McConkey’s Poetry Class


Before I Die.....I want to: skydive.I want to: be in a movie.I want to: see the grand canyon.I want to: see a world cup game.I want to: get married on Barbatos.I want to: Be in a movieI want to: be famous.I want to: meet johnny craig.I want to: have a happy family.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird

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That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

by, Langston Hughes

“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


I like hot days, hot days

Sweat is what you got days

Bugs buzzin from cousin to cousin

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Juices dripping

Running and ripping

Catch the one you love days

Birds peeping

Old men sleeping

Lazy days, daisies lay

Beaming and dreaming

Of hot days, hot days,

Sweat is what you got days.

- Walter Dean Myers
From Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse

The Eagle
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;Close to the sun in lonely lands,Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.

By: Alfred Tennyson, Lord Tennyson

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Analysis of Baseball


it's about
the ball,
the bat,
and the mitt.
Ball hits
bat, or it
hits mitt.
Bat doesn’t
hit ball, bat
meets it.
Ball bounces
off bat, flies
air, or thuds
ground (dud)
or it
fits mitt.

Bat waits
for ball
to mate.
Ball hates
to take bat’s
bait. Ball
flirts, bat’s
late, don’t
keep the date.
Ball goes in
(thwack) to mitt,
and goes out
(thwack) back
to mitt.
Ball fits
mitt, but
not all
the time.
ball gets hit
(pow) when bat
meets it,
and sails
to a place
where mitt
has to quit
in disgrace.
That’s about
the bases
about 40,000
fans exploded.

It’s about
the ball,
the bat,
the mitt,
the bases
and the fans.
It’s done
on a diamond,
and for fun.
It’s about
home, and it’s
about run.

Sonnet on Love XIII
by Jean de Sponde

"Give me a place to stand," Archimedes said,

"and I can move the world." Paradoxical, clever,

his remark which first explained the use of the lever

was an academic joke. But if that dead
sage could return to life, he would find a clear

demonstration of his idea, which is not

pure theory after all. That putative spot

exists in the love I feel for you, my dear.
What could be more immovable or stronger?

What becomes more and more secure, the longer

it is battered by inconstancy and the stress
we find in our lives? Here is that fine fixed point

from which to move a world that is out of joint,

as he could have done, had he known a love like this.
Translated by David R. Slavitt

Hope is the thing with feathersBy: Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune--without the words,

And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

The War Against The Tree By Stanley Kunitz

The man who sold his lawn to standard oil Joked with his neighbors come to watch the show While the bulldozers, drunk with gasoline, Tested the virtue of the soil Under the branchy sky 5 By overthowing first the privet-row. Forsythia-forays and hydrangea-raids Were but preliminaries to a war Against the great-grandfathers of the town, So freshly lopped and maimed. 10 They struck and struck again, And with each elm a century went down. All day the hireling engines charged the trees, Subverting them by hacking underground In grub-dominions, where dark summer’s mole

The Two-Headed Cal by Laura Gilpin

Tomorrow when the farmboys find this freak of nature, they will wrap his body in newspaper and carry him to the museum

But tonight he is alive and in the north field with his mother. It is a perfect summer evening: the moon rising over the orchard, the wind in the grass. And as he stares into the sky, there are twice as many stars as usual.