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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lemonade from Lemons, Hay While the Sun Shines, and Cups Half-Full

Cups definitely more than half full.
Beignets and Cafe in New Orleans
My summer winds down, a little more quickly than I might have hoped for (I know I just composed a post about loving summer!). Kids don't start back to school for another month, but I have a string of training to attend. It is all paid for by virtue of a grant, which is wonderful, because contrary to popular belief teachers do not get 'paid for doing nothing' in the summer. What we get is nine and a half months of pay stretched out over twelve months. You all know teachers teach for the love and passion of it- not because we are lazy and want summers off or because we can't do anything else. But I digress...

Just Before

There is this tremor, this
last gasp of the darkness where everything, even
the warmth leaks out. All that is left is crisp,
empty chill that tells no tales of the past
and gives the future no succor.

You might feel that it is the beginning of the end -
and yet it is all harbinger and no horror.

Just before the sky turns pink.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summertime... and the livin' is easy.

As a teacher I am in the privileged position of being eternally young - at least that is how it looks from the vantage of a long vacation. I used to suffer from the sudden lack of something to do when summer began. Sort of a post-work depression and emptiness. As I get older and time speeds up I have let go of that! Make hay while the sun shines as they say.

And so, with a nod to Raymond Carver...


Looking at my tabulations
I feel good. I have a life
of the mind and people
to love. I cook kick-ass food
and take joy in libraries(free fuckin books, ones I never
before read!). I am in love with this striped
shirt from Goodwill fer cheap. And while

cockroaches and clutter gotta go - my bile
does not rise as I gaze out
across the vista of spring break, early
mornings do not loom large and I
know I will have time
to clear

the rotting veg from the fridge -
and wipe clean the names of my nemesi(s).

Childhood and summer go together. In many essential ways I am still that exact same child. Summer is for childhood and swimming and skinned knees.

My son Forest and our friend Erin Graham 'sledding' a dirt hill

A Bruise

The shinscrapes of my youth
were beloved. Picked over until
they became something worth looking
at - a thin white line - surrounded
by golden, dirt-smudged skin, criss-crossed
by bruises and abrasions.

I flew
through those summers. Skimming
the hills -
brown, foot-worn trails through green,
glossy salal, frothy huckleberry, shadowed
by straight ever green.

Hard rubber wheels on cracked driveways.
A bruise was a badge.
Fresh scabs told a story.
Road rash was to be envied.

P.S. Here is a link to read Raymond Carver's poem Gravy.
Does anything say summer quite like a full-grown man in a kiddie-pool? (Jeff Hoyle)
Well, maybe a small child pouring beer on the
head of an unsuspecting harmonica player.
(Doug MacKenzie)