Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diatribe.

Handing him the crossword
coinciding with today's lesson,
11 year old Daniel asked in his best rushed & whispered cadence,

"Ms. B, I'm interested in speaking a foreign language are you?//
Preferably Mandarin// I want Rosetta Stone, I learn better visually.//
I got that idea from "My Life as a Teenage Robot"//
On Nickelodeon// Which you probably aren't aware of//
But I thought you'd like to know"

Before I had the chance
to tell him that I was only 23 not 40,
still watched Nick on Saturdays,
and bilingual

I had to break my awe...

Daniel is an 8th grader
Honor Roll Student
Small and Fragile
With a permanently raised hand
and answer stuck to his lips

A math teacher and
computer nerd for parents

Said they drove
thirty minutes outside of town
to find Rosetta sitting
on a stone shelf waiting for
illumination to open her

Daniel is corner pocket
eight ball
Knowing he'll lose if he falls too soon
slow and steadily winning the race

Hands his paper in last
Always scores perfect
An abundant silence
Sits like he's got SOMETHING to prove

I'm sure....
only his mother knows the color of his underwear
despite the roll of faculty eyes cascading
down Elmo,
Stripes,
and Spongebob
over frowning jeans

Wanna-be grown man Pedro says,
"But Ms. B., this the the STYLE."

Pedro's got a rosary for a chest
beaded and brave
bangs it and says he got corazon
throwing american gang signs clearly,
while the pledge of allegiance
between the cracks of his native tongue

Miles is
thirteen,
daddy of two,
protector of NONE
divides legs but fails
to surrender solutions to his algebra

and Marcus has stopped counting
period.
Stopped labeling sheep
pretend daydreaming
never again drifting
from the reality of a fist
and goodbye in the mornings
nights
afternoons

There are no thugs in my classroom
only boys who will bloom into men
shake the dew from their eyes
and open their arms to the sun

Son, stem, root, brother, little man
DANIEL
To answer your question,
YES
I would like to speak a foreign language

Your language...

A discourse lost to us in the trend of absence.

teach me
so I can carve prose within
the larynx of
beat box
bar loving
lunchroom ciphers

show me
so I can put gust
to the wings of lip glossed
and acrylic angels

school me
so I can roar
at the back-talkers
with voices too BIG
for their bodies

Daniel,
you are not solace
nor tremble
and wavering tongue

You are sonic boom.

Let us deafen the nonbelievers.

-riv-