Student Work

From a SpeakTogether virtual workshop, Talent Unlimited High School, Spring 2020

This poem was composed during a six-week session conducted by author and spoken word artist Sheri Booker, who worked with a class of 10th-grade students to develop their voices. This workshop took place during a global pandemic, a national lockdown, and uprisings across the country to end police brutality and structural racism. Read more about the works in this collection, which are artifacts of this period and a true testament to the vision, creativity, and resilience of these students.

Listen to a recording of the following poem above. 

Please Leave Me Alone, I Don’t Want to Talk to Creepy Men on The Street

by Sophia Guelke

I depend on myself.
I know sometimes I don’t signify,
But it hurts when men pretend not to hear me,
When they continue to objectify.

When I ask them please leave me alone
And they continue to follow.
A slight breeze blows through my hair as I tuck it away,
Prepared to run at any moment,
But my fear I tried to swallow.

You call me horrible names and why?
Because I speak my mind
When I say I just don’t like guys,
Why is that your invite?
Or are you so blind?
Why do you think you’ll be the one to go and change my mind?
When all I can think this light change for you will be gone?

But why am I the one left feeling strange?
You call yourself Romeo.
But I refuse to play Juliet.
Sorry, was that too harsh for you?
I guess it’s my fault again.

I should have just left it in the past and tried to forget.
Sometimes all I can think is when will this summer end.
When can I avoid your harsh stares just like an evil that pursues.
I wish my comfort mattered as much as theirs.

Sophia Guelke was a sophomore at Talented Unlimited High School in NYC at the time of this recording.

You can navigate their individual poems and listen to recordings of them reciting their stellar works below.