The 15 Radical Potato Renegades

18 Jul

The process of bringing a new poem or story into the world involves tuning into the senses and removing whatever stands in the way of a fresh perspective. These young writers came to camp every day with an attitude of openness and the willingness to dig deep to find the materials needed to accomplish such a task. These magicians of narrative and technicians of the rhythmic line have the ability to conjure images, characters, and worlds instantly, and the following poems and stories are a sample of what is possible when such experts of the imagination practice their art together and support each other. This collection is a constellation of worlds, where the depths and complexities of human desires, joys, and struggles may be rediscovered through these writers’ impulse toward curiosity and surprise.

Adam Edelman
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Roach History

I come home from school
I see a big fat roach
slimy and juicy
crawling away faster than
Leo Bolt, the fastest man alive
a round sphere is thrown
into the circle of time
with the roach spinning
with it
this sphere is blue with
scribbles of green
384 – 322 B.C.
Aristotle thinks the Earth is
the center of the solar
system… he was wrong

in Aristotle’s room
there was a roach

both roaches looked
the same

which makes
both roaches the

same roach

Will Sharp

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Tiffany and the Moon

Tiffany was sick of her house. She was sick of having a smaller room than Barbie, and her closet was only the size of an RV. She wanted somewhere to live where she would have more space than her sister.

One night, she was staring at the moon and it hit her. The moon had all the space she needed without anyone to share it with. She rushed inside and asked Barbie, “Can I have money to buy a rocket?” Barbie, being the selfish person she was, declined.

Tiffany was riding her bike home from school, sulking, when she noticed a closed bank. She walked to the door and took out the pocket hammer Ken had given her. She broke the glass and walked inside, stealing all the money. Then she opened the unlocked door into the empty street and rode away while the alarm blared behind her.

Tiffany rode all the way to the rocket store and bought the pinkest-looking rocket she could find. Too impatient to wait, she flew to the moon, the Earth fading behind her.

Several years later, she settled on the moon and relaxed but could not get the ringing of the alarm out of her head. It was everywhere. She looked at the pink rocket and, for the first time, she regretted what she had done.

Himanshi Malik

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Song on Thanksgiving Dinner

– after Czeslaw Milosz’s “A Song on the End of the World”

At the beginning of dinner
The fresh, clear water enters the cups
Warm gravy spills onto the steaming mashed potatoes
Rasberry jam splats and spreads itself onto the heated toast
Salted, crisp potato chips pour onto fancy plates
Sliced sausages and beef tastes perfect with BBQ sauce
The wonderful aroma of turkey takes over the house
Finally, the hot, crisp turkey slices into layers
And peppers and salts itself
Cold, freezing vanilla and chocolate ice cream
Heaps onto plates in gigantic scoops
The meal ends and the children go outside to
Play in the warm light of the sun
While adults turn on the TV to watch football
Stars play their hardest
Everyone waits for the next Thanksgiving
Everyone hopes it will be as good as this one

Joseph Park

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Engine

– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

My head is a broken motor.
The same song plays on repeat.
My head is an endless ocean.
It has jumping monkeys that can fly.
And my heart is a dark abyss,
If all bad thoughts would vanish from the Earth.
My heart is an unfinished tale.
It has experienced the strangling of wind.
My head is a beatdown system
That wishes paper could come to life.
My hands are rolling pencils
That may reveal unknown voices.
My heart is a heavy drumbeat
That may cause dreams to contain reality.
If it has a lightning storm that brings joy,
My head is a burning cabin.
It creates shoes that run on their own.

Natasha Telang

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Sunrise

All set to go outside, the sun pops up
The cats are ready to meow
Gleaming its rays on us, the sun is out
The people are moving their brushes across their dirty teeth
The cats are anticipating their first meal
The sun is a vivid bright orange and yellow
The sky, blue as a puppy’s eyes
Getting dressed, the hungry people eat their meals
The energetic cats are anxious to play
The sun and sky, ready to start the day

Athvait Manikanatan

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Sunshine’s Story

Once upon a time, in the Orchard of Happiness, lived a cherry named Sunshine. Sunshine was the brightest red cherry in her whole tree. There were many cherries that fell in love with her, but she did not love any of them. Her friends nagged her day and night to give some of them a chance, but every time she refused.

One day, in the apple tree across from her, Sunshine spotted a dazzling and handsome apple. His lush green leaves highlighted his deep red skin. He was so beautiful! He was always flirting with the other apples and never paid any attention to Sunshine. Nevertheless, Sunshine couldn’t stop thinking about him and would not give up. But her friends saw her looking lovestruck at the apple, and immediately reported her. The leader was furious, for it was against the law to fall in love with a Pomme. You could only love small-tree fruits, such as kumquats and figs. The leader ordered his guards to move her to the other side of the tree.

“Hey, let me go!” Sunshine demanded, but it was no use. During the struggle, a twig scratched her side, destroying her flawless skin. Her reputation was ruined! She was miserable. The guards finally set her down at the other end of the tree. Sunshine started to cry.

“Why are you crying?” a kind voice said. She looked up. Sunshine saw a purple fig with green stripes running down his sides. He had a concerned expression.

“Why do you care?” Sunshine asked bitterly.

“Because I can’t stand to see a beautiful cherry like you upset,” the fig replied.

“You think I’m pretty even though I have this horrible scratch on me?” she asked the fig, very surprised.

“Of course. It makes you look tough. My name is Stripes, by the way.”

“My name is Sunshine,” she said.

“That’s a pretty name. It suits you,” Stripes said happily. Sunshine blushed. She stopped crying. She thanked Stripes for making her feel better.

“Anything to see you smile,” he replied. They ended up loving each other and were together forever.

Maryn Medlock

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Victories

I own an expensive supercar. My heart explodes as I race down the track. My hands are rattling roller coasters, trying to keep the car under control. I have sped down the steep snowy mountains of Colorado. My feet become slithering snakes as I turn side to side to slow down. I have ended the sorrow and sadness of war. My feet are thunderous elephants as I run through the streets, yelling that war is over and world peace has begun. I have ventured into the vast nothingness of space. My mind, an airport of thoughts, thinking about what we will find. I have traveled to some of the most famous places in the world. My arms are swinging pendulums as I run off the airplane, ready to explore and discover. I wish I could travel back in time and meet Muhammad Ali. My imagination is an open door, ready to make that dream into a reality.

Evan Deeny

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What We Are

– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

My head is a hungry pigeon scavenging in lively New York City.
My heart is a single teardrop streaming down powdered cheeks,
messing up makeup as I go.
My hands are dull steak knives, forgotten in the kitchen drawer.
I am a velveteen rabbit buried beneath the wet earth.

Your head is a rusty train trying its best to make the distance.
Your heart is a wild stallion, scarred yet powerful.
Your hands are the soft petals of a freshly sprouted daisy.
You are an unforgettable chaotic hurricane destroying everything you touch.

Our heads are drops of water spraying from a hidden waterfall.
Our hearts are pictured in a lonely Polaroid
laying on the creaky attic floorboards, collecting dust.
Our hands are woven into a cool-colored quilt, hiding in between the threads.
We are the sun rising and setting, painting the sky warm shades,
admired from the rooftop where you and I lay.

Sophie Holloway

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A Rainy Day

A yellow daisy blooms
Basking in the sun
Until thick clouds cover it
Their color changing from white to gray
Water wets the ground
First the drops are small
Sliding down the daisy’s petals
There is only a quiet pitter-patter
Then the rain comes down hard
As a powerful sheet of water
And the daisy’s yellow is lost
In a sea of gray
For what seems like forever
The pouring downfall does not stop
Then the rain is gone
As fast as it appeared
The only sound is a flow of water trickling down the gutter
While all else is still
Even the sun, peeking out from behind the clouds,
Seems to have stopped midway
Through the morning sky
Shining on the blooming yellow daisy, wet with dew

Eve Nguyen

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Song on a Day at the Beach

– after Czeslaw Milosz’s “A Song on the End of the World”

At the beach
Glittering waves crash upon the shore
Slippery dolphins are jumping out of the water
Seashells stud the sandy shoreline
The air smells of salt and sandy hair
The way it should be

The beach is joyous, celebratory, imaginative
Rosy-cheeked children run along the sand
Laughing and skipping, full of life
The way it should be

At the beach, you are peaceful and comforted
Brightly striped umbrellas are staked into the ground
Above beach towels to keep you dry
When the tide comes in

Then sunset strikes
Seagulls squawk their last before returning to their nests
As if being called home for dinner
The tide rolls away
Families pack up their memories from the day
Until I am the last one left in the cool darkness

At the beach, new days begin
New people walk the salty sand
For the beach is a place of new life
Every time the tide rolls in
Every time the tide rolls away

Emily Kahn

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The Three Pups

There once was a mother wolf who had recently given birth. She treasured her three pups as if they were her life. She cared for them by feeding them salmon, licking their coats clean, teaching them how to enjoy the woods while respecting nature, and gently tucking them into bed every night.

One day, while the pups began preparing to head into the woods for lessons in hunting, their mother warned them, “Take caution, be observant of the environment, and always stick together!”

They all replied with an obedient tone, “Of course, Mother!” They ran off into the woods, carelessly yipping.

Lash and Cacti, the mother’s two favorites, began playing hide and seek with Ginga, the other pup. “Ready or not, here I come!” howled Lash. Lash bounded through the shrubbery until he came upon an oak tree where he located Cacti hiding in the roots.

“Hey, you found me! Now we must go find Ginga!” Cacti joyously said. They fumbled through the underbrush, howling Ginga’s name, but were unsuccessful. They briskly returned to their mother.

Their mother was in shock. “How could you two lose Ginga? I told you to stick together!” She was furious, but concern swept over her anger. They set off into the woods. “Ginga, Ginga!” they repeatedly called.

They dashed through the woods in panic. They checked behind every tree, rock, and bush. Ginga was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, they broke into a clearing, and a flash of sunlight hit them, blinding their vision for a brief moment.

Ginga, the scrawniest one with the worst hunting skills, sat in front of a pile of salmon. “Ginga! You had me so worried! Don’t ever split up from your siblings aga–“ his mother barked, only to be interrupted.

“Mother, look what I’ve caught! Now you, Lash, and Cacti don’t have to hunt tonight! Aren’t you proud?” Ginga beamed.

“Ginga, I will always be proud of you, but all that matters now is that you’re safe,” his mother responded. She protected her pups in a warm embrace, weeping as she vowed to herself to always protect her pups.

Honor Mackdanz

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My Random Story

my bicycle pump is rusty
my car won’t work
a bicycle sits under a tree
the water jiggling in my glass
that sticker on my shirt
sticky tape on a dog
red birds that are mean
flat earth
round sun
a big caterpillar eats a city
cool dog with sunglasses
Clair bear rests in her den
dairy products in a store
green eyeballs in my head
bluebirds in a tree
my touchy story

Sean Ryan

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Sparkler’s Talent

Once, in a place very far away, lived the Kingdom of Dragons. In the Kingdom lived a dark red dragoness named Sparkler. She had blue dots lining her wings and blue gemstones under her eyes. She spent her days in a small, cozy den at the edge of the Kingdom. It was nice there, but Sparkles was very sad. She had been banished from the castle, the center of the Kingdom, because she could not breathe fire like the other dragons. She tried many times to ignite the flame inside her, but she just couldn’t.

One day, she was walking out of her den when she heard a swoosh, boom! She looked up, startled, and saw the castle was being attacked! Flames engulfed the castle, and even from where she sat, Sparkler could hear the screams of terror. Before she knew it, she was flying full speed to help. She stared down at the crumbling castle, horrified.

Suddenly, she felt something strange inside her. She opened her mouth and breathed water! Sparkler quickly closed her mouth in shock. Then she thought, Wait! I can help with this! She opened her mouth again and breathed water all over the burning castle. Steam sprayed everywhere she went.

When Sparkler was sure she had extinguished all the fire, she landed on the remains of the castle. She looked around and saw crowds of surprised dragons beginning to swarm her, congratulating her on stopping the fire. A large shadow was cast over her and the crowd fell silent. The Queen. She swooped down and landed gracefully in front of Sparkler. The Queen, radiating power, towered over her. “Did you fix this?” she thundered.

“Ye-yes, Your Majesty,” Sparkler stammered.

“Thank you very much. You saved our kingdom, and for that, you are welcome to stay in the castle whenever you feel like it,” she announced.

“Thank you, your Majesty!” Sparkles said happily. She moved into the castle and lived there for the rest of her life and she lived happily ever after.

Kate Medlock

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In My Head

– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

In my head, the singsong voice of the jay never stops, like wings wanting to fly.
In my head, the howling and screaming cries of the distant coyote
silence – a broken window, cracked.
In my head, a salamander stops fearing and climbs out
from under his rock – an unsteady ladder.
In my head, the inner thoughts and feelings of flower
and tree circulate – like steamships, big and bright.
In my head, all the stars share stories from their travels
around the Milky Way – a starless night, clear.
In my head, the pyramids touch the moon and stars,
a black cat, mysterious and haunting.
In my head, the great works of the Greeks come alive
and speak – a book store open and waiting.
In my head, the slippery skipping stones of the river
have tea with the jagged ones of the sea – finger-like pencils drawing in the details.
In my head, turtle and tortoise explore outside their shells, a bomb shelter, secure.
In my head beautiful, hand-sewn rugs fly freely, a ball game, a home run.

Haley Kate Nettleship

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The Forces of Nature

Mountains of molten magma-turned-lava
Rush down the volcano’s side
Blistering hot, a glorious golden-red
It sends out a call to every predator near
“I’m here”

The wind wildly blows as it sweeps through the streets
Twirling, whooshing, swooshing into the night
It throws down those who stand in the way
For what good are those who defy us?
The voices of the wind say

The night is dark, cold, and empty
Night is black, soulless, and a void without joy
But it can be merry, too
You just have to show it what to do

Stars flicker through endless nights
Never seeing the sun, never dimming the bright light
Still, they soar just beyond our reach
Knowing that a lesson, they still have to teach

Ramya Nambala

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