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 Writing from June 2004 as a resident student at Cambridge College near Boston, Massachusetts
Moose Alert
By Kim Meyer
According to the news, a moose is on the loose in Boston, and my mother is worried about me.  What is she thinking?  Does she have a visual image of a moose mauling me as I walk from my dorm to class?  Is she afraid that I’ll be the next person to inspire a song along the lines of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” only my song will be “Mama got Mauled by a Moose?”  In her ever-informative fashion, she e-mailed me a moose alert last night.  It said:
Subject: java joe’s
Date: 6/30/2004 9:09:17 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: mirhay@msn.com
To: teachermeyer@aol.com
Talked with Mallory last night and she was at Java Joe’s with her friends.  Said she was doing much better and everyone was fine. 
Hope you are having good weather.  Heard on the news where a young moose had gotten separated from his mother and was running around in a residential neighborhood in Boston.  Be careful!
Your dad has a funeral Friday morning so our trip to the river has been delayed.  We will be there over the weekend for sure.
Hope all is well with you and your group.  Love, Mom
Because my “tickle box” was so completely turned over, my roommate couldn’t resist sneaking over to read my e-mail.  She couldn’t stop laughing, either.  Then the nightgown-clad women from all the other rooms in our suite came in to see what had brought down the house.  With all the noise we were making, I was afraid that the campus police were going to be coming along at the request of our neighboring suitemates to inform us that we were in severe violation of the noise ordinance. 
My friends convinced me that I needed to ease my mother’s mind.  To do this, we decided to send Mom a picture of a young moose, explaining that he has been captured and is no longer a threat to anyone in Boston.  Here is what we wrote:
Subject: Re: moose on the loose
Date: 6/30/2004 11:10:17 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: TeacherMeyer
To: mirhay@msn.com
Dear Mom,
Thanks for the warning!!  Jerry and Marcy were kind enough to take this picture for me.  He was in our pool, that lost little moose was.  But I found his dad.  His mother ran off with a younger bull is what the problem was.  He is safe now, and so am I, thanks to you!  It is 11 p.m. and this dorm suite is in hysterics.  Keep me up to date!!  I needed this laugh after all the computer triage problems today.  Love You.  Kim
I was surprised when my parents’ number popped up on my cell phone the next day.  I was anxious for a moose update, so when I answered, I felt let down when there was nothing but the noise of movement on the other end.  So the next morning, I emailed:
Subject: phone call
Date: 7/2/2004 6:40:56 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: TeacherMeyer
To: mirhay@msn.com
Yesterday your number popped up on my cell phone and you called me but you didn’t realize it.  I think it might have been Dad – I could hear muffled garble, but no specific words.  I am still laughing about that moose. 
Work is loads – we finish our first week class today.  I have to have a mini portfolio ready to turn in this afternoon of different types of writing we’ve done all week.  We had to choose a memory from our memory bank after writing “I remember……” and finishing that sentence as many times as we could in about three minutes, and then we chose one of the I remembers as a topic for writing.  I wrote, “I remember being hit by a car.”  So I wrote that story. 
I talk to the kids each day.  I will call you this weekend to let you know how things are going.  Sorry your trip to the river got delayed.  Love, Kim
My mother:  she’s a nut.  And her nutty uniqueness partly explains ME.  It’s really a bit eerie how much we think alike, because when I checked my e-mail to see if she’d ever sent an update on the moose that she has been tracking in Boston all the way from her small town in Georgia, here is what she wrote:
Subject: phone call
Date: 7/2/2004 10:07:13 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: mirhay@msn.com
To: teachermeyer@aol.com
I’m sure it was your dad.  He never puts his phone on lock.  Sorry.
Sounds like a very hectic week to me.  But, one down and only a few more to go.
No update on the loose moose.  Guess they captured him.  Probably involved in a custody battle between ma moose and pa moose.  Do you call this a foster loose moose?
 Talk to you soon.  Love, Mom
It isn’t everyday one gets such an inspiring moose alert, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to let Mom know just how helpful her news has been.
Subject: Re: phone call
Date: 7/2/2004 12:02:36 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: TeacherMeyer
To: mirhay@msn.com
I am using our correspondence about the moose as the basis for a reflective writing that I will submit in my portfolio this afternoon.  I will send you a copy of it as soon as I finish it and have it in final form.   Thanks for the great idea. You didn’t know how inspiring you were going to be!!  Kim
  Not many people are fortunate enough to have a mother whose sense of humor is so unintended, so constant.  I sure hope Mom never stops worrying about her little girl, no matter how old I get. 

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I found a piece of writing that I submitted as a reflection for a class I took in 2004 – this story happened 40 years ago.  It’s interesting to look back at writing from 16 years ago. 

Second Chances
When I was finally helped up onto my one good leg after the accident and brushed myself off, I looked up and saw what I thought was an angel headed to Heaven.  My books were not in my hands, and my purse was not on my shoulder.  Everything had happened so quickly that it took a few minutes for me to realize that I wasn’t dreaming.  I had been hit by a car and somehow had miraculously survived. 
The morning started out like any other school day.  I got up, ate breakfast, dressed myself, and packed my lunch in my purse before heading out to meet the bus in front of the Presbyterian Church.  Usually, four of us waited together on the bike path five feet from King’s Way.  Since no one else was there that day, I thought I had missed the bus.  Knowing my mother would strangle me if I came home and said I needed a ride all the way to Brunswick, I decided to wait a while.  My watch assured me that I was on time.  Surely the bus had been by too early.  I didn’t put my books down like I normally did, since I planned on heading back home if the bus didn’t come along soon. 
I kept looking to my left, anxiously anticipating the appearance of the big yellow bus or its rattling sound before it came around the corner.  I don’t know what made me look to my right, because that wasn’t the normal bus route.  But I think it was God’s loving hand that directed my attention that way.
          When I turned and saw the car careening out of control headed straight for me, it felt a lot like a speeding 3-D movie in which (at the last ten millionth of a second) the camera comes to an abrupt stop, even though by then my eyes are shut tight like a clam, my heart is beating faster than Ragtime music, and I’m panting like a dog in a hot car.  In the 3-D movie scenario, though, I would have panicked knowing that there was no imminent danger and that no physical pain was going to be involved.  But this was no movie, and there was no escaping injury.  I had less than a second to make a choice that could just as easily have been the wrong one. 
Had I run out into King’s Way, another car might have hit me.  Instinctively, I ran as fast as I could toward the church, the fear of death propelling me.  Everything else happened in slow motion, just like in a recurring dream of mine in which I’m running hard and going nowhere.  I saw an Oleander tree and dove under it.  As I did, my right leg felt a stab of pain, and then the ground was cupping my face in its hands. 
The nauseating thud of metal and shatter of glass as the car twisted like a pretzel around two pine trees ended the madness.  I knew in my heart that the man in the car was dead, but I hadn’t expected to see his processional to Heaven after the driver’s door opened and he stumbled out.  I kept waiting for him to ascend, but he didn’t.  When he fell to the ground, I thought the Earth was opening for the Devil to reach up, grab him, and pull him down to Hell.  He was supposed to go either up or down, but he stayed right there in the middle of Heaven and Hell, moaning and writhing in pain. 
Two sweet ladies with arms and bosoms as big and soft as pillows came in their white nurse dresses and hats and engulfed me, surrounding me in safety all the way to the back seat of their car, where I waited on the ambulance.  As the bus passed by the scene of the accident, every face in every window looked the same.  Their mouths were open, their eyes frantically searching for me and the others who should have been there that morning.
My mother arrived, calm and comforting, because a family friend on his way to work had seen the chaos and made sense of it before knocking on our door to say, “Miriam, Kim is okay” before continuing his further explanation, “but she was hit by a drunk driver.  I’ll take you there.” 
The policeman ambled over to the car with the tattered remains of my books.  He also held my purse, its rainbow-striped straps torn and jagged.  It had been the one thing holding on to my shoulder from behind, proving that if I’d been a few inches back there with it, I’d have ended up on the other side of the churchyard, too.  I don’t remember too much more that happened in the aftermath of the trauma, but I do remember feeling like the boiled egg that I’d put into my purse for lunch.  On impact, the shell of the egg had been absorbed right into the rubbery white part.  I thought of the two nurses, their warm black skin and their white eggshell uniforms surrounding me and absorbing me as they took me to their car to realize that I had lived and I was going to be alright. 
Ironically, the driver and I were taken to the hospital in the back of the same ambulance.  My mother deserves a lot of credit for not finishing him off right then and there as she sat beside me holding my hand. 
Later that same week, I was shocked to see the bandaged and bruised driver come into our living room.  My parents greeted him warmly, after which he handed me a Snoopy book and apologized for nearly killing me.  My mother took me to my room, closed the door, and told me to stay put until I had permission to come out.  I wasn’t allowed to hear the conversation taking place, but I know what was said. 
My father, an ever-forgiving Baptist minister, had issued an ultimatum to the driver:  either check in for help at a recovery facility and overcome the addiction, or face charges.  Not surprisingly, a local rehabilitation center received a new patient right away.  That was twenty-five years ago.  I sometimes wonder what ever became of the driver, and whether or not he ever relapsed and tried to kill anyone else with his weakness.  I may never know his fate, but I do know this:  both the driver and I were given a second chance at life by a higher power.  And that’s enough to satisfy me.

Challenge from Shaun:  Write a poem about cycles in nature.
** This poem is one I wrote last year as I woke up overlooking River Street in Savannah, Georgia and watched the sun creep up over the cobblestone streets, barges, and early morning ferry boats shuttling people back and forth, a cycle of transportation and time. This prompt takes me back to those memories of pralines and Spanish moss-draped oaks and Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home nestled in the shadow of a beautiful cathedral! I can still taste the traces of a peach sangria in City Market, the diminishing drinks a cycle of sunrises and sunsets as well.

Mayan Frost

Big round waking orb
Eye opening slowly
Peering out over the blanket of pines
Ready or not to face the day
Rising slowly
Sluggish day jobber
Not quite ready to fully emerge
But still you rise
Both feet on the ground
Embracing the day
Extending full rays
Flashing a just-brushed toothy gleam
To a rapt audience
Like an over-charged cup of Starbucks
Sudden jolting glares
Blinding sunglassed drivers
Through windshields
You shine most brightly
At the height of your day
Climbing the ladder as high as it can take you
In this job
Lunch on the run – airplanes, kites, birds
Fuel for the day
Rain and clouds darken your shine
But you steal their thunder –
A light surge of effort for you
You clock out and head home
Miles to go before you sleep
Change into more comfy duds
Shed all the glinting bling
You stretch out to reflect on the day
Glimmers of hope for a brighter tomorrow
Succumb to a nightcap
Feet-first, climb under the covers
Call it a day
Big round blanketed orb,
Shooting stars patting your upturned bottom
Dreams alive in other worlds
Until tomorrow

-Kim Johnson

Gather some paint chip samples from a website or a paint department and have fun rearranging the descriptive colors into lines of poetry!
Paint chips:  smooth sailing; blank canvas; summer squash; seedling; dirt road; fresh-squeezed, chamomile tea; firefly; waterfall
smooth sailing days of spring
walking the blank canvas of
the dirt road less traveled
smelling summer squash seedlings
and fresh-squeezed tulips
ambling home for a front porch swing
cup of chamomile tea
steeped in fireflies
and waterfalls

Challenge from Sarah Donovan:  write a poem honoring Earth Day, and try the Ovillejo form:
Line 1: 8 syllables (a)
2: 3-4 syllables (a)
3: 8 syllables (b)
4: 3-4 syllables (b)
5: 8 syllables (c)
6: 3-4 syllables (c)
7: 8 syllables (c)
8: 8 syllables (d)
9: 8 syllalbes (d)
10:  L 2, L4, L6 restated

Listening to Our Experts

“We are one with the Earth,” cried Chief,
in deep grief
“One word: UNLESS…..” cried the Lorax,
stating facts
Aldo Leopold, County Sand:
“Love the land!”
“Will gardens grow?” From where I stand,
Oliver: “I Worried,” you know
We still have a long way to go
in deep grief, stating facts, love the land

I drew from four beloved books, in this order:

Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Susan Jeffers
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Devotions by Mary Oliver, poem “I Worried”

 Challenge from Anne and Abigail:  write a poem rich with description of place.

Detail of Sapelo River

your marsh and river at dawn and dusk
ever-changing palette of brilliant hues,

a back I scratched on novice skis,
arm I tickled casting lines, nets, shells;

you picked up the dinner check:
deviled crab, steamed shrimp, fried fish,

and lulled me in a dock hammock as I listened
for playful dinnertime dolphins,

an empty mollusk shell now –
priced far less than all you’ve given.

 Challenge from Allison Berryhill:  Write an Onomatopoeic poem

Almost Asleep

pitch black dungeon dark except for
his screen beam of scrolling
against the haint-proof-blue headboard
eyelids fluttering lazily to the sounds
of drift-on-a-dinghy verge of the
edge of a deep sleep forest
where the gnashing of the
terrible teeth of the wild things
on the fringes of the wild rumpus begins
with the whirring blur of a white noise fan
feverish scritch-scritch circling of Schnauzer Fitz,
feet-sheet-scratching to Shanghai
rumble of thunder as we slumber under the
refrain of pelting rain
grumbling growl of Schnoodle Boo
the king of all wild things
who’s snoozing too

 Challenge from Susan Ahlbrand:  write your own poem inspired by “Both Sides Now,” sung by Joni Mitchell

And now Abideth These Three……

once a vocabulary word
a question
a word heard in church
now the substance of things hoped for
prayers of grounded belief
assurance of ultimate destination

once a too-high expectation that
skewed all the outcomes
a setup for a letdown
now the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
the promise that tomorrow will arrive
on full-feathered wings

once a phony “marriage” of betrayal
a joke vault of secrets
a wasteland of landmines
now four spirited grandchildren
three resilent children
two rescue dog sons
and a second-chance sacrificing soulmate I cherish

…..and the Greatest of These is Love

(inspirations from the Bible, Emily Dickinson, Emanuel Carnevali)





Frank O’Hara was known for writing poems on his lunch break and became famous for his “Lunch Poems.” His “Lines for the Fortune Cookies” contains inspiring prophesies, thought-provoking questions, and humorous scenarios.


Write your own “Lines for the Fortune Cookies” poem today.  Your audience can be anyone – the general population, a tourist, a family member, or even (dun-dun-dun) an ex!  Spice it up!

Kim’s Poem

(I asked a Curriculum Coordinator, Administrator, and former student to collaborate with me on this composition):
Fortunes for Eclectic Diners
Your crow’s feet will up and fly away, oh glory, never to return!
Be on the lookout for hidden treasure – there is toilet paper still to be discovered.
Believe that you really are the love of someone’s life.
Tomorrow your life will never be the same.
Flowers bend toward you because you are as bright as the sun.
Act strategically. What if this is the rapture?
To make a tissue dance, put a little boogie in it!
Life is full of cheesy twists.
You will lose 5 pounds tonight as you undress for bed.
Cheers! Your chances of inheriting a Chihuahua rescue farm are ever-changing.
You are the Lord of the Dance that no one is watching.
That cookie you just cracked was the presumptive cure for all disease if left intact.
Never forget: Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana!
Check your messages. Your ex and the new flame will soon need bail money in Mexico.
Be eccentric. Eat more kale.
Amazon welcomes you like family!
Collaboratively written by Dawn Lanca, Carrie Dawson, Nolan Riggins, and Kim Johnson

As host on Day 16 of National Poetry Month on http://www.ethicalela.com, I issued this challenge:



Frank O’Hara was known for writing poems on his lunch break and became famous for his “Lunch Poems.” His “Having a Coke With You” inspired famous artwork as well as the modern Coca-Cola bottles that say “Share a Coke with (your name).” “Having a Coke With You” was a love poem to his boyfriend, Vincent Warren.


Write a poem in which the title of the poem is “Having a Coke with You,” and the first line begins “is even more _____ than….” Your next lines can be as random as items in a thrift store. You may wish to conclude with, “which is why I’m telling you about it.”  Have fun with this one today – and feel free to change the drink of choice or its effect (fun, refreshing, depressing, etc)

Kim’s Poem

Having a Coke with You
is even more refreshing than
an aperitific Aperol Spritz at the Ritz
showers of blessing, when mercy-drops ‘round us are falling or
a shocking-cold spray of spring water as we kayak glassy streams or
a cleansing bottle of Miralax as a procedural prep or
a drizzling of sizzling kisses or
a sprig of nasturtium leaves to cure fungal infections or
a splattering of the colorful splendors of spring or
a midday misting of hydrating Evian mineral water or
a smattering of what’s mattering to me right now,
which is why I’m telling you about it.