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In the classroom

Teens have last word

By ELISABETH DYER
Published April 27, 2007


Lauren Polm, age 17.
photo
[Times photo]
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photo
[Times photo]
Tommy Conte, age 18.

photo
[Times photo]
Monique Williams, age 17.

A class of 13 seniors at Blake High School's creative writing magnet program have been honing their verse for four years, channeling their life experiences and inner thoughts into prose. On Friday, each read original works written throughout their high school years. We asked a few to share their favorites.

Elisabeth Dyer, Times Staff Writer

*** 

Tommy Conte

Age: 18

Future plans: Major in English at the University of South Florida

What inspires him: "Mormons and midwives, religion to racism. I tend to write on a conversational basis. It might be something I hear in line at Kmart. People say the oddest things."

Classmates say: "Tommy focuses in on the funny things in life."

"He makes me laugh till I hurt."

"He's got a morbid and odd spin."

 

skimming through a national geographic, dated april 1965

on one page I see a woman, grizzly, fierce,

hands like stovetops she and her children

lay in mud, as expected by the magazine's readers.

this is how its gonna end, she says to

herself. this is why we kill the cattle. I

turn the page.

typical: an advertisement, catering to dull,

austere, shallow families. station wagons,

cul de sacs.

boring. I turn the page. another woman. her

bare chest is hollow and etched. she's apart

of a photo montage about New York hookers.

more pictured women.- I bet they want their

chests filled, with love or lead or both,

a bony spectator in the background thinks to

himself. it'll never be dull for them.

the next page shows two sheep being sheared.

the picture is runny and painful, like a

used morning razor.

times haven't changed, I say to the magazine.

it, embarrassed, hasn't replied yet.

women are naked, beasts are tamed.

I lay down in bed, warm and dog-like.

*** 

Lauren Polm

Age: 17

Future plans: Major in premed and psychology at the University of South Florida

What inspires her: "My personal life, definitely. You can see my life in all my poems. I would say that I'm a confessional poet."

Classmates say: "She uses beautiful language."

"Very emotional."

"She always has good rhythm."

"I'd say intense."

Constellation of City Love

Funky shops and glamorous bars are trivial compared to the radiance of traffic lights and brake lights.

I'm wading in dust of the starry night to give you the story of my past: blood clots and amputated organs line this body of defeat.

Transfer your cosmic future of rings and warm sheets from your gaping mouth into my hesitant body.

Ready to throw all to the star-filled wind, I convulse with blush-elation for the power to live with you between the same walls.

Downtown, phosphorescent Christmas lights are tangled around apartments and bungalows all-year-round.

In the cool blue amphitheater we sway our bodies to the vibes of the girl-band and roll our eyes

open and closed: moving like the effects of acid, feeling like we've got magic hands

***
Monique Williams

Age: 17

Future: Major in journalism at Hillsborough Community College

What inspires her: "Maya Angelou, since I was 11. I like to inform people. I write about cultural surroundings."

Classmates say: "She tends to be abstract."

"Her writings appeal to all the senses."

Mr. Feel Good

I don't feel so good today. Woke up with a slight headache because my throat was pounding, stomach was rocking, walls were pacing back and forth.

Don't feel so good today.

Woke up to a tummy ache,

I won't go out and play.

 

Yesterday, you made me smile with my heart. And now, that vessel inside my chest is empty and my mouth is dry like the kiss you spilled down my throat when we agreed to share more than our palms. When we, young and forgivable, laid our lips a top of one another, like hands that form close L's to pray.

 

My prayers are off-balance when you come around; short and mumbled, general and incomplete. This morning as I doubled over out of bed, wiping the crust out of my eyes, and addressed the mirror, I remembered the day you killed the god in me.

 

And so Love don't live here anymore.

She hasn't knocked on my front door since the day we turned your car around to watch the streetlights flick their eyelids, as they looked into the night's sky, our reflection waving goodbye. Love don't call me on the telephone. So I clipped the line and boxed the wires in the attic, muted house making my senses keener.

 

It is quite a new thing not to hear the phone ring, not to hear your motor on my driveway sing.

 

Mr. Feel Good,

I don't feel so good.

Oh, how I wish you would

make me feel so good, make me feel.

 

Hear it from them

Catch "The Last Word" program today from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Blake High School's Black Box, 1701 N Boulevard. Free.

 

[Last modified April 29, 2007, 08:01:23]


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