all writing ©2020 unpublished works

by Rj wepāloki/Ruth wplk


look out a window

there are three kinds
of looking out the window
in school.
one is the kind where
i  happen to glance up as a bird flies by,
or a squirrel drops a nut,
or chases another squirrel.
and then i return to my notebook,
writing in a sentence
regarding the ethics of a children’s literature character’s
feats of strength, humility, or forceful sabotage.
or more likely i return to fill in the blank:  4 + 4 = um… 8.
or on a timed test:  “4+8=8, 7+8=15, 2+3=5, 7-6=1, 10-5=7,
i mean 6,
i mean i can’t remember,
i mean there’s only 3 seconds left,
come on, maybe 5, yes 5, 5 it is!!!
and the squirrel is forgotten.
and the window continues to simply be a brighter part of the wall,
nothing more than a place
where no student artwork resides.

the second kind of window gazing has two parts:

AD  HD  (staying back)

i am wondering.  about how to proceed.
its a catch 22 i think,
well mostly it seems everything is a catch 22 really,
but this one is the one affecting me right now.

i’m wondering how to get through my day at school.
i keep getting in trouble
i’m a pretty active kid, i run around.
some might even say i run amuck,
i forget rules, i’ve been told that i touch people too much
touch things too much - jovially, bumping into them,
slapping them on the back,
grabbing their arm when i’m excited to tell them something,

and i move too much too,
and i’m always waving my arms in the air just to feel them move.
and i’m always saying    and
because things connect
and because   ‘and‘  links things
and things connect

touching things makes sense to me -

teaching english

i thought i saw what had happened,
however, when i looked down for only a second
i must have missed the most important moment,
because when i looked back up
from the dog-eared pages of the robert frost poetry book
that i had been in the midst of closing for the fourth time today,
after my fourth english class about yellow woods,
and roads not taken, and choices between the expected
and the adventure, all the clamoring had begun,
and in the end i let the most forceful voice win.

the kids were in line, on their way to the cafeteria,
that stinking but finally well-painted cubicle of chaos and mayhem.
i was glad to be able to put the textbooks away
and send them off, for i was not on duty that day,
i was allowed to breathe a cool breath of air on the teacher’s deck
rather than manage and rule the lunchroom,
i had a spark of an hour’s creativity
before the next bunch of children cascaded in
for afternoon classes.

one child was standing quietly,
in the middle of the line - a place no-one wants to be,
marking the space between the rowdy and the quiet,
being jostled on either side by those too hungry for patience
and those already earmarked for detention tonight.
she stood with her back against the metal shelves -
writing samples
and excerpts

sixth grade (june)   (excerpt)

i used to let people slap me.
they would ask and i would say okay
it won’t hurt
i’d say -