Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Unspoken Words (on the death of my student)

How will they remember you---

A deaf boy.
          An angry boy,
                   The boy who attacked the cop,
                              The one that wrote a hit list
                               & a claw hammer to do business,
                                         The Manifesto you left---

Fuck You,
                      the only words I ever heard you say
beyond a grunt,                  
                         clear as the knee to your temple,
the handcuffs ---

Every day, you would reach to shake my hand,
pull back & grin
                              Sign            "I got you, again"
to the interpretor
                               Sign, furious, when you could not get
the problem, unscramble the math,
                                      smacking your twisted
fingers into the palm of your hand and ---

When your heart began to give out, how weak you were
in the back of the ambulance.
             The shell left, sustained on a ventillator, these last
                       A waiting list for a donor.
                                  The hope.
                                            The emptiness
                                            the moment as the machines
                                            no longer kept up.

(Fourteen is too damn young)

Spread on Facebook, Saturday, in the paper Sunday,
              I went to see your parents tonight,
You lay there, in a suit, at peace on a bed of silk,
 in a box.            
               You would have hated it.

I doubt
                                  believe how many came
to see you


  1. You sum up a life of isolation here succinctly and terrifyingly--a life lived in a silence that the hearing can't imagine, and a heart broken by trying to find a way takes so much time to straighten out the knotted, twisted parts of ourselves--fourteen years is indeed not enough.

  2. A sad story.
    There is no proper age to pass away.
    But 14 is far to young!

    My condolences.

    Kind regards,

  3. God this just rips the heart right out of my chest. I keep trying to gather my words but I can't find them. 14 is so young and to have been so angry and isolated in life

  4. Deeply painful read. You made me feel such a range of negative emotions. As usual, Google won't let me post under my wordpress id. Arrrgh.

  5. Oh this make my heart break... 14 is too young indeed.. but most I see his anger through your words. Still what get me most was his effort to pull back his hand.. the world is not easy for those that cannot hear.

  6. Damn powerful write. I lost one of my students to that sort of violence. I've never forgotten him.

  7. "you would reach to shake my hand,
    pull back & grin"

    That is a seemingly sneaky trick, but I'm sure he was slow to trust, always afraid he'd get hurt. He was probably the most sensitive person, on the inside. That's why he acted the way he did, isn't it?

    I could go on and on about how well written this is, breaking down all kinds of underlying meanings. But you know I see all the nuances, and you know you're an extremely gifted writer, thinker, and observer.

    I keep looking for the G. Your enlarged capital letters say EF_H when read from the bottom up. So of course, I have to find all the words that include Gs to seek out significance: angry, grunt, grin, sign, got, again, get, smacking, fingers, began, give, waiting, longer, young.

    I'm sorry I had to do that; something's probably wrong with my brain. But you also knew that.

    One other thing I will say is that you often seem to use words that have double or triple meanings, and it makes your writing even more interesting.

    Also, it has just occurred to me that "The Manifesto" embeds "the man I fessed to." Wouldn't it be easiest to confess your deepest secrets to someone who seems like they might not be listening? Probably.

    Anyway, I'm so sorry about your student; I don't mean to ramble on about the poem and ignore your suffering. Again, I'm so very sorry. But I did enjoy the poem very much.

  8. How sad & tragic ~ And 14 is too young to die ~

  9. "Fourteen is too damn young' - it is indeed far too damn young. A very sad story. Your words are touching and show you knew him far more than he ever imagined. The closing lines are particularly moving.

  10. So very sad. 14 is way too young! It seems more people might have paid attention to his death than paid attention to him in life. Too bad, but now it is too late to change anything.

  11. death is close to me, these days, so this hits hard ~

  12. So sad when one dies young without the chance to truly live. Too bad more didn't take notice of him while he was living his life, it may have made the journey easier.

  13. This brought tears to my eyes. So vivid and real and (you make it) easy to imagine. A wonderful poem, if a terribly sad subject. Thanks.

    Your 2 am. also--I am just saying that here as I am so very tired! Thanks. k.

  14. Dreadful, feeling the fear and trying to fight against the inevitable. Poor poor boy, I hope one day we will understand the why's, I often wonder... everything in this world is so inter-connected and nothing is simple at all for our small brains to understand.

  15. You paint this so clearly, I can see him, the anger, the frustration, the humor.....and yes, he would have HATED the suit, the silk. Powerful write.

  16. I am getting so much from this. Not only from the words you've written but also from reading between the lines. Your student may not have had a great repertoire of words but he most certainly chose words that would get him the attention he needed in any given moment. His cheeky 'too slow' shake my hand game, indicates to me a playfulness that he also must have recognized in you. The body may twist & words may fail but the soul never falters... this writing evoked so many emotions for me having worked with people whom have disabilities for many years. Communication is more than just spoken words, it's a look in the eye, a bat of the eye lids, the click of the tongue, a smack of the lips and so much more. This piece of writing to me was not just about the 14 year old boy but also about the writer and his beautiful humanity. You were lucky to know him and he to know you!