...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

December 24, 2016

On This Gray Eve

Add 30 years, light laugh lines, and a great necklace
My hairstylist sent me packing after something like 14+ years together. I was in such shock all I could do was shut my eyes really hard while she finished cutting my hair. Seems haircuts at 60 bucks an hour don't "cut" it like they used to. She can make more money from coloring and highlighting somebody else's head during my scissor time. I want to be civil. I want to understand. I understand this--with my four degrees and twenty+ years on her, I don't believe I ever made 60 dollars an hour off my labor. I worked in law 22 years and I've made more hourly money from selling one Silver Age Spiderman comic book. To say things feel a bit lopsided at the end of this tumultuous year is not understating the sensation of being about as in-control as a bird on a wire.

I will be faculty teaching poetry in the creative writing program come January, '17, at Phoenix Center for the Arts. Poetry workshops and craft classes. First time ever I'll make money from teaching poetry, which I have been doing, in a general manner, for decades now. Even so, the Center is practically donating the class to students. And still I'm grateful. I love poetry. It's what I've been doing since I was 11 years old. I look back and I wonder why I always zigged where maybe I should have zagged. Why not have stayed on after my Master's Degree, and taught English Comp 101 like the hundreds of rest? Why not have done the university shuffle? Why not have written the one, long, insufferable paper, and received a Ph.D., or gone back for another year or two for an MFA? How much of a difference? Does that keep you from graying? Or do the rest of you all slap color on your skulls and call it a day? 

Yesterday, galley proofs came from a forthcoming anthology, an exquisite anthology, The Plume Anthology of Poetry 5, which will be released in February, 2017. The "Contributor's Biographies" section (starting at p. 337) is already twenty-five pages, and half of us haven't delivered our bios yet. I printed up that biography section and sat in silence in my study, turning the pages, reading the bios that were there, and drinking in every one of those names. All of those amazing, accomplished, well-known, lovingly-cherished poets. It's like a "Who's Who" of The Poets' Elite. I feel like the kid with the crazy-cut bangs who slipped in under the circus tent and got a front-row extravaganza of the three-ring. The editor and the publisher have put my poem on pages 108, 109, and 110. I call that nothing but fortune.

Me without even a haircutter to call my own.