‘not insolent but not interested’




the things I learned in school

still haunt me to this day

I see a multiplication table

and it gives me fear

I balk when asked

to add a few simple sums together

to figure out which is cheaper

400 grams at some price

or 750 at less than double that price

I try to see feet as meters

I pretend I feel as cold at Celsius

as I did at Fahrenheit



smelting of steel

all those things

I fretted worried cried over

for what seemed like year and years

thank god

time hasn’t gone metric

or that I had to worry in nanoseconds

light years

how many lights years was school

grade school  high school


small cramped desks

force my hand to hold the pencil

just right

the flow from the shoulder

to the page

to write with the the whole arm

not just the fingers



thanks to the miracle of the keyboard

I can barely write my signature

so I guess those whacks

across the fingers with the pointer

paid off

I learned that lesson

better never to write at all

than write badly

was that a crab

  did the dog write your homework


where I learned to real lessons

was not in the class room

but in the little thicket of trees

over the hill just behind the school


pants got pulled down

kisses where exchanged

we discovered what

we needed to learn

wasn’t going to be taught in that classroom

what we discovered

the drop of pants

unmasked Satan

we saw the face of evil

as we snickered



we were the bad kids

but not as bad

as the ones who smoked behind

the jr high across the street

they were really bad

we were just evil

spoiling our chances of heaven


then we were in that jr high

never to return to that ticket

learn to fight dirty

to hear drivel drivel drivel

from teachers

no more worry about handwriting

if it was bad   so be it

here the battle was for notice

to be one of the good kids

one of the bright kids

not one of the slow kids

I was never good

never bad

hardly every really there

the body sat

lessons flew around me

etre avoir

the Constitution

the founding fathers

city by-laws

growing bodies

and laughing knowing looks

the smokers above it all

they became the object

of teachers scorn

as long as one wasn’t like that

there was hope


I was the one of many

who had so much to offer

a beacon of hope

good smart but unreachable

not insolent but not interested

the strange wonder

that not one of them

could ever get through to

to harm hinder help or educate

neither bright nor bad enough

to bother with

much like today

I can’t be bothered with

algebra or trig

the useless things I learned but never used

the useful things I did learn

I don’t use enough

wooly dropped on the way to school

Educate is out of the archives. One of the earliest of my many school memory pieces. I have so much to remember and some of it so clear to me still. The smell of cigarette smoke on some guys jacket. The pecking order of good and bad, of who deserves attention. For some any attention at all was enough.

nightschool night school

I, for the most part, avoided attention – at least didn’t behave in ways to make me noticed. In high school I sometimes dressed in ways that got noticed (how things have changed 🙂 ). I let my hair grow as long as I dared, it covered my ears – think Brian Jones long – long enough to be teased ‘are you a boy or a girl?’

I sweated over those trig formulas. I doubt if I would even recognize one now if I saw it in print. French verb declensions were a nightmare too. We even had Latin to cope with. It’s a wonder anyone survived.

books expelled

On top of which was knowing the difference between boys and girls but not caring about the girls. I deal with that in more recent pieces. Educate was a first draft to get some of the surface issues on paper. Once I scratch the surface is becomes easier to dig deeper and deeper as I explore that rich territory.

The whole smokers culture. The tough guys and bad girls who smoked and the reputations they created by lighting up. Reputations many of them didn’t live up to, they couldn’t. Hmmm sounds like the start of a new high school piece there.


August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com


October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Welcome to Lake Pinebow

pineoct school my old school


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