Friday, August 19, 2016

bad haiku for a mid-august day

melania trump,
that slovenian flower,
bloomed in the night like

a plastic rose.  in
the back of my garden, real
roses send out their

warm, genuine scents,
an olfactory backdrop
for the syllabi

i'm prepping for fall.
now that we know for sure that
the center never

holds, that truth never
does will out, that plastic lives
matter – uber and

alles --  what matters
more, the fine print on cheating
or how i cover

my ass when i catch
that plagiarist? god, i hate
the pedant i have

become, pedantic
creature writing metallic
scripture into these

syllabi, scripting
course legalities for mere

serving up slices
of conduct code on platters
of base rectitude.

my eye twitches.  of
all the things i thought i would
someday teach, the cold

art of the deal was
never on my radar. in
this summer of lies

we have learned what lies
at the heart of discourse: one's
own beliefs.  it's tough

enough believing
in the need for evidence;
teaching that, now, seems

a lost cause.  and now
in my garden, i sit with
my laptop and write

what my students won't
read or heed or value, the
words my job requires

me to include, my
own voice muted to protect
my academic

assets.  my summer
is nearly spent, my spirit
barely renewed for

the unbearable
onslaught of ignorance dressed
in students' clothes, those

called "clients" in a
recent and chilling memo,
a lousy augur

on a mid-august
day. oh, man, i just want to
breathe, to savor the

summer's last breaths of
decency. everything's in
bloom: the bee balm and

tickseed, the black-eyed
susans and coneflower, some
daylilies, all the

herbs.  days like this, when
even the hummingbirds laze
in the record heat

(which in no way proves
climate change, because belief
trumps science and truth

is so elite), and
the squirrels straddle the arms
of the oaks, and the

dragonflies offer
distraction – skimming the bird
bath, rippling the

water, bathing in
the light, their wings creating
the perfect mantra

for summer's end – the
only thing i want to do
is be.  there is a

hole in the sky, a
rendering of things rendered.
the tangible is

mutable, the real
no longer concrete, and now
instead of the hope

of fall semester –
that anticipation that
has kept me going

for years – i keep a
watch on my retirement
account, grateful that

i can count myself
among those with such options
maybe … maybe … some

day.  some life.  classrooms
full of true believers, fact-
devoid and caring

not one bit.  the void
into which i pour myself
feels like a spiral.

the spiral arm of
the galaxy against the
blackness of space, the

perseids' flash, these
moments that science tells me
exist – real, by god,

or plagiarized by
fireflies? can evidence
save me, or will all

that unsavory
spinning sink the world, the scent
of the artifice

drowning the sweetness
of all that genuinely
blooms and seeding the

planet with plastic? 

Great Lakes Greta


  1. Classes start on Monday. I have finally shaken off wanting to scream, "NOOOO!!!! I'M NOT READY FOR SUMMER TO END!!! NONONONONONO..." Right now, in fact, I have a serene feeling of the fullness of time, as the undergraduates coming back marks the beginning of the new school year, with all the promise it holds. I can be quite certain that by this time next week this feeling will be dashed as far too many of them will turn out to be astonishing dullards, but what keeps me going is that not every last one of them will. As the Forty-Year-0ld Hippie observed, "Four hundred acid trips and they've all been bummers, but I haven't given up yet."

    1. I have had a really nice summer, one of my best, but I am so disheartened by this public redefining of truth. It's always challenging to teach students to think critically; it's been increasingly difficult in recent years to get students to understand the value of research, evidence, and all things related to that which is not opinion-based. I am not looking forward to teaching again soon. Not at all.

  2. Greta! Thank you for again setting my morose thoughts to beautiful verse.

  3. Wow. Your move, Mary Oliver.

    Greta, your sharing such beauty with the world in this anonymous little pond is pure grace.

  4. Last Saturday of
    Summer. Where did it all go?
    No no no no fuck

  5. It has been quite a summer, hasn't it? And as always, Greta, you've captured it -- and the longing for the better parts of it to continue just a bit longer -- so well. I always enjoy your poems, especially those that include a visit to your garden.