OH, Ironman!

My cousins tackled the Ironman in Ohio, and I was there to watch. My part in this challenge was simple: do whatever they wanted me to do.

So my brother and I drove by corn fields upon cornfields to stand in the blazing sun for hours to catch a glimpse of them for 30 seconds. SO WORTH IT.

My brother and I drove back and prepared a barbecue, complete with decorations of congratulations. SO WORTH IT, especially since my brother has fire-phobia and the grill caught on fire when he was grilling so there was a lot of spatula waving and running away.

I cleaned the kitchen, and my brother threw out the garbage. I sat on the deck, and everyone went swimming in nature’s water where there were ducks and plants and other live creatures below the surface. We all laughed a lot. We all caught up a lot. My brother, my uncle, and I froze in the tundra of the lower level of the house.

My cousins asked me to sign my books they’d bought and brought. My cousin read a poem from the book, and then so did my brother.

There was some drinking, and I had half a sip of a kamikaze and remembered why they were so dangerous. Also dangerous is the incredible loyalty my family has towards me after this past year and a half.

There was a boat debacle in which my cousin needed to pull a boat with some water in it out of the water before it rained so there would not be more water in it. My brother was then enlisted to help, which entailed a lot of supervising. My other cousin then went down and practically lifted the boat all on her own. Then there was the need to flip it over. The rest of us stood above on the balcony, acting like Statler and Waldorf. The scene offered some great comedy for the family sitting on their deck across the lake from us.

There was a birthday celebration. More decorating. Some cake. There were early morning conversations over tea. There were loads of dishwashing in a dishwasher that fell out of the wall when opened.

There was also sightseeing. My brother and I hit up Columbus where we found:

A scrap metal horse and other large things. Ohio State campus is a city unto itself.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger statue. After driving in circles and not finding it anywhere, I pulled the car over and yelled at the map. That’s when my brother looked up and said, Hey, is that it? And it was! Hooray!

The World’s Largest Gavel. Under construction so I couldn’t get up on it, but I got up as near it as possible, and it was gavelicious.

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Scioto Mile. This was like my brother’s Becket Shrine of Canterbury. We walked along the mile and found public art, which is, as we all know, one of my top ten favorite things in the entire world.

A deer on a bridge. Not much more to say about that.

The German Village. For us little Raus, this was heaven. We found The Book Loft, which has 32 rooms of reading pleasure. We also found Schmidt’s Haus Restaurant and Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, and it was like home.

Back at the house, more swimming, more lounging, more laughs. I taught a quick yoga class. There was always something cooking or baking in the kitchen. We all had matching shirts.

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Family. Is. Everything.

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“Opposition Night” Is Nominated For A Rhysling Award !

So thankful and excited to learn that “Opposition Night” is nominated for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award in the Long Poem Category. This poem appears in Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press 2017). Here it is in case you’re interested in reading (or voting!).

Opposition Night

I.
You need a supersonic parachute for landing
and even then, it’s still tricky, a terrifying
seven minutes.
You need these simple interplanetary
wads of sticks inspired by
those egg drop experiments in high school
physics. They’ll cushion the impact.

When you awake to see the new horizon,
you’ll need your rations followed by
freeze dried ice cream for dessert.
Then you can begin the mining project.
Resource extraction, that kind of thing.
Once you’re there, life is easy.

II.
A six month road trip to the red planet
and farther: Jupiter, Saturn, alongside
the asteroid belt—possible only in a
sleep state.
No roadside pit stops at hole-in-the-wall
diners, no waitresses in white sneakers
named Luanne.
No off-road shoulder dust kicking up
and settling down on a hood and
through a window ajar.
Only the pod, fitting six, tentatively
called Copernicus, hurling itself
through as humans hibernate
like bears. Only you’re not a bear.
And you’re not on Earth.

III.
Photovoltaic power is all the rage!
Asteroid ablation! Comet ablation!
Every kind of ablation you could desire!
A plume of heat and laser light and
Kapow! Kablooey! Kaboom!

IV.
Even with a strong core
I can’t roller skate.
Melanie mocks me
when her voice comes over
the 70s station.
The starting isn’t a problem.
It’s the stopping that poses
concern.

I need a magnetoshell,
like the ones the engineers
are tweaking for the spacecrafts—
a force field generator that uses
magnetized plasma that would
slow me down upon approach
to anything that I might want
to not crash into.
A building.
A sidewalk.
A tree.

V.
A disappeared notice.
Appearance oddities.
A paraded centipoise.
Panacea diode stripe.
A paradise deception.
Paranoic seeded pit.
Sanitaria decode pep.
Eradicated aeon pips.
Arcade opiates pined.

VI.
To harness all energy
green gold silver
liana lariat lasso
telegraphed from arm to
quasi star non moon

A trap door unhatched
impossible to repair

Catch solar
Clasp wind

Stay aloft as long
until
the asteroid becomes the ship.

VII.
Icy moon
after
icy moon
ocean
under the surface.

If sound could travel
the ice would moan
shifting and old and heavy.

VIII.
Pluto non planet — photographed only in echoes

IX.
Decades spent tooling around
crashing and breaking down

all that debris floats in
angular momentum
its own orbit self-paced.

The dust sits there
a still cloud.

X.
We missed Mars.
It approached Earth over
the weekend, coming
thisclose
as the sun spun to the Earth’s
other side. When the sun set,
the red planet rose, neighboring
the almost full moon, shining
almost as bright as Jupiter.

In its brightness, its redness lessened—
gradient shades of warmth, I suppose.

I was inside, away from windows,
preoccupied with mundane matters
that matter only every day—
what time the sun will come back up
when the hedges will be trimmed
what kind of planet I’ll leave behind
when I leave.

Retropost: Book Launch and Big Wins (Dec2017)

Liberating The Astronauts came out in March. Because of launch technical issues (i.e. every place I contacted about setting up a launch fell through), it officially launched at Sip This in December. Since it was a Poets In Nassau event, and I don’t like featuring for the group I founded, I set it up as a community writing event complete with trivia, prizes, writing prompts, an open mic, and then my own featured reading. It was a fun night.

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Some sort of poetry dance

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Dd. Spungin, host

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Obligatory writer photo

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Oprah Imitation

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Peter V. Dugan, Nassau County Poet Laureate

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Friend

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I literally can’t stop teaching.

Eddie’s sister and our nieces visited for a whirlwind tour of NYC. They’d never been to the city before, so it was fun seeing their faces as we walked through crowds and crowds. The worst crowd was the fifteen minute one-block walk across from Saks. Otherwise, it was pretty and quite warm. Not only did we see the Rock Center tree, but we saw the tree at Bryant Park and one in St. Patrick’s. We saw the Macy’s store windows and the Saks windows and light show. Next time, maybe we’ll see the Rockettes.
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Then I won something. As usual, it was from an odd place. This time, a Capn Crunch box. When they said I’d won a cornhole game, I figured it was a cute little table game. Fast forward to a 60 pound box outside the front door. It is now stored under our bed because we have no place else to put it.
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The rest of December was all holiday cheer. I bought these mini cookies from Southpaw Sweets that got devoured on Christmas Eve.
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Additionally, these two mugs I got as presents sum up everything about who I am.
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Liberating My Video Skillz

Whenever I use the word “skillz,” you know I must be up to something creatively good. “Good” is a subjective term. You’ll see. I’ve been playing around with Storify and my MS Movie Maker to teach myself how to teach a class in rudimentary tech skillz. The other reason: my book is going to be published soon, and this is my new marketing plan. Make videos. Storify them. Send them out into the world. Here goes.

UPDATE: Okay, so my mad WordPress skillz seem to not be on point. I’ve got the embed code from Storify and the HTML tab chosen. It’s not working. And so, to see my video skillz, here’s a link instead.

https://storify.com/christinamrau/liberating-the-astronauts-a-video-pastiche

Impressed, aren’t you? With, like, this whole thing, huh?