Animo, gente, but say a prayer too!

15 DECEMBER, 2012

Hey Gente,

I want to play catch-up with you, fill you in all the writing, poetry, project stuff happening lately and from the last year, but my heart is a bit heavy. Just read, or watch your news.

I won't get political, nor too sentimental, but what I will do is keep a chin up in honor of those children and those educators who lost their lives in Newtown, CT and anywhere in the world.

I post this poem in Facebook just a few minutes ago, so I thought I would do the same here:

I Teach
I wrote until
the chalkboard
clear and white,
lockers unfolded
out of cabinets,
no tiza dust,
but erasable markers,
shinny boards that I
close my eyes in front of.
I  hold my breathe right
before the first bell rings,
and every morning

I run all sorts of thoughts
and I know.
I  teach because the money
is a hot meal, nothing more,
I teach because I can see


in their faces,


I teach because they want to be here,

I teach because they hate being here

and there’s no place else.

I teach because I let them feel

at home

and sometimes the kids,

they ask if they can spend

the night in the classroom.

I smile.

I provide cots for the ones

that can’t sleep at home; with

a pillow and matching sheets.

I’m a taxi service when it gets too late.

I’m a social worker when the school nurse

forgets the hearing aid paperwork . . .

I teach because the world

does not provide for an

A,B,C,D bubble life.

I teach because I hated teachers

and I am sick of hating them.

I teach to be humble.

I teach because I want them

to remember their own fathers

and quit slipping and calling me “Apa”.

Sometimes they hug me afterwards.

I teach for the laughter. I see the tears

and I can recognize

the hearts of children,

at least today.

Today is the only thing I control.


I will:

ice a few busted lips,

glue a shoe sole,

fix a spiral notebook,

contain a seizure,

collect twelve love notes

and correct the spelling,

organize three games of

kickball, soccer and

red light/green light,

make the boys shake

after a fair fight,

dig in the closet for extra

clothes after someone’s accident,

make a rainbow and speak of magical

refractions and sunlight,

and the kids, yeah, they

will only hear me say

rainbow, blah, blah, blah

magical blah, blah, blah, light,

use diplomacy while playing UNO,

introduce deodorant,

provide at least four lunches,

repair two sets of  glasses,

burn all the paperwork,

defend a child from a drunk parent,

stop a bus with a single hand,

control the weather with

my imagination,

bridge a nose bleed,

wish, then, shake the shit

out of that hooker/momma

when I need her Gustavo

in my Math tutorials,

make all the kids live to read,

convince eight pairs of parents

from Lantern Village that “camping”

is good for their hijitos


combat a system that wants

to swallow my kids whole.

I save children everyday,

every time I open my door.

So tell me,

just what the hell do you do?

© 2010 Lupe Mendez 

If you have children, hug them tighter. If you talk to your kid's teacher, thank them. If you are friends with a teacher, tell them they are doing a good job. Its an amazing profession. Then call home and talk to your loved ones.