Stand Up (Class of '15)

from by Samuel Worthen

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Who remembers that booklog question?
“Choose one important person.
Write no more and no less than one hundred words.
Express to him or her what she or he means to you.”
Now this is a taste of my own homework medicine:
I’d like to wrap your light in a capsule, like Edison,
small and see-through so you can see it too,
then plant that bulb in a box, come back, see what grew.

But words will never tell all the things you taught me,
the things I still wish to teach you.
Since we can't say see you Monday,
let me send you on your ways with a few.

Stand up, eighth grade!
Stand what?
Ninth grade, I mean.
That’s right
Now sit like stars.
Silent and bright,
But I wonder, what do stars sound like?

These articles say that even if we could get near them,
too few particles in space for sound, we’d never hear them.
However, there’s something called asteroseismology:
converting variations in a star’s light waves into sound waves
diverse as my window—bachata, hip hop, winded secrets from tree tops, free speeches, three ice cream trucks, verses divergent like Beatrice—but now
that we’re back on Mother Earth what I mean is…

Sometimes I keep my lips closed, for the better.
You need every little letter of “silent” for “listen.”
Or, by mistake, I interrupt, and regret it,
‘cause I never know what I would’ve learned, what I’m missing.

Sound travels, eardrums to hearts.
Speak up for who and what makes yours pound like [boom].
Stars, you can seem silent from afar,
but make sure people know what you sound like.

Read! Your work inspired me to read nightly again,
so I dared you “Outread Mr. Pearce” to prepare you for thicker
books next year, then every Monday owed four, five Snickers.

Write, pen or phone. Write letters to whomever makes you feel that uninvented antonym of “alone.” Like home? Every day get down one good moment,
one marble-sized sun in the jar for the cold months.

Dream. And keep your dreams,
and free your dreams to grow with reality.
I lost guitar, felt a heart string snap in two,
but being your teacher is the best thing that’s happened to me.

Go. You have a home here.
Go greet the world proud and clear,
like a woman, like a man,
with plans to go far,
language to fight,
‘cause you know you are.
Now do it right.


from Don't Forget Me, released November 23, 2013



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Samuel Worthen Madrid, Spain

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