Coming to Grips with February

Valentines.  I have mixed feelings.

Back in my single days, an arresting intellectual film connoisseur asked me out for Valentines.  He brought flowers.  We went to Barnes and Noble to meet up with his friend.

His friend and respective date never showed up.

“I hope they’re not dead,” he said. He joked.

Our next “date” was a funeral.  “Date” is in quotes because he didn’t invite me; I showed up to impress him.  Didn't work; he was too busy with pallbearing duties.

We didn’t go out again.

As a teacher, I always had my students write anti-valentine poems during February because, let’s face it, it's amusing to flame the fire of adolescent angst.  I started this tradition my first year of teaching English when I asked, “What’s the worst part of Valentines.”

A small, shy student with a bad hair cut timidly raised his hand and said, “Being single.”

One of my favorite student poems went something like this: A Valentine is like a chocolate heart.  A heart that was opened, but then thrown away . . . a little lack of love lost its way.

Here’s my formula for the perfect anti or pro Valentines poem:

A Valentine is  ____________________ (metaphor).  

It is a _____________________ (simile).

(Throw in some alliteration, some onomatopoeia, some personification.  And keep it short for heavens sake, I have to read 200 of these!)

And now, if I may, I will inflict a poem on you I wrote for my students in 2002:

My Heart

Is a blob of mud,
like thousands of
soggy grass blades smushed
into a snarled knot.

My heart needs to be
rinsed with bottled water,
placed in the dishwasher,
taken to the dry cleaner.

But instead, it decomposes in my chest.
Dragged and raggy,
alive, but not living.

Pretty much, the month of February became a zombie fest.  The kids absolutely loved it, and I did too.   In case you are wondering: yes, this is how you get nominated teacher of the year.