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how poetry asserts itself

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (17)

Image of cute little boy launch paper ship on the lake in the park. Adorable kid boy playing with a boat. Curious child sailing a toy boat by the waters’ edge outdoors. Childhood and ecology concept

he alludes to a poem as if others

know what he thinks about before he can

speak which in this case means before he can

think his thoughts being like Rube Goldberg

devices clacking along tripping springs and

traps which propel the odd idea along

tangential routes until finally falling

into its assigned slot and everything

stops and silence expands like waves of water

rippling across the surface of a lake

eventually lapping the far shore

where a small boy plays with a wooden boat

never once thinking about poetry

(January 23, 2020)

A Disappointing Session at the English Teacher Conference

I am here

I am here abuzz on coffee

I am impatient with the speaker who is reading her power points to us

I am a reader, as is everyone in this room

this is an English teacher conference after all

the power point is structured like an academic research article

I only know this because once

I was, or wanted to be, an academic

I am a teacher

I understand research and its power

I want my students to feel this power

The presenter has stopped reading her power point

a student of the presenter has stood to witness

he was successful, he feels transformed

so he is transformed

another student stands to witness

she too was successful-

and transformed-

Bless Us Jesus-

which no one said, but they could have

or did say without being religious

or calling on Jesus

this presentation is a sales job

not just for the class on research

but for the presenter’s new book on research—

your students can feel this way too

BUY my BOOK

I’ve had too much coffee

and leave to find a restroom

(December 6, 2019)

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A Haiku a day for a Month

A little more than a month ago, one of my work mates proposed that she, a math teacher, and myself write a haiku a day for a month. After 37 haikus (I wrote more than one some days), I am going to stop the exercise. I think that my fellow English teacher proposed the undertaking in order to make her write everyday. I do this already, so it did not motivate me to write. I did find it a calming activity most days: a time to stop and think about what was in front of me either physically, mentally, or spiritually. However, it also deflected my attention away from other poems I had been working on. Usually I post about 15 or so poems a month (sometimes even pushing to 20). In October, because of the haiku event, I posted 38 new poems. I like haiku, and like writing them. Usually I make up parameters for my writing in an arbitrary and random manner. During the exercise, I used the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count, although I have in the past ignored that stricture focusing more on the brief flash of attention than on a numbers game. Figuring the syllable count is more of a guideline than a law. I don’t plan on giving haiku up; I’m just not going to sit down each day to write one. I have always written in small snatches of time, never having the leisure to write for extended lengths during the day. So, haiku, and imagism, lend themselves well to going from start to finish in the brief time I have to write. However, I also like spending time in my head as I go through the day, thinking about a longer piece. Therefore, as I stated at the beginning of this ramble, I am going to end my participation in the project. Thanks to all of you who read and liked the work I have posted over the last month.

(October 31, 2019)

As He Peered over his Glasses

She spoke without preface,

as if sh knew him:

each sentence a non-sequitar

even to itself; no beginning

no end, no predicate

to bend into an open heart.

Askew to his position,

she formed a fulcrum

with no place to stand

like surf far out to sea

crashing against itself.

Until in a froth of inaction,

he drowned, swallowing his words,

as if they mattered.

(August 21, 2019)

Chromosome Damage (continued)

(Work in Progress)

(23)

I caught my breath,

And did not speak.

Is writing equivalent

To speech? I loved you,

In silence.

(42)

Self-doubt’s constant

Caterwauling echoes,

Like now— I mock

Attempts to quiet:

Hush, hush

Little baby hush—

All these scorpions

Are your own, each

Tail-strike skitters

Across skin.

(11)

Memory circles back to savage the corpse.

(42)

If only the dead would remain with the dead;

The past cannot so easily be revised—

I know what I desire to have happened;

Yet a mirror cannot be unbroken.

(12)

I can only see what

I think it is I see.

(4)

A lens warps light.

(38)

We are woven through our day

Despite our proclivities

Or desires. A thread’s easy

Enough to trace in retrospect

As being a part to a whole.

(31)

And here I am

Beneath a December moon

Waxing its way

Across a gray night.

Fate, or circumstance,

Is of no consequence.

(36)

He touches his forehead

To the damp ground

In a patterned response

To appease God’s chaos.

Here things are quiet;

Here one pretends

There is this center.

(6)

She waits, then dons her mask.

(7)

He scurries beneath the rain.