Tag Archives: Ode

#374: Ode for a Colleague Leaving

You are a force of nature,
a force to be reckoned with
in the best possible way;
students say they are afraid of you
and yet they love you, clearly.
What they fear, actually, is your
disappointment, not your
wrath; although, to be fair,
you can be wrathful–
I’ve seen it with my own eyes;
wrath, though, dealt fairly, evenly,
and always deserved.
You’ve made
miracles happen in that
theater, in that black box,
got young people to do miraculous,
funny, profound, silly,
scandalous, and controversial
things, and this grew them
beyond their own meager
capacities to comprehend,
but they will never forget
and will always be shaped by
the opportunities you gave them,
the coaching, the care,
the professionalism; you were
always raising the bar and
they always rose to the occasion.
And you have given our little
town its own theater company,
an embarrassment of riches.
You have been a friend to teachers,
a support, a confidant,
an ally, and you have thrown
glorious martini parties.
You and I have a history
unlike any I have shared
with another colleague: we were
classmates some 40 years ago
in the same building where we
have taught together now for
more than a decade.
And over these many years
I was George to your Rebecca,
Mercutio to your Juliet,
Bottom to your Titania,
and Capulet to your Nurse,
and every one of those moments
was a kind of watershed,
a peak experience, a time when
I felt in some real tangible way
how lucky I was to know you,
how lucky your students have been,
how lucky this community.
This is the second time I have
written you an ode. Please don’t
let it go to your head. But know this:
I don’t want you to leave. And somewhere
in my darkest thoughts I think that I
might not ever see you again.
You’re the psychologist, so tell
me what this means:
I had a dream that The Democratic
Republic of Congo deported
you back to the United States,
specifically back to Milwaukie.
I must confess I was not disappointed.
I don’t wish that for you, really.
What I wish is that, wherever you go,
you are valued, you are empowered,
you are an agent of change, you are at peace,
you are happy, and you are,
as you have always
been here in your hometown,

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Filed under Poetry

#147: Ode to Ears


Ode to Ears

They say
you only
something once
you’ve lost it.
I didn’t lose
my ears, literally,
but rather, the
use of them.
some glob of
wax lodged
itself deep inside
my ears, I have
been dizzy deaf
now for several days.
A horrible experience,
but worth it: the doctor
reaches in there
with a stick and
grabs a glob,
then the nurse
comes in with the
ear canal fire hose
and it feels like
the water will
go in on one end,
travel through the
brain, and squirt
out the other side.
It’s hideous, but now

I can hear.

Ears, nothing
escapes you now,
even the contacts
under each key on
the keyboard, the
sibilance of wind,
rustling leaves
disturbed by ant
crossing: I hear that
shit now and I am
so grateful for ears.
I’m just walking
around the house
listening to things,
running water,
the turn of a door
knob, the dog’s
belabored breath.

I want to sit down
right this minute
and listen to music
and hear each
vibration under the bow,
the wow and flutter,
the buzz of the roll,
each syllable, no,
each individual letter
of each word.
Ears, nothing’s
stopping you now
from hearing every
thing in your path.
You go.
I’m right behind you.


Filed under Poetry

#107: Ode To Vinyl



The love poem for my dear wife is forthcoming, especially in light of all she’s been through lately.  Need some time to get it right, though, so, today’s assignment from NaPoWriMo is to write a love poem for an inanimate object. Here’s to another love:

Ode To Vinyl

I was 23 and bought
the new gospel about the
superiority of the new
digital format,
the compact disc,
and I sold my entire vinyl
collection and used the proceeds
from two or three hundred records
to buy ten cd’s.
Vinyl, please forgive me.
I’ve come back to you again,
24 years later, and you’re so
much heavier now, in a
good way, and often
more colorful, and I remember
now why I loved you so,
the listening so much more
intimate, the way I had
to gently lift you from
your sleeve, the way my
fingers attentively touched
only the edges, the way I
could only leave you alone
(but rarely did) for fifteen
minutes, the way I turned
you over lovingly on
the turntable, the pop
and hiss you made initially,
all fading away with the warmth
of the music. I’m rediscovering
all of that afresh.
So ultra hipster is the new
vinyl enthusiasm, that
the digital download of my
new Beck LP comes complete
with opening and closing
pops and crackles–and that
beautiful alarm at the end
of each side A and B,
the fwump fwump fwump
that tells us that for now,
until we make our next
deliberate move, the music is over.



Filed under Culture, Music, Poetry