Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 7

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

At Brendlinger Library at Montco on February 15. I took my usual route to the school. Here is a new sight – Bethlehem Pike and Highland Avenue in Ambler.

I pass through this intersection before the familiar Butler Avenue/Spring Garden Street.

As you can see, a gray day, but very mild and breezy. It is beginning to make me think of spring as I walk on to campus, though we’ve got another month before I will declare winter gone. Or very much going, at least.

I decided to sit on the main floor today, as least before lunch. (I pack everything up when I go out to lunch and usually return to sit in another location). I felt the need of a little activity around me. I had edited poems yesterday at home – today I would be writing new, and I wanted some stir in the air around me, I guess!

I think the Marathon process may be experiencing mission creep. Slowly over the last year I have increased in the time I spend at it and I keep adding activities – writing poems, working with Little Vines, editing past work, putting print books together, and now I seem to have added Minuscule prep, if not writing, since I’ve worked on some story poem combinations recently during Marathon time. Also, I haven’t done any snippets in a while…I’d like to make some more art/poetry artist books…how about a whole day of haiku? You see what I mean.

I think it’s all fine. I’m just trying to decide if I need a couple of days at the library rather than one (not necessarily this library or even a whole day, but a dedicated writing time). Or maybe I should just say – that I want the time. I do better when I have a schedule and some predictability/pleasant anticipation to go along with; I’ve known this my whole life. Writing has become more important to me over the past few years and I enjoy being able to clear space, mental and physical, and just get right into it. What a nice luxury.

So, I’ll be thinking this over. Don’t be surprised if you see the Marathon traveling and spreading out. I credit the Art Diary I’ve been doing at my art blog as well as the Marathon process with giving my time and ambitions some coherence, something they have faltered in over the recent past.

OK. Enough Claudia Thought Process 101. Let’s get to the work.

I got a lot of inspiration from the students sitting around me today. Things have changed in some ways since I was in college almost 40 years ago, and then some things haven’t. One that has, though, is of course the computer/phone/etc. situation.

Here is something I found amusing. This student has a TV show playing on her phone while she studies her color-coded notes in a paper notebook. I particularly liked how she has it tucked right up nice and cozy against the computer. I’m not making fun of her; I really did admire how she had things arranged.

I’m pretty sure it was a doctor soap opera type thing – I saw hospital scenes including a nicely made-up lady in a bed lying back against the pillows and looking just a tad feverish…Now I watched that same kind of show in college, just that I had to do it in the dorm living room on the communal TV set. Just saying.

Here is a poem about a different student, one sitting at my table.

Black black hair very fine
shoulder length tucked behind her ears
cut in bangs across her forehead
swinging forward over her face
Light gray-green sweater
in a tufty knit that looked like the fur
of a gray-green tufty animal
White poet’s shirt button-down
sharp-pointed collar
pleated cuffs opened and frilled around her wrists
I was envious of her having that shirt.
Head bent over the text book
set on the table in front of her
Could she be short-sighted?
Her nose close to the print
as she murmured into the pages
the timid sound balancing out
the faint frown lines on her forehead
concentration showed itself
and the textbook pages turned

Note: after a second student sat down wearing a fluffy sweater I took this (surreptitious) photo. Because it just seemed that fluffy sweaters were demanding a place in today’s chronicle.

This poem was inspired by two guys at the next table – one was tutoring the other in math, it seemed.


(writing while speaking)
syntax five is eighteen
syntax five is thirty
then you have to net eighteen down to nine
thirty-one oh five
(left hand holds the pencil)
round your terms
I don’t know where this nineteen came from
that’s really only when I have the fractions to divide into each other
that one just has vinyl symptoms
that’s why I do it
one thing
the teal one two
what I do is this side first and then that side
c-x-u minus plus negative three plus seven
this is the negative three but you still have the positive
let’s do negative three because you combined it
write it down
it’s acupuncture
did you get it?

This haiku illustrates a page in my small artist sketchbook currently in progress.

We become sisters.
We clasp hands. We form a train.
Each one an engine.

Now, Little Vines.

the hawk in the mist
the air inside each raindrop
there is never perfect clarity

with the receding chin
answer the question

the elevator is moving too fast
upward mobility
chewed up the paycheck

strangers in such odd places
we dress up for the formal dinner
microscopic robots polishing the silverware

You made me stomp on my own self
there will be nothing left of my head
when you’re finished with it

the knees ached in the cold
the roses died in winter
I pushed too hard.

Dangerous hasn’t missed a day of work
would you like to see a menu
or let her select for you

it’s a wolfman’s baby tooth
in a small desiccated way

relentless credit cards
struggling to get out of the wallet
Can you stop your purse from exploding?

an old soul
I’m proud of my antique identity
I’ve never been a teenager out late on a school night

the bad apples
from the organic horror storybook
pile on some drama

you wrote that book
insane disordered prose that made my skin crawl
erased every wrinkle on my body

kind woman
she is the real guacamole
dished out in a Tupperware bowl


Thank you for reading! See you next time.

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9 thoughts on “Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 7

  1. Another great selection of poems. As always seems to be the case, your Little Vines make me smile. I actually laughed at the last one – and boy did I need that laugh today. The idea of a person as guacamole served out of tupperware made me think of the saying “all fur coat and no knickers” but I also like the idea that someone is confident enough in their tasty guacamoleness that the serving vessel matters not one jot.

  2. Thank you (I’m glad I could help with the laugh!). For some reason the word guacamole has always struck me as hilarious. I have no idea why. That and Tupperware, which has so many connotations to me from the actual items, to thinking about the Tupperware parties I’ve been too (way back when), and how for some reason I think of it as kind of pert. I know, food storage as pert? I don’t know where that came from.

  3. An enjoyable read … the haiku , the vines , the library observations. aa gave me a chuckle. Times do change and don’t all at once…the story of the student with a TV show running made me think of how distractions can sometimes heighten attention…sometimes…

  4. Pert! That’s both hilarious and apt. I remember Tupperware parties, accompanying my mother, and the oohs and aaahs and gasps of appreciation as each item was demonstrated.

  5. I remember one time when I was in college, I worked as a lifeguard, and one of the other guards’ mother was having a Tupperware party at their house five minutes away. She needed a couple more people to get her free merchandise so her daughter, my coworker, got a couple of us to go over on our break and make up the numbers. So I’m sitting in this living room in my pool coverup, smelling like suntan lotion, age 19 or so, with a bunch of ladies and we’re all getting into watching the demo. I might have ended up winning a bowl, I can’t remember, but I did have a good time and overstayed my break. Oops.

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