April is National Poetry Month. In South Florida, that means the month-long annual O, Miami Poetry Festival. As part of the 2016 festival, students from all over took part in programs that encouraged them to write and share their own poetry. These Miami Stories feature poems from some of those students. The poems are based on their lives in Miami-Dade County.
PUT THE GUNS DOWN! THIS NEED TO STOP!
I pray for the children who woke up this morning and lost their life to gun violence
As soon as a tragedy happens the person you call is God
Now people obeying’
Look at the world now
How you going to say it now?
We out here
Just living life
Music is life now
What are we doing for the life of people that’s gone now?
They never coming back
Music is our life now.
My loved ones lost are in the sky with God
Angels with wings on their back
Living a new life
This is why music is life
You got the trap boys living the life
This is a cold world
Music is life
It’s our life now
Too many boys out here
Living this life
Losing their life
We’ve got to come together as one
And make it for our love ones
They are gone and never coming back
Now I’m rapping for y’all and writing these poems
Because I believe in y’all
Music is my limit, while for y’all the sky’s the limit
— Kayla Ingraham, 15, eighth grader at North Dade Middle School
I wish I could change my name
Or the frame on the picture that everyone is looking at
From the outside in
They swear they lookin’ deep with
And all they could see is my skin
Maybe I’d change it to something pretty “Lisa” or “Mary”
And then people would approach me and then
Maybe then I wouldn’t look so scary
I could get out my story
Then I wouldn’t have to worry
If I would have to eat alone
Maybe I’d change it to something brave like “Johann” or “Melissa”
Maybe the I could’ve scared away the monsters under my bed
Then they wouldn’t have crawled inside of my head
Or maybe change the frame
I’d put sparkles so you’d think I was pretty
Sign it with X’s and O’s so you’d think I was nice
So tell me when you look at me what do you see?
— Yazzmine (YazzTheGreatest) Brown-Livingston, 14, eighth grader at North Dade Middle School
DREAMS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE GHETTO
DREAMS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE GHETTO
YOUNG KIDS CAN DREAM BIG BUT
THEY ARE INFLUENCED BY DRUGS GUNS
AND THE DEVIL IS THE MAIN FACTOR.
SCREAM LOUD LET EM KNOW
HIT EM WITH THE FOLKS!
DREAMS ARE NOT ILLEGAL IN THE GHETTO! CRIPS
BLOODS, GANGS, GANGBANGERS, IS ALL I KNOW BUT
I DO BELIEVE IN GOD AND THE DEVIL CAN’T BRING
I WILL DREAM AND I WILL DREAM BIG.
I WILL SUCCEED I WILL NOT FAIL BECAUSE DREAMS
ARE NOT ILLEGAL IN THE GHETTO.
— Da’Juan Bethel, 14, eighth grader at North Dade Middle School
Where I Am From
I am from Miami where the waves go swish,
and people chat, and the highway
sounds like an elephant stampede.
I live in an orange building
that has four stairways and 18 apartments.
My street is near the school (only 3 blocks away),
and a corner store
where I shop for food for the next day.
I am also from Haiti where the people party all night
and use a pool to celebrate birthdays.
And the food tastes like spaghetti with meatballs.
I lived with my grandma and inside it is freezing,
more freezing that the arctic pole.
And my grandma’s cooking smells better
than hamburgers and vanilla ice cream cake.
— Dieneka, fourth grader at Orchard Villa Elementary School
This Is My Home Town
I am from Liberty City
where sometimes the temperature is just right.
I am from a place where the balls
dribble, dribble, dribble all day.
I am not from a place like yours.
I live in a dangerous place.
I am not from a place with bad people.
I hear police sirens screeching.
We also have many parks with red slides
and hurricanes with strong winds.
I am from a place where flowers like to bloom.
and the sky is blue like God loves you.
— Francklin, fourth grader at Orchard Villa Elementary School
What Miami is Like
I am from Miami
where the rain pops
— Jaykayla, third grader at Orchard Villa Elementary School
Ode to the Beach
Yellow sand, blue waves.
The water is so wavy, so wavy
it looks like the spikes of a boy’s Mohawk.
It feels like I am taking a vacation.
It feels like peace and quiet and making
a sand castle with my mom.
— Mia, Culter Ridge Middle School
Odes to the Ocean
Flying up to the sun, falling through
the air like leaves falling from the tree branches,
rain jumps off of the umbrellas onto the ground
cold as the frozen pole, warm as water sweat
as the body movement moves from the pores
running through pipes out from sinks,
sipping water from the water bottle, tastes
like it’s healthy for the body, this is the life of the ocean.
— Tony, Cutler Ridge Middle School
It’s softy wave, calm
I get in the ocean
and feel like I’m going
into the world of donuts.
It has fish made of donuts
and shark friends.
— Justin, Cutler Ridge Middle School
“I am warm, wide, I need someone to jump in.”
I jump in.
I see urchins and starfish.
I taste salt.
— Zamare, Cutler Ridge Middle School