Poetic Teaching License

Many people who read my blog probably don’t know that I’m a poet and have been writing poetry for over 4 decades. It’s a long story but poetry through my work, travel, life has been a sustaining lifeline.

I don’t often write poetry about teaching but as it has been such a big part of my life, it comes into play and appears. So here below are a couple of poems, true stuff, about my teaching. You might also be interested in my poem – So You Want To Be A Teacher, Eh? Also, find some of my poetry here or follow me on Facebook, I post up a raw poem there every week or two.

The Job Interview

[this one I stumbled across tonight and got me writing this blog post. Stuffed in an old notebook, circa my year in Kyiv, 1996 or so. True, absolutely true story and kind of prescient given I’ve begun looking for work again after a long hiatus. I hope no more job interviews like this one in my near future]

It was only a 5 minute

early morning walk

from Lev Tolstoy station,

17 stories up

a grey, non distinct office building.

A few quick handshakes

a brief scan of my starved resume

and a few quick questions

that was it.

The head teacher led me

out of the conference room

and into the school’s small lobby.

As I stepped out

a small Brit tossed his head and asked

“Join me for a smoke?”.

I followed along, out onto

a balcony, enjoying

the fall’s fresh slavic air

and looking down on

the mighty Dniepr in the distance.

A few more stabs of conversation

‘n small talk

then the guy

flicks his unfinished fag

out into the wild yonder

puts his hands through his hair

and says,

“It was only last Thursday”.

“Thursday, what?”, I replied.

“Thursday, the guy we’re replacing jumped.”

A moment of silence

then I muttered a

“sorry to hear” and

a “good to know”,

shook his hand and

found my way out

stumbling, grounded

onto the waking streets of Kyiv.

I didn’t bitch much when

I found out I hadn’t got the job.

An English Student’s First Phone Call

[I once taught LINC – a Canadian program to teach English to newly landed immigrants. Marvellous job! Snezenka was in my class (means, Snow White in Serbian) and I had this feeling she had a crush on me. But I’d seen her husband, quiet beast of a guy and imagined him just fresh from killing a dozen Croats in the war. Wasn’t ever going to go there. But when I got her phone message (no email back then), I was sweating after listening to it. But then I realized it was just a spelling mistake! ]

“I just called to let my

lips speak to your ear.

Your machine speaks well English!

I will call tomorrow when

I find your ear.

My lips are lonely to be hard.

Thank you for not listening to forget my massage.”


Also published on Medium.

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