17/30: A BRIEF ANNOTED LIST OF THE QUESTIONS MY STUDENTS ASK
by Zachary Caballero
Question: Mr. Zachary, is this poem good?
Translation: Last week, we learned what rejection meant.
I do not like the definition of that word. Is there anything
wrong with what I feel? Am I good enough? Nobody ever
listens to what I have to say. Last week, we learned what
worthy meant. I want to mean worthy.
Question: Mr. Zachary, does this poem have to rhyme?
Translation: If there are rules, I don’t want to break them.
I just hate when language has expectation. I don’t want
to be expected.
Question: Mr. Zachary, do I have to read this poem out loud?
Translation: I’ve never trusted my mouth. Inside is a voice I am
afraid to let out. Who is going to listen to me? What do you mean
the stage is mine? What do you mean I can command an audience
just by speaking?
Question: Mr. Zachary, what if we don’t know what to write?
Translation: How does anyone ever say what they mean? Self-
Expression is confusing. How can I matter just by saying so?
If I have a story, you mean I have to write it? I don’t want to say
what I have to say. You mean someone is listening? I don’t think
so. No one wants to know what’s inside my head. Not even me.