Academic journal article English Journal

Explain Yourself, Young Man

Academic journal article English Journal

Explain Yourself, Young Man

Article excerpt

Waiting on the bench outside of the principal's office

you are thankful: on a small table is a solitary lava

lamp,

its soft red glow mesmerizing, calming. Amorphous

globes

break away and rise, reshape, fall-softly, like kisses

you vaguely remember on your forehead at bedtime

once upon a time. You stare into the glass world

and you are elsewhere, warm and slow

to what's happened, to what's coming.

He has your file, thick with the electronic

pigeon-holing of your life: trouble maker,

back talker, bad seed, ne'r do well

fallen from a tree of hapless and hard-cored apples.

"Why did you do it?" he whispers, rubbing his grey

temples

at the reoccurring sight of you as if a gentle rub can

soothe away

the friction and fatigue you bring into the room.

You tell the truth: "I don't know."

His anger bubbles up. But you've told him

absolute truth-you don't know why you do

so many of the unbounded things

that raise the voices and blood pressures

and roofs of the adult population. …

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