The first thing I smiled about when I got to school was Maxine, saying good morning to me. The second was my realization that it was Monday, so we didn’t have to clean up. For those of you who aren’t at NBS often, we tend to make impressive messes in short amounts of time, so sometimes clean ups can feel a little hopeless.
I started off meeting, remembering a part of our school trip.
“When we were driving back to Vermont, we went through a toll, and the person ahead had already payed for us. We didn’t know whoever it was, they were just being kind, and it made me want to do something kind too.” I know it’s a little early, but it felt like holiday cheer to me!
Maxine was excited because her sister, Monroe, (an alumni) started hockey. Maxine joked Monroe was lazy, and hockey was the one thing she got up early for.
“I used to not like it when she had hockey, because I would wake up alone in the house, but now I’m more excited,” continued Maxine.
“Why? What changed,” asked Tal.
“I got older,” Maxine said plainly.
Marina thanked Rosemary for bringing her some anti-stress homeopathic remedies. Marina hadn’t asked, Rosemary was just doing a good deed. (Holiday cheer???)
Althea talked about her holiday card photoshoot with her sister.
“It’s getting to be that time of year!” she said. An update on her injured dog, Murphy. Murphy is doing much better, he no longer needs to be carried, he runs and plays, and he no longer looks mopey and sad. Althea also mentioned her dad’s new toothbrush line. All natural toothbrushes made of wood? Sounds awesome, right? I want one! Tal of course had to make some input to the conversation, so he asked,
“What if I have mossy stalactite teeth? Are the bristles strong enough?”
“Yes,” Althea replied, “They have a soft type and a harder kind.” On a less humorous note, we moved on to talk about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Wren said she could barely register it, some things are almost over her head. Marina speculated that we were all laughing and merrily feeding ducks when it all happened. It was just another day. Rosemary brought up a quote, “In the name of what?” which makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t have a religion, let alone the religious urges that some extremists follow. I often wonder about the thought process of “terrorists” though I don’t like to use that word. Tal repeated a story he had heard, about “helpers.” Helpers are the people who do many good deeds after one bad deed is done. Sometimes, when a bad thing happens, it remains bad, but good things, like love and compassion and empathy can spiral from it. Our beloved Mia was in France at the time, and Griffin emailed Tal because he was worried. She is fine, thank goodness, and it was great to see how caring Griffin is.
“It will be interesting to see how France reacts,” said Tal. “Our country tends to want to strike back.”
Not just our country, I thought. I am easily sucked into fights with my two older sisters, I always strike back. I try to turn the other cheek, be the bigger person, and so on, but I’m weak when it comes to that, just like our country.
T al read a postcard Nico wrote from Barcelona. It had a beautiful cathedral on the front, and Nico said it was the most impressive building he had ever seen. The architect was Antoni Gaudi, whom we have a book about, so we passed it around looking at some of his other works. From it I learned that Bellesgaurd means beautiful view.
Eden told us her father, Adam, may have broken his arm. Unfortunate as this was, it led to reminiscing about the school trip, and his humorous times with the seventh and eighth grade boys. Tal says that Will’s dad, Carl, is also very funny.
We finished up with a Rumi poem read by Rosemary.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
For some reason it made me think of the hostel we stayed at, in Boston.
Our Schedule is a little mixed up today due to teacher’s logistics, so we had All Tal first. We looked to the whiteboard, and read a quote.
“The future is no accident. It’s an accident because you explore. You have to wade through with a machete and just hack away. You can’t see it, you just have to go somewhere you haven’t been before.”
It did not say who said it.
“Before I tell you who said that,” Tal began, “I want you to apply it to yourselves. Just think. Sit on it for bit. Ruminate”
Fun Fact: Cows and Giraffes are ruminants. This means they have four stomachs, the Psalterium, the Rumen, the Abomasum, and the Reticulum. It also means they chew their cud.
So as we all sat there, thinking/chewing our cud. Tal’s example of hacking away at something was sad but rather funny. He thought his book was good, but then he was rejected by publishers. Then, someone finally accepted it, but gave him a ton of corrections. Then, he ignored the corrections for a while, he just stood around instead of moving forward. But finally, he picked up his metaphorical machete and chopped the book into tiny little pieces.
Then we went off on a tangent about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Juliette said she wanted to be a rock star as a child, but now wants to be a dermatologists. I personally thought this was great. We all have our insecurities, and sometimes to feel good on the inside, we want to feel good on the outside. Being a skin doctor, Juliette could help people let go of their insecurities and feel beautiful. I think that’s awesome.
Tal told us we would be making clay faces. After a snide remark about adolescents not being able to make their own clay slabs, and Rose doing them for us, we headed for the basement. Kelsey and I helped each other, putting the slabs of clay on each other’s faces and shaping them. It felt cold, and dark, but kinda good! After that step, I looked around. The basement was full of very tan, clay smudged kids. Then we really began. Let me tell you, it was hard!
“Mine looks like Jabba the Hut!” I whined. Tal walked over to inspect. I expected him to say something nice-ish, or give constructive critiscism, but instead he simply said,
“Yup, Jabba the Hut!”
Well hey, at least he was honest with me, right?
At lunch, after a long cleaning, we held the applesauce competition. Sydney took first, not her first win of the year, with Rose in second and Aidan close behind. I had lunch in the math room with Rose, Kelsey, Marina, and Althea. Rose jokingly complained about cooking, and then Kelsey and Althea got on the topic of babies.
“I would be scared of having a kid,” Kelsey said.
“Well, ya don’t have to!” Althea replied.
“When I think of kids, I just go ‘Uuuhg!’” Kelsey continued. “I’m not good with little kids. They scare me!” I was fascinated, and in complete agreement with Kelsey, but before we could go on, it was time for study. It was a rather mundane and uneventful study. I did, however come up with a name for my team’s utopian community project. We are calling our village “Hippocamp.” It is a camp, in which we ride horses, (pertaining to hipp, hippo, and hippium), and the hippocampus is a part of the brain. (Also a mythical creature). The idea is still a little jumbled.
To start off science, Eric said that some people don’t work hard on the utopian village project. He said this frustrates other people, people get discouraged, people work harder, people slack off, there are a lot of reactions. And we all have the decision of which one we will have. We had one of the most productive classes we’ve had in a while. I had a great time with Sydney, plotting points, mapping them, drawing the longitudinal lines on our model globe. It was a good way to end the day.
I walked into the big room and set my bag on the table just as clean up began. Eric and the clean up crew had decided to try a new method, with someone checking to make sure the jobs were being done as well as they could be. I was assigned dish dryer. Over at the sink, there was a pile of dishes, with Sam, the dish gatherer, bringing even more. Hannah began washing, and I dried. A lot of ramen noodles came through, and one large bowl off edamame. The whole operation was quite stinky. The bell rang, and as I returned to the table I found my bag had been deliberately pushed to the side, and someone was sitting in my chair. I took a seat in the back row, disgruntled.
“Clean up went well today, guys,” Eric began. “However, a lot of people get here late, when we are finishing clean up, and that can be a problem. It’s not fair when some people have always have to clean extra, while others don’t at all.” Then Merry spoke up. Merry has some before school activities, so she gets to school a little late sometimes, but she makes up for it. She takes care of our aquariums, and cleans throughout the day. Tal said this was the definition of integrity, and Merry looked down, a little embarrassed. But it’s the other people who should be embarrassed, the people who don’t have integrity, who don’t make an effort to keep our school clean. At least I think so. I forget the way it came to be, but I slipped in a sweet pun…
“The dish washer has enough on her plate…” I mean, come on people, does it get any better? We asked ourselves what our clean up standard should be, and we all agreed we should clean until the building is clean. Now I hope we really do clean until the job is done, I hope we’re not all talk and no trousers.
In the midst of all this, Rose leaned over to me and whispered,
“Look at the elephants on Hannah’s pants!” I looked. Hannah was wearing cute leggings with elephants printed on them. It was a small moment, quick, and not extremely important, but it made me appreciate the relationships that Rose creates with her students. It felt just as it would have felt if my good friend, Maxine, had said it instead of my math teacher.
“Y’all, I hate to gripe, but I brought in a piece of glass yesterday and it was broken within about five minutes,” Tal said, rubbing his thumbs through his hair. “It’s not a huge deal, but you should try to be more careful.” This made me think we should be a little more mindful of objects and people around us. For instance, my bag being shoved out of it’s place, and the broken glass. Altruism, selflessness, care. (All things elephants possess), and all things we can possess as well if we practice them.
From there, we talked a little bit about electronics. I asked that people leave their phones in their cubbies, because it only takes away from our time here. Griffin asked what Tal had said in his parent’s conference, and Tal replied,
“I said you were a little love bug who should do more.” Later he said, “Hannah is setting the pace, like Ol’ John Coltrane!” It’s true, just so everybody is clear. Hannah’s awesome. Merry spoke up again.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about Leeya’s grandma. Leeya talked about her so much, I felt like I knew her, even though I only met her once, and I’m sad she died. I feel like she died here, and I think it’s interesting we can get to know people through stories.” It means a lot, Merry.
Tal played a song, a bluegrass, blues and gospel mixture. He and Rose had seen the musician, and they wanted to share it with us. It was very haunting and harmonious with a tinge of dissonance that made it interesting, and we all sat there for a minute trying to figure out why it was so beautiful to listen to. We did not come to many conclusions.
Eighth and ninth graders had literature. We started off talking about a few kids struggling with homework. It seemed to me what Eric said earlier applied. “It’s not fair when some people have always have to clean extra, while others don’t at all.” In my idea of Utopia, we all do our fair share, we all do what we can. We all live up to our potentials. That’s just my take on it.
In lit, we are at the heart of To Kill A Mockingbird. We wrote down some quick lessons we learned from the passage, and I recorded a few.
Mobs are Masks in which you can lose your identity.
Everyone can know right from wrong, deep down inside of them.
Humans have higher and lower selves.
Kids bring out the best in people. (Your welcome, teachers).
Call people out when they are doing wrong.
Put a face to what you do.
Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.
Burst into “the circle of light” as Harper Lee put it.
We moved on to science. In the ninth grade class, we evaluated our Utopian Village team. We wrote down all the things each person had contributed. I heard a lot of people complimenting Lena on her input and care for the project. Then we painted our maps, but Eric distracted us with a slideshow of old pictures. We saw some of ourselves, some of our siblings, and we had a good time making fun of our past selves.
At lunch I observed Jack and Henry playing soccer together. They looked calm, and focused, and like they were enjoying themselves. It looked like the healthy, safe, fun kind of soccer that always be played at lunch. No slide tackling.
At study Eden and Althea were doing a second draft of their stained glass ideas. Eden is doing a girl with a sun, and Althea is doing a moon and star. Angus walked by with a very complicated but cool sketch of a turkey. He was headed to the math room for Roses approval. He came back happy, all he had to do was simplify it a little.
I found the coordinates of points along the coasts of Sweden, Finland, and the U.S.S.R., to plot on our globe. I really enjoyed the assignment, because the names of the cities I used as points were very interesting. Ornskoldsvik, Skelleftea, Norbotten, Lulea, and Karlsborg are just a few. The map made me wonder how one pronounces an O, A, or U with two dots above it. I have yet to find out.
At the end of the day, we had a quick meeting. Henry finished the day, saying he had a good time goofing around with Anika, though she “shoved him into the prickles.”
In clean up, we had two full tubs of dishes. We don’t know how we use this many per day, but we manage to somehow! The dish washers worked at the kitchen sink, while Maxine, Eric and I worked at another sink. Eric washed with soap, Maxine rinsed, and I dried. Our system worked, we finished in two and a half minutes. When I
got back to the table, someone had taken my chair, same as yesterday. I felt disgruntled. We welcomed back Owen, who was out sick Monday and Tuesday. Aidan and Angus were very happy to see him, and they followed him around.
Eden, who played piano for us as we cleaned up, came in and sat down, signifying the end of cleanup, so we all gathered for meeting.
“Who here reads the newspaper on a regular basis?” asked Tal. A few kids, including me, raised our hands. Tal shook his head in mock disappointment. “Anyway, in the New York Times, which is a good news source, by the way, has an article on The Bathers.” The Bathers is a series of sculptures by Picasso, which we copied in wood here at NBS. They are currently out by the road for all to see. Tal continued. “The conservator, who fixed them up, said ‘I learned how much we can overlook even when we think we are looking.’” I wondered what I was overlooking as he said that.
Tal then read my grandma’s obituary in the newspaper. At the end it says “In place of flowers, gifts can be made as donations to Heifer International.” Heifer is a non-profit organization that gives livestock to impoverished peoples all over the world.
“Could we also make a donation to Heifer?” asked Marina. “Like, for Christmas? We could raise money and donate it.” Everyone nodded in agreement. We decided everyone must bring two dollars or more.
“And if you could ask your parents, siblings, and friends for a couple bucks as well, we could buy someone a whole animal, not just a share of one, and we could donate it in Leeya’s grandma’s name,” finished Tal. So if you’re a generous, kind and loving person, send us some money for Heifer, so we can make somebody’s life better this holiday season! Any contribution will be deeply appreciated.
“Well, in my music class, I’ve been singing a really high song,” began Wren. “And yesterday, my teacher told me to stop reaching for the notes. She said the notes were in me, not three feet in front of me, not anywhere else. In me. And I thought that could be applied to a lot of things.” We sat with that for a while, or ruminated, rather. Then Jack spoke up.
“Last night, my dad asked me ‘in the future, when a child asks you what you did to try and save our slowly sickening world, what will you tell them?’” I wondered what I would say. Nobody spoke. I guess it’s a hard question. A few years ago, my sister Yana presented a project on Eco-Terrorism, which really inspired me. It inspired everybody, I think. It brings to mind the Ed Abbey quote “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” So what would I do? Compost? Not litter? Pick up trash, design solar panels? Become an Eco-Terrorist? Be the next Julia Butterfly Hill? I don’t know, and nobody else seemed to either.
I read Invictus: The Unconquerable, by William Ernest Henley.Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Ninth graders went to science and stacked a lot of wood for the bread oven. We are making Naan in the oven tomorrow. It’s gonna be awesome. We painted our Utopian village maps, and got in a heated argument about renewable energy and what limits should we have. We also spilled some rotten paint, which reeked of sewage and hot carrion throughout the classroom. In math we practiced the Transitive and Reflexive properties. I sat in the hall, and set some books on the floor. I wanted to see who would pick them up, and who would leave them for someone else to pick up.
Juliette, Sydney, Hannah, Tal, Eden, Lena, Aidan, Owen, Althea, Wyatt, Merry, Angus, Anika, Catherine, Maxine, and Sam all walked by, stepping around it. Marina picked them up, and Rosemary did too after several passes.
Owen’s project began. He was presenting on Utopian movements, such as Woodstock, and The Farm. Some notes…A utopian movement is a secession from the norm, going against the grain, a counter culture. Woodstock was from August fifteenth through eighteenth, 1969. It was held at Max Yagers, in Bethel, NY. Four hundred thousand people came. It was during the Vietnam war, and the young people of America were protesting the misdoings and horrors of war. Jimi Hendrix played the star spangled banner, with his guitar upside down, making it sound tortured. We watched some performances, some highly inebriated and somewhat amusing. Owen asked,
“Is it really Utopia if they knew that across the world, awful things were being done?” Then Owen talked a little bit about The Farm, in Tennessee, a Utopian community started by Stephen Gaskin. At it’s peak, 1600 people lived there. Gaskin was known as “The Acid Guru,” because he experimented with psychedelic drugs to get on a higher spiritual plane. However, he was not all about the drugs. Gaskin, a self titled “professional hippie,” went on speaking tours, talking about the importance of loving the earth, respecting it, and become one with it. It was non-violent, vegetarian, and anti-animal labor. He also believed that doing the labor in place of animals was meditative. The Farm was self sufficient, so it prospered, unlike many failed communities. Monogamy wasn’t always the common things to do. They also believed in “the juice,” the spiritual connection between people. They were very open about relations, did not believe in birth control, and because of this they had a “Baby Boom.” The Farm still exists, and it is well known for it’s midwife program.
He also told us a little bit about “Strange Farm,” another place which sounded rather dystopian to most of us. It ended because some of it’s inhabitants left, and notified the police to all the bad things they were doing.
“All right, I think I’ll end it there, I don’t have a lot more information and I’m tired, and I’m starting to go insane,” said Owen. The room was loud with clapping. We took a short break, and the air was full of “Good job Owen,” and “Nice project man!” We had a short meeting at the end of the day, in which Tal complimented Jack. Apparently, Jack did a character sketch on Henry, which was full of feeling and thoughtfulness. It was really loving, and he put a lot of care into not only the ideas but the grammar. There weren’t many corrections! Jack blushed a little, and Henry smiled.
“Nice skirt Leeya!” said Will. Will and I don’t talk much, so it was really nice of him to say something.
“Thanks Will!” I replied. We continued our clean up and then sat down for meeting. Cindy and Michael joined us. Owen started out with a thing he had heard on the news about two elderly people.
“There was a retired football player, and he tweeted that his dad had died of a heart attack. An hour later, his mom died of a heart attack. He said that now he believed people can die from broken hearts. I just thought that was interesting.” I remembered Tal talking about a NBS alumni’s grandparents, and how one died soon after the other. Rose said in the nursing home she worked at, this sort of thing happened a lot.
“My mom is going to start taking us to a funeral home!” Jack added brightly.
“You mean a retirement home?” asked Tal. Jack nodded and we all giggled our relief.
“When I got back from Africa,” I began, “I had a lot more dreams. Then they stopped for a while, but lately I’ve been reading an English to Spanish dictionary before bed, and doing other brain stimulating stuff, and they’ve started again. It’s fun that I can sort of control them, because I like having dreams a lot.”
Henry shared a dream about a Teddy Bear which morphed into a live bear. He said he is scared of bears and the dark. He was very open about his fear, which I think is great.
“One time I chased a bear into the woods, carrying an aluminum ladder, and wearing only my underwear,” said Tal.
“Why?” asked Juliette.
“It ripped the roof of my trash shed and dragged all the trash into the woods,” Tal stated simply. “Anyway.”
We talked about how dreams are full of thoughts from the waking world, and they can tell us how we are feeling. Eden said they were “smoothies of our thoughts.” That describes it perfectly. We talked about the things that infiltrate our dreams, our troubles. As usual, we all have our troubles, and sometimes they drive us a little crazy.
“You’re at a time when you are beginning to control your own lives, but still, there is so much around you that you can’t control,” said Tal.
“And it’s always good to talk to your friends and peers here about,” added Cindy from behind Tal.
Lena read a poem she had taped to the inside of her binder. Heres to Opening and Upwards, by E. E. Cummings.
here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your(in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain
and here's to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning's beautiful friend
twilight(and a first dream called ocean)and
let must or if be damned with whomever's afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks,nor dares to feel(but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)
here's to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon
The seventh graders left and we started our lit class. Tal asked us to close our eyes and think of a fleeting image that capsules our learning here.
We began. Merry talked about feeding the school, and hot lunches. Wren and Angus talked about saying their fears aloud. Juliette mentioned a time when a lot of people expressed their love for her. Eden was thinking about some issues we talked about it meeting. Marina said she found a place where she felt safe, and Maxine talked about getting into the flow, building her Utopian village. Griffin spoke about a time when he knew he had failed, and now he could use it to make higher goals for himself. Kelsey talked about what to do in the nighttime when you can’t sleep. I talked about the release of secrets and the feeling that comes with it. Sam and Wyatt talked about building things. Aidan wants to feel more connected to school. Owen is starting to appreciate meeting and it’s purposes. Catherine sees new things each day here, and Anika said she loved making utopian villages.
Then, Tal asked us to close our eyes and think of a scene from To Kill A Mockingbird, which vibrates in our minds. Juliette started.
“I think of the part where Mayella Ewell is crying, and whether she is lying or telling the truth, the tears are real. But no one knows what they are for, and the tears are misunderstood and misinterpreted.” Merry spoke about the scene where Scout’s innocence breaks Mr. Cunningham.
“I think of the part where Scout hears Boo Radley laughing in the house, when she rolls in on the tire. Everything is upside down and right side up again, mixing and changing.” It went on and on, finding your place in the world, keeping an open mind, parents, silence before something big, guns pointing at the diseased, fishing for the truth. Every single person in lit class spoke at least twice!
While the the sevies and eighties slaved away making us lunch, us nineties had a nice study. We helped Donna fold some copies of the collage cards we made in art class. We cut pictures out of magazines and old books, and made cool little images. Do something nice for the school, and maybe you’ll receive one!
In math we worked on proofs and the SSS property, and soon it was lunch. It was a hot lunch day, so we had naan, and cheddar dill soup. It’s warm aromas filled the air, clearing the smell of burnt popcorn Wyatt had created. So thanks to whoever made it happen! It was yummy!
In Tal’s class, Aidan presented his project on the Burning Man Festival, in Nevada. It is a yearly one month festival where they make giant sculptures, mutant cars, and money does not exist. The sculptures are burned at the end of the festival, covered in art and offerings. This is where we got our idea to make a sculpture and burn it at the Alumni Barbecue. Not many cars are allowed, because to have a car at Burning Man, it can’t be a recognizable car. To get one approved, one goes to the DMV, or Department of Mutant Vehicles. Burning man has several guidelines. Radical inclusion, radical self reliance, radical self expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leave no trace, participation, immediacy, gifting, and decommodification. We tried to figure out which of those we practiced here. We decided that we had radical self expression, communal effort, and participation for sure. Some other rules were no dogs, and no money. We definitely have dogs, and I often hear the words “Dude! I’ll give you five bucks for your ramen!” We call this the ramen subculture. After Aidan finished his project, we went over some character sketches, and said hi to Sydney’s older sister who was helping out with some things. We were assigned some new homework for the movie we are making with Ned, our cinematographer. We left the building inspired and happy, as usual.
We started out with meeting, which we usually don’t have on Fridays. Mia came in and talked about our non-denominational holiday wreath sales. We need to raise more money than ever before, so we need to sell more wreaths. Hint hint…
Maxine talked about having a mismatched family, eating leftovers and being one of the only siblings left in the house.
“What day does the week start, in your mind?” Will asked us.
“Monday, at eight,” replied Tal. Will said Monday morning as well, which I agree. Eric said Thursday, but he wasn’t serious. A few people said Saturday or Sunday. I talked about trying on my grandma’s wedding dress the night before, as Tal made money raising charts on the white board. Next Monday we are having our food competition on Mac and Cheese. Our eighth grade boy Microwave Kraft and Ramen subculture was uproarious and excited. We had a debate about The Joy of Cooking vs. allrecipes.com, and which was better.
“Jack saw that Maxine’s sculpture had fallen over so he brought it in,” began Eric. “It made me think of Leeya’s experiment to see who would pick up a book on the ground, and I think he is not the kind of person to just leave something lying there.
Kelsey shared that she had made assumptions about what a person would be like based on there car, and she was way off. We started talking about assumptions and judgements, and how we assumed people were mean or scary. Wren said she bumped into a guy in Boston and he swore at her, but for the most part people are not mean. Rosemary read Oranges, By
BY ROISIN KELLY
I’ll choose for myself next time
who I’ll reach out and take
as mine, in the way
I might stand at a fruit stall
to ignore the apples
the mangoes and the kiwis
but hold my hands above
a pile of oranges
as if to warm my skin
before a fire.
Not only have I chosen
oranges, but I’ll also choose
which orange — I’ll test
a few for firmness
scrape some rind off
with my fingernail
so that a citrus scent
will linger there all day.
I won’t be happy
with the first one I pick
but will try different ones
until I know you. How
will I know you?
You’ll feel warm
between my palms
and I’ll cup you like
a handful of holy water.
A vision will come to me
of your exotic land: the sun
you swelled under
the tree you grew from.
A drift of white blossoms
from the orange tree
will settle in my hair
and I’ll know.
This is how I will choose
you: by feeling you
smelling you, by slipping
you into my coat.
Maybe then I’ll climb
the hill, look down
on the town we live in
with sunlight on my face
and a miniature sun
burning a hole in my pocket.
Thirsty, I’ll suck the juice
from it. From you.
When I walk away
I’ll leave behind a trail
of lamp-bright rind.
In science, the sevies and nineties worked on our globe, putting longitudinal lines on the north and south hemispheres. I worked with Sydney, and we broke two measuring tools in a row trying to bend them to match the latitude. Jack had a cut and he bled on the globe.
“If you want to learn science, you have to get some on you, and some you on it!” called Eric gleefully. He asked our opinion of a mirror, and I told him it was “Swiss lodge chic.” He said it reminded him of a Snow White fairytale.
In math, we did an assignment and a ton of corrections. Lunch was scattered. Sydney and Juliette were talking about their favorite dinners, and Althea and Eden ate in the math room. Wyatt and Griffin ran by, and Eric yelled,
“Go run outside!”
After lunch, we went downstairs to work on our clay masks. Owen had missed the day when we started them, so he started from scratch. At my table, Marina, Maxine, Merry, Owen, and Kelsey were all working. Owen’s looked like a martian, and Kelsey and I tried to help, but it was beyond saving. We had a good laugh. At all the tables, I heard phrases such as,
“I never want to be a plastic surgeon, I’d make everyone ugly!” and “My mask looks like a butt!” I gave my mask elf ears. We worked for an hour, joking about clay under our nails, and the unfortunate faces we were created. It was a good time. Then we reconvened in the big room for project sign ups. After that, we read some place descriptions. Catherine, Wyatt, Griffin, Marina, Owen, Angus and Maxine all wrote really great ones. We now have inspiration for writing over the weekend. Happy thanksgiving everybody!