“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

Solid Food 

By Asma Alarabi 

A lot of choices above 

You’re confused!

many colors, flavors and textures.

Actually they’re unknown! You should–NO YOU HAVE TO try.

Love, hate, complain or cry!

Get excited and curious then disappointed!

But there’re no other choices!

You have to live.

To your surroundings dip! 

Adapt adapt make a mess. 

Learn! Mistakes always go less.

Exactly like a baby starts discovering the taste.

The smell , the noises and the shapes.

And everything is strange .

Then you realize it’s a huge chance Allah ( God ) gave you to live.

Literally what happened when you coexist with diversity backgrounds.

A totally different life style, system and people in a new home country.

My Road to Recovery: A Blessing in Disguise

By Jayleana, Participant in the Miracles Group at Mile High Behavioral Healthcare

Sentenced to Hazelbrook.

Mad that I’m forced to give up drugs.

The joy of my life, the sanity to hide all my crazy.

The numb to my pain. The cover to my shame.

Full time EOP. Methadone to fill the void and absence of drugs.

Full time work to change.

A blessing in disguise.

Accountability, commitment, hard work, honesty,

dedication, abstinence.

Relationships, vulnerability, trust, leaders,

fakes, peers, lies, relapse,

selfish, and contributing,

community, self love, happiness,

progress and growth.

Still a blessing in disguise. A new life.

Una Despotrica al Gobierno 

Estudiante de la escuela de Ashley

A mi no me gusta las reglas del Presidente de Colombia

Es muy malo porque tiene las cosas en un precio:

Muy alto y muy caro. 

Eso no me gusta 

Porque mi familia vive allí. 

Eso no me gusta 

Porque teníamos que salir y venir aquí: 

caminando por la selva,

Donde muchos murieron, 

y teníamos que esperar, siempre esperábamos ayuda. 

A mi no me gusta las reglas del Presidente de Colombia

ojalá no sea presidente,

pero no le dices a nadie.  

A Rant to the Government

Ashley Elementary School Student 

I don’t like the rules of the Colombian president.

He is bad because he made everything cost so much:

prices are too high and it is too expensive. 

I don’t like this

because my family still lives there. 

I don’t like this 

because we had to come all the way here: 

walking through the jungle, 

many died along the way, 

and we had to wait asking for help. 

I don’t like the rules of the Colombian president

I wish he wasn’t president, 

but don’t tell anyone I said that. 

Crimson Leaves

by Riley Sanders 4th grader  at Swigert International School,  Denver Public Schools

Crimson leaves

 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

 Much like

 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

Where Am I 

by Tiffany Medina from Redline Reach Core Artist Workshop

Where am I,
Silent shadows, texture
The calm, blue water surrounds 
The only rock in sight
If I step in to feel the sand 
Beneath me, will I shift 
The serene guidance 
I see, I feel 
Movement, everything changes
Seeing double
The curve and slant of each
Line deceives my mind
Change, recognizing and true
Placement can hide so many things 
But of all that is hidden is seen
By so few
The content out there, beyond 
What I see, to feel what is above 
What is below, shifts my
entire energy. 

The World is a Circle of Never Ending Connections

by Myra Nagy from RedLine Reach Core Artist Workshop

writing workshop, writing and art

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.


by Vanessa Constanti from RedLine Reach Core Artist Workshop

Image shows a multi media artwork with a brown sweater and flowered skirt in front of a wallpaper background. The ekphrastic poem is written in response to this artwork.

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.
Boucle, souffle
and everything cozy.
Flit, flit, flounce
and you’re over.
Gone, beyond,
bereft of any order.

Ekphrastic Poems: Dedicated to Six of the Incredible Reach Core Artists

by Artist L

Artist: E

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

Artist: Laura

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

Ekphrastic Poems: Reach Core Artists

by Artist L

Artist: K

Primal beginning like rivers

Remind-ments that life goes on

Wonder, science, life, love, brilliance




Artist: Myra

Map, roads, legends

Help my lonely life get on track

You bring clarity and direction

Thank you


Artist: Tiffany

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

Ekphrastic Poems: Reach Core Artists

by Artist L

Artist: Robin

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

Was a Day

by Hiroki Takahashi at Denver Green School

Drank coffee like in a coffee shop,
hurried to school like a running cat,
turned off alarms as fast as Sonic. 
Said “Hi” to my teacher like a human, 
did my work.
Finished work as hurried as going to school,
talked as fast as I got in trouble,
thought and thought like a thinker, 
bad handwriting like a child. 
Teachers and teachers like a school,
as chill as people ignoring. 
Wanted more coffee like a craving,
wanted to play games like a beggar,
lost in thoughts like space,
was a day like a title.

Poems from Denver Green School

by Izzy

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.


by Cecilia

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. 

Poems from Denver Green School

by Ayan

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.


by Alicia Yenin Bogarin, original participant from Los Angeles 2008

“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.”

For Ja’relle

by Dominique Roberts, from Workshop with Teen Mothers

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. 

From an Empty Bottle

by Odalis from Prodigy Coffeehouse Empowerment Workshop

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.

Brave Like Frankie

by Aly Two Eagles
Written as we dream and plan for programming on Pine Ridge

Brave like Frankie

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. 

David Mejia

“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.”

“When we share our story, when we really let it all out, it brings more power to us and not our story”

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