” and he said it again. And he found a lake, and the fox took him in the water, and with a snap and a crunch,

“Can you help me?”

that was the end of the gingerbread man. The end.

“Yes, Mr. Nutty.” Time to go to art, then lunch. We’re painting in art. “Will you make footprints with paint?”

a peek and pop! The gingerbread man flew out of the oven. He slipped into a penguin. He


Blake Antoszek Grade 2 Como Park Elementary School

“Let’s start painting.” Splish, splash. “Wow, it’s a big mess. Time to go to lunch. Yummy.”

“Can I have some of your juice?”

Wind ripples the waves

“Of course.”

The Beach The people stare amazed as


the beach washes away

Now we go back to our classroom to get ready to go home. “I’m packed up. We have to wait for the bell.”

Grace Van Vessen

Ding! The bell. “Let’s go home now. We’re getting picked up today. It’s my mom. Let’s go

Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

home and play with my paint and see if he makes another mess. Splish, splash, another mess. “I’ll clean up the mess.” “What do you want to do?”

“I want to play with your dolls!”

“OK. Hey, don’t touch that. Stop it! It’s too much to handle.

A Summer Song

Isabella Wadsworth Grade 2 Como Park Elementary School

It gives me warmth and

A forest can be a place to relax,

Let the sun heat you

light. It follows me wherever

and to play,

Let the wind cool you

I go. It goes to

and to use your imagination.

Watch leaves blow in the wind

sleep when I go to sleep

Hide in it.

You can play outside

and sings me songs right

Relax in it.

Without getting too cold.


Thomas Wagner

Natasha Panepinto

Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Grade 2 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Get lost in the trees.

Brendee Winfield


The Sun

Grade 2 Hamlin Park School, P.S. 74



Cinderella is Bald My Omi is very fun and loving. She doesn’t just have room for me and my family,

she has room for everyone. That makes me feel she is very special. Every time I think of her, my heart lights up and makes me think, “I should follow my Omi’s footstep.” So I try to. But sometimes it is hard. Because I think “How am I going to love people I don’t like?”

Then I pray to God for help. He talks to me deep in my heart. He tells me how I can,

and that helps. Well, when I still think I can’t do it, I think of my Omi. Her heartwarming smile, her short, gray, curly hair, her cat Stanzy, and the fun I have with her when she visits. I love to bake fresh hot cookies with her, and go sledding. It always helps. Then I know deep down, “You can do it.”

Once upon a time there was a girl named Cinderella but she had a problem. She had living things in her hair and needed to get rid of them. The next day she was heartbroken because she couldn’t wash her hair. She was weeping all night long but while she was crying, she thought about how the well was shaped like a bucket. After she was done thinking, she got a bucket and started crying once more. She cried so much that she had to get one more bucket. She used the water from the buckets to wash her hair. She finally drowned the mama ant (queen). That is great. Now the mama can’t have anymore babies! Hurray, Hurray! Cinderella sings all day long Hurray! Hurray! After a few hours she said to herself, I am starting to get very long hair and I’m starting to sweat. So she goes down Charming Street and sees the Castle Kingdom Caring for Hair Shoppe. She gets five snips off her head and the hairdresser says, “You either

Julia Brundin Grade 3 St. Mark Elementary School

have lice or I need glasses. Pick what you think.” Well, the hairdresser points to a group of lice and Cinderella says, “Well, now I think I have lice.” “You think?!” the hairdresser says. So after discussing the incident about Cinderella having lice, Cinderella whispers to the hairdresser, “Shave my head bald.” So the hairdresser shaves Cinderella’s head and that is why Cinderella is bald.

Brianna Wasik Grade 3 Como Park Elementary School

Freaky Old Neighbor I used to have a freaky old neighbor. His name was Archie. He had a hunchback. He was tall and had gray hair. If I ever walked by his house, he would yell at me for no reason. He wasn’t just mean, he was vicious. For example, whenever the mailman came he would let out his vicious Golden Retriever and the mailman would start running. Whenever my friends and I would skateboard he would yell. I did not know if he liked me or not. I had to find out. First I walked across his lawn. No yelling. Then I tried doing it very loud. Then he yelled like he never yelled before. I realized it wasn’t about me but about the noise. We became friends. Soon I had to move to Grand Island. I had to leave all my friends, including Archie. I said “bye” and Archie said “bye.” We never saw each other again.

Alexander Lutkoff Grade 3 St. Mark Elementary School


Ant If I were an ant The stars would look like fireflies A blade of grass would be my tree One hour would feel like forever! I would love a grain of sugar But I would not like feet!

Chloe Karmazyn Grade 3 Akron Elementary School


If I Created the World

Our Beautiful Buffalo

I am black like the night sky, with dancing stars in me.

In spring trees are dancing

I am a flute, soft and graceful.

The wind is whistling a happy tune

I am zero, the nothing number.

Corazon (My Heart)

I am a lake, calm and quiet. I am a mustang, fast and cool.

The leaves are playing tag in the wind It would have

Those are the best parts of

boom, boom

I am a chicken, tender and tasty.

rocks that are candy

our beautiful Buffalo.

Mi corazon is going boom, boom

I am a dragon, powerful and fierce.

I am a school, supporting the education.

a chocolate waterfall

My heart feels like

houses made of gingerbread cookies

Caitlin McNamara

boom, boom

Shoes would be candy of all kinds

Grade 4 Discovery School, P.S. 67

and the laces…licorice

it has joy

I am a crackle from a blazing fire.

Mi corazon.

Robert Gardner

It feels like Joy

Grade 4 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School

Earrings would be made of gummy worms

it’s very scared

People would laugh, there’d be no yelling

or it feels like

Mi corazon, oh, Mi Corazon

Kids would play nice and peacefully There’s a dog, small as a gingerbread man— and it stays that way I smell fresh air and a candy world right around the corner— A wonderful and happy kid’s place

Mia McClain

Peace People would really Enjoy the Answer to Cure the wars, to save the Earth, and its people

Made from




Shania Rivera Grade 4 Waterfront Elementary School, P.S. 95

Melina Homsi Grade 4 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Grade 4 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

My Life I am from bike crashes I fall and get up I am from the sound of screeching tires I am the smell of burning rubber I am from books


I tell a great story

Orange leaves covering the ground

I fly high with beautiful colors

I am from the sky I am from Bison games


Unseen by the world, a flower slowly sprouts.

I like playing Golf because

Sunlight sparkling on a river

you have to have a nice day

I relax on the root of a tree

to play it. And it feels like you’re

Deer eyeing me thoughtfully

hitting a ball into somebody’s

Everything is at peace.

swimming like a fish.

Caroline Magavern

Kyle Slomba

mouth. The sound is like a light just turned on.

Joanna Haque


Grade 4 Waterfront Elementary School, P.S. 95

Trees swaying in the wind

Grade 4 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

the sound of screaming fans I am from birdwatching looking for exotic animals I am from swimming

Grade 4 Discovery School, P.S. 67


My Name My name is like a rose that did not bloom. My name is like a volcano that was going to burst. When I hear my name I hear a lion roar. I am a smile that will not fade away. My name is soft like a cloud but then becomes loud like a bell. Plus I am powerful but still fearless. I am my name and my name is me.

Kadeja Jamison Grade 4 Community School, P.S. 53

Music Rush your feet across my islands meadows of beautiful flowers and clear rivers sun rising above tall scattered trees birds singing sweet songs to the beat of wings. rush of waterfalls koi fish leaping through cool ponds pollen in the fields of bright grass and colorful buds pine and maple trees and rain fallen branches

My Name My name

Music, music

It is funny,

Flowing in the breeze

It is fuzzy,

From the tap of a shoe

It sounds like a bee.

To the whistle of a flute

I am a young student, I am a warrior ready

A roaring scream from an electric guitar

to fight.

The bang-pat-pat of a drum

My name is an explosion.

Taking your breath away

My name is strong.

Singing a song

It is resounded in the sky 100 times.

Music, music

My name.

The joyful element Of all worlds

Zachery Hollander Grade 4 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64

Isaiah Pride Grade 4 Community School, P.S. 53

gentle, arm-like in which I lay and climb come touch the soft fur of a wolf cub in its den

My Feelings Sad as the blues. Sad as the sand washing away. Mad as a raging lion. Mad as a growling bear. Glad as a talking bird. Glad as a red rose.

Tajunique Parker Grade 4 Hamlin Park School, P.S. 74

sweet pears under a shady tree


juicy strawberries

(inspired by Paul CÊzanne’s The Bay)

little chipmunks at my feet The water ripples rest your legs on a

wiping away sand

large rock

The sound of the wind whistling

by the waterfalls

and drifting away The smell of flowers

my heart pounds

and fresh baking bread

as I skip to and from

Serene mountains

my deserted islands

reaching up high into the sky

with my friends

India Seychew Grade 4 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 64


and brushes against the shore

Olivia Crowley Grade 4 St. Mark Elementary School


Fragment of a Letter


Family and Friends

Holmes’s face was pale. I could see that he was afraid. I had no chance to ask what had

Yo amo esta pintura.

You know that respect shows many things: responsibility,

Yo amo esta flor.

Respectfulness, regard, reliability, reward, but most of all

Yo amo el desierto.

Is royalty. Respect shows. Some disrespectful people don’t

way down in the village…

Yo amo la musica.

Know that. Her hand was as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Yo amo las hojas verdes.

Her shirt was as cool as a summer breeze.

Nathan Areualo

Yo amo el mar y los caballos.

Her hand is like a silver bridge.

Yo amo los árboles.

For respect and love brother and sister

Yo amo sentarme.

Join hands to show some love for each other

Yo amo el cielo.

To express their feelings and put their differences

Yo amo los puentes.


happened. Suddenly the quiet of the night was broken by a scream. It was the most terrible sound I had ever heard. It made my heart cold. They say that people heard the cry all the

Grade 5 Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence, P.S. 18

Yo amo la nieve.

Romeiro Amos

Yo amo la pared de China. Yo amo los perros.

I Am, I Am Becoming


I am orange.

The sun is shining brightly

I am like the orange peels being peeled.

overhead but you

Like cheese puffs being crunched on.

see a rainbow made not of color but of peace,

I am a game chair.

energy and

Ready to be sat on.


For gamers to focus while sitting on me.

My wings shimmer like crystals in the sun.

I am number thirteen.

The totem’s spirit stares back

The day I will be a teenager.

into my life. I have been here for three

I am an electric guitar.

days and I’m here to tell

Rockin away.

good and bad news. I can

Vibrating the whammy.

tell you what the future holds

Making the crowd scream.

and may leave. I am here where I belong.

I am the wind.

With chains woven of vines

Whistling happily.

I will not leave where I live

Blowing things away.

for it travels wherever I go.

Fatir Glover Grade 5 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School


Grade 5 Highgate Heights, P.S. 80

Yo amo los pichones. Yo amo la guerra. Yo amo la naturaleza.

Nature I love this painting. I love this flower. I love the desert. I love the music. I love the green leaves. I love the sea and the horses. I love the trees. I love to sit down. I love the sky.

Just another day

I love the bridges.

a blue sky turning into night

I love the snow. I love the Great Wall of China. I love the dogs.

The wind going over the water

I love the war.

food, blackberries & seeds

I love nature.

José Martinez

Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

Grade 5 Bilingual School, P.S. 33

Me and my family settle down for the night. The sound of the reeds

I love the pigeons.

Emma Goldman

flocks of geese turning southward

good night but not for you.

Kianna Pierson

Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56


‘I am in Need of Music”


(inspired by Elizabeth Bishop)

(an ABeCedarian poem)

melody sinks in my heart

Awakening, tired puppy lying in its bed

colors swaying through the moon-green sea

Bowling happily, getting strikes, jumping up and down

forever flushed on my limbs

Candy sweet and sour, hard and soft, yummy

liquid floats over my quivering lips

Dark and gloomy nights sitting on the couch cuddling

I flow to the stillness of that song

Everyone together talking and having fun Fabulous places to go any day

Tatyiana Gordon

Gianna, the name I was born with.

Grade 5 St. Joseph School

Heart beating in your body, keeping you alive I love dogs licking your face and jumping on you

Lions roaring in the jungle

Summer is like a baby bird hatching from it’s nest to go out, learn and play

Summer is like a new life

My big TV showing shows like “I Carly”

that has never felt the world

No people should be acting horribly Oh, I love the warm ocean breeze on my face

Summer is like the imagination

People giving out things on Christmas

of a beautiful boy or girl

Quick, hurry up, run, run, run

Janay Brooks

My Name

Grade 5

Tug the rope out of the person’s hand and win Unicorns in your great fantasy

My name

Vent giving off hot air and cold air to keep you happy

is like a radio

Wings on the big valiant eagle

it means different things

Xylophone playing a beautiful song, people clapping

I am mad, for many reasons

Yogurt being licked off a spoon and then the smile

I am hip-hop,

Zig zag around the obstacle course

made of beats I am Viking,

Gianna Balassone

full of war

Grade 5 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School

I am Einstein, but not that smart I am giving ‘cause I care I am Hercules, strong I am me, my name.

Musa Raqib


a little more each day

that is ready to be seen

Kelp growing in the big ocean

Singing songs on “American Idol”

Summer is like a flower blooming

Summer is like a new day

Jelly in the sandwich you are enjoying

Reading riddles out of books


Grade 5 Community School, P.S. 53

Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence, P.S. 18

Spring I know it’s Spring when my bling shines in the light and when my mother’s flowers open. I know it’s Spring when I see greener grass, no snow, and more thoughts, thoughts that blow me away with Spring winds. I know it’s Spring when I open my eyes and I see all the opportunities in front of me.

Tyler Ringwood Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

Love… Mom cares for the dog as the dog cares for Mom. They both feel comfort, as love flows through the air. Both animal and human have to care. As a kiss upon the cheek, A look in the eyes Completes it all.

William Saint Grade 5 Highgate Heights, P.S. 80


La Paloma

Where I Live

Paloma, paloma, que linda eres.

Where I live.

I live in a dark, cold neighborhood.

Where the stars will never stop glowing


and the joy never stops flowing. Even though it’s cold and dark, I will never stop believing.

Gracias, gracias. De donde vienes?

I am visited by many things.

Del cielo azul y blanco.

I am visited in many places.

Kaitlyn Abel Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

In the attic, I’m visited by quietness.

A donde vas?

In church, I am visited by the Lord’s spirit.

Para el cielo a volar.

In bed, I’m visited by dreams. In my room, I’m visited by sisters and brothers.

Te gusta volar?

Outside, I’m visited by animal friends.

Claro, claro que si.

I am visited by many things.

Heard the sound woooo woooo

Ceaira Butler

Little dove, little dove, how pretty you are. Thank you, thank you. Where do you come from? From the blue and white sky.

My Life

Felt like we were on an island dancing Colors circling around me

The Dove

Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

The Sound of the Music Sleeping on a ship I heard water

I am visited in many places.


Where do I live?

Is a house

That’s for me to know

and cars

I heard the sound of wooo wooo

And for you to listen

the color of blood

It felt like we were moving

Where I come from

Colors circling around me

Instead of speaking with our mouths

Red is the taste

We were on a rainbow with music

We speak with our fists

of tomatoes

Me, I live in a fantasy world

and the smell of flowers

It felt like we were moving

Where no one is afraid to say

Smelling the ocean sea

what they feel

The sound of birds and songs

We were on a rainbow with music

I come from a world where music is my passion

Red is smooth and rough

Relaxed and watching the sun go down.

And when I want to speak

like the hockey net’s bars

Where are you going? To fly in the sky. Do you like to fly? Yes, yes I do.

Joselyne Santiago & friend Grade 5 Bilingual School, P.S. 33

The butterflies in my stomach disappear

Tamia Shipp Grade 5 Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School


And what I live for

Happy and energetic

Is just three words:


Family, Friends, Music

Is my favorite color

Zahra West

Nathaniel Regester

Grade 5 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

Grade 5 Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School


Quiet Morning


I walk outside and smell the

Bread: (noun) 1. the nourishment that sustains us 2. the food that fuels us and takes hunger away

morning dew


3. the plain brown crumbs that taste so good 4. all we have to stay alive 5. a cheap but depleting

a thin layer of ice covering

When poverty

if only half full 8. what helps us to get to our destinations and concentrate 9. some slightly moldy,

the grass

and homelessness

old, and crusty slices 10. what we have only known and felt at meal times 11. all we think about

crushing it with every

take over

on each journey 12. the broken, dull, small and hungry feelings in our stomachs.


this world needs peace

I feel the cold breeze

when countries are having war

on my skin and see the sun peek

over lands

over houses in the east. I feel

this world needs peace

comfortable, without a care as I

when people are killing each other

steadily move along.

over petty little arguments

birds sing softly as I stroll over

Emily King Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

resource 6. our only food, but lumpy and crumbling 7. what fills our stomachs, morning to night,

Emily Law Grade 6 Depew Middle School

this world needs peace when people are fighting over money this world needs peace. Peace… something the world needs

Fatima Nor

Stick To Me Like Glue

Grade 6 Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence, P.S. 18

I wish this special person heard me, I ask one thing,


one thing only, to have a friend a great one exactly.

Money Money: (noun) 1. the shoes on our feet and clothes on our backs 2. the thing you can’t buy 3. the food that keeps you alive 4. the Presidents’ souls 5. the fun in every child’s life 6. our transportation 7. our downfall 8. the key to civilization 9. entertainment 10. the evil of the world 11. almost everything 12. magic 13. America in a nutshell 14. wondrous paper 15. Air Jordans, Beautiful Ornaments 16. the past and the future 17. love and hate 18. greatness 19. richness

Devin Londos Grade 6 Depew Middle School


Do you see the girl dancing?

One that doesn’t jump from

Hush. You’ll scare her.

mountain to mountain, one

A butterfly in the desert

that stays put and doesn’t

An extra rupee for food

move, move to a new school or

Sun after a rain

different country, one that will

Someone buying Mami’s blanket

stay with me forever and

A violet in the snow

ever until we die together.

Hope dancing with tombstones

Andree Hoolihan Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56

René Benoit Grade 6 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 56


The Stage

America Unfairica

Lost to Violence

Paid too much

Where do the flowers go…?

Yell for a refund America’s gone too far

Is not telling me my lines

Whatever, America Already I’ve had enough.

Nor cracking open into a deep hole

Mrs. DeMarco’s class Grade 6 Depew Middle School

It’s not walking away because it doesn’t like what I’m saying It’s not isolated, nor worried about having many friends

To the garden in back of your friend’s house

He sits on his curb umbrellas at hand

To the girl in the blue dress going to the prom

tattered boots and battered pants. His hat tipped sideways

In the vase on your mother’s new kitchen table

and a beard on his chin. His only friends are a

In the hand of the bride on her wedding day

pipe and some gin. The people walk by,

It’s not ashamed of what it stands for

On the graves of loved ones lost to violence

No one says “Hi”

(inspired by where do the flowers go? by Molly Lawter, Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, Grade 9)

No family, no friends.

It’s just there, standing strong Making my dreams complete

The Man on the Curb

This is the man on the curb.

In the Middle of Nowhere!

Melissa White

I’m lying in the grass,

Grade 9 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192

through my hair.

the cool breeze blowing

Benjamin Brownell Grade 8 St. Joseph School

Rodney Henry, Jr. Grade 9 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192

Thinking how I’m going to get home, how far, but so near.

A Few Minutes One phone call can change your spirit One word can change your thoughts A few seconds can change your life Five minutes can change what you’re able to do Ten minutes can change who’s in your family One hour on a plane can take the world away One shot can end a life

Marla Hairstan Grade 6 Depew Middle School

The sky so blue, the grass so green, and my little hose in the middle of it. Out here, all by myself, in the middle of nowhere, with no one around, it’s so calm, so peaceful. The sun’s rays beating down on me, so hot, so sweaty. I’m longing to get home, how far, but so near.

Kaitlyn Mayrose


Grade 6 Akron Central Middle School

Dramatic Monologue

Family was never important to me. I’ve never had family except for Grandfather. He

wasn’t always an honest man but to me he was the greatest man who ever lived. When life and money became more important than me in my parents’ eyes, he was there to step in.

Responsibility wasn’t my parents’ strong point. And all Grandfather knew was respon-

sibility. A self-made man is what he was. He worked his way from the ground up. Now that he’s gone, so is that unconditional love I received.

He always kept me from falling or steering away from what was important. I wasn’t

supposed to take the path he did. (PAUSE) Sure, what he did to support us wasn’t always legal or even considerate, but it kept us cared for.

Once he hit fifty years old, he tried to make right what was made wrong. Now I sit here

with jewels, cars, big homes, limos and endless funds. Still…since he’s passed, so has the love I had in my family.

Tajé Jones Grade 9 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 156


Monologue She was the most enchanting woman I’ve ever seen. I remember when I was younger, in the cold streets of Brooklyn, my mother would yell “Victoria come in for your lessons.” I’d practice singing and dancing for hours, but I’d never reach her level of greatness. Back then people of my color weren’t allowed on the Broadway stage. I promised myself I’d be the first. She helped me reach my goal. This is my mother’s story. My Mother grew up in the Dominican Republic. A dangerous place at the time, she left at 14 years of age. She never returned. I think it’s because she felt that if she went back everyone would call her “traidor” or traitor. I knew the truth though. She was scared. Scared to admit that she was happier away from home. I was born July 8, 1932. Everyday I would go to my grandmother’s house and every night I’d go down to the Top Hat club to watch as my mother performed. She was the best. Everyone knew it and they hated her for it. She’d come home with no money, because she’d walk home alone and more then half the time she’d get jumped and lose all her hard earned money.

My Blanket Is not my knight in shining armor holding me while I sleep trying his best to keep me happy, and safe as can be.

I think But I didn’t really understand

to float upon, or the too-good-to-be true

What had happened

ship you reach in a near drowning rescue.

What it meant. What were the twin towers?

It is a blanket

Why was everyone so scared?

Warm and blue

I went home like normal

That helps me feel safe in the dark.

My parents were scared, too.

Debra Morton Grade 9 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192

Did people die? Oh, lots of people. I still didn’t understand. Or didn’t want to understand. to my mom next to the computer and saw the picture of the man

and say “I’m trying baby, I’m doing the best I can.”

Super Hero

called it. She earned enough money to move me and my sister into a better apartment.

The only super hero I wanted to be

I remember her smile the day we moved in. It was the brightest and most beautiful

was a child better than me

smile I’ve ever seen. We celebrated till morning, singing and dancing, laughing and

I wished to gain the power of

eating. That was the last time I saw my Mother dance.

revealing my true self. Always wearing a shield

There was a flu outburst at The Zone. Dancers were afraid to return to work. They

Walking on a dark cloud

knew that if they became ill they would be out of work and they might not see a doctor

Wanting to look flashy

to get the proper medication…

Blend in with the crowd

Grade 9 Frederick Law Olmsted School, P.S. 156

I still didn’t understand

I came downstairs to say goodnight

like all the other little girls, why does everyone laugh at my shoes!” She’d look at me

Christina Harris

I heard about it in school

It’s not an ocean or sea of love

I think seeing us hungry hurt her the most. I’d say to her “Why can’t I get new shoes

And she was. She booked a job dancing for the hottest club around. “The Zone” people


flying through the air. He had jumped And I finally understood why everyone was scared. I was, too.

Susan Miller Grade 9 Tapestry High School

The difference between other kids and myself Is that when I reconstructed myself I gained those powers Only being super ME!

Alexiss Robinson Grade 9 Tapestry High School



It only takes a minute… or one second…

An End Marks a New Beginning

The things you love most could disappear I wanted to go away…

in just that long.

I wanted to die My past isn’t happy

I cried so hard that

I still remember the fear…


and the pain.

than the day my Parents gave up on me…

One particular time…

The Lies You Fed Me You fed me breakfast, lunch, and dinner In all of your meals you emptied A bottle of deceit, Smothered the sentences I ate With fibs all over my ribs You filled my bowls with rumors I was forced to pick deceit out of my teeth All because you fed me lies And all I ask is why? You bathed my chicken noodle soup In the opposite of truth You fed me lies and I gobbled Them up for you Breakfast, the most important meal Fibs for lunch and Dark rumors for dinner Poured a bottle of tricks in a wine glass And like the young lady I am I sipped, to the last All because you fed me lies

I was only 11. I was still so small, and weak…

even As I write this…

I am still weak, I just

my heart beats fast…

act like I’m strong.


mobile making moms morally mortified; mainly

Certified and sealed

misunderstandings, mostly

Our purpose shall consist as

mistaken misadventures,

A whole

much moderate misbehaving, or marvelous

We, the People


Are redefining that generalization By faith in our fathers (The first stanza was quoted from Barack Obama’s “Inauguration Speech of the 44th President.” The second stanza is from “Amendment 12: The Bill of Rights.” The third stanza is my own voice.)

hope that I could

those papers…

feel like I finally

I can still remember…

am loved.

Kayla Carpino

They were adoption papers…

Stephanie Guynn

Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212

I still remember…

Grade 9 Tapestry High School

Alexander Riesz Grade 10 Bishop Timon—St. Jude High School

It was as if all the life went out… I remember all of it…


I ran I ran out the door, I ran ‘til I couldn’t

They say that a picture means a thousand words.

run any more…

And that when you die you fly away with the birds.

The Empty Box

I’m full and I refuse to eat.

What is inside? I shake it to hear a sound However nothing moves around I open it up, I open my eyes An unpleasant surprise It’s just a box full of lies.


Many men move mightily

We proclaim an end to childish games

When she tore up

What did you hide?

Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212

Shattered but not hopeless

That day I really did

I’ve got news for you

Crystal Shaw

We are in the midst of a crisis

Andrew Straw Grade 10 South Park High School, P.S. 206

I know for the most part I believe what I’ve heard, And if you try and tell me wrong that it’s absolutely absurd. Some people try to change you, even though it’s them who needs it. They try to steal your power, and your weakness forever feeds it. You can’t change how they treat you, even when they try to defeat you. Fight for what you believe in, because you never know when you’re leaving.

Joseph Demmin Grade 10 Stanley G. Falk School



On Battered Wing I’m having endless nightmares.

German Night Song

But it’s hard to stay awake.

(inspired by Langston Hughes’s “Harlem Night Song”)

I should’ve seen it sooner,

What’s this nation coming to,

This was all a big mistake.

This is not what I had planned.

Deep down inside of me,

They say I’m a freak,

There’s a feeling I can’t shake.

I hate to keep this brand.

What’s my next move,

And now I know why,

A decision I must make.

Why no one understands.

We hear German words But we don’t understand. Schneil! Let us run down the streets of our past. Let us jump into our heritage

I’m sinking in its quicksand.

Bad history.

I must be seeing things. I look down on everything,

This can’t be happening,

Flying on battered wings.

I must be seeing things.

This is my final plea,

I look down on everything,

Please help me,

Flying on battered wings.

Cuz this premonition is killing me.

This is my final plea,

Cities reduced to rubble.

Something bad is going to happen,

Cuz this premonition is killing

But there’s no one I can defend.


But there’s no warning I can send.

Riley Schmidt

I’ll just wait here in the dark,

Grade 10 Stanley G. Falk School

Until I perceive the end.

I look down on everything, Flying on battered wings. This is my final plea, Please help me, Cuz this premonition is killing me.

Like a freedom bird on the shoulders of God Across oceans Nobody’ll dare say to me That I haven’t sung the song you’ve dreamt of The ground has shifted beneath them They’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed And listen to my song that our ancestors longed for God calls on us Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table To sing him the song of change (Lines 1, 4, 7, and 10 are from Barack Obama’s inauguration speech; Lines 2, 5, 8, and 11 are from “I, too, sing America” by Langston Hughes. The remaining lines are my own words.)

Grade 10 South Park High School, P.S. 206

Charise Hunter-Bell Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212


This can’t be happening, I must be seeing things.

Schneil [German]: “come on”

I, too, sing America

Nathan Null

Please help me,

I can see what’s gonna happen,

Schneil! Let us run down the streets of our past We get off the plane

It’s a lie but now, This can’t be happening,

Let us jump into our heritage

What the cynics fail to believe is

We are in the midst of a crisis Chex in a bowl Sugar dissolved in the milk. Father sitting beside me, in his cramped apartment. Mother comes to talk or pick me up; blurry memories. Strange woman comes looking for my father. Who could she be? Mother flipping out.

They don’t understand But we never recognize our failing hands Network of violence and hatred And bloodshed on the street What exactly are we trying to defeat? Homes have been lost With no food to eat But yet our minds wonder with only the word ‘I’ to be unique (A documentary poem consisting of President Barack Obama’s “Inauguration Speech,” Michael Jackson’s song, “Why You Wanna Trip On Me,” and my own words.)


Jacob Moslow


Grade 9 Tapestry High School

Janine Elliott Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212


Finale Earth Justice There is a nagging fear that decline is inevitable The urging threat of global warming Precariously mounts as our Earth’s crisis Reform bad habits and restore Environmental conservation is required Only one earthly home of crisp blue skies, quenching air, with lush nature Time to set aside childish things, It’s a hard decision, but it’s responsible Taking charge of the household, growing–up Pick up, dust off and begin the work Take the step for greener Let’s clean up our act

Omaha Beach

The music is coming to a stop Looking into my brother’s eyes,

Slowly fading out

I could envision his desolation.

Every “boop” and “be-bop”

A sea of Inanimate heroes. Thoughts rush through intellect.

The horns exit first

Just knowing, this could be my last breath.

Last notes all played on cue

Give me an embarkation.

Then all the notes with strings

The air, so inhuman and malignant,

Stop abruptly too

From moving steel and transgression. I look down.

The drums finish last

Only to kiss the true one that loves.

With a final thunderous “boom”

To annihilate is inadequate,

Then everything is silent

As I endure the last second of existence.

As if the players have left the room

Nick Buzzanca

The song is finished now

Grade 11 Bishop Timon—St. Jude High School

It has played its final beat

We will harness the sun, winds, soil to fuel our demands The Earth is giving us the sponge; we just need to use it

Earthjustice, a public interest Is to be done by our clean, but useable hands (Lines 1,4,7,10,13 and 16 are from Barack Obama’s “Inauguration speech of the 44th President;” Lines 2,5,8,11,14 and17 are from a 2009 New York Times article, “Patterson Draws Fire in Shifts on Emissions.” The remaining lines are my own.)

Melanie Zachritz Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212

The CD sits in its player Waiting for someone to hit repeat

Maintaining previous environmental goals:

Extend to every willing heart, to our common good

The song is almost done

Liz Bailey Grade 11 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192

Destiny We gather because we have chosen hope over fear No one else, no one else can speak the words on your lips My words: Fear my family would not eat

Choose our better history to carry forward that precious gift that noble idea, Passed on from generation to generation Reaching for something in the distance so close you can almost taste it To protect my destiny for years to come Our journey has never been one of short distances Drench yourself in words unspoken Speak for your future for the generations (A documentary poem consisting of Barack Obama’s “Inauguration Speech of the 44th President;” the song, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedigfield and my own words)

Stephanie Santiago


Grade 10 Leonardo DaVinci High School, P.S. 212


Photographs of Home The light of sunset streaming through a stained glass window. Sturdy porch surrounded by grass and flowers. Crickets sneaking into the basement through the back door. This house breathes as if it were alive. Old and rotting wood and wood replaced, repainted making me dizzy from fumes. I touch the stairs to make sure they are not wet from rain as I sit down. The brown door handle is always in the shade when I enter the room. Salt in the air, trying to melt the ice. My boots wet from the salty streets. Morning breathes. I feel like I am home.

Tarah Foresta Grade 11 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192

The Book Isn’t fighting crime with its super powers in a fantasy land It’s not solving mysteries with its superior intellect and wit It’s not finding love in the most unlikely places Nor scoring the winning touchdown in the last seconds of the game It’s not making magic with a wave of its wand But in our hands It does all of this and more— Transporting us to hopes and dreams Beyond our bedroom walls

William Ritchie Grade 11 Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, P.S. 192


Wordplay 2009  

Just Buffalo's annual publication of student writing