Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2: Final Grades, Classic Saint Marty, "Man Hang Glides to Heaven"

I have just finished the last eight papers for my online class.  Submitted my final grades.  Done. 

This is only my second time teaching online, and I'm sort of amazed at how many of my students simply don't hand in assignments or just stop participating at all.  But I was always one of those irritating students who got upset if I got an A- instead of an A.  I just couldn't except academic failure.  It sent me into a panic.  And when I have to fail a student, it makes me feel as if I've somehow done something wrong as a teacher.  Teacher guilt.

However, I am done, and I plan to take this next week to simply do whatever the hell I want.  Read.  Write.  Watch some movies.  Maybe I'll even get a new poem or two out of the next seven days.

Seems like I was a little preoccupied with poetry three years ago, as well . . .

July 2, 2014:  Blank Sheet, Terrible Infatuation, a Writing Life

"A blank sheet of paper holds the greatest excitement there is for me . . . What is this terrible infatuation anyway?"

E. B. White lived a writing life.  From a very young age, he was writing, reading, and dreaming of being a published author.  The annoying fact is that White actually began publishing in national magazines before he graduated from high school.   He never wavered from his dream.

I live a writing life, too.  It's just a different kind of writing life.  I'll characterize it as a poet's writing life.  I don't really get paid for poetry.  My life consists of a bunch of part-time and full-time jobs that support my habit.  Yes, I said habit.  I am comparing poetry to addiction.  I don't make this statement to diminish the seriousness of drug or alcohol or sex addiction.  I know how damaging these afflictions can be.  My point is that poetry, generally, does not help your bank account or your personal life.  It can leave you begging for money from friends and family.

I'm not saying that the poet's life is devoid of merit.  Poetry is sometimes the only thing that lifts my spirits at the end of fatally dull work days.  Solace in times of sorrow.  Poetry expresses the deepest, truest part of my being.

And that's why Saint Marty is a poet.

This is a crack house, a poet house, or both.

And, because I still have this affliction called poetry . . .

Man Hang Glides to Heaven

(title taken from a headline in Weekly World News)

by:  Martin Achatz

No map to follow,
fat black dots to find,
blue ribbons to trace
to thumbprints of sea.
Jungles full of breadfruit,
forests thick with coyote,
glacier and prairie under
a migraine of Perseids.
None of these places.
Find a cliff, a mountain,
where wind drives hay
through trunks of cedar, maple.
Strap on those arms
of wax, feather.  Step to the edge.
Close your eyes.  Think
of everything perfect.
Pineapple on a coral atoll.
Your wife's tongue pressed
to your moon shoulder.
Your daughter's pinking
breath, infant December oxygen.
An albino doe in snowy birches,
white in white in white.
Think of all this.  Think hard.
Take a step.  Take another.
Spread your arms.
Then jump.

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