Slice of Life, Weekly Challenge, Chapter 10

(This is part of a weekly feature called Slice of Life Project)

Yesterday, we all sat around and wrote. It was another freewriting opportunity for the kids and for me, too. I didn’t give them any directions, really, just space to write. We didn’t share. We didn’t talk. We wrote and then when it was time to leave, we put our notebooks away and that was that. While they were making comics or writing stories or reflecting on their past weekend, I was hit by an urge to write some poetry, and my mind was wandering around the idea of the End of the School Year.

So, these are three of the four poems I wrote during the freewriting times of my four writing classes yesterday. The fourth poem didn’t make the cut, but there still might be some fragments to pull from the fire on some other day. Words are never lost, they just await their time.

Let You Go
(listen to the poem)

I’d count the days
if I had the time
But time is elusive here
as the days slip past.

I am torn
between who you were,
who you are
and who you are becoming,
and wonder where
my place in your story will be
when the years have washed ashore.

You are more than
what my pen can hold
and beyond a form
to take shape on this paper
beneath fingers.

I watch you — I whisper
farewell
and let you go.


Stage Presence
(listen to the poem)

On stage
you were transformed
into something unrecognizable
even to me —
the silent one no longer silent
but with a voice
like a wolf
pouncing on those words
like prey.

I was there, with you, on stage,
in the moment
behind the curtain
I believed you in a way
I (perhaps) had not believed in you before

I wonder where that person lives
in you —
when I call on you,
I am only met with confusion.

Thunderstorm
(listen to the poem)

Another summer awaits you;
your parents are content to let you sit
and simmer in the heat —
and you, thinking your thoughts of no way out;
I know you need structure
an excuse to write,
to learn;
to move among us in the living
from your world behind the mask.

In the days ahead,
I will mail you a book — some pens and paper —
anonymous, as always —
and cross my fingers that it reaches you
in time ….

before the doldrums move you
into the path of the thunderstorms
of summer.

Peace (in the waning days of the school year),

Kevin

Six Words Can Say a Lot: Days in a Sentence

This week’s Day in a Sentence was narrowed down to Day in Six Words, and the words came from all over the blogosphere this week. There were many new voices (partly as a result of the 31 Day Comment Challenge), plenty of veteran writers, and an incredible collection of tales told in minimalistic creativity.

I am going to keep my own narrative intrusions in check this week and allow your voices to come through on their own (because, well, they don’t need any help from me). But I did do something a bit different with your comments/words this week as yet another way to bring us all together in once “voice” and you can find that experiment at the end of the post.

With further ado, here you go:

  • Seniors graduated Friday. A bittersweet celebration. — Cynthia
  • Field trip – 8 chaperones – hell yeah! Sara P.
  • Learned lots from Will Richardson seminarAnne M.
  • Not getting out produces distorted viewpoints. Christine
  • Wet weepy spongy soggy rainbow day — Mary
  • With friends and sunshine, then rain.Illya (who has been experimenting with six day memoirs on Twitter for the past few days, and I have been trying to keep up, too)
  • Did that Simon says no comment.Ken (who originally let me know: Oil C wot oil do.)
  • Sydney Wednesday. Melbourne Saturday. Perth Tuesday.Kathryn
  • Two-on-two, full-court — DUMB! Larry (who admits that the full court game was a bit too much for him)
  • A whirlwind of activities encompasses me!Amy
  • “Wolf-children on crack” describes my class. — Liza
  • Need to learn to let go.Dani
  • Festival’s coming. Kids crazy. Teachers crazier. — Karen M.
  • Mud-covered frog hunters are wildly happy.Connie
  • Kind of mellow week. Almost summer! — Andrea
  • Sent staff survey. Received zero responses. — Andrea (she was inspired to keep going)
  • One soul who wears many hats. — Eric
  • The Quilt binding encircles us all.Jane S.
  • It’s that time…awards, honors, accolades.Delaine
  • Telling students they’ve failed is excruciating. Nina
  • Graduation ends K12; creates new beginnings!Tonya
  • Last Wednesday class today!! Time for ….!?!?!!!!Illya
  • Wondering if any “boilers” could hear me all the way from California hooting and hollering Wednesday night as many of the teachers and students in my filmmaking project headed onto to the stage at our regional SEVAs to receive awards and recognition?!? Gail (more than six words but Gail also has leeway on my blog)
  • Mulling on the importance of simplicity.Kate
  • Digitalstory dreams as new mac arrivesBonnie

And listen to Bonnie (if it works):

powered by ODEO
Meanwhile, at a Technology Across the Curriculum Conference on Saturday, I had participants in a podcasting workshop record their own Days in a Sentence. I did not limit them to six words, but you can listen to their voices (and I added a second sentence for this week, too).

Peace (in words, short words)

Kevin

PS — So, friends, I took your six words, mashed them all together, and created this found poem of your thoughts. It was an interesting endeavor and I believe all of you are represented in some fashion or another. What does the poem mean? The poet remains silent. 🙂

Six Words As Collective Thought
A Day in Sentence Found Poem

In bittersweet simplicity:
the quilt of students we once received
now graduate
but just one soul creates celebration/importance;
Just one soul produces sunshine;
to dream a whirlwind of mud-covered
friends who encompass a “response” in these Days
and arrive wildly happy with honor,
then (in digitalstory festivals) I project rainbows of wolf-children wearing hats, two by two —
hooting and hollering like the spongy virtual frogs of Will Richardson
as these viewpoints arrive through the recognition that
learning always honors teachers (even with crazy kids encircled in whirlwinds).
I’m mulling this:
Does this stage of summer create new beginnings?
Or end the time of today?
Let go. Let go.
Hell yeah!

poemtextmessage: a poem in SMS

This morning, I had an inspiration to write a poem using the shortened SMS language of the cell phone and chat room (and twitter, too, I suppose).

So, here goes:

poemtextmessage
(listen to the poem, translated)

iirc
u thnk txt &wrds r doa
but omg rotfl bout that @shmh
‘cos ov cors, imo, 2moro will ch8g 4 us &4u
QFT: ppl r str8ng & lng str8ngr
th4, i activ8 ur txt 4u
w/lnks & soh fwiw &hope u
h/o 2 w/e u can
& now pls gt bc 2 yr hw
yer PAW

Pce \\//
Kvn

Poem a Day, Saturday

A One Week Poetry Challenge
(An April challenge to write and post a poem a day for a week, as hosted by Two Writing Teachers)

I began this Week in Poetry Challenge with a hyperlinked poem and so I guess I should end it on the same note. I took a short poem cycle that I wrote for my students and went into the site called Hypertextopia to investigate its possibilities for hyperlinked composition.

The result is something I am calling Writing is a Voyage, which is a collection of poems about the act of writing and teaching writing to my students.

In the interest of sharing, I am including the full opening poem here, too.

Writing is a Voyage
(dedicated to my students)

Listen to the Poem as Podcast

I stand in front of the classroom
pen in hand
and think out loud in concrete thoughts
as my mind wanders
in couplets and rhyme
and dangles downward
in acrostic fashion.
Sometimes, I strap them into the seat
with the 5-7-5 seatbelts of a haiku
and other times, I present them with the rare diamond
of the cinquain.
They are richer than their dreams
although few may realize it
until years later
when I am an old man with a cane
and a mouth full of knowledge.
I know my students often think me full of nonsense
but I can’t help myself:
I am someone who writes
and I want them to compose their lives, too,
so I urge them on
and find new paths to explore,
new doors to open,
and then give them a gentle push
into unknown terrain of their mind.
The ideas will be their fortification
on this personal journey.
May they go with the grace of words.

Here is a screenshot of my poem in Hypertextopia (and you can click on the image to bring you to the actual poem, too)


Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

Poem a Day, Friday

A One Week Poetry Challenge
(An April challenge to write and post a poem a day for a week, as hosted by Two Writing Teachers)

In the Middle

Our friend tells him he is the peanut butter and jelly
between the bread,
and that spot has always made him at odds with himself.
The older and the younger — simultaneous positions — and wondering
where he truly fits in.
He is the first to love, the first to shout,
the first to reach out to those in pain,
the first to stake out his ground,
the first in affection for affection’s sake,
the first to slam the door.
Yet something is happening to him even as we speak,
something transforming him from unsettled force in the world
into this steady and stalwart child.
Perhaps he is coming into his own and no longer needs
the bread on either side to hold him
together in place.

Listen to the poem as a podcast

Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

Calling for Days in a Poem

Day in Sentence Icon

In honor of National Poetry Month, this week’s Day in a Sentence is hereby converted into Day in a Poem. You are invited to boil down your day or your week into a poem of any choosing, including freestyle (so, technically, a sentence might still work, particularly if you were creative with your formatting).

I invite anyone and everyone to participate, including my friends from the One Week Poetry Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. I would love to see some of those folks join our Day in a Sentence community, too.

Please use the comment feature on this post to submit your words. I will collect and protect them all until Sunday, when I shall release them to the world.

I decided to write my poem as a Haiku, inspired by a complete lack of sleep last night due to cries from inside the house (bad dreams) and outside the house (a fischer cat attack, I think), plus our happy cat who purred most of the night (prob glad he was not outside when the attack took place). Meanwhile, this is an incredibly busy day — we have our Quidditch Championship all day today, the kids have baseball practice until nightfall, and then I agreed to go on Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast tonight to talk about hyperlinked composition and student publications.

A night of no sleep
does not bode well for a day
of Quidditch frenzy

Listen to the poem as podcast

Peace (in reflective poetry),
Kevin

PS — In looking at Two Writing Teachers today, they define a form of poetry called a senryu as sort of like a Haiku, but about human nature. Perhaps I wrote a senryu today and not a Haiku, as it is not about nature.

PSS — Next week, Ben B. will take the helm of Day in … something.

Poem a Day, Tuesday

A One Week Poetry Challenge
(An April challenge to write and post a poem a day for a week, as hosted by Two Writing Teachers)

Not Quite Ready

I’m not quite ready to let go
of all of this
but the release is inevitable.
I took him in my arms the other day
and hugged him,
kissed his head,
and he blushed — his friends were watching —
but I could tell it was still OK.
The path forward inches as fast as the growth upward
and still we see the shimmer of the baby in his eyes —
the first born —
although soon, we won’t be looking down — we’ll be looking up.
And I’m not quite ready to let go.

Listen to the poem as a podcast

Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

Poem a Day, Monday

A One Week Poetry Challenge
(An April challenge to write and post a poem a day for a week, as hosted by Two Writing Teachers)

How To Build a Butterfly

I’ll show you, Daddy,
how to build a butterfly
from crayon colors and blue sky moments.
Look here as the wings take shape on gossamer dreams
against a green backdrop of the fresh spring grass.
It’s delicate, Daddy,
and only for your eyes, not your fingers.
My butterfly dances on the moon
when the moon is hiding,
so that only the two of them dance together
in tap-step harmony.
That is how you build a butterfly, Daddy.
What wondrous thing will you create, he says,
as I think, you.

Listen to the poem as podcast

Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

Poem a Day, Sunday

A One Week Poetry Challenge
(An April challenge to write and post a poem a day for a week, as hosted by Two Writing Teachers)

Older Brothers

They stand
hands in pockets
watching
themselves as younger boys
when baseball was fun
and not just another mark on the calendar
with the coach mad
at some missed catch
and the game on the line
and all that stress
that follows you right up to the pitcher’s mound
night after night after night
and you can see it in their crooked stance
how they are pretending to run the bases in their minds
with high-five celebrations all around
and nothing but time on their hands.
The older they are,
the more they think how great it would be
to be young again
while the younger ones
hold close to aspirations of beating their brothers
at baseball.

listen to the Poem as a Podcast

Peace (in poetry),
Kevin

ps — and to keep things on the lighter side, how about this classic Abbott and Costello skit about baseball.

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