Happy first day of testing! This year I’m a hall proctor, so I don’t know if I’ll even have time to write more. We’ll see…
For now, here’s the first testing poem I wrote, with illustration by Anna Fox Ryan.
Order the book at https://squareup.com/store/tested-out-poetry/
My best friend is my cell phone
My tablet is my teacher
Mom’s fine I suppose
But without those
How could I even reach her?
I’m in love with my laptop
And also my TV set
I’m saving part
Inside my heart
For things I don’t own yet
I’m waiting for a smart watch
And smart socks and smart hair
And yes, it’s true
I really do
Wish for smart underwear
I just need more technology
So I don’t go insane
It’d be boring
If the only thing
Smart about me was my brain
As a reward for my Kickstarter (http://kck.st/2qgOZyZ) hitting 50 backers, I’m doing an all-day “request-a-thon!” As people request poems, I’ll post their requests and the poems I write in this space as I write them. These are quick turn-around so a bit sloppier than my usual work, but it should be fun anyway!
Make your own requests!!! Comment on this post, or post your requests on social media and tag the Kickstarter for bonus points!
Support the Kickstarter to unlock more rewards! http://kck.st/2qgOZyZ
On Sundays I only eat pickles
On Mondays I just eat cayenne
It’s such a great diet
I swear if you try it
You never will diet again
Kim asked for a poem inspired by this episode of 99% Invisible which I hadn’t previously listened to (love the podcast, though), about how scientists are trying to design nuclear waste warning labels that will make sense to whatever intelligent life remains in 10,000 years. Because my friends are frivolous people who like to make things simple.
Message Found on a Vat of Nuclear Waste in 10,000 years
If you can read this in 10,000 years:
Wow! This ink’s still dark and clear?
Wait, you still speak English too?
I’m…actually a bit disappointed in you
I hoped that after all this time
There’d be cooler things to do than read my rhymes
I mean – millennia have gone by!
I wasn’t exactly an interesting guy!
But since, it seems, you still are reading
You might as well just keep proceeding
Here is my message (at long last)
I have a warning from the past!
Don’t open the cask where these words are inked!
Its contents could drive man extinct!
So please – DO NOT OPEN THIS LID!
(Ignore if you already did)
Neshama asked me how to have a nuanced conversation about the Middle East on the internet without encountering any trolls or ridiculous accusations. Because my friends are really thoughtful people who also want to make this really damn hard for me. Luckily I know the answer to this one:
How to Have a Nuanced Conversation about the Middle East on the Internet without Encountering any Trolls or Ridiculous Accusations
Write your thoughts
Reread them twice
Move your cursor over
The post button thrice
Check the spelling
Light three candles
Drink red wine
Drape your laptop
In silk cloth
A virgin sloth
Burn your house down
Scream, scream, scream
Then walk outside
And get ice cream
Pamela (@pamelas_snapshots on Instagram) requested “Sneakers and pavement”
Tuesday was too hot
Too hot out to run
The still, boiling air
The bright, heavy sun
But still I went running
It’s really my fault
That my shoe became stuck
Sunk down in the asphalt
My soles and the road
Don’t know which melted first
But the more that I pulled
Well the mess just got worse
So I gave up. Just left it
Went home, hop by hop
(Not wanting my *foot*
To melt to the blacktop)
Now my shoe is still there
And it’s really quite neat
If someone pulls it out
They’ll be king of the street
Wyatt requested a poem about making good choices in who our friends are:
Mommmmm! Please, get off my case!
You don’t need to be in my face!
I get to choose my friends, okay?
And I want Murderbot to play!
Just because she says bad words
Likes to throw sharp things at birds
Said she hated me last weekend
…I don’t care! She’s my best friend!
You’d rather I hang out with Bri?
She has that weird splotch on her knee!
Destiny’s boring, Dara’s sad
The principal is David’s dad!
No way! My best friend’s Murderbot
So she’s pure evil…well, who’s not?
And yes, her last best friend was crushed
But she gave me a bracelet that says “trust”!
Jonathan requests a poem about “ghosting”
Hosted a party
It didn’t go very well
The guests were obscene
No surface left clean
It was a living hell
He tried to suggest
They clean up their mess
But no one understood
Ash to ash, dust to dust
He decided he must
Abandon his house for good
Brought nothing along
No goodbyes or so longs
He vanished like a ghost
To this day he now roams
Yet today, in his home
Folks still party without their host
Keri requests a poem about kids whining while their parents get them through their daily routines:
Mom thinks her logic is pristine:
Wake up and shower so I’m clean
Pack up for school so I’m not late
Be focused so I’ll get good grades
Homework at 4 so it gets done
Do chores so I’ll have time for fun
Brush teeth so my teeth won’t decay
Get sleep so I’m ready for the next day
Mom thinks her logic is so clear
But she forgot one thing, I fear:
I don’t wanna!
I wanna play games with my friends!
Come on, Mom! Can’t I start at 8?
I’m sure that work/teeth/chores can wait!
Mom won. I worked first, fun stuff later
But tomorrow’s another chance to debate her…
Shira requests a poem about the countdown until the end of the school year:
Twelve days. That’s it. Twelve more school days.
Now, subtract lunches, preps, school plays,
Assemblies, field days, time to tidy,
Nothing getting done on Fridays
Bill Nye episodes, graduation.
Let’s see what’s left for education!
My calculator says: Negative two days
For instruction…Yup, sounds okay!
Hannah requests a poem about a “Cool Plant Mom.” Here you go, Hannah:
The Moms on the block
Are all so cool
The way they all
Roll up to school
I’m just as cool
But they don’t see
They don’t invite me
Out to tea
They don’t sit with me
At Little League games
They treat me like
I’m not the same
I wish they would
Give me a chance
So what if I’m just
A Mom to potted plants?
Anne (@chalkrelic) requests a poem about before and after testing! Testing poems are up my alley, though usually I give them a lot more editing time before sharing 😉
Finish your breakfasts!
Throw your trash out!
No time for the bathroom!
Please don’t make me shout!
The test crate is coming!
Your proctor is near!
Why’s everyone still talking?
Am I not being clear???
Are there any more questions?
Then you may begin.
(Silently hands out mints)
I can’t answer that question
You can talk after the session
You may quietly read
Your friends are still testing
Silence is decreed
Did you miss me?
How’d you do?
You made it!
And I’m back now! Phew!
Three hours of testing!
Bet you’re tired!
Oh well! Just
Get yourself inspired!
And get your books!
There’s hours left, so…
Hey, where did
Another illustrated collaboration with Anna Fox. This came for a request for poems about advocacy and empathy.
Like it? Support the Kickstarter to get art like this into the e-book! If we get to 50 backers by midnight Saturday, I’ll take open requests for the whole day on Sunday.
I did a reading of this one on Facebook Live last weekend in support of my Kickstarter. Check out the anti-testing poetry Kickstarter here: Tested Out: Poetry against high-stakes testing and standardized children.
Check out the video below — or tune in today (Saturday) at 3:00PM on Facebook Live for another poetry read.
Sorry indeed, but
I am a mosquito
And I really need to
Find somewhere to feed, so
If you would agree to
Let me bite your knee (no
More harm than a needle
And you’ll barely bleed), oh
I will not mistreat you
I won’t overeat you
And then, when complete, do
You think you could see to
Allow me my freedom
And simply let me go?
Oh please, I entreat you
Help out this mosquito!
Start at 15:00 for Mosquito!