Double Golden Shovel – Ethical ELA Open Write

Today’s golden shovel prompt came from the expert–Dr. Kimberly Johnson. Read all about it here, and be sure to watch her video explanation. My inspiration and Martine Luther King, Jr. quote came from an Instagram post today by Ibram X. Kendi.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ibram X. Kendi (@ibramxk)

It is time for a lesson for all us whites.
Is justice and peace better 55 years after he said it?
An unapologetic MLK prophesied. Listen we must.
Aspect 1 is that he was killed for speaking so frankly
of injustice and the complicity of white silence. Let his words be
their healing, our healing. It’s been said,
Sense of racism we all suffer. We all are
of the same truth–no justice, no peace. There’s not
superiority in having different skin color. Putting
that into perspective…is there superiority in
the size shoe you wear? Since 1619 similar
people have tried to justify injustice. A mass
of privilege led to silence and denial. The effort
America has taken to hide in white fears, to
believe whites are more. We need to reeducate.
They need, we need to realize 40 acres and a mule would themselves
have been such an easier and more productive effort. Old ideas out,
so we can educate ourselves out of
little and fearful thinking. We can humbly bow to their
to-finally-have-justice lives of color. We can give up fearing, own,
learn, take action on white supremacy, and bury our ignorance.

Monotetra – Ethical ELA Open Write

Stacey Joy has given us another good prompt today. I wrote my poem based on my word for 2022: Simplify.

Advice for 2022

Note to self: Watch for what astounds
Make the high desert your playground
Let love guide you as hope abounds
Simply resound, simply resound

Curb your buyological urge
Leave Amazon and on love splurge
Let each day thoroughly emerge
Simplify surge, simplify surge

Goodbye clutter. It’s a new year
Make do, create, and have no fear
Do keep your priorities clear
Simplify here, simplify here

I wrote another monotetra in 2020. I’m still praying a miracle will happen and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act will be passed.

John Lewis

Racism’s scars and stains knew he.
Bloodied, unafraid, fighter free
Forging Beloved Community
Gift of esprit, Gift of esprit

The ‘Conscience of Congress’ is right
Which others will take up his fight?
Remain hopeful, not take to flight
Even at night, Even at night

The menace of his later years
Just one more foe he had to clear
Remained unconquered through our tears
Courage not fears, Courage not fears

John Lewis, determined tower
The unbowed master of the hour
Strong, but gentle as a flower
Rest in Power, Rest in Power

For the Love of Lists – Ethical ELA Open Write

Stacey Joy has shared an accessible poetry prompt using lists, inspired by Kwame Alexander’s poem “Ten Reasons Why Fathers Cry at Night.” You can read the whole prompt and Stacey’s mentor poem here at Ethical ELA.

Seven Reasons to Fix That Broken Thing

Because a new one costs more money,
and extra money can be used wisely.
Because it will save space in the landfill,
and the world does not need extra stuff.
Because we can call it retro or antique,
and it suits our dusty homesteader cabin.
Because when it’s finished it will be useful,
and it will make me happy to know I fixed it.
Because it is just like one that I grew up with,
and it reminds me of my grandma.
Because we’re not working right now,
and we have lots more time than we used to.
Because it is rewarding to work with our hands,
even though my hands
are now dry
and cracked
and splintered
from this
wintry
desert.
But that’s another list.

November Ethical ELA Poems

Ethical ELA’s Open Write for November is going on now. You are invited to join in the Open Write. Learn more about it here.

20 November 2021
A Nocturn Poem with Margaret Simon

To those who think our president is a devil:

When you lie down at night,
you know those quiet moments you try
to get comfortable before falling asleep?
But you notice that achy wrist
and the indigestion from tonight’s dessert,
and maybe your knee’s been acting up again…
At those times, do you ever doubt?
Do you ever feel a bit of shame
for worshipping that former
“perfect physical specimen”?

Do you ever wonder
if maybe this one,
who admits to reflux
and isn’t ashamed
to have a colonoscopy,
might really be more legitimate?

21 November 2021
Metaphor Dice Poem with Margaret Simon

Memory is a reluctant drum
and sometimes sporadic,
memories like Dad’s death
are regular beating bass drums
down to my foundation,
other sweet or sad memories
pop up irregularly like a
tiny tom tom,
which is to say
memory is no one’s
metronome.

22 November 2021
See – Think – Wonder with Linda Mitchell

Look at my sea.
I am master of the waves
and their sparkly constellations.
Why do you call me a scarecrow?



23 November 2021
Tricube Poem with Linda Mitchell

Roast chicken
Potatoes
and gravy

Casserole
of green beans
Pumpkin pie

So much good
to savor
Thanksgiving

24 November 2021
Nature Muse with Maureen Ingram

Soon Jackrabbit will bound on legs of spring, cooling ears alight
Soon Quail parents, adorned with topknots, will herd their little ones to safety
Soon Rattlesnake will own the back porch whenever he passes
Soon cunning Coyote will create a trap for bounding Roadrunner
Soon Ants will scurry up and over, in and out, busily taking crumbs home
Soon Hummingbird will flitter around our feeder, showing off her feathers

Later, if we don’t act, all will be quiet in the Mojave Desert

Inktober / Poemtober Small Poems, Week 4+

This week I decided to double my random poetry process. I went to a favorite inspiration post: “141 Ways to Play, Process, Stretch, Express, Disrupt Words and Form” and chose #23-31, without previewing them. Each day I attempted the linked prompts (below) and then also included the Inktober word of the day.

23 October, Saturday

Your surprise party today
did not leak, so you were blessed
with laughter and memories

24 October, Sunday

I am a mending people-pleaser
I don’t mind being an appeaser
but my own wishes are indistinct
May my imprecision become extinct

25 October, Monday – The word was splat, and I wrote about it for Tuesday’s Slice of Life Challenge at this link.

26 October, Tuesday

I miss you and can’t wait to
see you. In the meantime, your
painting helps connect us.

27 October, Wednesday

On her deathbed, my mom
got up again.
With a welcome spark,
she lived longer–
in her wheelchair,
at the dinner table,
with her kids all around.

Later, she said,
“I think it’s time for bed.
The wine’s made me a little tipsy.”

“Good night, Mama.
See you in the morning.”

28 October, Thursday

We’re here!
On the way over,
we made a plan for the day.
First, we’ll build pyramids.
Later we’ll have a pan band.
When it’s lunch time, Coconut
wants to eat crispy carrots.
(He can’t really eat, but I’ll eat them.)
You said we can have pancakes.
May I make my own pirate?
We have to build a zoo
with habitats for all the animals.
Then we’ll decorate gingerbread,
do the Makey Makey piano,
build a tower with the straws
and those yellow connectors.
If our dad comes too soon,
we’ll save some for next week.
OK?

29 October, Friday (A life memory, yes, but not from high school.) 

My mom had worried
when she saw her newborn
with a patch on her eye,
a port wine stain birthmark
I’ve hardly noticed.

30 October, Saturday

That approaching rattler isn’t a worry; it can’t bite and slither
at the same time. My coffee isn’t finished, but I guess I’ll
make a move. Wouldn’t want to find out if his opinion differs.

31 October, Sunday

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Summary Poem

Too much rain, crabs flooding into the courtyard,
A very old man with enormous wings appears in the mud,
And the new baby has been feverish for days.

Neighbors say the man is an angel coming for the child.
The priest thinks he’s a faker, just a carnival trickster,
But pilgrims come to pay five cents each to get a view.

A woman turned into a spider comes to town, so
Everyone loses interest in the old man angel.
The spider woman is a better storyteller.

The angel continues to live in the chicken coop
Until the hen house collapses, and the angel wanders
like a stray man, here and there, barely staying alive.

Years later, after a vulnerable winter, miraculously
his health improves, and his wings repair.
The angel flaps them clumsily, takes a risk and flies away.


Today is Poetry Friday, and Linda Baie at Teacher Dance, has the round up. She has written two sweet Halloween poems at her “Poetry Friday – Costumes Welcome!” post.

Slice of Life – Can We Change Now?

Today’s Slice of Life at TwoWritingTeachers.org, 26 October 2021.

I’ve been writing a small poem each day in October using the Inktober prompt for the day. For yesterday’s word, splat, I went to a favorite inspiration post: “141 Ways to Play, Process, Stretch, Express, Disrupt Words and Form”. I randomly chose one from Andy Schoenborn. It was to write a story in 100 one-syllable words, and then add line breaks and enjambment to make a poem to help the reader pause.

Instead of a 100-word story, I wrote a prayer. It breaks my heart each day to see such effort to get school back to “normal”, when some parts of normal weren’t all that great.

A Prayer for School Change

How can things change
so much? We were just fine,
and then we weren’t. Splat,
like a moth that hit
a fast car, school stopped. Now,
we try to pick up
the cracked and rent
bits
and put them back
as they were.
But,
can we just stop
and find a new way?
A fine way to be
in this world.
Please,
Lord, help us give voice
to kids who do not yet
have one. Help us make
rules that just give
life. May the kids be free
to catch a glimpse of
who they can be.
So be it.

On another note, Blooket came through and added Hoor’s name to their computer system:

Anagrams of My Name Poem

Today’s Ethical ELA poetry prompt is by Anna J. Small Roseboro “Mixing Them Up Today: Anagram Poetry.” She had us find anagrams for our name and use them in a poem about a person or event in fiction or in real life, or a concept we’ve taught. I wrote about Cora, the main character in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Cora redressed as Bessie 
wasn’t able to kiss freedom
on her underground rides.
She resided in sirens
of berserk oppression,
misery and evil her forced drink.
Cora’s chosen kindred died,
Desires denied,
Seeker of choice,
Risker of hell,
Her end.

The powerful
sneered and reeked 
of the monstrous beds they made,
Serene skies their lie.

Stand beside Cora’s memory,
America’s dressed in this history.
May a keen sense of ownership
indeed send us to our knees
to repent, rise, and render hope
for a new day.

Getting to Know Mohammed

Today’s Ethical ELA Open Write prompt by Allison Berryhill is to write a poem about a student. I had a hard time writing today; I have so many students on my mind. I have love and appreciate them all. They’ve been patient with me. I tried lots of poems on, but nothing stuck. Now, finally I decided on a found poem from my journal entries, all these lines were written during the first weeks of school that very first semester. When I started, I had been in this new culture for one week, trying to cope with jet lag and just figuring things out. I started teaching mid-year and was assigned to teach English to kindergarteners, a grade I had never taught before.

January 2014
Getting to know Mohammed R.

Overwhelmed
Wondering if I made a mistake
Lost all my confidence
Out-of-control
Literally running around
Dread coming back
I need to fail forward
Today was better
Snacks in the teacher’s lounge
I don’t know how to eat them
Daily reminders I’m in such
A different place
There are a few moments of hope
each day, but more often just
painful learning events and despair.
Today was different. One class came in
And I almost made it in delighted control.
Learning? Who knows? Manners, yes.
Toilet? Water? Ball? I can’t understand them
when they say these words, and these are some
of the only words they say and know.
My only Arabic is just
the letter ط (tah) and shukran.
I had a dream the students and I were
engaged as a learning community,
it was a powerful gift,
But the gap between what is
and what may be in the future is wide.
Just when I think (knocking on wood)
that the day is going well,
Another class comes in and kicks my butt.
Sweetness—Mohammed R.
wanted to sit by me at recess.
Today was a day of hope—
Al Raja School means school of hope,
but is it really?
Is there hope, Lord?
I actually liked this day.
I was able to read a story and
they all listened,
they seemed to understand.
We went to the zoo today.
Mohammed R. whispered in my ear,
“I know a funny word.”
“Oh, what’s that?” I asked.
“Bananapants!” he laughed.