Three from
The Teachers &
Writers Collaborative
T&W consists of professional writers who work to bring poetry into public high-school classrooms, make it pertinent to the lives of the students. The three poems below were written during these sessions. They were published as part of the instruction book The Teachers & Writers Guide to Classic American Literature. T&W can be reached at
5 Union Square West
New York City 10003.

There is a pain so utter
you can feel it in your bones ---
the angry words, red faces ---
children startled from their rooms.

The yells and tears and sweat
as she pushes you into the wall ---
your saliva mingles in the air
with the leftover pizza spell.

While you're down, she curses you
and what pretty words she deals.
You hear fine china breaking
with every slash you feel.

Oh, it hurts you scream in your mind,
not daring to let her hear,
because she'll bare white teeth and say
"To ache is human, my dear."

---Shannon Sullivan

There is a pain
like I was locked in a cell
that only had two windows
not even a door.
The pain comes from my Father
who tells me I don't want you no more,
tells me to go ask a barely known man
will he take me.
Pain like my life in a cell
the walls coming in and crunching me
into a powdery dust.
--- Will Morris

days when

I see you, sometimes

my heart falls endlessly off a cliff inside you      that suddenly stops like a

bicycle wheel,      and my brain becomes beautiful in your mouth

and other times you feel
      still in me
                     like water in books about King Arthur,
               water with no edge for miles,

which makes me think I don't want you

I am not here now to love you

but then I see myself
as hollow, and search
for your water and your cliffs,

we end up nowhere completely musical
                   And I can't find you.

--- Luc Schloss

From The Teachers & Writers Guide to
Classic American Literature

Christopher Edgar, Gary Lenhart, Editors
©2001 Teachers & Writers Collaborative and
The Library of America

Go Home     Subscribe to RALPH     Go Up