College English class with Ms. Cook. We’re reading Pynchon and Faulkner and Silko. The class is full of women and I would sit in the back, only read chapters the day after discussions so I wouldn’t miss anything and never once stepped into the ring.
Those women, they were like surveyors of what was coming ahead. I remember the one who said read Gertrude Stein like listening to rain. These were no dorm girls lounging in common rooms waiting for boys.
Three black women sat up near the front. They talked about jobs and sometimes even kids. One white pregnant woman sat ahead of me to the left, looking very suburban. All of them took inordinate interest in the meanings of Chopin and Anderson.
And that amazed me. Their lives amazed me. No end scene with a day job. No utterly domestic montage. They wanted to be there and so they were in a class that would never lead to a job or a baby. They were entirely enthused about V and The Awakening and Ceremony. This wasn’t transitions and dues; it was investments and returns.
This was the year of the big predicted earthquake along the New Madrid. My class would not be cancelled over news hysteria, so I sat at my desk slightly unnerved and mused about my exit strategy through the window. The women kept talking their animated talk about Light in August or Winesburg, Ohio and the earthquake never came.
And yet it kinda did.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michelle poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31.
Story about the earthquake that never was: https://www.buzzfeed.com/tgounley/the-day-the-earth-stood-still