Why Do We Say “Classrooms Can’t Make Men”

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Teach a man, he’ll conquer the world.
What if this man must conquer such world to be taught?
One child in a classroom.
One plus one does not equal two.
As his stomach grumbles with only remnants of last night’s frozen dinner.
“Something ain’t” not “something isn’t” right
As his deep, muddy eyes strain to see scrawlings on the not too distant chalkboard.
Lincoln was Martin Luther King Jr. on that morning at Gettysburg
As he tries to remember the winter morning he last saw his daddy
but can only see those flashing lights
The classroom bleeds onto the streets.
Teachers become brothers.
Grades are issued with the finality of a bullet.
Yet if only this young man could conquer the world.
A world that provides the lessons he must learn to survive.
Then maybe, just maybe the classroom would teach his brilliant mind

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Soulmate

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A touch. A glance.
Enough to stop the whole universe in motion.
One day a stranger, the next an unforgettable friend.
How does she resist the perfection of his touch?
It’s impossible.
All she can do is embrace and call him another soulmate.
No. Not one that will forever hold her hand.
Just a soul mate that can pause her heart between beats.
Make a simple sentence sound like a sonnet.
And be a forever friend in this cold lonely world.
Never to touch how they may sometimes want.
but always to understand how souls could never be
fully apart again.

Endings

They say…whoever they is
They say all good things must come to an end
An end.
Maybe only endings mark the good things.
the new things, the beginning things.
but even more those things end.
All good things end.
Your touch, your look never ends but is always ending.
If only I could grasp that last touch
that last momentary glance
Maybe then I could make it last forever
But even forever must end.
For all good things come to an end.
That first spark is just that, a spark
fleeting, intense, gone.
And what does it leave in its place?
A completely unsettling desire to avoid all endings.
but if only through endings
do we seek the new…
Maybe endings brought me to you.

Such as a Spring Songbird

Such as a spring songbird bellowing its notes from above
but hiding its form in the tops of the maple tree.
A long winter has burst forth into a fervent spring
providing a dense protection for a spring songbird.

Such as a spring songbird desperately hoping to be heard
but fearing to be seen, to be noticed, to be known.
In just a flit such beauty escapes the searching eyes from below
giving the solitary spring songbird a moment’s refuge.

Such as a spring songbird repeating its uniquely perfect call
but forgetting to first notice the beings around it.
Its hopeful voice breathes depth into the newly warmed air
meeting a passerby’s ear with sweet, seductive melodies.

Such as a spring songbird beckoning every gaze upward
but lacking the courage to leave its security, its place.
From above it peers down full of doubt, full of wonder
thinking only that not anyone cares to hear its soulful song.

There Is No Victor: Voiceless in Syria

There is no victor in this war
A boy not nearly twelve
runs down the streets of a village.
Screaming, yelling.
For days now the jets
have haunted his village
his family
his own mind.
This boy’s imagination,
the one sign of childhood still preserved,
has now even turned against him.
Every whistle or change in the wind
carries the threat of danger and death.
Even the loving call of his own mother
startles him from a numbed trance.
For such a call could mean another raid
on the horizon.
***********************
He used to have dreams of being a pilot.
Flying his family to far off destinations
and returning safely home.
But now the faceless, unknown enemy
has captured that vision as well.
Turning his jet into a weapon.
Now even this dream haunts him each night
as he prays to Allah that each sound he hears
isn’t the hum of that now-familiar jet.
***********************
For there is no certain tomorrow in this war
Each day, though, his hope seems to hobble forward
even as his village crumbles
because at least Allah has heard his prayers
and protected his family.
Each new morning he gasps
with his first conscious breath to make sure
in his now fitful sleep
he wasn’t named the next victim.
A moment of relief is all he receives
as he races to the bed of his family
hugging each still sleeping body
with the force of ten men
for he now knows Allah has heard his cry.
**********************
Yet, it wasn’t his imagination that betrayed him today.
Reality,
as much as this scene can seam real in his young mind,
floods in as single tears fall urgently
to the cracked dusty ground.
Even this pure nourishment is rejected
by the parched earth beneath him
for nothing seems to heal this war-torn land.
Today he has lost his family.
He screams and cries
loud enough to block out the thoughts that
maybe Allah had not cared enough to save their lives
and the lasting desire that his life would be taken instead.
************************
But there is no mourning in this war.
Men surround the child
each dressed in fatigues engulfing him in his new reality.
Tears will not bring back his family
and he is asked to quiet his hysteric yells.
His cries for revenge tell the story of this cycle of war.
For the fight for peace and a voice for the people
can rarely be distinguished from the ever-present
hum of the jet engines overhead.
When the mouth of the oppressed tastes despair
that cannot be contained any longer
it will cry forth for more bloodshed
in hope of justice not peace.
For peace will not be found
within this well-known cycle but
beyond its bounds.
For there are no victors in this war.