2007

2007

The 2007 Poet Laureates are Kate Kelly and Jason Grant. Their poem is titled "The Hallways Echo: A Dialogue From Those We Leave."

You read me,

flippantly flipping my pages:

Problem sets and glossaries,

Indexes and answers.

I am your study guide.

Every year, your hands

file me away in

 

Your locker.

I have evolved from cubby holes

To backpacks

To cross-campus lockers

And combination locks

 

I am printed, bound, shuffled in

a metal sheet of time capsuled knowledge,

 

And you are close to exiting.

 

Where are you going?

Where have you been?

 

Welcome to locker 2003

Turn the lock

05-26-04

 

There are forbidden elevators that you 

Dance with-

Sinewy steps you take whale peering in

Discovering that there is no third floor

Your mouth gapes open,

Dry from phantom chlorine.

 

I hold your CDs.

 

Volume I, page 455, Table Q

Diagrams:

The capitalism of stairwells,

The hierarchy of lunch lines

The process by which you swim

Through hallways

 

Someone marked blue stars

White stripes

And red that flows

around giant steel monsters-

Tanks and battle arms-

That roll through Middle Eastern streets

And leave

Footprints that will be

Preserved

A reminder of times to come

And decisions you will have to 

Reach

 

Welcome to locker 2004

Turn the lock 

05-24-05

 

Turn your hands while keeping them at 10

And 2.

You press down the gas,

You speed through Kansas and Egypt and 

Parking lots

To meet:

Your sixteen-year-old four-wheeled escape.

 

I support you’re locker room stench.

Inside my slit door,

Your gym shoes drip with your grade pulled

Fight within the laces

 

In health, you squirm at STDs.

 

Volume II, page 458, Table B

Is a survey to complete:

Watch blurry slideshows with blurry 

Pictures that, blurry, tell you not to do – 

Fill in the blanks with your morals.

 

Escape your Romeo and Juliet love affairs

And walk down the halls,

a sophomoric Caesar,

Watching your back for Brutus

or Marc Antony-

Their classroom slides are anything but

Shakespeare.

 

Welcome to locker 2005

Turn the lock

05-26-06

 

This year- you move

Your masquerade well-planned

as you dance with the stars

(and your prom date)

Swinging in and out of class,

Waltzing across perspective campuses,

And stomping stomping stomping

Across the field in body paint.

 

I hold you’re Mp3’s

 

Volume III, page 452, Table C

Is an outline of you’re life:

Bulleted lists reducing everything

you’ve ever done to numbers

and three-letter-acronyms-

ACT, divided by 36

SAT, divided by 2400

GPA, divided by the rest of your life and 

rounded to the nearest whole.

 

Welcome to locker 2006

turn the lock:

05-31-07

 

Turn the combination,

unless it’s stuck.

My lock is the only one without glue.

 

But with every warm breeze, the pranks

subside.

As the humidity rises,

they take down my locks,

and my hinges swing open- free to go.

 

But next to these doors

These same doors that hold your CDs 

And Mp3’s

And DVDs-

You listen to the PA

Telling you the news

The news

The news

Some of you will stay here,

forever memorialized next to lockers.

Students hold vigil

while waiting to exit the doors.

 

Volume IV, page 459, Table D

Document your year

Finals and admissions letters

The four best pieces you’ve ever written

Complied and judged like a 

literacy beauty queen.

 

The bottom of the page fades,

Blank space you’ll fill in as you go along.

There are no highlights passages,

No circles,

No punctuationlettersnumbers.

In time,

You will close Volume IV

And fill pages

And books

And the rest of your life.

 

Today is moving day;

You clean out lockers

2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 

And 2007 awaits,

With walls,

Combinations

And 459 of you

Leaving

The places your books once sat.

You move everything you own

From these silver walls.

 

My spine is cracked,

My marks are erased.

And our hinges swing 

Forming a slow wave goodbye.

 

Tomorrow you will see

A photograph of you smiling

On an oversized black gown.

You’ll look back at the photo 

And wonder if you were a child or an 

adult.

 

-Kate Kelly and Jason Grant

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