Did anyone else tape their broken crayons together when they were little? It was probably done in the spirit of not throwing anything useful away, and I'd actually forgotten about it until I was cleaning old craft supplies this summer and came across a handful of them.
I was thinking of them again this week as we did a writing activity using pieces from a game called Paint Chip Poetry. Students partnered up and used a handful of paint chip pieces with descriptive names (just like the crayons) to create their own poems.
It was actually a lot of fun! The level of engagement was crazy high, but what really surprised me was that a student stayed afterward to write her own piece. She left it on my computer over lunch, saying that it was the best writing she had ever done. Okay, wow. That small nudge from a handful of paint chips turned into an avalanche for her!
So here we go. I'm fairly confident in my ability to string words together in a coherent fashion when it comes to this blog every week, but poetry? I haven't written poetry for a very long time. It's a whole different thing lol. But in the spirit of living the vulnerability that I like to talk about so much, I pulled out the taped-up crayons as my own pre-thinking inspiration and wrote this: Broken Crayons, all.
Broken crayons, all.
cerulean blue bits
and burnt sienna shrapnel.
perfect cylindrical tubes of mass-produced David’s
for the pint-size Michelangelo
to scrawl the pièce-de-resistance-de-jour
proudly perched on the fridge.
snapped off in fits of dysregulated
or simply the resultant pressure of
pushing too hard
to get it
(but it was wrong anyway.)
Paper covers peeled off in various stages of
disarray and dismemberment,
no regard for the Crayola name
even though it should have given
some semblance of safety
when thrust roughly into the box of 64
*complete with sharpener*
when it had only known the snug security of
12 simple primary and secondary companions.
There was no plain yellow here
amongst the diente de lion and pissenlit
even if they called themselves
Waxy residue left in full view
of the other broken pieces
like a black hole smudged by fingers
Bandaged up with ragged rounds of masking tape
(rounds and rounds and rounds and rounds and rounds and)
that will simply not be
concealed by shimmering slips of metallic pink,
the bulge in the middle
giving it away every damn time.
What would you say to that
robin’s egg blue if you could?
I mean, I know that you can’t.
Because this is just pretend
and this is just crayons.
We are broken crayons, all
and a tape-weld is better than remnant-life
and much easier to hold
even if it is half-green-half-yellow,
and even if the pieces
Perpetual amateur. Lifelong learner. Vice-Principal. Teacher. Musician. Mom. Annnnd if you're reading this, then I'm still a blogger.