Posted in Poetry

Politics aside

Happy National Poetry Month!

Today I’d like to share a little haiku I wrote that was first published in The Texas Observer in 2015.

Naomi Shihab Nye, who chose the poem for publication, said about my work: “I love Carie Juettner’s understated twist of observational loveliness in this tiny poem. When people in other states ask, as they frequently do, ‘Why do you live in Texas?’ one could simply reply ‘For the flowers’ and be done with it.”

This comment from my favorite poet left me smiling ear-to-ear for several days. I still get a thrill each time I read it and think about her reading my words.

With a big thanks to Naomi and The Texas Observer for giving this haiku its first home, here is “Politics aside”:

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Politics aside,
wildflower season brings out
the blue in Texas

© Carie Juettner, 2015

Posted in Poetry

Ode to Oak Season

Today at school, my sinus headache made me grumpy with my students, even though they hadn’t done anything to make me grumpy. But I don’t think they noticed; they were grumpy too. One boy bravely volunteered answers and completed his work while holding a tissue to his nose the entire class period. One girl had to go to the bathroom due to a bloody nose. In one class, I counted nine sneezes. (Two of them were mine. One came from somewhere in the hallway.) Everyone who wasn’t actively sneezing, sniffling, or coughing stared at me with a vague, foggy expression.

All of this is to say… oak season has descended on Austin.

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This is the big, beautiful, majestic (evil, torturous, sneeze-inducing) oak tree in our front yard and the top of my car, which used to be blue.

Ten days ago, I was writing on patios and taking walks at the Wildflower Center and sleeping in my hammock. Now, it feels like any one of those things could kill me. The pollen count is in the high to extreme-high range, which means every time I go outside for more than two minutes, my eyes start to itch, my sinuses swell up, and I start talking like the albino in The Princess Bride before he cleared his throat.

Ah, spring time.

I wrote a poem about oak allergies, which is in this year’s Texas Poetry Calendar. In honor of oak season and National Poetry Month, wipe off your glasses, put some drops in your eyes, and read “Yellow.” I’m going to go use my neti pot.

*

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We are covered in cowardice,
seeped in a sickly smear
that sticks in crevices
and crow’s feet,
revealing all our lines.

We wade through
fallen sunshine,
track fresh banana footprints
onto faded dandelion floors,
taste gold dust on our tongues.

We yield to the bitter grime
that clogs our nostrils,
clothing our lungs
in warning shades
with each breath.

During oak season,
we view the world
through a margarine haze,
learn how it feels
to be pollinated.

© Carie Juettner

Posted in Poetry

Clean

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Greetings, poetry lovers! As National Poetry Month draws to a close, I wanted to share some poetry-related news with you.

First, I’m excited to announce that my poem “The Morning After” has been chosen to appear in the 2017 Texas Poetry Calendar. The calendar is always beautiful and I know I’ll be in good company there. My piece will most likely be in the month of December because it’s a Christmas poem of sorts, but that’s all I’ll say about it. You’ll have to pick up a copy of the calendar to find out more.

But wait, I have more good news! Last week, The Bohemian Freethinker interviewed me as a featured poet on her blog. What an honor! To read the interview, click here.

Also, my good friend Ashley Davis—horror writer, poet, and mother of twins—posted a great list of poem recommendations on her blog. While many of the selections are ones I knew, “Sleep Suite” by Sharon Olds and “Home (Initial Findings)” by Franny Choi were both new to me and both blew me away. Plus, Ashley was kind enough to include one of my poems in her list, and I thank her for that.

And finally, last Thursday was Poem In Your Pocket Day. I spent the afternoon with some lovely students at McCallum High School, talking about poetry and sharing some of my work. And, of course, I carried a poem in my pocket.

Below is my poem, “Clean,” published here for the first time:

Clean

Thursday, April 21st
was “Poem in Your Pocket” Day—
between folds of denim
I tucked a haiku away.
The verse gave form to my footsteps
and structure to my weekday.
Seventeen lightweight syllables,
a literary stowaway.

April 22nd was Laundry Day.

productivity
eclipses poetry—I
wash my pocket poem

Unfolding the damp remnant,
I see the poem has transformed,
gone through a cold-rinse revision.
Words/melt/together,
            syllables slide
from one line
            to the next,
abandoning the rules of the haiku
for something softer,
           fresher
and entirely
            more free.

 

© Carie Juettner, 2016