International Women’s Day

Nothing Borrowed Nothing Blue

A goodbye-promise bride,
my grandmother worked her wait in the Navy.
So early in WWII, she modeled the first
dress whites, tailored to her ship-trim shape.
Her 22 inch waist would be packed under 6 pregnancies.
Her desire to graduate as a pilot
bustled into Belgium silk, thin as high altitude light.

I was 12 the first time I tried to fit.
My rib cage barely breathed,
the tiny seams close-caught.
Shoulders cagey in their breadth,
nothing puffed sleeves could convince otherwise.
I already stood at her altar height.

My mother, a bird of the high Slavic species,
porcelain as bone china plates,
worked at the optometrist’s office.
The library was where she lived. Words,
paper-cutting fragile, tucked behind her delicate smile.
In an empire waist dress, she sealed her silence,
a kiss, a promise kept for 30 years.

That zipper never met my frame,
18 year old hips catching the silhouette,
near-white knuckled fists of teenage protest.
Taller flat-footed than her high-heeled moment,
my wrists reached beyond the cuffs.

My own wedding was cut to size,
satin roses bound to the bend of my back.
After 15 years, philosophy found me,
flapped my sky black with migratory movement.
Home and work, carrot and stick.
I worked it out that I could have both,
3 kids, 2 degrees, 1 divorce. In the end,
my stride longer than a cathedral train could contain.
My mother always said, I walked like a sailor.

National Poetry Month 2015 – Day 4

 

In Kindergarten, Creation was Simple

 

Careless pressure                  fingers and thumbs,

kneaded men into attentive shapes.

 

I called them out of their           shapelessness

with a wild assortment of whispered names.

 

Pat-a-cake innocence                  chubby hands

mashed them back to thoughtless red and blue.

 

Satisfied, I choose yellow next . Without a moment

wasted on why.

National Poetry Month 2015 – Day 2

It Doesn’t Take Long to Learn, the Joke is Always on Us

 

On the playground, a little girl

bedecked in fragile pink frosting is doted after.

A mother in pearls, immaculate in J. Crew

clucks disapproval at every smudge.

Picture perfect takes pains to develop.

 

In a mad rush, the little meringue

crams a fistful of mulch into her mouth.

Runs drooling with muddy laughter

the opposite direction of her mother’s indignation.

Out of reach, with both hands paws bitter pulp off her tongue.

Fully responsive template

Recently, I’ve been helping my partner redesign his website. As a result, one of the phrases that’s been popular around our house lately is “fully responsive template.” Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you know what I’m talking about, but for those that might not, a fully responsive template is a website page template that adjusts your content in response to the technology your reader is using to read it. In an age when your reader may be using a cellphone, a tablet or a standard computer screen, it’s a really useful thing to have.

I am also currently mapping out my spring courses. Especially, I am going Amerigo Vespucci all over the section of Introduction to Philosophy I am teaching as a dual enrollment course at a local high school. I’ve been teaching Intro for 4 years now. Not only am I ready for a good shake up of the material, but I well aware that I have an opportunity to turn a group of kids on to philosophy as something vital and inspiring.

Additionally, I am preparing for a conference in March on the philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion. The paper I’ll be presenting is an extension of the arguments I made in my graduate thesis, arguments that I’m really passionate about. It’s the first writing I’ve done on this particular line of thinking in awhile. On the one hand, I’m thrilled to once again wield the exquisite tool of technical language. Having been away from this kind of rigorous writing, I newly appreciate how much complicated thinking can be contained in a single word. On the other hand, having been teaching philosophy at the community college level for the last four years, I know that the same technical language that enables me to say so much, creates the possibility that a larger audience will hear very little. And I believe, as passionately as I do anything else, that the larger audience deserves to hear it. More than that, that if philosophy has anything to say about human existence, then it has a duty to make that truth as accessible to as many humans as possible.

So, I’m conducting a bit of an experiment. I’m going to try to construct this semester’s Intro to Philosophy class with a “fully responsive template.” It’s not just that I intend to use social media and internet sources (which I definitely do, visit my fledgeling Storify page), but I intend to demonstrate to my students that philosophy is a living discipline and then, hopefully, inspire them to live it.

Have ideas for me? Please join the conversation. That responsive thing, you know.

Origami Elephants Podcast

This week’s Origami Elephant episode opens with a longish tangent on horror films before addressing issues my co-host and I are facing in our new communities.

Origami Elephants is a podcast intended to walk the tightrope between religion and philosophy, faith and certainty, symbol and science. We tackle the elephants in the room, initiating a conversation about controversial subjects with an invitational tone.

Check it out.