Saturday, February 18, 2012

Special Ed Is A Fresh, Dysfunctional Hell

Special Ed is a fresh, dysfunctional hell.
The short bus putters and  sputters along its
intentionally convoluted route.
Parents in dogged pursuit are kept off kilter
by prevaricating bureaucrats who
cherry pick particular secrets
to whisper from sepia toned street corners
conflatable, untranslatable, untraceable
The answers are no, no, no, no, no.
Denials are signed in triplicate.

She is an educational anomaly.
A  round peg pounded mercilessly
into a square hole.
Wedged into a program that suits her better than most.
Programs and people do not coincide.

She giggles, grins and bears the unbearable.
I  yearn  to make sense of  the insensible.
Figure out the rhyme and reason.
Hoping for compassionate, 
conscientious and competent teachers.
Settling uneasily for someone
marking time, holding places.
Education through the looking glass reflects badly.
She is proved unteachable until proven other wise.  

Forget it, Jake, you are mistaken
if you think you can traverse
this craven, cratering landscape.
No one can cross the Special Ed steppes.

Hear the podcast of my poem. 


  1. Dear Debbie,

    This poem is absolutely spot-on on the topic of special education in many countries around the world. Put it out there often and much, please. Wake people up.

    Thank you so much,

  2. Thank you very much, vicky. This poem does seem to have hit a nerve. The responses have been already poring in via retweet and comments on Twitter. I hope more people read this poem.

  3. I really hope that this message gets heard. There are way too many children and parents suffering in this place called "special" ed.

  4. I wanted to make sure that I didn't just write another post nattering on about how this needs to be changed. We all know this. Yet again inspired at least in part by Ira.

  5. This seems to have the rhythm of beat poetry. I can hear the poem being spoken aloud, the cadence quickening, the voice's pitch getting higher them both dropping off only to increase in rhythm again. You need to record the audio so I can hear it in your voice.

  6. Thank you. I'd like to record all of my poems some day. I love reading my poems out loud.

    But with my SE side Chicago accent...

    Uhh, how would I do that and connect it to the blog?

    1. Check out soundcloud. You can record online and embed it here.

    2. Today is a good day, Miss Shuganah! Boi, wanna hear yore Voice. You can't git that many offers from folks willing to listen to you. Still suffer to see YOU suffer so, but empathy like sympathy, ain't good for much; keep working for change. I love YOU and I send love and support!! I hope The PotHead and the Babies are fine!!! Kisses, RicHIe

      O and by the Way -- one part of Chicago sounds just like another IF you from New York. R

  7. This is marvelous, and I could totally hear it too while I was reading it. There are lots of ways to "podcast" this and embed it right into your blog. The easiest is probably Sign up, record right on your computer, output to iTunes or just get embed code right from your recording. Blogger lets you just drop the embed code right in! I've got other resources for podcasting here:

    -Mike Fisher (@fisher1000 on Twitter)

  8. Thank you both. I had no idea anyone would want to actually hear me. I think someone else reading me would be better. Anyway... I will give it some thought along with the poems on my other blog.

    1. Other people cain't read YOUR poetry for you, Genius! One of the central tenets of poetry, at least modern poetry, is "Voice!" That would be YOUR voice because what one says and how one says it is the poetry part. I think that's especially true wit you; YOU got a way of phrasing shit and spitting it out: That's one of the reasons I love you. This Voice-thing is true for everyone, except maybe Charles Olson. Olson was one of my favorites, but he thought that pomes was about something like breath and syllable -- but how would I know? I went to public skol. Love you, Smartie! RicH

  9. I'm from North Carolina originally and live in Buffalo, NY, now. I could read it for you, but nobody would understand me!

  10. Thanks.

    We will just all have to muddle through my SE Chicago with Yiddishe lilt. Now to figure out how to do this.

  11. Mistah TextMage,

    I do wish you would haul your ass over to Twitter. You would contribute much.

    RicHie and I go way back. He was one of my first encouragers.

    One thing great about attending University of Iowa was that because of the Writers' Workshop everyone came to Iowa to read their poetry. Got to hear Creeley and others read in person. Also had John Kenneth Galbraith come. Not to read poetry but rather to put an audience to sleep. And all the political candidates come, too. Got to hear almost all of them.

    We are all fine. 2012 is interesting times.