What Should Be

Literal translations of metaphorical expressions
Dominate the fictitious folly of memorizing facts
Since information changes at light speed
And education for the base
Moves ploddingly slow
The yen to have students excel
Simmers not in a pot of multiple choice
And the wrote regurgitation of content
But in a grease fire of thinking
Where challenges to assumptions
Splatter a mess all over
What is already known
The stains of which are seen
As abilities to gather information,
Analyze information,
Communicate information
Use information
Beyond the rigid inflexibility of test taking
The goal is to teach students to think
So they can create models of understanding
That disagree with the current thought
Or challenge the status quo
Of their perspectives and
Ours too

Pay Attention

One of those fall days
When summer attempts to
Exert a little influence
And all I want to do
Is roll down the windows
Cruising in my truck listening to
Old school country music

The DJ made a promise
To play an obscure song
So I took the longer way home
Feeding on the roar of the wind
Basking in the anticipation
Of something old being new to me

But first the radio jock
Threw a welcomed curve
That brought a flood of wealth of emotion
As George Jones belted out,
“Cry baby cry,”

At once the last couple of days made sense
The test bringing a reaction
Framed by a bird colonel
Righteously defined by rank and order
The mini-resolution of a model train conductor
Gently kept on the rails with stoic grace
The purposeful ambivalence of a working man
True to hardened values forged in the Great Depression
The even hand of justice passed on from a grizzled cop
Learned in the cinema that is “po-leese”

My grandfather
My father in law
My grandfather
My dad
Each speaking to me
Through their medium
Each settling me down
Before I fail to realize their wisdom
Due to my limited vision
Of what a full life is

Funny how the old country song
Enlightened my restlessness
But the song I was driving around to hear
Was about a bird figuring out
How to live in caged confines

Maybe it’s simple
If we listen to our elders

Something Different

Adults say,
“That stuff in school was useless.”
Kids say,
“I don’t like this:
Social Studies,
About school”

Have we ever wondered about the function
Of school
Should we all walk away from the experience
Not liking the business part
Of school

Maybe we have it wrong
School is not about
Kids, grades, or the 3Rs

Maybe it should be about:

Learning to cope

Learning how to handle someone
With authority being rude to you

Learning how to do the stuff
You least want to do

Learning tact


The appearance of respect

Perhaps the time for subjects
As content for learning
Facts and theories
Needs to be replaced by
Behaviors that will mean something
Once the books are put away

I’m Trying Chief

Are we complainers by nature
Do week seek the negative as part of our code
When we reach a certain age,
Do we just accept life and try to move on

I ask for the flux is upon me
Ready to give in,
Not old enough to give up
Am I turning in to an old person

One with wisdom
For the ambush of youth
Has taken the beauty of this noble profession
Built on the foundations of thought,
Discourse, and
Away from my joy

I want thoughtful discussions
Without coercion
I want respectful interactions
From me and to me
I want the bigger picture
Not test scores, fitness scores, or grades
More like hard work, resilience, and

I’m tired though…

“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Chief Joseph – Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights – 1877


A blue sky,
The first in days
An indifferent temperature,
The most comfortable of the year
An impassioned pit bull,
Only worried about our walk

Then came the lady in the fleece
With the Diane from Cheers haircut
Who used this beautiful day
To tell me it’s going to be seventy-two
Next Thursday
Then the waitress from Two Stones
Blowing through a stop sign
Unaware of its true meaning
I suppose
Then she wanted to know
All about my dog
And whether he was a blue or red

I answered, “Independent,”
Which confused her
But she recovered
With a quick come back about his eyes
Or something

Perhaps others can relate
But after a day of work
Especially one requiring talk
For the whole day
I treasure some quiet
Be it in a car
Or at the brake end of a leash
Walking on this beautiful day

Conversations of convenience
Really are not necessary
A simple hello is enough
And I do not take it personally
If there is nothing more said
Weather, gas prices,
The state of sports in Philly
Seem trivial, silly really
So why bother

I know
Being neighborly


I should appreciate
The community building aspects
Of conversation
But I’m particular about talking
And stingy with my non-work verbosity
Mostly to a fault
So I’ll apologize ahead of time if I don’t know
The seven day forecast
Or the exact age of my canine hanging partner
And I’ll make sure to tip well
The next time I’m craving a burger
Washed down with a snooty beer
Just so long as you come to a complete stop
And don’t ask me a bunch questions
About my dog
While I eat

Differential Perspectives

Walking in an afternoon chill that is
Warmed by the grayness
Of an October sky
Fresh off a foreshadowing
From a spinning low front’s
Not so delicate
Hinting at winter’s impending arrival
I’m thinking about
How great it is
To feel the sting from the wind
And the smell of those fireplaces
Cranking out the aromas of Colonial Williamsburg
I may as well be walking on DOG Street for I am
Taken back
To the Old Dominion
The peacefulness inside the historic area
Rivaled only by the stillness that
This little cul-de-sac
Is bringing right now