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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Dabblin In Verse

My world has been poetry free for a long minute now. I'm 1 of those contradictory people who enjoys writing poetry for the release of it--like breathing or mental ejaculation--but CAN.NOT.STAND. to be ANYWHERE where spoken word is poppin off. There are very few poets I even wanna read. I'm not packin up my moleskin or rice paper leather bound book of snaps begging (cuz that's what you get paid in as a poet) & heading to my local coffee shop to spit for the people.

This year, because I'm not a teacher with a roster of 130 in 5 rotations, I'm not even given the opportunity to celebrate National Poetry Month with students. I miss the poem a day challenge & the space to teach various styles. April breezed in & right out, swallowed whole by the devil testing culture. While my numbers are greatly decreased I do still have students. My gift to myself is to have a redo of National Poetry Month & see if I can get them to reach deep down inside & tap into their inner scribe.

Due to all of the change in my Life that is about to also impact theirs, I'm trying to impart my final lessons to my students. I want them to dream big & live large. Knowing how small their minds often are, through no fault of their own, I encouraged them to explore the concept of adventure & to then create a Bucket List. I know it's difficult to imagine the span of time between 13 yrs old & death but I wanted to see who was up for the challenge. I was reminded that in the 7th grade, forever from now is graduating from the high school of your choice & anticipating the 1st time you get drunk. No, seriously, this came up. The desire to be kissed & have sex before they die was also acutely real for them. They made me smile with their reachings with short arms but it gave them an opportunity to do some mental calisthenics.

Because these angsty miniatures require exemplars for everything, I did a mock bucket list that managed NOT to include anything that would give them any ideas of just how much fun being an adult can be--ya feel me??--but just enough to get them to see that Life & living is about a lot more than "have 5 pair of Foamposites" & freeing Boosie. If you have no idea what I just said, consider yourself fortunate. As I was saying, I had to create an exemplar of the bucket list but of an example of bucket list turned poem as well; if I expected them to do 1. This is what I came up with:
BUCKET LIST (free verse) by Ms. Ndygo Sunshyne

An empty bucket sits, open mouthed, hungry for my dreams
Like drops of rain, I fill it one at a time with the pixels that create the landscape of my best Life

A drizzle to start
No thunderous claps or electric skies
No cottony cloud cover
Or big rainbow colored umbrellas

I’d start slow

A slow drive down memory lane renamed 95 South toward the edifice that houses high school memories
To room…what was it now…I’d go
First to Mr. Mariani’s open air room, divided from Trig by rolling pin boards
Covered with the inside out and upside down lives of kids who are turning over stones to find their voices
I’d stand before him and speak out loud so he could hear my voice, that lived on white backgrounds, conducted by blue lines, now emerges from pen and maw
Proudly, I’d leave with what he taught me and move on
In search of the hunched and slumped woman who smoldered like a smoke stack
Her voice loud and raucous, excited about loving English and hating those who didn’t
Black and white journal from 11th grade in hand, I’d take a seat at the back of her class, behind students bigger than me in my adult life and quietly raise my hand
Do you remember me?
The tiny girl with the big brain squeezed into a small head who bled ink all over ANY paper you gave me
The one smart enough to do more than check attendance but help you grade my peers, allowed to leave comments
The special one, you remember me right?
You’re the reason I STILL write
I just thought you should know

Back in my car with global positioning systems positioned to go anywhere on the globe
I’d point it toward the airport & stand in front of the marquee, deciding between New York or Chicago?
A teacher and a natural affinity for apples would lead me to NYC in search of Spike Lee
I’d show up in Fort Greene, hoping to see his pigeon toed strut down the ave
Conspicuous specs confirming the man responsible for making me LOVE movies
I’d hand him my book of short stories I’ve yet to write, blank page after blank page and promise to fill it with stories worthy of his silver screens
But my stateside travels wouldn’t be over yet
I’d make a pit stop in my dream sequence to knock on Oprah Winfrey’s door, advising her to remember me because I AM already great and she too will know it someday

Frequent flyer miles in piles & piles will fill my bucket next
Going on trek after trek around the world with my tongue as my guide
I will eat my way from deli to New Delhi, though New Delhi ain’t on my list
I want to eat fu fu in Ghana under a palm tree sipping palm wine and listening to elders’ stories
I want to ride by an ostrich and then sup on one later followed by a dessert of mealie-bread
I want to ride the rapids and zip down hanging lines through the trees of Costa Rica before dining on casados and washing it down with horchata
I’ve eaten things that moo and seen ‘roos in zoos and had one on my plate too
No need to try them in Australia
Instead I’d reach for dessert limes from tall branches and pluck bush tomatoes nearer to the ground
My Thai would be cooked by a Thai in Thailand, hold the American menu fare
Before I’m done I’d sun on the shores of Cuba and walk in the shoes of the Garifuna of Belize
I’d shake my rounder hips, from all of my tongue lapping, to the rhythms of Africa and South America and bring fire to the chill of Europe

Rich on experiences and coconut milk sauces
I’d take to walking beaches by day and bedding on them by night
Dreaming under stars that don’t go out when light bills aren’t paid

Perhaps by then it’d be time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up
Again and again
One day I’d be dj, making dancers writhe in trances to tribal rhythms
The next I’d push my sleeves up and pour my heart all over a canvas
Then I’d point and shoot my perspectives, taking a thousand pictures for every word
I’d retrace the footsteps of my grandmother and her grandmother and her grandmother to tell the story of the women whose genes I put into my jeans
I’d study everything I was ever curious about and turn my wonderment into information and my information into knowledge and my knowledge into wisdom
Or maybe I’d work instead at being somebody’s good wife and somebody’s better mother and create the best family

And when my hair finally grays
And my muscles slow
When I go to check my bucket
It will be full


Just something fun. Felt good. Thought I'd share.

Watch me move.


  1. Studious StudentMay 3, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Phenomenal Teacher is she....I wish I had a teacher like you even though I would have struggled with that assignment, to have a teacher capable of that would be inspiring.

  2. Thank you, Studious Student!!
    & they DID struggle with the assignment. Mostly because it's difficult to imagine your whole life at 12. All I wanted them to do was try, which they did. & much was revealed about many of them.