Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Poppy Seeds and Me"

[Here's the first of L.E. Leone's poems; all of us here at Robert Frost's Banjo are excited by L.E. becoming a contributor. By the way, please note that L.E.'s most recent book of fiction, Big Bend, is available from Sparkle Street Books. Enjoy!]

Wonder what it’s like
To sit in your class, watch
Your lips move, muscles
Stretch as you turn to the black
Board, squeak of the chalk
Vibrating me – I’m sensitive –
Through the plastic seat.

To call you Teacher, to stand
Before you instead of this
Sitting, across the coffee shop
Watching you grade papers.

Lips stay still, your eyes
Move and I have to settle
For the fantasy of me, my body
Lying naked on your table like
An essay. Persuasive!! Strange!!!
Your hand, the pen, I strain
For flicks and squiggles beneath
The too-loud accordion music.

Ah, I’m not yet sensitive
To your red X’s and edits and, yes
I think you would use exclamation
Marks. Well done! Giving up, I open
My eyes and you are stepping into
The bathroom. Time to go! Have to be
Back at the bank, I’m a teller.

Let me tell you: I do!
I do have the nerve
To slip this bagel-stained
Napkin, my poem
Into your stack of
Student papers, walking out.

Go ahead. Grade me.

L.E. Leone
© 2010


  1. Well done, indeed! I think every girl falls a little in love with the good professors. This one, though, outside the classroom, is visual and greatly imagined. I wonder how many people wish they had the nerve to slip themselves between the pages...

    Thanks for the introduction to L.E. Leone.

  2. Hi Karen: Glad you liked it! Thanks.

  3. Welcome, Dani! What a delightful fantasy. As Karen said, been there, done that--in imagination. And I get an extra thrill from this one as a teacher myself. It's so good to see you here!

  4. Hello L.E. and welcome to the RFB roster. I think we're going to get on like a house on fire!

    Now the first question that comes to mind is, did you?

    "squeak of chalk" - that wakes me up, that's for sure. Love the "vibrating me" (laughing actually)

    "the too-loud accordion music" - that's fun and brings you back to reality.

    Your repetition of "sensitive" is a nice touch. Also, the "Xs" - we're treading on borderline risque, aren't we?

    Best line of all is:
    "Back at the bank, I'm a teller. (laughing again).

    Loved this - and love it more with each read, but again, I ask, did you do it?

  5. Hey, I thought of you with my last two blog entries.

    You'll get a kick out of them HERE

    I think L.E. Leone captured the infatuation condition well, I'll admit it!


  6. Hi Audrey & Kat & Dianne

    Audrey & Kat: I'm trying to track down Dani who I believe is in Roma--what time is it there anyway?--pretty late in the evening I'm thinking

    Audrey: Isn't it great tho! Can't wait to see her in person when she comes back to the States!

    Kat: Glad you liked it. Knowing Dani, I'd guess the answer is "yes," but of course it's not good form to "kiss & tell."

    Dianne: Glad you liked it, & I'll drop by your place today to check those out. Thanks!

  7. "Lying naked on your table like
    An essay. Persuasive!! Strange!!!"

    Those were my favorite lines :) I like how the poet sees the humor in the situation too, along with the yearning and the tension.

    And in my mind, I heard the poem in a guy's voice, and saw the teacher as a woman.

  8. Hi HKatz: Those are funny lines, I think. LE Leone is not a poet to take herself too too seriously!

  9. A good poem - and an attention grabbing title/headline!

  10. Delicious. That is beautifully realised and worked-out.

  11. Hi all. It's me, Dani. Thanks so much for all the comments and interest! I just bounced from Italy to Pittsburgh yesterday, and am buried in snow and jetlag. It's a strange world out there, and nice to wake up to such kindnesses and encouragement upon re-entry.

    Gonna go make a snow angel ...

  12. Hey L.E.: Thanks from all of us & from me in particular. That's quite a bounce you took!

  13. I like it.

    Lots of sexy images, clever word play, and good use of exclamation points! ;)

    I used to be in love with a professor, too. But I guess I slipped my napkin into his pages, anyway.

    I don't think he liked 'em.


    Great final line!

    It always did feel like being 'graded'...

  14. Hi Ginger: L.E. does have a knack for exclamation points, doesn't she. Not an easy punctuation item to pull off in a poem either. I can't recall ever having a crush on a teacher, but when I was a graduate teacher, I did have a crush on one of my students--but I never followed up on it, & she more or less didn't slip anything into my papers.


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