Sekou

Drawing The Line

Jose 3 Comments

Sekou

After the Immigration Protest today in Union Square (all the way to Federal Square), I finally decided to draw some lines where I needed to. If I’m going to talk about standards, then I need to start applying those in my life. Not that I haven’t, but I think I gave too much leeway because I’m always looking at another person’s world-view. This time though, I need to state my case since I don’t think anyone addressed it well at all. Sorry for being so vague, but follow me. The first line I’m drawing is in poetic form.

“Drawing The Line” by Jose Vilson

Let my verse rock a little
My thoughts flow through tumultuous waters
Either I’ll drown, swim, or walk
Either I’ll burn, learn, or elevate
Either I’ll die, live, or live past my death
I’m ready for the first, but I’m aiming for the third
I’ve been doing the second preparing for both
Focused on my works, my work, and what works
Passionately and proficiently
My etchings the scripture of a forlorn teacher
Searching for rebellion in the midst of conformists
Wondering where people get ideas that they’ve defected
When they confess they’re aligned with standards
Of a master yoking cattle led astray
Nothing less expensive than self-oppression
Or self-repression
Whether in the name of a religious figure 2000 years removed
Or in the name of a six-syllable word
Supposedly interpreted to mean that
These writings right here would deem me
Too far removed from the situation at hand
To understand the accuracy and dedication it takes
To handle mine
Yet, I subvert the cult
Banish the stoicisms
Break from the rites
And rituals we’re inundated with
Let the rabbis exalt us
Even when the pundits destroy us
The workers dismiss us
When the parents support us
The reporters represent us
Even when there’s condescension from our supervisors and peers alike
We’ll still conduct ourselves the way we will, alright?
My extracurricular activities don’t divert me from my job
They fuel the fire and keep it stoked
And higher than some overblown high-stakes state test
So when the winds blow
The roof shakes and people fear the makings of their foundation too shaky
It’s the lines I drew on the paper and my stances
Take my chances
Back when I wrote the blueprint of the house
That helped me shift back to the present matter
The people I teach, my delivery, my subject, my work
Intact because and not despite all of that
Professionalism
I know the word well
And I’ve been drawing that line ever since my pencil fell …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonDrawing The Line

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