I’m Sorry, I Cannot Remember this Poem by Adlae D’Orazio

Smart people are smart

and dumb people are dumb

And I’ve been taught to remember that

ever since I was young

But I never really did quite understand it


It must’ve been third grade

Was it third grade?

Yes because I can still see the math aid

Waltzing around in her pink suede

In front of the black board

That was marked up like a chessboard

Telling us that

Eight times six was forty-eight

and that if you divide that you get the rate

And if I could just remember that then I’d get an A


So the chalk etched into my brain like

It was scratched on by the long nails of Ms. Merlane

And it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand

Because there wasn’t a demand

For me to even have a hand

on what the markings meant

As long as I could scribble the lines in the order and shape of the problems intent

And I could remember

So I got put in math two.

And the year after that they just waved me through

Because I was a smart kid


Unlike the boy in the back of the class

Who cried when they told us that Mrs.Merlane had past

Not like the rest of us as an impulse

to get the sympathy of the ever crowding adults

He just understood what it meant to die

But I could remember that two plus three was five

So I was the smart one

And it only took them a few years

Before they started separating the smart and the dumb

Using Shakespeare

Seeing who could memorize the most synonyms

So that we could trim his sonnets into diction

Our generations suboptimal education would be able to skim

‘To be or not to be?’ Was not a question to be contemplated

But instead a quote to be restated as it

Corrodes the bridge like acid rain

Between the smart and the dumb’s inequitable brains


I know! We’ll use letters to determine who’s astute and who remains

I’m sure that kid scribbling on his paper won’t be able to sustain

Because he needs to be taught, as we all were,

That writing something new is just as heard as a whisper

Because resight that in a conversation and see who turns

It’d be pushed off as a mere damnation you were trying to upturn

And as we can all recall, that isn’t how you learn


Because smart people are smart

And dumb people are dumb

And I’ve been able to remember that

ever since I was young

So, I guess I must be pretty damn smart then