Nostalgia: A Poem

Tranquility. Restlessness; mental racing; but peace.

A cool breeze presses into my body, tugging the mass of hair across my head and my face, then teasing the shorter, finer hairs all over my arms.

Art. Written; spoken; performed; and painted.

My acrylics wait in a corner, my violin rests under my feet. The paper for English awaits my attention while the seniors’ last concert mourns our new end.

Classmates in classes: I inhabit their rooms.

Dreaming of the summer, still waiting to come, we hope for good times; hope to rival past seasons.

My mind’s cadence quickens, the fan starts to move.
We oscillate as one, through space, time, and groove.
The fan is forgotten, my ties have been lost.
I long for vacation, though my friends are the cost:
For seniors are we, and this fall must we flee,
No longer as one, we’ll see all down under the sun.
We’ll spread ‘cross the earth, as past friends have done,
And I’ll take my pencil, my pen, my paintbrush and easel,
Then I’ll catch all the memories that squirm like a weasel.
I’ll visit each one and bask in its glory, before letting it free to join the whole story.

‘till then I wait, calm and collected, watching all time extend,
Past, present, future, all begin and then end.


The Test

The small theater that houses our daily production meetings has been utterly transformed. I walk in to see as many students as seats. There has even been an addition to the stage: a latticework of desks designed to accommodate even more torture victims.  We’ve been preparing for the test for months, but it never felt real. We’ve been called to this and many other of the school’s larger rooms at least once a week for the last two months, only to be sent back out with the announcement that: “the testing administration is sorry to share that difficulties have prevented the exam from arriving safely and without compromised confidentiality.”

Today, the haggard face of John Mahr’s devious being appears even more drawn out as he slumps in corner seat. Another night undoubtedly spent stalking the test until the time came to pounce on its delivery convoy. All of my classmates are fully aware of his delinquency, though the administration never seems to catch on. All I know is that I, Mark Joseph Simmons, won’t be the one to risk retribution if I turn him in.

Looking around after taking my seat, my hesitance is mirrored in every one of my peers, leaving bags packed away under seats–testing materials secured inside. We wait together in anticipation of our release back to class.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you all know what to expect after the previous weeks’ disappointments. At this time, I would like to inform you all that the exam was once again assaulted in its voyage to the academy. This time, however, it was not compromised and we have reasonable suspicion toward the offender. Will Mark Simmons please rise and follow Officer Johnson to Principal Franklyn’s office whilst we distribute the test to the remaining body.”

Sarah Learns to Fly (After Revisions)

When she was little, Sarah loved watching the birds and butterflies.

She would chase them around her yard, watching their bright wings flap, sending their delicate bodies through the air.

“Mommy, she said. “I want to be a bird. I want to have pretty wings and fly up in the trees.”

“But Sarah,” Mom replied. “You’re my little girl. You have arms and legs and you can be anything else…”

“Like a princess…”

“Or an astronaut…”

“Or a ballerina…”

“Or even the president.”

“But you can’t be a bird.”

At school the next day, Sarah saw more butterflies fluttering outside the window.

“Mrs. Brown,” she said. “I want to be a butterfly. I want to have pretty wings and fly around the flowers.”

“But Sarah,” Mrs. Brown replied. “You were made to be a special little girl. You’re here in class with your friends where you can do fun things…”

“Like read…”

“Or count…”

“Or play…:

“Or Learn…”

“But a butterfly can’t do any of these things.”

That night, Sarah’s Uncle Bill came over.

Uncle Bill was an inventor. He told Sarah about a drone he just made that flew with the eagles.

“Uncle Bill,” Sarah said. “I want to be an eagle. I want strong, pretty wings. I want to fly high in the sky with your new drone.”

“But Sarah,” Uncle Bill replied. “You don’t have to be a eagle, or any other type of bird to fly high in the sky like my drone. If you really want to, you can go to school and become a pilot so you can fly planes as high as the bravest birds soar.

And so Sarah learned how to fly and spent every day with the birds in the sky in her own special plane designed by Uncle Bill.

Into the Minds of Students

As I marched up the stairs, ready to chew Mr. Janus out, my thoughts rattled around my motoring brain. Why couldn’t he excuse me from the stupid lab? I had just gotten back from a science camp I had applied and gotten into on a full ride. Having missed the first two days after Christmas Break, I figured catching up wouldn’t be a problem, but with an unexpected lab from the world’s biggest stickler, my new teacher, and worst of all, my girlfriend’s helicopter father, I found out just how difficult it could actually be.

Dodging my way through the hallway, I shot glances up at the rest of the students, my new classmates. None of them were within two years of age from me. They looked around at each other, some nearly as lost as myself, but many falling into the same routines they’d developed over the last few years, as if middle school were nothing new. I, on the other hand, felt completely lost after moving across the country for my dad’s job and bypassing my final year in elementary school. It was the second one my mother had taken from me, against my wishes.

What am I doing here? Summer is still raging and all my friends still have weeks upon weeks before they head back, moving on to college, but I’m back sitting in a high school classroom. Me, the natural born leader, the straight-A student, the nationally ranked athlete. I earned my way all the way to the national championships and lost only because my calf was ripped in two by the spike on the shoe behind me, but none of that means anything to the counselors. I kept in contact with all my teachers and completed some form of every assignment that was assigned, but that doesn’t matter either. I missed more days than the school board feels an average student should miss and now I’m back in classes I aced before their credits were erased from my records with a cold decision from a distant committee.

Staring across the hall, across the fluorescent dresses and sharp tuxes, across the bubbling mass of dancing bodies and flapping hair, across the thick atmosphere of live and lust and teen spirit, my eyes meet those that I’ve never forgotten. Six years, three months, and fourteen days of solitude among the small city of students I’ve coexisted with and my rickety human memory could do nothing to shake the perfect hues and textures that reflect the soft hazelnut that reverberates through her entire being. I recognize myself in those eyes and see what those 76 months have done.

*None of the characters contained here embody any individuals. They are crafted to reflect traits, details, and personalities found in myself and those around me, but contain no equivalents that I have met.

Hera’s Lullaby

Given a slip containing two lines of poetry, I was set with the task of creating a poem. My prompt addressed what was obviously suggestive of an abusive relationship with words such as “baby,” “venom,” and “antidote.” I, of course, made it my goal to break from such an obvious path. I still found myself restricted, however, by the baby mentioned. The fun alternative: write to an infant! And what infant had a run-in with venom before he even left the cradle?

Cheer up Baby; things weren’t quite that bad –
With every bit of Venom, the Antidote you had.

In the Cradle, sleeping sound:
Zeus’ Deception in every Pound.
Snakes Slither up: Spawn of my Hate;
Your very presence Tempts all the Fates.

Too young you were to notice the Threat
Yet wise Hands of Youth tore ‘part Death’s cold Bet.
Distressed I looked down and Yanked out my hair;
You’d just deepened my dark green Despair.

Years now I’ve waited and plotted Revenge
Sitting in Patience of a soft brooding Tinge.
Your wonderful Wedding helped and procured
New faithful Love and the smell of Death-Assured.

Your Madness then came:
A bold sense of Shame
As wife was lain Slaughtered;
Youthful hands at last Martyred.

Love-Two came and Went
And through her hands we’ve sent
Your deadly Poison:
Your lapse of Reason.

Bright Flames now engulf your once sturdy figure;
The King of Olympus starts to Consider:
His Chaste Queen has failed –
His Bright Bolt must be Hailed.

Finally I notice my bold action’s Flaw:
A Beacon now too, you’ve set a Firm jaw.
Once Mortal and lost
You’ve won at all costs.

Now Begging, I whimper;
I’ll share just what to Remember:
Cheer up Baby; things weren’t quite that bad –
With every Bit of venom, the Antidote you had.

I will admit to a slow turn around in this writing, but my schedule has been hectic. Monday, the 21st (yesterday, two days ago, however you want to refer to that one), I volunteered at Marquette’s blood drive through my community service class. Doing so, I failed to attend class with Mr. Durham, and therefore didn’t get my prompt until today/ yesterday/ Tuesday, the 22nd. I had cross country immediately after school and had to go straight to work from there (Cara remains bewildered by my age and status and has begun fabricating a family for me). Barely into my shift, I received the command to turn in my poem. Now, six hours later, I’ve finally found computer access and turned it in.

Hope everyone enjoyed!

New Ending; Old Beginning

“You just pulled that tree down!” squeals Stevie.

A red faced Snots, slumped against a tree by the blow-up finish line grumbles back a response, “Had to stop. Dead.”

“I want to run now too. I’m going to run lots and win the race when it’s my turn!” exclaims the excited first grader.

“Do it buddy. Be the fastest there is. It’s a fun sport with some great people.”

Glancing back, Stevie notices another runner approaching. “Hey! it’s the guy that beat you! I don’t like him.”

“He’s a good friend,” replies Snots, now recovered well enough to stand independently. “Stick with him. But do me a favor, and beat him next time.”

The Big, the Undeniable, the Overwhelming! THE SCHOOL!

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.

The topic of the school system seems to have been appearing all over the place lately. From my constant contemplation, to the musings of my friend on her blog, inspired by another online post, to the rants performed in my class – by the teacher. Last year, I was charged with wandering the halls of my school and writing a 13 stanza poem about what I observed and felt. My observations, taken alone and always from the outside, produced the following:

I sit above the Library Below;
Wistfully thinking as Memories flow.

The strong sound of Silence; quiet in  fear
Of firm Rules enforced by omniscient ears.

A Bridge stands out front;
Spanning the gap
Across which Free birds
Constantly flap.

The other direction:
Children run circles.
Their friends sit in classes;
Society chuckles.

Turn just a bit;
The Large Gym awaits.
Kids play their games,
Breeding Death and Hate.

Hidden below,
Sit Foam and Cement:
Dark and forgotten,
Contrast in element.

The lunch room too sees
A Bipolar scene;
No Student can hide
From the oppressive sheen.

They come every morning;
And leave for the night.
Hurried each day;
Blind to their Plight.

Great Names on  the walls:
“All must strive for perfection.”
Though who would have known?
School’s their great destruction.

Stranded together,
Their Minds slowly fill;
Bitterness builds:
Their Bonds must they kill.

The Nurse waits for Action;
She mustn’t wait long:
For bitter minds break
From stressors’ hard song.

Alone We’re together in our Misery.
Jump through the hoop; to the next class now we Flee.

Though I stay behind, and look over all:
A vast sea of faces, some large and some small;
Some smiling and happy, others not much at all.
Coerced now we wait; To Society We’ll fall.

Schools themselves may not be at fault, but the societal pressures do impact them in oftentimes very negative ways.

With a growing stability and regularity seeming to grow, I will begin blogging in series’ in order to pursue topics without developing long-winded posts (we have Cristian Mihai to thank for the idea). As much as I like to think I know, I do enjoy input from others so I may collect a wider array of data, so opinions on school or my blogs are always welcome and encouraged.