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Issue #5: Poetry

Taylor Mali

The Sound of Hammers Falling

               - For Victoria Soto

One of my students said it sounded like hammers falling.
Isn’t that simply beautiful? The sound of hammers falling?

That’s what I call poetry: To think of hammers falling.
To hear it in your head, that sound of hammers falling,

the metal pop and clank that makes the sound of hammers falling.
The tumbling to the ground that is the very sound of hammers falling.

I hid some students in the bathroom when I heard the hammers falling.
Locked others in the closet to avoid the hammers falling.
Shut the rest behind cupboard doors because it was not hammers falling.

Welcome to my empty classroom. Can’t you see
my students are not here. There is only me

and the rainlike patter of footsteps in the hall.
My name is Vickie Soto. Let the hammers fall.
 

 

 

 

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion, he is the author of two collections of poetry and a book of essays, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World. In April of 2012, Mali completed a 12-year project of convincing 1,000 people to become teachers and marked the occasion by donating 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society.

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