Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Early Education


In Mrs. Brown’s
first grade class
we had to learn
two-place addition.

Adding one-place numbers
vertically
like

3
+
5
_
8

was easy enough
but

11 +
22
__

well, that was
from another
planet.

I didn’t understand
and I was kept
after school
struggling with this puzzle

until
the light finally




came on.

I arrived home
late,
scared as hell
because I knew
the fate
awaiting me,

because
according to my father

only bums and
miscreants
stayed after school.

I was summarily
beat
with the thick leather belt

and, in time,

I became an
overachiever,
an anxious, nervous-stomached
overachiever.

Today I am
a dean
at a college
my father could only
dream of attending,

and
as my 14 year old daughter
struggles to complete
her homework

saddled with
cerebellar dysfunction
dysarthria
dysgraphethesia
dysstereognosis
dyspraxia
obsessive compulsive disorder
general anxiety disorder
and sensory integration dysfunction

I remind her
that while I like that she’s smart,

I love her
when she’s kind.

8 comments:

  1. Who's spritzing now, my brudda from anudda mudda? Oh, this broke my heart for you and, in turn, explained so much about what you LEARNED from your bad relationship with you dad. I tell people - don't just have a pity party, or you'll always be a victim. Work it out, be a SURVIVOR, and "teach your children well," which you obviously do. Love and peace, babe, Ameleh

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  2. As a teacher and a father, this really hit home with me. That last stanza is perfection. Thank you.

    Richard

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  3. Moving. Such a wonderful poem!

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  4. In this poem, you remind me of *my* father... a compliment indeed, because I don't think there's anyone on Earth who I respect more. I love the way this poem twists, back and forth, struggle and humanity... thank you. Just, thank you.

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  5. an awesome poem, congratulations on being featured.

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  6. Precious... wise... wonderful

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  7. Buddah, this poem has a wonderful message. Your daughter is one lucky girl to have you for a father.


    (Oh, you might want to visit Poets United today! Poem of the Week.)s

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  8. Awesome. I can relate to this because my father was like that -- demands excellent grades and would see fit to hit if grades are not up to expectation. I think this old fashion method does cause more self doubt and more severity on the self for failures in the future. Lovely change in the second, a demonstration of understanding and love that goes a longer way into building a stronger and more confident character, even with inherent problems.

    Love the way you structured this poem.

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