Volume 33, Number 3

Arizona Rep. Cobb Drops the Hammer

More than 300 people used the Legislature’s Request To Speak system to register their opposition to the bill, but Rep. Regina Cobb, chair of the Appropriations Committee, limited testimony to three speakers in favor of the strike-everything amendment and three speakers opposed. Each speaker was given two minutes to testify.

—Ben Giles, KJZZ, March 28, 2022

It’s a tale of rows,
theirs Brioni suits, shoes
Salvatore Monk-
Straps, then large white hats,
cowboy, absurdly,
all of us in this single
room no windows no
air it seems the sweat
down our faces and backs
a tickling trickle.
We wear red, educators,
socialists hisses one
woman in lavender
Chanel as we file in,
ready to speak our
truths, teacher salaries
at 44th, funding per
student at 48th,
no increase in special
ed support since 2007,
and now new bills that take
from this, first shared Thursday
night for debate today,
Monday, 9 am.

Down, down
goes the hammer,
dinosaur bones left
by the devil, Santa
switch the letters,
slavery a career
choice, the Indigenous
killed themselves, women
weaker can’t keep their legs
crossed—I have seen
the curriculums, taught
the students who came
from these charter schools
asking now for freedom
to tell stories as truth,
and I have taught students
from public schools
whose lights flickered
on hot afternoons
in the desert,
whose teachers
did GoFundMe
for textbooks, rulers,
flash drives,

Their bills pass.
As we leave the room
after, two huge blocks,
one at each side of
the door, petrified
wood a hundred million
years old, and near them,
a gaggle of white
hats. Amen, brother,
says one
as he stands by a past
his school doesn’t believe
or teach.

—Bern Mulvey