It all began quite innocuously.  We were celebrating the last poetry class before Spring Break with the traditional Kickaboo-Joy-Juice-brownies and silly games about rhyme and meter, when I made a potentially lethal suggestion.  “Let’s go take some pictures outside,” I said, looking out the window at the sun we hadn’t seen in so long.  Had I stopped to think even briefly about Taelyr’s beginning-of-class stunt, I might have hesitated to unleash him and his cohorts-in-adventure on the great outdoors.  You see, he’d entered the classroom minutes before with his typical flair and verve, climbed onto a desk, and done this (earning an 8.3 from the Russian judge for style and lift)…

He landed with all the grace of a wingless bird bearing a large anvil, causing poor Kristoff to stumble into a desk with a look of horror mixed with pain on his face.  But no, I didn’t remember that event when I made my suggestion that we adjourn to the mud-pit outside BFA’s Janz building for some class photos.  If I had remembered it, I may not have been surprised by sights like these:

Taelyr was actually in midair and flipping in the above picture when he finally thought to ask Austin, “Uh, what are we doing??”

Sadly, Taelyr isn’t the only member of the class who aspires to a broken back and insurance depletion.  Collin tried his hand at a two-part stunt that went something like this:

Step 1 – Launch yourself off Taelyr’s back like a rabid toad leaping from a pond.

Step 2 – Land on poor, longsuffering Austin with your body frozen in the exact position of those plastic soldiers in parachutes I used to play with as a child.

If anyone had told me two months ago, before I started teaching poetry, that I’d be wrangling amateur stuntmen rather than grading saccharine poetry, I would have laughed.  Writers, after all, are pacifists who prefer the lemon-oil scent of mahogany desks to the slightly less enticing smell of adrenaline-saturated sweat!  Hmm…  Apparently not true when it comes to this particular stable of writers!

The stuntmen-slash-lotharios then devised a more ambitious challenge:  a three man pyramid.  It began, as all pyramids since ancient Egypt have begun, with a lot of grunting and lifting and staggering.

Collin’s head was finally put to good use as it played a major “supporting role” in the procedure.  It’s right about at this point (below) that someone asked, “Did anyone step in dog pooh?  ’cause I’m smelling something really bad!”

Poor Kristoff apparently suffered the worst of it, as his face in the following photo attests.  He started whining about pain and looking like he was about to burst into tears, which had the unfortunate effect of making his “friends” laugh all the harder.

It ended as all good things must end (except the real Egyptian pyramids)–in disaster…accompanied by some writhing and very un-he-man-ly moaning.  Anyone else wonder where Taelyr’s other leg is??

We eventually decided that it might be wiser to limit our activities to more traditional open-air adventures like wheelbarrow races.  Note how far back Laurel and Collin are lagging!

I’ll end with Merritt’s equally ill-conceived idea.  He figured being launched into the air by two cohorts, making a full turn in flight, then landing on Austin would be a good way to spend the last minutes of his life.  So he climbed on Collin and Taelyr while I made a mental inventory of the valuable possessions I’d be stripped of after the poets’ parents sued me for inaction in the face of grave danger.  (I maintain that taking pictures to immortalize perilous exercises constitutes “action,” thank you very much!)  Ready…set….

LAUNCH!!!  He turned around in midair and made a safe landing on the shattered remnants of vertebrae in Austin’s back.

At that point, I decid
ed that it was time to drag my rambunctious poets out of harm’s way and back to the safety of a classroom where their only reprehensible behavior is generally limited to contrived rhyme (ie. “My love is like a dove”) and A.D.D excesses!

Special thoughts go out to Bethany and Rebekah who were sadly missing on our last day of school!

Have I mentioned how much I love this little class of inspiring wordsmiths?  I give them a hard time and occasionally have to resort to my Aunt Michele voice to keep them in check, but way down deep, below the teacher-slash-tyrant, lies a giggling woman who is oh-so-blessed by the gift of knowing them!



  1. phh.  that was nothing.

    okay.  so really, i’m having to look through the bleary-eyed world of laughing-so-hard-you-cry eyes…. those pictures are amazing.  that was probably the best time i’ve ever had in school.  we had some excellent form in those, especially the “astronaut leapfrog” move collin attempted.

    yes, i’m taking pictures, although none have pleased me enough to keep them longer than the 2-second “trial period” on my camera.  some things are just hard to take pictures of (especially stargirl.)  and in case you were wondering, my dad made me go downstairs tonight or i’d still be typing things with her (along with lucy, who has gotten a stern talking-to for trying to steal my heart.).

    love is such a wierd thing,  and stargirl-taelyr love is the wierdest.  it’s like…  it’s like what waking up every morning in a different house would feel like.  a little unsettling until you get used to it, and then it’s just a blast.  or like opening your eyes underwater and seeing the bouncing dances sunlight twists on the bottom of an outdoor pool.  that’s the feeling.  i want to laugh and run everywhere at once, but somehow i can’t make any noise… and i like it.

    sorry, i gushed.  it happens.

    …and if i saw a pool of water right now, i’d probably execute a triple backflip with a half-twist into it (clothes and all), in case your spooky psychic powers were wondering.


    taelyr.  a crazy. 


             i’m hoping to be there some time next week, if collin’s mom would hurry up and call me…

  2. p.p.s.

       i went to your website.  it looks amazing.  next thing you know, you’ll probably get all famous and wacko like emily dickenson and hide in your attic and make cookies for little children which you lower with a bucket from the attic window.

    but i hope not.  i hope you get rich and famous and travel the world.

      taelyr.  again.

  3. haha..i wish i was in yur class (cept not cuz i can’t write poetry worth beans) but it looks like so much fun! glad you enjoyed yur last day of school! and the brownies were delicious btw!

  4. nope nope not in the states! still in good ol paris! (or versailles if you really wanna be technical) what made you think that???

  5. i don’t think it’s legal to have that much fun at BFA!!??  We’re all jealous of Michele and her idiots!!

  6. wow i miss you guys THIIIIIII >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSS

    much! sounds like a blast.. true taelyr/collin/kristoff/merritt/austin style… see you in a while.. i´m writing a fair bit, although there´s so much to take in and process that sometimes it´s a little hard. are you having a good time this break? are you around home or what?   

    anyway, i should be gone.


  7. how ’bout we drop by at the school sometime?

    when’s good?

    ps- those pictures make me smile big

  8. í’ll se wut i can do about yur painter guy. we’re planning on heading up in that direction today sometime so if i see anything…i’ll be sure to tell my mom to take a lot of pics! i can’t promise anything tho…he’s probably long gone. but for your sake..i hope he’s still there!

    as for people in the states..i know that dan and chelsea mcclary are going there after the conference is over. other than that…i think charity yodis is there too and jeremy lee. but i doubt you know either of those people. and if you did you probly just ignore them too! (just kidding…really…i’m not bitter 😉

    sorry yur break isn’t much of one wut with the ICE thing and all. i’m working on resting. i think sleeping for 12 hours a night counts for something!!! me and abby are being really really lazy! but it’s good for me once in a while right? anyways…good luck with yur…secret mission! glad it’s so profitable for you….

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