TEEN Centers! Photography by IS 138 and IS 192, Poetry by IS 109

n March, teaching artists Jules and Caitlin worked with students in Queens as part of an 3 day art intensive during the Teen Center after-after school program.  Caitlin worked with students at IS 109 to write personal poems during their Teen Center program.  Jules assigned the poems to Teen Center students at IS 138 and IS 192.  Jules’ students then shot and edited their photographs as symbolic representations of the poems.

Jamaica Ave
by Jordan Foster

Jamaica Ave on a Saturday
a throne
the palace of my dreams
close my brown eyes
and see God
sweet like a championship
a place of calm peace
where there are no
car horns ringing like wind chimes
I am peaceful as can be�

Welcome to My Life 
by Daniel Gerard

Welcome to my life
it’s smooth and cool.
I play video games.
when I beat a level
raise your arms and say yeah!
Happy as a hyena.
My parents guide me
in the right direction.
The best person is Nat Wolff.
he takes me to a world
called music heaven.
His band is cooler than me.
and believe me, I am really cool.
But in my eyes cool
is just being yourself.
I want to be their second guitarist.
When I hear their songs
it puts the music in me.
The second best person in the world
is Gary Lopez.
His hair is white and yellow
like lightening.
His code name is Zepol 100.
It’s just his last name backwards.
He is as cool as me.
I wish I could see him again.
My third personal favorite
is Joseph, with black hair like a spider.
He is such a pervert, you would not believe.
But still a good friend to have.
Welcome to my world of insanity.

OMG, It’s the Ice Cream Man!
by Destany Tolbert

From the house to the store
I pass some beat boxers
I think they need some help
I go and make a beat on the hollow tree
one starts rapping and another jumps in
I yell, “stop, everyone!”
everyone in the neighborhood is staring at me
we hear a familiar song
all check our watches
its 5pm
it is who we think it is
“Its the ice cream man!”
Briana yells
we all run inside to the B.O.M.-
Bank of Mom-
come outside with twenty bucks
lines around the block like they’re
waiting for the best ride in the carnival
people cutting people
it’s hot like the sun
people acting like they might pass out in front
one may call 911 but another won’t care
it’s too hot out here
I’m going to hang out with the ice cream
I help him sell ice cream
he don’t pay me!
oh no, I want my money
I tell him I’m robbing him for the ice cream!

As I Walk
by Sieam Alam

As I close my eyes
and walk out of my house
the voices of a million souls
rush through my mind
as I awaken my eyes
I see the sky shine
as I cross the streets
hear the sound of car siren
pounding against my chest
when I arrive to school
I smell the perfume
of a million girls

The Worst Dream Ever
by Samin Chopra

Hey y’all,
I had the worst dream ever
you want to know why?

I’ll tell ya:
when I heard the garbage moving
I smelled stinky gas and the park
all the way to Hawaii

You ain’t heard anything yet!

When I heard kids playing
I smelled nice air freshener
and smelled it all the way to Disneyland
there I had french fries and pizza
I said “sup” to the clerk
but he disrespected me
he didn’t know who he was messing with
I fought him with my dresser
do you know what happened?
I hit him so hard, he cried all the way to
good ole’ Australia

I woke up on my fat bed mad tired
but what can you do?
Got dressed fast like a roadrunner
and headed to the learning center
I saw the laundry man and he said
“heeeey,” to me
my head was moving fast
but there is still more
my stomach growled just like a lion
I saw a great candy shop
and said to the clerk, “sup?”
I need candy right now
but I can’t wait
I gotta get to that learning center

Can You Ever Imagine 
by Steven Conserve

Can you ever imagine
the sound of a beat of a drum
in my room
playing guitar with Amanda
I’m making a song
she is bright as a sunflower
she makes me feel free
the melodic sound of her piano voice
she’s a lover of music and I am too
we energize like a light bulb
life’s about music
soul music

My Girl 
by Steven Conserve

My girl shines like the sunlight
home is like paradise
smelling like a garden full of roses
my heartbeat sounds like soul music
my dreams are lovely like my girl

Neighborhood Tour
by Jordan Foster

walking to school I see people selling crack
handing out cups, asking for change
running to get the Q76
listening to music
I live in an apartment building
Mom’s at work today
I see people going to Dunkin’ Donuts
people running across the street to get that taxi
kids playing on the playground
teenagers playing some b-ball
people buying fruits at the market
a Mercedes filling up with gas
adults lining up for Carvel ice cream
cars lining up at Burger King
Pizza Hut is taking orders

109 Rhyme
by Ryan St. Gilles

109 kids joke around
I wake up, keep going ’till I’m down
when I’m bored and got time
I get up and spit my rhymes
raindrops like block’s hot
like janitor’s mops
like Jay-Z’s rhymes
you could learn to dress
by jocking my fresh
welcome to my world of unseen things
lions, tigers, bears
life is like a dream
wild things, bird’s sing, my ice blings
like Chauncy Billups winning
his championship rings
my poems, like Lebron on the court
never keep my rhymes short
like basketball, it’s my favorite sport
after a long day of school
I feel like I’m in an open world, cool where
it’s a fresh breath of air
an empire where my hopes and dreams dare
close my black eyes and all I see
is the world’s reality

Welcome to My Life 
by Jose Morales

best thing in the world
like birds chirping outside
I try my best
then scream and run
play soccer
my mom makes me proud
like the greatest hero of all time
the thing everyone can count on is me
God,  pleasure, greatness, spectacular
the heavens
girls bring you to life,
to the world, alive
myself, superman
brave like lions
stepping up to challenges
like eating oranges
in my world style is king
things like nice tuxes to du-rags
to stop nags
palms to psalms
from bomb to Mom
the beautiful things
like sunsets

Who I Am
by Jordan Foster

Name is Jordan, aka “Skittles”
facing life’s challenges everyday
born premature
having problems
I’m a sickly kid in the 6th grade
church every week
mom, a single parent
Dad ran off
kid with potential to make it in life
love baseball, grew up with gospel
moved all over
lots of friends and family members
don’t know what to do
just think and pray
’cause Jesus is my dude
and only that matters
I’m a smart person who’s
been all over the world
people don’t like me,
I don’t care
my purpose on earth
is just to be here
louder than souped up cars
with their engines
better at basketball
than Kobe Bryant
I am Skittles

My Hood
by Michael Guzman

when you walk in my hood
you’ll hear skaters falling
trying to get greater
they’ll be haters,
but we’ll get out
and they will never
we’ll drop bombs
be famous
riding in style
I’ll be a mechanic
fixing my boards
jumping stairs
riding in no skate zones
running from cops
don’t get caught
or you’ll be a pretender
like Tony Hawk
fakin’ everything

A Day After School 
by Haider Malik

My bright street is like gold
my home
smooth as caramel
how I dig into my chocolate bar
car horns wake me up
children play on the street
my nose is lazy
my belly is achy
satisfied as a man who is crazy
my mind is a time bomb
where my stories begin

A Day in the Life
by Kenneth Horne

An elephant in quick sand
gunshots and police sirens
not supposed to be in the streets past eleven
remember death and dishonor
like being isolated in an enclosed hut
this makes me more respectful
to the streets and my peeps
my dreams, a fake excuse to lie
like a rug on the floor
up and awake, get a bacon, egg and cheese
pass 8am like butter
like butter
like butter on a bagel and a 50 cent juice
how many people and how many wars?
play some ball in Bed Stuy’s court
my mind is a ticking time bomb
waiting to explode
happier than an ice cube in soda pop
my heart beat, a drum in a band
with thousands listening
I call God for a real conversation
the radiant street sweeper,
faster than the trains
keep my head up
I am the only person I can control for now
I can do anything
barking giant, Brooklyn street
where the elephants walk out the quick sand
a jungle, a predator and prey
but I am happier than a lion
in a monkey cage
I am a predator