My Monday night poetry workshop meets from 5:00 to 8:00, usually.  My postcolonial lit/theory class, having lost a week’s worth of class time on account of fall break, had a make-up session scheduled for 7:30 on the same night.  For some reason (I’m a retard) I didn’t realize that Dr. S was ok with me coming in a half-hour late to postcolonial, so I sent an email to Will, poetry workshop leader, letting him know I was going to slip out a half hour early.  He sent an email back asking, “for what reason would you give priority to attending that class over your regularly scheduled class?”

For what reason, indeed?

The reason: I’m terrified of Postcolonial and dread the disappointment of that prof, and (most telling of all) I am currently giving my TA duties and literature classes in general more priority than my poetry.  How horrible that I’m doing this, doing it so long & hard that my poetry prof has to point it out.  Nothing could make less sense than this, that I come to grad school to write poetry, and once I get here, I don’t write poetry.  But am crushed by falling short in lit classes and teaching, and am judging my “success” thereby.

Needless to say I stayed for the entire workshop.  And this morning I’m beginning with writing: pulling out the ol’ flash drive (huge 1 gig dinosaur) and beginning a new folder of work.  It’s taken this long to bend myself back toward the writerly life, or this long to begin to bend.  I want a friend in this program who can mentor me a little.  Until that happens, I’ll have to mentor myself.  Look at myself in the mirror and say “Self! You’re looking pretty normal for a poet. Do something a poet would do today.”

In the meantime, I’m going to start posting some poems up here … and if you’re inclined, post some feedback.  Here’s something.


I have wondered if the yarrow,
sunflowers and cornflowers in my yard know
that they are not growing in the country.
As I do.  Does the root know, or the leaf.

Hot May mornings gather in asphalt, cement,
the interiors of cars parked on the street, bouncing
and trembling in the airless corridors
between buildings,
and not even the alleyway trees

Two red sunflowers were born yesterday
with eyes closed like newborn
pups.  The cornflowers opened one
blue eye.