Michael J. Henry + Colfax Community Network + PS 1 + North High School

 No Ideas But in Things
November 6 – December 14, 2006

Sponsored by
The Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation with support from Cambiar Investors, LLC.

Creative Resident Michael J. Henry embarked on a series of writing workshops with youth from Colfax Community Network, PS 1, and North High, to investigate the small beauties and enigmas of everyday found objects—items one might consider junk—to see what stories and poems they might trigger. Says Henry: The poet William Carlos Williams once wrote “No ideas but in things,” and for the longest time I’ve been trying to fully understand what that means, since many of my teachers considered that a cornerstone of a writer’s education.” To wit, Michael and the young writers have written about a host of objects—which include things like a pocket watch, dog leash, a miniature replica of Rodin’s”The Thinker,” and a five-pound dumbbell.

Colfax Community Network
Mandie Birchem, Children’s Program Director
Students: Hannah, Olivia, Brandon, Jaime, Jerry, Donny, Angel, Olivia, Theresa, Isaac, Alex, Danielle, Austyn, Jonathon, CJ, Eddie, Marquez, Kayshayla
Volunteers: Katie Meske, Rachel Rand, Miguel Garcia, Debby Cella, Tyrell Banks
PlatteForum Volunteers: Emily Potts, Ginny Hoyle, Mindy Bray, Hobby Chapin, Mark Kling, Tracy Chapin

Teachers: Susan Vaho, Abby Beltz 
 Maria Herrera, Rayven Angel, Clarissa Lovato, Frank Velasco, Amber Beruman, Bryan Temchulla, Mia Baily, Shyann Guillar, Justin Blair, John Trujillo

North High School 
 Jose Mercado
Students: Karlene Sanchez, Carlos Calderon, Delores Jones, Sherry Boles, Rachael Medina, Christian LuBel, Samantha Rodriguez, Ivonne Paredes, Juan Carlos Olivas, Kandace Sanchez, Erasmo Castellano, Steven Stumpf

Youth Poetry


BY JJ, Colfax Community Network


My dog is bossy

He likes to bite people

My baby likes the dog

My dog eats the King Cobra 4-headed snake

He’s bigger than a snake

He likes to bite on shoelaces

He’s black and white with black polka-dot paws

Both of his eyes are blue, but when it’s dark they turn red

Its is the scariest pit-bull

He is the meanest pit-bull



By AJ, Colfax Community Network


You are heavy like a fist,

still as a silent statue

In the morning, when my muscles are sleepy like a bag of sand,

I lift you, and then when I’m done, I drop you

And you are loud.

You are fat and skinny

Like a dog bone,

And my sister tries

To grab you, and I growl

At you with sharp teeth,

And sometimes I chew on you.



By Brandon, Colfax Community Network


I once had a dream of ice cream.

When I saw a thing and his footsteps made a ping.

Then he was hairy, not cherry.

He looked like wolf man and was big as an 18 foot cane.

He looked like he was cold but his fur was gold.

It started to shine and I started to rhyme.

He was a decision maker and an earth shaker.

He was a real thinker and a fast blinker.




By Isaac and EJ, Colfax Community Network


The nails and magnet feel so smooth,

They are hard

The nails are twisty with one line down.

The magnet is like when your tongue gets stuck to an icy pole.

When the nail and magnet are so close together they go “SNAP”.

Nails and magnets do go together, because they get stuck.



By  CJ, Colfax Community Network


The sunglasses are black and shiny.

It has nice glass

to help so that the sun will

not get in your eyes.

When you put on your

sunglasses the sun hurts

the glasses and not your eyes.

“See I can stay in this light for hours.”

Sunglasses can make a good disguise –

Even makes you look like a spy.



By Olivia, Colfax Community Network


You look like Betty Boop

You look like you are dancing to jazz all day long in the light

Your shoes are so red I can see them at night

So I follow them

There you are you and you have red high heels I hear clapping.

You come home and I see you coming down the street.

This is the beautiful legs!


By Danielle, Colfax Community Network


I like to call you rainbow fish.

You have got beautiful eyes.

I call you rainbow fish because you have different colors in your tail.

You have a wiggly tail.

You shake it, shake it, shake it.

You look like a pen.

You have got beautiful colors.

You have got a happy face.

And I like that happy face.



By Danielle


You can move your tail.

You have black brown spots.

You wiggle your tail.

I see you swimming in the night.

I asked him if he had any friends.

And he said he did not have friends and he is lonely.



By 3, Colfax Community Network


My birthday is May 2nd

You better give me a present,

And a cake, don’t be late,

Face it, just don’t be late.

My birthday is today.

The fun and games will start.

Come join me on May 2nd.

Or face it, I’ll fart.

My birthday is over,

I hope you had some fun.

I mean a lot,

Come next year, or face it

I will bite off your ear and fart.



By Hannah, Colfax Community Network


Decorations cakes

Games and fun

Today’s my birthday

For everyone

Even through I got so

Selfish when I come

To presents

I might hunt you

Down and

Eat you for breakfast

Happy happy birthday

Which was today, even though

It past last year

I still want some yummy cake.



By Theresa, Colfax Community Network


In the basement cheetah girls lick

Strawberry cream.

Spiders crawls in

Humming a scary tune.

Loud and mean

Loud and mean


It makes me scream.

Ice cream falls

And spider flees.