“How Does Life Live?”

Our new creative writing class watched the video “poem” found here, a mini-documentary by Kelly O’Brien. We wrote answers to some of the questions asked by O’Brien’s daughter and we wrote our own question poems. Below are some of our efforts.

My answer to “Can girls be robots?”:

Girls CAN be robots because girls can be anything they want to be. They can be scientists and astronauts and dancers and doctors and teachers and writers and, yes, robots. Girls can even be combinations of these: You can be a dancing robot or an astronaut robot or a dancing astronaut. We can all be more than one thing. We can choose who to be; we can choose to be versions of ourselves.

But boys are often robots because they don’t think they have a choice. They think they cannot show emotions or other boys (and some girls) will make fun of them. They think they can only love facts and not people. They think because they are boys they must not cry or be silly or be sad or be quiet. They think they have to be robots even when they want so badly to choose to be human. They don’t think they can be that version of themselves.

So, yes, girls can robots, but they should never only be robots. Because none of us should only be robots.

Emersyn’s answer to “Why don’t worms have faces?”:

For all we know, worms could have a face. Just because it doesn’t like mine or yours, that doesn’t mean they don’t have one. All we know about faces is what we can see ourselves and what we already have. We as people think that if it’s not like us then it’s not there at all. So our face could be completely different from the face of a worm but that doesn’t stop the worm from having a face. Worms can have anything they want to have and who are we to stop them? We can’t just collectively decide they don’t have a face just because it’s not exactly like ours or what we know a face to look like.

Joe’s answer to “Why do you pick a flower and it dies?”:

Sometimes we want to keep pretty things, like flowers. When we take them from where they are growing, they will stay pretty for a while, but soon they die. There are some things that we can’t keep forever, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t admire them. When you leave a flower in the ground instead of picking it, it keeps growing and gets even prettier. So sometimes it’s better to leave something where it belongs, even if it means you don’t get to keep it. That way, you can remember how pretty it was, and even come back to see how it’s grown, and that can be even better than picking it.

Ben’s answer to “Why does a heart beat?”:

A: Well, our heart beats because it wants to keep us alive. No matter what we eat or what we do, what we choose or what we think, our heart will keep thumping for as long as we live. We don’t have a choice.
Now, why does it want to keep us alive? Some people believe there’s something it wants them to achieve and once when you do it’ll slow down and rest for a bit. Others think there’s something or someone they need to protect, that as long as there is any threat to anything they care about their heart will keep them alive until the danger has passed. I, however, think the heart only beats because it’s afraid. It’s afraid of what’ll happen when it stops.
I suppose if that is true, then we shouldn’t call it “our” heart. We don’t own it, we don’t control it, and it doesn’t control us. Who you are and what you want are completely separate of what a heart is and what it wants. Having both a purpose and a heart are necessary to keeping you alive, sure, but don’t ever try to confuse the two. Your heart will still beat no matter what dream you decide to follow. It’ll only end when you do.
That doesn’t mean the two of you can’t get along, however. If you try your best to keep your heart healthy by exercising and eating your fruits and vegetables, then it’ll try its best to keep you alive for as long as it can. Your heart will have what it wants, and you’ll have enough time to think about or even achieve what you want.
So, why does a heart beat? It beats because it wants to live. Now before I go I would like to ask you a question. No, it’s not one you have to answer now, but it is one I want you to think about. What will you beat for?

Vanessa’s answer to “Why doesn’t everyone know me?”:

When we are small and young like you, our whole family knows us. Mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles. They know everything about you. They tell stories about you to their friends and then more people know you. The world is filled with billions and billions of people. You are just one of those billions of people. You have to make something of yourself. Nobody is known by everyone. There are some people who don’t know you and never will because in this really big world, we are just little people. Think of a beach full of sand. If you pick up a little speck of sand, that is us. When you put it back on the ground, that’s what we are like compared to people in the world. There are people down the street that you may never know, but one day they might know who you are. For people to know you, you have to put yourself out there and make yourself memorable. Being memorable doesn’t mean going famous for playing a sport or making a lot of money. Being memorable can mean making a change to the world, or doing something that you know can help other people. Sometimes it’s good to not be known by everyone. It can save yourself the struggle of being judged.

Bella’s Question Poem:

Why do you love me?

How big is 100?

Why can’t animals talk?

Why can’t I fly?

How come I like chocolate?

Why do birds eat worms?

Do bugs have feelings?

Why do we have to eat food?

How come I can’t have ice cream for breakfast?

What happens if the world stops?

Why did you smile?

Can you dance with me?

Why are you crying?

Why is she my friend?

What does love mean?

What is this song?

Why do we have to be nice?

Will you ever stop loving me?

What happens when our heart stops?

Can I live forever?

Why does food taste different?

Why is blue called blue?

How do mermaids breathe underwater?

What would you still want me if I looked different?

Are you okay mom?

Can we get a dog?

How many stars are there?

Why can’t we touch the sky?

What is her name?

How many people are there?

Why is he smoking?

What is time?

Why is her hair long?

Does she know me?

Why can I see myself in the mirror?

Where do we go when we die?


Dalton’s Question Poem:

Children are questions.

Every sentence they utter is

a question itself or

just down right questionable.

Who owns Earth?

What kind of tree is that?

Where do babies come from?

When do I get to be the mom?

Why can’t we eat candy every day?

How come a bird can fly and I can’t?

They are a sponge, wanting to absorb 

Every. Last. Drop.

How come you have a beard and I don’t?

Why does everyone walk on two feet?

When can we bake cookies?

Where did the sun go?

What do dogs say?

Who is God?

The questions seem to come from thin air. 

But then, one day it 


They are no longer askings questions

But rather you:

How did they grow up so fast?

Why didn’t you stop them?

When did they grow-up?

Where did the time go?

What do you do now?

Who are they?

Who am I?


Emma P.’s Question Poem:

Answers Wanted

Moms and dads are supposed 

to know the questions we

can not possibly begin to answer as kids:

Why do people die?

Where did I come from?

Why do I have to go to school?

Some are simple to answer,

some are not as simple:

When you die, who will I live with?

Why are you on your phone?

Why are some people so mean?

73 questions a day

a curious child asks,

hoping and hoping that this time,

they will get an answer that they understand.


what about the child 

whose questions

are never answered?


Brooke’s Question Poem:


why is grass green?

why is the sky blue?

where do babies come from?

why are people mean?

where did grandpa go?

why do cats meow?

why does daddy live with grandma now?

why do people go to jail?

how many butterflies are in the world?

what are drugs?

why do we call water “water”?

why does Alicia have no hair?

what are those pills?

can i be a princess?

why are you sad?

am i gonna be beautiful?

what is life?

how does life live?

Truths Google Can’t Provide

Students in my new literature elective and I read the poem “Questions” by Rachel Richardson this week. You can (and should) read Richardson’s original poem here: “Questions”

We then crafted our own versions of “Questions,” using different Google Search questions and different truths. I’m posting mine first, as I am thrilled to be writing alongside my students in this class. Then you’ll find student versions (from those who granted permission to share).

If there’s one true thing, it’s that
Google will make money off us no matter what.
If we want to know
the best backpack for back-to-school
(as it seems we do)
the best morning routine for school
(as it seems we do)
what hairstyle is on trend:
the monster is ready for its feeding.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
is a line by William Butler Yeats, and
many in Wyoming have asked, apparently,
How to kiss. Also
In California, why do dogs poop?
Who will remember me when I’m gone
May be up there, generating ad revenue, but not
As high as why do I sweat so much,
Or why do people lie.
How long will my name generate results
And will anyone
Bother to click on them even so.
Google will return with its innumerable
Grains of sand numerated:
How to say goodbye,
What to eat for dinner,
What is my astrological sign,
Why do we worry,
Am I gone forever, never to come back.

Haley’s “Questions”:

If there is one true thing, it’s that

Google will make money off us no matter what.

If we want to know

answers to life’s most morbid questions.

Like why do we die?

When will I die?

What’s happening to the U.S.?

Or maybe you don’t like morbid things?

So here you are four A.M. googling

Is Elon Musk single?

Is Brendon Urie lonely?

Or do penguins have knees?

Here we are distracting ourselves.

Time after time we stay up till sunrise and avoid

Our real problems. The messes we’ve made.

We’re distracting ourselves with questions like if the

last remaining member of Panic at The Disco is lonely.

The man’s worth eight million dollars

odds are he has friends.

Maybe one night that we’ve been up for 12 hours straight

We’ll all collectively open google and search

Who am I?

What am I doing with my life?

What are we doing here?

How do I fix things?

Maybe then we will truly break the internet.


Carter’s “Mostly Stolen Google Poem”:


If there’s one true thing

It’s that Google will make money off us no matter what.

If we want to know

What the most popular book in America is

(as it seems we do)

What the most popular TV show in the world is

(as it seems we do)

What is the population of the Earth:

The engine is ready for our desire

To be or not to be: that is the question,

Is a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and

Many have asked, apparently,

Why did I get married. Also

How to make money online. Am I pretty

May be up there, generating

High cost-per-click, but not

As high as how to lose weight,

What time is 1 AM PT in my region.

So many things I wanted to ask you,

Now that you’re gone, and your texts

Bounce back to me

Undeliverable. Praise to

The goddess of the internet search, who returns

With her basket of grain,

67,000 helpful suggestions

To everything we request:

How to play Fortnite,

What to do in a power outage,

How old is the Queen,

How to screenshot on Mac,

What Friends character am I,

Why do we yawn,

Where are you now, come back


Taylor’s “Questions”:

If there’s one true thing, it’s that

Google will make money off us no matter what.

If we want to know

How Tom Petty passed away or his final years of age

(as it seems we do)

How fidget spinners came to be and gone

(as it seems we do)

How much destruction Irma caused fellow humans:

To a site we trust, that is now our new superhuman.

Questions line up at the door, scurrying for an answer

To every inquiry from WebMD saying you have cancer.

Not every site is trustworthy, but still we proceed,

Even if the website is just full of tumbleweeds.

Yet, with every page we open and close,

Google is finding ways to make more money,

I suppose.

Within .46 seconds, Google is able to define itself,

Within .46 seconds, I can’t even find myself.

You treat the popular search engine like an old friend,

You still ask and can’t quite apprehend,

Why you still don’t have a girlfriend.

Face to face contact is not apart of today’s trends,

Because, at least you know, in the end

Google will still be your “friend”.

He is not a fake person, just not authentic,

Otherwise, you may be experiencing a hallucinogenic.

But with everything we request from a soulless

Search engine,

We still ask questions beyond our minds retention:

What is the function of a rubber duck,

How old is Donald Trump,

Is it going to rain today,

What is your name,

I don’t know,

It’s all the same.


Klaire’s “Questions”:

If there’s one true thing, it’s that

Google will make money off us no matter what.

If we want to know

who won the Super Bowl in 2015

who won the Mayweather vs McGregor fight,

Google is there to tell us.

What is the weather going to be like tomorrow afternoon

Rain or Shine?

how many windmills are in Iowa

how to play Sims,

Why did you leave me? Where did you go?

how to use a waffle iron

what time is it in Florida.

There’s so many questions

I need you to answer.

Where’s a good place in the area for a picnic?

Praise to

the goddess of the internet search, who returns

with all the answers I need.

Where was Adam Sandler on Tuesday?

Who will Odell Beckham be playing for this year?

Why are there clouds in the sky?

Please come back, will you come home?


Sadie’s “Questions”:


If there’s one true thing, it’s that

Google will make money off us no matter what.

If we want to know

How many wins Ninja has in Fortnite

(as it seems we do)

When the next episode of Roseanne airs

(as it seems we do)

What memes seem to be sweeping the nation right now:

Google is at the ready, waiting for our desired questions.

Wonder implies the desire to learn

Is a line by Aristotle, and

Many people have wondered even the most ridiculous,

In order to learn what they already don’t know.

Wonder leads to desire,

Desire can lead to greed.

What happens when we don’t find the answers we want?

Greed floods us, infects us until we finally find that answer,

Even if it’s completely wrong.

Google holds an apple full of poison,

Able to lead us away from what is right and to what is wrong.

Why fidget spinners became popular,

Why Fortnite is better than PUBG,

Why Hannah Baker committed suicide,

Why Pennywise stalks children for food.

All these questions have answers, but what we find

May not satisfy our greed and desire to know,

Not like opinions do.