Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poetry Writing And Fishing Tips

Get up early.

Why? Because Steven Wright said, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing there on the shore looking like an idiot” and if, you get up early, fewer people will see you.

Become a fish-identification expert: full-grown haiku are small and most villanelles are inedible. Throw back the little ones.

The mola mola is also called the “ocean sunfish.” Do likewise, poets, and choose new words.

Floundering? You might need to attach more lead weight to your line.

No bites? Research what the bass masters are using for bait.

If Billy Collins is keeping the heads on the shrimp, keep the heads on the shrimp.

If, like Emily Dickinson, you work hard at hand-tying flies, one day you’ll have your own style of flies.

The more your bait reeks of decaying crab, the better to attract the company of striped bass and surrealists.

Don’t bring a banana on the boat.

Sometimes you do it for the fish, sometimes for the quiet, sometimes to make a hole in the ice to sit and wait, drinking.

It’s pulling on the line like a Shakespearian sonnet?!?! Reel it in slowly and methodically, ababcdcdefefgg.

Shit! The line’s enjambed. Put your hip waders on and go in after it, lunge at poetry, like the brown bear after a salmon.

So you spent the whole day fishing and got nothing, remember, as Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet, “that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ not ‘catching.’ The important thing is to keep your ass in bass chair.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mom Olympics

Appear nonchalant at daycare in tight-fitting aerodynamic orange helmet.

If you think the giant slalom is tricky, try getting through the packed isles at Trader Joe’s with everyone else in Baltimore County in search of creamy, low-salt soy nut butter.

Triple axel? More like triple-wash the whites. Who’s coaching this team of amateurs, anyway? How hard it is to use a cup?

Ignore the incessant cowbell-ringing as you downhill through the afternoon.

In the evening, after the kids have gone to bed, bring out the zamboni and glide across the kitchen floor with your husband, who is as usual wearing a torero outfit bedecked in rhinestones.

Accept any and all roses, including the ones the kids have drawn with smelly markers. Turn to the camera and mouth the words, Does anyone in America know a good babysitter?

Prepare the kids lunch boxes as if there might be an endorsement deal in it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Poetry Revised for the Lovelorn

She walks in beauty like the night, not stopping at my apartment.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways you have not re-tweeted though you and I both follow @FormaggioKitchen for the goat cheese tastings.

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones and from the clothing strewn across the kitchen floor, I guess you knew her too.

I know this was going to be our big make-up date, but my GPS screwed up and I took the road less traveled by and I’m really sorry. Just shoot me your zip plus four and I’ll send flowers.

It was just meaningless, emotionless sex. My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun. Yours totally are.

Okay, it’s true that one had a lovely face and two or three had charm, but honey, charm and face were in vain because the mountain grass cannot but keep the form where the mountain hare has lain. What I think Yeats is trying to say is come back, the mountain’s not the same without you, and that's what I'm trying to say too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How To Crack Up A Five-Year-Old

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
A vegetable.
(By this time milk will be spewing from their nose.)

Why did the chicken cross the road?
(They won’t even be able to look at you, they’ll be crying.)

FART.
(Have paddles on hand for resuscitation if they just totally die.)

PRETEND TO TRIP OVER SOMETHING INVISIBLE.
(But if they have been simultaneously eating Goldfish and jumping on the couch, watch out for your white carpet.)

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Kids who need to go to bed.
Kids who need to go to bed who?
(They’re falling all over themselves, naked, drunk on the humor of you.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Snacks For Working Moms

Melt cheese slices. Garnish with fresh sprigs.

Of guilt.

Use your briefcase as a supplemental coffee table.

Open a can of nuts, but distribute only the cashews equally among your guests.

In a pinch, Play-Doh is made of wheat.

So you like cocktail franks? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gittin' The Kids To School -- Cowboy Style

Git up. C’mon now, I said, git up.
It’s time to eat the eggs I done fried up in the pan and the coffee I done made with my sock. The sun done’s broke the horizon and we best be movin’ on toward the schoolhouse.

Hushpuppy, are you serious asking? I ain’t got but life experience, I’m justa ole cowboy, but’s gonna be differn’ for you and yer baby sister. You gonna be edumacated, learn you how to use them iPhones and iPads instead of feedin’ them chickens.

Leave off plaitin’ your honey-colored hair, Missus B. This time the whole family’s goin’. Maybe you’n I cin sit in the back of the one room schoolhouse and wear dunce caps on our heads, hunh, Missus B -- that got you smilin’ up a storm though, don’t it? Your smile is like the East Texas rain when I’ve been livin’ there in a tent for a month, mindin’ the cattle didn’t starve to death from a lack a grass. Put off shellin’ them peas though it’s the only thing you know, besides heartbreak.

Lemme give y’all a hand up. Seat yourself on ole Cool Glass A Water. Ain’t he a fine specimen! Ain’t we a sight for sore eyes, hushpuppies, goin’ down 695 through Pikesville on a bull while other people, fancy city people, honk at us in their S.U.Vs.

Bet they think we’re some kinda Amish. We ain’t though, kids. Yer ole Momma here definitely ain’t Amish. Why, she took first prize in rodeo when she was a crumbgrabber, ‘bout your age. Get up Momma and show ‘em your stuff.

Don’t that beat all, Missus B, little Nathaniel here’s says he’s embarrassed and is hidin’ his shame under the buffalo blanket. Dang it, boy, yer my blood, the fruit of my nether regions and yer old grandpappy didn’t die young in the Pony Express for you to be one of ‘em fancy pants. Be proud of yer daddy, though I don’t know ‘bout how to twitter n‘Tweet, I do do a fair matin’ turkey call.

How shall I further amaze you?

I know. I’ll lasso that McDonald’s sign yonder and we’ll take a turn through the drive-thru and we’ll see if it’s true, if their McGriddlers are better’n yer Momma’s.

If’n you were worried we’d drop you off and make for the border--we ain’t gonna run, we still own ‘bout half an inch of wheatfield and we gonna plow it with the toothpick yer Momma done whittled all last winter. Don’t you worry ‘bout nuthin’ but yer studies, hushpuppy. While yer in the schoolhouse learnin’ ‘bout our indebtedness to China and whatnot, us, yer family, will be waitin’ for in the yard all day long, scratchin’ in the dirt outside, lookin’ for grubs.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Yoga For Working Moms

Pose Of An Ass: Ask if there is a dedicated nursing room anywhere in your building.

Stand on two feet and raise your open briefcase above your head allowing the week’s budget reports to cascade down around you like a waterfall.

Your heart is at last open like a lotus to the fact that following your bliss means opening up a boutique cupcake place.

Screaming Tiger, Hidden Pacifier: On your hands and knees glide your right hand under your left shoulder, and then under the couch, feeling for the binky that the two-year-old is wailing for.

Before going into Tadasana or Corpse Pose, rearrange everything on your Netflix queue to 19th century costume drama.

Take a few minutes and focus your attention on your breath while you Cut The Kids’ Sandwiches Into Cute Shapes.

Relax your mouth and say Om Shanti. If you are at peace, the book group potluck will go that much more smoothly.

Ouch! What The %$#@! Did I Just Stepped On? can easily be part of your daily sun salutations as you go around the house before the sun rises, blessing the abundance of all that you have, and dusting.

To achieve Domestic Goddess, keep your index fingers as straight as possible and balance as much as you can on top of a box of Kleenex while arranging lotus blossoms in a bowl.

Stand on your tiptoes and stretch stretch stretch imagining your fingers reaching for, but never quite touching, the stars.