I just published an article. It is a surreal feeling getting paid to write about teaching. I just finished my Masters in Education as well. Not bad for a sped kid. I really hope this opens some doors for other teachers. Still wring my book about teaching poetry.
Summers in Parker, Arizona
tonight I sleep on a pullout mattress between all of my cousins/covered in vinegar to soothe our bodies/punished by July sun/the middle of a heatwave/Parker, AZ/I can swim all day/I never notice my skin/my skin is all I feel now/I can’t sleep/that painting of an Indian Chief on the wall across from me/it’s always been there/his face carved-out/a lifetime of sunburns/his black eyes/he knows my deepest secrets/hidden evils/buried in the dirt of my soul/I blink/only for a second/long enough/for him to bend his way out of that picture frame/he squats next to a dark fire/the far corner of the room/he’s wrapped in a blanket made of shadow/the bones in his face/howling in the still night/he knows I took something from him
D.Ms of an MLM Recruiter My Wife Knew in Fifth Grade
just have a
moment of your time
just reaching out I know
you’d be a perfect fit for our team
of women supporting women empowering
women easily sell our wraps our shakes our leggings
will help you focus back on what matters most in your life
is not about living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck to paycheck
like you wouldn’t believe possible: $18, 493,12, 20,333,22,170, 247.22
just to start a once in a lifetime opportunity to build the life you always wanted
to have your hubby home and not work three jobs like mine had to until I achieved
my goals with enough hard work and time and time again my customers come back and say
Sometimes, I think I’m a Liberal. Other times….
I watch a ski-mask mob light their city on fire while I help my daughter learn long division in the glow of our winter kitchen. “Use the outside number first.”
I hear a cloth-face scream, “kill all Nazis” as rope yanks a George Washington statue into rubble to the cheers of a faceless triumph. “Carry the reminder.”
I know when it is bedtime a silence will enter her room before she will want to know if she is safe tonight. I’ll lie about destruction and fire. “Don’t worry about what’s leftover.”
Everyone knows dress codes are for girls.
/Your/body is offensive and distracting boys. Here, take this shawl and cover /your/ shoulders and arms, not to mention /your/wrists and knees; people will get the wrong idea about/you/ don’t want that do/you/now, let’s talk about college, career, readiness/your/ body belongs to those who pay/you/ hourly/your/ employer will tell/you/ what parts of/you/ needs covered. In college/you/will be expected to represent an institution/you/better dress the part, ladies.
Gentleman, take off your hat.
Four day after my second daughter was born a week early, my oldest held her for the first time. Here’s a poem about that:
Your sister was born today.
We handed her to you swaddled,
and your eyes met
for the first time.
So much of the universe
I can’t explain:
how you two knew each other
before this moment
unguided like the force that draws
planets together across the galaxy.
She’s going to break your toys.
She’s going to wear your clothes.
She’s going to sneak into your room–
anything to be in your orbit.
When you drift apart.
Try to remember how she felt there
in your arms when you looked at us
like you’d just caught a falling star.
They are coming to remove both trees
tomorrow trucks will arrive with empty
beds and chainsaws eager to evict
cardinal tenets and starve the squirrel
of her baby’s acorns because summer
without a pool is not really summer at all.
But right now both oaks sway
the yellow heat away. We sit
under the window in their shade.
The consequences of making
room are unintended, ending
with roots burning in the sun,
arms in bone piles thanklessly
tossed poolside for winter fires.
Wanting in August
Wanting in August
We don’t want for much/so much I don’t want/so much you still want/to make this house/a home/ we still/there’s so much to want for/so much more/a simple life/this life/our life/handed down trauma/remember to polish the granite countertops/what if someone saw a blemish/open the window/let in some summer/not that much/disappear/from our problems/from our kids/from our past/magically reappear/higher/there’s still so much/you want for/when you have/all you need.
Gunshots behind the far, north corner of the cornfield silences our family dinner. There’s a cattle ranch back there. We stop to watch the cows graze on our morning walks. My nine-year-old asks me, “what was that popping sound?” She’s ushered in an existential conversation I am not prepared to have so I say, “fireworks. Now, finish your hamburger.”
Social Media And Its Evolution/Devolution
How Social Media Has Evolved
In 2007, we used social media to connect with people we already knew in person. People like me who remember picking your top 5 friends used these platforms to express our inner thoughts; what profile background you chose said a lot about you. The “social” part of “social media” served more of an importance than the “media” part. If one of your friends posted a derogatory statement on Myspace back then, you would bring it up to them at school the next day. The accountably of divisive posts came in the form of a face-to-face altercation. Back then, we used these spaces to express our inner thoughts and “hang-out” without having to leave the living room. This was the original intention of this media form. Where social media has evolved could never have been predicted back in the early 2000’s.
Back when I was posting blogs about heartache and posting my playlist, I never would have thought that Facebook and Twitter would inform political maneuvering. According to Digital Media in the Obama Campaigns of 2008 and 2012: Adaptation to the Personalized Political Communication Environment By Brice Bimber, “In 2008, the new political communication environment permitted Obama to embrace social movements with enthusiasm and personalized entrepreneurialism among his supporters while also running a highly disciplined, centrally organized campaign” (Bomber 132). After this election, politics and social interaction would never be the same. For better or worse, the genie cannot be put back into the bottle.
Some Advantages and Limitations of Social Media
When the Gutenberg Press was invented in 1440, no one could have anticipated the wildfire of information spreading it sparked. From the very first publication of the Tyndall translation of the Bible in 1522 to the digital age of information, we have been on a journey of discovery. Having access to the written word in a language recognizable to everyday people was groundbreaking, it created a revolution of ideas. Without the distribution of printed word, humanity would never have evolved to develop sophisticated systems of government that rest upon the values of logic and reason and not the divine right of a monarch. That same ambition of the mass-spreading of ideas has evolved with the advent of Social Media. The advantage of carrying unfettered access to the world in one’s pocket is endless: ideas spreads faster than ever, even people living in remote areas of the world can be informed about major issues, the mass spreading of empathy also result from this form of media. We watched these causes unfold during the pandemic: second by second updates of COVID cases became part of our life. This was in large part due to Social Media and the instantaneous nature of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This instant access comes with a very hefty price, however.
In their book The Coddling of the American Mind, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt capture the challenging landscape social media created: “Both the physical and the electronic isolation from people we disagree with allow the forces of confirmation bias, groupthink, and tribalism to push us still further apart” ( Lukianoff, Haidt, 131). Although innocent in its intent, tailoring adds and content to a user’s taste has carried social media in a very polarizing direction. The term “echo chamber” comes to mind when describing the limitations of social media—swaths of people trapped in an endless cycle of conformation bias. I have seen many friends of mine fall into this. With the advent of network television, everyone watched the same three news outlets. This created a common ground of consumption, everyone with a T.V was consuming the same sources and drew conclusions from those media outlets. In the 90’s, cable T.V created a news channel for every political taste, but we could “check-in” on the opposing. By the mid 2010’s most Americans began getting their news from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook making it easier to encase themselves into an echo chamber. Lukianoff and Haidt refer to this phenomena as the ‘filter bubble’ (130); wherein, the users understanding of events and ideas are filtered by their tastes leaving almost no room to explore the opposing side of an augment. Effectively, Social Media has used algorithm technology to entrenched their users into a world of conformation bias. The result of which has deepened the divide between people on opposing sides of the political and social spectrum. Ironically, this limitation of social media makes its advantage nearly impossible to be fully realized.
How Social Media will Evolve
According to The Journal of Medical Internet Research, the number of users of social media as grown exponentially as of 2022, they report the following data:
Table 1. Approximate numbers of monthly users of several social media platforms
|Social media platform (company, location)||Approximate number of users|
|Facebook (Meta Platforms, Inc; Menlo Park, California)||3 billion|
|YouTube (Google LLC; San Bruno, California)||2.3 billion|
|WhatsApp (Meta Platforms, Inc; Menlo Park, California)||2 billion|
|Instagram (Meta Platforms, Inc; Menlo Park, California)||1.4 billion|
|Twitter (Twitter; San Francisco, California)||400 million|
Considering the sheer number of users of each of the platforms, it is reasonable to infer that groupthink and the echo chamber affect will only exacerbate. This data begs the question: what are these platforms offering that so many of us need? In some cases, the users of each platform are looking for something different. For example, one of the 400 million Twitter users may be looking for news source to remain informed on developing issues, while users of Instagram may use the platform for social engagement. As these platforms evolve, they will become more succinct at spitting out content tailored for each individual user’s desire. It is hard to tell how this will affect the political and social landscape over the next decade, but during the COVID 19 pandemic we got an unfortunate look at one possible direction social media may be headed. Spreading of misinformation and conformation bias was at an all time high during 2020 and 2021. This was the direct cause of anti-vaccine sentiments, unwarranted hysteria, and deepening the political and social divide. According to the The Journal of Medical Internet Research: “Social media algorithms push selected content to billions of users as well (Table 1, pictured above) The proprietary algorithms used by social media companies are routinely exploited to spread COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation, with certain content repeatedly presented to users who have specific profiling characteristics or search histories. These algorithms could be better optimized to reduce the online trafficking of harmful information that risks the public health” (Gisondi, Michael A;Barber, Rachel;Faust, Jemery Samuel;Raja, Ali;Strehlow, Matthew C;Westafer, Lauren M;Gottlieb, Michael). While none of the social media companies will admit to this, it is clear that many of these platforms are directly to blame for the spreading of misinformation. The most troubling part of this is the fact that none of these companies have been held responsible for their actions.
Based on the fact that social media is protected but he first amendment and the wealth they produce, it is very unlikely that these problems will subside any time soon. I want to believe we will return to a time when we use these platforms to share memes and connect with old friends, but our society continues to grow more dependent on these platforms for “news” in the form of articles tailor-made just for you. One possible direction I can see this form of media leading us is a place resembling the landscape depicted in the Pixar film Wall-e—each of us floating around with our faces in our very own news feed while the world rages all round us.
Bimber, B. (2014). Digital Media in the Obama Campaigns of 2008 and 2012: Adaptation to the Personalized Political Communication Environment. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 11(2), 130–150.
Gisondi, M. A., Barber, R., Faust, J. S., Raja, A., Strehlow, M. C., Westafer, L. M., & Gottlieb, M. (2022). A Deadly Infodemic: Social Media and the Power of COVID-19 Misinformation. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(2), e35552.
Lukianoff, Greg, and Jonathan Haidt. The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure. Penguin Books, 2019.