Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Two poems of same idea...don't know if either are particularly good...on teaching english

I stiffen up when I teach,
the honest truth.

The kids are alright sometimes
but some

just look at me like a mushroom
plastered to an old stump.

Oh I want to eat them
spit them out and yell, implore them

Ask me questions
don't bat your eyelashes shut

we are not caskets
we get buried in our things

but rise out, asking why.
Don't we? I want to break out

of my body, sit
in the back of the room,

a forest of heads,
and dive

inside their black-brown hair--
just have to remove the bark

& pick out the beetles
and grubs.

----------------------------

I wanted to step out of my body
and walk to the back
of the room and shake them,
tears running down
all hundred some-odd smile muscles
and tell them to speak English,

or, instead, do the same
and simply dive into their black-
brown hair, jungles like themselves
and pick out grubs
of understanding and feed them
enough, enough

to walk into my drooping
skin again. That's what I want for them:
a handsome diet
and delicious new skin.

3 comments:

Olgasmic said...

I think you should start with "I want to eat them". The second stanza belongs later in the poem - perhaps:

I want to eat them
spit them out and yell, implore them

Ask me questions
don't bat your eyelashes shut

we are not caskets
we get buried in our things

but rise out, asking why.
Don't we? I want to break out

of my teaching body, sit
in the back of the room,

a forest of heads,
and dive

inside their black-brown hair--
just have to remove the bark

& pick out the beetles
and grubs.

Olgasmic said...

what I mean is - the mushroom thing is interesting, but I don't know how to make it fit - right now it detracts from the directness and poignant nature of the language you used everywhere else.

Satisfied in Jonesboro said...

I really understand how you feel in this poem. I'm surprised, though, that your students are too quiet. You seem like you would be a very engaging teacher. Have you tried anything that worked well?

And I loved the image about the grubs!