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Thursday, March 10, 2005

My kids 

So, before I do this, let me admit something. I know that I have become one of those annoyingly single-minded individuals. I'm like a new mother, who just wants to share every moment of her precious baby's life with everyone else, and nobody else really cares... Plus, I've got 83 babies. In my defense, however, I spend a good 85% of my life either with my students or thinking about them, and I spend the rest of my time with damn good teachers who love their kids as much as I love mine. So it's easy to forget that there is a world outside of Newark Public Schools. However, I speak so much about them and Newark, that I thought it was time you "meet" them.

My Creative Writing students just finished writing short vignettes about themselves, their neighborhoods, and their friends and family (modeled after House on Mango Street) and I want to share a few of the best with all of you. I'm going to post a few now, and some more later. Next time, I promise to start my own blog. :) Enjoy.




Radio with the energizer batteries

I hear her singing all the songs I hear on the radio, without any mistake she knows them all. She walks up and down the streets donning a CD player and headphones. No matter what she is wearing, what season or what time of day, she always carries her music with her. We call her “radio”.
Sometimes, you look down the block and see her hips twirling, her head bobbing, her lips syncing, and her walking to the beat. Sometimes if she sees you sitting outside watching her, she will ask you to sing along with her, which we often do. Other times its like she’s in her own little world and no one can enter but her and her music.
Maybe one day she’ll be a star and sing for the world



MIXED
Am I black? I like fried chicken and collared greens. No, I’ve got to be white because I like mayonnaise on my sandwiches and I like drinking milk with a lot of my meals. I’m black! I like Hip Hop and R&B. Never Mind, I’m white I like rock and roll and pop music. Then again I’m black. I like to sag my jeans and wear oversized fitted hats. I guess I’m white because my mom won’t let me wear any of that. I wear blazers and pastel button-up shirts.
Wait a minute! Now that I think about it when you put most of those things together black people and white people like both. So I guess its good to be black and white. It’s the best of both worlds.


Balenda

Balenda lives across the street in the peeling white house, that seems to be crying for a new paint job every time someone walks past. You never see her come out of the house much anymore, except for when she is smoking those cancer sticks with her boyfriend or dealer if you want to be more honest. I’ve seen her one other time; when the police came to her house. They came because she and her sister had been fighting each other with knives.
She was not always like this. Balenda used to be one of the sweetest, prettiest girls on the block. She had skin so soft, like a baby’s bottom, and a nice mocha brown tan. Her skin looked like if you touch it you would leave a bruise. Her hair. Her beautiful, curly, black silk hair that blew in the summer breeze was to die for.
Balenda. One of the sweetest, prettiest girls on the block is basically bald now. Her bones poke through her used to be mocha skin. She barely speaks anymore.
Balenda. Sweet sweet Balenda has gone to a place far far away from Wain Wright St. She is so far away that if she takes at least two more baby steps she will never be able to return. All Balenda ever wanted was to be herself, but everybody was so caught up in what they expected of her that they never listened. Balenda got tired of being what everyone wanted her to be and so she is gone now. There is a girl that we can all still see, but she is not Balenda. Balenda was one of the sweetest, prettiest girls on the block. She had skin so soft, like a baby’s bottom and a nice mocha brown tan. Her skin looked like if you touch it you would leave a bruise. Her hair. Her beautiful, curly, black silk hair that blew in the wind was to die for. She has finally been set free. She has gone to a place far far away from Wain Wright St.

-Jess  17:06 EST | |

About us:

This weblog is an ongoing, if periodic, effort by several friends to stay in touch, in reading material, and in ideas.

Lucky Luciano is a former Italian Stallion real estate hustler and Benedict Arnold CEO turned shady lawyer-to-be. He lives in Denver.

Ben is a Paramedic and would-be philantropist who lives in Denver. He knows everything about nothing.

Fuzzy Dunlop lives in Manhattan. He is more than capable of standing up to the stresses of a high crime urban environment.

Jess is a teacher. But have YOU given her an apple? No, you haven't. You should be ashamed of yourself. This crazy feminist currently rests her copy of Awakening in Jersey City.

Matt is a pariah, iconoclast, and professor of gambling living in Oakland.

Miguel Sanchez is not Lionel Hutz.

Daddy Brooklyn lives in Brooklyn. He hates Republicans, though he wouldn't mind being ensconced in the landed elite of New York City.

Paul just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.

Ziggy Stardust has no past.

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