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They advertise the old junior high school now
as luxury apartments.
A community of renters of classrooms now
better used as kitchens, bedrooms and
I wonder about the Feng Shui of old schools –
is there such a thing?
What about the sleepwalking renter who turns
down the wrong hallway and finds himself
at the mercy of the bruised hands of the bully.
He better keep lunch money in his pajamas
to soften the blows.
Bullies don’t die; they are the hissing saboteurs
that live long on the shoulders of the bullied. I know
I wonder about that old mattresses full of dirty secrets
from the musty storage area under the auditorium stage?
What about the science labs? All those electrical outlets?
To be used in the bedrooms maybe?
And the principal’s office? Those silent walls painted in a white
sadness faded gray with by the
hollow projections of success. And the chairs
just outside – chairs that held the scared &
waiting and the tears of the kid who solved
her problems with her fists, whose father
would do the same.
Ahh, those weighted 10 minutes felt an
unmerciful hour of despair – many times.
What about the guidance office – off course for sure –
sailing past abridged horizons of the disadvantaged
rich and poor. The test scores that tell too little locked
away from any potential help.
What about the cafeteria; that battlefield of emotion
all watched over by bullets and targets.
Fear palpable, quaking food trays
passing the cool tables. Hip A&F, Gap,
& old navy, establishing beachheads
waiting for dispatches from the
cute banana republics
shielding frightened dictators
in well-decorated spider holes.
And the gymnasium with its polished hardwood that
felt like stone when struck by the head.
What about the janitor who cleaned that
hardwood of blood that gushed
from your wound? Did he harbor sympathy
for you? For your victimhood? Or did he give
that imperceptible nod to an abuser’s covenant?
And what about the locker rooms and the gym
teacher who waved, back and forth, a
yardstick through your new Afro laughing
derisively in spite of her over-pressed &
And remember your heart breaking with all the pain
of a truth that couldn’t be spoken.
On Sunday, there will be an open house at the old
junior high school that has been converted into
No need to go. I’ve seen it all before.
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