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
This little horror poem isn’t for the squeamish.
The idea came to me when I was thinking about the notes my friends and I used to leave in each other’s lockers in middle school. I miss those notes. But I’m happy no one ever left any of these items in my locker.
“Someone” was first published in Grievous Angel in February 2016. Read it, if you dare.
Someone left a cat whisker in my locker.
I once heard whiskers bring good luck,
but I wish it wasn’t the exact color
who ran away last week.
Someone left a flower petal in my locker.
At least I think it’s a flower petal—
it’s thin and pink and silky
and smells a little like the potpourri
my big sister keeps in her underwear drawer.
Someone left a tooth in my locker,
which is weird because my little brother
just lost his first tooth this weekend,
and the tooth fairy took it from underneath his pillow
but forgot to leave any money.
Someone left a picture of me in my locker.
I actually look really pretty in it
with the moonlight shining on my sleeping face,
but the angle suggests it was taken
from my closet.
Someone left a finger in my locker.
It’s wearing a ring that looks like my mom’s.
She left yesterday for a business trip.
And this morning when I thanked my dad
for tucking me in last night,
he said he didn’t know
what I was talking about.
© Carie Juettner, 2016
* * * * *
Don’t forget about this month’s giveaway! If you want to be entered for a chance to win, just comment on one of my October blog posts OR share one of the posts on social media, and use my contact form to send me a link to it. Each person can enter up to five times, so feel free to share on multiple platforms. Here are the prizes:
- A copy of The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (the first book in my favorite series: Lockwood & Co.)
- A copy of Susan Rooke’s debut fantasy novel, The Space Between (Susan is a friend of mine and I’m so excited about her new book!)
- Your choice of one of the journals from my Etsy shop.