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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 email@example.com.
I BE …
I be the teacher who doesn’t conjugate the verb “to be”
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
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
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
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
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
on a man’s mind
begging for the right to be loved right. 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.