21.5.04

venti coffee, blueberry scone

sitting in my car
watching spring birds spiraling
roll down my window


My trip out to Minnesota was interesting, but not in a good way. I got all caught up in the new Gomez record (amazing, I love that band, I don't care what anyone else thinks) and took the wrong exit in Tomah, ending up on I-94 into St. Paul instead of I-90 into Rochester. This took me out of my way by about an hour and a half, which ensured that I ended up eating Mountain Dew and sunflower seeds for dinner and flipping back and forth between the Twins game and the Brewers game on the radio. But I enjoyed my drive. Lemonade, lemons, etc.

small-town restaurant
people stare at me, I leave
dusk is rolling in


Great time once there, though, if by "great" I can mean "uneventful but fulfilling." I wouldn't recommend ExtendedStay America as a hotel chain (what kinda cheap-ass place doesn't even give you shampoo?), but it was fine; didn't work on my books but got the chance to watch the Timberwolves win and the Cubs win on TV the same night, all good; a couple of us author/illustrator types went out to a pretty good Greek restaurant where I'd been before--but I missed my kids, missed my home, don't like trips that much anymore.

count telephone poles
rolling hills waiting for me
my car bombs along


But the actual Young Author's Festival itself was awesome. So many smart creative kids, all gathered there to celebrate, y'know, writing...it's always pretty inspiring. There's always nerdy kids, shy kids, Tourette's-seeming kids, weirdos, popular kids who figured out how to get out of school for a day, the whole spectrum (except kinda heavy on middle-class white kids of course). Sure, it's an ego trip with them all listening to me, but it's more: it's feeling like maybe I can speak to their young hearts, help all these dudes and dudettes feel like maybe this talent they have isn't some aberration, but a skill to be nurtured, something to take seriously in this life.

roll the wheel around
turn onto another road
roll the world around


And then zoom out of there straight five hours' drive with one rest area stop through Madison back to Dundee Illinois to MC the junior high poetry slam, 4th year in a row. Lots of poems that rhyme for the sake of rhyming, kids who mumble, strange poems about gothick death and fluffy things about how angels are good, obvious class assignments and things obviously torn from kids' souls, dudes walking in in full baseball togs straight from the game so they can get extra credit, tough chola girl on the side of the cafeteria text-messaging her friend instead of listening, the whole thing, the whole package, the spectacle of life. Ah America, your short-haired joy and roughness, I could almost love you again.

lightning semaphores
from the west but I roll on
smiling all the way

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