A Disappointing Session at the English Teacher Conference

I am here

I am here abuzz on coffee

I am impatient with the speaker who is reading her power points to us

I am a reader, as is everyone in this room

this is an English teacher conference after all

the power point is structured like an academic research article

I only know this because once

I was, or wanted to be, an academic

I am a teacher

I understand research and its power

I want my students to feel this power

The presenter has stopped reading her power point

a student of the presenter has stood to witness

he was successful, he feels transformed

so he is transformed

another student stands to witness

she too was successful-

and transformed-

Bless Us Jesus-

which no one said, but they could have

or did say without being religious

or calling on Jesus

this presentation is a sales job

not just for the class on research

but for the presenter’s new book on research—

your students can feel this way too

BUY my BOOK

I’ve had too much coffee

and leave to find a restroom

(December 6, 2019)

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Haunted

The ghosts have returned home

slipping between the day

to day conversations

holding our silences

in locked yellow boxes

without a trace of air

.

I would say I’m happy

to most circumstances

with my small discontents

not sad enough to search

for bits of joy scattered

across a field like grain

weeks after the harvest

was gleaned by dark sparrows.

(November 30, 2019)

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Lessen

I read with difficulty,

poets I once admired,

not seeing anymore

the simplicity I once saw.

I worry stones smooth

between my fingers,

as if patterns emerge

through a force of will.

There must be something

more than what is here.

Certainties tremble, then

fall like ash into dust.

I’ve come to know less

than I have ever known.

(November 8, 2019)