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.