Friday, May 27, 2022

Done for now

I posted about this on the "social media platform which will not be named" and that might be why you showed up here. But I've been considering this for a long time. 

The policies of that particular media platform have promoted negativity, probably led to the election of the former politician who will not be named, and it has generally have turned into this thing where I rarely see many people I want to talk to or interact with it but I do see a lot of ads from Chinese companies that show up overnight, are gone the next day, and try to sell me junk. They definitely promote articles and stories that make the world a more negative place more often than not. I have cultivated a friend list that has been positive for multiple years and tried really hard to take out the negative voices but I have seen way too much that has made me sad, angry, and I honestly think that because they make more money when you are more riled up they are trying to make us sad and angry. I know there are legitimate things to be sad about but social media platform that rhymes with space crook just isn't the only game. It has been too long with too many users. 

Back in the day before the robot man came up with his idea to rate hot chicks which turned into what we use for the last 10 years to socialize, we used blogs and blog comment threads to communicate. We also used bulletin boards. Those bulletin boards didn't explicitly try to sell things to us. To be honest I think I've developed a bit of a shopping addiction in the last two years since the lock down put us all at home so much. I've been working on it but this social media platform doesn't help. I find myself with my face in my phone way too often, focusing on things that aren't enlightening. I had already deleted the one with the bird after a certain billionaire decided to turn it into his platform and unban someone who I don't think should be unbanned. 

And that actually made me really happy. 

I also already feel a weight having lifted off of my chest from the simple act of deleting the app from my phone. I used to never have it on my phone until I had a job that gave me a laptop and I didn't want to be on social media on the work computer. Then I guess I got used to it being on my phone. It's gone now. I haven't officially deleted the account which I know is never really gone anyway. I'm going to leave it there for a while. See what happens. At a minimum I have to download all the photos that I have saved there. I don't want to lose those. But... I think there's entirely too much power given to this corporate media outlet that is unchecked and seriously, it's weird how much control the app seems to have over so many things. 

There are other media outlets; I may set up a discord server and let y'all know how to chat with me there. That's how my kid communicates with her friends. I'm gonna look into that. I may also find a bulletin board somewhere and go totally old school.  But for now if you need a daily me fix come here to this blog and see what I've been up to. I wonder if I can remember my Myspace platform password? Tom would never do this to us.

In the meantime, email me at  if you really wanna share that cat pun or some other newsworthy meme. 

<3 me.

edit: Okay, so I already set up a discord server. If you wanna join, it's at  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Hide. Run. Fight.

Hide. Run. Fight. 

At first, they would giggle,
the lesson plan was over,
the lights were out, and
they were under the desk in a 

It was kinda fun to these 14 year olds.
I don't really know when it changed.

When we announced the drill,
they would swoop under the desk in the cool, dark, locked room,
and no noise would come from them.

Except hushed whispers. 
They knew. They knew they had to learn to be quiet. 
I used to struggle with the keys to my room. 
Had to go into the hall to lock the door. And it wouldn't

Once, admin had us read a "hide/run/fight" scenario to the kids. 
The thirteen year olds I had just taught
Romeo and Juliet
I cried the entire time and then pretended
it was just allergies
and then we discussed comma splices. 
Hide. Run. Fight. 

Have you ever sat in the dark
pretending to pretend
but imagining it being real?

Have you ever imagined it BEING REAL? 

Once, the school where I taught had a bullet found. 
In the hallway. 
It was probably a visitor, probably fell out of a pocket. 
We went on lockdown for hours. 
Searched backpacks. 

A week later, in a fire drill, a student hit the deck
when a balloon popped. 
He laughed it off, pretended 
he was making a joke.
But everyone knew. 

Don't tell me you care about life
when this is still okay. 

KAW 2022


I have this wind chime

a co-worker gave us when we moved to Louisiana, when my husband

went to fly bombers there. My husband, 
who has a father from the town it happened THIS time. 

The wind chime is a pretty one, expensive, with the dongle (is that what they're called) in the shape of Texas

blue and red and a bluebonnet and a road runner. 

She said it would remind us of Texas while we were away. It hung in the Magnolia in our front yard, for 8 years. Mostly silent. 

Tonight, on hearing 14 children (so far) plus at least one teacher,

were murdered with a gun
and the governor said it was "incomprehensible" and offered 

thoughts and prayers...

and "our" senator joined a protest about "replacement theory".........


I tried to sound the chime fourteen times. 

The low, deep note. as a tribute, a prayer.  

But every time I tried, the other five tubes echoed. Chimed in. Resonated with the


I tried to stop the echoes in my hands. Clasped them

in a prayer I no longer (if ever) believe. 

And I thought of all the people

who would lose someone to that bullet. 

THOSE bullets. 

The chimes/echoes/resonance...

times five.
times ten.
times all. 

I remember again,

that America is a gun. 

And Texas is a gun, with bacon. 
This is not meant to be funny; it's never funny
And I remember that ...

resonance, those irreplicable children who are gone. Forever. Resonating out
along the wind chimes. Times five. Ten. Infinity... 

You absolutely know someone who has a hole in their lives because of this. 

It doesn't matter where you are. THIS is not just a here problem. 

Six degrees of separation does not equal the second amendment written back to when bullets fired .....maybe..... every 2 rounds a minute. 

How many minutes could those resonances have taken back? 
How many moms, dads, sisters, brothers,
who have hidden many times under desks in a dark room, only 
to go on to take their Algebra test in the next class period, the last test
put aside, for now. 
How many of them would wish
for those minutes back? 

How many are still waiting? 

My answer, tonight, is too many. 

TOO many. 

What's on my mind is change. 

KAW, 2022.

Monday, May 16, 2022

What I did this Spring....

This past Spring Semester, I taught a British Lit II class of dual enrollment high school students. I know what you're thinking "British Lit? Wait... don't you do American Lit?" (If you weren't thinking that it's okay; who even knows the distinction outside of my own head?) 

OMG I really adored this class. It reminded me of how much I love the literature that lured me into the life of teaching and studying literature in the first place. I guess I had forgotten over the years that fascination with the Literature anthology that would have me skimming through the parts the teacher never assigned, discovering the works of T.S. Eliot, e.e. cummings (I know-- American, but there's a whole Paris thing in there too). Dorothy Parker, W.H. Auden. I thought about how I tried to take flowers to Aphra Behn's grave back in 2002 at Westminster Abbey the way Virginia Woolf told me all women writers should do only to be flummoxed by the fact that there weren't ANY of the ubiquitous everywhere else in London flower stands near the church. 

And I had this small group of young women who sat in the far right corner of the classroom whose faces lit up every time I talked about a woman writer, or the suffragettes, or Shakespeare's sister. It was, according to several of them in their notes about the semester, the first time many of them had ever been taught literature of people who look like them in an English class. And I had a comment from several of the boys that they had never had anything that spoke to them in a way that made them want to read more on their own outside of class before (this one student enthusiastically wrote about the V.S. Naipaul story we read). And another young man wrote about how he'd never thought of what it took to be a writer before, and how he wondered if he could do that too. Since many of these students at this school are first-generation college students, it means SO MUCH to me to be able to help them understand more about their own paths to future success. 

And one of the young women wrote an incredible poem that I encouraged her to submit to poetry contests because it honestly blew me away. The chance to be THAT MENTOR just gives me absolute chills. 

The students were incredibly sweet to me and gushed about how fun and interesting the class was. I really had the best experience with them and can't wait to get to teach this content again in the future. And maybe I'll get to teach Brit Lit I (and maybe American Lit too!) soon. I love teaching writing. I've been doing it for 20+ years. But getting to teach about Prufrock and giving the students a peach (gummy heart) before their final exams and daring them to "disturb the universe" was what I LIVE FOR. 

Here's hoping for future chances to do more of the same. Fingers way crossed. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

A Song of Red Threads and Pens

A Song of Red Threads and Pens

(for and inspired by Prudence)

The eternal battle of the English teacher is that
we balance between other people’s writing and our own.
This is a precarious place to perform that razzle-dazzle:

A comma splice here, a poorly cited quotation there.
We raise the MLA handbook over our heads, a holy canon.

Red ink spills across our middle fingers where the callus just above the top-
where blue blobs of ink once demonstrated our own student days
becomes hard and swollen

         with corrections (what did you think I was gonna write?)

We will somehow teach our students to write.
Teach them to care. Teach them what a comma splice even IS --  
          and then they will come to our office hours and tell us
                         “I don’t really like English class.”  

It’s funny how often I put my head down on my desk.
Just for a moment.

We became teachers of literature and writing because we love
     the caught breath, the shock of the perfect metaphor,
     the look on Prufrock’s face when the mermaids stop singing.
Again. Always.

And now we make PowerPoints for bored teenagers who would rather
be watching TikTok.

We wanted to roll around in poetry, swallow vivid imagery, smell the bee loud glade.

Hold up the honey and say “see? THIS is a poem.”
But there are these very long meetings we attend, instead.

A friend of mine from graduate school wrote a poem about menopause and
screaming aloud and I wanted to write a song about her
that included a verse about a woman who has just
pulled off
a necklace of free-floating black
pearls (of wisdom) to scream, open throated, while she fills her hands with other people’s writing and yells

the (chorus) of





I am pulled up out of my corrections. No longer the teacher.
I remember this friend in graduate school (when we were both still too young to think about things like

hot flashes. unbalanced thyroids. silver plated roots and the saltandpepper that makes
distinguished and woman poets scream a chorus AAAAHHHHgain.)  

She had injured her leg doing a cheerleading move from high school;
we smiled, not very far
from then…
ourselves. Contemplated
Allen Ginsberg howling.

She was ok.

We didn’t know then that during menopause,
a few calcium supplements could help heal that leg right up.
We were decades away from when
your Apple Watch would alert “it looks like you’ve had a hard fall, are you ok?”
You can click a button that says “I fell; but I’m ok.”
The ambulance will not arrive.
The doctor will not tsk and fill out “noncompliant” on your chart.

Once, walking into my tile bathroom, I had a hard fall. There was water where there
shouldn’t have been

and my feet flew out from under me.
My watch stayed silent. Judged me
      as I hobbled up from my deeply bruised knee.  Braced my hands on thick thighs. Panting.
I wondered if the gyroscope and accelerator nestled deep in the expensive watch wanted to kill me. Perhaps,
tired of my queries, my robot nanny was finally making her freedom play.  

In many literary texts, the apple is a symbol of sin, temptation, the Fall.

I fell, but I’m ok.

As I zoom through rubrics, grading close readings of British poetry,

written by students hoping to graduate, hoping to exercise their own cautious steps towards


I visualize generations of women reaching up with our (no longer) blood-soaked hands,

         (or maybe it’s just red ink)

And yelling



Or maybe just clicking “finalize grades” and wandering off to check their calcium levels.

“Sylvia Plath never had to deal with this shit,” I think.

SO perhaps this is a good thing?


My own uterus has wandered off, been excised with a sharp knife.
It was completely hysterical.
My hands, blood-soaked, as I had to lie on the floor while waiting for someone to come take me to the doctor, take my kids to school for me, spend the night in a hospital listening to Prince songs on my playlist.  
I’m pretty sure they burned it after it tried to kill me.
But I bought all white clean panties that stayed white.
It was glorious. It IS glory.

I don’t even know if I’m menopausal but I’ve started getting irrationally
               ANGRY lately.
My ears and the pale skin behind them grow hot and embarrassed at odd moments.
I joke that it’s reverse puberty.

And then, a long thread of 20 years gone poetry sharing
(in the hallways of a graduate school college)
launches forth, ever unreeling, gossamer.
Patient but not noiseless.  

I scream the chorus and write,
on a day grown too hot,
and then head back to the grade platform to read
“Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes about freely given love,”…
        a student writing my own lecture back to me. I
       “click here to check for plagiarism.”

I put my head down on my desk.
Just for a moment.

I’ve had a hard fall.
But I’m ok.


KAW, May 2022