Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Slice of Life Tuesday: Another Sort of Slice

August 31, 2021

This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!

Today was a whole day of online workshops. I really wanted to spend time writing, but couldn’t bear the computer screen any more. So, my Slice for today goes as follows. Enjoy!

Slice of Life Tuesday: Beach Thoughts

June 22, 2021

This post is part of the Weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!


Last week was the first in a long time that I didn’t post a Tuesday Slice of Life post. I meant to, honest. But I was surrounded by THIS:

Gratuitous “beach feet” pic

And by THIS:

Door County, WI sunset

So really. Who could blame me? I spent whole days sitting right there on the beach doing nothing. And I wanted to think about nothing, but let’s be honest. I can let my poetbrain shift into idle, but I can’t park it completely. Here were some musings from lakeside (really, bayside, but I digress).

Sometimes going to the beach
is a matter of collection:
heart-shaped rocks
sun for February days
sounds and sounds and sounds

and on this day
I collect thoughts

watching the older sister,
waist-deep in the water
clenched hands outstretched
beckoning her brother to play
rock or no rock? just guess!
(I don’t really care)
no! really. rock or no rock? you pick
(shrugs, turns his back, walks away)

and out of sheer commitment to the bit
she opens a fist to no one
and shouts
the left hand? okay!…look at that! you were right!

then that same sister
in full view
of brother
and parent
kicks over the brother’s rock pile
with an oops
and a laugh
and a smile
and in the same motion
bends to pick up his flip-flops
and bring them over
for him
in what I can only describe
as the world’s most
most perfect demonstration
of what it’s like
to have a sibling


Just for you: 30 seconds of sounds and sounds and sounds

Assigned Writing: A Poem

May 21, 2021

This May, I’m committing myself to writing student-assigned topics. Some of them might be cut-and-dried, some of them might be bears. And some of them will reveal themselves in the writing.

Today’s assignment: Write a poem.
(I’m not going to lie. I may have juggled things today so I could use it as an excuse for poetry writing.)


You know,

On days when you are adrift
in the sea
with nothing
but that horizon-perfect circle

you might catch
out of the corner of your eye
bobbing out there in the waves
a leaf,
a stem
with a timid bloom on top

and you wonder
what on earth
is a flower doing
way out here in the ocean
but you pick it anyway
and it gives you something to hold on to
in the middle of all this nothing

and then the current turns you around
and look there,
another leaf
another stem
another flower
was it there before?
and how did i ever miss it?

and the more flowers you pick
the more flowers you find
and the more stems you gather

until you realize

you are not in the ocean at all
but standing, planted
in a garden
of your own creation.


This week was a doozie. I felt adrift in many directions.

And then a colleague brought me some cake. And friends, I know that food doesn’t solve problems. I know that cake doesn’t make everything better.

But it does make SOME things better, sometimes. And on that rough morning, those bites of sweetness were a simple reminder that the love we put into the world sometimes does, indeed, come back in our direction.

And then a former parent reached out to me to tell me what her grown-up kid was up to (once a lovey, always a lovey).

And then my irises, sent to me by my dad, emerged to bring me a yearly reminder of him.

And then I sat with some friends for bubble tea and validation.

And then someone thought of me at the grocery store.

And then I got to see reluctant third graders roll their pride into a ball and play puppets like no one was watching.

And all of a sudden, I had a whole bouquet of wonderful, right there in my hands. More than I can even count.

Strange, isn’t it, how life works.

Poetry Month Day 30: Winding Down

April 30, 2021

All of the tasks about me are stacking up
I’ve made and abandoned my to-lists
there is email waiting, work to grade
and please don’t ask about laundry
or the comments and the posts
Oh, to inhale poem
And exhale relief
All I need are
the right words
but first –
sleep

Y’all, it’s been a long month. It’s been trying. I’ve been tested in ways new and old over the past weeks. I’ve been in the wrestling ring going different rounds with my idealism, my cynicism, with perfectionism and imposter syndrome. I’m glad and grateful I’ve given myself permission to write every day, to love what I write sometimes, and NOT love what I write sometimes.

Tomorrow, I’m making a shift from poetry. You’ll see verse, of course – I can’t escape my favorite genre for long. And I’ll still do my Sunday Sit-downs on race. But I *do* have a trick up my sleeve, and I’m excited to share it with you!

Stay tuned…

Poetry Month Day 29: Signs

April 29, 2021

This evening
I saw
out the doors of my gym
a sun shower
and after showing
a six year-old how
wonderful the smell of rain is

I dodged the drops
to my car
all the time looking
at the contrasting steel gray sky

Knowing this was the
perfect time and place
for rainbows.

I craned my neck
as I walked,
then drove,
scouring,
searching,
wondering
how there could
NOT
be one anywhere

And then it hit me
that there are some times
we want signs
we pray for them
and search for them
but that won’t make them appear

Until
I drove north
and was doubly rewarded
so I’m not sure if it’s a sign
to be guarded in my sign-seeking
or if it’s a sign
that maybe I shouldn’t
ever doubt
in the magic of signs

Poetry Month Day 24: Repairing the World

April 24, 2021

There was a lot that I enjoyed about writing today’s poem. For one, it came as a surprising counterbalance to yesterday’s post. I also gathered inspiration from my time today with an incredible group of educators through the Just Schools Cohort. The work my colleagues do inspires me to do better, to be better.

That, and the fact that I’m a complete math geek at the heart of things. It’s nice when I can flex that muscle every so often.

Those who wish to perfect this world
who wish it to be
smooth and round and beautiful
forget that a perfect sphere is only
a thing
mathematically:

understand. A circle
is but a collection of points,
the round world a fractal consisting of
infinite corners, with
infinite spaces between them

(and no matter how close those points stand,
we can find infinite points between them,
and points between them,
which is why pi is such a big deal anyway)

so maybe the question is not
about making our world
perfect and round

but

whether we can
connect those corners
those tiny spaces
within and
between
our selves
and others,
bending into formation,
connecting
point to
point to
point

and

perhaps,
rather than a sphere,
the shape of a perfect world

is an arc

Poetry Month Day 23: Draft Form

April 23, 2021

The poem I wanted to write
was an apology to my students
because today I was crabby and impatient

and how at first I thought it was about
technology
(because technology)

and not about how
there is so much about me
that is broken

and not about the outrage
that day after day after day
people are shot first and fought for later

and certainly not about the hopelessness
of knowing there are things I CAN fix
and nobody wants what I’m selling

and I wondered
why was I so angry
I didn’t have a reason to be
because it’s just jamboard and google slides

The poem I wanted to write
was angry
and seething
and resentful
and rage-full

and unwilling to be tamed by words.

Poetry Month Day 22: Pooped pup

April 22, 2021

Dog is crashed beneath my feet
but of course, that’s only
after a long walk,
a nice fat meal
some whining
and then
plop

playplayplayplayplayplayplayDROP

Poetry Month Day 21: On Opportunity

April 21, 2021

They say, sometimes,
that when God closes a door
He opens a window

(and yes I know gender is a construct)

but what I really want to say
is that sometimes
when God closes a door
what’s really meant

is for you to stay at home,
look around this place and say
hey
I kind of like this place
maybe I’ll spruce it up a bit

Poetry Month Day 19: Litter-ati

April 19, 2021

Her head is littered
with poetic debris –
random shrapnel of thoughts
the daily barrage of metaphor
that obscures her vision:

the cairn of rocks from her nature walk
how trees grow through fences
(and how they’re like some teachers)
the many places where she stores her ideas
how grief attracts more attention than joy
the waiting-for of lilacs
the student who opens her eyes to hyenas, misunderstood
the giving-away of writing time
(and the pale ritual she’s resigned to)

She can’t not see things as a poet,
without lines and images swirling,
accumulating in staggering piles
so all she can do is
sweep up after herself
or open the door
and let them blow away