Monday, May 16, 2011

Slam Poetry is the Coolest

I love when teachers make literature and/or poetry fun for their students, but more than that I especially love when they help kids express themselves. My oldest son, who's a senior, took a poetry class this year, and not only did he love it, he and a friend who was in the class too, read their poems at a poetry reading at our local theater. They were among poets of all ages, including one who'd been writing poetry for 8o years. This was such a cool event! Here is a picture of Steve and my son Chuck giving me their "poet" pose:

I want to share my son's poem not only to brag a little bit on him, but also because his feelings reflect my own. During the last 10 years or so I have seen and met more kids who were living with parents that didn't want the responsibility of having children. I've seen kids walking to school alone that were far to small to be on their own. I've seen kids come to school dirty, eating candy or popsicles for breakfast. As my kids got older I met teenagers that were bright, creative and basically on their own. Giving a child a bed to sleep in does not mean you are a good parent. Kids need to know they are loved and safe. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I had a home large enough to take in kids that I've met who needed a place to stay where they would feel that way.

(sorry about the formatting..."slam poems are best heard, not read" as my son told me:)

by Charles A. Hyde III

“Kids these days.”
Adults mumble in incredulity,
Recalling a simpler time when children were more respectable,
More lovable, more probable to be tolerable.
They wish that little Johnny would just mow the lawn,
Suzy would take out the trash,
Billy would clean his room,
Brittany would eat her veggies.
And maybe it's true--
But I believe that they have been blinded by a sheaf of nostalgia,
A love of misremembered memories,
Concealing their true motives and recollections.
And it only grows worse as their precious gems reach maturity--
The teenage wasteland that is America enrages them so they cannot even speak.
Yet are these kids any different than their high and mighty parents?
They, too, had many tales of love,
Tales of conflict,
Tales of woe,
Tales of heartbreak and repair.
Tales of their first prom, their worst date,
Their first fight over a girl that wasn’t even worth it.
And yet they persecute the prodigal sons and daughters of my generation,
Preferring to harshly disable them,
Hold them to high expectations, but then bring them down.
Now, I understand that there are good parents,
Role models, heroic figures that would throw themselves upon a grenade for their kin.
And they may be a majority--
Dear God, I hope that they are.
But this is not about them.
This is about the father that causes fractures in their family, physically and formatively.
This is about the mother that makes her masterpiece feel meek and misunderstood.
This is about the parents that should not have been.
Dammit, this is about the so-called “adults” and their never-ending hatred,
Their loathing,
Their putrescent distaste for the good in life.
They wage war, and send the kids they disrespect to fight it.
They allow predators to roam the streets,
And in some cases, they are the predators.
They are responsible for the world,
Not us.
No, not us.
Not yet.
And I hope that when we inherit this disillusioned planet,
We do a damn better job running it than them.
So, to sum it all up, to add up my points,
To break it down for you, in just three words, a simple phrase:
“Adults these days.”

This picture is my son, me and our friend Doowy, who showed up for support and to keep me company.