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Winter Carnival 2016

 

Lightsabers, plastic

And bright, swipe

Through the corridors

Of this institution of learning.

 

Some wielders wear white –

A rebel alliance – unfettered

As of yesterday; and,

Others, black.

 

Their alliance to the Empire

Clear. Droids beep

And bleep and spin

And roll and distract

 

My students from their

Lessons. Youtube

Taught me how to style

An artistic rendering

Of Rey with my hair,

 

And my flowing white

Shirt and boots

Help me to lead

The Alliance,

 

As we learn after

Hard fought battles,

Scars and lacerations,

We’ve won the intergalactic

War.

 

This is Poem #23 from the  Poem (almost) Everyday Project. Starting in mid-January 2016, I decided for one year to wake mornings and write a poem before my first cup of coffee on each day that I didn’t teach. I was working part-time then, so in the end I wrote 241 poems.  These are second drafts of  those pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state.

For those of you familiar with the battle being fought on the figurative front at the time this poem was written, I’d also included the following parenthetical at the end:

(Take off your white sweater, Blonde Bitch!)

I appreciate your feedback as these poems are not “finished,” and I intend to go back into many of them in the future.

 

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The computer’s virtual

Realm is a vacuum;

It’s sucked up

 

The Main Street video

Store and conversations

With clerks regarding

 

New films, and comics,

And war. Stacks of

VHS tapes lining walls

 

And piled on the floor

And the way he knew

Just where to locate

Any obscure B-film

Title no matter

 

How close to the ceiling

Its rank. One day

We bought 8-tracks,

 

Cassettes, records. Then

CD’s – but each groove

was recommended by

 

The man behind the counter.

Yesterday, we made

A concerted effort

 

To buy actual music

Pressed into vinyl

For a needle to

Scrape and scratch

Over – no digital

remastering. No

Transfer to MP3

 

Or virtual this or

Virtual that.

 

And bumper stickers

Crying out against

The World Wide Web

Adorned a pole

 

Near the register.

Buy me. Attach

Me to your actual

 

Reality.

 

 

This is Poem #4 from the Poem (almost) Everyday Project. These are second drafts of  pieces copied directly from my journal with minimal editing from their “vomit draft” state. Feel free to give useful critique.

In 2006 then Senator John Kerry made a comment that was insulting to our military. While addressing students at Pasadena City College, he stated, “You study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” (Hillary Clinton Joins Criticism) I was so upset by the underlying, negative assumptions Kerry’s statement made about those who serve in the military, that I quickly came home and removed my “Kerry 2004” bumper sticker from my car. Those who know me, know that this is no small gesture for a woman who still has her “OBAMA 2008” sticker proudly displayed on her station wagon.

Lately, however, it seems politicians have learned nothing from Kerry’s “botched joke.” Just last week, while trying to justify the cruel budget cuts suggested by the White House, politicians were throwing insulting assumptions all over the place. The budget director explained, “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.” (Single Mothers Shouldn’t Have to Pay) The National Endowment for the Arts was also included in that assumption.

I am here to take offense at that assumption. I was a single mother for the first five years of my son’s life. During that time, although cash was quite limited for us, we visited art museums, I enrolled my son in arts programs. Both of my children are artists. They’ve taken music lessons and sculpting. My son took VLACS Economics, so that he could take Advanced Art and still graduate high school on time. Both my son and daughter intend to go to film school. I am a poet and a writer. I’m writing this now and I wrote a poem this morning.

Art is an integral part of our lives and just because we were poor for a while didn’t mean that we forgot about the importance of art to the human experience.

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts is more important than ever. Six giant corporations are the gate keepers for publishing most of our music, films and literature. They also control what and who gets promoted. The current climate in the United States is not one where someone who is an artist can easily make a livable wage doing such. The NEA offers grants and programs that allow artists to flourish. They offer schools  the opportunity to pay artists to bring their experience into schools. They help to fund educational programs like Poetry Out Loud.

I don’t know of any mother, single or otherwise, who wants her children to grow up in a culture that doesn’t value art and artists. I am offended that any politician would suggest such a thing. I vote for my tax dollars to go to artists and to PBS and to Meals on Wheels, before a single dime of it builds a bomb. No matter what those who currently hold power may tell me to be scared of, I am much more afraid of living in a world that doesn’t value art and artists than I am of the terrorists they constantly tell me to fear.

And, while we’re on the topic of insulting and down right ignorant assumptions, what parent, single mom or coal-miner,  hasn’t relied on Big Bird? As my students often say, “When you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me.” Maybe we should have an artist design a bumper sticker with that phrase on it.

 

 

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