Knock Knock by Daniel Beaty

As a boy I shared a game with my father
Played it every morning ’til I was 3
He would knock knock on my door
And I’d pretend to be asleep
’til he got right next to the bed
Then I would get up and jump into his arms
“Good morning, Papa.”
And my papa he would tell me that he loved me
We shared a game
Knock Knock

Until that day when the knock never came
And my momma takes me on a ride past corn fields
On this never ending highway ’til we reach a place of high
Rusty gates
A confused little boy
I entered the building carried in my mama’s arms
Knock Knock
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Be Cool To the Pizza Dude

From NPR’s “this I believe” project. Listen here.

By Sarah Adams

If I have one operating philosophy about life it is this: “Be cool to the pizza delivery dude; it’s good luck.” Four principles guide the pizza dude philosophy.

Principle 1: Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in humility and forgiveness. I let him cut me off in traffic, let him safely hit the exit ramp from the left lane, let him forget to use his blinker without extending any of my digits out the window or towards my horn because there should be one moment in my harried life when a car may encroach or cut off or pass and I let it go. Sometimes when I have become so certain of my ownership of my lane, daring anyone to challenge me, the pizza dude speeds by me in his rusted Chevette. His pizza light atop his car glowing like a beacon reminds me to check myself as I flow through the world. After all, the dude is delivering pizza to young and old, families and singletons, gays and straights, blacks, whites and browns, rich and poor, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. As he journeys, I give safe passage, practice restraint, show courtesy, and contain my anger.

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Miracle Workers

by Taylor Mali (www.taylormali.com)

 

Sunday nights I lie awake—

as all teachers do—

and wait for sleep to come

like the last student in my class to arrive.

My grading is done, my lesson plans are in order,

and still sleep wanders the hallways like Lower School music.

I’m a teacher. This is what I do.

 

Like a builder builds, or a sculptor sculpts,

a preacher preaches, and a teacher teaches.

This is what we do.

We are experts in the art of explanation:

I know the difference between questions

to answer and questions to ask.

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An incomplete list

(novel excerpt)

An incomplete list:

No more diving into pools of chlorinated water lit green from below. No more ball games played out under floodlights. No more porch lights with moths fluttering on summer nights. No more trains running under the surface of cities on the dazzling power of the electric third rail. No more cities. No more films, except rarely, except with a generator drowning out half the dialogue, and only then for the first little while until the fuel for the generators ran out, because automobile gas goes stale after two or three years. Aviation gas lasts longer, but it was difficult to come by.

No more screens shining in the half-light as people raise their phones above the crowd to take pictures of concert stages. No more concert stages lit by candy-colored halogens, no more electronica, punk, electric guitars. No more pharmaceuticals. No more certainty of surviving a scratch on one’s hand, a cut on a finger while chopping vegetables for dinner, a dog bite.
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