Sedentary State of Mind

Walking home one afternoon,

I noticed she cared about my world.

She was always the center of

my attention,

a popular girl I was privileged

walking her home every afternoon,

climbing actual hills

winding paths

until our homes a block apart

appeared on the horizon,

indicating now my time

would wane

her goings to her world

mine to my own.

There was nothing sedentary in my world

when she might speak to my state of mind.


© Thom Amundsen  9/2021

First Days

There is a certain pull

a potential

a need to feel

that rotating wheel

of some significance

the quest, we guessed,

in first days

the moment of truth

perhaps

or better suggested

that moment when opportunity

strikes that initial fever pitch

~

Let’s hang on

gonna be a roller coaster

doesn’t mean you’ll fall off

just scare the hell out of you

scare the hell out of you,

unless

of course there’s always that

a choice, a recall, a desire,

passion

to keep those steps

moving forward on these, our

first days.


© Thom Amundsen 9/2021

Something About A Speaker

Remember standing in the rain

feeling the water dampen your cheeks

nose tickling from soft droplets

then your hand wet wiping it all away.

Suddenly then some literary mirage

asks you might reconsider that moment

was the asphalt wet

did your socks get soaked.

Perhaps instead in your picture window

you watched all the kids rain-soaked

dry inside while they stood at the stop

just watching an afternoon slip by

Puddles were left for later on

damp riders caught the bus home.


©️Thom Amundsen 10/2020

I Cried Tonight

seniors

photo collage – Lezlie Vermillion

 

While rains fell, I swam in the beauty of a summer shower,

the cloudy afternoon turning toward nature’s setting hour,

I think we all have our own conception of a romanticized storm

with its electrifying resonance, makes us each somehow conform.

 

This year has been a challenge to breathe, only in quiet we grieve.

Stale of a pandemic – a somber reminder of how isolate we believe

our lives would become in a manner of short-lived sordid silence.

We all stayed home together using a prescribed social distance

 

meant to keep alive, those whom we loved, could now only imagine.

We missed the dear lives we grew to know and watched a time taken

away in throes of mortality, the fear, the protective nature we live

only to suggest we are experiencing a historic timeline. We give

 

hope to the many children who walked inside the solace of a stage,

so many years did they play the roles whose time will never age.

I watched upon my seniors today, in pictures, experience in a way,

some tasking for ‘break a legs’ in a world asking survival each day.

 

Tears in my eyes as I live this constant reminder of a virtual  end,

careers, scripted lives, now faithful their realities eventually mend.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2020 – the year of the pandemic

Listening To The Trains

I was listening to the rain outside,

a steady rhythm of a soft spring shower

the whistle of a train nearby,

reminded me of a man I love so dear.

 

I have watched him grow his entire life

a boy to a young man, such happens overnight

I see pictures and memories and I want to cry

for when might I tell him how grateful am I.

 

I’d like to remind him of all the moments he believed

even when I was a puddle of self agony and grieved.

I want him to know that quite honestly every night

while the whistle of the train plays the rains so light.

 

I love him, I’m so proud I may call him my son.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

for Alex

Distance Learning

So, I imagined this happening,

the wave of the virus,

would shut us down,

remove our access to the classroom.

 

A part of me appreciated the break,

I could still with students,

have a dialogue in the distance,

never contemplated the reality.

 

Then the news,

the overbearing sentence

of every teacher, every student,

we were suddenly thrown a ball

 

and we missed, no one could grasp

the nature of our loss,

of their loss

of a world of we miss you.

 

Here we are now,

a beautiful day,

one would say,

grasp the sunlight’s rays

 

We are a positive group,

this humanity,

we will endure

like wars and 9/11.

 

Oh you will not rule us,

please COVID 19,

know we’d rather not assumptions,

we wish everyone to know you.

 

Wear a mask,

stay at home

wear a mask stay at home

we cannot deny your influence.

 

We will overcome the nature of this fear,

We must stay together, live our sphere.

Don’t Feel Sorry For A Teacher

I run an immediate risk with teaching colleagues with such a title caught in the eye of the storm that is COVID-19. Our lives and the students we teach are forever changed, anyone, anywhere in the world will be impacted more directly than indirectly by this virus. We will all have to adjust to the new normal until a medically healing vaccine will be discovered. I speak of teachers because in my world most of us still have our jobs, and before this pandemic, there have been history books written on the scrutiny of teachers and the lack of respect for all of their work in the classroom with ‘your’ children.

I would be remiss if I didn’t first speak of all of our civil servants, our police, our fire workers, our EMTs, our service workers, our medical teams who put themselves directly in line with the contagion. In addition many people have the opportunity to still work from their homes. We have become a necessarily adaptive society using our online social network at an alarming rate. So let’s get back to teachers shall we? Without discounting the incredible numbers of unemployed I want to speak of our opportunity as educators in this unique time.

A couple of years ago, in the district I teach we went one to one with technology. No one in their right mind imagined our current peril to be the reason. The planning committees across the world with research to back up their findings would suggest that students can go further with their learning using online resources. Our school district created a system of keeping academics in focus on what was once known as a snow day. The idea didn’t take the entire day of freedom from students at home, but it did offer a limited array of academic tools to keep students on track. This system was imagined to compensate four or five days of lost education in a winter bound region of the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the rules. Students need their education, they need to move to the next level. Students across the world need to be able to achieve a current level of education in order to hone theirs skills to live formative futures that lay ahead. Students in post-secondary also face the same challenge. For the sake of this writing, the focus in on elementary through high school, and primarily on senior classes whose graduation walk are now hanging by a thread. This does not even speak to the extracurriculars – athletics, fine arts, business, etc.

When this virus first began to impact education, we were told we would have a week and a half before our spring break to begin implementing tools to provide students distance-learning for the rest of the school year. It would appear we may not enter the classroom through graduation. I remember hearing a colleague one day suggest that maybe teachers will gain more respect now that parents are forced to stay home from their jobs in order to care for their children. I cannot imagine what parents who need to work and cannot are going through in respect to their children who are dependent upon their love, compassion and care in home. During our ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ mandate in nearly every state in the country, every country in the world, our children are left living uncertain and vulnerable times.

I personally don’t believe this gives teachers a better opportunity to gain respect. In fact, it increases our responsibility to move students forward. It demands that as a teacher we find a way to inspire and support students to continue moving to the next level of their education. The COVID-19 virus is a mandate on education, and we as teachers need to embrace this opportunity in the midst of crisis.

Now more than ever teachers cannot manifest the identity that allows the general public to believe we may take ownership in lesser stressed occupations than workers in many capacities across the country. Teachers need to step up and create online classrooms that will capture the imagination of students across the world. In the classroom, we as teachers are asked to provide students with a safe environment for learning and coping in a dynamic and fluid world. More than ever, as we reach into student homes we need the parents to feel confident their children are not being ignored and not being forced to move in rampant fashion into negative aspects of such remarkable free time in their lives.

As a teacher, we need to reach our students and not let them believe at an ever increasing and alarming level that we do not take stake in moving them forward and giving them the tools to continue to hone their academic skill set. As a teacher, we need to continue to be a student mentor. That is what we signed up for. That cannot change.

Be safe everyone – keep your distance – wear your masks – love each other.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2020

We Have Similar Skin

Watched him today

many eyes

would notice

a downcast security

my body my own my mind

thrown to the wolves

with one glance

back.

Watched her today

some certainty

might allow

a surrounding hypocrisy

unleash ugliness

for is it not he, she once,

he will wish

they might he know

she lives, he

Lives.

When all they ever wanted

a glance a love none flaunted.


©️ Thom Amundsen 2019

Another Steps In

Remember the word invaluable

its mystique left in its own mythological

persona, that feeling of worthiness

beyond the normalcy of our lives.

 

Remember we always believe,

seldom do we allow ourselves

to fail the resilient nature of

respecting the human condition.

 

Remember we tend to pretend

‘everything is alright’

‘we should get together soon’

while our facade takes us away.

 

Remember all the questions

that will arise

when one makes a choice

no one else can understand.

 

Remember the fascination we have

with living breathing smiling

human beings

remember we are all the same.

 

Remember to never take for granted

the actions of one have nothing to do

with you.

Living In An Ideal World

We have students across the country

reaching their final days,

the year of the senior

so many being asked to take that next step

that freedom of becoming official

that adult thing

prayed for, imagined, perhaps sacrificed

well before their time,

readiness isn’t always an option

unless

we decide for ourselves

not for each other.

 

There’s an idyllic wind out there

waiting to engage

that heart and soul

of a youth finding their groove

wishing only for happiness

outside of

what has been routine for some

dozen years

 

Now take the walk

enjoy the ride

let opportunity speak

to the wonder of your own

personal design

 

Ride the crest

walk the stage

you’ve earned your moment

be happy be staid

be yourself

become your wonderful

self.