Theme for English I

Inspired by the late, great Langston Hughes, most especially for his poem, "Theme for English B." Also inspired by my English I students, with whom I got to share the original amazing poem.


My instructions were,


Go home and write

a page tonight.

And let that page come out of you ---

Then, it will be true.


I realize now Langston Hughes was right in wondering

if it was that simple ---

Because it's not that simple.

I am thirty-two, Cuban-American, born in Miami.

I was raised in Hialeah, where I also went to school.

I am the only one in my immediate family to graduate college.

And I have always known, somehow,

that I would end up in school again ---

Only next time as a teacher.


It's not easy to know what is true for you or me

at thirty-two, my age. But like Langston Hughes, I guess I'm

what I feel and see and hear. Students, I hear you:

hear you, hear me - we all - you, me talk on this page.

So listen...


Well, like Langston Hughes, I also like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

(Don't we all?)

I like to ask questions, learn lots, read, listen, and think about life.

I like a nice piece of jewelry for a Christmas present,

Or CDs --- U2, Shakira, or Regina Spektor.

I guess being a thirty-year old Cuban-American

doesn't make me not like the same things other folks like

who are other races, other ages.

But like Langston Hughes, I've also got to ask:

Will my page be colored that I write?


If my page must be colored, then let it be colored

in a rainbow of riotous red, spunky orange, joyous yellow,

and glittering green.

Then wash this page in calming blue, forgetting not the violet.

Let my page overflow

With all the colors that make me, me ---

All the colors that make me, you.

Me, you, you me --- we all color this page called life.

That's human.

Although sometimes you don't want your colors to mix with mine,

nor do I often want to mix mine with yours.

But we do, that's true!

As I learn from you,

I guess (I hope!) you learn from me ---

Although you are younger

and somewhat more attention-deprived.


This is my page for English I.

The End

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