Words Like Daggers

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Sticks and stones
Thrown into hope’s
Dwindling fire —
My broken heart!
Scattered tipis
Of bones and ash
Hurling love’s insult
To my added injury —
The sharpness
Of your envenomed
Affection
And your words —
Like pointed daggers —
Bleed the fire
From my lips
Dripping with sin.
Spread the compost
On piety’s
Dying embers,
And watch it
Blossom into
Violence.

Collecting Dust

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Love’s harkening uncertainty

Covers me like a cobwebbed-

Attic – things kept in

Moldy boxes – just in case…

 

One day

Someday

Never.

 

I am the old prom dress –

Ripped, tattered, torn –

I am those tarnished trophies,

Broken, blemished, worn.

I am the captured memories

Lost, forgotten, forlorn.

I Am That I Am.

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I am Mara.
I am the bitterness you taste
In each sip of your morning
Coffee.

I am Rahab.
I am the lust burning in your eyes.
I am the harlot of disquieted imaginings.
I give and you take. You give
And I crawl into my dreams.

I am Sarah.
I am unbelief. I am mistrust.
I am the joy leaving your lips
In your sweet, soft laughter.

I am Mary.
I am the sainted wonder
of His fire. I am the bearer
of life and splendor.

I am Martha.
I am the dishrag hanging
From the hooks of your heart.
I clean. I scrub as you keep tracking
Mud into the waxed floors of my mind.

I am beauty —
I am hate —
I am strength —
I am frailty –
I am…
I am Redeemed.

I am more than my name.
I am more than the labels I give myself —
I am more than the stickers and gold stars
Of approval from other broken
Maras, Marys, and Sarahs.
I am who I am because He is
Who He is – the great and mighty
I AM.

Sun-stroke

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It’s quite difficult to explain
The complexity of my heart…
But sipping your champagne’d thoughts
Mixes nicely with my berried ripeness…
It’s all so clear — the allure
Was more than just ordinary physical
Attraction; the depth of his gleaming eyes
Revealed the truth neither of us wanted
To say. His hands tell me more
Than his well-meaning words do,
Falling flatly on the floor of my heart.
It may trick you, but it will never lie.
Just give me another sip, another drop,
Another other taste, another raspberry
Tumbles into my effervescent love.
The bubbles suffuse the ache in my heart;
Your sharp love softens in my airy thirst –
Bursting vacancy and seething peace.
A smile leaves my lips as the tenuous warm breeze
Tickles my skin like hands gently brushing away
The unruly tendrils from my face –
Just one last sip of the glittering glass –
Set it aside, my heart will imbue your pain.
The sun washes over me —
Eyes clenched tightly —
His glittering rays pull at my skin –
Like tender fingertips grazing
My chin, my lips — just before
A sweet, delicate kiss.

Shattered Pretentions

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Who is this woman I see here in the mirror?
An unrecognizable face – porcelain’d
Pristine – cracking under the pressure
Of unknown perfection – this mask
Doesn’t quite cover the flawed disquietude
Of her heart. Riven splinterings of vague
Familiarity – painted realities of expectation –
This looking-glass girl confides in me –
Doesn’t she know that these salted tears
Never salve the pain? Can’t she see the love
That is wrapped around her from beneath the
Vaneer’d prison she hides inside?

 

 

Proud Teacher Moment…sort of…

Dear Reader,

cropped-books.jpgToday is the day that I both look forward to and loathe. It is the day the AP scores come out. I try not to get wrapped up in it, but it’s difficult for me. You see, I am a perfectionist. And when I strive for something, I expect results. It worked beautifully in high school and college. I was number one in my class…I wanted it, so I worked for it and voilà! I made it happen. Although it may have come as a surprise to those who knew me in other capacities…Let me explain with a brief (and braggy) anecdote: I remember walking into my high school graduation ceremony with my special sash and medallion that signified my class ranking. I ran into one of my schoolmates (we never had academic classes together, but we were in the same drama production my junior year). Anyway, he greeted me with a hug and then asked me why I was wearing the valedictorian sash and medallion. I thought he was being playful, so without batting a lash, I told him I found it in the quad…but he was serious. I had to set him straight, so I told him that I was, indeed, the valedictorian. And this, dear reader, was his dumbfounded response (pun intended), “but you’re a cheerleader, and you’re blonde, and you’re hot.” I winced (trying to make it as much of a smile as I could because he was, in fact, being sincere…offensive, yes, but obtusely complimentary). That tautly pulled smile (more of a grimace really) was the only retort I could give…tis best not to say things we regret to people who are less than intelligent. All that to say, when I want something — I go after it, and usually I can achieve my goal.

When I became an AP teacher several years ago, I wanted to be the best damn AP English teacher to walk the halls of my school. My first year…well, let’s just say it was cropped-open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-books.jpgnot so great; I went back to the drawing board. I went to summer trainings and revamped my entire curriculum. And in the following years, my students began to pass their AP English tests with flying colors! This year was no different! My entire AP English Literature class passed their test!!!!!! (These are my AP seniors…I love them to pieces and still cry a little when I think about not teaching them anymore…they are all going to amazing colleges, so at least I know they are in good hands).  Now, I’m trying to stay humble about all this, which is pretty easy to do since my AP English Language class did not do so well on their test, but today, I am celebrating my successes and forgetting my failures (don’t worry, I’ll go back to the drawing board and revamp things later this summer for AP lang). I have a colleague (a fellow AP teacher) who wisely told me: “I get too much flack when the students don’t pass, and I get too much credit when they do.” I try to keep that perspective, especially on days like this.

In closing, I will tell you what I told my AP students: “The AP exams are 6103.jpegimportant, sure, but they don’t define who you are. It does not determine how smart you are or how successful you will be in life. Remember you are more than your AP score(s) – that is just a number based on one morning of your life; instead, measure your success in the day in, day out moments life offers you. And never stop reading; never stop learning.”

My Best to You,

Jaime

My Training

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Each Saturday morning
was like the one before —
Get up, eat breakfast,
attend ballet.
Ms. Amy, the perfect ballerina,
taught me the meaning of
anguish and adoration.
She demanded perfection
from her little swans —
but I was just a crow.
Nothing I did was ever
good enough — I was told
that she saw potential
in me and that is why
she pushed me so hard.
Removing my skirt was
my punishment — my back
wasn’t swayed. My hips
were rotated just so —
but that pesky little (ahem)
not so little derriere
caused so much agony for me
at the barre. No skirt, no
dignity. When it was time to
exchange our soft slippers
for our point shoes, Ms. Amy
would watch as we wrapped our
toes with paper towels from
the bathroom — no gel pads
or extra stuffing allowed.
If she was feeling
generous she said
we could use a little
lambswool — but just a
little bit! I remember
inspecting myself
in the mirror — scowling
at my svelte dancer physique
Never good enough — the girl
next to me was always
thinner, more flexible,
more graceful, had a prettier
arch in her foot —
Just like Ms. Amy, I
only saw my flaws, and perhaps
unlike Ms. Amy, I never saw
my potential.