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COPYRIGHT Poem-a-Day Collection by Knopf. Compilation copyright 2009 by Knopf. All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.
Some Different Kinda Books
I She asks why we always read books about black people. (I spare her the news she is black.) She wants something different. Her own book is written in pencil. She painstakingly goes back & corrects the misspelled words. We write each day. Each day the words look like a retarded hand from Mars wrote them. Each day she asks me how do you spell: didn't, tomorrow, done husband, son, learning, went, gone ... I can't think of all the words she can't spell. It's easier to think of what she can spell: MY NAME IS CARMEN LOPEZ. I am sorry I was out teacher. My husband was sick. You know I never miss school. In that other program I wasn't learning nothing. Here, I'm learning so I come. What's wrong with my husband? I don't know. He's in the hospital. He's real sick I was almost out the room when I hear the nurse ask him, Do you do drugs? He say yes. I say what! I don't know nuthin' 'bout no drugs. I'm going off in the hospital. He's sick. I'm mad. Nobody tells you nuthin'! I didn't hear that nurse I wouldn't know nuthin'. Huh? Condoms? No, teacher. He's my husband. I never been with another man.
II I think he got AIDS he still don't tell me. I did teacher. I tried to read the chart at the hospital but I couldn't figure out those words. Doctor don't say, he say privacy. The nurse tell me. She's Puerto Rican. She say your husband got AIDS. I go off in the hospital. Nobody tells me nuthin'. He come home. He say it's not true, he's fine. He's so skinny without his clothes he try to hide hisself nekkid don't want me to look. I say you got to use one of those things. He say nuthin's wrong. with him.
III He stop sayin' that. Now he just say he's gonna die all the time all the time dying. I say STOP that talk, the doctor say you could live a long time my sister-in-law say, he got it so you got it it's like that. I say, I don't got it, my kids don't got it either. Teacher, I need a letter for welfare that I'm coming to school on a regular basis.
IV He's in P.R., before that he started messing around again. Over the Christmas holidays he died. That's where I was at in P.R. I'm fine. Yeah, I'm sure teacher. What do I wanna do teacher? I just wanna read some different kinda books.
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