Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Standardized High Stakes Panic

Sorry, kid. You’re on
your own today. Just
you vs. the State of Texas.
Give ‘em Hell, remember
the Alamo & your #2 pencil.
Should you not pass
(we won’t say fail) you may
retake this test, repeat
this grade or possibly
redo your whole life.
Don’t work too fast either:
these tests may cause nausea,
dizziness, double-vision,
vomiting, hallucinations,
panic attacks, bitterness,
resentment, depression,
and a profound distaste
for school, education and
even learning in general.
And Remember, don’t panic.


  1. I am so tired of testing.

    like your poem, though.

  2. Is it possible to get an exemption?!

  3. Great poem! Captures the anxiety these poor kids have to go through. I think this is my first time at your site, but I see we have some things in common, as I also teach (ESL), had a cat that looks like yours, and have a dog named Phoebe (a crazy yellow lab). Take care, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. I bet your kids would appreciate this poem, too.

  5. Talk about making good use of messy words/thoughts….

    made me scared all over again. 😉

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