I started poetry club in the beginning of my freshman year. First meeting, first day, so many new people. I had never thought about writing poetry. I never believed I had the skill to. My typical image of a poet was a African talking about the struggles of it’s continent. Maybe a regular person with a lot of life experiences. To my surprise, I wasn’t the only freshman in that room. I sat down on the far left side of the room near the windows. I could still feel the sting on my butt from my friends hand, so I sat with a wince. Thankfully no one saw. My advisor, Mr. Kay, introduced me to the room. I was kind of shy, so if my skin was a tad bit lighter, there may have been a hint of a blush. I was with people I didn’t know. Then we went around the room and said our names. Frdea… De… Imani… Taylor… Jameka… Marchella… They all seemed to be pleased with everyone there. Mr. Kay went on about his long journeys with the seniors in the room. It was interesting to see him enthusiasm about such a topic. My first task that Tuesday evening in room 309 was to write about myself. That was the worst thing I could’ve been told, but I ended up doing it. It started out like this:
The summer before I was an anxious little 8th grader that knew nothing.
Thoughts going through my mind
Am I going to be cool enough?
Am I going to fit in?
I think of my anxiety of that first year.”
With my first stanza, I felt like a spark had jolted inside me. Words continued to flow…
“That year adults have legit conversations with me
That year my individually blossomed
That year when I asked myself
Who are you?
I came to a new school to start fresh.
I came because I wanted something different.
I came to finally be accepted.”
Second… Then third… Came right out of me. I didn’t think about it much. As I continued to write, I didn’t realize the key things I had actually observed, but never thought about.
“Accepted that I am weird.
Accepted that I have a different way of seeing the world.
Accepted that I love to have fun.”
Then the last and final stanza came of my first poem, written in room 309…
“I look at myself now.
I look at what I made of myself through these years.
I look at the fact that
I am no more an anxious freshman.
I am no more that person that thought she wasn’t worth much
I am no more that girl that questioned herself about being ‘cool’
I am a confident girl.
I am that girl that you see walking the streets with priority
I am that girl you see walking into a room knowing I have the respect of everyone.
I am that girl that thinks something of herself”
That was it. I was finished. With my fresh, new, raw, poem, I wanted to say it out loud. I was the first to share. “Highschool…..” I didn’t get much of a reaction from the room. To them, it was just another poem read by a freshman. But Kay lightened my mood, by commenting on my strong voice. But that was it. Others said their poems and it was time to go.
Later that month I had acquired a few skills about writing. I had some free time and I sat in a dimly lit living room. The couch to the right, the foyer to left. The piano in front of me. Over head of it was painting.The background has a jazz theme. On the right side, black, fading into a deep red, to a bright red blood color. The left has deep violet turning into rich light purple. Down at the bottom of the picture of piano keys. The keys come out in a fine curved way. Black sharp keys and the regular white keys. But since it’s a jazz theme to it, the ends of the keys are a chalky brown. Over the keys is a fine colored black man. His body is positioned so his ear is close to the keys he feels over with his large hands. Eyes closed, he looks as if he’s engrossed into the sounds coming from his big instrument. One hand at the end of the piano with the other accompanying it not too far away. This man has large lips, with a large nose. But his facial attributes are all proportional. His close cut beard matches his hair which is buzz cut. Eyes slightly strained with tense eye brows, he seems to be concentrating of the sounds coming with, what it looks like, his precious noise making object. His right hands glides over keys, with big knuckles and great embedded nails. With great hands, they have a angular look to them. Not rounded like normal fingers. This painting has many basic shapes to it. Angular knuckles with angular tips. But his thumb has a curve to it as it’s bent. His pinky stands out feels a key on it’s own. His shadow slightly covers the keys. Mainly his face’s shadow slightly over edge of the keys. The front part of this man’s shirt is yellow faded into a light green. The back is a violet color. The collar is split, so, half is purple and half is yellow and green. His sleeve is rolled up on the right side of the painted. On the arm with the hand at the edge of the piano. Other than that artwork, there were detailed Chinese vases. They had scenes of their culture on each side. Then the coffee table with parallel to the piano on a tan rug. I sat in the office chair. Pondering… The beginning of this self motivated poem started out like this:
Dark is black.
Dark is cold.
Dark is dark.
Dark is heartless, emotionless, endless…..”
I stopped. This start wasn’t myself. I wasn’t a dark person. I began to think of colors. Then this is what flowed through my finger tips:
“Can you tell me?
Tell me why the sky is blue.
Tell me why fire is red.
Tell me why the birds sing those unknown songs that wake me in the morning.
Tell me why….”
I halted. There needed to be some order in this poem. The colors needed to be in their natural pattern. I thought about each color. Red… Orange… Yellow… Green… Blue…. Violet… White… Black… Then this came from my mind:
“Can you tell me why?
Can you tell me why roses are red?
Can you tell me why fire is orange?
Can you tell me why the sun is yellow?
Can you tell me why the grass is green?
Can you tell me why the sky is blue?
Can you tell me why lilies are purple?
Can you tell me why the clouds are white?
Can you tell me why darkness is black?
Can you tell me why?”
I wanted to tie in all the colors together. To show a certain relationship they had with each other.
“I can tell you red roses burn in orange fire.
Each peddle falling
Falling to the ground withering from the hot serpent that has taken away it’s red beauty.
I can tell you the yellow sun beats down on the green grass leaving it dry and brittle, taking away it source of life. Water.
I can tell you the clear, blue sky protects the purple, velvet lilies in the streams they wade in.
I can tell you, you can’t see the white, fluffy clouds in the pure darkness that is black.
That’s what I can tell you.
Now, can you tell me why?”
I felt so proud of my final product. I was so eager, I needed to read it to someone. My mom was the only one in the house at the time and she sat down to hear my poem.
“Can you tell me why?.....” I said the poem with a pure confidence. My mom enjoyed it, so that was a definite “GO” to read it in poetry club that next Tuesday.
Once basketball season started, the teacher supporting poetry club, the basketball coach, could come to the Tuesday get together. The students ran it. I kept saying to myself, “I’ll go next week,” I kept saying that in my mind until I didn’t care about it anymore. I didn’t even think about going. I’d always hear talk among the club goers about the poetry slams that happened on Saturdays and the about California trip to nationals. It made me feel guilty. So, I felt it’d be awkward if I stepped in room 309 to venture in my poetry writing.
My sophomore year, I wanted to take up poetry again. Now, here’s my chance.