This poem was published in Dreams & Nightmares a year ago this month, and I’d like to share it with you now.
One night I walked outside
to look at the full moon,
but there was no moon,
only clouds and wind
that whispered Go, Go
into my ears. So I went.
Without phone or flashlight,
sweater or shoes, I followed
my toes up mossy hills,
down dusty ravines,
through fields of flowering flytraps.
I crossed the path of a black cat
and it ran up a tree in a panic.
I traipsed and trudged
over boulders and sand
until I found myself
at my own front door
which stood ajar, paint peeling,
windows smudged and dim.
I looked down,
saw my toenails had grown long,
my hair gray. My skin
wore the lines of my travels,
etched into once smooth terrain.
And I lifted my aged head
and howled at the moonless night.
© Carie Juettner, 2017
Published in Dreams & Nightmares, Issue 106, May 2017
On Saturday, I had the privilege of hearing Alan Birkelbach speak at the Austin Poetry Society‘s November meeting. Alan, a former Texas Poet Laureate, read several of his enchanting, relatable poems, talked about his involvement with the Words of Preservation project, gave advice on the publishing industry, and led the audience in a short writing exercise– all in just over an hour. It was a great afternoon, packed full of inspiration.
The writing exercise was about what Alan called “friction poems.” We were given a list twenty well-known figures (both real and fictional) and twenty commonplace occupations. Our job was to place our famous character in a situation where they could not possibly exist and… see what happens. We had ten minutes to write.
Here’s what I came up with. (I’ll let you figure out which character and job I chose.)
“Who are you?”
“Are you our sub?”
“Where’s Ms. Davis?”
“What’s your name?”
“You may call me Ms. M,” she said.
She wore dark glasses
and a long flowing dress.
Her hair was wrapped in a scarf.
The students rolled their eyes and giggled.
They changed seats,
lied about their names,
threw paper balls at the fish tank
when her back was turned.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she said.
They ignored her.
She passed out worksheets
about subordinate clauses.
They drew pictures on them instead.
She asked for a volunteer
to read the daily poem.
They made fart noises
with their armpits.
“I’m warning you,” she said.
Finally, when two boys who were
fighting over a juice box
made it explode orange liquid
all over her desk,
Ms. M. had had enough.
“That’s it!” she cried. “BE. STILL.”
And then Ms. Medusa
took off her sunglasses
and let down her hair.
© Carie Juettner, 2017.
🙂 Happy Fall Break to all the teachers out there!
I wrote this little poem during a 15-minute writing session at my school’s writing club last Thursday and felt like sharing it today. 🙂
The Night is Meant for Reading
the evening comes home early
These days that are like gnats
fly freely into the candle of afternoon
and flare up briefly
Then smoke and moon and owl hoots
settle in, purring around your ankles
and filling your pockets with dusk.
These nights are meant for reading,
with the lamp dimmed low
and the firelight warming your socks,
with the half full but mostly empty
(but easily refilled again)
cup of whatever makes your belly warm
resting beside you atop the
book, the one you will dive into
after this one, without even changing
the cross of your legs
on the blue stool with the orange pillow
in front of the hearth
beneath the dimmed lamp
near the window
that watches with its cloudy gray eyes.
This night is meant for reading,
and you—you are nothing
if not obedient.
© Carie Juettner, 2017