Writing from Brooklyn Public Library Cortelyou & Kensington Branches Spring1 2013
PEN TO PAPER
Writing from Brooklyn Public Library Kensington and Cortelyou Branches
NY WRITERS COALITION PRESS 3
Copryright ÂŠ 2013 NY Writers Coalition, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-9787794-8-1 Library of Congress Control Number: 2013937776 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Upon publication, copyright to individual works returns to the authors. Editors: Nancy Sanchez-Taylor, Jackie Glasthal, Rose Gorman, Lauren Hudson Layout: Rose Gorman, Lauren Hudson Title: Anna Siddiqui Cover Image: Nancy Sanchez-Taylor, Jackie Glasthal Pen to Paper contains writing by members of the 2011-2013 NY Writers Coalition creative writing youth workshops conducted at Brooklyn Public Libraryâ€™s Kensington and Cortelyou Branches. About NY Writers Coalition NY Writers Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides free, unique, and powerful creative writing workshops throughout New York City for people from groups that have been historically deprived of voice in our society, including at-risk and disconnected youth, the homeless and formerly homeless, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, war veterans, people with disabilities, cancer and major illness, immigrants, seniors and others. NY Writers Coalition Inc. 80 Hanson Place, Suite #603 Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 398-2883 email@example.com www.nywriterscoalition.org For information about Brooklyn Public Library visit www.bklynpubliclibrary.org
Introduction Hi. Nancy Sanchez-Taylor here. My journey on this project began about three years ago when I met Jackie Glasthal at a kickboxing class, of all places! As we sat on a very comfortable couch after class and became acquainted, Jackie spoke of an opportunity she had been offered to conduct a writing workshop with women on Rikers Island. Well, she had just said the magic words. No, not writing workshop. Riker’s Island! I had retired from there as a Captain with the Department of Correction after 21 years and wasn’t averse to going back. At least, not in the way that Jackie was describing. This would not be my old job, but a brand new experience! Given that I still had co-workers at Riker’s, I knew that I could help expedite the process of getting us to the island’s Rose M. Singer Center, where the soon-to-be-released incarcerated women we would be writing with were housed. What I was not expecting, though, was that I would find the workshops as enlightening and gratifying as I did. Thanks to the experience, Jackie and I soon became the best of friends. Next thing I knew, back in our own neighborhood, the Friends of Cortelyou Library put out a call for a writing workshop of their own. My “twin,” Jackie and I were soon on the case! The children at Cortelyou are eager and energetic and full of crazy ideas that are fun and inspiring just the same. During a hiatus for renovations at Cortelyou, Jackie and I began a workshop at the Kensington Library. This too is a group of amazing youth; so invested in the writing process and wise beyond their years. I am always surprised and in awe of the works the children produce and am glad to be working with them alongside Jackie, my partner in crime. Our unlikely camaraderie is clearly a match made in heaven.
Hi. Jackie Glasthal here. Not sure what I can add to Nancyâ€™s description of our writing adventures together. It has been (and continues to be!) an awesome ride, and the kidsâ€™ writings here are the proof. I think they speak for themselves about how thought-provoking, creative, and yes, even brilliant, these young people can be if they are just given a piece of paper, a writing implement, and a bit of time set aside to do nothing more than simply put pen to paper. Enjoy!
Nancy Sanchez-Taylor & Jackie Glasthal NY Writers Coalition Workshop Leaders April 2013
Pema Lama, Age 10 Cortelyou Library Haiku Winter The snow is falling. Coats are buttoned in the snow. Snow is really cool. Summer The sun is shining. Children on the splashy beach. Summer is awesome. Beach People are swimming. The land is filled with sand grains. The beach is so great. Fall The leaves are falling. The leavesâ€™ colors are changing. The wind is blowing. Spring Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing songs of joy. It is really Spring.
My Room Painted like a sweet red cherry With soft silky pillows Sky bluish bed Oak-shaped mirror Soft brown teddy bears Green closet, stacked With clothes Yellow lighted lamp Posters of white puppies Wild animals, rug. Welcome to my room!
Brothers and Sisters Sisters like Pink. Brothers like Blue. Sisters prefer running. Brothers prefer soccer. They often disagree with each other But still know That they love each other.
Happy Always be happy. Never be sad. This is my last line. Donâ€™t forget that.
Anna Siddiqui, Age 10 Cortelyou Library The Mural Whew! I’m done with the mural. I touch the wet paint. Can you guess what the painting was? I’ll give you a hint: a monster. A monster who was Katy Perry.
Something I Didn’t Expect to See out My Bedroom Window I heard a tap on my bedroom window and I jumped out of bed and saw a dead body. The body belonged to Katy Perry!
Behind the Closet Door I open up my closet door. I shove aside some clothes and open the door. I feel a hand on my shoulder to see a monster. The monster was… Katy Perry. 10
Superpowers I wish I had superpowers. With my superpowers I could have a mansion and whatever I want.
The Surprise Place Loving and caring librarians Into the book you step. Books, books, stacks of them Reality or imagination Awesome place to be Ready to open a book. You have entered the library.
Cooking Witch Fingers I remember cooking witch fingers. Itâ€™s simple really. All you have to do is borrow some witch fingers or make some, add fingernails, or almond, put nail polish, or food coloring, use blood to glue them on, or cream cheese, and voila, you have witch fingers. 11
What I Would Put in My Bookbag If I Was Trapped in Outer Space Makeup First aid kit Clothes Shoes A hairbrush Socks A jacket Muffins, mittens, gloves, sweater, earmuffs Feminine products Underclothes Jewelry Accessories Contacts Mp3, iPod, iPad, Windows phone, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy (newest model), laptop Food A knife to kill myself if I feel lonely.
Ariana Alston, Age 10 Cortelyou Library Holiday Christmas is my favorite holiday. (Besides my birthday of course!) Holidays are the most fun times of the year. Run, run, run into the white, cold snow It is the best time when you Spend it with family. Typical Christmases are spent With your Christmas tree! “More presents,” some kids say. Always try to stay on Santa’s Nice list all year! Start to buy your presents early!
My Room Silver metal bed Cold floors Old Barbie house Lots of toys Colorful curtains Small TV Closet so full of clothes, Canâ€™t close. Books and papers Drawing supplies Lots of electronics. This is my room.
What Art Is to Me Some people like music, some fashion, some dance, some TV, some accessories. I like art. It’s the song I never get tired of. It’s the dress that’s most beautiful! It’s my favorite skirt. It’s the pajamas I never get tired of. It’s the dance move lots of people love. It’s my favorite. It’s the greatest TV show. It’s the prettiest necklace I’ve ever seen. I never get tired of art.
Lily Burgess, Age 9 Cortelyou Library
Fairy Wonderland Ever wonder what flies in the night Besides owls, and fireflies? Some take your teeth When youâ€™re tucked in tight. They are fairies, tiny humans with wings. They come in all types, such as Animal fairies, plant fairies, Fashion, water, tooth fairies, And many more. They wear different clothes than us. They use leaves, flower petals, and silk. Every single one is different, but at the same time The same. Now you know what flies in the night.
Music “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran “Heart Attack” by One Direction “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars “Somewhere in Brooklyn” by Bruno Mars “Swag it Out” by Zendaya “TTYLXOX” by Bella Thorne “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato “A Billion Hits” by Ross Lynch “Say You’ll Stay” by R5 I Love Music.
Cupcakes Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Icing, Sprinkles, Gummy bears, Yum!
Hockey Mark Stall has the puck. He skates down the rink. He shoots on Martin Brodeur. He scores! Score: Rangers: 1, Devils: 0. I play hockey. It’s my life. I’m a goalie. I make the save. My hero is Henrik Lundqvist, The New York Rangers’ goalie. I met Wayne Gretzky. My life is a game.
Anisa Alston, Age 9 Cortelyou Library
Fashion Fashion influences me to be a fashionista. This encourages me to keep being a fashionista. The more I make clothes, then Iâ€™ll have enough clothes for me to play dress-up, go to school, and just looking cute around the house. Fashion also influences me to be who I wanna be. If I have a dream, fashion would help me achieve the dream. Fashion is very important to me. Lastly, fashion influences me to make music. Fashion is music to my ears. The more music I make, the more I like fashion.
Roni Glasthal, Age 15 Kensington Library
My Attackers They act stuck up. They are loud. They are rude to who they don’t know. They make people think that they care. They feel as though they are invincible, can do and say anything. They get away with things that can’t be changed. They hang in a pack, like wild animals. They are never sorry for anything. They seem to abhor anything different from them. They brag about stupid things. They are my attackers They made me feel trapped. They can’t touch me anymore, For I am now free.
Ashley Torres, Age 8 Cortelyou Library
Summer Summer, summer, summer You could have fun in summer You even get to Rest in summer, Play in the park with your family, and you could have fun in a picnic with your family.
Tabitha Martinez, Age 9 Cortelyou Library
Homework Hate U, wish I can throw u away Open the garbage and throw u away My teacher said to do it or youâ€™ll get suspended Eat you and throw u away Write scribble-scrabble Out you go Rip you up Kook u in a fire.
Ten Things That R Peaceful & Beautiful 1. Flowers 2. Models 3. A sandwich 4. A nap 5. Food 6. Glasses 7. Babies 8. Hawaii 9. Mommy and daddies 10. Love 11. Romantic books 12. Diaries
My Sandwich Sandwiches are very good and yummy. They are delicious. The part about the sandwiches is that you eat it and also make it â€˜cause when you make it yourself it tastes good and then you get to eat it as we all know we love to eat it. The end.
First Come, First Served One day I saw this commercial. It was about this site that you enter something you would like to buy. The web site is called Ebay. They had something on sale, so I was the first person to be online and this boy wanted to skip me so I said no! First come, first served, and also no Honey Boo Boo. No.
The Candle Very creamy. A delicious smell. Not a nasty smell. I love the good smell. Love the beautiful color. Like how it looks. Awesome glass. Creamy and beautiful. Real luxury. Every day I smell it. Awesome thing to put in your house. My beautiful candle. You will love it. Can’t resist the smell. Air freshener. Nancy loves it. Don’t eat it. Leave it alone. Every day it’s beautiful. 25
Mahmoud Abouelkheir, Age 13 Kensington Library Riddle We can’t see What’s staring us in the eye. We don’t believe, until we die. We don’t try until we cry. We can’t fly until we ride. We are the simplest. How foolish are we to follow the system. We aren’t creative until it’s too late. We are dependent on those who don’t relate. We kill the world, little by little. So stop and take the time To solve our little riddle.
The Ball Droppedâ€Ś The ball dropped and it was the beginning of the New Year. The New World Order had begun their actions. Baxter Evans was just a few steps away from the shelter when the fire started, leaving a misshapen plastic object on the ground, which was assumed to be the ball. The fire erupted everywhere, burning the innocent and pure. But did not leave a single mark, the fire had left on them. For their souls were burned already. Baxter was neither pure nor tainted. He walked among the burning fields, not paying attention to anything but his grieving soul, mourning for the loss of his friends, family, all burned to insatiable fire that cannot be tamed. Baxter saw his world disappear before his eyes. He wanders aimlessly and appears in different places, with an unspoken reason. His heart pounded furiously trying to keep up with the quick dimming of his hope. The sign he read was blackened, with writing that he could not read. He walked inside the edifice, staring in amazement at what was held in the interior. People. Civilization all up and walking, talking, laughing. As if nothing happened. Bewildered, Baxter walked outside. What was once a destroyed barren wasteland was now once again thriving, with mothers pushing the strollers. Random people walking, talking, on their cell phones. But Baxter knew better than to perceive lies. He looked to the truth and saw the destruction that lied. The people werenâ€™t the same. What used to be pure, God breath souls were now burned ashes that aspired for that same achievement, but was burdened down to hell. They were chained, never to change, for they have sinned, born from temptation and raised in Darkness.
These Events These events Those memories They all started off with an idea Sparked by the animosities of our social edifices. But there are those who have no idea No clue No seeds to sprout No apple to the pie No chocolate to plain old milk. Those are the ones with brains so high High up in the clouds of imagination Where the clouds are soft and the Fun is created. Those are the ones with blank ideas Succumbed to the overflow of ideas. The ideas themselves are taller Than the tallest tower and its ego is Too weak to go on paper.
The Lady and the Tiger The gentle frame restrained the monstrous beast being contained. The princess was wrong; the lady was behind the left door. â€œBut why release the tiger upon him when she loved him?â€? the prince thought. The princess screamed with the furiosity of a thousand tigers toyed with for no end. The prince had never seen this side after and was scared to see what was coming. The princess screamed and shouted and bit her hair, kicked her guards, and even stomped her hands on the fragile rail that held her royal balcony. The crowd stared in silence as the fragile metal that connected the royal balcony, the stadium, snapped. The princess, face red with envy, hate and confusion fell to the ground screaming about how unfair life was all the while. The prince smiled, looking upon his new wife realizing that it was him the king was trying to save from the princess.
If I Could Live Forever If I could live forever, the world would hate my time. The water that flows for everyone will only stop for mine eyes. The heart that pumps the good blood will soon turn into bile. The air that stays fresh and renewed, will burn my face with fire. The eyes of society would pierce my soul; turn me into a freak untold. So why live forever, when you could die bold? 29
Staring through My Bedroom Window Staring through my bedroom window, I noticed the foreign truck pull into my driveway. Out stepped a man with a tuxedo and painted shoes. He carried an empty holster on his hip. Limping to my front door, he knocks on my door, first lightly, but progressively harsher until he was banging his fists onto my door. I knew why he was here. He wouldn’t leave me once he found out I had the power. Whipping out a hidden laser gun, he cut the lock out of the door and barged in. I could hear him entering my living room. It’s now or never, I thought as I transformed into a fruit fly, buzzing near the door. The man barged in and pointed the gun out into the air, preparing against anything, man or beast. “I know you’re here.” I feel the vibrations of his voice. Diving into his mouth, quickly changing into a disease cell, I rushed down his throat, mutating my disease genotype every second to stay alive from his immune system. I saw a Tcell and swallowed in my new form. Breaking down the chemical makeup of it, I transform into it. I was safe now. I scanned around to locate where the brain was, but I knew it by heart as a T-cell. Swimming into the cerebral cortex I adapted into a hormone cell to withstand the harsh environment. Carefully I navigated around his brain to find the parasite that was controlling him. I mutated into the parasite and hooked into his brain. The original parasite screeched as it fought for control over the host. I was more experienced and sent toxins through the brain to attack the parasite. I sent hormones to catch or ride out of his body and turned back into a human as he sneezed me out. “You! What have you done?” the laser-bearing man asked. “You can leave my home now,” I tell him. 30
Dimension of Essence My name is Xavier. I don’t know who my real parents are, or whom I belong with. My adopted parents tell me that it was fate that brought me to the front door of their Manhattan Condominium that spiteful Wednesday morning, but I am not so confident about that. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that we, as people, are the voice of action that moves this reason, but I can’t be sure about that. I am not sure about anything anymore. My life had changed a lot in one year, but for the better or worse, I am yet again, not sure. The day my life changed started off like any other morning. I would go to school. Then, I would probably get tortured by those larger than me. Actually, to think about it, I was the smallest student in the whole 8th grade. It didn’t matter to me. I thought that my size was my gift; being able to dodge and weave through large crowded areas, and occasionally dodge the cumbersome 9th grader. It was a chilling day, which was unusual in the beginning of September. My huge jacket made my appearance double in size, giving the impression that I actually was one of those 9th grade goons. My disguise didn’t work it seems, for later that day as I was walking through my schools’ hallways about to leave for the school day, I was beaten upon by Daniel Rachet, a 16 year old 9 th grader that has been left behind in his grade multiple times. He cornered me with his “friends.” and I had nowhere to go. I saw the familiar rage held fierce in his eyes, ready to bore upon me with his own personal matters. For what is life without the leisure of stress? He wasn’t just angry; he was furious beyond description. He pulled out a crowbar and raised it over his head, foam crazily spitting out of his depraved grin. I looked around desperately; the vicinity was vacant. I crouched down and awaited a blow that never came, for time itself had stopped. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The crowbar stayed raised in Daniel’s hands. Time had stopped completely. I 31
looked around and spotted a green glow emanating from the science classroom. Intrigued, I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame and met a strange man, although he was not frozen. “What a sad hand fate has played for you. You may think that you walk alone, but you don’t. What would happen if we lived in a world where those larger and more able than us, were to take over control of those who are lower than them? Chaos, deceit, death? Is there no hope for you and your desperate situation with Daniel Rachet? For there are those who are placed into this dimension to make a change. So let’s make this a bit more interesting” the strange man stated. He wore an elegant tuxedo and had black flames dancing across his feet. His eyes were replaced by red pearls and held a stance of deep power, threatening to steal your soul if you stared deep enough into them. My palms erupted in flames, and then got drenched by water. Then, my hands were gripped by mysterious earth, and lastly, the mysterious earth was blown away by wind all at once. The aftermath left a mark, one unlike any I have ever seen before. “Wha…What is this…. What just happened?” I asked, scared out of my wits. “To make things interesting, you now bear my mark. There are forces in the world and beyond the world, forces that men call magic, and now these forces will serve your will. Use this newfound power, my gift to you. Will you be on the path of destruction and revenge? Or will you help protect those who need assistance in the upcoming days? Either way, I expect a good show... Find me if you want to learn more about who you are, and I’m sure you will Xavier.” The strange man disappeared with that being said. Time resumed back to normal. I stumbled out of the science classroom and the science teacher jumped back in surprise. “Sorry, sorry” I grunted as I passed through the hall32
My mind was foggy and I needed rest. A heavy cloud was pressing onto my temples. I need to get home. I need sleep. I faded into the unconscious as my head dropped to the black pavement just outside the school building. My dream attacked my feelings, as I felt my Deoxyribonucleic acid being changed. Magic pressed onto my temples like a familiar force that has always been hiding in a dormant part of my brain. The strange man was there, in my dreams. For some reason, a deeper knowledge inside of me, a primitive nature, started to work with my newfound magical powers. Knowledge of how to use the magic surged through my empty being, filling me up to the brim, and giving my life new purpose. My brain told me not to, but my heart led me strong as I reached for the void containing the strange man. “COME FIND ME” his voice shouted through my mind as images whistled by me and I saw a familiar street corner. Images showed me secret passage ways that lead up to the lair of the strange man; a shrine. This man gave me power, but who is he? And why did he do this? “Come find me…” a voice echoed as I seeped back into reality and finally woke up. When I awoke, my vision was 10 times more powerful than with my glasses on, and all my senses felt clear. I smelled every tendril of air that contained scent. I felt every piece of thread of the clothes on my body. I heard everything so much more clearly; it felt like I removed cotton from my ears. I could feel the New York City air trickling through my pores. But best of all, I felt powerful. I stared at the marks on my hand and tried to remember what the strange man told me. “Serve your will”, I remembered. But where was I? It was definitely night time; the sun had gone down. I turned around and saw my school, closed. I got up from the spot on the pavement and walked down the path from the school yard to the street corner. As I spotted my home on the block I was walking to, 33
I caught sight of activity. Daniel Rachet and his goons were picking on a small child; cornering the child and playing catch with his cap and school bag. The kid was crying. Suddenly, at that moment, emotions sparked inside of my heart and I wanted more than ever to protect that kid. I looked at the marks on the palms of my hands; they were glowing. Not knowing what to do; I pointed to a tree near the bullies. I reached out with my mind, and grabbed for its slow, throbbing essence as I bent its will to mine. The tree twisted down and lashed out with its branches grabbing the bullies and returning to its normal position. I laughed a laugh of relief and excitement. I can use these powers! I am not worthless after all! I thought to myself. Daniel and his friends screamed for help as my grip on the trees power tightened and I moved the branches holding the bullies farther out towards the street. The fall down would be fatal if they fell. I thought back to the strange man’s voice, “Will you be on the path of destruction and revenge?” I didn’t want to return them safely to the ground. I wanted to release them and hear their bodies hit the pavement. I thought of the countless hours I’ve spent crying over my bruised and broken body after the bullies have dealt with me. I need them to suffer, feel the way I felt every day. Tears threatened to erupt from my eyes. I am powerful now. I can exact my revenge, but why can’t I just release the tree’s branches? I looked up into Daniel’s hard unforgiving eyes that stared into my soul. I pointed up towards Daniel and felt for his essence. I found a pulsing light that represented his fear, his anguish, and his sorrow. I looked deeper than his blood, into his sacred mind; the one sanctuary he had left, and probed for his motives, for his feelings. Images flooded into my mind as I saw his Mother beating upon him with the same black unforgivable eyes that he possessed when attacking me. I saw the conditions that he lived in and the cockroaches and rats that he shared his bed with. I saw a drunk34
ard of a father. I felt the betrayal in love when he reached out but found an empty bed. I felt the hunger of a thousand knives piercing into his stomach when he didn’t have enough time to steal the breakfast that his mother never made. Most importantly, I felt the loneliness of himself and his regret for taking out his troubles on me. I’ve seen enough I thought as I began to release my probe out of his mind. Switching back to my regular vision, I saw streams of tears flowing off Daniels’ face. I pointed towards the street pavement, and willed the ground to become soft and forgiving just as my heart had. I then released my grip on the branches of the tree and Daniel Rachet and his goons fell onto the soft ground unharmed. I looked at Daniel one last time before leaving and saw him mouth the words I’m sorry. With a quick nod of understanding, I thought of my home and felt for the familiar essence as I teleported myself there. As I landed into my room, I could no longer feel its familiar energies. I felt a sucking hole; a portal that led to the void, a place where energy is taken and nothing thrives. My room didn’t look the same anymore. Green light was emanating from a point in my room. This is familiar, I thought. My dream… this is where the strange man wanted me to be! “I will always be with you, young Xavier. I am… a part of you now; a part that you can call upon for help, when needed. You and I are more similar than you think. All the questions that you have will be answered, in the most powerful form of magic; dreams. The more you use your powers for good, the more you will learn about yourself and your dimensions.” The strange man spoke into my mind and allowed me to keep sight on the outline of his figure; he surely would not steal the gift inflicted, or bestowed, so soon? I thought. “But… How? What dimensions?” I pleaded, “Please, tell me!” The strange man began to vanish into the void, the glow of green fading away just as his voice was when he anContinued 35
swered: “It’s all in your dreams.” From that day on, I no longer had trouble with Daniel Rachet and his goons. I’d still meet him in the hallways of school and I would no longer recognize the boy hidden under the mask he wears. His life improved for the better as he got professional help from an agency that helps kids like him and was adopted by a loving family. I no longer view the world as a place where people get hurt, but in a larger sense, as a place where people learn and grow. With the powers I obtained, I could do magical and impossible things such as possessing animals, freezing time, teleporting, seeing through walls, and changing the course of history. But I learned that you don’t need superpowers to make a difference in this world. I also found out who I was, and who my real parents were, and where I was from. I saw it in a dream, but not all of it. I realized that the more you help others; the more you help yourself in identifying who you are truly. Apparently, I am from the tenth dimension, and I was transported to the third dimension, at birth when my parents connected to equivalent timelines together to form a perfect timeline. The powers I was granted were bestowed to me by a mysterious man from the 10th dimension as well, my guardian angel. My peoples’ powers are amplified when we travel to a lower dimension. So maybe I don’t know who I belong with, but I surely know that my life is what I make of it, and the possibilities are endless. This is the mark that is embedded into my palms:
Umbreen Mohammed, Age 17 Kensington Library Sky The sky is gray. The raindrops are light. I hope this stays From day to night.
This chilling wonder On my skin. The shocking thunder Makes me feel like I’m dreaming.
We don’t need the sun To make our day bright. When the rain’s done, There’s a rainbow in sight. 38
Feathers I looked at the foreign object with interest. It was a shiny rectangular box, at the height of seven feet. I hesitated at first but decided to touch the strange object. The texture under my hands was oddly smooth and squishy. It gave off heat that seemed to sooth me. Then it happened that very second. I found myself sucked into the strange object. I could feel myself suffocate as I went through the now transparent wall. My head banged against something as hard as steel. It managed to give me a slight headache. When I opened my eyes I saw a man. He held a golden stick in his large hand. “Of what time you wish to be?” he asked. “Huh?” I responded. He ‘hmmed’ and banged his golden stick onto the floor. The strange object rippled. The man was gone and I was alone in a rippling thing. I waited for the rippling thing to stop and stood still. When I opened my eyes, I was standing in front of two doors. When the doors opened I saw the most beautiful woods. I walked into the strange place and wandered around. My eyes took in the beauty. I felt a drop of something fall on my shoulder, but ignored it. Instead I stared at the animals, and then felt a drop fall on my face. All of a sudden I saw black substance fall all over me. It burned my skin. I let out a piercing scream. And then I woke up.
Hiding The cold liquid rolled off my plastic surface. Chilling clouds trapped my body in this huge box. I couldn’t even shiver in this cold climate. I was unseen by anyone who opened this cold box. Except by the person who had hid me in this place. She was able to see most of us, since she was the one who hid us. And one by one we were each disappearing. Every time she opened this box. I wasn’t even sure if I was next because I wasn’t able to see the others that were hidden. The frozen box shook as whatever was coming towards it came closer. Light came shooting in as the girl reached her large hand toward me. I wish I could yell. Cause now she had taken off my plastic cover and was licking my chocolate shell. She ate me up to all the way, and now I’m nothing but a wooden stick. Sadly, I was not hidden well enough.
Reuven Glezer, Age 15 Kensington Library Mr. & Mrs. J of A Street Mr. and Mrs. J had been living in the house on A Street for sixteen and a half years. It was a pleasant little Swiss cottage, and Robert Downs had never seen his employer outside of his office on B Street ever before. So when Mr. J invited Robert to A Street, he was mystified. As soon as Robert Downs stepped into the home, he felt at ease. Mrs. J had prepared a lovely roast beef and as Robert ate and chatted with the J’s about business, he began to feel something was off. When dinner was done he stood up, said “thank you,” and left. When Robert walked outside, he looked back and was astonished. The neat little Swiss cottage had become a skeleton of a home. Robert immediately ran to a neighbor’s house. “May I help you”?” the neighbor asked. “Yes. What happened to the house next door?” The neighbor’s face whitened, as if he’d seen a ghost. “The house next door burned down sixteen-and-a-half years ago. The J family lived there for a month, but the neighbors before me burned the house down.” “What? Why?!” “”The J’s chopped people up and fed them to dinner guests. A homeless man went in there and disappeared last week, too. People who go in that house never come out. Why?” “I think I’m the first,” said Robert. He ran off, and he quit his job the next morning. He never returned to B Street ever again. 41
Missing I’m missing my story. You have to fill it in. It’s gone. It’s lost. Help! I need a story to tell…It’s my job. I’m a storyteller. If I don’t have a story, I’ll be unemployed. Stories can take you to magical places, outer space, and even beyond our worlds that we know of. So tell a story. The position’s open, now that my story is lost. Oh, wait. I just told a story. Ok, position filled.
The Basement I shouldn’t be talking about this. About the time I was dumb enough to enter the basement. I thought it would be funny, or exciting. But no. Oh dear, no. It was horrible. I slowly walked in, and it utterly reeked of…cinnamon. Cinnamon and sun block. Huh. That was…anti-climactic. Ah, but then there was the matter of the shark. The flying shark that headed right towards me, jaws agape. I quickly slid under it and ran off to another door, quickly shutting it and preparing myself for the worst. But I was not prepared. A room of grotesque goblin skulls and demon eyes. And then one blinked. I came back through the door to the room with the flying shark. But to my surprise, I was back outside. I ran, never to return to the basement again.
Daniela Campos, Age 6 Cortelyou Library The Door In my door is a party with a balloon and a big yummy cake. The lights are of candy around the cake. On the floor is a big rug.
My Perfect Day I went to Chucky Cheese. I eat lots of ice cream with sprinkles. The lights are off. I eat pizza with my mom. A big ice cream.
Elena Gamboa, Age 10 Cortelyou Library New Year’s Day The ball dropped. It was the beginning of the New Year when suddenly Charlie… went inside the ball and was trapped… I tried to get Charlie out, but he bit me… But he didn’t listen to me. So I went away. The helicopter came…And Charlie bit them too! Then a guy grabbed Charlie…Charlie bit his head too! The guy was not hurt and put Charlie in a crib… So Charlie didn’t fall asleep…The guy fell asleep because it was nighttime and everyone was asleep...
You Little Devil Once upon a time there was a huge, spooky house. And that one day was Halloween! So this little girl was walking and when she stepped on an owner’s garden…she was grabbed by the grass and into the house. The house was like a person. Also, there was this young boy who always saw the devil. But when he went to bed, he would take one little peek and see a mouth, eyes, and the shadow of the old house…which then ate the kid up!
Acrostic Poems: Julia, Margarita & Christmas Joyful Unicorn Little but loved Is a polite girl Amanda Mom Amazing Reina Grateful Alegre Risa I Love
Is the sister I love!
I love the mom that is so cool!
Christmas is the most important time of the year. Houses arenâ€™t old, theyâ€™re new. R means I have a rat. Ice is my favorite. S is for my bird Super. T is for my true spirit. Merry Songs. As you see, my bird is small. S is for my small birds.
The Bear The bear is old, it has a jacket. It’s from 1989. It looks like a soldier since it has a jacket like a soldier. I know it is from 1989 because on the bottom of his foot is a string that is coming off. It stands like a straight ruler. The bear’s face looks so serious. The bear’s name is Baron!
Dream Dessert A dream dessert I would create is an ice cream soda veggies and chocolate! Guess what it will look like?... FROSTED ICE CREAM COVERED WITH SODA FROSTING AND CHOCOLATE VEGGIES.
One Foggy and Dark Rainy Day One foggy and dark rainy day there was a man standing next to someone’s porch. A man had a black coat, black shoes, and black clothes. As the man was there, someone was in the house taking a shower. It was a woman. The man turned the doorknob and went in when the woman did not hear…
Drawing Drawing is the best. Itâ€™s my life. Drawing is cool. Drawing Max is nice. Unicorns are what I draw. Drawing bunnies are so cute. Drawing animals are the best of my life. It looks like real animals moving!
Rain Rain is awful! Awful, Awful so ugly! Incredible day! Not so bad. Young fish you are sad.
Days are cool! Awful days are sad. You are in water and drowning.
Thanksgiving Turkey is good. Use feathers for fun. Return the leftovers to the farm! Kook the turkey! Events make it terrific. You are the yummys. Thanksgiving is fun! Hand some turkey in now! Also you are the best in the whole world! Never let you go fat turkey! Kill that turkey! Sugar candies are so delicious. Giving presents is a wonderful idea. In the p-o-o-l! Visitor from the farm Inside the oven you go! No, donâ€™t hurt me! Iâ€™m just a turkey! Go and attack that turkey! 48
Christopher Cortes, Age 8 Cortelyou Library One Dark and Disturbing Night One dark and disturbing night, I saw a destroying angel growing in my garden with wolfsbane. I had to wear gloves because they were both poisonous. I also saw a locust swarm out the window. I know I couldnâ€™t go out so I saw a bug and the locust stung it and it died. I stabbed the locust. It fell. The swarm stopped the locust, ate the wolfsbane and the destroying angel.
The Ball Dropped The ball dropped. Everyone was screaming and eating grapes. The crowd was loud. I didnâ€™t hear. I was death.
The Harmonica This harmonica is very ancient from China. It probably has to be very old or carved from a legendary tree.
Angel Cortes, Age 10 Cortelyou Library The Key This key was made in 1950. This key must open a chest until it was lost in the 21st century. A teacher found this item. This item may belong to an immigrant. This must be passed from generation through generation.
Mule I know you’ll crash and play hockey. You’re a cross between a donkey and a horse. Your eyes show remorse, after you were bred. You’re the seed of a donkey and a horse. You will bloom.
Messi Messi is the world’s best player. He plays in Barcelona and can make goals. One time he made 6 goals to make 10 in Real Madrid. He plays with the top players. He won the UEFA cup. I have his team’s shirt.
Rain Itâ€™s damp and soggy
It turns dirt into mud
Makes lots of of people frustrated
Icicles drop from the sky even worse.
Rain was dripping in the Catskill Mountains. Fish swam in the lakes like crazy. This is how it all happened. The world had a whole variety of wildlife. When the world drifted, continents were formed.
Bear You are rich in colors Polar Bears are treacherous predators Ruler of ice Grizzly Bears, the forest warrior Crushing everything in his way Bear cubs are lush in cuteness The strongest land predators
Angel Anxious Never give up Good mind Enthusiastic Loyalty 51
Carmen Jimenez, Age 8 Cortelyou Library Happy Story I went to a circus. It was fun. I saw a lion and also a clown. He was funny. And then I was hungry. My dad bought me popcorn.
The Perfect Ice Skate One day in winter I went to ice skate my first time. I went on the ice. I was shy because I didnâ€™t know how to skate, but my dad is going to teach me how to skate. When I get better, I will skate myself.
The Perfect Day at the Beach The beach is for summer. If you go in winter, you go on the ice. But when the ice is not hard, you can go in and the water will pull you down.
My Dream Vacation in the Summer The summer is for going to the beach, park and fishing. For my vacation, I like to go shopping and to parties. A party on the beach would have sand, shells and water. 52
Mie Abouelkheir, Age 14 Kensington Library Writing Left-Handed They say that there is a certain way to tilt the page when you write with your left hand. I believe it’s true. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs. If I really write faster my writing gets large. Is it just a placebo because I feel a lot more creative? Oh look. I forgot how to use my right hand. It is either that or my handwriting got better.
The Internet I wish there was a law that prohibited the use of the internet past the hour of 9 pm. (Cue the nos, moans and groans) But with all due respect, people’s fond love of the internet is quite noticeable for it provides a stable social network of friends and communication plus who doesn’t love to play those mind-boggling games? And for you shopaholics out there, on line shopping? But I believe that this all is too good to be true, and like everything that is too good to be true, it probably is. That is why there are many restrictions. 53
Unheard Poetry A poem speaks to the souls of the unheard. A poem shouts the things that go unnoticed. A poem loves the warmth of a child. A poem inspires the future. A poem aspires to come to life in the world conquered by thoughts. A poem obeys with great alacrity the opinions of people who care just enough to write it. A poem respects those who respect it. That is what a poem speaks.
Joys of Making Wishes Sleigh bells ring are you listening? Reuven’s book is publishing, publishing, all the way! Mie is winning the spelling bee, Oh, in a one horse open sleigh, hey! Dashing through the plane in a one horse open sleigh o’er the fields we go, Mahmoud is laughing all the way. Bells on bobtails ring, making Ms. Jackie’s spirits bright. Oh what fun it is to ride and sing our peace of mind. Hey! Ms. Nancy, Ms. Nancy. This is such a thoughtful gift.
The Medley Despite her sonâ€™s pleas, Mrs. Margaret Young was unyielding because of her vast knowledge of people going out at night past their curfew and the dangers they could have endured. Her son was very fickle when she said that. As a way to calm himself down, he vacillated between who was right in the argument. He was suddenly in a situation where he was alarmingly vexed with his thoughts about his mother. Then his conscience came in and told him that his mother loved him and she did that for his safety. Of course mothers do know best.
The Annotation of Assimilation The capacity of intelligence has limits. The majority of people are significant in their thought. The curiosity of children terminates. The ambition of those whoâ€™ve been let down astounds. The integrity of those hurt have been questioned. The admiration of anything only goes so far. The insecurity of the souls bound to get lost find a way.
I Wonder... They say that when an old door is shut, a new one opens. Well, what if no door shuts and new ones keep opening? What would life be like? I wonder to myself why things happen the way they do. I also wonder why people are the way they are. And then I always realize I am proud to be myself. Whenever I felt upset about not having a little sister instead of a little brother, or not being able to hug my grandmother the way others on television do. And then I think to myself, no one person can have the same experience as any other person has experienced. No one person can have the same exact insight on life as any other person. That is what truly makes a person who they are.
Esra Mahdi, Age 10 Kensington Library
The Magic Door Chrystal woke up and She got dressed up. She was very happy because It was Saturday! She was Going to have a sleep Over. Then suddenly she Heard a noise and she jumped. She was Terrified because she Was by herself. Her Mom went to work Early today because A visitor was Coming…again She heard The noise Again. Then, Chrystal Went to the basement And saw a small door She never noticed. Chrystal Was very curious so She opened the door. Chrystal was in A whole different universe. Chrystal was scared. Ta da! It was all just a dream.
Eid Before Eid Fasting boring Hungry Thirsty Now itâ€™s Eid Money, Family, Places On the first day of Eid my parents took Me and my relatives To Coney Island. We Had so much fun. On the second day of Eid I went to Connecticut. First we went to Lake Compound. On the third day of Eid I went to Coco keys. I love Eid. Eid is fun. You can play and do Whatever you want.
My Family The kind of family I want is a loving and kind family. I want to have 2 girls. Their names will be Joelle and Chrystal. Also, I will marry a handsome young man. Furthermore, I will go to Hofstra University and go to medical school so I can become a pediatrician. That is how I want my family to be like. 58
New Year’s Day The ball dropped and suddenly Jasmine Wenbary screamed and shouted Happy New Year and she said I can’t wait for school. I can’t wait to tell them I went to Manhattan and saw the ball drop and my favorite Taylor Swift sang, “We’re Never Getting Back Together.” And when the ball dropped, graffiti sprinkled everywhere. The bad news was that I had to take a shower. I stank like a garbage truck. Then I fell asleep. Hours later... I woke up and went to school. I told them everything about winter break like what I did and what I got for Christmas. I yelled at my best friend Sabine and told her, “We both have the same phone, Ahh! Now me and you can text anybody who we want nonstop and make prank calls to Mrs. Parker.” Mrs. Parker is a mean old lady who always tells us to go home because we’re making so much noise. She always says that even when I just sit in my lawn reading a book. Mrs. Parker is a very mean neighbor, but my mom always says it is because she is lonely and miserable that Mr. Parker died. So me and Sabine promised each other that on Saturday we will go to her house and comfort her. So as they promised, they went and she yelled, “What do you want you meddling kids?!” So she slammed the door and they never visited her again.
Veronica Bobe, Age 13 Kensington Library
Writing Writing, to some people, is essential. It does not just consist of pen and paper. It takes thought and time. It requires peace and quiet. Some people can write with noise. Some people cannot. When I get older, I want to be a writer- a fiction writer. Not because I want money. I like to write. I do it in my free time. My writing is not always good. I need time to write. If I’m stressed, my writing won’t be good. That’s why, when I get older, I want to be a writer. I want to have my own little office to write. My own little office to write. And think. All at my own pace. If I do become a writer, I want to write fiction. It’s easy. I could write what I want. Anything I want. Whenever I want. I love writing. There’s so much to write about. Nature, life, family, earth, anything! I just love writing. I’m writing right now. I’m a bit distracted so it’s not too good. It’s also not fiction. But it’s still writing. Writing is writing. It’s not just sitting there with a pen and paper. It involves a thought process. It involves time. It involves motivation and passion. To me, writing is essential.
Bedroom Window Deciding to let some light into my room, I opened my curtains. I was surprised to see what was there. Instead of the usual concrete backyard with a few weeds here and there, it was all black. Well, not completely. There were white dots. I think they were stars! As I looked around, I saw planets too! Then, I thought, I can’t be on earth. Am I in space? Right before my eyes, a meteor passed by. It flew past my window lighting my room all red and orange. Quickly, I closed my curtains and hoped that when I opened them again, it would be the same concrete space as usual. After a couple of minutes, I opened my window again. This time, instead of seeing space and stars, I saw an ocean. I heard bells and then a ginormous pirate ship passed my window. It was firing cannons every which way it could. One came flying toward me. I ducked and waited for it to pass through my window. But nothing happened. So I looked back up only to see that now there was nothing but trees. Now I was seriously baffled. What was happening? I opened my window and slightly peered out. When I looked up, a gigantic snake swooped down and tried to bite me. I quickly jumped back into my window, closing it along with the curtains, and leaned against the wall. I closed my eyes and breathed quickly. I counted to 10 and opened my curtains again. Nothing was there. Well, there was something, but nothing crazy. It was back to the normal concrete space with weeds in certain spots. I figured I’d go out and see if everything was actually back to normal. I went into my closet to get my jacket, but when I opened it, my jacket wasn’t in there. It was a tank filled with all kinds of fish. There was a door to get in and me being me, I went in the door…but that’s a whole nother story.
Julia Gamboa, Age 7 Cortelyou Library Goldilocks Once upon a time the three bears were trapped in the house. Goldilocks was the meanest girl in the world. She killed people, cats, and dogs. She was poisonous. Long ago, after the hurricane Sandy, she was nice. One day she disappeared and people missed her. She died in 1990. A man was evil and did the same thing as Goldilocks.
Kiara Busby, Age 10 Cortelyou Library The Jones Family There once was a family of aliens. They live on planet purple. They have 4 children named Christopher, Stacy, Michael and Lisa. The parentsâ€™ names are Melinda and Joseph Jones. They speak the language Purplelainia. The Jones family was originally from Planet Yellow, but after the Planet Pinkians came and destroyed their planet, they were forced to move to Planet Purple.
Khasbo Islam, Age 9 Cortelyou Library Family My family is nice and fun. My family has lots of people and children. I have six sisters and dad and mom and I live in a building. I love my family because they make me Happy. I love my family. I love my mom and dad and my six sisters. My sisters are named Fatima, Ikar, Shna, Sumi, Shorme and me. My mom and dad take care of me.
Planet My planetâ€™s name is Khasbo Islam. My planet is for my family and my friends. My planet has a lot of homes and parks and stores. My planet is far away. You can come to my planet by rocketship.
Maria Hashmi, Age 11 Kensingtion Library Sparta As I walked down the block, my heart pounding, I couldn’t help wonder, “Why?! Why did I leave the window open?!” Vice-versa, I was thinking, “Mmm. It was hot and Mom told me to open windows on hot days.” But how could my big golden retriever break open the net?! I felt guilty; I was supposed to cut his nails last week. I felt sick. I felt scared. My best friend, Hafsa, was helping me look. She is the best friend ever. She was my best friend since I was 3. Though she didn’t like dogs, Sparta was an exception. Sparta would snuggle by her, licking her hands, while Hafsa was smiling gleefully, me giggling. I also have two cats, Mo and Ginger. I have 2 turtles, Bo and Sam. In other words, I have a zoo. My friend does not. Anyway, I told enough about my background, back to the street. I felt like I was about to faint. My dog. My precious big lion. Gone. Missing. I felt tears running down my face. It was peak-1:42pm. It was summer. I was scorching! But I had to find Sparta. Hafsa, finally realizing I was crying, hugged me. She always makes me feel better. I heard a bark. I ran. My feet were on fire, dust literally coming behind me, Hafsa quiet on my feet. We were both great at running. But I was miles ahead. I saw him. My dog. In the water. In the pool. Aww! I quickly dived in, clothes and all and rescued him. My dog.
Spectrum The planet is called Spectrum. It has no fossil fuels or bad gasoline. This is not the place for a real estate agent, or bankers. No one will destroy this planet. Iâ€™ll tell you a story of a spaceman/banker who came to explore this land. John B. Bigelow. At first he was a banker, but he saw his real passion in space. He tried to explore outside the Milky Way. Then a greenish blue dot he saw. And it became bigger. And bigger! Finally, after 2 days, he and his spaceship reached an unknown planet. And he stepped out. He had his helmet on. He had the American flag in his hand. He was amazed at the beauty. And the cleanness. And the freshness. And view. At first he was amazed at the unknown Heaven. But soon his mind turned greedy. He was thinking of claiming the land as his own, inviting the President and all the important men out in the Earth. Then he will be the real estator, making houses and bathing in gold and platinum. He was NOT a man of a pure soul. He planned to rip apart the forests and kill all the animals. The animals soon found out about this horrible plan. They will not let their home be destroyed. So they did something about it. They devised a plan. The mammoths will get his spaceship, the snakes and mosquitoes, and tigers surrounded him. John, feeling very scared out of his wits, started praying to God. Something he rarely ever does. Then, the humans, dressed as Native Americans and spirits, banged on the drums chanting the same words: YOU 65
MUST LEAVE, LEAVE, LEAVE. NEVER RETURN. Then the leader of the land, the lion, spoke quietly. “I can sense your fear. I know you want revenge. But you must not return with an army of heartless thieves.” Meanwhile, John was scared. The lion thingy could read his mind. His heart was beating as fast as a bug — a small fast bug. “YOU MUST NOT TURN THIS PLANET. DO NOT TURN SPECTRUM INTO EARTH. Next time you return with a cruel mind, we will battle. And sadly, we will not show mercy. Now go, and never return!” John B. Bigelow did not return. Nor did he leave. He became a man of pure heart and thrived on Spectrum. He was truly home.
Shaymaa Mohamed, Age 13 Kensington Library The Closet Door I opened my closet door and I saw something in there. At first I did not know what it was. I was only 10 that time and I wanted to go to the future. And I did but no one saw me, but I could see them and learn so many things that I haven’t seen in the past. I saw that I was having a great life, but in the past I was not. I had to choose. I had to choose to go back to the past or stay in the future and other people can see and I can start my life in a new world, but I had to go through and I did. I would go back home with my friends. I walked out the closet. 66
The Best Day One day there was 3 girls that were going to the mall and they all loved to shop all the time. Flora, Bloom, and Stella were their names. Stella was the shopping one who liked to shop every day. Flora was the one who was liked by everyone, even if she did not know that person. Bloom is a fairy girl that loves to sing all the time. After they went in the mall, they went to a music store. They went to the costume store and they all bought 3 dresses to wear. Then they went to get their hair and nails done, but they were missing something. So they took it and all went home to try their new dresses on to go to a party at Annaâ€™s house. And they did, but one dress was missing so they had a fit. Stella said, â€œYou took my dress!â€? to Bloom, but Bloom said no she did not and kept on talking about it. Flora told them to stop because she did not like to see her friends fighting. Then they all got over it and went to have fun and they did and that was the end.
Acknowledgements NY Writers Coalition would like to thank the following supporters, without whom this writing community, workshop, and publication would not exist: Amazon.com, the Bay & Paul Foundations, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Kalliopeia Foundation, the Meringoff Family Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Nora Roberts Foundation, Two West Foundation, the Valentine Perry Snyder Fund, all our individual donors, attendees of the annual Write-A-Thon, and NY Writers Coalition members Mulan Ashwin, Michael Cosaboom & Diana Son, Charles LaFollette, and Jeffrey & Sheryl Posnick. NYWC would also like to thank Steven Lamonea at Cortelyou Library, Charles Moran, Eric Bobilin, and William Lewnes at Kensington Library, NYWC workshop leaders Nancy Sanchez-Taylor and Jackie Glasthal, the dedicated participants in these NYWC writing workshops, and all the contributors to Pen to Paper.
Mahmoud Abouelkheir Mie Abouelkheir Anisa Alston Ariana Alston Veronica Bobe Kiara Busby Lily Burgess Daniela Campos Angel Cortes Christopher Cortes Elena Gamboa Julia Gamboa
Roni Glasthal Reuven Glezer Maria Hashmi Khasbo Islam Carmen Jimenez Pema Lama Esra Mahdi Tabitha Martinez Shaymaa Mohamed Umbreen Mohammed Anna Siddiqui Ashley Torres
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