Black-outs can last a lifetime.
Children suffer because no one cares
about them, their pitiful lives,
and where they might end up.
Fruitless garden, dead soil.
“Make a difference,” the hollow mantra
of the gatekeeper, the superintendent,
Big Man with administrator’s pay;
gold falls from his mouth every day
as he sits in his comfy leather seat.
The Great Oz.
“Class, I am going to let you choose
how you want to demonstrate
mastery of subject matter. Details
are in the pudding. I hope you like it.”
(“This dude is crazy, you know. Like
off into space. Who cares how we get
to tell our stories? We’re the gum
stuck under the seats since those
damned 60s. Fuck that shit!”)
Enter the seven muses: the Writing
Cluster. (Cluster fuck more like it.)
And Art. (Art who? I though he got
shot last year in front of Arby’s.)
Lab work. (Working in a lab…hell,
I ought to blow up this damned lab.
Yeah…) Expressive Mode notebooks.
(What the hell is that? I ain’t in some
damned English class!) Oral Reports.
(Oral? Like a blow job? Now he’s
got my attention.) Small Group Work.
(I got a group from him. A group of
fuckin’ birds to peck his eyes out.)
And Written Tests. (Oh, shit…I hate
those damned things. Teachers trying
to fuck you up, left and right.)
Protocol and guidelines posted
on the wall, in the students handbooks;
copies sent home to whoever’s there.
Choices and responsibility. (Like,
what if I make the wrong choices?
He says to choose at least three. I ain’t
doing more than that. What’s the trick?
What’s he up to? I ain’t ever had no
teacher telling me to make choices. It’s
a trap, some sort of trick. He’s a teacher,
and they’re always up to no good.)
Dead flowers with petals scattered;
need a drink of water, some nutrients
in the soil. That’s all. Some sunshine.
a little TLC. Some direction. A bit
I measure the height and fullness
of new flowers; count fruit; sort the
seeds and save for the new garden.
Enjoy the fruits of labor. Kiss the
data. Share with the garden keeper,
the Great Oz; see if he appreciates
the difference. Maybe, just maybe
he will. And if he doesn’t, I do.
John Dorroh helps students and teachers understand science principles and concepts by using writing and reading strategies and insisting that they assume ownership of their work. His poetry has appeared in Dime Show Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Red Fez, Tuck, Piker Press, Suisun Valley Review, Selcouth Station, and several others. He also writes short fiction and the occasional rant.
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