Naked Reflections Poetry: Shameless and Unapologetic

Tag Archives: School

Golden Mornings (Day 23 of 30)

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Today’s Prompt: Write a poem related to the passing of time or life’s cycles.

 

Golden Mornings

In my childhood during spring

the morning sun’s golden rods

barged past my thin curtains

to awaken sparks of hope

that summer days

inching around the corner

would arrive

FINALLY

no more school

no more homework

no more schedules

time to be unaccountable

 

Today, a month into spring

the morning sun’s golden rods

pointed to my Keurig

an ironic calm in my cup

awaiting one touch

to fill the room 

with the aroma of the day

AHHHH

no clothes to press

no lunch to pack

no desks to wipe

time to pray for our world

I’m From (Day 12 of 30)

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Today’s prompt: Write a Where I’m From poem. I have been writing these for a long time, so it was refreshing to write a new one with different content.

I’m From

I’m from “Put your hands on your hips

And let your backbone slip!”

From my mother’s strong legs and thick thighs

To wide smiles and dark brown eyes

I’m from four generations of freckles and moles

To “Stop combing your hair so much and maybe it’ll grow.”

I’m from Gloria and Jay

Both graduates of U.C.L.A.

I’m from playing school and wanting to teach

To walking on the sink to get things out of my reach

I’m from Are You My Mother?

To Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret

I’m from creating a hidden reading room in a linen closet

To card-table tents and Barbie campers

I’m from a big yellow house on a hill in “The Dons”

To pool parties and Slip ‘n Slide scratches on my knees 

From backyard baby showers and Christmas Brunch

To classy Bridge players and domino dads talkin’ trash

I’m from Hopscotch and laggers on the side of the house

To a daring first kiss that made me shiver and spit

I’m from Nestle Quik’s chocolate bubbles floating in my milk

To Gogo Burgers and Tito’s Tacos with guacamole

From burnt cheese toast and El Patio Mexican restaurant

To sardines and crackers after Saturday morning waffles

I’m from Nana’s Monday night Russian Bank and Pokeno

To Mommie’s badminton matches on Sunday mornings in the gym

I’m from “Drive safely and don’t stay out too late”

To cheerleading at Friday night football games and Shakeys after

From “You will not be driving for 2 more weeks”

To senior prom and graduation parties past curfew

I’m from “Mommie, I think I’m pregnant”

To sedation at a clinic plagued with regrets

I’m from growing up and moving out 

To dorms, apartments and owning my condo

From married with two children and too many jobs too young

To divorced, grateful, and balanced 

I’m from the suffering of my mother’s and father’s cancer

To the resurrection of hope and joy after grief

I’m from struggle, suffering, injustice, and inequalities

To taking a stand, sitting in, and marching onward

I’m from knowing my ancestors had it harder than us

To trusting that God is still the same today and always

I’m from poetry, chalk, protests, and music

I’m from breath and spirit 

I’m from love.

ElevenEleven (Day 4 of 5-Day Writing Challenge)

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ElevenEleven

I am born of the power and mystique

Of eleven

Born the eleventh day of the eleventh month

11 days before America’s great mourning

Before a ripped nation 

would forever be severed

Born in the eleventh hour and only 120 seconds 

After the eleventh minute

I am born of New Orleans 

Oklahoma and Los Angeles

Of struggle and success

Marriage and separation

Divorce and devastation

I am born of revolutions 

seeking solutions

To injustice and segregation

100 years after Emancipation

A nation steeped in sickness and hatred

Medgar Evers 

President John F. Kennedy

And Four Little Girls

Dead

But of a King who would

March

Speak

Stand 

For equality in our stead

He had a dream!

Will we let freedom ring?

I am born of a distant father 

fighting in Vietnam 

For a country that denied

His dignity because of his color

A father who sent letters

But rarely spent time

At the house he chose for my family

Where 3 bedrooms and 3 baths

Were as easy as warm waffles for us

With hopscotch and laggers

Barbies and Beany and Cecil

I am born of a gifted mother

Who balanced her cigarette on her lip

Like she balanced parenting and parties

A master of words, pools, and school

A teacher who never stopped learning

And made us beg for crossword puzzles

Boggle and Rummikub

A woman scorned but undefeated

Someone who lived with cancer 

Like a warrior 

Adjusted her armor and kept fighting

Until she was ready to be released

Into her ancestors’ arms

I am born of strong legs and working hands

Of bright smiles and freckles

I am born of tears that fall like rain

“As a joyous daybreak to end

The long night of captivity.”

I am born of African kingdoms and royalty

Of the Bantu and the Congo

I am born of a long lineage of power

I am born of God.

End of School Year Reflection: Sort of Funny Naked Truths

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This school year went fast

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun

No

I’m glad I am done

It was hard

Stressful

Demanding

Sometimes downright insane.

I have never looked older or more tired

Than I did this year

My hair is so gray

It looks like spiders have nested across my scalp

And the spider veins in my legs creep like grapevines

My crow’s feet are longer than the side of my face

And I have pains in my stomach from all the chips I ate

And from waistbands on pants rearranging my insides.

I averaged 6 hours of sleep 5 days per week

Woke up at 3:27 a.m. to contemplate choking my cat

And contemplating with sincere intentions on how to tell a child

That cheerleading isn’t shaping her bright future

If she can’t multiply.

I wondered why one boy came to school angry

Another one so dirty he left smudges on his work at the start of the day

And several who cried at the sound of correction

Teaching and learning both require correction

So some days I chose my battles and won

Other days I lost.

In addition to my students, their needs and mine

My commitments to two university apprentices lived between my eyebrows

Watching new teachers teach and guiding their practice

Resemble teaching a baby to walk, throw a fast pitch, and speak 3 languages simultaneously.

Throughout this time, my students took on multiple personalities

I did not always know who was who and what was what

Elements of surprise lingered

Cupcakes showed up without prior approval

Birthday cakes delivered without knives for cutting or plates for plating

Text messages asked what time school dismissed

Daily university emails demanded feedback on positionality and equity

Immediately I wondered if my position was actually an imposition.

Students inquired why I wasn’t doing Middle School Day

Hmm.

Middle School Day required me to

be 3 different teachers

with 3 different accents

for 3 different subjects

I did that

My students just didn’t know it.

I apologized

To myself if I wasn’t spectacular enough

To my students if I hurt anyone’s feelings

Or didn’t make them feel special

To my body and soul for wearing them out.

Every school year is different

Every class has their unique spirit

Every summer

I detox

I rejuvenate

I become an aquaholic

I worship God and my gifts

And ask Him to heal me and renew me

In time for my new class.

If He doesn’t

He will retire me.

 

 

Lessons I Learned from Domestic Violence: Prompt 8 “No Visitors”

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San Bernardino School Shooting

Husband enters classroom

kills wife

and an 8-year old student

before killing himself.

I do not want visitors

while I am teaching.

We protect and serve

in classrooms

that are presumed safe.

Students should know

that no one would hurt them

inside of school.

Teachers settle arguments

and stop fights between students.

Teachers diffuse anger

and never tolerate bullying.

Teachers prepare lessons

group students for special help

and sit with individual children

who need that one-to-one time.

Karen Elaine Smith’s student

Jonathan Martinez

had Williams Syndrome

and probably spent many days

at his teacher’s side.

Karen Elaine Smith

did not have a chance

to protect herself or her students

but I believe Jonathan felt safe

as he ascended to heaven shortly after her

while she assuredly led the way.

Teachers and students don’t need visitors.

A surgeon does not receive visitors in the O.R.

Visitors are prohibited from approaching judges’ benches

Athletes don’t welcome visitors in the middle of a game.

But we who provide education

for students who seek careers

as doctors, judges and athletes

open our doors

open our arms

open our hearts

and give welcoming smiles

completely unaware that our visitors

may be armed

may be dangerous

may be ready to die.

How would the office staff know

that a visitor intends harm?

If someone needs to talk to the teacher

during instructional time

it should be forbidden

for the sake of the children’s learning time

and out of respect for the teacher’s time.

It should be forbidden

to interrupt protected classrooms

where students believe they are safe

where teachers leave their personal issues inside their homes

where unsettled family problems are locked outside the gates

and where life’s lessons

that children come to school to learn

won’t be nightmares of their classmates and teachers

shot in their safe zone

by a visitor.

 

Rest in Peace Karen Elaine Smith and Jonathan Martinez

 

 

 

 

Lessons I Learned from Teaching: Prompt 7 “ADHD, Gifted and Hungry”

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He comes to school late

almost every day

Moseys in with curved posture

under a hoodie covering uncombed hair

His backpack dangles on the back of his chair

it holds junk compared to others

packed with books and homework

Breakfast has already been served

but he’s hungry and glances at the table

where his tray of processed options begin to stiffen

He devours sweetened pancake-like dough

packaged pineapples and berry juice

while others read and write

He opens his tattered book

expecting to begin the day’s lessons

without a sharpened pencil

He raises his hand

to trade his dull pencil for my sharp one

we exchange pencils before engaging routine courtesies

while my eyes fight to conceal irritation

because 141 days of school have begun without readiness

His page is torn and smudged

like his backpack

like his hoodie

like his shoes

Holes in front from feet forging

heels breaking down the barriers of high-tops

until thread-bare socks graze the ground

Life moves in reverse

the way he backs out of his shoes

he writes yesterday’s answers

does not have today’s homework

saves Thursday’s fruit

for Friday’s snack

What will his future hold

if he never finishes anything he starts

if his feet never have room to grow

if his fingernails carry crud

if his hands never stop fidgeting

if his knees never stop bouncing

and his mind never breaks free?