They Said I Couldn’t Have “No Cherries”

I really like teaching the poem “Only Cherries” by Kenneth Patchen. It has a lot of subtext that young people tend to pick up on very quickly. It’s a poem that has a accessible narrative, but also uses language in ways that give hints as to region or time period, and brings about discussion in classes. Phrases like “Kultur-Kookie-Klucks” and “up on top,” also work with non-native English speakers too. The oddness of prepositions and sounds of English really come out in this poem.

At TEAM we discussed all of these things and then were tasked with the challenge of writing about a time you were “left out” or “kicked out” of something. Some people surprisingly had a difficult time thinking of things, so I told them the narrative didn’t necessarily have to be true. Some of what I received were narrative prose blocks that really played with the idea of honesty an unexpected but pleasant surprise to this weeks poems.

The poem is on pg. 12 of the Google Books Preview here.



Ms. Henley
9th Grade (6th Period)

Left Out or Kicked Out
Dymond W.

He’s never let me down. He’s never left me out, it’s like he’s kicked me out of his heart. It’s like he’s done me wrong never been so mistreated. Never been so hurt but all I know is that being hurt and left out is something I don’t want and don’t need.


Janautica B.

You don’t know how it feels to be left out thinking it’s your fault. That people won’t accept you because you don’t look like the rest and you pass almost every test. You have to deal with, you can’t see them.


Tatianna F.

I wanted to go to the party so bad, but I couldn’t. My mom said my grades weren’t so good. I tried to tell her let me slide, she looked back and said no.


Ms. Henley
9th Grade (7th Period)

Tatianna C.

I remember I used to like volleyball a lot so I tried out for the team, I played about 5 games. One day I got mad because we lost against another high school, so me & my teammates wanted to fight the other school because they won. But after that day I learned that we gone lose some games and win you’re not gone always win a game.


Aleara S.

Well, it was an attempt to me getting kicked out of Mr. H’s class.
I almost got kicked out for no reason
no reason at all just because I wanted to do work in silence.
Mr. H didn’t want to be quiet so I kept telling him “Be Quiet.”
He didn’t want to be quiet for nothing in this world.
I tried my hardest to get him quiet, but it didn’t work her just gave me warning after warning.


Monifah L.

The time I got kicked out of Mr. S class it just happened. Me and A were arguing. I was already mad because something that happened before. Then they kept saying stuff to me and I was trying to hold back my negative comments, but they kept talking and kept talking so I started cursing them out. Ms. L came back there and told me to get out.


Ms. Payne
10th Grade (8th Period)

Shanika T.

They didn’t want me to go
Said I couldn’t see the movie
so watched them drive away and go
even stand near the window and watched
them go where no one could see me
looking through the window as they
go this big feeling started to happen
to me as I broke down to the floor.


I Can’t
Julian J.

Pushing, pulling trying to get out, but
I can’t.
Screaming, shouting, voice leave trying
to call for help, but I can’t
hungry, thristy, need something to eat, but
I can’t
Opening, air free at last
man says don’t tell. Friends asking me
to talk, but I can’t



“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.