Saturday, July 31, 2010

Something I wrote with the kids in the writing workshop this summer

We had 2 minutes to use the words wind, river, spring, flowers, passion, blue, and eyes in a poem.  Ready, Go.

The wind blinked
its blue eyes at the river. The ice
was breaking, spring
had come, with
its water laughing in streams,
with its sudden rising
of flowers. The poor snow
wept, as the sun
and the wind
mingled, like guests
at a party where the snow
was not invited.  "I have
a passion for
this time of year,"
always said.

We sure had fun.  Thanks kids. Let's do it again next summer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Looking Out of the Train Window Makes Me Think

of campfires of swamp treks of hide and seek, of tree forts, and hidden spots under bushes where one could look out and see and not be seen, of pine smells and barn smells and the romance of homestead houses made of sod, of weeding of shovels of hoes and trowels, of the chill of evening of the way chaff sticks to the sweat on one's arms, of dusk and the mystery, the fear of the unknown that tramps and crackles in the woods, ogre, father, stranger, of feeding deer of feeding geese, of cows, of cowbells, of the goats on Boblo island and how you could buy a handful of pellets to feed them for a quarter, of a dead calf thrown on a pile of trash out behind the barn, of stepping softly on a trail paved with sawdust, or bark, of the train engineer blinded by the snowball some bad boy threw at the train as it crossed Church Street in January, that was the schoolyard legend, of being in the backseat, the radio is on, the car is blue, a train crosses forever in front of you ahead and the red lights (they look like robot eyes) blink and blink, of orchards, of cherry trees, of tent caterpillars and their little crunching mouths, of backlots, of old man bars, of can after can after can of lukewarm beer, of small town museums of general stores of penny candy of maple sugar candy in the shape of a maple leaf, of a night time high school football game, of red barns of shady highways, of unloading boxes from the truck at the back dock of the store, of crickets or grasshoppers of jam jar insect zoos, of magnifying glasses and the focused light burning sticks, of setting ants on fire, the intense miniature torches powered by the sun, of the smell of bacon, of monarch butterfly caterpillars, of milkweed plants, of the white sap of milkweeds, of the fresh smell of twisted handfuls of dry grass, of feeding grass to the horses (the quiet terror of their yellow teeth) of waiting rooms, of machinery that fails, of the fear of a bombing, of throwing a rock into a small pond, of bullfrogs, of new toads, their bodies smaller than the first joint of your thumb, of wolf spiders, of bonsai trees, how you thought you might grow one in a coffee can, of foxes, of a raccoon, of the novel Rascal and the scene where the whipporwills called over the field just after dusk, of my sister who is gone, who is gone by her own hand, of guns, of desperation, of the train, how it pulls me forward and i do not resist and do not know if resistance is something to desire.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Remember

As a nod to recently re-reading Joe Brainard's book I Remember:

I remember sparklers, and how we wouldn't be able to wait until dark to light them.

I remember how much better it was to have sparklers in the full dark, the dazzle of twirling them in circles.

I remember not liking firecrackers.  (I still don't)

I remember stories of boys who would put a firecracker in a toad's mouth, so it hung out like the taod was smoking a cigar, and then they'd light it.

I remember how this horrified me, I liked toads so much, their absurd little hands.

I remember that I never actually saw any boys do that to toads.

I remember hearing about people that put firecrackers in a cat's butt, or a string of them tied to a cat's tail.

I remember fireworks.

I remember fireworks at Metro Beach, viewed from the bed of a pickup truck.

I remember fireworks at Shadyside Park.

I remember Fireworks at the riverside, and how the boom would echo against the skyscrapers downtown and I'd feel the explosion like a thud in my stomach.

I remember that the skyscapers downtown seemed very very tall.

I remember they were 12 whole stories.

I remember camping on the fourth, and Uncle Martin crept off into the woods and lit off an M-80 firecracker when everything was quiet, that time when everyone is half-dozing and staring into the campfire, and how we jumped.

I remember the cousin who had been in Vietnam leapt off his chair and landed on his stomach in the dirt.
I remember he was sobbing, or gasping. I remember that he told Uncle Martin he was going to shove an M-8o up Uncle Martin's ass and light it, and how would he like that?

I remember an aunt saying "Vietnam" quietly to Uncle Martin, she was trying to calm him down.

I remember lighting sparklers from a campfire.  I remember poking a stick in the fire to make the end glow, and then twirling it like a sparkler after all the sparklers were gone.

I remember potato salad with big chunks of hard-boiled egg.  I remember baked beans, how they came from a can but my mom would "doctor" them and bake them in a covered dish.

I remember campfires. And the pop of an ember, like a firecracker but much more sedate.