Every fetish makes students write this way.
A few blind, rambling fragments,
mysterious spelling and punctuation,
then someone hikes the ball, and the rest
is the staccato chatter of the newscaster sprinting
without a misstep into the end zone.
This one scares me, though.
A kid with half-closed, distracted eyes
lingers after class to stammer
of military carbines, fragmentation grenades,
the surprising deftness of an aircraft carrier
under skillful command.
Here’s his definition essay.
An introduction clumsily executed,
mercifully brief, breaks into
crisp prose as heartlessly machined
as the assault rifles he endeavors to classify.
His heart does not beat but ticks,
incapable of a passion not derived
from his disaffected minutemen.
I browse, sniffing plagiaries.
He ducks this one. A few short phrases
but even those, stock Patriot patois.
Clauses assembled from modules
precision tooled by dot-commandos.
Of course this sad soldier
confuses a shotgun with a rifle
but his comrades won’t care.
Either one would do the trick.
“Clearly organized, painstakingly detailed,”
I write, “but invokes no shared values.”
Thinking of Columbine, I add,
“Some improvement since the last.”