Eulogy for Education

(Inspired by Audre Lorde’s Eulogy for Alvin Frost)

I am tired of writing memorials for their dreams
tired of them disappearing

one time a young girl catalyzed her peers
to walk out in support of a teacher
who taught for students
and not administrivia

the teacher was let go at the end of the year
the student dropped out the next fall

and I saw you growing tired too

it was rarely roses with you anyhow.

I teach a remarkable new people—
these first generation high school graduates
with grandparents who had first languages beaten out of them
and so my students have less stories now.

and when separate was equal
the barbs of police batons contained
that colorless synonym for negro
beaten into a next generation.

too often
there is no way
to unravel your thorns
for my students.

I am done with you as the cold blank monolith

once an 11th grader came to my door
with a 2nd grade reading level
after many schools and many Ds (not Fs)

and we tested him

his data unveiled a case of neglect
and oversight too absurd for criminality
but too common for education

I heard them on the television speaking of a resurrection
but I do not believe it:

this pale Lazarus lifeless and dull
made more dull with the ash of the rising place.

they speak of second coming
omitting how they were the ones hollowing

you. they hoped I would mourn you
and pray for a moment like this

new gospel.
they are selling something I cannot believe.

I love showing students their data
because it helps them make sense of themselves.

but we let data speak alone
when we know damn well
too many schools forget

to teach students
to speak for themselves.

perhaps we should have let go sooner.
it would have been easier if we had torn down
those schools. we never should have closed them.
we all would have been forced then

to revision,

to hold stake.
imagine if we built
gardens in every vacant classroom window
and planetariums of our cavernous gyms.

I remember my greatest days
on a mountain trail with fourteen teenagers

or on the shore of a lake
ready to throw away stones we had painted

with our burdens and carried
for a week. you were with me visiting

ruins near the lava field
when we learned about seeing land

like an owl, returning to school
with a different sense of sight:

we are better humans with all-sides-eyes.
I will always hold the borderplaces

where people I have met stitch the sutures
of our coming together

and ripping apart.

you were a stunning companion.

2 thoughts on “Eulogy for Education

  1. i am a teenager and I write poems
    Read my poems and follow me? I will follow you back too,hehe :$
    It would be great of you if your read my poems 🙂
    I am sure i wont disappoint you

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