I wanted to create an ode to something I love -- which is coffee! An ode is an ancient Greek form of poetry which the chorus in Greek plays sang. Since we're talking about the Greeks, I used Andromeda (a mythical heroine) and sprinkled in allusions to the origins of coffee beans as seeds, too.
Maxwell House or Eight O' Clock
husband-brewed in the morning rush
with traces of a two percent milk mustache
on the edges of my Far Side chalice,
one of thirty-seven mugs hiding in our dusty cabinets.
without a god to call your own.
I'm the lotus drinker
when I first started,
& only sense calm
in cafes with purple lamp shades
and orange couches where thousands
of brown water drops have spilled.
Here I swallow your fair trade cinnamon bean
ripened in shade-grown trees,
farmed by women who'll never sip lattes
or need to know why I need
this fuel for my tap root.
So stay my preventer of headaches and weak limbs,
as I defend my daily woes of traffic
and motherhood with your
caffeine shield in my veins —
you always betray me at 3pm.
Already my son and daughter
have gulped your amber ambrosia
while they expanded in my womb,
Hooked for eternity on
condensing the mysteries
of a thousand-year-old berry
that chains its willing Andromedas
for the small price of water and electricity.
My name is Alice Osborn (M.A., English, NC State). I am a poet, essayist, creative writing instructor, and the author of Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006), which is my first book of poems. I teach English at Raleigh Charter High School. I am also a freelance editor and have published my poetry and articles in print and online markets. I earned a 2006-07 Regional Artist Project Grant for Literature from the United Arts Council in North Carolina. Currently, I'm working on a young adult novel.
Since graduating from Virginia Tech almost fourteen years ago, I have never stopped learning professionally and personally. Being a goal-oriented person and a self-directed learner, I sought out all volunteer opportunities after college to help me find that elusive first full-time job in marketing, publicity or sales.
I've also discovered that I'm a transformative learner, having gained enormous insight through my personal relationships, numerous job changes and through the birth of my five year old son, Daniel.
As Jack Mezirow has stated in his work, transformative learning requires experience, then critical reflection, which leads to individual development.
Daniel's birth was my largest transformative learning experience, one that ushered me out of retail and into the world of education and writing.
For my graduate school thesis, I claimed that when students write down their personal stories, they will feel more in control of their work, which will allow them to grow in both their writing confidence and abilities.
A few months after Daniel was born, I took a writing class with the UNC-Chapel Hill Friday Center for Continuing Education and subscribed to several writing magazines. I felt it was time to get serious about writing and not think that it was just another hobby.
Since fourth grade, I had wanted to be a novelist, but I bowed to parental pressure when choosing a college major that would be more likely to prepare me for the workforce. I did not write much during high school or college, although I wrote a narrative poem in ninth grade which garnered second place.
When deciding on what movies to watch for Film Club, my husband decided on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975). Although I knew it was an important film, I had never seen it. But after I did, I had another transformative experience because I realized that one courageous individual, but otherwise average person, could change the status quo and make a difference.
Although I don't plan on attacking Nurse Ratched,I want to be an educator who makes her students use their voices to persuade and argue for what they believe in. I also want students to question the status quo and to take apart issues until they find their own version of what their truth is, since there's not one universal truth for everyone, as the feminist scholars would agree.
With everything going on in my life, I'm learning how to best manage my time with a young son - and now a daughter – and still meet my professional goals. For me, balancing means using scraps of time to write or read and not thinking about work when I'm with my children and husband.
Learning is essential to gain knowledge and wisdom, and I feel that I've learned best through my transformative experiences. Sometimes the greatest learning takes place after we reflect and act upon experiences we haven't anticipated.
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Written by Alice
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA