Elementary School by Walter BirdwellWe have a school in town
The only elementary school
It serves different neighborhoods
The kids know their own area best
They know the others though.

Some years back Carlos was the toughest kid
He got older, finished up, and left the school
Other kids came up through the grades
Perrier, Fritz, and Tommy were rivals
But always know they were North side boys.

Sam grew a lot bigger than the other kids
He was from a western North side area
His only competition was named Ivan
A really big kid from eastern North side
They knew that neither could whip the other.

Sam’s sidekick was a new kid called Izzy
A little bully who picked on smaller kids
He was younger than the big boys
Izzy knew that Sam would always back him
No matter how mean he was to his classmates.

Sam is going to junior high before very long
The new tough kids are Southside boys
Carlos’ little brother Pedro, the family moved
Chang, Ali, and DeMarcus all attend now
Southside kids are going to run the school.

That’s how it was when I attended there
The grownups tell me about their time in
School and the different neighborhoods
Dominating then. I don’t doubt that’s true
I just tell how it was when I was going there.

Author: Walter Birdwell

Born in Missouri in 1942, Walter Birdwell graduated from the University of Missouri in 1964 with a BA in creative writing. Immediately enlisted in the US army to avoid the draft and was in the US army from 1964 to 1967. Married Yolanda Garza a month after discharge from the Army and have been married forty-five years. Walter is a progressive political activist and has been for about fifty years and a follower of Pagan religious tradition for about twenty years. Have previously published newspaper articles in The Southern Patriot and the New York City Guardian newspapers (both defunct progressive newspapers) in the 1970s and have recently published articles in The Missouri Chigger, an Ozark area magazine, and the Brownsville Herald. Enjoys writing, sculpture, hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, reading, traveling, and all outdoor activities.


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  1. Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky says:

    I can see it, feel it …and I was fortunate to hear him read it! Write more! Man has a feel for small places ,…

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