Friday, January 29, 2016

Youth Leadership Academy @fairfieldu - Diva, The Frog, & The Magic Box.In Celebration of MLK and the Power of Words

It's not every day the Diva and the Frog get to work together, but there's nothing we love more than jumping out of the box for innovation, creativity, and empowering youth. Today, from 10 am - 1 pm, we will work with middle school students attending the Youth Leadership Academy in celebration of Martin Luther King. In honor of Keynote Claudia Rankine, we were asked to return to do a poetry workshop and, as usual, I crafted an original "Magic Box" poem to share my processes with the kids (ah, they will be writing their own and we will coach them every step of the way). Ten items and a series of poetic games to launch a rearrangement of words like they've never experienced them before.

This one needs work, but it's time to meet the kids and I've learned many times...there's never a finished product...there's just a deadline and the deadline is here. It would be great to see you in the Oak Room if you're on campus.

An Urgency For Change: We Must Stand Together
(Youth Leadership Academy, Fairfield University, 01/28/16)
I am the metamorphosis,
the madman with muscle
hatching from the chrysalis 
of an MLK dream,
the miracle of a caterpillar 
spreading its celestial wings 
in mind-blowing movement
….the magical monkey chomping on a leaf getting older, 
more aware every step of the way.

We must stand together with words,
butterscotch birds & licorice leopards … 
hot sauce nerds & peppermint wizards 
that f l y backwards and c l i m b  upwards 
     with an urgency for change…
Here, we must rearrange ourselves
with arms flexed at Fairfield, 
where the faint engines of I-95
remind us that we’re we’re alive, 
& are ready to declare war on everything that’s wrong, 
to stand on pedestals with might,
helping the weak to grow more strong,
(basketballs bouncing in the faintness of soft prayers,
reading more books to be more literate players, 
clenching fists united as the lacrosse sticks leap and smack
 —who’s running this country? It’s Us! We’re the Mack.)
the powerful youth with an urgency for change, 
with King’s vision and his wisdom always in our range,
healing the soul with poetry, spitting civic legacy, 
gifting linguistic heirlooms and offering talismans, majestically.
With words we rap harmoniously
cuz language is our urgency.
& We, the writers, must leave our gifts selectively.

Just ask the Queen, the Diva, with passionate honeysuckle on her mind.
feasting on the joys of middle school in whatever voice she can find,
Making honey into royalty by believing in human kind, 
looking towards growing pains for the joy she can unwind,
the chaos of puppy love, the homework, those video games & braces 
The pimples, the screaming, where she optimistically unlaces
& labors to build her world and innovate new creative spaces….

We are the metamorphosis,  
who hatch from the chrysalis within MLK’s dream,
the miracles, the caterpillars, 
who are meant to spread wings with words
……with the urgency for change
…It’s up to us, you see, to rearrange 
     while standing together for what’s right.