Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 24 Sheffer Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

We pass samples of divinity and swirled fudge with demi-
tasse spoons beside the beach - to pay the rent our biz.
Where the sea exhibit used to be an Asian woman sews.
We like it here where salty sand and sun are our providers.
We've found what we believe and stay in sync and link
to what we love. Like sand dollars, we haven't any
need for what's away from shore. Sip your orange
drink honey, we're listening to Haydn.
Do you think you smite us with ahem?
Go sit beneath the shade, rub in your aloe.
You're in the shallows and there's nothing else to say


What I'm wondering this morning is if more parents have sent their children to private schools over the past 15 years or if children have as it were lost their fricking minds over this time? Sadly I think that lots of kids are on the brink of having lost the ability to think or do anything interior at all without someone riding them - I'm talking about middle schoolers who I've always felt would be happier and more productive on twelve hour a day wilderness work crews than in school. Can you believe I've written that someone can ride a child into experiencing an inner life? That won't work! But what it will do is quiet the exterior, separate the ants from one another, stop the constant outer whoosh outer babble outer give and take and take and take that dominates their daily lives. Or not. Where I am teaching now it's a delight to walk around the room and talk to kids from all over the world, this generation, this kid, from somewhere hundreds to thousands of miles away. This is part of the problem. How to reach kids whose grasp of the English language is tentative - and many who've had little education in that far off place so that even if our language were the same they'd be behind. And how is it tjat some teachers blow off classroom management entirely in a room where people need to know how big the playpen is? And where it isn't? A kid yesterday who'd been suspended for weeks came back - I remembered him from last year when he'd been in school a day or two at a time between suspensions. He did well in that other idyllic now I see classroom where the teacher sat beside him. Yesterday he left the room several times - SEVERAL TIMES - and the teacher at her computer didn't notice. Her one disciplinary gesture was to deny him a writing implement. "Didn't you prepare for school?" or "Why is it you didn't prepare to be in class?" OBVIOUSLY the kid has a knack for chaos - give him a pen, and don't let him leave the room!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fifteen Inch Ruler

Your excess length,
linear logic,
defers to whimsy,
your little recognized
talent as sockstand,
spitwad bat, oar.

How unlike the horse's
tooth is the nine-year-old's?
You count mysterious

Junk drawer multi tool,
I dip you into
peanut butter
and paint.

You are balacne beam,
fence post,
wait for secret messages
to wind about you.
Hoop skirted dervish
you are not.

Oh cobweb cutter,
baton, bulb planter,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Babies are everywhere these days, and dogs.
Do you miss your childhood?
Did you have one?
I send my greetings
and bleatings also.
Send me yours and we'll console ourselves.
Did the waiter send what you preferred?
I suspect everyone has thought
the grocery clerk added weight
or someone gulped your final breath.
I guess. But have we laughed?
Are we laughing?
pumping hands above the groaning table?
Punch the keys. There is delight in pain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Within the hidden city I am an Inca
fearing for my heart, a corn ear per
beat, Spaniards oblivious encamped
facial hair beneath helmets fearsome
unused to llama feist and spit, fit
European bucklements far stranger
than carvings leading here we needn't
fear they'll read dumb as bows on knees
they've wet behind a jungle waltz
and all their schmaltz as nothing and
that soon so buckle up and buck up
head 'em out and do not leave your lard
our lives are hard but we have all we need.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Think of when you were a kid, chid
for dropping tongs, cuffed like a cub,

that's what it's all about at the rink
never permitted any noise at home

you are careful what words you use
hip high snow at ten in Cashmere

camping was a tin cup and a tirade
fir tops not the ceiling in your room

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Много спасибо для всего from

many thanks to Naomi Shihab Nye

This latte in Seattle has a white swirl heart thanks
to the barista’s skill and attention.

At the Family Grocer in Chiloquin
the salesclerk scooped stale Folgers into the dented urn.

The house has not slid away thanks to the retaining wall
after the trees had fallen across 32nd Avenue East below.

We always loved the peppery scent of carnations
but they are odorless now so we ignore them.

Children have allergies and asthma thanks to people
Lake Chelan was more peaceful before the jetskis arrived.

What about the Ceiva frame? Thanks to its internet connection
we can see photos of Sassy taken today 300 miles away.

Thanks to Medgar Evers pool in the early morning.
Thanks to the warm sauna after an hour swim.

Bald eagles have been disappearing from Puget Sound
You are fortunate to see one as you cross the floating bridge.

Your heartbeat speeds fearsomely
that massive wingspan shadows your car.

Thanks to the gas fireplace we are still cozy.
Thanks to the buds of the Ivory Prince Lenten Rose below the sleeping dogwood.

-Laura Gamache

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ah, it breaks my heart to hear the news from Chiloquin where seven out of thirteen teachers are incompetent, burned out, who cares what the reason, not teaching kids. Last year's graduating class of 36 sent 15 kids to college - 6 were still in school at the beginning of the second quarter or semester. Failure! Failure! Failure! If I yelled Fire! you'd run, Foul! you'd at least look. Failure! and we all curl into our fetal selves, turn seahorse in the silent sea of a filthy aquarium, immobilized by shame. And we should be ashamed of ourselves for abandoning children to the care of those who do not have the capacity to care, who do not try to teach. Oh, they're teaching something, these burn-outs, these cynical paycheck collectors, and you know the kids are learning what they teach.

What Incompetent Teachers Teach

So what your life expectancy is 35 -
you won't feel a thing beyond your teens.
Adulthood is the country of the dead.
Nobody cares about you.
Learning is not important.
YOU are not important.
You will be wronged.
You will not survive.

The Truth Without Flowers

If you open your heart it will break
but breaking open is what seed pods do
to receive water and air and light.

If you open your mind you'll hear lies
but you will learn to recognize truth
cracking open a book, or in a tender look.

See how the aspen thank the pines for
shelter - waving their green then golden
then again green hands in gratitude.

This fierce place with its buildings boarded
patrolled by raptors, where the rivers
bubble from under the bellies of rocks

is yours but not all that you own. Others
raise their hand to you, refuse to guide
you, but you get up every morning
alive, your heart urging you forward.
I cannot conceive boots marching through Gaza
having cupped the secret curve of your instep.

Bulldozers raze dust that hides what they raze
as I cradle a cool lemon in my palm to zest.

I cannot comprehend news of this new old war.
I map with a finger the dried tracing of a tear.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2/3/09 Sheffer Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

your fingers patter at your cell
Chicken Little to my hen
Yo Yo to my Yeon-Hee oboe
I'm dizzy as a head cold
no noz me with more olla
oh yeah, even cards or odd
crinoline slip do si does not tit
for t'will not buy you bus
fare, Kia for your Audi
I'd trick to buy your gas
offer peony and stock
valentine box a heart bleed
my need a greased pig, eel
uber moon for you in bad
or beefsteak.