Red is the Color of Pride


He gave me that look, the one 

Half pity half smirk,

Like sympathy, cringing and

Glee all at once.

I recognized that look, maybe

Gave it to someone sometime 

Myself, but tonight I was the

Target of derision; “Just kidding,”

He said of course, after insinuating

I was not acting my age or regressing

To some teenage former life. He 

Mostly likes me, I think, not one to

Put me down, but there it was.

And I was struck with a hint of

shame, or something close to it, in

My smudged jeans and t-shirt, the

Swept back unkempt hair, and

Stained sneakers, and this place, I

Know I need to let go of, just take

That leap, brave the chance of more.

Uncertainty:  this sudden pride, I lost 

Not long ago and never missed til now, 

not even noticing its disappearance, 

Undeserving and unwarranted, so now 

 After tonight’s blush–pride–have

I fallen backward or forward?

The Missing Art Gene

  
Her reading skills caught up with the other students by the end of second grade, and I was fully indoctrinated in the volunteer life. I first volunteered as the room mom for her classroom admittedly to watch over her–hover. Unwittingly, I also signed up to be the art teacher for her class, though I thought I was signing up to teach about the art masters via books in a program titled, Meet the Masters. Turns out I signed up for is a program where an art teacher came five times a year to teach parents how to teach an art lesson. 

When I found out during the orientation meeting that it was me doing and teaching art to second graders, I freaked out.  Approaching the parent volunteer presiding over the orientation for all of the art volunteers, I uncomfortably sought my release: “Excuse me, but I thought this was something else. I am not an artist. I cannot do art, but I can help out in some other way.” She, a no-nonsense, thin, long-haired blond, small-framed woman only a few years my junior donning serious glasses and a South African accent replied gently but firmly, “Well, you certainly can do better than a 7 year old no matter how bad you think you are. Just try it. If you really can’t do it, we will replace you.” She pinned me. What other excuse or protest could I make? However, I consoled myself with the silent sulky retort,  “I damn well sure can do worse than a 7 year old. Just watch me” as I grabbed my instruction sheets and left.

It turns out the workshops were therapeutic–an hour of focused forms and colors–even if I had to shame-facedly compare my art to the parents who clearly had art backgrounds or natural talent. Some were artists by trade or passion. My art was better, by a hair, than most of the 7 year olds, though some were clearly far more talented.

Professor of Cups

  

Professor of cups picks off the dust from chairs
and washes the filth from sieves and tunnels
when once she polished prose and persuasion.
 

Professor of swedish fish, marshmallow bits,
coconut hairs and pillow cushioned seats, she
bleaches the silverware shiny sterile grade A.
 

Professor of mourning the days of harrowed fear
salting agonizing dread and jittery legged angst
when dirt dwelled only in systemic sly dealings.

 

photo credit:  https://pondermortality.files.wordpress.com/