Good vs Evil

This week on Unbound, we’re proud to feature a graphic story authored by one of our younger writers, Victor, who’s participating in Badgerdog’s Creative Writing Summer Camp at Hope Presbyterian Church. In Victor’s high-stakes tale, “Bomb Bill,” the hero, a heavily armed do-gooder, tries to keep his cool and put an end to The Bad Guys using trickery and explosives. The vision (and artwork) infused in the story should keep you on the edge of your seat; you’ll be thrust you into the sky at lightning speed, watching as rockets and jets zoom past you, waiting as Bomb Bill, we hope, emerges victorious.

“Bomb Bill” by Victor Yu


“Hi! I’m Bomb Bill.”

“I have four fingers on one hand, I don’t have ears, and I even wear a tie.”

“I’m different in every picture, but I always have a blinking bomb.”

“That is the end of the introduction. It’s time to fight!”

Chapter 1

[Bomb Bill went into his Robo Cannon 2000.]

“I’m going to go fight. Bye!”

“This is fun!”

“What’s that?”

[Lazer Cannon/Bad Guys]

“Uh oh!”

Chapter 2

“I’m bald! I’m going to get you for this!”

“That’s better.”

[Trampoline: $9,000,000}

“I got my own jet!”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!”


Chapter 3

“We need to repair now!”

[24 Hours Later]

“We did it!”

“Let’s destroy Bomb Bill!”


“Uh oh! At least I have a bomb.”

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” [Bad Guys]

[To Be Continued…]

Victor, fourth grade, Ms. Joanna’s workshop


Sound and Light

To define the self is an endless and ever-changing proposition. We have many faces, many moods, a million stories that cast us in a thousand different lights. And yet, we try. The search (and discovery) is mostly for our own sake, but what good are we if the world can not see us? This week, we feature a stunning poem, in which the author, Ryann, defines herself in ways that conflict, subvert, and dance. She gives us her light, her speed, but also the sides of herself so many of us try to hide. Congratulations, Ryann, on a tremendous poetic achievement. (We’re even told this poem was used in a college classroom to help slightly older writers better understand the power of imagery and the ability of metaphor to leave us speechless, to send our minds reeling.)


Ryann Finell is a taco.
Ryann Finell is a fly on an apple core.
She is a smudge on a wall.
Maybe she is a witch.
She is a whale’s song, speeding through
the water at a million miles per hour.
Ryann Finell is an empty, crunched soda can.
She is toilet paper in the toilet.
She is a praying mantis, waiting for her next victim.
The floors look up to her, grinning.
Ryann Finell is a mushroom who
grows as slow as a snail.
She is nothing, a blank on a paper,
a gap of space, waiting right behind you.
She is a golden star on a Christmas tree.
Ryann Finell is a knob on a door,
waiting in vain for the dead owner
to turn her. She is a hole in a shirt,
getting bigger every day.
She is the letter X, doing a cartwheel.
Ryann Finell is a crab, scuttling
on the ocean floor, waiting for
a mine to blow up. She is a noodle
in a bowl of Progresso soup. She is
a sound, trying to race against her friend, Light.

Ryann, sixth-grade, Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp

How Come?

Ms. Tricia’s summer camp workshop is on a tear, appearing first on Badgerblog just days ago and now gracing the virtual pages of Unbound. These writers are zooming, synapses firing, writing, writing, writing, delivering line after line of poetry and prose, shooting their hands up when Ms. Tricia asks, “What just happened in this Calvin and Hobbs scene?” Answer: He’s just imagining it all. (And thank goodness he does!) This week, we return to this lightning-speed group of 5th and 6th graders who remind us, in their aptly titled collaborative poem, why it is we write. Go, Random Pink Super Fluffy Bunny Little Buster Space Unicorn Poem People! (I can’t wait to meet that mascot!)

Why We Write

To get your feelings out
To keep in touch
For fun!
To spread news

To pass time

To express yourself

Because you want to
Because your parents make you
Because your teacher makes you

To expand your ideas
Because I feel like it
To correspond
To save someone
To express yourself
Because we have to
I’m good at it
Encourage someone
I love it
Non-fiction writing

I want to
To help people
Fiction writer
To tell a person Thank you
To let us explode ourselves
Because you want to
To ENTERTAIN others or yourself

To spread information
To give information
Because you want to give more information
Because our teacher says
Why do we write?
To express ourselves
To learn about other people
To talk about news
To entertain people
To tell facts
To create an Image, paint a picture

To put Down Thoughts
Write a personal letter
To console someone
I have a story that NEEDS telling!
To communicate what we feel with others

The Random Super Fluffy Bunny Little Buster Space Unicorn Poem People (a.k.a. Owen, Ananthi, Gatienne, Evalyn, Samantha, Cara, Gracie, Nikita, Bodhi, Sofia, Winston & Hannah)

Perfect Strangers

With our second session of summer camp kicking off this week, nearly 100 new writers and their 11 instructors were faced with the task of discovering one another. Who is this person to my left? they asked themselves. And that person to my right? What does she call herself? Is he shy or outrageous? A poet or storyteller? Possibly both? Is he afraid of flying? Will she someday run for office?

There are a zillion ways to better understand those around us, but in Ms. Colleen’s workshop at The Girls’ School of Austin, metaphor became the vehicle for knowing the new writers in our midst: When Caleb (above) says he is a can of aerosol and a tornado and a box, we can see he’s a little ostentatious, out of control, but sturdy and able to fill himself with possibility.

Today, meet two more of our new writers, Anesh and Kyla, and let them introduce themselves, the people they’ve become… and are still becoming.


What kind of person are
you? I asked myself. I am
somebody who has the bones

of a human and the attitude
of a hawk. I am not flat
and not weird,
but my mind is free.

Anesh, fourth grade, Badgerdog Summer Camp

I Am

I am the man
who would rule the
world I’m the girl
who would demand
to be queen I’m
the dad who would
have a million dollars I’m
the mom who would
own a zoo I’m
the friend who
would own a mansion.

Kyla, third grade, Badgerdog Summer Camp

Dancing is Like Real Life Poetry

We were so lucky that Ballet Austin opened their doors to our first session summer campers. Inspired by the dancers, our writers wrote about their “almost wings,” about how the dancers were “like a perhaps goats” doing kung-fu in the air, and about so many other graceful movements they observed. Their words remind us of the intricate connection between arts are–or, as one middle school writer said it best, “Dancing is like real life poetry!”

The Swan Dance

The bend of the arms
similar to the arching
neck of the swan’s
the pirouette like the
from the water
their strong legs in the air
almost wings spreading wide
their toes resemble
the beak of a head pointed
the dancers more
like swans
that sweep themselves
up and off the water
on the floor feet are close
much as the swan’s wings
are folded on the water.
arching backs
arching bodies
like wings flapping in the flights
elegantly powering through
like the dancer

Evelyn, middle school summer Camp writer

Ballet Is Like a Perhaps Smoothie

—after E.E. Cummings’s “Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand

Ballet is like a perhaps smoothie
(which comes from a smooth, delicious fruit)
dancing gracefully like a soft drink
(while spinning and turning, leaping and jumping)
twirling like a straw mixing in the cup.
Ballet is like a perhaps smoothie
(carefully finishing the dance, carefully taking the last sip)
without a choreographer or blender.

Olivia, upper elementary summer camp writer

The Silent Dances

The dove twirls in the water,
arching her neck amidst the glittering droplets.
She is repetitive, patient;
Her movements smooth as pink silk.
The dove’s flight is ethereal, spectral.
She is a character from a fairy tale,
with her feathers dancing in the wind.
Her torso twists elegantly in the autumn breeze
Swift, fast-paced, lithe.

Her eyes dart to and fro,
her face on of tight concentration.

A white fairy poised and ready.
The dove’s wings flex against the current
and her soft sigh melts with the air.

Vanessa, middle school summer camp writer

The Graceful Strength

They seem to know one another
as if old friends reuniting,
live day by day, side by side

Two different realms
and I in-between them,
the one I know best I behind me,
elegantly bending
I hear laughter
echo through the glass
the lone girl on the barre
she brushes her pink silk toe
against the silver with a swish

Elizabeth, middle school summer camp writer

Ballet Is Like a Perhaps Wind

—after E.E. Cummings’s “Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand”

Ballet is like a perhaps wind
(which brushes gracefully against the dancer)
carrying the spirit of ballet in its breeze
(while dancers dance, spirit of the perhaps wind moving in their bones)
moving and making ballet graceful.
Ballet is like a perhaps wind
(carefully back and forth swirling gracefully)
without destroying the spirit of ballet
(which it carries with its wind).

Maya, upper elementary summer camp writer

The Shoes

The shoes that are quiet,
new in their wrapping
An enthusiastic dancer
slips them on
She twirls,
a blend of color
The dancer and the shoes
in perfect harmony

Emma, middle school summer camp writer

A Ballerina Is Like a Perhaps SnakeFlake

—after E.E. Cummings’s “Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand”

A ballerina is like a perhaps snake
(which slithers across the ground)
lifting its head high
(while gracefully twirling, circling)
bending itself into shapes.
A ballerina is like a snowflake
(carefully leaping to the ground)
without hurting itself.

Celina, upper elementary summer camp writer

Music Box Dancers

Music box dancers
like captive tropical birds
in a dim gray lab

Eliza, middle school summer camp writer

Ballet Is Like a Perhaps Goat

—after E.E. Cummings’s “Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand”

Ballet is like a perhaps goat
(which is flapping in the air)
swimming in the air
(while shoes whisper to the air)
kung fu-ing the air.
Ballet is like a perhaps goat
(carefully bouncing in the air)
without any gravity.

Saketh, upper elementary summer camp writer

We Sing Songs, We Contain Multitudes

I Am

I am Thomas Jefferson.
I am Benjamin Franklin.
I am John Adams.
I am George Washington.
I am George III.

I am an inventor.
I am a president.
I am a man who has heart cancer.
I am the first president of the United States.
I am a man from England.

I am Meriwether Lewis.
I am Dolly Madison.
I am James Madison.

I am a slave.
I am a blind woman.
I am a very particular woman.

I am George the dog!
My tail flies out when I
hit the ground.

 Lauren, soon to be 6th grader, Badgerdog Summer Camp Writer


The Origin of a Poem, of a Life

During her three-week Badgerdog Summer Camp workshop at The Waldorf School, Novuyo Masakhane asked her high school writers to seek out their origins. One writer, Lauren, who was born with cerebral palsy, had never talked to her mother about the day she was born, about her arrival in the world. After interviewing her mother about that day, Lauren wrote this beautiful epistolary poem.

Dear Mama

Now that we’re here,
can I tell you something?

I’m sorry about that.
I never meant to scare you.
I guess I just wanted to make an entrance.

I know you didn’t get to see me today,
but I saw you.
You are very beautiful, Mama!

…even when you’re crying.

I hope I got your eyes.
I did tell them to tell you not to worry about me,
but I guess they didn’t listen.
They told you I might not make,
didn’t they.
But trust me,
I know how strong you are.
I’ll be as strong as you.
This kid’s not going down without a fight.
Come on.
You didn’t think you’d get rid of me that easy,
did you?
I decided
I’m going to stick around for awhile.
Because lets face it Mama,
and I hope I’m not saying this too soon,
but I’m kind of in love with you already.

I know you don’t want to go home without me,
but hey,
I’m given you one more night’s sleep before
I wake you up at two AM for six months.
So go home.
Get some sleep,
and we’ll see each other in the morning.
I promise.
Your baby girl

Lauren, age 17, Badgerdog Summer Camp Writer