Just a poem

At The Retail Store
by Sheri Grutz

The young woman at the counter
takes the long-sleeved shirts from me,

carefully, deliberately, as if not wanting to
part with them or hurt the image of the store,

taking the hanger off like removing a cross from a dead man,
and folding the shirts neatly one on top of the other,

two of them because I need to be twice removed,
two of them because I have all the time in the world,

and I think of your birth with your twin brother,
the way they took you from me and took their time

getting you ready, with care, with a stunning calmness
and a gentle touch, wrapping you up like a gift, and

I wear you like a smile, and you fit me like a favorite color,
and I always go out and greet the world feeling warm.



I'm liking my online certification class on Food, Nutrition and Health so much that I've registered for my next online class, Certificate in Healthy Aging, starting in December of this year. I love the convenience of the classes, and they are fun, and challenging, but not too much, just right, most of these are 6-week courses. I've already got plans into the new year for online business classes through Eastern Iowa Community College. It is doubtful I'll ever go back to a traditional course schedule for learning or a degree program. Some of them I'm looking into include: Leadership, Communications, Supervision and Management. They cost $99 each. I'm uncertain what the new year brings for my writing/blogging, but likely it will just be my book: A Chance, and about 2 longer plays for children per month.


Last Board Games Poem (Life)


by Sheri Grutz

Once when I was reading one of my poems out loud to a large audience,
I thought, this is my life, it really is something to have known it's been
played out, drawn out, made out to be a small version of being complete,
the game over, the money counted, it really is a grand finale, an orchestra,
the pit, the rafters, the house that kept me hanging on, the career that was
picture-perfect, oh, my, life happens when you are landing on something
you didn't see coming, until then, reading a poem out loud, with feeling,
since I have a fondness of striking a chord, since I have a fondness of
microphones, standing up, looking out, as if I could just make out a face.


A 4-minute poem by Sheri

Your Life/My Life

When I was being crippled with pain,
you were feeling no pain.
When I was starving,
you were being showered with food.
When I was getting ready to die,
you were just starting to live.
You have always been what would
heal me. You have always been
the cure of me. You have always
been fathomable to the absurd.

For Beth

Haters and Other News

Some people make me want to drink beer all day, especially today Kathryn Tuggle's article on psychopaths, and nearly taking everything I have done in work and interviews and calling me one. These are some of the haters that are here watching me, and when I wrote my last play, it was intentionally meant to make you wonder if I referred to the real God, or the surveillance that makes everyone God watching me, you will have to decide what kind of life is most authentic.

I have a couple of jobs in the works, but I best not showcase my excellent references through volunteering otherwise I will come across as a total charmer who works over people, still I'm hopeful. One would be doing banquets, something that I love doing, and the other is direct care, something I am good at, but don't say that too loud, because I've had more than 5 jobs in the last 10 years and it shows that I can't be trusted.

Today Alec and I are going to another Halloween party in Maquoketa, a free and fun event. I hope to do a Halloween event on both Thursday and Friday this week helping out doing admission at a dance at CASI, and handing out goodie bags to kids in Rock Island. Also, Thursday night is Out Loud. Also, I just found out I am going to be a lunch buddy to a 4th grade girl 2 or 3 times per month, really looking forward to it.

This week I will (hopefully, if the haters don't stop me) be writing my last board games poem, and a 10-minute sketch on bad characters bringing people closer to God, and I will also be blogging about Sean Daugherty coming to read for us this Saturday night (Nov. 1st) at Spectra.


My Daughter

Beth is seeing the traveling adult clinic for CF, still UIHC, but coming to Ames, about 2 or 3 times a year. At yesterday's appointment, her weight was good, and PFT's were good, but the doctor decided to take her off of the 2400mg of Ibuprofen completely thinking it was doing damage to her kidneys. She probably has been taking that for 10 years now, and I do remember when they wanted to start it, it was a very hard decision for me, but they convinced me it would be an anti-inflammatory that would cut down the recurring infections, so we did it. From what Beth told me, I don't think he has suggested an alternative, but many others do pulmazyme or saline through the neb.

Beth told us recently, and I'm telling everyone, that she has a camp opportunity in Brazil this coming spring. It would be from March until June, and she would go with another young woman from her camp in Boone. Beth has been living at the camp in Boone this fall, volunteering to pay for her room, and also working for pay in the office. She would be helping the area in that country that wants to model their camp after the Y camps in the states. More details later.

Beth will be receiving her bachelors in Child, Adult and Family Services from Iowa State in May of next year. All she has to complete for spring term is her internship. She is still dating Alex, and they are very happy.


Flying To You (a 10-minute sketch)

Flying To You

By Sheri Grutz

Flying To You (A 10-minute sketch)


SERGIO (older, dressed in black, with beard)
PAUL (younger, dressed in hunting gear, clean-shaven)

Lights up on a living room that is old and worn, but well-lit, and clean. Sergio stands in middle of stage looking out at audience. Enter Paul from side of stage.

What are you doing Sergio?

Watching the books. I heard they were flying off the shelves down at Barnes and Noble, and I want to see if mine will fly.

That doesn't really fly man, no way books can fly.

But they fly to my heart, don't they? They fly through an afternoon. They set sights on higher pursuits, certainly they do fly. (pause) Maybe they would fly if I called them.

Called them?

You know, call them out of their tight spaces.

Give it a try.

(loud, deep voice) Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bronte, Marquez, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, The Holy Bible! (front row throws out books to the stage)

that's not flying, that's falling apart at the seams. that's dropping names. that's booking a party for one. that's showing off your character. that's reading into something against pretense. that's digging into the plot. that's closing this chapter. that's using words like tools for an electric feeling.

And that's enough Paul.

it was enough too, it was just enough to win me over, make me a fan, a believer, an avid reader, I confess, and if you want I can confess to almighty God!

You know what has happened don't you?

No what?

You have become an open book. You have become the books we were calling.

Sure, I've got a hard cover, I've got a long life, I've got a good typeface that is easy to look at, sure, I'm a book! (he walks backward off stage. Lights dimmed, stagehand picks up books quickly, Sergio assumes position in middle stage with a camera staring out into the audience, enter Paul) What are you doing Sergio?

I'm watching the birds, the same way they watch over me like a hawk waiting to dive down and snatch up whatever has been eating me.

You don't strike me as being easy prey.

Well, I'm not cold-blooded if that's what you mean, but I can give an icy stare if pressed. (gives him an icy stare)

Huh, and what do you got against birds?

Actually I'm studying fight or flight. Ah, it escapes me now, oh, but that's it, yes, an escape! I can't seem to get away from what's bugging me.

And the birds eat the bugs right? Get the bugs out, you know, break in the day til it starts to run smoothly.

I like to study them to take my mind off of things. Take pictures, a new frame of mind, develop them into slides, letting it all slide.

Nice. (he looks out into the audience) I don't see many birds. They don't fit the training manual, that's for sure, how to flock together.

Yes, I know. Maybe it would help if I called them.

Called them?

You know, called them, and I don't mean called them my children, my associates, my comrades.

Sure, give it a try.

(loud and deep) Caw, caw. (pause) Caw, caw, cawww. (pause) (makes whistle sound like calling a sexy woman. Front row throws stuffed birds up onto the stage)

that's not flying, that's dying for a drink. That's dropping clues of their mystery. That's the cat's meow. That's child's play. That's the stuff. That's going south.

And that's enough, Paul.

I think I get it, actually. To be a part of the big picture. It's coming into focus now. It's not a cheap shot. It's zooming in on what matters. You do this to lose your cares, you really are flying high.

That's it! By calling them, I have become like the birds! (Paul walks backward off of stage, lights dimmed, stagehand picks up stuffed birds, Sergio assumes middle center of stage staring out into the audience. Enter Paul)

What are you doing Sergio?

I'm looking out for love. (he raises eyebrows, nods, seem enlightened, then collapses into a sigh)

Yeah, let me know when you find it, man. Maybe you're looking in all the wrong places.

Wrong, my friend. (bold voice) I am looking out for higher love.

You might have to move then, this is prairie land, rather flat, you tend to fall on your face than face the maker.

(looks shocked, says Oh,, breathes in, then says ho, ho, yes) I'm going to be seeing the light very soon.

That's because it's almost day, Sergio. The pinks and yellows in the sky, do you think that is the face of God?

I see art, and beauty, and majesty.

(looks out into audience) It's just going to be another boring day, man. I don't mean to burst your bubble, Serg, but heaven is but a kiss from a pretty girl.

(looks confused) I never kiss and tell. I can't tell you what I've seen. I can't tell where this life ends and where the next life begins. It's like a watercolor painting.

Yeah, and her kiss is like the tip of that brush, man. Even though she might lay it on thick, even though you can barely make out, it's lasting and worth a lot.

(smiles, suddenly looks frightened, says oh, my, oh, no) Really?

What is it, man? Do you see the books? Do you see the birds? What do you see?

Something fierce, stunning, noble and supreme.

Is it God, man? Do you see God?

Yes! (front row throws out long-stem flowers onto the stage)

Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. Don't forget to lay down that pretty girl on a bed of roses. Don't forget to bloom where you are planted.

Yes, yes.

And you remember, all your watching is their watching.

On who's watch?

The big band's watch. (cue background music of big band style. Paul walks off backward off of stage. Sergio assumes position middle center of stage staring out into audience looking entertained. Song plays out. Lights out. The end.)



Lots of people in media and radio patronize me for lack of a better apology for how they can't seem to look away, and it does bother me sometimes, since I know that my works are not all that great, especially compared to others who are breaking boundaries and freeing the mind, soul and spirit in their works. I know my works are somewhat interesting, and can be entertaining, I hope, but they are lacking in critical mass. Still, some very smart people at times will patronize me, and I guess that feels both good and bad, but it's just part of the territory I guess.


This Week

Last night Alec and I saw a reenactment of Laura Ingalls at the Eldridge library which was informing and inspiring to think maybe my works will be passed down someday. Tonight alec and I will go to music club, sound reach and a local high school choir concert. Tomorrow night I'm meeting friends for Experimental Shorts at Rozz-Tox, short films from around the world. Thursday is my busy day to volunteer, then I'm meeting friends for an evening with poet laureates from Iowa. Friday night and Saturday day I'm doing canvassing. Sunday Alec and I are seeing Snow White adaption at junior theater in Davenport, then going to sled hockey. All of these events are free or nearly free.



A couple of fun, easy craft ideas for you and your daughter, or young girl in your life:

wooden spoon dolls: you paint on a face and buttons with each color representing a different type of character, they can be anything you want them to be, like yellow could be happy, green could be growing, blue could be smart, red could be brave. You can also glue on some things on your spoon, but if you want her to cook with it, just use acrylic paint, it won't come off when baking.

her name: cut out the letters of her name out of old greeting cards, I use Christmas greeting cards, and then I will punch one hole through the middle of each, and string (with yarn) fruit loops and painted pasta. You can hang it on the tree, or pin it to her ceiling.

ornaments: use your old stickers and old ornaments to make a personalized gift for grandmas, just cover the old ornaments with your stickers.

Pasta letters: use first initial of your families names, boiling thick fetticini pasta and rinse it with cold water, form the pasta into letters, and then cover it with glue and glitter.

Some of these things I used to do when I was a Girl Scouts leader.

Last Minute (a slam poem)

Last Minute by Sheri Grutz As if there was a breaking point, and we suddenly fell off from our plans like twigs from the pressure, broke off from another day into another way that released all that
was kept bending, bending, and finally now, breaking away, last minute, a decision to change course,
shocking and sudden as if to throw them off course, make them think differently,
last minute we ended up in bed instead,
or turning left instead of right,
or going for coffee instead of the meeting,
or reading all day instead of going to class,
anything to make the weight of the decision
drop off the shoulders like lead wings,
no strings, no burden of things
making the day uncommon and needing
explaining, but there is no reason, there
is no excuse, just a last minute fly away
into the wild blue yonder, sorry, but it
seems to happen like that, last minute
turnabout, knowing I will pay for this,
but not caring, just daring the completion
of an act to stand on its head, to fall from
grace the way day flips over night, bleeding
through the sky slowly soaking up all
the light, I must kiss you last minute,
I must tell you last minute
leaving something that will last,
but the last minute comes like
a gust of air, it comes like a
shooting star that won't make
anything brighter, faster, clearer
than this one moment, in the last
minute I turned around and went
somewhere I had always wanted,
wanting it like a craving that needs
to be put away into the box of my
mind and sent to you on this fine day,
another way of reaching you through
doing the unheard of, the unexpected,
the unaccounted for, me, nobody
making nobody's decisions and
living in a nobody world, going
and going suddenly last minute
not going, not completing, not
following through because it was
pressing on me to be free, to be
unhitched, out of control and into
the blue, eyes watching, I know,
I know, nothing stopping me but
the butterflies that haven't died yet,
this thought of you, floating, I am
floating and so scared to land.