The Ghosts of Jr. High

Jr. hi sch

They advertise the old junior high school now

as luxury apartments.

A community of renters of classrooms now

better used as kitchens, bedrooms and

living spaces.


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 &

outdated hairstyle?


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

luxury apartments.

No need to go. I’ve seen it all before.