Saturday, June 26, 2010

To the Man in the Moon

I don't want your sweet potato pie clouding up my scarlet eyes I don't need your cinnam0n scent obscuring my heavenly vent I can't take your ruddy plains messing with my passionate veins I won't take any of your creamy notes Enticing me to phantasmagorically float ............up................. .................up................... .....................up and away......................... with you
in your lofty boat.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Turning Ten

by Billy Collins. one of my faves. The whole idea of it makes me feel like i'm coming down with something, something worse than any stomach ache or the headaches i get from reading in bad light-- a kind of measles of the spirit, mumps of the psyche, a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul. You tell me it is too early to be looking back, but that is because you have forgotten the perfect simplicity of being one and the beautiful complexity introduced by two. But i can lie on my bed and remember every digit. At four i was an Arabian wizard. I could make myself invisible by drinking a glass of milk a certain way. At seven i was a soldier, at nine a prince. But now I am mostly at the window watching the late afternoon light. Back then it never fell so solemnly against the side of my treehouse, and my bicycle never leaned against the garage as it does today, all the dark blue speed drained out of it. This is the beginning of sadness, i say to myself, as i walk through the universe in my sneakers. It is time to say goodbye to the imaginary friends, time to turn the first big number. It seems only yesterday I used to believe There was nothing under my skin but light. If you cut me I would shine. But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life, I skin my knees. I bleed.

i was born in the wrong century

Okay cyberspace, i come to you begrudgingly. Wanted to share some of my old writings (and new ones) with the universe. Please be gentle.

an Inauguration Interrogation

January 23, 2009 "What if he gets shot on his way to the podium?" "How much do you think the secret service guys get paid?" "What if you are there and you have to go to the bathroom?" "What if Bush gets shot RIGHT NOW?" "What's that on Aretha's head?" All morning they have been peppering me with questions as we watch CNN. Our inauguration party has consisted of Presidential Bingo, word searches, and sprinkled donuts. "It's stupid--to stand out in the cold for this," one snaps. "Ms. Templeton, why is this such a big deal?" The sentence burns through my brain. We have just finished studying the Civil Rights Movement. We have read books this year dealing with themes of racism and discrimination. Many of them are multi-racial, including the kid who asked the question. I know many of the freezing observers have experience these themes much more vividly than myself, an affluent white girl who grew up watching The Cosbys and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Our collective history is disappearing before my eyes; changing, and I want them to experience this deeper than having a new square on their Bingo card. All morning i've been alternately watching the TV screen and anxiously processing their reactions. I must say they appear enraptured by Obama's speech. They are eagerly taken with the promises he is making, and they fall in love with the picture of America he paints. For a few brief minutes, it appears he is talking directly TO THEM. And, my God, the youthful innocence burns brightly in their eyes! These kids who cannot imagine being banned from a restaurant or sitting at the back of the bus. (These are kids who, for the most part, have refused to get on the bus in the first place. Many actively reject the educational opportunities their ancestors could only dream of.) My goal is to impart the collective wisdom and shared knowledge of our history. I want them to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. This idea floats in my brain and I struggle to formulate an answer to the horrific question just posed.Usually this is the point where I would dissect on a long tangent explaining the creation of our government and the importance of the Constitution. I would hastily attempt to make these truths evident to them, and eventually segway into the historic nature of this day in terms of the progress our society has made. (This is the same point, also, where many students would roll their eyes and find their word searches suddenly appealing.)Certainly we have gone over Jim Crow laws, MLK, Rosa Parks, and Brown v. Board of Education. How do i make it real for these little bodies trapped in these integrated seats? Yesterday to today? How do i get them to connect there to here? I furrow my brow unintentionally and take a deep breath, briefly entranced by Obama's rhetoric. Before I can say anything, a classmate turns to his seemingly apathetic peer, chomps on his sugary glazed donut and says, "Dude, because it is." Anticipating my sermon, Mr. Apathy turns toward me, ready to hear me spout about the crucial nature of this moment. My eyes stay locked on the TV, my inability to turn away trumps looking him in the eye. "I couldn't have said it better," I reply, "Because it is."

A proposal

November 11, 2008 - Tuesday How about if I turn my confident chin 30 degrees in a southernly direction Then you can pretend you aren't annoyed by my impulsivity. And if I call your name in fantasies instead of nightmares Then you can pretend you aren't dismayed by my screams. How about if every time it snows and your windshield fogs over, Then you can pretend it contains a secret message I never composed. And if you can't remember the exact timbre of my laugh or hue of my skin, Then I can chalk it all up to poor timing and insecurity. I know we did not mean it, after all.

For Weatherwoman: the difference between us

I wrote this for her a while ago when we were speaking. I hope Weatherwoman finds her way back. October 5, 2008 - Sunday The crisp in the air today made me think of you... She knows She is a Poet, a fluid syllable--the primary color of fire-- that cannot help but be an element for all things lesser. A river without a source that undeniably churns us all along, for stones and mire must acquiesce to the force of the inherent tide. I long to be a Poet: a newborn musical chord whose birth signifies a consummation of soul and sound so amorous that we wonder why it has never been in existence before. Instead comes a tune that sounds familiar to one I heard a long time ago-- yeah, now I remember, it's a cover song. The original was better, anyway. I am only a Writer: disjointed syllables haphazardly strung together by scotch tape and hope. I am one of those sad colors of the spectrum that will never be associated with fire but rather Campbell's pea soup. A Writer's words disagree and refuse to move. Maybe if i just braid their hair and brush their teeth, I think, no one will notice. Polishing old penny loafers, enticing you to taste a spoonful. Oh Poet, you are the possessor of your creation, not just a malingering tributary. You are a sedementary star whose words move when she says. This Writer is made of paper mache--a hardened shell--fragile, and whose purpose is merely an afterthought of a substance that once was there. I would like to know, Dear One, how do I get there from here?

"When's it gonna get good?"

I teach high school English and History in a psychiatric hospital. Everyday i get a new perspective on life through my students' eyes. I try to give them mine. Somewhere in the middle we find the truth. December 17, 2007 - Monday "When's it gonna get good?" they whine in rows of collard green desks. "You said there was a trial, a murder, and a rape. Nothing is happening," they demand, "Scout's just a tomboy running around being a kid." "Something is happening," I protest from the other side, perched among them. "You are growing attached." I can see it as they let their recollections pile up to the ceiling tiles: "This one time," "in my neighborhood," and "I remember...." Enthralled I observe their film reels (sorry, digital cameras) rewind and play frame by frame across their minds. Now they live in a place where they cannot frolic after dark, and when the street lights come on all bets are off. "What?" their tiny brows furrow. "You don't know it yet," I slip, "but you love her. You cannot help but love her." My babbling of foreshadowing and irony and vernacular dialect falls on deaf ears, but they cannot deny that she has them in her clutches. They cannot help but love her. I savor this time of their journey: the "before" before the "after", the naivete before the disillusionment, the excitement before the fall. Soon they'll be on the edge of the page, not being able to recall when exactly they were suckered in. Their hearts will break, tragedies will occur, lessons will be learned--maybe only that afterwards they somehow feel as if they've misplaced an old friend. Sticky fingers twirl pieces of hair casually and they turn the page in disbelief. I sigh in anticipation of the inevitable. I cannot help but love them; I cannot help but love them.