Masque of the Red Pencil Death

Masquerade

 

The masquerade party commences.

“Another day in paradise!” quotes
the first floor clerk as he shuffles
toward his glassed-in office, he wears
the old man persona from his toes
upward.

The science teacher smiles
as I stride by – I want to comment
on how the smile was a nice touch;
no one will recognize her wearing one.

The custodian who has lived
here twenty-five years, having come
from Colombia as a teenager, forgot
his costume, never remembers his mask.

The party, strangely, happens
in separate rooms, and the costumes
are worn largely for students; not
really much mingling in this menagerie.

As I seek the door, partied out, dragging
my mask behind me, the clerk grumbles
as I pass him, “Another day, another….”

I recall, much too late, why I wear a mask.

 

Written for dVerse Poets Pub.

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27 thoughts on “Masque of the Red Pencil Death

  1. How terribly sad and accurate to the teaching life! Love the characters drawn here, Charley. The custodian who never wears a mask- just ‘Is.” The science teacher who is unrecognizable in a smile; know that one. Love the line of being tired at the end of the day and dragging the mask behind. This is eerie. Great write!

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    • School… any career, probably… suffers from, and is blessed by, having people involved in the processes. I hope I didn’t trigger too many Poe-esque moments for you. The red pencil was my bane as a student!

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  2. Having been a classroom teacher for many years, I can sure relate to this! I sometimes came home dragging, energy kaput! Perhaps that’s because I always thought of teaching as a “performance” in many ways…and that sure does equate with the mask idea here. And the custodian…who just “is”. What I think of is the poor custodian in my grade school who I remember seeing in the hall spreading some kind of sawdust stuff on a pile of throw-up from a little kid. He just did his job….he just was.

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    • Thank you for your response. I wrote a bit of this from memory (yesterday’s memory, actually), and just a bit of it from my imagination. Doing home visitation hospice work, at times, seems preferable to some of my days in education. …and that’s all I have to say about that; paraphrasing Mr. F. Gump. Glad it struck a memory… or a nerve. 🙂

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