High Performance

photo by Donny

A Donny Lee Duke poem

I'll Show You
The sweet graze of the stars,
children enhance this;
children block this.
We don’t know what to do with children.
We crush children,
make school their only occupation,
even if it’s tribes.
They’re not supposed to do that,
hitch school to their star.
It’s mean:
so much force is used to get them to do it.
They’re whipped and beaten,
and you just think them frauds.

You don’t know how they are with you,
look up to you for so much sustenance.
They trust you.
Is that the only way to solve this,
with violence?
You don’t know what that kid’s thinkin’—
“You’re a bad woman Miss.”
Can you see yourself?
Do you even care?

What would you do if I told you
Nitish is a star in his own right?
He has the Mother’s calling.
He’s been initiated by God.
He will grow up to be a poet,
and I’m not kidding you.

Dyslexia has him by the throat.
You can’t seem to believe that.
You don’t even know what it means.
Is that so funny?
Dyslexia’s a large size.
It’s where kids go to school.
They don’t know how to behave themselves.
It’s all a mystery to them:
why can’t they do better in school?
They’re just dyslexic children.
Is that imagination to you?

Why do you hit him?
Is that your way with children?
You can’t do any better?
Why the hostility towards him?
He really tries, you know?
And he really cries.
Can you hear it?

Nitish is ugly now,
like he’s some derelict child.
He can’t do the simplest things
when it comes to letters and time,
numbers and what they do on the page,
school facts and memory power.
This is dyslexia.
It’s not a mean child.
Can you grasp this?

Now let’s look at Nitish
as who he will be when he grows up.
What makes you see failure?
You see his soul?
I’m a grandfather that does.
How do you know he’s going to fail?
He’s bigger than you.
He’s captured a star already.

Just take a mousetrap together and don’t worry about it.
Just take here your punishment.
You’ve got no right to hit him.
You have no right at all.
Now be a proper teacher
and be good to that boy.
You know I love that boy.
Believe me,
you hurt him,
and please stop.

Hand it down,
wean it down,
hand it to yah.
Ask that boy
to come closer.
You see a captain there don’t yah?
Never mind the school.
Please be good to him.
His burden is the world, you know?
A poem walk off with him.
You can history sing it.
You’re gonna see him be the very person children believe they can be.


I too had the world on my knee
and turned it wrong.
I was like you
and thought I did no wrong.
I couldn’t grasp its significance.
I’ve learned my lessons early and late.
I have to power you if I’m going to power me.
It’s something we all do together,
be reality human beings.

I pet my dog and say why.
We need a better world, don’t we?
That’s the story today.
Are you listenin’?
I am here with the Eyes.
See them?
Are you hearin’ me?
It’s the star point of Heaven’s gaze,
if you want to know the truth of the matter.
Now buckle up.
We got a long ride
to see the Sun.

Humbly and without reservation the teacher in question apologized to Nitish after reading this poem, and his teachers are learning about Dyslexia, but we still have a ways to go, and so I am not naming the teacher or the school and don’t want, don’t need, any outrage from you. I think this is the very first result I’ve gotten in an art action, that I know of at least, and it is so very close to home and so very personal, the most appropriate and needed kind of result. Thank you Mother.

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