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Saturday, January 3, 2015



America, I'm afraid to die, because I didn’t grade my students’ papers.

18 lousy checkmarks I gave, & barely read the papers.

America I'm afraid to die because of anxiety for ungraded papers,

& because of my new baby who made me not grade their papers.

America, I lied to you—I didn’t even open the files.

America, I'm afraid to die because I don’t have a job, & no one will hire me to teach at their college.

I groveled at my students’ feet—7 years of brainsharp lectures & glistening marginal comments, 7 years of radiant diagrams, for 7 years I gave them life.

America I raised my students from the dust, I put the breath of close reading inside their brains; America, I taught them laughter,

my whole disgorged poignancy of soul disgorged in 1000 stuffed folders of diagrams & notes,

thru outer space I traveled, riding the lions of mind & grammar,

all the way past Jupiter in an engine I designed with the power of reading—

& also friendship,

& don’t forget friendship,

& don’t you ever forget about friendship, America—

& when I got out there past outer Jupiter, I had to turn back for the papers, because I left 'em by the side of the bed.

Instead of sleeping, I graded papers. Instead of reading, I graded papers. Instead of discovering new cosmos of Thought, I graded their papers in bed, then forgot them.

America I was so in love with my students I gave them my all, I murdered them, I destroyed their dewdrop minds, I gave them a reason to cry & sing with the grading I did in my spirit.

Everyone got an ‘A,’ America, if y’re even concerned to know.

It was an ‘A’ they earned thru the power of grading, & because of love, & because of courage & vision.

It takes courage to grade when y’re riding a lion, when y’re flying it past outer Mars. There were no mobs or protesters, no police brutality & not much resistance from a corrupt bureaucracy bent on preserving its power, sick at heart, but if there had been, it wdv taken courage, & I wdv graded ‘em anyways.

I wdv given the mobs an ‘A’ & the cops an ‘A’ & the cruel face earthly evil an ‘A’ in the magnanimity & bigness of my vision.

I wdv given each one of my students a triple ‘AAA,’ a grade of ‘unicorn+,’ a spaceship percent I designed with my mind, & flown it with them to Jupiter.

No one wdv needed grades ever again, not out here on outer Jupiter, where the lions are tame but also wild.

I’ve always wanted a tame-wild lion pet, America—I give me an ‘A’ for that.

On Jupiter my students wdv understood the sacrifice represented by my crown-of-thorns grading, the notes I took on the side of my mind, my mental building blocks of blackboard clarity combined with nervousness & unicorn powers;

how I made a lasting impact on their lives by flying them on their lions to Mars;

how I murdered them because of kindness;

how I murdered Jupiter, & lions, too;

how I gave up sleep & food & murdered myself to have enough cash to grade them;

how I made each grade with love & a pencil,

& also Microsoft Word;

how I murdered Microsoft Word, & all the systems of earthly power,

replacing them all with blue cyanide pills, because of kindness, to tell them I think their lives matter;

to teach them citation by killing their parents;

to instill in them a sense of value;

to teach them the power of reading;

to teach them the way I taught them things;

to be admired for heavenly diagrams.

I’m afraid to die, America, because I don’t have a job come January, & if the job search don’t go no better than last year, this is my last term teaching.

I’m afraid to die because I loved my students too much, and murdered them because of kindness,

even though I know I am an essentially noble character, blinded by my tragic flaw: kindness.

Even though I know that.

Even though I know I killed their parents to teach them about close reading.

Even though I know it was kindness.


America if you won't hire me, I shd go to law school, & when I graduate from law school, sue the law school, then take away my degree & murder myself by waging atomic war on the Academy, for refusing to hire me,

then save myself by redeeming the Academy by forgiving it for being dead with atom bombs, then spit on it & make it give me a job in its lousy radioactive classrooms, then research a bunch of articles on Google about negotiating a hell of a job offer, then negotiate a hell of a job offer:

“You can’t have unicorn powers as part of your job offer package.”

“Do you want this, or not?”

& act like I'm ready to walk away, if I don’t get my unicorn powers, because I'm ready to walk away, if I don’t get my unicorn powers, because I read how to do it on Google,

& eventually when they fold & offer me unicorn powers, THAT’S when I’ll walk away:

“You dumb muthafuckers I have a law degree, why wd I teach in yr stupid bombed hallways for 45 grand a year?”

then sue them for not hiring me sooner.


America, we’re not best friends

& you don’t want to hire me,

but even if we were best friends,

I know that when you became famous,

and/or nationally or internationally popular,

and/or were adopted as correspondence partner to the stars,

and/or became the subject of a high stakes bet between popular factions of the popular kids that the most popular girl in school cdnt teach you, a nerd, to be popular in two weeks’ time, by prom night,

& she taught you to wear trendy 80s clothing & contact lenses,

& in the process the popular girl came to see yr unique inner specialness, became convicted inside her inner heart because of shallowness & unkindness, through you, as a kind of figure for the value of personal sincerity, social integrity, & being willing to sit with unpopular kinds if they are yr real true friends,

even though it means you’ll be kicked out of the mean popular kids faction, & derided, because secretly they have betrayed their hearts, & know it, & express their self-guilt & premonitions of shallow fake-seeming worthlessness by maybe pushing you down, or bumping into yr lunch tray so it gets food all over your shirt—

but who needs those bitches anyways, when you have real true friends like these ones?—

Point is, I know that if all of that happened, at once, to you, you wd probably hire someone else.

Because of popularity.

(c) 2014 lee sharks, property of planet mars