Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Dirty rotten scoundrelous day after gorgeous golden sunshine day yesterday. October was unseasonably cold and because of shifting warm and cold spots in the ocean thousands of miles away, el nina or nino, I don't remember, it is supposed to be a cold winter. Fine. I love winter, ever since I married a Nordic. Maybe this year I will ski, either cross country or downhill, snowshoe, sled. Pink cheeks, frosty breath, come back in and legs itch from all the heat rushing to warm skin. Hot chocolate. Hot cider. Walking down the middle of the street in a snowstorm, grabbing a gloved palmful of fresh fallen flakes and blowing them, watching them rainbow prism in weak sunlight or arc street lamp. Tracks of animals. Little critters, birds, desert-like blowing dunes of powder. Bring it on, baby, but can't we just cut the middleman, this dreary late fall sopping wetness and slow death?

Last night's poetry slam was a competitive bust. I didn't make it to the final round and got few votes. But it was a joy and entertainment and learning experience all wrapped in one to listen to others, from the speed-rappy Kerouac cum DJ affectations of one to the inner city plight and soul sister sojourn of a black woman, to the awkward rhymings of the young and hurt. A lot of people showed up to the Rockford Public Library, including one crazy homeless guy with a huge leather hat with teeth tied by sinewy strips all around his brim. He started ranting in the middle of our host's poem and was quickly shuttled out of the room by attending staff. I saw him disappear with plastic-covered cart dragging behind him. The downtown library reeks of homelessness -- stale tobacco and alcohol sweat. Poems that rhyme and full of raw emotion win audiences over, not the cerebral non-rhyming wordplay I employed. Lesson learned. Next slam I'll take a more populist take.

Tonight it is open stage at the Divine Cup, the same place I read poetry at Halloween night. I don't know if I'm going or will stay home and do some more creative writing. Whatever the muse commands. Music or writing. It's all good.

Today, back at Kishwaukee Elementary School, I had the fifth grade class that was hellish yesterday. But instead of having them in gym class I went to their room and had them spend their half hour writing about respect. Tried not to lecture them, but reinforced the golden rule and, without wording it as such, the karma principle. What you do unto others, eventually, inevitably, will be done unto you. God, I love the clean simplicity of that truth. The rest of the classes were uneventful. I let them have free reign except for one group of fourth graders I tried to get play floor hockey. Bad idea, giving a bunch of undisciplined fourth graders sticks to beat each other with. Mob rule, many barked shins, one team won, 7-4. I've only had half the gym the last two days because all the students are getting dental check-ups in the other half, closed off by a floor to ceiling divider. Some of the kids come straight over to gym class from check up. Guess what, Mr. G. I don't have any cavities. A whole crowd of kids parading their open mouths before me. Young, gap-toothed, cavity-ridden wonders. I amaze them with my mouth full of silver. Betcha I got more cavities than you do? And the dental payments to prove it!

Last night watched the Packers beat Miami, 24-10, on Monday night football, in the same room at my parent's house I watched so many Monday Night games throughout the years. Favre was spectacular, along with running back Ahman Green. Defensive greatness from Nate Wayne, including an 89-yard touchdown off an interception. Packers now have the best record in the NFL. I will document every sports event I watch here in this blog to prove to myself and the world I am not a sports-obsessed idiot, or at least that I've come a long way since my sports editor Antigo days. Mom and Dad drove down scenic Route 2 yesterday to Oregon and ate at a fancy restaurant where they had a $10 off coupon. I always assume my parents don't get along, but they do enough to take road trips together to enjoy the fall colors. And as the years eat away they know that each other is all they have.

I feel I'm getting a cold. So many sick others I've come into contact with, from Mom Larson to snot-nosed petri dish elementarians. No coughing yet. But a weird taste in the back of my mouth. Maybe just brush my teeth, floss. Hope it's a false alarm. But I know this body and all its symptoms. I've been wrong before. Won't practice for senior citizenhood my cataloguing my ailments. Be stalwart and stoic, suffer in silence and spare us the details.

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