Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back to school




Between me on my knees
demonstrating the "duck and tuck" position
in case we should hear
                                                      TORNADO EVACUATION

in the still small voice that crackles out the speaker
of the intercom, like a candy wrapper making love
to a foghorn
                      which is a misnomer
                      considering we are to stay where we are

& holding hands
is the only acceptable form of PDA

sits an empty desk that contains all the things I should say
but the state dictates I don't

like when you choose to fuck someone on the tile floor
of the hall in building one, halfway from History to French,
after crawling through the window you left half latched

do it for the right reason

not for love,
because love never settles for second best
or the paths a thousand feet walked just hours earlier,

And when your mom asks you to sell yourself for $20
giving blowjobs on the bus, tell her
"Get your ass off the couch & find your own job"

These things are never on the syllabus,
don't fit English or Science, and would definitely be Social Studies
if that were not a bunch of dead guys that already tried
leaving behind Declarations and blueprints for a nation
that has raised more bastard children
than flags to half mast

Where is the math that explains that when you are drunk,
if you swan dive off the back of your pick up truck
into three feet of water it will break your neck,

Drowning is a violent surrender you can see the surface of
but not touch, there is no art in the blue blanket
they wrap your body
                                    & all the water running out
is an evacuation, there is no misnomer
I am tired of burying children

not from AK-47s in lands we invade to bring freedom,
but because of what we never taught them,

Jesus spoke of leaving the flock to find the one lamb,
but there are places I can not follow
                                                      this empty desk,
belonged to a boy,
he played basketball,
sat in the second row of my geometry class,
passed by the skin of his teeth, now cold to the touch,
he made me laugh like the sun was rising backward,
and is now a moment of silence

deeper than the space between stars,
than when his voice turned two years back.
Don't tell me he is in a better place.
There is not here, and I can not hear,
I am deaf to

procedures that keep us safe,
but sacrifice lives.

We can not stay where we are.
                    
Everyone,
take out your notebooks,
it's time to start class.


30 comments:

  1. You have shown us the underside of going back to school, the things not often talked about, often not known or seen. The story of the boy from geometry class - well, that one saddens me...and we must find ways to save young men / women like this. And, we really are not aware of what kids encounter at home, the mother on the couch, etc. We take them where they are when they walk into the classroom and hope.......

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  2. life has changed some for kids but when you look back there was always an empty desk for one reason or another, the most disturbing thing is the newness of parents pimping out their children so they can get a grandchild to keep on the dole. Shit happens man, what is the difference between the 3 year old who caught one in the face a block away and the 27 year old who caught one in the head a block in the other direction? Only the caliber of the gun. Eventually you get hard to it and it becomes an exercise in awareness, nothing much more.

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  3. It would be so hard to speak about them.. and maybe adults are not allowed..so sad when children can't grow up normal... On the radio today there was a story about a 12year old girl that where groomed and forced into accepting rape and torture... finally she decided to speak, and hopefully the predator will get his punishment... It's never the fault of the child, but still so hard if we cannot talk about it..

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  4. These harsh realities are everywhere in the world. When will all this end, when will the society change for better?

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  5. "These things are never on the syllabus,
    don't fit English or Science, and would definitely be Social Studies" - except it is not because we cannot face the reality of the world we have created for those kids or which we have allowed to come into being. Talk about a broken world!

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  6. Wow - hard realism! Brilliantly written.

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  7. This is a shocking piece, this stuff needs to be talked about. Opened my eyes, broke my heart, and kicked me in the teeth. Great job X!

    mindlovemisery

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  8. will reality be always sad and devastating?...it's a sad world where kids suffer ...everywhere the same story..."We can not stay where we are.".....

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  9. ~ school days (school daze) as only a poet teacher might recount, stellar.

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  10. Wow. this is a powerful hit to the heart - the sad reality of these teens' lives, the mother on the couch, the things we are not allowed to say - the real learning that might happen if teachers were allowed to talk about that empty desk. I love the lines about how he made you laugh like the sun was rising backwards. It is amazing most kids get out of childhood alive. How heavy your heart must get, caring about them as you do. "I am tired of burying children." Yes.

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  11. Yheeeze man! What a ride!! Exhilarating and honest. Bravo! for speaking up.

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  12. Geez, this ripped me apart. How do you survive, eating so much raw emotion, day after day. This makes me want to take all these kids in my arms and protect them from so many threats. Are they totally inured to what they see happening to their classmates? Dang tough stuff.

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  13. I can tell you wrote this from your heart X ~ I admire your perspective from wanting to teach them all the things not the syllabus, to wanting to save them ~ The part of the empty desk moved me ~

    And these ending lines are superb:

    I am deaf to

    procedures that keep us safe,
    but sacrifice lives.

    We can not stay where we are.

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  14. there are def. things that we need to teach our kids but there's no space for them in the official schedule and that makes me sad and angry at once. - sometimes we're maybe too scared to teach the really important things as well and then there's a too late and another kid buried - breaks my heart..

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  15. That was shocking, heartbreaking, unsentimental and clear-eyed. Loved it (once I recovered my breath the sadness) - those last 7 lines in particular are so, so well done!

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  16. At least these days, school books are not written by the politicians in power. In addition, kids have more access to media topics, so they can be, should be more aware of the social issues, but are growing up way to fast, with technology accelerating the process. A powerful piece of poetry, that churns up emotions, ire, & gut thrashing. I like the line /like a candy wrapper making love/to a fog horn/.

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  17. Very revolting piece Bri - and there is no end to learning - I like the strength of your voice...

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  18. Powerful and devastating. Thankful they have you.....

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  19. Your poem is so powerful and brilliantly driven.

    The use of your metaphors and generalization are quite genius and you sir X speak from the heart.

    Bravo! Two-thumbs way up!

    P.S New poem...stop by my page: The title of my poem is called: This robot dreams inside a plastic soul. Its a sci-fi poem...

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  20. Very powerful and thought provoking.

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  21. dang tore my heart with the boy now being a moment of silence...weeping..so many unnecessary causalities..who will teach them the things not taught in a book or on an i-phone.

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  22. The ugly side of anti-social studies...too much for teachers to handle damage control.

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  23. Truly sad the state does not allow
    school.. to teach lessons of
    humanity.. where 'they'
    are no longer teaching
    those lessons at
    home.. and nah..
    not just a lower
    socio-economic
    thingy.. some
    times the
    highest
    classes
    are completely
    disconnected
    from humanity
    AS those AT
    highest
    levels
    determining
    curriculum
    of
    Human
    101..:)

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  24. This cut me through my heart! I can feel your anger and frustration at the System. No matter what, it feels like nobody will listen. A boy dies but life goes on... the empty desk symbolises so much pain. This came from your heart to mine.

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  25. This cut me through my heart! I can feel your anger and frustration at the System. No matter what, it feels like nobody will listen. A boy dies but life goes on... the empty desk symbolises so much pain. This came from your heart to mine.

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  26. Heartbreaking..and to think this goes on everyday, somewhere! I am in awe of your writing because it is full of clear images yet succinct in the narration. There is a beauty in it hard to define...and the empty desks reminded me of the 'empty tables' in Les Miserables...the bitter reality.

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  27. I think it's amazing how happy you are right now --- being back at school with your kids --- given that you have ALL THIS to contend with when you're there. You still manage to be a great teacher, and more importantly, you make learning fun and you provide at least one stable adult in the lives of so many of these kids. You almost make me want to be a teacher. Almost.

    Oh wait. I am. :P But there's only one in my class, and I don't have to follow many rules. So I think I have it a bit easier than you.

    "Where is the math that explains that when you are drunk,
    if you swan dive off the back of your pick up truck
    into three feet of water it will break your neck,

    Drowning is a violent surrender you can see the surface of
    but not touch, there is no art in the blue blanket"

    Today, this is my favorite section. And yes, there is a "no art" in ... everything. It's the only way you'll ever have their respect, and without that, what's the point?

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  28. it does make one wonder what happened to everyone... youth had so many promises

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  29. A very powerful piece.
    It starts from birth....zero to two, being the most significant window.

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  30. Oof... I can't imagine how hard it must be to see these things every day, and essentially have your hands tied behind your back. Too much heartbreak, right up in your face, too much darkness and not enough light. I can only hope that the good moments, when they come, help make up for it a little.
    This is such a powerful piece, I feel it needs to be read several times.

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