Birth Story

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Birthday poem. Still sick and hacking, but buoyed by all the birthday wishes on the book of face. There are several former students on my wall, currently, including the one always disappears and who I wrote a “good thing you are still alive” poem for not too long ago. My recent bout of illness caused a crimp in Hp’s plans for this birthday, which is a good sign because HE HAD PLANS!!! this is a huge development. Really, worth celebrating.

I have to go to bed soon, but first I’m going to poem all the birthstories I know.

A 7/22/1981 Poem.

Birth Stories

Here, here is the birthstory we all know by heart, the one Dad will tell anyways, after the cheesecake and berries, of how he saved my life by turning that old Toyota back on that dirt road, back to the hospital. Here is the story of big ole surprise me wrapped in foil like a baked potato, here is the story of the sunrise from a helicopter.

This here is the story of you, how they sent me off to get my hair braided for hours, and then you came, and they brought me down, but wouldn’t put you on the floor to play with, and they wouldn’t believe me when I said you would be a girl someday. How I remember Puff the Magic Dragon, the movie, on the TV when you got locked in the bedroom for you jaundice, by accident.

There’s a shadow story, baby Carrie. Shadow of shadows.

These are the stories I inherit, and this, this is the mud on the tires. How it rained when you were born, and how I told him not to speed, but screamed anyway. How you were born by candlelight, in the bathtub, and how they passed you off to him after, to take care of the bleeding, and how he looked at you.

How the daisies were in bloom and I sneezed you out, how you were a disco bathtub baby, how you rooted and rooted until you found where you fit, how you fit immediately and just right, how these stories are my own water stories, and how they build and grow, and grow tall.

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So, these are my birth stories. And today is my birthday. I’ll celebrate it another day, when the blight is not upon me. Happy Tuesday, readers of poems.

The World is Feverish

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The fever dream broke around 6:15 this morning, and that’s where I am today. In and out of the fever dream. Hp took care of my classes while I had nightmares in the sheets. I am upright at a desk, which is a good thing, and I haven’t needed any cold meds since before dinner. Summer flu= double bummer.

Here is what I’m listening to tonight, in the flu haze:

This is the good stuff. I have about as much of a poem in my brain tonight as I did last night, but I’m going try anyhow. I think this poem might just be a collection of sounds. Is that okay?

The World is Feverish

The world is feverish, and a child who quivers in the death of day, a merely babe shuddering in arms. This is the weight of one dream, rocking and rocking out of the decades. Sure, look up at the angel at noontime, and think of epiphanies, look up in the night and reconsider neuroses and blank fears, look up in the sunrise and see the arrows of bright graces.

The world is feverish and confused, now, and now the distant lessons across unseen wires come flying down, with the jagged teeth of one carnivorous insect, to pierce and bite and sting. What becomes of anything, new and new discovered, in the bright blue light, now, with the fastest keystrokes?

The world is feverish and rehearsed, and tired in its stories, but is has the mountains left, to echo off the glaciers. Here is something to discover, the sound off the rock, and the big chords of water off the rock, the world is feverish and pristine, broken and clean, pristine, and now, and loud.

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So….maybe I’m still a little feverish, or else that wouldn’t have gone so fast. Night, poemies. Happy Monday.

Fever Dream

I woke up last night with a fever and sore throat, so I’m penning from bed tonight, on my phone. Poor hp has been taking care of me all day. I’m going to do this fat and then take cold medicine and go to sleep.

Fever Dream

In the fever dream everyone is lost to me, and I have to hurdle branches in the dark, fast and stricken, to find you. Get this shuddering nightmare gone, where are you in the dark wood? For a brief moment the comforter breaks through, and the mountain blanks back where it came from and you are all found, and I cling to the sheets, sweating fear.

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Ugh. Whatever. Happy Sunday, poem friends.

Fever Dream

I woke up last night with a fever and sore throat, so I’m penning from bed tonight, on my phone. Poor hp has been taking care of me all day. I’m going to do this fat and then take cold medicine and go to sleep.

Fever Dream

In the fever dream everyone is lost to me, and I have to hurdle branches in the dark, fast and stricken, to find you. Get this shuddering nightmare gone, where are you in the dark wood? For a brief moment the comforter breaks through, and the mountain blanks back where it came from and you are all found, and I cling to the sheets, sweating fear.

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Ugh. Whatever. Happy Sunday, poem friends.

Birthday Poem

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It’s coming up upon my birthday. On the day itself I have four hours of training in stuff people should just know. And then, on the weekend, HP is planning me a surprise party. I know this because he is not sneaky. We share a workspace at the jobbie job, and he wrote down some of my best friends’ phone numbers on a pad, and I put two and two to come up with four. I’ll take it. This has been a hard year, and I’ve earned it. I’m going to quick-poem about that, and then get back to my weekend.

Birthday poem

This has been a hard year full of lessons, ones of patience and gratitude, and of pranks. You found me lost in the the skin, and the touch is savior, the touch is big love and waiting, waiting for healing. This is a year of stumbling to joy, weeping, deranged even, shuddering on until dawn. This is the year of limbo, of purgatory and of healing, this is the year of my origins, merely frightened to the quick and understood. This rotation has been a freefall, deep with effort and supple graces. This is the year of wisdom, of long womanhood, of great care and cavernous learning. This is the rounding of light keystrokes in the birth night, this is the long gestation of things held latent, it is the pushing out of love into the air, this is the milk of life drunk long and creamy, like children do. This orbit is a child playing, it is an instant ministry and a long-forgotten mystery, this year was my initiation, long time coming, to the world of adults.

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That was quick and fun, and I’m not sure what it means, except that I always feel about the same as I did when I was seventeen. So, maybe life comes in halves? Happy Saturday, poemfriends.

I Had Not Before

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In order to do the work and the life, one must be well rested, but the work and the life stay up late.

here:

i Had Not Before

I had not before known terror, until she went missing in the yard, and I had not before known love until I met you.  I’ve  got half a mind to pass these problems, with their host of attentions, is anything at all a memory? Is anything cosmos anymore? I had not before quieted the mystery, and I had not cared much, not much before.

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‘night poemfriends.

Fire Season

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So I actually did assign that free-write today, and they rocked it. We talked for a full forty-five minutes about how the world would end. All on their own they realized that the end of the world and then of civilization as we know it are different, and divided their catastrophes accordingly, into man and nature categories. And, at least two students recognized the songs I hummed as I put their ideas on the board…this one:

and this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mbBbFH9fAg

Which is fun and makes me feel less old.

If I had second doubts about teaching the emotionally-disturbed teens The Road, they are quelled. These kids have though this stuff through before. These are the kids for whom Osama Bin Laden was the biggest boogieman of all time. They remember the people jumping from towers the way we remember flashes of the Gremlin movie, or the sacriest parts of ET. It was awful, the way college students paraded when he was captured, but we have to remember how young they were when all they heard on TV and in grown-up discourse was terror terror terror. And that hasn’t stopped since. How could we think that that exposure wouldn’t cause them to dream in terror? Do we have any doubt about why they are medicated for anxiety? People, we did that to them. And even though my students know little of politics, now (we’re working on it), they are sharply aware of honesty, and they know bluster when they hear it, and they are having none of it. Gives me hope.

This is why I read this book, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All, by Maya Angelou and with illustrations by Jean Michael Basquiat to my girls, and why I turn off the radio whenever the news starts talking warfare or bodies. Here is Maya Angelou reading it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn1kZzqGXc4

Anyway, they brainstormed lots of ways we could end, and then lots of ways the earth would end, and the most astute (and arguably the most spectrum-y beautiful girl in class) said, “well, I think there’s no doubt that we’ll mess things up beyond our repair, and then nature will finish it off”. And the rest of the class agreed. They do have hope, though. They agree that The Road is the greatest argument for disarmament that they’ve ever encountered (and it may be the only one, because I had to teach some of them that word), but I think there is hope. I’m going to stop poemcrastinating and poem something before HP gets home.

Fire Season

Today the mountains are layered back, way back, six times back, in hues starting with lightest lakewater to brackish navy, and this is the best time teach how we imagine the end in fire. Fire season came early upon us, and dreaming the end is easy when the sun is smokelit and tangerine, and the clouds near to reach are salmon, then dun, then gray. What could be the cause, the teacher may ask. Man, they say, and here’s how: warfare, nuclear, dirty, bioweapons, ecological collapse, fracking and big soil poison, economic collapse, because none of them can fathom how we’d get on without money, and they recognize that good would sift out and leave the rest to hurt us, and finally, robots. What about nature? says the teacher. Well, solar flares. Asteroids, black holes, colliding galaxies, a red giant, an inevitable supervolcano, and finally aliens. And in between? Some matrix stuff, some inception stuff. Maybe we aren’t really here at all. Maybe we never have been. And Bhwheeewww.  So tell me, she says, the teacher, what do you do when the world ends? Fill up the bathtub. Find the parkas, because it’s about to get cold. Band together, we the seekers of light, those who wouldn’t hurt the dogs. We make a band as big as any vela flash, and we stick close, we huddle, us, the seekers of light. Canned goods and bathbombs, says the prepper, son of a government worker who works for the agency that knows all, and all of a sudden the teacher wonders why he knows so much, what does he know? Not as much as he wants too. She gains traction in the fact that she knows how to forage, and can, and preserve. She preserves things in great tight glasses with tight waterbathed lids, and when she wakes in the great pink dawn, the light breaks through the brine, and it is a rainbow. They want to know how, and she will tell them if they learn the three living words, the words are “hope” and “action” and “love”.  Can we get out from under this fire, they ask. Where does it come from? From the west and from the south, depending on the winds. Will it hurt us? Not yet, not yet if you learn the skies, and not yet if you learn that this is the land that we would scorch, you’ve said yourselves, we’ll do it,

unless you learn to read it.

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Another end of the world poem. Good stuff, at least in the classroom. Night, poemies.

Here’s just another thing I’ve been listening to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaCgtNKqb7E

 

Last July on Earth

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It’s late night poem again. Whiny Wednesday. Or, Wicked Wednesday. I should’ve, after the first week of doing this, given myself all the Wednesdays off. That would’ve been fair, and wise. Ah, hindsight. I’m not going to whine tonight. Well, maybe just a tiny whimper. The stinky kids (students, not progeny) are all sick and snotty again, and now my throat hurts. Blast them and their shoddy handwashing. I’m going to sip my fizzy vitamin drink and poem about….something. It’ll come to me. Rachmaninov on the Pandora is helping. Without it I’d be sleep poeming.

So, I’m teaching Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which I’ve read before, but it is doubly stomach-churning now that I have children, and it pretty much tops the scale of horrific the first go ’round, so double is a lot. I’d almost second-guess teaching it to emotionally-disturbed sophomores if it wasn’t so damned beautiful and they weren’t so into it. They’ve all read ahead, and some have finished, and they’ve only had it a week. Good conversations in English 10B this week.  See bossfriend, no whining :) Anyhow. I was reading it today just before dinner at school, outside, in a muggy and slightly smokey day. We are approaching fire season. As I was reading, the perfectly normal and even delightful July day turned suddenly still and sinister. I’m going to try to poem about that.

Last July on Earth

Maybe it is so easy to imagine the worst of all ends, because we all spend so much time pretending we aren’t already years out on the limb, its sinews snapping loudly and with some regularity. Maybe we are too wretched for this peace, she thinks when the day suddenly stills and grows heavy, the sky blue and smoke-dimmed, quite instantly she is alone and nothing moves, aspen leaves shaking, and little else. It is easy then, to dream up an end in fire. Somewhere a distant forest burns, and has eaten the air before it. The sounds come back slow and one at a time: a hummingbird, the unexpected drone. She makes that privileged comparison and the colors flit from brilliant July to scorch and ash before her eyes. In the tallest cedar something rodential, and at first she thinks they are fighting, mating maybe, chitter chitter chuddering and their chorus is sinister until she realizes that no, they aren’t fighting or fucking, no, they are laughing at her. Cupping their paws to their mouths and laughing, because they know what comes next.

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Had to rush the ending. It is so beyond bedtime. Tomorrows free-write for class: How do you imagine the world will end? Happy Wednesday :)

Preoccupations in Mid-July

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It’s halfway through July already. Ack. It’s huckleberry time! It snuck up on me this year, and I wasn’t ready. But this morning I trekked the girls around looking for that purple gold. We had fun, and picked a few. I had to let go of my own agenda, which is always MORE BERRIES, and just enjoy hanging out in the woods with my intrepid foragers. They did great. We made ice cream, and have more left over to snack on during the week, and this weekend we will hit it hard and get the gallons. Good day, but I didn’t think much about poeming. I could write a huckleberry poem, and I probably will at some point, but it hasn’t come to me yet. I’m going to try a new strategy, in which I list every preoccupation during my day, and see what comes of it:

Preoccupations in Mid-July

1) Slavoj Zizek, because he’s been in the newsfeed, and because I’ve been feeling especially bougie lately and uncomfortable with my small clicks of resistance. 2) Birdwatching. Who does it and why? Is there a world series of birdwatching? Yes. Could I ever do it? Do I care to try? What is a nuthatch and do we have them here? (internet says yes). 3) When is the first time I remember huckleberry picking? Can I remember when the bushes came up to my head like they do hers? 4) How far can a mother pick from toddlers before accidentally re-enacting Blueberries for Sal? 5) Can a poem be just a list of preoccupations? Or does that cheapen the words that are used for true efforts of reaction? 6) Why my life feels too busy for revolt and how to fix this. 7) How much more art is needed, both in necessity and quantity. How there must be some way to unleash it. 8) how investment in arts education in this country makes me sad. And angry. 8) How to sneak spinach into huckleberry popsicles. 9) How many more times I will have to perform the sliver-removal operation with the pin and tweezers, and how I’m becoming expert. 10) How to surrender the preoccupations and resistance, how to listen to the passerines and listen to her little fake whistle answer them back, how to show crossing over the tiny stream by stepping on the rocks, how maybe teaching them to leave a berry or two on each branch to nurture next year’s harvest, to listen for the creek to orient, to know that up here on the mountain, a dropped berry no small outrage.

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This kind of feels like cheating, but I kind of like it. Here’s one I forgot to add: How huckleberries are probably a superfood, but let’s keep that underwraps, ‘else they’ll get ‘em all and then sell them too us in little juice bottles in the supermarket. This is why we keep our secret spots secret. Happy Tuesday!

The Right to Be Forgotten

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I confess to not knowing how the internet really works. It offends my poetic sensibilities to think of it as anything but magic. But, that means I’m a pretty awful blogger. Like, do I need to tighten my account’s security with a two-step authentication process? I don’t know. Probably no one would want to hack my little poetry bloggie blog, but isn’t part of the deal that a program can do that? Phishing for things? And I’m sure that if I spent more time messing with this, I could figure out how to get that iceberg picture off the screen. I only wanted it there for a day. Alas, I don’t care to spend the time learning how to internet for real. So, you’re stuck with just words tonight.

I heard a story today about how the European Court of Justice passed the “right to be forgotten”, which guarantees the right to take your name out of a search index (Google’s, in this case), and the phrase stuck in my brain and made a poem.  But, it isn’t a poem about the case, though there are lots of interesting angles, right to privacy, freedom of expression, etc. Maybe another day. For now I’m going to poem fast and go to bed ridiculously early.

The Right to Be Forgotten

I reserve the right to be forgotten,

and the right to fall short of both dreams and ambition,

and while I’m at it I’ll claim the right to Good Enough For Now,

and leave the years to their fast approach.

Yes, go ahead and forget all the attempts and surrenders,

blunders, bruises, and suspicions,

and I’ll wait here by the creek,

blank as your mind in search of my name.

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This is a short poem. I can never tell if the short ones are any good, but I tried to stick some more stuff in the beginning, middle, and end, and ended up back where I started. Ah well. It is a short poem Monday. ‘night, poemies :)

 

 

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