New Voices: In The Shadows of Our Thoughts

Jenny Muyo (left) reading her work. Liliana Medrano (right) with sister Maria at book release party. Courtesy 826LA

A group of students attended an intensive five-day writing workshop in Echo Park last summer called Words, Spoken, which in part explores how writers can  “harness personal histories, our identities, and voices,” said Marisa Urrutia Gedney of 826LA, the Echo Park literacy and tutoring center that hosted the program. The workshop, lead by Mike Sonksen, aka Mike The Poet, culminated in the publication of a book of poetry,  “In The Shadows of Our Thoughts,”  written by the students. 826LA shares two of those poems with The Eastsider.

Click on the link below to read “Want My Candy, Wannabe Chicana” by  Jenny Muyo, a 14-year-old student at Thomas Starr King Middle School, and “Armed With Words” by 17-year0ld Downtown Magnets High School student Liliana Medrano.


  Want My Candy, Wannabe Chicana

By Jenny Muyo

Told you one day that I wanna be una modela
once we danced while waiting for the bus
But you’ve seen me acting, mi vida en una novela
Blurting in Spanglish makes me full of guts
I think I’m a wannabe Chicana
You first met me as an anti-wannabe
In May, Bacon told me I turned into a Divina
As I felt us becoming each other’s Frenemy.
Some person shares desert with me
Funnel cake, Tres leches, Wonka bars, Watermelon and Lemon
ice cream
A dream vanilla float with rootbeer, sprite soda and a cherry
Please don’t give me a stomache-ache
This girl, Kathy, always asks me for candy
I gave her a ride and she owes me money.

   Armed With Words

By Liliana Medrano

Peaceful warriors to the city of LA,
I am.

I walk
Walk by the undercover cops who
smell out the crime.
I march
March with the reformers, the philosophers, the dreamers who
want a better tomorrow.
I run
Run with many for a better cause
I strut
Strut with the “bad guys” who bring the bread, the money home.

Walking, marching, running, strutting.
We all do this in the City of Angels.

I scream
Scream like a mother at the disobedient child.
I sing
Sing with the sirens at the church in “El Centro”
I whisper
Whisper a wish to the flickering in the church downtown.
I mourn
Mourn for the countless deaths, countless abandonments,
countless tragic occurrences.

Screaming, singing, whispering, mourning.
We all do this in “El Centro.”

I swing
Swing back and forth on my swing made by hand.
I dance
Dance to the merengue, the salsa, the cumbia, the everything in
the party next door.
I skip
Skip to the beat of the heat, the heat and the smudged words of
the hard working ALLEY employee.
“Passale, pasale todo barato, todo bonito, todo en Los Angeles”
I jump
Jump at night to all the music playing every Saturday.

Swinging, dancing, skipping, Jumping.
We all do this in LA.

I Embrace
Embrace all the situations, all the challenges life throws one’s
I hug
Hug my family, my friends all before they leave because
Everyone’s here to stay.
I touch.
Touch different colors, different races, different beings.
I smoother
Smoother all the troubled, all the lonely, all the sad.

Embracing, hugging, touching, smoothering
We all do this for the peace.

Our armory our weaponry, our courage shown through words.
We protect, we stand, we love for we are peaceful warriors.

Peaceful warrior to the city of LA,

I am.

Young writers and readers are always welcome  at The Eastsider.  Teachers can submit student work or samples of classroom writing projects to hello@theEastsiderLA.com. Publication is subject to review and parental approval.  Click here for previous New Voices poems and short stories.

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