Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Collony Collapse- a poemish thing I wrote at Tallgrass Writer's Workshop

If you take a walk on a college campus,
do it on a Saturday in June.
It's a ghost town then.
Students tucked in,
no more dressing in stockings to head down to the Student Union for breakfast,
with hair fresh out of rollers, the crick not yet worked out.
Graduation has moved online.
You wear a cap and gown at midnight and Skype in from Greece and Thailand,
or work's bathroom if you transferred in from community college.
So go to a college campus on a Saturday in June.
Sit in a carefully landscaped courtyard, where your thoughts can settle like the dust on a bookshelf
far from the honeysuckle smells of the countryside which are souring now, fermenting, dying.
Where cottontopped folks sit in rockers and used to give uninterrupted advice,
whether it was 140 characters or *gasp* more.
In the courtyard, you'll find, along with your dusty thoughts,
a concrete fountain turned off and a piano in waiting.
Chiseled in the concrete, evidence of the past in block letters
1932, 1934, 1935
and the piano,
draped with a bright blue tarp begging to be undressed, caressed, keys tinkled on,
it's tied to a street lamp, dimmed now.
Strapped down like the identity of the town whore (then)
or worse, the town bore (now,) pompous and self-interested.
Still telling long tales of who was who and what family wronged which
and which was what one and which ones were who
While millenials zip by in peddal pushers and helmets.
What used to be reserved for Saturdays at home- the pedal pushers
or pilots- the helmets
They're chasing the bees.
They've gone missing, haven't you heard? Colony collapse.
It's all the twitter here
A screen blue, a few taps & the light changes, brightens.
Faces alight, the youth mobilize, ipheromones at the ready

directing them where and when
abuzz the hundreds of followers pass flowers blooming in the bushes.
The birds cheaping and nesting in recovered private.
A statue in bronze, a hornet in World War II attire.
It's not what the swarm had hoped for.
Was a hornet part of the collapse or just honey bees?
They'd wanted a queen.
Someone to order them,
tell them what to do,
how to protest,
how to fix it all.
in 140 characters or less
a brand
that block letter stamps into you
the answers
short and sweet.
Not a relic in a flight suit
male and irrelevant. A drone.
I pull out a pocket knife.
Night falls.
The street light chirps on.
The millenials and bees and ideas all gone off
I settle in,
cut the cords
lift the lid
and play.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Two Moms

I've been reading crap I shouldn't read. I shouldn't read it because it clouds my head with bad writing but I miss reading so bad reading is what happens. I can't read books when I'm writing. I can't hear my own voice well enough when I'm listening to someone else's.

I read this article I won't cite here because it's not worth you reading it really either. It's a nice idea, I guess. It's a set of photos of moms sitting next to each other. The photos each contain two women each holding a sign that says what two divergent choices they've made as moms. "I had a scheduled c-section. I had a planned homebirth."

The idea, of course, being that two women who have made very different choices can find common ground and be friends. And the reason I take offense is NO FUCKING DUH. Of course two women can make different choices and still be friends. We're grown ASS WOMEN.

Don't insult us like that.

The premise is this mamby pamby bullshit I don't like that implies that because women disagree, sometimes vehemently about these choices, that they're being sophomoric. That disagreements among women are to be taken down to a level where we're being adolescent girls fighting over boyfriends instead of adults making profoundly meaningful decisions with vast impacts on an entire generation of children. To degrade our disagreements on decisions like whether to breastfeed or not and what method of discipline to use, is to degrade our next generation.

The decisions we make as parents are far-reaching and meaningful. They are not benign or arbitrary.

If you choose to feed your child fastfood vs. organic home cooked meals, let's not call those two equal decisions.

I'm not saying you can't value a friend or that a mom is a horrible person for making a decision that was in the moment, the best decision she could make. I'm not saying we should fail to support one another and henpeck her to death. But let's neither pretend that the two decisions were equally valueable. One decision was harder.

I cloth diaper my kids. I don't like rinsing shit in the toilet. Not at all. I don't want a totem pole of martyrdom rectified in my honor for it or anything. But when you say, "that must be hard." It is. And I should be doing more. I should be taking the bus more. You should too. We should be preparing our stories for our children of why we made the choices we did. I want to be able to say, "I tried. I bought things used and recycled and used cloth instead of depositing piles of shit in a landfill."

We shouldn't be holding hands and pretending like none of it matters. Neither should we be scrapping over who does what best. We SHOULD be pushing each other to be better. Not every choice leads to the best outcome. Is it really so bad to have to justify the choices you made? Because certainly not all of mine have been good. But I should be able to be proud of the ones I made that were hard-wrought and good. And so should you. And when you made better choices than I did, I hope it made us all better.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I'm thinking a lot about giving birth last year since it was a year ago tomorrow that I had Gavin. Here's what I have to say:

His birth was such a great experience that it made me understand why people video tape birth. I would watch it again. It was amazing to not know he was coming, be trying not to push, and suddenly have it be over and have this squishy beauty in my arms who latched on for all he was worth.

Gavin is the sweetest soul I have ever been attached to. He burrowed in and held tight and I adore him the softest parts of my soul like ... nothing else.

Giving birth both times is the closest I've ever felt to Rob. When things are tough, we work things out together. He helps me breathe and focus and I'm so glad I'm parenting with him.

We have been through the ringer with him lately. He has a reflux disorder that impacts his kidneys and so we've spent the last 2 weeks dealing with major surgery for him. Much like in giving birth, the support you need is there. Breathe. Rob and I can do this.

It really takes a village. I've taken the help. It's led me to new and deeper relationships. I have a friend who has taken my 3 year old on a moment's notice on 3 separate occasions. The kids wouldn't be doing this well without relationships like that. Rob and I wouldn't be doign this well without relationships like the exchange student that lives at my mom's who came and shoveled the driveway when we brought Gavin home after surgery. Or my friend who just came to town and tagged along while we had Gavin's stents taken out semi-emergently and then bought us lunch. We have a good village and a good kid.