Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy my birthday to all!

Eat more yams, fewer marshmallows
hugs to all your folks and fellows

When I was four, my mother hugely pregnant with my brother-to-be
we had Thanksgiving at our neighbors' house, where my friend Katie
was excited about the turkey bird, turkey bird, turkey bird, until
Mr. Simon cut into it. She screamed and ran ran ran - struck crazy sad.

Happy feasting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daily Crossword Poem Draft

Let he or she cast a stone who's never erred
or watch us goofy apes in play and grin
have you a pet iguana? I have pet peeves
which I will share for chips you saved from Reno
or let us fly to Lanai and compare leis
or sing them, lays I mean, I think. My deal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Seattle staring into the alley behind my house from my writing room
stacked with boxes from nine weeks in Chiloquin. I have put books away,
washed clothes and put them away, cleaned nine weeks of grime from
kitchen surfaces, spent a joyous family evening with both daughters,
their sig others, their in one case dog in the other case human infant.

I need to take a shower, I need to restore order to this room,
I need to sit alone and weep a moment. I do not do transitions well.
I need to write the word "I" several more times as though that will
restore my self. How long does it take for a soul to complete a journey
it takes a body 8 hours in a car to travel? A writer whose name escapes
me gave a reading at the UW probably twenty years ago. He posited
that human souls couldn't travel as fast as airplanes and so those who
travel often are often soulless. He wasn't a spiritual writer, born-again
but maybe he was nuts. I (there it is again, look back, yup, another I)
feel oddly absent and so feel a kinship with the soul-travel idea.
In my mailbox yesterday a rejection from Hayden's Ferry Review, with
a "Thank you Laura!" perkily placed at the bottom of the quarter sheet.
Next to "The Editors." Longer than "Onward ho!" from Zyzzyva. This one
could go into the "mixed-message rejections" folder if I had one.

This paragraph poses the question: "Why does my grocery store have
living orchids in boxes on the floor of the flour aisle?"
and "Why does my local City Peoples have orchids 20% off?
Why so many orchids here? Why ANY orchids? Aren't these orchids
destined to brown and die on the coffee tables of Madison Park? Why?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Got to school early to be sure we were set to use computers - it says in my contract I have access to 40 computers. This is fiction and I haven't even signed the contract yet, didn't even read it till after I couldn't get more than 10 computers reserved for kids to type. Got to school, it was dark, dingy, dismal, unlit, cold and teeming with excited teenagers, the entry way that doubles as cafeteria. They were trapped. The metal floor to ceiling gates, identical to baby gates except metal and floor to ceiling, blocking them from entry into the halls. No power. No computers. Maybe no school. The power came back on five minutes into first period, but the power had been diverted in the neural pathways of the kids, who did not return to school for the rest of the days, some of them via turning away and wandering off to somebody's house, some of them though physically present, psychically, emotionally, mentally on short break and short fuse. Tonight is the student and community culminating reading. Who will come? I have no idea. The rain is raining all around, and beginning to turn corn snow ish. By tonight it may be snowing. This is not a limiting factor here where the snow sits six feet thick in winter and school trundles merrily along. Merrily is not the way I am doing anything at the moment. I will go home, eat stew I made last night and listen to Seu Jorge sing David Bowie songs so beautifully in Portugese. I do believe, I do believe, I do believe. There are kids who earnestly asked me to help them look over their poems and kids who cut into pens with scissors and acted like I was a piece of dog crap, though I showered this morning and smile at the kid and like him. "Loveable asshole" is the way the teacher describes him.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chilly at The Daily Grind in K Falls,
day sunny and cold, coffee gone.
I am unequal to the Saturday
crossword puzzle, which I misuse
for poetic muse. My talent unproven
my work rejected by VOLT
Why Poetry? my students ask
though become smitted by Matthew
Dickman whose work and swearing
smote their distance, their remove,
they love me for introducing them
I'm poetry go-between, gateway drug
all dullness scoured from the hours
we spent in Bend befriended by
poetry and Sherman Alexie. All
was golden and I'm beholden to many
for the money honey and now must
do the diligence as penitence for forging
forward without forethough, collecting
cash before considering consequences
other than happening our trip. I've made
a grid with addresses and amounts,
have downloaded donations from PayPal.
My extemporaneous accounting amounted
to more than anyone can count. Peace out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What is important? What is worth putting energy into? If you could sit in a chair with your iPod earbuds in your ears, leaning back, room hot and dry from the radiator and redolent of skunk, wouldn't you lay down your work ethic and take a seat? If you could get away with it, wouldn't you color another person's pumpkins or draw them a haunted mansion? If you could sit with nothing to do, wouldn't you? If you were sixteen, seventeen and you had a school project the teacher wasn't going to enforce that you work on, wouldn't you claim to be doing it at home? Would you wear a blinking minor's lamp on an elastic strap around your forehead? Would you cross your arms and doze? I mean if you were sixteen years old and tomorrow was a no-school day on account of Veterans Day, wouldn't you just chuck today's work? If nobody was twisting your arm, wouldn't you let it hang down below your chair seat with the other one? Wouldn't you talk about basketball line ups? If your assignment was to make a kids' book, and you couldn't draw, would you accidentally not hear the teacher ask if you want some help downloading images in the room with internet access? Wouldn't you, given a choice, write ambiguously pornographic statements on the white board with a red pen? If your last football game of the season ended in a 42 - 0 score, and your team was the 0, and you were on the team, would that make you nobody? If you were given time, space and materials, would you put yourself into your project or would you stare into space? If I mean you were a boy sitting next to the cutest girl in the school? What if you forgot your work at home? What if you convinced even yourself that you had left work at home? When is the deadline? How many hours have we devoted to it in class? What if there were little dinosaurs lost in the forbidden land? What if a scuba diver was looking for a pineapple in the Mariannas Trench? Could the Gorse save Christmas? What if Death and a guy played checkers and Death chopped the guy's head off - would it make Death's jaw drop if the guy stayed alive? Would you be able to draw that picture? What would a were rabbit look like? If you had a hickey red as a Christmas bulb on your neck, would you turn your head so the teacher couldn't see it? What did you ask me? What are we doing? Can we go to lunch ten minutes early because we were so good?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

At night I hear the calling of the Great Horned Owl
woods flight, talon drop to limb, My Gramma Jo
hunched and quilted. Card shark on the weekends
her hose rolled below her knees, set a gruesome
painting of our suffering lord on her trestle table,
I ran outside. Lurid Geographic painted Aztec
no stranger. I feared danger and the dark, horses
teeth and shaming. My parents hooded raptors,
I met nobody's gaze, more mouse than anything
aloft. My husband longs to fly, I shut my eyes.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Oregonian Crossword Puzzle Poem Draft

Once I'm unliving will you remember all I left undid?
Boxes emptied of tea and cereal, microbrewed ale.
Born November, shriveled to an apple doll by April
My corpse adrift in a flaming flimsy boat, Norse-
like, as moon and mist and all that shivers rises.
I'll have stiff upper lip by then, jacket like Nehru
and all you'll have to do is shove my love or sit
while all you've loved burns out, tears seared.
You say you forgive me always but life's a maneater
we lose to it limb by cell, slump into our serapes
too soon our boom goes bust and all our rooms relet.
I'd not have missed your smile, our child, for all my noise.
Though I falter on the icy edge, there's little I would alter.


The wild things fuzzy feelings
too enormous to handle
for one small Max who cannot
rule them and so sails home.