Tuesday, June 5, 2012

OpenLinkNight: specialK

Richmond, VA

last week of school, halls full
as a shook can of coke
       &she asks---

you sign my yearbook?

&i am no one, just someone willing
to say hi, give her high fives, each time i
stop in to see one of my guys

eyes wide behind thick panes, she waits,
cocked grin, hip hitched in exaggerated gesture
same as when she walks - thus the saddle
of the specialK moniker - oh, they're
careful not to say it loud enough to be heard
by anyone but her & she may be slow to process
but not clueless to cuts, blue&black  rock
marks---hearts-less

& i find a blank space, crowded by blank space---
she's moving to high school next, so i wish
her grace, remind her who she is & the future
that awaits---repeat REpeat REPEATed phrases
for impact, come backs to combat whisper,
whiSper, WHISPEred---attACKs

we smack palms & she crooked lines off,
sun dress dancing her wake, showing anyone
that will look, in her marbled mouth dialect,
how mr. brian signed her year book
they just as oblivious as she is about who

i am, no one, just someone willing
to say hi, give high fives & recognizes another
human when he sees one---

it's the last week of school, halls full
& she's special, oK.

It's that time once again, OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets, which means we are about to get our poetry on...so what are you waiting for, grab a pen and get to writing...the doors open at 3 pm EST...see you then.

107 comments:

James Rainsford said...

As an ex-teacher this so resonates with me Brian. We don't always know as educators what small fires we may ignite with our seemingly insignificant gestures, and yet these moments plant such seeds as oaks are made of. Great write my friend. I enjoyed it immensely.

happygirl said...

Halls full as a shook can of coke.
Yay summer and no school and yearbooks and going to hs. Sweet seeing the specialness of individual kids. :)

Dave King said...

Have to agree with James. Looking back on my own school days, the teachers who most influenced me did so in ways of which I am sure they were unaware. you have caught a truth which is often missed. Excellent work.

Grace said...

Enjoyed the way you described her, and though its a simple rite of passage, the words of teachers and others who guide us, affect us in one way or the other ~

Happy Tuesday to you ~

Laurie Kolp said...

So vivid in your description of her... a little sad. You make a difference in so many lives.

the walking man said...

Everyone deserves a connection, even if it is a bit more tightly held onto by one end of the rope than the other.

Tina said...

I'm crying. My YellowBoy has the most tender heart of anyone I know, so of course he's bullied relentlessly by the cool guys, the ones who DON'T cry when someone hurts the "special" boy's feelings, but Y? He puts his arm around the Down Syndrome boy instead. "Oh look, a cry-baby and gay too!"
This year he greeted me at the end of the year picnic with a huge grin and, "MOM! Four kids asked me to sign their yearbook!" This would be up from zero. Ever.
This touched me. My new favorite. Last line perfect.
Tina @ Life is Good

Susan said...

"a blank space, crowded by blank space" yes, but blank no more, like a little smile on a bleak day. This is so true! Thank you!

Suz said...

I agree with james, also...
I believe you have planted a valley, a ridge, a region of oaks
and the writing was spot on as usual

SueAnn Lommler said...

Yes she is special and it is great you gave her some love!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

JANU said...

Nostalgic....tender and touching.

Lorraine said...

Knowing what I know I would ask and be so happy to have you sign my
long past year book, 'cause you're an angel

Steve E said...

Brian, this is SO GOOD, so warm a story. Prayer Girl worked with developmentally-disabled Peeps for 20 years, and so I called her in to read to her--one more of your experiences/masterpieces.

Even though we not all in classrooms, I believe each of us are 'teachers' in one way or another. And you remind us of our Joyous Obligation to Peeps, whoever, and wherever we meet.

Thanks for this 'so-well-written' piece of empathy, and how we--the nobodys, hope to respond to our Peeps each day--in and out!

Annmarie Pipa said...

my college son wrote a letter to his high school teacher telling him how much his class gave him the advantage among his peers in college...i think that teacher probably saved that letter for the rest of his life...

Pat Hatt said...

Sounds like all she needed was the high five
And kept you alive
With your gawker power though
Such gratitude is bound to show

Daniel said...

Man, you are a good soul. Consistent and loving and giving. Quoting Jack, you make me want to be a better person.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

OH this is beautiful. That girl will remember your kindnesses FOR LIFE. YOU make her special and YOU make her COUNT...even if just for a few moments. EVERYONE wants to be special.

Valerie said...

Saying Hi is all it takes to make someone feel special. Some should do it more often.

Alice Audrey said...

Mr. Brian? Makes you sound like a teacher. Good thing you were there for her.

Daydreamertoo said...

I'm smiling.. it really doesn't take too much to make someone else's heart smile, does it? a little thought, kindness, compassion. I'm so thrilled she was thrilled about your signing her year book Mr Brian. :)

kaykuala said...

You made her day, Brian! Just some brief moments for you to sacrifice but a world of difference for her. Wonderful write!

Hank

Natasha Head said...

You underestimate your power Poet...I'd be showing off that year book too...not all who walk among us can be held up as an example, but you can...and you've got a special smile on the face of a girl so happy to know you. She will smile long, and hopefully, be able to rise above those who are NOT examples..okay...a little weepy and still at work...you rock...touched my heart with this one.

Sue said...

Glad you were there for her, Brian.
And that you understand what it means.

=)

Matt said...

Such a small act can make a huge difference in someone's life. What a great way to show that Brian, excellent writing as usual.

Joseph Hesch said...

Great capture of the time and subject, Brian. Your voice and a sweet sentiment. This made me smile... a lot.

~ j

Arron Shilling said...

Palm touch (*)

capturing the gaps brian
and fixing em fast for reflection

Myrna R. said...

Nice that you take the time and recognize her importance. And yes, you should matter to her. You're Brian - famous poet and a really, really good person.

Louise said...

This is so touching....we never know how much we touch people, but it's the little things that make the difference...a lovely tender write. :)

Jenny Woolf said...

A beautiful post. I can always imagine what you describe so vividly, like little stories in my mind.

Claudia said...

smiles..you're just someone willing to listen and to see people and treat them with respect, regardless to title or talent...and that's what she feels..and everyone here in blogworld as well..just saying...and if i had a yearbook, you would be the first i would ask to sign it..smiles

ayala said...

I love this...I love the way you see and feel everyone..and as James said these moments plant such seeds...you have a gift here with words and in your life to touch others. Just great! :)

signed...bkm said...

How simple the signing of a book, the recognition of a soul...what a difference a pen can make...blessings..bkm

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Wonderfully moving, really nice read, some people just leave an impression on you don't they? And you on them no doubt...

Jen Chandler said...

Beautiful.

You never know whose life you touch or what a huge difference a simple, small gesture can make.

Awesome.

Jen

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Brian, my brother, as the father of a SpecialK myself, I love this poem, and I love you for writing it. I don't get teary-eyed reading poetry very often, but this was one. I'm so glad you wrote this and am glad you signed her yearbook. Rock on, SpecialK, show the world who you are!

AmyLK said...

And all she wanted was someone to say "hey" You are one special person!

Belinda said...

It's taking the time, the act of bothering, of making eye contact, of being willing to say hi that remind us we're all special. You connect so beautifully, as always.

Syd said...

You are such a good fellow, Brian. I'm glad that she asked and that you write (as I knew you would). So important to those who have those empty pages.

Frank Watson said...

Sweet, empathetic story, well told. Like the "hidden" internal rhyme you threw in there too.

Mama Zen said...

I love this, Brian. You are a good man.

Christopher Reilley said...

I loved the slice of middle school life, and I had a friend much like you describe, a rumpled shuffle to a different drummer. Love the shook Coke line.

Laura said...

Brian, having a lot of "special K's" in my life, who I don't often write about (for privacy) this really made me smile. SHE is special and so are you for connecting with her and in you kind way letting her know just how truly special she is.

Timoteo said...

Good man...the future autographs you sign will be as a poet.

Robert Gibson said...

Wow ... this is a powerful poem... I love looking for and uplifting the downtrodden - because my school life was extremely rough, being picked on often 'eyes behind panes of glass' is an apt description of all the other students saw when they looked at me.

And you made her day by acknowledging her. That was an awesome write!

hedgewitch said...

Agree with Timo above--your sig will be long adorning a poet's byline, my friend, with writing like this--human and always real.

Tara Miller said...

Yes, she is special. And I'm sure she'll remember you and how you made her feel for a very long time. Kindness certainly counts - we never know how our interactions with others affects someone's life....for the best or the worst.

Linda Kruschke said...

Brian, This is awesome! To take a moment to encourage those who might too easily be discouraged by the cruelty of others is such a gift - a high five to be remembered always when times are tough. I can hear the refrain even now in the halls of heaven: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Peace, Linda

Rachel said...

and i find a blank space crowded by a blank space...

wow. brian, that was brilliant.

vivinfrance said...

They're all special and so are you. A grand, celebratory poem, with an important message, too.

PattiKen said...

Those special teachers change lives. It was true for me, and it is definitely true for my kids.

tera said...

Nice.
We can always hope that at least one person will remember us kindly.
I think she will. :)

tinkwelborn said...

…different world, but a raw one.
original. base. a world I'd left and forgotten for nigh 50 years.
side thought: which world IS real? why not both?

great piece of writing, catching a moment in time, and holding up for all to see….a world most of us forgot.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Your write reminded me of a very special teacher I had at a time when I was just a lost child---kudos to you Brian!

Arjan Tupan said...

Indeed special, Brian. The girl. And you. Reminds me of a visit I did recently to a home/care facility for special needs kids. I learnt some lessons there, and these kids whose language I did not speak, were also truly special.

PamRosy_p said...

This poem has a wonderful flow and is so touching, it was easy to become absorbed by it.

Heidi said...

You have just written about the fears I have for my sweetie-pie as she enters school, hoping that it will be different before she reaches middle school. Powerful poem. heidi (bigger than a lasagna)

henry clemmons said...

What a sweetie you are. So kind to this girl. I bet it meant very much to her. More skools need kindness, the world needs more. I hope this inspires people to do such. An excellente voice for today as it was a gesture for yesterday.

Unknown said...

Very nice poem, sweet scenario. Good on you both for the poem and for being nice. And you're right. She is special--so are you.

jackiedick said...

What Claudia says, resonates w. me. And as a teacher, it's most fulfilling to see that perhaps you touched someone in a way that brings light and hope into their lives. You obviously do that Brian. I'd want you to sign my yearbook too. :))

poemblaze said...

A wonderful, kind, tender poem. I loved finding a white space surrounded by white space.

Miss Laura A. Day said...

loved it as always.. a pleasure to read!

EKSwitaj said...

Oh, you couldn't pay me to go back to those days.

Stacy Uncorked said...

You totally made her day. And mine, too. :)

Steve King said...

"blank spaces crowded by blank spaces..." this and many other lines are outstanding. But how artfully you have demonstrated the necessity of simple humanity being offered from one to another. Outstanding.

corbie77 said...

I loved your poem Brian! I more people did the kind deed you did, we would all be in a happier world. This really resonates because it wasn't too long ago (ok a little longer than I like to say lol) that I was in that world. Thanks for your inspiring piece!
~Corbie Sinclair

marousia said...

Some fantastic images - lovely take on a rite of passage - love the details you bring out

Chris Okelberry said...

love this. very touching. Great stuff.

Pat said...

This warms my heart and breaks it at the same time. You made her day. Smile.

Victoria said...

This gave me goose pimples, Brian. You never know how those words will come back and help her to face whatever's ahead.

Rene Foran said...

Honestly brutal...but there is a glimmer of hope here. Loved this and it really rings true with 9 days of school left.

theborgpoet said...

I hated to ask people to sign..what if they had said no?

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

You're love of teaching and your students and your empathy shine through in the poem. Wonderful!

Modern Day Disciple said...

I just feel a little sad reading this... reminiscent perhaps of painful days in school hallways past. Oh tender and painful years. Thank God for you, Brian. I know you shine where you are.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Excellent write, Brian. Goes deep and gets real. Nice

Gloria said...

aahhh dear Brian you described all so well :))

Charles Miller said...

This is such a vivid portrait of those years some of us might rather forget. You bring her so alive in that one moment where we do indeed connect, strangers maybe except for those little informal moments that don't seem like much now but then made up a day maybe.

mrs mediocrity said...

This is beautiful and full of grace.
You are a good man. And a wonderful poet.

Mary said...

I remember those days when having people sign a yearbook was so important; and if a teacher / other school adult signed, it was so very special. I know you are someone who recognizes the specialness of each kid.

I went to my grandson's end of school year picnic today. I took his sister, my granddaughter, too. He was so happy I came, and Mya and I ate lunch with him and his 2nd grade friends. I hope he is always happy I come to his school, that he never thinks it is uncool for his grandma to be there with/for him.

Susie Clevenger said...

It seems I was always sought by those who were special..our school was so small and I took a lot of heat for befriending them, but I wouldn't change a thing...learned some of the most beautiful lessons from them...excellent write!!

Jody Lee Collins said...

pretty long list here, Brian, but I can wait in line:-) I work with children in Special Ed all day....sometimes I get immune to them. This was a precious picture of the who that they are--Somebodies.

You're a walking blessing to them and all the other students you touch.

(we're not out 'til June 20th...counting the days).

pandamoniumcat said...

How lovely... moments and kind words change lives.

Semaphore said...

For all the SpecialK children out there, and for what this says, even without saying it - you deserve a high five.

ladyfi said...

So beautifully written. You're a good person, Brian.

Fred Rutherford said...

Really nice sentiment here Brian. But I have to say, the play on words and possible metaphors here is layered nicely. The Special K, obviously the first thing I thought of was the drug, which is or at least was rampant in schools and while I kind of quickly dismissed it, the idea behind drugs, is basically a want, a drive, so as symbol, I can still see it, especially with the word smack used later in the piece. Then there's the cereal, which instantly came to mind, of course right? But I think the smacking, reminded me of that kelloggs character, I believe it was for sugar pops, can't remember. But the K, as in ok, I love that, as I never thought of it, until it appeared, yet, it's all conversation, poetry, in one way or another, so while fitting thematically, it added this extra layer for me as well. Great write. Thanks

PoppySilverUK said...

Your work always has a realistic feel to it, one the reader can sink their thoughts into, that is part of why I like it so much, makes me think, nostalgic, almost, awesome! :)

Aidz Giannini said...

Enjoyed this.. but way to far back to reminisce ;)

DQPoetry said...

Well said Brian, a good message and well written which makes it fun

Lady Nyo said...

sweet, compassionate piece, Brian.

We need more teachers like you.

Lady Nyo

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This made me sad and quite choked Brian.

Beautifully and sensitively written and you truly are someone willing to say hi, give high fives & recongnizes another human when he sees one...

We are all special and we surely need recognise that.

Respect.

Anna :o]

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

Nice one Sir as always...

JJRod'z

Ps. Thanks for the birthday greeting!...

Anonymous said...

Something special about special K. And that beats Kellogg's anytime. For real!

Adura x

SaraV said...

Brian, this really brought back some memories--great words and could just see her walk, sundress and feel the angst of trying to say the right (write?) thing--nice!

Raivenne said...

Oh this brought back a far too old memory. There are exactly two teachers I asked to sign my middle school year book. The only two who who got through to me. Maybe like me, she only let the teachers that meant something to her sign. Perhaps being "just someone willing
to say hi, give high fives & recognizes another
human when he sees one---" was all she needed. That you recognize them (the students), as human beings when so many others just see another bunch of faces to get through the school year, is a gift. It's a gift that makes you someone special (at least to her), Ok?

manicddaily said...

Really very lovely. k.

Anna Montgomery said...

Wonderful, sorry it took so long to get here, puppy rearing is exhausting :). I love these poems that explore why we should reach out.

aka_andrea said...

This is so sweet, and the way I see you. Every time I submit something here, you say exactly what I wish for someone to say. You are a very kind soul.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

very encouraging to know someone like you is very thoughtful of the well being of a young lady's future along with many others. This is great poem and one for educators to keep in.

Ginny Brannan said...

"i am, no one, just someone willing
to say hi, give high fives & recognizes another
human when he sees one---"

How little it takes sometimes to make someone's day, huh? Heck Brian, I wonder if we all weren't awkward and self-conscious in our youth, I know I surely felt exactly the same. Maybe some were better at hiding it than others. Thoughtful capture, like it a lot.

ed pilolla said...

i am envious of the moments and details of watching kids grow and move on that teachers experience. maybe one day i'll teach a class, but it would hardly be the same as being a regular, year after year personality. i remember that i would have never asked a teacher i didn't care about to ever sign my yearbook. someone else in this scene sounds pretty special too:)

rosemary mint said...

Those are painful years. You did a good deed, sir. When you feel like no one loves you, anyone will do. And if it's you, at least she's safe.

My faves:

"hearts-less ...
& i find a blank space, crowded by blank space"

"& she crooked lines off"

SO cute:
"showing anyone
that will look, in her marbled mouth dialect,
how mr. brian signed her year book"

joanna said...

like the way this comes back full circle at the end, and your use of caps. :) in case a lot of people don't tell you this, you rock, b.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

You are the teacher I loved. The one who saw something special in the chubby girl who walked on a cane (juvy arthritis). Who saw the butterfly bound by a cocoon of comments like "crip" and "gimp." I love all teachers, especially those who see the best in The Other Kids. Big high fives to you! Amy

Magpie said...

I loved my time spent in the special education classroom. Beguiling and innocent. Glad you're there for so many.

Chris Lawrence said...

A poem with feeling and vivid in its being that you get taken away with it

Luke Prater said...

very touching. Even at my age I can see and appreciate what you're saying about small gestures potentially making a big difference to some kid who may be struggling - who knows what shit they've got going on? - but it's clear to me they're struggling while many of their peers are having what looks like the time of their lives in highschool or college. I've been (quasi) mentor now to enough young poets who ask me for help to tread carefully around what I say and give that encouragement. As you illustrate here - I'm no one really, but what I say may affect them greatly (or not)

Zuzana said...

You know for some reason this reminds me of a song from one of the more famous Czech artists - about a girl in school no one paid attention to, as she was bland, dull, boring looking. But she was a diamond in the rough and no one recognized this. Then when they met her at a reunion she was stunning and beuatiful and have lived a very interesting life.
Sometimes I feel I was that girl.;)
Always love to read your contemplative prose dear friend,
xoxo

zongrik said...

kids have their way of behaving, even just the way you had them say hi "givin hi fives" i mean, people don't introduce themselves like that at a conference, at a biz meeting...