UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


DANIEL ROMO

English Department Meeting
Meeting Department English


“The district is doing away with Scantron machines.”
It’s not the students, but this room full of 25 teachers that tests my patience.

“Based on the data in front of you, we need to target improving the test scores
of our African-American male population.”
Basketball season starts next week. I hope Lamar Odom’s shooting percentage
increases this year.


“Our other goal based on the data, is to get the below basic students up to proficient.”
Will data or ‘datta’ suffice?

“Student writing has to be more focused and refined.”
The teacher in front of me has no regard for a hairline, sprouting renegade strands
like wispy Salt-and-Pepper neck.


“Due to impending furlough days, we must utilize every possible instructional minute.”
How much longer till we get the hell out of here?

“It’s borderline blasphemy some of them can’t compose a complete sentence.”
Writing with a pen I took from church… sinful?

“Note how students are struggling with the Literacy Response section on tests.
It’s mainly knowing the vocabulary, terms like dramatic irony.”
dramatic irony: when the reader knows something the characters don’t

Mr. H whispers to Mr. G, “Pointless. These meetings are the same every week.”
Pointless. These meetings are the same every week.


Table Manners

The cannibals make small talk on street-corners. Their conversations
are consistently casual. Never discussing anything of sustenance: juicy
celebrity gossip, sweetest swing in baseball, hottest Spice Girl ever.
Their words pack the punch of generic jelly preserves. Their eyes are
Big Lots blow-up wading pool deep. Tonight under streetlights, they’ll
gab about the greatest Golden Girls episode ever—licking their lips,
picking their teeth, burping up grandmothers.


Shalom

I’m appearing in a pristine palace of peace. Peace is my bedspread.
Peace is my nightlight. I’m hoping the saints send instructions. There’s
a war outside. Eden has been bombed. The sinners have slaughtered
my lovers. Suicide is never good. The righteous remain resolute. They
fold hands hating to concede defeat. I’m slowly ceasing to be seen.
Myfingers are becoming exit wounds of my existence. My toes: stubs
of my sanity. I’m back in the shack where I was raised. My mother says
nothing and burns a bundt cake. My father sits on the toilet reading last
night’s box scores. I have a dull steak knife. I’m sitting on the couch
carving a map into my forearm. We ran out of red apples. Someday I’ll
be a martyr. Someday I’ll draw blood.


Daniel Romo is currently an MFA candidate at Antioch University, but is transferring to Queens University of Charlotte in the winter. His recent poems can be found in Metazen, Dogzplot, and Divine Dirt Quarterly. He was recently nominated for Best of the Net Anthology, and the Pushcart Prize. His first book of poetry, Romancing Gravity, is forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press. More of his writing can be found at danielromo.wordpress.com







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