Thursday, February 7, 2008

Native Alien

The following poem was written by John Corcoran
(See archive - The Teacher Who Couldn't Read)

It was one of John's first attempts to communicate his
emotions after learning to read and write at age 48.

The poem is a perfect illustration of the pain and anger felt
by those who have not succeeded academically and therefore
feel marginalized or completely forgotten by society.

The Native Alien

Native Alien here from there,
You can be found everywhere,
Going through the motions,
showing your emotions.

Oh! Native Alien, you are lame,
And literate society plays its games
They still keep looking for someone to blame.
Isn't that the shame?
Don't they have any ideas of our pain?
It seems so plain,
But they keep looking for someone to blame,
What a national shame.

They give us our promotions,
And put us through the motions.
Bluebirds here, Redbirds there,
And now we have Jailbirds everywhere.

Oh! How we tried.
Oh! How we cried.
We were just past five,
And How we had to hide.
Oh! How we had to hide.
Oh! How they stole our pride.
Oh! How they lied.

Native Alien, here from there,
Native Alien everywhere.
Shame, shame, we can't read,
And how this nation bleeds.
But they still will not heed,
Why Johnny, the Native Alien,
Still can't read.

Oh! How we tried.
Oh! How many times has he died.
Literate society, you can't hide.
Oh! Literate society, how come you lie?
Scapegoat, cover up, alibi too.
Oh! Literate society shame on you.
Oh! Literate society you can't hide
Illiteracy statistics have your hide,
While you choke on your own pride.
Native Alien, he can't read.
It limits him, we concede,
But he has ideas, concepts, and theories too!
And that's the stuff of thought,
That you ought to concede to.

John closed by saying:
"Your understanding of this illiteracy problem in"
America is an important part of the healing and
rehabilitation of our country's most important
natural resource, our people.
If you will lead, others will follow.

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