Rainwords

I just want to turn off the classroom light and sit on the floor with the kids and watch the rain-light. Or see the big bright windows full of noise and light from outside, with all the color and warmth falling out onto the wet grass.

Rainy days are good for poetry. I’m finding a few of the things I wrote last year, during my first year of teaching. Here’s a few. You know, if that’s your thing.

(Also, I’m thinking about another non-public blog in which to accumulate poetry. If that is indeed your thing, let me know and I’ll pass on the address.)

Ventanas (February 09)

I’m glad it’s raining, despite the brown grass and mud,
I’d rather have nights that breathe
instead of bite.

Tons and tons;

lo
cu

tion

re
vo
lu
tion

not the wet jungles in other hemispheres, but
here in brick buildings, damp and heavy with most of the windows
warped shut.

She told me she didn’t want to show children some of the pictures
from Costa Rica,

the broken glass on top of cement walls, bars on windows.

Around here, in the coughing skyline up the road,
more storefronts dissolve daily to plywood, and the

lovely old skeletons rot out at the hearts,

eyes nailed up.

All day I struggle with stubborn windows and
stubborn children,
trying to let in whatever new air I can. After
the drive home past the sky,
at home with blinds tilted closed I’m left floating
in circles, the anxious needle of a compass

en-compass-ing,

no cruciform directions, no grid to tack myself to.

***

Crooked fingers & bent ears (January 09)

We are learning adjectives in opposite pairs, like:
viejo, joven.
alto, bajo.
My students think they are old; they know that they are tall
slouching or standing on tiptoe to tower over me with their eleven entire years.

There’s this picture of when I was young, barely seventeen perhaps.
I was laughing and wearing some big embroidered apron
in the kitchen of the mother of
somebody who was going to kiss me, someday sooner

or later.
I look happy, and skinny, breakable maybe,
and my hair was so long.

I remember that kitchen, and chopping onions at the window, and feeling my heart in my throat.
I remember the back expanse of rain coming in across the corn,

I remember squinting along a shotgun and the arms steadying mine, though the weight
of the gun on my shoulder has faded out completely,
the faint shattering of clay pigeons.

Everyone grows up in the curve of a magnifying glass,

pushing minutes into eternities, impulses into eternities.

Today somebody wrote “bitch” on the wall in the stairwell,
probably feeling the thrill of the forbidden,

the excitement of one little syllable in washable blue marker
on a grimy wall.

Your momma’s a ____.
So there.
The emotion crackles like blue sparks between
the young people whose angry staredowns I step between

daily,
and it buzzes faintly in between two six year olds’ fingertips pointed
at eachothers hearts, as they crook their
thumb triggers.

bonito
feo
serio
cómico

Someday I am going to have children and

talk to them about time (telling it, wasting it, making up for it lost)
and about the forbidden
and about playing with guns.

***

Sunday Night (November 08)

O consumer theaters, you have failed me,
barred doors and soft-lit aisles.

Still the insomniac convenience
of supermarketing, or the comfortably dirty buzz
of gas stations,
gum pink in its cellophane, coffee cooling in styrofoam

pushing me across pavement and blinking through lanes
to the tunnels of yellow lights that always make me think of
a barren riverbed, dried up into concrete.

Radio waves crinkle up the night
with the low tones of a voice or the high twirl of a violin
trickling through drifts of static.

Ignition key trashcans stairs lock key doorknob stairs lightswitch lightswitch.

Where did you come from?
Why are you here?
Who told you where to find me?

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One Response to Rainwords

  1. Wendy Kennedy says:

    I’m interested. I love reading your poetry.

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