Saturday, June 20, 2009

Teacher, Student: New Rhetoric, New Colossus
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Emma Lazarus
To the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, the purpose of education is human liberation.
Professing the New Rhetorics
* * * * *
COME, said my Soul,

and there came a time I was dropped inside this Seven Story Mountain. I am the atrophied lava, viscous slag of a volcanic cavern, claw marks on its vulvanized walls where inscriptions tell others’ stories that feel terribly, fearfully, like two sides of my own simultaneity.

We willing learners of all, teachers of all, and lovers of all

I laugh and cry, one voice, laugh/cry, disparate constituents. I have a side not very many detect. Legerdemain of self. I’ve been sawn in two, even yes, asunder—which when taken apart reads, “as under.” Class. Can we take that strange word apart as well? Why should not a man or woman do as much as the
seasons . . . ? Teacher, give me a word that I might be saved. . . . Emergence, Rhetoric as Love. Class is inscribed all along these watchtower walls.

Time passes, but I have not emerged out of this tower, have not traversed all these seven tiers, and have no idea where I am in relation to where I began. Memory fails. I am a spiny insect clinging to an outcrop—Where the top? Where the bottom?—I am somewhere, some unlit somewhere.

It is dark; my eyes have read so many texts that, by now, they suffer from myopic overnearness. I claw my way along walls inscribed with lines that say things like, The Man Who Became Himself. Names and initials mark the way. Paul H. Joe C. Bill W. Julie L. Tom M. John E. Jim C. Walt W. Who are you?
What-Where-Why-How. Epideixis. Essaying the stones. If I let go I will fall like a brick.

At times I [clap hands] STOP.

I stop to breathe. That’s what I’m doing here, right now, stopping, remembering to breathe. Remembering things that have yet to happen.

Soon I will resume, will search the craggy undersides of rocks for niches dug by others’ nails where I will dig my nails, where I will finger dreary-inch-by-inch this wall, moving toward air, toward other hands—there must be an opening, somewhere. I am persuaded. Breathe.

Earth, freshly dug.
Flowers, heads shorn.
Dark shroud.
Light, shades of light.
Water, pooled and stale.
Shoal, scholar, shale.

I cannot tell whether I am a hooked fish or an anchored ship. I’m nobody, who are you?

The scholar kisses the teacher

“Comparison Shopping: Degrees”

and the teacher kisses the scholar

"Mene, tekel, peres."

With finger pointing to many immortal songs, 
And menacing voice, What singest thou?--I just want to live before I die-- The writing’s on the wall. Perish. Publish. Teach. Publish. Learn. Publish. Perish.
you are no scholar and never saw your name in print

I peer, peer downward, nomic-detritus filling the cavernous bottom of the Martello. Shards of broken bottles, glass scattered all along, everywhere. I see one of my many faces reflected there. Among the refuse. Above us only sky. The Jinn have been released. Release. Imagine. I inch a finger further. The pull of gravity gathers in my body. Write or be written. If I let go I will fall like a brick.

I am a Fusi dancer. I choose. I let go. I fall, stall, hear a word, find a hand.


The wrong’d made right

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