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atomic lemon drops #8: package for my teacher

03/24/13 , , , , , , , , , ,

this atomic lemon drop isn’t the first poem i wrote, but it’s the one that kept me writing. check it out below along with some background. per usual, feel free to share any questions/criticisms about the poem as well as any other comments.

Package for My Teacher

Teacher, Teacher, remember me?
3rd Grade, front row, Susie B?
Shared my dreams of
flying through space.
Looking for support,
your doubts came in its place.
“But you’re a girl,
and even worse than that,
too short,
too Black,
and way too fat.
Astronaut? Something I cannot see.
How ‘bout assistant manager at Mickey D’s?”
but spirit stayed intact.
Too determined to get off track.
Your vision has improved by now, I hope.
If not, you can still see me
through this telescope.

dr. mae jemison, 1st woman of color in outer space

dr. mae jemison, the 1st woman of color in space


senior year of high school, ms. bodnar gave my ap english class the option to write two poems instead of an essay (one had to be love-related since we were near valentine’s day; also had to recite one in front of the class).  i don’t remember writing any poetry beyond the red rose-blue violet variety before that.  at the time though, churning out a few verses seemed easier better than slaving over some paragraphs so i went for it.

the first poem, simply titled i love youwas about a girl i had a crush on in that class.  reading it aloud introduced me to leg-trembling nervousness (thinking back, the jitters were due to exposing myself and wanting to be accepted, both not just on the love tip but with the poem i birthed).

the second poem was package for my teacher.  i didn’t have the same emotional investment in the story as in i love you (not a girl named susie, didn’t have my dreams stepped on, etc.) but it was cool to ride out the poetic freedom (which was especially good for me since i was missing a creative outlet).  beyond that though, what really kept me writing poetry was what ms. bodnar said when she gave the poem back to me:

you should enter it in a contest.

it was a little comment that i never acted on but still managed to mean a lot.  after that, i began to write poems on my own.  i kept a notebook in my pocket to write lines & topics for potential pieces.  later, i was accepted into poetry workshops that helped me learn more about the craft.  i started performing my poems in different settings and eventually got to the point where my leg doesn’t shake anymore.  i’ve also sent other poems to contests & i’m working on a poetry manuscript.  again, all from a little comment that i never acted on.

part of package touches on the impact parents, teachers & other adults can have on the youth by being willing (or even unwilling) mentors.  the teacher in the poem dropped the ball, but salute ms. bodnar and all others who inspire goodness in people that would’ve been left buried otherwise.

think about someone who had an impact on your progress.  if you were to send the person a package inspired by the role he/she played, what would be in it?  share in the comments.

previously in atomic lemon drops: a confusing two minutes and four seconds | barbershop | grim reaper | dear leader | weekend in jamaica | rehearsal for “when doors slam shut” | a poem called lauryn

© Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this poem without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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My teacher who inspired me the most is Mrs Tulloch-Reid. She taught me history which became my favorite subject. Her teaching methods were superlative and I just loved being in her classes.. I will always remember and tell others about her

David L Ferguson


2 notes

  1. atomic lemon drops #9: blue roses pt. II | atolemdro reblogged this and added:

    […] in atomic lemon drops: package for my teacher | a confusing two minutes and four seconds | barbershop | grim reaper | dear […]

  2. life rewind 2013: must-reads | atolemdro reblogged this and added:

    […] atomic lemon drops #8: package for my teacher […]

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