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
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


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


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?

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

#94: The Poem

fire and ice by robert frost

Photo by Ayat Zaheer on

I want to talk about my style of writing poetry recently, and how it’s developed over time. It’s changed in countless ways in the time since I last wrote a serious poem about life.

When I first started writing poetry, I was a complete failure. Too much dry emotion, too many verbose phrases and cliche idioms used to describe simple things in what seemed like an artsy way. It’s embarrassing to look back on my earlier writing, even some of the writing you could find on this blog if you dig deep enough, knowing that I thought it was worth publishing at some point in my life. I leave it up because it represents a stage of my progression as a writer, not that I am proud of them or anything. I feel that I owe myself to keep those poems up, if anything to show that I’m not this type of writer any more. It helps me draw contrasts between my current writing and previous types.

Nowadays, my writing is a bit different. I take time, I read over my words, I pay attention to line breaks and how the words sound as they are read aloud. I pay attention to syntax and diction and grammar and how they can help us manipulate meaning in creative writing. I care about things I didn’t even know about previously. I try to pay attention to them now, as a way of improving my craft.

At my job, I work as a reading specialist and literacy coach. This allows me to listen in on countless conversations between teachers, students, and the like. I like to transcribe some of them and turn them into poetry, using their words without their names or anything like that attached. I try to keep things anonymous so that they don’t interfere with each other.


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
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.

Coloring in School

Picking up pencils,
colored pencils,
crayons and pens,
put them in with
the right colors,


is a very soothing
isn’t it?

Worry about the
territories later,
just the states now,
just color between
the lines
finish the rest
for homework,
or during study skills
we’ll be finishing
the rest of
the movie

F Word

Crumpled up piece of paper
found in the trash between
lunch periods,
between gum-stained homework
and block erasers
an outline of a small hand,
all five fingers, one extended
further upwards than
the others,
and a message in all caps,
scratched out in pencil,
still legible despite this
it says, “Mr. D” and then
trails off, landing
somewhere indistinct and disgusting
and vulgar and depressing
and most of all, sad,
to think someone thought this
up, put it into reality, and
threw it out, unable to face
the consequences of
sharing it in person,
face to face,
I would’ve cried if that
had happened.
I would’ve

Letter to ____

No, not
the end of your world
or theirs;
that’s a misconception,
wildly untrue.

The end is when
you reach for something
no longer alive, and
in the reflection of
their eyes you
see that death, its
mystical suspicion and
brilliance, is

The end is when you
reach and reach and
nothing seems to break.

That, that
there is no coming back,
that this decision is fatal,
that nothing exists afterwards
but the left behind
and that legacy will always
be judged by its last moments.

You are a harbinger, and
like diseases spread
through nations,
you cover the aching
sensations of the world
with an unfixable confirmation
of its most depressing
your choice is final
and its ripples unfurl
forever against the
world’s best waves

(Intro) I love audiences

I love audiences when they’re not paying attention
to me; if the ceiling is more interesting then
Carry on, Mr.Ceiling, please do.
You have funnier stories, clearer rhetoric,
You’re more captivating than my boring ideas.
Though I’ll continue talking because I love audiences, even
when they’re staring me down waiting for
something witty or intelligent to escape me.
But it won’t come.
At least, not today. I’m not in the mood.
I love crowds because I can duck my head,
Hold my backpack tightly and pretend that
the scores of onlookers are looking at the
Ceiling instead. Or their phones. On Facebook.
Pay attention, there. I love you all.
Pay attention, here. I hate you all.
Daydream, please, think of transient things.
Stream of consciousness, for a moment:
Tell me what you see, young and old
Tell me what’s going on. I hate it.
But I love audiences.