Wednesday, October 06, 2004

so i've been talking to a few people about my spot on Def Poetry Jam
and i see a lot of people want a copy of "In Front Of The Class" and i
use to wonder whether or not i should post it, but yesterday someone
approached me about using the poem in his correctional facility class
so i decided to post it and whoever wants to use it in their class go right
ahead, i would do the same thing, so i hope everyone enjoys. two more days...

In Front Of The Class

I'm standing in front of a class
society has deemed derelicts and hoodlum
and I am their teacher

I share with them the poem
that will save the world
and they say that it's got to be as good
as a Nas rhyme and have more emotion
than Tupac did

my class consisting
of ex-gang bangers, drug dealers, graffiti writers
and students who have traveled too much
in the cracks of the public school system
they are my students

and as their teacher
I have traveled as many roads
as they have, and stand in front
of them without fear
because they can smell fear

I am them eight years ahead
with poetry being the left turn I made at 17
I tell them that road is approaching
all they have to do it take that road
and run down it so fast that their past
will never catch up to them

I tell them in their metamorphosis
they can change their name
their place of rest, their life,
their career, their goals
and strive for that that has seemed
unattainable for so many years

one student says "HOW?"
it's easy for you to say it now
how the hell am I supposed to get there,
I have one kid, one gang after me, and no job,
how the hell am I supposed to go anywhere
besides down.

I ask him "how bad do you want it?"
in the beginning all I had was poetry
everything else took a back seat
girls, family, and work was a part time
that lasted 6 months with me getting
fired for writing on the job

I tell them to use their connections,
intern somewhere,
learn to live, live to write
write to love, love to learn,

This is the last day of your life
What are you going to leave behind?
What will be your legacy?
and they stare at me like
a rabbit in the headlights
and say they don't know

I tell them to open their chests
and let whatever falls out
let it fall on the page

Let the page be your doctor
Let the page be your therapist
Let the page be your lover

Let the page be your enemy, punch it in the face
Let the page be the best friend that'll never stab you in the back
Let the page be your Prozac

Let the page be your hip hop
Let the page be your rock and roll
Let the page be the fancy ride you're always talking about

Let the page be the bling bling on your wrist
Let the page be the underground beat your about to rip
Let the page be your autobiography

tell them who you are
tell them they're wrong for labeling you
tell them fuck you for giving up on them
tell them your life may not be worth shit now
but tomorrow gives you hope
so you won't take your life today or the next day
tell them you will be here forever
tell them you are the future your parents have been planning for
tell them you are the ones who create beautiful art from stark realities
tell them you are loved
no matter what anyone says
tell them you are loved

and they write
head down for fifteen minutes
pen in hand
never coming off the page
no cares for grammar
no cares for spelling
no cares for structure
never coming off the page

and the first student gets up
and his mouth open wide and says

"I want to live"
"I want to love"
(repeated a hundred times over)
"I want to live"
"I want to love"

and he asks me
if that was any good
and I tell him
it's the best poem
I've ever heard.


Blogger curemadgirl said...

What an inspiration to us all. Thank you.
I happened to find your page searching for mars volta stuff on google. how funny huh. Nice work!
ps- I dont really blog

11:49 PM  
Blogger Iku-Laye said...

WOW! I wish in my day I'd been blessed wih a teacher like u.
An inspiration to one who's not yet able to open up the chest and let whatever needs to fall out Fall out. Thank You.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Thank you so much for posting this poem. Ever since I saw it on Def Jam I've been trying to find it and I was about an inch a way from transcribing it on my own. Thanks!!!

1:27 PM  

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