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Posted: 2007-08-29

Kip Zegers says, "I'm readying to return for my 24th year at Hunter College H.S. in New York City. I'm a
poet, have 7 small press books, and here's my
back to school poem, which I thought might give support to fellow workers.

You've taken my freedom and aborted

my plans a boy said, in this class

I finally felt comfortable to speak

my mind she said, I will grow up

the smallest boy wrote,

when everyone else was writing jokes

on a card at the end of the year.

They will betray you for each other,

I was told, and it is true. That they

expect to be able to trust, that there are

things of value that are unknown

to them and they have not heard the news,

that they have processed much of what

you thought they did not hear,

that they believe deeply in the greatest return for the least effort, and will write

essays that make you gasp at the thinking,

and the play of words, it's all true.

If you have done your job

some of them will never forget you.

You will never forget some of them.

Most will remember other things.

What you want to give

is often not what they came to get.

Your task is to connect those verbs.

The boy who wrote poems would not

write a single story and so failed his class,

a girl who made a spoken voice appear on paper heard the shy, angry kid say, "that

was so good I couldn't stop listening," and

a young man said, "I did no work for six years and when I got to college I found I knew how to take a class and the other

students had no clue," he was lighting

a cigarette as he spoke, his smile

was difficult to distinguish from smoke.

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