Friday, February 16, 2018

Gun Violence by Anonymous Teacher

(free verse written by a public school music teacher trying to feel again in the wake of the 18th school shooting of 2018)
My classroom 30 kids full
Andra Day in surround sound
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
They weren’t prepared
I told them to think of an obstacle
Something in their life that they rose against
And some of those obstacles are so so great that we are all taken aback
My lyric sheets are spattered with their tears
My students
My living breathing students who all have somebody to love and somebody who loves them (me)
Turning off the lights
Locking the door
Stay quiet my loves
It’s just a drill
Until the day it’s not a drill
And you’ll know it’s not a drill
Because you’ll hear the shots
And you’ll panic
And I’ve already planned
For how I’ll calm us down
Because it might save our lives
At least for a little while
I’ve planned where you’ll sit
In this cold cinderblock room
Once warm and lively
Now potentially the last place we’ll ever see
You’ll hide away from the door
Away from the windows
Away from the middle of the floor
Lined up under the chalk boards
Behind my desk
I’ll sit closest to the door
I tell you it’s so I can protect you
In reality I know in my heart that even when I’m shot down
With an AR-15
My sacrifice won’t have been enough
To save you
Or I could tell you to run to safety
We’re close enough to the outside door
You could make a break for it
There’s trees and a neighborhood
Surely you’d have a better chance than staying here
Let him come upon an empty classroom and find no prey
Let him choose someone else
He has so much time
So many seconds to rip this world apart and fill it with memories you never asked for
He will just choose someone else
That gun gives him so many seconds
To choose all the someone elses
There are hands to those screams
I’ve held those hands
High fived
Fist bumped
I don’t know if those hands are still warm
I don’t know if they still look like hands
The shots will get closer
I may have told you to run by now
I may not have
I shouldn’t have waited
I ran through how this day would go in my head
I still don’t know what I should do
I don’t know
I don’t know
All I can do is be the last loving adult my students ever see
If you cannot hide
If you cannot flee
You’re supposed to fight
I don’t know what good it does
He has an AR-15
This is a music room
We have plastic mallets with yarn ball tops
Heavy bass metallophone bars
My half empty water bottle
Two pairs of scissors
Bodies that could bleed out too fast to be saved in the aftermath
We are not trained fighters
I am a musician
They are children
He has an AR-15
It wouldn’t matter much if all 31 of us were karate gods
He has an AR-15
Maybe while we sit
I’ll sing
In my head of course
Because maybe if he cannot hear is he will not shoot open the door of the room
And maybe you’ll sing in your head too
We’ll spend these crucial moments perfectly synced with the audiation skills I taught you every. damn. day.
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you.....

1 comment:

  1. I am a special education teacher in MA in a school that has been taken over by the state....Your piece moved me to tears. You spoke of my emotional reality. I teach Pre-K, K, and Grade 1. Thank you for what you wrote. Others cannot understand. You expressed the situation with truth. I will share it.


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