#Write30 – #235ForLife

This is the product of a few days of writing time. It was the last Occasional Paper I did for my students graduating in 2016, and it came out more poemy than papery. If I was trying to write a poem, I’d still be stuck about 3 lines in.

I haven’t written much poetry since I was an angsty adolescent (or 20 something). Except for that one poem about a suicide. Maybe I’ll revisit that one one of these days.

(Hashtag appropriated from a social media post by a Class of 2012 235er)
(235 is my classroom)

The end of years is always hard for me

And joyful.

Hard because endings are not my thing

And because we are approaching


The end of this joyfully intoxicating congregation

The spirit of exploration

Swashed around in inspiration

Taken in and down with honey and august.


We landed here together 350 days ago

or so,

nervous, or excited (depending on the lighting)

with a whole lot of time and a realm of possibility

laid out ahead of us.

Now, all but behind us,

An inhale, and an exhale,

and it’s time to move ahead again.


Because though we worked a lot,

there is always more to know.

Always more to figure out.

Always more to sketch into to the drawing of our lives.

And in a time when it seems like there is so much

So much

that doesn’t make sense,  

when our screens scream hate and vitriol,

when discord seems the soundtrack of the times,

when teaching people how to guard against victimization

takes precedence over crafting the compassion

and empathy that cultivate kindness,

When courses are charted by fear,

in here,

we inhale and exhale,

and we love.

In a course named for a test

We are tested

Can we be AP

And still be we?

Do our voices matter or is it

Just matters of rhetoric?

Building blocks of language

Mapping trails where there was nothing

Seeing what you are capable of becoming


I have watched you read the world

And write your way into conversation with it

So it can never shut you down

Leave you out

Make you feel unworthy




You are none of that.

And you are everything.

I see you

Transgress, transcend, transform expectations

Shaping bountiful realities

And  Becoming.

Inhale. And Exhale.


I am not a counter of days.

About anything really,

but definitely not school.

Definitely not in the “7 more Mondays” kind of way.

But I am always acutely and urgently aware

that we are running out of days.

So I inhale. And exhale.

Grateful for the inspiration

That has flowed within these walls

Synergy reverberating

In a sort of harmonic resonance.

That leaves a permanent echo

So a trace of you remains.

In here,


235ers, Like plants

breathe in energy and breathe out genius

And we carry our own light

For photosynthesis.


I am not a counter of days

But the fullness of our time has come

And I am grateful in uncounted ways

For all the things that you have done

That filled this room with family.


When a place can hold your tears as often as

your Laughter

And has room to let you face your fears,

and after

still feel safe, though challenged

Where you can choose to love –

To live in love –

With courage

And joy

Inhale. Exhale.

You have helped to build a home.

And home is always here.


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