November Fifth and It’s So Far Away

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Brittle leaves dance through

Downtown and scatter

Little League infields where

Ghosts and memories thrive.

The cooling of weather

Brings on a fever

That still refuses to die.

Just short of six months to go,

Still awaiting the first snow,

While highlights reel inside me

A 2-2 count

An insurance run in the ninth—

Can’t you see the excitement?

I try recalling single games, records,

But it all seems to be a mirage, a continuum

Where players and positions, the moments,

End in the same lapse and same stream.

Each player, each team

Desiring October.  Rookies (babies)

Who still breathe

Big League Chew or Bubble Yum.

Old cigars.  Fresh popcorn.

It’s all an extraordinary mixture.

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Rare Poetry from Yours Truly

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I haven’t really tried my hand at poetry for some time–years, probably.  This creative writing class, however, had two poems required this week.

The first set of three-line poems were to follow these “ingredients”:  Line 1–an abstraction, a verb, and a place; Line 2–describes/includes attire; Line 3–summarizes the action of the poem.  Here are the eight I’m submitting:

Entry 2:

Theft haunts this town;

Its invisible cloak creates chaos,

Striking at night.  In seconds.

 

Honesty corrugates throughout our firm;

We’re suited and booted;

Decked out to defend (y)our rights.

 

Merit defeats worthlessness

In its superhero Spandex;

All who Do relish in self-satisfaction.

 

Noise burrows from within a young heart

Churning within a child’s stained sweater;

He’s lost a cherished toy.

 

Cooperation pulverizes blatant solitude

When, after slicing away the layers and personal space,

We accept each other and grind out a finer product.

 

Parenting chokes at our younger selves’ souls

From within the churchy clothes we once loathed;

Disciplining the same way as ours did

 

Integrity lacks among the wavepools

and underneath designer adornments over the thick skin of the upper One Percent;

Wealth attracts people, but rarely friends.

 

Innocence chases innocence in schoolyards

Filled with bright yellow slickers and hand-me-down jeans;

Boisterous, youthful bodies exhibit the purest of joys, even among the raindrops.

The other assignment called for a twenty-line (minimum) poem that included at least six “merged metaphors”.  The exercise was to put 2 or more cliches together to make these new metaphors.  Here’s my attempt 🙂

Poem:  “

 

Ever since the morning you left,

I’ve slept like an owl.

These nights, there’s nothing on

And nothing to do

Nothing to smoke or drink.

 

Leaving, for you, must have been

As easy as taking candy from a horse.

my friends

my family

tell me there will be more pies in the bakery,

But, sugar,

I fall without you as my chief ingredient.

 

They tell me you’re completely over me

And that I shouldn’t live under this drum anymore

 

I’m thinner now.

Thin like yesterday, my brothers tell me.

 

They want me to let sadness’s rain

Make me clean as a rock seconds after the last drop has fallen.

 

But I want to sink down further

Into the world

With you.

Creative Writing Assignment #2 (1 of 3)

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Only one of the three writings due this week was prose fiction; thus, here’s my entry below.  The instructions called for a brief (two-paragraph) scene that contains contrasts.

ENGL 202 – Creative Writing

Session 2:  Journal 1 (3 Prompts – imagery)

  1. Assignment:  “Write two paragraphs of your own in which you describe a brief fictional scene that is full of contrasts.  Make the contrasts meaningful to the character in your scene.”

Entry 1:

Jeremy’s mother, in a text message, asks if he’ll be sleeping there tonight.  Without responding, he sighs, unintentionally expelling a  pushpin of saliva.   Twenty-nine years old and running a plastic packing tape dispenser along the final crinkled box, he remembers that Sara and Ginni have been in Milwaukee for six-and-a-half days.   He kneels, then watches his hands as the tape dwindles to that eerie end where adhesive becomes lifeless cardboard.  There’s not enough to finish this box, which is filled with typical junk drawer inventory: opened battery blister packs, flip phones,  and creased concert tickets.  It’s midday; a narrow tower of sun blasts through the opening of the curtains he and Sara picked out the night she told him she was pregnant.  He watches the dust dance within the new bright avenue that lands on the empty hardwood floor they argued about.  Carpet, he’d told her, made more sense with a kid.  Couldn’t we just tear it up when she’s older?

Leaving the dispenser perched atop its flimsy castle, Jeremy realizes his feet are numb from being in this position so long.  Pressing his fingers into his eye sockets–one of Sara’s ever-growing list of pet peeves–he ran his dry, dusty fingers down his face and across his week-long scruff, and stands.  The hollow home  eight years earlier,  had been a blank canvas for a young crazy married couple to make into a home.  Now, perhaps, another would try.  Slowly, he lets the blood flow, mix, and return to normalcy within his unsocked feet before he turns around.  Had she purposely left that damn iron sign between the windows?  The one that read This Home Knows Love that he hated for its hokeyness?   His pocket vibrates again; Jeremy lifts the box, leaves the door unlocked for the realtor, and drives to his mother’s.

Creative Writing Class – Assignment #1

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I’m taking an online creative writing course through Ivy Tech to fulfill a course requirement to keep my teaching license active.  I’m very excited to be a student again!

Our first assignment was to post three short stories that introduce us to the class.  The caveat is that only one of the three may be factual.  Here are my three short stories.  Feel free to guess which one is real!

1.  As a kid, I was not much of a troublemaker.  If anything, I avoided pretty much all conflicts whatsoever.  My first real act of rebellion as a teenager, however, got me in some serious hot water with my mom.  I went to my junior prom with a sophomore girl I had been dating for a few months.  We had an okay time, but the event did not pan out as I had pictured it would.  The time came for us to leave, and I assumed I was just going to take her back to her parents’ house.  She, however, had a different plan.  Evidently, everyone else in the school knew about this enormous party one of the seniors was having out in the country.  She led me to it, which turned out to be quite simple due to the large bonfire that served as both a signal and warming device.  In short, we stayed way too long and I got home at 3:15–over three hours past my curfew.  I didn’t drink at the party, but I was in severe trouble for being out without permission.

2.  I never owned pets as a child; that is, unless you count goldfish (and you shouldn’t, honestly).  When I was in my twenties, however, I got my first dog–unless you don’t count Shih-Tzus as dogs (but you should!).  We named her Kenzie (short for Mrs. Kensington, a character from the Austin Powers movies), and I really became quite fond of her.  One morning, however, an outside observer might have assumed otherwise.  My in-laws at that time had a long driveway, so one chilly Sunday morning, I offered to drive down to get the paper.  My wife had let the dog go outside while I was on my brief excursion.  As I pulled back toward the house, I saw that the dog was yelping and jumping around near the car.  Even though I slowed down, I ended up running over her tail!  We had to have the tail amputated, and I think it’s fair to say I was no longer Kenzie’s favorite parent.

3.  Years ago, roller skating was wildly popular.  Once in a while, our elementary principal–of all people–would organize a Friday evening trip to the old Wigwam on the north side of Terre Haute.  While parents were encouraged to accompany their children, they were not required to do so.  My older brother had found some rather taboo print tee-shirts during a recent vacation with friends, and I took one to wear to that night’s skating night.  I arrived well before the required time and was very excited.  That is, until my principal suggested I take off my jacket.  As I unzipped, I revealed the risque shirt–a cartoon duck with the words SHIT HAPPENS emblazoned above his head.  Needless to say, my mother was called and I was not allowed to attend that night’s skating party.

2015 Readin’ an Writin’ Resolutions

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This afternoon, I deleted Dice With Buddies and Words with Friends from my phone.  I’m not usually one to make resolutions because I know the enthusiasm fizzles by about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  However, I fully admit I have/had a problem with game apps.  I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I would play them primarily when I first woke up, shortly before bed, during sporadic downtime throughout the day, and of course while in the restroom.

I can’t know for sure, but I’d say about 1-2% of my 2014 was devoted to playing these silly games.  There’s nothing at stake; I even played the Free Versions.  It was a kiddish distraction.

But it/they is/are gone.

I resolve to use time like that to write or read much more this year and in the future.  If I can, I’m going to have my phone’s background be one black word on a white page: WRITE.

This is not meant to discourage any of you from playing your games.  Do whatever you’d like, obviously.  For me, however, I’m becoming more career goal-oriented, and that career is not to become a professional Scrabble player.

Although, I think I would have done pretty well in that…