My Honest Poem: Slice of Life #sol18 14/31

Yesterday, my students wrote off of Rudy Francisco’s spoken word poem, My Honest Poem. I shared the video (they were amazed that he spent four years working on this poem) and copied the text for them, and then they chose their own way in. One student started with vanilla ginger ale and ended up at his family and what makes each person unique.  One student wrote a fantastic poem starting with the borrowed line “I’m a sucker for a girl with a nice smile and clean sneakers” and ending with his original line, “I’m a sucker for a girl I haven’t met yet.” And one student borrowed the final two lines to start a powerful new piece about the difficult decisions he’s had to make in his life and his grandmother’s reminder that “we still got work to do.” I borrowed the birthdate and astrological sign beginning and wrote this:

I was born on July 4th. That makes me a Cancer. A homebody. Moody. Imaginative. An affinity to water.

It wasn’t until I was a mother myself that I heard the expression “put the crabs in the water,” but that’s exactly what my mother did with me. She’d run a bath when I got bored or cranky. She’d fill the tub with water and I’d bring all my dolls and plastic toys into the bath with me. I’d stay there until I was a wrinkled prune.

Now I prefer showers. I stay until the mirror is fogged, until the steam has condensed on the ceiling and beads of water trickle down the walls, until the hot water runs out. I stay until the bad mood washes down the drain, until I find some equanimity. I stay until I’m new again.

 

slice-of-life_individual

12 thoughts on “My Honest Poem: Slice of Life #sol18 14/31

  1. Dr. Ellington,
    I just wanted to drop by and say how cool I think this assignment is! I love Rudy Francisco. I was wondering if you have read his book he recently published? I have not read it yet but it’s on my list!

  2. “I stay until I am new again.” A new beginning. I have never heard of an Honest Poem before. After checking it out I feel that this has so many applications. It is a great way to introduce yourself to someone, but I also think it would be a helpful tool for counselors to use with anyone experiencing some kind of trauma.

  3. I’m looking forward to researching Honest Poems a bit more. Like Bob, I hadn’t heard of them before.

    BTW: My daughter regularly complains how she is really a bath person and I’ve forced her to become a shower person (b/c of my bad back)!

  4. WOW! I love your link to the mentor text and your own… this is definitely going to engage my students! Your honest poem really resonates with me, especially the lines “I stay until the mirror is fogged, until the steam has condensed on the ceiling and beads of water trickle down the walls, until the hot water runs out. I stay until the bad mood washes down the drain, until I find some equanimity. I stay until I’m new again.” The imagery and figurative language are beautiful.

  5. I want to try an Honest Poem. It sounds wonderful. You made me think about my kids and baths. I often gave them baths when they were crabby and it is still often something that I suggest to my children when they are having a difficult day.

  6. I hadn’t heard of the Honest Poem, either – thanks for sharing, and also for your own response, which I really liked. I’m not sure just how Honest I’m ready to be just yet (I understand why it took Rudy Francisco 4 years to write) but will definitely bear this in mind for future writing!

  7. I have never heard of honest poems either. But now I want to track down more information. I love your mom’s comment about putting the crabs in water. The only bathtub in our house is in my sons’ bathroom, so I take showers. I miss bubble baths, especially nights like tonight when I am tired and cranky!

  8. Pingback: Life After Daily Slicing – Ms. Chiubooka Writes

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