Thursday, December 09, 2010

The first of two days filled with poetry readings.
Poetry Alter Egos Ruled
Boys in Sharpee mustaches
A girl who read in a British accent
One boy with a mandolin as prop (he doesn't play, he told us.)
Another in hat and dark glasses.

I saw one boy in the hallway before class,
asked how he was doing. He told me he'd
been up late choosing poetry alter ego outfits
there were ten to choose from in his backpack
he didn't know which would win out.

And the poems were vividly imagined,
bristling with detail, metaphor and music.
The last reader of the day approached
the poetry chair with high seriousness.
He'd dressed up - shirt, sweater, tie.
He looked at each of us around the circle,
cleared his throat and totally blew
his cover, collapsing in laughter as he
spoke his title: "Spoon."

He returned to focus, though
his audience had begun to chuckle -
a call and response of silliness
through the poem - a ghazal,
a pretty danged real one.

One girl pointed out after that while
we'd been golf clapping, snapping
and jazz hands responding, politely,
to everyone before - he received
a full-handed roar of applause.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I sit in the throne at Memory's Vault
that faces salt water
from where the wind comes whooshing
high above my head
though I sit on this promontory
near the high bunker
and sighting place for wars
though no war ever came here
so the winds are free
to sail above me innocent as stars.
Grey clouds travel north.
The light-boughed evergreens wave to them
as I gesture at this page.
The wind grows insistent.
I know what it wants.


A raptor flew in front of me
as I walked the narrow woods path.
It landed in a Douglas fir
across the road
What a big head, I thought.
I longed for sharper vision.
I stood where I was.
It gripped the branch,
swiveled its head to assess me.
It's flight had been low and looping.
It's feathers reminded me of a red-tailed hawk.
The gift of solitude in the thin light, 8 am.
In Laugharne I saw Dylan Thomas's castle
brown as owls, and now I've seen an owl.

Monday, December 06, 2010

All day at school writing

All day today we wrote pantoums:
pantoums about soccer, football, basketball,
about violin playing and cello,
about the beach from the town on the bay,

Pantoums about soccer, football, basketball,
including sports vocabulary
about the beach from the town on the bay,
creature identification and sensory details.

Including sports vocabulary
the rigorous time management for sailing
creature identification and sensory details
and one condemning pantoum and limerick

the rigorous time management for sailing,
violin playing and cello,
and one condemning pantoum and limerick
all day at school we wrote pantoums.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I've just read a kitchen implement poem by Ginger Bread,
so I know the idea of poetry nom de plumes and alter egos
has hit at least one home here at the middle school where
the library holds stuffed shelves of poetry books, and
good ones. Naomi Shihab Nye's collections - This Same Sky,
I Get a Little Jumpy Around You, and the Emily Dickinson
volume in the poetry for young people series. Culture
begets Culture. For two weeks, four poets are holding
workshops, one each in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades;
the poetry tide is flowing, where kids' poems already
pulse with life on the pod walls. Culture and more culture.
The literacy coach says a local poet comes with a visual
artist, so there's interplay of word and image where
I may have mentioned culture begets culture, and kids
believe in words. And art. And possibility. It isn't fair.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The other poet here at school - I love that - the other poet -
there are four of us in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades,
each assigned a level, if not our own level. The poet working with
the elegant fifth graders (they are always elegant people,
fifth graders) had them make up poetry alter ego names -
Citrus Village, Odile Peppermint - I stole the idea today,
and Indigo Despar, O. Snap, Bob Hamburgers, and Pashmina
Windchimes will be saying what their Clark Kent counterparts
might fear to utter, endowed with poetry's super abilities
beyond those of mortal men, leaping the tall edifices of our
own making, traveling faster than speeding alliteration
and thowing down figurative language like miles of new track.
Here's to more new track.