Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Teach Grammar by Chella Courington

How to Teach Grammar
for denis johnson

i don’t care about their commas
rarely can’t follow an essay
with a run-on sentence
or is it run-away

words colliding in white space
f r a g m e n t s
as if anything comes out whole
like this morning

i race to the committee on ethics
leave in the middle of class
gulp peach smoothie
eight live active cultures

stillborn sentences
turned upside down slapped
on the ass shoved into sound bites
not breathing yet

to hell with grammar
david sleeps in the parking garage
at perdido & salsipuedes
sober most days last thursday

he saw a boy shot
fifteen his son’s age
anna’s clean six months
january her daughter starts second grade

ready to write i yell turning to the board
write naked write from exile write in blood

First Published: Studio (January 2008). Ed. Rishma Dunlop

Monday, January 04, 2010

Museum Pastel by Chella Courington

Girl, just look at those painted orchids. Green and yellow swimming together, spilling over the edge like rainbow sherbet Mama made in July and spooned into glass cups. They slipped from sticky hands, crashing on black & white linoleum.

Just look at those petals fringed in lavender. Feather boa she tossed over her shoulder, cascading down a satin back Saturday nights. Daddy dipped her to radio blues with us praying for long legs, praying to stay up past nine when Ella & Billie brought it on home.

Never cared for real orchids. Hothouse types fussed over and still didn’t bloom, like those purple flowers Mama loved to wear on her birthday. Afterward, she stored them in the icebox till the petals turned brown.

First Published: Phoebe 19.2 (Fall 2007)