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Donna Oja Smith's English Class at Trenton High School

Student Publications

Bridge to Lit 2012
Lit 9 2013-14
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Research Paper
Sense of a Goose
Snitchin' Is Bitchin'
Student Publications

"The Lady or the Tiger?"
New Ending by Tra-Shawn C
She raised her hand and made a slight, quick movement toward the right.  The princess's lover moved quickly to the right, but for some reason he shifted himself and looked back at the princess.  He took a short, quivering breath and began walking towards the left door.  He took a deep breath and opened it.  When he did, the fair maiden appeared from behind the heavy cloaked door.  Her glistening eyes sparkled as she stared at her new husband.  Her flawless smile mesmerized the youth, for he now had forgotten all about the princess in those few seconds.
Then the youth spun around quickly and evilly glared at the woman that he thought had once loved him.  He was brutally brought to his senses with this cruel realization of false love.  He was crushed that the princess could have saved his life, but she didn't.  He was livid that she would let her jealousy get to her and purposely let a savage tiger feast upon him.  With those thoughts, he picked up his prize and carried her off.
A swirling ball of rage began to build up in the pit of the princess's stomach.  However, all she could do now was let the burning tears she had trickle down her flawless, velvet cheeks and say....I'm sorry my love.
Poetry Parodies
She wears a mask at school that lies
It hides her arms; no one knows she cries.
Inside she feels so alone with needs
For every cut her arm will bleed.
So in this mask her face she hides
Until the day she hopes she dies.l
-DaZhane G. (January 2012)
How do I bother thee?  Let me count the ways.
I bother thee no matter what age or height.
I'll go to your room and break anything in sight.
In front of our parents, I act with poise and grace.
The truth is I bother thee every day.
Some say it's wrong, but it's a brother sister thing.
-by Elizabeth B. in Block 3
My friend wears the mask which grins and lies
It hides her cheeks and shades her cries
She pays too much attention to what people say
With her bleeding heart, her smile fades away
Her big brown eyes frown
Making her wear the mask that's a clown
-by Nabria A in Block 3
(rap by Freddie R and Devan J, 2008)
Let me tell y'all a story
'bout a boy name Steve
It's so messed up
It's hard to believe
Two other boys
Killed Mr. Nesbitt
Now Steve's locked up
Where people
Get their heads kicked
In court his name
Came up again and again
Osvaldo and Bobo
Identified him
When he is in the cell
People always fight
While Steve sits back
And cries at night
Wondering what's gonna
Happen to him
Thinkin' of challenges
Ahead of him
He was judged innocent
By all of the jury
Then he was removed
Of all his fury
His mom and dad
Cried a lot
His life was a race
To beat the clock
People were cryin'
His lawyer thought
He was lyin'
Meanwile every day
Time was flyin'
God Will Hear
My name is Ismael.
It comes from Spanish and Hebrew.
My name means "God will hear."
Just like God heard my family
When they asked for someone like me.
My name comes from the Bible
And the famous story of Moby Dick.
But the name that fits me best
Would be Ishmael from Moby Dick
Because he was a good man
And a hero.
To me
My name sounds like a whisper
Of waves on the shore.
I like my name
Because it is unique and
Not many people have it.
If I had the chance to change my name
I wouldn't change it at all.
-by Ismael F. (2008)
I was a lost boy
I remember all of my struggles
I heard many hurtful things
I saw many awful sights
I worried if I was going to live to see the next day
I thought I was a lost cause
But . . . I want to change
I am smart
I think of my past and know that I have to change
I need some help
I try to stay out of trouble
I feel that it finds me
I forgive everyone who did me wrong
Now . . . I can change
I will grow up to be successful
I choose to graduate high school
I dream of being a football star
I hope I get that chance
I predict I will have a good life
I know I will be what I want to be
I will change my life around
-by Kenneth S. (2008)
Polyphemus Poem 

I’m a giant with no eye

Because it was stabbed by a little guy.

It started when I found the men snooping in my home

So I locked them in my cave and made sure they never got home.


I ate a couple of men for dinner, only two at a time

And then washed the flesh and blood down with some good wine.

The wine got me tired and put me to sleep

Until I remembered I had to let out my sheep.


As I start to awaken, I feel a sharp pain

It was a spear shoved in my eye, done by a man without a name.

So I get up screaming as I stand in front of the stone door

Telling myself I wouldn’t let them escape that’s for sure.


After I let out my sheep I didn’t hear the men

I paused for a second and then thought again.

The men had escaped, so I waited to hear because I could not see

All of a sudden I heard voices coming from the sea.


The man started to shout at me, as if he was bad to the bone

So I reached to the ground and grabbed a huge stone.

I threw the stone where the shouting was coming from

So angry I let them escape with my sheep, how could I be so dumb?

By Luis R. (2008)


Personal Narratives

        I was frozen. I was locked in my place and unable to will myself to move forward. Furniture was thrown everywhere, photos ripped from the walls, and memories torn to shreds. I stood in the doorway of my home and silently cried as I looked upon a scene that no child should witness. My home, the place that was once my mother’s and mine, the place where I grew from a child to a young woman, was destroyed. When I finally forced my legs to move and walked into the disaster, I burst into a rush of tears that seemed to have no end. I slowly sank to the floor finally understanding all that had taken place.
       Each realization came as quickly as the tears that rolled down my face, and it seemed as though the world had stopped. I realized that I was too late. Too late to stop the madness that had become my mother's life, too late to turn our home into everything it once was. I have failed her I thought to myself in that moment. I failed to show her the wrong that she was doing as I had done so many times before, but then I had another thought. If I could fix the house to the way it should be then maybe she'd come back home and we could pretend this whole thing never happened.
       As quick as lightning, I was on my feet. I began to set the furniture right and pick up broken glass from the floor. It was then that my father arrived and shook me from the state I was in. As I looked at his face, I was brought back to reality. He took firm hold of my shoulders as I began to cry and said everything I wasn't ready to hear.
     "Your mother has been arrested and the house raided," he said with pained eyes.  "You're going to be staying with me now."
      He told me to take with me whatever I wanted from the house and put it in the car. We wouldn't be coming back again. He left me then to do what I needed to and to say goodbye to the life I had had here.
      Closing the car door and setting in beside my father, I gave him a look that must have had all my questions written on it. It must have said how can I go on after this, how can I face the world without the one person who has always been there for me? He told me that even though it hurts now, I would get through this because I was the strongest of all the people in the family. Maybe it was the look on his face or the way he said it, but I believed him and it turned out that he was right.

(by Jamie S., February 2006)


I am from the place where people talk the talk and can’t walk the walk

where women sweep outside with rollers in their hair

where cars blast music at 6:30 in the morning.


I am from where girls go outside in their pajamas to the corner store

where long weaves and big earrings are worn

where boys chill on the corner and try to be cute.


I am from a school that is a fashion show

where people are fighting instead of getting an education

where young men and women blame others for their mistakes

I am from a warm - but scary environment.


Where am I from?     


By Shanise T




I am from the town of gang territory.

I am from where you can’t wear certain colors.

I am also from where people stand on the corner to get money.


I am from where you have to watch what you wear.

I am from where girls walk to the store wearing pajamas.

I am also from where girls are having babies at a very early age.


I am from where kids are smoking and drinking to have a good time.

I am from where you have to have the latest fashion to fit in.

I am from Roca Wear, Baby Phat, Timberland, Akademics, and Nike.


Where I am from you have to have a chirp to keep in contact and the latest ring tones.

The little town that I am from has a lot of stuff going on around me

By Zakiyah W


I am from a home where there aren’t enough beds for everybody –

where the kids don’t have their homework as their first priority.


I am from a family where my mom has to work the nightshift –

which means that I have to be more than an older brother to the kids.


I am from a neighborhood where the hustlers hustle, from dusk until dawn –

and their kids are getting baby-sat and raised by their mom.


I am from a city where the wrong colors are to be feared – where the quiet ones get things done, cause they don’t waste their time talking.

By Derrick L



“The Lady or the Tiger”

(an alternate ending by Irvin J.)


Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right and opened it. The room was pitch black, and it appeared as if there was no lady or tiger there. Then suddenly, there were two big brown eyes walking towards the door. There was a moment of silence in the king's arena. The princess looked, waiting for the creature to step out. Shockingly to the young man and the town's people, the lady walked out; she was more beautiful than ever but not more beautiful than the princess.


She was dressed in an all white wedding dress and glass slippers; she looked something like Cinderella. The young man was relieved to see her step out, but he was unsatisfied with the fact that he couldn't be with the princess. He kneeled on his left knee, awaiting his bride. She walked out the door gracefully as the town's people cheered. The young man put out his palm, and the lady gently placed hers on his. He rose up from the ground, and they both walked towards the priest.


The princess's and the young man's eyes met, both filled with sorrow and regret. Did the princess really want to lose him this way? The princess just turned away, trying to hide her true feelings. The king sat there, smiling in relief. Then, the unthinkable happened. The man let go of the lady's hand.


He ran into the middle of the arena. The arena was filled with gasps from the town's people; the king felt insulted. The princess turned back towards the arena to see what was with all of the commotion. The man ran over toward the left door, still shut, and looked up at the princess one last time before he gave himself to the hungry tiger. His eyes said to her I love you as hers said I love you, too. He sighed and forcefully opened the door and out came the tiger.


The man screamed in pain as the tiger gnawed at his flesh. The princess turned away, crying hysterically. The king still sat there with that same smirk on his face. The princess did not understand the man's decision, but she figured that he did it for their love. In her head, before he opened the door, she thought of him saying, "If the princess cannot have me, then no one shall have me." Now her love was taken from her, gone forever.



Abstract Poems 
 (Abstract nouns explained with concrete imagery.)  

Love is...

Walking hand in hand with the person who belongs deep down in your heart

The irresistable scent that will keep you attached like a magnet

The flowers that bloom on the window sill every morning to brighten the day

The paper cut that stings when your heart is broken.

- by Anida M


Fear is...

Red eyes poking out of your closet at night

The gentle tapping of branches on your window behind a shadow

Eerie noises from the basement

Lights turning on and off by invisible foosteps

Screaming for help in a burning building

Screams from an uninhabited house next door

- Edzaida C


Fear is . . .

The damp breath of evil on your neck

The smell of rotting flesh when you wake up

The touch of an enemy's hand

The sound of footsteps outside your bedroom door

The sight of a monster in your closet

-         Michael S.



Happiness is . . .

A friend's face

A hug from your grandmother

The words I love you from your mom

The smell of hot chocolate chip cookies fresh from the over

The taste of Popsicles in the summer

-         Kevin D.



Love is . . .

The alluring words spoken to comfort the mind

The feeling of gentle hands caressing the skin

The beautiful face of your love

The attractive fragrance used to appease the smelling sense

The taste of flavored lip gloss as lips meet

-         Juan O.


Freedom is . . .

Seeing the birds fly over the ocean

Touching the grass in a public park

Hearing the sound of traffic every day

Smelling the fresh air when you awake

Tasting the foods that your loved ones have made for you

-  Efrain R.


Fun is . . .

The taste of dirt when sliding into first base

The sound of the bat cracking the ball

Smelling the hotdogs from the stands

Feeling the leather glove in your hand

The sight of the crowd in the stadium

-  John M.


Hate is . . .

Seeing a person of your family getting shot

Hearing the sound of someone yelling

Feeling the hand of a young man that has just died

Smelling the blood of a man that has gotten cut by a blade

Tasting the same food day after day after day

-  David T.

An original sci-fi story

by Victoria C, Ricardo G, Aubrey M, and Althea L – 04/27/05


 Consequences of Disrespect


            “Ok, if that’s what you really want Mr.President, our agreement is settled.”

            “Great, we’ll have it tomorrow. Now tell me, Orion, Why did you come here?”

            I remember so clearly, the day I went searching for life in other galaxies…

            The engine roared as I traveled through the wormhole. I had no idea where it would take me. I figured I would find out when I got there.

            I made it out the wormhole safely. I looked around wondering if I would be successful. I was ready to find a signal of life from my computer when the radio went off.

            “This is Sergeant Pecivial from the Snickers galaxy. What’s your location Orion?” he sounded concerned.

            “This is Orion, I’m pinpointing my location now.” At that time I booted up my computer and found my location. I replied, “It seems as though I landed in the Milky Way galaxy.” I was shocked and curious. I have studied this galaxy for years, but I had not visited it until now.

            “Be careful Orion, you’re our top scientist! I can’t afford to lose your knowledge or you!” Sergeant Percivial said angrily with a hint of concern.

            I began to hear a beeping sound from my computer. I was picking up a signal. I reported to Sergeant Percivial. “I’m picking up signals of life from my computer. It seems as though the signal is coming form Earth. It also says that 75% of the Earth is water, that’s one sign of life.” I said with much excitement. “I will launch in 15 minutes, set coordinates, ‘Earth’.”

            “Good job, contact me when you get there.” The sergeant said professionally

            I put down the radio and by now, I only had 10 seconds left until launch. I flew toward the planet Earth, as I entered its atmosphere my heart began to pound harder and harder. My ship was going to land quickly, too quickly for my taste!

            BOOM      Rough landing, all power in my ship shut down consequently. I stayed in my seat trying to calm myself down. After a few seconds, I climbed out. Men, who looked just like me, immediately ran up and grabbed me. Matching uniforms and guns, I figured they must be like our defense team at home. I was so excited to have finally met aliens from another galaxy; I did not notice where they were taking me. They took my ship away on a large machine and they handled me with a lack of care and respect.

            I found myself sitting in a cold, dark room, with a bright light shinning in my face. They questioned me, asking me weird questions like if I was hostile, how did I get here, and where did I come from. They were acting as if I was a creature….

            The president pulled his whiskers, “What exactly are you doing on our planet? What is your business here?”

            “I came to this planet because I’m searching for life throughout the galaxies. I have searched for seven years. I have traveled from wormhole to wormhole and finally I found life. Personally, I’m not happy with what I’ve found.”

            His eyes grew wide with shock. “Why aren’t you happy with our planet, Orion?”

            “Well, personally, your planet is too violent. So, if you don’t mind, can I have my ship? I’m leaving, and I need to prepare my ship.”

            “As the President of the United States of America, I cannot allow you to leave. You have landed on U.S. soil without proper identification.” His eyebrows were furrowed and he looked so uncertain of his statement.

            “But, we had an agreement. I tell you the secrets of traveling by wormholes and you let me go home.”

            Realizing his mistake, he cleared his throat. “Yes, that’s true. I am a man of my word. I suppose after you reveal your secrets, you may be free to go.”

            It’s a day later, and I’m standing here happily, watching my ship being brought out to the airstrip. I handed a folder with all the information needed to travel through wormholes to the President.

            “It’s all there, Mr. President.”

            He smiled “I’ll take your word for it.”

            We shook hands and I boarded my ship. The power was on again and I quickly took off.

            “Orion, are you there?” Sergeant Percivial sounded concerned. “We’ve been trying to contact you for several days.”

            “I’m here sir. I’ve been held hostage on the Planet Earth. The U.S. leader demanded the secrets of wormhole traveling in order for me to return home.”

            “Damn them! They can’t have access to that information so easily. We’ve spent too long researching how to travel through wormholes for them to just take it. I’m ordering our defense team to obliterate this so called planet Earth.”

"He who learns but does not think is lost! 
He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger!" 
Confucius 551-479 B.C. (Chinese philosopher)


"YOU make choices, but  CHOICES make you." (DOS)
“Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.” (FDR)