Wanting Discovery

I am that person you see every day,

in a coffee shop – caprice with friends,

at the prom, nervous,

in every crowd shot of each rite of passage,

walking to school,

waiting nearby,

the one that popped out of a crowd with a smile,

genuine and as easily drawn to cry as allow laughter.

 

I am that young man, woman, person, entity, enigma, peer,

sad face, happy expression,

tumultuous personality drawn to the drama,

in knowing I am always questioning who I might be,

I am that one counting upon the moment,

when my world crashes,

crumbles, unravels, unwinds the very sustenance of sanity,

who knows you will be there to catch me,

comfort me, offer solace, provide direction, allow failure

to return to a successful rendezvous

with reality.

 

Because I know you care.

 

I am the child,

now the young adult filled with a vigor for pronouncement,

yes, it is my time, to cock, to strut the walk, to corral the essence of time,

with a wish to be recognized,

to be now, finally, in this moment, after years of fear and trepidation,

to be understood.

 

I am eighteen, seventeen, nineteen years old,

I am that question,

son, daughter, neighbor, friend,

Somali, Latina, American unrecognized, white kid down the block,

African-American, in all beauty, all encompassing,

I am that Asian, Russian, Icelandic, Austrian child,

I am that person – please, hold me, and guide me,

let me thrive.

 

I am that teenager, that might not yet realize,

howsoever society defines,

I am that Graduate.

When Thinking the Terrible Things

While our lives are thought to be fragile,

we count on those knowing moments,

when in a sudden sort of sardonic setting,

a cathartic challenge suggests we listen.

 

When ego is put aside, and humility speaks,

such valuable outcomes refresh our mind,

we with certainty begin to better understand,

that vulnerability is meant to make a stand.

 

Glance around the room and wonder the eyes,

what is personality, how do we surmise

the value of this persons gray reminders,

versus the notion of a youthful banter.

 

Where all walks contain a familiar gait,

Our definition of value placed upon a posture,

might the aftermath of judgment call callous

the quiet listener who stands lone in a river.

 

When thinking all of the terrible things,

we forget about those we call the other,

decide upon a direction without a bother,

quite the opposite really, despised clutter.

 

Perhaps if in a notion of sweet forgiveness

Might we all reflect upon love is goodness.

 

 

Propagandic Despair

I want to watch the news,

want to know, to understand, to speculate,

what is right, what is incomplete, what deceptive story

will lead me astray today, tonight, tomorrow, every way

I look for something new, some situation refreshing,

 

I want to watch the news,

I just can’t find the right ideas to concern myself with,

everything is optional, alternative, filled with a facade

of mainstream idiocy,

a propogandic nightmare,

teach me how to spell,

I can’t even count on the vocabulary being correct anymore.

 

I want to watch the news,

I want to see what’s happening rather than the constant shield

from reality, a spacial shape shifter,

we are all latching on to the movement,

the pendulum is rather static right now,

which way will it move?

 

I want to watch the blues,

because quite frankly that’s all that’s worth the news.

On Racism, Schools & Awareness

Whenever an act of racism occurs in my community, or in the world around me, I never know quite how to respond. My natural reaction is to be appalled and disappointed, then fear settles in, then uneasiness, followed by confusion. My gut tells me I want to figure out who to blame first, and then I want to understand how this impacts the people around me, specifically the students in my classroom.

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Being a high school teacher has its perks. We see immediately what is on a young child’s mind, whether positive or negative. When something so blatant happens that shakes the community, it is sometimes difficult to get a read on how the message is interpreted. What rolls off one’s back as minor might plant a seed of contention in another’s. There certainly always seems to be a level of response to the ignorance of the action, specifically in this case, the desecrating of school walls with epitaphs and racial hatred. The important message to recognize is that it is out there for people to respond to, whether consciously driven or designed by unintentional circumstances. It is difficult to imagine racial epitaphs to be accidental; however, the motivation is unique in this situation.

The initial reports of this most recent incident are that the student was not fully aware of their actions. One could argue this is an attempt to save credibility as an organization, or the truth of the matter might be as simple and basic as it is being described. Whatever the answer to the action, the bottom line is that this unfortunate moment exposes a frightening part of our society that we would sometimes rather quiet than provide a voice of reaction.  As it is, this should be handled as a teaching moment for students, wherever and however involved.

Ironically, we are living in a present society that is increasingly accepting the notion of ‘alternative’ or fake news. Such terms are being bandied about with such frequency that the phrases, ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ and ‘Last night’s terrorism in Sweden’ have become household maxims, and the terrifying truth is they are believed statements by many, despite the originators coming out with statements otherwise.

The reality is that words of hatred have appeared on walls that our youth will see with frequency and then naturally react to afterward. So how do we go about repairing thescreen-shot-2017-02-28-at-5-11-55-pm damage? I think the real solution lies in what are the reasons these events occur, and how can we raise the consciousness of our young people to such a degree they begin to recognize the dangerous precedent of accepting racism rather than fighting to overcome its venomous impact on our society.

Accepting racism is the failure of our society to identify it as problematic to our youths’ value system. What this means is that rather than confront the issue, if we can quietly just pretend it away and not put dramatic focus upon a real issue, maybe it will simply go away. That is about as relevant as imagining that inane rhetoric is more reasonable than the truth from the leaders of our country. There is a saying that suggests, if it said enough times, then people begin to believe it as true. In the case of racism on the bathroom walls of our schools, there is a percentage of students that will certainly ‘buy into’ the hatred rather than recognize it is damaging to our society’s value system. This is where open discussion needs to begin.

When we speak of teaching moments, we have to clarify when and how these opportunities are going to happen. Rather than using band-aids on a segment of our society, we need to rally around the bigger picture. Our youth are the most impressionable people in our world, and their actions will be the foundation of the future of this country, one that is chock full of immediate change and adjustment as that mosaic of assimilation continues to take hold. Rather than rely upon hope without dialogue, we need to begin the conversations and continue to encourage them in meaningful and thoughtful ways. Perhaps then, words on a wall, or rhetoric meant to sway our society will become less and less powerful and the truth will begin to matter.

Feed My Starving Ego

I am that man,
quiet exterior,
turbulent insides that mock,
the true nature of my kind, soft,
demeanor.
Give me something to chew on,
I will respond,
sustenance is my substance, of course,
that’s what they tell me,
I strive to organize my plate
with all the resources available,
give me strength,
let me value the grace of
a well fed ego before the reality around me
turns my insides out.

I walk amongst the people,
the ones I choose,
and they feed me with wrath, avarice, confusion,
so when I react,
when time comes upon me to be a leader,
I will starve you all
with my own satisfaction,
until my appetite,
my enormous caverns of self-righteous
ego
can far outweigh the needs around me,
ah, calorie counters,
I love calorie counters,
they’re my favorite people.

Give me the liberty to react
with my own agenda
so I can satisfy my own hunger
for the eyes,
the fabulous eyes,
that allow me to think I have
ignited the fires,
set in motion the movement,
while beyond the green screen facade,
the real starvation continues,
just beyond my scope of vision.
Let them eat cake.

On People, Love, and executive orders …

I am thinking about my Muslim students tonight. I am thinking about my Latino, Mexican, African American, Somali, Hispanic, Russian, Asian & White students tonight. I am imagining the confusion in their minds this evening and this weekend as they realize their lives have been measured rather than given the freedoms they would like to believe exist for them as citizens of the United States. I am imagining my students who choose not to stand for the Pledge, and coming to terms with the reality of their decision. I am understanding frustration and fear.

I understand a lot of the misgivings that are going through their minds, and I can be empathetic to their struggle. I look in the eyes of the children in my classroom, and I see innocence and hope and faith turning toward a bitter, resentment that fuels the certain fear in their mind as they think about their families and cultural roots being slapped with restriction and discriminatory hypocrisy.

I can hope and pray that our political system recognizes the impulsivity of ‘executive order’ mania that has overwhelmed our first eight days under this ‘reign’ of power. I want to respect the office, but I keep seeing my students in the classroom, and right now those anxieties are what I will pay attention to in the coming weeks and months and years.

I’m ready to stand in line and protest this derision that has only begun to separate itself further from the essential work that has strengthened our civil liberties for decades, that in one full sweep has ignited a fear in the minds of many. I can only hope that our society will continue to focus on one concept that could, that needs, that can only begin the healing process.

That concept is love.

I am conscious of the mosaic of love that exists in our nation and will only believe we continue to recognize hope over fear. I will not be silent.

 

This Hatred Is Still Real

There in the quiet, when we all settle in to our own reality,

a memorial stands free, meant to celebrate a young boy,

there is a mindset exists in the world around us,

we sometimes allow ourselves to forget about morality.

I’m not talking about you, not speaking about me,

I haven’t any idea really, who they really might be.

I cannot see them, I cannot call anyone by a name,

who’d rather wear a white hood than celebrate with me.

 

When I was a younger child there were men spoke of being free,

a movement seemed to gather strength, a few men held fists high,

a man named Dr. King celebrated the life of his own upbringing,

and I listened, my folks listened, my siblings listened. We all believed

in the concept of love.

I read the news, well a news story, well it kept being brought up,

and I discovered there was a little boy like me, who as a child

living in innocence, crossed a line apparently.

 

We live in a world of constant facade and hypocritical smiles

One that buries the truth behind circumstance and a false pride,

we live in a world that is losing its concept of democracy,

where the people today can take liberty with the struggles of our past.

We live in a forest of deceit where a young boy named Emmitt Till died

for the color of his skin, and no one cared to honor his quiet humanity.

Nearly seventy years ago he lost his life for the color of his skin, just a boy,

and today, those same followers have been woken up and allowed to believe.

 

His memorial is riddled with bullet holes and angry symbolism,

and like 1955, this young boy, could be living today, in the hatred of 2016.