In my seventh grade class, we have spent most of February covering Civil Rights and reading informational texts that taught us about the values and historical figures that helped propel the Civil Rights movement. As you would probably guess, we read Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. As a response to this, I asked my students to write a poem that began with “I have a dream…” where they modeled it after King’s speech and used either an AABB or an ABAB rhyme scheme.
Now, seventh grade students obviously do not have the sense of integrity and motivation to dream as big as MLK(J?) did. However, most of the students’ poems addressed a major issue that they felt the need to bring attention to. Some students wrote about cancer, animal abuse, providing homes for homeless people, and even about how they wished schools had no bullying. All of these are very heartfelt and noble causes.
However, my favorite poem was quite different. This poem came from a student who is not usually one to actively participate, so I was excited to see his hand go up first when I asked for volunteers to read their poem. I was happy to hear from a kid who I do not often hear from, and happy he got a chance to show the class something he was proud of. His poem was not about the kind of cause that philanthropists around the world are already working toward fixing, but it was an issue he felt was important nonetheless. What happened next was nothing short of brilliant. The student’s poem was titled “Hot Cheetos” and is published in its entirety below.
I have a dream that hot Cheetos would be hotter.
If they were hotter, I would have to drink a glass of water.
If they were hot, they would be better.
They haven’t made my mouth hot… like ever.
They need to add a lot more hot sauce.
Because a bag of those to me is like a car with no NOS.
I love hot Cheetos so bad.
If I don’t have some, I get really mad.
They are my favorite till I die.
If they ever stopped making them, I would probably cry.
So make them hotter and make them better.
Or God will make you have tornado weather.
Dr. King would be proud of you, Willie. Hopefully your “dream” comes true.