“The poetry workshops helped me show my fellow coworkers that it’s okay to be vulnerable around the people that you trust and love. It’s okay to share the things that you’ve been through. It’s okay to have struggles. It’s okay to not be okay.”
-KYRA, Participant from Prodigy Coffeehouse Empowerment Workshop
“At first I came into it with not the best attitude. Not gonna lie, I wasn’t a big fan of poetry. But this workshop has helped me to not only reflect on the beautiful memories from my life but it has also helped me understand myself better. Poetry has been an outlet for me to express my personal thoughts and feelings in an abstract form of art that only I can understand, but one I hope others can relate to as well. My coworkers have used writing as a way to not let their past and struggles hold them back. Abby taught us that when we share our story, when we really let it all out, it brings more power to us and not our story. Writing has made me a lot more comfortable to share my story, it’s like a form of release. I’m very happy I got to meet Abby and take part in this workshop.”
Old, wrinkled faces
Twig-like veins running through them
What once were summer’s children
With their bright green layers
Dutifully putting on their autumn coats
Red and orange, yellow and purple
Brilliant streaks of flame
Or a lion’s crimson mane
Dot strong oak trees,
And weak saplings
Strong and cowardly
Crunching beneath your feet
Like the sound of biting a rust-colored apple
Until they wither and crumble,
Falling into winter’s stark white arms
A part of a forever-lasting hibernation,
Where a blanket of cold
Collapses around them
Weeds over a grave
A sad part of a vibrant cycle
Where the wheel stops turning tirelessly
And the leaves fall
One by one
Until a new leaf
Springs to life
On the rough wood branches
And begins a new generation
The circle of life going around with nature
Nature has its own place it’s own connections
Connections of four distinct surroundings
Flight, flower, animal, arrow head
The spirit connects them all
Four colors that sink you down with the spirit
Yellow- green, tan-white, blue-green, black-grey
Yellow-green brings strength speed sharpness
Tan-white is imperial majestic expression
Blue-green is togetherness with beauty
Black-grey is splendid rejuvenating essence.
The circle of life connects us around these elements to make us whole.
The world is a circle of never ending connections.
Flit, flit, flounce
a little twirl,
a book, a look,
over your shoulder,
I see you!
Lashes and laughter,
Red roses, red roses,
send birdies right over.
and everything cozy.
Flit, flit, flounce
and you’re over.
bereft of any order.
Eyes of knowing,
Red of suffering, sorrow,
Green of light of nature and redemption
Yes, Death happens, we know,
But a truer yes,
Life like trees rooted throughout the earth
Life goes on
That is your knowing,
Falcon, the who watches over,
Falcon of Truth
With eyes of Wisdom
Moment of reality, of expression,
You illustrate the heartbeat of the universe
Your thunder of color reveals
Brave defiance of violence, Defiance of jealousy, of greed
Defiance of diminishing the sound of your heart
Your heartbeat moves the wind,
Moves the blood of beauty and hope
Primal beginning like rivers
Remind-ments that life goes on
Wonder, science, life, love, brilliance
Map, roads, legends
Help my lonely life get on track
You bring clarity and direction
The texture of freedom, making it real
So close we can touch it,
Color of life’s pathways
Bring us liberty
So much to choose
Almost invisible, translucent perhaps,
I saw today two fishes, two beings,
Swimming together, not alone, not lonely,
On a journey
Pas-t the blazing Sun,
Pas-t the glistening snow fall,
Loving the sky masterpiece
And the unity of our souls
I awoke like an owl after sunset
and placed my pillows as slowly as a sloth.
Ate like a hungry dog,
changed clothes like they were on fire.
Listening to my siblings laugh like hyenas.
Got out of the car like a bug.
Listened like a tiger waiting for its prey.
Went through class like a gust of wind.
Class today is short like a three year old.
Math was boring, it was like a long car ride.
It is almost time for lunch, I am so hungry like a hippo,
after recess we get to go home.
When I get home I am going to fall on my bed like a glob of paint.
I want to eat noodles–the kind that look like worms.
I am so tired I want to sleep like a sloth.
Today was ok, it was like a weird dream.
Slept like a rock.
Woke up like a zombie.
Go to the bathroom like a wolf hunting for its prey.
Scurried to the car like a leaf
blowing in the wind.
My cat purring like he’s getting food.
Got to school like nobody’s watching.
Ate breakfast like there was no tomorrow.
Got to class like a sloth
And played soccer like my life depended on it.
Drank water like I had a headache.
Went to soccer practice like Flash.
Went inside home like a king would
And fell into bed like a tree.
“Sidewalk Poets helped me channel my feelings into words and have people around me relate to them. I remember Ms. Templeton would have a small group of us meet after school and talk about poetry and do writing activities so that they were a part of our daily lives. I’m currently in the process of becoming a registered veterinary technician but writing is still very present in my life, it’s a passion that helps me cope with grief in the veterinary field but also with celebratory efforts. Overall, Sidewalk Poets was my origin story to become the writer I still want to be.”
Who drinks milk and loves the color blue.
Who laughs at his mother’s facial expressions and smiles.
Who cues when he wants to be played with and picked up.
Ja’relle who loves to suck his 3 fingers and sticks his tongue at you when you try to kiss him.
Who is learning how to repeat Mama’s words,
Scared of the dark and loud sounds.
Lover of people, bright lights and baby sounds.
Lover of kisses on his fat cheeks and being held.
Thanks to you, you’ve changed my life.
Thanks to you, you’re the reason I smile every day.
Ja’relle, my life, who drinks milk and loves blue.
It is Halloween night.
My little sister is walking in heels she can’t walk straight in, with a fake black wig falling off her head.
My older sister is doing her zombie makeup in the bathroom. I’m trying to decide if the blue glasses will make my costume look more hippie-ish.
My mother is putting dinner away, but she is running out of space in the fridge because my dad wants his beers cold. My baby sister took so long doing her makeup that my father had the time to get drunk in the apartment’s parking lot. I don’t know how it all ended up happening,
but I do remember my dad dancing to Mexican music with my sister’s black wig falling off his head, no shirt on, ripped work shorts on, and acting like a fool.
My sisters, mother, and I were standing on the side watching as if it were a play.
It was his usual drunk behavior, but I just wanted to go trick or treating.
I got back from the Rez yesterday.
Long trip for two days (my mom got lost a lot).
And my legs hurt so much from sitting in the car so long, and my Cousin Frankie saw I was having trouble
getting off the lawn chair and rushed over to me so I could stand to get food (btw, no fry bread- wtf?).
Frankie lived with my mom and dad when I was tiny; his ma, my Auntie Kim was always tired.
My parents had a bouncy horse play toy in the yard and they were called Wonder Horses.
Frankie’s first day of first grade the teacher asked him his name and he said “Frankie Wonder Horse”.
His given name is Whiteface, but he was brave enough to make a stand. I love my family.
I love you and yours too.