In the last session, we explored the powerful device of Repetition in Phil Kaye’s poem of the same name. Some poems in our workshop are ‘after’ Kaye’s work.

Lesson Note: Writer/Performer Anna Deavere Smith who interviews people and then writes those interviews down verbatim like poetry, insists that it is in our utterances between words and our repetition of them that finds us really ‘talking.’

Ms. Taylor, 9th Grade
Period 1

Adrian G.

I remember summer vacation in 2019. It
was really fun. People stealing from stores
stealing, stealing, stealing, stealing
but not me cause I was always
to be a good child
A holy child
holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy

Erik K.

Being a teen sometimes it’s complicated
spending time with family
or sometimes in your room separated
every day you get home
your parents say he ‘I love you’
but you go to your room, another day of
alone, alone, alone, alone
You sit down and get on your
Day by day, week by week, month by
month an year by years by years are passing by.
Just imagine yourself going home
No “I love you’ you there being along
After a while, there comes depression
Another day another phone
Another day of being alone
Another day you’re as still as a
After a while, depression has come
If your parents were there it wouldn’t
be the same
You would go to the bathroom standing
in front of the picture frame
You would cut and bleed and
you’d lose your fame.
so respect them and tell them
I I I I I I love you.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 2

Alani A.

I remember smiling every day
laughing, having run and enjoying myself
smile, smile, smile, smile, smile
that’s what everyone tells me to do
laugh, laugh, laugh
wey don’t you laugh any more
you have moments when yo have a flashback
and you smile
now everyone’s surprised in your house
you were so playful you would
jump, jump, jump, jump, jump
why do you sit ti ti
you don’t talk
why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why?!

Dalianna N.

I remember being happy.
Day through day.
No matter what obstacles go in my wY
I was happy.
happy, Happy, Happy, Happy.
But as the days pass
And you grow up
Some seem to have that happiness slowly fade away.
Less and less and less and less
For some, it’s very common for that happiness
to come less and less every day.
Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy.
Bay through day.
Happiness is just a word, an emotion.
Soon you ask.
Who’s that?
What’s happiness?
Actually, what is happiness?
I forgot.

Joshua R.

I remember playing basketball
with my brother. I remember
my first day of Taft-Taft
High School. I remember going
to Jamaica and Alaska. I
remember turning 13-13 years old.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 5

Childhood Repetition
Camila P.

Family, Family, Family, Family
so many things to remember
Memories, Memories, Memories
Many stuffed laughs
Dinner, Dinner, Dinner, Dinner

Money spent on vehicles
Bike, Bike, Bike, Bike
Blood dripping from knees
Scapes, Scrapes, Scrapes

All 5 of us
Family, Family, Family

Vanessa B.

I remember the smell
the people everywhere

cars, cars, cars, cars
at every corner, you look

The look on their faces worry, worry, worry
meeting everyone for the first time
family, family, family
surrounding us with
hugs, hugs, hugs

Everyone with a town around their neck
heat, heat, heat, heat
pouring over all of us
Family times around the entrance
laughter, laughter, laughter.

Father’s Words
Asia L.

My dad thinks, the more he asks a question,
the better father he is, but he’s wrong
As soon as I get off the bus I prepare myself for:
How was your day, how was your day
and I just practice the three words:
It was fine, it was fine, it was fine
He pushes me to tell him more
he ‘wants’ the details, but does he really
he thinks the more he asks these things
the better father he is, but he’s wrong
I know by the time we get home,
later at dinner
the next day or week
he won’t remember the words I say
So, I’ve stopped saying them
there’s no more ‘Oh, we started this in class’
or ‘my friends and I actually got into an argument.’
because he doesn’t care
as soon as he asks the questions his ears turn off
and it’s almost as if I’m not talking at all
yet I keep telling myself
he cares, he cares, he cares, he cares
but does he really
he puts on this show for people
a mask, a mask, a mask, a mask
it’s not the real him
it’s not the stupid arguments that cause,
the yelling he does for nothing
it’s all an act, an act, an act, an act
I wish my sister and brother
didn’t have to go through how he is,
but they do
they’ve started realizing he doesn’t actually care.
My sister is seven
now is it even fair
we all saw we could just yell the world
listen listen, listen, listen, listen
but no matter what we do, he doesn’t
and he never will

They will learn to live with it
they will practice those words I have
but they shouldn’t have to
how is it even fair
so as I step out of the house day
after day, after day, after day
and hear the words ‘I love you’
almost as if he’s a robot
and as I step back into the house and
the flow of questions come out
I think someday he’ll realize it
but he doesn’t
and he never will, but at least he tries
at least he puts in the effort right
he puts on the show right
wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 6

Jack D.

I remember nothing
I see nothing
I am nothing
There is nothing
nothing, nothing, nothing
My mom told me nothing
If you repeat nothing over and over again, everything becomes
nothing, nothing, nothing.

Michelle M.

wake up, wake up
school starts at 7:45
But I wake at 6:00
The sun still isn’t up
I hate it, I hate it
Just the waking part
6:00 everyday
But it’s my decision
to wake up, wake up
for a great education
Everyday, everyday
it feels like it’s not worth it
to wake u, wake up

Aaron N.

Life is funny sometimes
People don’t know your hurts
but all they say is
it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine
It’s really not.
No one knows how it is.
Sometimes not even yourself.
But it’s fine
it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine.

Repetition: Practice for Remembering
Lillian J.

Some say repetition help you remember
others say it takes away meaning, helping you forget
I say it’s practice for remembering, practice for forgetting
the practicing lines for a show, or
remember, there’s a meeting at 10, remember there’s a meeting at 10, remember there’s a meeting at 10
or practicing your poem for poetry out loud
over and over and over and over and over and over and over again
see? practice
practice fo remember
or as a child learning to count learning the alphabet
1,2, 3, ABC over and over and over again
until I remember every number, every letter as does everyone else
or those songs you learn in Kindergarten and in 1st grade
that repeat the weather, the days of the week, the weather, the days of the week
Times tables later on
repetition is practice
practice for remembering.

Ms. Taylor, 9th Grade
Period 7

Ashley C.

I remember seeing crowds of people, family, friends
acquaintances., and more family friends acquaintances
the noise or the tap tap tapping, of our dance
shoes as we each vividly remember our
choreography and walking off stage greeted
with many good, job good job, good jobs.
Waiting for our next number it gets repeated,
repeated until the day is done
and we go to sleep.

Paola N.

you’re almost there
run run run
It’ll be worth the effort.

Tomasz C.

A few years ago my family went to
When we started to pack up for the trip but there’s
arguments, arguments, arguments, arguments
but when we were on the road it was a calm ride
more arguments.



“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.