Saturday, September 17, 2016

bad september haiku with a nod to the site itself...

with hurricane force,
the semester blew in and
flooded the end of

summer, ending my
idyll and forcing a search
for my big rubber

boots. oh, the bigger
the storm, the deeper the muck,
thick with nuance and

new regulations.
i miss the days of carbon
copies, paper trails

trailing purple ink
and fingerprints.  i miss chalk,
a little, too. i

fear i pine too much
for the concrete, nostalgic
for the tangible,

the impossibly
slower past that demanded
no more of me than

my teaching required.
it was enough, that process
of tutelage with

no thought of being
lacking.  now, the management
tells us that we are

counselors, we are
enrollment specialists, we
impact recruitment –

academic crew
shift leaders, paper mongers
in kiosks instead

of classrooms.  in my
decades of teaching, i – all
of us – have become

what many of us went
to college to avoid: cogs,
customer service

reps, civil servants
in the worst sense, valued for
the talking points of

talky recruitment
materials, purveyors
of a bottom line

that bottoms out with
no thought to education.
we are now the sole

focus of soulless
bureaucratic rhetoric
that theorizes

that we don't do our
part for this great machine by
merely doing our

jobs, as though our work
itself – the very stuff of
our academic

dreams – by the hour drains
the company coffers. two
weeks of meetings and

i am done, weakened
and resigned to a life of
college misery.

the misers in their
busywork silos plant seeds
that can never grow,

so far have they grown
themselves away from the real
work of our very

real business: our
obligation to provide
access to power.

two weeks of meetings.
that's all it took for me to
realize this new

reality.  it's
september, a favorite
month, summer waning,

the light changing, some
warmth remaining before the
darkness of winter

storms in.  it's darker
now than i thought it could be,
the brightness fading

into a faded,
distant history, the way
we used to teach and

think and breathe and learn
and grow, before the silos
filled with rancid grain

filled these new landscapes.
i grab my boots, another
garden weekend as

the summer departs,
eager to touch the real soil
into which i may

still plant something that
has a chance to grow, maybe
even thrive.  the ground

is soft with recent
rains, and my hands are as keen
as my brain to find

the fertility
once promised to both.

- Great Lakes Greta


  1. I am so profoundly honored that Greta is a part of this community, a community I think of as mine, like so many of the rest of you. What beauty.

    We've been blessed with people like Greta and Yaro, and there are dozens more who mean as much to others.

    It all means something. This, going back 10 years, has meant something.

    Love you, Greta...


    1. Cal, I read this last night and it brought a tear to my eye. I feel the exact way about you and all of these wonderful people here. Thank you for this.

      And love right back to you, Cal.

  2. Where's the picture of the woman Greta used to use as an avatar? I always imagine kissing her...

    1. P.S. Old-fashioned technology (e.g. chalk) was better suited for use by humans, since it ran closer to their speed. Have you noticed that a symptom of faster technologies is that they make their users ignorant and stupid? They promise to be learning tools, but they go too fast for use by humans.

    2. I was wondering where my avatar was as well, but I'm not one to grouse about it. Here it is for you, Froderick. *smooch*

      And I find it interesting that studies are coming out to support exactly what you said here about technologies, Froderick. At LD3C, technology is king. If you use it in any way, you become an administration darling -- and that has created some monster egos among the pettier set of the faculty.

  3. I'll confess that I was never fond of chalk. Something about the feeling of chalk dust on my hands, settling into the creases and the pores, just never felt right.

    But that's a minor difference in opinion. This is lovely, and so true, and I was very relieved that the boots (and the feet in them, and your hands,and your brain) got to make their way out to the garden eventually. Gardens are healing, and sometimes escape is what we need.

  4. Oh my stars! The banner/avatar! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  5. Greta, your poetry is amazing. I'm thinking someday we should publish a "best of" book and have all the proceeds go to an adjuncts' health insurance fund or something.