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Showing posts from January, 2014

Concessions of a Blind Man

We lost our father.
As he laid in his smoke-filled coffin
with hand-crafted nails,
my mother hugged me close.

My brother was still in wonder of death.
He couldn’t figure out how dad could
hold his breath for so long.
He tried and passed out.
At least he was quiet on the ride home.

I learned how to cook eggs first.
Then meatloaf,
then pizza
and fish
and soups.

I learned how to tie shoes,
and drive,
and drop off
watery-eyed little men
in little suits,
and kiss goodbye,
and be proud like a good father.

I learned how to fight
and slam doors,
and drink too much,
and rely on black coffee.

I learned that my brother
knew that I was always going
to be older than him,
and



I suppose



that meant I would
always be wise…
I learned what it meant to
truly cry,
and know that I would
never live up to his
greatest expectations.

And as I sat back, wishing it all
to go to hell,
I remembered that,
when I cradled his head
in my lap
and felt him fall asleep,
we were both still children.

-JR Simmang

Creativity, and the Pursuit of Happiness

I don't know when the change happened. Seriously.

It used to be that people would work, and they would do so without constant carping or waging war on their bosses. People would travel miles underground in soot and filth, emerge completely covered in charcoal, go home and sleep, and wake up the next day to do it all over again.

Were they happy? Sure. But, was this happiness a result of comfortable complacency, or did people truly, honestly love their livelihood? It seems to me that people in those old, iconic photographs are smiling most often when they are engaged in their lives. They laugh when they have been completely and utterly submerged in the company of creativity. Sorry for the alliteration.

Creativity is a sticky wicket. We have a tendency to look at solutions to major problems and say, "my that was a creative solution. Howsoever did you concoct such a unique answer?" We also will look at a painting and say to ourselves (because it's bad form to speak in …

Back in the Swing of Things

It's the new year.
... a few days late...

So, let's get this thang crankin'.

I've recently found myself sitting in the classroom, watching my students plug away at what can only be described at mathematical interpretive dance, and staring out the windows. That's right, folks. Windows, as in more than one, as in "I've cycled through my first window, time to move on to the next one." And it hits me.

The next afternoon, we had a staff meeting. My principal talked to us about responsibility because our center is holding hands with the other centers and we're all just swimming around in the bottom of the barrel. He tells us that it's time we take responsibility for our test scores. And all the while I sat there thinking, when was the last time I took a test?

Answer: about five years ago when I certified as a teacher.

The test he was referring to is the TABE exam. It's basically a test for adult students. And, apparently, our center doesn'…