Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicago Blog Redux

I really enjoyed writing the triptych of prose poems about Chicago a few months back, but I noticed that Chicago Blog (the first one) displays very oddly on my PC laptop, and I'm not sure why.  So, below, I'm assembling all three blog entries together in one place for the first time.  I wrote these based on my journal jottings during a trip I took with two old girlfriends to celebrate our 40th birthdays.  Enjoy.

Chicago Blog:  No Ketchup Allowed

Coming soon, Dada prose poem of lime-flavored art and lionesque piers of Ferris Wheel gin, complete with celery salt.

In it, The Venus de Milo sports mink pompoms. Homeless black men give me The Onion free for $2. Hundreds of porta potties escort us to the lakeshore, serenading us with the drumming of a thousand empty dill pickle buckets.

Frank Sinatra voiced-over the William Tell Overture to berry-burst explosions of pointillism.

Obey the Metra. Throw Miró a dulce cupcake. Wash your face in blue Chagall. Occupy Wall Street with a New World Order chosen by musical experts. The teacher at the Prairie School pastes her broadsides into windows and names her boat Semi-Precious. Blow out the candles; it's time to fly.

Chicago Blog 2: Inventions of the Monsters

In the second installation I offer an Art Nouveau triptych: three female forms, tousled tresses scented with crushed marigolds.

A mosaic window. Endless subway tunnels of humanity. A marathon wheelchair. Soviet Backscatter X-Ray technology reveals knotted balloons of nostalgia swallowed to pass through customs. They have burst.

Sandburg sends the hog butchers packing to the suburbs in a flight of granite steps. They take the blue line.

Poverty is the Italian beef of angry foam-board. The buoy bells they ring for me.

Ceres blesses the towering corn cobs along the uphill river. The Sears Tower follows the Tao to the tune of blues harmonica.

Three reenact the past propped on elbows over sprinkles and buttercream. Protests, protests everywhere.

Chicago Blog 3:  Anyone?  Anyone?

The Wobblies and the lovers photograph themselves in fun-house reflections.

We stand back with our arms crossed, reserving judgment.  We are ditchers.

The Hobo College carries the banner with worn-out soles and can't catch a lift.  After 26 miles the runners hobble through the streets, weighed down by their medals; the anarchists still serve up deep dish portions of a monumental White Castle.  No substitutions.

Who will bail out the students?   Where will they park their parents' cars?  The new pilings have sprung a leak deep down and we will discover the flooded basements much too late.

The ashes of the old city congeal into plexiglass and steel.  The miles of grasslands have become urban renewal. Condominiums sail by. 

We taxi the tarmac hunched in our capsule of air and close our eyes. 

Original Posts with More Photos:  
Chicago Blog: No Ketchup Allowed 
Chicago Blog 2: Inventions of the Monsters
Chicago Blog 3:  Anyone?  Anyone?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Gaping Maw of "The Box"

Across the desk, it stares me down.  The gaping maw of "The Box,"  mock-packed with construction-paper representations of each document which still needs to be finished for my National Board portfolio.

I ruthlessly chop away at what I've written, paring it down sliver by sliver, page by paragraph, into concise, glistening gem, cut to specification yet retaining, hopefully, enough of its natural essence to be appreciated.

This is not the fun part.  But I'm trying to finish an entry by dinner, so I'd better get off my blog. 


Friday, January 27, 2012

Music to Work By

[peeve-- apparently you can't link to pandora stations?  wth?]

Usually I don't work well to music with lyrics, but my Pandora station based on Pink Martini, Norah Jones and a buttload of thumbs-upped other similar singers is very soothing...

Especially for someone (me) who just planned out her next two months of work on the ol' National Board portfolio and has an awful lot of analysis writing ahead of her.  I'm in the thick of it now... the slogging through meaty mud parts where I actually have to give evidence that my purposeful teaching produced learning. 

Wait... there are a few more cover sheets and forms I can fill out before I dive into the sloggy parts. 

I am hoping to finish one of my entries this weekend to the point where I can edit.  And to draft another entry, very roughly. 

Ooh, here's another station that is working out quite nicely, based on Rodrigo Y Gabriela, spanish guitar.  Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rant Against Little Girl Clothes

So, it's not bad enough that every top is either spangly, sequined, Hello Kittied, crowned, or bedazzled and come in either hot pink, white or pastel lavender.  No.  Or that the skirts are endless arrays of tulle, ruffles, embellishments or wacky prints that mismatch with the diagonal stripes or abstract glitter-glue modern art of all the other tops. 

No, that's not bad enough.  But if you choose to buy your kid pants, she has the choice of either knit pants, leggings or jeans.  Many models come in black, white or a light pastel.  Guess what happens to white or light pastels on the playground (where a little girl should slide, swing, crawl, run and rumble?)  Filth.  Filth that doesn't wash out.  And guess what happens to knit pants?  They shred, and you can't patch them.

Then, jeans.  When sitting crosslegged, jeans gap in the back.  And the little girl tops, the plain stretchy t-shirt ones (and even most of the over-spangled glitter-glued ones) are not long enough to reach down over the gapped open crevice which shows one's chonies and buttcrack to whomever is lucky enough to have the spot on the rug behind you in kindergarten. Plus, a parent is lucky to find a pair of little girl jeans that aren't embellished with rhinestones or swoopy, paisely embroidery in gold lame

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Haiku, What the Heck.

I've been playing around with haiku a little, hoping it would get me through a tough week and warm me up for writing poetry with my high school students.  These below are freshly baked... yet perhaps too soon from the oven for consumption?  I like them enough to put them out there, though. 

I have been reading up on haiku a little, and only recently discovered that the whole 17-syllable rule in English is a complete myth.  But I think they are actually more difficult to write when the rules are lifted. 

smooth curve of coffee cup
before the blunt edge of day

silly goose
loyally defends
even the blackbird.

The grass bows,
The field is a sea,
yet firmly rooted.

small ecology:
doll clothes, crayons, laundry, books
her habitat

pomegranate tree
so thin of stem and leaf
such rich juice

stone set in hillside.
weather wears incrementally;
avalanche shatters.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wheelchair Rugby: It ain't just for buff young crips anymore.

Last weekend I experienced my first wheelchair rugby match.  I was a little distracted because we were babysitting my two nieces and I had a gaggle of children along, but it was fun to finally see how the game is played in person. 

Rich has been invited to play with the Tucson Pterodactyls:  Although he has finally made it up past the status of mascot, and has actually scored points in a game, he did not play this weekend, but still dressed out and went out on the court with his teammates and cheered them on.  Since he's been having trouble with his knee, and hasn't been able to smash the racquetball around like usual, this has been a great way for him to stay active.  The kids have also had fun watching him assemble and disassemble and get parts for the wheelchair, a Mad Max-style contraption that is practically invincible and won't fit through any doorway, the bottoms of the wheels are set so far apart for stability and the metal bumpers around the edges are so wide.

As in the film Murderball, the chairs smashed and bashed into one another continually, and players exchanged heated words, chairs rolled over on top of their players, etc.  It wasn't quite as violent or as heated as I had hoped for, I'll admit, but there was definitely a competitive spirit and good-natured trash talking during the game.  The players were fit and young.  The timing of the game kept throwing me off.  They could be trucking fast downcourt, stop on a dime and swivel to one side or the other.  Other times, the whole game would come to a standstill when two players had locked up the wheels of another and the player with the ball had trouble finding a place to pass.  Other times, a player realized nobody could catch up with him, and he effortlessly coasted 20 feet to the goal line. 

My cousin Jeremy is in town for his PT internship, and so we got out to the game together, and I think he had fun, too.  Turns out he works with #13's wife.

Between games, at home, G (who had been to the earlier game) made this out of legos:
You can't even see all the details in this shot.  He built the thing complete with an accurately shaped rear bumper, clips to keep her feet pulled back into the wheelchair (most of the guys strap their legs in) and fold-uppable arm rests.  Oh, and caster wheels in the front and back. I did not know they were called caster wheels, but he did.  To me, the real ones simply look like wheels from rollerblades. The large cardboard wheels were taped to lego wheels, so they turned.  He hunted until he found the exact right size of doll to sit in it... cracks me up that it's the Grandmother doll from O's Loving Family doll set.  Talk about combatting stereotypes!  I'll find some more photos and get them posted.  Good times-- totally free of charge.  And, by the way, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has a wonderful recreation center out there!  Nice gym!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On Self-Censorship

I just unposted a post that I would so very much have wanted to post... afraid of possible repercussions.  I liked what I had written.  I believed in it.  But I didn't want to compromise myself or anyone else.

My mind is spinning with freedoms and lack thereof.  What-ifs and if-thens.  And any number of you should/shouldn't haves.

In the end, the must-do's have won.  The what-comes-afters have not had their say.  They don't get to vote.