Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Snowline halfway up my driveway
Snow sifting from sky in Chiloquin
supplanting rain, though I saw
the waning gibbous moon night
before last awake (the both of us)
about two am.

Taking ten students to Bend
not the girl braiding the other's hair
and not the boys sharing an iPod
perhaps the boy who offered me
a shiv for free jokingly. The girl
whose poem made me cry
had better apply, and the one
I hope is not pregnant.

We read two poems by Jimmy
Santiago Baca and my thought
after the teacher left the room
to have the principal sign
her loan forgiveness documents
and the students took that
as sign that playtime had begun
my thought was what gives?
my thought was why am I here
when I'm so lonely the tears
leapt out of my eyes looking
at the one deeply good poem
written in the room as I walked
desk to desk pretending
I didn't notice their disrespect
and felt useless. Jimmy wrote
in "This Day" to get silly
as robins fussing in the bough
hanging over the ditch.
I'm on it, on it on it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rain raining all around in the Klamath Basin
on the shores of Agency Lake
on 97 driving to Klamath Falls
into my kitchen
pooching out the wall
discoloring the cabinet top.
I will never use the GFI outlet
sweating with rain water.
I go outside and stare at the roof
there's a seam where shed roof
meets peaked roof
where the rain gets in
I open the door after midnight
as rain whaps against the ground
the blue tarp that covers the woodpile
my yellow car camoflaged with leaves
the rain sounds like duck hunter rifles
the rain paints fresh yellow
on the yellow path to the lake
the rain sends me maudlin messages
it reminds me of being eleven
hearing The Cascades "Listen
to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain"
on my radio in Seattle
they were from Seattle
rain and Seattle on the radio
famous and about what I saw
out my window, what a fool I'd been,
yes, a fool and I could write that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Stopping the Breakage

Clear Pyrex dish that fit my palm -
it's gone. I jarred the drainer
lifting plates.

I held the wine glass delicately
to rinse. It dissolved
within my fingers.

Bisqueware plate separated
along the crack that had held -
possibly for years.

Be careful, I say to myself,
you're accident prone,
yet every thing will break
from us, and every one.

Pain in my thumb fades
till I forget hefting the pole
that punched sudden blood.

I could show you the scar,
but let me delight as my granddaughter
chirps "shoe!" across 400 miles.

Wreckage smolders in far-off countries,
behind others' doors,
in my own heart.

I believe in the flying buttress,
key stone, all that holds what rises,
precarious. We are all precarious.

10/21/10 draft

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A weekend in Ashland with my crutch-hobbled honey
Stage craft, stage dressing, the Angus Bowmer Theater
transformed from Elsinore to Hungarian Parfumerie
to Austen drawing room to feudal Japan.
Hamlet hamming it up as a haughty head waiter
later in the week, a 10 hour drive to the coast
for fish and chips at The Crazy Norwegian
where we wished Otto alive so we could bring
him home a cap to wear till it fell to bits, Crazy
Norwegian. Minus Jim I'm back to Chiloquin
where my cabin was chilly though the late afternoon
sun flattened the lake like butter. Pelicans have
flown, the lake pocked with anonymous ducks.
This week's schedule is skewed again - the teacher
says last week was a waste and this week too.
The kids fly up like shore birds, flitty, lost,
chatty gossiping goslings pecking one another's
feathers unfettered from a regular day. Thursday
and Friday they'll have no school - conferences
and teacher day to prepare, kids away so they're
away proactively today. I swayed a few
towards Whitman and Thoreau - who knows
what pens can find in fifteen minutes' time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First fire two nights ago - I set it perfectly
thought nothing about that, till this morning's
fire fizzled and took buttressing and patience
to ignite. A friend split the wood for me - I
cannot lift the axe that leans against shed wall,
its head free moving in the handle. He
said "where'd this ponderosa come from?"
I didn't know, but I envied that discernment.

Have I set any fires at school? Two junior boys
are writing quotes by themselves to the quotes
I ask the kids to copy. Today is "I'd rather
learn from one bird how to sing/ than teach
500 stars how not to shine." -e.e. cummings.
My number may be wrong.

"I will be remembered long after my death."
is the gist of the quotes, both I hope fervent.
I hope the deaths are far away.

The football team rides crutches, wears splints -
is every one of them injured?

Homecoming Theme is "Night on Bourbon Street."
SIGH. A girl asked my permission to skip class
to work on the senior hall. The teacher asked
me to make them sit through the dismissal bell.
I said, "You do that." But nicer than that.

Back I hope to setting a few kids on fire.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Some days the log in protocols are too much
I stare at this same box - don't you remember me?
Far from home my identity is slippery, pourous,
as liftable as the fog above the lake. I make
mistakes - want validation from my machine.
Perhaps the vaccuum cleaner handle behind
the couch can verify who I am. Simpson sky
this could be Springfield. Somebody's calzone
smells overdone here at the coffee shop. My
students' final drafts sit in the car; I sit here.

Outside after six, my friends the great horned
owls spoke haltingly as I swept the steps.
A large bird waded by the stick that when
reflected later in the day looks like a wishbone.
I tripped on a rock which sent the bird aloft.
I'd wanted to sneak to my outdoor seat
to watch it drowse and rise. I set my pillow
on the log and waited, concentrated on my
breath, or tried - a large bird flew past, low,
I think it was an owl. Two geese conversed
somewhere in the tall grass behind me,
they flew too. The sky flamed a pink so
provocatively alive it frizzled my eyes.
Soon the white pelicans will get the telegram
from their bones or bellies and fly away.
Yesterday none visible near my house,
though a dozen rafted near Modoc Point Road
among the wocus pods.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

in the locker room at the pool where we swim outside
in suits and now shower, nude, the woman across from me
says, "joy is the antidote to sorrows." Then she says, "if
you want to save the world, do something that gives you
joy and happiness expands into the world." We'd been
swimming, which, she said, gave her joy. It buoys me
up and up like the giggles of this little girl at the next
table. Joy to the world. It smells of skunk in this cafe,
which bodes well, the old timers say, for a hard winter,
which we need, here in drought country with the
biggest lake west of the Mississippi right beside us.
My swim friend says swimming at the outdoor pool
is even better when it's snowing. "Put your towel in a bag,
turn your flip flops upside down on the deck and swim."
Snow pats your back like a friend, the geothermal
heated water makes "you feel like you're in the ritziest
ski resort in the west." 32 degrees f predicted for tonight,
we could be near to snow. I'll get in the car and go

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A weekend of poetry abundance
reading and workshop with Paulann
poet laureate of Oregon, former
resident of Klamath Falls,
almost instant friend.
Generous heir of the position
begun by William Stafford,
some straight-ahead shoes
to fill. And Doug Erickson
Special Collections and Archive
Librarian at Lewis & Clark,
who recorded twenty four
Chiloquin High School poets
for Oregon Poetic Voices
online archive, thanks to you!
Here's to abundance, I lift
my Black Buffalo coffee mug.