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This book is dedicated to Toronto Parks Recreation & Forestry, Toronto Cultural Services, Arts Services, Agincourt Community Services Association and all those who contributed to making this possible.

To those who gain the ability to speak the words that are trapped within have a gift; a gift to share and express. Spoken Word is a form of communication that gives life to the words we speak. Multi Expressions Spoken Word program was formed to help youth learn to speak and write what they feel and experience. To learn to trust the power of pen, to express themselves and be a voice for their community. Through spoken word we travelled through a variety of topics such as community, health, self love, drugs, family barriers, bullying, racism, and more. It becomes a culture that enables youth to transcend mental barriers, socio-economic barriers and learn leadership skills to carry forward into their future.


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Melissa Newhook I am 12 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because it sounded interesting and fun. My experience with the program has been amazing. My hobbies are singing, reading and drawing. Something unique about myself is that I was born much earlier than I was supposed to be. But the best things in life are surprises.


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Wisdom from Melissa: “You have this precious life, don’t give it away�

I come from a place where the bully had the final word And coming home never made it easier. If you have ever been silent You know how I feel But even though there are challenges along the way You still have to live life to the fullest today.


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Why does Shrek have to fight for his existence? What’s wrong with being an Oger in a world of difference? Just cause he’s big, fat, green and smelly. Doesn’t mean he’s not kind, smart and funny. Why do women have to right for their existence? What’s wrong with being a woman in a world of difference? Just because some women are abused Doesn’t mean we’re material to be used. Why do some children have to fight for their existence? What’s wrong with being a poor child in a world of difference? Just because some children are scrawny, hungry and weak. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same opportunity to read write and speak. Why do gay people have to fight for their existence? What’s wrong with being gay in a world of difference? Just because some people judge them and hate them... Doesn’t mean they don’t secretly want to date them. What if Shrek was gay or poor or a woman? What if Shrek was bullied, beat and broken? We have to look beyond our differences beyond skin colour, gender, or race Because in this world of difference we all have our place. -Melissa


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Britanya Hanson I m 12 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because it seemed fun. My experience with the program has been too much awesomeness. My hobbies are hanging out with my friends and playing soccer. Some unique about myself is I can trip on a flat surface. Did you know‌I used to never eat anything without sprinkles on it?


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Wisdom from Britanya: “Don’t be a penguin. Because penguin’s don’t know how to fly”

I am from... I am from a place where you have to fight to be noticed Not just fight but win other people’s approval, so you can be part of a group. I am from where a knife is a victims best friend. One cut is like every moment they have spent together. I am from a place where being a colour other than white is a crime Like being yellow means you can’t drive And being black means you’ll spend your life in jail But I don’t care how corrupted this place is Because I know that God put me here for a reason So I live every day to the fullest. -Britanya


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I am black – this is a non negotiable fact I am a friend – cause a true friend is your reflection I am an actor and a dancer – this is how I express myself I am in love with cup cakes! And they are in love with me I am a person who is afraid of the dark – but it doesn’t stop me from facing what I’m afraid of I am someone who won’t change for society’s expectations of who I should be I am a person who is different, no changing for anyone but myself I am not a follower or a bully I am afraid of dying but some people die without ever living So I’m going to live until my potential turns into a butterfly -Britanya


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Marcele Siwaselian I am 13 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because my friends asked me to join. My experience with the program has been very good, especially for the others after I joined it! My hobbies are art and just being silly. Something unique about myself is I am awesome and funny. Everybody thinks I am cool. Fact.


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Wisdom from Marcelle: “Life is something special just like my parents. Life is like a surprise on your birthday because you don’t know what you will get.”

Being a teen can be hard at times, because you may not be ready for the experiences that you will face. It could be hard because you may not be part of a rich family And if other families are rich they could buy all the new clothes, electronics and accessories But my mom told me that money isn’t everything So I try not to get caught up in the bling bling Even though I like being a teen It’s also hard at the same time. -Marcelle Poetry is the wind travelling to me...bringing me stories from around the world. Poetry is like different types of cultures coming together to make the world more colourful. Poetry is the words that can express what silence can’t. Poetry can be disturbing and weird but that’s okay; we are all unique in our own way! -Marcele


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Quianna Israel I am 15 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because Tamesha Grant forced me to go, but I began to enjoy it! My experience with the program has opened me up to being more creative. My hobbies are basket-ball and video games. Something unique about me is my last name Israel.


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A personal note by Quianna… My journey was not easy. In my 15 years, 4 have been anything but stable. I moved 10 times and have gone through a tragedy that has altered the way I think about life and people. Through my many moves, I’ve learned there will always be a place to call home as long as I’m with my family and from my tragedy I learned that life is too short. I never imagined that I would ever have to deal with someone I love being taken away from me by a killer. It taught me to treat every moment with the ones I love like it could be the last.

I am from… I am from gun shots and palm trees I am from Bob Marley and Movado I am the island I called home Alone, isolated and on the outside Unmasked and truly explored I am not lost sandy beaches and fields I am storms and ghetto and most of all, struggle I am from travel brochures and crime scenes I am from a paradise and a nightmare -Quianna


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Justin Lewis I am 12 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because of Alexia and her influencing beautiful fate. My experience with the program has been interesting and fun. It’s also like a life lesson. My hobby is to play basketball. Something unique about myself is making people laugh. My favourite food is a hamburger. Purple is my favourite colour. I love to draw and enjoy watching ‘Narato’.


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Words of wisdom from Justin: “Dreams are like thermals that lift you higher.”

“Poetry is God. The love that is returned”

Being a teen has always been a drag From being in and out and getting a red flag People get picked on if they’re not rich, But most of all they call you a “loser*” They settle the score because they know you’re poor But still you believe Because in life we must achieve My heart burns like fire for my life’s impossible desire -Justin


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Angelina Copeland-ward I am 11 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because I thought it was interesting and I saw a movie on spoken word and I wanted to find out more about it. My experience with the program has been cool, fun, and interesting. My hobbies are doing clay, reading, and riding my bike. Something unique about me is I like to do art and I like taking pictures.


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Memories Part 1. She knit her way into my life, I saw her once in a while until...she died. I cried and cried until I found her funeral card. I knew she was still with me. With every breath, I’ll remember Death is a heartbeat away from life. Part 2. He’s still alive but it’s like he’s not, he remarried and moved his house So I still didn’t see him for 4 years. I wonder if 4 years is long enough For someone to forget about you. -Angelina

Some people on the street don’t have a home They struggle to eat and have to use the public phone We have the things we need to survive like food, water, clothes and shelter But we still want more like electronic, designer shoes and a luxury home We should think about what are our needs and what are our wants So next time you go to Best Buy or Lowes Think about the money you owe to your loans And not what you need to impress your friends Because the people who will stand by you Don’t care if you have a big house or if you’re driving a Benz We are more than the things we can buy. I never want to forget that until the day that I die.

-Angelina


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Alexia Tsetsos I am 13 years old. I joined multi expressions spoken word program because I really like poetry and I heard it would be a fun place to go. My experience with the program has been awesome. It’s been really fun here and everyone is nice. My hobbies are listening to music and going on the computer. Something unique about myself is I like to memorize bands and I like to listen to the band Blood On The Dance Floor. I really like “scremo” music and I like to hang out with my friends. I also enjoy singing and dancing. I also like watching anime.


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Words of wisdom from Alexia: “Life is a rainbow, don’t destroy it.”

I am from a place where no one listens, Where people hurt you just because you’re different. I am from a place where nobody can trust anyone anymore Hiding my true self behind barred doors. I am from a place where people don’t care because they are too busy dealing with their own problems Without realizing that while they are dealing with their own problems, people are out there suffering real problems. You see, sometimes it’s hard to wear your own skin And face the person you are in the mirror. Why are people treated differently? Why don’t we allow people from all walks of life to live equally? -Alexia

I had a dream. I had a dream that I would finally be accepted. I had a dream that everyone would stop and just listen to me. I had a dream that my parents would stop smoking and my mom would stop drinking. I had a dream that people would be nice. I had a dream war ended. Not only the wars that are fought internationally But the wars that are fought internally. I had a dream everything was okay… But then I woke up and realized it was all a dream. -Alexia


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Tamesha Grant I am 16 years old. I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because I wanted to learn more about spoken word. My experience with the program has been great, everyone is so nice and open and full of creative ideas. My hobbies are talking, dancing, listening to music and reading. Something unique about me is I play a lot of instruments.


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I am from My grandmother’s strength and determination that i will get a proper education I am from My mother’s hope to make something of myself and to achieve all my goals and to follow what I would think is the right road I am from my two year old brothers smile because to him I am a leader and a person to help him see the peace in a world that’s cruel and vile I am from my sisters laughter the laughter that gets me through another day and allows me to see the brightness in a gloomy day I am from all these people that shape and determine where I am from who I am And most importantly Who I have become -Tamesha


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Diego Ochoa I am 15 years old I joined the multi expressions spoken word program because I want to meet new people and I want to learn new things, including how to express my thoughts and feelings with words. I had fun in the program and it will be one of my most memorable experiences. My hobbies are sleeping, drawing, eating, and playing online games. Something unique about me is I am intrapersonal.


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Words of wisdom from Diego: “Live your day as if it is your last and you may die in the evening free from regret.�

I am from your memory begging to be cared. A kid with a feelingless heart who escaped from shadow Shadows that kept me half alive Shadows that taught me to feel hate And shadows that separate me from everyone I am from a house filled with lies and betrayals A house where reality is nothing but sadness I am from a family filled with broken smiles A family that wears masks to hide feelings Feelings that can unite a team Feelings that can cure countless heart wounds Feelings that can bring happiness to my lonely heart I am from a never ending nightmare And to leave my endless pain, I learned to crave for death. -Diego


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Poetry is like the everyday air that we breathe It is like air standing in sea so deep Poetry was the fire that burns ice Poetry is the emotion that flies It is you talking to yourself Poetry is the sound hat cures the deaf Poetry is a battle of emotions Poetry is the problems’ solutions Poetry is like a mouth that speaks without words Poetry is a person that smiles, cries, nods and laughs for the world -Diego

Feelings gave emotions to words And words have identity to feelings Tragedy is the fruit of greed Greed starts with happiness And tragedies results into sadness Sadness gave birth to vengeance And vengeance leads to loss Loss makes us feel hate Hate erases love And emptiness is the only thing remains -Diego


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Lishai Peel I am a 26-year-old artist and the spoken word project leader of the multi expressions spoken word program. I design and teach spoken word programming with schools throughout Toronto and I’ve always worked with schools in Halifax and Calgary. This program has taught me how to reconnect with the inner kid in me and appreciate poetry in a whole new light.


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Wisdom from Lishai: “Turn your past into a parchment to write your future on� When the Wolf tells you he has been exiled from the forest, forgive his howl. Even if you were once the ground he trespassed upon. He is no longer the shadow under the silent moon. And, like you, he dreams of returning home. -Lishai


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Teach me how to carry my ancestry with the reverence of faith. How do I honour my land when it doesn’t even know my name? Hold the truth to flame. Centuries of colonialism always spells out division. My grandfather was never the same after he lived through partition. I can smell the Arabian Sea through the stories he tells me. I can feel the pulse of the land, even if it’s never claimed me. As a daughter of the diaspora. India - the land of my mother’s mother And the women who came before her. Teach me grandmother, how to weave silk from the memories of your childhood. Superstitions and religion, in a haunted house with 10 children. Where did you learn to walk with such grace before the guillotine of a loveless marriage? Did you plant your stillborn dreams under the twisted roots of the banyan tree? So that one day your granddaughter will return to the land that birthed her lineage, star gazing through the twisted branches of the aging tree. Honouring the roots that run deep like rivers even if some roots you can never see.


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Rae (Raeetha) Raveendranathan. I am a 22 year old athlete and artist. I am the Multi Expressions Project facilitator. I am a graffiti and poetry artist and a competitive sports player. I enjoyed the Multi Expressions Spoken Word Program because the youth in the program all inspire me. They are full of life and always kept me smiling.


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Take this blank paper And write words recklessly Without spelling right Just emotionally Spilling the words that Cannot contain inside The feelings which Wish to no longer hide That wants to break loose And sing this pretty song Something short Or maybe something long It doesn’t really matter As long as its out Let this ink speak my feelings Let it shout Let it seep through your mind And draw you my life Take it deep And carve it with a knife Let the blood speak For the pain that is embedded But wait a moment This is what I dreaded That people will read The way that I feel And finally to someone I can be real -Rae


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I want to fall into the arms of earth Unlock and rebirth I want the rain to wash the bad skin To renew and cleanse deep within I want the sun to help me grow bright And the moon to give me guidance at night I want the wind to guide me through hard moments in life Let the snow slow down the swelling of strife I want the clouds to cradle and wipe the tears I weep I want the stars slowly to whisper me to sleep -Rae


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Multi Expressions Spoken Word