Writing South Carolina
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"How should we improve the state of South Carolina?" That invitingly open-ended question served as the basis for the first annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest as the call went out in fall 2013 to juniors and seniors across the Palmetto State, encouraging them to take a stance through good, thought-provoking writing. The nearly five hundred responses that resulted were as impressive in quality as they were in quantity. Young writers sounded off on issues of race relations, environmental conservation, economic imbalance, opportunities of infrastructure, substance and physical abuse, and the maladies of education. Most wrote on issues of education rooted in their own burgeoning awareness of its gifts and limitations in their lives. From that pool of contestants, twenty-three finalists rose to the top to have their initial entries and subsequent writing on a favorite book or place judged by best-selling author Pat Conroy. The insightful and often revelatory responses from those finalists—including the first, second, and third place winners by grade—are collected here in Writing South Carolina.

In heartfelt essays, poems, short stories, and drama, these diverse writers lay bare their attitudes and impressions of South Carolina as they have experienced it and as they hope to reshape it. The resulting anthology is a compelling portrait of the Palmetto State's potential as advocated by some of its best and brightest young writers. Editor Steven Lynn provides an introduction and contest judge Pat Conroy provides a foreword to the collection.

Senior Winners / Walter B. Edgar Award• First Place: Rowan Miller, Aiken, Aiken High School, "Different Worlds" (essay)• Second Place: Katherine Frain, Mount Pleasant, Wando High School, "Place of Refuge" (poem)• Third Place: Allison Able, Saluda, Saluda High School, "Song of Silence" (essay)• Honorable Mention: Drake Shadwell, Dalzell, Wilson Hall, Untitled (play)• Honorable Mention: Jordhane Stanley, Seabrook Island, South Carolina Virtual School, Untitled (essay)

Junior Winners / Dorothy S. Williams Award• First Place: Hallie Chametzky, Columbia, Dreher High School, "Change in Simple Arithmetic" (poem)• Second Place: Zoe Abedon, Sullivan's Island, Charleston County School of the Arts, "To Overcome" (poem)• Third Place: Madison Seabrook, Charleston County School of the Arts, "A Novel Prospect" (poem)• Honorable Mention: Suzanne Jackson, Charleston, Charleston County School of the Arts, "Local since Forever" (essay)• Honorable Mention: Rebecca Walker, Spartanburg, Dorman High School, Untitled (essay)


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Date de parution 27 mars 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611175202
Langue English

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WRITING SOUTH CAROLINA
Seated, L-R: Katherine Dumont, Suzanne Jackson (Honorable Mention Junior), Madison Seabrook (Third Place Junior), Pat Conroy, A da Rogers, Drake Shadwell (Honorable Mention Senior), AnnaJamieson Beck, Natalie Jacobs.
Second Row, L-R: Rowan Miller (First Place Senior/Walter B. Edgar Award), Allison Able (Third Place Senior), Zoe Abedon (Second Place Junior), Nicole Jankov, Rebecca Walker (Honorable Mention Junior), Rhiannon Lemaster, Ayret Contreras, Emily Moore, Robert N. Coleman.
Top Row, L-R: Katherine Frain (Second Place Senior), Ashley Kreiner, Jordhane Stanley (Honorable Mention Senior), Zoey Johnson, Jake Farrer, Chris Kannaday, Hallie Chametzky (First Place Junior/Dorothy S. Williams Award), Alicia Davenport, Kaylie Lively.
Not all competition finalists participated in this collection.
Photograph by Allen Anderson.
WRITING SOUTH CAROLINA

Selections from the First High School Writing Contest
Edited by Steven Lynn with A da Rogers
Foreword by Pat Conroy

The University of South Carolina Press
2015 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
www.sc.edu/uscpress
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at http://catalog.loc.gov/
ISBN 978-1-61117-519-6 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-61117-520-2 (ebook)

Kim Shealy Jeffcoat, Series Editor
CONTENTS
Foreword
Pat Conroy
Introduction: They re Here
Steven Lynn
Juniors
A Change in Simple Arithmetic
Always Warm, Always Sweet, Always Ours
Hallie Chametzky (First Place)
To Overcome
Built by Familiar Hands beneath the Puerto Rican Moon
Zoe Abedon (Second Place)
A Novel Prospect
Losing My True Kindred Spirit
Madison Seabrook (Third Place)
Local Since Forever
The Face in the Floor
Suzanne Jackson (Honorable Mention)
Imagine This
Hold Still and Heal
Rebecca Walker (Honorable Mention)
Palmetto Strong
One, We Are the Devils!
AnnaJamieson Beck
Invading Vermont
Homesick
Katherine Dumont
Letter from a Foster Child
My Personal Haven
Natalie Jacobs
The Coming
Thanks for Thinking of Me
Zoey Johnson
The Ripple Effect
The Backyard Echoes
Ashley Kreiner
Abstinence Education
The Reason I Write
Rhiannon Lemaster
A Call for Change in South Carolina
A Good and Humble Home
Kaylie Lively
Education: What Is It Teaching Us?
In My Room
Emily Moore
Seniors
Different Worlds
On the Lake
Rowan Miller (First Place)
Normal Ones
My Mother s Last Gift
Katherine Frain (Second Place)
Song of Silence
Terrasultra
Allison Able (Third Place)
Allegory for Cooperation between Federal and State Governments as well as Acceptance of Foreign Ideas and Cultures
The Stage Is My World
Drake Shadwell (Honorable Mention)
South Carolina s Secret Invasion
My Peaceful Respite
Robert N. Coleman
Principal Investment
Ayret Contreras
The Snapshot of Michael
The Importance of Noticing an Invisible Man
Alicia Davenport
Improve School-Reduce the Number of Days
Fishing at Clarks Hill
Jake Tyler Farrer
Preserving Life
From Fantasy to Memoirs
Nicole Jankov
A Question of Participation
My Me Time
Chris Kannaday
Contributors
FOREWORD
In the summer of 1961, my family crossed over the Combahee River and entered into Beaufort County for the first time. I was fifteen years old and had never heard of Beaufort, South Carolina, in my life. It was my twenty-third move since my birth, and Beaufort High would be the eleventh school I d attended and the third high school in my adolescence. I was in the middle of a very unhappy childhood.
But I was a military brat, and my mother had convinced her seven children that we were serving America whenever we moved because our father was a fighter pilot and our nation needed him. Little did we know that we were driving toward the life we were meant to live and toward the destiny we were all meant to share. I had entered the Lowcountry of South Carolina for the first time in my life, a place of such mysterious and uncommon beauty that it still strikes me as some lost archipelago of paradise. I had no clue that I would spend the next fifty-three years of my life writing about this sacred place and the amazing people I found there.
This much I know. I was a teenager, like all of you are, and like you, I entertained the improbable dream that I wanted to be a writer and that I had things to say. I also know this-all of you who contributed to this book write much better than I did in high school, and the stuff I published in The Breakers , our literary magazine, would not have made the cut in your wonderful book. I m reading my dinky poems and quasi-essays as I write this, and I think objectively that I showed little promise during those awkward, melancholy years of my boyhood. You, ladies and gentlemen, write with a verve and a confidence I don t believe I matched until my final years at the Citadel. As high school writers in South Carolina, I think you re writing better sentences and thinking deeper thoughts and showing off a more refined talent than I could present to my teachers in high school. Someone has taught you well and you ve been smart enough to listen, and you re using the English language with both purpose and gracefulness.
I owe my writing life to the cowled nuns of my grade school who taught me to read and write and taught me about how the great interior engine of words could work together; if you learned the immense powers of verbs and good grammar, then you could align words in a sentence as pretty as a string of pearls. I learned to diagram sentences that looked like the blueprints of battleships. I never quite learned the mysteries of colons or semicolons. From an early age, I developed an intolerance for the exclamation point, and I ve never gotten over that bizarre tic in my writing style. A teacher told me not to use the word poignant even when I found situations that struck me that way, because we have endured enough poignant moments in fiction, so we can retire that overused word. I thought I had never used it again until a sharp-eyed reader found it blinking like a lantern in some tired sentence in The Prince of Tides. But learning to write is a safari into those far interiors of self that can seem reckless and unreachable until the voyage begins. Our English teachers become our guides through the perilous missteps we make when we begin to turn our most private thoughts into stories and poems we d like other people to read. They light the campfires in our bloodstreams that combust into the bright firelight of dreaming in our consciousness. The teachers lead us to the books that are great, tell us what makes them so good, and tempt us to develop our own personal styles that force the language to do what we require from it.
There is no phrase I revere as much as English teacher. That profession still strikes me as a form of holy orders, but I revere all the teachers of the world, and it shames me to see them bullied, excoriated, and subject to the contempt that America displays toward them in the early years of this century. My teachers found me as a young boy who didn t know the alphabet and helped lead me every step of the way to a manhood where I write books that are the joys of my life.
When I was a freshman in high school, Sister Ann of the Sacred Heart order introduced me to William Shakespeare and Twelfth Night , then told us we were now reading the greatest writer who had ever performed acts of pure magic with the language common to us all. The next year Joseph Monte taught me that teaching was an art form of the highest calling, and I read twenty books under his watchful eye, including David Copperfield, Crime and Punishment, and The Sound and the Fury . He made me write a letter to William Faulkner, a letter to the editor of the Washington Post , and the first short story I ever wrote. He presented his class with an ambitious list of the hundred best books ever written (according to the world of Joseph Monte), and I crossed off the name of the last book before I began my plebe year at the Citadel.
My fate as a writer continued in its exalted fashion when I walked into the Beaufort classroom of Gene Norris in September 1961. He was the first person who ever taught me who did not wear either a priest s collar or a nun s habit. On one of the first days of school, he put on a recording of Ravel s Bol ro and asked us to write him an essay on whatever feelings the music brought out in us. I described a camp of gypsies about to be slaughtered by a group of Franco s troops during the final stages of the Spanish Civil War. The last book on Mr. Monte s Hundred Best Books list had been For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. My Bol ro paper caught Mr. Norris s eye, and the next day he told me he knew I was going to become a writer whether I knew it or not. I ve written about my complete admiration of Gene Norris in five of my books, and his spirit is present in every word I write. During his final years, we called each other on an almost daily basis; when Gene died I delivered a eulogy at his memorial service, and I served as one of the executors of his will. Though I didn t know this in high school, you can grow up and be best friends with the men and women who taught you. After I walked out of his class, I never let loose my grip on Gene Norris or his buoyant, self-actualized life. I turned him into part of my life, part of my story. The truth is I never left Gene s class, and I was still seated on the front row until the moment of his death.
In my senior year at Beaufort High School, I came under the spell of the delightful, pixilated wordsmith from Due West, South Carolina, Millen Ellis. He was a fanciful, Tolkien-like presence in the classroom, demanding and softhearted at the same time. He turned his classroom into a crossroads of the world; his bulletin boards changed constantly-from art exhibitions at the Met to some obscure movie coming to the Breeze Theater downtown. Millen wrote down the answers of quizzes and would crumple them up and hurl them into the shelves meant for books under our student desks. If we were alert, we d find these answers, but his lesson was not lost on us: pay attention to everything; do not let anything escape or fool you; awareness is the keystone to all knowledge. And there was an art to life that he was helping us to enter, but first he had to prove to us that it was there in the first place. I listened in Millen Ellis s class to the first opera I ever heard, Boris Godunov , and he taught the play Macbeth with such passion that its lines and speeches remain with me to this day. He made us memorize one hundred lines of English poetry, and I now wish he d made us extend it to a thousand lines.
So, young writers of South Carolina, we ve come to this central pivot in our lives. I ve been a South Carolina writer for fifty years, and this is your first song ever played at the big dance of our maddening, complicated, but splendid state. I think South Carolina produces more stories per square inch than any place on earth. That is where we have a part, you guys and me. It is our job to become the poets and songwriters and the cunning, spinning craftsmen and web-spinners who will write the novels and short stories that ll explain our time here to those lucky enough to follow in our footsteps. Here is my advice to you, writer to writer. Keep a journal. Write in it whenever you can. Learn how to notice strange and wondrous details. Copy down dialogue from memory. Learn how people sound when they are sitting around talking versus how they sound when giving a speech or running for office. Details are the gold coinage in the realm of fiction and poetry. Gather them up like the eggs of racing pigeons and hoard them well and don t listen to their cries of release until you find the perfect moment to release them from their bondage.
Read everything. But make sure you read all the books and poetry that seem to be defining the times in which you live. Become discriminating critics of your own writing as well as that of others. Try to be kind and constructive to any other writer who approaches you for help. To write is a form of nakedness that all of you are going to learn about when this book is published. It is an act of courage to write anything, but it is an act approaching madness to want to do this for a living.
Go deeper. That is my advice to all writers. Then go deeper again. When I look at myself in the mirror, I ve no clear idea of who that guy is looking back. For fifty years I ve been trying to learn the essential truth of that one man. I m not sure I ve scratched the surface of that unending mystery. There are enigmas buried inside you in the deepest waters. Whether they be angels or moray eels, whether they be godlike or demonic, it is your job to discover them for yourself and no one else. You write for yourself. You write for no one else. It is your art that you are seeking, and if you are very lucky, it is your art that is desperately trying to make its own voice heard to you. Listen. Pray it is calling your name.
With your publication in this book, it has already called your name one time.
P AT C ONROY
INTRODUCTION
They re Here
Where is everybody? That question is the origin of Fermi s paradox, which (as you may know) goes something like this: Our galaxy, which has billions and billions of stars, is just one of many billions of galaxies. (Yes, I know this is an introduction to a collection of essays by high school students: stick with me for a second.) Even if life arises only on a small percentage of the planets that are similar to ours, we ve learned enough about the universe for many of the most informed people to think that it probably should be teeming with other civilizations. Although great distances separate us, over billions of years there has been plenty of time for thousands of civilizations to make contact. Hence the question asked by the eminent physicist Enrico Fermi, talking with some colleagues at Los Alamos in 1950: why, indeed, haven t we heard from anyone?
Conroy s paradox, which I have just invented in honor of our main judge, goes like this: We know that our state has tens of thousands of high school juniors and seniors. They have taken English classes for years, expressly designed and intended to develop their abilities and their desire to write and read and think. We know there are great English teachers out there, people who inspire, challenge, and encourage their students. Even if only a portion of these students have thought seriously about our state and how to improve it, and only a percentage of them are willing to write something down and share it, there should be many hundreds if not thousands of students with something important and interesting to say. So where are they? Have you, if you re not an English teacher or an admissions officer, read any good writing by high school students lately?
The possible answers to these two puzzlers are similar. Perhaps extraterrestrials aren t saying anything to us because they ve concluded we re too immature as a species, and we wouldn t have anything important to say yet. They ll check back later. And perhaps editors and publishers haven t pursued high school writers because, well, they re still in high school. What do they know? Or perhaps young writers have concluded that they don t have anything to say to the adult world, which isn t ready for what they would say, couldn t handle the truth, would take it the wrong way, etc. Of course a moment s reflection will suggest that a young civilization and a young person might have especially valuable perspectives, raising questions and issues that their elders would never come up with.
Or perhaps the problem to some degree is more medium than message. Perhaps the ETs communicate by smell, releasing finely calibrated odiferous clouds, or by touch, or by exchanging colored beads, or rubbing their tentacles together, or all sorts of other ways that don t make any sense over interstellar distances. Perhaps we re just too different to make sense to each other; the communication gap is too large. Similarly it might sometimes seem to adults that teenagers are speaking a different language and might indeed as well be from another world. Which is of course precisely one big reason we should make the effort to understand each other better. If aliens landed, even if they looked like purple slime or had weird tattoos or wore I m with Stupid T-shirts or didn t have mouths, we d go to great lengths to try to understand them. They would know something we don t know. High school students are much easier to communicate with, but what they know and think is often, as this collection indicates, insightful and eye-opening.
T HE F IRST A NNUAL H IGH S CHOOL W RITING C ONTEST aimed to provide an occasion and a venue for students to write. The contest was open to every high school junior and senior who was a resident of the state of South Carolina in the fall of 2013. Students who were attending boarding schools out of state, who were living with parents stationed in another country, who were for any reason not physically here but who claimed South Carolina as their home were eligible, as were students who might have just moved here. We used a variety of the most extensive e-mail lists we could find to invite students to submit an entry to the contest, and we were pleased that 497 students did send us fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama in response to this question: How should we improve the state of South Carolina?
You can see here, in this collection, evidence that South Carolina is indeed blessed with eloquent and imaginative thinkers and writers. What you can t see, unfortunately, is that every single entry had something interesting, impassioned, innovative, surprising, and/or useful to say. Whenever I told people that I was reading through all the submissions, they would express sympathy or surprise, but the truth is that it was one of the most entertaining and interesting things I ve ever done. It was not easy selecting the finalists who are published here, and as I ve looked through the submissions that we did not pick, preparing to write this introduction, I ve repeatedly wondered why in the world we didn t select this or that particular student to come to Columbia for the second stage of the contest.
Part of the reason, of course, is that in any sort of contest like this one, people are making judgments that are ultimately subjective, based on personal assessments of what we d like to think are widely held values. But read the same essay or poem or story on Monday and then again on Friday, and there s a chance you ll have a significantly different opinion. This is one reason extended courtships are a good idea. I have no doubt that everyone who came to Columbia for the second part of the contest deserved to be there, but I m also sure that we didn t select students as finalists who very well could have been. As we told those students, we very much hope that they will keep writing and keep thinking. There were quite reasonable and intelligent suggestions about improving our state that were not selected as finalists in part because they seemed similar to many other submissions. We often say great minds think alike, but in a writing contest, the unexpected and innovative may tend to stand out.
And what was the most common, most frequently expressed response to the question of how we should improve the state of South Carolina? The answer overwhelmingly for these students was improve education. Some 229 students made improving education the exclusive or major focus of their submission, and almost 80 percent of the students at least mentioned education. We received poems, plays, short stories, and essays with innovative ideas: a four-day school week, for instance; a more forgiving grading scale, helping more students to graduate; a nomadic busload of teaching superstars roaming the state, energizing teachers and students one school at a time; more fun, with more music and arts classes, so that more students would stay in school; fewer classes more effectively delivered; a wider variety of classes, reflecting different career opportunities; a program to deal with invasive species; and more. A handful of students suggested that all schools should use the same grading scale: it s not fair when applying to colleges, they argued, that an A is 93 to 100 in some places and 90 to 100 in others. But most of the submissions relating to education were not at all surprising-although they were certainly often heartfelt and moving.
Many students said that when a teacher really cared about them, it made all the difference: I felt unstoppable, as one student said. Students also yearned for teachers who are better prepared, who are teaching in a subject they know and love. They felt that school resources and facilities ought to be reasonably similar and sufficient: comparing his school to some other high schools, one exasperated student observed, is like comparing a shack to the White House. Repeatedly these students said in a variety of ways that they wanted to be challenged-they wanted harder tests; they wanted to read more books; they wanted to move faster through the curriculum. More than one student expressed dismay that the lowest grade a student could make at their school was a 60. Their classmates, they reported, could do essentially nothing, only occasionally try a little bit, and get a passing grade. Anyone who thinks that students are fond of teachers who are easy should talk to these students-or really, look through any large sample of teacher evaluations. Students cherish those teachers who are most substantive. One of the many encouraging things about what we learned was the intensity of our students desire to learn. They want to know about everything, from agriculture to human sexuality.
But there were many other heartening things. Repeatedly students addressed issues of tolerance, often in creative ways. At least forty-three students dealt substantially with same-sex marriage and gay rights-uniformly in support. Many students indicated that the way to improve South Carolina includes just caring about each other, showing some love, helping other people, being kind. In one particularly charming essay, a student argued that the best way to improve the state would be to do good things. You can t argue with that. Racism is stupid, as one student put it, and quite a few indicated that they don t understand why the Confederate battle flag is still flying at the State House. We did have a thoughtful argument about why we should end affirmative action (it s now doing more harm than good, the student thought), and we received a story and an essay asserting that we ought to honor the best values and courage of our Civil War ancestors. One student argued that we could improve the state by seceding from the Union-but we think this may have been satirical. Although their political positions were not uniformly anywhere on the left-to-right spectrum, as a whole the students assembled on the side of idealism, inclusiveness, forgiveness, and generosity. Many have seen homelessness up close, and fourteen students focused their submissions on that problem, which they believe we should and can eliminate. Ditto for crime.
Many students who focused on education also mentioned jobs and the economy: they want a better education because they want better jobs, or just a good job. A surprising number of students mentioned improving the roads in South Carolina as a crucial way to improve the state, and some of them seemed to be preparing political campaigns based on jobs, roads, education. Related to roads, and for a few students jobs also, at least thirty-three students said we needed to get rid of highway litter. It s not only unpleasant, but it also hurts our efforts to bring in tourists and businesses. Along with getting rid of litter, students widely exhorted us to care for our environment. These students in fact did not shy away from serious and ugly problems: domestic violence, obesity (the school cafeteria contributes to the problem, according to one student), the staggering percentage of the population in prison, the Corridor of Shame, teen pregnancy. These don t seem like intractable or incredibly complicated problems to these students: we just need to focus on them and fix them.
Only one student provided the correct answer to the question of how to improve the state: More writing contests! Another student, however, probably should have won some prize for thinking outside the box, raising the issue of zombie preparedness. Sure, the state has improved its hurricane readiness after Hugo. But what about the looming zombie apocalypse? Eh? And three students made us smile by insisting seriously that you simply could not improve the state of South Carolina: it is perfection, the most beautiful and diverse state ( If God had one language, it would be Gullah, according to one student), the friendliest and most pleasant place to live anywhere. Although these entirely positive thinkers were outliers, the takeaway from all these students submissions is that we do have some problems, a long list of problems, in fact, some quite serious; but as one student said, we are a very resourceful state, and we will get better and better.
A DA R OGERS has been involved in this project in every way from right near the beginning, and it has been a pleasure working with her. The contest exists because of the support and encouragement we received from the University of South Carolina, beginning with President Harris Pastides, who immediately embraced the idea, and including Provost Michael Amiridis and Vice-Provost Helen Doerpinghaus. There are words to describe how grateful we are to Pat Conroy for being willing to come to Columbia, meet with and talk to every single finalist, and then select the winners. Unfortunately Conroy himself would have to write those words-it surpasses my capabilities. The second stage of the contest asked students to write impromptu for forty-five minutes on either a book or a place that meant something important to them, and the students received autographed copies of A da s collection State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love and Conroy s My Reading Life . The winners were selected by Conroy based on both their initial submissions and their on-campus writing. Conroy s involvement would never have happened without the Jedi mind tricks of Jonathan Haupt, the director of USC Press. Jonathan has played a crucial role, in fact, in just about every aspect of this contest. Finally I want to thank the people who have funded the prizes for the contest: Thad Westbrook, who named one of the prizes for his admired professor, Walter Edgar; and an anonymous donor, who named the other prize for the remarkable educator Dorothy Williams, an elementary school principal in Anderson, who never encountered a child who could not be anything he or she desired to be.
We hope you enjoy the writing collected here. We re eager to see what the second annual contest will bring, and we hope that many more students will participate. The contest will again be open to all South Carolina juniors and seniors in high school-with a special category for any extraterrestrial students at a comparable level of education.
JUNIORS
A Change in Simple Arithmetic
Hallie Chametzky
I
I have stared at common core standard section F-TF #2
Model periodic phenomena with trigonometric functions
for five and some odd weeks
while worlds turned around me
and universes unraveled and miraculously
folded like origami
beyond my down-turned eyes.
When one stares at a point for too long
the surroundings mingle together
in increasing darkness
until that one point is left solitary
in the void where complexity once was.
Common core.
My core feels ever more common
my pit will be planted in straight lines
with every other product of the harvest
we will bear the same fruit
one thousand times
because what does the root system matter
if one grows the reddest apple?
I saw a girl count her merits on a rubric
and score her worth using only addition
I wanted to shake her
until the last bit of fruit had fallen from her branches
and say
You are not common.
You are not arithmetic.
You are not the sum of your test scores.
You are the product of every
dandelion you ve blown the seeds from
every belt of the highest note in the chorus
every poem you ve ever recited
your eyes bleed words there is no bubble for
You always mark E: All of the above
your core is not common.
Do not let the world seep together
in your peripheral vision
there is so much to see
beyond this Times New Roman 12 pt. font
standardization of the mind.
II
32,020 square miles of Palmetto State
and up to 45 registered hate groups.
In the year 2007 alone
156 hate crimes reported.
The arithmetic of this state
is remarkably gruesome.
Stores forced to open
to sell bumper stickers and lawn signs
with white supremacy burning so brightly
it s superimposed on the eyes and minds
of those who have seen it
one too many times.
And why not?
When from the State House
hangs that same symbol
which to some means history and state pride
and to so many others means the scars
on their great-great-great-great-grandfather s back,
the ears of the soul soaking in so much degradation
that their minds begin to believe it.
The images of tree branches
holding bodies that look all too familiar.
Why not show pride in that?
III
It is now late September
and since moving here in early August
I ve had more doors held open for me

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