The brief lecture shifted swiftly from Invictus to Hip Hop.
“I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.”
Students filled the tired bleachers
pretending not to be listening.
Adults lined the edges
pretending to be listening.
But the students were being spoken to as adults;
and they were hanging on every word.
The adults were being reminded why they chose this path;
they were hanging on every word.
Then sudden and unexpected shift.
He began speaking the poetry
written by the poets these students
were likely listening to with hidden earbuds
during this very assembly.
He is speaking their language,
the same language of Invictus, but now
spoken to the 16-year-old who
usually can’t help but roll her eyes.
Students now slam their feet on the bleachers,
clapping wildly and worried casually.
Worried about whether they are caring too much
what this university president has to say.
Worried if their friends will catch them caring too much.
Worried that they might actually begin to care again.
Teachers worried they are reminded yet again of
why they roam these halls and click against the dry erase boards.
But he is speaking their language. Their languages.
And we are all hanging on every word.
You can notice the chill bumps they have down their arms,
the chill bumps I have down my arms.
The university president is speaking my language
The students slamming their feet on the tired bleachers
are speaking my language too.
The adults lining the edges of the room
are speaking it too.
We are all now wondering
if it is still possible.
if we are the master.
if we are the captain.
The questions themselves are our language,
and he spoke it so well.
Jackson Central-Merry Assembly