A Poem by Shelly Bell

This poem is dedicated to a former student of mine who died of cancer. R.I.P. Dajuan Lonnel Jackson.


Despite the chalk lines between

Right and wrong

moral barriers

School board codes

Workplace ethics

Statutory laws

And Complaining administrations


I wish I had went on a date with an 18 year old.


I wish I could take back that stare

I used to scared him out of my classroom.


And Just explain that I was scared too.


That every position in life is temporary

No one wants to get clocked out too soon.


This 5’7 Light skinned

Muscular framed

Bright eyed 18 year old boy

Was a resilient somebody.


To him no just meant not now


upon graduation

He had the nerve

To ask for my number

“C’mon Ms. Bell, Just to keep in touch.”

I hesitated

But with cancer on his line

My position was of little importance.


It’s tough being a teacher

You never know which role

To play on which day

You never know which sacrifices to make

Bc if ¼  of his dying wish was to take me

On a date I would risk it


All of it


The bureaucracy


Bull s**t special ed minority placement

The assessment of failure

The leaders who are leaders

Just bc they are friends with the “leaders”

but have no clue how to lead us.


I would risk the lesson plans

I spend countless nights writing

Just to get evaluated by

People who never get evaluated.


I would risk staff development.

have happy hour instead

more solutions come from bar hopping on weekends

Then we ever see from our administrators


I would risk displaying

The ignorance of Americans

On education

Pry open eyes

Show them our comparison to other nations.

walk into the Arne Duncan’s office

And throw my paycheck on the table.

ask him why the hell am I following all of these rules?


All he wanted was a meal with me.

To break bread outside of school

I risked making a dying child happy

Just for you!


I’m no Mary Kay Fualaau

Teenagers just don’t “do it” for me

But if a date with an adolescent  

Cancer patient would make him happy

I would “do it” for him.

Risk running into a school board member


Or principal


Seeing him smile again

Is worth it.

Worth erasing

the chalk lines between

Right and wrong

the moral barriers

between what you think

and what actually happens.

School board codes governing

My personal life

Workplace ethics

Statutory laws

And Complaining administrations


These kemo-like curriculums

Radiating through a cancerous system.

never solving the problem

just halting the process

A date is the least I can do

For a dying 18 year old boy.


© 2010 Shelly Bell

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Added on October 15, 2010
Last Updated on October 15, 2010


Shelly Bell
Shelly Bell

Alexandria, VA

To merely refer to North Carolina native and Alexandria, VA resident Shelly Bell as a curious and talented consumer of life’s most positive energies would only tell half of the story. An award-w.. more..


A Poem by Shelly Bell