Wednesday, March 19, 2014

poem: hallways.


It was the first time anyone called me ma'am.
I was a substitute teacher, at my old junior high school, that wrote blogs:
between thrown chairs and tantrums,
runs in my stockings and vent sessions with Blue,
messing with boys that never left our neighborhood,
but falling in love with those that scarcely knew the word

I perceived myself to be a skater,
in between ramps

I was only going to reiterate blues
via blackboard
to brown children
until the writing took off
or the art
or the rap
or the poetry
or something, anything

To the thirteen year old,
who laughs when I say I once sat in the same desk he did,
I am a loser
who got stuck here again

I am still bucked teeth
and glasses
not: braces didn't really fix my gap,
but men want to stick their tongues between it now
not: these frames are far better off than those back-in-the-day,
they accentuate my face

I was paycheck to paycheck,
my parent's basement:
an old rap studio
hiding place
kissed my first boy
laundry room of lost virginity
foundation of she

I walked through the school halls,
found the ghost of 16 year old me:

Yesterday,
on a back staircase,
during a free period.
She was finally telling Matthew
how she felt and he ended her sentence,
with a Pillsbury doughboy tickle.

Or near a far away tree,
in the courtyard.
I could still see the dead grass,
from where I sat still.
Keeping it from illumination,
but filling my mind with bound library books,
that offered the same.

The spanish teacher's office:
Where I was forced to immerse myself in another language
Pretend English wasn't native,
just so I couldn't understand the slurs being thrown at me

The marching band room:
Where I'd first realize I'd grown breasts
Tomboy jumping fervently
B-Cup abundant
The boys would giggle and girls would whisper
'I think it's time for a training bra'

Front foyer:
Where I talked myself into taking the steps,
everyday
You can do this
You are beautiful
Your mother told you so
You are built tough

& I'm still telling myself,
before I walked into the high school doors,
before I stepped on to campus,
before my first day of work,
before love greeted me for the first time

swallowed me whole,
lived in my home,
left me,
and came back again

the word ma'am used to make me cringe,
when it beckoned me,
but after a walk
through my memories

I'm certain that I've earned the title.