Education and Knick-Knacks

This piece is dedicated to a good friend and talented teacher—-Roberta

A complete education teaches critical thinking, non conformity, risk taking and personal accountability. It teaches students to think for themselves and to follow facts not opinions. This requires students to become well rounded in their quest for knowledge and truth. What good is it if a student studies nuclear physics but has no appreciation for the frailties of humanity. What good is it to study philosophy but to not be given the tools to decipher right from wrong. What good it is to study history if you can’t apply it to solving todays social issues. As the saying goes, “Those that fail to learn from history are destine to repeat it”. An education should prepare students to answer the most difficult questions. This includes questions regarding morality, social justice, racism, global warming, political ideals and religion—-to only name a few.

The core purpose of education is not to receive a piece of paper that states a student has completed a series of classes and successfully passed a list of required tests. Education should provide students with the tools and skills to become contributing members of their communities. Compassion and empathy should be a common thread that runs through the curriculum of all subjects and disciplines. This is more true today than ever before.

I’ve dedicated over twenty years of my life to serve as an educator. It’s been an honor to have touched so many lives. I’ve always prided myself in being a motivator and mentor who sought to help each and every one of my students reach their highest potential. I’ll always carry with me the memories of my high achieving students but in some ways, I’ll remember the students who had to struggle and fight to meet their goals even more so. Sometimes what they needed more than anything was for someone to believe in them. That is something not taught in books, but rather given as a gift. These fond memories put a smile on my face. No one can ever take that from me.  

So, I leave here with a cardboard box of mementoes. Some silly knick knacks, a coffee cup and twenty years of student pictures, poems and old flyers advertising plays and concerts. I even have a couple of plaques that recognized me for a job well done. Such a bitter sweet feeling. I’m acutely aware of the sound of my footsteps as they echo down the deserted hall for the finale time. I slowly turn around and whisper, “Farewell old friend”.  

Two Ticks Of A Clock

Between two ticks of a clock

A baby inhales its first breath

Between two ticks of a clock

An old man exhales his last threats

Between two ticks of a clock

Lives may be changed, forever swallowed up

Between two ticks of a clock

Names and days may forever be forgotten 

Between two ticks a clock

Someone falls in love for the first time

Between two ticks of a clock

Someone falls out of love for the last time

Between two ticks of a clock

Entire lives pass by

Between two ticks of a clock

Entire lives slip and lose their grip

Between to ticks of a clock

Everything can change

Between two ticks of a clock

Everything dangles in an abyss 

Between two ticks of a clock

Anything and everything is possible

Between two ticks of a clock

Everything conspires into nothing

Scream-Breathe

There’s no reward for a life well lived

There’s only the conquering of midnight thoughts and defeating those loathed barbed days 

Inhale——-exhale——inhale——exhale——sigh

Time has sun baked our souls and left craters and wrinkles deep in our faces, that mirror like a river refuses to be damned or tamed——-inhale-exhale-sigh

Once young and untested she gave her body to me 

I took it and imagined it would always be this way

But I was wrong, now-a-days the destination is seldom worth the journey—exhale-exhale-sigh

Were we ever that young, that hopeful, so foolish and immortal inhale-exhale-sigh 

Love has a life of it’s own

It lives, it dies

No one knows its life span—exhale-exhale-sigh

It morphs into memories of sun kissed spring days

Time lays in-wait, slipping by, steadily unwinding

Self-doubt is contagious, and it will kill you

Just when you think you have it all figured out

It changes direction—inhale-exhale-sigh

No more listening to boring dweebs yammer on about their views, their values, their beliefs, their god—their rights 

Nobody gives a shit about your petty proclamations, I said nobody, nobody cares asshole!—exhale-inhale—sigh

STOP!  Stop blathering on about your politics, your Jesus, your conspiracy theories and the price of gas and how it was so much better back in the “good ole days”-inhale-exhale-scream!!!!!

Anti Love song-song

Don’t Call It Love, My Favorite Mistake

Life is funny

Kinda sad, kinda strange

When the one you love, and marry

Aren’t one and the same

Call it addiction

Call it a drug

Call it poison 

But don’t call it love

Life is crazy

Kinda weird, kinda dumb

If the one you give your heart to

Turns out to be the wrong one

Call it a dream

Call it lust

Blame on hormones

But don’t call it love

Heard about love

In poems and songs

How can something that feels so right

Turn out to be so wrong

Let’s go down to the chapel

And, tie the knot

Maybe it’s love

Maybe it’s not

Here’s to wedding dresses

Here’s to wedding cakes

Here’s to love

And my favorite mistake

Here’s to love

And all the hearts it breaks

Prize Fighters And Poets

With a tone of scorn and eyes conveying pity I’ve been called “sensitive”. I hate the term sensitive, it brings to mind weakness and vulnerability. To write a poem requires guts. To paint a picture requires vision. To play the blues is to open up ones soul and expose a heart callused and gnarled. To put pen to paper and write is fool hearted and as brave as taking off all your clothes and running down main street bare-ass naked.  We’re all awkward and sensitive when naked. Most will point and snicker, but few will understand.

I suppose the opposite of sensitive would be insensitive, indifferent and selfish. Imagine being described as a sweet fellow——-but so terribly insensitive, indifferent and selfish. The worlds full of bleached out souls afraid to air their feelings. These are the ones who lean on trite “Hallmark Cards” to express their orphaned emotions. 

I ain’t sensitive, I’m the underdog in a prize fight. I’m the guy that’s willing to take a hundred punches so I can get one in of my own. I’m not particularly fast or talented, but I can take a punch. I’ll weave and bob my way into the face of any dumb ass critique. I’ll shove them against the ropes and whisper in their ear “Is that all ya got?”. My eyes might be swollen shut and my nose may be bloodied, but you’ll have to take me out in a stretcher before I’ll give up. I’ve done my work in the gym. I’ve done my early morning roadwork. I’ve pounded that heavy bag until my fists bled. I’ve hit that speed bag until it became a blur. I’ve earned this chance. I’ve been patient. I’ve waited for my opening. I’m one dangerous motherfucker, I’m one of those with nothing left to lose. I’ll hit that son of a bitch right on the jaw with a right hook.  I’ll watch him crumble like a sheet of bad poetry headed for the waste basket. 

People don’t drown cause they can’t swim, they drown cause they can’t hold their breath long enough.  And brother, I can go forever on one breath.

Inventing Colors

Art is everywhere, but most only see it when it’s put in a fancy frame, installed in an art show or defined as such by pretentious critics’. I do love art. I love Bukowski and Kerouac….Their pens like divining rods, separating raw sewage from raw beauty.  Some people breakdown playing the piano into a math problem, into intervals and the frequency of notes on a page, but that’s missing the point of playing the piano. Why paint by numbers when there’s so much more waiting outside the lines. Doodle, scribble, close your eyes and let the music flow through you, out of you, into you——like a new color that’s yet to be discovered. 

Our Better Angels Have Flown

Our noble experiment in democracy has begun to fracture and crumble. It seems all the mechanism and systems our forefathers created as checks and balances are failing due to the love of power. The two party system is in gridlock. Compromise is a dirty word. The majority of wealth is held by a minority of individuals. The peaceful exchange of power is no longer abided by. Big lies and fake news outlets such as Fox have made a mockery out of facts and truth.Angry internet sites and inflammatory pod casts encourage violence over civil discussions. Big money and special interests have replaced majority rules. What has become of all the good men and women who once treated our system of democracy as something sacred—-something that was paid for with the blood of thousands of perished soldiers. Our better angels have flown….Shame on us.