Monday, August 31, 2009


Oh! How small
These Words that I pen
Will be to me soon
Will seem to me when
There's no Shadow on Moon
And Genius slips in.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Have a Place

I have a place
With dark secret pathways
hours pass by
For my own amusement
hollow back-stairways
Uninviting and weaving
With hardly a light
To throw shadows in corners
and stepways on steroids
Beneath my feet heaving
Threatening to speak of my comings and going.

I have a place
With wild secret nonsense
Where I speak in rhyme
And fumble my letters
And whisper and writhe and foretell of one coming
With hooves and umbrellas
And sex in a bottle
Incantations and whistles
My fingertips drumming.

I have a place
With dread secret passages
I'll juggle your dreams
If you dare to listen
To my travels and playtime
My wailing and rapping
My haunting and laughter
Mad mourningful singing
I creep along
Never boring of darkness
And conjure up company
For no special reason.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Death of their Six Year Old

They left their baby in the winter frost.
They will walk into his room tonight
Look at his bed, empty.
His small pillow.
Baseball blankets.
And they will




Tumble blind into each other’s arms
In unthinkable, unspeakable, furious emptiness.

The furious emptiness
The furious defeat
The furious love that is sent out like rockets and land nowhere
Furious silence that implodes with the hungry noise of sorrow
Furious freezing of the heart.

It makes one weak and helpless to even think of them
To think the unthinkable
you must lay prone at the bottom of their hearts
and witness those hearts shatter and fall in flames down upon you,
Grotesque and dangerous
Volcanoes, out of control

Furious and full
Furious and empty
Furious with gentle love.
Grotesque and dangerous in each others arms.

They left their baby in the winter’s frost.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not Silence

You will think I have no strength left
Barely breathing ~
Eyes clouded with the dust
kicked up from years lived.

I may want darkness, but not silence.

As I drift toward the River ~
The greedy boatman picking bones from rotting teeth ~
Waiting with grim impatience for my patronage ~
I shall fire up my will –
fan that pyre with the heat of my recent youth.
I will curse and ask for one last drink.

Let’s wrestle in the sounds and smells of my life gone by.

Not in silence.

Bring me music ~ haunting, shocking, pointless, poignant …
I think I shall like to drift away to something raucous and complex.

Fan the aroma of fresh baked bread and apple pies until the cinnamon and yeast , vibrant and powerful, waft throughout my dieing chamber.
Deny the stench of my decaying cells and chilling, slothful blood.

Not silence.
Laughter and children ~ squealing, teasing, crying.
Let them come with dirty faces and ill manners and
questions uncomfortable for mother’s to hear.

Not silence.
Your voice.
Loud. Audacious.

And dance if you can.

Be an accessory to my death.
Make it noisy. Bring the obscene.
And I shall do my part.


Some of my best friends are words. Serendipity is among my favorites. I enjoy the way it slides across my tongue, leaps from the roof of my mouth and bounces off my lips, its syllables so succinct, so pithy, even as one runs into another. And I like what it implies. It’s a windfall when one loves both the sound and meaning of an utterance. How challenging to love words for their sound alone! Take juxtaposition. I admire that word for its audacity. I would use it often if only it didn’t machine-gun into the air, a reign of bullets, indiscriminate assaults on ignorant ears.

Smart People Don't Get Bored

I heard a radio discussion about the high drop-out rate in high school. Some of the kids complained they were bored, and the panel chattered with great concern about these darlings who are being let down by school and society. The poor dears are unchallenged. I flashed back to a long train journey I once took with my four year old. After many hours on the train, she looked at me and said “Mommy, I’m bored”.

Smart people don’t get bored.

That's what I told her. A little heavy handed – but I believed it. This was a girl who could amuse herself for an hour with a few toothpicks. And I was determined to pass this lesson on to her because I believed it: you are responsible for engaging yourself in this wondrous world.

Fact is, unmotivated kids have come to realize that if they lack drive – are afraid to try, to engage, to succeed, or to fail – if they shun effort – they can say they are bored and parents and teachers assume they have a brilliant and unchallenged mind on their hands. They fret. What do we do to up the challenge for this sparkling soul who is being short-changed by a failing school system?

What a load of cow dung!

I’ve heard this from students and I have them figured out. There is plenty enough stimuli in this world to keep one engaged, and even more so in classrooms stocked with books, magazines, computers – with new information and projects and socialization happening at any given moment. The problem with these students is not that they are burdened with intelligence, but overflowing with attitude. The world owes them a steady flow of mindless entertainment. The world owes them a job when they show up with a festering circle of steel through their eyebrow and lip. The world owes them understanding when they commit crimes. Someone should notice their glum countenance and dirty hair and purchase their art. People should appreciate them just the way they are – regardless of the fact that they don’t participate in anything worthwhile and look down on peers who do.

Oh, it’s a shame,for sure. But these attitudes have been a long time in the making. When there was no bedtime. When there were no family meals. No family games. No family conversation. No family. And now we think they are bored for lack of challenge?

Most of these kids don’t know what challenge is. Everyone receives a trophy; everyone wins first place; there is no longer a Most Valuable Player. They are not motivated by challenge or competition for they don’t know what is! They have learned that competition isn’t about doing ones best but about be given first place with no effort. Self-esteem isn’t about earning accolades or feeling an integral part of a unit but about being dressed nice and coddled. The kids – the bored ones – are empty wells that can never be filled, sucking the world dry unappreciatively.

And teachers go home feeling drained and worried, seeking new ways to get little Miss Ho-hum engaged in the class activities that seem sufficiently engaging to everyone else. Yes—little Johnny is bored. Little Susie is unmotivated. They must be brilliant!

Because the educational system has been perplexed as to how to deal with these budding geniuses, new philosophies have emerged and taken hold. These are the “child-centered” initiatives. Educational standards have fallen far and fast, with its twisted and miserable understanding and execution of child-centered education. We need to bring back standards that acknowledge competition and rewards, not just self-regard, which is often confused with self-esteem. Which comes first -— a job well done? Or the boost in self-esteem that comes from it. These kids, who received everything except discipline, are already child-centered enough. And we see the result. We see it in test scores, in juvenile crime, in tragedies like Columbine, and the lesser tragedy of boredom.

I suffer from such ennui some days; I long to sleep just to escape. I could write, read, clean, paint, organize, research, sew, exercise, play piano, sing, walk, talk – but nothing interests me. I have those days. Perhaps smart people do get bored. But they don’t stay that way! It is not a constant state of mind. And I certainly don’t confuse it with brilliance!

My four year old, bored on a train trip, was not demonstrating her deep intellect but a desire to get up and walk around. A desire for more! More experience. Not less. Our intelligence is demonstrated in what we do – and the fact that we do it. Not by what we avoid! Now excuse me while I go find some toothpicks to play with.