I was getting ready to go to bed, when I came across this article: War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests. After making certain that it was not an Onion article, I felt compelled to write a poem using every single word.
I have worked within the NYC Department of Education, and let me tell you-- these words are NOT the problem. As a matter of fact, let me suggest that NYC scrap the standardized tests that are apparently offending so many students and create a curriculum that looks closely at every single word on this list and the ideas they represent. My anger at this list is only curtailed by my utter disgust and sadness about the state of American education.
Here is a poem to get you started:
hunting: in excessive ways
i am sixteen
and obsessed with television
always have been
in excessive ways:
in can't leave my house ways
in raised by it ways
in shaped my world view ways
in it's the base of culture ways
celebrities, rap music, video games and pornography too
we go to Jason's house cuz he has the pool you see
tv says that's good--
here we watch tv and play john madden football
in excessive ways
in ignoring the fact that at all our parents are considering divorce ways.
we drink and deal with serious issues:
politics and poverty
i think i may be a communist.
gabe is certain.
we don't smoke cuz it causes cancer
or so the tv says
while it sells us
alcohol, drugs and terrorism
cnn says more war and bloodshed, weapons, vermin (rats and roaches) and violence
we already know about abuse
(physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
in every way.
tv never seems to shut-up:
junk food and halloween
religion says that evolution, Rock-and-Roll music and sex
but we know better.
more catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
death and disease
how can we smile in light of so much traumatic material
(including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
parapsychology, occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
witchcraft, and religious holidays (including but not limited to christmas, yom kippur, and ramadan)
good or bad?
tv can't decide
neither can we.
the books in school show pictures of slavery
and tell us it is over and all is good.
hard to tell.
we are mastering our bodily functions
finding joy in gambling which involves money
and in-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
we think of running away
how can we not
but doesn't seem like there is an away to run to
loss of employment and nuclear weapons
tv says not to worry:
celebrations (and birthdays), expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
wait for us, if we just learn how to play the game.
study hard in school
get good grades
and forget the words we have used
because if we stop using them
maybe the ideas they represent will disappear too.