Unhand that poem!

It’s Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day!  As always, I had several poems in my  pockets.  I’ve been telling my students about this for weeks now.  Yesterday, to make sure they were prepared for the day, I brought a bunch of poems to class so that students could choose one for their pockets.

And choose they did.  I hadn’t expected them to be quite so excited and excitable about it, though, I have to admit.  I had to back away from the table where I’d laid out the poems, give them more space.  One student actually copied out a Shelley poem for me (“Not for your pocket, I just thought you’d like it.”), and I had students arguing over who Hughes’ “Harlem Night Song” and Georgia Douglas Johnson’s “I Want to Die While You Love Me” belonged to.  I finally had to go make extra copies of both poems to avert a crisis!

And today marks the end of my tanka-a-day challenge:

Langston’s words pull me
swing me, laugh and dance with me
settle inside me
I love so many poets
but always hear his voice first

Thanks, everyone, for all your tanka encouragement.  Even those of you (who shall remain nameless) who were over my all-tanka-all-the-time stance pretty quickly … even you inspired me to keep finding and writing another and another still!  I’ve actually written thirty-five tanka this month!


Tuckered (but not ‘tanka-ed’) Out

All I seem able to do lately is say I’m exhausted and post a poem, say I’m exhausted and post a poem.  Yeah, well … 

so many missteps
so much I have forgotten
soft lips against skin
I find this path back to you
my touch reading you like Braille

It amazes me that today is April 29th and I have written a poem every day this month — and some days more than one!  I know I keep talking about how I can’t believe I’m writing poety, but I actually mean something different this time.  The fact that I have been disciplined enough to push myself to write every day and focus enough to pull together a poem each day, really surprises and pleases me.  I am always thinking I don’t have time to fit my writing in … well, clearly that isn’t an excuse I can use now.



Mix and Match

This morning I was over at Two Writing Teachers and saw Ruth’s prompt for today’s poem: to write an acrostic. At first I thought I’d have to ignore the prompt because of my insane lack of flexibility dogged insistence on writing tanka every day. But then I realized that I could maybe do both.  After all, there are plenty of 5-letter words!  And so today’s poem:

without energy
every step slow, slower still
a losing battle
run down to mute, faded core
yearning for one night of rest

I’m so pleased to see that my little pick-n-mix can work!


And when’s that vacation going to be?

Mayor’s office meeting
State Ed, job training, budgets
a day of BUSY
welcome to the working week
time slipping through my fingers

Today was one of those days, the kind that just runs at a crazy breakneck pace from beginning to end.  A crazy whirlwind.  Not a bad day, just hard to keep hold of.  And as the dust settles I realize that somehow it’s been decided that I’ll be heading up to the NYACCE conference on Sunday, so I need to prepare for that. 

I had a fabulous bit of New-York’s-really-a-small-town today: We’re about to start writing a proposal for a new family literacy program and I was talking to someone last week about the process we went through at my old job and about the grant writer from the Board of Ed who worked with us on the proposal … and tonight as I took the bus uptown after my meeting at the Mayor’s office who should I see on the bus but that woman!  What are the chances?  I haven’t seen her since 2001, and there she was on the M1 with me.  Too bizarre.  She was pretty amazed that I recognized her.  (I mean, of course she was amazed, but it’s really not that amazing.  I have an uncanny ability to recognize people I haven’t seen in years and years.  She doesn’t know that, of course, and so she’s amazed.)  I am amazed at the perfect and lovely coincidence of talking about her last week and seeing her on the bus tonight.



As the man said:

So soon …

our lives in school years
seem so long in September
but nine months (not twelve)
fly fast, leaving us in spring
too soon to say our goodbyes

I am thinking about the wonderful social work interns we’ve had with us this year.  We only get to have them for the school year — for their school year, which is shorter than ours — and then they’re off to their next placement.  We get attached.  The students get attached.  And then we have to say goodbye long before we’re ready.  Suddenly I’m realizing that we have just two weeks left with this group!  That seems completely impossible.  It means a whole school year is practically gone, means we’re nearly in summer, means time is flying at some crazily accelerated speed with which I cannot hope to keep pace.

I’ll be sad to see them go.  Of course, we’ll have new interns in the fall, but they won’t be the same.  And “the fall” is so far away.