Muhammad Ali was a boxer and a poet. Dead is dead, and lonely is lonely, and they both stink. By the time I close my eyes, the clock radio says 3:16A.M. It’s almost like acting. “Stop putting yourself down. Angel’s father already told me straight-up he ain’t having nothing to do with this baby, so it’s on me. Which is precisely why I want to teach, to give young brothers like Leon some direction. You got that down pat, so maybe you should think about putting it on paper.” When that boy dyed his hair, I b’lieve some of that bleach must’ve seeped right into his brain. Amy Moscowitz Amy. Don’t underestimate the power of love. My English teacher has got us studying the Harlem Renaissance, which means we have to read a lot of poetry. Nobody laughed. “You sick, man,” Leon called over his shoulder. Raul was right. Big surprise. Look like God got hisself a poet! Is Porscha here? But wait. “Yo, brotha,” says Tyrone, thinking I’m nodding to him. Next thing I need to do is pitch it to Mr. Ward, see if he can get the principal to go for it. They weren’t too shabby, considering I’d only done a few rap pieces before. I’m sure no one else has spotted me until a head pops up from behind the stacks. But as soon as I heard her voice, the tears started coming again. He said he wanted to get a better look at it. Naturally, Porscha is the first person who notices m new tattoo. “But some things ain’t about money.” “You tripping, man,” said Tyrone. I rub him with cold washcloths, and then I take his temperature. Besides, your loss is someone else’s gain for I am coconut, and the heart of me is sweeter than you know. Tanisha is one fine sister, but I never say that to her face. Not writing poetry like that. I’m more than tall and lengthy of limb. “Whats’ that you reading?” “Baraka,” I tell him. He was a jibaro through and through. “You wasting your time, though. So don’t tell me I can’t fit in. Anyway, I decided to take advantage of the meeting. Devon Hope Jump Shot. And you’re wrong about my poem. I knew I wouldn’t have anybody to talk to when it hurts, and it hurts all the time. As an added bonus for readers, not only do we get to hear each student's life story in prose form, we also get to read the poems they write. Luisarparker. She’s why I chopped all my hair off last year. Last week, I wore my patchwork denim skirt and vest with the red leather pockets that just about broke my sewing machine needle. “I just started this one,” I tell him. the day we got our reports back, Mr. Ward held mine up so everyone could see the cover. Your eyes don’t like what I see. ", Click on my boobs if you are interested (. I’d come more often, but I gotta make time for my friends. But you like your boxes So keep them. Would it have killed him to touch me? I should cut his tongue out, see how funny he thinks that is, ‘cause there’s sure nothing funny about being called ugly. He doesn’t say much, but he always looks out for me. Open Mike: For the Record By Tanisha Scott It’s the blood that tells: slaves black as the Mississippi mud ring the trunk of my family tree. either they’re trying to draw me into an infantile game of The Dozens so we can trade insults left and right, or they’re slapping porno pictures inside my locker hoping to set me off. My moms don’t want to hear that, but if it weren’t for Wesley and my other homeys, I wouldn’t even be here, aiight? “Preacher got it goin’ on.” My name is Sterling Samson, but everyone calls me Preacher. Big mistake. I may not have his strength, but you know I have his temper. Tyrone Bittings is the main character, He is one of the few kids who's dad didn't abandon his mom. And second, watch me.” Abuelita says my talent is as old as her bones. “I’ve been meaning to tell you, I really liked the poem you read for Open Mike Friday.” “Yeah? Long Live Langston By Wesley Boone Trumpeter of Lenox and 7th through Jesse B. Semple, you simply celebrated Blues and Be-Bop and being Black before it was considered hip. I’m ticked off that he even got me thinking about such nonsense as Broadway. Why, Papi? That’s probably what the brotha’s gonna end up doing, anyway, ‘cause he ain’t half the word-man I am. But I wish he didn’t cry so much. Learn bronx masquerade with free interactive flashcards. “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re fat and I’m not. Lupe Judianne tapped me on the shoulder this morning and passed me a note real quick before Mr. Ward could se. Mark them geek, wimp, bully. But we have each other. But try telling that to my cousin. Dream on. Nowadays I’m in here two, three times a week. His buddies joined in. “You think they’re that good?” “You’re kidding, right?” Raul didn’t wait for an answer. What class were you in? they know I’ve got a brain, and I know how to use it. “Maybe it’s time for you to go.” He grabbed my skirt and tried pulling me back down, which is right about when I hauled off and smacked him. He smiled at me last time I saw him there. All that matters, I told her, is that we’re friends. Haven’t you noticed? The difference is, she’s got no talent in that direction. I’m going to make sure they do, even if I have to keep volunteering her for projects ‘til we graduate. My brother, Tito, left long ago, and then Christina. When I was little, I used to hide under my bed and cry, scared he was coming for me next. I’m lucky. Boy, was that a mistake! Know what I’m saying? He can never get Raul to rewrite a lick of homework or anything else. Don’t’ look lit it to me. I shoulda made a shopping list before I left the house this morning, but I barely got out as it is. Start your own open mic night with this printable sign-up sheet. I don’t know what to do. I lift my head and there’s Sterling, staring over my shoulder. “Okay. I shade in my father’s jawline just as Mr. Ward enters the room, then put my pencil down and look up in case he tries to catch my eye. I like the sound of that. And all of a sudden, I realize I do. I can’t do anything about my skin, okay, but my hair I can fix.” I lost the argument, of course.