“If There Were No Internet” by Đán Trương

In celebrating poetry, a class project for Đán, the goal was for students to respond to poetry through movement, speech, or art to further their understanding. Students had to share the poem they had written in a creative way such as drawing a poster, acting it out, or singing it.

Sounded like a fun project, but Đán kept procrastinating. He came up with the concept, but he didn’t ask for help to execute it. Even though the project was due today, he had nothing over the weekend. I had to email his teacher to ask for the project requirements.

On Friday night, my wife made him sit at the table and write down everything before he could go to bed. She had to sit next to him to help him generate ideas. He protested, but wrote down the lines. Saturday morning, I helped him put together his lines into a poem even though I have no clue about poetry. He came up with the title: “If There Were No Internet.” Here’s the final poem by Đán Trương:

If there were no internet,
I would be bored to death.
I would fall down in bed.

If there were no internet,
I would stare at my Windows.
All I would see is my own shadows.

Because there was no internet
for me to play video games,
my brain burst into flames.

Because there was no internet,
I went to the skate park
and dropped into the bowl
like drowning in my soul.
And I didn’t stop skating until the sky turned dark.

One of the requirements was to use at least three forms of figurative language. He came up with three, “bored to death,” “stare at my Windows,” and “my brain burst into flames.” I helped him with the fourth one, “drowning in my soul.”

After helping him finish his poem, I went to Michael’s to pick up some posters for him to write and to draw. He drew an internet Wifi with a red strike, the Windows logo, his brain burst into flames, and a skatepark with him dropping into the bowl.

We practiced a few rounds of presentation. I kept reminding him to slow down, to speak clearly, and to engage with his audience. I hope he will do well. I am very proud of his work, which took the three of us to do.