November 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come. — Maya Angelou
November 18, 2013 § Leave a Comment
MassPoetry is sponsoring school programs to promote poetry, especially spoken word poetry. This interview with Dr. Susan Weinstein is the first of a series of stories on the benefits of spoken word poetry in the classroom. Dr. Weinstein is an associate professor of English and Director of the Secondary English Concentration at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Dr. Susan Weinstein believes there are many ways to successfully teach students to write poetry, but she is convinced there is one crucial element that can’t be left out: performance.
November 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When I was six years old, I got in trouble for playing with fire
Not because I burned anything
but because the plumber’s daughter was intimidated into admitting that I was the culprit behind the litter of matchsticks piled in our newly installed, yet-to-be-connected toilet bowl
A few years later, in the bathroom, I decided that instead of cutting a string that hung from my towel, I’d burn it
The spark meandered its way along the strip almost instantly
Quick thinking and countless movies showing people stomping fires out with their feet are the only things that kept the flame from spreading to the shower curtain.
Needless to say,
I’ve always had a fascination with fire.
Maybe it’s the way the flame dances with itself, waltzing around the emptiness,
Or the way the colours melt into each other like ink dripped into a puddle
Or it could be the fact that children are fearless and at seven years old I saw my cousin place a lit match full-flame on his tongue
and so to me, fire might as well have been synonymous with magic
Last week I read that two children died in a fire that started while they were home alone…asleep .
One paper said that the little girl was kneeling in a corner, the walls closing in on her was the last thing she saw aside from
and the colour red
And though she was in the perfect position for prayer,
The last prayer that left her lips went out to a woman who stood a wall away but wasn’t able to save her
Eleven years old
Died a few feet away
-no one reported hearing him cry out
His body was found in a protective position
In my mind, I imagine him hovering over her,
body a shield,
arms, a waning force-field,
I imagine he thought
if I close my eyes tight enough maybe I could block the pain out
maybe if I pray loud enough in my mind then God will hear us
Weren’t the only things that were eaten by flames that day.
When I was eight years old my biggest fear was the dark.
I’m almost 21 now and the only fire that’s ever broken my skin hugs from the inside.
I’m sorry my childhood hero was the one that dug your grave for you…
It must be hard to rest in peace with smoke in your lungs.
you will forever be more superhero than anyone I know.
November 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In a land far away, where the air is still
There lived two teenagers, one named Jack, the other Jill
Now Jack was a lad that was known for his looks,
Jill on the other hand, well her closest companion was books
This is not to say that Jill was plain, no not at all like her best friend Jane
Jill was beautiful; shockingly so
Ask anyone around, they’ll tell you. They know
Now Jack, this handsome lad, had all the maidens wooed, but when it came to Jill somehow she seemed too shrewd- with her beauty and her smarts and her talent and her books, how could he just impress her with his superficial looks? So Jack devised a plan to sweep this princess off her feet, for she was the fairest of them all- not Snow White, Jill had her beat!
‘I’ll make her love me; she’ll beg to be mine. She’ll play right into my hands, it’s only a matter of time’
So Jack set out to meet with Jane. She would be a pawn in his cunning love game.
While Jack was preparing his sinister plan, Jill was being approached by many a man, so she was privy to his little love game, an easy woman she wasn’t to tame. “My lady you’re fairer than any I’ve seen, allow me to court you and make you my queen” Jill turned up her nose and turned her back “You’ll have to come way better than that Jack”. Ego bruised, and his feelings hurt too he decided to invite her to a cozy rendezvous.
At 7 that night Jack began to prepare, he took a shower and groomed his hair
Then he set out a table for two, right by the window with a view of the moon
But when hours went by and Jill never showed up, Jack decided enough was enough.
Jill sat in her house smiling from ear to ear. “That’ll show him, I hope he’s still waiting there”, you see her friend Jane had gone out with Jack, she had fallen for the boy but he never called her back. Jill figured she’d have some cruel fun, for all the girls he played with and made their tears run. Meanwhile Jack couldn’t help but feel so betrayed, for he had really liked Jill despite all the games he played. “How do I get this girl to see, that for her I’d change and change willingly?”
So Jack began a journey to Jill’s neighbourhood, up her street he trod and on her lawn he stood. “I don’t know what I did that made you upset, but please know I haven’t given up on you yet!” Jack yelled to her window like Romeo in love, then annoyed Jill looked at him from above. “Jack you’re a snake, you play with girl’s hearts, you expected me to be serious about you from the start? Don’t think that your looks and sweet words fool me, you’ll have to do more to prove your honesty”. Jack pondered and pondered and pondered some more then looked up at Jill, she he’d come to adore. “What must I do to make you believe, that I’m sorry and I have no tricks up my sleeve?” “Apologise to every girl with whose heart you played, or else a true fool out of you I’ll have made!”
Jack took a minute to think the proposition through, then turned away from the house thinking what an impossible task it was to do
But then he remembered the colour of Jill’s eyes, and the way they lit up whenever she smiled
He would find a way to do it, even if it took him a year, and Jill would have no reason to turn him down once he was in the clear
The next day Jack sent letters far and near, inviting hundreds of ladies to gather at the town square
By noon on the morrow quite a crowd had emerged, women of all ages and even the men that had heard
A rainbow of colours danced about as they moved
Even Jill turned up, because she had heard too
Jack stood in the center and his body began to shake,
What the hell was he doing? Maybe he’d made a mistake
But the men in their wickedness started cheering him on, and Jack had no choice than to man up and respond
“Women of the town, what a fool was I to think you were objects and make you cry. I placed myself above the rest, how selfish was I, I deserve your detest. You see I was greedy, and heartless and could not see, that each of you was a treasure, with unique beauty. Now I pay for my sins, the woman of my heart will not look at me until I take part, in this humbling activity of apologising to you, so for her to love me this is what I must do. I am humbled now with no pride left, I robbed you of your emotions- such stealthy theft. Now I understand if you hate me, but please I ask that you set my conscience free. My heart aches, it currently stands still, I would have never hurt any of you if I knew it would cost me Jill”
Well Jack’s speech caused quite an uproar, the ladies were not amused, no, not even remotely so
They started attacking him from left and from right,
He could not run and there was no place to hide
But Jill had seen the lengths Jack had gone to, to prove his loyalty and that his feelings were true,
So this conflict she decided to help him resolve, since after all this whole mess was her fault
Jill shouted into the crowd in Jack’s defense “People of the town, no need to be so tense! Can’t you see that Jack has rendered his pride and stood before those he hurt and put his ego aside? I’ve seen his sincerity, I feel it is true that poor Jack has finally regretted that he hurt you .now I beg that you forgive him, do this for me- for I’ve realised I loved him… Now please set him free”
Now each woman was upset because they had all hoped that now Jack had repented, to one of them he would devote. Instead he chose Jill, this was all for her. They were angry at both of them, oh so angry, yes sir! So they decided to make an example of them “You both have made us fools, you both should repent!” Jill stood up beside Jack and she held his hand “I accept whatever punishment, I must stand beside my man” “The town is without water, and no one can reach the well, for that hill is too dangerous- to get to it is surely hell” the eldest woman spoke, she was Jack’s first girlfriend, she was hurt by the young lad when he brought their romance to an end “we will die without water, and you two owe us still. So fetch us what we need from the top of that hill!”
Easy you say? Well so you may think, but the task wasn’t as simple as it appeared. You see not only were they required to fill the well, but to do so using a single pail !
And so legend goes that Jack and Jilll set out to fetch a pail of water
They tarried on for hours on end, amidst the sound of laughter
But they toiled and they toiled until the sun was dim, Jack still couldn’t believe that Jill stood up for him. On their last trip up the wretched hill, Jack stopped in the middle and looked at Jill “I really meant everything I said. I didn’t realise I was a fool till you messed with my head. You’re such a wonderful woman, I’m glad that we met even though I made you the town’s enemy – that’s my only regret” Jill gently kissed Jack and told him to not speak, she admitted it was his honesty that made her so weak. She urged that they continued on their last trip to the top, but too tired and broken Jack again asked if he could stop. But Jill said it was important that they finished before night, because the beasts that lived there would not hesitate to bite. So they reached the hill’s top and filled their final pail but on their way down, Jack’s leg began to fail. The water went first, then his body was next, Jack tripped over his tired feet, as though his ankles were hexed. Jill screamed as she watched him tumble and roll and she ran after him – she didn’t walk, she didn’t stroll. No she sprinted after the man that stole her heart until her speed and gravity ripped her own balance apart. She tumbled and tumbled right after Jack until she landed at the foot of the hill, flat on her back. Neither of them moved, and the crowd gathered round, upon close inspection they saw Jack had broken his crown. Jill’s legs looked broken “Oh what a tragedy is this!” Someone called out, their plan had run amiss. Two lovers bound by their own mistakes, but determined to stay together no matter the stakes. They feared dire circumstances having realised their love, now they lay at death’s door after suffering Karma’s shove. One had lied the other had plotted and out of it they found each other, but they paid their price for both hurting another. But was this the worthy price the town had made them face? For their biggest sin was simply love, not so much a disgrace.
Now the town had to lay their Romeo and Juliet to rest. Star crossed lovers bound by tragedy, killed by detest. The biggest lesson of all, what have we learned from this? That Nursery Rhymes shouldn’t be lengthened, but kept short and full of bliss!
April 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Day and night I wait in agony
Watch as you change faces
Like a schizophrenic joker
Watch as you make love,
To the constellations
My jealousy erupts
A million hot spots exploding
Spewing fire in your direction
Always falling short
I hurt myself instead
Your mercurial nature detests me
Sends me spinning head-first into your waters,
The only letters you ever remembered to send
Some letters I keep
Buried in my bosom
The others I laid in a puddle
They taste too much like you-
April 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
It started raining and I wished somebody was missing me the way the sky missed the earth,
How it scattered kisses lightly across her face,
The way its song said, ‘we’ve been apart for too long’,
Then rumbled desperately, ‘I am empty without you’.
April 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Over the past several months I received several awards and recognition which I have not yet acknowledged. I just saved the posts and kept planning to follow the rules - but time kept flying past my good intentions.
When WM included me in his Best Bloggers List, I resolved to do as he did. I would acknowledge all of my awards at one time and provide a list of the bloggers I feel deserve recognition.