Friday, February 13, 2015

From the Bottom

Spent the day with the Oregon Writing Project at the annual Renewal Day.  I always look forward to what kind of poetry or fiction or memoir will emerge.  All writing is creative writing, isn't it?
In an exercise about writing about place, this arrived:

My focus was a classroom,
Another home for 30 years,
Behind carved desks, a wall of faces: Flannery O'Connor, Little Richard,
                                                        Roberto Clemente, Little Rascals,
               Alice Walker, a devilish Steinbeck, Langston Hughes smiles down,
                         On Josephine Baker,
Lunch bags, Kleenex, scampering ants,
A discarded note,
                           Home to lockdowns, life choices, fishbowl discussions,
The quake of '89, the fire of '91, a place to cry for untimely death,
     I am no longer the abandoned school building,
          The grattified wall, or the secrets in the teacher's desk,
I became the river that springs from the side of a mountain,
     With hand-painted trout, families of otters, and lightning to make
A fly rod tremble,
I see stoneflys and Blue Winged Olives hatch,
     Like the child I was born in L.A. music clubs,
A hatchling crawling out of pop music and the Vietnam War,
Into the web of America's stolen treasure,
     From an Ashgrove of legends-- I saw them all,
                      -Howlin' Wolf
                     -Big mama Thornton
                     -Son House
 All, gone now, like the scene: played out,
  But sometimes, I remember Sunday afternoons, when I'd wander in that club,
                        To find Taj Mahal, with his gospel/Jazz bloodlines,
                                     Teaching the next generation.

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