A long time ago, a tradition of writing an acrostic poem for every student I've ever taught was initiated (madman emptying the ocean with a fork). This year, I used the NWP Urban Sites Network field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago as my inspiration for the poems. With the students in mind, the literature we read in my backpack, and the art pieces we were asked to explore on the field trip, I etched many of these acrostics. Although too expansive for this post, in the presentation I made for my students, I also shared the artwork that inspired the writing. I post this as evidence that the Writing Marathon was a success! And here's to the last day of National Poetry Month.
K nock knock. Whose there?
i don’t know. Canoe? Canoe Who?
m an, Canoe help me with my homework? Pretty
b ad, huh? Let’s try another. Knock Knock. Whose there?
e tch. Etch hoo? God bless you.
r ight. This is a lot of fun. Woot Woot. Crandall,
y ou are an absolute riot. Yucca Yucca.
Bet you have another one, don’t ya? Knock Knock. Whose there?
a venue. Avenue who? Avenue knocked on this door before? Yep,
i have a whole pile of them. Knock knock. Whose there?
l ettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce get out
e arly today cuz these jokes aren’t funny. Knock Knock. Whose there?
y a. Ya who. Wow, you really are excited to see me.
D etermination. Conviction. Tenacity.
a ssurance. Doggedness. Constancy.
m indfulness. Spunk. Certainty.
i ndependence. Spine.
e nergy. Backbone. Guts. Obstinacy.
n erve. Dedication. Grit. Pertinacity.
Q uick-wit. Humor. Elasticity.
u nderstanding. Drive. Inevitability.
i am determined to live with integrity.
n irvana. Utopia. Heaven. Universality.
n ow is the best time to appreciate seduity.
A nd Gautama Buddha said, “Peace comes from within. Do
n ot seek it without.” In other words, our
d irectives arrive from mind and not the way language shouts.
r eal peace requires the transformation of
e xternal greed into spiritual gratitude – to find the
w hatever in all that is great. Add an ‘o’ to God and you have good.
S o, I stood once on a hill in Ireland, overlooking
t he Bay of Dingle. It was overcast and I
e ven saw a thunderstorm out to sea. The Irish
w ind waddled the green grass and cattle huddled
a long the stoned pastures and lapping waves. Then the
r ainbow appeared as if i was a leprechaun. i held her hand.
t he universe was calm. I thought to myself, “so am i.”
A nother metaphor my grandmother left me with was the
b utterfly. I’ve never understood, exactly, why
b ut the metamorphosis of Bry has take many
y ears upon a lilypad to understand.
T heir are pillars of caterpillars
e verywhere, but Stripe and Yellow needed to
r each inside. Change, I suppose, is swallowing personal pride and
r emembering the climb isn’t always the answer -
e verything evolves at exactly the right time. The
s ecret is to be patient and to trust our wings.
A nd then there are
b eaches, the way each season reaches to
b uild a climax of something larger than ourselves.
y ou + me = community. Together, we can see that we are a
B raided bunch with a hunch that there’s meaning to the
r andom serendipity of being a squad -
e very troupe begins as a group, a posse, who somewhat
n eurotically, must find meaning from it all.
n ext winter, next summer, next spring, next fall,
a rrives nature’s reminder that we are a team…
n ext year, to one another, we’ll only be a dream of what we once were.
E merson said, “For every
m inute you spend angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”
m an, that leaves many of us in
a mess of wondering about the nature of bliss and love.
J ust as we think we ‘get it’ -
u nconditionally at a place where we don’t regret it -
t he universe throws us dark clouds.
r eal love, though, is a pilgrimage with conditions, where
o nward we must overcome inhibitions -
w hen seriously we must give way to contemplations - that he,
s he, they can complete us with personal revelations – yes, those
k id-like crushes and admirations – that
i ntimately make us feel whole. Elephant Shoe is always good for the soul.
S eahorse. That was the name she gave me as we
h eld hands in Tintagel and
a fter I dubbed her Diana, the Sea Goddess. I was the
n erd (they called me Eeyore, Fat Ass, dufus,
a nd Charlie Brown). I hadn’t quite
L earned the art of unnaming
y et (that sticks and stones break your bones &
n ames get etched in skin forever). She’s a writer now, in
c alifornia and married to some white dude.
h e could never be me, though…not this Frog.
A rnold simply wanted more –
n ot to ignore the rowdier ways of the reservation, but to tap his
m editation of spirit, culture, & success…
o h, but what a mess comes from the countering culture –
l ess we hang on to our foundational roots.
T he trick is to stay in cohorts of the Great Whatever,
a nd whenever or wherever or however the
b oots travel (or shoelaces unravel)
a lways stay true to your “you” –
s he needs to do as only
s he can do, and he must accrue,
u ltimately, what he can accrue – playing with the
m agic and this whacky rendezvous we call life.
E very once and a while I feel her –
v ivian Bearing’s blur of intellectual dust –
a nother character I learn to trust
n estled behind the curtain, but still upon the stage:
K nowledge, questions, serenity, &
r age that every sage must face at the end.
i put her down, but she was ready to go – the
c ompanion ran away from home, to the shades of the cave, the pain –
k rypnonite, Superman? With youth in Asia, there can only be the rain.
J ust where I think I’m
a winner, I fail again, a loser
c ompletely incompetent with my inabilities and competence
o lympic moron of confidence
b ouncing about in the circumstances of the game.
K ingston & Alexie, White boys feel lame at times, too –
n ot maggots in the rice, but like albino doo-doo
o n the souls/soles of every giant
s tep for mankind – in
t he pump and grind of survival…
m an vs. self, man vs. man, man vs. the universe
a nd not one of us with the ability to rehearse for the game.
n ah, it’s okay to be lame at times, too – makes the win taste better.
J ust because i
o nly live once, and just because i
have a hunch, that
nestled behind the hours i crunch,
Laughter lives and pernicious poems punch
o vations, overtures, and opportunities launch
n ext to the others who choose to serve a bunch &
g ive of themselves and receiving just as much – that is how to
o wn internal joy all the way.
t hat is just f$%kin re-d*ckulous
e ven that fat f#$k knows better, and he’s a loser
v !gina-faced wanna-be who
e xistentially F#$ked up in the complexity of his own stupidity.
P r#ck. G#@dam# A##hole, imbecility,
e lephant-turd sphincter with no humility
n ymphomaniac, lying F$ckhead who drinks his own pee,
n ecrophiliac douche bag, effing hung like a flee –
a h, #$#@, snap, are you talking about me?
C aution, our stories are told by scars,
h istories of treadmills, dazed by stars & bruises
r un-ins with the law (and bikes), the way some are given throat cancer.
s um of my wounds –
t he total of all my
i nsecure moons and
n ot a bastard with grandchildren,
W elder of many mistakes, but
a son of a Butch doing what it takes to find
l aughter, wit, humor, &
l ove, friendship, hope, integrity
a nd trust in the above.
c aput inter nubilia condo, Virgil,
e ach of us hides our heads, at times, within the clouds.
Since we’re talking about story and the glory of
h ow we explore, see, the complexity of our diversity
a nd the simplicity of global camaraderie, this
h armony, i found satisfaction while looking at art –
i nstinctively insighted i began to see, to start
d eveloping how it is that cultural hearts get
J uxtaposed by the muscles that cause us rifts and fists – to
a sk subtle questions about what puts us at risk of
f inding answers that have the potential to whisk us away.
r elief is when we recognize the pastiche & display beyond the historical star.
i ndividualizing philosophical Ubuntu, that is how we become who we are.
R acing & pacing i find ideas lacing all that is absurd – Moon
o rchid’s blooming goes looming, yet unheard, while
b rave orchid’s history flutters frantic like a bird with a next of
e xtremities. It becomes another word
r eaching atop the dragon’s back, these mountains,
t ip-toeing along the tree tops t be at the front of the line.
H ypnotically, i find myself
e ngaged in paranoia, enraged to the soporific effects of insomnia,
d ancing without any authority, prancing in need of celebrity,
b ounding somewhat psychotically, pranking the
u nbelievability that I’m a boss ass bitch with my vulnerability
r unning, punning, punning, running, panting frantic and
g oing nowhere as i pace myself in this chaos.
A nd the harder you
l ook the harder
y ou look, with language,
s ong, righting all that is wrong,
s pringing voice boldly to claim “we are strong”
a s we make meaning from the meaninglessness.
P erspectives confess that
o rder is subjective, and the objective
r an-dumb-ness is hidden beyond
t he truth of every culture’s lie.
o h, I’m small, too, David, living on the
f ly, trying to be a creative, artsy guy
e volving revolutions, solving textual combustions,
e ach of us a speck of this literary word-dust.
D ancing with yourself requires acceptance,
i slands, as individuals, in a sea of others,
a sking to be okay in a universe of drought. The
n eophyte in everything must stand up and shout, without
d oubt, that all of us are beautiful; no,
r eally beautiful in a sometimes ugly world –
e ach of us our own warrior avenging our villages, our homes,
C reating safe spaces for where our soul roams
l earning to make a difference within & without
a dvancing our karma with the silence that we shout,
r eflectivng on the infinite ways our dimples bring about change,
k eeping the soul in check & our happiness in range.
E very town has its rooster, a crowing
m adman pecking about with the hens, boostering
i ndividuality of the worker bees,
l etting the flock do as the laborers please in the
y odeling hardship of upstate communities.
B ringing, singing, and flinging half-moon traditions,
u ubiquitously, weaving history through suspicions,
s erendipitously moving beyond inhibitions, the ways we understand
h ome. Utica, Whitesboro,
e ven Rome –
y esterday’s family is a rhizome for growing tomorrow.
K nestled on the side of a road sat a piece of driftwood –
e ventually it would decompose or erode, completely,
l eaving a memory of its formal self, a tree, now free,
l etting go of its roots, existentially, unraveling
y anked from the soil & loyalty of standing its ground.
K notted, old wood, against the
e xpressway floor with a final say, “I have
e volved and solved the
g ordian knot. Sojourned and traveled, it
a ll become disheveled from where i was to where i am
now, upon the gravel, where i continue to revel in the journey."