Sunday, October 21, 2012

Practicing Fade-Aways

{Slam Dunk by Clifford Otto} 

In college I had John Murillo as a professor for two of my creative writing classes.  Words fail me right now, so to put it simply, he was awesome.  I learned a lot from him.  He's a really cool, humble guy.  I love his poetry.  Here is a poem called, "Practicing Fade-Aways," from his book Up Jump the Boogie.  It's sicky sicky good. Enjoy!

{Click here  to listen to him read the poem}
{Click here to view his website}

Practicing Fade-Aways

—after Larry Levis
On a deserted playground in late day sun,
My palms dusted black, dribbling
A worn, leather ball behind my back, this loneliness
Echoes from the handball courts nearby.
Nearly all the markings—free throw lane, sideline,
Center circle—rubbed to nothing.
A crack in the earth cuts across the schoolyard,
Jagged as a scar on a choir boy‟s cheek.
Twenty years ago,
I ran this very court with nine other
Wanna-be ballers. We‟d steal
Through peeled chain links, or hop
The gate, to get here: our blacktop Eden.
One boy, who had a funny pigeon-toed set shot
And a voice full of church bells, sang spirituals
Every time he made a basket,
The other boys humming along, laughing,
High-fives flying down the court.
And a boy we called „The Sandman‟
For how he put you to sleep with his shoulder fake or drop step,
Over six feet tall in the tenth grade,
Smooth talker with an itch for older guys‟ girlfriends.
One Sunday morning, they found him stabbed to death
Outside the Motel 6, pockets untouched,
Bills folded neatly against his beautiful cooling thigh.
And „Downtown‟ Ricky Brown,
Whose family headed west when he was two
But still called himself a New Yorker,
Who never pulled from less than thirty feet out,
And could bank shots blindfolded.
He went to Grambling, drove himself
Crazy with conspiracy theories and liquor,
Was last seen roaming the French Quarter, shoeless, babbling
About the Illuminati‟s six-hundred sixty-six ways
To enslave the populace.
At sixteen, I discovered
Venice Beach, with its thousand bodybuilders,
Roller skates, and red thong bikinis.
I would stand on the sidelines and watch
The local ballplayers, leaping and hollering
Quicksilver giants, run and gun,
Already grown into their man bodies,
Funkadelic rising from a boombox in the sand.
Now, all I hear are chain nets chiming as I sink
One fade-away after another,
The backboard, the pole, throwing a long shadow
Across the cracked black asphalt.
What the nets want must be this caress,
This stillness stretching
Along every avenue, over high school
Gymnasiums and deserted playgrounds,
And the ambulance drivers drifting into naps
Back at the station house.
What the boys who ran these courts wanted was
A lob pass high enough
To pull them into the sky,
Something they could catch in both hands
And hang from,
Long enough for someone to snap
A photograph, to hold them there,
Skybound. Risen.
John Murillo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nuh Uh

If I had an elephant like that, I too would take it everywhere.  And no gosh darn sign would influence my whereabouts.  
{Image via}

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rainy Day at Lake Harriet

I've been going out of my way to take the picturesque roads on my way home from work. It is definitely worth the extra five minutes.  

Yesterday it was raining and I saw an old man on his front stoop reading a book. His dog was lying next to him.  It looked so peaceful.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall has a way.

And Fall has a way of doing that when your mind is clear one minute and jumbled the next. When you make a commitment but then forget what it is and to whom it is for.  When you make watered down promises that never come true. You bask in the hope of someone else's and hope they'll follow through.  To smile. To shrug. To say it's no big deal. Is it? To white lie and wonder if it's been noticed.  To hear big words and nod along as though you understand.  To sleep and waver. To be awake and not listen. When the highway is open and you count the yellow tickers. To daze. To not know the date. The month. To slap your knee and the next minute forget why.  To stick your tongue out in quiet rebellion.  When you trace the circles under your eyes the third day in a row. To be your age. Sometimes. Not often. To not be your age. Often. To wonder what they're doing, when they are 408 miles away. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Beauty

Sometimes when your To Do list runs 2 pages long, it's easier to just do nothing. Ya know, crawl under your desk and hope no one notices you're missing.  But that I shall not.  Happy Monday. Time to get stuffings done. 

My parents visited me in Minneapolis this weekend. Here are some snapshots. 
 {Lake Harriet}
 {The Rose Garden}
{Pretty rose}