Teachers

This poem is part of the “Poetic Journey” series. Check out the video!

“Teachers”

Tenth grade,
The periodic table of elements was the bane of my existence
Just when I thought I had it all figured out
H for Hydrogen
O for Oxygen
N for Nitrogen
K for Potassium
K for Potassium? It drove me bananas!
Then I learned that the symbol K is derived
from a word associated with potassium with roots in Medieval Latin and Arabic,
My chemistry teacher taught me that this cohesion of languages is how cultures bond
With one another,

Sixth grade,
Rice Middle School spring band concert
March 2005
You should…be glad if you weren’t there
Us trumpets got ahead of the rest of the band,
Ruined
Our best number of the night.
But instead of scolding us,
My band teacher taught me that when the sounds of all instruments bond harmoniously
The symphony will create a masterpiece,

Second grade,
My art teacher told us to paint ourselves,
Don’t know what she expected,
but when you give a bunch of seven-year-olds free reign of the paintbrush and ten colors to work with
Don’t be surprised when you get green faces and rainbow dreadlocks.
Or maybe it didn’t surprise her at all
Maybe,
She expected our psychedelic Bob Marley self-interpretations because when we finished, she hung all our colorful faces on the wall and you know what she called that wall?
The world.
My art teacher taught me that together, we created a masterpiece
More beautiful than the sum of our individual vibrancies,

Ninth grade,
In communications applications, my teacher stressed that the earth is 70% water,
Composed of our idiosyncra-SEAS and individual vibran-SEAS
that shine through our various…traditions.
Yet there’s one thing we all have in common
The language we all speak,
A smile.
No matter who you are
Where you’re from
What you did
As long as you,
Smile at someone,
expect them to smile back,
It’s a virus of the healing variety,
That’s right,
My comm apps teacher taught me how to
Heal people,

Eighth grade,
I learned about religious persecution,
1600s.
I learned about slavery,
1700s.
I learned about the Trail of Tears,
1800s
I learned about Emmitt Till
1900s
I saw some bullies harassing a kid who didn’t look like them,
Present day.
These history lessons show that while centuries have passed
Prejudice persists,
It has sown its seed in our soiled hearts
A virus of the destructive variety
And we have yet to find a cure to this inequality.
My history teacher taught me to learn from our dark history so
We can build a brighter future

Twelfth grade
For years it was an inequality
for which I saw no solution
Until my calculus teacher derived
the formula then taught it to me
The quotient of people
divided by colors.
is hatred.
But when you take it to the power of love
it’s like taking anything to the power of zero
You always
get
One

One powerful equality
One bright future
One universal language that heals you and I,
One beautiful masterpiece
One harmonious symphony
One cohesive bond,
One world

August 27, 2016
-Bilal Moon

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