Merlin at Lessons

merlin-and-arthurHe rarely listened to what I taught
but that is the way. A true teacher learns
early that insisting the student listen
is the surest way to uninsure it.
I would be deep into Lao Tze’s treatise
on warfare, and he would be drawing crude
pictures of what he imagined women dreamt he
might do to them. Fart jokes besides Poetics,
impromptu themes justifying the ways of God
to amoeba in terms only amoeba would understand. Continue reading


head-of-a-young-woman-with-tousled-hair-ledaAs a girl I gathered the gooseberries
effortlessly and helped my mother bake the pies.
I knew just how much sugar was needed
for the berries—and I could sense
their taste by lightly squeezing them
and measure the tautness or softness
against the sugar. I was always right.
Women paid my mother to have me
make the pies for their festival
offerings or weddings or homecoming feasts. Continue reading

Little Town Life


At a Main Street 1970s LG cheerleader rockathon

The downside of growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and your business. The beauty of growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and your business.

I grew up in Locust Grove, a northeastern Oklahoma town of around 1200 people, and when I graduated high school in 1980, and left for OSU, I was ecstatic.  Though Stillwater was only a few hours away, it might as well have been another country. No one knew me there. No one knew my family. No one knew where I was going on Friday night or where I had been Saturday morning or what my dog’s name was or what car I drove or how often my mom went to the beauty shop and my uncle visited the liquor store. Continue reading