What’s in my Journal
(Inspired by William Stafford)
Magic, that’s for sure
The kind that still waits up for Santa Claus
Tears, both the kind of sorrow and
But the kind that get answers in the end.
Baseball games, quiet nights on the lawn,
And picking “He loves me” daisies
The smell of lavender and tea
In a real secret English garden
Where I could have been lost for
All the ages and really understood Sylvia
The blood and guts to get to know
The way he did after one meeting over sushi
Over the Maine shores, the waves of Hawaii, and the coast
of a laughing Cayman sea
Pages of blue, in all the right shades
But a serenely, happy life in the end, maybe mine.
(A Teacher Opens Her Eyes)
They trudge in, I mean
Literally their feet could not move
Their eyes glazed over, nothing
I think, “what a waste.”
Waste of my time, waste of
Money, waste of space
Don’t they know what they are wasting?
I want to smack them into their
Own future and say, see? "I was right."
But, when I overhear one of them
Say, my dad hasn’t been home
For three days, or, I was up
Last night with my little sister
Because my mom works graveyards,
I look at my puny 45 minutes with
Them and think, what a waste
For when they trudge in, they
May have been the man of the
House for too long and are weary,
Their eyes are glazed over because
They have grown-up problems
They didn’t ask for
And I’m not helping when I sneer,
"where’s your pencil?"
They come with nothing in
Hand, because that’s all they have
A quiet drive to work. Shattered
By surveying an accident that’s turned
Two worlds upside down
It makes you want to always be crushed with gratitude
It makes you want to say sorry to those wrongly done
It makes you want to seat-belt your people in an airtight
It makes you wonder if your last kiss was long enough
It makes you wonder if your wave good-bye was really suspended of
any and all ill thoughts you’d ever had
And instead, packed only with the cavernous joy of your journey
It makes you wonder if you’d be remembered for braking for the
Wrong or for the right
It makes you look at the mountains with a little more awe
It makes you look at your daughter’s blankie in the backseat
With total emotion
It makes you look in the rearview mirror and say,
today I’ll change the world
A quiet morning at work. Shattered
By my own thoughts that if I’m not doing enough
I can turn my world upside down
I Still Wait Up
I still wait up
My feet squirm and shake
Listening for the bells
Others have sang their carols of
Have dismissed his presence,
Rolled their eyes
Or said, I was this old when I knew. . .
But not me
The word, disbelieve isn’t part
Of my vocabulary
The world needs magic
So, I still wait up
For the spirit to fill the air
My milk and cookies
Set out with all my childhood
Hopes and dreams
The mix of winter’s chill and the
Warmth of the hearth
Dancing with sugar plums
Still waiting up
The Are No Farewells
There are no words, no whispers,
No smiles, no waves in any
That can replace the spot you have,
That can fill the emptiness,
That you would leave
If we were to have a
That last gaze is not always the
Seldom is, really
When you turn around, you see
A jagged, bumpy, capacious, steep
Turn of events
sprinkled before you
Like bread crumbs leading
Your memory back to the
Person . . .
The person you lost, the person
You found, the person you hoped
To gain in this mess of a life
But sometimes, that last gaze,
It’s the highlight
And that’s when you know it’s
There are no farewells, and there are
There is only a continuum of an
you were either a part of,
Because Writing Flies
(A Slam Poem for My Freshmen of '15)
With one fumbled, awkward instruction from the lady who stands before you today, you took off. You flew. Your words soared away into the brightest sun that has ever touched these four walls and gave you freedom. And your words flew off the pages and pierced my soul and reminded me . . .
Of why the lady who stands before you today, stands before you today. You reminded me that the formative years are filled with F words. Friends and fiends, and forsaken dreams, and forced group projects and fears. Fears of failure, foreshadowing and forward moving, and the future. Yes, the biggest F word of all, hanging high in the air unknown.
But, I am here. As the lady who stands before you today to tell you, that yes! Your words matter. They flew off the page to dive down and touch the bottom of the sea of a heart that remembers what it was like to find her party invitation in the garbage, who remembers what it was like to have your best friend hate you with a fervor that can’t be reasoned on either side, who remembers that even by the time I could drive, people still drove me insane with their biting statements. Insane enough, to play with knives . . . in the kitchen . . . when mom’s not home.
But, I flew. The lady who stands before you today, sputtered nonsense onto a page, like a bird trying to take off with one wing. Until the day that those scribbles finally made sense and finally made sense of me. Because writing flies.
If you have something inside you, thoughts inside you, longings inside you, voices inside you, emotions inside you. Fears inside you, Big fears. Fears enough to fill the Hindenburg. F words between you and the sky, you write. Because when you write, you fly.
But, yes, I am here as the lady who stands before you today to confirm those F words. The formative years are strong-willed and will try and break your wings, the future hangs high above us, taunting us at times that we can’t possibly climb up to touch it. But, with pen to the blank space of a page, you create heavens more stunning than your wildest of stumbles. Because your writing flies. It sets free all that’s inside so that the little bird trapped behind the cage of everything and everyone, who not only wants you to keep your feet on the ground, but six feet under too, can soar into the open sky and say, you, yes, you, writer, you will fly too!
With one fumbled, awkward poem, the lady who stands before you today, stands before you today, to write to you with her words, thank you. For letting me observe one of the most breathtaking take-offs to ever streak the sky of this classroom ceiling. The honor of watching your incredible heart-breaking, tragic, and impossible beautiful words ascend above me brought the lady who stands before you today, to tears.
Because writing flies. And with your astounding bravery and your words—wings fluttering, we took flight. And fluttered. Together. Free.