(like a cold that overcame me in the night,
like a burglar, like heart-sadness)
it crept up on me;
that I was not having to talk over them.
The Behaviorally Disorder Classroom,
South High School:
They are thugs, criminals and lunatics.
But they are my thugs, criminals, and lunatics.
It’s a little like Welcome Back Kotter
set in Hell.
And their silence crept up on me
in History class
while I described the devestation
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
And, then, after that silence
(it was perhaps a distant echoof a terrible silence which perhaps hung in the air half a century before)
I don’t know how they new that the rules had suddenly changed.
In that moment, in those 47-minutes,
it was quite suddenly permissible to admit to and express who they really were.
They all told me
and they all told each other
about their fathers: endless disappointments.
They had left them.
They had let them down.
They had ignored their son’s desperate phone calls.
They had gone on and into new lives new wives with new dysfunctional families.
I don’t know why it happened,
why it all happened.
Maybe they don’t