a rebel teacher manifesta song in many parts.
start here. or here. or here:
because you buy your youth who's locked up poetry books using your 30% discount from the anarchist bookstore you used to work with when you are hood rich after a successful run of tarot card reading even though two weeks ago you had $37 in the bank.
because you are the kind of community scholar/ theorist who will always live in a movement house and rarely in an ivory tower.
because you knew you would grow up to live in a movement house.
because the movement buys you plane tickets and pays your rent
because when you are in an ivory tower or a community college you are there to save lives and insist on our right to be there.
because when the queer students union and the rape crisis center and the women's center and the multicultural alliance and ethnic studies and (mayyyyybe) the english department and the disabled students union all throw in $150 each to bring you you bumrush the ivory tower and jailbreak students into remembering free and your lecture will be the one the students remember all year and next year that reminds them of free and makes them choose to start something marvelous instead of getting a Master's for no reason.
because you are the kind of teacher who drives her 22 year old car across the bridge to teach her kids instead of flying to new york for the fancy award ceremony and finds out she wins the fancy gay grammies literary award while on said bridge and screams and almost rearends a prius.
because one of your sweeties does a book drive for your youth who is in the prison and hops in their friends car's passenger seat to drive down from portland to give you the books and kiss you.
because there is always room for somebody else in your car.
because you are a community rolodex aunty lifesaver who also turns her phone off so she can take a salt bath, jerk off, watch netflix and dream big and deep.
because of how you say boo boo. sugar. sweetie. sweet pea. honey pie. kid. hey star. hey glitter genius. how you doing? no, how you really doin? did you guys break up? no, mama, ask for $500, not $50! you got this! have you eaten? can I get you some water? do you need a ride? do you need to talk? do you want one of five million herbal tictures in my purse?
because you teach with your tits and your tie. you gender is one of your best gifts to your students. you show them another way to be girl or boy that is hope lodged right by their gallbladder.
because of how you chant
you got this you got this you got this
i got you i got you i got you i got you
because teaching your youth how to steal copies from Office Max and office supplies from crap data entry jobs is part of your curricula.
because you publish books. teach in living rooms, jails and lecture halls. leave zines on the bus.
because your youth not killing themselves and growing up to be happy queers who make art is your PhD and McArthur Genius
Because you will stll get a real MaArthur Genius. Just like Octavia did.
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This work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.