Thursday, November 21, 2002

look at the dark smudge on each parking lot stall
the rainbow oil slick
rainfall wash to watershed
and on to sea again
thousands of dark smudges
millions of parking lots
we're covering our world with asphalt
while fish die and trailer parks drown
it's always the ugly, poor and stupid
that get nailed first
sooner or later the pretty rich smart'll
get theirs

Snapshot moment: Snowfall outside caged gymnasium windows. Inside, the sons and daughters of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants hold hands and run in a circle singing that happy dirge from the Black Death. Ring around the rosies, pockets full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down. Kishwaukee School's long-lasting impression on me will likely be the kind, courteous Asian students, the young punk loud the world owes me everything attitude of the sistahs and brothahs, black and white and every shade in-between. The more Americanized students distress me. I feel for their futures. Of course, the architecture, solid brick building, shiny red tile floor in the hallway, old, ancient old lockers, big windows, no screens, that open out, triptych glass above main entrance. Wooden shelves, dark stained, in the classrooms. Solid. Old school. Classic. Time-tested. What will be the legacy of our modern, ephemeral, no-attention span, mass-production moment values? My generation's legacy is the landfill.

Yes, today we got our first real snowfall. Fat wet flakes that accumulated for but a few hours. The powers that be decided to keep the children inside for recess. Didn't want them to get coldsy-woldsies in the snowy weather. First class of fifth graders a collective Oooohh, Snow, and gaping out of caged window. They wanted to open the door, and I wanted to let them. But there was this business of attendance and volleyball and other adult concerns. If I had my druthers I'da put on my coat and gone out into that gray concrete playground world and twirled, tongue out, collect the uniquely geometric flakes melt into sameness on my tongue and eyelashes and get my hair wet. But by the time school let out at 2 p.m., the flakes melted of their own accord and it was a mere wet gray world with no snowy magic.

Back home did something not so smart and watched brilliant, but depressing, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Why not so smart? November's no time to watch depressing movies. Only good thing about that movie is catharsis, that universal, jeepers cripes thank God that's not me sense of relief. Black and white movie. Based on a play. Only four characters. Space time occurs over one evening. Two and a half hours. And that's my afternoon, ladies and gents.

After dinner Esther and I drive to Rock Valley College, our alma mater, so to speak, and also where we met and fell in love, the setting of our earliest years together, 1992 and 1993. We went there because Esther needed her transcripts sent to some day care board for approval of her hours, blah blah bureaucratic crap. We decide to walk around the campus a little bit. Its changed a bit in the northern end of campus. A new technology building we didn't visit. Instead investigated our old haunts, the student center and library. Walked around the library looking at artwork. I picked up a copy of the first paper I worked for, The Valley Forge. We got asked for directions three times by members of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra looking for the theatre building. Lucky for them we directed them to the right spot. As we crossed Spring Creek on the main bridge connecting said library and student center, I saw a lady do a face plant as she tripped over a step. A symphony lady looking for the theater.

I finished The Two Towers today. Frodo's been captured by Sauron's forces. Oh, no! What will happen in Return of the King? Gotta be a happy ending. Now I am ready for the movie next month. I will wait until next fall to read the final book in the series. Now I am reading "Blue Shoe," by Anne Lamott. She's one of my favorite modern fiction writers. But now I am off to the Divine Cup to read a little poetry and maybe even do some improv like I did Monday. Good coffee and verse awaits.

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