Thursday, June 26, 2014

English 102

From boxer Terrence Placide comes this essay on love in Nikki Giovanni's "Legacies."

by Nikki Giovanni

her grandmother called her from the playground   
       “yes, ma’am”
       “i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old   
woman proudly
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less   
dependent on her spirit so
she said
       “i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
       these children”
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does

Terrence and I worked on giving the poem a close read, writing simple sentences, and making strong points. His professor liked his essay so much she had him read it aloud to the class. Go champ!

Terrence Placide
English 102
June 19,2014

Grandparents ought to be treated with respect no matter how young or old you are, because without them you wouldn’t exist. Staying by your grandparents’ side shows that you have strong, respectable morals. However, expressing your thoughts towards your grandparents can be very difficult.

In the short poem “Legacies,” Nikki Giovanni tells the story of a conversation between a girl and her grandmother. The grandmother had called the girl from the playground. She politely responded, “Yes, ma’am.” That illustrates the girl had respect for her grandmother. 

The grandmother said to her that she wanted to make rolls together. The grandmother expresses the words “proudly,” which indicates how excited she is to teach the girl. Her grandmother is trying to make her realize it’s time to be an adult, because, if she passes away, how is the girl going to learn how to do certain things on her own?

The girl feels that she wants to stay dependent on her grandmother. If she knew how to make rolls by herself, then  “when the old one died she would be less dependent on her spirit.” This quote explains the fear she has of losing her grandmother.

The girl poked out her lips saying that she didn’t want to learn how to make rolls. She keeps all of her expressions and emotions inside of her. The grandmother thought that she was being disrespectful so she wiped off her hands on the apron which shows the anger she was feeling towards the girl. The grandmother felt that nowadays kids are ungrateful for not appreciating legacy. 

The sad thing about this poem is that the girl and her grandmother both feel the same thing. They both love each other. The grandmother’s way of expressing love is for her granddaughter to be independent and grow, learning how to do things on her own. The girl’s way of showing love is by depending on her grandmother by not learning how to do things on her own. The grandmother and her granddaughter fail to communicate the love for each other. Giovanni concludes the poem, “Neither of them ever said what they meant and I guess nobody ever does.” 

It is hard to tell someone you love what you really feel inside. It’s even harder when there is an age difference and different mentalities. Communication between generations is very hard for this reason, and sometimes we end up hurting the people we love.

The poem touched my heart. I imagined going back to my country, Haiti, and telling my grandmother how I felt all of these years when I was silent and afraid to speak up. When I decided to tell her how happy I was to have her in my presence, it was already too late.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Thug's Warning

"Writing comes from pain," says Eric, a police officer in the 67th precinct.

A native of Homestead, Florida, Eric was a high school football player and wrestler, ranked as high as third in the state, until a knee injury sidelined him. He worked as a corrections officer in juvenile justice before joining the NYPD. After he gets off patrol, he comes to Flatbush Gardens to train alongside our youth. We love having him in our boxing family.

"If it wasn't for wrestling and football, I could have been in the drug game," says Eric.

"If you have something proactive to do, it keeps you off the streets. The summer's coming. School's over. The more kids in the gym, that's less people I have to run after during the day."

A Thug's Warning

To you young thugs
You dumb thugs
This poem is for you
A warning to rise up
From that which consumes you

You conjure ideas
In a paradox way
Your dexterity with money
Will assure you're affluent one day

But at what risk and what cost are you willing to pay?
The police are out to get you,
Give you years and send you away
The drug dealers are out to shoot you
And send you to your grave

Your neurotic need for money
Will slap you in your face
You comprise many hustles,
Which is the safest way?

Decipher your clouded life
And make a choice today
Reluctance will only hinder you
There's no need to hesitate

Treachery, torture and anguish
Are what thugs must embrace
An incalculable amount of pain
While living the thuggish way

I live my life vehemently,
Happy and worry-free each day

True happiness begins
When you denounce
Your thuggish ways.

The Man in Me

No father at home, I grew up alone
struggling to find the man in me. I'm torn
between choices, good and evil voices
coaching and telling me which me to be.

I have the thugs on the streets, selling
drugs, getting cheese, flashing their money
and tempting me. But a voice says to me don't
be fooled by the green, go to school child and
read. Watch the thugs envy thee.

It's my choice so I have no remorse for the 
voice that loses to the voice I choose, I'm
just happy I found the man in me. Now I take
to the street this man I came to be, you 
could either love me or let me be... the man in

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fossil Heart

Elijah, 17, is an honors student at Academy for Young Writers in East New York. He is a talented track athlete who just took up boxing and already shows great promise. Elijah wrote this rap for his father Jahmien, who was shot to death by police when Elijah was seven.

"Writing poems relaxes my mind, lets me explore, and helps me to not feel trapped," Elijah says.

Fossil Heart

Heart beating I could feel it in my chest
cause I’ve been having nightmares waking up in
cold sweats, things been getting out of order
Where do I start? suffering from broken Hearts
and a pinch of paranoia
Drop tears for my brothers that done died
arose from the jungle struggling to stay alive
Tryna make this rap work so I can get up out the ville
only nine years left we gone make it pass 25
yo Ima ride
you put my family together but made my momma lose it
so when I see you brother its gone be a horror movie
See I was only a toddler I couldn’t sleep at night
now I got em going stupid like retarded groupies.
you took my father away you a loser brother
you took one of mines now I got a group of brothers
because of you I’ve been living with a bad temper
It’s on sight when I see you Ima need some
I had to rap like that to shine like this through all
the broads I hit and the bars I spit
it couldn’t equal to all the tears for the father I miss
I got some anger bottled up
so I got my bottles up
and I drunk my life away like a Jew would do in
Heart trapped up in a fossil so I’m crying by
a large amount
Drinking all this liquor
Just drinking till I’m throwing up
but you know it’s love when you was alive
this was your dream now it’s mines
so I’m doing it for the both of us.