In Medias Res
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Cappy" journal:
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Two Lines on Sleepless Nights|
I hate waking in the middle of the night.
It means going to bed alone all over again.
Cross-posted in 2_lines
Current Mood: listless
Two Lines on February 14th, 2007|
Today is the 14th of February.
Tomorrow will be better.
Cross-posted in 2_lines
Current Mood: okay
Tags: poetry, two lines
Ankle-deep in concrete,
But nothing’s harder than my heart.
There’s something proud about rust –
Like telling the rain
“Looks don’t matter;
Appearances can be deceiving.”
I am the coldest red.
Colder than the long winter’s night
Cold for being lone
You couldn’t hope to build with me,
So you build on me.
I carry so much.
If Isaiah’d known better,
He wouldn’t be set like flint.
He’d be set like me:
Current Mood: smoldering
Current Music: DMX's "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood"
Days Go Passing into Years|
I don't know that it profits me much to look back on this year that has passed, even if New Year's Eve is the perfect occasion to do so. Doubtless I'd find too much fault in my last tour 'round the Sun, to go with missed opportunities and so much squandered potential. For that is my way, after all - never yielding in moments of self-doubt and self-pity. No, it is quite enough to say that precious little progress on my three principle goals has been made in this past year. We'll have to leave it there.
And so my eyes are cast forward, toward the coming 365-day marathon set to commence this evening. In desperate times, the temptation is always there to get out to a fast start, to cover as much ground early as possible in expectation that fatigue and other setbacks are impossible to anticipate. This, I think, is why folks take to their resolutions with such vigor in January and February, but cannot make them last into the Spring.
This new year, then, I shall take a different tack. I will not set some lofty goal only to wear myself out in its pursuit. Rather, I take balance as my mission. For one year, may the highs not be so precarious and may the lows not sink too deep. Let us be level, even, measured. Let us make progress one, small terrestrial revolution at a time.
Here's to the new year, may she be a damn sight better than the last.
One Time is Never Enough|
This isn't like the last one. Last time, it was one of my students only insofar as they were all my students. I never even met Altagracia Valenzuala, and the only time I saw her was when she was lying in state the night of the wake. And, yeah, the sight of her so eerily still was troubling and saddening, but mainly owing to all those theoretical reasons about what a shame it is for a young person to die. This one is different. This one is personal.
I call her Bootz because that's what she wanted, and how could a guy named Cappy turn down such a request? Most folks know her as Jessica, including, presumably, the doctors and nurses treating her for the Hodgkin's Lymphoma that's attacking her lungs...again.
A colleague, Keller, found me and a few other teachers in the lounge after school today. The cancer was written all over her face, though I waited ten seconds for Keller's word's to catch up with her expression before hurling my supposedly indestructible Nalgene bottle into the floor, fracturing the lid. What my response lacked in maturity I certainly made up for in passion. I don't think there are any doubts about where I stand - not in the minds of my colleagues and decidedly not in my own.
I missed Bootz' first round with cancer, which apparently took her mostly out of commission last year. Now she's in the dogfight once more and already I am on the warpath, coming down the mountain, loaded for bear. There will be phone calls, and visits, and more prayers than God can count. And if more still is required, then that too will be provided. This is my Bootz, and this time won't be at all like the last one.
This story has a happy ending.
Current Mood: determined
Love, True Love|
Because it is important to own up to our biases, I will claim my own at the top. Boston College blew a classic "trap game" down in Winston-Salem this evening and I'm a little jaded. Oh, how the outcome of a child's game does wreak havoc on my psyche.
My dear friend Vic is now hitched, too. It was a lovely ceremony, if a little schmaltzy, and doubled as a great opportunity to run aground of faces I have gone far too long without seeing. Just as important - perhaps more so in the cosmic scheme of things - is that Vic married a cat, Sam, whom she's obviously in love with and who loves her right back with equal measure. Often during the wedding and reception I found myself thinking of how little cause I'll have to ever worry over Vic again. She'll be well looked after for the rest of her days. That is a comforting thought.
Vic and Sam's nuptials make love, true love, seem possible. This was a wedding that makes you believe, makes you believe that two people really can find each other in this topsy-turvy world. That's not something I can say of all the weddings I've attended, but it applies to the best ones. Why couldn't the same happen for me? Vic and Sam made love seem not just possible, but even likely. That's the message I'll take from this weekend's festivities.
And yet, I reserved just enough room for doubt - had to, really. The reality - brought into sharp relief not just by Vic and Sam, but also by any number of other couples in attendance at their wedding - is that I'm well off the pace. That's not to say I should be hitched or even engaged by now. I just should be a step or two further along than I am. I should at least have prospects. At least, that was another thought at the front of my mind this past weekend.
I mulled it over enough to moot this other, more terrifying thought - first to myself on the drive from Sacramento back to San Francisco and then again, in public, with my friend Leslie at breakfast this morning. "What if it just never happens for me?"
Current Mood: worried
Current Music: Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road"
Tags: love, weddings
When the Chips are Down|
You know things aren't going your way when you're 2-10 against the spread in this week's NFL action. My record this year is just plain unsightly, and I've reached the point where I know I'd be better off just enjoying the games instead of evaluating them based on their relative gambling merits. Of course, if I bowwed out now it would only be an admission of failure, and being chicken would cost me just as much sleep as being stupid is currently. Damn my pride.
Would that my prognosticating was the only thing amiss these days. It's not, of course. It's just the failure with the most statistical evidence to cite.
Yesterday, I played terribly and picked worse. And rather than shake both off, I decided to weave them into a larger fabric of failure. I'm a creature of confidence, after all, and yesterday it felt as though I hadn't anything - not one damn thing - on which to hang my hat. So I hanged my head instead - in shame. It all fit the narrative perfectly: "Of course I played poorly and of course I was way off on my picks, because I'm no good." Or rather, "I'm not enough." It was not a happy conclusion - far from it - but it was the one that made sense.
The same tired story played itself out today, too. Class was just awful; something was missing. The kids alternated between being disrespectful and completely flat, and I was almost wholly unable to steer the ship between those two shores. But the worst of it was how totally unsurprising it all was, like I simply expected things to go awry. Prepared for that reality, I knew exactly who to fault when it actually did come to pass, too.
I really need a lucky break - quite desperately, actually. Though I've most definitely been bailed out of tighter binds than this, never before have I so desired my rescue. I wish I could say I knew it was forthcoming.
Current Mood: distressed
Tags: deep thoughts, football
The art of writing, I am now convinced, will be dead inside of two generations. Perhaps some good ink will still be spilt in the next century, but most pages will be marred beyond recognition by informality, carelessness, and eroding standards. I am not usually given to such bleak prophecies, but having spent the last several hours grading papers, I can only conclude that the written word's end is near. Oh, the humanity!
The deathblow, I fear, was this blasted internet, which blended the written word and the spoken word so as to make one indistinguishable from the other. We have, as a species, instant messaged ourselves into idiocy, where we write just the same as we speak. It is all so forgetful of the power of the written word, which inspires, in part, because it must be wielded, not merely used.
There is still more grading to be done, though the lion's share of the essays have been put to rest. I simply had to call it quits tonight, though, owing to the fact that reading these papers was making me feel physically ill. It was Kevin Newsome, a Junior smarter than he lets on, who struck the deciding blow. "When you get married," he writes, "there are marriage vowels that you are supposed to respect and live by while you are married (Emphasis Added)."
Yes, writing will soon be dead. I think I shall miss it.
Current Mood: stressed
The early returns on my new gig as a religion teacher at Bishop McNamara High School
are overwhelmingly positive. My students this time around are far and away more academically prepared and curious - perhaps owing to the fact that they were not reared in a relative war zone. True, I am busier now than I ever have been at previous stops, having neither written a letter nor cracked a book since I took the job. But I don't mind making the extra efforts because I feel like I am actually becoming a better teacher. It's a remarkably good fit for all the strange circumstances surrounding the hire.
If I were to make one complaint, though, it would be that I have yet to feel like I am making an impact on my students beyond the classroom. At Saint Mary's, my first stop, My Girls
opened their lives to me much more than their minds, but there was still something strangely fulfilling about that seeming imbalance. In Palestine the language barrier was profound, but the kids were mostly starving for affection and it didn't seem to matter that they didn't understand a word I said. Here, though, I'm feeding the minds - force-feeding in some cases - but not quite diving into the rest of the sundry hallmarks of teenage existence.
Her name is Katie
, and she's one of my favorites. She knows it, too, which is a bit of a surprise but still not objectionable. Katie's
bright - real
bright - and confident, and quick with the wit as well. She's in the school play, she's got some dear friends, and she smiles most of the time. Katie
also made an attempt at suicide this past August - something she revealed to me today almost matter-of-factly.
Not that I have a list recorded somewhere, but as an educator part of my job is to keep an eye out for red flags flown by the kids as evidence of deep-seated pain. There are a few already that jump out, though Katie
certainly wasn't one of them. Our conversation this afternoon was, well, powerful. Owing to some of my own troubled family history, I feel confident that I responded to Katie
with that perfect combination of respect, and gravitas, and curiosity, and care that the revelation required. I think I did my job well, though the day's work won't be officially concluded until I drop to my knees in prayer for her tonight.
I'm in, though, which is what's more. Even if this is the only kid and even if it happens to be these overwhelmingly painful circumstances, I'm in.
Deal the next card.
Current Mood: okay
For the record, I'm stripping this evening of any and all romantic overtones; which means the trail wasn't secluded, the moonlight wasn't breathtaking, and she wasn't so damn lovely.
Current Mood: confused
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