Monday, May 30, 2005


Kindergarten smells of dewy morning and
fresh crayons. In the quiet of the morning
I sit individual boxes on individual desks
and prepare for my day.
The lights are bright, but do not make me squint.
I can feel the learning that will take place
as it tingles in my fingers.

Today, my students will march in,
some smelling of lavender or Dove (freshly bathed)m
some smelling of the city,
people and fumes.
All will unload their packs
and begin the routine of our days together.
Phillip always awaits my approval, and
I will always give him what he needs.

Kindergarten tastes of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
made extra sticky so they stick to the roof of my mouth.
Or sometimes ham and cheese sandwiches
(also made sticky).
Cheetos, Dorritos;
Fruit Roll-ups, pudding snacks, yogurt (now in a tube for children
on the go);
Milk boxes, juice boxes.

Today, there will be read alouds,
exciting or scary, but always with a purpose.
There will be calendar,
counting and naming shapes;
weather predictions, graphing, and roll-call.
There will be Writing Workshop,
picture walks, Guided Reading, and modeling.
There will be problems (both math and playground),
and science experiments and manipulatives and
music (always music!) and gym.
We will always be moving and learning and teaching
and resting and laughing and crying and fighting.

Others may peek in
or hear a loud noise, and think that
we have controlled chaos.
Some may scoff as they pass on their way
to the copy room.
Some will definitely be anxiously
noting the standards taught throughout our day.

Inside my Kindergarten
life is being lived,
discoveries being made, and
learning taking place.
In here,
we will always remain children
as we learn about our world

Sunday, May 29, 2005


My lungs are still hot,
burning within,
from last night when I smoked the dirty, little, brown
Its wrinkled skin fascinated me
as I gnawed off the end (my jaw is still sore).
Last night, I was finally able to light it correctly,
so that it burns hot, deep within, and
my lungs are still hot.

Last night, while my hands were numb
from the cold,
my lungs stayed warm
as the hot ash and smoke permeated
our surroundings.
I am sure the rough bark and innumerable
leaves still reek of our celebration.
Now the celebration is over, but
I still stink.
What smelled hot and sweet,
now leaves a white film on the corners of my dry mouth.
My breath smells of grandfathers and construction
I tried to cleanse myself,
so as not to stink my bedsheets, but
my lungs are still hot.

It was cold, freezing cold last night,
but the sun is beginning to warm the day.
Today, the air will smell sweet
and last forever.

Friday, May 27, 2005

writing instead

I used to lie awake waiting (sweat in my eyes)
for the images to come.
I would sit in coffee shops (even though I cannot stand its bitterness);
At breakfast tables each day,
thinking between the crossword clues.
I used to search for wisdom, inspiration:
Sandburg, Hughes, Bishop, Pound, Williams, and Whitman!
(Oh, what leaves of grass I walk upon looking under each step!)
Bending the pages of these poems,
I try to absorb their passions, words
by showing what I have read.
I write about love
always love!
But, I have been defacing American poetry,
Spitting in the eyes of greatness and
expecting inspiration!
I have crushed leaves of grass instead
of placing my ear on their tips
and listening to their songs.
It is time to read, write, read, write!
Sitting in my chair,
writing instead of

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I lie awake at night
feeling the adventure before me.
I can't help but think
if this is where I am fated to be,
or if I am just following.
Is there anything with following love?
My heart has never been wrong
I picture her walking towards
hands outstretched,
ready to lead me
to China
and all its mysteries.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The pillar supports
Its building,
Withstanding the tempest
It decorates and
Structures, but
Burdens itself.
It shows you how
Elaborate strength
Can be.
But in the end,
It stands alone.

Monday, May 23, 2005


The music playing above me is a white, satin bra.
I am wildly obsessed with fondling the notes.
It tickles my earlobes as I cock my head back and laugh aloud.
I can taste its sweet skin on the tip of my tongue.
My laughter echoes within my head.
The ocean, and its misty music, clouds my nostrils with its stench, making it difficult to breathe.
I am reminded of a long, wooden pier, peering off into the horizon.

I can see clearly now, the muddy notes floating in space above me.
Stevie Wonder stares at me telling his thoughts of downtown Harlem.
I'm blind, as I've always been.
Staring at seashells washed up on shore, I think back,
Schlepping my memories around with me.
That is why my mind is empty.

The talented musician of ecstasy continues to seduce me
until I am faint from sleeping too much.
I melt into this seat and stick to its soft leather.
Adrian had the power to listen to my words,
but I failed him.
I will stop listening soon, and go home to emptiness,
and drink dry water until I thirst for something wet.
I will eat when I am full, and starve my empty stomach until
ich habe eine groesse Hunger fuer Musik.
This soft chair tells me that the song is over for today,
But tomorrow echoes in my mind already.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


May 20, 2005

When my dad asked me to speak today, it was difficult to sit down and sum up how I feel about my Grandma in a short passage. What can I tell you about Marie that you don’t already know? What can I possibly say in this short time that will honor her in the way she deserves?

I suppose all I can do is tell you what my grandma means to me. When I think of my grandma I think of food. I think of strong calves, and her flipping around in my dad’s slippers that were five sizes too big for her. I think of her beautiful German accent on my answering machine. I think of her simplicity and her cleanliness. I think of her immaculate house with clean sheets. I think of the washcloths she made. I think of her inability to sit still. I think of her amazing vegetable garden. I think of waking up to seiza panna kuche. I think of her smell. I think of how hard she worked. I think of her kitchen, surrounding me with food—always. I think of her soft voice. I think of how much she loved. I think of her little feet. I think of Laurel. I think of her laugh: it was great, like a chuckle. I think of her drinking coffee with Aunt Frida. I think of how she would sneak sweets, even though she wasn’t supposed to, and the face she would make: like a little kid knowingly doing something wrong. I think of the amazing adversity she lived through. I think of how she would take out her teeth before bed. I think about how she was always concerned about her family. I think of how she never complained about anything, ever.

I love my grandma Marie so much, and she makes me proud to be a ________. I am proud of where my family comes from because she was such a model of goodness. I will always carry these things with me.


Too far away to see your face
As you flip through these poems a while,
Somewhere from some far off place,
I hear you laughing—and I smile.

--Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Upon hearing my grandmother had died

Meine Oma

Teary-eyed nostalgia

The kind that makes you look up at the sky
and want to travel down that broken path again.
The breeze of a Fall evening,
just before the sun hides itself away,
you feel it--cool on you face
while it warms your heart.

The smells of yesterday
begin to permeate memories.
Days, months, and years
are all remembered
through your nose.
Breathe deeply,
sink deeper into that blackness inside you.
Look for that time when we were all starting
and children ran in circles
yelling at the sky.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Our world blinks,
instantly changing
ere we can even breathe.
Our life is that warm feeling
when no worries
ail your mind.
Our body is temporary,
waiting to be filled again
and start afresh.

My darling, do not worry.
For our love is everlasting,
surpassing reality,
strengthening as we continue.
My heart may stop beating,
my eyes close permanently,
but my love will continue

Sunday, May 08, 2005

from my mother

I have not spoken to you for some time now.
Why did you hurt my son the way that you did?
He adored you more than anything.
You used him,
tricked him.
You tricked my husband--he is stupid and blind.
You didn't fool me.
I knew of your tainted intentions.
I knew because mine are the same.

I am you.
I am selfish and did not want him
to love another
(he will, though, no matter how selfish I am).
It is no matter that you came along,
that you caught his eye.
I don't need a reason to hate you!
He loves me and no one else.
(Why must he love another?)
He is mine.
I carried him for nine months and
almost died delivering him.
I need his affection; just as you do.
Now you are gone;
a tainted memory,
a scar on my son's heart,
but so am I.

Friday, May 06, 2005


soft, delicate hands
strong, silent engagement ring
treated cuticles with
polished nails
(pink of course)
smooth, experienced,
aching hands
needing to be rubbed

Folding ribbons of lotion
into her hands,
the routine continues:
one finger
over another,
tilting her wrists,
rocking back and forth,
back and forth,
until lotion disappears.

The hum of a butterfly's wings
is the warm sand beneath my toes.

Her hair sways its leaves
in the night breeze.

"How do you work the night moisture
into your hands?"

She notices me watching,
waiting for her hands to be moist.
She looks up,
"My hands are dry," she says.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


A hurricane
brews deep down
inside my nose.
Spinning, churning,
the storm gains strength.
I feel it growing,
its powerful winds
waiting to attack.

Rains come crashing down
soaking my sinuses.
Howling winds blowing
in my head.
The time is approaching--
so take cover



I wish I could fly

I wish I could fly.
I would fly through the streets
late at night
to the soft, humming

I would fly close to the ground
barely missing my nose,
closing my eyes,
the vibrating

I would soar in the sky
diving into clouds,
letting my tongue
lick the soft, damp

Monday, May 02, 2005


Millions of ants
march their way up my arm.
Beginning at my fingers,
they drag their
as they walk
to their own
They are in no rush,
so they take
their time.
Their destination is unknown,
but I feel them.
Millions of ants with
billions of feet.
I feel their travel.
I wish they would STOP!
or go home to their mounds of dirt
in deep crevices.
I scratch my arm
trying to stop them
from marching.
I scratch my arm
and still

Sunday, May 01, 2005


He knows
the camera
watches him;
he is awkward
and uncomfortable.
His movements become
doing a
monotonous task.
The camera
The picture is taken,
and he relaxes
once again.