NYCWP Voices: Three Poems by Jinnette Caceres Schaudt

Once monthly, the New York City Writing Project celebrates the teacher-as-writer by publishing works of poetry and prose written by its teachers. If you are interested in submitting your work to NYCWP Voices, please read the submissions guidelines and submit your work by email to voices@nycwritingproject.org.


 

I BE …

I be the teacher who doesn’t conjugate the verb “to be”

Purposely

So you can feel me

I be being the hands that hug the boy who wants to be a good man

But sings in class when he can

He be starring while I be reading because he can’t

I be talking with my hands so she can reach for them

Because she be the flower growing on the pavement

I be the one you roll your eyes to

Because I know you

Being busy with your body

When your mind deserves care too

I be the teacher who would buy time

For dreams deferred like they are mine

So I be planting seeds to see you grow

And hope that you do know

The laughs I be

The ear I be

The hope I be

The love we need

I be.


 

THE MOST EXPENSIVE COMPLIMENTS

Some lovers still come to place flowers on their graves

Now it is your turn to pick a good quote

For a tombstone.

My heart is a cemetery.

 

You want to love me, I know.

You want to clear the dust and bones,

Pry the fingers from my mouth because you say you like my smile,

but I am hiding.

 

Your presence does not respect my mourning,

or how I’ve come to like the lonely

fingers on my keyboard

because I can trust myself better this way.

 

So if you are here,

Don’t come shaking your cup asking for change,

or wanting my kisses when I let you stay,

I am complicated.

 

You want to love me, I know.

You want to unbury the bones

And split the remains

To help me sort the contents,

But I am not a victim.

 

Your hands are warm and inviting,

And you pay the most expensive compliments

to have this friendship.

… I like your interest.

 

I’m just too afraid I’ll take it all

Just to hide it like the rest,

Bury you and your intentions In a mass grave.

Right now, I am selfish.

Right now, I am. I am. I am.


 

EVERY WOMAN ON A MIND’S MIND

She is the excess

God promised men who could not find their own way

 

That nasty piece of art

A fatherless condition left un-medicated

 

Daughter of soul

Hurting inside brown skin

With a counterfeit smile

Wondering where her soul’s been

 

She is the dust collecting

between album covers

on dressers

and in chests too occupied

to offer her some notice

 

she is again the nameless loose strand

looking for one hand

to blow a kiss her way

 

The digression many want to put their stress in

She is the type that’s sought after at night

that lay you keep on standby

sugar-coated and bloated on one too many lies

 

A child growing on secrets

The love tongues slave for

but hearts deny

 

The unpainted Mona Lisa

priceless until she’s tried

 

Her love means less

Too often circumcised by some misfortune…

 

She is the prescripted bitch

you take between off and on relationships

with the mother of your children

 

The clandestine

fruitless brood to purposely amuse you

She looks far too good to be a thief

but that’s how she’s been casted

so she’s gonna act like it…

 

This woman knows to tuck her wishes

Between kisses

Comes in through little sips of sin

 

She who was born from a pardoning in heaven

mutilated by one too many heartbreaks

Too numb to give two fucks about whose separation she caused next

 

She is

every woman

on a man’s mind

begging for the right to be loved right.img_5462 JINNETTE CACERES SCHAUDT is a Dominican writer, poet, educator and social justice activist. She is a graduate of New York University’s College of Arts and Sciences where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and Latin American Studies. She earned her Masters in Urban Education from Mercy College’s New Teacher Residency Program. In 2011 Jinnette was selected as a fellow with the New York City Writing Project. Her poetry has been featured in the publication Off the Subject: The Words of the Lyrical Circle of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a collection that also featured an introduction by Sekou Sundiata and a closing from Nikki Giovanni.For the past 8 years, Jinnette has taught 10th grade English and middle school literature at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science. In the 2016-2017 school year sjoinedthe Special Education and English Departments at the Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, NY.

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