Poem: Abandoned Library

By Peter Rokowski Jr.
8th Grade, Brighton Park Elementary


visiting the library today
looking at the joy of my friends face
as memories light their face like electricity going to a light bulb
but looking at it now
books in boxes
collecting dust
for god knows how long
sitting there untouched like lost dreams


Poem: Success

by Ali Ebraheemi and Christopher Salvey, 8th grade, Sayre Elementary Language Academy



To be put on a test

To try your best

Your mind is a mess

You feel the stress

But you can’t give up yet


To reach the sky

You gotta try

So work hard, and you won’t be denied

That is a sign that you are one of a kind.


People are after you

They might try to stop you

They might try to fight you

But jealousy in the air

And that will ignite you.


Poem: The Cause of Our Stress

by Zion Trinidad, 7th grade, Sayre Elementary Language Academy



Test after test

It’s not really the best

It causes too much stress

When can we rest?

But that is what CPS wants, right?

They want the best

But how will we become the best with all these tests?

Too much stress

We need a rest

This stuff takes a toll on our young minds

Are they blind?

They are breaking our body and soul

We can’t take no mo’

Poem: CPS Matters Too

by Avery Sims, 7th grader, Sayre Elementary Language Academy


Something to Mr. Rahm the man trying to stop me from learning,

I will not tolerate it anymore,

You pushing aside the kids of Chicago,

I was born here I was raised here,

CPS is where I started and intend to finish!

We are all here for reason,

This injustice should be considered treason,

You close schools,

Take our money,

And that just politics, right?


Man I am just sitting here in my desk,

out west taking test after test,



I see in the news,

I see in the schools,

CPS lost 1 billion dollars,

That’s crazy right?

No, its not,

It just the reality I live.


Now I am finna take it,

Barbra Byrd-Bennett,

Forest Claypool,

When they gonna end it?


People thrive for this education,

Some people are willing to die for

this education.


How dare you, Rahm, declare CPS obsolete?

Trying to make another Detroit

Trying to exploit the teachers and students of CPS.


That’s why you have people going down and up the streets chanting,

“Hey, Ho, Rahm Emanual’s Got to Go!”


CPS Matters Too…


Poem: Hide Your Schools

[Watch the video HERE!]

Hide Your Schools, Hide Your Homes, Hide Your Children, Cause He’s Wrecking it All

by Team Englewood 2013

Hammer in one hand paint brush in the other
Rahm Emanuel is single handedly destroying our city
Mr. wreck it Rahm
look what Chicago is becoming
bending the rules to fit in the lie of building a new chicago
building new streets
when his own plan got some pot holes

Tearing down our dreams
its getting really windy in these streets
Red X’s mark the spots where his wrecking balls are next to drop

We are not included in the Blue Print of the New Chicago: we’re being pushed out
our buildings transformed into condos – and we know those AINT FOR US
Thermal shock is setting in from the whipping wind of the heartless sins
of the mayor

Norfolk Railroads is pushing us southern folk out
Homes replaced with tracks
that will be laid
where our heads used to
If dry wall could talk
it would speak many prayers to keep our homes
now vacant lots that hold lots of remnants
of 60 years of backyard barbeques
baby showers
and when electric sliding was the super power of the summer
55th and Normal
we are losing all of this

Torturing, tormenting us as we choke on the ashes of our memories
*Cough Cough*
Let’s hope we don’t get sick
Because he’s closing all our clinics
He needs to get treated
And then maybe we can sew back on the other half of the middle finger
that he has been giving us

Its almost as if he’s E Manuel of E-Limination

Step one: Take away our schools
Step Two: Put them out their home
Lastly: Destroy it all and
Deny Deny Deny
But remember, to always keep a straight face when you lie!

Try to pour the cheap paint over our eyes while stealing dollars from under our mattresses
There’s not enough? Close their schools
But he’s building a new DePaul stadium
Using our TIF funds to Transform the South Loop into the Promised Land of redevelopment
and some river walk
of course downtown
The paint is starting to streak.
Building a new Chicago or extending a new lie!
How can a city so in debt blueprint something so expensive?

Banneker Elementary – Closed
Woods Elementary – Closed
Yale Elementary – Closed

The paint is cracking:
From every west side basketball brotherhood
To south side sisterhood bonds through pom-poms
And every poetry team that had dreamed of being on this very stage
has been ripped apart,

Bad foundation for our future generations
struggling with 40 students in one class
so they learn from the streets
There’s not money for our schools, but, there’s enough to build a New Chicago
But that New Chicago is NOT for us.
The paint is wearing thin and so was our patience
Irreparable damage has already been done

Time to stop the destruction of OUR city
Prevent the further corruption of our already twisted politics of Chicago

25% of Chicago school children won’t amount to anything
100% sure that we will be something
See Rahm we are mathematicians
your lies are adding up
and this new Chicago is just another one of them



Poem: Nothing Matters

By Naudia J.Williams
[watch an excerpt of the poem here]

Today I just feel as if nothing matters.  We’re just standardized students slathered in a classroom with no light nor hope. Or at least that’s what I’ve gathered. Teacher, teacher I got question for you? Is it true that you all assume my hand is only raised for the bathroom. Desk feel like caskets and 308 feels like a tomb.

Do you care less about where I had to sleep last night and more about spirals? I want to know why are uniforms required and drug test are seen fit but cps doesn’t even know if their students can read or write. I guess that why Jerome is 19 in the 10th grade. I guess that’s where all cps funding went for new lockers and textbooks?

I’m sorry if I feel if this is more important than another speech by John f Kennedy I had to recite. Ask not what your country can do  for you but what you can do for your country? Well last night my country muffled another black teen for protesting that all black lives matter. I’m sorry if my buttons ain’t button down and my school pants are tattered .

I’m sorry if my tummy is grumbling in 5th period trig but mystery meat Monday makes it feel like the night before Sunday Loud and a blur. But what do I know I’m just the young folk. All we know is I like my women bbw and what northwest and blue Ivy are up too.

Creativity is encouraged and individuality is encouraged until you’re seen to be a threat.  Can’t let those teenagers be ahead of us.  Don’t bite the hand that starves you because I am desperately famished for real knowledge.  Not the ones in textbooks that look older than my teacher and my mama combined.

Tired of being strained and drained Monday thru Friday in classes that don’t teach me that my rights are not only to remain silent. Tired of being a number in a food line that isn’t nutritious to my soul.  Grounded my dreams and hopes into slices and gave them to me in portions and then ask me why I can’t see the bigger picture.

Why wasn’t I that chosen few? That didnt have to broken, beaten and raped. Why couldn’t I have a 4.0 ? Why couldn’t I be the queen my mother told me I was ?I feel you Fannie, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired too.

In history we learned that the same government that gave mlk a holiday were the same who had him killed . And all I could do was think on three cops busting in on my moms and pops and baby brother.  Claiming it is a drug raid but the only drugs my brother takes is for ADHD. And my mom for her lupus.

In gym my teacher says I’m overweight but all I could think about is how I no longer have thick curly locks because a girl was curious to see if her lighter and my hair could have a chain reaction .  And it did. It torched my freshly dyed rich wine locks ,turned them into ashes of black charcoal and it vandalized this lion. But it’s ok though because my mane will come roaring in again.

Nothing matters.  Not my hair, not my soul, not my heart. At least that’s what I gathered no one cares for the average, the queer,the black, the Jew, the Christian, the atheist ,the random black girl,the raped,and me . Nothing matters Or at least that’s what I’ve gathered or at least that’s what education has given me. That no one cares for those who are desperate to be free.