A teenager and potential draftee in the ’60s, Richard Fisher rebelled against requirements to graduate from his high school. He wanted to convey what was truly going on inside and around him, not merely what was “finished and shiny.”
Every student had to carve a wooden panel
Set into the walls of the school
I carved the scene over a couple of winter months
An alley, two drunks and a wall
Until, I was told you can’t do that
Try again, go do something else
They say “You need to show
What’s finished and shiny”
But I need to show
Broken bricks and broken bottles
I need to show
Another side of life

A lot was happening in the ’60s
So much I was taught to hide
Civil rights, assassinations
And Vietnam
My dad and my grandfather died
My mother remarried and we moved
How can they say, try again
Go do something else
They say “You need to show…
I made a new carving of the figurine
That we taped on the bow of our boat
A little gnome with a smooth pot belly
Done to graduate on time
But without any talk of all that was covered
Or thrown away
To make this life look real
They say “You need to show…

Richard Fisher – Story Source
Will Foote – Teaching Artist, vocal and guitar

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