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Showing posts from September, 2014

poem featuring a forced conceit of commerce

i will my form into the cardboard cube and feel the constriction in my lungs as the shrink wrap seals me in
the thud of my own weight resists the conveyor belt shaking my organs until I lose my mass and float
then the vertigo of transport lulls me into unconsciousness until dozens of rough hands pitch me about and arrange me for display
oblivion takes over and once again the darkness awaits the disturbance of another set of rough hands on my fresh smooth exterior cluttered with refrains of corporate fingerprints
the beep that peppers such commercial haggle assesses the merit of my varying black lines until the reluctant rough hands tender paper currency and remain outstretched for the leftover pennies

Live Open Mouthed

I no longer delight in the delusion of being right.  The years pile up, yielding wisdom—the kind that I feel deep in my belly. The kind that pries the masks off of all of those faces.
When I was young, I believed in absurd things: the things that deep-belly wisdom debunk. The trick is to juggle the hostile aftertaste of deep-belly wisdom with the honeyed piquancy of open-mouthed laughter without dropping all that is you.
I look at the lines staring back at me in the mirror and I open my mouth and I force the laughter up like bile until it becomes real. Then, my laughter transforms into a growl, a guttural grunt that renders the lines staring back at me in the mirror savagely beautiful.  Finally, I stop tripping over the heap of years and faceless masks: I just live open mouthed.

Wednesday's Nightmare

It’s silly really . . . the terror, I mean.
Such a benign sight: the grayness of the tile, the starkness of the bathtub, the clarity of the water, lapping over the edge, soaking the orange fibers of the mat.
My toes drown and my panicked feet lead me away and back and my tense arms heave the towels to the floor and my unnerved eyes shut out all sight.
The more I try, the less it slows: I become the little Dutch boy’s finger in the dam, submerged in water as the pressure builds and then bursts.
The silly terror hangs on even after my eyes open.

Ringing the Alarm in Olathe, KS

There’s an alarming trend in public education.
Is it the dismal prospective of today’s students? Nope. Kids are kids. While generational differences exist, my fifteen years of teaching have proven that some things just never change: gastrointestinal noises will always be hilarious to freshmen boys.
Is it the oppressing arm of the federal government slapping down local control? Don’t sound the alarm bells on this one yet. It’s true that Mr. Duncan’s insistence that teacher evaluation include student performance data is simplistic and misguided, at least the US Department of Education is beginning to show signs that they understand student performance is more complicated than test scores (despite a long history that has already proven this fact).
Unfortunately, the trend of which I am speaking slaps me in the face every day as I enter the school at which I’ve taught for twelve years, Olathe Northwest High. For the first time in my memory, we are approaching the end of the first quarter wi…


My mother's maiden name is Werth. This gives me pause. Lately, my own worth has been called in question, which is hilariously ridiculous at 36.

I have always prided myself on independence. I have never relied on anybody for anything. True, people have helped me along the way. But...I have really never put my eggs in any basket, so to speak.

So, here I am.  Thirty six. Single mother of two adolescents. Have I finally reached the status of reliance on another? Or, is that a fallacy?

Truth be told...I have no clue.


Some rank the light of the public like the shine of a designer shoe Others dwell in the dankness of a secluded alleyway
where we put those things we know exist
but wish to deny in “proper” company
the homeless veteran, drowning his vision with a bottle
the days-away-from legal girl, boasting a set of skills
that make suburban housewives in designer shoes blush
and their husbands in designer shoes patrons
Still others tiptoe in between light/dark, light/dark, light/dark, light/dark, light/dark, light/dark, light/dark, light/dark
where they are deceived by the shine of designer shoes 
and willfully unaware they are what is denied in “proper” company