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The Kids Are Failing

The kids are failing.
I work with them after school
once a week, at least
the most I've ever been scheduled is
four times in one week,
this week.
Now there's a big fat paycheck
of forty dollars,
not taking away taxes.
My job is to help with homework
and walk the kids down
to their lockers and classrooms,
so they have what they need.

Some of them need a stable figure in their lives.

Those that do don't get one.

I try my hardest to teach them right
from wrong
but it is so hard when their parents,
their parents,
are so full of ignorance and hate


if you have the vocabulary
to comprehend it

it is so deeply rooted into their core
no matter how hard I try
they will always call each other,
for example,
Right in front of me.

Even though they know I have a girlfriend.

They will always joke about suicide
say how it would be better
than coming here
living in this town
and even though I try so hard to explain to them
it is not a joke
it is never
a joke
they will say yes it is.
When I say when you love someone
more than yourself
and you watch them fight themselves every day
and you stand by as their lives are placed aside
for twelve days
for their own good
you will know it's not a joke,
they say I know that.
I lived that.

My sister tried to kill herself.

In that case, you really don't
I say
because if you loved someone
more than yourself
and watched them go through it for
you would know
it's not a joke.
But you don't.

This program sponsors opportunity
instead we've turned it into a homework club
they come because they have to
no one wants their school day extended for
another two hours
just to take the late bus home
and walk up your driveway in the dark.

I see kids with deadbeat parents
I see them with open arms that close the
second their friends come near and
they feel the need to be cool again
I see smiling faces laced with deceit
picking on the chubby kid
laughing when it hurts so obviously
shoving the mentally disabled kid around
(which by the way, scares me
because of course no one has told me
how to deal with it besides
"be persistent"
persistence and patience doesn't exactly work
when the kid is wielding a baseball bat)
I see them complaining about reading another chapter
as I sit a few feet to the side,
tapping away at the latest college essay
ten pages long
I see this brightness so quickly snuffed out
in this little shit town
and I can't get them out.

I can't get them out.

I keep trying
to help them out.

and they don't listen

but is it their fault?
I am afraid to interact with some
because their parents would do anything
to get to my family
one wrong move and there's a new rumor
"they carry machetes up their sleeves"
is the latest

you think I'm kidding.

Is it their fault?
parents crooning the songs of
violence towards sexuality
hatred towards ethnicity
fear towards all difference.

Is it their fault?
can they develop their own sense of self
with their parents reaching down their throat
clutching at any flutter
of hope school lessons have installed in them?

Will they ever?

You tell me
would you punish the child
for what they were taught to say
would you tell them no
when their parents insist yes
would you persist in preaching healing
when all they come home to is venom

I learned kindness from a kind of venom.
I did it.
So I have the slightest bit of hope

I think
upon thinking
I think I ought to revise my opening statement.

The kids are not messing up.

They do as they are told.

The parents are failing.

Editing stage: 


it opens the failure of the system from one with passion of rescuing it , you will dear one, you will

This moved me in many ways. You talk about several sides of a very difficult issue.

I agree with almost everything that you say here: its really sad that innocent children are filled with such venom from a very early age; the shit that the previous generation kept is passed down to a new one, and societies problems persist.

I loved the honesty of this poem, and the vividness of your thoughts. I especially related to the verses on suicide. So many people are so uncaring, they do not understand how serious an issue it is. Most people I encounter see suicides as just stupid, confused people. It's worse for those suffering from depression.

This poem puts you in a tough position, and its amazing that there's a bit of hope at the end.

Great poem :)


No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

It seems as though every time I sign the log book I lose a little more hope. Some kid calls another one disgusting for wanting to pierce his ear, some seventh grader bragging about jerking off and "tapping bitches." Every once in a while I see the smallest change in one or two of them, but soon it's gone. Maybe when they're older they'll learn. For now, all we can do is hope, and try, and hope some more.

I really appreciate the comments.

Thanks for the read,


author comment

This would make part of a lovely teaching short story.
It reminds me of watching baby creatures playing grown up games to make them ready to face the trials and hard life real things that they will have to face later.
The world has changed, seems as if we have become too much a part of the electronic age where things seem unreal yet they are there for ever.
Our children bless them find it hard to have a base from where to judge everything from.
I hate to sound old but the old family discipline was good if moderate and the bases our parents gave us were more stable.
Now we have an electronic baseless society, no family structure left to guide us marriage gone.
The passing of the old fear system is good but we have not replaced it with anything that our children can use as a base.
I have in my life used many weapons, from the old rifle used in the great wars as they called them (Crap nothing great about them) to machine gun weapons to the normal pistol, I found they painted a picture to me of detachment as the electronic game do now, take cyber bullying where it kills someone that cannot cope with it, this is the same as giving the children weapons without the proper guidance.
If you make this into an Epic, with fictitious names and places it would serve a great purpose.
Take care and keep writing, Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

The problem is the inequality in our lives. To create a better educational system, you must have a society worth being educated for. These kids are like their parents, parents who are to lazy to change their lives. In a system where the leaders want them to be lazy, because it allows the status quo. I hold my hand out to you for trying, but we're all trying for change at the wrong end. Love Roscoe..

Roscoe Llane,

Religion will rip your faith off, and return
for the mask of disbelief that's left.

You are so right in what you say,
nothing changes from one age to the next.
There is too much corruption in the world, and it is kept going, because we don't know any different, and they throw the bones to the dogs that roam around the table, while we wait on all their needs,
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

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