March 4, 2015

Test Anxiety (a poem)

Test Anxiety by Hakim Bellamy

You know,
they might be right
about these tests.

I mean,
they’ve never slept with students.
Never called out sick.
Never went on strike.

The test doesn’t get
too attached to the students.
Never shows up
late for work.
Never forgets a student’s name.
Never tells inappropriate jokes
or shows a movie
when it doesn’t feel like testing.

The test always has the right answer,
but it never says the right thing.

The test never brings
anything to the faculty potluck.
Never stays late to help
students who are having a hard time.

The test never whines,
but it never smiles either.

The test is already
what it wants to be
when it grows up.

The test doesn’t have any dreams.
The test has never been bullied.
It’s never had any trouble reading.

The test has never missed a meal,
but it has also never made a game.

The test gives
parent-teacher conferences
a bad name.

The test never saw
its mom drunk and
never saw its dad’s fist.
Never knew another test
that committed suicide.
It never got another test pregnant,
and never experimented with anything.

The test has never had to get a job
or a job interview.

It has always done
what it was born to do.
It’s always been a test.

It’s never been a child.

The test does not believe
in God
or teachers
or students.

But at least
the test doesn’t play

or does it?

(c) Hakim Bellamy February 21, 2015

Listen to an audio recording of Hakim Bellamy reading this poem by CLICKING HERE

Hakim Bellamy is a celebrated poet, author, actor, musician, and community activist based in Albuquerque. Hakim was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM (2012-2014), is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion, and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico.