Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Way With Words - @CWPFairfield, 2014 - An Acrostic

In the tradition of writing acrostics for the teachers I work with:

I ‘ve learned from hopping across ponds and tiptoeing through

C attails, that roses smell like daffodils
a nd tulips are better than one lip when seeking
n ectar from what Maude, mother nature, provides.

B ryan’s an odd frog who has learned that
e verything evolves at exactly the right time. From

M adness, comes language, and how
e ach of us must find our way with words.

E verything we do as teachers is social, but just?
l iving equity, equally, equality, equitably
i re-evaluate my sensibility, to
s quirm a little with the simple complexity, to
e ntertain the complex simplicity of my

D ecisions. The precision made with every choice,
a dvancing each and every voice of the precious souls we teach,
r eaching deep inside being careful not to preach, squashing the
d ictatorship so autonomy doesn’t leach onto the sensibilities of
a very complicated world. We must educate, 
n avigate, contemplate, and
i ntellectually hesitate so that we’re always doing what’s right. Right?

L ife needs salt. Well, that’s what Wikipedia says, and something about
o bsidian trades of volcanic rocks. Salt lickers needs weapons, I guess…
u nless you consider that sodium chloride is more than just
i onic, and a lunchtime dialogue grows rather ironic with the
s ardonic wit needed in order to survive. it’s an
e dible element, after all, this humor. Yet,

D efficiency can cause lowered production of thyroxine and the
o vergrowth of thyroids. Too much can cuz a stroke. some
b loke writes its one of the oldest industries (what about stories?) – this
s alinity. sea water. Housewarmings. Weddings. Blessings.
o rnate bowls to ward off spirits and to welcome guests. Man,
n ext we’ll need some pepper. Um, can you pass the salt?

K otex. Tampax. Complex,
a nd the hex of growing up with sisters. Sub-
t ext: read Coupland’s tamponic moments and suddenly
e verything else will make sense.

B loody hell, I tell ya, the farmer and the dell,
e ventually a meno-pausal clause.
d umb, right? this stanza gestating, hee haws,
a s if it, too, is a cycle aligned with the moon.
r eally, Crandall. 9 months. You’re a baboon
d ancing maxi-free…just jealous the stickies didn’t flow my way.

A nd running is like poetry, see,
l eaping over new terrains in a quest to be free, doing
l aps habitually
i n order to justify a Magnum Bar, existentially, as
s auconys, Nikes, Asics, help us to be
o n the pavement sweating in a symphony of
n ature, memories, and possibility, when

F lowing forward, a stride, with the harmony of un-
a nswered questions and the mystery of
l iving a life, contemplatively,
l oving a life with sincerity,
o n our roads to find out (Cat Steven’s melody).
n estled in our strides comes serenity from the pace in which we compose.

K ermit the Frog. No, it ain’t easy being green,
i mean, forget Ted, I want FrogTalks…
m ine would be about the lilypads and cattails,
b ambi, turtle, mosquito, dragonfli, crow, bald
e agle, worm, bunny bufu, duck, swan, firefly,
r iver rat, pond scum, tiger lily, rainbow fish,
l oon, bat, hawk, fox, goldfish, phoenix, and owl. when
y ou teach as an amphibian, they all begin to write.

H mmm. A FrogTalk about relationships and how
e very year they come seeking advice – they need to know, but
r eally he has no answers. He learned the art of questions - to
z ig zag through the universe for hints, but to guide them to stand
o n their own. Muppets in Maude’s World…a
g reat imagination inherited from Hynka. Why, Thank Ya.[1]

M ammana-na. He called me ‘meatball’. Mammana-na. Called
a stro’, too. Mammana-na. I’m Bryan, Geek-boy,
r ipley, and sometimes a Seahorse, woo . Mammana-na.
y ou can call me Crandall.

M ammana-na, Or call me dork. Mammana-na
a scholar man.
m ammana-na. I’m also Uwe, a
m adman, and director of this class. Mammana-na,
a name’s a label. Mammana-na, a name’s a clue. Mammana-na,
n obody can brand us or flag us unless we want them, too.
a nd Mammana-na, do do do do do. Mammana-na, do do do do.

J ust when we figure things out,
a nother tree of squirrels throws monkey wrenches our way.
n ope. that is not what we Americans say, but
e very day i try not to essential-ize world cultures -
t he vultures fly both in Dodoma and Washington, D.C.. See,

N obody, wrote Achebe, can teach me who i am. Want
a nother from him? There is no story that is not true.
m aybe our job is to live as the fictional do, and
a s things fall apart, we should become, doobie-doo-doo, the simulacra, 
r eplications, and sequels to the hullaboo
a nd a rendezvous to the greatest books we’ve ever read.

G onna try some Kanga phrases here before I’m six feet under
a nd dead. Maisha Mazuri, (Life is good even if I’m in a hurry)
b ahai ikikataa hata kwa mganga haitofaa, (luck is happiness ha ha ha)
o h, and, Upendo wa Mungu wanizunkuka (the love is hear, yeah)
n akaushukuru kwa wema wako, (because of you, I’m me, you know)
e ncouraging, indeed. Jipe moyo utashinda. Your destined to succeed.

N estled near every writer is a counselor -
a wise friend who listens, who asks questions, who
d elivers advice (sometimes not nice) of what needs to be said.
i am unconditionally here, if you’ll be unconditionally there,
a nd i will be your peer, if you promise me that you, too, will stay near.

P erhaps that needs to be taught in college.
e mpathy, like sympathy, a need to counter apathy
a rrives only in the symphony of trust – that is,
r elying on ourselves to seek others when we must, and
c aring for others when they come to us. To avoid carelessness,
e ach must be fabulous to one another. Mindfullness.

J ust a word. Any word works. For
e xample, mythology. i can
s ample Odysseus’s quest upon Poseidon’s
s ea. Yes, me. Travel along this life in a storified journey,
I can tap the multiliteracy of being alive, trapped by
c alypso’s heart, but striving to be elsewhere,
a nywhere, with Penolope on my mind. Or

R owing beside Charybdis and Scylla,
e xisting and persisting in the swirls of charisma, flying with
i carus’s wings towards the sun in wings made of wax – the
n eed to send a fax to Daedalus about my
h ubris, a desire to write haiku about the
e ye of Polyphemus…
i am the genre, another alpha on a
m ission to be textual, visual, and sonic within the
e pic of what I know.
r eally, it’s through the exploration of text that all of us shall grow.

C razy, but I want this stanza to be about chest hairs
o r belching, or farting, or scratching, or
d istractedly, not listening. I want to 
y ell, “Dude,” or “Bro,” or “Yo,” ya know?…

T o have it stand at a urinal or to
h igh five for saying something stupid
o r to pick lint out of its belly button.
m an, oh man, oh man. In truth,
a ll I really want from this poem is a beer.
s o there. But also to admit I love working with women.

M y resolution, a solution of sorts, is
e very time i’m in a lot, parked:
g roceries or a mall, y’all, the soul is sparked, with

R ationality amok, i become earmarked to bring
o rder to the universe. a curse.
o ridnarily not this rehearsed – a
n erd, indeed, without boy scout thirst to
e valuate my morals upon such stories.
y et, a grocery cart embodies epiphanies that make me feel alive.

J ust ordered from Amazon again.
e ggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Yes, this
n erd, fluttering in a like-minded flock, a literacy bird,
n eeds another book for his shelf. Tweet Tweet.
i am what I read, so what does Cacas: The Encyclopedia of Poo
f rom my account really mean? Scattelogical, ah! Sweet.
e arlier this year I ordered every Chris Crutcher book, cuz
r eally, look, I knew I was going to meet him. Loved What is the What,

v alentino deng, dang (dung) crap – the Sudanese connection, slap, an
o ption for my undergraduate class.
n ow i’m wondering if my reading habits make me a total ass. A

W iesner phase. Tuesday. Flotsam. Sector 7. Art and Max. Alas.
a wkwardly bought a few other snacks…this man slacks not,
h alogen lightbulbs, a phone case, even a few DVDs…
l eave a man to his cyber jungle and he’ll do what he’ll please, but waiting
d elivery, impatiently, sometimes down on the knees. Come on. Admit it.
e very one of us in here goes on such spending sprees.

M aya Angelou: “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”
e rnest hemingway: “There’s nothing to writing. All you
g ot to do is sit down to a typewriter and bleed.”

Z en in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury: “Write. Don’t Think. Relax.
a nd “what,” you ask, “does writing teach us?”
b race yourself. “First and foremost,
i t reminds us that we’re alive and that it is a gift and a privilege [insert
l earning from summer here], not a right.”
a nd I don’t know about you, but I’m going to continue this fight. Anais
n in: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out…or
s ing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
k ing: “write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” Me?
y ou gotta write! To incite insight. To embrace the spotlight. A’ight?

P oetry is diversity meant to bring harmony to a world that
a wkwardly and cautiously doubts its own possibility as it
u biquitously crafts scrapbooks digitally and
l inguistically, harmonically and serendipitously -
a sking ourselves, cosmically, to look to culture for its music. 

F ortunately, some have the symphony that
o rganically brings musicality and
r ationality to the irrational bureaucracy that
t enaciously, not graciously,
u nconvincingly silences the song, both haphazardly and
n eedlessly – oh, say can you see -
a ll we need is intentionality in everything we teach.

Just when i get used to the green of everything,
u sually the first week of August, i realize that
l aughter is replaced by cicadas.
i learned this from a tree. When they begin to sway, their wisdom
e choes in my ear. Or did I hear that on NPR.

R ight when i get used to morning coffee with these friends,
o rganizing kick-offs and high-fives, a summer ends, and my
n otebook must turn another page. But I remember her branches –
e verything from a sage upon the stage -
s o what if they lose their leaves and age?
o r if they sprinkle ice blades over winter’s rage? Because the
n ext thing we know, every tree buds again in full-bloom everything.


B ryan, another word-play of madness, (summer sadness)
e volving exactly as it should in the mental
c acophony of spastic history seeking hopeful serenity
a nd trying to avoid chaotic anarchy, as always,
u biquitously, while residing in (a
s ide note) a poem – besides, I find comfort in
e volving and solving, I roam, what I have to say in text.

o h, great. another summer must
f lutter south with Monarchs and lightening bugs. Vexed,

w e find ourselves at a last, hexed, by the
h oorah for now -
o r we can use our time together for additional pow

w ows some time soon. Yes, we all
e xist on Golden Ponds and must listen to the loon’s call

a rriving with their say about the world. We are the
r ivers, the lakes, the oceans, swirled in the in-
e vitability of our water cycles and routines. We are the watersheds &

t his is how i row, ya know? hoping to earn educational street-creds,
o rganizing ideas with others (perhaps needing meds),
g rant-writing and project-seeking (no matter how much time dreds)
e levating possibilities through State government and
t he Feds, all so this growing is made possible.
h ello. i want to introduce myself. i’m a quirky fellow who finds
e ntertainment in finding who I can be, only to
r ealize I am nothing without ‘who we are together.’ Us. Thank you.

[1] Kim’s OpEd reminded me of the ‘letters to frog’ I used to get. It’s all about relationships.

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