Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I walked around and around alone waiting for shape and then this flew into my skull: the ecstasy of yesterday's plans?

He forgot yesterday's plans while he watched the arrangement of sunlight and waves. Molecules. Atoms. Chemical bonds. The light looked like it was frozen on the surface of the water. Yesterday's plans were displaced by today's thoughts. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notebook and pencil. The pencil was one of those golf sorts, stubby with a worn off gilt message, and decorated by a chew mark on the end. He wrote "a gull oscillates above the water," in the solid capital letters of an architect or a draftsman. The ideas halted. A mist of sea spray shied across his face and made him think of sex. He couldn't write about her. Study the gull, the sand, the waves, he thought. So much wonder, flight and feathers to cram into a skull in a lifetime.
Sketch #3 in the Visitor's Book at an Art Gallery Series. The titles of the sketches are the notes left by the visitors.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Really scary, especially at night ... what is she eating?

A radish. In the echelon of shadows that formed since dusk it looked more like the head of a mouse. Possibly a rat. Is she eating a rat? No. She bent over the wire that kept the riff raff out of her garden, and probed the dirt to release another radish. The day's sun had baked the ground to a hardness that created a light crust on top. It flaked under her nails. An earthworm, repeat customer to the garden, whorled near the strawberries. The garden was suitable. Nothing fancy, but she was proud of its healthy rows, its ready order. The shrubbery had its own language. It spoke in wagging tongues, lapped languid, lazy branches to the lawn. It needed to be punished. She tossed the radish greens, then slid on a pair of dark gloves. The hedge trimmers were oiled, glistening. She held them up, opened the blades. Her neighbor across the street only saw an elongated V cast against the fence. She liked the authority of gardening at night. She was the scheduler, the pruner, the cruncher of hairy root vegetables. Soon the rabbits would have nowhere to hide.
Sketch #2 in the Visitor's Book at an Art Gallery Series. The titles of the sketches are the notes left by the visitors.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Effectively Grotesque, Fascinating. Eliminate the Sound.

There were birds in the walled garden. They perched on the thorny branches of a wood rose, and whirled and chittered among leafy cover. The stones in the wall were cold, the dark grey color of thunder. She pressed her hand against the wall to borrow the strength, then dragged her knuckles across to feel them bump and thud. The air was humid and soupy with pollen. Felled buds and leaf whirligigs laced the sidewalk; the cars parked in the street wore a patina of pale green. There was a tiredness in her head. A hum. Her knuckles were bloodied from their trip along the wall. She raised her fist to her mouth and licked the stinging skin. Honeysuckle? Yes. It sent out its inquiries from the garden. There was no gate, just an opening in the wall near the church where she entered. Drowsy bees. A cellophane wrapper flapped against the base of a butterfly bush. A robin popped around the oak in the center of the garden. The oak was old, and some inspired handyman built a bench that wrapped around it. Honeysuckle spilled out from behind a fuschia filled rosebush. She pulled a trumpeted bloom off, reached in for the filament in the center, sucked on the end. Sweetness. A slight itch down her arm.
This is the first in a series of short sketches I'm writing based on the notes I read (and copied into my own notebook!) in a visitor's book at an art gallery. The titles of the sketches are the notes left by the visitors.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Well, no Rapture. My neighbor still hasn't mowed her grass.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I spoke about the friend who died, the one I thought was a lifetime friend. I remember thinking "forever!" when I asked him in the hallway, "Do you ever feel like you just don't fit in?" and he answered without hesitation, "Yes." We were 39, teetering on the cliff of 40 together, holding hands and hoping the fall wasn't as steep as it seemed. I forgot that some forevers are really short, shorter than a season. He didn't get to fall into 40 with me after all.

His classroom was a safe place to share yourself, your thoughts, your ideas. Kids knew he wasn't a phony. He listened. He threw his arms out wide and laughed. He challenged. There were rules. He took no shit, and rearranged the room if there were any jokers. He was respected.

I spoke about what an honor it was to have known him, and how I wouldn't have met him if it weren't for my work in the schools. I was there for his parents, not myself, not really for any award. Oh, it felt right, but damn it, I still miss him.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I've won the "Teaching Artist of the Year" award for our region's Arts-In-Education program. Today I receive the honor, and I get to read two poems during the luncheon. The award is lovely, but it's the opportunity to do the work before it that matters the most to me. I have many incredible memories from teaching poetry, I've written poems I never would have written otherwise, I've met some wonderful people, I've encouraged others.

While digging around for appropriate poems to read today, I ran across some fragmented notes. I don't remember writing them, or where I was heading with them (if anywhere at all). So, I've decided to post them here. Maybe they'll inspire someone else to write something. Please don't try to eat your own belt, and be careful around large bakery equipment.

They tried to eat their belts. Soaked them in boiling water, then cut them into tiny pieces.

His brother was killed in a bakery accident.

In September the middle schoolers move in packs, run along the sidewalks. They aim for the local park, where they spend their Friday evening sprinting and training for upcoming track meets. Three ponytailed girls pant at the corner traffic light. One bends over to stretch, places her hands on her knees, her ponytail a sudden divining rod. She will always take the lead. The other girls follow - bend, knee touch, stretch – one after the other, reeds in the wind.

Model of the week:

If you were invisible for a day?
Celebrity you think you look like?
Reality TV Show Title?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Achoo Haiku!

Some of us want Spring to die. Some of us like me and my friend Matt. Instead of cursing the darkness of pollen, we lit a haiku candle via text messages this morning. We also shared some remedies. Bread, tic-tacs, tea, staying in the shower until Summer. Anyway, these hanky haiku woke me up and took my mind off my snarflesnuffle:

Cherry blossomed air
sun nudges the world awake
Kimberly Clark wins

- JH

Green covered windows
A film I cannot clear off
Lick me, Mother Tree

- MH

Sinus cavity
clicks like a garden of crickets
Fuck you, Springtime's sigh

- JH

Mucous, viscous green
Bondo plugging my face hole
Get my nose drill, love!

- MH

Bird shit drip on car
reminiscent of sneeze
Spring's allergic thoughts

- JH

My car sits, lifeless
rag top bitch-slapped by ragweed
Eat a dick, Springtime

- MH

Oh wintry world
you vanish into a sneeze,
ripe snot, puffed eyelids

- JH

Nose, raw and runny
My stock in Kleenex goes up
Cheap 1-ply bastards

- MH

Sinus drains, drip, drip
I pop five tic-tacs, why not?
Ah, minty relief!

- JH

Drip drip drip drip drip
snot soup slips down throaty hill
A cold lunch. Serves one.

- MH

Roof of mouth itchy
Insert finger, violent scritch
Hope no one saw that!

- JH

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teeny Type Story

There's coffee, the usual cat on the lap, the pile of books I never tidied. A train of allergy sneezes followed by snarfles and a trip to the bathroom to unroll several squares of toilet paper. I don't know, I think I should stop reading the letters of writers I love. It's ruining their writing for me. My glasses don't work anymore. The prescription is just too old. I don't like squinting, but I squint, tilt my head down to peer at menus ... if I get the angle just right ...

She gets the angle just right and the door opens. Several messy letters schlorp past, leaving a trail of messy messiness. Consonants. They are so sloppy. Mannerless. The entire room is filled with giggles and chortles as the letter U tries to call everyone to order. There's a boy in the center of the room, and she wants to talk with him, but the consonants took all her confidence away with their power moves through the door. She wipes the mud and tittle (that j!) from her skirt, and walks over anyway. The boy works a thread through a needle. The thread wriggles, and she notices it isn't a thread at all but a word. The letters are silent in anticipation. U spreads his arms and conducts them as if they are an orchestra, but the word the boy is threading won't stay put and the letters stay quiet. The type is tiny on the thready word. Probably eight point, maybe six, the girl guesses. She hands the boy her glasses. He threads the word, aria, through the needle. The r grumbles. R is such a jerkoff. She never wants to play. Tough doodley-doo, r. You have to play with only vowels today. The word needle is threaded, and the music swells. An aria, of course. The girl puts on her glasses to read all the assembled letters. That's better. Sublime, even. Musical.