Nov 07




Bulbs flash and voices chatter. It’s a book conference.

SUPER: Twenty years ago

ROGER CRISPIN is in his late thirties, well-dressed and a bit full of himself. He sits on the stand, surrounded by copies of his book.

A REPORTER in the back raises her hand. She jumps up.

Mr. Crispin, I understand that you wrote this book using
the new literacy technology JOSEPHINE. Is that right?

That’s right, yes.

Could you tell us about your experience with it?

Crispin hesitates. He thinks about it, smiles at the Reporter.
Nov 06


i am a sponge. 
everywhere i go, 
i soak things up. 
they seep into me and stick in my head
and keep me from focusing.
i am a sponge. 
every tiny little thing i see--
and the feelings that come with it
in the car, 
late halloween night, 
driving to putney
outside the window the trees look craggy
and the sky is purple. 
i am a sponge and i soak it up. 
walking home, 
it's drizzling rain and a little warm for november
strange birds are crying somewhere
and the wet leaves--
rained a lot lately--
rustle under my sneakers. 
i am a sponge. it clots in my veins. 
awake at four o'clock in the morning
inexplicably terrified
must have been something i was dreaming about. 
i am a sponge. 
fear squeezes me and some of me seeps out into my room. 
every day i live
i soak up more. 
sponges need to be wrung out. 
if i don't write, i drown
Oct 30

"devoted to education"

i don't know if anybody ever actually said
schools were devoted to education
or if i just thought it was probably the way it should be. 
i mean, 
middle school got rid of that misconception astonishingly quickly, 
but is it really so foolish to hold out hope? 
it's high school. 
students have a voice, 
some of them are adults. 
all right.
i can understand blocking porn sites. 
i can understand blocking instragram. 
i can understand monitoring what we do during class time. 
but ace block is the time when students who need help finish their homework
and students who don't take some time to decompress. 
i'm one of the students who doesn't, 
so i like to sign out of my school account into my home one
to write for a little bit in google drive. 
only today, 
i logged out
only to be told that google drive is blocked. 

excuse me?
google drive?
Oct 23

unpacking memories

at first when we got back from ireland, 
i was in too much of a fog to really remember much of it. 
i shared excited stories with my friends, of course--
proud to have seen these new frontiers--
but that was it. 
it was standard tourist fare. 
"we saw the cliffs of moher! it was really pretty." 
"i found out i'm allergic to cows in ireland." 
"they drive on the wrong side of the road. we rear-ended a guy." 
most of the real memories
stayed packed up in a little box in my head. 
slowly, as time went on, 
we unraveled the other memories, 
like how comfortable i felt in larry and lucy's kitchen
or the weather
or their tea. 
i'm still unpacking the box 
but it's getting emptier now, 
i remember a lot. 
waking up early, 
bitter tea--
barry's, taken black--
to give the extra caffeine jolt. 
the smell of our rental car 
and the continuous presence of the gps in my hand
Oct 19

thoughts on a part of me i don't like very much

there's a girl in my band class who has down's syndrome. she started crying in class one day after trying to explain something, i didn't really understand what she'd said but i felt horrible for her. high schoolers are better than middle schoolers, nobody laughed. they just shuffled their feet and uncomfortably looked away. one person got her a box of tissues and we tried to go on with band rehearsal as if it had never happened. 
Oct 17

math (with audio)

i get home from school 3:45 at the earliest, 
leave around 8:30. 
that's 16 hours and 45 minutes away from school. 
assuming that i sleep from 11:30 to 7--
then subtract an hour for insomnia--
that's only 10 hours and 15 minutes awake and at home
and 7 in school. 
still more time away from school
than in it; 
but three hours and fifteen minutes, 
that's not a big difference, 
and that's not even counting extracurriculars. 
add those on, 
and i'll bet the two would be about equal. 
it's not like that's really a very big deal, 
i might not like school, 
but i do like learning, 
and i'm not about to complain. 
but it makes me wonder, 
when i consider that 
when you're asked to picture a teenager, 
you either thing 
drugs and scandal and stuff
or else you think 
and i'm anything but a raucous party girl, 
but i wonder--
Audio download:
Oct 16

writing to be somewhere else (incomplete)

We didn't have to come here. Dirty, crowded with people down on their luck, the constant whir of the vending machine undermining any attempt at conversation, most people would have left in search of a place with more edible food. And usable bathrooms. But yet here I was, again. For the third time this week. The waitress was giving me a stink-eye, probably because I kept conveniently becoming busy whenever she came and tried to ask for my order, and she'd probably figured out by now I wasn't actually going to order anything. I ignored her as best as I could. 
The door opened, a blast of cold air coming with it, and a haggard-faced woman came in, shepherding her two small children. They went and sat at a table by the large window, overlooking the parking lot. It had snowed yesterday, but rained this morning, and the pristine whiteness, which had already been sullied by city life, was rapidly turning to slush. 
Oct 11

symbolic ostriching

when my head is stuck deep in the cavern of art i feel safe. 
with music in my ears 
and imaginary people living their lives in front of my faces. 
then i quit ostriching
and pull my head out into the sun
and suddenly life seems bleak. 
i can think i'm feeling all right, 
music spiraling through the air and blocking out anything that might hurt,
then the music stops 
and i remember. 
i'm miserable. 
and i love art, 
but i don't want to live my life
like a symbolic ostrich
who can't bear having her head out of the sand.
Oct 10
poem, audio 4 comments challenge: Fear


(Editor's note: This is one of the featured pieces in this month's The Voice. Check out the other content:

i think a lot about fear
and about death, 
and i've come to the conclusion
that i'm not afraid of death. 
after all, death is nothing. 
and there's no point being afraid of nothing, 
since you can't exactly do anything about it, 
can you? 
as much as i dislike the idea
of sliding away into oblivion 
and never thinking again, 
that's not the bit that frightens me. 
what frightens me, 
what really frightens me, 
is growing old. 
not arthritis and needing hip replacements, 
although that's sure to be unpleasant, 
and not even just slowly losing my mind. 
Audio download: