By S. Z. Nishan, Dylan Lee, and Sohei J. Wu
The tenth graders have started the year with a Poetics block taught by Mme Davis. To kickstart the students’ creative flow, they had rap battles against a partner. Here is an example from Iman, WSP alumna, and Tony, Mme Davis’ husband.
Chopsticks vs. Fork
The oldest chopsticks ever found are from 1200 BC
the same land that brought you panda bears and green tea
We’re simple, we’re sleek, we always work in a pair
to get a meal into a mouth with precision and care
Side by side we make sense, like a quotation mark
you come in sixty different sizes of awkward mini pitchfork
We exercise thirty joints, fifty muscles, in a hand, elbow, wrist
just eating noodles can prevent arthritis
We take focus, help to slow down and savor
teaching fine motor skills and making sushi taste better
Even the Little Mermaid wouldn’t use you as dinnerware
pulled a fork out a shipwreck just to brush her red hair
We’re fun, efficient, no sharp metal edges
sets of old cutlery are just pointless stresses
So hey diddle diddle, you can run off with that spoon
We’ll stick around and stick it out under the light of this moon
Silver is the color that I wear
Four prongs on the tip so beware
You got two sticks I don’t care
‘Cause if you lose one you don’t have a spare
I’ve been pokin’ and stabbin’ you mostly just grabbin’
You twistin’ up noodles I’m cuttin’ toast in a cabin
Whatchu gon’ do with soup or a hairy potato
Only thing I can’t catch is a cherry tomato
I ain’t got time for games it’s just me and my goons
We got a drawer to ourselves just me and the spoons
If there’s a steak in the kitchen you’re the last to know
And you should see what I do with a casserole
Think you betta than me man that’s obnoxious
I can even be used to open amazon boxes
You don’t want beef but I’m herdin’ the cattle
Even fortune cookies knew I would win this battle
The student pairs worked with their partner to choose a topic of their own. Continue reading for examples.
Land vs. Sea
Most water is acceptable
Showers make you clean and bearable
But unlike others, your water has salt
That’s straight-up nasty, not my fault
And yeah, some people like the beach
‘Cause Its the only place within lands reach
But I got nice roads and houses and goats
What do you have besides some boats
In waves, they toss, turn and weave
If you fall in, you can’t breathe
And I hope you know this: Humans don’t float
Now your only hope is that they throw you a rope
Life left the sea half a million years ago
But you wanna go back. For me, that’s a no.
Sorry if that was too quick
hope I didn’t make you seasick
I see you on the land but I’m chillin’ on a boat
it’s nice and chilly out here, I may need to get a coat
soon the ocean’s gonna rise and cover up the land
unless you silly people start to lend a hand
people always love the ocean, the ocean shore
even if it’s right outside your door
the ocean cools the burning land
gives you wet refreshing sand
the ocean has a ton of fish
you can even eat them with house radish
the ocean’s great for going swimming
it makes you wanna just start singing
sometimes show when water is shaken
the ocean waves just for me
tell me, do you control the sea?
Korean food vs. Indian Food
Man if you haven’t had Korean food you’re missing out fool,
We got the best types of meals, served even in school,
You got the rice, banchan, kimchi and soup,
It will boost your metabolism, get you in the loop.
Have you heard of Mukbang, Vlogger’s eating food?
Yeah that came from our soil, the best kind my dude.
If you like spicy, there ain’t no shortage here,wherever you go you will find it everywhere.
In soup, rice cake, noodles and dishes,
And sauces and even our fishes.
We feed the best music stars, have you heard of K-Pop?
If you think your chow is better, please just stop.
Have you heard of kimchi, it’s great for your mind,
It’s got probiotics, fermented and brine.
So if you’re going to say your food is gold,
You may as well forget that goal.
Our cuisine is worth your time, and feeds your soul.
Its spicy and dicey
And it’ll put you in the zone
Its pleasing, appetizing
And will even make you moan
You’re saying you’ve lived
But you haven’t tried our food?
Our food is barbecued, boiled, sliced and grilled
Your food is dry, bland and has no flavor
That’s probably why most people think our food’s much greater
So come check out our food
If you think you’re in the mood
Overall we’ve got it all
From the bread to the rice
And I can tell you it’s pretty damn nice
Nonfiction vs. Fiction
Stop bombarding us with your awful flights of fancy,
I don’t need to know about superpowers, or magic, or… necromancy.
There’s only so many dystopias I can read… (They’re all basic Mary Sues with dystopian Romeos at their sides…)
Real life gets more interesting than that, it can’t be denied…
Nonfiction is more than just boring textbooks from school,
It can also be quite an essential tool,
Cookbooks, travel guides, newspapers, memoirs, dictionaries…
Fiction literally means fake, but nonfiction? It’s necessary.
Without dictionaries we’d be stuck only with words like of, what, and thing…
Why should we read about some made up lord of the rings?
Is there a genocide happening in China and Kazakhstan?
I don’t know, I don’t care, I gotta read the Prisoner of Azkaban…
Do you want to know how to cook or pay your taxes…?
Or would you rather immerse yourself in these meaningless distractions…?
(If yes you sound ridiculous…) To be without news, or nonfiction would be absurd…
But sure, we can waste time reading To Kill A Mockingbird…
-Sohei J. Wu
Fiction- literature describing imaginary events and people, it’s made in our heads
That’s from both me and what my search engine says
It fills my mind with new worlds, I get away from outside
Armaggeddon? Fighting dragons? You know that’s where I hide
Nonfiction- it happened, that’s old news, it’s boring
What’s that? You said something? Man, I was out cold snoring
So what if a tale’s just a figment of someone’s imagination? At least it’s something
You see here? Of the world you make you can be the king
“When pigs fly.” That’s what they say when something’ll never happen, right?
Well here they can, just imagine, there’s one soaring by that kite
You know, it’s good to have a healthy, fictitious variety
‘Cause just watching all the news’ll have you struggling with sobriety
All these creative writers overflowing with words, a moment of genius in more than one instance
The difference between flying monkeys and birds, fiction and nonfiction, it’s a good distance
You see, you can take a break from reading a horror story. You can still have a good laugh
But if that were nonfiction? ‘Bout me? Ya’ll’d be reading my epitaph
-S. Z. Nishan
Theism vs. Atheism
In a world of confusion
you come to so many conclusions
Your lack of evidence
is just negligence
You make a declaration
and pour out your frustrations
and I’m going to say this next part in quotations,
“Why hate? just have some faith”
And to say that faith is irrational
is honestly just laughable
So finding meaning is impossible?
Let’s get a little philosophical
Believing in a higher power
is like struggling to walk up the steps of a tower
Having utter devotion
is more than just a mere notion
But having a belief
That can bring you relief
“god” is just a word made up to organize the chaos
Take a look at 2020, now where’s your imaginary boss?
You insult one religious fella and here comes their whole cult crew
Like, pack it up Manson Family, Charlie isn’t coming to save you
You might as well be a harry potter fan with your disney-esque fantasy
Why don’t you just go on and head back to your nuclear family?
The bible fandom is so toxic, did the main character die or something?
From the bigotry to the pedophilia scandals, you’re certainly not skimping
Too many of you use god as a scapegoat to hate
As hard as you try, you can’t clean the nazism off your slate
(Remember your right wingers are the ones advocating for an ethnostate)
You live in a cage of self-imposed rules and regulations
Then you shout from the pit that this is liberation?
If you hold your face close enough to the spaces between the bars, you can almost convince yourself that you’re free
It’s the fact that you’re a scientifically recognized category of trauma for me
You say it’s about community and love, but then alienate anyone who doesn’t fit your definition of perfect, you’re a hypocrite
It’s not a belief system, it’s an excuse for intolerance and delusion, and you know it.
Meat-eating vs. Vegitarian
Protein best found in meat,
Makes us feel unique,
Proud of what we reap,
What makes meat good to eat,
Off into my boat we seek,
Answers of what we truly seek,
Before we dive just take a breath,
Could be our final hope no rest.
Meat gives us strength to obtain our goals for the week,
Its a good source of vitamin c, d, e which boosts our immune system in this time of need,
Meat comes in many shapes and forms,
Just like rib, cuts and KFC that’s finger lickn’ good,
Meat also has iron thats good for humans and lions,
You can eat it at any place or time,
And its almost an option everywhere you dine.
All my life I’ve been told that my choices made me weak
That not eating meat made me a freak
I watch the world go by never questioning the right or wrong
Please explain how you feel once I’ve finished my song.
You tell me you won’t stop because it’s too delicious
You say to not eat meat, “That’s too ambitious!”
I know someone must stand for our plant life brothers
But when you “don’t have a choice,” I choose other
Life is a gift on this planet we share
Tell me how you justify something so unfair
As to take a life that was never yours
And end its journey just to hang a souvenir on your doors?
We’ve got the four kingdoms born from earth mother
They’re supposed to be equal and respect each other
Well, one of our kingdoms is under attack,
So beautiful and powerful but they can’t even fight back.