Tuesday, September 02, 2008

home room

(with apologies to middle schoolers)

I’m sitting between Gustav and Hanna
in the homeroom of life, wondering how
to make sense of everything coming through
the loudspeaker, the stream of non sequiturs
that passes for news and the endless storm
of chatter that follows, each of us choosing
sides without bothering much to choose our
words. Life looks and sounds a great deal like
a middle school cafeteria. Shouldn’t speaking
our minds beg us to use our minds before we
speak? Instead, our lunch table politics build
allegiances based on fear or desperation or,
for the lucky ones, popularity, none of which
does much for real conversation: “Hello – and
I really mean that.” We worry about hurricanes,
but the small winds of breath that carry our
words are more destructive. We wear labels
like bunkers around our hearts and look only
at those who look and act like us. We learned
our vocabulary and jumped through all the
right hoops, but face it: we’re seventh graders.


1 comment:

Hazel said...

Houston and surroundings have now experienced Ike and our chatter is all over the place. Thankfully most (95%) of the people with whom I have contact are grateful to be alive and have their homes. A few have damage that can be repaired - only one cannot repair the damage or comprehend their loss. We seem to take the moment to ask how each is really doing - not the cursory hi,fine sort of answer. Try care and concern happens even in seventh grade. :)