Kids writing poems

they taught us to write poems at varsity

start with a brick

said the professor

who had spent the last 20 years

in that chair


enough of the i i i

me me me


start with a butterfly

the pavement


write about that

he said

(with his young assistant

- feminist -

schooled in Bukowski)


and so we did.


we trotted around

eyes to the sky

looking for poems


despite instruction,

to see the cracks


the pavement



I really wanted to write about the girl

who had recently



and I knew


that all he had on us,

that professor,

was a couple of decades

of bad verse

narrowed horizons

and thwarted ambitions


he wanted us to see his cracks

and widen them

carve out dark clouds

with our words


but we were only 18, 19, 20


even worse,

we were white kids

writing in Africa



looking back

I think


we could have learned a lot more

about poetry

if he had just sat back

and wept


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