March 21, 2012

Graybar - pt. 1

My name is Graybar.  Graybar Morningside.

“What kind of name is Graybar?” a teacher once asked a much younger version of me loudly in front of my new 4th grade class. 

Unfortunately, I was always the “new kid” and had to reenact different versions of this scene multiple times in my young life.  I stood there nervously in front of the class wearing my brand new t-shirt and Sears Toughskin jeans, grasping firmly to my 3-ring binder and my Scooby Doo lunchbox. 

“Umm... It’s a family name.” I murmured quietly.  “My Grandfather was named Graybar.”

My new teacher looked at me with disdain.

Ms. Anita Stipple was a miserable, sorry excuse for a human being.  She was even a worse teacher.  She was only 38 years old, but looked at least 20 years older.  She was 5 foot tall and weighed 90 pounds.  She never wore makeup, always wore her stringy black hair in a tight bun perched on the top of her head and she smelled faintly like cat pee.  Her narrow lips were eternally pursed together in a look of scorn. She detested children and secretly loved to torment them.  She had no friends, no family and no lovers.  Even the other teachers avoided her.  The only things that brought any happiness into her wretched life were the 15 cats with which she shared her small house.   Her ex-husband, Stan, fed up with her prudishness, her frigidity and her constant accusations that he was cheating on her, had (several years before) finally decided that if she was going to accuse him of being unfaithful, he might as well be.  When he announced that he was leaving her and moving to Tulsa with a 20 year old stripper named Carmella, she tried to shoot him with the small caliber handgun that she always kept in her purse - just in case someone tried to rape her.  However, instead of shooting her husband between the eyes like she had wanted, she accidentally shot herself in the thigh.  The bullet had lodged itself into her femur and for the rest of her life, she needed to walk with a cane.  From that moment on, the children in her classes (along with most of the staff members and some of her neighbors) called her “Stipple the Cripple” (or just “Ms. Cripple” for short) behind her back.

 “Graybar…”  Ms. Stipple spat my name out like it was a rotten apple that she had just bitten into.

“Well, it’s not really a proper name - is it?”

She looked down and cocked her head at me like a crow.

“Gray.  Bar,” she enunciated, “Kind of sounds like gay bar.”

The classroom erupted into jeering laughter.

That small, stupid action by that small, stupid woman seemingly green-lighted several tortuous months of bullying that only ended with Chaz Fabiano screaming and clutching desperately at his bloody face on the playground one day at recess. 

That was my last day at that crappy school, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

March 20, 2012


so you think you've got all the
to questions that have
never been asked
floating through life
scattering your cookie crumbs
for all the ants to fight over...

i pray
for the ability to forgive
i pray 
for the ability to forget

i remember the good old days
when i was happy
to be just another ant
clutching frantically to any crumb
you'd drop for me
the days before I realized
just how many other ants there were...

i am thankful
for the ability to grow
i am thankful
for the ability to go

the good old days are gone
they weren’t so good after all
i am no longer an ant
following you blindly
while you float through life
spreading your 

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

March 9, 2012


My kids and I will be on a much needed vacation and 'unplugged' starting tomorrow.
I will return with new poems, stories and stuff the week of March 18th.

March 6, 2012

morning jog

dancing lightly across my face
the breeze whispers secrets in my ear

the purplish night starts to fade
as the stars looking down disappear

the trees rustle and start to wake
the birds start their joyous song

this morning starts another genesis
this day is reborn young and strong

sleepily i stretch my weary frame
i raise my face to the rising sun

i fill my lungs with the cool dawn air
and i start my morning run

copyright © 2012 Kevin Routh

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