poet, teacher, and dad from the Midwest

Always Wanted a Career in Education Click Here

Publication: Rattle *published in Sad Man [link]


I went into teaching, obviously,
to create a vast network of lackeys
reaching beyond their decades
of graduation to infiltrate communities
with my nefarious values. And to create
yes-men. Yes-people. Yes-women, too.
LGBTQ yes-folk. Equal opportunity yessing.
Everyone can agree with me.
Everyone can do what I say.
When their hands raise in class my lackeys know
the only appropriate comment is “tell me what
to think of this, Mr. Greatest Poet
in the Universe,” and I say, Sally, Billy, whatever,
you’re free to think exactly as I think
as much as you’d like. Sarah. Sam. Whoever
you are or may be—Christ, they stick me
with 120-150 of you whiners per semester,
you’d think God or Allah or the Hindi Elephant God,
whoever’s in charge, ought to know
I’ve got more students in here than I can keep track of.
“Yes, Mr. The Greatest English Teacher in Known
and Unknown History,” my students answer kindly,
gracefully, gratefully. “We understand you,
Mr. Don’t Worry We Love You,” they coo,
they soothe. “We were put here, in your presence,”
they confess, “so that you might be understood.”
An otherworldly glint shimmers in their eyes,
which I choose to ignore; it’s like the palms
of their hands are pushing against my heels—
I go up and up and up, ever onward
into the light, understood, appreciated, elevated,
probing heaven with my hands
as if this were my coronation.