Tag Archives: teacher poems

Dress Code

 “What?”, asks the principal,

forgetting that I take

my role as an educator seriously …


“You don’t like looking at that?”,

when I mention

that the short shorts

are too too short –

and that it is hot

and about to get hotter.


“They’re children”, I remind him

and he laughs

and retorts the way he does,

by saying, “have you seen,

how some of the teachers dress”?


“That’s you’re job too”, I say

… but everything seems funny

I guess, when you’re a clown.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow is overdue

Tomorrow is overdue.


And it is not about just one man

but about what it means to be

an American in the world.

About how the story of America

is told in this next chapter

at the dawn of this millennium

near the close of its first decade.

In the end, all men are just metaphors

and history is the story that

we that we tell about ourselves.


Tomorrow is overdue.


And it is not about Ayers

who was a young radical

at war with his country

for sending his classmates to war.

Today there are 53,000

names etched in stone

he believed he was fighting for.


Tomorrow is overdue.


Because black is connected to white

is connected to red is connected to yellow

is connected to brown is connected to

every shade of human being ever made

in the world at every time in history

from every crevice on the planet

that made a survivor that found their

way here.


Tomorrow is overdue.


And it is not about Reverend Wright

who was an old radical

still spitting out the kind of hate

he lived through as a boy, a young man

the hate he still felt as a

second-class citizen

even after he had worn

the uniform of his country –

they wouldn’t let him stop being black.


Tomorrow is overdue.


Because what makes this country great

is the way keep correcting our mistakes

and forging forth, unbalanced but self-

assured that we are a nation of principles

that guide the people, and not a mob

of guileless fools who are uncertain

of how we got here in the first place.


Tomorrow is overdue.


And it is not about Tony Rezko

who is not a radical at all

but just a typical scumbag

with lots of money and the kind

of smile and handshake, wink, nod

and pull of strings that has

sleazed its way into everything

that’s wrong with how we

have allowed money to mean

the bottom line, the American way.


Tomorrow is overdue.


Because Kenya is connected to Kansas

in America; no matter what

the corporations tell you as

they make you cower in your

stars and stripes, anger you into fighting

for the jobs they ship overseas

or pay to the poorest and

newest arrivals, who are made

to hide in the shadows.


Tomorrow is overdue,

but when tomorrow comes,

the rest is up to you.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

the science of supersition

On the same day

     that the Large Hadron Collider

     was turned on to peel away

     the secrets of the universe

          by smashing circling atoms

          at near absolute zero

          at nearly the speed of light

     into each other

I had to listen to someone

     tell me how Nostradamus

     had predicted that this

     day would come.

I explained that the Mayans knew it first.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

colliding into youth

A hundred times a day

     they come at me

exotic particles from

     extra dimensions

from places I can’t imagine

     where the gravity

of a mother’s laughter

     doesn’t exist

in universes

     where there are

no points of light

     no bursting celebrations

against the darkness

     but only constellations

of sorrow and bad choices

     galaxies where black holes

are the safest place to be

     far from a father’s belt

or worse still shielded

     from the background radiation

left by the people

     who lent their

dust to make you


A hundred times a day

     I collide into the antimatter

          Of, whatever…

          Of, so what?

          Of, leave me the fuck alone.

I collide and neutralize

          With, here’s why

          And, because it matters

          And, as long as we are

both real and traveling

in the same space

at the same time

we will be drawn together

because opposites attract

and excite to the point

of explosion.


Just as before time

     there was no other

because we were one,

     now we leave traces

that verify the other’s existence.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

in the mix of the mortar

There is more blood in the Pyramid at Cheops

          Than there is in the Great Wall of China.

There is more blood in the Great Wall of China

          Than there is in the Roman Coliseum.

There was lots of blood in the Roman Coliseum.

          There is more blood in the Roman Coliseum

Than there is the Panama Canal.

          There is more blood in the Panama Canal

Than there is the Hoover Dam.

          There is more blood in the Hoover Dam

Than there is in the Empire State Building.

          There is less blood in the Empire State Building

Than there was on September 11th.

          There was less blood on September 11th

Than there was in Afghanistan.

          There was less blood in Afghanistan

Than there’s been in Iraq.

          There’s been lots of blood in Iraq.

© 2008 henry toromoreno


for anthony, et al.


“Hold on”,

     I say to him

          and he stops, alarmed.

“We’ve got to report this theft”,

     I yell out loud

          and he gets defensive.

Telling me he hasn’t taken anything,

     I explain

          that someone has stolen

his books,

his pens,

his notes,

                     and everything he needs to learn.

He laughs

     believing I am joking,

          and keeps on

     walking late to class.

Without a pass.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

don’t tell me you don’t care

(responding to my students) 

Don’t tell me you don’t care

That you’re not getting anywhere.

That you don’t dream,

That you don’t dare.

Don’t tell me you don’t care.

Say anything else;

other things I can bear.

But I won’t let you live in fear.

Don’t tell me there’s no way,

To get the hell up out of here.

Just don’t tell me you don’t care

Don’t waste your time, your breath,

                    my air.

Don’t repeat that life ain’t fair.

Of that truth we’re all aware.

So, don’t tell me you don’t care.

You care.

You care because you’re here.

© 2007 henry toromoreno