At First, I Walked by (essay from several years ago)

From several years ago, when I was an exhausted nearly broken full-time teacher at a large high school, I wrote this:

I WALKED BY…AT FIRST…

And I did walk by him, started to go to my car. I did not want to stop. It had been a rough, rough day…. and tomorrow I had a tough formal observation tomorrow, really tough observer.

But I had to go back. No, no, I thought. We are here for the kids. A moral duty. I KNOW something’s not right.

He had the look I’ve seen on kids who are homeless, waiting for the taxis to take them to their shelters.

Taxi companies don’t like these fares, for the suburban companies don’t get return trips from the shelters and they don’t get tips from the kids.

And yes, he’d been waiting for FIVE HOURS for a taxi. Soon, he would HAVE to leave the building , since it would be locked up.

Fortunately, I found the late security person, a wonderful SK I must thank more tomorrow. She and I found the taxi company, insisted they come soon as they had a contract with the school, then waited until the taxi came and RK got in the taxi. Don’t let him out of our sight, I told SK. I was afraid he’d be dumped on the corner.

And I cried. Ashamed I’d not wanted to stop. Annoyed I was so tired. Ashamed that I’d become one of those teachers, who put the stuff we teach above the kids.

As we are told, it’s our job to teach, not be social workers.

But who would look out for the RK’s of the school if not us? He had no other way home. He looked exhausted, dirty, and hungry.

As to the latter? Good thing I had treats in my car for the creative writing club that meets later this week.

RK took “home” brownies and protein bars.

He shook my hand as he left, made him write down my name and SK’s name, reminded him we wanted him in school and apologized for adults letting him down.

His eyes, his eyes, his eyes. The eyes of an old man who’d seen too much in a 15 year old boy.

 *  *  *

The next day, RK was not in school.  I never saw him again. Did I imagine this entire incident? No, I had called my boss for help, not knowing what to do. I wasn’t leaving a 15 year old alone.  My boss called her boss who offered to come sit with RK, and I said no, I’m already here, I am sitting with SK from security, and I will stay until he gets his ride.

I’m sorry, RK, I almost forgot why I’m a teacher. I’m ashamed of what I’ve become. What we have sometimes become as we stress over and with corporate “reforms” that put test scores and “growth” scores on the backs of teachers who need to support their families, too and sometimes pit student needs vs. teacher needs to survive.

It’s not right. It’s not good enough.  My reaction was not good enough.

I nearly kept on walking.

Please read this blog by an amazing writer. What she has to say is important, for our actions can have long-term ramifications, things we never even think about.

“Are you dreaming?” my life coach asks me every time I see her, pen poised above her yellow legal pad. I shake my head no, yet that isn’t quite truthful. I can’t find words to describe the flutter of wings against my face or the vision of joining a collective flock evading a net. [It’s […]

via Bird by Bird: Grant Writing Research for Chicago Audubon Society — Laura Jean Bailey

Publications, updated

9 wordle  Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

“The Night is Our First Language,” poem, published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November-December 2018.

“Click” and “They Left the Bed,” poetry published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November 2018.

*”Moving Gravel” a short story at Crack the Spine – Themed Anthology Submissions – -“Routine”, print edition, 2018.

*”Walk With Child” at https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/  September 2018 Issue, “Here and Gone.”

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018, “Herstory,” a poem, published October  2018,https://coffinbell.com/herstory-lesson/

*Spillwords Press, 2018, a poem, “Stopped” by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press.

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK), poetry.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21), “Hell, No,” a poem at JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20), JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17), JOMP Volume 17. 

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

“The Night is our First Language” (poem) to be published

Pleased to learn a poem I’ve really liked over the years, “The Night is Our First Language,” will be published (by Willowdown Books) in Poetic Bond VIII (UK) along with two others.

The third poem was not short listed as the others were, but fit the theme and tone overall, the editor stated. I’m pleased about this because it is a poem about the power of poetry–specifically the power of the Li Young Lee’s poetry to motivate me to write!

img_1283

Cloudy Day Nature Walk Photos–Early Autumn

 

Just some nature photos from a woodland walk today. So good to walk in the forest! Look up, look down. Beauty. Even on cloudy days? Yes, even then. Look closely.

And watch out for those squirrel and chipmunk holes… just the right size to trip me when walking.  So I am looking DOWN as well as up for sure!

Not a gorgeous day, but a certain peacefulness in the quiet of coolness.

Thanks for reading.

Publications, Updated

SMALL HEART BOOKS POETRY        Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

“The Night is Our First Language,” poem, published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November 2018, 

“Click” and “They Left the Bed,” poetry published in The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November 2018.

*”Moving Gravel” a short story at Crack the Spine – Themed Anthology Submissions – -“Routine”, print edition, 2018.

*”Walk With Child” at https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/  September 2018 Issue, “Here and Gone.”

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018, “Herstory,” a poem, published October  2018,https://coffinbell.com/herstory-lesson/

*Spillwords Press, 2018, a poem, “Stopped” by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press.

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine.

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK), poetry.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21), “Hell, No,” a poem at JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20), JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy.

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17), JOMP Volume 17. 

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL

Publications, Updated

img_1342      Grateful to these publications and their hard-working dedicated staff. Thank you.

 

Some of my poems, short stories, and nonfiction articles are included in books and magazines published in the UK, Greece, New Zealand, and the United States.

“Click” and “They Left the Bed,” poetry published by The Poetic Bond VIII print issue, November 2018, 

*”Moving Gravel” a short story at Crack the Spine – Themed Anthology Submissions – -“Routine”, print edition, 2018

*”Walk With Child” at https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/  September 2018 Issue, “Here and Gone”

*Coffin Bell Journal,2018
“Herstory,” a poem, to be published October  2018

*Spillwords Press, 2018, a poem, “Stopped” by Laura Lee at Spillwords Press

*Tuck Magazine, June 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine

*Tuck Magazine,  May 2018, a poem at Tuck Magazine

* Southernmost Point Guest House (UK)
Poetry

* Journal of Modern Poetry 21 (Volume 21), “Hello No,” a poem at JOMP Volume 21 Dear Mr. President

* Journal of Modern Poetry 20 (Volume 20)
JOMP Volume 20 Poetry Writer’s Guide to the Galaxy

* Journal of Modern Poetry 17 (Volume 17)
JOMP Volume 17

* Magazine (New Zealand) , Raewyn Alexander, Publisher
Raewyn Alexander NZ

* Fiction in: http://staxtes.com/2003/
“Between the Sunlight and the Skipping” in English Wednesdays

*Poetry in: https://poetsagainstthewar.org/ Archives

* Illinois English Bulletin, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, nonfiction article about teaching in an alternative education program.

* Poetry in Marginalia, Elmhurst, IL