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Back of the Room Intelligence

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He sits.
He stares.
He sleeps.
He breaths.

He never works.
He never raises his hand.
He never pretends to understand.
He never feigns interest.

We know he's a pot head.
We know he hates school.
We know he likes to stand apart.
We know his heart is calloused.



He has no need to heal.



He will never amount to anything.



He'll waste his life, everything he was ever given.



He's a waste of space and an antagonist.

English class:


Teacher talks.


Teacher preaches.


There are truths and themes in literature.


They tell us about life.



They show us our mistakes


They show us how to be better.


They help us survive.


Name some...

He sits up.
He opens his eyes.
He smirks.
He just wants attention and entertainment.

One girl: "Love, hope, acceptance, forgiveness, peace."
Him: "Anger, prejudice, hatred, agony, and poverty."

He's awake now, completely.

The next class:
He's the only one who has read Oliver Twist.
He can list the characters.
He knows the meaning of the book.

Quiet boy, angry boy.
Refusing to work.
Ignoring the rules.

He doesn't try.
He doesn't care.
At all.
Nothing matters to him.

I try to reach out.
I try to prove that we're not all brainwashed.
I try to show him I think he's worth something.
I try and fail.

It doesn't matter what I think.
It doesn't matter what they think.
It doesn't matter what the future holds.
He doesn't want to be bothered.

He's smart.
He has ideals.
He's a coward.
He's too afraid to try, because he might fail.

Three months echo through the class rooms.
His challenges to the teachers.
His joke-threats to the one friend he had.
The surprise that he was smarter than half the class.

He knew the problems that the world faced.
He had solutions.
He read Oliver Twist.
He could have been so much more.

He failed the class.
He won't go to summer school.
He refuses to try harder.
He drops out.

No more school.
No more books.
No more teachers’
dirty looks.

That's it.
That's the end.
No more intelligence in the back of the room.
No more Oliver.

He sits.
He stares.
He sleeps.
He breaths.

He walks away.
He leaves us behind.
We leave him behind.
Goodbye, Oliver Twist.

Good luck, Oliver Twist.



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