Monday, July 30, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 12 - Playground Politics Grade 1


This is the first part of a two-poem piece recounting significant events that happened to me in elementary school.







Playground Politics Grade 1


Change
Imperceptible
Even to my Third Eye
Turned me into a bad kid
In the space of a hundred yards

Upon waking that morning
My cells had replaced themselves
Overnight
Otherwise
I remained the same girl whom
My daddy had kissed goodnight
My body fit my clothes
As Mommy helped me with the
Zipper at the back
My friends recognized me
And walked with me to school











On the playground
I crawled with the others
Through tunnels we carved
Through the bushes
Leaving the others to swing and slide
Preferring life at the edge of the concrete
Past which
Lay unknown terrain
The teacher on duty
Would have to send search parties
Decked out in space suits
To poke among the craters

The mutating gene
Accelerated
I looked down the path
And
Hearing the cries leaking through
From the other dimension
I checked for Mrs. Sturman
The wind screamed past my ears
The sound of my steps on the packed earth
Reverberating in my chest
I felt two others behind me
All it took was one step
And my rebels bolted
On the coattails of their liberator

We reached the edge of the trees
To my horror
We stood at the foot
Of a manicured lawn
Intruders in some backyard
The others fled
Frightened by the skull-socket windows
I dawdled
Turning my back
Hoping that the presence of
My comrades had played the trick
And the voices
Might yet beckon through the green











I emerged from the solace of my sylvan interlude
An angry hand gripped my arm -
Stand against the wall
Until the bell rings!
The universe as I had come to know it
Suddenly splintered

Slowing my vital signs

All I could do
Was stand there
As if I were a
Bad Kid

And suddenly
The ones playing hopscotch
Seemed like long lost sisters
Instead of the
Whining dullards
I had always known them to be

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith

17 comments:

Dara Edmondson said...

I like that. I was always the one finding the escape route;-)

Red Garnier said...

Julia, this was awesome. Reminded me of my childhood somehow. Always finding my way to be me... =) Loved it!!

Lisa Andel said...

Yeah, I understand being the "bad kid". I just didn't see it that way. I saw it more as being the "curious kid".

Still do. :D

Joy Renee said...

this evokes those days of the playground so well. the power of our imaginations vs. the power of conformity

Akelamalu said...

Ooh I was right there with you!

Rhet said...

"...And suddenly
The ones playing hopscotch
Seemed like long lost sisters
Instead of the
Whining dullards
I had always known them to be..."

I remember when this happened to me, though the gender was different.

T.A.Chase said...

Takes me back to the playground. Not always a fun spot. :)

Isabella Snow said...

Sylvan interlude! Love that!

Christine d'Abo said...

Great poem, Julia! I loved finding new places like that when I was in elementary school. Scary and cool all at the same time.

Annie Mac said...

Terrific poem Julia, hard to believe you wrote that 20 years ago.

Amy Ruttan said...

Awesome poem, yep brought me back to the good old days in the *cough cough* early 80's when I first started school.

gautami tripathy said...

Julia, I teach secondary classes. Nothing has changed for the students or the teachers over the times.

I liked it very much.

annette said...

LOL I taught kids like you! Actually, it brought me back to my own school days and the time two of my friends and I went to the beach during lunch hour. It was Grade Three and I remember thinking how great it was to just take off to go pick rocks and sea glass. Needless to say, the teacher and principal didn't think it was so great and neither did our parents!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Interesting. It's so unlike who I was back then, I'm really fascinated.

Can't wait for the next part!

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

Like Susan I am very anxious for the next part. I like the fact that the poem yanks you in so swiftly and craftily that suddenly we all are looking out thru the eyes of a child.

Dewey said...

What's most interesting to me in this interesting-in-many-ways poem is the idea of conformity. The "good kids" playing hopscotch conform in one way, which is engaging in behavior that would never lead them to being against the wall. Yet the "bad kids" who obediently stand against the wall when told to are displaying a conformity of their own. There's a level of "bad kid" that is more rare, and that's the kid who would say hell no, I'm not standing there, now what? And then there's the Possible Future Sociopath kid who is covertly up to all sorts of naughtiness that flies below the adult radar. This kid is often inciting other kids to do things that get them caught and punished while the PFS remains, in the eyes of the adults, a little sweetie. To me, those are the true "bad kids." The others are just kids who make mistakes or kids who question authority.

Sparky Duck said...

nah, they were still dullards. I hope you come by for some late night maniacs