Grievance Poem

Taylor Mali is a teacher and poet. In fact, he is a multiple time winner of the National Poetry Slam. His work often comments about being an educator, the school system, and the perception of teaching.

"How to Write a Grievance Poem" is here to remind us of the lighter side of life. The form and style are a mirror to Mali's "How to Write a Politcal Poem."


How to Write a Grievance Poem

for my soon-to-be-former friends at ECC

However it begins, it’s gotta be loud
And then it’s gotta get a little bit louder.
Because this is how you write a grievance poem
and how you deliver it with power.

Mix current events with letters of
Wrap it up with a heads-up or header it in CC until it
sounds true.

July first will sink in.

Because somewhere in Edison, grievances are still
being written.
I said somewhere in Edison, grievances are still being

See, that’s the crook, and you gotta have a crook.
More than the book, it’s the crook that is the most
important part.
The crook has to hit and the crook’s not gonna fit.
Crook’s gotta hit hard in the heart.

Because somewhere in Edison, grievances are still
being written.

And The Board is blindfolding themselves in
an unaware plight.
Make fun of administration, it’s easy, especially with
The Bus
like censored, censored, and … censored.
Create real juxtapositions of personalities
and administration philosophies
as if monarchism were the opposite of
organizational charts,
as if we needed Bow Tie, not Tae Bo.

Peep this: When I say “Petition,”
you all say, “Yes.”

Petition! Yes! Petition! Yes! Petition!

May the circle, be –

Stop in the middle of a song that everyone knows
and loves.
This will give your grievance a sense of urgency.
Because there is always a sense of urgency in a
grievance poem.

There is no time to waste!
Corruption doesn’t have a curfew,
idiocy doesn’t care what teacher you are
and the Office of the President
is filled with people who wear skirts on their hips
and carry dollar signs pinned over their eyes.
Injustice isn’t injustice it’s just in us as we are
just in ice.
That’s the only segregation of this Marlowe nation
in which you either fight against non-renewal
or else you are not renewed!

And even as I say this somewhere in Edison
grievances are
still being written.

And it makes me wanna wear jeans!

Because I have read The Chronicle of
Higher Education

and can speak with great articulation
about classroom situation, and budgetary
I’ve read the President’s Everyone at Edison
but preferred Illumination.
Like a confession, I will give you the

of why Management Assumptions is the ultimate manifestation
of legal discrimination and maniacal

And maybe they are still writing grievances
somewhere in Edison,
but by the time you get to the end of a grievance poem it
won’t matter anymore.

Because all you have to do is open your eyes,
pick up your pen, and end by saying:

sign here three times,
sign here three times,
sign here three times.

1 comment:

From the dark said...

To all who read these comments - spread the word. There will be a farewell reception for Dr. Mindy McNutt at her office on this Tuesday at 3PM. Be there or never clam you understood the "Fountain Head."

If you think you know how much Edison will be hurting for loosing McNutt, just read her dissertation in the Library. June 30 will be a very sad day in the history of our little college.