Dear Mom

Well, it looks like I’m alive for another day.

My buddy Amos, a medic from England,

told me that he thinks the lucky soldiers

are the dead ones.

He says there are guys whose

whole faces cave in,

like a sink hole or a popped souffle.

All this gas we shoot at each other

is what does that.


There are some

who get blinded by the gas.

They have to walk home with their hands on

one another’s shoulders,

because they can’t see where they’re going.


Amos also told me that he had to

saw of someone’s entire leg,

then go back and saw off the other one.

The man cried when he woke back up.

He also mentioned shell shock.

He knew an Italian once, who had impaled

a German through the brain with his bayonet.

And the poor guy always

felt the bayonet going through his own brain.

The guy screamed,

Amos told me,

like nothing he’d ever heard.


Down here in the trench,

life is pretty miserable. I don’t know why

they ever thought this was a good idea,

because it was a terrible idea.

Every day, I hide behind a sheet of metal

and I blast bullets like no one’s business.

I can’t imagine how many people I kill very day,

which is probably for the best.


Rats live down here

like it’s the plague or something. It might be.

They eat our stuff and they chew on our toes.

Yesterday a cough started going around.

There’s a lot of

standing water.

I saw some of my comrades

get blown to bits

when someone chucked a grenade over the fence.

I saw their faces. They were terrified.


The worst part of everything is no man’s land.

I want to meet the guy

who called it that first,

because he hit it right on the money.

I’ve seen good people go out there and

they don’t come back.


In no man’s land,

bullets fall like rain, and the gas makes the fog.

If you don’t choke to death,

you get shot down like the dog you are.

And if you do choke to death,

they’ll probably shoot you anyway just for good measure.

The trees have dried up and died

because of what happens in the fighting,

so there’s nowhere to hide.

You run out there,

pull a pin, chuck it as far as you can, say your prayers,

and meet your maker.


Of course, sometimes, I wonder

why I’m here.

Not just enlisting, which I regret,

but why any of us are here.

Why this war is here at all.

People I’ll never know wanted to be surrounded by

more people just like them.

Countries I’ll never visit stockpiled armies

that they probably wouldn’t have needed,

and they took over a hemisphere and fought about it

when they thought their slice wasn’t big enough.

(Remember when my brother and I

did that with a cake

at my seventh birthday party?)

They made promises to beat up anyone they hit their allies.

And then someone I’ll never meet

shot down a king or a duke or something,

which everyone got mad about.


I must admit that it doesn’t feel worth it.

Losing my life for my country

doesn’t feel so noble, and so I have to ask Uncle Sam

why he told me it was. The yanks came,

but now they want to go back.


With love,


Your son


Fourth Grade: A Poem


In the fourth grade,

we learned about tornadoes.

We learned about the temperature dropping,

the calm before the storm,

the unpredictability.

Last night the sky was very dark,

and there were frequent,

impressive strokes of purple lightning,

that looked like someone had turned the sun on again,

reverting night back into day.

Last night the wind screamed,

brushing against the car,

where I sat and looked at the sky.

Last night,

I imagined the sirens going off,


leaving me with nowhere to go,


Last night my dreams were the same thing.

I knew it was there,

but everyone thought I was being paranoid.

They only evacuated at the very last minute.

Some ran,

some hid,

everyone was pulled up inside of the swirling winds.

The Epic of a Girl: A Poem

So there’s this really cute guy

he’s in my Spanish class

and anyways did I mention he’s really cute?

So usually I can’t tell if he’s looking at me or

the wall behind me or

this other guy who sits in front of me

who he seems to be friends with,

and I don’t know if I really


him because he’s friends with all these


There are other words I could use to

describe his friends but

let’s keep things PG. So


The only kid who I know looks at me is

this anti-attractive butthead

who is so much “no” that

there isn’t enough time in the day to go into detail.

I don’t know, it seems like

that’s the only kind of guy that will

ever like me


which is sad because I have


too much self-respect

to stoop my standards so low.

Why can’t cute guys ever like


what did I do

so wrong?

But I guess that’s totally unrelated to

what I was writing about in the beginning,

which was, I believe

that cute guy in my Spanish class who might or might not look at me.

Which in itself is irrelevant because

I just talked myself out of believing he

looks at me

or caring either way.

And this is why I envy guys, because

they don’t seem to think about it that much.


Being a girl is terrible.

The 5 Worst Things to Do on a Test

How many of us have bombed a test at any point in our schooling careers… because of one stupid, bonehead mistake? (Or maybe more of them, from my own personal experience. I seem to commit more than my fair share of stupid mistakes.)

1. Do a little bit of wrong work that throws off the whole thing.

If you’re taking a math test and you write a minus sign instead of a plus sign, then your entire problem will be screwed up, and you will be screwed. Especially in those multi-step equations.

2. Fill in the wrong bubble.

You know the right answer, but your pencil doesn’t seem to.

3. Write something down from a few steps back.

You have the right answer… and work to prove it. But it looks like the work got in the way, and you wrote down a number or a term that is only a fraction of the right answer. Whoops.

4. Simply not know the answer.

It’s not that you forgot it, you never knew it in the first place. Did you miss a day of class? Everyone else knows the answer. So why don’t you? This is where the some of the real panic can start to rise.

5. Get too frustrated.

If you get too frustrated while taking a test, it will make it harder. The questions won’t make any sense and your fingers will spend more time pressed against your forehead than wrapped around a pencil. Relax.

Ciao for now,


Why Art and Music Are So Important

Recently, in the school district I live in, a new curriculum change was put in place. It will almost eradicate the art and music programs in the junior high, by making them part of the language arts curriculum, only three weeks per trimester.

This is a horrible mistake. Not only will this close horizons, but it’s outright unfair to those whose horizons are already open to the arts.

A recent trend in public education is putting an emphasis on math and english, or the “core” subjects. The importance of creativity in a student’s schedule is being shadowed by the need for better scores (by comparison on international tests). But something else in on the rise, too: teen suicide. Music and other forms of art are a great way of self-expression (a very important concept in my life, even more important then [y=mx+b]). The use of art and music as forms of self-expression is not just a common cliche. If people don’t let themselves explode onto a canvas, or onto a piano, then those feelings will boil up inside of them until they’re too hot to handle. Sitting through two hours straight of algebra wouldn’t help much.

So, I don’t know how long this silly fad in education will last, but I hope it’s not long. There are more important things than math tests.

Ciao for now,