“We go way, way back” – Poems in Reverse!

The turn of the decade brought us all back to an earlier time than we’re used to with the typical New Year. Winter always tends to push our thinking inward for a season of reflecting; on where we are today, where we will be soon, and where we’re coming from  To kick off the new year, we followed the theme of reflection here at Washington.


In the first week back, we looked at our old poems with a twist: Classmates traded their favorite poems between each other and read them out loud! This gave us the chance to see where our writing has taken us since November through the eyes of someone else in the community.


Next up, we kicked off a new unit on narrative-building with poems in reverse. Using Southside native Nate Marshall’s “palindrome” for this week’s workshop, Washington students wrote stories that take us on journeys into their past, tracing friendships back to first days of school and siblings’ birthday cakes back to watching their first steps.


I had a ton of fun reading these. I hope you do, too! Here’s some pieces from my fifth writing workshop with Ms. Nazimek’s 8th Grade English class:


Group 1

“My Dog”
Joaquin L.

You tried to do a trick, you failed.
You try to climb on the couch but don’t succeed.
When I watch TV you sit right next to me.
You would always walk all over me.
When I grab a leash, you would wag your tail.
We used to go on walks around the block every Sunday.
I was just five when we first met. You were
nervous because I was someone unfamiliar.


Bianca T.

We just talked about what was happening in
School and how our day went. We supported each
Other. We talked because we feel comfortable
Around each other. We got along the best, no other
Person could’ve replaced our friendship bond. We
Would text each other goodnight and goodmorning
And talked over the phone for hours and would
Tell each other about what is happening in our
Lives. We would make each other laugh and trusted
Each other. Turned out we lived in the same
Neighborhood and he was a year older, told each other
About ourselves. He randomly snapped me.


“For Nadya”
Amelia B.

During lunch period
When we talked about inside jokes from last year,
When in library we drew questionable images
To questionable jokes…
When I stole all the Capri Sun from your car
After we almost got kicked out of Walmart for
Being too crazy,
And not focusing on things we were supposed to buy.
When we tried to keep your dog out of the room
Because we were trying to eat leftover pizza
When you would always ask to play
Tag during recess but I was too tired to
When we only started talking
Because of a book
In 4th grade.


“About Maya”
Nevaeh C.

Giving eye contact, thinking about what to
write. From going shopping and talking
About life and the troubles we have to
Encounter. From learning more about
One another and enjoying what we have
In common and being ok about what we
Don’t. We separated in 7th grade from not
Being in the same homeroom which
For some reason brought us
Closer. From getting invited to
Her 12th birthday party. From 6th
Grade playing in the playground and
Asking one another for each other’s
Name. From me first attending
George Washington Elementary
In the beginning of 2017.


“About Nevaeh”
Maya B.

Right now, that we were looking at each
Other. And every day at school, I communicate
With her. She always has good energy and
Makes me laugh a lot and I like how she
Is always there for me and sticks up for me.
I go to her games on Fridays and support
Her during her game. We talk and make fun
Memories together. We hang out often. At school,
Every day. At my house on the weekends. I first
Met her when she transferred to my school in
6th grade. I asked her what her name was
Because I kept forgetting. I know she got annoyed
Of me asking every 2 seconds. But then she invited me to
Go rollerskating for her bday party.
She is a friend I could always count on.
A classmate.


Laura M.

We were chismando on FT. She told me
She did good at her basketball game. I was so
Proud. We were catching up on each other’s days. I
Can’t live without her, she’s my best friend. She knows
Way too much to just leave like that. She has very
Positive energy too. We usually embarrass her mom or
My mom because we are always play fighting. A
While ago we hit 10 years of being friends, and that day
We went to a festival, and she got me a gift. It was a
Necklace — I will cherish it for a long time. Then her
Birthday came up and of course, the friend I am,
Wasted so much money on her gift. At first she was
Shy, I thought she was no fun. We were 4 when we
Both meet each other. We never talked before but
Our brothers made us talk.


Gabriel M.

7 o’clock, he came to the house
And said hi to me. I was on my PS4
Too distracted to look at him but still
Said hi. I think he was with a girl.
He has never met this girl and we
Are in mexico. We sleep in the same
Room again with five other people. And
We decide to go to a horse race and
Bet on which horse will win. He is going
To college and I actually think I am going
To miss him, saying bye. We are at
His high school graduation part with
Me waiting for the moment he goes to
College because I won’t miss him. He
Is in 8th grade and got his first girlfriend
And is acting different, more mean and
Distant. Now we are in our room watching
TV. Not paying attention to anyone or anything
Else because nothing else matters more to
Have a brother.


Group 2


Nataly H.

She’s laying in the hospital
fighting for her life
the night before that we
had a softball game
we have been playing on the
same team since I can
remember our first game we
were both so little but so
excited we would always go
matching the first time
I met her I knew our friendship
was gonna last. It’s funny how
the word “hi” started all of


Jovanni C.

While eating breakfast with grandma on Wednesday
Visiting her on weekends.
My grandma has known me for as long as I lived.
My grandma had always been there for me.
My grandma used to watch me when I was little.


Adrian S.

Geal, he is my cousin I meet him when I was seven he was like a
brother to me he picks me up when I need to go somewhere and
he changed over the years he used to be a chubby guy but now he
is skinny and tall and he tries to protect me when I get in trouble
the last time I saw him was in soccer practice.


“Mr. Clark”
Anthony P.

I remember the time where he was talking to the class about
what to write down in our poem. He unteached us how to start
a poem. As time decreases my knowledge about poetry does
too. As the time passed down I soon forget about the poem
on a tube man. My beard soon goes away and I sit in class
thinking about what our poetry teacher is gonna be like.


Allie P

We were talking about the song we were learning.
We started in 6th grade. We joined our school’s
rock band & we talked about the music we like.
Nadia loves the band Queen. In 4th grade,
me & my old bestfriend were fighting and I
was playing a game that her other friends had
made. When I was younger I wanted to draw
like her. In first grade, I made her a friendship


Group 3


Kimberly R.

On this paper I write a poem
I unthink the thoughts of our
I unplay the video game
We played
I take back our arguments
I undo my birthday
The pieces of smashed cake, go back
On the cake, smoothly.
The candles light back on, and get sucked back in the lighter
We go way, way back
You picking me up from the floor, from waiting
For you to come home from school become undone.
To you unwatching and unpracticing my first steps
To undoing the time you’d scare me and I’d begin
To cry, but I’d luagh as well.
Undo my tears, undo my giggling.
Undo the day you first saw me
Undo when my eyes open
To the moment I was asleep.


“For Joseph”
Sebastian D.

I look away from him as I undo
This poem. I walk from school to
Home backwards as I walk in.
I cancel the call as i leave
The game world and close.
I unmeet up with him for a party
We throw up our pizza on to our
Plates, i leave.

I see him sitting down on the
Colorful number carpet, I say
Nothing while he says hello. I then
Stand up and walk out the pre
school classroom. My mom reverses
All the way home and forgets
About the grade celebration.


Ariana S.

She dropped me
Off at my house
She was relieved when
She finishing doing my hair
And got ready for work in time.
She had a new baby when I
Was in the 7th grade.
We were sad because I could
Not go to the hospital and
Visit her.
In 5th grade she moved out
With her husband and her 2 year old son
We both cried because she had to
Go and move out to start my family
My loud ecstatic mom was yelling that
She was having a grand child
She got a job and came back
From college.
She was gone when I woke up
From my nap. She hugged me
After packing my suitcase.
I thought I was going away
With her to college when I was


“For Ashley”
Lisbeth N.

I saw her a few hours ago.
Said hi, she said the substitute is a little harsh.
Yesterday we talked after school.
She was brought into Mrs. Nazimek’s room to test with us.
Vivi, Ashley & Me are nervous about the test.
Ashlet & me take pictures afterschool.
Vivi has an early dismissal.
Graduation pictures are here.
7th grade is over.
We were in that bus for hours.
Springfield was so fun. So bright & sunny.
We take pictures afterschool.
Last day of 6 grade,
Vivi, Ashley & Me sit right next to each other
We get new seats for homeroom
Ashley, Vivi & Me become close
We all sit next to each other in lunch.
She says her name is Ashley.
I ask what her name is.
New girl walks in.
Vivi & me are talking about getting Wendys.


Mackenzie G.

Cereal floated from my face to his hand,
He un-laughed and sat on the couch
The TV unpausing.
He gets up and walks backwards to his room and closes the door
He comes out again, this time in PJ’s.
Look like he just woke up
Freaks out that I’m at his house
Then goes to wake his father
His father walks us across the street backwards towards the school
As he jumps down and up speaking to me and his sister
He walks backwards into a group of kids
They all walk back into school – going from excited to angry, real quick
I walk backwards through the lunchroom, un-waving at him.
Then he’s stumbling down, un-learning how to walk and he un-giggles and
Un-smiles as he was put back in his cradle.
His eyes close as I look over him for the first time and
He falls asleep once more.


Josue H.

Here I am, looking at him and cracking jokes left
And right. Also writing about this person who is
Also my bestfriend since day 1. Now here
We are in a new school we both transferred into and
Good we are both in the same class this was fifth
Grade. I remember we are both running while
Playing soccer or football outside on the same team with our little
Two legs back in third grades
Outside back to get in a brawl and I know
he got my back. Yeah, we were victorious. First day of
Kindergarten in our new big school, we weren’t in
The same class but that didn’t stop us from being bestfriends
And having fun. Back in the playground
Arguing who shoes are faster. Wait what his name
What his face i can’t seem to remember.


Diana P.

DM on my phone,
I get a call from Andrea,
She’s crying because an old friend is talking bad about her.
She stops crying and uncalls me.
She unhugs me. She’s unaware
I’m transferring schools.
She’s back in my classroom.
She’s not in my classroom.
We’re both walking backwards
Towards Jane Addams.
We start talking again.
I move into her classroom.
We don’t talk for a while.
We sit next to each other
In lunch. We start laughing.
Someone does something funny.
We become friends, she does something
Funny. We are both forced to sit next to
Each other.



“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.