Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-virtous August 12, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:48 am
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Men waiting outside the fabric store

young men

old men

Sitting in cars, humming to the radio

Standing with a cigarette watching traffic go by

Sitting, eyes glazed.

Leaning, napping.

These are the patient men,

the blesséd men,

who wait while colours are contemplated

drape is determined

possibilities are dreamed.

These are the rewarded later men,

who chauffeur home happy wives,

smile vacantly, and say

“Yes, dear.”

thankful their wives know nothing

about the cost of tools.


Poem for T A May 9, 2013

Filed under: Poetry,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:32 am
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Who you are

is who you are

and you are perfect

as you are.


The reality of

who you are

is your reality,

and you are perfect

as you are.


The complications of

who you are

are a reality.


You are


that’s perfect, too.


When you embrace

all you are,

each complicated

component of your reality,

others will embrace it, too,

because you are perfectly


and complicated

is really cool.


Who you are

is who you are

and you are perfect

as you are.


this letter is purple September 14, 2011

Every one of my students is special and unique.

I don’t care if they’re white, black, green or purple.
I don’t care if they are drama kids, jocks, or computer nerds.
I don’t care if they are tattoed, pierced, or sport virgin skin.
I don’t care if they are rich or poor.
I don’t care who they want to have sex with.

I don’t want any of my students to feel  hopeless and alone because of gender identity or sexual orientation .

I care that my students feel valued and safe.
I care that they can get information they need to live healthy and happy lives.
I care that they have role models who can show them how to behave respectfully, amid individual differences.
I care that they know their biology is not a crime or a sin.
I care that they know that they are worthy of acceptance and respect.

I care that they leave school and lead productive lives full of love and friendship.

I want each of them to choose life.

I support the purple letter campaign to adopt a provincial policy of inclusion and acceptance in our schools.

Our kids are worth it.

All of them.


PS.  I’m proud of my former student, Ryan Clayton.  He does amazing work to raise issues of sexuality in our province.  He makes a difference  for students who need the message of acceptance that  he brings to them.  For some, it is a matter of life and death.  Thanks, Ryan!


xyz June 7, 2011

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:08 pm
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I teach Middle School these days.  One of the hallmarks of this age level is a bravado that overtly declares a certainty over the rightness of their ideas, combined with a secret insecurity about almost everything.  One of the things they’re most interested in and confused by is sexuality.  The idea of any sexual ambiguity seems to really disturb them.

They ask a lot of questions and I lay it out a little more bluntly than some would.  I point out that if 10% of the population doesn’t fit into the neat little box, then that means in a class of 30, 3 people in the room are not going to fit in the box.   Those stats challenge their thinking. 

I want it to.  They are already friends with someone who doesn’t fit in that box they’ve built.  They might be the one who doesn’t fit in the box!    While they’re stewing about the statistics I ask, “and SO WHAT?”  What does it matter?  You are what YOU are, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else is.  Like your friends for who they are.  Don’t worry about their sexuality.   It just doesn’t matter.  

They don’t like that.  They desperately long for the world to be black and white.  They want it to be clear and straight-forward.  While they’re trying to sort out their black from their white, I throw in some more grey.  What about those who aren’t either gender? 

What happens to the people who have physical or genetic components of both sexes?   According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission  4% of births are intersex (the term that replaces hermaphrodite).  Hmm.  In 2009-10 there were 381,382 births in Canada.  That means there were 15,255 parents filling out a birth certificate form who could not put a definitive check mark in either the box that says male or the one that says female.  Consider that in the Canadian population of approximately 34 million, 1.36 million people are in between M and F. 

This begs a question: why don’t we have another option on the paperwork for over a million of our citizens?  This doesn’t even touch upon the transgendered population.  Oi vay.  Our world is not black and white.  Let’s accept the grey and put another box on the questionaires.  I suggest “N.”  You can decide for yourself whether it means neither or neutral.


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