Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Half the Day at Work, Divided by Salary Divided by Hour Equals...

Today I spent twelve straight hours in my classroom. I arrived at school at 7:45AM, (chasing the bell, as usual), and left at 7:45PM, after the creative writing club meeting ended. The fact that the kids stay after school, (which ends at 3:30), that long just to read their poetry and listen to the poetry of their classmates, is amazing. Whenever I think I don't like my job, (usually at either 5:45AM when my alarm goes off, or Sunday night when I want to stay up late, or when there's a discipline issue in the room), I remind myself of how much fun working on poetry with the kids is, and sticking out the tough parts is made easier. That still doesn't negate beingcompletely exhausted after such a long day. Running in the evening gives me more energy, but there was not time for that today.

If I wasn't fascinated by "A Very Duggar Wedding," I'd be asleep right now. No kissing until the wedding day!? I remember events in my life based on who I was kissing at the time. Learning to drive? Chris. Quitting Naval ROTC? Dave. Etc. That means my life from the first one on is broken up into about forty segments. Good classification system. I suppose marriage will merit a new system, sadly. Or not sadly, actually. I'm learning simple is preferable, most of the time. ....As are qualifiers after every statement.

Michael and I move into our new, *two story* place on Saturday. I have not started packing yet. Procrastination leads to increased productivity when it really counts.

Trying to jump-start a high school poetry league in Central Arkansas, as well as work on becoming a writer with any sort of credibility in a world full of writers with impressive verse resumes, makes me feel about like this:

from unknown flickr account - need a credit!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Community Bakery Slam

Labels poem, from round 1. I NEED to learn how to stand up straight and not hunch over sloppily. And not sway side to side nervously. And do some crunches. And memorize. If I wasn't editing my poems up until the slam started, I might have actually attempted. Lennon hosted this slam, Michael sacrificed in round 2, and we had 10 poets competing from Hendrix Colege, Cabot High School, and one new face. I need to work on my marketing skills, (and my performance anxiety), and things will be amazing.

I spent round 2 fighting to be heard over a cappucino machine. So it goes.

Sunday Afternoon Visits

  • This is what I need to do. It might make moving next Saturday much cheaper.

  • Controlling relationships: I'm inclined to agree with her take on Bella & Edward

  • Can not WAIT to see this movie! I will be wearing my Sendak shirt to opening night.

  • I hate hate hate that teacher's are expected to censor themselves 24/7. Some of these stories horrify me, (some people got what they deserved, I'll admit, but others, no). Where is the ACLU when you need them...

  • "People need the courage to be lonely"

  • It's never too late to change your life - posted at iCing, well worth re-posting.

  • Advice for reading poetry out loud - all things I wish some of my students would consider.
from ilove

Saturday, March 28, 2009


For tomorrow's slam at Community Bakery:

I also resolve to not compete with the same poems twice. ESPECIALLY not consecutively. I have two new pieces - and they may not be too terribly awesome, but I have worked hard on them. And I can't tell my students that hard work is a good system of measurement without applying it to myself. But with poetry, it's literally hard work, blood (paper cuts), and tears (self explanatory). Oh, and an absence of stage fright... work in progress. I also resolve to ignore the numbers or else I'll revert to childhood and reject future poetic endeavors because I didn't do "good enough." That in itself is no good, obviously.

Michael and I decided not to go to Cool Shoes tonight, (first time I've ever missed), in light of rest, refraining from spending money, and - for me, at least - time to work on poems. I love writing when I feel as though I can't NOT write. But if I could be in Atlanta right now with Joanie & Julia, I would - so come on Air Tran, fly to Little Rock! Digression.

In light of my fears of being sub-par and worthy of ridicule (although I know, by default as a human, I am), I shall repeat this to myself all day tomorrow:

"the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

- Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poem in Progress

This is the efforts of today's vacation. Although, nothing is ever finished till you're dead. I read another new(ish) poem at The Poet's Loft tonight. Even though it was only an open mic, there were - at the most - fifteen people in the room, and I was standing behind a podium, my knees still shook. Weening myself off propanolol may take longer than I had hoped. Luckily, I have plenty for Saturday's slam, so no shake-n-bake here. Memorization is another story.

I have decided
I don’t like things with definitive beginnings and endings.
Final destinations and points of embarkment
Should be as difficult to distinguish
As finding the edge of a globe.
Clocks should become antiquated and rust
While calendar pages should track only dust.
And I should never be able to measure a heartache
From the moment he told me it wasn’t love till today.

But the days close like books on my ability to say that
After the end,
When I deleted his number even though he said
we could still be friends,
I weighed the value of each event spent together
and decided none are worth the rent
They pay to occupy space in my memory.
One an entrance clattering open like doors in a storm
And then the exit orchestrated like twenty cellos playing the wrong chord.
I have been jarred from my seat and shaken –
It wasn’t my heart he had taken
but the fluidity of my days.

Now, I like my fits and starts to blend smoothly and seamlessly
Into the next occurrence,
Like the edges of sheets overlapped in the laundry,
One long unfolding of days without birthdays,
Christenings, funerals or break ups,
Or any disturbance that corrupts with the abruptness of the unexpected.
I want one kiss to last until the next and
To not divide life into eras.
I do not want a fossil record of characters to collect and categorize.
I’d fail the test that required me to memorize
Where each face fits in.

If there were no endings,
there would be no date on a calendar
By which I can measure the length of his leaving.
When the screen door slammed behind him
And broke summer in half,
I heard the months of the calendar laugh at my attempts to
Divide the year into seasons,
To supply his absence with a reason.

Today, I will mark it on my calendar for something amazing to happen,
For a firework to hang stranded and suspended above my roof.
I’ll tether it to a string and present it as proof
That things don’t have to fade or end.
Linear time is a concept philosophy can’t defend.

I have classified my existence by landmarks,
Phases I label by the names of people I loved,
Our meetings and partings are commemorated like holidays.
But today I resolve to denounce anything that
Detracts from the sanctity of now.
Forever trails behind this second
Like a parent straitening a bicycle,
It grips the seat and promises to “not let go.”
I pedal the minute forward and keep eternity in tow.

I’m turning a new corner
Where anniversaries don’t exist.
There is only what is and always was.
Thus, if I love you now you may assume that
I always have and always will.
I will swallow eternity like a pill and
Insure that if I loved you before, then I do, still.
I refuse the exorbitant cost of an ending,
To watch something that soared descending.

Without a then or a now,
I already know all of the people I will ever meet.
Shaking hands will become a mere formality and
I shall refuse to accept absolutes as acceptable rationality.

I crumple the table of contents of life,
Erase the index and chronology,
And bend the time line into a revolving circle.
The only death I accept is that of definitives.
I close their door,
And welcome the infinite

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Frustrated Flower Flinging

Found journal entry. Circa 2004

These have been three of the most frustrating days in the year. Is it because spring break is around the corner and the universe knows it needs to get its kicks in while it can? Between parents with personal agendas, getting ready to move (again), not agreeing on logic with my landlord, bad communication, administration I don't get along with, other human beings who nobody can get along with... it's been a bit rough.
Today, though, it was finally spring weather. The bradford pear trees are changing from white to green and the petals are lining the street curbs like snow. Michael and I took Bella for a walk around the Quapaw district, and I picked up a handful and threw them at him. Unfortunatley, they literally back fired. There are still bradford pear tree petals in my hair.
In all the spare time I have, I am going to study this article. Perhaps implementing some of its advice would lessen a bit of the stress I feel under. Or I could get a hobby, like shooting handguns or cage fighting...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Love Notes; One Hundred Places

Fairy Chimneys - Cappadocia, Turkey: visited 9th grade, 1999

"I've only been to 6 of these places. You've been to way more. I need to catch up, or at least go to as many of these places with you as possible. Love, Michael"

Great Barrier Reef, Australia: adventure waiting to happen

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dear Third Quarter,


I think you should know that I am tired of the paper weights that have been sitting beneath my ears like shoulder pads, weighing down my posture and my performance, possibly damaging my ability to think straight and reason like a sane person. I apologize for the grades not entered .2 seconds after being handed in, but my turn over rate tends to be slow as I am a methodical individual with more side projects than trolleys at a circus freak show. But now, at 11:30 PM, after much procrastination, pain, and perturbation, it is all finished. And now, maybe I will have time for poetry without guilt. For an evening without homework hanging over my head like branches - the twigs poking me in the eye. But I digress. It is finished. And there are no more worries or assignments to haggle and heartbreak over until morning, when fourth quarter rears its long, drawn out head. Here's to the last stretch of school till summer, and survival.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 14, 1982

Happy anniversary, mom & dad. If I could subtract properly, I'd figure up how many years it would have been. I suppose it is inappropriate to call dad and tell him "happy anniversary" today, since it's been five years now, but I'll still think it for the both of you.

Susan & Jann @ our last house in Texas, circa 2003

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creating an Internet Presence

It's amazing how long some things take. Or perhaps I'm just slow... always a possibility.

Over the course of the past couple months, I've been learning about the organizaiton Poets in the Street, as the two founders and C.E.O.'s will be moving in June to Chicago. It has taken me an hour to create a facebook "fan" page for this non-profit, and the page is simply fill in the blank. Clearly, I will need help in setting up a .org web address.

Working with the slam team I founded with two of my friends at the high school where I work has been the highlight of my year, and now working with the P.I.T.S. organization only makes it better. If only I could convince all of the administration to become fans, I would be set.

The fruits of my labor: Facebook "fan" page

Existant publicity: Myspace profile page

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Literary Love

I've spent the past 40 minutes browsing literary tattoos at Contrariwise. I want (almost) all of them. Maybe I can justify eating all the cookies in that it will give me more tattoo space. I couldn't choose a favorite, but this one, the infinite alphabet, seems to sum up everything:

I've already planned my next two tattoos. The first, on the side of my right wrist, will simply be "MD." Pure insider knowledge. The second will not, in fact, be "YEATS" even though that's technically what I said when I went to drop off the design, but it will be a Yeat's quote on my right hip. From "Who Will Go With Fergus Now," I want:

"All dishevelled wandering stars"

with a picture of the Amanda's Pennant (celithemas Amanda) dragonfly flanking the lettering. If only money were no object... although because it is, I save myself some skin for all the things I want permanently added in my 30's, 40's, etc. So, perhaps not a negative after all. I am still jealous of Stephanie's shoulder blade tattoo: "for life is not a paragraph / and death I think is no parenthesis." I gave that poem to my students earlier this year, and they were not nearly as receptive as I was when I first came across those lines in high school. They seem to find cummings "too confusing."
I remind myself to be patient.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hiatus Stasis Ends Now

What a naughty blogger; I've let my writing endeavor fall by the wayside since July. My new goal is to spend at least an hour writing every day: either blogging or poetry. I realize it may simply be time to admit defeat on fiction writing, at least for the time being. Currently I am missing the warm weather of the south to spend four days in Philadelphia for M's grandmother's funeral. As you can see by the above photograph, there is still snow on the ground. There are certainly trade offs for living in awesome cities. But if I recall correctly from my Chicago days, it becomes bearable.

I'm trying to decide what focus I want to give my posts, if any, as this is 99% for my sole entertainment. I've recently become involved with a non-profit poetry education organization, so I intend to chronicle that and all things poetry in Central Arkansas, as well as my own poetic endeavors that have been re-awakened through my enthusiasm for poetry in education. Speaking of, I have some editing to do. (And to any nay-sayers concerning Arkansas poets: the Hendrix slam team just took first place at regional competition in Corpus Christi, TX, and the University of Arkansas team has a history of kicking everyone's ass at nationals - so I am convinced that Arkansas is a veritable breeding ground for stellar poets - Miller Williams, anyone?).

I competed in my first slam at Community Bakery last month, won second place, and now need to work double hard to keep that sort of standing in the future. Especially since it means beating Lennon again :)

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