My students have not heard of you.
They do not know that yours was a voice that spoke
For all of them.
Black, white, Jew, Christian, straight, gay,
The quiet wallflowers and the straight-up jocks,
The dye-job punkers and the country kids,
The boys who stay out Friday nights and race
Their cars down Highway 101,
The girls who write secret poems in their journals
And place them underneath their beds
Before they go to sleep at night.
You still have so much that you could tell them,
About what it feels like to fall in love a second time,
About the special kind of fear that comes with realizing
An addiction is stronger than your spirit is,
About the type of poetry that a person can produce
When he has nothing left to give another,
About the joy that comes in the aftermath of a hard day’s work,
When the moon does not wait for the sun to set before it emerges from the wings.
When I tell them that their homework is to go straight out and listen to some of your music,
I know that the three or four who actually do will never be the same.