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South Carolina Honors College


by Grace Davisson 

I hear Jim still comes around,

painting invisible lines

with his scarlet paintbrush.

I’ve never seen him,

but I’ve walked the streets he lined,

following the intricate strokes that stick to the cement.


Dampened by history,

smelling of vinegar and rotten oil,

the lines separate the

Colors within his painting,

that dry in the southern beating heat

that stirs the country boil.


Hot like Carolina Summers.

Once shaded by old Calhoun trees

with rotten cores and prickly thorns.

They cut them. But the roots,

strong like steel wires, twisted and taut,

stayed hidden and safe underground.


Best to keep them.

Provided a pleasant foundation,

instead the wood was used for schools

built of birch and Calvinist mason.

Predestined to fail,

swans singing at the unveil.


And they come in last,

with expected defeat,

fulfilling their fixed prophecy.

Failing students, not Failures

Failed by a system that hates them.

Suppressed by quiet ammunition.


So how can you ask why

South Carolina is behind in learning,

when one in seven schools are still asserting

Segregation. Where it is formally accepted

that your racial identity

decides your quality of education.


Some schools funded

by the worth of their mansions,

their golden plates melted

into yellow pencils that fashion

The Future for tomorrow

and tomorrow’s actions.


Local funding ensures

to reflect the demographic.

Poor people merit poor schools,

not fit to advantage,

sleeping behind fences,

sitting still in one-story houses.


Eager students await

in classes empty of teachers.

A worthless job it must be

if no one values their work.

Instead substitutes with no degree

talk of particles and quarks.


And printers empty of Paper in

Porcelain schools glazed eggshell white.

School choice left the rest with

second choices and cut kites.

A price they pay for education when

they can’t even afford a child’s daily ration.


But isn’t that just The Southern Charm.


I do not detest my state.

I care enough to see it better.

Sick of its false pretenses

of hospitality that caters

to pale blue resorts with snowy white fences,

that don’t really care to side with our defenses.


Caring so much about building

its highways and hackneyed houses.

I wish they could instead build skyscrapers of

learning based on integration.

State funded school

that warrants equitable chances.


Dum spiro spero

While I breathe, I hope

that South Carolina can protect its mottos

of preparedness in mind and resources.

I breathe hope that they believe in us

and light the fire for our torches.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.