Uncharted: bits and pieces from The Litography Project

20 Years of WritersCorps: You Bring Out

Posted on April 15, 2015

You Bring Out

Cathy Liang

 

You bring the Chinese in me

The straight long black hair

The small dark eyes

The 5’1” and slim figure in me

 

You bring out the rape in Nanking in me

The blood thirsty taste for vengeance

And the longing of for freedom from Communism in me

 

You bring out the Bible in me

The religious feelings that oppose gay marriage

Who stands for the nature in species

Who mates with the opposite sex

The Adam and Eve in me

 

You bring out the Joy Luck Club in me

The Mahjong playing in me

The skill with cards in me

The casino-loving in me

 

You bring out the superstition in me

The good luck red papers on the door for New Years

The jade long lady

The black cats in me

 

You bring out the Chinese in me

 

Cathy Liang was 17 when she participated in WritersCorps at International Studies Academy in 2006-2007. “You Bring Out” was published in Poetry by the Numbers, 2007 (114).

20 Years of WritersCorps: Ode to My Weave

Posted on April 8, 2015

Ode to My Weave

by Brionna Johnson

 

 

Silky and long

attached to my braids

I love how it’s straight and soft

the fact that the roots aren’t nappy

and I don’t have to deal with knots

I love how my fingers don’t get caught

when I run my hands through it

What genius created a track?

Did they know what African Americans

were going through?

The struggle with our hair

and all the stuff we go through

with perms and combs and the thickness of our hair?

I don’t know what we’d do if weaves weren’t

there

 

Brionna Johnson was 17 when she participated in WritersCorps at Ida B. Wells High School. “Ode to My Weave” was published in Paint Me a Picture to Dream In, 2010 (94).

 

Listen to Brionna read her poem out loud!

20 Years of WritersCorps: Friend

Posted on April 1, 2015

Friend

by Qiwen Jiang

 

Friend is like a moon

illuminating night for me

 

It is like paper

when I am writing a letter

 

It is like an umbrella

when it is raining

 

It is like an angel

when I am falling down

 

Qiwen Jiang was 15 when she participated in WritersCorps at Newcomer High School in 2006-2007. “Friend” was published in Priority Mail, 2007 (44).

20 Years of WritersCorps: My Life

Posted on March 24, 2015

My Life

by Jasmin Briones

 

Somewhere in this poem

you will see my mom and soon-to-be dad

come together in matrimony

 

Somewhere in this poem

you will see my mom

giving birth to me

 

We’ll be living in Dallas, Texas

but not for long

I remember the warm weather

mosquitoes flying around

crickets chirping at night

 

Somewhere in this poem

you will see the three of us

moving to San Francisco, Mission District

where it was never quiet

fights at the corner every now and then

the weather was never stable

but we adjusted right away

 

Somewhere in this poem

you will see my mom

giving birth to my little brother

 

I remember seeing him

for the first time

bundled in blankets

I smiled and he did

what I thought was a smile

I was a big sister now!

 

Somewhere in this poem

we were such a close family

our uncles and aunties and cousins

would always gather together

and make big dinners

 

Somewhere in this poem

that close loving family

broke apart like a puzzle

 

Somewhere in this poem

my mom and dad’s marriage

started going down the drain

everything around me was spinning

I was lost and didn’t know what to do

 

Somewhere in this poem

you see my parents trying to fix things

my mom was trying to make it work

for my brother mostly

but slowly stopped trying

 

Somewhere in this poem

you see my mother and brother and I

moving to Oakland, to my dad’s new house

this was probably the worst choice

my mom has ever made

 

Somewhere in this poem

is the end of my parents’ marriage

 

Somewhere in this poem

you see us moving back to San Francisco

 

Somewhere in this poem

you see us making the best of what we got

 

Jasmin Briones was 17 when she participated in WritersCorps at Ida B. Wells High School in 2009-2010.  “My Life” was published in Paint Me a Picture, 2010 (62).

20 Years of WritersCorps: Ode to my Cell Phone

Posted on March 18, 2015

Ode to My Cell Phone

by Rachel Buhay

 

when we first met, I knew we would get along,

how you were just the right size

and you could be any color

have the features I need

 

how I can talk on you for hours

as you hear me out and return my feedback

how you are there when I am going through

my crazy, out-of-nowhere emotions

how you can take in the loudness of my voice

when I yell and scream into you

like how a mic prepares for a singer

 

but then, I hate when you cut off out of nowhere

and just return how you please

where you want

when you just decide to shut me out

and give me the silent treatment

by turning off just because you want to

when you don’t notify me

I have messages or calls on time

like a person who orders food

and it takes forever to come

 

on the other hand

I love how you are always there for me

like how a car depends on its battery

 

you are my best friend

I just can’t be without you

 

Rachel Buhay was 18 when she participated in WritersCorps at Ida B. Wells High School in 2009-2010. “Ode to my Cell Phone” was published in Paint Me a Picture, 2010 (86).

20 Years of WritersCorps: The Quetzal and the Hummingbird

Posted on March 11, 2015

The Quetzal and the Hummingbird

by Byron Rocael Domingo Aguilar

 

I am the son of Guatemala

with its pyramids and the beautiful quetzal

flying all over the mountains of Central America.

 

I am the quetzal flying over the mountains

very quickly with love and freedom

like the Mayan people who made the pyramids.

 

My father quetzal and my mother quetzal

love me

for I am a good son of Guatemala.

 

I am the hummingbird that shines

like lightning in the sky,

so fast that no one can see me,

small as the flowers,

as sweet as love,

and beautiful as the sun,

crying out and flying all over the world.

 

I am invincible like the wind,

the wind that can never be trapped.

 

Byron Rocael Domingo Aguilar was 16 when he participated in WritersCorps at Mission High School in 2005-2006. “The Quetzal and the Hummingbird” was published in World outside the frame, 2006 (57).

20 Years of WritersCorps: My Mind Is A House

Posted on March 4, 2015

My Mind Is a House

by Christian Martinez

 

My mind is a house

in which the people

I live with now

are welcome.

I open the door

and I see my dad hitting my mom.

In the next room,

I see my sister in very ugly clothes,

My brother running around

and I in my mom’s stomach.

In the next room,

I see my dad bring over a friend

smoking and drinking beer,

watching a soccer game.

 

Upstairs,

I see my mom working hard.

In the next room,

I see my sister dressed well for her profession,

my brother working hard in school

and I performing my best in every class I’m in.

In the next room,

this room I would not like to see,

so I lock it.

 

Christian Martinez was 12 when he participated in WritersCorps at Everett Middle School in 2005-2006. “My Mind Is a House” was published in I, the wind, 2006 (78).

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