Don’t call me confessional. I’m always like this.

After Dad’s death, my writing has been a bit stunted.

This is something I’ve felt for a long time, though, about my work. Someone once called it confessional. Whatever.

I’m not flouncy trouncy or whippor-whillsy. I’m just me. No special kind of writer from the club of special specialists with special names and badges. I just write.

It keeps me sane.

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We are a bird story.

We Are a Bird Story

I am your song,
and you are mine.
Most days, things down low
don’t seem to matter,
except a bit of food I take
from the ground
for you.
I share all,
serve you from my mouth.
You take, eat.
I use feathers, bits of moss and trash,
and make our grand nest.

Swinging in your swing,
I watch you pour
rainwater on wildflowers-
your yellow watering can tipping
precariously,
and I listen to the sound of the birds
emerging from their houses.

Home not home

It’s been too long since I’ve posted.  Dad went into the nursing home, and now we are having trouble getting Medicaid to keep him there.  Having said that, I’d like to share some thoughts about nursing homes and modern health care:

Legless, often speechless, voiceless, everywhere in wheelchairs, waiting faces, lives of modern medicine. expressionless at least, we see they don’t have, forget they had, still have.  Aunt  said, “putting us out to pasture.”  Keep them alive. “Live longer! Look younger!” the commercials preach.  And they sit, childlike, smooth or wrinkled faces, eyes that still see, ears that still hear.

She was a high school teacher.                                                                                                                                                                   He was an engineer at NASA.                                                                                                                                                                    She was a mother, a caregiver herself, a lover, a writer.                                                                                                                                                                    He was a Tuskeegee Airman.                                                                                                                                                                  Made soup on cold days, loved.                                                                                                                                                           Built his own shop to work on his motorcycles, now rusted and scrapped.                                                                                                                                                                                    Watched his buddy die in the war.                                                                                                                                                                        Lost her husband in the war.

The lives go on, and the stories.  But we don’t hear, don’t even ask.  We feel sad, or ignore so we won’t.  We stick hats on their heads for holidays.  We dress them up for church.  We smile, and feel so proud when they smile back, because we visited, for once, because we did something, not nothing.  They watched their children grow into adults and have their own children, and their children, grandchildren don’t have time.  But praise modern medicine for saving their grandmas and grandpas!  What would we do without longevity?  What will we do with it?  Bodies and brains rotting, but alive, by God, alive.

Watching Bonanza

Bonanza is one of those shows Dad always liked.

When he falls asleep here, it’s different, sadder.

At home, he’d fall asleep in that same old chair, and it seemed the same.

At the nursing home, now, it’s like he’s stopped being with us, maybe because 

I really want to spend time with him now, and he sleeps when he sleeps, whether I’m here or not.

I touch his arm, sit here watching Bonanza as he sleeps on.

I imagine a conversation in my head.  He tells me he knows I’m here, and is glad.

the problem with education

Izzy is watching an episode of Recess on Netflix. Anyone remember the show? In this particular episode, the B.O.E. (Board of Education) decides on new policies for the school, and the principal feels like he can’t reject them because he would get fired. The policies have to do with “statistics” that “show” what is “best” for the students by some “so-called experts.” They include giving the students tasteless “nutrition paste” for lunch, tearing down the playground, tearing down the lockers and putting up “inspirational quotes” and making sure the students don’t skip school because of the horrible new policies, mainly one student, T.J., who is a good student, but doesn’t agree with the policies and therefore barricades himself in his room to protest. T.J.’s plan works, because he gets press, and all the B.O.E. members and the principal and a teacher come to his house to get him out. He ends up convincing them through the window of his bedroom by giving an inspirational speech.
Oh, in a perfect world smile emoticon Also this: (imagine me rapping like a gangsta)

The corporatization of higher (and lower) education
keeps students (and teachers) in their place
with nothing to give and nothing to waste,
because God forbid we waste money on kids.

Resources, the Forces make sure we don’t bid
on the students instead of the C.E.O. greed,
and think we can put education in a box,
with some numbers, some tests and an ugly cell block
of a classroom that has lost all its color and light.

The place we remember as kids we should fight
for, and when they keep us from the right type of teaching
one-on-one, self-directed, and critical thinking
allowing students to show what they have,

and to use it, not lose it, to create and to plan
problem-solve something other than just plans that they give
and do things with their hands that will help them to LIVE
their lives outside of the box that was built

because someone thought they could manage us with fiscal skills
when the teachers should be allowed to inspire, encourage and mend
all the fears we give students and help them to fend
for themselves as right now they can’t do,
and give them the courage and give them a clue.

As it stands, we part-timers carry 3/4 of the load for all colleges. Wrhoa…is that what she said?  Is she really right?  Yes, she is, and she just doesn’t know how to fight to keep corporate greed out of this nation, and give students back their education.

Every once in a while, I’m inspired to write a bad rap. I guess it’s what listening to Beastie Boys in my young life did to me.

Big is not a color.

She said it to me like I didn’t know, and I cried.  Big is pressing on me like I push crayons too hard into the page, break them.  The color of my mood is big.  Big is a monkey and a whisper I hear at night when I’m trying to sleep.  It’s the one that tells me I’m not good enough, or that life is too much.  Big is ugly and makes me want to kick something really hard until I break my toes.  Big is a small cage.  Big is a sarcastic, nagging relative.  Big is the condescending boss.

I scribble big on the backs of receipts.  I write big in my notebook.  I color big in my daughter’s coloring books.  I cut big scraps of life onto the floor, hamdy-scamdy, uneven pieces of my anger, scattered in my hair, on the kitchen floor in rainbow slivers.

Big means I cannot sit in this box much longer.  Big means I will hide away, here in my mind, and scribble black and blue and red and purple and yellow, until I get out of here.

She thought she knew, but she didn’t.

Edits

I will occasionally go back to poems written here and edit. My publisher suggested a more prose-style format. I’m working with that.

I think a lot about line breaks, and try to slow things down on the page. Maybe I do it too much now. It comes out of my head pretty quickly, so maybe some poems should reflect that.

I often think people will read prose poetry without enough reflection on each line, so I’m thinking about the cadence of language, how line breaks reflect that. I also love sound, and want to explore that more in my own work.