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Monday, March 27, 2023


by Cecil Morris

A Florida charter school principal said she was forced to resign this week after some parents complained about their sixth-grade students being shown images of Michelangelo’s “David” statue in class, with one parent believing the art lesson on the Renaissance masterpiece amounted to pornographic material. —The Washington Post, March 24, 2023

A mob of sixth grade students complained
that David defied the school dress code
and came completely naked to school
where he stood, hugely white and naked,
aloof and silent and all judge-y,
with his extra-large, not-even-erect thing
and his hanging sack on display. 

The boys said: he made us feel uncomfortable
and maybe even a little guilty
because, because, and we don’t want to say this,
but we will because we have to stand up
to bullies like him. We have to speak up,
that’s what our parents and teachers tell us,
so here goes, David made us feel bad
because we are white
but not nearly as white as him
and our things are not as big.
It’s like he’s judging our heritage
and putting us down. And those sculpted abs
and pecs and biceps and muscled thighs
and his tremendous height, it's just not right.

And some girls added their complaints
about double standards and sexist favoritism.
They said: you know David was naked
and we can’t even wear spaghetti straps
or off-the-shoulder tops or crop tops
that show a strip of skin and belly buttons.
How is that right or fair?

The boys and girls together said: we want him
removed and the teacher who invited him
and the principal and maybe you, too.
State law says you can’t teach stuff
that makes us feel bad. We saw that on the news
so we want David gone, and no more Cs
or Ds or Fs cause they make us feel bad, too.

Cecil Morris retired after 37 years of teaching high school English and now has turned to writing what he used to teach students to understand and (he hopes) enjoy. He has had a handful of poems published in The Cimarron ReviewThe Ekphrastic ReviewEnglish JournalHole in the Head ReviewThe Midwest QuarterlyThe New Verse NewsTalking River Review, and other literary magazines.