Grow Up!

Today’s workshop was inspired by Sharon Olds’ “Rite of Passage” which traces the roots of how young people grow up into their possible personalities. So the 8th graders looked back on their long lives and wrote poems about things that they used to do as youngsters. Sometimes they gave advice to themselves, sometimes they imagined what those young behaviors might turn into, sometimes they just made fun of their younger selves.

Mrs. Taylor
8th Grade, 1st Period

Cops and Robbers
Skyler L.

The “Police Station” is by the fence.
The “glue” – the “hideout” is by door #G.
The “jail” is under the statue of Mary.

Cops and Robbers.
The class split in half.
One side good, the other evil.

Cops grab robbers by their arms, drag
them into “jail,” and robbers rob robbers
back and bring them to the glue – the hideout
I mean.

Violence at its most innocent, of finger guns
and string handcuffs.
Teamwork – “put them in the slammer,”
says Officer Jenna
“Get him out of the nut house,” says
Robber Martin.

We grow up and now Jenna is stealing
diamonds and Marty is putting her away.
I never liked Jenna anyway.

Hey Alek
Aleksander P.

There is no good way to put this, but,
you need to stop picking that nose of yours.
Seriously, that finger goes in,
and comes out wet, shiny, with a
big boogie on the end.
Then you shake your uncle’s hand.

Dear Melissa,
Melissa E.

Dear Melissa,

What were you thinking?
I mean, you knew how
to tie your shoes, yet
you still wanted those
light-up Dora things…

Dear Melissa,

Excuse me but I
was six and back
then they were the
coolest kicks you could
own just think about it
you walk down
the street with
your first grade posse, everyone
with a different pair.
Hearing the velcro
restrapping, seeing the
flashing little mermaid

Dear Melissa,

uh noooo,
more like the
sound of old
ladies restrapping
their white New
Balance velcros.

Dear Melissa,

Well, there you
go, some things
can be carried on
later in life, even
if it was the
ugliest thing of
the decade.

Mrs. Dollear
8th Grade, 3rd Period

Dear Younger Ellie,

Dear younger Ellie,
This is your older self giving
advice to you. You don’t need to
do homework it’s useless. Also it
only counts for 10% of your
grade. I’m not doing too bad
and I never
do my homework.


P.S. Have fun because my
grades are decent. 😀

Dear Past Me,
Olivia H.

Dear Past Me,
Okay well I know this isn’t what you
want to hear, but honey, you are
not a secret agent. I know you roll all over
the halls and try to be sly, but come on.
And do you not realize that your
bracelet is not a walkie talkie?? No
one responds when you talk into it and
you just look weird. Like remember
that time that kid almost blew your
cover? Well, he actually just thought
you were crazy. Sorry to inform



As one looks down the alleyway
between the main avenue and the neighborhood street,
you’ll see what anyone would expect to see in such a place.
Garage doors, the occasional car, garbage bins,
fences to people’s backyards, all the things alleyways would have to be.

Flashback a few years and there’s more than the eye meets.
We were kings and queens, superheroes and spies,
we were anything we ever wanted to be.
Epic escape plans over the chained fence, jumps
over ledges, we owned these sidestreets
we were on top of the world, nothing would bring
us down.

Flash to the present to relative peace, embarrassed
faces contemplating what we used to be.

Mrs. Taylor
8th Grade, 6th Period

Jessica K.

I’m sure your parents told you
that if you swallow a seed it
will grow inside of you. But
I tell you in all honesty, it won’t.
I once swallowed an apple seed.
No apple tree exists in me,
I promise. I once swallowed an orange
seed. There is
no trace of any orange tree in my
body. I know, I had an x-ray
done and nothing was there. So
if you ever swallow a seed, don’t
be afraid. No tree
will grow inside of you. Trust me,
I know from experience.

King of the (Pacific) Ocean
Kaarina J.

I could control the shape
and the size of the waves, this
great body of water listened to
me. I did not dare touch it
through, in case it thought I
was a bad king and wanted
to destroy me, so I let it
destroy others as it pleased. When
told I would be queen
not king, I denied it. I wanted
the highest power. The power to
have the most uncontrollable
things under my thumb. In a
sense I was enforcer of law,
controlling people and their actions
which can be quite impossible.
King of the ocean wasn’t so
unrealistic after all.

Ella R.

You should keep talking to ghosts while you can
You might be right
They could be lonely
Don’t be afraid of becoming a crazy old man
In a parking lot
Walking hand-in-hand
With your dead wife
You’re still young
You have some time until you’re a ghost.

Mrs. Taylor
8th Grade, 7th Period

Cops will always see me regardless of where I am
Michael K.

If I keep doing this
then I will probably get
arrested. Waving to security
cameras and empty spaces.
I believe that one day the
police will get me.
All that I want to do
is be friendly. I don’t
commit any crimes because
they are always watching.
Sometimes I’m scared of
taking a shower. You
never know when they
are watching.

Santa Claus
Alexandra Z.

Santa Claus, isn’t real!
It’s an excuse for my parents to eat the
cookies I bake.
It’s not fair!
I can’t eat those cookies but they can.
I wait for the presents.
I run down the stairs.
Look under the tree.
But nothing’s there.
I look around to find an explanation
I want to ask my parents
But I live in isolation
Then I realize at age 32
Santa doesn’t exist – you fool.

Dressing Up Animals
Samantha M.

I suppose in the future that
this could be
the same thing that
it used to be.
Maybe you’ll dress
children instead of pets,
but we all know
that dogs in crowns
never gets old.
Cats in tutus,
monkeys in diapers,
these are the things we
never grow out of.



“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.