Monday, March 15, 2010
The Ones Who Got Away
It too seems to be reaching back, maybe one last chance, one last flutter before the last leaf descends to its final form in dust, and its branches shiver unprotected from the Pacific breeze.
The Ones Who Got Away
We are often left thinking about the ones from whom we did not get that last kiss, to whom we did not explain the last concept in writing, from whom we never got the sign that they care.
It is often hard to bear the fact that that moment will never come again, that your last chance is gone and you may no longer affect that person (nor they you). My lips have burned from the lack of the final kiss, the last goodbye… my heart still aches from the hug my step-dad never gave me and the one my real dad never could when I was young. But could there really have been a last time that would satiate this thirst? Fill this void? I fear not. Every last anything is never the last you want.
This feeling is now growing its vines around my throat again – my fear grows that June 28th will come, I will say goodbye to my students for the last time and I will not have a chance to clarify again how to make a strong argument in the difficult expository essay; I will not have another chance to show them which information to extract from a reading and how to induce meaning from it; I will not have the opportunity to remind them again about the importance of keeping their work organized for the sake of saving time and performing better in college. And every day from which they drain precious minutes by coming in an yapping instead of taking out their work, by going off on nonsensical tangents during instruction, by not taking notes, by not paying attention, by talking during instruction… the minutes fade, the days go by – race by! – closer and closer to graduation, until I will have nothing left to say, until all remaining questions will go unanswered. Questions unanswered!
And so they will be stuck in a lecture hall, yet another cash cow for the college, no more mind paid them than what is the bare necessity for them to graduate and get out. Who will care then? Who will work 18 hours a day for their success? Who will be understanding and supportive and committed and invested? The professors who teach out of obligation? The TA’s who teach out of a need for tuition reimbursement?
It is not even the end of my first year, but as much as I plan for tomorrow, the lost yesterday gnaws at my sanity, begging to be brought back and given a second chance,(mista). I wish they could grasp that yesterday will never return and all the second chances in the world will not make up for knowledge tread upon and ignored from lessons past.
I try to do and say the things I wish were said to, and done for, me when I was their age, thinking that my path would have been less rocky given the knowledge, so theirs will be more evenly paved… but I fear a Wrangler with an 8 inch lift will have a hard time navigating the road they are building for themselves.
I just hope that during one of the tire blow-outs or burnt transmissions they will realize that consulting a guide and choosing a better route will save them the trouble, money and time that will otherwise drain them until they are embittered, old, poor and full of regret.
It has been some time since I have included a poem. Here is one from a few years back:
The Frames of brick model my perspective.
I see in tones of brownish red, black, tan...
the sun as it rises between the high-rises to my east.
I see planes overhead, their dull drone bouncing to and fro,
I see the clouds, tinged, shifting;
I see them framed from the heavens,
brought to earth and within seeming reach,
just climb high enough
on a side of the frame.
I see faces of colors and shapes, variety abundant in this great... frame.
A frame of mind... a state of mind... New York.