Thank you for visiting.
Shortly after leaving the new NYC Department of Education in 2004, I posted the poem on this page to help explain my reasons for founding The Teacher's Voice. I dedicate it to those struggling to earnestly teach and learn under increasingly dehumanizing conditions in overcrowded underfunded public schools, as well as in corporate backed commodified charter schools.
Andrés Castro, Editor
Genesis: Metropolis to Matrix
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times
of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
~ Dante Alighieri.
In the recommendation my poet professor gave me,
poverty euphemized into humble beginnings.
His kind intentions helped land the job and yet...
humble beginnings makes poverty sound so sweet:
like chocolates or chewy caramel covered candies.
Give me a box of those assorted humble beginnings;
cut me a slice of that humble pie while you’re at it.
Pay for them? Sure, have a pocket-full of notes right here.
Sweet adolescent years on Longfellow Ave & Freeman Street,
midnight-run-for-your-life from apocalyptic South Bronx
ruins, made presidential photo opps for Reagan/Carter campaigns,
were an open-mouthed dive into humble beginnings.
Neighborhood high school a poisonous riddle in
`72, my gifted child past--my ambition disappeared
behind its muddy red doors. Rushed twisted & turned
bell-to-bell one more mouse in the maze, my American
dream shrank down to a cog; if only the bravest voices
from the 60's weren't dead, wounded, or missing in action .
After September eleven as my country went mad,
I walked through those muddy red doors again—
a teacher—into no Welcome Back Kotter sit-com.
After decades of building prisons over schools,
near the block of Diallo’s forty-one bullet shower,
the façade of my high school remained standing.
Students squeeze to single file through metal detecting arches:
freshly conditioned infantilized quotas filled for little more
than to work under giant golden ones—McDaddy loves us--
prays we never learn where our food really comes from.
Tradition demands we blame the victims first, so
here goes: Today’s youth has no respect for authority,
no morals, no parents worth mentioning, no self-respect,
no connection to the past, no investment in the future,
they can’t speak proper English for God’s sake,
invading hoards of illegals can't speak English at all!
OooRah! Let's build The Great North South Wall of America!
Let's reach back to the good ole days where everyone knew
their place was due to the yellow, brown, black of their skin
and the science that proved only one race is designed to lead.
Say it with me children: Empire.
The Great Pyramid Scheme goes on.
Thank you Rod Serling and Roddenberry but resistance is
futile: I was born to conform and have been assimilated.
Thank you Orwell but invest in surveillance cameras.
Silent celluloid Metropolis to computer generated Matrix,
Moloch the Machine has won; sweet Jesus, Neo has been
warped; and the Anti-Christs are multiplying exponentially;
and the Ever Readys, indeed, do finally wear out.
Two days after leaving the New Department of Ed in `04,
one of the rabble who roused wrote the following poem:
It’s a cool overcast morning.
I see the great tree outside
my third floor window
as I type this sentence.
A little tribe
of birds is chirping.
I need to take some
actual steps today
so should have started
earlier this morning,
but slept instead
then began writing.
When the rain comes
the branches of this old
friend get heavy.
One thin new branch bends
close enough towards me
so I can touch its leaves.
Heard rain today
One stormy night,
when I was all alone,
I touched those leaves
Can you imagine?