Poetry, Teaching

A few lines composed during state standardized testing

Their heads are bowed
in suspended animation
or it could be silent prayer.
There’s a good chance
it’s a little of both.
Bodies hunch over,
shoulders thrust forward,
shielding their fragile flame
from the storm of data disaggregation.
An uncomfortable silence
stretches on into the abyss of
“Thou shalt not write outside the box”
and flecks of pink eraser.

All this a mockery
to the life of individuality,
the promise of self exploration,
that previously filled the halls.
My students –
knowing and yet not knowing.
A horrible amalgamation of
imposed requirement and Schrodinger.

These momentary glimpses
at the normalizing of standardization
and erasure of student identity
makes me want to rip down the sheets of paper
I used to blanket their work on the walls
and throw a ticker-tape parade
with the shredded test books
as we celebrate a return to creativity.

Featured Image: Pixabay – “Desks” by macco0514 (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Teaching, Unbound

Nature Walk

I went on a nature walk with my creative writing students a few weeks ago.  A week of lazy afternoon suns had warmed up the little bit of winter we received here in Texas, and Spring was vividly pulsing through the air.  The Texas mountain laurel had just put on their blooms, and the smell of grape kool-aid made me light-headed as we walked the trail behind our school.

We had begun to study haikus, and it seemed the perfect day to experience the birth that nature gives to writing.  After our brief repose, we came back and wrote haikus about things we noticed the world was saying to us.  It has been almost a month since then, and our work with haikus has undoubtedly improved.  Here are a couple I wrote on that first day:

Mister Butterfly,
what are you doing here, sir?
Your flowers sleep still.

Breathing quiet life
like frozen pond lilies do –
Silence calls to me.

In response to Daily Prompt: Vivid
Feature Image: Pixabay – “Walking” by PublicDomainArchive (CC0 Public Domain)
Musings, Poetry, Unbound

Antiseptic

This new antiseptic aesthetic
has erased the trappings
of what it means to be human,
slandering the gamut
of emotions and experiences
which define our very existence.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about when my fingers flew over the keys and the words above poured forth.  Sitting here, now 15 minutes later, there are no other words bubbling up.  Truthfully, it wouldn’t matter if the words that came next moved the mountainous foundations of the hardest hearts.  They would be empty because I am deflated.

This is how I feel – antiseptic.  Stripped bare of all the fierceness of my human frailty.  That in a society that spends its good names in service of some “money knows best” dais of superiority, there is no room left to feel anything else.  It just hurts too damn much.  The words, at least for today, are in short supply.

In response to Daily Prompt: Aesthetic
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Depression” by Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Final Page

Someday,
when this final book is done,
I’ll slip it back on the shelf.
A light shifting of dust
will plume into the air
becoming suncatchers
as they settle,
and I,
knowing this arduous task is complete,
will settle back on the divan
like the soft shake
of memories from books past.
There is a contented understanding
this moment will come to pass,
and I welcome it
with the knowing smile
of an old friend.

In response to Daily Prompt: Someday
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Someday” by voltamax (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Fleeting Moments

Life is made up of fleeting moments
like the click, click, click
of a slide show switching
from one frame to the next.
Catch them and hold onto them.
But not too tightly!
Be more like a child –
peeking between thumbs
of their cupped hands
at the blink, blink, blink
of a lightning bug
before the light goes out forever.

Featured image: Pixabay – “Fireflies” by RondellMelling (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Lighthouse

There is a stillness
in the moment before
the ocean crashes
upon the rocky shore.
Here amongst this apex of peace –
the clichéd calm before the storm –
is where I see you the clearest.
Who you were.
Who you are.
Who you will be.
And I know,
looking into the depth’s embrace,
that there will be no return.
That the only safe harbor
is your lighthouse
beckoning me to you.

In response to Daily Prompt: Calm
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Lighthouse” by Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)