Writing, especially for adults, often tackles the pitfalls and the tragedies of life, but the writing that transcends its page often harnesses hope and the pursuit of pleasure, often in tandem with those more disastrous themes and times. The kiddos in our lower-elementary workshop at the Girls’ School this summer (who dubbed themselves Granny’s Gold Diamonds) leapt at the opportunity to enjoy their process, whether the subject presented itself as shiny or grim. And through that chase, their writing, like their chosen class name, presented itself as inexplicable, infectious, and downright fun. We stumbled into non-sense, we startled ourselves with the truth in our work, and often, we found it was one-in-the-same.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
One day, I went out to hunt for fish. I was really good at it, but the truth was I was bored. So I ate fifty to sixty tuna, but I usually have about one hundred.
Today is the day, I thought, so I followed the markings of a ship that had sunk when it had been set in the water. While I was following the markings, I saw a scuba diver. Through her equipment, I saw she looked worried. At least I think it was a she. She had a beard, but girls have those, right? Good? Anyway, I swam quickly towards her. The cool water really felt good when going fast, and I gobbled her up. But the thing is, I’ve eaten beds, and so I forgot to chew her up.
Then I heard a sound from behind me. “Let me out,” it said. I knew it was the lady, so I spit her out but then ate her again, and then spit her out and ate her again. I did this ten times until she was able to avoid me.
“Goodbye,” she said grimly, and swam away like a torpedo. Wow. I am never doing that again. And by the way, never come too close to sharks, people.
You draw like a sweet cupcake
trying to find its family.
You sing like a lifetime snowy voice
that will smile yourself away.
You dance like the stars leading the way
and telling you the music.
You leap and twirl, like you’re flying
while your heart is still pumping.
You write like you are a fancy girl
who is always very happy.
You make everyone smile.
The Terrible House of Kanye
– after Nick Sturm’s “What A Tremendous Time We’re Having”
I live in Kanye’s house made of twenty-one heads
sewn together to make a triangle. It is a heap
of hatred. It is a terrible house. In Kanye’s house,
I have made a small version of Wal-Mart. It is blue,
which I know is a mistake. There is Kanye West.
There is Donald Trump. There is Kim Kardashian,
who poisons the people. In Kanye’s house, I am floppy
like a chair. My emotions want to make me open things
that will never Google you. “A McDonald’s
is a building” is what my intestines want to say.
But Donald Trump wants me to tell you things
that do not make sense with my emotions.
I have the feeling I am being watched. I have the feeling
a liver is going to kick my lung off.
My baby and the alien are always jiggly.
Sometimes I think Kanye’s house is not Kanye’s house.
Other times, I yell in this terrible world
to make the apple pie not look like apple pie.
The History of Food
– after William Blake’s “The Tyger”
Pizza, Pizza! Burning bright
In the oven, in my sight.
Who could possibly escape my eye?
Maybe you can eat some pie?
Hamburgers, Hamburgers! On the pan.
Maybe we should add some ham?
I want you to call brother Sam.
Don’t forget about sister Pam!
Bacon, Bacon! In the pot.
It might be cold, it might be hot.
Do not let the Bacon rot!
Or else I will break your robot.
Chicken, Chicken! In the stove.
I went to the store. My daddy drove.
We have a lot of leftover meat.
What should we do? Just eat!
Soul and Life
My life is my soul.
If anybody wants to touch you, love.
Now, soul, come back. Oh, life, love.
Life and soul go together.
Make human life, soul and life.
Now this is the passage.
Life soul. Oh, life and soul.
Echo of life. Oh, soul, come back.
Everything has life. Oh, love. Oh, life.
Oh, affection, love. Oh, soul.
Inside My Heart
– after Zoe Ryder White’s “Inside My Heart”
Inside my heart lives
one marshmallow on Broadway
two joyful dogs
three colorful roses
four brass parades
five beautiful constellations
six soaring butterflies and
Welcome to Brainytown
Hello, peeps! I am your our guide. Let us start. First, we are going to start at Test Scores and end at Sister. Right now, you see an envelope that says Test Scores. It might be horrible, but we don’t know yet. Then we see my enemy, who has dark blond hair with a Westlake shirt. Then you see my worst food, which is called broccoli, with a bad, green afro. Now you see the sneakiest thing I have done, eating a brown Hershey chocolate candy bar. Now you see my face sobbing because my favorite camp is over. The camp is called Badgerdog. You can probably see that I hate to go on rollercoaster rides that make me have butterflies in my stomach. Now, let’s go on up to when I have a family and I’m grown up and have one girl kid. Now you see movies play; actually my favorite movies are Megamind and Inside Out. Right now, you see one of my special moments—when I was born, crying. Now you can see my favorite instrument: a piano with fifty-wo white keys and thirty-six black keys, which equals eighty-eight white and black keys. You now see my favorite food, cookies with chocolate chips. Now you see my favorite place, a home built of red bricks. Now you see a book titled Weird But True with a pink lizard on it. Now you see my second favorite food, ice cream; it’s my second favorite because sometimes it makes me throw. Now, on to my mom. She is the most special person to me. She has dark brown hair. Now moving on to my favorite camp, Badgerdog—it’s not when it ends, but when it starts. I hoped you enjoyed the Brainytown Tour.
– after Kenneth Koch’s “To You”
I love you like a
lovely diary holds secrets. I see you
like a pretty princess. You are
sweeter than a sour candy. You
are as funny as a laughing cow.
Your heart is as kind as an
open book. You are as helpful
as a duck helping a mouse.
You are as lucky as a
lucky duck. You are as bright
as a red rose. I love you.
Oh, Big World, chrysanthemum. Oh, fine tea.
Croissants’ odors are for good.
Oh, tofu. Oh, carrots.
Odor of cocktails. Oh, tomatoes. Oh, pork chops.
Oh, taro bait, fish will not like you.
Oh, taro bait, a three-year-old will keep you company.
Odor of cocktails, pork chops have come.
Shipping homes’ happiness is their full-time job.
Oh, pork chop, tea. Oh, chrysanthemum. Oh, Big World.
The Way the World Works
The way the world works is a curious thing.
A shiny gold token mixed with despair.
Oh, the good days. Oh, the bad days.
The way the world works as tokens mixed with despair.
I respect it and go against it,
for this is the way the world works.
The way the world works is
a hard thing to deal with.
The way the world works is
a peculiar thing indeed.