#333: Persona Non Grata


I sit here in your classroom
and I am barely alive.
I cannot keep awake.
I fall off every few seconds
and just hope no one notices.
Mostly, no one notices.
I could probably put my head
down on my desk and drift away.
Some teachers might gently
coax me awake, others might
startle me with a ruler or a stapler
slammed down on the desk in front
of me. I don’t know what this guy
will do. I guess I’ll find out because I
am so heavy tired and the teacher
could be, like, doing an elaborate
soft shoe right now in front of me
or a stupid fucking puppet show
and I would still not be able to
keep my eyes open and awake.
I overheard a teacher once
talking to another teacher
about mouth-breathers.
I conclude now that I am a
mouth-breather because I
contribute nothing and
continue consuming the air,
this stale, warm, putrid air
full of adolescent sweat and
cheap perfume and hand sanitizer.
I cannot make myself
read a book or write a
paragraph or talk to anyone
about ideas and feelings.
I think everything is stupid.
And people, too, mostly stupid.
I know it’s a problem, I know
I’m not doing myself any favors,
but nothing sticks to me at all
and one failure leads to another.
Sure there are reasons. I have
my reasons, but do you think
I would tell you about them?
You go ahead and guess, guess
away, why don’t you, about my
family issues or my broken home,
my lack of good nutrition and rest
or my addiction to video games and
social media that keeps me up
until 3 am on a school night.
Yeah, you can go ahead and
guess, but you will never know.
You will never know what it’s
like to walk in these shoes.
I am persona non grata,
and, thank you very much,
I like it that way.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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