Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Walk of Shame

Exhibit A: "Starting salaries for day-care teachers hover around $25,000; classroom assistants who don't have college degrees make $10,000 less than that, not much more than minimum wage...High turnover is a problem at many day-care centers, experts say, and child-care workers are among the lowest paid of any profession."--Washington Post, 8/26/08

Exhibit B: "This press has a history of unethical dealings with its authors. The only reason why I didn't know this is because last year's winner had to agree to a gag order as part of the settlement with the press. At their insistence, she is not allowed to tell her story, or warn other poets about what happened. So I submitted to a press that I NEVER would have submitted to if I had known..." Here's what happened next.

Exhibit C: "So very often, the face of wrongdoing turns out to be not evil but ignorance. Under a classic surgical cross-examination by James Esseks, Litigation Director at the ACLU’s LGBT Project, Preece basically confirmed Ms. Schroer’s story. Schroer had the best qualifications and performed best in the interview. Schroer was the best person for the job. Schroer had the job; had it, that is, until she told Preece she was transgender."

Note on Exhibit B: It's interesting, but every poetry contest I've entered so far in my short career has had a fee. None of the erotica contests I've entered has had an entry fee. And the erotica editors have been without fail respectful and professional. And I've won two out of three contests entered. So who's more ethical: Poetry presses or erotic publishers?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? That's Cool, Neither Can I.

Everyone's going to Burning Man, and I'm stuck tending home fires. Which I really don't mind. It's putting out the work fires that's making me ill. Toxic fumes an'all'at shit.

Dear BA alerted me to the impending Led Zep tribute in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and I couldn't even watch because I had a wretched headache from a training run on the Billy Goat Trail followed by taking the kids to see Lion King (Julie Taymor sets, costumes and puppets made me cry, late-stage Elton John music made my head pound) and not enough water breaks in between. Hey, I'm sharing part of the Burning Man experience--dehydration!

I also got bit next to the eye by a spider during a run Friday morning and by Saturday I looked like the Phantom of the Opera. It's revenge for running through so many hard-built webs. Verily, I'm like trailing clouds of chiffon some mornings, the webs are so thick and numerous across the trails.

Stupid races I will lose humiliatingly are cause for love and thanks--they are an excuse to be out there, dragonflies hovering just ahead of my pace, sweet annie scenting the air. Just like officious, arrogant clients strengthen my resolve to do whatever it takes to get myself out of the position of being their servant.

The principal at my daughter's school sent home a welcome letter saying their goal was that "children will learn, whatever it takes." "Whatever It Takes" was also the slogan for Casablanca records, and what it took was usually at least an eight-ball.

Daughter's report from the first day back at school: "Today we talked about armpits at lunchtime." Seven years, and I'm still so blindlngly in love with her.

Well, there's always next year for Burning Man. Of course, by THEN it won't be COOL anymore, WILL IT. Ha ha ha ha bah-dum!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fruit Cocktail

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker. I played oracle with the Complete Works, and after the pages fell open to a few short stories I'd rather not think about, on the third try this appropriate one came up:

Indian Summer
In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

And Prince can do the honors:

Dorothy was a waitress on the promenade
She worked the night shift
Dishwater blonde, tall and fine
She got a lot of tips
Well, earlier I'd been talkin' stuff
In a violent room
Fighting with lovers past
I needed someone with a quicker wit than mine
Dorothy was fast
Well, I ordered - "Yeah, let me get a fruit cocktail, I ain't 2 hungry"
Dorothy laughed
She said "Sounds like a real man 2 me"
Kinda cute, U wanna take a bath?
I said "Cool, but I'm leaving my pants on"
"Cuz I'm kind of going with someone"
She said "Sounds like a real man 2 me"
"Mind if I turn on the radio?"
"Oh, my favorite song" she said
And it was Joni singing "Help me I think I'm falling"
The phone rang and she said
"Whoever's calling can't be as cute as U"
Right then I knew I was through
(Dorothy Parker was cool)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So Veddy Veddy Effed.

Found out the race I'm stuck in two weeks from now goes for three of its 13 miles along rocks high above the Potomac. Scenic!

Been out of town and out of inspiration. Not out of work, though. Almost called a client an a-hole today, but didn't fall over that cliff.

Anyone got a more pleasurable cliff to fall over?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Worthy of a Follow-Up Article in the Metro Section

Wrote this last year as part of the disaster poem series. There was indeed a follow-up article on the Brentwood anthrax deaths the other day, in the Metro section--on the front, not in the inside rail. The Postal Service denied the request of the wife of one of the victims, also a postal worker, to transfer to a different facility after the incident.

The Deaths of Two Workers at the Brentwood Postal Facility, Washington, DC

It’s not the first time white powder
Shut things down around here.
Or the first time it killed, either.
From horse to green to rock it went;
The dealers circled this island
For decades. A postal job
Is supposed to be one way out.
You do your best to steer clear,
Just like they tell you, keep your
Head down, hold your head up,
Keep your nose clean, but damned
If they didn’t find a way to bring that poison
Right in the front door.
And they even got us to carry it.

Try telling anyone around here
That it wasn’t made by the government.
Try telling us that a conservative
Treatment policy was wise.
We know some of them got the cure
Before they even got the disease.
Everyone knows there are plenty
Of pills in the White House. All colors.

Anthrax is one of the ancient ones,
Like rabies, tuberculosis, and
Of course.
You should have known we’d bring that up.
The anthrax spores wait in the ground
Where an animal has died, and wait,
Until someone tries to plant, to build,
And then they jump out at the living.
The spores survive in Egyptian tombs;
An effective weapon of defense
To get our kings through to the afterlife
With their riches intact.

How long before they answer our question:
How long were they planning to wait?
For six days, the particles floated around us as we worked,
Worked their way into the folds of lungs, into
The clean line of a paper cut, into our laughter
And our greetings and our side-mouth comments,
Yes, and they came home with us to greet our children.
The spores survive so much that we can’t.
Spores have the advantages of being a lower life form—
No stress, no coughing, no bills to pay,
No fool for a boss. But all are equal underground.