MAP #94

II. Featured Poetry Theme: Back to School

1. The Paths of Glory Lead. . . .

for Janis Canion

Senior English, 1971 by Frank Pool

Remember when you took us out that day

Across the street--the headstones of the graves

Stood straight, or skewed, engraved with Thomas Gray

Upon our memories, high school elegies

In small town churchyards? Memory saves

The small events; commenting on your marriage’s

Political strife, when I remarked that to run

Against your spouse would make “estranged bedfellows,”

You smiled. And I am older now than you

Were then, I’ve taught for almost twenty years,

Have loved bright flashes of a girl’s eyes, or slow

And steady progress of a boy to man who

Remembers, that lesson so long ago you gave,

That words outlast the weeping at the grave.

Frank Pool

2. Measure Time by Cynthia Hudson

Measure time. In days, weeks, months, years.

When I was a child, my elders told me,

"The older you get, the faster it goes."

Of course, I didn’t understand.

Time meant nothing to me.

I was too busy playing.

A little school, some friends,

endless days of convenient routine.

As I got a little older and got my driver’s license,

time became more relevant.

How many more years until college?

What life,

in the whole spectrum of possibilities,

would I lead?

The future was as vast and empty as the West Texas sky.

And waiting made the years stretch by so slowly.

After a time, I became complacent.

I could drive anywhere, anytime.

I was a middle-class American working wife

and one day I realized that my spectrum of choices

had largely been a product of the given circumstance -

not a part of some greater plan.

Time became just what it was.

A minute a minute. A day a day. A year a year.

Several of those passed.

One day I suddenly became panicked.

I’d missed all my chances.

None of my choices had mattered.

The spectrum had gone black and white.

And all I could do was remember.

I remembered falling off my bike on Lamplight Bridge when I was 12.

Totally destroyed my knee,

but got up and rode home anyway.

I remembered that like yesterday.

Not over 20 years before.

How well I remembered Randy

lifting me out of the back of his El Camino

down at Surfside Beach

and carrying me over the threshold of womanhood.

How well I knew how long ago that was!

A lot of womanhood had happened in the blink of an eye.

The years ahead suddenly pressed upon me,

trying to get past,

demanding happiness,

demanding satisfaction,

demanding action.

So I took some action.

I examined my life inside out

and was happy to find much there to keep -

my children, my home, my choice.

I also summarily discarded much.

Including a long marriage and a lengthy employment.

The spectrum again was broad and colorful -

but the future was all over me.

Upon surviving the pain of separation from that

which I’d distanced myself,

the future became less like a threatening Doberman,

biting at my heels,

and more like an eager Sheepdog,

urging me along.

Now, another five years have passed.

I measure time by the size of my children.

Still children -

their futures beautiful and frightening.

But they don’t notice.

They’re too busy playing.

They’re lucky.

And I only hope that I will look back some day,

when I really am old,

and find that I’ve filled the time well.

Cyndie Macon-Hudson

3. Because you're my Ava by Matt Wellon

Sat for tremolo voice.


brilliant boy hell-bent on head

smiled big wide gum smiles.

i knew both of four of them.

both were named ben.

one did square roots

in kindergarten.

i was so jealous.

They fell for his lanky varsity team jacket

my angel walks by too. (twice)

walks right by me with out looking

grinning beckon to exit.

i open my mouth wide

at her blackandwhitecracklingfilm body

and her cheeks hold words better than books.

all of those people

i once knew came over to the table.

riding a pent-up high.

smashing 1/2 and 1/2 milk packages.

did you want to talk about movies?

well. i love the coffee, even though it tasted a little dirty tonight.

the waitress ran out without bringing a check.

but we paid anyway.

i want to talk about food.

about how my body becomes cream

when she provokes me right.

because she's ava

and i love her.

matt wellin