What I wish people knew is
Whatever the secret is
To not being whatever is
What we are.

(Not sure how poetic that be.)

I’m calling out to my new friends,
It’s an S-O-S which could easily turn into LOL
Or I’m crazy at 5150,
Then again, I might be 10-36
(a snake in the park-Busch Gardens code, circa 1983-I think),
So just go with this randomness, 10-4, “Roger that,”
And understand that the original call for help
Is just so that we understand

That we are all just people
Trying to survive here,
But often times spending our efforts effing things up.

By

Going for money,
Going for control,
Going for gratification or
Garnering support for our manufactured crises

Which

Rarely happens to my mornings of
Running in the cold and dark
(Sometimes I have a flashlight, sometimes not)
Making them all the more fun,
Since we are not out there for the money,
Exercising a little control, and
Full of loads of gratification
As I get to hear about others
And their life experiences
That leaves me feeling

Well…

Inspired.

Not just in the physical domain,
But also in the philosophical,
Existentialist,
Life-reaffirming,
Ego massaging,
Scatological,
Bull shit kind of way
That being around REAL people allows.

We are life.
We are the show.
We are the ones finding meaning,
Wrestling with our questions,
Waxing on, or off, about the idiocy of
Why.

Please don’t misinterpret,
In am no actualized New Age convert.
My questions are in there, maybe even out there,
For example,
Why am I assertively negative,
Able to bitch in a single bound,
Faster to quip than a speeding bullet?

I know why…

It feels authentic to me,
A genetic pull towards a realization
That the way I see the world is the way it must be
And I have come to this realization in moments
When my hubris runs into the touchy feeling mamby-pamby esoteric
Way that the spiritual stretchers take honest to goodness misery
And present it an R2D2 symphony of hoots and whistles
Where pretend positivity hides actual misery
In some hot dogma of lotus this and that.

Again, don’t get me wrong,
Yoga has its place,
But it can be just as over the top
As any fitness fad,
Including my beloved running in the cold and dark.

So as I review my ranting ways,
And the joy of getting out there with other creatures of the morn,

Am I what I hate?…

A PASSIVE, CHAKRA SEARCHING BUNNY
WHO DARES TO HIDE BEHIND
THE GOODNESS OF CHRYSTALS,
HUFFING INSENSE STICKS, AND
SWEATING TO TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS
DURING SESSIONs OF INSPIRED SIGHING
SO THAT I MIGHT CURRY SYMPATHY FROM
OTHER RHYTHMIC BREATHING SWEAT HOGS
WHO THINK A SUTRA IS SOMETHING TO STITCH
MEANING TO THEIR REAL HOUSEWIFE-HUSBAND
STYLE OF LIVING LIFE.

Nope, that’s not me.

I’ll take this moment to brave the #-jurors,
Own my lack of understanding
Of the ethereal power of masking emotional failures
With the timely expression of some
Need-a-tooth-brushing-freshen-up, HAHHHHH,
So that I might proclaim myself
Neither passive, polite, or politically correct,
But in love with that bizarre culture that is all at once glowing,
If not in that way that the Superman molecule chamber
Stole positivity from the potential of some good, old fashioned
Adolescent inspired, sarcastic, irreverent, and drama-free

Adult conversation.

My truth is that I don’t want
Too much of me out there,
(funny since I’m a blogging poet…)
I’m sincerely selective about who I let in,
Seriously sarcastic, unafraid of being struck by lightning for misstatement,
And a fragile jumble of failures

THAT ARE FOR ME TO WORK THROUGH
WITHOUT THE CAFFEINE INDUCED SELF-SERVING THERAPY
THAT A RECTANGULAR TABLE IS ILL-SUITED FOR.

Geometrically, it is all wrong:
Too many edges (I would be one)
Too many corners (Me, again)
To much space for the kind of comfortable intimacy therapy requires.

Sure, it’s no job interview with an office in the offer,
That’s different and an HR nightmare,
Probably more than somewhat off the rails.

So instead of dropping an overly affected mic and
Parachuting into a well-established routine of potential lunacy,
I just run,
Leaving my insecurities with me and wondering what it would be like
To surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon
Instead of watching teenaged kids bounce volleyballs off the ceiling
While talking about STEM bull shit
About the terminal cracking velocity of an egg
Dropped down a stairwell and protected by various thicknesses of bubble wrap.

Side Rant…

The egg is already broken. Its job is to make a chicken. It can’t do that, so it needs a plan B, which is to feed a person. If it’s one of those STEM eggs, it can’t do that either as some egg head politician, professor, or parent thinks it’s a good idea to drop sustenance in the bowels of schools for the intellectual understanding of physics rather than scrambling pompous educational theory and frying that egg up for someone who really needs it.

Eff your STEM and its lack of social awareness for getting food where it is needed.

Back to the real rant…

Nope, I rather just hang with my new friends
Sure that their ideas and goals
Are probably not much different than mine,

-Be nice
-Get better
-Laugh stuff off
-Maintain perspective

Especially where I’m concerned

For no amount of running,
No quantity of downward dogs,
And no measure of desperation
Should move me to go from feeling like a victim
To victimizing a group of runner’s high junkies
With my down and out depressive energy.

Not that I have any, mom.
I’m just ranting,
Spewing my negative in that assertive way I proudly announced earlier,
Without the enlightened positivity
That drains me of my life force,
Aura,
Soul,

So, purveyors of Pollyanna positivity,
Cultivators of phony problems,
Please, STFU.
You’re giving us honest negatives a bad name.

I guess a throat punch would be excessive,
I’d hate to waste my waning years in some prison
Because of your scrawny little neck.

How it holds up your ego
I’m not sure,
But I’m fairly certain if you had a heart
You’d be crying now.

You have gone past the point
That even your overly narcissistic ego
Should have known to be beyond the outer limits.

As an educator, you are supposed to be compassionate,
True to form, though, your soul showed its depths
To be much less than even a tear,
It hurts to think you care more about your teachers than your children.

Who are you to decide the statute of limitations
On grief and forgiveness?
You are nobody.

And you show it time and time again
Basking in the holier than thou existence
That seems all friendly,
But I know your true nature.

That one an educator, and yes, a mother
Should not have. That one where
Attacking comes as your normal way.

You show yourself with a sharp stare, eyes cutting,
You announce yourself with an evil tongue, no one is as good as you,
You parade in a cloak of self-deprecation, the truest of your phony elements, for
You are a charade, the worst kind of leader, backstabbing and almighty.

I am fortunate, I can keep you afar,
Too bad our children have not made their escape yet,
They always have refuge here.

Which is exactly what you fear,
For all of these years in my house, where the anger originated,
We have been working on letting everyone heal,
Taking our time, respecting everyone’s timeline.

And in one conversation,
You blew up a relationship by going Trump and
Stirring up emotions fully meant to scare one person to your side.

I’m flawed and I have always hoped that things might turn around,
But you and your two-legged dog on a leash
Have ended all chances of us being cordial
For I will not bend down to your self-serving whims. Neither should the kids.

Please allow them to be grown-ups,
They are adults who have matured in ways that you refuse to consider,
Creative, passionate, forgiving, flexible, and not tied to your scaredy-cat life.

Maybe you should take stock in the past,
Understanding your sinister, manipulative, and full-fledged Iago power play,
You thought you had what you wanted,
My guess is your little throat won’t be able to swallow the load that’s coming.

I wish I had a place,

One I could call my own,

A piece of this Earth

Where I could walk

Without seeing past grimaces

Or exes, whys, or whatever might be a z.

I wish I could go somewhere

Without dodging anger

Or feeling obligation to be

In someone else’s place.

I want DOG street,

I want Kiwanis Park or Paul’s.

Come to think of it

Even those hallowed grounds are tainted

By ghosts and trolls.

Maybe my destiny is to walk across battlegrounds 

Fighting imaginary wars

That have long since ended.

Maybe I’m a vessel of disappointment and doubt

Stuck in a purgatory of my own making.

Maybe.

Truth is I just want a little peace,

A little distance from those

Perpetually under my skin

Which is hard where I am…

Author’s Note: All of this is fiction… Excerpted from the journals of Rutherford Charleston…

I lived my version of Office Space today
Where the ideas of educational inspiration
Were squashed by the levity
Of an exhaling hippo who only added more BS to the air
Than my doctorate in education could believe.

On, Tomlinson
On, Danielson
On, Marzano
On, Schlechty
On, Hunter and Cochran-Smith.
Whatever happened to Dewey, experience, and
Hard Knocks?

Titans all…
Pillars of educational research and academic integrity…
Exemplars each, all having donated
Their formula for getting kids to learn,
For showing teachers, the oft considered bottom feeders of learning,
What works to promote the best educational practices possible
For closing the achievement gap.

I wish vocabulary words were the flare
To solve the malaise and misguided perceptions that ail public education.
I wish objectives and frameworks for being distinguished
Were enough to solve the problems of poverty and language barriers
That are so conveniently excused as learning obstacles.
I bet there’s other stuff that we could blame too…

Please don’t confuse that stanza
As excuse building to insulate administrators and teachers from responsibility
For the shortcomings of achievement in classrooms.
We should be able to recognize our Band Aid approach to education
Where, “If we write it, they will learn,”
Is misguided, reactionary, and blind to the reality
That students are the most powerful people
In the classroom.
Their minds dictate their learning and we fail to tap
Into the energy that could fuel
A little more interest in what they experience in school.

I used, “People” to identify students because there are many of them
And only one teacher in the classroom
Although sometimes I hear a voice
Talking in my ear that I shouldn’t answer their question
About whether oral sex can spread herpes
Because it’s not part of my lesson plan
That is supposed to only be about the types of bones
Something they learned in fifth grade…
And again in seventh…

Oh, spiraling the curriculum makes so much sense.

But this curriculum problem
Could be remedied if only the territory
Of Curriculamerica could be dissolved or revised,
But teachers hold onto things
Like the guy in Office Space holding onto his, um,
Swingline.

In this winding diatribe I’ve taken shots
At the educational research royalty
Whose methods may or may not be a panacea.
I’ve whined about the structure of schools
Who may or may not be applying the theories in ways
Unintended by the university gods.
I even blamed us, teachers, for a role in the stagnant
Way that education becomes a breeding pool
For all sorts of winged blood suckers.

So the critics will say,
“What of you Mister Finger-pointer?”
Their question, full of the defensive venom
And arrogant authority, is an attempt to put my rant at rest.
To them I will say, “I’m just a humble servant
Seeing the possibility of education beyond
The scripted, standardized, one size fits all approach
That gets turned over every couple of years for
Whatever slickly packaged, politically connected,
Previously attempted method we choose. I’m
Trying to establish relationships with my students
That allow them to understand the impact of hard work,
Resilience, and fun (through participation in the development
OF THEIR LEARNING EXPERIENCES),
So that they can make the connections that will allow them
To find their success on their terms.”

I’m not there yet
I’m trapped in my ego
That dares to think I know as much
As the institutional minds (educational, political, or business)
That have given us these gems of instructional Tinker Toying.
I have not resigned myself to thinking
At the lowest levels
Or brought myself to accept that Bloom intended
For the memorization of the types of bones to be
What one of my bosses calls “rigor and relevance,”
Nor do I think either Bloom or my vision sharing supervisor
Would see the dates of wars or the names of layers of sediment as
Fine particulates to base a college preparatory curriculum.
I’m still searching for my own philosophy
That looks for life preparation and values higher order thinking
For the blooming part of a flower is so much more important
Than the stem. Mine doesn’t have a fancy name, it’s
Loosely termed Practical and Purposeful
Where the students are not seen as products
To produce crates of learned outcomes
But instead are individuals who have the skills
To be successful wherever they find themselves,
Regardless of the trendy format for delivering instruction.

Like I said, fiction.

BTW: I answered their question…Yes.

#RC

There have got to be others out there
Sick of things as they are.
I’m wishing for changes like:

Rules to be rules, not rules with exceptions and loop holes,
Honesty from above to replace the wink and the nod,
Sanity to return to the teaching of our children,
Tolerance to outlast hatred,
Patience to accompany the changes needed in society,
Unions to move beyond salary and benefits,
Organizations to move beyond salary and benefits,
Referees to take back basketball and
Players to respect the referees,
Shorter seasons, fewer playoff teams, and less television time-outs
A legislative branch that will work with the executive branch
And a time where every issue,

Teacher pay
Lebron James
Fox News/CNN
Religion
Alternative lifestyles,

Were not automatically partisan in affiliation,
This sociopolitical bipolar disorder has got to stop.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone learned to check their egos
For the good of US?
How about getting to the point
Where making a buck
Was more about honesty and hard work
Than about the latest scam or scheme?
Could we recognize that the difference between
Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Prop Joe
Is more about acceptance by the government
Than differences in business models,

Free samples
Addictive ingredients
Protect the product at all costs

I don’t know.
I miss idealism. Realism just isn’t floating my boat
Which makes me some kind of refugee
Trying to find safe harbor
From the aggression of tyranny…

Wait…

I’m here, that’s what this grand experiment is about.
It’s self-evident, no?

No.