Monday, March 28, 2011

Biggie and Tupac meet at a bar in heaven

Dear God – wait. That’s not right. I think I used to say, Our Father, who art in heaven. You know, start with the Lord’s Prayer and then attempt to weave that elegant primordial verse into my own prosaic like, so it’s been a really long time since we’ve talked, but um…

Anyway, it’s been so long I can’t remember how I should begin. But I figure you know better than I do, being God and all. So I’ll skip to the heart of the matter.
Shit. Which is the heart of the matter? Sorry I said shit. Just gathering my thoughts, you know. Although I’m sure you know my thoughts already, which always makes this weirder for me.
I think I’d like to begin by saying that this time it’s for real. I’d really like to talk. Not just talk and then drift off to sleep mid-confession or grumble a few hasty words over the lasagna I’d rather be eating than blessing. No, I’m ready for that heart-to-heart if you are. I need some fatherly advice.
Yeah, I know. You don’t have all night and I’ve wasted your time many times over. Remember the night in the third grade, when I begged you to give me straight hair like the gringas in my class? Or the time in the seventh grade, when I whispered no less than one hundred Acts of Contrition after weeks of frequent pubescent…um… self-discovery? Or when I asked to meet Puff Daddy and become his next baby momma? Or when, like Cain with the porridge (Was it porridge? Can’t remember), I offered you my first born child in exchange for some momentary relief from menstrual cramps?
 I still think it would have been cool if you had let me at least meet Puff Daddy, but whatever. You know best, I suppose. How’s Biggie doing, by the way? Does he ever bump into Tupac at the local bar up there? Right, dumb question. I'm rambling again.
Anyway, this isn’t one of those Give me a sign that he’s the one entreaties, or another of my infamous I know I fucked this one up but now you gotta help me get out of it appeals. Not exactly, anyway. You see, life is quite wonderful these days. I mean, I still haven’t met P-Diddy or anything, but generally I can’t complain.
Still – well, you know. I’m lonely. And I guess I’m just asking you to say something for once.
So say something already.

A Gift

This is all I have to offer today. This song isn't mine to confer on anyone, but I have given it once or twice, at a roadside speckled with crabgrass, dandelions, and Budweiser bottles. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

100 Words: Sunday Venus

On a Sunday afternoon, I stand naked before the bathroom mirror as the four o’clock sunlight pours through slits in the window blinds, painting stripes across my glossy skin. I’ve slept away the week’s calamities and traded To Do lists for doing nothing, and for a fantastic fraction of time I am divinity made flesh. Onyx curls frame olive skin and contend with mahogany eyes for center stage. Each arc, each slope of shoulder, breast, and hip becomes an unmapped Eden, an unsung epic, until –  a hoary tendril, a traitorous wrinkle, a jagged scar proclaims this goddess a mere mortal.

Itinerant Seed

Last night I was a restless seed
Raring to leave the mother tree.
I dove into the swirling zephyr,
Floating carelessly over sleeping parishes
And wakeful woodland beasts,
But the morning rain sent me tumbling
Into the frigid arms of an unfeeling river,
And I bobbed atop its turbid waves,
Passing willowy cattails and
Auburn blurs of geese,
Until a merciful evening gale
Propelled me toward a muddy bank
Where I could rest my battered shell.
I had drifted off to dream of home
When an eagle stirred me from my slumber
And bade me ride upon her talon,
As it was too soon, she warned, to take root.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've been busy helping others find their words

I haven't blogged much in the last few weeks. Today someone inquired about my absence from the blogosphere, causing me to consider the following:

1. People actually read my awful writing from time to time. Poor bastards.
2. If the best you poor bastards can do with your down time is read this nonsense, then I suppose I'd better deliver. ;)

An update:

Since October I have spent most of my waking hours at the high school where I work as a student teacher, coaching students with their writing. I have immersed myself in teaching, creating a workshop environment in my classroom and conducting feedback sessions with dozens of students before school, during my lunch break, during my planning period, and after school. At home I have pored over student papers, scrawling comments in the margins as I munch on pizza or Chinese food - who has time to cook?

I finish student teaching tomorrow, and tonight I find myself reflecting on how helping my students find their words has taught me innumerable lessons about language.

A few of those lessons:

1. Anyone can write. One only needs fair access to words.
2. The only cure for writer's block is writing.
3. We make much of words, of their power to create and destroy. But punctuation and white space are also potent forces which writers must learn to manipulate with care.
4. Writers must take their own advice. I frequently notice that my own writing improves when I consciously employ the strategies I teach my students. For me, good writing is not innate. Sometimes I write well and often I write poorly. On those days when the words cannot find me, I work more deliberately to find the words. I'm often surprised that my best writing does not occur naturally but purposefully. Mind you, this is not one of those days, and I am in no mood to heed my own instruction. :)

While I've enjoyed (nearly) every minute of student teaching, I look forward to moving on next week. For the next few months, I'll be interviewing for jobs, catching up on sleep, and of course, blogging for poor bastards with nothing better to do than read my crap.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Sunday Confessional

I am becoming exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up. That doesn't happen for many people; I should feel blessed. I do feel blessed. But today I dream of the days when I had nothing, owned nothing, but nebulous dreams.

I remember a seventeen year-old Nadya, napping in a corner booth of the diner in between double shifts. I remember sleeping soundly, pleased with the morning's tips, which I would dutifully save in my college fund on my day off. I remember the euphoria and despair of young love, feverish first kisses and violent heartbreaks. I remember pimples and bad hair days and fashion blunders and chuckle at the realization that time does not alter everything.

I remember forceful encounters with mortality. I remember dying. I remember the hand that pulled me from hell and the mouth that breathed cool air into my burning lungs. I remember the crushing gratitude and elation I felt when I'd been given a second life. I remember decisively setting out to deserve it.

I remember the pang of - something - which reminded me that I'd left someone behind, buried among the mort and rubble. I remember jam-packing my new life with enough distractions to muffle each twinge. It almost worked. Except, of course, for the fact that I still remember.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Is it so final?
Are we to entrench ourselves
In unforgiving earth,
Piteously compliant
Like wretched elms,
Mindlessly motionless,
Fettered by our own roots,
Subject to the whims
Of sun and moon,
Induced to live and die
And cast off our leaves
As spiteful seasons would please?
I pray for the axe
To pierce my side at last
And make me a kindling
A stage for dancing flames.