I am continually inspired and humbled by my students. There is a particular level of intimacy that seems to so often be initiated every semester in my classes. I find myself wanting to TELL them things, not necessarily having to do with writing composition. I want to DISCUSS things with them, hear what they think.
The following poem was written shortly after I read a story about Sam Hose and I wanted to "capture" the utter sense of sadness and disbelief, which was my initial response and still is. Probably always will be.
IT RATTLES IN THE HEART AND MAKES ONE SOUND
Standing at the copier and pushing
too hard on the spine of this book
listening to the awful crack as it breaks
Because to get to the truth of anything
it seems you have to let
And the truth is
they sold fragments of his bone tissue
to those unable to attend
to watch as they stripped him
chained him to a tree
stacked wood around his feet and
soaked all of it in kerosene.
The mob cut off his
ears fingers genitals
peeled skin from his face
watched as his veins ruptured from the heat and
hissed in the flames.
After he died they cut his heart and liver and
passing them like appetizers
lined up on silver trays.
The truth is
he never did it.
never raped the woman that
white Georgians said he did.
his knuckles were placed in a jar
in the window of a grocery.
I think my students
will not believe it.
Or, like me,
have little left to say.