Tuesday, December 13, 2011
"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand." - Mother Teresa
The semester is winding down, and once again I'm reminded how much I enjoy the rhythms of the academic year. These rhythms reflect the movement of the seasons. Right now everyone's got that sleepy, sparkly holidays-are-here-finals-are-almost-over glow. It feels a little like everyone's bedazzled by the cold air. And by the chance to finish up and start again, which is the promise of seasonal change.
The energy was palpable today as my creative writing students met for the final, which was a poetry reading. We laughed, clapped, snapped, oohed and ahhed over the word play, humor and profundity. Poems came in all varieties: a performance poem riffing on "truth," humorous poems about marijuana ("Ode to Mary Jane") and masturbation; a haiku series featuring a banana, and another about hidden natural environments in San Jose; a poem about family alternating between English and Spanish; a piece about--as the student put it--"relearning how to love someone"; and a poem sung to the accompaniment of two guitars.
To put it simply: I basked in the love! This was one of those magical classes that gels in a special way. Something about the chemistry of the group, an elixir of creativity and connection.
I, too, contributed to the final event by reading a poem. This one is another in a series I've written based on random words Meg Pokrass, a Facebook friend, posts.
Here are the words she posted: door, mother, butter, horsehair, holler, roach, fast, taste, lurid, hops, ironed, accordion, boneheaded, bedcover, mildew, wax, soda, stride, sofa, squares, denim.
And below is my poem. What I like about the poem is that encapsulates the wisdom of some of the teachers I've been following the past few years. And this is the wisdom: Go with the flow. Don't push against things. Honor the seasons.
The Way of Things
Some things turn to butter as fast
as that accordionist’s fingers passed
the black keys. Some things taste
lurid, like hops and wishes and paste.
(Soda erased the mildew in the mouth
when we ate our art projects.) South
of your bedcovers, some things wax
poetic, while others stick to the facts.
Some things strive like a mother
patches things up with denim squares or other
ironed fabrics. That door over there?
It’s blocked by the horsehair sofa but doesn’t care.
Holler at it all you want; it’s boneheaded,
stubborn as a roach. Some things are wedded
to the truth, while others are married to lies.
Things have their ways. Take them in stride.