It’s a bad day in the classroom
the students are not paying attention.
Some sit on their desks playing cards
others are actively listening to music.
“Pay attention, you little bastards” I scream
“Listen to me when I’m talking!”
At that moment the principal walks in
and quietly takes a seat in the back of the room.
He pulls out a legal pad and furiously starts taking notes.
I regain my composure and speak of the necessity
of proper punctuation.
Just then Marcus pops out of the closet
and screams “Psych!!”
I start yelling again
The students ignore me
The principal keeps taking notes.
I didn’t prepare for today’s lesson
but I’ve taught it so many times
I can do it with my eyes closed:
Hamlet, too smart for his own good?
Unfortunately I forgot to wear my pants.
The class is quiet, not wanting to say anything
until Herman shouts out “Yo, Mr. Shot forgot
to wear his pants. Look you can see his dick.”
I look down, embarrassed.
I have decided to re-enter the profession,
In the South Bronx because I want to make a difference.
It’s the first day of school and I’m driving to work
but the roads have changed and I’m lost.
I call in to the office, “ I’m on my way, there’s heavy traffic.”
I circle around over bridges and exit ramps.
Half an hour later I call the office again, “sorry I’m late
but the roads have changed, there’s no way off the highway.”
Half an hour later I call again.
The phone rings and rings.
No one answers.
Ileana, the pretty blonde Russian girl who sits
in the front row is recording me on her cell phone.
I ignore her and go on with the lesson,
“What is Ellison’s metaphorical intent
with the Battle Royale scene?”
The class sits in stupefied silence.
Ileana is adamantly waving her hand.
I gaze in her direction a few seconds too long
“Gotcha,” she says as the class bursts into laughter.
We’re huddled together in the corner
during another shelter in place drill.
Everyone is silent, this is serious business.
Someone farts loudly.
“Wasn’t me,” I immediately advise.
The students smile knowingly.
All is going well, the class is engaged.
The principal’s secretary is at the door
with a note in her hand.
It’s a review of my transcripts.
Turns out I failed gym, or physical education
as the gym teachers like to call it.
I have to return to Dumont High School
to complete the requirements for graduation.
Just then, my alarm goes off
and I rise for another day of school.