Wednesday, April 01, 2015


So it's National Poetry Month. As has become a tradition, Dr. Write and I plan to post a poem a day, with some generosity in terms of how "poem" and "day" (and probably "a," if we're being honest) are defined. As Dr. Write says of our project, "We do this by lowering our standards." We'll post them here and here--there's a collaborative site where anyone can sign up and post a poem a day.

Along with this collaborative, there's a list of prompts furnished by the Community Writing Center. This seems like it should be a gift, a veritable hoard of seeds out of which to grow a garden, right? (Garden of poems. You're going to have to try to keep up.)

The first prompt, today's: write a poem about a joke.

Here are the things I did before I gave up and wrote a poem about the weather and a piece of jewelry and, like, mutability--regular poet stuff:

1. Looked up "the best jokes." (I'm not kidding. I did not even feel shame about it.)
2. Considered what is a joke. What are the elements of jokes? What has to go into a joke to make it a joke? (While I was considering this, I ran across an epic set of tweets about jokes from Patton Oswalt, so that was a small reward.)
3. Considered what things are joke-adjacent. Riddles, for instance. Puns.
4. Got a temporary crown put on my broken tooth.
5. Made dinner.
6. Graded some papers.
7. Asked myself why I was letting that prompt boss me around.

And then I wrote this poem.

Me and the prompts are going to have to work something out, I guess.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Very short letters indeed.

Dear unacknowledged legislator of the world,

Today, when you spoke to my class, even though you said poetry is, like, the little ignored child of the art world, I think you were actually, at least for that moment, a poetry shaman. Because that's what poetry is, and does.

Seriously: sublime.



Dear friend with a gold necklace around your neck,

How glad I was to see you, as I descended the stairs from poetry class to my office, where I would be readying myself for--let's face it--a bit of an ordeal. Without even saying so, I admired your necklace--a delicate little grace note to the song of your lovely unexpected self.

Lovelier every passing day, that's what you are.



Dear difficulty,

Oh how jangled up I got, contemplating you. The notes I took, the emails I sent, the Google Drive invitations I sent. Now that you're all over, now that I'm looking back on it, how overheated all that seems--but I think, difficulty, that all the jangly effort is what makes the relief so delicious.

That's right: I can actually taste it, the relief.



Dear Panang curry,

Speaking of delicious: I totally felt like I had earned you, at the end of the very long, quite ordeal-ish day. O roast-y peanuts! O bamboo shoot! O Thai basil!

There really should be a song about you,



Dear Justified,

Maybe I should be praying to the gods of narrative, but I am literally vibrating with anxiety about the fact that tonight's was the episode before the episode before the final episode. There was a lot of gunplay. I know we've been heading in this direction for six seasons, but I am afraid of who's going to die next.

Just make it fitting, somehow. If you can do that.



Dear cruelest month,

I know, you prefer the name April. But if I have to call you by a nickname, I prefer National Poetry Month. I hope you know I'll be celebrating you times thirty to the power of all the meters. 

There probably should be cake, but there will at least be a poem about cake.

At least I hope so,


Monday, March 30, 2015


Today, I said no less than three times:
My plan is to keep my cool
which, if you know me, is, if not laughable, at least chuckleable. But a bitter chuckle, that's the thing.

Never mind what event or events will call upon me to summon heretofore unheard of reserves of composure and non-pop-off-able wherewithal™. I am pulling together my wits and my chicken bone and--I'm not sure what else I have that is surefire good luck.

Here's what I have going for me:

1. I will be prepared.
2. I have painted fingernails and a killer outfit picked out.
3. I have the powers of critical thinking and rhetoric working in my behalf.
4. I know how to cede things in order to gain a greater goal.
5. I will be there promptly and on time.
6. I will be unfailingly polite.
7. I have the heart of a lion.
8. Comfortable shoes mean feet that will be as fleet as a sprinter's.
9. I will dream power dreams tonight.
10. I have great compassion and understanding.


...but only if absolutely necessary.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

You guys.

This is pretty much how it is at night around here.

Bruiser thinks it's just about time to get outside for our nightly walk. I also know that it's time. But first I have to send five billion emails and put up the new week's homepage and rewrite the rubric and make a new rubric and try to get my arms around all the things that need to be done before the end of the semester and figure out what to wear tomorrow and make about five billion lists.

Luckily I have a comfortable chair. Also, this picture doesn't even show the extent of my squalor. C'est la vie, Bruiser. C'est la vie.

(thanks for the pics, Walker!)

Saturday, March 28, 2015


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