Not To

He walked in

Sat down, head down

Back row bump on MY log

Silently defying me

Nonconfrontational nonconformity

Radiated from him

Ripples of revolt

Charging the air

Challenging me

And I …I acquiesced…

I allowed him a choice

And he chose

He chose NOT TO

Not to…look at me

Not to…speak to me

Not to…put pen to paper

Not to…

Right up until the day he chose to…


His name was Eddie

Five foot seven

Set stone eyes I rarely saw

Face scarred with evidence of adolescence

Severed from me and my world

By his past…and mine

Mine kept me from

Pushing past his walls

Taking the road more traveled

I let this child be…

Left behind because

Of my childish choice

I chose not to

Not to…notice him

Not to…challenge him

Not to…teach

Not to…

Right up until the day he chose to…


He was there

The day we plunged into poetry

And poetry…my mistress

Somehow became mother to this

Restless child in manskin

Brought him near to her and…

Made him hear her words and…

I realized

I had his eyes

For just a moment

A day…a week

As I read…

As he…listened…

And as he opened his ears

His eyes followed

And his mind just 

refused to be left behind

First, Tupac’s cracked concrete

Created a crevice in his wall

And he realized the relevance

Of roses

And his hand rose when I asked

What it meant

And meaning wasn’t just grasped at

It was snatched

from the very air my words traversed

And the crevice cracked open

Revealing a view of Frost’s roads

And he…stood cautious

Considering crossroads and consequences

Of the choices he made

And I chose NOT TO

Not to…let him ignore it

Not to…let him go back to sleep

Not to…walk away down my road

Not to…


I placed paper in front of him

Put a pencil in his hand


Silently to…Patron saints I used to know

And with Eddie to…


try to tell me

How it all related

Write down his reality

Realized in reading

Return to the page…

Her due…

Do something…

And he … chose NOT TO

Not to…ignore me

Not to…refuse the pencil I offered

Not to…let the page blank stare him down

Not to…


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And he…he chose to learn

That day he chose not to

And I watched in wonder as one rose

Began its journey through


And for just… one… moment

It made all the difference