SoDak it Hurts

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 05 2010

What it Takes to Begin -Excerpt- “The Drum”

As previously mentioned, while traveling this summer, I’ll be updating SoDak it Hurts with excerpts from the ‘zine we created this spring around the idea, What it Takes to Begin. I hope you enjoy!


The Drum
The Drum in the high school commons,
Every morning at 8:20 a.m..
A heartbeat for this day.
The heartbeat of warriors and soldiers,
Of eagle feathers and full regalia.
The heartbeat of jingle dresses, fancy shawls,
and ghost dancers.
The blood of brown people, buffalo people.
From deep inside the earth and time,
A circle, the center of a tribe.

Now, the drum sees me:
White, young, idealist.
Unsure if bending my knees
to the beat is appropriate,
but unable to stop myself.
I watch students,
baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts.
They line the walls.
Leaning, not dancing.
I count them.
Where are they all?
Why aren’t they all here?
I’m afraid for them.
Afraid they will not make it through this day
without a heartbeat.

Who are you?
The drum asks me,
bending your knees to my beat?
You do not belong here.
My beat cannot refill your bleeding heart.

One Response

  1. Lindsey Plocek

    Hello! I’ve just spent the last hour pouring over every blog you’ve posted here after deciding South Dakota is one of my most desired TFA placement locations (if I am fortunate enough to be accepted, that is) and I am very interested in speaking with you further about the entire experience. Your blog was extremely insightful – I really can’t thank you enough for documenting the experience and doing so with such seeming honesty. It’s very reassuring to be able to hear about the region and the trials/success you’ve faced. Anyway, if you find the time please send me an email at and perhaps we can keep in touch/discuss more. I’d really appreciate it! – Thanks again and best of luck with everything that comes your way.

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About this Blog

I taught 10th Grade English on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota between 2009 and 2011. Currently blogging at

South Dakota
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