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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A MID-TOUR POEM
He came back tall.
with match blacked eyes & a fear
of fireworks. We sat on the sidewalk legs crossed
covered, dawdling – a smoking cigarette
not being smoked, my peeling cuticles. The traffic
ran over our toes beepbeeping away.
His fingers danced the tango in a milky
puddle. I silent.
(The day you left was only marked by the dying
on my desk. I left them on the heater &
the warmth made them burn pink with shame only
to explode damp mumflakes all over the floor. I
thought they looked
like snow or rabbit fur or something & kept them
for a couple of days, hoping that the semblance of
seasons would actually create the changing of—
the seasons. Like a rain dance. Or the
The Chinese are all wearing
white to express their
sorrow & the fence is melting. Someone is
doing the chicken dance all day long to forget
I am just struggling to get dressed—
but really, I am wearing your heart upon my
walking the wrong way through a crowd like the little girl
that haunts your day terrors (the one whose father
the empty flesh eyes) & I am
the one who can’t sleep at night with the
tears of giants blinding.
It is the slept-on name comma name backwards on
Cold metal. It
is daylight & your fear of spiders &
even after it all.
you left at my apartment that ripped open my
lip corners & a chalkboard message
from the class before that seems to have
THIS IS WHAT I WANTED YOU!
the water clinging
to the lightpole is not
meant for observation the
crane statue bending over
to escape rust does not beg for
thought sticks float vertically
in the Hudson idunnowhy & guacamole
tastes best scraped off the side
of a bowl smoking still makes me
feel cool even after five
years & polar bears are just
black seals with frostbite it
is not enough to love everyone
& do everything you can for happiness
because sometimes it just
I play dumb by separating eyelashes with
a finger. Motioning, I tell him
to close his eyes & listen to the cars. He
needs this more than I know. We sit like this, eyes
covered legs crossed,
him with charcoal on his face &metal swinging round his neck, I
watching dogs picking winter sweaters.
INGRID CHUNG is a tenth year teacher at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math & Science in the South Bronx, where she currently teaches a 12th grade Honors English course & serves as an assistant principal. She is a 2007 Teaching Fellow and is particularly passionate about effective new teacher training and development programs as well as transformative intervention systems for at-risk students. Ingrid holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from New York University, a M.Ed. in adolescent English education from Hunter College, and a M.A. in educational policy (School Building Leaders) from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Her proudest achievement as an educator has been her development of two leadership programs for boys & girls called Umoja & Nia, which launches in the mountains as a five night summer camp for at-risk youth.