Voices We Hear in the Hall

Voices We Hear in the Hall

It’s hard to believe that you’re perfect
When ev’ryone says that you’re not
And no one could ever feel pretty
When you’re faced with the face that you’ve got

We’re starting to learn the real message –
There’s a fine line between right and wrong;
But we’ve begun to hear distant rumbling
And it’s the bass line of this, our new song.

They tell us, “celebrate diff’rences!”
While they’re out and about fighting wars
And we’re supposed to try to be winners
While they tell us not to keep score

We’re starting to learn the real message –
There’s a fine line between right and wrong;
But we’ve begun to hear distant rumbling
And it’s the bass line of this, our new song.

They’ve forgotten how it’s difficult
To concentrate in class above all
They tell us to keep facing forward
Ignore voices we hear in the hall

What if there’s no multiple choice
For saying it all in my own voice?

I guess we’ll just have to keep trying
To figure it out on our own
Since the massage we hear gets all mixed up
As we navigate this unknown

We’re starting to learn the real message –
There’s a fine line between right and wrong;
But that rumbling has begun taking over
And it’s the bass line of this, our new song.

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Celebrate Diversity!!!!!!!!!!

Celebrate Diversity!!!!!!!!!!

Attention Students:
This year for Diversity Day,
we will learn the danse macabre
and eat crêpes for lunch
we will watch Disney movies in Mandarin
and everyone will wear a Yarmulke!
Because we’re teaching you real culture, kids…
we’re exposing you to the world
you’ve never experienced.
So now you can understand diverse nations.

And for Women’s History Week,
you’ll all select a famous woman
(e.g. Marie Curie and Queen Elizabeth 1)
to research and dress up as –
that will encourage you to appreciate all women and respect them
Won’t it be fun?

For Black History Appreciation Month, we’ll read
that Maya Angelou poem
and watch Amistad.
Because those experiences will help you understand black people.

Oh! And don’t forget to watch your television on mute tonight
to fully understand the complexities of being deaf.
Make sure to show your support at our save-the-deaf bake sale!

And we’ll all listen to that blind motivational speaker
for 30 minutes
before our pep rally.

Next Saturday night is our “No Two Snowflakes are the Same” dance,
hosted by the
Committee for Understanding & Learning Together, Uniting Relevance & Equality.
Wear your shiniest, whitest clothes to stand out in the crowd!

Also, don’t forget your permission slips for the evening performance of the rain dance
for Native American Night.
Bring your parents for the FUN!
Maybe they’ll buy you a supercute monogrammed headdress!

And make sure you
sneak a peek (while you still can)
at the “Tolerance Forever” mural
temporarily suspended by the gym
for the next two weeks (because we need room for all those trophies)
to show our support for all those who
struggle and suffer with being different.

Carpe Dontem

Carpe Dontem

some days I really feel like I own the world
all of you bend to my slightest whim
power secretes from my every pore
not oily sweat; not dirt

but, other days I just sit around
feeling boredom creeping up my legs
like some backwards afghan from
my grandmother’s living room

I’ll just lay there, looking up at my ceiling
those little glow-in-the-dark stars all faded now
the mid-morning sun desperately trying
to infiltrate my dark blue curtains

not that I’m tallying or anything
but it sure seems like those other days
hang around longer…and at times, I think,
didn’t someone kind of important say seize the day?

and I’m here thinking,
how can you seize the day
when you woke at noon?

Fake it ’til You Make it

Fake it ’til You Make it

She looks through my new sweater
And says sickly, “That’s super cute!”
Even though we all know what she really thinks
No one believes as she
Tells the other girls she thinks they’re pretty

And while guidance buys her lies,
We all hear what she says
Feel the sting of the whips she cracks
The way she makes us feel
So she can change and improve
The way she feels on her own

What I want to do is
Shoot meteors out of my hands
And explode her
in a great billowing
mushroom cloud of justice

But we must play nice and all pretend
“fake it ’til you make it”
And when I come home
and my parents ask that question
I’ll give the same answer

I guess
faking
it isn’t only for school.

Things Instead of Clouds

Things Instead of Clouds

Remember that time when we were little
And I mean little little like really little
Like little little little little?
And we would stare up into a great big sky
and think we saw things instead of clouds?
Maybe a giraffe or a bunny
or whateverwewantedtosee?

What if, like now that we’re older
And I mean older older
Not just olderish
But like older older older older!
Maybe we stare out into a great big world
And think we see things instead of monsters
Maybe a cute guy or a body type we wish we had
or something there that isn’t?

And, like, we’re supposed to be smarter
not like, kindasorta smarter
But smarter smarter smarter smarter
And we need to base our decisions on like
life experience orsomethinglikethat
maybe we look back on our life
and think we see things instead of success
maybe missed opportunities or failed attempts
but maybe they’re actually lessons

Maybe we needed them all
Like needed needed them?

misunderstanding

misunderstanding

and suddenly it’s the french and indian war or whatever,
and before i know it, my mom has this huge laundry basket
of all my hoodies.
“mom – what is all of this?!”
my earbuds are decidedly out now.
“i told you! the news report!” she’s screaming
“no drugs! absolutely
no drugs!” she is on a rampage “not in this house!”
“not in my house…” she trails off as
i think
“no drugs in my house, either!”
just because that news lady
with the bun
and the pearl necklace
said reports reported that
hoodies lead to pot,
they don’t know me
my hoodies only lead to snoozing in math
if my mom wants to know if i do drugs
– which i don’t –
she should just ask.

“Nobody ever taught me what a dangling modifier was”

“Nobody ever taught me what a dangling modifier was”

She took off points
for a dangling modifier?
A dangling modifier?
What does that even mean?

I scoff in pre-acceptance disdain:
Maybe I wanted my modifier to dangle…

then in insulted indignance:
And why is she commenting on my dangling modifier anyway?

And it continues. I cannot turn away;
just like that time I saw the neighborhood dog
on the mailman’s leg.
I imagine my face mirrors Fido’s:
intense focus and a dash of definance…
Rather than move on,
I inspect meticulously each evaluative mark;
I review each sentence in my composition;
I examine each dismissive abbreviation –
each “sp.”
each “cap.”
and each “awk.”

Red ink pirouettes circles of mockery
around the words I so deftly selected
from the drop-down menu that appeared,
magically, almost supernaturally or mysteriously
See Also: mystically; enchantingly
once I simultaneously pressed the shift and f7 buttons
to reveal the digital thesaurus.

Soon I see nothing else on the paper
but rings of fire,
red burning trails of what my teacher calls formative feedback.

Everything around me is now engulfed in red circles and squiggly underlines:
mailboxes, cars, the crosswalks;
no once-trusted place is safe from the gritty derision of my English teacher’s crimson sword!
Not my childhood treehouse, not the skate park, not even the diner…
Now I am blinded by fury,
and my fury is only outweighed
by my utter confusion.
And confusion turns to self-doubt
turns to incompetence
which all lead to impotence, I’m sure…

How come no one every taught me what a dangling modifier was?
I seek comfort and solace in the family I hold so dearly:

Mom says I should have proofread.
“Nothing ever worth reading is written once.”

Drying the dishes, my sister says:
“I remember learning about grammar – don’t you?”
Her freckled face squinched up emphatically.

From inside the fridge, Dad grabs the steak.
He walks past me, muttering, “dangling modifier…”
shaking his head and chuckling as he walks out to the grill.

A Life Yet Undiscovered

A Life Yet Undiscovered

It’s finally fifth period:
study hall with him

In the sweet solemn whisper of a moment
Right before I see him
(but knowing he’s right around the corner)
I promise myself
I won’t look
I can’t smile

It is a tragic discomfort
Feeling like I want him to kiss me
and feeling like I want to puke

Feeling like no one else in the world exists
and like he’s distracted by so many other people
he can’t even see me

I feel like I have to pretend he doesn’t exist
while I attach his last name to mine
on the side of my math worksheet
in five different fonts
Do I like Mrs.?
Or will I prefer Ms.?

My cheeks warm and flush
as I mentally flip through the
imaginary photo album of
our life yet undiscovered
pictures of prom, college, our wedding, and everything else
all flutter by

It is a distinct shock to my system –
like being suddenly immersed in a bath of ice –
knives jabbing into me all over
as I see him walking towards me
smiling and
holding Jessica’s hand

my hand feels cold and desperate
I hold onto my binder
part shield, part life preserver
and remind myself
there is still so much time
before I can move on
to sixth period

A Mid-Morning Pastoral

A Mid-Morning Pastoral

Through the double-paned window,
I can see rolling fields,
an old oak tree with full canopy.
The bar connecting my desk surface to the chair
holds me in
as I watch the effects of a subtle breeze
lifting and foxtrotting
a discarded leaf.
Outside,
I know it’s warm and sweet
the kind of mid-morning in late May
when summer is softly peeking
from behind the last weeks of school,
and the dirt is loose and gravelly
just free from the mud.
Somewhere, a kid just like me
is scootering down his street,
similarly different homes lined up along an oak lined street
the shadows and highlights of the sun dappling the ground beneath him.
And somewhere else,
down a hidden dirt path,
past the underbrush of the woods,
right under the flowing branches of a weeping willow,
a kid sits next to his tackle box
mesmerized by the gentle tugging of his fishing line in the river…
And I’m certain that somewhere, there’s a group of kids
“NOT IT”ing just before erupting into a frenzied game of freezetag
and suddenly calling a truce
just long enough to buy rocket pops
after being called by the sweet tinkling tune of the ice cream truck.
It’s the kind of day perfect for
punishing me inside this detention room.