IF I DIE IN MY CLASSROOM—a teacher’s ballad

I’m not here yet (writing like this) but I am getting there. In the meantime, read my friend and colleague’s ballad, and see if you don’t choke up.


I hope that right before it happens
I do something heroic,
but knowing me and how I panic,
I more than probably won’t.

I hope I’m wearing something cute.
I wonder about my hair.
I hope I look good on the floor.
I hope I say more than “don’t shoot.”

I keep on saying hope.
I hope, I hope, I hope.
But hope? I actually don’t have much.
I think it’s mostly luck—

If I have to die in class, I hope
I’ve just said something noble
that really made them think.
I hope I’m really quotable.

What else? I didn’t stay up late
to finish grading papers.
I made love to my husband instead—
I barely let him out of bed.

When I dropped my son off at school,
“I love you,” “I love you too”
is what we said. It’s what we say
so many times every day.

View original post 1,090 more words

Yes. I Suffer From Mental Health Issues. I’m Not Ashamed. You Shouldn’t be Either.

Sharing the words, shining the light.

Dissent and Cookies

mental health issues

Yesterday, I woke up feeling overwhelmed, sad for absolutely no reason, and just wanted to stay in bed and cry all day.  I haven’t had an episode like this in quite a long time so it scared the absolute shit out of me.  I texted a few very good friends who know me well and who would know exactly what I needed to hear, I took my medication, and slowly, throughout the day, things got better.  I still felt exhausted.  I still felt sad.  I still felt anxious about being sad but today I’m better.  Rationally, my brain knew this would be temporary, but physiologically, I was already in that head space, and there was nothing I could do to “snap” out of it.

My old therapist used to call this “getting on the bus.”  She said to me, “Kelly, if you saw a bus being hijacked, would you choose…

View original post 1,301 more words

Every Time You Thank a Teacher

Another person I am proud to call a colleague. Read her poem, then go thank every teacher you can find. Because the darkness is closing in us.


A small white flower blooms somewhere,
in some ugly, neglected spot .

A paparazzo sets his camera down,
and a famous baby gets a private smile.

Every time you thank a teacher,
she finds the energy to do just one more thing
before she goes to sleep.

Every time you thank a teacher,
the darkness slides a little back.

A fussy child eats five carrot sticks
and barely even notices.

Every time you thank a teacher,
he makes another phone call,
for the student who has no one,
literally no one, else who cares.

Every time you thank a teacher,
an astronaut tightens a bolt,
a fledgeling just totally sticks it
landing on a flimsy limb,
a desperate person’s car starts one more time.

But every time you could have
thanked a teacher and didn’t,
and every time you thank a teacher
without even trying to do your part,

View original post 112 more words

Unmothered on this Mother’s Day

This is a great essay on being “unmothered,” especially at this time of year.

I suppose now I need to add this to the things I am going to have to address (along with being unfathered) in my own writing. Just acknowledging how alone I’ve felt for the last 20 years is painful and sad.

Vanessa Martir's Blog

My mother is very much alive. In fact I talked to her the other day. For the first time in over a year. She said things like, “You know I don’t like girls. Girls come here to suffer.” She criticized. She reminded me, “tu dejas la inteligencia en la escuela.” Then laughed when I was silent. “You always hated when I said that.” I still do.

I didn’t know there was a term for me until after my brother died in June of 2013; when I was dealing with my grief and all the griefs that grief brought up, including the grief over my antagonistic relationship with my mother.

They call us unmothered. There are those who are unmothered because their mothers died. Then there are those like me, whose mothers are alive and still don’t mother us.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary the Definition of UNMOTHERED: deprived of a…

View original post 2,874 more words

Not a Father’s Day Poem

Father’s Day

The cop leans over to light a cigarette
out of the wind coming off Lake Michigan
straightens as I pass him
his face full of broken capillaries
red and hard and pocked
like my father’s from years
of hard drinking

The cop smiles
but I haven’t heard from my dad
in years so I just look away

Browsing the poetry shelves
in a used bookstore on Milwaukee Avenue
I pull Sharon Olds’ book about her father
who dies in several poems
near the middle

The poems evoke a good strong man
whose daughter loves him so much
she has to write an entire book
to process her grief

Because they are beautiful
and I cannot write such poems
about my own father
I buy the book
put it on my shelf
where it stays


Continue reading