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Window Teacher

Odin Roark Avatar Odin Roark - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Window Teacher which was written by poet Odin Roark. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Poet's Notes

Although this work is based only my memories observing the plight of a ‘60s’ inner-city education, those unfortunate people had their lives riddled with obstacles, some of which continue today, especially with the number of frustrated undocumented immigrants flooding our urban areas. Even with immigration reform, most of what is bleak in this piece will remain so. That is just how history seems to repeat itself in the cities.

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Window Teacher

Window Teacher
                      by Odin Roark

As teacher
She was petite
Framed in layered paint
No make-up on her
Save occasional steam facials
Winter cold
Apartment hot

Patiently she granted access
Permitting learning through her 
Worn but faithful eyes
Rectangular lenses 
Forever dilated for 24/7 study

Across the street
Other windows
Same opportunity
Different lessons
Pulled blinds
Hiding fear

Glass with cracks
Glass turned cardboard
Innocent children
Faces of confusion

Above the street
Pigeon-lined roofs
Poised like sentinels
Destiny marking time
Standing guard
Here yesterday

Below the street
Tunnel-sounds of motion
All riding to anywhere
But here

Down on the street
Few pedestrians
Some exploring a dumpster’s overflow
Dollar Store breakage
Bodega fast-food wrappings
Liquor store sadness
Nighttime festivities of the block
Broken bottles as glitter

Wet and dry
Dead or alive
Forgotten garbage
A growing city’s collateral damage

Beneath my building
Express train speeding
Rattling eyes of my teacher
Time for school
Real school
The kind only un-papered immigrants know
Learning what textbooks cannot teach

For you have to be blessed
With a window like mine
The glassed portal to what harsh reality 
Bestows on many

Here where there is no graduation
No cap and gown celebration
Or Mom and dad accolades
No sweetheart promises forever
Only survival

And for the window-school drop outs…

A future of smaller classrooms
The kind with no willing and generous
Window teachers
The kind with bars to the outside
Where all the garbage walks the yard
Where subway vibrations become 
Steel Sliding
Locking doors
Torturous echoes
Before lights out

Memories become dreams
In these dark classrooms
Where fear laden eyes
Once behind windows to the outside
Now reside in solitary regret

To return to condensation on glass
As the only obstacle to learning
To be free of eyes forever moist and blurry
Clouding remembrances 
Of the petite unassuming window
Framed in glorious layers of paint 

Oh…if only to return

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