The traffic on the street
Should have your focus, little lady.
Put your damn phone down and
Hold your daughter’s hand.
She can barely walk,
She doesn’t understand waiting,
She knows nothing of cars darting towards the curb.
She needs you, now.
You seem to know nothing of priorities
Your social media can wait,
Your checking for news can wait,
Your high score on Candy Crush can wait,
You’ve got a toddler,
She needs you now,
But you’re lost in a digital dream,
Somewhere between unconscious and neglectful.
Were you thinking about this when you took that chance?
Was he thinking about this?
You know, that guy who promised you everything
For those few minutes of pleasure…
Probably not on both cases,
Now the truth is alive,
So long as she doesn’t get hit by a car
While you are scrolling on your phone.
Mr. Bozo, not of clown fame,
Climbed behind the wheel of his auto
And mashed the accelerator to the floor
As his friend was sick
Without much time left on Earth.
Mr. Bozo drove with gusto
Weaving through traffic
So single minded on seeing his friend
That speed limits meant nothing
Except to Constable Ewart.
The good officer pulled Bozo over
Who explained his reason for speeding
And the impending death of his sick friend
Which had little impact on the emotionally jaded
Man of the law.
Several months later, the citation was argued in court
With the Constable calling Bozo,
“Dangerous, a menace, suicidal, and homicidal.”
Mr. Bozo, simply pleaded guilty and affirmed that
He sped to see his sick friend.
A fine was levied and his license was suspended,
Which did not bother the defendant at all,
When asked by the judge if he understood,
Bozo said, “I do your honor. Thankfully,
I made it in time to see my friend off.”
One, Mr. Kane
Was found barefoot
In the worst snow since ’47.
He was clutching a newspaper,
That which he had risked his life for
By walking the three miles to the store
Just so he could check out the results of betting and investing.
He labored in the cold winds
Pushing through the deep snow
That shut down the five boroughs
In a way that even the most fit
Could not have endured.
He had to know, though,
Had Brauilio won and Raytheon gained.
He would never know
Because at fifty three his life would end
In a bank of snow.
After disorientation from the cold
Smacked his poor perception down,
With only one mile to go, and after losing his shoes,
He collapsed while sitting on a little profit.
Mr. Baeza had ridden well
Tearing around the Tropical Park in Coral Gables
To three wins, a second, a third, and a sixth;
A handsome payday for Mr. Kane.
Raytheon was up one and three eighths,
Nearing the sell line.
It had been a good and bad day for Mr. Kane.
On this day,
When I learned
My student from Mexico
English or Spanish
Because his language
Is specific to his foreign locale,
I got lessons
On the spirit of compassion
And the shear ignorance
Of those proper speaking
Critics and politicians
Who wage war on education
Like it’s a controlled experiment
With highly predictable outcomes.
My student has no more chance
On a standardized test
Designed for lifelong speakers of English
Than I do of dunking a basketball.
We might, however, have a chance
In his last three years of school
To help him learn
So he can maximize
In whatever direction
He finds for himself.
Maybe the myopic,
Vision of education
Should be broadened
Beyond STEM and
Curricula that seem
Not only to be bankrupting
But also leaving us with fewer options
When we leave high school
And have no interest
In going on to higher education.
I have to rethink my approach,
Focusing on what this young man needs,
Instead of insisting the content from my health class
Rises to the level of importance of him learning our language
Failing to do so, is the same
That creates policies
Requiring so much testing and
Binders of attendance codes
To track every possible reason
For a student’s absence.
This young man will grow out of school.
We owe it to him to help
Today was one of those days
When nothing seemed important.
Kids kicking volleyballs…
Gossip running wild…
None of it.
I woke with a funk,
Maybe from staying up too late
But the game sparked something in me
And I don’t even like hockey that much.
On a shot to the crowd
I could have sworn my father in law was there,
But that is impossible
As he has moved on to heaven.
I’m pretty sure, though, I saw him there.
Perhaps that energy unsettled me today.
I just got home from work
Managing all of the important things
Teachers must manage
And I learned that my wife’s grandmother,
Passed away today.
The shock of her dying is not in the surprise,
But in the reality of our own mortality
And what of “after.”
Pondering that may induce some sleep,
As I want to know
How my father in law and his mother reunited,
There with the rest of their clan
Catching up on old times and
Laughing about the important things
That happen when we are
There’s a restful thought.
I doubt they discussed
High school exams,
Or the latest hire for whatever job.
I bet they just hugged,
Loving the peace and happiness
Of being back together.