Week 6 at Washington: “I unlive these memories…”

We’re getting into the thick of it at Washington!

As we wrap up our first unit of this year with a review on metaphor, we enter into one on performance. My life as a poet has mostly been lived on a stage in the realm of poetry slams and open mics, so I’m often trying to figure out how to make words move in different ways. Beyond the classical definition of performance – “an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment” – I want to also think about how we can make our pages and pencils be a part of the performance; “the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function.”

Our introduction to performance begins with Nate Marshall’s Palindrome, a love story in reverse that starts with a social media post and ends with learning that someone’s name can be spelled the same both forward and backward. It’s a fun poem that makes us approach the page with a different perspective.

Click here to read it on the Poetry Foundation’s website!

We use Marshall’s tale for a lesson on storytelling, and what it means to make a narrative arc. Of course – we wrote our stories backwards! Students were asked to remember a moment in their lives and then backtrack to it from present day. I hope you enjoy some of these poems from Week 6 of poetry classes at Washington Elementary:


My Dog
By Adriana M.

On my bed I see many dog toys
Now some of those are on the floor
My dog unjumps not he bed and
Walks backwards out the door.
On the living room, I see my
Friends ungrabbing Cheetos with
Some still in their hand.
I unturned around and my dog
Untakes my friend’s cheeto.
I unlive these memories, I unmet her,
She is unborn.


By Carlos C.

We go out
We unroll bowling balls
We uptake pictures
We unsend texts
All facetious disappear
She unsays all the songs
She sings to me
We take back the gifs
We un-go to that party

I find out she’s the one

She’s there for me
I feel like I wanna stop everything
I feel like the happiest person alive
I meet this girl at a fest
Going to a fest with friends
Trying to just chill at a fest


By Justin S.

Today, I play for a travel team
With my friends. Back then, I started
playing travel ball with kids
I didn’t know. I’m now playing for
East side for about 11 years.

I’m playing baseball because I’m older,
But I play tee-ball now. My mom
Told me to try tee-ball. I was playing soccer, but I didn’t
Like it at all. My uncle told me
To try it out.


By Alexandra D.

The disease
unfills her brain.
She unforgets
my name.
I unrun back to the
Her hand
Moves away from my door.
She consumes
The words she
Now has never said.
The doctor takes back the
Meds she doesn’t

We’re now laughing
As she doesn’t
Hold my hand.
We don’t keep
Down the elite.
When I blink
My eyes are opened
Back to when I was born.
She unfolds me
And my infant brain
Unremembers her.


By Brillihte M.

I’m so ungrateful
I undo my friendship with his cousin
Tears sliding up my cheek, going into my eye
I accept he’s gone
I say my greetings to a casket
I undo his death
He’s joking, like always,
Making me smile like usual


By Germain G.

I sit in class
Clock not being slow
Walking out of class backwards
Into a giant building
Lead bouncing off my paper
Then I leave school.

Once again I sit for hours
My pencil moving furiously through my paper
Now I leave my middle school
Walking back into the bigger school
My mother getting rid of the youngest
Then I’m back to learning things easier than functions
Once again, and again, they leave one by one
Then it was me that was the only one
But then everything went black
And there was no more fun



“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.