Lifestation Observation, by Jennifer Brown Banks

My heart bleeds
That “Johnny can’t read”
Due to unmet needs,
And inequality
In educational facilities—
Books that are outdated,
Torn and faded,
And a future slated
For poverty—
Sadly,
There was no win/win
In the “Separate but equal doctrine”
For it failed to provide
For those in fact
Born on the wrong side
Of the track
And whose cardinal sin
Is having too much melanin
In their skin

Substitute teachers, by Jennifer Brown Banks

An anomaly,
A modern-day mystery,
Part teacher,
Part understudy,

Academic scapegoats
Minus the authority,

In times of emergency,
Super heroes,
On the educational hierarchy,
Ground zero,
Bullied,
Threatened,
Propositioned,
Viewed by some
As the Opposition,

Disrespected
Unaffected,
Overlooked,
Underpaid,

The proud,
The few,
The brave–

Causing ambivalence,
,,
“Rent-a-cop”
Equivalents

JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a poet and passionate word peddler. 
She is the founder of a community-based arts organization in Illinois.