Ronald Koertge *

They were never handsome and often came
with a hormone imbalance manifested by corpulence,
a yodel of a voice or ears big as kidneys.
But each was brave. More than once a sidekick
has thrown himself in front of our hero in order
to receive the bullet or blow meant for that
perfect face and body.
Thankfully, heroes never die in movies and leave
the sidekick alone. He would not stand for it.
Gabby or Pat, Pancho or Andy remind us of a part
of ourselves,
the dependent part that can never grow up,
the part that is painfully eager to please,
always wants a hug and never gets enough.
Who could sit in a darkened theatre, listen
to the organ music and watch the best
of ourselves lowered into the ground while
the rest stood up there, tears pouring off
that enormous nose.

This is a very interesting poem to me. I really liked it. Heroes always get the credit for everything. Sidekicks never get credit for anything although they do so much. I liked when it said that heroes never die. That's so true. In all action movies, the hero always gets hurt but at the last minute, he finds the strength to conquer the bad guy. In some movies, the sidekick is rarely seen. I think that we should all find out who the sidekicks are in our lives and give them the credit they deserve.


David Berman

Walking through a field with my little brother Seth
I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.
He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.

Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.
Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.
I didn't know where I was going with this.
They were on his property, I said.

When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.
Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.
We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.

But why were they on his property, he asked.

I like this poem. I know what the character is feeling. I have four younger siblings. They never ever stop asking questions. One thing leads to the next question. One thing after another. Sometimes their innocent questions are fun to answer. Sometimes we have sleepovers in my room and they just ask me questions all night. It's fun to be the old and more mature kid. I think along with asking questions and going from one thing to the next, this poem reminds me about lying. You tell one lie and to cover that lie, you tell another one and another one, until you have tangled yourself up in a huge web of lies. Asking many questions and being intelligent is a good thing but lying until you are in a tangled web is bad.

Sister Cat

Frances Mayes

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

This poem is about a cat. I think that lots of people are just like this. We get something fun and fancy and then we see a neighbor or friend with something even nicer and we want to get the same thing, if not something better than what they have. Especially living in America where we have so many opportunities and freedoms, it is human nature to never be satisfied with what we have. The world we live in now is becoming so worldy with gadgets and cars and houses and nice things that we don't appreciate what we have. We are never satisfied with what we have been given. We always want more. We should count our blessings and be grateful for what we have and help others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Here's a poem about a loss we all experience at some point in our childhood.

The Death of Santa Claus

Charles Webb

He's had the chest pains for weeks,
but doctors don't make house
calls to the North Pole,
he's let his Blue Cross lapse,
blood tests make him faint,
hospital gown always flap
open, waiting rooms upset
his stomach, and it's only
indigestion anyway, he thinks,
until, feeding the reindeer,
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't
stop squeezing. He can't
breathe, and the beautiful white
world he loves goes black,
and he drops on his jelly belly
in the snow and Mrs. Claus
tears out of the toy factory
wailing, and the elves wring
their little hands, and Rudolph's
nose blinks like a sad ambulance
light, and in a tract house
in Houston, Texas, I'm 8,
telling my mom that stupid
kids at school say Santa's a big
fake, and she sits with me
on our purple-flowered couch,
and takes my hand, tears
in her throat, the terrible
news rising in her eyes.

I really think that poem is very creative. I like how they actually made Santa die. I don't remember when I found out Santa wasn't real, but I do remember when we told my little sister Amber. She was so sad. She had many questions about what really happend on Christmas Eve. Every adult has that memory of believing in Santa. Believing in Santa Claus is so fun and so innocent. When it comes time for a child to know the truth behind the mysterious Christmas man, it isn't easy for a parent to tell the news to their child. It breaks the parents heart because they feel like they are destroying their childhood fantasies and it breaks the child's heart because Christmas isn't the same without believing in Santa. We should let all kids believe in Santa for as long as possible.

How to Listen

Major Jackson

I am going to cock my head tonight like a dog
in front of McGlinchy's Tavern on Locust;
I am going to stand beside the man who works all day combing
his thatch of gray hair corkscrewed in every direction.
I am going to pay attention to our lives
unraveling between the forks of his fine-tooth comb.
For once, we won't talk about the end of the world
or Vietnam or his exquisite paper shoes.
For once, I am going to ignore the profanity and
the dancing and the jukebox so I can hear his head crackle
beneath the sky's stretch of faint stars.

I like this poem. Everyone should read it. I think it is important for everyone to learn how to listen effectively. Being a good listener is what I think really keeps friendships alive. Without being able to listen, no one can really rely on you with information or secrets or even if they want advice. Listening really makes a huge difference in relationships. Just like without talking, you won't get anything accomplished, without listening you won't get anything settled or understood. We shouldn't just be a talker, we need to know when it is our turn to listen. We need to listen to everything. Not just the important things. We need to listen to everything someone is trying to tell us.