My daughter is three months old today. In honor of that, here's a slam poem I wrote back when she was still in utero, and when we called her (gender unknown) Nibbler. It is not as polished as I would like, but one of the things I'm working on this year is sharing my work as it is rather than waiting (until that sunny, uncluttered, un-busy day that will never come) for it to be "finished."
A Letter to Nibbler
One—you are already the center of my universe,
Which, for what it’s worth, is really a pretty big place
‘Cause you see, I’ve been around for a long time now
before you got here. And that has given me a chance to see
both literally and figuratively, what the world is like.
That’s the benefit of waiting, you see,
I’ve had a chance to be me.
I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin,
I’ve settled all the way in. I’ve found a way to make room
In my world for you.
Two—you are so very loved. Little did I know
How far the love would go. So quickly and so fierce.
Like moths attracted to flames, people gravitate toward new life.
They are all waiting for you to arrive.
Hearts of stone you already seem to pierce—people who
Hardly care about me suddenly and deeply love you.
How could you know how much the world awaits your arrival?
Three—Even once you’re here, I’ll still be me. In a way it will take you
Most of your childhood to see, I’ll still be a whole person. Unique.
Free. Separate from you, existing long before you got here,
Growing on my own long after you arrive. One day you’ll see
That your mom is still free to be a person entirely my own.
One that will be around, free standing, long after you’ve grown.
Four—You’ve made me sicker than I knew was possible.
I mean that literally. I didn’t know I could endure so much illness.
Like having the flu. Combined with a stomach bug that sends you
Running to the toilet, your new best friend. Where you crouch, too exhausted
For months. And months.
Five—Life is hard. And the truth is, as hard as it is when all you can
Do is poop and cry, it will get harder. You’ll still want to cry and scream,
But you won’t be able to do a thing but tough it out. There will
Be days when you’ll want to give up. There will be times when you will
Feel that you cannot go on. And yet, those times will not outweigh the
Adventures that await you.
And we’ll be there to see you through.
Six—we overdid it on your nursery. I didn’t even know that I had
That kind of thing inside of me. I am NOT a decorator.
I do not do pink. I am not interested in home décor.
And yet here we are
Decked out with bunny decals and these tiny little stars
Covered in paintings of the sun and the moon
That we carried around, almost buried, moved from place to place
With no thought of resurrecting them
Until there came you.
Seven—I’ve spent my life learning to be strong and to be brave.
But all of the strength and all of the bravery might not be enough
For the daring challenge in front of me that every day with you
Eight—My life has had some hard parts, but I hope yours won’t.
Still, I worry that if yours isn’t hard, you won’t become brave and strong.
I worry that you’ll whine and whimper and cower all night long.
The world is a rough place and I want you to be ready to face
Whatever comes your way.
Nine—I wonder if the kicking you’re doing now is a small indicator
Of all the trouble you’re bound to cause me once you get here.
Each time I push against you and you push back
I consider all of the stubbornness and rebelliousness
That made your father and I love each other in the first place.
If you embody all that, we better brace ourselves--
We’ll be bound to have our hands full with a freight train
Pushing its way through every obstacle.
Ten—Despite all the worry and all the fear,
I can’t wait to meet you.
The excitement makes it feel like every day
Is the night before Christmas
And I’m suddenly five again,
Waiting and wondering
For the world—you--
For our love story to be told.
Until then, I'll write love letters
and wait for new life to begin.
All I wanted to do was dress my wound in
This poem was compiled from lines and passages of senior student blogs by Jen Moyers. To read more about student blogging and why it's powerful, check out this post featuring Jen's reflection on the teaching page of this site.
A Found Poem
from the 2012-2013 English 12 Dual Enrollment Class
Here's the story of my life.
(If you don't like feeling uncomfortable under any circumstance,
please do not listen to this record.)
Summer was at its end.
Senior year officially started tomorrow
and innocence would begin to deteriorate,
which in turn would allow all things
to take hold of a young mind such as mine.
Because as a child,
you don't know what life is about;
you enjoy every day as a new day.
If I could lie in the sun until school started again,
I wouldn’t move an inch.
I want to let the homework just pile up around me,
and blow away with the sweet scented wind.
Sometimes, I like to just sit.
Seriously. It's too much fun.
June 9th, where you at!?
I am ready to grow up and live on my own,
but I also want to be a kid forever!
"I didn't know this site had EMOTICONS!" ...great.
The sky was the perfect light pink
with the oranges mixed in.
The air was crisp,
but not cold.
My life content
but not yet finished.
All is great in the world
for the fact that school is still in session.
But no biggie.
I can do this.
This is easy--or it was.
No one expected high school to be quite like this.
I can do this. We can do this.
In a sense, senior year
is like trying to drive cross country
on one tank of gas. In theory,
it is no longer than any other year,
but it seems to be a never ending cycle of work.
Everyone keeps telling me to
and enjoy my last year of highschool,
but I really just can't.
We were growing up.
So here's to another happy ending
to another beautiful princess.
Ain't that a load of bull.
Please excuse me.
I must return to everything I have to do.
Many of us struggled through the spring
as SOME teachers
simply did not understand
the concept of
no offense Mrs. Moyers
They make me bored.
They make me sleepy.
They make me fidget.
They make my head hurt.
But then again, I wouldn't go to their lessons anyways.
If you warned us of this moment that we are living through,
you know we do not have time
to sit down and take
hours upon hours
to do homework.
THAT is what makes me Mad!
This is just one more reason
to be ready for the end of the school year!
So here’s to you uncooperative people . . .
I felt as if a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders.
I immediately began to procrastinate some more.
Please find something to be legitimately offended by.
Try not being so ignorant for once and that might go a long way.
It takes a lot of work to stay OUT of things.
A lot more than it takes to get into them.
Some people must be born with out curiosity
If pain were to be a being,
it would creep in the farthest crevices of our minds,
and only appear when we least expect it.
I can't though. That's just not me.
I have those days more often than people realize.
You know why?
Because I hide it.
People don’t need to see the real me,
need to know everything about me.
It’s just the way it is . . .
Today, there are so many kids
who are convinced that
No one truly knows me.
You could be standing right next to me, and I’ll tell you I’m alone.
You won’t understand until you’re there.
So don’t try to help me.
Don’t pretend you understand.
Don’t try to be sympathetic:
that’s not what I’m looking for.
You’re just one in seven billion.
And I’ll be fine without you.
You couldn't tell if you looked at me.
The pain isn't on the outside.
And I hide it.
Man, can I hide it.
Nobody would ever know if I didn't tell them.
Why does it matter?
I don't want or need people's pity or to hear
"Oh, let me do that for you."
To me, those are fighting words.
I'm scared of looking back when I'm seventy
and being filled with nothing but regret.
I'm scared of looking
with a list of wishes for things I could have done...
Or should have done...
What do I do...
...between now and then?
I grow weary of always having to explain why I'm a generally happy person.
I grow weary travelling the path of success when people try to knock me down.
But I keep trucking on.
I ask my parents why
and all they say is
“I don’t know, that’s just the way it is”...
and all I’m thinking is “blah blah blah whatever.”
Pathetic. Inspiring. Enough.
*As my dog pushes through the door into my room.*
Enough is enough.
Something needs to give.
All I wanted to do was dress my wound in
sparkles and cartoons.
Yes they hurt.
Yes we all hate them,
but mistakes are the best
things for us.
With every issue comes a solution.
Just stop crying, and clean up your milk.
If you need any help, simply look up at the stars.
When you see stars do you see light, or do you see life?
We look down at a worksheet on atoms and feel enormous,
then look up at the night sky and feel insignificant.
The rules are simple: live and die.
I love to dance,
and watch the way
rain always finds its way
down to the Earth.
It’s kind of funny isn’t it?
How everyone else notices when we change,
but we don’t.
Sometimes it’s a sudden snap that crashes what we know,
While other times it’s a
There are so many
things I wish I didn’t do, say, or think
but I know I wouldn’t be as far as I am
today if not.
We should take comfort in knowing that we,
can change the world without any prior approval!
I couldn't do it.
I didn't get it.
It didn't click.
Then, one day,
it just happened.
Out of the blue.
What an incredible thought...
Such a simple concept is overlooked by so many people.
One of the most commonly used cliches is "everybody makes mistakes."
It's true: we're only human.
That I understand.
Everyone has their own path in life
and mine will always be so much different.
So I keep wondering what others see in me.
What do you see me as?
I never realized how much talent I actually have.
Every time anybody would ask me what my talent was
I would be like
I don’t know, I don’t have one.
I am SUPER excited about how it turned out,
but who knows.
I love what I can do.
My parents have taught me so much
and all I want is for them
to be proud of me
and to show them that I care about all of their hard work
and sacrifices for me and my siblings.
I understand right from wrong,
at least most of the time, anyway.
I have respect for people.
[I know that] you must choose to give up a chance
at winning the prize at the finish
in order to gain selflessness.
[That you should] be yourself and so many great things will happen to you.
I am seriously so excited that I can hardly contain myself.
Each and every day was special to me,
and each new one cleans the slate for something good to happen.
I don't know what to fill it with, what image to create.
The characters weren't who I expected them to be.
No one really learned a life lesson.
We just kept pushing forward with naive gusto and faith,
hoping the ones around us would do likewise.
Broadway proved that in a strong community,
no one walks
Sure, my generation has its flaws,
but we are ambitious.
We are overly sentimental;
we are truth seekers;
we are brothers;
we are sisters;
we are lovers.
[We] are thinkers.
[We] are dreamers.
[We] are human.
I suppose this is the end of an era.
Interesting how something so
has the power to make things
I didn’t believe that
really happened like that,
but they do.
Hope is a funny thing.
People say to live life by the second because you can’t ever be stuck in the past,
only looking towards the future.
What I have found important to realize is that each day
adds to the piles of numbers
that make up our life;
even with the uncountable numbers that perpetually increase,
we only have one life.
I understand time is non-refundable.
So let’s reminisce a bit, we deserve it.
Pictures and videos can solidify the fact that I was there,
but only in my mind can I relive every step,
and every second with my friends.
Never forget who your true friends are,
for they will be the ones to count on
when things get wild down the road.
There are many people that have become a necessity in my life:
those who I look forward to seeing every day in class,
those who I know I can count on,
those who have shaped me.
I savor the class,
I will the hands of the clock to slow down, to pause,
I will truly miss it,
and no matter how much I complain about it,
it is my family.
Our English class was together
for nearly eight months
and it was simply another class,
with other people with whom we didn't share a particularly strong connection.
For us, that bond came when
presented something about their lives,
something that very few other people knew.
Did any one else feel that connection strengthen?
All of a sudden,
we knew each other on a different level from the rest of the world.
For us, it was a deeper understanding that brought us together.
They say that the end is what truly sticks.
For me, the end of this class is what will stick with me
Each piece was a part of myself.
It transformed our building into a refuge.
A safe haven.
Now, our minds are on a whole different world.
What we don’t know for certain allows us to
dream. Dreaming is hope.
Sure we may wake up, but we always fall back to sleep
and dream again.
And I better get rich.
The hope is worth more.
As graduation approaches, I am ready for it!
Now, I yearn for the independence.
I crave it,
dream of it.
I know I can do this.
I am the seed you planted
I will grow into a beautiful fruit
Because of you and for you
I'll teach about a world of opportunities:
how beautiful life can be.
I'll teach about being worth it and making things count.
[Y]ou must keep reading, traveling deeper into the maze,
getting more lost with every turn,
only to find out there is no point,
There is an ending.
An abrupt ending, no closure, no final solution:
BE PROUD, BE VERY PROUD.
(This happens every single time.)
"that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have..."
© K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K. Ashley Dickson and Teaching the Apocalypse with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All thoughts and ideas are the author's and do not represent any employer.