Monday, May 25, 2009

My teenager struggles with writers cramp

and his disgust over his brother’s juice stained shirt
plus his brain is cramping
and there’s nothing good in the fridge
and the carpool dad was 10 minutes late

His mother is trying to help
She tells him "your mother actually knows something about writing"
She says “I just wrote this poem to show you it’s easy,

Nobody said it has to be a good poem!
Even good poems suck at first!

Ah, well,
I don’t blame him
He has a bad bad cramp
He’s in the depths of uncreativeness
He doesn’t like the dumb assignment

It's just Stupid,
and he's awfully tired

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Z Brush Spam Folder**

see your love tool growing
all you need is a blue pill for bed

have an easier time making
her ensure your potence

make love everywhere
feel more relaxed where you go

quarantine summary
knocking them all out

**poem devised of verbatim subject lines -- in the order they were sent -- from my spam folder on the morning of 5/20/09

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Smells Like Teen Spirit

When I was 13 my family moved to a new town where, I prayed, I’d have another shot at being popular. Indeed, my new-girl status vaulted me to the middle of the social strata in my 8th grade year. But it was plain as my dishwater blonde hair that I’d never climb higher unless I made cheerleader.

I went out for the JV squad in May. The odds weren’t good: Spots for eight rising freshmen and sophomores. Four incumbents likely to keep their pompoms. 80 girls auditioning.

The winners would be chosen by totaling the points from three categories of competition – judges’ assessment of cheering skills, students’ popular vote and teachers’ rating of academic promise and/or moral fiber.

According to the judges I was run of the mill, lacking in true teen spirit I supposed (since I was interested only in personal gain). The students placed me below average, assuredly because of my flat chest and legs so skinny my knee socks constantly puddled around my ankles. But in the teachers’ opinion I was Number One, perhaps due to the influence of my parents, both of whom served on the faculty. For once, being a teacher’s kid had its perks.

I came in 9th and was named as first alternate in case one of the lucky eight was killed in a drunken car crash (or died from anorexia, which actually happened the following spring but basketball season was nearly over so they didn’t bother altering the deceased’s skirt to fit me). I was devastated not to make the original squad, and felt cheated when I wasn’t asked to step up to the sidelines and take over for Janet Cookman.

Looking back now, it was a narrow escape. How close I came to disaster! I could easily have ended up being popular in high school, and that surely would have ruined my life.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Waiting for the 28

“It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable!” said my 15-year-old son.

It was 8:45 p.m. and I pictured him leaning against the icy fog wind at the corner of 19th and Sloat. He was at the bus stop and had “already been waiting for like 10 minutes” for the 28 to show. He usually rides the bus during commuter hours, but he’d performed with his high school choir that evening.

“Honey,” I said, “You know the buses don’t run as frequently at night. Not even the 28.”

“Oaaghh,” he groaned into his thin red cell phone, “Oaarrrghh.”

“Would you like me to check online to see when the next bus is coming?”


“Hold on for a minute.”

“OK. I can’t believe this. It’s so annoying.”

I looked on the MUNI website for real time information on the 28.

“It says the next bus is coming in 15 minutes.”

“What!!!? 15 minutes!” he bellowed, “You have got to be kidding me. That is ridiculous!”

“Well, yes, that’s what it says. It’s nighttime…”

“15 minutes. Oaaagh. Mom, will you come get me?”

I thought for a moment about him standing on that wind whipped corner with the traffic swooshing by and the fog creeping over him like Jack the Ripper. He’d looked so handsome in his black suit.

“Well, honey, you know that by the time I reach you the bus will be there.”


“You know, honey? Right?”

“ALL….right,” he said.

“Are you cold?”


“Well, get in the bus shelter.”

He wasn’t dressed warmly enough but there was no use saying so. It would be annoying to him.

“If the bus doesn’t come soon, call us back.”

Twenty-five minutes passed. Any moment he’d be here.

We heard the door open, and he came in, removing his jacket. His shirt was soaked through. His hair was dripping. His face was lobster red: He’d run the three miles home. In his dress shoes. In his tie. In the fog. Uphill.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hot (Not) Water

You worked the phone and keyboard most of the day. You picked lettuce and dead headed those dumb yellow flowers that keep dying off like salmon. You made sloppy joe’s for dinner, which is actually your favorite weeknight dish though you blame it on the boys. You did the dishes and sponged off the countertops.

You poured a glass of wine, grabbed a New Yorker and cranked open the tub faucets for a nice hot soak. While the water ran you threw socks in the hamper, picked out a cute dress for tomorrow and entered the other bathroom to select a fresh fluffy towel and…aaaaaeegggh…found it all steamed up from one of your teenager’s vacation-long showers.

This meant your bath was as cold as pond water. But without the mud and frogs and refreshing aquatic scent. Bummer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Experimenting with Poetry

At Little Lake

OK, you’re not here but walk with me anyway
in this scraped-out forest
with its grimy snow
and its wet wet wood
and its rotten leaves

OK, you’re not here but you’re pointing out
the lime candy lichen
raccoon-paw puddles
that raven glistening on a black soaked branch

OK, you’re not here but I can
hear water sucking over stones
see the fox who sees me back
feel the blunt back edge of the slicing wind

OK, you’re not here but spring soon will be