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reSLience… a.k.a. resilience

it's what lies within that really matters

I learned today of a loss. It was a loss that had occurred quite some time ago (February 2006) but I just learned of it today. Having been once removed from the writing and teaching community in Northern Arizona, I suppose it is no surprised that it didn’t make big news. He was someone who made a big difference locally and a small difference in the world as a whole. Either way, he was someone who touched my life as a teacher, the lives of my students, and inspired both me and my students to write what was in my heart and tell my own story the best I knew how.

Take It Back
Maybe it’s different
with you.
How I grew up
there was always some kid
bigger than me, some lug,
some stupe, some Ronnie Boone
with fuzz over his lip
and those muscles you get
squeezing tennis balls,
skulking on the playground
before homeroom or glued
behind some trees somewhere
I have to pass alone
and-boom-he’s on my chest
like a stump,
slapping me daffy, his knees gouging
gopher holes in my arms
as he croons take it back,
so soft and close and sweet
he could be telling me
a secret or kissing me on the mouth, take it back
if you know what’s good for you.

Some things I did I didn’t
take back. I could
say one, embarrass us for all time. Then you
could take your turn, then
somebody else, until
the bullies inside us
get bored and go home;
till we’re each of us smack
on his back by himself
in the same stupid life,
and we do it again-
the whole thing pathetic
as a push-and-go-round
where I stick to my guns,
and stew, and spin-the same
tune repeating itself,
the same verse, the opus
of Ronnie Boone: take it
back, take it back if
you know what’s good for you.
Which I don’t though I do.

—Jim Simmerman
Moon Go Away I Don’t Love You No More
Miami University Press (1994)

While the university did post something to honor him, I found this entry from a colleague and the outpouring of responses from friends, colleagues and students more compelling. Joseph Duemer – Reading & Writing.

One other note about the poem I share with you – how timely that it deals with bullies. All of us face them – starting as children, and then throughout life. How important it is for all of us, when facing bullies, to realize we can only do the best we can with what lies within ourselves. And… ultimately… I am reminded that our time here is so short… we have such a small window of time to make a difference. Wasting precious moments on those who wish to prey on others is simply not worth it.

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