02 November 2010

the old it was a dark and stormy night line

at the newspaper meeting last friday (before halloween), dressed in costumes, i had the kids use their stormy creativity on the old "it was a dark and stormy night..." line, taking it places it had never been... 

DO something with it, i told them, like, something, different, from a noise scratching at the window etc... i knew they were capable (and frankly, they knew it too.)

the next hour and a half that followed was full of poems, dark 'n stormy stories, haiku, photo shoots, and an abundance of pleading moments: can i pleeeeaaaase read you what i just wrote?? can i read this out loud? can i share just one more?!!! 

... somehow, a few quiet gems were left unseen, tucked in the stack of pages to photocopy. it wasn't until later when i was making copies that i found this one amongst the others in the stack, written by my dearest abby. and standing there in the bright and empty copy room... i read abby's dark 'n stormy adaptation.

It was a dark and Stormy night .........

a young couple danced 
under the dim light of the moon as 
it was snowing. 

The Christmas Spirit 
was just around the corner, 

but not one Christmas tree was up.

10/29/10 by abby

all alone with a huge grin, i shook my head at the page saying, ABBY! abby abby abby you got it-- this is-- that's it abby, i knew, you knew... exactly. abby!! this is why, this is exactly, kind of-- the thing i'd-- 

dark 'n stormy barbie 
(writing talent sold separately) 


photos and content by chantal (and abby

19 October 2010

six words hammered into brass

hinged on all 
that was not

12 October 2010


warmth perched upon october 
nights the nightingale of hours summer song 

08 October 2010

and leaves

"Praise and blame, gain 
and loss, pleasure and sorrow 
come and go like the wind. 

To be happy, 
rest like a giant tree 
in the midst of them all." 

04 October 2010

splintered yellow

i imagine; it wasn't like this when you looked back

photo credit: chantal 

keep track


under full moon half new
feet touch ground
footsteps tread over numbers 
eyes above stars move
in motion music time seasons
plans rhythm skips
life turns on

28 September 2010

surrounds my skin indian summer warm nights still

indian summer ready already fall fallen and air warm warmer so still

--to wait and yet hold every whisper when darkness falls leaves warm to cool fall short shortness of breath to breathe too hot to think of it all now in the midst first last in medias res touch of indian summer endures as darkness comes to air too warm to notice notice notice holds us here and will endure whisper every hold yet and wait to--

20 September 2010

stop stopped

breathless knocked-- [closed door] no answer.

[six words]

more of this poem here on:

six+ words: chantal
photo credit: chantal 
pictured house painting: third-grade student
pictured polished fingernail: abby :)

16 September 2010

chance for the unlucky

i'll take my chance

and stirring in strong coffee eyes--

is chance, you

're my chance.

and as you know but never 'know'
in french chance means luck.

[so at least we've got that]

15 September 2010

the many instructions on how to be josie

my students are starting their own blogs!!!! i'm not only excited but laughing and smiling out loud as i read them. here i introduce you to the many instructions on how to be josie by one of my 11 year old students who has more projects going on at once than i do! and this is one of them. an in-depth character study, josie leos, is she real or fictional? or both? or does it matter... with almost daily updates (whenever the computer is working..) posts on what it's like to be the new girl at a charter school, and josie's unique view of the world. complete with a daily haiku update, funny real-life quotes captured along the way, and beautiful poetry and short stories that this young but extremely wise wordsmith produces with ease and grace. check it out once in a while now that it's up and running, sure wish i'd done something like this when i was 11. josie could give us all some instructions....


I am josie and if you already have not noticed my favorite color is orange. i am eleven and i go to my famous middle school that i am and will write about. this blog was started because of my splendid, stupendous, remarkeble, dazzling,and wonderes writing teacher LARISSA TALE who says that i need to tell someone besides her about EVRYTHING so read my blog you must read my blog(transiylvanian accent)

with post titles like:

ballet, beatrix potter, and bad squash


BALLET (again), BOARDS YOU JUMP OFF, BEING PRINCESS PEACH, (plus writing a speech but that does not start with B)


a daily haiku:

see the water below
like a bird in the sky

artwork: angee
writing: josie leos
tying it all together: chantal (aka larissa tale? that, you'll have to figure out for yourself!)

07 September 2010

el view

"Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. 

And it helps develop a sense of humor, 

which is awfully important in this day and age. 

Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. 

It's more than just a matter of laughing. 

If you can see things out of whack, 
then you can see how things can be 
in whack."

[Dr. Seuss]

photo credit : chantal

03 September 2010


so write on the world's stage 
[six words]

photo credit : chantal

02 September 2010




   remember last 


          [six words]

photo credit : chantal

16 August 2010

how did it-- where did the-- ?

"to live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else"
e m i l y  
d i c k i n s o n

photo credit: chantal

08 August 2010

but in a break

breaks underfoot
moment comes over
birds fly
loneliness escapes
at a stoplight gaze
across from--
peace of--
piece of--
turns around
all in the dance
soar again
that place
in place
never looks
like what you-- thought
it-- would
when-- you-- first started--
to break

28 July 2010

please use a coaster

used to be the roller coaster now we simply coast, coasters holding tight letting go hands up it's not in them anyway never was after all down hill up hill screaming round holding breath side-to-side, only 'bout a minute and a half can feel like years can feel like it was meant to be, then walk away... side-by-side 

and the noise and quiet lights still shine on waves that crash in the ocean under the boardwalk rides on rough tides on silent shores and sure unsure and still always return and crash sinking feeling of certainty inexplicable depth perpetual rhythms after a while you don't hear them anymore even in the shell you held with faith or didn't, they simply become you, become a part of you and your footsteps and any given day and rock you to the core, ya they do that too--

and rhythms strong and gentle hold on tight in any event that comes with the next crashing wave that pulls away and coasts this minute and a half, on the coast

words and photos c by c

26 July 2010

over the edge. water under the--

"the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop"
jack kerouac

over the edge.
water under the--

and photo 
c by chantal

22 July 2010


it is. he was right, 
" all the world's a stage... "

caught in the act 
but by a few, 
most walk on and along 
consuming without question
second thought-- what's made us watch us 
perform so-- 
from behind big sunglasses no reflection glitter on bright 
screens starred envisioned watching the time forgot to look 
and to think-- 

but what's the purpose-- 
question-- so on 
and on... 
so and so and 
speaking, flashing, posing, speaking
lines when prompted 
and on 
and on and -- line -- 

and on 
and on 
and off consumed 
oft it is... 

he was right


yes that's right i just remembered... i have a blog!!! ha! wow, funny how that slipped my mind. in fact, i have two blogs, well, more than two.. i better catch up. 

'all the world's a stage' is the theme of the summer writing workshops that i'm doing with the kids, but it has also been the way the world has been playing before me in recent months, the way in which things have appeared to me... from behind my sunglasses (and i do believe i'm borrowing the phrase 'from behind my sunglasses' from one of my student writers! isn't that an awesome sentence?!!) authenticity is nearly impossible to grasp-- there's so very little of it... at best i put on my sunglasses and search for what little of it remains within myself... and on and on-- through-- beyond-- and behind-- all the staged and the stages...

x c

words and photos c by chantal

20 June 2010

every day, fathers

"fathers are always asking kids 
what do they want to be when they grow up 
because they are still looking for ideas."
--jack benny

any day captures every day fathers [six words]

x c

photo and six words: chantal

18 May 2010

crossing the path.. on the path

One of my 4th grade students wrote this poem. I’m sure it doesn’t take much to figure out who inspired the title character. The kids seem to think I wear a lot of black... and the funny thing is, I’ve added a lot of color into my wardrobe lately. Well anyway, this girl is precious, and quite the humorist, with this eye on the world and a writing style that conveys -- the sort of 'have to read it to know it stuff' that will continue to charm us all, I’m certain, for years to come.

Chantal the Black Cat

Chantal the black cat
is waiting slow, steady,
strong, just waiting
until pounce spring
in the air, very clever
very fast very curious
until, smack-on the ground

she missed the big

11 May 2010

walking past on sidewalks this iris





09 May 2010

words on an evening warm that--

to read such words this golden evening in the hopes that you will appear

[six words] +

30 April 2010

six words with a sharpie

stain the poetry of this day
[six words]

29 April 2010

above chaotic

chaotic below-- from the,
B E A T S in my head.
writing                above--
                the rooftops 
                         --from the, 
and the-- 
B E A T S in my head.

ps i'm just just just [with emphasis on just] starting another blog, without any thought of abandoning this one, it was simply a whim as i was caught up all night with a migraine, and as i'm discovering in further [and very interesting] migraine research [check out the writer/migraineur siri hustvedt this is just one link to many of her fascinating blogs, books, interviews etc..], anyway, apparently and as i'd always seemed to find along the way.. the migraine brain can actually lead you on wonderful [albeit painful] discoveries so in the middle of the night i felt like discovering in myself, a new blog..... and, well, nevertheless, it's here: a red ballon caught in branches and together we'll see what becomes of it.

x c

26 April 2010

april is the cruellest month-

The Waste Land  


'Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi
in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σιβυλλα
τι θελεις; respondebat illa: αποθανειν θελω.'

For Ezra Pound
il miglior fabbro.

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar kine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust. ...

T.S. Eliot 

25 April 2010

syllables lend wings swings to hours

birds [morningnight] fly

darkness bring sun hide in light

you--  [mid]  i--  found  [flight]  ----




and [photos
: c by : 

x c

27 March 2010

from the cover of the big BURSTING issue....

just another comic from the 12-page newspaper the kids and i published yesterday... wow this one took a long time to put together by hand, i was up for days, but totally worth it. more on this later... as we're now in the midst of a special edition for this thursday..... let's just say it's a hilarious work of pure newspaper fiction, and we wrote the entire thing in three hours yesterday, i've never seen anything like it, it was the most hard-working, entertaining and dedicated group of 9, 10, 11 year old newspaperists (and abby of course) that i could have ever asked for. now it's up to me to get the madness in order for thursday. 

comical stuff to come. x c