Saturday, October 4, 2014

101 Great American Poems

When teaching American Literature, I find it difficult to cover the poetry throughout the year that I would like to do. With AP exams and traditional syllabus wedded to the novel, poetry can be marginalized and pushed to the side or into a two week poetry unit. The analysis of poetry tends to be tedious. As Billy Collins says in his rye poem " Introduction to Poetry", we (teachers and students) tie the poem to a chair and torture the meaning out of it.

Below is a list of poems from our $3 anthology. I appreciate the chronological order of poets and the relative diversity of voices. When class time is precious, how do we hit 101 poems between now and the end of the year. Does a poem a day work? Is that possible too tedious?

Let's see.

Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672) "To My Dear and Loving Husband"
Phillis Wheatley (1753?-1784) From "To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth"

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seamus Heaney's "The Bookcase"

"The Bookcase"

Ashwood or oakwood? Planned to silkiness,
Mitred, much eyed-along, each vellum-pale
Board in the bookcase held and never sagged. 
Virtue went forth from its very shipshapeness.

Whoever remembers the rough blue paper bags
Loose sugar was once sold in might remember
The jacket of (was it Oliver & Boyd’s?)
Collected Hugh MacDiarmid. And the skimmed milk

Bluey-white of the Chatto Selected
Elizabeth Bishop. Murex of Macmillan’s
Collected Yeats. And their Collected Hardy.
Yeats of 'Memory'. Hardy of 'The Voice'.

Voices too of Frost and Wallace Stevens.
Off a Caedmon double album, off different shelves.
Dylan at full volume, the Bushmills killed.
'Do Not Go Gentle.' 'Don’t be going yet.'


Heavy as the gate I hung on once
As it swung its arc through air round to the hedge-back,
The bookcase turns on a druggy hinge, its load
Divulging into a future perfect tense

Where we hang loose, ruminating and repeating
The three words, 'books from Ireland', to each other,
Quoting for pleasure the Venerable Bede
Who writes in his History of the English Church

That scrapings off the leaves of books from Ireland
When steeping in water palliate the effect 
Of snake-bite. 'For on this isle,' he states,
'Almost everything confers immunity.'

Chiefly I liked the lines and weight of it.
A measuredness. Its long back to the wall
And carpentered right angles I could feel
In my neck and shoulder. And books from everywhere.

Cash in As I Lay Dying makes a coffin - 
For thirteen stated reasons - 'on the bevel'.
From first, 'There is more surface for the nails
To grip,' to last, 'It makes a better job.'

In Riders to the Sea Synge specifies
In the opening stage direction 'some new boards
Standing by the wall,' and in Maurya's speech
'White boards' are like storm-gleams on the flood

At the very end, or the salt salvaged makings
Of a raft for books, a bier to be borne.
I imagine us bracing ourselves for the first lift,
Then staggering for balance, it has grown so light.

Check out this NYTimes video dedicated to Heaney:

Interesting essay that discusses Heaney and cites this poem

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Elizabeth Alexander on Lucille Clifton

Elizabeth Alexander on Lucille CliftonNotes from Alexander's 2012 Blarney Lecture
Youtube link Published on Aug 21, 2014
Elizabeth Alexander delivers the 2012 Blaney Lecture 
at Poets Forum presented by the Academy of American Poets.

Alexander's New Yorker article "Remembering Lucille Clifton" Feb. 17, 2010

Elizabeth Alexander spoke at President Obamas first inauguration 

Lucille Clifton (1937-2010)

In the Blarney Lecture, according to Alexander, Clifton believed:
To be human is to tell the truth,
To be human is to stand in a circle
with other human beings
and hold their hands.

Lesson on Lucille Clifton's "won't you celebrate with me"

Mark Doty on "Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now"

On this Saturday afternoon of Labor Day weekend, I discovered this lecture while sitting at the dining room table at my grandmother's house, my mom's mom, in South Jersey.

Mimi is 93 and we believe these may be her final days after a series of strokes. She has been sleeping all day. Occasionally, she wakes enough to drink some milk through a straw or ice-chips.

I want to write her a poem, but words fail me at the moment - my inner voice tied in knots.
Yet I found this Mark Doty lecture on poetry inspiring, and perhaps, the words will work their way to the page soon.

In the meantime, I think of my students, especially my juniors that will write and rewrite. Each student must find his or her voice. Each student must discover his or her "unmistakable self" via writing.

Photo from Mark Doty's website
Read and listen to the Mark Doty - click here: lecture in its entirety at

Mark Doty defines poetic voice as:
That inner voice is certainly related to the voice we use when we talk to the world and reflect in it, but they aren’t the same thing. I doubt any of us sounds to other people the way we sound in our own heads. Poetic voice is an attempt to make a version of that illusive inferiority, to bring it into the light of the page. Or maybe, more accurately, to fuse the inner voice with the outer one in order to make a speaking presence on the page that feels like ourselves. “Feels like ourselves.” It sounds simple, but it’s anything but. I couldn’t begin to explain how it’s done, save to suggest that a very long work of practice and refinement goes into what would seem natural: sounding like yourself, your unmistakable self. Is it still possible to talk about an unmistakable self? 

Doty references Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Mark Halliday, Elizabeth Alexander, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and more.

Early Excerpt : 
The title of my talk this evening is “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now," but I’m going to invite those of you who are uncomfortable with sentences that don’t go all the way out to the end of the page to substitute ‘literature’ for that word ‘poetry’ when you hear it, because I think my remarks will be applicable to all sorts of literary forms. And I want to begin with a quotation from the contemporary American poet Elizabeth Alexander. A little line or two of Elizabeth’s provides an epigraph for my talk. This is a poem in which the speaker is a teacher who has grown frustrated with her class. The class believes that poetry is all rainbows and sweetness and love. And she says to them, "‘Poetry,' I tell them, ‘is the human voice, and we are of interest to one another. Are we not?'" 
So this is “Tide of Voices.” In the early 1940s, the psychologist Abraham Maslow constructed a hierarchy of basic needs, a famous description of what human beings require. Above all else, he said, we need to be safe. When you’re out of danger you can think about food and water, and when you have those things you can think about shelter, and once you have that you can turn to your emotional needs. When you’re safe, fed, out of the weather, and loved, he thought, then you can turn your attention to a more complex human need and desire to create. 
Now, obviously, there’s a certain truth in this scheme. When you have a pressing need to get warm, for instance, or you’re driving on the freeway and trying to get out of the path of a terrifying truck, you probably aren’t thinking about a poem or a story you want to write. But it also seems clear that there’s a certain middle class perspective inherent in Dr. Maslow’s scheme. For most of the world, the kind of stable conditions he believed were necessary for human beings to be free to invest their energies in creative work simply do not exist. Not in a reliable way. All over the world food and water and shelter are often in question...

Doty makes a case for "why do we read literature?"

People who read imagine the lives of others. Literature makes other people more real to us. It invites us to notice differences but, even more so, points toward commonality. Novels and poems and plays can’t help but suggest that the subjectivity of others is real. That they have the same claims on dignity and compassion and a good life we ourselves do. If you speak up, our punishment said, we won’t let you read. As if our school administrators understood that it was reading that had led to our troublemaking in the first place. Perhaps it really was, in that indirect fashion in which art does its work—The Great Gatsby that had led us to understand that the people of Vietnam had hopes and aspirations like our own. Maybe it was Slaughterhouse Five that led us to see that we could remain silent and thus choose absurdity, or we could open our mouths and risk having our books taken away...

Doty then reads a poem that will make you think again about the power of poetry:
 Revenge by Taha Muhammad Ali, translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin 

Mark Doty concludes:

May poetry indeed be a language for a new century. A way to place value on the dignity, specificity, and beauty of individual lives. A way to resist the streamlining diminishment of categories and generalizations. A way to speak, a way to be heard.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mad Men and Frank O'Hara

Frank O'HaraMeditations in an Emergency

TO WATCH THE VIDEO CLIP  from MAD MEN - see this article:
                               BBC - Culture - Frank O’Hara: Poet of the Mad Men Era 
Now I am quietly waiting for 
the catastrophe of my personality 
to seem beautiful again, 
and interesting, and modern. 

The country is grey and 
brown and white in trees, 
snows and skies of laughter 
always diminishing, less funny 
not just darker, not just grey. 

It may be the coldest day of 
the year, what does he think of 
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do, 
perhaps I am myself again.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 4: Prompts and Poems

Bring in favorite children's books. 

DAY 4. "Feeling into Words"
What is a word? What is language? 
Journal about earliest memories of poetry, reading, or signing. 

Additional prompts from

1. Interview friends and family and ask them: "Why does poetry matter to you?"
(It may not, but we are going to make the assumption that it does; then, see how they respond.) 
Follow up questions: 
  • Who is your favorite poet? 
  • What is your favorite poem?

2. Record their response with audio or video recorder or journal. 

Offer them your journal - they may want to write or even draw their response. 

Great website for literary devices and examples - for instance enjambment.

Day 5: Final Drafts of Student Work at the Writer's Studio

Student chap books created at The Writer's Studio

Writing by Kiana:
Who am I?                          
I am…
An older sister                                      A traveler
A basketball player                              A reader
 A volleyball player                              A thoughtful person
 A friend                                                An ambitious person
 A writer                                               A dependable friend                                         
A doodler                                             Kiana Rodriguez.
A student
An artist
An optimistic person
A loving person
A good listener
A talker
A shopper

What is poetry?
  Pablo Neruda, Nicanor Parra, Gonzalo Rojas, Octavio Paz
 Life doesn’t frighten me at all-Maya Angelou
Expressing your feelings towards society, nature, yourself, or others.
 A form of writing that can be used to express a persons feelings or thoughts.
Writing poetry is like painting with words.
“Poetry is, after all, like music, a universal language.”-Six American Poets
“Shelley called poetry ‘the record of the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds.’” –The Pocket Book of Verse
 “A major poet contributes to the development of the art of poetry by the magnitude or the implacable center of gravity of his vision and craft.” –Major American Poets

People may not believe,
But there actually are
gorgeous, magical
creatures living in
 the sea.
They are very colorful,
stunnung even.
These type of people, or
creatures are all very different.

Some think that they are cursed,
 being alive in the sea and all.
But it really is a nice, carefree
way of living.
Would these type of people like
 to walk?
Well of course they would.
I think that they would likely
 prefer being back in the ocean, though.

They are perfect types of people that seem
 to never be found by us.
They are always graceful, sometimes even
Their colorful bodies make them mystical
and amazing people.

Hunters In the Snow

Inspired by painting By- Pieter Brueghel
The sun is escaping, and my friends and I are getting home.
Lampposts and bright streetlights are being turned on in the distance.
It snowed last night, so the snow is still fresh.
I exhale, and can see my short breath in the air.

My partners and I are now trudging downhill.
We see many ice skating families and kids having fun.
Laughter and joy is in the air, but not for us.

All that my companions and I want to do is get home.
Its been a long and tough day, and we have already walked four miles.
Snow is falling now, and it is coming into our heavy snow boots.
Our feet are blistered from the long walk.
Our hands are freezing, but we will almost be at rest in our small houses.

We pass the ice skaters and happy kids.
My fellow hunters and I separate to get to our houses.
I’m finally home, finally at rest.

Wild Things
Based on Where the Wild Things Are
Written by, Maurice Sendak

And then Max said “Be still!”
And everything suddenly became still.
All of the chaos stopped,
The wild things were still.

The wild things were quiet.
There was peacefulness on the land.
Calmness everywhere Max went.
Even almost serenity.

Max had tamed the wild things,
using a powerful trick with his eyes.
He stared into their yellow eyes
without even blinking once.

This was when Max was called the wildest thing of all.

Girl by the Window
Description: Macintosh HD:Users:kobrien:Desktop:1945-57-191.jpg 
Painting By- Daniel Garber
The girl stands in the room, reading a story.
Light comes in from the window,
Her shadow reflecting against the mirror.
She can hear children’s laughter outside;
She can smell the sweet smell of fruit coming from the kitchen.
There are two chairs beside the girl,
But she doesn’t sit.
She is too intrigued to even look up from the page when I walk in.

New York City
Photo By- Kiana Rodriguez
Why do people leave New York City? As I walk
through New York City, I see many things, such
as people, stores, buildings, and vendors. But
what stand out the most are the colorful lights.

There are lights of all different colors, shapes,
and sizes. They are all giant advertisements that
make the special city stand out, make the city

When you’re in New York, it seems as if you want
 to stay there forever. This peculiar city has a
different feel to it than most other cities, the feel
makes your trip feel surreal.

But people have jobs to get back to, and their
 extremely boring lives. Most people do try to get
 back to this gorgeous and exciting city as soon as
they can.

     My mother broke every dish in the house the day that she was told that she was fired. She was mad. Mad isn’t even the right word. She was furious. She had lost an amazing job just because she had shown up to work at 8:03 one morning instead of at 8:00 sharp. I mean who fires a person just for that? My mother was so furious because she is the one that makes most of the money in our house. My father is always on these so called "business trips," so my siblings and I rarely ever see him. So, I have been trying to help out with the house more to make my family's and mothers life easier. I make my family dinner, clean the house, and get my younger brother and sisters ready for school in the morning, even though mostly everyone is in a sour mood. One night, my mother had a good interview, which she thought had gone fairly well. So, she was in a great mood. "Thank you Elizabeth," she had told me, " All of your help has really helped keep our family on top." "No problem mom" I had replied. That night she got the call that we had been waiting a month for. She had gotten the job! It was also very well paying. From that day forward, everyone was in a great mood all of the time.

 Two friends named Johnna and Clara are going out to a restaurant to see if they would be a good match of friends for each other. They are both twenty-three years old, looking for a friend, and very creative.

“Hi Clara Foster” said Johnna.
“I’m not Clara Foster,” said a stranger.
“Oh, sorry” said Johnna.
“Hi Johnna Wu” says Clara.
“Hi Clara!”
“Should we take a seat?” asks Clara.
“That would be nice.”
“How old are you?”
“Twenty three turning twenty four,” says Johnna “what about you?”
“I am twenty three years old.” responds Clara. “So, I read on your profile that you enjoy drawing, playing the violin and piano. How do you pursue these talents?”
“Well, I go to school at Julliard, so it’s not very hard to run after these activities.” Says Johnna.
“And how so are you creative?” asks Johnna.
“I have a career as an interior designer, so I kind of need to be creative in order to keep my job.”
Johnna laughed.
The waitress comes to take their drink orders.
“I’ll have a diet coke please” says Clara.
“I will also have a diet coke”
The waitress leaves to get their drinks.
“So, what do you like to do in your free time?” asks Johnna.
“I like to read, go to the movies, and be with my friends and family.” says Clara. “Oh, and I also love to shop, but only when I have the money for it. What do you like to do, what are some of your hobbies?”
“Well, I like to draw, hang out with friends, play the violin, play the piano, and sing, as I have already told you.”
“That’s so cool!” said Clara.
“Are you any good at drawing?”
“Well, I think so. But everyone else probably doesn’t think so.”
“I bet you are, you seem very creative.”
The waitress comes and takes their food orders.
The waitress immediately brings their food and they eat up.
“That was delicious,” says Johnna.
“I agree.”
“I think that we would be good friends if we chose to hang out again.”
“Me too,” said Clara “we have so much in common, we are both very creative, smart, and like to be with friends.”
“I would love to see one of the rooms that you have designed,” says Johnna.
“Sure,” responds Clara “and I would also like to see one of your drawings and hear you with all of your surely amazing musical talents.
“Then we should meet again sometime.”
“Yes, we definitely should, how’s next Tuesday for you?”
“Tuesday is great.”
The waitress then comes out with the bill.
“I’ll pay,” says Johnna.
“No its fine, dinner’s on me tonight.”
After some more of going back and forth on who should pay the bill, the waitress offers to split it, each lady would have to pay about half of the total amount.
“That’s what we’ll do.” says Johnna.
“Yes, that would be fabulous.”
They both get up and leave after they pay.
“Dinner was very nice, I’ll see you next Tuesday.” says Clara.
“Yes, dinner was marvelous, bye Clara!”
“Bye Johnna!”

    My name is Sophia. I really like to lie, and am really good at it. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be lying, but sometimes, I need to. For example, I spare my friends feelings by lying when I need to. Or if I’m embarrassed when I’m doing something, I lie and say I was doing something else. Last night I was grounded. I was supposed to go to the movies last night with my friend Alison, but of course, my parents wouldn’t even let me out of my room.  Today when Alison asked me where I was last night, I told her that my cat got bit by a donkey and lost so much blood we had to take her to the vet. Thankfully, this is not true. I was stammering a lot when I had told her this, so I actually didn’t think she would believe me. But Alison believed it, she is so gullible. I don’t think anyone else would of believed it.  And yesterday, when my teacher asked me why I didn’t do my homework, I lied and said that I hadn’t done it because my printer was out of ink. She raised an eyebrow like she didn’t believe me. This didn’t work because a couple of nights before the teacher saw my mom out buying ink a couple of nights before. These aren’t the best examples of me lying, but I actually think I’m a pretty amazing liar. Not a lot of people believe me when I lie, but the people that believe me are the only ones that count.

So, last night my family and I were in a restaurant. I borrowed my brother's old crutches and went out like that, with one foot barefooted. Once we got to the restaurant, I told everyone I saw that I had broken my foot when an elephant stepped on it. But, the waiter wouldn't serve us! We asked her why nobody was coming to take our order and she told my family that it was because I wasn't wearing a shoe, and that that restaurant had the right to refuse service to shoeless people. The waitress somehow knew I was faking the foot injury. So after arguing with her, we decided to leave. Once we got home, my mom started to make pasta, my favorite. I love the smell of my mom making the food. While I was waiting for dinner to be ready, I went up to my room and started reading my old diary. I couldn't believe what I had written in there! I wished that I had a let donkey, and said that I had wanted to marry Justin Bieber. The diary also said that I also had a pet unicorn living in my closet, which I still do. Just don't tell my parents.

Writing from Hannah:


Musical, Booky, Whovian
Reading, Sleeping, Fezzes
Running, Biking, Playing Soccer
Doctor Who, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent
Weeping angels, Heights, Claustrophobia
The library, Friends, Math
To go to a good college, Get good grades

The Fragile Castle (a Poem)

Time goes by
And the castle ages
It’s secret written
Within many pages

Hidden in the castle
Rests the book of life
It is unwritten
Unless you choose to write

And the castle stands
With many different forts
Though the outside is strong
Inside it hurts

So be careful with the castle that’s a beauty
Because the guards are always on duty

The Girl at the Sewing Machine
Long days
She sits
With the cloth
That binds her life.

Her hands
Her delicate hands
Thread by thread
Weave the cloth
Stitch by stitch
Lace her life


The cloth does not define her life
The cloth does not decide her fate
The cloth decides her every living moment

For when her life ends
Her living will continue
And never will she reach death
So long as she’s spinning

The birds will continue chirping
And the sun will rise and set
And the girl that continues sewing
Will never meet her death

The Girl in the Shadows

She stands
Paper clasped in her hand
Hazel hair graciously combed and brushed
Her shadows reflect in the mirror

The light filters through the faded curtain
And softly lands on her faded sapphire plush chair
The lamp behind them seems to glow

Her nightgown shines
In the soft light
And the soft baby blue dress
Reflects her emotions

The Process of Writing a Poem (a Poem)

I agree; poetry is discouraging
It takes a lot more than words
To make it more encouraging

It takes will
and skill
and all of your drive
to make it more interesting
It is quite a dive

A dive into the unknown
The unwritten
The unspoken

But as soon as the light is shone
The words are written
Into stone
Never to be erased

The Surfing Lesson (a Flash Fiction)

It was a beautiful morning in the Outer Banks. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the waves were gentle, and the sand was warm. Then my dad had to go and ruin it all.

“Hey Clara, how about we try some surfing today?” he asked, munching on a cinnamon roll. He set down the morning paper. “It’d be fun.”

I shrugged. Didn't seem that bad. After all, it's not like I could drown in that water. "Sure, why not?" I replied casually.

“Sounds good. Go get changed, and I’ll meet you by the water in five minutes, yeah?”


I went upstairs to change, and five minutes later, my dad and I were standing besides the ocean. I inhaled the ocean breeze, and the smell of warm sand. It was truly a beautiful morning.

“First and only lesson in surfing,” my dad said, angling his surfboard so it hit the water right. “Don’t fall. Good luck Clara.” Then he took off.

I was about to protest, but he was already halfway in the ocean. I groaned inwardly and copied my dad.

I wasn’t prepared for the cold water that hit me as soon as I entered. It was about 20 degrees in the water, I swear. I almost fell off the board from the cold.

I fell of 5 seconds later, when I slipped. My entire body hit the freezing cold water, and I yelped. It literally was 20 degrees. I coughed and sputtered, and when I looked up, my dad was sitting on his surfboard.

“Now Clara, that is not how you surf,” he said disapprovingly, hauling me back up. “Watch and learn, grasshopper.”

He paddled off, leaving me to shiver on the board. I watched as he approached a wave, then stood up at the last second, expertly swooping with the wave. As the wave crashed, he turned back, and paddled back to me.

“Now you try,” he said, gesturing to the oncoming wave.

I inwardly groaned again, and paddled toward the wave. I braced myself for more cold as I approached the wave.

Just as the wave rolled over, I hopped up, and squeezing my eyes shut, flung my arms out.
After two seconds, I opened one eye. I was still standing. And I was surfing. I then opened my other eye in surprise. I was surfing. I was actually surfing. I let out a whoop of joy, but then looked to the side.

There was a huge purple fish swimming on the other side of the wave, staring directly at me. It opened its mouth to swallow bubbles, and I screamed. With my concentration broken, I fell into the water.

I rose back to the surface to see my dad lecturing me disapprovingly.

“You have to try harder, Clara,” he scolded, hauling me back up again.

“Yes,” I said, suppressing a smile, despite the cold. I had a feeling I could do it this time. “One more time, perhaps?”

The Pant Problem (a Flash Fiction)

It was around 4am when I felt a shake on my shoulder. Katherine was leaning over the edge of the bunk.

“What?” I grumbled.

“I can’t find my pants,” she moaned.

Under different circumstances, I would’ve laughed, but at 4 in the morning, I was in no mood to laugh. I managed to mumble ‘lovely’  before tumbling off to sleep again.

In the morning, Katherine still hadn’t found her pants. This stirred up a lot of trouble from our cabin; Annabelle even made a song for it.

After two days, someone checked the bottom of a table, and we found her pants sitting in a dusty corner. Finally, the pant problem was solved.

The Beetle Chase

It was a beautiful day outside. The sun shone brightly, but not too bright. The air was nice and warm. Everything was fine and lovely. Except, of course, the beatles.

If I were in a room with my biggest fear, I would probably be stuck with these giant beetles that kept on flying around me. They were huge, each probably 4 inches wide and 2 inches tall. They had huge wings that buzzed whenever they flew, and wide buggish eyes that always seemed to be targeting me and staring me down.

I screamed as another beetle flew by my arm, missing it by a near millimeter. Of course, Angelina was having a real kick out of this, cracking up every time a beetle flew near me. She grinned as another one flew past.

“Oh look, I found where the beetle stung me,” she said with a mischievous smile. That got the reaction she was expecting, which was me running like a maniac to the other side of the sidewalk. I screamed again as I dodged another beetle, which missed me by a narrow 5 centimeters. I was really starting to hate these beetles.

Angelina laughed so hard, she almost crashed into a beetle. She yelped, then quickly ran back to the sidewalk.

When we reached the other side, there weren’t as many beetles, so I finally calmed down, though Angelina still was laughing.

“It’s not funny,” I grumbled, swinging around to make sure there weren’t any beetles following us.

“Of course not,” she replied, still laughing. “The beetle sting wasn’t funny at all, in fact, it rather hurt. A lot.”

I smacked her arm, then yelled as a beetle flew past my arm. I jumped back, almost crashing into Angelina. And then, almost tripping, I ran for the entrance, dodging beetles as I went.

We finally made it, though rather painfully. Of course, Angelina wouldn’t fully stop laughing till 2 days later. That was the most painful part.

The Bad Boss

Being the boss of a top company isn’t as fun as it sounds. For instance, take this morning.

I had just gotten a cup of coffee from our luxurious cafeteria, when one of my co-workers approached me.

“Uh, sir, uh--” he started nervously.

“What?” I sighed.

“I regret to inform you that I might have miscalculated our business markets, and we have taken a turn down to 15%--also, there appears to be some bugs in your offi--”

“You’re fired,” I said, without letting him finish his sentence. “Nobody in my company miscalculates markets so easily. Also, what did I say about bugs?” I waved my hand as he gaped at me. “Now shoo, I’ve got a coffee to drink and work to do.”

When I reached my office, I had another co-worker waiting for me, along with many bugs.

“Sir, we have a problem--” he started.

“You don’t say,” I said, gesturing to the many bugs that filled the room.

“Yes, that and also--”

“KILL THEM!” I ordered.

“Y-y-yes sir,” he said hastily, walking out of the room.

I really hated bugs, as you can see. I have many cans of bug spray that usually gets sprayed, but not today apparently.

I sighed again. Co-workers could be so annoying. Being the boss helped, since I could degrade them and all, but still. So annoying.

I was well into the marketing calculations when another co-worker approached me. He opened his mouth to start talking, but I immediately waved my hand.

“You’re fired,” I growled. “Get out of here.”

He opened his mouth to protest, then seemed to see my expression. He saluted (which was even more annoying), then quickly walked out of the room.

At around 3 at noon, I got a call. With a sigh, I picked it up.


“Ms. Lethbridge, I’m afraid--”

“Well whatever you’re afraid of, it had better get the heck out of here, because I don’t care. If it has to do with bugs, then you’re fired.”

There was a pause on the other side of line.

“Well?” I finally said.

“There are bugs--”

“Say what now?”

“We’ll get it fixed,” he promised, then hung up.

Finally, after 3 hours of marketing calculations (this time with no interruptions), my work day was over. With another sigh, I packed up and left.

So as you can see, being a CEO pretty much sucks. You are stuck with a bunch of idiots who constantly bother you.

Character Dialogue

Location: Some random restaurant in some random place

A: Hello.

M: Hi.

A: So how’s life?

M: It’s good. I haven’t really been doing much these days, just sitting around and playing videogames.

A: Wow. You’re unemployed?

M: Yeah. I attended Penn State, got my degree, and from there it kind of went downhill. I got married, but then divorced. Got a job, then got fired. I’ve been unemployed ever since.

A: Wow. I’m sorry.

M: Don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault.

A: Yeah.

M: I do have a job interview on Thursday though, for a gaming company. I might be testing their games and writing a little bit of code.

A: Wow! That’s cool.

M: Yeah. So how’s your life?

A: Good, I guess. It’s a little busy. I work during the day at Microsoft, and then go to pick up the kids I’m supposed to babysit. On Mondays and Thursdays Jack has baseball practice, and on Wednesdays and Sundays Rose has swimming. Martha also has tennis on Tuesdays and Saturdays. It’s a busy week for me.

M: Woah. You have to babysit week round?

A: Yeah. Their parents are on a very urgent business trip in Cardiff. They’re not coming back till next year. They just don’t want to bring their children along.

M: Oh. That’s nice.

A: Yeah.

*awkward silence*

M: This food is great, you know.

A: Yeah. I really like the spaghetti.

M: Yeah. The pizza is good too.

A: Mmhmmm. It’s awesome.

*awkward silence*

A: *checks watch* Well, I best be going. Rose, Martha, and Jack are probably stirring up some trouble right now. I’ll pay the bill.

M: If you insist.

*Amy pays bill*

A: Until next time.

M: Until then.

Imagery Exercise

(Located on an island in Puerto Rico)

The blue water glistened beneath the boat, its crystal clear waters reflecting the image of many impatient snorkelers waiting to hop off. Beyond the crystal waters stood a majestic mountain tinted a warm shade of brown as the sun stood off overhead. The smell of fresh sand and rocks filled the atmosphere, warming the air. The water was sleek and cold, but warm enough to swim in. Fish danced beneath our feet, swimming excitedly in circles. Colorful coral lined the bottom of the sea, glowing brightly in the spotless water. You could almost taste the warm air, sunny and bright, like it was a baked cookie. The sound of the lapping waves filled my ears, with a splish-splash every time it hit the sand. Sleek seagulls called overhead, flying in wide circles above us in the air. There was a happy and sunny mood to this island, a sense of warmth that radiated off of every living creature.

Poems by Shana: 

The Girl and the Letter

The dawn light fades through the lustrous curtain
The light shines upon the dull blue couch
The luxurious room was dimly lit
A girl stood behind the couch
Her shadow reflecting upon the mirror
Her blonde hair falling down her pale face
Her gown, falling down onto the ground
Beautiful, in every way
Her eyes, focused onto a letter
There was something
Something in the letter that bothered her
There was something that she could not speak of
Her heart was dropping every word she read
Her big bright eyes, filled with sorrow
Her quivering mouth, trembled with fear
She knew that no matter what
She couldn’t stop what was coming.


A fear:
A deep secret
Something you bury deep in your heart
Something that you dare not tell anyone
A fear:
A fear:
Something I dare not tell anyone
A fear:

The fear
That is eating us alive
The fear
That is haunting our death
The fear
The fear
How do you overcome, the fear?
How do you overcome the fright?
Step on stage and just say:
I fear

My Paradise

The aqua waves
Crash against the creamy sand beach
The tropical breeze
Blows against the tall, lengthy palm trees
Where were palm trees?
Where were the sand beaches all my life?
Of course, they were right here
Waiting for me
All along

My Good Friend

Goodnight moon
I’ll see you again tomorrow
When I open the curtains
And you light up my room once more

When I open my mouth to speak
I know you’ll be there, listening
When you tell me a story
I’ll be there too, listening

When you are happy
You don’t show it much
But on your face
I see a dimly lit smile

No matter what I feel
I’ll always know
That you my friend
Will be with me wherever I go.

The Father’s Blessing

The sun
Hiding behind the tall brave trees
The houses
Reflecting upon the river waters
The road
Sloping downwards onto a bridge
Three girls
Resting upon the dusty bridge
Their eyes
Sparkling from the bright sun rays
Their thoughts
Mesmerized by their calm reflections
Their dresses
Highlighted by every color
Their minds
Filled with the memory of their past calm days
Their souls
Cleansed with peace
Their Father
Gazed from afar
His heart
Filled with depression
He knew
That his death was near
He knew
That he had to say goodbye
His eyes
Slowly closed
His mind
Recited his prayer:
Let them be beautiful
Let them they be loved
Let them to forever be able to gaze out
On to the calm waters as long as they live
Let my three beautiful daughters
Be happy