“Blues All Around”

For our 6th sessions, Shoesmith 4th graders discussed African Americans’ creation of field hollers, work songs, Negro spirituals, and the blues. We talked about the poetry form known as the lament, and reasons why people sometimes “feel blue.” Before consulting a “Blues Name Generator” to find out what our blues names are, we talked about nicknames and pseudonyms used by blues artists and Chicago’s stature in blues history. We noted that lyrics in blues songs have patterns of rhyme and repetition. This week our writing was focused on setting down ideas for first drafts of our blues poems.

Ms. Lehner
4th Grade 

by Jailhouse Jackson
(Malik A.)

people being mean to me and
taking my money and taking my lunch
also people saying stuff
behind my back that is not true
and my brother messing with me
when I tell him to stop
and he doesn’t
and also when I don’t get 
sleep that’s when I really have

got no one to love blues
by Fat Legs Jackson (Aayan A.)

don’t know where to go
don’t have no one to love
don’t have no one to see
don’t have an umbrella to cover me
something is wrong with my body
I’m lost in a cage
can’t find no one to see
getting wet from all this rain
I got no one to love from all this
wet, wet rain


Every year blues
by Skinny Bones Jenkins (Raven V.)

every year I get the…blues
like when I hit my toe on the door
(no one cared)
like the time when I felt left out
(no one cared)
Oh yeah, I got more blues
like the time when my friend didn’t come to school
so I cried once again
(no one cared)
so much more blues. like when I fell
and was bleeding
(no one checked on me)
so much blues I can’t say all of them,


Blues all around 
by Curly Killer Washington (Katherine J.)

I got blues, oh I got the blues, yeah
waking up for school, I ain’t
got no time to lose, no time to lose.
losing you and no one is around
nightmares in my mind and
I’m running out of time, yeah,
I’m running out of time


4th Grade – Group 2

Those Blue days 
by Curly Pickles Dupree
(Kendall D.)

The blue days when you fall, get
in trouble, emotions just lights
as a feather sometimes
you need a broom
to wipe the emotions away
but sometimes it may come too soon
You just need to feel brand new


Too Young For the Sun
by Fat Sugar Bradley
(Ashton P.)

The years was 2019, the date was
November 8
And me and Daddy got home late
Momma was cookin’ and 
Me and Daddy was lookin’
Momma said “Where ya’ll been?”
I said “Momma, we was at my friend’s”
Well, that night Daddy had 
a client in New York 
and he was gone
and so was the sun.


The Path of Blues
by Peg Leg Bones Bailey
(Nathaniel W.)

I’m on the path of the blues
I just have too much to lose
Please don’t follow me
I’m on the path of the blues

I’ve lost too much to choose
I am on the path of the blues
I just can’t move when
I’m on the path of the blues
Now I have nothing to lose


Hania Had Blues
by Brown Bones River
(Hania A.)

I had blues when I lost my grandpa
I had blues when I got in trouble, oh
nobody cares how much I love them
Whoa my friends don’t like me, oh
I hate to have blues
The raining is strting
and the world hates me, oh 




“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.