Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Requiem for a Spine (BAL Blog Post #10)

in honor of national poem in a pocket day tomorrow.  we will respond to this next week, but if you feel so inclined, after you're done reading post #9 and responding, you can also write your own poem here in the comments!

-Ms. Lauren

requiem for a spine

they say that they didn't strap him into the van,
and that is how his spine was severed.
they say that he had a hammer in his hand,
and that is why they squeezed 10 rounds off.
they say that she was carrying a knife,
in her own home,
and that is why they opened fire.
they say that he assaulted the officer,
that he stole something,
that he was selling cigarettes,
that he had a gun and not a wallet,
that she was an intruder on the porch at 2am.

when his spine snapped,
our breathing went shallow.
when his eyes dropped,
we coughed up a lead-filled lung.
when her knees hit the floor,
we sputtered.
when he backed away, hands up,
blood dribbled from our noses.
when his breath stopped,
our eyes bulged in terror,
our mouths went dry
our wallets spilled out receipts
our car batteries stalled in middle of the road.

your hands around my throat.
your eyes doused in hatred,
as you bring dreams to abrupt ends,
that had already been
shoved under the rug
and forgotten.

we dare to dream anyway,
defiantly, because we will bring
to fruition what you have stolen,
what they have wrenched away
from so many others,
and what we all deserve.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pop Quiz!

Hey guys,
Happy return from break!! It's time to get focused.  Please write a comment below with a 2 paragraph response to your reading of Act 1, Scene 2 in A Raisin in the Sun.  You may get out your Annotation Guides and any notes you took while reading to use in your response, but may not open your book.  Just checking to see who read, and what you're thinking of the Younger family so far!

Ms. Lauren

Saturday, April 11, 2015

writing that dream down (BAL Blog Post #9)

I have been a bad teacher this spring break, in that I haven't done that much work.  One of the most difficult things about my job sometimes is that the work continues to pile up, but this stretch off I need to attend to the other facets of my personality: myself as a human, myself as a mother, myself as a wife.  Do you ever find it difficult to juggle the responsibilities you have?  This is one thing I think about as I get older -- how many selves am I?  How do people learn to balance all of the different demands that life has for them?  I hope that I figure out the answers to these questions someday.

I have never pretended to be perfect: I am as imperfect as they come.  But even though I feel that I mess up on a daily basis, I am still deserving of happiness.  What "the dream" is has shifted over the course of my life.  I wanted to be successful, as in have my writing published and my expenses covered by a benefactor when I was younger.  Then my focus shifted to activism, to feminist and womanist thought, to queer politics and riot grrrl, zines and emo rock, then back to hip-hop and consumerism.  I was challenged by a college friend to finally realize my dream of becoming a teacher in 2007.  That's a fun story, ask me sometime.

I never wanted to get married or have kids.  I thought that teaching would be enough fulfillment, that I would have my students, colleagues, family and chosen family to guide me through the ups and downs of life.  I was upset that others looked upon my life as "incomplete" if I chose not to marry or bear children.  However, life had secrets in store and I am often a passenger in fate's vehicle.

I never wanted to be an adult - do adult things like buy cars or houses.  I wanted to travel the world (and still do) with few possessions, learn language and art forms, drums and dances of cultures on peaks and in valleys of remote world-corners.  Suddenly, I am thinking of interest rates and retirement funds, saving for a down payment, things I never thought I'd see myself go for.  Have I fundamentally changed over time, or have my dreams changed?

Just yesterday I was talking about buying property with a barn, so that we can have livestock and host parties, so that my DJ retirement plan can come to fruition as my husband caters his astounding food in a farm-to-table venue.  Where did this dream come from?   This is far from my original desire to live in a brownstone in Brooklyn and publish words about the Q train for volumes of best-selling chapbooks.

What happens when the dream shifts?  When you're not who you thought you were, or you want something different from what you swore on before?  Do your dreams stay the same when you change?  Tell me your dreams.  Tell me your diamonds.