Paint

Distant humming, mechanical whirring,
a slight rumble and shake to the room;
The air is on, and I can feel it graze through
the hairs sticking up from my skin;
Computer screens, half awake, half asleep,
a beachside oasis wallpaper repeated
on every other monitor,
jutting rocks, a cavern of sand,
and it’s 1:46pm, to be exact;
Two more hours to go, until I am free to leave
and let my mind roam mindlessly elsewhere
and at another time;

Remember school?
Remember what it was like when they finally
turned on the AC, and the entire building
shifted
in place?
Remember how it felt when walking into a room,
a room you knew before, but now with
added comfort and luxury?
A room that once made you sweat until your
pits could drain enough water to fill a bucket?
A room that once made you cry tears of
complete exhaustion, from bullying or
heat or whatever else existed outside the mind?

Yeah, that’s it.

Paint a picture without photos

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End

This is the end, he said,
While wiping away smiles
From his brow, his face
So limitless and free
The summer to come
No clue where he’ll land
Come autumn or winter or
Next summer

This is the end, he said,
For now at least,
Until a few months have passed
And time takes its heavy toll
On whatever remains
Come August, September, October
The months and years down the line

This is the end, he said,
and I’m ready for what’s next

Empathy

Can you smell
if your eyes are blurred?

Can you eat
if your nose is stuffed?

Can you hear
if your hands are cold?

Can you feel
if your mouth is closed?

Can you see
if your ears are clogged?

Empathy, for a moment, please

It’s all we need

Shame

Teacher of the year,
teacher of the year
who deserves to be
teacher of the year?

Is it the newbie, struggling in
solitude, toiling on
lesson plans
on a Monday midnight,
pushed into submission
by fellow teachers and students alike,
ready to burst into flames
on a moment’s notice?

Or
the one who remains

I remember
students complaining about you,
I remember the stories they told me,
about your nitpicking on their handwriting
and grammar and diction and syntax,
I remember your advice,
“Just use teacherspayteachers,
it has everything you need,”
I remember designing whole units
for you to get credit for,
I remember you visiting my room
for advice on how to teach a certain passage,
I remember sitting in the bathroom
when you complained
with your chummy friends
about my bathroom habits,
I remember quitting,
and I remember your fake concern,
just so you could have another
juicy piece of gossip
to spread around the school

I remember it all,
teacher of the year

Test

Testing,
one… two… three…

Silence,
Everyone silent

This is a test,
remember

Take your test ticket,
sign in,
wait quietly;
don’t forget
to be quiet,
quiet as a bug,
motionless and easily
squished beneath
pressure

“How do Victor’s actions
develop the story’s theme?”

“Which detail from the text
best supports your answer?”

“How does this phrase contribute
to the text in paragraph 45?”

“Which of the following
best describes-”

“-best supports your answer to-”

“-contribute to the meaning of the-”

“-evidence provided most clearly in-”

“-Select THREE answers of-”

“-the central idea-”

“-the central idea-”

“-the central idea-”

Future

What’s out there?
Is there
anyone
else around?
Listen.

What to hope for,
what to dream for,
a mystery to me

Nothing on
the horizon,
the sun is all but
gone

Shambling from
town to town,
a forgetful husk
waits for
Fridays and Saturdays
at the expense of
his Mondays and Tuesdays

When the weekend
is all you have,
you wonder, is there
anything else?

Was there ever
anything else?

I forget.

Independent

Being independent means
being able to say
“No more,”
to friends who are toxic,
to family who act numb,
helpless, brainless,
leeches sapping all your
energy and good will,
giving nothing in return

But being independent means
not owing
anything
to
anyone
any more

Being independent means
refusing to visit on holidays,
refusing to acknowledge
until they learn their lesson

Being independent means
living freely
without obligation
to the past
and those who
still live there

It means being able to
decide who belongs in
your life and who doesn’t

It’s not easy saying no,
so why bother
saying anything at all?

What for?

Deformation

Now, you had an assessment
on Friday
and that helped me figure out
that a lot of you
have trouble understanding what
kinetic energy is all about

Science… is about
understanding
BIG concepts;
you have to practice, you have
to ask for help
if you’re confused,
you have to do your homework,
you have to study the vocabulary

It’s weird to drop cans of corn
down onto balls of clay, but
the clay being smashed is a
measurement of the object’s
kinetic energy,

We’re talking about
kinetic energy;
the deformation of the clay is
the measurement.

What does this mean exactly?
Danny, put your binder down.
If you’re passing notes,
you’ll be in for recess.

Yet Again

You see,
it isn’t easy
coming back from the
edge and surviving

Living to
tell more tales, to
die another day,
to give it all
another
shot

Yet again, those
thoughts return
like bees to
their hives,
ears ringing and
eyes bulging

Yet again, like
residual hatred,
like time itself
it can be delayed
but always finds
its way back
home

Before

School is like jail,
sad and dry and
they don’t hit you
just send you out
just make you
suffer math problems
make you do more
and more work,
at least in jail
they just yell at you,
that’s it,
they can’t hurt me
with words,
they say we learning
but I never learned
a thing here
no projects, no homework
just guards and aliens,
weird people like me
I looked at my skin
and knew I was home
I’ve been here before,
maybe one day
I’ll go back