Adolescents.. sigh

Today I left school early, tired, sick.  The last reason being the official reason for why I could go.  It was a pretty dumpy week, not just for me, but for other teachers.

Yesterday, I read the NY Times article, “How to Help Kids in Poverty Adjust to the Stability of School after Break.”  It was sad because I realized I messed up personally by being aloof instead of warm.

and today I ran into this old gem of a friend… (Bukowski’s poem)

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?

 

And I cried on the bus because on one hand, I’m imagining myself reading this poem to my kids and them scoffing or choosing not to “get it”.  On the other hand, I’m imagining myself handing this poem to a few students and maybe they’ll read it and get it.  On the third hand, I’m just wondering why and how it came to be so bleak for them.

Even though this week was a mess-up week for me, next week can be a fresh start.  “[His mercies] are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23b).

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