Archive for the ‘Eltee’ Category

Eltee’s Daily Freewrite 5.14.09–First Draft

Posted: May 14, 2009 by eltee in Eltee

When I was seven and my brother Kelly eleven, he spent the entire summer trying to catch a bird.  Our grandfather told us that if we could put salt on a bird’s tail we could catch it and it would be our devoted pet.  The very idea fired Kelly’s imagination, and he decided he had to accomplish this goal. 

 At first Kelly simply took granny’s salt shaker from the kitchen and openly stalked any bird landing in our yard.  The glass container with stainless steel lid made hundreds of trips around the house, clutched in Kelly’s sweaty hand, as he slithered down the side of the house sneaking into the periphery of the bird’s vision, which always flew away.  Granny would call from the house from time to time “Son!  Bring me my salt back!  I’ve got beans in the pot!” and he’d put the shaker back on the stove, and wait for another opportunity. 

 I soon grew bored.  Stalking.  Waiting.  Slithering.  None of these qualified as fun for me; at seven years I could see only the freedom my first big girl’s bike offered me that summer.  Patience has never been my strong suit, even in childhood.  He worked methodically, not racing to catch a bird, but thoughtfully.  He was a marathon runner ready for the duration, not a sprinter like me, only good for the shortest of times.  While Kelly became bored with the style of the hunt, he didn’t get bored of the hunt itself. 

 His second incarnation of the quest to salt a bird’s tail involved an intricate system of traps that he designed.  He placed a cardboard box held up by a Y shaped stick under the neighbor’s weeping willow tree.  He tied a cord to the stick, and placed birdseed and bread under the box.  His goal was to entice an unsuspecting bird to waddle under the box, where he would yank the string, pulling out the prop.  The box would drop over the bird, trapping it, until Kelly could get his salt-shaker filled hand under the cardboard to do the deed. 

I don’t know how many hours he sat there, under the tree, waiting for the bird.  The long willow fronds hung down, making a nice shaded cool area, and the dirt under the tree was comfortable for resting.  When my legs grew weary of endless pumping the bike up and down our street I would go rest under the green tent with him, flopping down in the cool dirt and leaves, usually irritating him by my noisy entrance, which he avowed scared away the birds who were JUST THEN read y to have taken the bait if I hadn’t made so much noise and scared them away. 

 As the summer progressed Kelly continued his silent slow quest.  I remember his curly red hair and freckled face filled with excitement. He hid his hair under a green bath towel granny allowed him to take out and use as camouflage.  He believed for a while that the shade of his hair, not being something found in nature, was perhaps the reason the bird didn’t take his delectable offerings. 

 I see him now in my mind’s eye, head towel draped, hands clasping string and salt shaker, legs crossed Indian style under the canopy of the weeping willow.  In my mind the light shines through the leaves, dappling the scene, and I wish to go back, for just a brief moment, to my childhood, and revisit the home of our youth.

Morning Completed by Eltee

Posted: May 11, 2009 by eltee in Eltee

Morning Completed

Laura Tracy Baisden


such is my life

that I will schedule mourning

           like a dentist appointment


monday morning

10 till 11:30 a.m. will be blocked out

          a violet box on the calendar as place holder


weeping, wailing

I’ll lie on my living room floor

holding the framed picture

of our fourth grade class

to my chest


for ninety glorious minutes

I’ll wallow in luxurious memories

whirling spinning merry-go-rounds blurring perimeter trees into green walls

sky-reaching swings flying into the stratosphere of nine-year-old dreams


at noon I will rise

wash face and eyes

                and take up life


mourning completed

Random Autobiography

Posted: May 8, 2009 by eltee in Eltee

I was born on November 22nd, four years to the day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Camelot had passed, and hippies lined the streets of San Francisco, protesting the Vietnam War.  My parents hated hippies.  They also hated the war. My husband is my best friend.   I have one sister; I have one brother.  I am an only child.   I know a song lyric for every occasion.  While I learned to crawl and ride a trike my uncle was doused with agent orange, as he crept through the jungle.   I treat my dog like a child because I can’t have children of my own, but I do understand the difference.   I struggle to be a Christian of Peace.  I don’t like to decorate for holidays.  I am an organized, sequential thinker; I enjoy calendars and watches.  When I was a kid I drank only Tang because I thought it would help me be an astronaut; I hated Tang.  I am an artist and writer.  I learned the truth about Santa Clause from my first piano teacher.  I could read when I was three years old and when I was six I tried to fail first grade because I didn’t want to be a classroom helper tutoring the slow kid who sat in the back of the room and at his boogers.  My grandmother died at my grandfather’s funeral.   I am a child of the sun and the winter solstice saddens my soul.  I am an English teacher. Once while driving I saw a monkey swinging from the guard rails on the turnpike.  I saw a teenager on an airplane get arrested by federal marshals.    I lived in a haunted house for nine years.  I remember how blue and beautiful the sky was on the afternoon of September 11th, as I stood on my deck and watched traffic.  Someone bowled a 300 game at the Chapmanville bowling alley that afternoon and I now every time I’m there I wonder why anyone went bowling that day.  Batman is my favorite super hero, and I wore batgirl pajamas for my entire seventh year.  I survive my world through humor. I am resilient.

My favorite memory

Posted: February 21, 2008 by eltee in Eltee

Do you remember?  I do.

It was August

The night was warm, and humid,

The front porch a dark, safe sanctuary

You sat in the rocker,

she on the bench

I rested on the top step 

legs stretched down

Elbows on knees

We forgot the wine in our glasses

As our laughter vibrated in the night. 

The light from living room windows gleamed mellow, and golden

Soft and warm over the scene

And flickering candles at the edge of the deck

Shadowed the rest of the earth

Until it seemed we three were cocooned

In the dark of our laughter’s safety at the heart of the Appalachians 

We talked of summers past

And winters

Of workAnd play

And future plans

We giggled

And made jokes

And wished on a shooting star. 

Do you remember?  I do.

It remains a stronger image

Than any memory I’ve ever pursued.   

Why did she do that?

Posted: February 20, 2008 by eltee in Eltee

She got married in spring because she wanted to be a June bride

She was carried over the threshold because that’s the tradition

She had her first child because she wanted 2.5

She talked to her mother on the phone every day because she was a dutiful daughter

She cooked supper, mopped floors, and scrubbed sinks because cleanliness is next to Godliness

She bought a dog because her son needed a pet

She had a daughter to complete the set

She drove a mini-van because all the soccer moms did

She left one morning in a driving rain and never came back

 I wonder why she did that? 

Eighty Eight Nirvana

Posted: February 19, 2008 by eltee in Eltee

It’s just me, the piano, and the rhythm

the eighty-eight ivories serenade

as my touch brings forth their melodies

staccato, grace note, trill

The crescendo roars

And I’m lost in the tones of treble and bass

Rests compose the negative space

Of the music

And positive space emerges from




The elusive sixteenth

And the eighths paired with dotted quarters

 My brain has no need to deliberate

there is no mental recall

my hands have taken over

the fingers find their homes

of their own volition  

The final note resounds

a bass consummation

and I slowly find myselfsurrounded

by the mundane sameness

of the silent house.

My Journal Entry 1.30.08

Posted: January 31, 2008 by eltee in Eltee

“There’s a place within me” is the only line that really speaks to me from this morning’s prompt.  There’s no real jumping off point that I want to write from though.  I’ve read this poem out loud to my students, and I really don’t like it.  I generally tend to dislike poems made of 4-line stanzas that have this particular beat and use of end rhyme.  This isn’t a poorly written poem, and I like the innovation of the final stanza which breaks that rhyme and rhythm of the quatrains, but overall, what’s stuck with me now is the quatrain feeling of this poem, and so I’m stuck for something to write about.  Yesterday I got something I really liked in my writing, but today I’m not getting anything.  It’s OK.  I trust the process.  I know that if I write EVERY DAY then I will be far more likely to get more good pieces in the end.  Even if this prompt isn’t speaking to me today, I need to write, even if it’s the crappy kind of writing I’m doing right now. 

So what do I want to write about? . .

I want to write about the satellite that’s going to hit the earth next month.  I just read in the morning paper that a super secret spy satellite that was launched sometime last year experienced massive failure upon launch, and as a result is falling out of orbit.  Since the satellite  weighs more than 10,000 pounds it likely won’t burn up when it re-enters the earth’s orbit, and so the satellite, either in large pieces or in smaller bits will be hitting North America at the end of February or first of March.  Just think.  In one month from now it will be payday again.  The Internet may be down, and Brenda will be on the intercom calling teachers down to the office for something, when WHAM! – somewhere a satellite will chunk down on us.  Mr. Martin, Mr. Pragmatist, said “Well, I guess it’s better to be hit by a lot of little pieces than one giant piece.” as we had breakfast.  It made sense to me right then, but since breakfast I’ve been thinking about the whole dropping a penny off the empire state building scenario, and I’m experiencing doubt about his theory that it’s better to be hit by a small piece than by a large piece of orbiting super secret spy satellite.  It won’t be better to be hit by any piece of the satellite. The really scary thing to me this morning is that they (the amorphous THEY who might be either NASA scientists or employees of some super secret government agent designed to deal with possible extra-terrestrial threats) won’t have even a general idea of where the satellite is going to hit North America until the thing is about 60 miles above the earth.  Sixty miles isn’t that far – it’s what – from here to Charleston?  I can drive that in 50 minutes.  Think how fast that 60 miles will pass for an object traveling at HURTLING speed.  HURTLING!  There is a satellite HURTLING toward the earth.  Now I know that North America is a huge place, and the satellite could end up anywhere, but doesn’t it seem that North America is a pretty small place, relatively speaking, when there is an object HURTLING toward it?  Do you feel like our little town might have a bull;s eye right on it?   This satellite thing could end up being nothing much at all, or it could end up being something serious.  The problem is, you just never know how to take these things.  I mean, Y2K turned out to be a bust, didn’t it?  So did Jerry Falwell getting called home to God if he didn’t raise 20 million dollars in six months.  But somewhere along the line one of these dire predictions is going to come true – maybe the one we least expect.  So what is my point?  I don‘t know.  Maybe it’s that, if I expect it, I’m staving off the terrible possibility of the hurtling satellite, so I’d better think about it a lot between now and then.  Or maybe, it’s that I can’t change what’s going to happen, since it’s out of my control, so I just need to fuggedaboutit it as the Italians say, and live the next 30 days with no expectations of catastrophe.  Whatever my point is, I’m sure I’ve spent too much time thinking about this subject right now, and as it turns out, even though I couldn’t write about the prompt, I still had something about which to write!  I knew the process worked!

It’s Time Somebody Told YOU

Posted: January 29, 2008 by eltee in Eltee

It’s time somebody told you

That life isn’t fair

And bad things sometimes happen

Even to good people 

It’s time somebody told you

That the happiness we have in the world

We create for ourselves

Happiness doesn’t come from            


                      A big house                                   

                                         An expensive car

Happiness comes from our day to day attitude 

It’s time somebody told you

That in life we all have to work hard

Free rides aren’t free

And if the only price that’s paid for the ride is pride           

                    Then even that is too high 

It’s time somebody told you

That work is the antidote to evil

And success means marching toward the goal           

                               Never turning off the path. 

It’s time somebody told you

That the greatest attitude is love 

            a new command is given – that you love one another

and a life of forgiveness is the only way to have peace in your soul 

It’s time somebody told you

that what comes around goes around

the wheel of Karma turns ever on

And in life we harvest what we plant. 

It’s time somebody told you

That life is what you make of it           

              And you can’t depend on others for your happiness.