Category Archives: Poetry


In which Carrie writes a poem …

Horse photo Sisters



When the rider is green

and keeps falling of

the old cowhands say:

She’s got too much horse.

But she always learned

To get right back up.



I Reckon

In which Carrie reflects on the matter ….


Explosion of earthly


I wonder why

I am born a reckoner

And would I be

without our

Milky Way.


Orion points me true

I see you in the

spattered galaxy.


From Sisters

I stop and think

Of ways I might

have been


Less beautifully.





What you don’t understand –

because I didn’t tell you –

is that I call “blowing into donkeys’ nostrils”

horse kisses.

The conversation between our feet

as I felt the smallest movement from your calf

brought home the I know, I understand,

you are good for me too.

When I noticed the quiet –

I need you to understand –  my loathe

of your absent presence pained me

when I saw your body missing from its place.

Understand, too, I’m not so sentimental to keep

the symbols of your fingers’ care

put at attention like players appealing

against my instinct to toss them.

What I don’t understand, often,

is what I should do in relation to you

knowing that what I want has the possibility

of not being the whole truth.

I understood too, that later I would

take the blankets – now washed and drying-

into the hug of my arms

and smell you, breathing deeply, reliving.

For an Old Guy

This Old Guy

Skin crackling from cackling laughter.

It is most apparent around the eyes.



He has been

bumped, bruised,

dinged and donged

Unreservedly used.



All purpose skin.

Necessarily thick,

but sensitively thin.



Now listen, he speaks:

Make it clean.

And keep it clean.




The invention of the wheel was just the beginning.

That kid just got rolling not ever wanting to stop.



Now this old man waits, remembering,

for the next time his duty is called

A wonderful old friend.





A model who will last

when the form is gone.


Exquisite Corpse

In which Carrie, Steven and Kariessa play a game of Exquisite Corpse … 


Seed: It was a dark and stormy night at

















It was a dark and stormy night at

the circus and the clowns were restless. It had

neva occurred to Smithey that for once

he had gone a whole month without drinking water.

But that wasn’t important now, because the

water was there, in his four-tentacled hand.

He took a deep drink of the salty brine, savoring the

burn of it as it went down his esophagus. “Oh how

much better this would taste with a twinkie!”

So, he made a twinkie out of rotting wood and slime.

But somehow it lacked that je nais sai qua, like

the way dust motes dulled vision in wind.

He sighed and realized that he was forever

restless, forever a clown, and it would always be dark and raining.
















Bella’s Addiction, Edward’s Reform

It was a dark and stormy night at

the end of a pencil when Bella snorted when

she was taking drugs. Then, Edward came

and pointed out that sugar wasn’t really a drug.

She looked up at him with dulled visage

as he hadn’t fed in weeks. His eyes gleamed

in a satisfied, easygoing sort of way, as he contemplated

the slimy snot running down her lips and

the gaping rents in his face, from which pus

had dripped. “You look good tonight,” he said with

Victorian charm. “Your earlobes look pale

and your scent…” He lunged forwards, crosses bared

and then changed his mind. There was a better way-which

involved vegetarians, and their little dogs, too.



























Conquest of the Eyeballs: A History of Their Victories and Pulsating Ways

It was a dark and stormy night

at the haunted restaurant. Eyeballs floated

nervously, unsure of themselves, but confident

of their ultimate design. Dawkins appeared

and the zombers wondered who he was. Then,

he pointed out how clever he really was, so much more than

the evil scientist so many had thought

was going to be the first to make ants dance.

But the eyeballs had a new though, that perhaps

they could evolve, or devolve from high rank.

So, their floating changed. Each started to pulsate

and stared intently, daring Dawkins and the zombers

to do what they might, but knowing how

they would eventually pulsate their way into victory!


Seed: She was a bad cat, really, if you

How Kitty’s Heart Turned to Ice: A Cautionary Tail

She was a bad cat, really, if you

weren’t paying close attention. “Once,” I said,

“She walked all the way across the field, carrying a

mountain on her back (dwarves included).

And the next day, she lounged around all day,

weary and sore, but tender in her affections.” Then,

everyone realized that the last sentence didn’t

follow from the first. But a cat has its tail

tucked underneath, and like the every flexible feline

she could produce round droplets of slime from her

ears or her… But wait! She has some

other things she cared about besides slime and genes.

She also loved to eat slime, which was totally

divine to cat kind, the Opiate of Meow.

So she became content. No more mountains, no

more affections. Her heart became cold and desolate forever.

Bad Cat I

She was a bad cat, really, if you

looked at it from the bird’s point of view. But

who cared about the bird, anyway? He was just

“endangered.” All those hippies need to come to

realize that there was an easy solution. Penguins

just needed to be genetically modified so that

they stopped the tux act and blend in.

And the cat knew that – knew that in a way that

made the world make sense. So, her evil plot

started edging up the plot pyramid, vying

for Evil Plot Victory. The first step was to get rid of

the lesser plots. She did this by suffocating them with

furball clots. The penguins paled. They

knew they had just one chance. They had to get

the Dark Lord Voldemort to help them. So they did. The

Dark Lord gave free tux rentals & she was finished.

Bad Cat 2

She was a bad cat, really, if you

thought about how she had drunk dog vomit and

then vomited that up, and drank that, too.

But that wasn’t the worst thing. Not at all – for

she also loved to roll around in her scat, and

then cat skat at the local club where all

the kool cats sat, chewing the fat on the mat eating

their own flesh. After all, they could make

more! The gene-squencing cats at Washington

had found a way to power cats with nuclear energy,

turning them into warheads. Technically, it was the plutonium,

but, when used effectively, those suckers

really roll round ranking, rhyming, running, and

eating each other. What no one knew was that

Edward and Bella never kissed or ate

cats, after all. So she was finally able to sleep, purring contentedly to herself.

Wilkins-O’Riley Zinn (W-OZ) Reminds Me of David Foster Wallace

In which Carrie still mourns publicly over the death of her friend,  mentor, and teacher, Zinn, while telling her Smiling Ghost some stories of goldfish and the meaning of life…

Dear Zinn,

I find that I am thinking of you a lot this morning (while crying in the meantime) and wishing this manner of grieving the loss of your presence in my life could be exchanged for illumination.  You come to mind a lot when I have stories to tell of educational adventures.  And being the stronghold to the university where I learned from you, also the symbol of the question whether to persevere on this teacher-track or “to fly to others I know not of…”  I was recently in a classroom where lived a goldfish in a bowl on the teacher’s desk.  A student had given this person two, named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  Guildenstern had died a couple of days ago, not by beheading as in Hamlet, but likely something to do with overcrowding of habitat.

I observed Rosencrantz throughout the day and toward the end he was spending much of his time up at the top of the bowl, sucking air it appeared.  I began to realize that he was probably suffocating, and after having a student do a quick check with google, confirmed the likelihood.  I was tempted to steal it from the room.  Some of the students encouraged me to do so. I almost did except for the questions I might have been asked upon leaving the school with a goldfishbowl under my arm.  I balked under the pressure of self-consciousness, and what an oddity my impulse would have seemed to those I passed in the hallways.  But, I cannot bear a suffering thing.  That I did not follow through on this impulse toward compassion hurts me now.  This heartache was reinforced by the following video,This Is Water, in what appears to be a commencement address by David Foster Wallace, who I associate with you.

And so I ask If it is not all about me, if I am not the center of the universe, why does it seem like I am?  I grieve the loss of you in my life, often.  I think of it mostly in terms of a question: who can I derive understanding and strength from besides the perfect person for the job?  You understood me and had just the right kind of encouragement for a “different” kind of teacher like me. There is the  default setting of missing you because of the benefit you brought to my life, now absent in the corporeal sense.

In another way – as I connect myself to a larger world as Wallace suggests to seniors everywhere –  that you have persisted in memory, I can recall your similar struggles in education and other places.  I still remember once staying with you in November (NaNoWriMo month) and how you confided your frustration over students “Philosophies of Teaching”  essays spread out in piles, as you were grading them, on your bed.  You lamented that they were writing “for you,” presupposing things they thought you would like to read in a philosophy of education stance. But you just wished they’d be themselves.  You wished them to be authentic.  I wonder now how they became so self-conscious, so unsure of their most authentic philosophies of living.

You always liked quotes, here is one:

“If one were required to consistently say that it was not about oneself, it is not clear how one could properly say that a painting is beautiful, a meal satisfying, or that someone is lovely and worth all the commitments of one’s heart. 

Recognizing oneself as the center of the world, and that in a sense it is all about oneself allows an opening of moral authorship and creativity, as well as the greatest of commitments to an involved, experiencing life.” –Steven Schultz

I wonder if your persistent fight to make the world better, to care for and affect the subjectivity of your students, killed you.  Did you feel the suffocation of objective thinking?  The dehumanization of our societies more in love with counting than with what counts? Were you adequately appreciated?  I am sorry for not reaching out to you more.  I think you could have used my help.

I write this to help keep myself going, because you believed in me, and are thus symbolic of something larger than my missing you as a person in my life.



The Art of Becoming a Cabbage

In which Carrie takes her prompt from Naomi Shihab Nye’s “The Art of Disappearing” to compose a poem…

The Art of Becoming  a Cabbage

Plato’s student pushed:
I care about you.
Let me care.
And I became sauerkraut.

A Japanese-Filipino buried:
I’m worried about you;
I still care about you.
So I became kim chee.

A neo-guru therapized:
Take this psychology test;
It will help me understand you.
I was stewed in fishoil, onions.

That is the summary of my life as


A reading by the original poet inspirer find Nye’s  The Art of Disappearing.