Poetry Like Really Good French Fries

Today’s book launch countdown story behind the story comes from Aaron Counts who teaches for WITS at Chief Sealth High School.

When, teaching poetry to high schoolers, it helps to be a realist. Poetry isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. We often treat poetry as if it is something different than other forms of writing; it is strange and exotic. Poetry is the truffle of the literary world.

Yes, truffles. Not the rich chocolate treats, but the ugly fungus—cousin to mushrooms—that are prized in gourmet kitchens worldwide. They’re difficult to harvest, pungent in flavor, and rare. That earthy flavor isn’t for everyone. But sometimes you just need to experience that new taste in the context of something familiar. I know a few restaurants that shave some truffles over a plate of buttery pasta or serve up the tastiest French fries coated in truffle oil and sea salt.

Rumaldo Hernandez from Sealth High School is one of those reluctant poets. He reminded me on more than one occasion that poetry isn’t really his thing. Still, every Monday, he gave me a chance to change his mind, finding his way through the sample poems we read and diving into the writing of his own even when he wasn’t confident in what would come out of the experience.

His poem, The Clock, was borne out of that trust. It is rooted in something real—watching the clock to see just how much longer he had to grind it out with this poetry stuff. In it, he brought humor and insight into the act of waiting, and I think he found an authentic and fun voice along the way—as warm and comforting as a plate of French fries.

One Response to “Poetry Like Really Good French Fries”

  1. Great poem! Thank Rumaldo for me. Wonderful humor! Good for him! Here’s a poem I wrote – a bit dark I admit – but at my age I’m facing “the abyss” Perhaps Rumaldo might like it – it’s another “waiting” poem.


    I came awake at three a.m.
    Because I’d understood last night
    my “me – ness” has been leaving me, as
    growing old I’d realized

    is wrong, we do not “grow” old
    instead when at our peak
    of growing then we start
    declining and slowly fall as

    our options one by one do fade
    I’ve just been placed on CPAP and
    oxygen at night – machines
    though helping me in myriad ways

    have caused me loss of night time’s quiet
    a thing I value dear
    but added with that is another
    thing that I have lost

    no longer can I hike o’er night
    electric power ‘s not “out there”
    the devices giving life to me
    are bulky, heavy anyway

    I’ve lost my hair, I need a knee
    and in a year or two a hip
    my life long options list has shrunk
    and I have had to face the fact

    as long as I’m alive I’ll see
    a gradual loss of that which I’ve
    always thought was part of me
    until the only option left is


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