There is no reason, in my mind, to wait for the dust to settle on issues before ruminating on them and expressing myself. I find that once the issue has been ‘resolved’, whether it be Israel-Palestine or Trayvon Martin or Renisha McBride or Ersula Orr, the resolution often is a great sweep of the dust under the rug to hide the deeper roots of the issue. The media moves on. The school year or summer continues. And, anyway, it’s almost Black Friday. America can address her problems through turning the blind eye of justice toward the funny Vines instead.
Earlier this month, I posted a poem about Gaza and Israel. I think it is a work in progress. I know I need more time with it. But I needed to address it creatively. It is a minor healing. It is my part. No matter how haphazard, or one sided. Some poetry, but not all, is safer because the lines of right and wrong are everyone’s responsibility to grapple with. So here is another work in progress for Ferguson. To help all sides. Buried within are allusions to the Civil Rights movement, the Civil War, the Tree of Liberty, the media treatment of our domestic issues, and the inner dialogue of witness. Find a way to express yourself, or it will eat at you. You may even be complicit.
The school year starts (incredibly) this week, and I think I am relieved to have written this poem before we begin. It does not absolve me from talking about it with my students or enable easier conversations about our world. But as with most situations, once I have reflected poetically only then can I communicate or dialogue about my feelings on a situation with my mind and heart working together. And true to my process from March when I was writing a poem a day and posting the work on this blog, today’s poem was composed, revised, and formatted this afternoon in the last two hours. I hope it opens something in you, or gives a new angle by which to enter the conflict for yourself. I hope it stands as a poem of witness for the atrocities and peace.
Stay tuned for more updates and poems, but thank you all for being loyal and supportive readers. Here’s to what’s next next!
This poem is about the education of a teacher when he learns dear things about humanity and self in the wilderness in order to bring the lessons back with him to the classroom.
Someday I will add some context to this poem, but for now, after a three day Expeditionary Learning Institute and 11 hours of travel from Indianapolis to Phoenix to ABQ to Taos, I think I will leave it here. Only two more poems to go!
I am in Indianapolis at the Expeditionary Learning Institute for Using Data to Drive Student Achievement. I am thinking about numbers and, I guess, driving them somewhere. So I wanted to play with that through form. The duality and two sides of every story.
So after a twenty minute catnap, we have this column poem. Directions: Read the left side first…then the right side…then read across the whole line as a complete poem with both sides. The first side is called You Can Make. The second is These Count. And the complete work is You Can Make These Count.