June 28, 2013, 1:51 pm
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             —for J.P.O.

I have wished you dead and myself dead,
How could it be otherwise.
I have broken into you like a burglar
And you’ve set your dogs on me.
You have been a hurricane to me
And a pile of broken sticks
A child could kick.
I have climbed you like a monument, gasping,
For the exercise and the view,
And leaned over the railing at the top–
Strong and warm, that summer wind.

Epistle: Leaving -Kerrin McCadden
June 21, 2013, 1:02 pm
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Dear train wreck, dear terrible engines, dear spilled freight,
          dear unbelievable mess, all these years later I think 
          to write back. I was not who I am now. A sail is a boat, 
          a bark is a boat, a mast is a boat and the train was you and me. 
          Dear dark, dear paper, dear files I can’t toss, dear calendar 
          and visitation schedule, dear hello and goodbye. 
If a life is one thing and then another; if no grasses grow 
          through the tracks; if the train wreck is a red herring; 
          if goodbye then sincerely. Dear disappeared bodies 
          and transitions, dear edge of a good paragraph. 
          Before the wreck, we misunderstood revision. 
I revise things now. I teach pertinence. A girl in class told 
          us about some boys who found bodies on the tracks 
          then went back and they were gone, the bodies. 
          It was true that this story was a lie, like all things 
done to be seen. I still think about this story, what it would 
          be like to be a boy finding bodies out in the woods, 
          however they were left–and think of all the ways they 
          could be left. There I was, teaching the building 
          of a good paragraph, dutiful investigator
of sentences, thinking dear boys, dear stillness in the woods,
          until, again, there is the boy I knew as a man 
          whose father left him at a gas station, and unlike the lie 
          of the girl’s story, this one is true–he left him there for good. 
Sometimes this boy, nine and pale, is sitting next to me, sitting there
          watching trains go past the gas station in Wyoming, 
          thinking there is a train going one way, and a train 
          going the other way, each at different and variable speeds: 
          how many miles before something happens 
          that feels like answers when we write them down–
like solid paragraphs full of transitional phrases
          and compound, complex sentences, the waiting space 
          between things that ends either in pleasure or pain. He
          keeps showing up, dear boy, man now, and beautiful
like the northern forest, hardwoods iced over.

Poetry -Monica Ferrell
June 20, 2013, 1:04 pm
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There is nothing beautiful here
However I may want it. I can’t
Spin a crystal palace of this thin air,
Weave a darkness plush as molefur with my tongue
However I want. Yet I am not alone
In these alleys of vowels, which comfort me
As the single living nun of a convent
Is comforted by the walls of that catacomb
She walks at night, lit by her own moving candle.
I am not afraid of mirrors or the future
—Or even you, lovers, wandering cow-fat
And rutting in the gardens of this earthly verge
Where I too trod, a sunspot, parasol-shaded,
Kin to the trees, the bees, the color green.

A Certain Lady- Dorothy Parker
June 19, 2013, 7:52 am
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Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
And you believe, so well I know my part,
That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
And all the straining things within my heart
You’ll never know.

Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, —
Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
To sing me sagas of your late delights.
Thus do you want me — marveling, gay, and true,
Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ….
And what goes on, my love, while you’re away,
You’ll never know.

Madness, Rack, and Honey: Sweetly, Madly, Wracked—Mary Ruefle, Teaching

“I made up my mind never to read any more theory because there are too many other beautiful things to read.”

“Please don’t use poetry to sell things.”

“It is the job of every teacher to lead students to a deep, dark place then leave them there.”

It’s all I have to bring today (26) -Emily Dickinson
June 13, 2013, 1:53 pm
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It’s all I have to bring today –
This, and my heart beside –
This, and my heart, and all the fields –
And all the meadows wide –
Be sure you count – should I forget
Some one the sum could tell –
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

How to Not Be Alone -Jonathan Safran Foer
June 10, 2013, 7:41 am
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“We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich. I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.”

“We live in a world made up more of story than stuff. We are creatures of memory more than reminders, of love more than likes. Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.”