The Sunday Poem: Georgia Santa-Maria... For the Friend Who Sends Me Names and Numbers for Workshops She Thinks Will Improve Me

Georgia once wrote me that her 5th grade principal at Emerson Elementary said that in 36 years of teaching, she was the worst kid she’d ever known.  With such an interesting childhood it is perhaps no wonder that people keep sending her self-improvement opportunities.  But not so fast!  The poet responds, "Having my very own Masters in Counseling from UNM, and a lifetime behind me, I have a rather visceral response to amateurs who promise a cure to all life's ills with a day in the country and a vegan peanut butter sandwich."

For the Friend Who Sends Me Names and Numbers For Workshops She Thinks Will Improve Me
    (Written while sweeping-up the fallen apples.)

Who is this dame charging Sixty Bucks to escort me to Chaco Canyon, and
Why would I want her company? I can go there by myself and talk to
The spirits who already live there. Listen to the wind blowing up the canyon
The rustling of cottonwood leaves. Everything I need to hear, I will hear there
Or even here, for free.

Trotting out her spirituality like it was the biggest penis, God in competition,
More “spiritual” than me--or anyone else for that matter. Every human being
Is every human being, and also each an individual, unique. God hands out his lessons
Graciously, like rain. We all are touched, caressed and battered, hung out
To learn the cosmic way--Jesus, even Jesus got hung up on a tree.

Who am I or anyone to skip my lessons, go straight on to Nirvana harmlessly,
If I pay her Sixty Bucks, will she save me? Will I not have to suffer? I can learn
The secret short-cuts to peace and kindness. “How not to want to murder 101”,
For the less evolved among us, moving upward toward “Transcendence”,
With sack lunches, 103.

You smirk and say so wisely “You’re a seven!” As if that means anything to me
Some test to define a human along quantifiable measures, like a virus.
I am laughing. From Skinner to Freud, through horoscopes and seances,
We waste our time trying to figure out who’s smartest, closest to crazy, or God,
Thinking we can fix each other if somebody can just find the key.

I already have a library with a Bible, The Tao Te Ching, and Mahatma Ghandi,
A Koran, The Big Book, a half a dozen ODATs, The Book of Mormon and Kabbalah,
And have read them all repeatedly. Could I possibly be any smarter than those authors?
Do I have a right to claim an end of suffering for having done my reading?
Am I any smarter than some Rabbi being marched into an oven in 1943?

Humans have a need to throw down definitions of each other:
Alcoholic, Co-dependant, Psychotic, Sociopathic, Addict, Sexual Deviant,
It is all part and parcel of the human condition, what we do to ourselves
And each other, the need to feel “one-up”, as if that matters, in geologic time
Or God’s supposed plans to save us all spectacularly.

For all the reading, study, thought I’ve given it, all the walks down long arroyos,
Mountains scaled, floors washed, children birthed and raised and sometimes tolerated,
Husbands and lovers gained and lost, deaths and divorces, parents who
Plainly didn’t like me, and said so often, Grandparents who did, though dying,
I wouldn’t take back anything, especially all the love I’ve given others.
Especially the love they’ve given me.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 166

Comment by Margaret Randall on October 7, 2012 at 7:56am

I love this poem! It brought me right back to those strange days in 1984 when I had just returned to this country after 23 in Latin America. Where I had been, people loved, fought wars, wrote poems, survived--or didn't. Here, I found to my astonishment, a thousand "promising" games were flourishing and charging exorbitant fees to teach others how to know themselves and others, love themselves and others, and "improve" in almost any direction. As an incipient instructor at UNM's Women's Studies, I was shocked to learn the program didn't have $50 to rent a film I wanted to show my students but coughed up six times that amount for an "expert" to come in and advise us on how to get along with each other... My world changed, and I've been struggling to make sense of it ever since. Thanks, Georgia, for bursting the bubble so eloquently!

Comment by Izquierdo on October 7, 2012 at 9:02am

Poema preciosa, Georgia. I really liked the last poem of yours that was posted here sometime ago, and this one is even more compelling.from the double entendre(s) to your understanding of the state to your world view and your irritation at the Chaco travel guide and others of her ilk, all within a rhythm that is fluid and clear.  

Comment by Dee Cohen on October 7, 2012 at 9:06am

But we can thank your friend for planting the seeds to create this poem. Art works in mysterious ways. Thanks Georgia! D

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on October 7, 2012 at 9:57am

Georgia--this makes me laugh at the end and I'm happy I can see you furiously combusting this poem as you clean up windfall apples and contemplate cider or wine-making in the new fall breezes, your once red hair glinting like the vague and slow drought-burned leaves, rattling everywhere, turning gold. ps I'm not sure where I got the apples for this comment.  You funny, Red.

Comment by Julie Brokken on October 7, 2012 at 12:39pm

a good teacher/guide/mentor does not profess to know THEE way or project on, preach at, proclaim to others her/his way, but holds a loving space, creates a place and a loving intent to inspire, spark, ignite, light,nurture the essence of each individual's truth,in a heart-to-heart  authentic way...  knowing that underneath the veneer of these various forms. lives, and bodies, we are intrinsically the same.  We are each our own Buddha, Jesus, Madonna (pick the one you prefer), Black Elk, Venus, Diana (pick again)  fill-in-the-blank ___________ god/goddess beyond gender aspect of the greater All That Is.  

Like so many of your poems, dear Georgia Santa Maria, there is celebration inside, between-the-lines, at the core of, and rippling out beyondness... there is so much YOU!  So much beautiful passion, heart, and truth!!!!  I love and adore you to the core!

Comment by Julie Brokken on October 7, 2012 at 12:48pm

p.s. or perhaps a good teacher wears a funny newspaper mache hat, is sassy, laughs easily and writes good honest poems!  thank you Georgia!

Comment by Greg Smith on October 7, 2012 at 4:30pm

You captured the more evolved than you crap! "I'm on a higher level than you, nanny, nanny, boo, boo!" I cringe at the drivel that people will swallow and pay for to boot!


Comment by Georgia Santa-Maria on October 8, 2012 at 3:27pm

Thanks, everybody! I wrote this one in a fit of pique over the usual Facebook drivel--I think I'm getting old: this stuff didn't used to bother me as much. Though I once wrote one called "The Astral Plane Keeps Scooping Up My Friends" of a similar sentiment. In any case--thank you all for the fun comments!

Comment by Merimee Moffitt on October 8, 2012 at 10:21pm

yeah, some of em lock, stock, en barrel!!!  xoxoxox


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