Poetry On Odyssey: She Is My Mother; On The First Day Of First Grade

Poetry On Odyssey: She Is My Mother; On The First Day Of First Grade

As the first semester of my senior year comes to a close, I am called to remember my very first day of school.

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She Is My Mother; On The First Day Of First Grade

I kept my eyes in my pockets

and I tried to dream. Anxious.

I fell without falling and startled

three times that night.

She put my clothes out

and we'd agreed what she'd pack,

That I would take the bus. White, 53.

She prepared me.

Like she did when the dentist said

"Its nothing, just a little pinch"

She told me already. It's a needle.

With medicine that numbs.

They put it right into your gums,

and it will hurt. But they have to.

So let them and be brave.

When they do it feels like

it will go all the way through.

She promised, it won't.

Keep your eyes in your pockets,

the lights will blind.

I tried.

All day. I observed and noticed.

Find your name, that is your desk.

Raise one finger for the bathroom.

"Stay in line, follow me."

Guided through a labyrinth

lit by long bulbs and decorated

by rules and rainbows.

Everything as she said, was.

I believed and trusted and stayed in line.

I was good.

I took my jacket from my cubby

and my backpack off the hook.

In my hand a sun-yellow paper bus, 79.

Then we bussers separated from

the walkers and I waded into the smell

of gasoline to watch the yellow and black parade.

I felt the cold brown leather beneath me

and watched through long windows

as familiar things faded.

I felt the worry tide rising

helpless to stop the bus.

I waited. I trusted. I tried.

Those were not my neighbors' houses

nor my neighbors waiting

for their happy kids home from school.

Last stop. I stepped down.

No one was waiting for me.

The breeze blew the last

kids home and sent the bus fumes on their way.

The air was wide and alone.

I looked around and saw nothing I knew.

Nothing I could place.

As every child in need,

I cried.

I tried.

She prepared me.

I knew her numbers.

I told them to a stranger in a

dimly lit kitchen, less clean than hers.

She came for me in socked feet.

She held me and I

put my eyes in my pockets.

We drove the one block to home.


As this poem describes, on the first day of first grade my elementary school sent me home on the wrong bus. The images I chose to relate the most the specific images of my memories. I remember vividly the feeling that I was headed the wrong way but was helpless to stop myself. I best recall the sights and smells of the events described in my poem. Because I was only five years old at the time, my memories were not situational or sequential. They were emotional and much of my experiences have been pieced back together by the images in my memories. I relate the presence of my mother throughout the poem but do not name her. In my life, she was ever present, and leaving her care to attend my first day of school, only to be mishandled and misguided made my reunion with her incredibly important. The specifics of my experience, the white and yellow bus names and numbers, and the classroom policies, are all true memories. I became lost, but because of the things my mother taught me, I was able to help her find me. She has always found me.

To be a lost child on the first day of first grade was transformative. I didn't trust other adults very well after that. I had bad dreams for years of being on a bus and watching neighborhoods that look like mine in the yard, but the house was wrong, or half the house was familiar and the other half wasn't. I felt an innate need for independence after that, and the need to care for myself, and to check and double check everything. I was only one block from home but at 3 feet tall, that's a long way.

My Mom moved away this year, and I miss her. I miss her, but I know that she is in me all the time with what she's taught me and who I have become because of her. I miss her, even though I can text her whenever I want. I can call her whenever I want. I think my missing her is really just missing her guiding hand, and the knowledge that if I get lost, she will come find me. She has always been able to find me, even in my darkest places.

This poem is dedicated to her, and every student struggling or lost. I hope this poem finds you, and brings you home.

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?
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For generations, children have aspired to become professional athletes. In the 1920's children wanted to be Babe Ruth; in 2012 children wanted to be Derek Jeter. The list of pro-athletes that influence the younger generation can go on and on. Looking back on elementary school yearbooks, the most common profession for youths has (and will continue to be) a professional athlete. Whether it involves the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or any other professional league, children tend to pick this profession out of love for the specific sport. Yet, these innocent and uninformed children seem to strike gold by choosing one of the most economically successful jobs in the world.

While professional athletes dedicate most of their life to their respected sport, the amount they are paid to simply play games is absurd. For example, the average salary for a professional football player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year. Keep in mind that that is average, without external endorsements. Therefore, some athletes make much more than that. The crowd favorite Peyton Manning averages $19 million a year. Sports other than football also have averages that are incredibly generous. In the world of golf, the popular Tiger Woods makes more than $45 million a year. These pro-athletes make millions of dollars, most of whom have not received an outstanding education. In fact, some have not even received a college diploma.

Zooming out from the glamorous and indulgent world of professional athletics, taking a look at other professions seems to be much less appealing. How is it that jobs that are vital to the success of the public receive much less commission than jobs that revolve around running to catch a ball? The average pediatrician makes $173,000 a year. The average teacher salary is $50,000 a year. This does not mean that a professional athlete is any less of a hard-working, devoted, deserving professional. This also does not mean that the athletes have not pushed themselves and worked incredibly hard throughout the years to get where they are, but it does mean that there is a line where inequity takes over. Fame and fortune are showered upon athletes. Is it truly necessary to average out millions of dollars per year when people spend massive amounts of time researching and developing new policies, cures, or other ways to improve the condition of the world? The salary and status of professional athletes seems to be a major power imbalance in the world of careers.

Cover Image Credit: i.ytimg.com

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Poetry On Odyssey: Hyperbolized Emotions

A poem written to describe the way my fellow writers feel emotions, and how hard it is to feel them so deeply.

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The trope that I feel more, harder, crosses my mind often.

It's been said I feel too much. Maybe that I don't know how to stop.

But is it because of who I am, or is it because of what I do?


It's always been easy for me to put it into words.

My pain floods the inside of my mind and holds my soul captive.

My love for you runs through my veins, coarse and thick.

I could go on, but you get the picture.


People ask me, how do you feel so much?

I wonder, how can they feel so little?

Is it not normal to feel the way I feel?


It's been said we exaggerate the emotions we want to focus on.

We place them under a microscope and watch them enlarge before our eyes.

"I feel happy today"—no, the light shines through the rose colored windows,

brightening up what was dark yesterday, erasing the sadness. That's it.


It's not hard to feel the way I feel. At least not to me.

But I often ask myself, would I feel this way, this much,

if I didn't try to write it all down?


I can't answer, because the truth is, maybe I don't want to know.

The way I feel—more, harder—is instinctive.

Why would I want to trade the depth of my emotions

for something shallow and simplistic?


But I guess feeling less might be useful sometimes.

The times where all I can think is my heart is a bruise,

getting poked at constantly, exasperating the pain.


Instead, I would say, "my heart hurts."

It's not poetic. It's not romantic. It's not really anything.

Still, it would be the truth.

And maybe the truth is all I need to say.


The thought of you fills my every moment,

the way the stars fill up the night sky—little by little, one by one.

Doesn't that just sound better than saying, "I miss you"?

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