Tag Archives: poetry

A Night with the Nets

Last week a number of our students and our program’s principal attended a Nets game in Brooklyn. Enjoy the poem and pictures documenting their experience:

 


A Principal’s Tale (An Adult Literacy Family Story)

 

It started out a Friday night

I was last to leave the office, headed to Brooklyn, not to Jersey—a different site.

 

Walked to Grand Street with thick gloves and an orange “OKC” pompom hat

Got on the D-train to Barclay’s Center with the 6:30 rush hour pack.

 

Cramped like a sardine with a crackhead to my right

People all ignoring each other and pretending not to hear him, Oh what a night!

 

An older Chinese lady asked me could she get on the other side of me

I said yes because she wanted me to be a buffer as the crackhead said he wanted to pee.

 

Finally my station, Atlantic and Pacific, I was ready to enter

Came out the exit and could not see the Barclay Center.

 

I made a right and came right in front so no problem for me

But I worried about 64 students and staff who’d never been there so woe was all I could see.

 

Into the line for those without bar or purse

Out with your keys, cell phones and objects no matter friend or nurse.

 

I answered how can you give me a box no larger than a cereal bowl

When you know a Galaxy Note, wallet and my keys are heavier than gold?

 

Spread your arms and open your coat as I pass through security

I think good thing I took a bath and there is no humidity.

 

Turn right and go down until you find your section

Did the teacher teach the students this vocabulary or make an exception?

 

I was the first to arrive and was nervous as sheep

Worried til I could see all my lambs who are mine to keep.

 

The first two students came as I chatted with an usher

They said teacher have my coke and chicken, we’ll get another.

 

I felt relieved as they began to come in at a trickle

The usher said, you’re a teacher you must make a nice nickel.

 

I enjoyed the fresh faces and wide open eyes at the event

No more Ringling Brothers and animals, but sports is still a big family tent.

 

Some students came with husbands, children and friends

I was still called Michael, teacher, principal and boss on end.

 

They brought posters as I had instructed them to do

Some followed the directions, but I could tell that some teacher with NBA had no clue.

 

It was Chinese Heritage Night and the Brooklyn Nets made a great effort

I could see the student appreciation of it especially since in class and school Chinese language they could not revert.

 

The cameras and cell phones were snapping and clicking

But the hands and lips were passive, rigid and not flapping.

 

Mostly due to the lack of experience and the bad Nets performance

The Indiana Pacers were up by 10 points early and Jeremy Lin has no endurance.

 

I remembered that while not a Brooklyn fan, but OKC Thunder

I am the father, the principal and the family has to show muster.

 

I told the students when the Pacers came to the free throw line

To boo, hiss and say “miss it” and don’t worry or mind.

 

At first the Pacers drained the free throws like sipping a beer

But as the game wore on they started to miss so we knew they could hear.

 

Our students started to perk up as the Nets score drew near

And our chants of “D-E-F-E-N-S-E” grew deafening to every ear.

 

By the 4th quarter as the Nets took their first lead

My voice had grown hoarse and I was happy I had planted the seed.

 

The students stood, clapped, jeered and cheered

And the booming “Brooklyn” sound was feared.

 

And while the final score showed the Nets had gone to Defeat

In Sections 109 and 110 at Barclays they knew the Adult Literacy Program could not be beat.

 

I asked the children, the adults how did they like the night?

They said it was great, out of sight and dynamite!

 

I told them we shall go see hockey next time in New Jersey

They all responded with glee, when is next time as I ate my chocolate Hershey!?

 

I told them next year of course as I heard their deep sigh

Luckily I beat them to the bathroom and took my train or they may not have left me alive!

 

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Unique and Incomparable Poetry

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Here are a few poems from Unique and Incomparable, the latest collection of student writing from the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program and the NYU Gallatin Writing Program:

TOWARDS A NEW LIFE
Bettina Ockoumou

I miss the sound of the bells of Notre Dame.
I miss the rainbow of flowers from the Tuileries Garden.
I miss the evening strolls on the Alma Bridge.
I miss the lights of the Champs Elysees.
I miss the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
I miss the picnics on the Seine banks.
I miss the afternoons at the Louvre Museum.
I miss Paris.
But I’m not sad
Because in New York I have so many places to discover,
And even more memories to build.

 

CHANGING
Kelly Chen

I used to wear a t-shirt and jeans in the fall in China.
Now, I need to wear a light jacket in the fall in New York.
I used to go to the grocery store to buy fresh vegetables and fruits every day after work in China.
Now, I need to prepare a whole week of food on the weekend in New York.
I used to meet my friends very often in China.
Now, I need to make an “appointment” with my friends first, and meet once or twice a month in New York.

I used to chat with my neighbors for a long time in China.
Now, I often stop by and say hi and then shut the door in New York.
Our life is changing everyday. I wish I could change the bad things and keep the good things.
I used to wear a t-shirt and jeans in the fall in China.
Now, I need to wear a light jacket in the fall in New York.
I used to go to the grocery store to buy fresh vegetables and
fruits every day after work in China.
Now, I need to prepare a whole week of food on the weekend in New York.

I used to meet my friends very often in China.
Now, I need to make an “appointment” with my friends first, and meet once or twice a month in New York.
I used to chat with my neighbors for a long time in China.
Now, I often stop by and say hi and then shut the door in New York.
Our life is changing every day. I wish I could change the bad things
and keep the good things.

 

TO MY DEAR EARTH
Lorena Mejia

To my dear earth
Who I love with all my heart
I want to dedicate these words
I wish that this sounds like a song
Green valleys, a blue sky, cover the beautiful scene
From the highest top I close my eyes and I can feel
I’m fortunate here
When the sky cries, the flowers smile
Because I think they’re feeling alive
Who says it is always sadness’s tears?
The sky was just joking to wet the earth
How can you forget the big oceans when you see a map?
The people think there are many fantastic creatures inside
Let’s take care of our only home
Love the earth as if it was your own child

 

MANHATTAN
Qiong (June) Zhou

Manhattan, New York
You have strong modern city features
Like the new World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty
Rockefeller Center and the grand bridges
The Empire State Building and Times Square
The headquarters of the United Nations and Central Park
You with your unique temperament
Standing at the top of the American economy and culture
The light of freedom shines to the whole world
Along with urban growth, the spirit of the city
Manhattan, New York
There is food that lets you taste all over the world
Here are leading works of art that take people’s breath away
There are many museums and exhibitions
They can make your view and vision big and extensive
Despite the world recession and
The 9/11 terrorist attacks here
You, the unyielding spirit of the urban
Mixed with dazzling neon lights
Let the city of the world shine on the stage
This is Manhattan, New York
A unique, glamorous, infinite city

 

To read more, click here.

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When I Am an Old Woman

Classes 2A and 2P recently wrote some poems about old age. Here’s a sample – you can click on it for a larger view:

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And click on any of the images below to read more:

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Make the Sparkle Continue

Here’s a video of Liang Tung reading her poem “Life Is Art” at the Immigrant Poets of New York program. You can also read it below:

Life is Art

Liang Tung

Life is art

Don’t lock us inside

Let us go out

Life is art

New places

Have a fresh start

Life is art

Through time

Make it grow

Life is art

It can be attractive

Or dull, dull

Life is art

Keep progressing

Cheerful dreams come true

Life is art

It is created by you

And I

Life is art

Out of suffering

You feel appreciation

Life is art

Crafty hands

Make it shine

Life is art

Brighten yourself

And others

Life is art

Make the sparkle continue

Light precious life bright

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Cheer Up Old Fellows!

 

Watch above and read below Pei Lin Yu’s poem from Immigrant Poets in New York:

Old Age

Pei Lin Yu

Time flies fast

From infancy to old age in a blink of an eye

Don’t cry about getting old

Don’t worry about unknown futures

Enjoy everyday of the rest of your life

Old age is called the golden age

Old age is the tree covered with colorful flowers

Old age is as beautiful as the sunset

Old age is full of knowledge and wisdom

Old age is the way to heaven

Cheer up

Cheer up old fellows!

 

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We’re in the News!

There was recently an article on the Lo-Down about Immigrant Poets in New York. Click here or on the picture below to read it.

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Life Is Art

Last Tuesday there was a special performance of Immigrant Poets in New York here at University Settlement. Above is a short taste of Joe’s Book Club students sharing their writing. Enjoy!

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