#437: Gifts and Curses (the penultimate poem, April 29, 2022)

“We are disabused of original giftedness in the first half of our lives. Then — if we are awake, aware, and able to admit our loss — we spend the second half trying to recover and reclaim the gift we once possessed.” Parker J. Palmer Gifts and Curses Parker J. Palmer asks us to reclaimContinue reading “#437: Gifts and Curses (the penultimate poem, April 29, 2022)”

#342: May 8, Soul Work

It’s May 8. I sleep in an extra hour. I make myself a kick-ass scrambler. I pick my brother up at 9 and we drive toward I-84. There’s a bunch of teachers on an overpass wearing red and hanging their banners and I honk at them. My brother and I make our way to theContinue reading “#342: May 8, Soul Work”

#344: I Drove Over the Mountain to Get Here

I drove over the mountain to get here. I drove over Mount Hood. I drove over the mountain into the desert. Eventually, I ended up close to three other mountains, the ones we call The Sisters. I drove over the mountain to get here. This is the place where I will try to help peopleContinue reading “#344: I Drove Over the Mountain to Get Here”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: June 12, 2018

Please excuse my absence. After 30 poems over the 30 days of April, one needs a little rest. But on top of all that, I’ve been having a transformative experience. On Sunday, May 20, I came down from the mountaintop. My hair turned white and now looks blown back by a great force of energyContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: June 12, 2018”

#300: The American English Teacher Gets His Courage Shit Together

“This shit works” –heard in conversation with Rick, and then later with Paul or Jeff, one or both of whom attributed it to Parker Palmer, perhaps apocryphally. 20 years ago I thought to myself there’s no way I can do this for another 20 years. I would need the strength of a half dozen supermen,Continue reading “#300: The American English Teacher Gets His Courage Shit Together”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: February 15, 2018

Today I wrapped up three full days of sitting with my senior IB English students, listening to their oral commentaries on a poem by Seamus Heaney and holding discussions with them about Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I sat with almost 25 students, just me and the kid, one at a time, forContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: February 15, 2018”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: October 20, 2017

October 11th of last week was Oregon’s official teacher in-service day. In our school district, the day is unofficial, in that it’s no longer a paid work day. Somehow during negotiations that took place more than a decade ago now, the paid in-service day was bargained away in exchange for some other mysterious but beneficialContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: October 20, 2017”

#269: A Letter of Gratitude to My Wife and Son (another prose poem)

Dear family, I am about to begin my journey home. Almost everything is put away and the trailer is hitched up (I never did unhitch); all I have to do now is climb in and start up the engine. It was a good trip. Even though I was with my brother and his friends, I spentContinue reading “#269: A Letter of Gratitude to My Wife and Son (another prose poem)”

Finding My Way Back to Courage

At the turn of the new year in 2016, I resolved to live more mindfully, and in January I joined a local meditation group. A year and some months later, the group still meets every other week, is facilitated by a super competent, compassionate and knowledgeable guy who earns his living as a hypnotherapist. We spendContinue reading “Finding My Way Back to Courage”