Monday, December 14, 2009

the write stuff

The write stuff

Im sitting in a classroom and its a really hot summers day. Its one of those days that feels stagnat. Still. I think the word people would use is, close.Im going to use Balmy.Its a balmy day and it isnt moving forward at all.I have been staring at the clock now for 23 minuits and it still says 2.47.The second hand is exhausted and refuses to go any faster. All the windows are open, letting in hotter air. I can hear the groundsman yelling at his lawnmower, that also refuses to move forward.His yelling makes me grin. The windows are open for another reason.The wax on the floors have started to melt with the heat and are giving off fumes that headaches are made of.I love this smell and I already have a headache, So Im ahead of the game. Its 2.47 still and its getting hotter by the second, which in this case means hours. I hate this lesson because I hate the teacher.She is cruel and hates kids, but she especialy hates me.We are reading Shakespeare at his worst, something kids our age shouldnt be reading.The mower starts for a second and with a huge gasp, dies instantly.The groundsman yells something that children our age also shouldn't be hearing.Its 2.48, a slight improvement. Im sitting in a hot classroom praying that the teacher doesnt ask me to read.I am not religious, but Im praying to God orJesus or whoever is out there that I get spared.I make the usual deal with god, that should I be spared, I will go to church.The teacher walks or rather marches up and down the isles of the classroom. Her shoes, which have spinster written all over them,stick to the wax floor letting out a wet fart noise with every stride.I try to contol my laugh.I am the class clown, but this is a venue where Im fraught with stage fright. The teacher marches up and down prodding backs and flicking the kids ears at random, with her boney fingers.Its 2.48 and Im waiting for the number that will spell freedom. Finally the mower starts and drowns out all sound in the classroom and also the huge cheer in my head.. This means we have to read the books quietly to ourselves.SAVED! Its 2.49 and Im on the last furlong. Just as I let out a huge sigh of relief.So does the lawnmower, and it grinds to a halt for good.The groundsman looses whatever cool he had, and says things that would make even Shakespeare toes crawl.Then he storms off to the refuge of his shed. I off course let out a less controlled laugh that seem to ricochet around the class. The teacher I hate, stares at me with her cold snake like eyes.I feel the smallest droplet of sweat trickle down my little torso.I have the feeling I wont be living up to my deal with God this sunday. She makes me stand up and tells me to read the next 5 pages.She knows I cant read.The other kids know I cant read but this doesnt stop her screaming 'Come on stupid boy, R E A D !'.When she says read, I see all of her yellow ochre teeth with tinges of burnt sienna in between the cracks. All this encased with her dry pale lips. I stand there looking terrified, unable to think, let alone talk.I stand there biting the inside of my mouth. All the words to me are just like little symbols. Little drawings all jumbled up.Hieroglyphics.She knows this. I am left handed and write from right to left and back to front.This book by Shakespeare means very little to me at the best of times.But being asked to read it! She knows all the other teachers grade my work with a mirror to reflect my writing the right way around. Everything is normal except its back to front.(this goes for drawing maps and diagrams.Playing musical instruments. Using woodwork tools) in fact everything . I dont know what to do.So I do what I do best, I grin. Its 2.50 and I want to run away, I want to go home.I of course continue to grin.
The teachers face gets meaner , if that is possible and takes huge strides towards me. She raises her arm, that looks like an out of control broken windmill, and slaps me clean across my face.The room shakes a little, and then goes silent. I see her foul face screaming at me .I can make out the word s t u p i d because she says it in slow motion over and over again. I see all the kids pointing and laughing at me.I feel my mouth filling up with blood, I grin. She slaps me again. The sound has been turned up a little.Her hand is clammy, and on contact, makes the sound of a wet fish. The volume gets a little louder, and the speed of everything gets resumed to its former miserable glory.I slowly close William Shakespeare and place it gently on the desk, but not before leaving some jackson pollock like splashes of the most beautiful cadmium red I have ever seen.The blood drops say plop! as they hit the words I couldnt read.Words by William Shakespeare blood by Philip Brooker. I then walk towards to the door and reach for the handle that would set me free.The volume is now on full. Just as I my fingertips touch the door knob, I feel this claw lift my collar and swing me around in front of the class like some prize kill, compleate with blood 'Not so fast stupid boy' the witch barks.'I have an announcement to make. Next term stupid boy here will be in the 'idiots class' as she so fondly reffered to it.'So I want the class all to say your goodbyes now'. Then she looked straight into my eyes , still holding me like a dead bird.'This is what happens to stupid boys who cant read in my class.' Its 2.59 and my face is burning.In fact my whole body is on fire. I feel defeated.My eyeslids are full of very heavy tears.I try to keep my head still, should one drop to the floor. This would offically be crying.This would be the worst.Kids can be cruel. I wouldnt want a headline like 'BROOKER CRIES IN CLASS' Im hoping for 'PUPIL SURVIVES BEATING'. Ridicule at its British best.
I hate the teacher.I hate william Shakespeare, I had the groundsman for his lack of mechanical knowledge. I hate time for stopping.
Im standing in a classroom.I have a mouth full of blood.Its 3.oclock and Im 10 years old.

dyslexia |disˈleksēə|
a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.

I love my new teacher.She is tall and young and her hair is pretty and she smells clean like my mothers rose garden.I love my teacher because she says Im too smart for her class and that I dont belong there.I love her because when she walks. Her shoes whisper welcome to my class . I am in the' idiots class' surrounded by' idiots'. It look like a scene from one flew over the cuckoos nest. I like my new idiot friends.They may be idiots but they are also the toughest kids in the school..They are feared. I like my new friends in a 'dont hurt me' kind of way and they like me.I have a mafia type protection. From now on nobody messes with me.I am connected I am made.I learn more in one month with my new teacher than a year with the old crow.I learn that words are not drawings.I learn that its o.k. to read with a mirror (something the other teacher would never allow) I learn that Leonado de Vinci and I shared the same problem, only he also wrote upside down.I learn I cant spell in either direction. I love my new teacher and all my new friends. I love my teacher when she sits very close to me, as I explain what these letters mean to me.I want this lesson to last forever.It doesnt, the clock wont allow it. I tell her as slowly as I can my Alphabet...
A=Wigwam B= Front-teeth sideways C=bow without a string.D= bow with a string.E=.End of fork.F= farmers hoe .G= wood clamp H=rugby goal post I=pencil J=hockey stick K=arrowhead in a piece of wood.L=nose M=mountains. N=amusement ride. O=eyeball. P=flag on a pole. Q=balloon on a string. R=slide in a playground.S=a snake. T=flathead nail U=a tongue V=TV ariel W=fangs X=tire wrench.Y=snakes tongue Z=lightning.

Im sitting in my studio in Paris.The widow is open and the cold air bites me in a friendly and loving way. Im working on the story that you are reading now.I feel strange. Maybe its because I've excuvated the dry carcass of the witch. I try not to ponder to long.I pick up my pencil and write on a new piece of paper U O Y K C U F . I stare at the letters. Then I stare at the letters as symbols.It really says farmers hoe, tongue, bow without a string and an arrow head stuck in a piece of wood.Well you get the picture or rather the word.
I bite the inside of my mouth a little too hard.
Im sitting in my studio.
I do what I do best and grin.
Im 53.

Above: My left hand from the series 'souvenir of dinard' Digital print on paper. 7'x4'


Anonymous said...

You killed the wretched witch...and didn't have to go to church. Brilliant Philip...this is absolutely brilliant.


you are way way way toooooooo kind..

Anonymous said...

Powerful and poignant, my friend.~N


thank you

Anonymous said...

where are you these days in Miami myself doing massages at the new W hotel with Rebecca at least thru the new year call if ya can...loved this blog


I will be back in jan..............

Aaron said...

Wonderful yet unsettling story. I love the comparison to "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" and imagery you with all of your new bodyguards and the antithesis of nurse Ratchet.

Deborah Ross said...

As a retired teacher, I want to give you a big hug and tell you how sad I am that you and many other children have gone through this type of situation. How frustrating and defeating.....Hopefully methods of identifying special needs students are improving.