For one thing, I'm not huge on kids. I'm good with them, I like them, they're fun to be around, but I really don't want any of my own. Every Wednesday afternoon though, I teach a drama class at one of the larger theatres downtown. It's called "Advanced Creative Drama," and consists entirely of 8 and 9 year old third graders. 14 of them. These children are amazing. They are all SO different from one another. Granted, most of them are annoying, or out of control, some are a bit slow, and a few are just plain bitchy. To my surprise, I love teaching that class nonetheless.

I don't think that we give kids enough credit for being the sentient little creatures that they are. Next Wednesday is our "Open Classroom." This means that the parents get to come and watch the kids perform what we have been learning all quarter. My kids wanted to write their own performance. When I asked them what they wanted it to be about, the general consensus was "Me." I gave them a few suggestions, and they put their heads together, and wrote "The Essence of Themselves Poem." (Yes, one of the children, Caitlin, even supplied the title. This is a girl who told me that more than anything she wished she could be Eleanor Roosevelt, because (paraphrased): "Eleanor is the best woman ever, she was half a president, she helped human rights and women and poor people and the arts and she wasn't scared of anyone." Yes, that's what certain eight year olds think about.)

When I read the poem, the things they had come up with blew me away. In many ways it is better poetry than I have heard from some so-called professional poets. We spend all this time on E2 (and everywhere else) whining about angst, analyzing everything to pieces, wishing for a more factual world, and being as sardonically humorous as possible. This is better than all of that. Here, with very minor refinement, is what 14 third graders see when they look inside themselves:

Today I am
Windy and cold
A banana split
Teal and Orange
Today I am Febuary
Today I am a jaguar
A tulip
A dart frog
A butterfly
A Blue Jay

I want a Sunday
I want a cake
I want money
If I had a million dollars I would get a dog
If I had a million dollars I would buy a pickle
If I had a million dollars I'd be rich

I love my mom
I love my dad
I love fractions
I love cats
Today I am a boot
I see Friday
I am spring
I am pink

I see Friday
I see a flower
I am the sun
I am a bag of jumping beans
I am an animal of the sea
I am a hurricane
I see crows flying
I love America
I cannot be blue

For the world I wish peace
For the world I wish candy
For the world I wish pianos and pickles and sausages
For the world I wish better Directions
I adore the moon on New Years Eve
If I had a million dollars I'd buy all the pink Starbursts
I want a Sunday

I'm a beautiful blue blooming tulip today
I cannot find a rose
I cannot be blue
I see red
I see blue
I see green
I am Russia
I cannot not forgive
I want a monkey

I am the sun
I am blue
I am December
I am the moon
I am me
I am me
I am me