A Reaction of Feeling

A young boy has been shot,

he’s dead,

a police force became another list,

not the boy,

no list attached,

a living human being,

now dead,

shot to death,

after wielding motive suggests

he was suicidal,

didn’t want a recital,

simply wanted to die,

or at least in the mind of a boy,

thought it might work,

wanted something,

wanted someone

to know,

his hurt,

and now …

nobody knows,

but we all realize

he’s dead.

Recognizing Who We Are Today! (a draft)

We experienced a tragedy in (our community) last week. We lost a young man as the result of a traffic accident. He touched many hearts. The city, the district, the students were all impacted by the loss of (student), a student known by many for his affectionate and charming persona, an infectious personality. I listened to a couple of students the night of the tragedy talk about the immediacy, how quickly a life is taken, that we cannot quite comprehend the confusion such a loss leaves us when just hours before they were standing right next to the young man, full of life. We are all surely saddened by tragedy, yet, we are also enlightened by the way the students rallied around the celebration of this young man’s short life. In an intrigue, this experience speaks to an aspect of the beauty of our lives in (our community) as we recognize the diverse nature of our community.

On Friday, as the news flooded social media the night before, the students all wore white to honor the young man. I was amazed to look around the school and see nearly 90% of the student body dressed in white. The sight provided a welcome contrast to the negative image our district has attained in recent months. Here’s why.

What happened inside our school buildings on Friday mattered to the students, they were the ones being represented and cared for, and they responded with more unity than I have seen in my career as a teacher. I watched a school that put aside curriculum for the day, and reasoned with the reality of the human condition in every step of the way. In mid-day, there was a service, known as a ‘smudge’ provided by the young man’s family – his Native American heritage celebrated – and in attendance easily hundreds of students witnessed a cultural phenomena with open arms and respectful intrigue.

I said to a friend of mine late Thursday night, that (young man’s) loss would be a unifying force for allowing our students to recognize life as a whole rather than an individual need for survival. I watched kids from every walk of life hug one other, speak kindly to each other, and embrace grieving in a thoughtful and beautiful manner. (young man’s) death was responsible for that coming together of a school district.

Even more intriguing, I attended a football game that night, a ‘Friday night lights’ experience during which both the visitors and the home team wore white to symbolize (our community) tragic loss. It was remarkable to watch the unification of two school’s students who all recognized together the beauty of life and the tragedy of loss. But together they created and expressed a natural silver lining. Ironically, several schools around the region also showed unity and compassion by wearing white in a symbolic gesture of support. My boss said to me today, ‘It’s a small world’ when I shared my delight in the actions of many.

This weekend we celebrate the loss of a beautiful young man, one that I did not know personally, but understood to have touched the lives of many, including many students in the drama program, for which I am an advisor. The lesson learned from this weekend’s start of the healing process, is that we as a district do embrace the beauty of a unique population of student body that do and can believe in one another if given the proper resources. We as a community need to do our part in assuring our students that we can go forward together.

I think (young man) is imagining how special our world is given his new perspective, and his engaging smile is suggestive of our need to recognize his gift and not forget the message his role in the circle of life provides us all.

*names withheld to respect the student and family.

This Quiet Passion

It is a love, a desire, a response to silence,

for so many occasions,

while the skies do glance the usual,

always, the emotions might trigger,

might respond,

could offer a storm of wrath,

or perhaps,

when least we anticipate,

a light rain, to cleanse our soul,

allow our lives to breathe,

beyond the casual haze

of a summer day.

 

I stood in front of my emotions today,

asked a question,

perhaps stoic in my way,

I wondered just how far

we might have to travel

in order,

to participate in the aftermath

of chaos,

for it screams that phenomena

stayed with my being,

for as many days as the summer

holds true to an autumn.

 

While now I rest my weary soul,

the fortune of time offers sweet Grace,

when age becomes validation,

and hearts do forever listen.

I have traveled far and wide,

and yet there is a stillness,

may overcome me in evening’s tide,

as will the serendipity of passion,

an surreal reality as I stand here before you,

wanting only solace from a sweet panic.

 

In life, we do lead with thoughtful enterprise,

a notion, an ideal,

oft times an inspiration,

to market goodness,

to experience that

goodness,

to know such character

is infamy

when stood alongside

true character.

When passion speaks its favor,

our world, a planet, a state, a society,

a mosaic,

we are all

so much – so little – so together,

 

We can be universal,

we may align, smile, gesture, accord

each other …

we can be one.

What Is Love?

Do you know,

I’m asking,

I need your help.

How rare to have a moment

to pause

to think

maybe imagine there are answers

outside of your comfort zone

outside of your comfort zone

outside of your usual way of thinking.

Instead of ‘you’ 

let’s talk about me,

walk inside my world

and tell me what can be seen.

Is there love?

How can we tell what love really is

when our world cries out in fear

with every opportunity 

to share ideals, to share, to love.

Love,

to me becomes quiet,

soft, a caress, a knowing smile,

an ability to allow me,

to rest, to feel assured, to know I am …

ok.

Yet, in a world

where we are constantly

always, constantly,

you know,

just kind of so constantly

reminded

we don’t belong,

In a world where hate

is honored before we can …

love!

We Bleed at the Doorstep (dedicated to Marcos Pantaleon)

Our lives are here together
We share our triumphs
With the same energy that consumes
Our despair
We now know tragedy on a personal level
Not the first time
We know the risks while others
Simply do not own
Or care to understand
And yet tonight
We are one and we are strong
And Boston is a very long way away
We bleed at the doorstep
~
Truth is as I stand here with you
I don’t have a clue
The symbolic nature of your
Sacrifice. I can only feel
Loss and confusion
The halls of Shakopee will empty
Of the laughter and love you bring
To every day with your smile
I feel your spirit tonight
And I look around
And the people all represent
The beauty of your challenge
That is Energy
We bleed at the doorstep
~
People can be beautiful
In the smiles and tears that are shared
To help ease the pain
The terrible angry scorn
Of wondering what is His plan?
How do we continue to seek our
Passion
Within a disconnect that shirks
Our freedom to laugh and love
Tonight we stand together
A familiar sight
That works in quiet beauty
We bleed at the doorstep
~
Candles will be held towards your light
Guide us eternally home with you tonight.