Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

Headache Weather, Part 4

Everything’s tight,
everything hurts,
again with the shoulders
up by my ears.

Except for before
when I let loose
the sobbing today, right then
I was loose
all over, no crying for me,
no quiet tears, just heaves
of choking, some gasps,
a big, fat grief orgasm.

I am not pretty when I cry.

My sister was better acquainted
with the deceased, but, if I may,
let me observe how utterly
inappropriate her racket was today.
She says I’m cold at the core.
Well if I am, at least my ice
doesn’t go melting when and where
it ought not, leaving a big mess.


Standing with the smokers,
watching the shadows of clouds race
up the big hill, wishing I could
walk there and lie down
in one of the big green stripes.
Now a big cloud covers the sun.
Now everything looks gray again.
Even the green looks smudged.



for Jennifer F.

Headache Weather, Part 3

It was kind of a hard day, see,
because it was kind of misty
and I just could not get settled
on the the whole wiper setting
because one was too fast
and one was too slow
and the adjust-a-speed one
just wasn’t right at all,
so I was really irritated
when I got to the funeral.

Headache weather, part II


Lovely sort of fall day for April.
Perfect for the funeral I just went to.
It was one of those good ones,
I mean, I cared, but we weren’t close.
I welled up a little.
A perfectly brisk little grief.

Headache Weather, Part I

So far for National Poetry Writing Month, I’ve done a haiku-ish poem I like to think of as a like-ku, a parody, and some found poetry that led to a poem I found genuinely startling (did I really write a breakfast cereal called Jezebel Crunch that had little crunchy bits shaped like her hands and feet? Yes. Yes I did.)

So now let’s try some lines for a verse play, called Headache Weather. And then let’s see if I come back to it after today.

Just driving in the driving rain
my elbows up around my ears,
I thought, “This is the kind of day
that I call ‘headache weather’

because I get these migraines
I don’t call migraines.
I figure calling them that
gives them power I don’t want

my headaches to have. Words
and names and utterance,
they all can make things
really real. Real as birds.


Not really a verse play yet, just one voice speaking. Hm.

The Constable Bob of the Classroom

I unlock the door to class then lock it back.
As we go in I say, “This is what I do
to protect you in the event of active shooter attack.”
Students laugh. It’s early. There are only a few,

so I go on to say, “Just so you know,
that’s pretty much it. I shut the door so
no one in the hallway can kill you fast.”
In my idea of myself, I could master

a sweet little Glock 40 and holster it
and pull it out when needed. “My aim is true,”
I’d sing in my head as I blew holes clean through
my targets. But oh, my students and I, we get

an image of things going badly with me armed.
I want to be Raylan Givens, that tough, that cool.
I’d be lucky to be Constable Bob. First do no harm?
Not with this clumsy, gun-totin’ prof in the room.

(I would be BEYOND lucky to be Constable Bob. “Drewbacca” indeed. And also, p.s., I can’t even pretend to begin to imagine I could ever be as cool as Ava.)

Minnie the MOOC

Folks here’s a story ’bout Minnie the MOOC;
she was a red hot edu-kook.
She was the best-funded epic fail,
but Minnie had enrollment big as a whale.

Edu edu edu boo
P.d . P.d. PhD
hee hee hee hee hee hee hee
oh whoa whoa whoa

She messed around with a Superprofessor
She loved him though he was a great big messer.
He put her up online and showed her
how to spread the content around.

P.d. p.d. PhD

She had a dream about real deep learning;
what she and her students were yearning.
Her institution gave her lots of press,
high hopes and her own web address.

Forgettabouta bookie-dookie oodles-n-oodles a links!
A-clickety clickety clickety hey!

He gave her citations with links for sources.
He gave her the goods from his most popular courses.
She had a million students every new semester
but 90 percent would eventually ditch her

Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

Poor MOOC, Poor MOOC, Poor MOOC

(With apologies to the songwriters of “Minnie the Moocher,” Irving Mills, Cab Calloway, Clarence Gaskill.)

Here’s what the Digital Humanities are like for me so far:

When I started graduate school, I asked to be assigned in the smoker’s office.

“I didn’t know you smoked,” said the nice lady in charge of T.A. office assignments.

“I don’t,” I said.

But I wanted to be with the cool kids. All my friends, most of them anyway, were in the smoking office. Beckie (no longer smokes), Aron, Neil, Craig, and more whose names I’m blanking on.

This was in 1987, when smoking was allowed inside college offices. And classrooms–the first time I walked into Rodney Jones’s poetry workshop, I could barely see across the room, it was so smoky, and it took me a solid ten minutes to figure out who the teacher was, because there were three guys involved in an intense conversation, puffing away (none of whom looked like what I was used to professors looking like).

The smoking friends I now shared an office with were ones I’d met at the On-the-Island Pub, where I hung out and spent all the money I thought would last me a year after getting my bachelor’s degree. (It lasted almost six months, which actually, given my level of cluelessness and the fact that I didn’t have a credit card at the time, is pretty impressive.) So of course they all smoked.

I’m not saying that listening to all the cool kids talk about the Digital Humanities is putting me at risk for cancer.

I’m just saying that I’m not a full participant yet, just an observer.

Learning by osmosis.

So far, the cool kids seem to be saying MOOCs are

  • typically touted the most by people who understand them the least,
  • not actually good at what people want them to be good at,
  • potentially really exciting, if created by someone who understands pedagogy, cares about learning, and has experience teaching online.

Hence, I’m not willing to dismiss them as possibilities, but I’m awfully skepti-epti-epti-eptical.

I will, at some point, post something a little more substantive on this here topic. In the meantime, one of the non-smoking cool DH kids references the Hanson Bros.

Bowie’s Voice (“Where Are We Now”)

starched linen right when
it’s not so stiff

piece of paper twisting
in a breeze

sheet of metal
a thin sheet
its sound waves
emerging at the quiet snap
of bending this way
and then that

Bowie’s voice
in “Where Are We Now”

exactly how we ought to speak
to the dead, were we to speak
to the dead, were we dead,
were we out walking the dead.


Gracious I love that new album. And, for those of you landing here after Googling “walking he dead meaning” in oh, so many languages–I take it to mean being nostalgic for what is gone, so nostalgic so often that our nostalgia has become banal, and yet heartbreaking and urgent at the same time.


(in which two bottom feeders eye me)

1. Lone Rock Crow Diner

Less and less of the deer each week,
the ribs stick up now, six white arches
just visible above the edge of the ditch.

Today three turkey vultures loomed there,
linebackers next to the crow punters.
One turned his T-Rex head and watched me.

2. Republican Cruiser Sedan

Standing, waiting to cross the street,
I realized too late how slow,
slow, slow the approaching car was coming.

Slumped like a low-rider wannabe,
the driver turned his head and, leer-like,
watched me just like the vulture had.


Red, red wine.

What I long for is the Welcome Table,
people singing hymns and drinking beer.
Apparently this isn’t possible.

If Jesus really was born in a stable,
It has to be o.k. I like it rougher.
What I long for is a welcome sort of table,

where, seriously, everyone can mingle
And hang out, peacefully, together.
Apparently this isn’t possible,

but I keep hoping. Church is more like hell
for me sometimes. Totally my fault, I’m sure.
What I long for is the Welcome Table

where the music’s hot. Nearly potable.
The Lord’s first miracle was wine (more, more).
Apparently it isn’t possible

to worship without being totally structural.
I just really want to toast the Lord.
What I long for is the Welcome Table.
Apparently this isn’t possible.