A sea of students ebbs and flows through lanes.
Four minutes define time from class to class.
Frenzied, dramatic, intractable time.
Chatting, drinking, peeing, primping, passing.
Concealed smart phones spread rumors and pictures.
Pushing and shoving and venom and threats.
Not all of you students fall prey to threats,
principled young people flock through the lanes.
Contrasting shoves in live streaming pictures
cameras remember your kind decent class.
Orwell’s future is more than thoughts passing.
Since 2005, those cameras keep time.
Privacy’s squandered; recordings hold time.
Serving a purpose, Big Brother eyes threats.
Threatening you who cast them in passing,
threatening you with the truth of the lanes.
Evidence gathered on fighting’s dark class
indisputably fisted in pictures.
Cameras catch all the angles in pictures
stripping dishonesty, showing true time.
Fists with panache saving face with no class.
Status posts start to make good on your threats.
Teachers lose control of flow through the lanes.
Green tiles bisect white alleys for passing.
Last Monday, I monitored first passing.
Hands yanked hair in, as witnessed in pictures
students formed circles in clumps in the lanes,
I pulled at the girls, and screamed to stop time.
Heeding my call, aware of the fight threats,
Mr. Doans, like lightning ran from his class.
He shot down the hall a racer first class,
he rammed through the girls straight in one passing.
His movement so quick, exploded their threats.
Some students snapped it in cell phone pictures.
Down to the office, and not their first time,
we escorted them down separate lanes.
Beatings before class, fist moving pictures
lightning fast passing, made pewter in time.
Hair left like threats lines the alley’s scarred lanes.
Brenda Warren 2012
I promised a piece about a fight at school, and offer this sestina. The form itself (along with 12 words from The Whirl) played a large role in the direction this piece took. While the form can be somewhat free, I followed a 10 syllable per line rule. While the piece is not what I set out to write, and doesn’t capture the essence of the fight, I like it. Forms open doors to content, it’s surprising. You never know where you’ll wind up.
Each fight at school has started due to public fights on Facebook. The kids then feel a need to save face, and do it publicly at school. I tried to pull these girls apart, and could not. They pulled each other’s heads into punches with their hair. When I yelled for help laughter rose among the ranks. I am grateful for that laughter, because it truly had to have been a spectacle, and it provided brevity for me all week. Students have named the area right outside of my classroom “The Fight Zone,” as they occur there, even though we have a schedule for monitoring. The initiators come from the bathroom at just the right time, and iump their target in the hall. These two girls were taken out of the building in handcuffs. Their faces were pummeled. Both of them.
Another piece of brevity. After each of the girl fights, hair has been left behind. The colleague who saved the day says, “We should collect the hair: To the victor go the spoils!”
Sorry for the long post. This sestina consumed my day. I’m posting it for NaPoWriMo 28. Which means I still need to write something for Sunday.
Go to The Sunday Whirl. Read what some amazing people did with these words.