The True Box of Life

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Kofi Bobby Hickman was an artist in residence in Jennifer Bangoura’s writing class at Gordon Parks High School. The following piece was compiled from the writing of students in that class and is formatted to use as a group performance or dramatic reading. Kofi was instrumental in the feeding of these hungry young minds.

KENDRICK:

Have you ever had a
Snake in your life?
Have you ever had a
Snake in your grass?

CINDY: Kofi Bobby Hickman taught us about the three snakes of life: the cobra snake—it lures you in; the rattlesnake—it warns you; and the garter snake—it bites you without warning.

DWIGHT: We can relate snakes to our situations in life. . . . In life we take interest in beautiful things like a cobra. The cobra’s scales reflect and shimmer in the light that might draw us closer to admire. We are blinded by the cobra’s beauty so much so that we don’t notice the fangs that have sunk into our lives.

Open your eyes to true beauty, but be aware of the traps of life. Like the cobra, the python can catch you by surprise. It might seem harmless at first, but when you unknowingly let the python get a start, wrapping you up as its prey, just like in life, it’s hard to untangle the mess we make.

LUIS: The cobra is two faced. It’s a snake that gets your attention, puts on a show. When it has a chance, however, it will bite and spit venom—meaning stab you in the back. In my perspective, the cobra seems to be friendly, but his goal is to bite. It lures you in until it has a chance to attack. I’m comparing the cobra to real life and people.

TAYLOR: We have all had situations where we find out that people who say they are our friends are not. The rattlesnake warns you about this. I used to have a friend; we were great friends, but she started a rumor about me. I was in middle school, and because of that I was dumb and fought her. Well, actually, we didn’t really fight because our teachers came and talked to us about the situation. When I think of it now, it was really immature. I should not have trusted her so easily. The warning signs were right there and I was blind to them.

RHODA: Have you ever been trapped inside of a box? This box I speak of happens to be no ordinary box. The box I refer to is a true box of life. What snakes are in your life? But not physical snakes,all right?

CINDY: Sometimes I feel as if I’m always stuck in a box, but that’s only because I think of my situation in a negative way, and the invisible box is me. Kofi made me think critically about the situation I was in, my relationships with certain people, school, and how I feel fatherless.

ANTHONY: An everyday situation that Kofi helped me with is watching out for the snakes in my life. Letting me know there is always a way out of a bad situation—if you think outside the box—has also been helpful. It’s interesting how mean and evil people take on certain characteristics such as that of a reptile. The snakes in life are the cobras and the rattlesnakes. They’ll either let you know they will mess you up or they will lure you into their world
unexpectedly.

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