Question: What to blog when the mind is blank?

Answer: Bad Poetry!

A poem, in six minutes ten minutes

In my office,

a new buzzword has appeared –

more like a phrase, actually.

“The fire is_______________”

It emphasizes a way to prioritize work.

“The fire is, the quarterly newsletter,”

or, “the fire is, the upcoming board meeting.”

So, when assigning work, my boss may say:

“Courtney,you are on point for the board meeting – it’s the current fire,”

lending the impression, I think, that we are a staff

designed to put out or manage flames,

and not one to create sparks.

Some days, I think if I hear

“Courtney, the fire is….” one more time …

well, empty threats, and all of that.

On the Today show yesterday,

which I turn on in the morning

simply because it angers me,

even though I know I should

start the day peacefully, like with yoga

and herbal tea,

Tom Brokaw said that New York

handled 9/11 in a way “No other city

in the nation could,” and I wondered how he could possibly know.

Then he turned to “thoughts from the heartland,”

and for 24 hours I’ve been dwelling

on the shots of cows chewing cud and

clinically obese diners NBC used to

graphically represent the midwest.

Like here, in the middle of the country,

we couldn’t possibly understand moderation,

jazz, well-cut clothes, or fear.

I live in what Brokaw called

“Toby Keith” country, in a state

in the middle of the nation, in a state

that loves NASCAR, baseball, and weekends at the beach,

in  state according to the television,

emotionally and intellectually opposite from

the coasts.

Last night,

I began a dance class,

a motown ballroom dance class,

with friends and strangers,

white, black, hispanic, Native American –

engaged, single, married, gay, straight –

and for an hour (the first of many)

we learned the first steps to

the dances  first inspired in Detroit jazz clubs.

Smokey Robinson, self-conscious laughter, and the

beat-counting filled the air,

and I thought how very lucky I was,

to be in the middle of a group,

in the middle of a mirrored room,

in the middle of a peninsula state,

in the middle of the country,

learning to dance an historic dance,

when five years ago we were all probably

home, in front of the television, in tears and terrified.

The fire is, getting out into the world.

The fire is, dancing when you don’t know how, with

people you don’t know, finding in one small room

infinite possibilities to step, to move,to turn around

and try again.

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12 Responses to Question: What to blog when the mind is blank?

  1. litlove says:

    You did this in 10 minutes? That’s amazing – I can barely type my name in 10 mins on a slow day!!

  2. bloglily says:

    Oh my. What a wonderful tribute to being in the middle of things. Many of these lines are the very reason you write ten minute poems: the vision of people dancing, the last four lines (the fire is….) “jazz, well cut clothes, and fear.”

    What a fine poet you are Courtney.

    xxoo, BL

  3. Dorothy W. says:

    What a great, fun poem! That phrase, “the fire is …” would drive me up the wall. Nice use of it at the end of the poem, though!

  4. LK says:

    Terrific! Tell your boss that it’s against the law to cry ‘fire!’ in a crowded room…

  5. Katie says:

    Courtney– your bad poetry is better than my most well-thought out blog entry. 🙂

    Although I don’t think there were any Native Americans in the room during our dance class…

  6. yogamum says:

    Love. It.

    You rock.

  7. Litlove, – well, I’d been thinking those thougths all day, so while Iwrote it in ten minutes, all of it had been in my head for about 24 hours.

    BL – you are too kind! I’m not so much a good poet as I am a fast poet – I like to occasionally throw out something quick to see what i can come up with, and maybe some of it will be usable down the road…

    Dorothy – the buzzwords around here ALL drive me crazy. I also often hear “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel” and “you are ON POINT for that…”

    LK – Too funny!

    Katie – that’s not true at all. Your blog entries are fantatic, and improving daily. You are turning into a wonderful writer!

    Yogamum – Thank.You. !

  8. Stefanie says:

    Courtney, this is bad poetry? Wonderful! I live in the midwest and get so tired of hearing from the coasts that there is no culture here.

  9. Cam says:

    “The fire is, getting out into the world”. How true!

    Several times recently I’ve heard the middle of the country referred to as ‘Fly-Over Land’, which conjures up images in my mind of some vast, post-apocalyptic wasteland populated with mutants and contaminated with vial chemicals. It really angers me. How condescending! How ignorant!

    A very nice poem.

  10. Emily says:

    Love it!

    P.S. I watch The Today Show, because it makes me angry, too. Furious, in fact. But that’s why I try not to watch it TOO often.

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