Harriet Tubman Tests?

by Raymond Nat Turner

The poet is talking about those who peddle “pork barrel pedagogy…selling blankets bearing smallpox— blankets smothering spirits and crushing minds of black and brown babies, like cigarette butts.”


Harriet Tubman Tests?

by Raymond Nat Turner

(For OPT, CW, Ms C, Ms G, BOJ, KKE, DR)

Now, I can see and hear the

Music in my ear from my first

Teacher, the militant I called

 “Mommy,” rising at some school

Board meeting and launching into

 What she called her “nut role,”

 Asking as only she could, “Since

  You’re ‘teaching to the test,’ are

 The tests you’re teaching to Harriet

 Tubman or Sojurner Truth tests?”


After the laughter and applause

Subside, she might add, “Someone—

I won’t say who—said pork barrel

Pedagogy you’re peddling is like

Selling blankets bearing smallpox—

Blankets smothering spirits and

Crushing minds of black and brown

Babies, like cigarette butts beneath

The boot heels of billionaires…”


Then, she might even ask her grand-

Son, the professor of education, grand-

Daughter the parent-teacher, or son

The poet, to second that emotion:


In the Race To The Slop,


Legato laughter, staccato shrieks of

Gleeful play, keep fleeing fire fights

Forbidding imagination, frowning on

Free-thinking, disallowing discovery and

Putting dreamers to death with magic

Bullet, single-shot solutions leaving all

Children behind, caged, crippled or blind.


In the Race To The Slop,


There are Green Zones, dubbed “Work- 

Force Development Systems” by white

Knights of the Business Roundtable, killing

Fields where sage, seasoned teachers keep

Falling like dried rose petals, under frantic

Fusillades of child soldiers pointing No. 2

Pencils like M-16s— elite bubble snipers

Suffering PTSD: Post Test Stress Disorder…


In the Race To The Slop,


Schools are troughs, full of juicy

Green apples— business banquets

 Spinning stress into gold; pureeing

Plays, poems, songs, paintings,

Dances and children into super-

Sized, hollowed-out, spiritually

Emaciated men and women, comfortable

With collateral damage in multiple, serial,

 Video game-like wars, for persons

 Having Big Brother, but no heartbeat

 Or blood count…


Raymond Nat Turner © 2012 All Rights Reserved