Monday, April 27, 2009

Derby Girls

We'd been meaning to get to a roller derby night for, well, two years now. We got there an hour late, which was about right. The kids wouldn't have lasted through much more, probably.

In the middle there is the derby girl I was rooting for, "Pushycat," though, not knowing the rules, I didn't know what to root for her to do. She had the funniest name, though, so maybe I was rooting for no other skaters to have funnier names than she did.

I wonder if anyone there knew the rules for Roller Derby, assuming there are any. There were referees, but their signals just weren't convincing. I suspect it was all for show, their whistle blowing and penalty box banishments. The skating was all real, though, as were the falls.

This night out felt like we were trying to get in the last of our indoor winter entertainments. Soon, or already, rather, it will be all about not being inside. We seem to have skipped my favorite temperature this spring, 67 degrees, and headed straight from the 50's to the 80's. No fair.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

First Meal Out

And then it got warm--there wasn't even time to prepare food. We were outside, suddenly, looking around and eating a meal. The birds make more sense when you hear them up close. There are so many motorcycles in this town.

Navratan Korma, Medium+, is my drug of choice, but tonight I said to the man on the phone who may or may not know my voice by now, "Hot, please," but even that didn't seem like enough. Maybe I should have said "Double Hot Plus," but no, they would have told me I was crazy, that it had never been done, and how would I have explained it to them, the extent of the powers conferred by the light when it is just like that, when your kid is twirling his tiny umbrella, arguing that "Smoke-ey" is a compound word, and your dog is deaf but not dead and just might make it to 13. You can see the dilemma I was in.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Sweetest Sixteen

I don't write much about what goes on in the classroom here, but this week we had a much closer and entertaining final four than the one dominated by North Carolina, and it deserves some press. This here is the Eastern Regional for a competition we held to decide the coolest of the sixteen poems we've transcribed over the course of the past eight weeks.

And this is the Western Regional. I thought about seeding it so that the favorites wouldn't meet until the final four, but it was too hard to figure out. My personal favorites on this side are probably the Li Po up top and the Mary Oliver at the bottom, "Rain," and the Jim Moore poem "It is Not the Fact That I Will Die That I Mind."

In the East, though, I was pulling for Robert Desnos' "Infinitive," probably the most out there thing we've read this year.

At the end of a long process involving statistics tallied in box scores, alternating possessions and an evolving set of rules that I only half understood, three different classes picked winners. The Iraq veteran Brian Turner's poem "Here Bullet" emerged as an early favorite in all three classes, but didn't win in any of them. Two actually crowned the Jim Moore and one the Desnos!

I was so pleased with that, really, to see a poem that makes so little sense on the surface strike a chord when most people can't stand poems they don't "get." And another strong competitor turned out to be a somewhat less surreal poem by Robert Bly, "Surprised by Evening."

And this is what the area around my desk looks like in the morning sunlight. The morning light is the best thing about that room. Well, that and the students. The Bunsen burners and the eye washing station are also nice perks.
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