I am Mrs. McConkey i just absolutly positivly love poetry class it is my fav. you know what i mean homeslice. keepin it fresh since 1979 Welcome to Essentials of Poetry!

Project number 1:

An anthology (a collection) of original poems created by members of the class
  • diamonte
  • cinquain
  • shape
  • rhyming
  • free verse
  • haiku
  • poems related to music

“A Voice”

by Pat Mora

Even the lights on the stage unrelenting
as the desert sun couldn't hide the other
students, their eyes also unrelenting,
students who spoke English every night

as they ate their meat, potatoes, gravy.
Not you. In your house that smelled like
rose powder, you spoke Spanish formal
as your father, the judge without a courtroom

in the country he floated to in the dark
on a flatbed truck. He walked slow
as a hot river down the narrow hall
of your house. You never dared to race past him,

to say, “Please move,” in the language
you learned effortlessly, as you learned to run,
the language forbidden at home, though your mother
said you learned it to fight with the neighbors.

You liked winning with words. You liked
writing speeches about patriotism and democracy.
You liked all the faces looking at you, all those eyes.
“How did I do it?” you ask me now. “How did I do it

when my parents didn’t understand?
The family story says your voice is the voice
of an aunt in Mexico, spunky as a peacock
Family stories sing of what lives in the blood.

You told me only once about the time you went
to the state capitol, your family proud as if
you'd been named governor. But when you looked
around, the only Mexican in the auditorium,

you wanted to hide from those strange faces.
Their eyes were pinpricks, and you faked
hoarseness. You, who are never at a loss
for words, felt your breath stick in your throat

like an ice-cube. “I can't,” you whispered.
“I can't.” Yet you did. Not that day but years later.
You taught the four of us to speak up.
This is America, Mom. The undo-able is done

in the next generation. Your breath moves
through the family like the wind
moves through the trees.
~ ~ ~ ~
Poet and storyteller Pat Mora is a native of El Paso, Texas, where her Mexican grandparents settled during the Mexican
Revolution (1911-1920).


Pat Mora

With thorns, she scratches
on my window, tosses her hair dark with rain,
snares lightning, cholla*,hawks, butterfly
swarms in the tangles.

She sighs clouds,
head thrown back, eyes closed, roars
and rivers leap,
boulders retreat like crabs
into themselves.

She spews gusts and thunder,
spooks pale women who scurry to
lock doors, windows
when her tumbleweed skirt starts its spin.

They sing lace lullabies
so their children won’t hear
her uncoiling
through her lips, howling
leaves off trees, flesh
off bones, until she becomes

sound, spins herself
to sleep, sand stinging her ankles,
whirring into her raw skin like stars

*cholla(cho'ya)n.-spiny cactus
found in the southwestern US & Mexico