Schoolyard verse


I speak Arabic,
From the heart of the east
Feared by outsiders
Arabie with a little New York flavor

I speak
The new tongue of young Arabics
A new language
Created to unite
Our Arabie and American sides

I wear
A style all its own,
Cultural yet modern
I rock          
A hijab with jeans
Hollister with Baby Phat
My style is trapped between
Prep and urban
Defining me
A chameleon of sorts
Assimilating to all environments

I'm from
The eastern hemisphere's heart
The Saharan Desert
The gulf islands
Land of oil and gold

I'm from Yemen
Trapped between Asia and Africa
The place of Afro-Arab.

Sarah Soofi, 12th-grade
Chadsey High School
Winner: 2009 Lotus Press High School
Poetry Award


My heart is a blue whale jumping out of the sunlit sea.
My eyes are invisible ink so no one can see my soul.
My future is a shark's tooth cutting through new challenges.
My mind is a ribcage that can never go tender.
I am like a galaxy.  I keep on going.
I became a concrete ladder climbing from the ocean floor.

Darrell Banks, eighth-grade
Lessenger K-8 Preparatory Academy



I lift a fox into the air and throw it into the box
And pull out a Little Red Riding Hood book.  

I squeeze a gooey sticky black bat into the box
And pull out a nice little hamster.

I grab my mommy's sickness and put it
Into the box and pull out a well alive mommy. 

I snatch a poisonous yellow spider and put it
Into the box and pull out a beautiful blue bird.

I throw a big sharp butcher's knife into the box
And pull out flowers.  

Jaylnn Ragland, fourth-grade
Golightly Educational Center


At night sometimes
I listen to the moon

I listen to the dogs
howl to the dark sky.

I see the stars form
into an arrow to show
me the way.

My mom tells me how
I'm smart.  That's all I hear
her say.  

Ja'la McClain, fourth-grade
Golightly Educational Center


The Blues are so sad
so blue so rainy blue
I just feel blue
I play my old guitar
in the dark blue stone room
When I lie down
I'm just covered with blue

Micah Grier, fifth-grade
Hanstein Elementary



The wind whispers in my ear of a light
and this light fills my heart with life
a life of green soul
with the river calling my name
I follow the crooked path to the river
and the garden of souls

Justice Miller, fifth-grade
Hanstein Elementary School


I hate how you
scratch against my paper.

I can't stand it when
you get dull as I write.

I hate how you break
all through the day.

Why do you get shorter
when I sharpen you?

I really dislike when
your eraser burns out.

I wish you would just fade
away from this Earth.

I would get rid of you
if I didn't need you for Math.

I don't want you in
my life anymore.

I've moved on to
pens now.

Tamesha Hall, eighth-grade
Hutchins McMichael Middle School

Founded in 1995, InsideOut Literary Arts Project engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. The project places professional writers in Detroit schools to help students develop their self-expression and give them opportunities to publish and perform. To learn more or to support InsideOut, visit

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