Artists, Theaters, and Communities Making Change

Oakland is… poems by EC Reems students

Third and fourth graders at EC Reems in Oakland worked with teaching artists Elizabeth Carter and Alyssa Evans to study Zora Neale Hurston and become anthropologists of their own communities.  Here are the poems created by the two classes and compiled by Alyssa Evans.

Oakland Is…. (by 3rd graders)

There are fireworks here
Hugs and kisses
Moms and dads
Baby soft skin
Garbage and laughter

We are sweet, amazing and loud here
Loud like hip hop beats blasting from car speakers
Like people talking
Sweet like pineapples
Sweet like caramel apples
Sweet like cotton candy
We could give you toothaches here

We can live like high pitched purple gunshots here
Like garbage
Like bad words
We are still fireworks
And we know how beautiful something can be when explodes itself open
Like rose gardens
Like the smell of markers as they are opened inside our classroom
We know how to learn here

See we are the billboards lining this city’s streets
The beautiful people of every color
We fingers sliding across smooth bar gates as they open
We are funny and nervous like a jungle of crazy animals
We are beautiful creatures
we are the hard
the sweet
the crunch of the first bite into the apple
Exciting Carnival colored lights
We are family
We are Oakland
And we hope you see it like we do

Oakland is …. (by 4th graders)

I want to tell you my story of Oakland

About the palm trees
About the Brookefield swimming pool in the summer
About the oak trees that grow all year
About my house
With oldies playing and my mom rapping
Car alarms coming through the window
I want to tell you about the rainbows I’ve seen sometimes

I want to tell you about Los Pericos frijoles tacos
About juicy hot dogs
About the dust that chili lime takis leave on my fingertips after eating

I want to tell you about the rough carpet on the floor of my classroom
About hot stinging glue
About the quiet in Oakland libraries
About how much I like the powerful feeling of the staple gun in my hand
So different then the “pap pap” of a gun

I want to tell you that sometimes I don’t feel safe here
That sometimes I see the gangs
The robberies
See the dirty stray dogs walking the streets
Smell the garbage sweaty like socks
Hear the bad words

I want to tell you about how beautiful the birds sing in this city
How shiny car doors look when they butterfly open
How soft my little brother’s hair is
How much I like yard sales
Alameda beach
Downtown Oakland
And denny’s sausages
This is my story of Oakland

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Posted on July 3, 2012
Categories: Triangle Lab @ the Bruns