The Teacher Thinks I’m Listening But

September, 2013, till June, 2014 – I was working in a 4th grade classroom as a paraprofessional. A boy in a private school who was eligible to receive such professional help from the City of New York found me as his shadow that year. One day, during a lesson on writing poetry, the teacher started the children off on a poem using the line, “the teacher thinks I’m listening but…” I, while sitting at the teacher’s desk, also took the bait. Summoning my inner ten year old, I wrote a poem. The teacher did not ask me to share.

The story of this poem continues in Philadelphia. I was at my parents’ during Passover when my eldest niece told us it’s national poetry day. Or maybe she said national poem in a pocket day… I dunno what day it was, Thursday, maybe, I don’t know. My eldest niece had an assignment where she was suppose to find someone who has a poem in their pocket and bring in said poem to share with the class. Well, it just so happened that on that very day I was wearing the same very pants I had been wearing the day I wrote the poem about being in class. And, that poem was still in my pocket at that very moment. How lucky was she? Her 3rd grade teacher really liked it.

Here is the poem written by me and my internal 4th grader.


The teacher thinks I’m listening but I’m thinking where I’d rather be,
5 hours from now running crazy and free.
The teacher thinks I’m listening but I’m off somewhere else,
a lone in a forest with birds and deer and ticks on my self.
The teacher thinks I’m listening but in my head are the halls
of a library with my favorite books stacked up on the walls.
The teacher thinks I’m listening but that’s not even close,
my body may be in the classroom but that’s a hollow ghost.
I’m really miles apart fighting off a host
of daemons, vampires, whatever you got,
my mind is a teeming pot,
boiling with stories waiting to be.

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Captain Blog Says “Arrr, Go See Argo.”

I can recall sitting in class, sometimes between 4th and 7th grade. I remember the teacher talking about the Canadian government getting out a bunch of American’s from a hostile Iran. I remember being jealous, how was Canada able to covertly rescue these people yet America (United States of) was helpless? Well, it turns out that was not the whole story.

First the bad.

Ben Affleck. I never liked him as an actor and was doubting his ability as a director. I haven’t seen Gone Baby Gone or The Town, so all I had to go on was my biased and preconceived perception of him based on his acting and his role choices for much of his career (seriously, he sucks). Well, it turns out he can direct. But! I retain my opinion of him as an actor. His  acting was by far the worst part of this film. A slew of TV actors and a pair of old dependables out preformed him in every scene. His stoned face, trying to portray confidence despite nervousness but really looking bored expression, was only briefly interrupted when he was angry. That happened twice.

And the good.

Before going into Argo, I knew the story. I knew the ending and I knew what would happen. And yet I still found myself at the edge of my seat in suspense. That’s the sign of a great movie (yes I just said Ben Affleck’s movie was great). Everything about this movie was good (minus Affleck’s acting). I am thoroughly impressed with Affleck’s directing and am considering giving his other movies a shot too, despite the fact that he has the leading roles.

Here’s the winning ticket, Mr. Affleck, maybe you did a good job with Argo, maybe you’re even a good director, and maybe your a swell guy who deserves all the success in the world (?), but have some respect for the films and  stop casting yourself in such prominent roles! George Clooney only got away with it because he actually fit those roles (I’m thinking of Goodnight and Goodluck, and Confession of a Dangerous Mind). Your agenda is all messed up, become a director, not a narcissistic wannabe.

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Declassified: From The Files Of D

[SIDE STORY: There used to be a giant oak tree in my parents backyard that had branches spreading all across the house. The tree was taken down this year due to some sort of infection or something. My parents tried to cure it somehow but it was too late. That part is sad. The rest isn’t. Before the tree was taken down a large branch had fallen on my room in my parents house forcing them to redo the room. My walls are now a darker blue, I have orange blinds, and I don’t know where all of the things I had lying around are. One thing I did find, however, was a literary journal published by my high school’s literary club, The Gateway Club. Anyone can join or sit in a club meeting and anyone could submit. The club would read the pieces and vote if it should be included in the the journal or not. I’ve been told they are very picky. I’ve been told they don’t make fun of anyone or make them feel bad, but that it’s wiser to not sit in the meeting when your work is being discussed.

I did sit in once. Didn’t seem so bad. They said what they liked and what they didn’t, just like any creative writing class with peer discussions. Though I suppose it’s possible that if they said they don’t like it and here’s why, and every one agrees, and no one can think of something good about it because it’s not good, that could be upsetting to hear about your own work.

This particular issue was kept by me because it contained within two pieces written by yours truly (2/2 record with gateway!). Rereading these two for the first time in likely ten years, they were pretty much exactly what I imagine a high school me would write. The story one, I was told, was very well received by the club. After it was read they were silent, simply taking it in. No on had anything bad to say about it, and it was accepted to be published without question. They don’t usually reveal the writers for the submissions but my friend who pushed me to submit dropped my name. One girl from the club found me later and said to me (I can remember this very clearly), “we read your story, keep on writing. Just keep writing.”]

The problem here is, this blog became annoying. I know I’m suppose to keep on writing so I can have things to show, so I can practice my craft, so I can….. but the blog became a chore. And, as you may have noticed, I stopped writing. I’ve been meaning to get back into it but it’s just so hard to find the motivation. It’s only going to become a chore again. There have been so many people telling me that blogs about nothing don’t garner hits, and views, for whatever reason, are helpful for impressing people, having them think I’m a good writer and hire me. I’ve also been told that blogs with particular topics or niches are more interesting and easier to write about. Okay, so maybe the topic of my life isn’t so interesting, but what do I write about? And………… I still just can’t find the motivation to figure it out.

I wrote something recently. Inspired by my weeks longs addiction to Tom Waits (still going on). It’s written in prose. If I post it in my blog the headline will likely contain some play on the words prose and pros. I showed it to someone last night. Someone I only met recently but felt like sharing my writing with. Now, I’m not saying everything I write is gold, but I think this Tom Waits inspired prose is pretty decent. Anyway, The person I shared this with had a few nice things to say, but ended with something that reminded me of a story from high school (see above). She said, “please don’t stop writing.” More because it had to do with what were talking about than her being so impressed by the writing itself. Regardless, that did the trick. It’s time to get this blog going again. Here’s a writing challenge for me, write.

Someone once told me that when you have trouble coming up with something to write about write what you know. Well, I know movies. So I’m going to experiment with this, my blog will be my views on the movies I see. Some stories or others I write will likely make appearances as well, but the primary topic will be movie reviews. In fact, I’m going to make  brand new label for these reviews, What Dov Knows. The first movie I’ll be blogging about is Argo, the first movie I saw this season. Check in soon to find my post.

Hope you enjoy, tell your friends, peace out.

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