Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Thoughts

While watching the supermoon lunar eclipse, my daughter said, "This is the coolest night in my life." Later when I coaxed my kids outside a second time to see its progress, she stood on the sidewalk for a moment and said, "Okay, I see it. Can I go in now?"

Oh, how quickly we bore.

I'm guilty too. My nightstand is stacked with phenomenal books--The Things They Carried, The Clothes on Their Backs, I am Malala--but can't seem to peel my eyes from reruns of Futurama.




Saturday, September 5, 2015

This is a poem...

My students did an exercise called, "This is a poem..." (Thank you, Sheila Bender). It is supposed to help students focus on imagery and pacing before trying their hands at a narrative.

Here's is the result of my example. This happened on my flight from Vienna to Frankfurt.

  1. This is a poem about the weariness of travel.
    This is a poem about waiting to board and there’s not enough seats, so I lean against a column.
    This is a poem about seeing a guy in sweat pants and his phone tugging down his waistband.
    This is a poem about seeing a teen boy steal a seat from an old woman.
    This is a poem about boarding.
    This is a poem about the heat, the lack of air-conditioning in Europe, and perfume masking someone's BO.
    This is a poem about being tired from hanging out with writer friends for one last night before we had to leave.
    This is a poem about finding my seat and discovering it’s occupied by someone else; a man on his phone.
    This is a poem about showing my ticket to a flight attendant who, in German, asks the man to move.
    This is a poem about realizing it’s the baggy pants man moving to the middle seat.
    This is a poem about his red cheeks and eyes.
    This is a poem about displacing a man in tears.
    This is a poem about feeling guilty for taking the window seat, for barely keeping my eyes open, and guilty for dozing in the man’s time of need.
    This is a poem about offering granola bars, distractions, dialogue.
    This is a poem about the box of kleenexes at his knees.
    This is a poem about watching the city fall away, the buildings and pools, the Danube and the Prater.
    This is a poem about a little girl offering her graham crackers to the sobbing man.
    This is a poem about how he disappeared to the water closet for a while, and how when he returned the flight attendant gave him a beer.
    This is a poem about his wails silencing the tail end of the plane.
    This is a poem about how he pressed a palm against the headrest from the seat in front of him and lowered his head to weep.  
    This is a poem about being desperate to help alleviate his suffering.
    This is a poem about holding his hand until we landed.
    This is a poem about how he said, "My six-year-old son died."
    This is a poem about a sick child.
    This is a poem about my own little boy, safe at home. 
    This is a poem about asking his son's name: Tomán.
    This is a poem about preparing for descent.
    This is a poem about love.

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