Tuesday, April 24, 2018

POEM #24- If you don't learn to read…

"If you don't learn to read…"

So I could just say to you,
"Listen, if you don't learn to read,
you will have to blindly sign forms
that people stick in your face,
you know, things like rental agreements
and car leases and insurance papers
then later, you will be told
about ginormous penalties
that you have incurred,
and when you protest,
someone will wave the paper in your face
and say, "You agreed to it.
It's right here."

Or maybe I could say,
"Listen, if you don't learn to read
you will not be able to figure out your tax returns
(and ok, yes, it maybe true that you may not be able to figure them out anyway)
but if you don't learn to read
you definitely will not be able to figure out your tax returns
and you will end up having to pay someone else
to do what you could probably do for yourself.

Or perhaps I could say,
"Listen, if you don't learn to read
you will not understand
when you get notices saying
you make too much money
so your medicaid has been cancelled
and no, you can't just throw those notices out
or dump them into a drawer
because at some point
those choices will come back
to bite you in the butt."

If I say those things,
will that make you want to learn to read?

(C) Carol Wilcox, 2018


Mary Lee said...


Add to this list the lost opportunity that was/is denied others because of race or gender.

Cathy said...

Learning to read is certainly only one step in this world. As your poem points out, there are many literacies that require a much deeper understanding of print. (I've chosen not to develop my tax literacy. HA HA HA)

Carol, I'm really enjoying your series. I'm going to be a little sad to get to the end of the month to no longer have a reading poem to enjoy each day.

Glenda Funk said...

Love the repetition of "If you don't learn to read..." And it seems to me that the pragmatic reasons to read aren't nearly as compelling as the pleasurable ones. A student in my AP Lit class today said she can't wait until the exam is over so we can just sit and talk about books. We do talk about books a lot, but I get her point (exam is May 9 so we're doing the last minute prep now).