After reading one of my poems

my friend said, “It doesn’t seem like the main character has a growth mindset.”

I looked at the writing. He was right.

But it’s not that my character doesn’t want to get better

it’s that, he doesn’t want to get better for someone else.

We are forced to grow

tied-off, and shaped like pruned plants.

The high schoolers, who want to leave high school

are aware of this fact. They want to escape it

by not doing anything.

I was always one of those “good” students who did as I was told

because I wanted to earn the “A”

My mother started me on star charts when I was 7

and it never stopped

She was a teacher

Now I work with teachers

There are books written on how to give children stars

teachers read them in book studies, so they can get educational credits

Education is all about how a person talks—that’s what teaching is

it’s not necessarily about what someone knows.

The point is, my poetry reflects heroes, who don’t have a growth mindset

and this is why…

We can live our entire lives, growing, how we should grow

so we become beautiful specimens in government gardens

Red, with majestic petals, bent on mating

but I always admired weeds, down below

tempting, and dangerous


the “good” flowers

weeds get pulled, but they come back again

their roots go deep

flowers get harvested, cut near their bulbs

they need fertilizer and sun, and careful tending by gardeners

weeds grow in all conditions

they get sprayed by weed killer, and they don’t die.

To be a weed,

like my friend in middle school,

who set the bathroom on fire—

the principal thought he had him well in hand,

and after he got sent to Juvey,

the garden variety world wrote him off

Now he owns his own business, and makes millions.

My heroes do what they want

it’s not a message we obey

Society is obsessed with outrage rebellion and then revolutions,

for a time

but the hands of the clock keep going round and round

keeping perfect time

like workers, like cogs, like gears

in a system

that reduce people to

depreciating assets that might break

Eventually, workers won’t be able to keep productive time-lines

and they will be replaced

High schoolers fail to grow their own way

because they think they can have it all

Give them enough time, and they realize they need to get serious with their lives

their days of sleeping on the beach and watching sunrises

are over

they need houses, cars, kids

and to get those things, they need a job

and to get a good job, they need a good education.

Most of them were flowers when they were young

I’ve never seen an amaryllis turn into poison ivy

Have you?

I don’t know what to do,

but try.

10 thoughts on “I’m Trying…

      1. Thanks. I use Madame Hellshadow as my pseudonym for most of my writing. I was looking for a gothic-sounding name.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hmmm….interesting. I’ve recently returned back to school with kids (more than) half my age and still I wonder if they are really getting just how awesome life is. But I grew up sideways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to be terribly and violently allergic to poison ivy, one day when I was about 19 and had been away from my forest for many years, I came back and rubbed the ivy on my forearm fearlessly, to see if I was still allergic. I guess I no longer identify the ivy as “not self” because I didn’t have a reaction and haven’t since I was about 15.

    Liked by 1 person

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