I'm a dad of four and high school English teacher in Indiana. I like rock from the 60s to present and my favorite poet currently writing is Bob Hicok. Our dog died this spring and my kids want another. This poem is included in my new collection from Wolfson Press, Indiana, Noble Sad Man of the Year. My website is therealstevehenn.com
Today in 7th Period
We were in the computer lab and the kids
were talking and laughing, having fun
which means they weren’t getting educated
which ought to be an awful experience
via heavy reading and heavier silence,
perhaps pierced by a heavy sigh
which exhaled solidifies and clunks on the carpet
like a fat brick of wanting only to die
but instead they laughed and carried on, so I shouted
in my middleaged cracking voice “perHAPS
you should be working on your ResEARCH for your BibBIES
rather than” and here normally I’d say talking about
your hot date this weekend with Johnnie Sue – but
instead I ad-libbed, saying “rather than conversing as if . . .
sitting at a . . . coffeehouse . . discussing boys
and . . . politics . . .” and everybody looks over at me
on my orange plastic chair in the corner by the printer
like what the hell kind of comment is that, Mr. Henn?
Are you ok? I mean are you having a breakdown?
I didn’t know what to do, so I continued, “and your friend
is wearing a scarf you find hideous so you compliment it
with baldfaced . . . facetiousness . . .
and you haven’t seen a squirrel in 4 MONTHS
you’re wondering if the laundry is done at home
because . . . you want to . . . treat yourself to . . .
clean pants tomorrow. . .” I heard snickers, I’m losing them,
what had started as an attempt at witty improv
had grown strange, weird and oddly gregarious
like a 45 lb tumor removed from Grandma’s stomach
that grew a mouth and legs and started selling
vacuum cleaners door to door so I kept going
“and your friend keeps referring to her mom
as mother which she’s never done before, as in
mother wants me home at eight or mother says
not to tell about what is in the man-sized freezer
in the cellar, and you’re thinking what’s with this
mother business? and then the golden boy you love
in secret from a distance by burning incense
in your bedroom and clumsily consulting tarot cards
haphazardly, without conviction but in desperation
walks into the coffeehouse and orders that weird tea
they make by steeping tiny twigs and you jump,
you wail and say No! You can’t be serious!
You’re more alluring than all that! and he looks at you
just like, oh, I guess you exist, but that doesn’t interest me
and there go all your imagined schemes to pull off
the perfect prom!”
You could hear the proverbial pin drop.
Not a word was uttered for the rest of class.
Yessss. Still got it.
© 2017 Steve Henn
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