Thursday, January 27, 2011


I like the streets at twilight because the pavement
and the color of the cars and the crusty grass all stretch into the sky.
I walk home from Tilly's house a little faster today,
because I am later than usual today.
These streets look the same, mismo, though I've lived on ten others.
There is the screen door with a gash, hangin' on a hinge;
the rusty sprinkler pulled out years ago
attached to a dried up hose-
 a fake snake that won't even curl into a coil
so stiff from this
sun and sun and sun
 can't even hide in the grass
 because the grass can't grow-
Every three to four houses the wash on the line is trying to fly,
and I am, too.
But not home, even though that's where my feet are taking me.
My heart is pointed somewhere else.
My mind just has to figure out
where that is and how it's going to get us there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Payaso de Miercoles: Buster

Funny fighting-like I like it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My mother and I stand at the sink
staring through the postage stamp-sized window
at our defunct garden.
She sighs deep and long.
What for, I ask
Just a sigh she says
Sighing is breathing with meaning, I say.
Everything has to have meaning to you, she says.
And we grow quiet.

The sink is full up now and the water is hitting
my mom's belly in short waves I make when I dip a plate to rinse.
Why we let the dishes go for so long I don't know.
We'd never do that if Daddy were here.

I got cones and rods like cameras, he says.
Miles, endless miles of tape. In the end it will do me no good, I think,
but in the middle, or maybe at the moment, maybe . . .

"You're exhausting." A slight smile appears on my mom's face
 as she mourns our okra and cantaloupe.

I decide to take that as a compliment. What else can I do, really?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mondays Much Needed Song of the Day: Shout

This songs fits some things rolling around in my brain a bit. Angsty, huh?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Patched Up Sane

My legs dangle
from a laundromat table
(I resist the urge to answer your call.)
My body vibrates with the washers
my mind spins with the machines
my heart beats out of time 
with the tumble of a dryer. 
I cannot hide here.
I slide to the floor,
my Chucks scuffling to a Lady Pac-Man. 
My pockets stuffed with quarters.
They fall to the floor--
I've forgotten to patch,
forgotten to patch my pockets, again.
You could beat me at this game. But you're not here.
You're calling me.
I squeeze into the seat between the games and
 listen to the fast Spanish around me.
These people do not belong to me,
but they smell so clean
and their lips painted the sweetest pink,
I want to belong to them.

(I answer-
even though you do not belong to me.)
Belong is not the same as own, I say,
There is a difference.
You are not cattle, you say.

This I know. Cattle has value.

I want to belong.
Instead I am washing 5 x 7 days worth of clothes,
mating seventy socks,
pondering how lint finds its way into crevices,
"such meaningless and cloudy trash"
and yet it still catches my fancy.

Instead I am
holed up crazy,
patched up sane,
until I hear from you again.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reluctant Home School Momma Part 3: Curiel School is Cool

     We started back to school last week, as what we call a soft week. We made a list of things we needed to finish from the end of last semester and each morning I asked the kids what they wanted to work on that day. They chose something from the list and as they finished a task, they checked it off the list--you know, very Montessori like. At the beginning of last semester I created forms for them to fill out and work just like this, but as it is with most new strategies, I had a hard time letting go of the old ones.
    BUT, my kids worked harder and longer when they chose how and when they would work than on the days when I broke the lessons up.
     I LOVED it!
     I had recently told a few moms that I thought I might be spending too much time teaching, because that's what I do. I still have a hard time sticking with the workshop/conference model even though I BELIEVE in it. 
     We are not sure how long we will home school and which variations of homeschooling we will attempt, but when I find something that works, I get excited.
     So, I'm starting off the new semester with a renewed energy and a new major tool in my belt. We'll see if we can keep the momentum rolling.

Here's a painting by Chloe, the first two paragraphs of a short story by Caleb and a poem by Chaz!

Left by Chloe Curiel

Darn That Dream 
by Caleb Curiel

     Nothing beats a cool, crisp morning of fishing for rainbow trout in a hidden, sandy-floored river; it’s nerve-numbing water traveling at a mild current. And Jacobi was no exception. Every third Saturday of the month he, his father and his brother would wake up at 4:30 a.m. Jacobi slept extra light that night for he knew the merriment to come. As soon as the first alarm went off he leapt out of bed already dressed, he skipped down the stairs and cramming a breakfast burrito into his mouth before the second beep. They had packed the night before; they had to learn the hard way that looking for a tackle box while you’re half asleep in the dark is never a good idea.
     Once they were already to head out, one by one they piled into their fixed up cutlass supreme, the outside of the car looked more than fine, but the lining in the ceiling was ripped off so occasionally some orange foam would drip onto your cloths or in your drink. Eventually they reached a hole in the wall bait shop that only sold one kind of bait: worms. 
   The royal blue Oldsmobile pulled up in front of the shanty. Furious, Jacobi’s father hopped out and left the car running, Jacobi leaned over from the back seat and killed the engine.  Before he retreated back to his seat he caught a disapproving glare from his older brother Luther. Jacobi knew good and well that his O.C.D got on every last one of Luther’s nerves, but it never occurred to him that what he was doing annoyed his brother until after the fact.

Rock and Roll 
by Chaz Curiel

 I play rock and roll.
Parents hate the soul blues.  
 They think it’s a waste of time
to be rhyming those things
that we call words.
Those words contain our secrets-
love and hate;
People may tell us that this is crap
that we are just killing our brain
 but the music is not doing
anything bad.
 It’s just showing about the people
who made the music
and maybe died as a hero.
 So parents yes, the music may have some foul words
but don’t go telling your kids
that it’s a bad influence.
Let them decide whether they like it or not.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Enjoy Your Chicken

I am in a full fledged panic. But I am proud that I remembered that it is two pieces for 98 cents at Church's Chicken, so the kids and I can get back from music/art lessons and finish up some class work instead of making lunch.

I need to go see my grandmother. I have not made some issues right with her yet and can't seem to will myself to move towards any of my extended family. I feel frozen. I have cocooned up with the nuclear fam and their holiday illnesses. 

I am in mid-major decision about sending my youngest two kids back to school next year, because we only pulled them out so we could travel. Hasn't happened. Major bummer. And so, they are working on auditioning for Arts Magnet where Chris and I went to school. That feels weird. And I feel weird. 

I am looking at what I had planned for last semester and analyzing what we did, how we did it and feeling like our portfolios are a bit pathetic, not in quality, but amount of work produced. You know, proof. 

And I am gearing up to teach a writing class, which will help me stay organized and on track, but well, I'm still not done figuring our last semester, so I am panicking.

And there's a book on my dash that I'm supposed to look at and see if I can make curriculum out of for a non-profit. I haven't read it yet.

And everyone needs help. Everyone. Because we are human and we need each other like that.
And I'm trying, but I can't help but feel this debilitating urge to hold my breath. 

And things pop up to make me even weirder.

Like, I hear an interview on the radio that started with perceptions on war on metaphorical wars as opposed to real wars and somehow they start discussing cloning and stem cell research and I am suddenly in tears, but my kids are with me, so I fake a sneeze and a cough so they don't notice, because I am always waiting, always hopeful, but know it's not close enough to to even consider asking our neurosurgeon, (one of the best, Dr. Sklar) if it would ever be possible to recreate brain cells from Chaz's brain to make up for the lack of corpus callosum or to take the place of the cyst in his brain.  

Even if it's twenty years away, I hope.

Because it's hard to tell your kid he can't do stuff. Major stuff, like have kids.

It's hard to say that over and over because he's forgotten what you said six months ago.

So, I take a deep breath and sigh in the drive- thru. I feel the heat through the cracked windshield, and tick off my mental list for the day and say, "Jesus."

And Jesus says simply, to me, "Enjoy your chicken."

(The fact that I read Outliers and For You Mother, Finally back to back in two days is not lost on me. I realize I am easily affected and am now reading the Tao of Pooh.)

Monday, January 3, 2011