Chunking Poetry

I’ve been teaching my language arts students how to chunk poetry…to pay attention to pauses through punctuation and to read in a meaningful way.  In fact, giving pause, gives poetry meaning…in the ear.  One of my male students stepped up to the front just two days ago and shared Move Pen Move by Shane Koyczan/TC Everwood…the words to the poem were so powerful, and so powerfully delivered, that I had chills and each one in the class was perfectly quiet.  Shane Koyczan/T.C. Everwood delivers these spoken words as background to a piece of music…my student is copying me a cd so that I can hear the original version.
This boy is a young musician and he will spend his life giving words meaning.  If I share the words to Move Pen Move, please do NOT think that I am intending to start your day badly…just imagine that a young man is giving a class these words with intention.  Imagine the ‘magic’ of a young man sharing such as these.  
that’s what mothers say when their sons and daughters go away
they say stay
my mother said go.
so i wasn’t there, the night she fell out of her wheelchair
so frustrated that she amputated her own legs or rather tried to with a steak knife
her life leaking on the white floor blossoming like roses on the snow.
our relationship was an anthem composed of words like, “gotta go”,
so we went, and sent our regards on postcards from the places we’d been
the stories about all the
things we’d seen that’s how it was with you and i.
why say goodbye when we could still write?
and then it took your hands,
we should have practiced our goodbyes
because then it took your eyes and
i was somewhere in the middle of nowhere watching the sunrise
over a stop sign placed down the center line of a highway
filled with sudden turns for the worst,
running back home because i gotta play nurse,
gotta figure out, which pill alleviates which pain,
which part of your brain is being used
a boxing bag as your body
became a neverending game of freeze tag taking place in
an empty playground
that was left
looking for your limbs now lost and found
and i couldn’t set you free
so we just sat there,
our heads bent towards each other like flowers
in the small hours of the morning while
light wandered in like a warning that
time is passing,
and you right along with it, bit by bit everyday
and all i can say is if i could i would write you some way out of this,
but my gift is useless and
you said no,
write me a poem to make me happy,
so i wrote Move Pen Move.
write me a bedroom where cures make love to our cancers
but my mother just motions to a bottle full of answers and says,
help me go.
and now i know something of how a piano must feel
when it looks at the fireplace
to see sheet music being used for kindling,
smoke signaling the end of some song
that i thought it would take too long to learn.
now i just sit here watching you burn away,
all those notes i never had a chance to play to you
the music of what you had to say.
but i count out the pills just to see if i can do it.
i can’t even get half way through it before i turn back into your sun,
and say,
icould hook up my heart to your ears
and let my tears
be your morphine drip
because maybe it’s easier
to let you slip away then it is to say
so i,
hold my breath.
because in the coutdown to death
the question of why melts into whe,
how much time do we have left
because if i knew what i know now
Move Pen Move!
write me a mountain!
because headstones are not big enough.
and my mother says
stop it!
write me a poem to make me happy.
so i write this:
she smile and says,
“gotta go”
“i know”.
good bye.



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  1. Pingback: Ok, so, You Can Choose to Be Positive | The Chapel

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